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Clause 85

Part of Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:15 pm on 18th June 2009.

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Photo of Ian Pearson Ian Pearson Economic Secretary, HM Treasury 3:15 pm, 18th June 2009

I welcome that clarification. However, I am keen to ensure that our information flows are as good as possible, so that the hon. Gentleman has the information that he feels that he needs in this area.

First, I want to stress that the Government amendments are technical amendments, which build on the reforms introduced in the existing schedule. As the hon. Gentleman mentioned, they have been introduced as a result of further constructive meetings with oil and gas stakeholders following publication of the Finance Bill. That was confirmed in the letter from my hon. Friend the Member for Burnley.

The Government amendments extend the proposed legislation to ensure that it applies in the full range of asset trading circumstances that may occur in relation to the North sea. Although there are a large number of Government amendments to the schedule—31 in all—I assure the Committee that they cover only four areas. The first two relate to part 1 of the schedule and deal  with licence swaps. They will allow companies to swap licence interests in developed areas for licence interests in undeveloped areas, and to swap multiple licences in a single transaction.