I beg to move amendment No. 237, in page 98, line 19, leave out from 'after', to end of line 20 and add
'1st April 2002, although the reduced rate may not be applied in practice until the section has been approved by the European Commission.'.
This is a short amendment designed to ensure that the benefit accrues as soon as approval has been obtained under state aids and that it is backdated as far as possible. It is equivalent to a similar provision that the Government accepted on the aggregates tax. The time at which such a benefit will be payable is rather vague in the Bill, and my amendment would make it more precise.
I hope that I can set the hon. Gentleman's concerns to rest. We are confident that the Commission will accept the benefit as an acceptable state aid for environmental reasons. However, the exemption can be applied only from the date that such a decision is made; it cannot be implemented until and unless the EC agrees that it is an acceptable state aid. Once the Commission has given its agreement, we shall bring the clause into effect straight away by means of an appointed-day order. With those comments, I hope that the hon. Gentleman will see fit to withdraw the amendment.