I beg to move,
That the Order of 9 March 2011 (Welfare Reform Bill (Programme)) be varied as follows:
1. Paragraphs 4 and 5 of the Order shall be omitted.
2. Proceedings on Consideration and Third Reading shall be completed in two days.
3. Proceedings on Consideration shall be taken on the days shown in the first column of the following Table and in the order so shown.
4. The proceedings shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at the times specified in the second column of the Table.
Time for conclusion of Proceedings
New Clauses and amendments relating to recovery by deduction from earnings; New Clauses relating to Part 1; new Schedules relating to Part 1; amendments to Clauses 1 to 31; amendments to Schedule 1; amendments to Clause 32; amendments to Schedule 2; amendments to Clauses 33 and 34; amendments to Schedule 3; amendments to Clause 35; amendments to Schedule 4; amendments to Clause 36; amendments to Schedule 5; amendments to Clause 37; amendments to Schedule 6; amendments to Clauses 38 to 43; new Clauses relating to Part 2; new Schedules relating to Part 2; amendments to Clauses 44 to 48; amendments to Schedule 7; amendments to Clauses 49 to 62; new Clauses relating to industrial injuries benefit or housing benefit; new Schedules relating to industrial injuries benefit or housing benefit; amendments to Clauses 63 to 68.
New Clauses relating to the social fund or state pension credit; New Schedules relating to the social fund or state pension credit; amendments to Clause 69; amendments to Schedule 8; amendments to Clauses 70 to 74; new Clauses relating to Part 4; new Schedules relating to Part 4; amendments to Clauses 75 to 88; amendments to Schedule 9; amendments to Clauses 89 and 90; amendments to Schedule 10; amendments to Clauses 91 and 92; remaining new Clauses relating to Part 5; new Schedules relating to Part 5; amendments to Clauses 93 to 99; amendments to Schedule 11; amendments to Clause 100; amendments to Schedule 12; amendments to Clauses 101 to 128 (other than those relating to recovery by deduction from earnings); new Clauses relating to Part 6; new Schedules relating to Part 6; amendments to Clauses 129 to 135; amendments to Schedule 13; new Clauses relating to Part 7; new Schedules relating to Part 7; amendments to Clause 136; amendments to Schedule 14 (other than those relating to recovery by deduction from earnings); amendments to Clauses 137 to 140; remaining proceedings on Consideration.
5. Proceedings on Third Reading shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at 7.00 pm on the second day.
Let me speak briefly on the programme motion. As Members will see, we have set out a plan to carry out Report and Third Reading over two days, commencing now until 10 pm tonight and resuming after Prime Minister’s questions and any other business that takes place during the day on Wednesday, with Third Reading, as is normal, taking place an hour before the end of the day.
These two days follow a lengthy and constructive debate in Committee during which, unusually, we managed to cover every clause in the Bill. I fear I cannot offer the Opposition quite the same latitude on Report, although I know they will want to raise a number of issues on this crucial matter. It is welcome to note the intervention about the Government’s position made today—albeit that it was rather confusing—by the shadow Secretary of State, who is no longer in his place, and indeed the intervention made today by the Leader of the Opposition on the Opposition’s position on welfare reform.
I hope that over the next two days we will see some evidence emerge on what line the Opposition will take, whether they will be for us or against us on the benefit cap, and whether they have decided to back us on a number of the other reforms we have proposed. They have been somewhat ambiguous in parts of the debate in Committee about whether they support us, and I hope we will reach the end of the programmed debate on Wednesday and find that they support the Bill on Third Reading. I hope that the two days we have set aside will allow us to debate all the key areas for discussion in the Bill and that it will become a little clearer whether, when it comes down to the final decisions, the Opposition are with us or against us on those key matters. I look forward to two days of lengthy, interesting and perhaps enlightening— in respect of the Opposition’s policies—debate on these matters.
I take issue somewhat with the Minister. I do not agree that there has been adequate time in Committee to consider the Bill, not least because on more than one occasion Ministers left early, before we had completed our first afternoon discussion. Consequently, a number of key issues, particularly new clauses, were left undebated when the Committee ended, and as a result, some of those are on the Order Paper today.
With that backlog, as well as other key points in the Bill, I am very concerned that the two days now available are likely to be insufficient for the debate that is needed. Given that inadequate time, however, the knife proposed in the Government’s programme motion is in a perfectly sensible place. Because we need to get on with the debate I shall not seek to divide the House on the motion, but I am concerned that, as will become clear during the debate, the House will not have had sufficient time to consider properly the full consequences of the Bill.
Question put and agreed to.
The Orders of the Day will now be read by the Clerk, Dr Sir Malcolm Jack.