Results 81–100 of 449 for speaker:George Hollingbery

Public Bill Committee: Water Bill: Clause 24 - Strategic priorities and objectives (10 Dec 2013)

George Hollingbery: That is what the hon. Gentleman’s amendment makes clear. I would say it is beyond the wisdom of Solomon for anyone to do this job with a continually rolling one-year view. In what time frame does he envisage this profit is made—is it in the past year or the future? The amendment does not mention that. At what stage will we see proposals on how Ofwat will be instructed? Will that...

Public Bill Committee: Water Bill: Clause 24 - Strategic priorities and objectives (10 Dec 2013)

George Hollingbery: At the very least, we would have to come up with some byzantine and complex metric by which, each year, the Secretary of State would have to measure whether they ought to interfere.

Public Bill Committee: Water Bill: Clause 24 - Strategic priorities and objectives (10 Dec 2013)

George Hollingbery: My view is that what the hon. Gentleman proposes would institutionalise the interference; it would set it down in statute that, every single year, the Secretary of State had to stick their finger in the air, try to gauge where the wind was coming from and decide whether to interfere. An extraordinary metric would have to be drawn up and approved by Parliament for that to be judged each time,...

Public Bill Committee: Water Bill: Clause 24 - Strategic priorities and objectives (10 Dec 2013)

George Hollingbery: It is only because I am about to sit down.

Public Bill Committee: Water Bill: Clause 24 - Strategic priorities and objectives (10 Dec 2013)

George Hollingbery: The hon. Gentleman will know that the reasons those returns are allowed in this monopolistic situation is the enormous investment that is required to ensure that it functions at all. Since privatisation, £125 billion has been funded by the private sector at reasonable rates of interest, because there is certainty.

Public Bill Committee: Water Bill: Clause 24 - Strategic priorities and objectives (10 Dec 2013)

George Hollingbery: I think that the hon. Gentleman understands as well as I do that the levels of return are set by Ofwat. If he has a complaint about the levels of return taken by water companies, he should talk to Ofwat about the job it is doing, and why it is failing so badly at it. I have made my points. The amendment is poorly drafted. The intention is clear, and I understand why the Opposition would want...

Public Bill Committee: Water Bill: Clause 24 - Strategic priorities and objectives (10 Dec 2013)

George Hollingbery: As far as I am concerned the amendment is the hon. Gentleman’s. I do not believe that the Clerks are responsible for it. He has tabled it and moved it, so it is his amendment. My opinion as a member of the Committee is that it is poorly drafted and does not include all it should to make it workable. In any event, I think it is unworkable.

Public Bill Committee: Water Bill: Clause 24 - Strategic priorities and objectives (10 Dec 2013)

George Hollingbery: I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman. As I understood it, he was developing an idea about measuring the difference between things that are deservedly charged for and money that is saved, and things that are undeservedly charged for, such as interest rate drops and so on, versus cost savings within an organisation. I hope that he agrees that it would be extraordinarily difficult to quantify...

Public Bill Committee: Water Bill: Clause 24 - Strategic priorities and objectives (10 Dec 2013)

George Hollingbery: I am very interested in the hon. Gentleman’s argument and I want to press him slightly. How do we define an unexpected circumstance, and what triggers a review? It is a key question. We would have to define very carefully when it was reasonable to review the circumstances surrounding a factor. Thames Water may have decided—it probably did not—to sell its debt to investors at...

Public Bill Committee: Water Bill: Clause 24 - Strategic priorities and objectives (10 Dec 2013)

George Hollingbery: That goes right to the heart of my point. We need to be extremely careful to understand that if the hon. Gentleman’s amendment was passed, we would be trying to judge those unknowns before they happened. We will have to define exactly what we think might be unknown, in order to be fair to investors who have taken a risk investing in the water company.

Public Bill Committee: Water Bill: Clause 24 - Strategic priorities and objectives (10 Dec 2013)

George Hollingbery: I am slightly struggling with—

Public Bill Committee: Water Bill: Clause 23 - General duty as regards undue preference in the provision of services (10 Dec 2013)

George Hollingbery: On a point of order, Mrs Riordan. I do not intend to cause any trouble at all, but I would just like, for information, to understand the procedure we have just gone through. The Committee clearly voted for clause stand part. Can I be illuminated as to whether or not it formally ought  to have been asked of the Government parties whether they were content to take that vote again? I am...

Public Bill Committee: Water Bill: Clause 23 - General duty as regards undue preference in the provision of services (10 Dec 2013)

George Hollingbery: I am grateful—I really meant that in the spirit of the free flow of information.

Public Bill Committee: Water Bill: Clause 16 - Charges schemes (10 Dec 2013)

George Hollingbery: Does the hon. Gentleman agree that the vast majority of Opposition Members, while understandably impassioned about their constituents, actually spent a lot of time discussing a scheme that he was not proposing?

Public Bill Committee: Water Bill: Clause 16 - Charges schemes (10 Dec 2013)

George Hollingbery: I absolutely understand the point the hon. Lady is making, and I commend her enthusiasm. Affordability is indeed a great concern for a great many consumers, but I think she just said that in conversations with her, water companies suggested that they did not like to impose these social arrangements because others in the water area would have to pick up the bill. However, I believe the...

Public Bill Committee: Water Bill: Clause 16 - Charges schemes (10 Dec 2013)

George Hollingbery: I largely agree with the hon. Gentleman and with my hon. Friend the Member for Dover. All companies that operate in this country should pay tax in this county and should support the public goods which we want to develop and which they use. However, I hope the hon. Gentleman will acknowledge that some of those headline numbers are a little more complex than they appear on the surface. The...

Public Bill Committee: Water Bill: Clause 16 - Charges schemes (10 Dec 2013)

George Hollingbery: I have been hypothesising in my head and I think that the hon. Gentleman is setting a general case, which, when applied in some specific cases, could be extremely difficult to deliver. If a water company serviced many people who had affordability issues and not terribly many who did not have such issues, how would his scheme be funded?

Public Bill Committee: Water Bill: Clause 16 - Charges schemes (10 Dec 2013)

George Hollingbery: I asked a specific question, to which I would like an answer.

Public Bill Committee: Water Bill: Clause 16 - Charges schemes (10 Dec 2013)

George Hollingbery: On a point of information, I have never said that I am against social tariffs. I simply do not understand where the hon. Gentleman got that from.

Public Bill Committee: Water Bill: Clause 16 - Charges schemes (10 Dec 2013)

George Hollingbery: I think the question I asked was antithetic to that. I think I said that if the number of people who require help with their water bills through the affordability scheme is worked out according to the hon. Gentleman’s method, which is presumably by household income, and it so happened that in one water company’s area 90% of people required support and 10% did not, how would that...


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