§ Mr. Heath
I beg to move, in page 3, line 29. at the end to insert:(7) The Minister may by order vary the provisions of the Schedule (Pay statements) to this Act to such extent and in such manner as he may determine; and any such order—
- (a) may make different provision for different classes of cases, and
- (b) may contain such transitional, supplementary and incidental provisions as may appear to the Minister to be necessary or expedient for the purposes of the order.(8) The power to make orders under this section shall be exercisable by statutory instrument, and shall include power to vary or revoke any such order by a subsequent order made thereunder; and any statutory instrument containing an order made under this section shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.Those hon. Members who served on the Committee will remember that we had very great difficulty about the Schedule, which deals with the form of the pay statement which a person who makes a request under Clause 1 receives when he is paid in the new way. Although we had very wide consultations with all those concerned during the drafting of the Bill, once the Bill had been published a number of employers, including, in particular, some of the major nationalised industries, found that the Schedule attached to the Bill would not allow them to continue the forms of pay statement which they were using and which were satisfactory to all those concerned.
I therefore thought it best to suggest to the Committee that we should not try to amend the Schedule, which was very complicated, but that we should, at that stage, withdraw it and substitute another one, which hon. Members will find on the Notice Paper and which we will be discussing later.
As we had so many difficulties with the Schedule—there are still Amendments to it on the Notice Paper—and as, with the development of modern machinery, the forms of pay statements are changing, apparently quite rapidly, I thought that it might be a more convenient way of dealing with future developments if we were to take power in the Bill to alter the provisions of the Schedule by Statutory Instrument.
1350 This Amendment gives power to the Minister to do that by the negative Resolution procedure, so that if at some future time we found it necessary, for the convenience of all those engaged in industry who want to be paid in this way, to change the Schedule, it would not be necessary to come to the House with another Act of Parliament. We should be able to make the change by Statutory Instrument, which would provide an opportunity in the House for any hon. Member who wished to do so to pray against it. This Amendment puts into the Bill the power to alter the Schedule in that way by the negative Resolution procedure.
§ Mr. R. E. Prentice (East Ham, North)
The real background to this Amendment seems to be the pace at which automation and mechanised accounting enter in this matter. I suppose that this is an illustration of it, in a way, since the Schedule originally drafted for the Bill has been found to be out of date before the Bill has received a Third Reading. In these circumstances, it seems reasonable that there should be an Amendment of this kind by which alterations in future should be made by regulations.
On this side of the House, we considered this point very carefully, and it seemed to us that we had to combine a proper safeguard of the employees' right to have a clear picture on this matter, so as to know what deductions were being made from his weekly wages, and why, with the need to keep pace with these mechanical changes. It also seemed that another factor which led the Minister to alter the original Schedule was that some pay systems already operating with the full agreement of the trade unions might have been illegal if the Bill had gone through as originally drafted.
This is something else which might change in the future, and it makes the Minister's case stronger on this point. It would be rather cumbersome if, every time a change was necessary, the Minister had to come to the House with Amendments to the Bill itself, and as we have the safeguard here that the regulations must be laid before Parliament and we should have the right to pray against them, we see no reason for disagreeing with this Amendment.
§ Amendment agreed to.