Annual reporting: Adequacy of resources

Part of Criminal Finances Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:15 am on 22nd November 2016.

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Photo of Peter Dowd Peter Dowd Shadow Financial Secretary (Treasury) 11:15 am, 22nd November 2016

I started by talking about Parliament being able to have reports from the agencies concerned, given the seriousness of the issue facing us. The Minister, reasonably, told us that 100% of the proceeds will go to the appropriate agencies and be divvied up as appropriate. I completely accept that, in good faith, and repeat the point made earlier: that he is a reasonable man. I do not challenge the Minister’s reasonableness; my challenge is based on the fact that Parliament, given the nature of this issue, is perfectly entitled to receive reports from agencies—no doubt articulated through the Departments in some fashion—on their resources. A definition of “adequacy” is that something is proportionate, or sufficient for its purpose. That is a matter for Parliament to discuss. It will not necessarily be able to do anything other than discuss it, but the discussion may produce views and experiences for the Minister to consider.

As to the Minister’s point that this is not something to go into primary legislation, about this time last year I was on the Committee that for 17 sittings considered the Housing and Planning Bill. There were all sorts of things in that Bill far less important to the health and integrity of the nation. Indeed, in the past, local government Acts—primary legislation—have even included provisions on how many hours off a person in one local authority can have, compared with a person in another. Primary legislation can be used in a range of ways. It is for the Government of the day to say, “We have nothing to fear from the reports coming before Parliament, from openness and transparency, or from challenge.”