In an earlier debate, I expressed concern about whether the definition of “a project” in clause 47(1) was unduly restrictive. I hoped that the amendments that I tabled at the end of our discussions on Tuesday would be considered today, but I was working on the basis of older procedures under which a one-day notice period was acceptable. I had forgotten that two days are now required, so my amendments were not eligible for selection today. Nevertheless, the issue remains important. I know that we discussed the matter earlier, but my hon. Friend the Minister undertook to consider further whether the tight definition of a project, although important to emphasise the time limit, might be unduly restrictive geographically if a group of projects are part of one initiative. Has he reflected further? We may need to return to the issue if it is not possible to provide satisfactory assurances.
I am pleased that my right hon. Friend caught your eye, Mr. Gale. I wish to put on record the fact that references to “a project”, which we discussed in an earlier sitting, will not prevent the agency from providing services to a project that is under way in a number of locations across England. In that respect, it is not geographically constrained. Equally, the clause does not mean that the agency can provide support services only to a single project at any one time.
The use of the word “project” is intended to identify circumstances that have a start and end date, between which times the agency has been asked, or has offered, to provide support services in one of the ways identified later in the clause. I hope that that reassures my right hon. Friend.