A price worth paying

May 06, 2004 ,

YESTERDAY Peter Hain announced the dates for the Third Reading of the Pensions Bill.

The First Reading of a bill is simply the reading out of its title in the House of Commons.
The Second Reading is when a Bill’s general principle is debated and voted upon.

Then it is looked at in detail by a committee and amended.
It returns to the floor of the House for Report Stage and Third Reading, when more changes are possible.

This is the last chance for MPs to amend a bill before it goes off to the House of Lords.

So this is a crucial period for the campaign to help the former ASW workers who have lost their pensions.

The ISTC and Amicus trades unions have run a superb campaign, backed up by brilliant support from the South Wales Echo.

The Pensions Bill was introduced as a result of that campaign, but currently it only protects the final salary pensions of workers whose companies go bust in the future.
It will not help the ASW workers.

The campaign has caught the attention of the Prime Minister who just last week at Prime Ministers Questions told Julie Morgan MP, that he hoped to give an answer soon.

I hope that the Government’s answer will be a positive one for the ASW workers.
If it is the Government will deserve praise.

At perhaps around £70m per year to help all those affected across Britain it will not be cheap.
But the State already gives tax relief to private pensions worth £14bn per year, half of which goes to the top 10% of earners.

It is a price worth paying to right the injustice that has been suffered by ASW workers and others.
It is also a price worth paying to help restore public confidence in occupational pensions.