HC Deb 17 June 2002 vol 387 cc81-2

Amendments made: No. 356, in page 287, line 34, after 'a' insert—

'person who is, when the agreement mentioned in section 72B(1) is entered into, a'.

No. 357, in page 287, line 34, after 'individual' insert—

'in relation to a communication'.

No. 358, in page 287, line 37, leave out 'and'

No. 359, in page 287, line 38, after 'a' insert—

'person who is, when the agreement mentioned in section 72B(1) is entered into, a'.

No. 360, in page 287, line 38, after 'investor' insert—

'in relation to a communication'.

No. 361, in page 287, line 39, at end insert—

',and () a person in a State other than the United Kingdom who under the law of that State is not prohibited from investing in bonds or commercial paper.'.

No. 362, in page 287, line 45, at end insert—

() For the purposes of sub-paragraph (1)—

  1. (a) in applying article 19(5) of the Financial Promotion Order for the purposes of sub-paragraph (1)(a)—
    1. (i) in article 19(5)(b), ignore the words after "exempt person",
    2. (ii) in article l9(5)(c)(i), for the words from "the controlled activity" to the end substitute "a controlled activity", and
    3. (iii) in article 19(5)(e) ignore the words from "where the communication" to the end, and
      1. (b) in applying article 49(2) of that order for the purposes of sub-paragraph (1)(c), ignore article 49(2)(e).'.

No. 363, in page 288, line 2, leave out—

'section 72B and paragraph 1 of'

and insert—

'sections 72B and 72E and'.

No. 364, in page 288, line 18, leave out 'contractual entitlement' and insert 'entitlement under an agreement'.

No. 365, in page 288, line 19, leave out 'contractual responsibility' and insert 'responsibility under an agreement'.

No. 366, in page 288, line 28, leave out 'contractual responsibility' and insert 'responsibility under an agreement'.

No. 367, in page 288, line 31, leave out 'or'.

No. 368, in page 288, line 33, at end insert—


(e) it is the holding company of a company within any of paragraphs (a) to (d).'.

No. 369, in page 288, line 35, after '(d),', insert—

'or is within sub-paragraph (1)(e),'.

No. 370, in page 288, line 36, leave out from 'performs' to end of line 37 and insert—

'a function which is not—

  1. (i) within sub-paragraph (1)(a) to (d),
  2. (ii) related to a function within sub-paragraph (1)(a) to (d), or
  3. (iii) related to the project.'.—[Mr. Pearson.]

7 pm

Madam Deputy Speaker

We now come to amendments Nos. 83 and 84.

Mr. Waterson

I shall try to deal with these amendments fairly briefly, as they were debated in Committee. They relate to the abolition of Crown preference. Lest anyone should accuse me of looking a gift horse in the mouth, let me say that we unreservedly welcome the scrapping of Crown preference. The demands of the Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise have often been a malign factor in the dying days of a business, particularly a small business, and the removal of this preference can only be a good thing. It has been welcomed in all quarters. As I recall, the amount in question is about £80 million, but the measure is welcome none the less, particularly for small businesses.

As I have said before, the Chancellor's fingerprints are all over this Bill, even if it is nominally a DTI measure. He has a habit of giving with one hand and taking away with the other—hence amendments Nos. 83 and 84. Although we are abolishing the Crown's preferential rights to the debts listed in clause 245(1), we are not scrapping the DTI's subrogated preferential rights in respect of salary and wage arrears.

Miss Melanie Johnson

May I make it clear that we have already debated and accepted amendments Nos. 134 and 137, which remove the Secretary of State's right to be paid in priority to any preferential claims lodged in insolvency proceedings by former employees, which is what these amendments also seek to achieve?

Mr. Waterson

I am looking at the response from the hon. Lady's fellow Minister in Committee, and he seemed not to accept those amendments, and to insist that the Secretary of State should be able to step into a former employee's shoes.

Miss Johnson

Perhaps I can clarify this. Amendment No. 137 was taken on Thursday, and amendment No. 134 was in an earlier group. Both amendments have the same effect as amendments Nos. 83 and 84. We said that we would reconsider the issues, so I therefore believe that these amendments are no longer necessary.

Mr. Waterson

I am grateful to the Minister for that response. I shall immediately turn, on a sixpence, and express my pleasure and surprise in equal measure that the Government have accepted the argument. They were certainly fighting a doughty rearguard action on it in Committee, although I exempt the hon. Lady from any blame for that. It is extremely good news that, yet again, common sense has prevailed. I can only put that down to the detailed and energetic scrutiny that the official Opposition have applied to the Bill. It would, therefore, be quite churlish of me not to seek leave to withdraw the amendments—

Madam Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman has not formally moved the amendments, so need not formally withdraw them.

Mr. Mark Field

I wonder whether I might be able to say a few words on these amendments?

Madam Deputy Speaker

I think, from what the hon. Member for Eastbourne (Mr. Waterson) was saying, that he has not moved the amendment formally, so it would be inappropriate to make any comments.

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