Mr Nigel Beard: Will the right hon. Gentleman explain why public services did not improve under the Governments of whom he was a member, who determined to have low taxes and under whom this country's public services rotted and declined to an unprecedented degree?
Mr Nigel Beard: Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?
Mr Nigel Beard: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress has been made in establishing the Universal Bank; and which commercial banks are collaborating with the scheme and in what way.
Mr Nigel Beard: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on policy towards establishing a stable Government in Afghanistan.
Mr Nigel Beard: The right hon. Gentleman has attempted to associate Robert Maxwell with new Labour or, recently, the Labour party, three times during his speech. Has he any evidence of Robert Maxwell's link in financial terms with new Labour or the Labour party, as opposed to Robert Maxwell's link to individual people in a private capacity?
Mr Nigel Beard: Does my right hon. Friend agree that both the manufacturing and service sectors of business in Britain will benefit from Government policies to enhance and encourage enterprise? How does Britain compare with its international competitors as an enterprise culture?
Mr Nigel Beard: Does my hon. Friend agree that the future of manufacturing depends, crucially, on the rate of innovation? In that context, what responses have been received from business and industry for the proposed research and development tax credit for larger companies?
Mr Nigel Beard: Is my right hon. Friend aware of the recent report produced by the National Association of Pension Funds which shows that new entrants to pensions are increasingly offered money purchase schemes rather than final salary schemes? Moreover, it shows that employers' contributions to money purchase schemes are only just over half the contributions to final salary schemes. The implication is that...
Mr Nigel Beard: While I recognise my right hon. Friend's distinguished record in fighting child poverty and family poverty, as well as the truth of much of what he is saying, what alternative measures would he suggest to tackle such poverty?
Mr Nigel Beard: Does the proposal for an intergovernmental conference responding to the enlargement of the European Union and the preparatory convention chaired by Mr. Giscard d'Estaing imply that the treaty of Nice is, in essence, an interim measure?
Mr Nigel Beard: Srebrenica experienced an appalling atrocity on NATO's doorstep, in which 8,000 innocent people were killed. The perpetrators of the crime and their whereabouts are known. Why is it taking so long to bring General Mladic and Radovan Karadzic to justice?
Mr Nigel Beard: I remind the Committee that with this we are considering amendment No. 31, in page 6, line 40, after 'according', insert 'to the number of adults in the family and'.
Mr Nigel Beard: With this it will be convenient to take the following amendments: No. 79, in page 7, line 24, leave out from 'persons' to ', or' in line 25 and insert 'has one or more children or qualifying young persons in their direct care'. No. 80, in clause 11, page 7, line 31, after 'persons', insert 'having one or more children or qualifying young persons in their direct care'.
Mr Nigel Beard: Order. The hon. Gentleman should return to clause 10.
Mr Nigel Beard: Order. I have allowed the hon. Gentleman a modicum of latitude, but he should stick to clause 10.
Mr Nigel Beard: I hope that the Minister will not accept the hon. Gentleman's invitation to go beyond clause 10.
Mr Nigel Beard: I remind the Committee that with this we are taking amendment No. 113, in page 16, line 21, at end insert— 'provided that the regulations shall provide that payment shall be through post offices where the claimant elects for payment by such method'.
Mr Nigel Beard: We now come to the Programming Sub-Committee's further programme motion, which has been circulated. Ordered, That the Resolution of the Committee of 15 January be amended as follows— (1) in paragraph (1), at end insert 'save that on Thursday 24 January the Committee shall meet between half-past Nine o'clock and half-past Ten o'clock and at Two o'clock; and (2) paragraph (4) is...
Mr Nigel Beard: With this it will be convenient to take Government amendments Nos. 91 and 92.
Mr Nigel Beard: With this it will be convenient to take amendment No. 68, in page 18, line 45, at end insert— '(2A) For the purpose of subsection (1) above, an excess is only recoverable if it is determined that, whether fraudulently or otherwise, any person has misrepresented, or failed to disclose, any material fact, and in consequence of the misrepresentation or failure an excess was paid.'.