Financial Provisions

Part of House of Commons (Administration) Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th June 1978.

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Photo of Mr William Price Mr William Price , Rugby 12:00 am, 27th June 1978

I gave assurances upstairs that we would be requesting the Commission—and I can put it no stronger—to take a very early look at some of the matters to which my hon. Friend has referred. Printing is one of them, and others think that the Catering Department and its future should be another. We gave that assurance. I cannot, and nor would my hon. Friend, I suspect, wish, to give any direction to the Commission. That does, not arise. But we can certainly ask the Commission to look at these matters urgently and to come back to the House if necessary. I would say to my hon. Friend that this Bill gives to the House of Commons independence in the presentation of Estimates within the scope of Clause 3 (1), but as I understand it, it was never intended to take the House of Commons completely outside the general framework of the control of public expenditure. Under the Bill as it stands the Commission has power to include within the scope of its Estimates any expenses related to the service of the House of Commons and we do not see this being any narrower than is proposed in the amendment. On that basis I ask the House to reject it.