I beg to move Amendment No. 6, in page 9, line 9, to leave out "beginning with" and to insert "immediately following".
I hope that, this time, I might be able to please the hon. Member for Lowestoft (Mr. Prior), because in Committee he wanted to clarify the wording. This is purely a drafting Amendment which derives from an undertaking given in Committee that we would see whether the wording of this part of the Bill could be improved.
As the House is aware, the Authority is required under subsection (1) to dispose of any cereals that it may have bought during a particular cereal year not later than one month after the end of that year. Under subsection (2), which we are now considering, the Authority is required as soon as practicable—I am sorry that that word has to come up again—after that time to send a certificate to Ministers either stating that no home-grown cereals were held by the Authority at that time or, alternatively, specifying the quantities and kinds involved. These certificates will operate as a check on the performance by the Authority of its obligations under subsection (1) to dispose of any cereals that it has bought not later than one month after the end of the cereal year.
The certificates should clearly be submitted as soon as practicable after the end of the period to which they relate. The current cereal year runs from 1st July to 30th June. If it could be assumed that the cereal year will remain unchanged, it would be possible to require the Authority to submit the certificates as soon as practicable after 31st July. We have, however, to allow for the possibility that the cereal year may be changed. We cannot, therefore, relate the requirement to submit certificates to a particular date.
Hon. Members opposite suggested in Committee that the requirement might be expressed as a requirement to submit a certificate
as soon as practicable after one calendar month after the end of the year".
The hon. Member for Lowestoft added, however, that he did not like to use the word "after" twice in it mediate succession. The effect of the Amendment is that the Authority would be required to submit a certificate
as soon as practicable after the end of the month immediately following the end of the year".
I hope that the hon. Member for Lowestoft will agree that this is an improvement in the wording of the Bill and that the Amendment will be acceptable to the House.
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for returning to his more normal rôle of being reasonable and understanding and for fulfilling the undertaking which he gave in Committee following the forceful arguments of my hon. Friend the Member for Lowestoft (Mr. Prior). The wording of the Bill was incomprehensible and we wanted to get it made clear and understandable by everybody, not only in the House, but outside. The words now used by the hon. Gentleman make it much clearer and should save any confusion which might have arisen from the original wording.