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Clause 179

Banking Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:45 pm on 28th October 2008.

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Inspection

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

Photo of David Gauke David Gauke Shadow Minister (Treasury)

We enter into the enforcement area of part 5. I have more comments to make on clause 180, some of which relate to this clause. Does the Minister  consider the inspection powers in clause 179 to be exceptional? I assume that the Bank of England will be able to work co-operatively with operators of payment systems without recourse to the relevant clauses.

Subsection (2) says that an operator must

“grant an inspector access, on request and at any reasonable time, to premises on or from which any part of the system is operated”.

What will the notice period for an inspector to access premises be? Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, for example, has various rules and guidance about how much notice it should give an entity before it gains access to premises. What does the Minister see the position as being in those circumstances? It is particularly significant, given the issues regarding clause 180, but I hope to address those this afternoon.

Photo of Stewart Hosie Stewart Hosie Shadow Chief Whip (Commons), Shadow Spokesperson (Treasury)

The clause is fairly similar to a clause that we discussed earlier with regard to the provision for HMRC officers to have access to ascertain documents. We had a debate in another Committee Room about what “a document” meant.

It being One o’clock, The Chairman adjourned the Committee without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.

Adjourned till this day at half-past Four o’clock.