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Clause 51

Banking Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:45 pm on 11th November 2008.

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Independent valuer: money

Photo of Jimmy Hood Jimmy Hood Labour, Lanark and Hamilton East

With this it will be convenient to discuss Government amendments Nos. 109 and 111.

Photo of Ian Pearson Ian Pearson Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Economic and Business), Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform, Economic Secretary (Economic and Business), HM Treasury

This clause provides for the Treasury to make provision in an order for the remuneration and allowances of independent valuers, the staff of independent valuers and appointing persons.

While the Treasury will pay the remuneration and expenses of the independent valuer, the Treasury must put in place a monitor to oversee the remuneration and any allowances for the independent valuer, including pension arrangements. As part of his or her role, the monitor may be required to approve certain actions including the appointment of staff. The Government amendments to this clause are intended to ensure that the Treasury can remunerate and reimburse the expenses of the monitor for the functions that he or she is undertaking, which I am sure the Committee will agree is a sensible provision.

Returning to the provisions of the clause, it also provides that independent valuers and their staff should not be liable for damages for actions taken in good faith. The exemption is, however, limited so the exemption will not apply if the act or omission is ultra vires, or in bad faith, or would prevent an award of damages under section 6(1) of the Human Rights Act 1998 in respect of acts or omissions that are unlawful. This is a relatively common provision.

Finally, I wish the Committee to note that the provisions to put in place and provide the independent valuers with powers and remuneration are to be made by an order subject to the negative resolution procedure. Of course, the compensation orders themselves, which will set out such matters as valuation principles, will be subject to the draft affirmative procedure.

I hope that hon. Members will agree with this Government amendment to ensure that the monitor can be remunerated. I have provided the Committee with an explanation of the purpose and effect.

Photo of David Gauke David Gauke Shadow Minister (Treasury)

We certainly will not be opposing this amendment but I would be grateful if the Minister clarified the role of the monitor. Will the monitor have the right of veto over specified actions? Perhaps the Minister can elaborate on what those actions will be.

Photo of Peter Bone Peter Bone Conservative, Wellingborough

I was not following the Minister’s statement as intently as I should have done. I thought he said “negative” resolution for one of the provisions. As far as I am aware, all the statutory instruments related to this Bill so far have been affirmative. This, of course, means that Members have the chance to debate them in one and half hours but they are not amendable. A negative one—unless it is prayed against—will just go through. I missed which one they were trying to sneak through without any proper scrutiny.

Photo of Ian Pearson Ian Pearson Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Economic and Business), Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform, Economic Secretary (Economic and Business), HM Treasury

We are not trying to sneak anything through. As I explained to the Committee, the compensation orders will be subject to the draft affirmative procedure. It is the compensation orders that are likely to attract the most interest. The provisions to put in place and provide the independent valuer with powers and remuneration will be subject to the negative resolution procedure. That is the right balance to adopt.

We have not made express provision as to who the monitor would be but it is our intention that he or she should be an independent person with relevant experience. They could be a civil servant; they could come from the Audit Commission; they could be undertaking the task on a commercial basis. We would want to look at who was most appropriate depending on the circumstances. To clarify, the monitor cannot veto action but can and will be expected to provide an independent audit and report to the Treasury on expenses. I hope that the Government amendments will be supported.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment made:No. 109, in clause 51, page 23, line 39, at end insert ‘, and—

(d) monitors.’.—[Ian Pearson.]

Clause 51, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.