Clause 53

Statistics and Registration Service Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 1:15 pm on 25th January 2007.

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Transfers etc from ONS to the Board

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

Photo of Michael Fallon Michael Fallon Chair, Treasury Sub-Committee

Clause 53 deals with the legal transfers from the ONS to the board and may include the current property of the ONS. That gives us the  opportunity once more to be clear about the property that will be transferred. We touched on this issue obliquely last Thursday—under your chairmanship, Mr. Olner—when we discussed the position of the staff and whether the London office, currently in Pimlico, will be retained.

I assume from the clause that the ONS headquarters in Pimlico will be transferred to the board, but there is uncertainty about how much of the London office will be retained. I understand that, at the time of the Lyons and Gershon reviews, the assurance was given that a London presence—presumably, a London property—would be retained after the move to Newport. However, I am not entirely clear whether those assurances still stand and whether the 100 or so staff will remain there after 2010. Will the Financial Secretary clarify whether the lease—or whatever it is—on Drummond Gate will be transferred formally to the new board and, if not, whether the new board will retain a London property?

Photo of John Healey John Healey The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

During our discussions on the previous clause—the hon. Gentleman might like to check this in the official record—I said that all ONS property rights and liabilities will transfer to the statistics board. Beyond that, decisions about how those properties, or any others, and the work force are managed will be matters for the ONS and, in future, the statistics board. I hope that the hon. Gentleman accepts that those matters are not my responsibility.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 53 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 54 to 57 ordered to stand part of the Bill.