HC Deb 22 July 1991 vol 195 cc744-5
12. Mr. Ian Taylor

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a statement on the progress of the social security policy initiatives in the social action programme.

Mr. Jack

Of the five proposals in the social action programme for which the Department of Social Security is responsible, one has already been dealt with and the Government are taking a positive line in negotiations on the other four. We expect to be able to respond positively to the proposals on convergence of schemes, minimum income guarantees, occupational pensions and the schedule of industrial diseases.

Mr. Taylor

I am grateful for my hon. Friend's warning that we are about to have the Christmas Adjournment, not the summer Adjournment.

Will my hon. Friend continue to work hard on those programmes? It is important that Britain is not seen to be objecting in principle to social programmes being discussed in the European Community, which is sensible. We want to ensure that application of the programme is based on national guidelines and does not cut across what would normally be a fierce national political debate between parties. That is what my hon. Friend should be saying to the Commission in relation to the programme.

Mr. Jack

I am grateful for my hon. Friend's support for the general line that the Government are taking. We much applaud the principle of convergence of social security schemes and acknowledge the need for common provision for social security benefits, but we stick hard to the principle that the way in which the policies are worked out in each member country should be subject to the concept of subsidiarity. We adhere closely to that point of principle.

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