Clause 18

Part of Statistics and Registration Service Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:00 pm on 23rd January 2007.

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Photo of Vincent Cable Vincent Cable Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Treasury) 5:00 pm, 23rd January 2007

I beg to move amendment No. 124, in clause 18, page 8, line 15, leave out “itself”.

This might be a purely semantic grappling point that need not detain us for long. However, I was struck by the fact that, throughout, the Bill makes reference to, “the board may”, or “the board must”, or “the board shall”, or “the board is”, but suddenly the parliamentary draftsman got excited and wrote, the “board may itself produce”. It may just be purely a coincidence and a case of the parliamentary draftsman getting a bit bored and feeling the need for a little variety, but it seems rather pointless. If there should be any point of emphasis, this is probably not the place to put it. The thrust of the Bill is that the board will be responsible not just for oversight but for production of statistics. As has been explained, that will operate through Chinese walls and it will be the National Statistician who carries out the production. So this is a very odd place to emphasise the board’s role.

On that probably extremely pedantic little point of redrafting, perhaps we might achieve some results with the Government on this issue, and I ask the Minister whether he will ask the parliamentary draftsman to think again.