There is a need for the amendment, and I wish to speak in favour of it. I am not sure whether it would be needed if the Government had provided much more detail and clarity on how the funding arrangements will operate. The Financial Secretary will know that that was a matter of serious concern tothe Treasury Committee, because he appeared in front of it.
The Treasury Committee stated in recommendation 21:
“It is important that the Government consider the detail of the process whereby the new statistics office’s budget will be set... We look forward to the Government producing detailed proposals, and recommend that it outlines these proposals in its response to this report.”
The Government did not do so. We also commented in recommendation 22 that there was little detail in the Green Paper and that
“the Government was unable to provide us with any further detail or clarification.”
Importantly, we went on to share not our concerns but those of the Statistics Commission—the Government’s own watchdog—and other statistical authorities around the world, particularly the chief statistician of Canada, that
“the proposals, as they stand, could undermine the new independent statistics office’s ability to determine its own work programme.”
That is why it is a matter of some regret that we have not yet heard details of how the new budget arrangements will be set. [Interruption.]