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Clause 150

Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:00 am on 17th June 2008.

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Alternative finance arrangements: power to vary Chapter 5 of Part 2 of FA 2005

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

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands Conservative, Hammersmith and Fulham

May I welcome you, Mr. Cook, to the Chair? I shall speak at some length about clause 151, but first I wish to compare it with clause 150, and ask the Minister a question about one single word. Clause 150(4)(6) includes the words,

“involves the payment of interest, and...achieve a similar effect”.

In clause 151(8), the same phraseology is used, but instead of the word, “and”, the word, “but”, is used. I think that that may change the meaning of the clause significantly and I would be grateful for clarification as to why that is the case.

Photo of Kitty Ussher Kitty Ussher Economic Secretary, HM Treasury

I am extremely grateful to the hon. Member for Hammersmith and Fulham for raising that point, which appears to be a legal drafting point. If we are moving on to clause 151, with the Committee’s permission, since this question relates to both clauses, I shall answer his question during that debate.

Photo of Philip Hammond Philip Hammond Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury

On a point of order, Mr. Cook, the Committee will be asked to approve clause 150, and while I understand that the Minister will be better able to answer the question asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Hammersmith and Fulham at a later point, it will clearly not be much use to us if we find that the defect is in fact in clause 150. May I suggest that if the Minister is unable to answer the question that we adjourn for five minutes, to enable her to obtain an answer before we vote on clause 150?

Photo of Frank Cook Frank Cook Labour, Stockton North

The question is that the Committee adjourn for no more than five minutes.

Photo of Bob Blizzard Bob Blizzard Assistant Whip

On a point of order, Mr. Cook. [Interruption.]

Photo of Frank Cook Frank Cook Labour, Stockton North

I stand corrected. I shall suspend the sitting for five minutes.

Sitting suspended.

On resuming—

Photo of Kitty Ussher Kitty Ussher Economic Secretary, HM Treasury

I am somewhat emboldened now that I have no civil servants whatsoever in the room. I am delighted to be able to clarify the intention of both phrases, which is to achieve exactly the same effect—my understanding is that they are legally equivalent. I will go back and check, and if that proves not to be the case, we will introduce changes to make that intention clear. I hope that that is sufficient for the Committee to be able to agree to the clause, as the phrase in the clause will have the same effect as its equivalent in clause 151. We will make sure that they are the same before Royal Assent.

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands Conservative, Hammersmith and Fulham

I am not entirely happy with that, but we will have to accept it at face value and move on.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 150 ordered to stand part of the Bill.