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I beg to move amendment 8, in schedule 7, page 96, line 29, after acquisition, insert
by the company of a major interest in the land.
I was commenting that the hon. Member for Fareham was rather less than charitable about the fact that, after consultation in the sensitive area, two Government amendments have been tabled. They are very minor in nature, and they have been tabled because the parliamentary counsel decided that his earlier draft was unsatisfactory and had to be amended to provide clarity. I suspect that the amendment is about translating policy intention into legalese, rather than any major change in policy intention that happened between the printing of the Bill and amendments being tabled.
Amendment 8 will make it clear that the land has to have been contaminated when the major interest in it was acquired, and not when the life assurance business acquired any other interest in the land, such as a short lease. It will put the certainty of the meaning beyond doubt and will clear up points that were not as clear as the parliamentary counsel would have wished.
Under amendment 9, a company will be able claim land remediation relief under cost of qualifying works subcontracted to a connected party. As drafted, there are differences in the wording of the section that gives the relief and the section that quantifies the qualifying expenditure, which could create uncertainty. Amendment 9 removes that uncertainty by amending the legislation so that the same wording is used in all sections, which is a good principle to adopt when drafting Finance Bills, however thick they are and however many clauses they contain.
I have a quick question. The explanatory notes state that one of the reasons that the amendments are being made is to show that land has to be contaminated at the time that a major interest in the land is acquired for the expenditure to qualify for relief. If someone has a site that has been invaded by Japanese knotweed, what relief is available if they want to remove it from the land?
I think the best way to deal with such a specific question about Japanese knotweed would be for me to write to the hon. Gentleman. I would not want to give him the wrong advice on this evil plant.