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New Clause—(Supplementary Provisions As To Retirement Or Other Benefits And Application To Unincorporated Societies, Etc)

Volume 439: debated on Wednesday 9 July 1947

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

(1) In this and the last four preceding Sections, except where the context otherwise requires, the following expressions have the meanings hereby respectively assigned to them, that is to say—

"controlling director" means a director of a company, the directors whereof have a controlling interest therein, who is the beneficial owner of, or able, either directly or through the medium of other companies or by any other indirect means, to control, more than five per cent. of the ordinary share capital of the company, and for the purposes of this definition the expressions "company" and "ordinary share capital" have the same meanings as they have for the purposes of the Fourth Schedule to the Finance Act, 1937;
"director"means—
  • (a) in relation to a body corporate the affairs whereof are managed by a board of directors or similar body, a member of that board or similar body;
  • (b) in relation to a body corporate the affairs whereof are managed by a single director or similar person, that director or person;
  • (c)in relation to a body corporate the affairs whereof are managed by the members themselves, a member of the body corporate, and includes any person who is to be or has been a director;
  • "employee," in relation to a body corporate, includes any person taking part in the management of the affairs of the body corporate who is not a director, and includes a person who is to be or has been an employee;
    "excepted provident fund or staff assurance scheme or other similar scheme" means so much as relates to persons remunerated at a rate of two thousand pounds a year, or at a less rate, of any retirement benefits scheme as to which the following conditions are satisfied, that is to say—
  • (a)that the sums paid by the body corporate pursuant to the scheme in question in respect of any person for any period do not exceed ten per cent. of his remuneration for that period and do not exceed one hundred pounds in the case of a period of a year or a correspondingly less or greater amount in the case of a shorter or longer period; and
  • (b) that no other retirement benefits scheme which relates to employees of the body corporate who are of the class to which the scheme in question relates, and who are remunerated as aforesaid, is subsisting for the time being, or, if there is any such other scheme subsisting that it (so far as it relates to persons remunerated as aforesaid) and the scheme in question taken together satisfy the requirement specified in paragraph (a) of this definition:
  • "retirement or other benefit," means any pension, annuity, lump sum, gratuity or other like benefit to be given on retirement, or in anticipation of retirement, or, in connection with past service, after retirement, or to be given on or in anticipation of or in connection with any change in the nature of the service of the person in question, except that it does not include any pension, annuity, lump sum, gratuity or other like benefit which is to be afforded solely by reason of the death or disability of a person occurring during his service. and for to other reason;
    "service" means service as an employee or director of the body corporate in question, and "retirement" shall be construed accordingly;
    "statutory superannuation scheme" means a scheme set up by or approved under any enactment relating to superannuation or set up by or approved under any regulations relating to superannuation made under any enactment by any Minister or government department, and for the purposes of this definition, the expressions "enactment," "Minister" and "government department" include respectively an enactment of the Parliament of Northern Ireland, a Northern Ireland Minister and a Northern Ireland government department.

    (2) Where an alteration has been made in a retirement benefits scheme at any time after the fifth day of April, nineteen hundred and forty-seven, the scheme shall, for the purposes of this and the last four preceding Sections be deemed to have become a new scheme coming into being on the date of the alteration:

    Provided that this Subsection shall not apply to an alteration approved by the Commissioners of Inland Revenue.

    (3) Any reference in this or the last four preceding Sections to the provision for a person of retirement or other benefits includes a reference to the provision of benefits payable to that person's spouse, children, dependants or personal representatives, and any reference therein to the provision for a person of a pension or annuity for his life includes a reference to the provision (either in addition or as an alternative to the pension or annuity payable for his life) of a pension or annuity payable to that person's spouse or to any child or dependant of that person for the life of the spouse, child or dependant.

    (4) Any reference in this or the last four preceding Sections to the provision of retirement or other benefits, or of a pension or annuity, by a body corporate includes a reference to the provision thereof by means of a contract with a third person.

    (5) It shall be the duty of a body corporate—

  • (a) to deliver to the surveyor, within the time specified in this Subsection particulars of any retirement benefits scheme subsisting in connection with the body corporate on the sixth day of April, nineteen hundred and forty-seven, or coming into being after that date. other than a scheme referred to in subsection (1) of the second of the Sections f this Act relating to retirement or other benefits, and
  • (b) when required so to do by notice given by the surveyor, to furnish within the time limited by the notice such further particulars as he may require with regard to any retirement benefits scheme subsisting in connection with the body corporate or to the persons to whom it relates,
  • and the provisions of Section one hundred and seven of the Income Tax Act, 1918 (which relates to failure to deliver lists, declarations and statements), shall apply in relation to the particulars required to be delivered by or under this Subsection as they apply in relation to any list, declaration or statement required to be delivered by any such notice as is referred to in that Section.

    The time for delivery of particulars under paragraph ( a) of this Subsection shall be—

  • (a) in the case of a scheme that came into being before the passing of this Act, six months beginning with the date of the passing of this Act;
  • (b) in the case of a scheme coming into being after the passing of this Act, three months beginning with the date of its coming into being.
  • (6) This and the last four preceding Sections shall apply in relation to unincorporated societies or other bodies as they apply in relation to bodies corporate:

    Provided that the reference in this Subsection to unincorporated societies or other bodies shall be deemed not to include a reference to individuals in partnership.—[ The Solicitor-General.]

    Brought up, and read the First time.

    Paragraph (a)sets certain limits on the payments in and out of provident schemes, and I want to suggest these limits are rather low, especially where a company takes on a man of a certain age, say 50. If the employer is allowed to contribute only 10 per cent. of a man's salary, it would be very hard to provide a fund from which he really could get a substantial and satisfactory pension. I think it would be right to raise that limit from, say, 10 per cent. to 20 per cent. and raise the limit from £100 to £500. I hope that that will be considered; otherwise, it will be difficult to deal with the kind of many of whom the hon. and gallant Member for Antrim (Major Haughton) was talking—the man who moves about between different companies. It is to the advantage of industry that men of skill and experience should change their jobs occasionally. If he comes into a company at the age of, say, 50, and it is not possible to make him a respectable pension, he might well be deterred from giving the best of his services.

    I should like to support my hon. Friend in the point he has raised, which is of real value. This figure of £100 a year does seem to me, in view of the present deterioration of the £,and the tendency in many cases to raise salaries, to be too low. I think some support should be given to my hon. Friend, who has worked this out, and I would ask the right hon. Gentleman, if we cannot get this now, at any rate that he should look into the matter to see whether in the future some concession could not be made more in keeping with the times than this figure of £100.

    I must confess that, even after listening to these two speeches, our view is that the limits have been put at the right figures. The intention is generally to include the smaller provident schemes. If it is desired to deal with larger figures, the right course would be that a superannuation scheme should be brought into effect which would comply with the conditions and qualify for approval under the terms of the scheme. I would point out again that nothing in the way of a voluntary payment is touched, and, therefore, that any voluntary payment, in circumstances concerning an elderly employee for example, would not be affected. Inasmuch as this proviso is intended to deal with the small provident or endowment schemes we have fixed the limit, I think, at the correct figure. I have heard. what the hon. Gentleman said, and what the future may bring forth no one knows, but at the moment, I think, we have fixed the right figure.

    Question put, and agreed to.

    Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

    12.43 a.m.

    I beg to move, "That further consideration of the Bill, as amended, be adjourned." I think this. would be a convenient time to ask the Government their intentions.

    We have made considerable progress —[Interruption.]Perhaps the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher) will allow the Chancellor of the Exchequer to answer for himself. I know he expects in a short time to be occupying that position, but until that moment arrives he might allow the right hon. Gentleman to enjoy temporarily, at least, the benefits of independence. Other hon. Members will think that we have made considerable progress. We have dealt already, as far as I can see, with the major matters coming up on Report stage, and, as far as my hon. Friends are concerned, I think we can safely give this guarantee —that, were we to break off now, we could finish the Bill at a reasonable hour on the second day of the Report stage. I am assuming that there is no particular point on which hon. Members opposite wish to talk an abnormally long time. That, of course, I cannot control. I must leave that to the right hon. Gentleman. But, as far as we are concerned, we feel that it should be easily possible to accomplish that. In view of that, and having reached the end of a particular block of new Clauses, we would suggest that this is the appropriate moment at which to adjourn the Debate.

    Perhaps, I might be allowed to discuss in a friendly way what has just been suggested. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman is right in saying that all the major matters likely to lead to long discussion are now past. I had thought that there was not much left in the new Clauses that would occupy any time. I had hoped that if we had the kind of response suggested by the right hon. Gentleman, we ought to finish the remainder of the new Clauses. I had thought it would have been convenient to do that tonight, leaving the rest of the Amendments for the last day. Does the right hon. Gentleman feel strongly between one course and the other?

    I do feel rather strongly that the course I suggest would be most convenient, for the reason that, so far as I can see, there is rather more in the rest of the new Clauses than there is in the Amendments. If we spend an hour or two in finishing the new Clauses that would only result in an exceptionally short sitting on the second day, and we might find that we would do our work much more evenly if we adjourn now and finish the Bill at the next sitting.

    Guarantees are relative things—does the right hon. Gentleman want to go beyond eleven o'clock? This Debate does not often run to one o'clock in the morning.

    If that is so, the right hon. Gentleman has good reason for it, and I think my hon. Friends will fall in with it. We have had a lengthy Debate, and I had to wait a long time for my dinner. No doubt we can do it all right in the time, and I am prepared to accept the suggestion that we should now adjourn.

    Question put, and agreed to.

    Further consideration of the Bill, as amended, adjourned.

    Bill, as amended (in Committee and on re-committal), to be further considered this day.