HL Deb 24 October 2000 vol 618 cc263-5

(" .—(1) This section has effect for the purposes of the provisions of this Act relating to donations.

(2) Where any provision of this Act refers to a donation for the purpose of meeting a particular kind of expenses incurred by or on behalf of a person of a particular description—

  1. (a) the reference includes a reference to a donation for the purpose of securing that any such expenses are not so incurred; and
  2. (b) a donation shall be taken to be a donation for either of those purposes if, having regard to all the circumstances, it must be reasonably assumed to be such a donation.

(3) Subsections (4) and (5) apply to any provision of this Act which provides, in relation to a person of a particular description ("the donee"), that money spent (otherwise than by or on behalf of the donee) in paying any expenses incurred directly or indirectly by the donee is to constitute a donation to the donee.

(4) The reference in any such provision to money so spent is a reference to money so spent by a person, other than the donee, out of his own resources (with no right to reimbursement out of the resources of the donee).

(5) Where by virtue of any such provision any amount of money so spent constitutes a donation to the donee, the donee shall be treated as receiving an equivalent amount on the date on which the money is paid to the creditor in respect of the expenses in question.").

Clause 151 [Short title, commencement and extent]:

Lord Bach moved Amendment No. 319C: Page 97, line 13, leave out ("Apart from the provisions mentioned in subsection (3),") and insert ("Subject to subsections (3) and (3A),").

[Amendments Nos. 319D and 320 not moved.]

Lord Bach moved Amendments Nos. 320A to 320E: Page 97, line 16, leave out ("provisions referred to in subsection (2) are") and insert ("following provisions come into force on the day on which this Act is passed"). Page 97, line 18, at end insert ("and paragraph 10(1) and (4) of Schedule 20,"). Page 97, line 19, after ("section") insert ("and Part II of Schedule (Transitional provisions)"). Page 97, line 21, at end insert— ("(3A) The following provisions come into force at the end of the period of two weeks beginning with the day on which this Act is passed—

  1. (a) section 32,
  2. (b) Part I of Schedule (Transitional provisions), and
  3. (c) any provision of Part II of this Act so far as necessary for the purposes of the operation of any provision of Part I of that Schedule.").
Page 97, line 29, at end insert— ("() The transitional provisions contained in Schedule (Transitional provisions) shall have effect.").

[Amendment No. 321 not moved.]

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 321A: Page 97, line 32, after ("11") insert ("and paragraphs 12 and 13 of Schedule (Transitional provisions)").

Clause 151, as amended, agreed to.

Schedule 20 [Minor and consequential amendments]:

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 321B: Page 177, line 22, at end insert— ("() In section 29 (payments by and to returning officer), for subsections (3) to (9) substitute—

  1. "(3) A returning officer shall be entitled to recover his charges in respect of services properly rendered, or expenses properly incurred, for or in connection with a parliamentary election if—
    1. (a) the services or expenses are of a kind specified in regulations made by the Electoral Commission ("the Commission") with the consent of the Treasury; and
    2. (b) the charges are reasonable.
  2. (4) Regulations under subsection (3) above may specify a maximum recoverable amount for services or expenses of any specified description and, subject to subsection (5) below, the returning officer may not recover more than that amount in respect of any such services or expenses.
  3. (5) In a particular case the Commission may, with the consent of the Treasury, authorise the payment of more than the specified maximum amount for any specified services or expenses if satisfied—
    1. (a) that it was reasonable for the returning officer concerned to render the services or incur the expenses; and
    2. (b) that the charges in question are reasonable.
  4. (6) Any regulations under subsection (3) above which specify a maximum amount for services or expenses of a particular description may provide for that amount to increase at prescribed dates, or after prescribed periods, by reference to such formula or other method of determination as may be specified in the regulations.
  5. (7) The amount of any charges recoverable in accordance with this section shall be paid by the Commission on an account being submitted to them; but if the Commission think fit they may, before payment, apply for the account to be taxed under the provisions of section 30 below.
  6. (8) Where the superannuation contributions required to be paid by a local authority in respect of any person are increased by any fee paid under this section as part of a returning officer's charges at a parliamentary election, then on an account being submitted to the Commission a sum equal to the increase shall be paid to the authority by the Commission.
  7. (9) On the returning officer's request for an advance on account of his charges, the Commission may make such an advance on such terms as they think fit.
  8. (10) The Commission may by regulations make provision as to the time when and the manner and form in which accounts are to be rendered to the Commission for the purposes of the payment of a returning officer's charges.
  9. (11) Any sums required by the Commission for making payments under this section shall be charged on and paid out of the Consolidated Fund."
() In section 47(1) (loan of equipment for local elections), for "the Secretary of State" substitute "the Electoral Commission".").

The noble Lord said: This amendment provides for the transfer to the electoral commission of the Home Secretary's functions as regards the reimbursement of expenses to returning officers. I do not believe that this amendment is controversial. I beg to move.

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendments Nos. 321C to 322B: Page 177, line 22, at end insert— ("() In section 52 (discharge of registration duties), after subsection (1) insert— (1A) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1) above, the directions which may be given under subsection (1) include directions requiring a registration officer to maintain his registers in a specified electronic form; and any such directions may in particular specify—

  1. (a) the software which is to be used in connection with the maintenance of the registers in that form;
  2. (b) the standards in accordance with which that software is to be maintained and updated;
  3. (c) how information required (by or under any enactment) to be included in the registers is to be recorded and stored in that form."").
Page 177, line 24, at end insert— ("() In section 201 (regulations)—
  1. (a) in subsection (1), omit the words from "and except" to "section 29(8)";
  2. (b) in subsection (2), for "section 29(8)" substitute "section 110(7)";
  3. (c) after subsection (2) insert—
(2A) Any regulations under section 110(7) above shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament."; and.

(d) in subsection (3), after "the Secretary of State" insert ", or the Electoral Commission (in the case of any regulations made by them),". "). Page 177, line 34, at end insert—