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Provisions Supplementary To Section 8

Volume 24: debated on Tuesday 25 May 1982

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

Amendments made: No. 20, in page 11, line 27, at end insert—

(7A) In section 6 of the 1981 Act (certificates of initial fitness required for use as public service vehicles), the following subsection shall be inserted after subsection (1)— "(1A) Without prejudice to the powers of the Secretary of State under section 7 of this Act in relation to the exercise by certifying officers of their function,, regulations may make provision with respect to the examination of vehicles for the purposes of subsection (1) (a) above by or under the direction of authorised inspector s and the issue or refusal of certificates of initial fitness by such inspectors on any such examinations.".'.

No. 21, in page 11, line 28, leave out 'the 1981' and insert `that'.

No. 22, in page 11, line 45, leave out 'and'.

No. 23, in page 12, line 6, at end insert

(c) for the examinations to be carried out under the regulations and, in particular, for authorising any such examination to be carried out by or under the direction of a public service vehicle examiner or an authorised inspector ".'.—[Mr. Eyre.]

I beg to move amendment No. 24, in page 12, line 14, leave out subsection (10) and insert—

'(10) Subject to the qualification mentioned below, regulations made under
  • (a) section 43, section 45 or section 50 of the 1972 Act; or
  • (b) section 6(1A) or 20(2A) of the 1981 Act; may include provision for the purpose of securing that private-sector examinations are properly carried out in accordance with the regulations, including (but without prejudice to the generality of the preceding, provision) provision for the supervision or review of private-sector examinations by persons authorised for the purpose by or under the regulations.
  • No person other than an officer of the Secretary of State may be authorised by or under regulations so made to supervise or review an examination carried out in the course of a vehicle testing business carried on by a person other than his own employer.
    In this subsection "private-sector examination" means, in relation to an examination under regulations so made, an examination carried out by or under the direction of an authorised inspector.'.
    The amendment replaces the present clause 10(10) with a new subsection. Like the present one, the new subsection is about arrangements for ensuring that private sector testing is properly carried out. It differs from the present provision in two main ways.

    First, it is more comprehensive. It refers not only to sections 43 and 45 of the Road Traffic 1972 Act but to several other sections. Therefore, it effectively covers all the main areas of work where authorised inspectors may be authorised to carry out examinations.

    Secondly, and most important, the new subsection contains completely different provisions about the supervision and review of examinations. We have revised it to make it clear that the supervision of the work of approved testing authorities will and must be carried out by officers of the Secretary of State. We shall not be using independent private sector contractors on this work, which, at one time, was being considered. There remains some provision for supervision of examinations by people who are not civil servants. That relates to in-house supervision to which I have already referred, which an approved testing authority will carry out, using its own staff, to ensure that proper standards are maintained within its own organisation.

    In-house supervision by the authority's own management will be important. The amendment does nothing to frustrate it. In ruling out private sector supervision, we refer to outside supervision by people who are not employed by the approved testing authority but who act on behalf of the Secretary of State. According to the amendment, these people must be civil servants.

    The question of who should carry out the supervision caused some concern in Committee. We undertook to reconsider our previous view that private sector staff might be used. I am glad that we have been able to meet the wishes of the Opposition on this point. I hope that the amendment will be generally welcomed.

    I rise briefly to welcome the amendment. Two points exercised us in Committee. The first was that the general supervision of the approved inspectors of the business should be retained in the Department of Transport under the direction of the Secretary of State in the interests of public safety. Secondly, we were concerned that, if the chain were to be broken up into two or three chains, one part of the chain could not supervise the functions of the others. I take it that that could not happen.

    Amendment agreed to.

    I beg to move amendment No. 25, in page 12, line 35, at end insert—

    '(12) The Secretary of State may make orders with respect to the provisions of pensions by any person authorised to conduct a business which consists of or includes any of the functions specified in section 9 of this Act; for or in respect of persons who are transferred from the Civil Service to private employment under the provisions of section 8 of this Act'.
    The purpose of the amendment is to provide the Secretary of State with the power to make orders for the provision of pensions for those who are transferred from the Civil Service into private employment as a result of the Government selling or leasing heavy goods vehicle testing stations.

    Part II of the Bill contains no provision for pensions. There are inconsistencies in the construction of the Bill. The Government have introduced a series of privatisation measures. Not only the Department of Transport but a number of other Government Departments have introduced, during the past two legislative years, a number of Bills which turn over functions either from nationalised industries or from the Civil Service to the private sector. In all those Bills provisions have been made to take care—if I may put it that way—of any possible difficulty which might arise in the transfer of pensions.

    To demonstrate an inconsistency, I turn first to the measures introduced by the Department of Transport. In the Transport Act 1980, in the Transport (Finance) Act 1981 and in part I of the Bill, provision is made for the Secretary of State to make an order, if he judges that to be the right thing to do, for the transfer of pensions from a nationalised industry to the private sector. The Bill provides for the transfer of pensions from the National Bus Company to the private sector. We debated the matter last night and expressed our reservations about such provisions, but there is no argument that the Government judged it right to have such a provision.

    However, in this part of the Bill there is no such provision and I oppose the inconsistency. I cannot see that there is any consistent line of policy which until now in the Department's legislation for privatisation has given the Secretary of State power to make orders for the transfer of pensions, yet there is no such provision in the case of heavy goods vehicle testing stations.

    Another inconsistency is that, when people have been transferred from Government service, as opposed to a nationalised industry—from local government or even the Civil Service—the legislation of other Departments has provided for the transfer of pensions. One example, under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, is people moving from the Audit Commission to another form of service. In the case of the Department of the Environment, the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 created the Countryside Commission and those who had to leave Government employment ceased to be members of Government pension schemes. In the one case I am talking about a local government pension scheme and in the other of the Civil Service pension scheme.

    The consistent thread has been a recognition by the Government that when they move people out of public service into private employment it may be necessary or desirable for a Minister to have a direct power or obligation, or at least the right, if he judges it necessary, to make an order to cover the transfer of pensions.

    The Secretary of State's predecessor judged it correct to use, as a pattern for the transfer, a method that was developed for transferring pensions not from the public to the private sector but between public sector industries. In earlier Transport Acts, when people were required to move between British Rail, British Road Services and the National Freight Corporation, there was a method of transferring pensions. One sees it in schedule 1 to the Bill, which deals with the sale of British Rail subsidaries, and it is repeated in clause 5 of the Bill. The terms are almost exactly the same. It has been accepted in part II of this Bill that a similar power is necessary. That is not surprising. Preservation of pension rights on transfer is a problem that has exercised management and unions in the public sector for many years and, because of the attention that has been given to the problem, we have reached the position in legislation whereby staff can in most cases move freely between schemes in the public sector without jeopardising their pension rights. It is possible to move from British Rail to the National Bus Company or to the National Freight Corporation.

    I hope that the Minister will accept that that protection has been possible mainly because the benefits and schemes that have existed in the public sector have been broadly comparable. One cannot say that all the schemes in the private sector have been comparable with those in the public sector. There have been many significant differences, which I hope I need not detail for the purpose of this argument.

    4.15 pm

    The preservation of pension rights on change of employment has been given much publicity in recent years. The Occupational Pensions Board was requested to examine the problem in depth and to make recommendations, but the Government have decided to proceed with their privatisation legislation before they have the benefit of that examination in depth and the recommendation of the Occupational Pensions Board. Therefore, it is understandable that the Government should have consistently used a mechanism in legislation for the transfer of pensions from the public to the private sector similar to that used for transfers in the public sector.

    In transfers from the public to the private sector, many problems can arise. In my researches, I have found only one precedent when the Department of Transport attempted to transfer employees from the public to the private sector without a provision being made for pensions to be transferred. That is the case of those who were transferred from the road construction units to employment as private consultants. Many problems arose. The Government were unwilling to permit the extension of indexing public service pensions into the private sector. The consultants were unwilling to enter into agreements that would have involved what they regarded as the acceptance of an open-ended liability for index-linking. The Association of County Councils was unwilling to advise its constituent members to negotiate such agreements because, as it claimed, in the event of a consultant's default the superannuation administering bodies would have to pay the bill for the cost of index-linking.

    That is the only example that I can find. If the Minister knows of other examples of people being forced by Government legislation to transfer from the public to the private sector without any legislative cover or without the Minister retaining any rights, I shall be interested to hear what they are and whether it was possible to accomplish the change without any difficulty. All the evidence shows that it has been a matter of considerable difficulty. Therefore, we have supported the Government in such provision as they have made until now and all our criticisms have been addressed in the other direction of having more safeguards in the legislation. Here we must protest that there are no safeguards.

    Those who will be affected by part II of the Bill—I assume that we shall have the misfortune of seeing it carried through this Session—will be covered by the principal Civil Service pension scheme. They are in a scheme that provides benefits indexed to increase in line with Civil Service earnings. Those who have joined the Government test service have been encouraged not only to join the pension scheme but to transfer any pensions that they have in the private sector to the Civil Service scheme.

    If the Minister wishes, I shall quote chapter and verse from the leaflet that was issued within the Civil Service. In effect, it says that a person going into Civil Service employment and the Civil Service pension scheme has the responsibility of deciding whether to transfer his benefits into the principal Civil Service pension scheme, even if his benefits under his present scheme are better, as it might be worth while to transfer to the Civil Service one which gives lower benefits, as it is unlikely that his present scheme will have as good an indexation arrangement as the Civil Service one.

    I have paraphrased the leaflet but I believe that I have fairly represented the basis upon which many people have joined the Government testing service and have transferred their pensions to the Civil Service scheme. As a result of the present legislation, they will find themselves being treated exactly the same, in legal terms, as if they had voluntarily left the Civil Service. They will not be one whit better off than the person who decided of his own free will to leave.

    I challenge the Minister to show me any shred of legal protection or benefit that would have accrued to a person who had voluntarily left the Civil Service. We are now dealing with people who will be forced out by the present legislation. That is the way in which the Government propose to treat them. Not only is the Secretary of State being inconsistent in his treatment of his civil servants as compared with civil servants of other Departments; he is also legislating between those who will be forced to leave his employ in the HGV testing stations and those who will be forced to leave the employ of the National Bus Company under the same Bill. Such inconsistencies are, to say the least, highly unjust.

    I should like to put some direct questions to the Minister. I have addressed them to him before without receiving an answer, but that makes them no less relevant. I hope that the Minister will accept their relevance now. What will happen to civil servants who are currently employed in HGV testing stations which the Government will sell or lease to private employers who may not have a contracted-out scheme? Nothing in the Bill will limit those to whom the Secretary of State might decide to sell HGV testing stations.

    There is nothing to limit the right hon. Gentleman's selling stations to those who have contracted-out schemes. What will happen to the people employed there? Will the Treasury be prepared to make a payment into a scheme of an employer which is not contracted out to secure benefits for the civil servants whom the Bill transfers? If the Treasury will not be prepared to make such a payment, how are the pension rights of the affected civil servants, on ceasing to be civil servants, to be protected? What will happen to those who have transferred into the Civil Service scheme on joining the HGV testing stations service when they have not acquired five years' service? Presumably, they do not even have a right to a frozen pension arrangement. The right to a frozen pension at the current acquired benefit level is dependent upon five years' service.

    I admit that I have had to re-study the legislation to prepare myself for the debate. As I understand the present provisions for transfer guarantee, civil servants with more than five years' service in the Civil Service scheme who go to a contracted-out scheme, provided that it is approved by the Inland Revenue and provided that the trustees of the scheme are prepared to accept the transfer, can have their accrued payments into the Civil Service scheme transferred. They may turn out to be the fortunate few. There is no guarantee that the only people who will be transferred will have five years' or more service in the Civil Service pension scheme, or that the employers to whom they are transferred have contracted-out schemes approved by the Inland Revenue and the trustees of which will accept a transfer from the Civil Service pension scheme.

    Unless all those conditions are met—there is nothing in the Bill to suggest that they will be—civil servants are entirely justified in expressing the fear that has been represented to us through their union that the Bill is utterly inadequate with regard to pensions. It does nothing to protect them. It leaves them substantially worse off than others who have been affected by Government privatisation proposals.

    The Secretary of State may take the same view of that as he took when the Opposition proposed that there should be some statutory liability to make orders of transfer. We were then arguing about a different proposition. It is not pertinent here. When we discussed National Bus Company pensions, we accepted that the Secretary of State had taken an order-making power but that he would retain discretion about when to use it for the transfer of pensions. That is not the argument here. We are discussing why the Secretary of State has not taken an order-making power. Without the amendment, no such power will exist.

    The Opposition cannot and will not accept at this juncture simply the Secretary of State's hope or wish that anyone to whom he transfers civil servants, as a result of the sale or lease of testing stations, will be so honourable, decent, civilised and progressive with regard to pensions that he will run a pension scheme that is capable of taking transferred Civil Service pensions. We may hope for that but we cannot leave the matter to the hopes of the Secretary of State. He cannot say that, because he hopes that that will happen, there is no need to have a provision for transfer when he said previously that order-making powers were necessary, as he did in this Bill and his predecessor did in the two previous ones.

    At the very least, the Government can accept the amendment so that there is a safeguard. The Minister cannot deny, on the basis of the record, that such are the problems of transferring pensions from the public to the private sector that it has been found desirable to have a power to make an order for transfer. That has been done in all the other cases. The amendment deals with one exception that covers a serious range of problems confronting those who have lost their public servant status. For that, if for no other reason, the amendment should be accepted. If it turns out not to be necessary and it is possible to transfer and safeguard pension provisions, no one will be happier than my right hon. and hon. Friends and I. We cannot be happy with the creation of a precedent whereby people who, by legislation, are thrown out of the Civil Service are in exactly the same legal position as those who voluntarily leave or break a contract into which they have voluntarily entered.

    4.30 pm

    We are dealing here with issues of great importance for the employees concerned in the changes proposed by the Government, which we debated yesterday. There is no difference or division whatever between the extremely strong, well-informed and concerned feelings of the right hon. Member for Barrow-in-Furness (Mr. Booth) and those of the Government about the importance of pension provision for those working in the testing stations who will in future be working in the new organisation.

    We must start from the recognition of a great deal of what the right hon. Gentleman says about the need to ensure a fair deal for the staff under the new arrangement and to ensure either that a pension scheme is available in the type of organisation to which the testing stations will be transferred to which, if the employees so wish, pensions can be transferred or that existing and accrued pension rights are properly preserved. All these matters are very much the concern and intention of the Government and are very much in our mind in preparing plans for the negotiation of the transfer of the HGV testing stations to a new organisation of the kind outlined in the debate yesterday. I should not like there to be any difference of view on that.

    The difference arises when the right hon. Gentleman asks why there is not a more explicit power in the Bill relating to the bringing about of this change of affairs and of a situation in which pensions would be guaranteed under the new arrangements.

    The answer given in Committee, which I shall be concerned not just to repeat but to justify very closely again today, is that the amendment is not necessary. The order-making power that it proposes is not necessary to achieve the aims and objectives that both I and the right hon. Gentleman have outlined for the preservation or transfer of accumulated pension rights when an individual ceases to be a civil servant.

    The right hon. Gentleman suggested that the proposition that I have put, and which I shall elaborate—that there is no need for an order-making power of the kind that he seeks because the matter is covered by existing powers and special powers are unnecessary—is in some way unique, that it had never been done this way before and that it must therefore be inconsistent and arouse fears. I know the right hon. Gentleman's feelings in these matters and I know that he would be the last to wish to raise fears and worries for which there is no basis.

    The charge of inconsistency is perfectly fair and I must seek to meet it.

    Just to make sure that the record is completely straight, I did not say that there was no precedent. Indeed, I cited the case of those who were transferred from the road construction units to the private consultants and I instanced the difficulties that it raised.

    I certainly do not wish to mislead or misquote the right hon. Gentleman. As he has said, he cited one instance in which special powers were not involved. There are others. I am advised, for example, that no such provision appeared in legislation relating to the sale of British Rail hotels or Seaspeed. I shall examine whether special powers of the kind that the right hon. Gentleman seeks were found necessary in other areas.

    In this situation, however, the need for such powers does not exist. As we have said before, there seems to be no real difference between us on the question of the pension need. We want to see fair and reasonable pensions for the testing staff after they leave the Civil Service. The only difference between us is about the necessity for legislation to achieve that.

    I mentioned the charge of inconsistency, as I do not wish it to be suggested—I understand from the right hon. Gentleman's intervention that he is not suggesting this—that the arrangement is unique and special and therefore to be feared, because it is not. I place on record again what I said in Committee. Ample powers already exist to make suitable pension arrangements for former civil servants. The principal Civil Service scheme, which was often cited in Committee, contains full and detailed provisions for the preservation or transfer of accumulated pension rights when a person leaves the Civil Service. Provision for future pensions with a new employer will be covered by the rules of whatever scheme the staff joins, so even if it is necessary to set up a new scheme no special provision is required to cover that. The normal and right way to make provision for pensions of staff who leave the Civil Service, as is proposed in this case, is by negotiation and agreement.

    As the right hon. Gentleman fairly pointed out, this follows from Government action. It follows from the policy that was described, debated and approved by the House yesterday. As I have said, there is no need for special legislative provision to deal with this. The right hon. Gentleman says that the Government's word on this is not enough. In other words, in a matter of this kind he is not prepared to accept the assurance that the Government want a fair deal for those involved. He wants it to be written into the Bill. I must tell him that there is no need for legislation because the powers exist already. It is therefore the assurance of the Government in good faith that the powers are available and will be used to ensure adequate pension provision. That is the assurance that the right hon. Gentleman can throw back in the face of the Government, but it is also the assurance upon which I believe that those concerned should rest without fear and with comfort, in the full realisation that a fair deal will be sought and secured for them in the negotiation with the successor organisation. The nature of that organisation was clearly set out in the amendments yesterday.

    I believe that that undertaking is not only adequate but fully sufficient to secure the aspirations and concerns and the immediate, long-term and lasting needs of those involved in the change of ownership.

    Of course, no pension transfer is possible if there is not a contracted-out scheme in the new organisation. Accrued pension rights would then be preserved within the principal Civil Service pension scheme and index-linked, and future earnings-related pensions would come from the State scheme. But in the case of transfer to Lloyd's Register Vehicle Testing Association, which is precisely what we are proposing, this should not arise.

    I indicated in an earlier debate that that was what we were proposing and that plans were well advanced. I spoke of this matter in a way that satisfied the House. If the House will accept that that is the course that we are set en, I do not see why the right hon. Gentleman should feel it vital that we should write in an order-making power on the lines proposed in the amendment. There is no necessity for it. Either a new contracted-out scheme will be established or we shall arrange for staff to join an established scheme.

    That is what we have said again and again. I have been able to give to the House a much clearer indication of the nature of the body that will take over the stations than I was in Committee. In negotiating with the new body, we have said that we are determined that the staff shall have a fair deal, which means that they will be able to enter a pension scheme when they leave the Civil Service pension scheme, and that the question of transfer, as with preservation, will be governed by the principal Civil Service pension scheme.

    I give those assurances most strongly to the House because I wish to counteract firmly any impression that there might be grounds for fear that the staff would not get a fair deal. The Government are determined that they will get a fair deal. I have indicated to the House the sort of organisation to which we propose to transfer the heavy goods vehicle stations. The staff would become employees of the new organisation.

    Against that background it is right for the Government to put forward through me their intentions. It is not necessary to press for the additional order-making power proposed by the right hon. Gentleman to achieve the objectives that we all want and that will clearly be achieved in the context of the plans outlined in an earlier amendment for heavy goods vehicle testing stations. For those reasons, I ask the right hon. Gentleman to withdraw the amendment.

    With the leave of the House, may I first clear up the misunderstanding by the Secretary of State? As I understood the right hon. Gentleman, he said that he was advised that there was not a statutory provision covering British Rail hotels or Sealink services. That is not the case. Section 4 of the Transport Act 1981 says:

    "Schedule 1 to this Act has effect for the purpose of making certain provisions supplementing sections 1 to 3 of this Act. '
    The first paragraph of schedule 1 gives the Secretary of State powers to make
    "orders under section 74 of the Transport Act 1962 … in relation to related companies as he could make if those companies were subsidiaries of the Railways Board."
    I submit that that provision is applicable to both British Rail hotels and to Sealink. Therefore, those who negotiated on the transfer of pensions of the staff at the three British Rail hotels, which included Gleneagles and the Edinburgh hotel, knew that if they could not secure a satisfactory agreement they could ask the Secretary of State to use his power under schedule 1 to the 1981 Act to make a transfer order.

    4.45 pm

    That is on all fours with what my hon. Friends and I are seeking in the amendment. This is not a question of cur not trusting the Secretary of State. We are asking him to accept an amendment under which we are placing trust in him. That is the interesting point. We are saying that we are happy that he should have the power and the discretion. If he accepts the amendment, it will not place an obligation upon him. It does not say that he must make an order if the transfer can be negotiated. If the amendment were accepted, the Secretary of State could make an order if he deemed it to be necessary or justified.

    If the Secretary of State had the order-making power, it could in certain circumstances influence the nature of the negotiations. It is one thing to negotiate with somebody when it is recognised by both sides that if the negotiated outcome is not satisfactory the Minister can be called upon to make a statutory provision: it is another thing to conduct negotiations if the person with whom the employees are negotiating knows that they have to rely entirely on their own strength and cannot call upon a Minister. That is particularly the case for these civil servants who are without any of the rights that would accrue if there were order-making powers. They are in the same legal position as those who have retired.

    If the right hon. Gentleman thinks this matter through, I do not think that he can say that it is consistent to argue that there is no necessity in this case but that it was right to make such a provision in another case. I am happy to stay with the examples that the right hon. Gentleman cited of British Rail hotels and Sealink. One could cite many other examples. For example, under clause 5 the Secretary of State might have said that it was the Government's intention that the pensions should be negotiated and transferred on a satisfactory basis and that he did not want to have the back-up power. But he did not say that. Very wisely, he defended having exactly the degree of back-up power that we are asking him to take in this case, not one whit more or one whit less. Although we pressed him to take greater powers and greater obligations, he resisted, but he did not resist having this degree of power.

    I put it to the Secretary of State that the precedent has been established for good reasons. I do not want to go over the ground again. The Government have acknowledged the problems of the transfer of pensions from the public to the private sector. In their wisdom, or otherwise, they decided to proceed with the privatisation in advance of getting the benefits of the commission. Having done that, they have said that in all these cases they will call upon the House of Commons to give the Secretary of State this back-up power, which will enable him, if he is not satisfied that negotiations will produce a satisfactory transfer of pension, to make an order. That is what we are asking. It is a modest request. We are reflecting fears which have been expressed to us. Whether we share them is not important for the purpose of this debate.

    We did not bring forward the amendment without having talked to those who have negotiated pensions, to pension experts in transport unions, to pension experts in the TUC and to Civil Service officers who are concerned about pension levels. The Secretary of State cannot wipe away their fears. He cannot say that their fears are ill-founded, in view of all the evidence, and that of course the Government set up a commission to consider the problems of the transfer of pensions. If the Archangel Gabriel came to the Dispatch Box, he could not wave away those fears.

    I am not saying that I do not believe in little miracles, because I believe that big miracles can happen. I am pleading for a very small miracle, and that is for the Secretary of State to accept here what is regarded as consistent and proper in part I of the Bill and in legislation introduced by his predecessor in the Acts of 1980 and 1981. We should rejoice with him if he did not have to use the powers and if the transfer were accomplished smoothly, but we would still say then, as we say now, that the fact that the power to make the order was in the background was valuable and could contribute to achieving a satisfactory arrangement.

    Will my right hon. Friend ask the Minister for an assurance that the fears of the unions which have been negotiating on this matter are unfounded? That would be a great help to them.

    I shall be delighted if the Secretary of State can tell us that he has reached a clear understanding since we last talked with the unions that the transfer will not take place unless every civil servant who is transferred under part II will take with him his accrued rights and the equivalent benefits of his pension scheme. I could then accept that our amendment was unnecessary. I can only reiterate my hon. Friend's appeal. However, that would be surprising, and, with great respect to the Secretary of State, it would be easier for him to accept our amendment than to give that assurance.

    With permission, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I shall try to answer some of the right hon. Gentleman's points.

    First, I cannot accept that the special powers that the right hon. Gentleman now presses on the Government would be either consistent or necessary. On the contrary, the pattern proposed and the words that I have used to describe the procedures and the line that the Government will adopt in pursuing their plans for this transfer give the best assurance that there will be a fair deal for the staff. Moreover, the Bill provides that that will take place with the powers "in the background"—if I may use the right hon. Gentleman's phrase—which lie in the principal Civil Service pension scheme. That underlying security provides the background against which the new pension provision, or the transfer or the preservation of accrued rights, will be secured for all employees.

    The right hon. Gentleman returned to the matter of the British Rail hotels. He mentioned Sealink, but in fact Seaspeed was the example that I used. I am still advised that what I said about the right hon. Gentleman's interpretation of the legislation involved in those transfers and negotiations was correct. The right hon. Gentleman quoted textual evidence in an attempt to refute that, but I am advised that the words that I used were correct.

    If there is a misunderstanding and we are arguing about different things, as often happens, or if there are two separate views, or if it will help the right hon. Gentleman, I shall endeavour to support what I said on the matter in correspondence with him. However, that is the clear advice that I have received in support of the words that I used. All the same, I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman will be the first to agree that it will not help our common objective to get a fair deal for the staff if we get involved in a wrangle about precedents. After all, our aim is to get a fair deal for the staff.

    I wish to take up a further point, because I am anxious that the right hon. Gentleman should feel satisfied about all the matters that he raised. He asked about civil servants in the heavy goods vehicle testing network who had less than five years' service. I understand that, under the principal Civil Service pension scheme, transfer payments may be made even where the individual has less than five years' service and that people with less than five years' service may not opt for a preserved pension. If they do not take a transfer value, they receive a short-service payment instead. If they opt for a transfer, they should be in the same position as civil servants with longer service. I believe that I am giving an accurate representation of the position. I shall, of course, check further on the details of the matter. If any amplification is needed, I shall write to the right hon. Gentleman.

    I listened closely to the right hon. Gentleman, whose views I respect in this connection. Having carefully examined whether special powers of the kind that he seeks are justified, I am clear that there is no need for special legislative provision to make that possible. There is no ground for fearing that the Government intend anything other than a fair deal for the staff who are involved. That is the Government's determination and intention. I have described the kind of body to which heavy goods vehicle testing stations are to be transferred under the privatisation proposal.

    On that basis, I believe that employees can be assured that their pension needs and problems will be well looked after and that there is no need in the Bill for a further legislative order-making power of the kind that the right hon. Gentleman wants. On that basis, I hope that he will withdraw the amendment.

    With the leave of the House, Mr. Deputy Speaker. It is clear that the Secretary of State is not prepared to make similar legislative provision for these civil servants as has been made for a number of other people forced out of public service. I am not prepared to withdraw the amendment, because it involves the important issue of employment protection rights. My right hon. and hon. Friends and I can only vote on it.

    Question put, That the amendment be made:—

    The House divided: Ayes 221, Noes 281.

    Division No. 170]

    [5 pm


    Abse, LeoCampbell, Ian
    Adams, AllenCampbell-Savours, Dale
    Allaun, FrankCanavan, Dennis
    Alton, DavidCant, R. B.
    Anderson, DonaldCarmichael, Neil
    Archer, Rt Hon PeterCarter-Jones, Lewis
    Ashley, Rt Hon JackCartwright, John
    Ashton, JoeClark, Dr David (S Shields)
    Atkinson, N.(H'gey,)Cocks, Rt Hon M. (B'stol S)
    Bagier, Gordon A.T.Cohen, Stanley
    Barnett, Guy(Greenwich)Coleman, Donald
    Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (H'wd)Concannon, Rt Hon J. D.
    Beith, A.J.Conlan, Bernard
    Benn, Rt Hon TonyCook, Robin F.
    Bennett, Andrew (St'kp'tN)Cowans, Harry
    Bidwell, SydneyCraigen, J. M. (G'gow, M'hill)
    Booth, Rt Hon AlbertCrowther, Stan
    Bradley, TomCryer, Bob
    Bray, Dr JeremyCunliffe, Lawrence
    Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)Cunningham, G.(IslingtonS)
    Brown, Ron (E'burgh, Leith)Cunningham, Dr J. (W'h'n)
    Buchan, NormanDalyell, Tam
    Callaghan, Rt Hon J.Davies, Ifor (Gower)
    Callaghan, Jim (Midd't'n&P)Davis, Clinton (Hackney C)

    Davis, Terry (B'ham, Stechf'd)McWilliam, John
    Dean, Joseph (Leeds West)Marks, Kenneth
    Dewar, DonaldMarshall, D(G'gowS'ton)
    Dixon, DonaldMarshall, Jim (Leicester S)
    Dobson, FrankMartin, M(G'gowS'burn)
    Dormand, JackMason, Rt Hon Roy
    Douglas, DickMaxton, John
    Dubs, AlfredMeacher, Michael
    Duffy, A. E. P.Mellish, Rt Hon Robert
    Dunnett, JackMikardo, Ian
    Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G.Millan, RtHonBruce
    Eadie, AlexMiller, Dr M.S. (E Kilbride)
    Eastham, KenMitchell, Austin(Grimsby)
    Edwards, R. (W'hampt'n S E)Mitchell, R. C. (Soton Itchen)
    Ellis, R. (NE D'bysh're)Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)
    English, MichaelMorris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)
    Ennals, Rt Hon DavidMoyle, Rt Hon Roland
    Evans, Ioan (Aberdare)Newens, Stanley
    Evans, John (Newton)Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon
    Field, FrankOgden, Eric
    Fitch, AlanO'Halloran, Michael
    Flannery, MartinO'Neill, Martin
    Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
    Foot, Rt Hon MichaelOwen, Rt Hon Dr David
    Ford, BenPalmer, Arthur
    Forrester, JohnPark, George
    Foster, DerekParker, John
    Fraser, J.(Lamb'th, N'w'd)Parry, Robert
    Freeson, Rt Hon ReginaldPowell, Raymond (Ogmore)
    Garrett, John (Norwich S)Prescott, John
    Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend)Price, C. (Lewisham W)
    George, BruceRace, Reg
    Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr JohnRadice, Giles
    Graham, TedRees, Rt Hon M (Leeds S)
    Grimond, Rt Hon J.Richardson, Jo
    Hamilton, James (Bothwell)Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
    Hamilton, W. W. (C'tral Fife)Roberts, Ernest (Hackney N)
    Hardy, PeterHoberts, Gmilym (Cannock)
    Harrison, Rt Hon WalterRobinson, G. (Coventry NW)
    Haynes, FrankRodgers, Rt Hon William
    Healey, Rt Hon DenisRooker, J. W.
    Heffer, Eric S.Ross, Ernest (Dundee West)
    Hogg, N. (E Dunb't'nshire)Sandelson, Neville
    Holland, S. (L'b'th, Vauxh'll)Sever, John
    HomeRobertson, JohnSheerman, Barry
    Horam, JohnSheldon, Rt Hon R.
    Howells, GeraintShore, Rt Hon Peter
    Hoyle, DouglasShort, Mrs Renée
    Hughes, Mark (Durham)Silkin, Rt Hon J. (Deptford)
    Hughes, Robert (AberdeenN)Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)
    Hughes, Roy (Newport)Silverman, Julius
    Jay, Rt Hon DouglasSkinner, Dennis
    Jenkins, Rt Hon Roy (Hillhead)Smith, Rt Hon J. (N Lanark)
    John, BrynmorSnape, Peter
    Johnson, Walter (Derby S)Soley, Clive
    Johnston, Russell (Inverness)Spearing, Nigel
    Jones, Rt Hon Alec (Rh'dda)Spriggs, Leslie
    Jones, Barry (East Flint)Stallard, A. W.
    Kaufman, Rt Hon GeraldSteel, Rt Hon David
    Kilroy-Silk, RobertStoddart, David
    Kinnock, NeilStott, Roger
    Lambie, DavidStrang, Gavin
    Lamborn, HarryStraw, Jack
    Lamond, JamesSummerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
    Leadbitter, TedThomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
    Leighton, RonaldThomas, Dr R. (Carmarthen)
    Lestor, MissJoanTilley, John
    Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)Tinn, James
    Litherland, RobertTorney, Tom
    Lofthouse, GeoffreyUrwin, Rt Hon Tom
    Lyon, Alexander(York)Varley, Rt Hon Eric G.
    McCartney, HughWainwright, E.(DearneV)
    McDonald, Dr OonaghWainwright, R. (ColneV)
    McElhone, FrankWalker, Rt Hon H. (D'caster)
    McKay, Allen (Penistone)Watkins, David
    McKelvey, WilliamWeetch, Ken
    McMahon, AndrewWellbeloved, James
    McNally, ThomasWelsh, Michael
    McNamara, KevinWhite, Frank R.
    McTaggart, RobertWhite, J. (G'gow Pollok)

    Whitehead, PhillipWoodall, Alec
    Whitlock, WilliamWoolmer, Kenneth
    Wigley, DafyddWright, Sheila
    Willey, Rt Hon FrederickYoung, David (Bolton E)
    Williams, Rt Hon A. (S'sea W)
    Williams, Rt Hon Mrs (Crosby)Tellers for the Ayes:
    Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E)Dr, Edmund Marshall and Mr. George Morton
    Wilson, Rt Hon SirH.(H'ton)
    Winnick, David


    Adley, RobertEden, Rt Hon Sir John
    Alexander, RichardEdwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke)
    Alison, Rt Hon MichaelEggar, Tim
    Ancram, MichaelEmery, Sir Peter
    Arnold, TomEyre, Reginald
    Aspinwall, JackFairbairn, Nicholas
    Atkins, Rt Hon H. (S'thorne)Fairgrieve, SirRussell
    Atkins, Robert (PrestonN)Faith, MrsSheila
    Atkinson, David (B'm'th, E)Farr, John
    Baker, Kenneth (St.M'bone)Fenner, Mrs Peggy
    Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset)Finsberg, Geoffrey
    Banks, RobertFletcher-Cooke, SirCharles
    Beaumont-Dark, AnthonyFookes, Miss Janet
    Bendall, VivianForman, Nigel
    Bennett, Sir Frederic (T'bay)Fowler, Rt Hon Norman
    Benyon, Thomas (A'don)Fox, Marcus
    Benyon.W. (Buckingham)Fraser, Rt Hon Sir Hugh
    Best, KeithFraser, Peter (South Angus)
    Bevan, David GilroyFry, Peter
    Biffen, Rt Hon JohnGardiner, George(Reigate)
    Biggs-Davison, SirJohnGardner, Edward (S Fylde)
    Blackburn, JohnGarel-Jones, Tristan
    Blaker, PeterGilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian
    Body, RichardGlyn, Dr Alan
    Bonsor, SirNicholasGoodhew, SirVictor
    Bottomley, Peter (W'wichW)Goodlad, Alastair
    Bowden, AndrewGorst, John
    Boyson, Dr RhodesGow, Ian
    Braine, SirBernardGower, Sir Raymond
    Bright, GrahamGray, Hamish
    Brinton, TimGreenway, Harry
    Brittan, Rt. Hon. LeonGriffiths, E. (B'ySt.Edm'ds)
    Brooke, Hon PeterGriffiths, Peter (Portsm 'thN)
    Brotherton, MichaelGrist, Ian
    Brown, Michael(Brigg&Sc'n)Grylls, Michael
    Bruce-Gardyne, JohnGummer, JohnSelwyn
    Buchanan-Smith, Rt. Hon. A.Hamilton, Hon A.
    Buck, AntonyHamilton, Michael(Salisbury)
    Budgen, NickHampson, Dr Keith
    Bulmer, EsmondHannam, John
    Burden, SirFrederickHaselhurst, Alan
    Butcher, JohnHavers, Rt Hon Sir Michael
    Cadbury, JocelynHawkins, Paul
    Carlisle, John (Luton West)Hawksley, Warren
    Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)Hayhoe, Barney
    Chapman, SydneyHeddle, John
    Churchill, W.S.Henderson, Barry
    Clark, Hon A. (Plym'th, S'n)Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael
    Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S)Hicks, Robert
    Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.
    Clegg, SirWalterHill, James
    Cockeram, EricHogg, Hon Douglas(Gr'th'm)
    Colvin, MichaelHolland, Philip(Carlton)
    Cope, JohnHooson, Tom
    Cormack, PatrickHordern, Peter
    Corrie, JohnHowell, Rt Hon D. (G'ldf'd)
    Costain, SirAlbertHowell, Ralph (NNorfolk)
    Cranborne, ViscountHunt, David (Wirral)
    Critchley, JulianIrving, Charles (Cheltenham)
    Crouch, DavidJenkin, Rt Hon Patrick
    Dean, Paul (NorthSomerset)JohnsonSmith, Geoffrey
    Dickens, GeoffreyJopling, Rt Hon Michael
    Dorrell, StephenJoseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith
    Douglas-Hamilton, LordJ.Kershaw, SirAnthony
    Dover, DenshoreKilfedder, James A.
    du Cann, Rt Hon EdwardKimball, SirMarcus
    Dunn, Robert (Dartford)Kitson, SirTimothy
    Durant, TonyKnight, Mrs Jill
    Dykes, HughKnox, David

    Lamont, NormanRidsdale, SirJulian
    Lang, IanRifkind, Malcolm
    Latham, MichaelRippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey
    Lawrence, IvanRoberts, M. (Cardiff NW)
    Lawson, Rt Hon NigelRoberts, Wyn (Conway)
    Lee, JohnRossi, Hugh
    Lennox-Boyd, HonMarkRost, Peter
    Lester, Jim (Beeston)Royle, Sir Anthony
    Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)Sainsbury, Hon Timothy
    Lloyd, Ian (Havant & W'loo)St. John-Stevas, Rt Hon N.
    Loveridge, JohnShaw, Giles (Pudsey)
    Luce, RichardShaw, Michael (Scarborough)
    McCrindle, RobertShelton, William (Streatham)
    Macfarlane, NeilShepherd, Richard
    MacGregor, JohnSilvester, Fred
    MacKay, John (Argyll)Sims, Roger
    Macmillan, Rt Hon M.Skeet, T. H. H.
    McNair-Wilson, M. (N'bury)Smith, Dudley
    McNair-Wilson, P. (New F'st)Speed, Keith
    McQuarrie, AlbertSpeller, Tony
    Madel, DavidSpence, John
    Major, JohnSpicer, Jim (WestDorset)
    Marland, PaulSpicer, Michael (SWorcs)
    Marlow, AntonySproat, Iain
    Marshall, Michael (Arundel)Squire, Robin
    Marten, Rt Hon NeilStainton, Keith
    Mather, CarolStanbrook, Ivor
    Maude, Rt Hon Sir AngusStanley, John
    Mawby, RaySteen, Anthony
    Mawhinney, Dr BrianStevens, Martin
    Maxwell-Hyslop, RobinStewart, A (E Renfrewshire)
    Mellor, DavidStewart, Ian (Hitchin)
    Meyer, SirAnthonyStokes, John
    Miller, Hal (B'grove)StradlingThomas, J.
    Mills, Iain (Meriden)Tapsell, Peter
    Mills, Peter (West Devon)Temple-Morris, Peter
    Miscampbell, NormanThatcher, Rt Hon Mrs M.
    Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)Thomas, Rt Hon Peter
    Moate, RogerThompson, Donald
    Monro, SirHectorThorne, Nei1 (IlfordSouth)
    Montgomery, FergusThornton, Malcolm
    Moore, JohnTownend, John (Bridlington)
    Morris, M. (N'hampton S)Townsend, Cyril D, (B'heath)
    Morrison, HonC. (Devizes)Trippier, David
    Morrison, Hon P. (Chester)Trotter, Neville
    Mudd, Davidvan Straubenzee, Sir W.
    Murphy, ChristopherVaughan, Dr Gerard
    Myles, DavidViggers, Peter
    Neale, GerrardWaddington, David
    Needham, RichardWakeham, John
    Nelson, AnthonyWaldegrave, Hon William
    Neubert, MichaelWalker, Rt Hon P. (W'cester)
    Newton, TonyWall, SirPatrick
    Normanton, TomWaller, Gary
    Nott, Rt Hon JohnWalters, Dennis
    Onslow, CranleyWard, John
    Oppenheim, Rt Hon Mrs S.Warren, Kenneth
    Page, John (Harrow, West)Watson, John
    Page, Richard (SW Herts)Wheeler, John
    Parris, MatthewWhitelaw, Rt Hon William
    Pawsey, JamesWhitney, Raymond
    Percival, Sir IanWickenden, Keith
    Peyton, Rt Hon JohnWiggin, Jerry
    Pink, R.BonnerWilkinson, John
    Pollock, AlexanderWilliams, D. (Montgomery)
    Porter, BarryWinterton, Nicholas
    Prentice, Rt Hon RegWolfson, Mark
    Proctor, K. HarveyYoung, SirGeorge (Acton)
    Pym, Rt Hon FrancisYounger, Rt Hon George
    Rees, Peter (Dover and Deal)
    Rees-Davies, W. R.Tellers for the Noes:
    Rhodes James, RobertMr. Robert Boscawen and Mr. Anthony Berry.
    Rhys Williams, SirBrandon
    Ridley, HonNicholas

    Question accordingly negatived.