Football (Offences and Disorder) Bill [Money]

Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 6:50 pm on 29th April 1999.

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Queen's recommendation having been signified—

Motion made, and Question proposed,That, for the purposes of any Act resulting from the Football (Offences and Disorder) Bill, it is expedient to authorise the payment out of money provided by Parliament of any increase attributable to the Act in the sums payable out of money so provided under any other Act. — [Mr. Robert Ainsworth.]

Photo of David Maclean David Maclean Conservative, Penrith and The Border 7:25 pm, 29th April 1999

I feel that, in the case of all Bills, when a money motion has been tabled, the Minister should say a few words about the financial effects, and should tell the House whether the Government anticipate any changes since the publication of the explanatory notes. I do not intend to delay the House for long, but I feel that we should be told about the financial consequences of Bills, even Bills that have received cross-party support as this Bill has.

I note that, according to the Government's estimate, the total additional administrative expenditure will amount to £100,000 per annum. I believe that that is to pay for the extra civil servants who will be required to administer international football banning orders — [Interruption.]

Photo of Alan Haselhurst Alan Haselhurst Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Ways and Means

Order. I am sorry to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman, but I must call the House to order. This item of business is as worthy of consideration as any other.

Photo of David Maclean David Maclean Conservative, Penrith and The Border

Thank you for your protection, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

The Government also calculate that the requirement to report to police stations, and the requirement for the submission of passports, will result in some additional costs, but they say in their explanatory notes that they expect those costs to be minimal. I go along with their forecast, but it would be helpful to hear how much the Government expect the figure to be, if they have a figure in mind. What is "minimal"? Is it less than £10,000, or less than £50,000?

I would also like to know the effects of the banning orders. There will be slight additional costs for the Crown Prosecution Service and the courts. Again, the Government say that the costs are likely to be minimal, but it would be helpful to know whether "minimal" means less than £100,000, less than £50,000 or less than £10,000. Of course I do not expect to be given a precise figure; it would be unreasonable to ask for one.

I apologise to the Minister and to my hon. Friends if I am wrong about this, but I seem to remember that, when we debated the Bill, a number of Members on both sides of the House spoke of the importance of locking up more of these hooligans. They said that the Bill would catch some people who are not being caught now, and the House was in quite a gung-ho mood about the number of people who would be locked up. Perhaps that was extreme, or optimistic, language; perhaps only some, or indeed none, of those people will actually be locked up. What I need to know from the Minister is this: is it possible that more people will be imprisoned as a result of the Bill? If so, we shall face different costs. I have no objection to putting more people in prison. I espoused that policy, quite strongly, when I was a Minister. Indeed, I am pleased to say that I helped to contribute to the increased number of people in prison. There has been a record fall in crime —a record since the war—and I am proud that that is continuing. However, if a few more vicious hooligans are put in prison, we shall face greatly increased costs. I know that prison costs are often exaggerated, but it could mean £50,000 per criminal, or a minimum of £30,000 in the case of lower-category offenders.

If the Government have more detailed figures, we would like clarification of the financial effects of the Bill as set out in the explanatory notes. We also want to know whether the Government expect to incur extra imprisonment costs, tagging costs or any other costs relating to the sentencing and storage of the additional number of criminals who may be convicted.

Photo of Kate Hoey Kate Hoey Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) 7:29 pm, 29th April 1999

The right hon. Member for Penrith and The Border (Mr. Maclean) has rightly raised some points about the Bill, which I hope can be dealt with quickly. The Bill originated as a private Member's Bill tabled by the hon. Member for West Chelmsford (Mr. Burns), a member of the right hon. Gentleman's party. It has had its Second Reading, when it received broad support from both sides of the House, and we hope that it will go into Committee next Wednesday. It cannot go further unless this money motion is passed, and I hope that hon. Members will support it.

The Bill is intended to deal more effectively with the threat of disorder from those convicted of football-related offences. Banning orders are issued on the instruction of the court following application by the prosecutor on behalf of the police. Additional costs are involved, but they will be absorbed in the criminal justice system. As the right hon. Gentleman well knows, the Prison Service always manages to accommodate extra costs arising from the decisions of the court.

It is worth pointing out that any increased costs incurred by the Crown Prosecution Service would be as a result of preparing a greater number of applications. Those costs are expected to be minimal. We shall go into more detail on what minimal means. As a former Home Office Minister, the right hon. Gentleman should know what minimal means in the overall civil service jargon.

It is anticipated that the restrictions order authority will require an additional four full-time members and one part-time member of staff to deal with the administrative work. The authority's expenses will be met by the Secretary of State under section 21(8) of the Football Spectators Act 1989. The additional administrative costs are anticipated to be approximately £100,000 per annum.

Photo of Kate Hoey Kate Hoey Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)

I shall give way to the hon. Gentleman, because I am well aware that if I do not, he will probably make a speech. I know that we have 45 minutes, but I think that hon. Members on both sides probably do not want this debate to take 45 minutes.

Photo of Edward Leigh Edward Leigh Conservative, Gainsborough

The promoter of the Bill told the House on Second Reading that he intended to table a provision at a later stage to allow the Government to order the surrender of passports of those as yet not convicted of an offence. Does the Minister think that any extra costs could arise as a result of that provision if it were included in the Bill? What will she do about a money resolution when that provision is introduced?

Photo of Kate Hoey Kate Hoey Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)

As the hon. Gentleman well knows, that has not yet been finally decided, but a decision will be made before next Wednesday. I am sure that the hon. Member for West Chelmsford will make that decision. If that provision were to be included in the Bill, some additional costs would be involved. At the moment it is not in the Bill, so it is not affected by this money motion.

I hope that my explanation is satisfactory, and that the right hon. Member for Penrith and The Border is satisfied. This measure will be given full consideration in Committee, and I ask hon. Members to support it tonight.

Question put and agreed to.