Preparation

Part of Orders of the Day — Government Resources and Accounts Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:45 am on 29th February 2000.

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Photo of Stephen Timms Stephen Timms The Financial Secretary to the Treasury 5:45 am, 29th February 2000

The hon. Gentleman asked me what amendment No. 22 meant. The key is that clause 9(1) refers to a group of bodies … which appears to the Treasury … to exercise functions of a public nature. The point about appearing to the Treasury to exercise functions of a public nature is already in the Bill. What the amendment does is to extend that to include the words: information referring wholly or partly to activities which. What that allows us to do—which the hon. Gentleman would wish as much as I do, I think—is to include things like the social fund and the national insurance fund, which are not bodies—the existing term used in the clause—but which are covered by information referring wholly or partly to activities which are of a public nature. That is the extension that the amendment makes. I am not surprised that it is not immediately self-evident.

I assure the hon. Gentleman that nobody on the Government Benches is dulled. He said a few moments ago that we might be dulled, but that is certainly not the case.