Mark Hogan, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, introduced the second reading of the Equitable Life (Payments) Bill in the Commons. It passed without a vote and will now be considered further in Committee of the Whole House.
Summary of the Bill
The Bill provides the authority for a payments scheme for eligible former and current Equitable Life policyholders in respect of the consequences of maladministration by regulatory bodies as identified by the Ombudsman and accepted by government.
Although the precise shape of the payments scheme is as yet unknown, the Bill provides the authority for money to be paid once the scheme is set up and clarifies the tax treatment of future payments.
Committee of the whole House
When a Bill passes its second reading and is considered in detail, this usually takes place in a Public Bill Committee held outside the Chamber. These Committees - which are made up of between 16 and 20 MPs - reflect the political makeup of the House, so the government always has a majority.
But occasionally a Bill will be considered by a Committee of the whole House and this discussion takes place in the Commons Chamber itself, where all MPs can take part.
Any Bill can be referred to a Committee of the whole House, but the procedure is normally reserved for finance bills and other important or controversial legislation.