Clause 118 - Time for payment

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

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Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Conservative, Surrey Heath 3:00, 6 December 2001

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