Clause 118 - Time for payment

Proceeds of Crime Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:00 pm on 6 December 2001.

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Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 3:00, 6 December 2001

I beg to move amendment No. 213, in page 72, line 18, at end insert—

'(5A) An order under subsection (4)—

(a) may be made after the end of the specified period, but

(b) must not be made after the end of the period of twelve months starting with the day on which the confiscation order is made.'.

Photo of Mr John McWilliam Mr John McWilliam Labour, Blaydon

With this it will be convenient to take clause stand part, Government amendment No. 214 and clause 119 stand part.

Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

Amendment No. 213 clarifies the time limits when the accused seeks to extend the time given for the payment of a confiscation order. Subsection (4) enables the court to make an order to extend the time for payment beyond the specified period of six months up to a maximum of 12 months. That is known as the extended period. The amendment provides that the court can make an order extending the period after the end of the six-month specified period, but not after 12 months from the date of the confiscation order. That is to ensure that the maximum time for payment is never greater than 12 months. The amendment brings clause 118 into line with clause 12.

Amendment No. 214 temporarily suspends the application of interest to the outstanding compensation orders when an accused has made an application to the court under clause 118 for time for payment but the court has yet to determine the application.

Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Conservative, Surrey Heath

The clause 119 stand part debate is grouped under clause 118 because of the consequential amendments. I want to ask the Minister about clause 119 and the provisions on interest.

Clause 119(1) is an example of inelegant and circular drafting, but I anticipate that the Minister will tell us that that is unavoidable. Subsection (2) states:

''The rate of interest is the rate payable under a decree of the Court of Session.''

I do not know how that operates because I am not a Scottish lawyer. I would be interested if the Minister can tell me—if he cannot do so today, perhaps he will write to me and other members of the Committee—how the rates of interest are calculated in relation to decrees of that court. What is the comparison between such rates and base rate? The Committee should have a rough idea of the rates of interest that we are considering. In English legislation, the relationship between interest and base rates is normally set out in the English statutes. That is obviously not the case in the Bill

Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

We had a brief conversation about that issue when we discussed part 2. A similar provision applies in England and Wales, where the interest rates may vary from time to time. They may vary from time to time in the Scottish system as well, and they are currently set at 8 per cent.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause 118, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.