HOUSE OF COMMONS
Third Standing Committee on Statutory Instruments, &c.
DRAFT REDUNDANCY PAYMENTS (LOCAL GOVERNMENT) (MODIFICATION) (AMENDMENT) ORDER 1993
Tuesday 2 March 1993
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The Committee consisted of the following Members:
Chairman: Dr. John G. Blackburn
Boyce, Mr. Jimmy (Rotherham)
Carrington, Mr. Matthew (Fulham)
Clapham, Mr. Michael (Barnsley, West and Penistone)
Eagle, Ms Angela (Wallasey)
Faber, Mr. David (Westbury)
Fishburn, Mr. Dudley (Kensington)
Gale, Mr. Roger (Thanet, North)
Garnier, Mr. Edward (Harborough)
Hague, Mr. William (Richmond, Yorks)
Henderson, Mr. Doug (Newcastle upon Tyne, North)
Jones, Mr. Nigel (Cheltenham)
Khabra, Mr. Piara S. (Ealing, Southall)
McLaughlin, Mr. Patrick (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Employment)
Michell, Mr. Andrew (Gedling)
Olner, Mr. Bill (Nuneaton)
Ottaway, Mr. Richard (Croydon, South)
Prentice, Mrs. Bridget (Lewisham, East)
Robinson, Mr. Mark (Somerton and Frome)
Mr. M. Hennessy, Committee Clerk2 3 Third Standing Committee on Statutory Instruments, &c. Tuesday 2 March 1993
[DR. JOHN G. BLACKBURN in the Chair]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Employment (Mr. Patrick McLoughlin): I beg to move, That the Committee has considered the draft Redundancy Payments (Local Government) (Modification) (Amendment) Order 1993. As the Committee may know, the order is one of a series presented at roughly annual intervals. It is concerned with the calculation of redundancy payments in local government service, and amends the original order passed in 1983 by bringing in some newly created employing bodies. It may be helpful, if I explain that an employee made redundant after at least two years' service is due a payment calculated according to his period of service with his last employer. Local authorities are legally distinct employers, so that, other things being equal, an employee could receive a payment every time he became redundant, even though he moved to another local government job. That would not, however, fairly reflect what normally happens in local government, where normal career progression commonly involves moving from one authority to another, perhaps several times during an individual's working life. Consequently, the law provides for redundancy entitlements to be based on total aggregated service in local government. As there is no convenient definition of what constitutes local government employment, we have to list in the orders all the employers with whom service can count, including many that have gone out of existence following statutory reorganisations. The latest order brings the list up to date by adding a few bodies, mainly in the higher education field, which have recently come into being. I trust that I have said enough to satisfy the Committee that the amendments are necessary, 4 reasonable and uncontroversial. I commend the order to the Committee.
Mr. Doug Henderson (Newcastle upon Tyne, North): I am grateful for the opportunity to respond to the Minister on this matter. I preface my remarks by saying that normally one of the Opposition's spokesmen on employment would be present but, for reasons best known to our Whips' Office, an environment spokesman is filling in this morning. I am grateful to be able to do that, but I should declare an interest as a trade union official who was previously involved in negotiating on behalf of members who were employed in local government. I have some background knowledge. The Opposition support the order for two reasons. We support the principle that persons who are employed and who have given service to the public sector should carry with them the rewards and rights of public sector employment as well as its responsibilities. We support the principle that all public sector service should be taken into account when calculating redundancy payments. Conditions are becoming more difficult for employees in the public sector, many of whom, in local government and allied activities, have found that, instead of having employment for life, because of the changes taking place in local government, they are vulnerable to redundancy and that they need full protection. I hope that the Minister recognises that some of the changes in local government have been caused by Government policy, some of it ideological, some not. More and more the Government are looking for ways of restructuring the public sector by introducing agencies, quangos and other bodies. Increasingly, employees will feel the need for the protection which the order provides. Therefore, the Opposition firmly support the order. I do not suppose that this will be the last such order before the Committee. Several changes in the structure and provision of public service in recent years have been reflected. I anticipate that, because of decisions which have already been made, further orders may be proposed.
Question put and agreed to. Resolved.
That the Committee has considered the draft Redundancy Payments (Local Government) (Modification) (Amendment) Order 1993.
Committee rose at twenty-five minutes to Eleven o'clock.
THE FOLLOWING MEMBERS ATTENDED THE COMMITTEE:
Blackburn, Mr. John D. (Chairman)
Mitchell, Mr. Andrew