HC Deb 24 May 1993 vol 225 cc703-13

'.—(1) The Secretary of State may, for the purpose of securing the provision of adequate services for the carriage of goods by railway, enter into agreements with goods service operators under which he undertakes to make payments to the goods service operator in question in respect of all or any part of the track access charges which may be incurred by the goods service operator in connection with the provision of the services to which the agreement relates.

(2) The Secretary of State shall not enter into an agreement by virtue of subsection (1) above unless he is satisfied that benefits of a social or environmental nature are likely to result from the provision of those services for the carriage of goods by railway to which the agreement relates.

(3) Any sums required by the Secretary of State for making payments under agreements entered into by virtue of this section shall be paid out of money provided by Parliament.

(4) In this section— goods service operator" means a person who operates services for the carriage of goods by railway; track access charge" means any payment required to be made under an access agreement conferring a right to use track; and expressions used in this section and in Part I above have the same meaning in this section as they have in that Part.'.—[Mr. MacGregor.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

11.45 pm
Mr. MacGregor

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this, it will be convenient to discuss also Government amendment No. 73.

Mr. MacGregor

This is the only Report stage debate on freight, and at this hour of night I will be brief. It is unfortunate that we could not have had the debate earlier, because the freight aspects of our proposals are most important. Our purpose is to deal with an issue that has faced nearly every country around the world. Over the years, the volume of freight taken on rail as a proportion of inland freight has markedly declined. We are not unusual in that. Last week, I published the Government's proposals on "Rail Freight Privatisation", which on page 5 presents a table that shows the share of freight moved by rail compared with other modes.

In Great Britain the figure is 7.2 per cent.; in France, 8.5 per cent.; western Germany, 8.7 per cent.; the Netherlands, 2.5 per cent.; Belgium, 12.7 per cent.; and Spain, 2.4 per cent. Although those figures do not show the movement over the years, they clearly indicate that rail freight accounts for a small proportion of the total. The Government's objective is to halt that decline and to move freight back on to rail.

There are three major reasons for that trend. First, the kind of bulk freight for which rail is most suited is itself a declining market. Secondly, the expanding market for consumer goods freight are just-in-time deliveries to supermarkets and so on—where the requirement is to shift comparatively small amounts every day to individual supermarkets, with prompt delivery. That is normal commercial practice, and all the developments are in that direction. Rail is not particularly well suited to competing with road for that sort of freight, and it must improve in order to do so.

Thirdly, a key issue in the competitiveness and viability of rail is its suitability for transporting freight over long distances—and almost inevitably, we do not have as many as other countries. The same table that I quoted earlier shows that the average length of haul in Great Britain is 113 miles, compared with 154 in France, 249 in western Germany, and 367 in Italy. However, I believe that the channel tunnel offers an opportunity to overcome that distance problem, to make rail freight more viable. That is why there is such a concentration of investment by British Rail at this time.

I have never hidden the fact during the past year that it will he a big challenge to shift more freight back to rail, but I believe that our proposals—some of which were contained in the document that I published last week—offer the best package of opportunities in offering a combination of selling rail freight to the private sector, open access, breaking British Rail's monopoly, and enabling more freight operators to offer individual services or multiple services.

Also included is the three-point package that I presented on Second Reading. That brings me to new clause 17, which honours my undertaking on Second Reading to bring forward provisions to allow the payment of grants to rail freight operators in respect of track access charges. They seek to tip the balance in favour of rail over road where that is economically and viably sensible. Grant will be triggered only where there are demonstrable social and environmental benefits.

At this time of night, I do not propose to go into all the details. I am happy to do so, if that is required during the debate. All I would say at this stage is that the new clause provides for new track grants for goods operations. Therefore, I commend it to the House. It is a modest new grant. It is designed to deal with those marginal rail freight flows that cannot fully pay their way, and where track costs are the problem.

However, taken as part of the package which I have briefly outlined, I believe that it offers the best opportunity for getting more freight off the roads and on to rail and, in particular, of halting the decline in the carriage of freight by rail. That is something to which everybody subscribes but which has proved very difficult to achieve in practice. I believe that our proposals, of which this is part, offer the best opportunity.

Mr. Prescott

Like the Secretary of State, I feel that the debate on freight warrants more time than it is likely to get because of the pressures of time at this late hour. I do not disagree fundamentally with the Government's approach. I have argued for it for 20 years, even against a Labour Government. We are now beginning to witness the acceptance in this country of a social freight system—acceptance that subsidies should be used to encourage the movement of freight from road to rail. There has been some movement in the past few years as a result of the section 8 provision—but not enough. It has not made up for the difference between the costs of moving freight by road compared with rail.

No matter how effective these provisions may be—we hope that they will be effective—the reality is that most freight traffic—85 per cent., or even more—will always be carried by road. A 1 per cent. increase in total freight traffic is the equivalent of almost double what is carried by rail at this time. Road traffic is increasing by 1 per cent. a year, anyway.

The road versus rail argument has always been a nonsense. We should use both road and rail capacity as best we can. There is considerable congestion on our roads. It is agreed that we shall be unable to build our way out of that problem and that we should use rail more effectively than we do now. Past policy has not been right in one particular respect: that freight should be expected to achieve an 8 per cent. rate of return. It has been difficult for British Rail operators to achieve that return. One difficulty facing British Rail is that its rolling stock, particularly engines, is very old. British Rail freight is often pulled by two or three engines, on account of their age. It was one of the reasons that led me to accept that private sector capital should be made available to British Rail for freight. I have never had an ideologial problem over that.

British Rail's need for capital is so great that if private sector companies, such as English China Clays, are prepared to provide resources to take that traffic off the roads and put it on to rail, it is a good investment for the community. It is far more expensive to build roads than to use fully, by means of subsidy, the rail capacity that is already available.

There have been a number of examples, but a simple change from public to private resources does not guarantee overnight success. English China Clays ran into problems when Tiger Rail moved into Scotland. That was a private operation. It went bankrupt. Rail Charter, another private company. is another example. There is no guarantee, I repeat, that private operations will be a success. Those examples perhaps reflect the difficulties of the times.

My point is, perhaps, an ideological one: that a change of ownership does not necessarily guarantee that there will be a movement from road to rail. We spend far too long arguing about whether "public" means only public money and public use and about whether "private" means privately owned, effective use being made only of private capital. That is not the case.

British Rail has been judged a little unfairly. Its long-haul freight, particularly the movement of coal and steel, has been in massive decline, for reasons that are known to the House. Its merry-go-round trains were in advance of rail investment in most other parts of the country. It has a good record on through haul.

One of the problems of moving a large amount of traffic from the road to rail is that one cannot always guarantee that the traffic will be in trainloads. Trainloads are cheap but much traffic is in wagonloads. It is very expensive to operate a wagonload system and we must recognise that there are financial problems in attracting traffic from the roads and on to the rail.

The irony is that the Government's own proposals, with the enforcement of the expected rates of return which they have increased in the past 12 months, have forced British Rail to ditch more traffic. We have mentioned cider, cement and other products, trainloads of which are being chased off the railways and on to the roads. That is unfortunate. Indeed, it is silly that the resources which will be available under the new rules are not made readily available to British Rail by the Secretary of State. He could ensure that they are, although there was some dispute about the issue on Second Reading.

There is nothing to stop the Secretary of State making changes under section 8 to increase the subsidy in order to retain the traffic which is currently moved by rail and which the private sector wishes to keep on the railway but which is increasingly being forced on to the roads. It would be sad if traffic were moved back on to the railway once the orders are introduced. Why cannot the Secretary of State take the necessary action now? It would be welcomed by all involved.

Mr. Nigel Spearing (Newham, South)

My hon. Friend is making a fundamental point. With the new clause, the Government are apparently attempting to do something that they refused to do under public ownership. Perhaps my hon. Friend will confirm that.

As this is the Report stage, will my hon. Friend mention some elementary points which have not come across in public print? On what basis will Railtrack charge for freight traffic which will presumably be originated by anyone who can offer the stock and locomotives for a particular service? Will it be in the hands of the accountants, or will it be subject to marginal cost pricing? It is possible that there could be an increase in freight traffic merely through the accountants' use of figures.

Mr. Prescott

There is a great deal in what my hon. Friend says. It brings to mind an experience of the railway system in my area of Hull, which led me to argue with the Labour Government of the time that their view that there should be no subsidy for freight, and the accounting rules affecting the operation of the freight system, were nonsense.

Freightliner which operated from Hull provided a network service to a major port. It was desperately short of cash and wanted a Freightliner crane in York to be moved to Liverpool, but it was unable to get the Treasury to give it increased resources or to raise its borrowing requirement and so began to cannibalise the system. it argued that it needed to move the crane. It made sense from Freightliner's point of view but it meant that the community was going to lose a freight service.

When I approached the then Labour Minister, he argued that a subsidy could be given only to the passenger service, not to freight. It sounded like a fair principle and I understood why he said what he did, but the consequence was that we lost the freight service and the line lost revenue. By losing revenue, and because the Government were prepared to increase the subsidy for passengers, the community ended up paying more in passenger subsidy and losing a freight service. In my view, the community lost because more traffic went on to the roads and we paid more in subsidy because we believed in subsidies for passengers but not for freight.

The new clause raises the possibility that subsidies can be used, a notion in which I have always believed. I am glad that the Secretary of State is introducing the idea, although I could not convince the Labour Government at that time that they should consider it. It is a sound idea. Like many of my ideas, the Government have got around to picking it up so I can hardly vote against them on this occasion. We hope that it will have the desired effect, although I am a little doubtful.

We must wait and see what the total costs are because one of the difficulties with the Government's thinking now is the track costs. Railtrack, an independent body, may be expected to make an 8 per cent. rate of return. For an independent body which is presently in the public sector but earmarked to go into the private sector, that rate of return, or whatever rate is expected, means that the costs will be considerable and that they will be imposed on the operator. The Government say that the new grant under the new clause is geared to dealing with that track cost. I hear from operators that they have some doubt about that; I hope that they are wrong. We need to know many more details.

12 midnight

I have seen the complicated formulae which are available in the consultative documents on the matter. I do not know whether the Secretary of State understands them. I am not sure that I understand them although I have tried to do so on a number of occasions. We shall have to see some examples before we can have a full understanding. The bottom line seems to be that the Government are prepared to pay subsidies for anything that is not operating costs. The operators are expected to provide the fuel and the running costs, but subsidies could make up the difference between what the commercial provider is prepared to give—[Interruption.] I thought that I heard a different view being expressed in the official Box. As the House moved from passenger to freight services, a new group of civil servants walked in. I have often thought that it would have been nice in the past few days to have had different advisers to give us advice on different matters.

The complexity of the system is such that everything will depend on how much money is made available. As I understand the Secretary of State, there was to be a limit on the amount of subsidy available which has now been removed. Presumably, whatever money is given and by whom will be part of the public expenditure round and will have to be negotiated and readily available each year. Is there a limit? Could the Secretary of State give us some idea of the estimates he has on that? Presumably the money will be governed by Treasury rules about the amount that can be lent. I assume that the money will be part of the PSBR. Could the Secretary of State tell us? Alongside that, we must put the £1 billion-plus of PSO payments—a figure that we all agree will continue. Having followed a policy over the past years of saying how the PSO has been halved and how that has been a great success, the Government now propose to double the amount and they crow that that is a success policy. Whatever, we are back to the figure of £1 billion at which we started at the beginning of the 10-year period, despite the different policies of different Ministers. Do we now expect £1 billion of subsidies on the freight side? Has the Secretary of State any idea of the order of magnitude or resources that will be available to meet the requirements? As he can understand, that could double the leading requirement and the subsidies given by the Treasury to the railway sector in both passenger and freight operations.

Has the Secretary of State given any thought to an idea that was suggested to me and to other hon. Members by Railstore? It is an interesting idea about which many of the operators will be thinking. If there is to be competition between rail and road, and if we seek through the grants to make the competition fairer, the judgment will be made—as it is now—that what those at the Department of Transport who are responsible for investment in roads impose as a road tax is a contribution to costs. There is some argument about whether the full costs are met; I shall leave that to one side at present.

The structure is that the Department of Transport imposes the so-called "tax" on lorries; Railtrack is the equivalent body on the rail side. It could impose a charge, which might vary. It does not vary on the roads, where there is a charge for a particular size of vehicle. Railstore talks about a 44-tonne lorry—all the signs are that that is the size to which we are moving. The road fund licence for a 40-ft lorry that carries 24 tonnes is £2,160. Railstore suggests that the charge for the 24 tonnes that a railway wagon can carry should be £2,160. If Railtrack and the Department of Transport were seen as comparable bodies which raised money by some form of tax—either a road or a rail fund tax—those would, Railstore believes, be fair amounts. I do not know.

Has the Secretary of State given any consideration to comparability? The suggestions are concerned with trying to level the field of competition and with intervening to try to get more traffic off the roads and on to rail. Is the Secretary of State considering that or, under the massive bureaucracy that we are establishing through Railtrack, will each company bid for its own contract? The latter seems to be what the Secretary of State is suggesting and I wonder whether he is happy with that kind of bureaucracy.

Under new clause 17, a new subsidy will be paid to meet different charges. Although the problems involved in the new subsidy may be considerable, I believe that this is a welcome development.

Although the Secretary of State did not mention it because he was pressed for time, I welcome the extension of section 8 grants. It makes a great deal of sense to extend those grants to traffic that has affected the environment. We must consider the effect on congestion on our motorways. I have argued for some time that apart from the immediate roads around the point of origin of the traffic, the proposal is worthwhile in respect of traffic heading south via the M25 or the M6. If we can get traffic to stay on the railways, particularly on the way to Europe, that will relieve congestion on the M25 and the M6.

I am glad that the Government have accepted the extension of the grants to assist traffic moving by rail. I also welcome the fact that the grant is to be extended for locomotives, sidings, wagons and terminal handling equipment. That makes a lot of sense.

My main complaint is why all that could not be available to British Rail. Why can we make all those grants and facilities available as soon as the railways enter the private sector? Is it to make the ideological point that the private sector can do it better? That has nothing to do with private entrepreneurial ability. It is fixing the system to provide the benefits which were denied to British Rail in the public sector. That is a load of ideological nonsense.

We should ignore the ideology and consider how the community can get more traffic from the road on to the railways through the best use of its financial facilities and so reduce congestion costs and environmental damage and therefore best use our under-utilised facilities.

I welcome the fact that we are moving towards a PSO for freight. We should consider road and passenger and freight and passenger in the light of PSO and try to get more traffic off the roads and on to the railways.

I have taken advice, and although I do not accept it fully, I will accept it for the sake of this argument, that the grants that the Secretary of State is offering would not have prevented the current movement of traffic from rail to road. It is said that the grants would not even have covered operating costs. That is an interesting point, but it does not take us very far, particularly when we consider traffic from Abersystwyth and Oban where oil is now being transferred from rail to road simply because the operating costs are not being covered.

I hope that we can accept that the idea is to try to keep what traffic we have on the railways and, at the same time, try to encourage more. There are many examples of that. I have already referred to oil, but cement and cider in different areas of the country also prove my case.

We must recognise that there may be some deficiencies in what the Government are doing at the moment, but largely they are moving in the right direction. I do not necessarily accept the involvement of the private sector, but open access causes me no problems if it improves the amount of available capital and investment. If it improves the movement from road to rail and uses our railways to the full, that is acceptable in view of the many difficulties that the railways face. My only objection is why we have to wait until the system is privatised. Why not give BR the opportunity to do all that now?

Sir David Mitchell

I rise to support the new clause and to ask my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State a few questions. There is widespread support throughout the country for the concept of transporting more goods by rail than by road. As my right hon. Friend said, the channel tunnel will help. The old section 8 provided capital grants to assist in that transfer. I have to plead guilty that when I had some responsibility in that area I spent more public money under section 8 than any Minister has ever done.

New clause 17 allows the Secretary of State to pay all or part of the track usage charges that go to a freight operator. That is a far more important and wide-reaching change than the public have recognised. It is perhaps a pity that the debate is taking place shortly after midnight. I should have liked my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State to take the opportunity of blowing his trumpet and telling the freight hauliers, environmental pressure groups, the town centre conservation groups and the public at large just how important is the initiative that he is now taking to help that transfer of freight from road to rail.

If the Government intend to subsidise the transfer from road to rail, we need to know the answer to some questions. What are the criteria to be? My right hon. Friend spoke of a demonstrable benefit. Could he perhaps explain a little further what a demonstrable benefit is? Will it relate purely to congestion on the roads? Will such benefits include pre-empting the need to build new roads? Will it be taken into account that pressure of lorry traffic causes environmental damage in conservation areas? Could we have a little more information about the criteria that the Secretary of State will use? How much has my right hon. Friend budgeted to spend? Can he assure me that section 8 will continue? Although its purpose is similar, it operates in a different way in the form of capital grants.

The public are seized of the fact that there is not a level playing field between the road haulier and rail transport. The hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott) drew attention to the proposition from Railstore Ltd. which has been circulated to several hon. Members. It asks simply why we do not charge for a rail freight truck the same as would be charged for an equivalent weight road freight truck in the form of a licence and use section 17 if that is too heavy a charge which needs to be remitted to achieve the Secretary of State's desire to achieve a transfer of freight from road to rail.

I support what is proposed in the new clause, but could my right hon. Friend spell out a little more information to the House?

Mr. Harris

I do not know whether it is because we have just passed the witching hour of midnight or whether the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott) has mellowed in recent times, but I find myself in agreement with many of the points that he made.

I believe that British Rail has thrown away much of its freight traffic, perhaps deliberately or perhaps because of circumstances. I had occasion in the past three weeks to write to Sir Bob Reid about what I regard as perhaps the supreme illustration of the way in which British Rail has thrown away its freight traffic. My hon. Friend the Member for Falmouth and Camborne (Mr. Coe) and I have received letters suggesting that British Rail was using road transport to take its fuel to Long Rock depot in my constituency to fuel its trains.

I asked Sir Bob how, if British Rail could not use its own rail service to move its fuel, it could expect anyone else to use rail freight services. He wrote back a nice letter in which he said that the economics were such that it was not feasible for British Rail to move its fuel by rail. That make the point that rail freight is not used because freight services, certainly in the south-west, have been run down to the point of non-existence.

My constituents look back with nostalgia to the days when the fish from Newlyn went on trains and the broccoli—that is cauliflower to you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, but in Cornwall it is called broccoli—was transported in special trains. At this time of year, trainload after trainload ran from the branch lines through Helston to Gwinear road and through west Cornwall to the markets.

Now all that has gone, and I do not think that we can put the clock back, sad though that may be. However, I welcome the new clause, in the hope that we may be able to save some services.

It is a sad fact of life that, in recent times, Royal Mail parcel service traffic has been lost completely in my part of the world and, I suspect, many others. Similarly, newspaper trains have disappeared in the south-west. That is very sad. I hope that we will be able to regain some freight traffic. The hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East rightly referred to the position that, happily, still applies to china clay; let us hope that we hang on to that rail traffic.

I believe that we have opportunities to return some freight to rail, despite the obvious advantage of road transport for many commodities. I welcome new clause 17, which tries to do that, and I wish my right hon. Friend's laudable objectives every success.

When I wrote to Sir Bob Reid, Cornwall 2000 said, "Ah: the reason why British Rail is now switching transport of its own fuel to the roads is all to do with privatisation." That is not true; in fact, it is already happening under the present system. I believe that new clause 17 may provide at least a glimmer of hope that more freight will be returned from road to rail, and I wish my right hon. Friend every success in that endeavour.

12.15 am
Mr. Peter Bottomley

I add my support to this environmental measure, which—as the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott) pointed out—is a welcome development of the section 8 grant provision. I pay tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Hampshire, North-West (Sir D. Mitchell) for all the work that he did as a Minister; I looked with admiration from my roads desk at what he was doing on the railways. Although there are few instances in which a grant by itself will make it possible to avoid building a road, there are many instances in which it will bring about an environmental improvement, especially in the localities where the goods start out or end up.

I think that it would be sensible for those proposing to give up such grants to, in effect, auction them: instead of saying, "We will not continue to use the railways unless we receive an ever-growing sum", they should ask what sort of sum is available and what kind of bid people will put in to try to transfer some of their traffic from road to rail or to stay on rail. That is the only way in which to achieve competition; otherwise, we shall end up with an open-ended subsidy, as we have in other contexts.

Let me end by making a prediction. As those involved in moving freight say that they do not need a road through Oxleas wood, I forecast that it will not be built.

Mr. MacGregor

By leave of the House, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I shall reply briefly to the debate.

I am very grateful for the positive response that the new clause has received from hon. Members on both sides of the House. We have had a short but realistic debate: while we all want more freight to be transported by rail—I strongly agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Hampshire, North-West (Sir D. Mitchell) on that—we also know that it will be difficult to achieve and that we need a package to give us the opportunity of achieving it.

I am grateful to the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott) for what he said. Let me quickly answer his questions. He asked about the size of the subsidy and whether it would be open ended. From the point of view of the beneficiary, subsection (2) of the new clause makes it clear that it is not open ended; payment will be triggered only when there are demonstrable social and environmental benefits. As for the total amounts, the hon. Gentleman is right to say that they will have to be negotiated each year as part of the public expenditure round. At this stage we have no clear facts on which to build estimates of what will be needed, but it will clearly have to be part of the public expenditure negotiations in the autumn and the White Paper.

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for the welcome that he gave to the other parts of the package—the freight facilities grant and the potential move to 44-tonne lorries for combined transport movements to railheads. I say potential because we went out to consultation on that issue and I am now evaluating all the responses. Clearly, we hope to implement that move. The hon. Gentleman suggested that there was an element of ideology in that move as we were proposing the package only as we moved towards privatising the freight section of railways. That is not true; the move was made as a result of my analysis of the problems of freight in the past year.

The hon. Gentleman also asked me about some freight operations that are no longer being continued on rail because the contracts involved were not even covering the operating costs. He is right about that and under the proposal the grant will be available to cover track access costs, not operating costs, which must be right. That partly answers my hon. Friend the Member for St. Ives (Mr. Harris). It is true that some contracts have been lost in the past year—they did not even cover their operating costs, let alone their track costs. To put the figure in context, last year it involved about 3 per cent. of the volume of trainload freight, and some new contracts have been awarded in the past year.

My heart sank when the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East started talking about Railstore and level playing fields. It sank only because I realised that to do justice to the issues raised by the hon. Gentleman would take about an hour and I am sure that the House would not wish me to speak for that long at this time of night. My hon. Friend the Minister of State has responded to a number of requests from colleagues in the House on the Railstore analysis.

The level playing field argument is complex and I shall not enter into it tonight except to say that the Green Paper on motorways and the possibilities for private finance which, as the House knows, I shall soon be producing contains a fairly long analysis of the level playing fields issue. The hon. Gentleman will see that it is complicated and that the simple comparison made by Railstore does not do justice to the argument.

Mr. Spearing

The Secretary of State will appreciate that the issue of freight, and its increase, is vital to increasing the finances of the railway network, whatever it may comprise. On what basis will the future track cost of freight be calculated? He has explained the disastrous present position of fuel being taken by road, even for British Rail, due to the fact that it cannot cover its track costs. If there is to be a minimum timetable—which he said that there would be for passenger traffic—will the marginal costs of the additional track costs for the freight that may use those routes be the basis of the charge? If not, what is the basis to be? Unless we know that, the degree to which the subsidy will help remains unknown.

Mr. MacGregor

The issue raised by my hon. Friend the Member for St. Ives did not relate to track costs, but to the fact that the contractors were not even covering their operating costs, which is a problem. On the issue of track costs, we have stated the broad principles for access charges. I do not wish to speak on the subject in detail now, but the relevant document is freely available to the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East. The relevant point in relation to the new clause is that it enables up to 100 per cent. of the track costs to be met where there are clear social and environmental benefits.

My hon. Friend the Member for Hampshire, North-West asked how the environmental benefits would be evaluated. Officials in the Department are currently drawing up the administrative guidelines that will govern the new grant regime, including the methodology for evaluating environmental benefits. I envisage that the guidelines will be similar to those that apply to the current freight facilities grant scheme, with environmental benefits measured in terms of reduced lorry miles. All applications will also be subject to a financial appraisal and there will be safeguards against fraud. I note the comments of my hon. Friend, who has always shown an interest in the subject. I will ensure that he receives the details as soon as they are available.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

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