Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Mr. Peter Lilley (Hitchin and Harpenden): Will the Secretary of State confirm that self-employed people such as sub-postmasters and postmistresses are not covered by the minimum wage legislation? A Post Office report sent to Members of Parliament shows that the Government‘s decision to force pensioners and others to have their payments paid into a bank will result in a ?550 million loss to the sub-post offices, and that 20,000 sub- postmasters and postmistresses will find their incomes driven below the level of the minimum wage–unless the Secretary of State can replace that money.

    Will the right hon. Gentleman confirm, in response to an earlier question, that the maximum that the banks will be coerced into paying is ?125 million? Will he tell us by what authority he will require them to pay that, and whether all the other money will come from the taxpayer–

    Mr. Speaker: Order. That does not have a lot to do with the minimum wage.

    Mr. Lilley: It has a lot to do with it.

    Mr. Speaker: Order. I am telling the right hon. Gentleman that it does not have a lot to do with the minimum wage. I call Mr. Davidson.