Clause 15

Charities Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:30 am on 11 July 2006.

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Application cy-près by reference to current circumstances

Photo of Helen Goodman Helen Goodman Labour, Bishop Auckland

I beg to move amendment No. 134, in clause 15, page 17, line 21, at end insert

‘, and

(c) whether or not the work for which the gift was made has already been completed.”’.

Photo of Roger Gale Roger Gale Conservative, North Thanet

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following amendments: No. 136, in clause 17, page 17, line 33, at end insert—

‘(1A) This section does not apply where the condition in section 14B(4A) has been met.’.

No. 101, in clause 17, page 17, leave out lines 36 to line 3 on page 18 and insert—

‘(b) the donor has not made a relevant declaration at the time of making the gift.’.

No. 23, in clause 17, page 17, line 36, after ‘statement’, insert ‘—

(i)’.

No. 24, in clause 17, page 18, line 3, at end insert

‘, and

(ii) how the donor should make such a declaration.’.

No. 25, in clause 17, page 18, line 8, leave out ‘making of the gift’ and insert ‘charity failing.’.

No. 100, in clause 17, page 18, line 45, at end insert—

‘(d) “cy-pres” means to amend the terms of a charitable trust as near (Cy-pres) as possible to the original intention of the testator or settlor, where the original intended purpose is impossible, impracticable or illegal.’.

No. 27, in clause 18, page 19, line 29, leave out ‘may’ and insert ‘must’.

No. 135, in clause 18, page 19, line 32, at end insert—

‘(4A) Where the property is valued at less than £5,000 and the charity has assets of over £100,000, the trustees may apply the property for purposes without reference to the Commission or the courts.’.

Photo of Helen Goodman Helen Goodman Labour, Bishop Auckland

May I say how nice it is to see you in the Chair this morning, Mr. Gale? I shall speak to amendment Nos. 134 to 136, which are in my name.

Clauses 15 to 18—the cy-près clauses—refer to the practice in the charitable sector of having restricted and unrestricted funds. The distinction between restricted and unrestricted funds has a significant advantage, in that it often makes it easier for charities to raise money for particular pieces of work or causes. However, it can also be difficult to manage the restricted funds. They can be rather inflexible and, because of how the Bill is set out, they will continue to be too bureaucratic.

I shall give two examples of problems that I have seen arising from the treatment of such funds. The first is one that I referred to the other day—what I call the Leicestershire cobblers’ sons problem—in which money was given for a charitable purpose many years ago, but the need is no longer there. That is what is referred to in proposed new section 13(1A)(b) of the 1993 Act, which deals with cases in which

“the social and economic circumstances prevailing at the time of the proposed alteration of the original purposes” have changed. In that instance, we need flexibility to spend the money on other work.

Photo of Andrew Turner Andrew Turner Conservative, Isle of Wight

What kind of other work does the hon. Lady have in mind in the Leicestershire cobblers case? It seems to me that the words

“the spirit of the gift” would cover many types of other work, such as Leicestershire poor artisans, or Leicestershire people who work in the footwear industry. How broadly would she be prepared to interpret paragraph (b)?

Photo of Helen Goodman Helen Goodman Labour, Bishop Auckland

The hon. Gentleman makes my point. If he will be a little more patient, I shall come on to that.

As I say, one set of circumstances is where a gift was given a long time ago on a very narrow definition that no longer applies. The other set of circumstances in which there may be restricted funds that are now difficult to use is where money was raised for a particular piece of work and that piece of work has been completed, but it was not as expensive as anticipated, so some of the restricted funds remain.

I must apologise, Mr. Gale, as my spidery handwriting was slightly misinterpreted. In fact, I intended that amendment No. 134 should read “when the work for which the gift was made has already been completed”, not

“whether or not the work for which the gift was made has already been completed.”

In the cases where the restriction is so tight that the money can no longer be used for the purpose for which it was originally intended, money is sitting in the bank. That is obviously wasteful and it sometimes means that voluntary sector organisations raise extra money to do new pieces of work that they would not need to raise if they had greater flexibility.

Photo of Ed Miliband Ed Miliband Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office) 12:00, 11 July 2006

My hon. Friend makes an excellent point. Can I offer her a small point of reassurance? She refers to the Charities Act 1993, and section 13(1) states:

“Subject to subsection (2) below, the circumstances in which the original purposes of a charitable gift can be altered to allow the property given or part of it to be applied cy-près shall be as follows—

(a) where the original purposes, in whole or in part—

(i) have been as far as may be fulfilled”.

That might take account of the legitimate concern that she has raised.

Photo of Helen Goodman Helen Goodman Labour, Bishop Auckland

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that reassurance.

I want to move on to amendments Nos. 136 and 135. Amendment No. 136 is an alternative way of implementing amendment No. 135, which hon. Members might find easier to understand. In amendment No. 135, I suggest that when the amount of money left is £5,000 or less, it should not be necessary for the charity to go to the Charity Commission to lift the restrictions on the funds. The amendment contains a further provision so that that applies only to large charities with assets of more than £100,000. That is because if it was a small charity and we gave the trustees complete flexibility to change the purposes for which the money could be used, we would change the whole work of the organisation. The measure is largely designed to help medium and larger charities to run their affairs more efficiently.

I want to anticipate some of the criticisms that could be made. One could be that people might have given money for one thing that could then be used for anything else, but, of course, that is not true because it will be used by a charity with clearly laid out objectives. To address in part the point made by the hon. Member for Isle of Wight, money for Leicestershire cobbler’s  sons would not be spent on horticulture or animals. It would be spent, if possible, on other work with children in Leicestershire, for example.

Photo of Peter Bone Peter Bone Conservative, Wellingborough

I am not sure why the hon. Lady distinguishes between a large and a small charity. With a small amount of money—less than £5,000—the measure should apply across the board rather than distinctly in favour of a large or medium-sized charity.

Photo of Helen Goodman Helen Goodman Labour, Bishop Auckland

That would be a more liberal interpretation. I made the distinction because I felt that a large charity would have more scope to shift the money to other similar work than a small charity, where a shift could change the nature of the organisation in toto.

Another point that has since been made to me is that some later clauses, such as clause 41 and those around it, deal with some of the small charity issues. My main objective is to reduce bureaucracy. We spoke about that last week. Rather than giving the Charity Commission a general objective to reduce bureaucracy, what we should have done as we went through the legislation, was to look at particular instances in which we were imposing a bureaucratic burden. We expect trustees to behave in a responsible way. We put various obligations on them and we should treat them like adults. The notion that someone sitting in the Charity Commission 300 miles away, should be second-guessing the ways in which small packets of money are used seems to be totally out of time.

I would like to draw an article to the attention of hon. Members, on the front page of this morning’s Financial Times with the headline,“Call to use dormant bank funds for charity: Treasury backs report on putting millions to use.” The article begins:

“Ambitious plans for a new financial institution to take over and invest the hundreds of millions of pounds lying unclaimed in British bank and building society accounts will be set out tomorrow in a Treasury-sponsored report.” and so it goes on. If the Government are considering transferring money that was never given for any purpose, which totals several hundreds of millions of pounds, we should consider sympathetically shifting small amounts of money within charities and that is the purpose of those amendments.

Photo of Martin Horwood Martin Horwood Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

I am extremely sympathetic to the instincts behind those amendments. With some reassurances from the Minister, I would be content to support them. There is the classic example, which applies to large rather than small charities, of tightly drawn emergency appeals.

The rehousing of Bangladeshi flood victims was the classic and often quoted example at Oxfam. It was an enormously popular appeal that raised huge amounts of money across a number of different charitable organisations both in the UK and internationally. In due course, all the victims were rehoused, but millions of pounds remained for that specific purpose. The charities were in the ludicrous position of having to wait for another flood to be able to apply those funds. It is not clear that the existing legislation, which refers to matters such as social and economic circumstances, allows those emergency charities to have that let-out. Therefore, the hon. Lady’s amendment may be necessary.

Photo of Ed Miliband Ed Miliband Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)

I will deal with my hon. Friend’s amendment in my remarks. Briefly, clause 17 is designed precisely to respond to the circumstances that the hon. Gentleman raised in which cy-près can be applied to gifts made in response to certain solicitations. Therefore, it marks significant progress in relation to the specific case that he raised and the worries that he has. I hope that he recognises that.

Photo of Martin Horwood Martin Horwood Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

I am grateful for the Minister’s intervention, and my subsequent amendments also relate to clause 17. However, I am not entirely sure that he is quite right. The principle of cy-près would still require the deviation from the original charity purpose under current law to be reasonably close.

If the appeal had specifically mentioned a particular country, it would have been difficult for that appeal money to be directed to another country, which would have been necessary in the Bangladesh case. Therefore, the Minister should look kindly on the amendment because it addresses a dimension of flexibility that is desirable in law and that would not otherwise be there.

My only reservation with the hon. Lady’s amendments is that we need to tread carefully—with respect to both small charities as well as large ones—to preserve donors’ as well as charities’ rights. It is important that donors are confident that their donations are applied to the purposes for which they give them. If a charity chooses to invite donations to what is in effect a restricted fund, it is important that there is a general legal principle that is reasonably easy to enforce and that will apply those funds to such purposes. Otherwise, charities will be able to spend money willy-nilly on different matters.

I am seeking reassurance from the Minister that none of the hon. Lady’s amendments or any amendments that he might introduce expressing the same ambitions will give too much scope to charities or undermine the principle of cy-près. It is important, and it must be protected. I hope that he will address that worry in my remarks. Otherwise, I am extremely sympathetic to the hon. Lady’s amendments.

My amendments in this group are Nos. 101 and 100. Amendment No. 101 would apply to the statement that must be made by the fundraiser at the moment of solicitation. One can imagine an example of a fundraiser, planning hopefully for a meeting with Bill Gates or some other major donor, who has read the measure that requires the solicitation to be

“accompanied by a statement to the effect that property given in response to it will, in the event of those purposes failing, be applicable cy-près as if given for charitable purposes generally, unless the donor makes a relevant declaration at the time of making the gift.”

The fundraiser panics slightly, because he is not quite sure what that means. He seeks advice from a lawyer who tells him that, to be safe, he must hand an even more convoluted declaration to Bill Gates during the meeting to ensure that he is covered under the Act in case the charity needs to apply for donations cy-près at some later stage. He might also take advice from a fundraising consultant such as Lord Levy, who might encourage him to make a loan instead of a gift to get around difficult regulations, although that might be a mischievous suggestion. In any case, there is a need for greater simplicity in clause 17, and that is what amendment No. 101 seeks to create.

Photo of Ed Miliband Ed Miliband Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)

Again, I know that it is not the hon. Gentleman’s intention, but—and I hope to short-circuit this discussion—I fear that his amendment will do precisely what he warned us earlier against doing. By substituting his wording for the words in clause 17(2), convoluted though they might be, he would transfer the onus from the charity, which would offer the donor the opportunity to make a declaration, to the donor him or herself, who would have to take the initiative and make the declaration. I fear that the amendment will not achieve his purposes, but will work against them.

Photo of Martin Horwood Martin Horwood Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

I am grateful to the Minister, but if he thinks about it for a moment, he will see that that would be a desirable outcome. It is always generally desirable for donations to be received with as few restrictions as possible. That is generally a good thing from charities’ point of view. If the donor wants to make a restriction, it is up to them to make it clear what that restriction is and to tell the charity when the donation is solicited whether there are any particular concerns or restrictions, or projects to which that donor wishes it to be applied.

Edward Milibandindicated dissent.

Photo of Martin Horwood Martin Horwood Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

The Minister shakes his head, but I have been in that situation as a fundraiser, and it is exactly right. I would far prefer the onus to be on the donor to restrict a donation, rather than on the charity. I am proposing a simplification that would be more practical for fundraisers in the application of the Act. I hope that he will look kindly on it.

Photo of Martin Horwood Martin Horwood Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

Well, the Minister is mistaken in that case. I thought he was a generous soul, but perhaps we were misled. Amendment No. 100 seeks to remove the requirement for fundraisers to understand Norman French to understand the Bill.

Photo of Andrew Turner Andrew Turner Conservative, Isle of Wight

The relevant words in the hon. Gentleman’s recent speech were “I have been a fundraiser, and I know what it’s like.” He is trying to make it easy for fundraisers and not for donors. Donors are usually quite interested in the purpose to which their generosity will be applied. I am not an enthusiast of amendment No. 101, and I understand the purposes behind the hon. Lady’s amendments.

Amendments Nos. 23 and 24 are designed to give guidance on how to make the declaration. It is all very well saying that a declaration must or must not be made, but it is helpful to have a cast-iron declaration to hand if a donor wants to sign it. That would not be a bad thing for charities to bring forward.

Amendment No. 25 relates to the Lanesborough hotel case. If a donor makes a donation and the charity fails, is the donor entitled to the value of the original donation or to the value of the asset at the time of the charity’s failure? The Lanesborough hotel—the case involves a leasehold reversion not a charity—used to be  a hospital, and before that it was a property owned by the Duke of Westminster. He gave the property for use as a hospital and it served as such for a while, but then it ceased to be a hospital and the Duke of Westminster had it back.

Let us be clear: if we do not have such a provision, we put donors off. I might be willing to give something in the hope that it would be used to set up a monastery, but 200 years later along comes Henry VIII who says to me, “We’re not having any monasteries, but you can have the value of this handkerchief.” Actually, Henry VIII was not as honest as that because he would not have given anyone the value of a handkerchief, but the principle is clear. When the asset is a real asset, it is sensible to provide for the donor to be able to reclaim the asset or its current value, rather than merely the value of the asset at the time it was donated. Will the Parliamentary Secretary say who will decide the value of the asset? What was the value of Rievaulx abbey at the time that it was dissolved by Henry VIII? What was its value at the time that it was donated—if it was donated?

Martin Horwoodrose—

Photo of Martin Horwood Martin Horwood Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

I am grateful to the hon. Member for Isle of Wight for giving way, although it probably was not wise of me to intervene at that precise moment. I am not about to provide him with the answer to the question. I am worried because his idea about the value of the gift at a later stage is not practical because of all the changes that might have taken place in the meantime. He says that he is worried about donors being put off, but surely what would put them off the most is to be presented with a complicated declaration on the possible failure of the charitable purpose.

Photo of Andrew Turner Andrew Turner Conservative, Isle of Wight

The donors would be asked about the failure of the charitable purpose anyway, so they might as well have something that makes it clear whether they were or were not given such a declaration and the opportunity to sign it. That would clarify matters. A donor will want to know that his donation will be used for the purpose for which he intends it to be used and that, in the event of a failure, he will have the opportunity to recover the property and, in all probability, give it for another charitable purpose.

Photo of Peter Bone Peter Bone Conservative, Wellingborough

In my constituency, we have the Rushden memorial clinic; donations were given to provide hospital and medical facilities. We did not envisage that the clinic would be closed, that houses would be built on the site and that the clinic would be moved away from the town. Donors are unhappy about that sort of thing. The proposal for a declaration to ensure that donors would receive their original money back would discourage such things from happening.

Photo of Andrew Turner Andrew Turner Conservative, Isle of Wight

I agree with my hon. Friend. The Frank James memorial hospital in East Cowes is a similar example. It was paid for out of the pay packets of people who worked for what is now G. K. Westland, which used to be the British Hovercraft Corporation  and, before that, Saunders Roe, which made the Empire flying boats. Exactly the same circumstances apply. The hospital was taken over by the health service, of course, but it would be sad for the donors to see that asset lost. It upsets people to see an asset that they, their parents or grandparents gave for the benefit of their town being absorbed into a bigger asset in a town many miles away, albeit perhaps providing a similar service. Where people give money to a charity, they are entitled to expect the money to be spent in accordance with their wishes. That is the purpose of amendment No. 27.

Photo of Alun Michael Alun Michael Labour, Cardiff South and Penarth

Would the value of the asset be net of the additional investment or additional value that had been put in over the years—perhaps by the health service or another organisation—including the value of good will?

Photo of Andrew Turner Andrew Turner Conservative, Isle of Wight

It is perfectly fair to say that the value should be net. If a person gives a piece of land, at the end of the process they are entitled to withdraw the value of the land, not the value of the buildings on the land. That is perfectly fair, but it is also fair that where a charity fails, the donor should not merely receive the value of a silk handkerchief.

Photo of Tom Levitt Tom Levitt PPS (Rt Hon Hilary Benn, Secretary of State), Department for International Development

I rise briefly because the hon. Gentleman’s argument reminds me of a local case. Describing it in detail would not be long enough for a speech, but would be too long for an intervention. It involves the Devonshire Royal hospital in Buxton, which was given to the nation by the Duke of Devonshire about 100 years ago. It became part of the NHS on its formation, but a few years ago Stockport health authority, which then ran it, decided that it was surplus to requirements as a hospital and no longer wished to use it. I had an amusing interview in my constituency office, which I think I can now disclose under statutes of limitations, with an agitated Duke of Devonshire, who said, “For heaven’s sake, they’re not going to give it me back are they?” He said that on the grounds that the building had become a liability rather than an asset, owing to the amount of money that was required to run it.

I would not like the word “must” to be included, because that could mean giving a liability back to donors, rather than the asset that they thought they had donated in the first place. That is my argument against the hon. Gentleman, but I cannot resist pointing out that amendment No. 100, tabled by the hon. Member for Cheltenham, is probably the classic embodiment of the Cheltenham principle, being harmless if not entirely necessary.

Photo of Andrew Turner Andrew Turner Conservative, Isle of Wight

I fear that the hon. Gentleman heard me mis-express the purpose of the amendment. Proposed new section 14B(4) of the 1993 Act says:

“If a scheme provides for the property to be transferred to another charity, the scheme may impose on the charity trustees of that charity a duty to secure that the property is applied for purposes” of the charity. My assertion is merely that the new subsection (4) should read that the scheme “must impose” that duty on the trustees. If a property is given for any purpose, it is there for that very purpose,  whether it is with charity A or with charity B. I do not see why there is an option for the charity to transfer that property for a different purpose.

I am also concerned about the principle of clause 15, because as far as I can see clause 13 provides a broad power for varying the use of property. For that reason, I may wish to oppose clause 15 on stand part.

Photo of Ed Miliband Ed Miliband Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)

The hon. Gentleman threw in a googly at the end, but I shall try to deal with it nevertheless.

I shall start with the worthy amendments tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Bishop Auckland (Helen Goodman). I have dealt with amendment No. 134, which deals with work that has been completed, and hope that I have reassured her about the 1993 Act. Briefly, I am sympathetic to her de minimis desires, which are expressed in amendments Nos. 135 and 136. The most acute of her very acute points was about charities that had built up lots of small sums from appeals spread over hundreds of years, which would have to go through the process of cy-près with the Charity Commission, issue new purposes and so on to get those amounts of money dealt with. I undertake to consider whether there is a case for a de minimis provision in relation to cy-près; I hope that that satisfies my hon. Friend.

In amendment No. 101, the hon. Member for Cheltenham is contradicting his own wise words, because he is transferring the onus. If someone gives money to a certain appeal, but the money is to be used for a completely different—albeit worthy—charitable purpose, it is fair enough that the person giving money to the appeal should know that, and should be offered the chance to make a declaration saying that that cannot happen. That is the long and the short of what the provision does.

Photo of Martin Horwood Martin Horwood Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

The circumstances that we are talking about—cases in which a charitable purpose eventually fails—are not common. They are extreme circumstances that need to be catered for. The difficulty of trying to insert complicated declarations as a matter of course is that they can disrupt the process of fundraising, whether that is being carried out through a small donation form, a coupon advertisement, or a delicate conversation with a major donor. The declaration process may jeopardise the donation and result in less money for the beneficiaries or the charitable purpose for which the money is being raised. It is simply impractical to insist on such complex declarations in those circumstances.

Photo of Ed Miliband Ed Miliband Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)

I am slightly sympathetic to what the hon. Gentleman says. In a sense, we hold the opposite point of view from the hon. Member for Isle of Wight, who, through his amendment, seeks more reassurance about the donor being advised on how to make the declaration. I am pretty certain that what he wants is implicit in the wording of new section 14B(2)(b), and on that basis I hope that he will accept that the wording in the Bill should stand. I shall come back to the point made by the hon. Member for Cheltenham later.

Photo of Peter Bottomley Peter Bottomley Conservative, Worthing West

The Minister may come to this later, but why does he not just change cy-près to “as near” throughout the Bill?

Photo of Ed Miliband Ed Miliband Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)

Cy-près is a sort of long-standing convention and it is well understood by those who need to understand it. [Laughter.]

Moving swiftly on, I disagree with the hon. Member for Isle of Wight on amendment No. 25. He seems to be confusing a charitable donation with an investment. If one makes a charitable donation, one cannot expect its value to increase and to get back that value if the charity fails, but that would be the effect of his amendment.

First, if one gives money to a charity, one does not expect to get it back; secondly, if in extreme circumstances a charity fails and one does get it back, one cannot expect it to have increased in value. I fear that if one gave a handkerchief 200 years ago, one would get back a handkerchief or the monetary equivalent. That is just one of those things.

Photo of Andrew Turner Andrew Turner Conservative, Isle of Wight

Perhaps I did not express myself clearly; what I am saying is that if one gave Rievaulx abbey 200 years ago, what one might get back today is a handkerchief, because the value of the abbey then was 7s 6d, which is about how much—or even less—a handkerchief costs nowadays. I am not suggesting that the donation should be an investment, but what if a donation increases in value? If someone gives a charity a piece of land, it is reasonable to expect to get back the piece of land, not just a handkerchief.

Photo of Ed Miliband Ed Miliband Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office) 12:30, 11 July 2006

I fear that that is not so. It is hard lines for the person who gets back 7s 6d or the price of a handkerchief. Under the hon. Gentleman’s amendment, the wording would mention a sum equal to the relevant value at the time of the charity failing, but that is tantamount to making it an investment, because one essentially benefits from the capital growth of the gift.

Photo of Martin Horwood Martin Horwood Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

If I can be as generous to the Parliamentary Secretary as he has been to me, I might just assist him. Surely, the investment is a red herring. The point is that so many changes in the nature, structure and quality of the property might have taken place in the intervening years that it would be practically impossible to disaggregate the value due to the donor from the value that was due to the charity.

Photo of Ed Miliband Ed Miliband Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)

That is helpful. I agree with the hon. Gentleman.

Amendment No. 100 is unnecessary, because the terms of “cy-près” are set out in a wider sense in section 13 of the 1993 Act, a part of which I read to my hon. Friend the Member for Bishop Auckland. It states:

“where the original purposes, in whole or in part...have been as far as may be fulfilled; or...cannot be carried out, or not according to the directions given and to the spirit of the gift”.

That is a wider interpretation than would apply under the amendment, which refers to circumstances:

“where the original intended purpose is impossible, impracticable or illegal”.

I hope that he will accept that there is a sound definition for “cy-près” and will not press his amendment.

On amendment No. 27, which deals with “may” or “must”, I hope that I can reassure the hon. Member for Isle of Wight that his concerns are covered in clause 18. Proposed new section 14B(3) makes it clear that the matters defined in subsection (2)—when cy-près happens—relate to the spirit of the original gift and the desirability of securing that the properties apply for charitable purposes that are close to the original purposes. He can be reassured that when the transfer described in subsection (4) takes place, it will have to be applied for charitable purposes close to the original purposes. He may ask, “Why use ‘may’ rather than ‘must’”? That is a good question. The answer is that the charity to which the transfer is taking place already has similar purposes to those from which the transfer is made, so it will not be necessary for the scheme to impose a duty, because the intentions behind the duty will already be fulfilled.

Let me turn again, briefly, to a matter raised by the hon. Member for Cheltenham. We have described the right balance between the needs of charities to be able to make appeals and the protection of donors. I am struck by what the hon. Gentleman said, particularly about newspaper appeals or elsewhere and the potential difficulty of setting out a clear space for a declaration from the individual. He made a good point and I shall take it away and return to it on Report.

Photo of Helen Goodman Helen Goodman Labour, Bishop Auckland

I am grateful for the moral support of the hon. Member for Cheltenham, but I am slightly disappointed that the hon. Member for Isle of Wight did not give a little bit more praise for a deregulatory measure on which we had cross-party consensus. In view of the Minister’s words, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Motion made, and Question put, That the clause stand part of the Bill:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 11, Noes 4.

Division number 7 Nimrod Review — Statement — Clause 15

Aye: 11 MPs

No: 4 MPs

Aye: A-Z by last name

No: A-Z by last name

Question accordingly agreed to.

Clause 15 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Roger Gale Roger Gale Conservative, North Thanet

Before we proceed, it might be useful for Members to know that there is a likelihood that the Committee will sit between 8 and 10 o’clock this evening, as well as in the afternoon sitting between 4 and 7 o’clock. Members might wish to make the necessary adjustments to their diaries.

Clauses 16 to 19 ordered to stand part of the Bill.