I move amendemnt No. 1:
In page 8, lines 42 to 49, to delete subsection (4) and substitute the following:
"(4) (a) Subject to paragraph (b) of this subsection, the Minister shall not exercise the power conferred on him by section 2 (1) (a), section 2 (5) (a) or subsection (1) or (2) of section 3 of this Act so as to apply to or in respect of a person conditions which, as compared with the conditions which are affected by the exercise and which were in force in relation to the person immediately before such exercise, are less favourable, unless such application is dependent for its effect on the exercise (whether before or after the passing of this Act) but a person of an option.
(b) The restriction contained in paragraph (a) of this subsection shall not apply in relation to the exercise by the Minister of any of the powers therein mentioned where—
(i) the persons to or in respect of whom the conditions are applied in consequence of the exercise of the power comprise a class or description of persons specified for the purposes of this paragraph in a scheme or schemes or in regulations made under section 2 or 3, respectively, of this Act, and
(ii) the said conditions, or any one or more of them, are to apply to or in respect of such persons from a date which—
(I) is specified in the scheme or regulations and which as regards a particular person is not later than that on which the person became a person of the said class or description, and
(II) is not earlier than, in case the said conditions relate to the provision of pensions for the widows, orphans or other dependents of persons of the said class or description, the 1st day of January, 1970, or in any other case, the 1st day of June. 1978.".
This section preserves existing rights of a pensionable person. Since the Bill was drafted I am legally advised that subsection (4) might give rise to difficulties of interpretation. The amendment is, accordingly, purely a drafting amendment to clarify the subsection and remove any doubt concerning its application. To put the amendment in context, I refer to the purpose of the subsection. The position is that changes in superannuation conditions having been agreed with several interests may be taken to be improvements over the conditions they are replacing. However, it can happen, particularly where a package of new conditions is being introduced, that an employee may consider that some feature of the package may be less favourable in the circumstances of his particular case than his existing conditions. To ensure that the conditions of any employee cannot be worsened, it has been the practice, when introducing new conditions, to afford options to existing employees to remain subject to their existing conditions. Newly appointed persons becoming pensionable after the revised conditions have been introduced are not afforded options and such revision conditions apply in their respect from the commencement of their service. It is intended that the same situation will apply when future changes are being brought into operation.
Subsection (5) (iv) precludes the Minister from making any provision in a scheme or regulation under the Bill that would affect to his detriment the superannuation conditions already applicable to an employee save where such employee exercises an option to have the revised conditions applied to him. The amendment is simply to clarify the position in regard to newly appointed pensionable staff. Two categories are involved. First, it involves persons who entered the service as officers after the widows' and orphans' scheme was made compulsory and who were not given an option. The amendment will make clear that the scheme can be applied to them without an option. Secondly, it involves persons who entered the service on or after 1 June 1978 and who had the new superannuation pension scheme applied to them without an option. The amendment will validate their position.