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New Clause 19 — Power to remove or reduce burdens

Part of Orders of the Day – in the House of Commons at 4:00 pm on 15th May 2006.

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Photo of Pat McFadden Pat McFadden Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office) 4:00 pm, 15th May 2006

No, I am not suggesting that at all. If a measure that would do away with a necessary right or freedom was proposed, it would not be in line with clause 3 of the Bill, so I do not believe that such a thing could happen.

If I can move on to deal with the four definitions, it may help the House. On financial cost, an order may change legislation if its effect would be to remove or reduce a financial cost on an individual, business, voluntary organisation or charity. A Minister may thus propose an order that reduces or removes any unnecessary costs that result from legislation. That definition includes both direct and indirect costs, so an order may reduce both the costs incurred by a regulated business, charity or voluntary organisation and the costs that they pass on to their customers. For instance, the power could be used to deliver exemptions for small businesses from some disproportionately stringent audit requirements, which could have a marked effect on reducing their costs. It could also be used to deliver a proposal in the Charity Commission's simplification plan that would exempt small charities from certain audit and registration requirements altogether so that they could focus their resources on providing help to those whom they were set up to support.