Clause 93 - Annual reports to Secretary of State

Pensions Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:00 pm on 25th March 2004.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Nigel Waterson Nigel Waterson Conservative, Eastbourne

We are delighted to have a double dose of you today, Mr. Cran.

Photo of Mr James Cran Mr James Cran Conservative, Beverley and Holderness

Order. That is the second time I have received abuse this afternoon. The first time it came from the Under-Secretary, who said that I had

rudely interrupted him this morning. However, I forgive hon. Members.

Photo of Nigel Waterson Nigel Waterson Conservative, Eastbourne

Looking on the bright side, at least you are being abused by hon. Members both sides of the Committee, Mr. Cran. [Interruption.] We have been joined by the hon. Member for Chesterfield (Paul Holmes), one of the Liberal Democrats; that is nice.

I have a couple of questions. First, in subsection (4) there is rightly a requirement that the report be laid before both Houses of Parliament. Is it envisaged that there will automatically be a debate on it? I think we covered that when we discussed part 1, so I do not want to labour the point, and I understand that interest might wane as the fund goes from success to success. However, it would be sensible to hold such a debate, certainly in the first couple of years. I appreciate that the Under-Secretary cannot speak for the usual channels, but it would be nice to hear an expression of intent on that.

To go back to clause 88, does the Under-Secretary envisage that the statement of investment principles will be included in the annual report, among other things?

Photo of Mr Chris Pond Mr Chris Pond Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Work and Pensions

My reference to the rude interruption was aimed at parliamentary procedures and not at all to you instructing us on them, Mr. Cran.

It would not be normal to have a debate on the report laid before the House by the Secretary of State, although I quite understand the hon. Gentleman's suggestion that it would be of interest to Parliament. We want to ensure that it is subject to proper parliamentary scrutiny, but, as he says, a debate would be a matter for the usual channels. It is not envisaged that a provision for debate would be built into the legislation.

I think that the statement of principles will be included in the report. We will want the principles by which the board is to operate to be outlined in it. That will be an important part of the parliamentary scrutiny.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 93 ordered to stand part of the Bill.