Clause 23

Energy Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:00 pm on 26 February 2008.

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Secretary of state’s power of direction

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

Photo of Charles Hendry Charles Hendry Shadow Minister (Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform)

The clause seems generally fine, but I have a question about subsection (6), on the payment of interest. Can the Minister clarify how widespread such a provision is in Government policy? I know that they have always stood firm against firms being able to charge interest on the late payment of bills, and have not been prepared to legislate to allow that, but if we do not pay our tax on time, a statutory rate of interest applies. What is the general principle on the payment of interest on late payments?

Photo of Malcolm Wicks Malcolm Wicks Minister of State (Energy), Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform

I think that I had better write to the hon. Gentleman on that if I may, or I might be able to find a way to provide an answer later this afternoon. I want to get it absolutely right.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 23 ordered to stand part of the Bill.