Peter Atkinson: Will the Minister admit that that is a totally unjustified attack on the regional transport board, which was given a paltry £547 million for all transport—rail, buses and roads—in the north-east over the next 10 years? It had to work within that constraint when fixing its priorities. Does the Minister accept that the only way that important schemes such as the A1 western bypass could go...
Peter Atkinson: One of the problems that Northumberland faces is that on the basis of funding per pupil, it is in the bottom four of all local education authorities in England. As the Minister saw on his visit, the county has to deal with providing education in one of the most sparsely populated counties in England, coupled with dealing with social deprivation in the former coalfield areas of the south-east...
Peter Atkinson: On two housekeeping points, I remind hon. Members that adequate notice should be given of amendments and that, as a general rule, my fellow Chairman and I do not intend to call starred amendments. I also remind hon. Members to switch off their mobile phones and pagers in Committee. We come first to the programme motion, debate on which may continue for up to half an hour.
Peter Atkinson: We now move to the second motion. I call the Minister to move the motion to report written evidence. This is a formality whereby any written evidence that the Committee accepts enjoys the benefit of parliamentary privilege.
Peter Atkinson: Order. For the sake of clarification of the record, I want to make it clear that neither the Chair nor the Committee has the power to authorise the transcription of this material. It is simply up to the Minister or the Government to do so or not.
Peter Atkinson: Before I call Mr. Kidney, I shall just say that we have had, for sensible reasons, a wide-ranging debate on the amendment—although perhaps wider than should strictly be permitted by the Chair. I am happy with that, but if hon. Members want a clause stand part debate, they will have difficulty persuading me to allow it.
Peter Atkinson: I remind the Committee that with this we are discussing the following amendments: No. 12,in clause 3, page 3, line 25, at end insert— ‘( ) Arrangements under subsection (2) shall not apply in respect of functions specified in section 1(1)(a), 1(2)(a) and 1(2)(c).’. No. 25, in clause 3, page 3, line 35, at end add— ‘(6) In carrying out their functions under this Part, and in...
Peter Atkinson: With this it will be convenient to discuss the following amendments: No. 8, in schedule 1, page 22, line 15, at end insert—‘(c) a magistrate.’. No. 38, in schedule 1, page 22, line 15, at end insert— ‘(c) a magistrate for the area in which the probation trust carries out its functions; and (d) a local councillor for the area in which the probation trust carries out its...
Peter Atkinson: With this it will be convenient to discuss amendment No. 36, in schedule 1, page 23, leave out lines 22 to 29.
Peter Atkinson: Order. I am a little confused. Is the hon. Gentleman talking about amendment No. 9? He seems to be talking about amendment No. 10.
Peter Atkinson: Given that licence fee payers are contributing more than £800 million to the cost of digital switchover, will they get their money back when the Government sell off the surplus analogue spectrum?
Peter Atkinson: I am not sure whether that was a point of order.
Peter Atkinson: On that point, I understand that the document has to go to the scrutiny unit and be approved by the Chairman before it can be printed.
Peter Atkinson: Order. I say to the hon. and learned Gentleman that the scrutiny unit is part of the new modernisation process. No doubt he will be modernised appropriately later in the week.
Peter Atkinson: Order. I must stop the hon. and learned Gentleman there. The amendment is about child care, so he is straying extremely wide of the detail.
Peter Atkinson: Order. I do not think that that tactic will get you round me.
Peter Atkinson: Order. The hon. and learned Gentleman might direct his attention to the new clauses, which will give him the opportunity that he seeks.
Peter Atkinson: I shall come back to the hon. and learned Gentleman after I have taken advice, as this is uncharted territory.
Peter Atkinson: I understand that that should be no problem. Further consideration adjourned.—[Mr. Alan Campbell.]
Peter Atkinson: You nicked it.