Clause 136 - Time-limits for investigations and reports: part 4

Enterprise Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 11:30 am ar 7 Mai 2002.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Nigel Waterson Nigel Waterson Ceidwadwyr, Eastbourne

I rise briefly to probe the Under-Secretary on a couple of matters with regard to this clause. The first echoes the previous debate about the two-year limit. My hon. Friends the Members for Huntingdon and for Cities of London and Westminster have made all the important points about that, and about the real problem that is caused to businesses by such uncertainty hanging over them for up to two years. It appears that that issue does not cut any ice with the Under-Secretary or her hon. Friends, but it remains a concern. At least there is a suggestion of movement in the clause.

Under subsection (2), the Secretary of State has the power to

"alter the period of two years".

Photo of Miss Melanie Johnson Miss Melanie Johnson Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Trade and Industry

The hon. Gentleman's points chime well with those I made in debate on clause 129 when we discussed amendment No. 35, which would have reduced the period to 12 months. I have said that we do not normally expect the process to take anything like two years; that is a long stop. I also said that there is a provision to vary the period downwards, as the hon. Gentleman says. Those points, which I made in relation to amendment No. 35, obviously hold true in our discussion on clause 136. I do not have a great deal to add, but I reassure the hon. Gentleman that he is right in what he says, and that our intentions are no different to his own on the subject.

Photo of Nigel Waterson Nigel Waterson Ceidwadwyr, Eastbourne

Again, we have an assurance that the Under-Secretary's intentions are entirely honourable. Who am I to argue with that?

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 136 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 137 and 138 ordered to stand part of the Bill.