– in a Public Bill Committee on 13th January 2005.
On a point of order, Mr. Hurst. During our debate at the previous sitting on the taking of the oath by members of the new department, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, the hon. Members for Sevenoaks (Mr. Fallon) and for Chichester (Mr. Tyrie) were concerned that the old Inland Revenue oath was being superseded. I offered to consider the matter again. While I am convinced that the arrangements under the Bill reinforce measures and are better, I have taken note of their comments.
I give notice to the Committee that I propose to table a new clause on Report, requiring new employees on induction to take a declaration in front of a witness in addition to those matters that we have discussed. People presently employed by the two Departments are within the terms because they have already taken the oath and know the conditions, so it will not be necessary to ask them to take it again. I am grateful for your indulgence, Mr. Hurst, as I believe that it is important to let members of the Committee know the position. I shall write to them as soon as possible, because such matters will affect the Opposition's decisions about the Bill at a subsequent stage.
The Paymaster General will understand that what she has said is not a point of order.
Further to that point of order, Mr. Hurst, we welcome the Paymaster General's announcement. We are grateful to her for having listened carefully to what was said at our previous sitting and we look forward to the new clause being tabled on Report.
Further to that point of order, Mr. Hurst. I am grateful to the Paymaster General for taking account of the arguments of Liberal Democrat Members in Tuesday's proceedings. We look forward to the new clause and hope that it will cover those people who will have access to sensitive taxpayer information, which includes not only new members of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, but others whom we shall be discussing later.
Further to that further point of order, Mr. Hurst. As the person who tabled the amendment concerning these matters, I am grateful to the Paymaster General for listening to what was said in Committee. We welcome the changes that she will be introducing as well as the strength of the duty of confidentiality. The combined package will be acceptable and I am grateful to the right hon. Lady for her speedy consideration. I hope that it sets a precedent for the rest of our proceedings in Committee.
Order. That concludes the gracious non-points of order. If members of the Committee have mobile phones or other devices, will they ensure that they are turned off?