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Volume 77: debated on Thursday 18 April 1985

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Amendments made: No. 107, in line 2, after 'pay', insert—

'to empower the Secretary of State to extend the Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers' Compensation) Act 1979;'.

No. 108, in line 2, after 'pay', insert—

'to make provision for pensions and gratuities for members of the Horserace Totalisator Board, the Horserace Betting Levy Board and the Gaming Board for Great Britain;'.— [Mr. Newton.]

Order for Third Reading read—[Queen's Consent, on behalf of the Crown, signified.]

Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

10.4 pm

All I will say is that we have discussed tonight with remarkable good humour 47 sets of Government amendments. If the Bill comes back from another place with 47 sets of amendments there will be blood on the Floor.

I abstained on the vote on Second Reading. Should there be a vote now, which seems unlikely, I would abstain again. This measure does not meet the needs of the early leaver and does not do what is required for the reform of national insurance. It does not make the changes in the law that have been called for for so long in relation to occupational pensions.

I believe that tonight we have marked another stage in the decline of Parliament, because we have abdicated from our responsibility to deal with matters that concern the entire population in terms of cash. It is not just small sums of money that are involved. One can only fall back on a famous poem of Arthur Hugh Clough and bear in mind that there is always another stage.

The protection of personal savings and the relationships between citizens in terms of cash are matters where clarity and moral principles are vitally necessary. In the provisions of the national insurance system and in the operation of occupational pension schemes we have neither. This places a burden on my right hon. and hon. Friends. I hope they recognise that, and that we shall not have to wait long for further measures from their Department which will put these vital matters right.

There is much that is useful in the Bill, but there is so much still to be done that one can only give it a very halfhearted welcome.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time, and passed.