Schedule 12

Crossrail Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:00 pm on 27 November 2007.

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Transfer schemes

Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Shadow Minister (Transport)

I beg to move amendment No. 53, in schedule 12, page 196, line 40, leave out ‘any person, including the Secretary of State’ and insert

‘either the Secretary of State or the nominated undertaker’.

Photo of Ann Winterton Ann Winterton Conservative, Congleton

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following amendments: No. 54, in schedule 12, page 197, line 13, leave out ‘any person, including the Secretary of State’ and insert

‘either the Secretary of State or the nominated undertaker’.

No. 55, in schedule 12, page 197, line 22, leave out ‘any person’ and insert ‘the nominated undertaker’.

Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Shadow Minister (Transport)

The three amendments are identical in purpose. They relate to schedule 12, which relates, as the Minister has just said, to the transfer of property rights and liabilities from one party to another. Their purpose is to ensure that the transfer is made to an appropriate party.

It is not necessary for the Secretary of State to make a transfer scheme for anyone other than herself or the nominated undertaker. Throughout the Bill, we have given those two people various rights and powers, but the schedule appears unduly to extend that principle. I therefore look forward to the Minister explaining the circumstances in which he envisages property rights or liabilities will need to be transferred to someone other than the Secretary of State or the nominated undertaker for the purposes of the schedule.

Photo of Tom Harris Tom Harris Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

Schedule 12 sets out the Secretary of State’s powers to make schemes for the transfer of property rights and liabilities—known as transfer schemes—from himself or certain other bodies to any person, including the Secretary of State. If approved, the amendments would remove the Secretary of State’s right to make a scheme for the transfer of property rights and liabilities from himself to any person, including the Secretary of State, and instead limit his powers of transfer to

“either the Secretary of State or the nominated undertaker”.

If approved, the amendments would remove the Secretary of State’s right to make a scheme for the purposes connected with Crossrail for the transfer of property rights and liabilities from the Greater London authority, TfL, the London Development Agency and their subsidiaries to any person, including the Secretary of State, and instead constrain the Secretary of State’s powers of transfer to

“either the Secretary of State or the nominated undertaker”.

Finally, amendment No. 55 would, if approved, remove the Secretary of State’s right to make a scheme for the purposes connected with Crossrail for the transfer of property rights and liabilities from the Secretary of State or a company wholly owned by him to any person, and instead limit the Secretary of State’s powers of transfer to the nominated undertaker.

Taking the amendments collectively, the hon. Gentleman’s overall intention appears to be to restrict the Secretary of State’s powers to transfer property rights and liabilities from himself to any person, which would not make much sense at this stage of the project. The project is at a stage where the final ownership structure has not yet been decided, so it is too early to say with absolute certainty who all the players might be. It must therefore make sense to allow flexibility in the making of transfer schemes to cater for all eventualities, so I hope that the hon. Gentleman will consider withdrawing the amendment.

Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Shadow Minister (Transport)

I understand the Minister’s clear explanation, but I was seeking some examples of where these powers will be necessary. I fully understand his desire not to limit flexibility, but we none the less need an example of where the Secretary of State might feel that these powers are necessary.

Photo of Tom Harris Tom Harris Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

Network Rail, for example, might be subject to a transfer of property to it from the Secretary of State in respect of assets at a tunnel interface.

Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Shadow Minister (Transport)

I am grateful for that. After that example and the Minister’s full explanation I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Schedule 12 agreed to.