Schedule 18 - Schedule 2a to Insolvency Act 1986

Enterprise Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 4:30 pm ar 9 Mai 2002.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Amendments made: No. 507, in page 280, line 28, leave out

'raising finance as part of'

and insert 'implementing'.

No. 508, in page 281, line 42, after 'to' insert—


No. 509, in page 281, line 43, at end insert—

', or

(b) make arrangements for carrying out all or part of the project.

'(2) In sub-paragraph (1) a reference to the provision of finance includes a reference to the provision of an indemnity.'.—[Mr. Alexander.]

Question proposed, That schedule 18, as amended, be the eighteenth schedule to the Bill.

Photo of Mark Field Mark Field Ceidwadwyr, Cities of London and Westminster

I am afraid that the discussion that the

Minister was throwing into the slightly longer grass is going to occur sooner, because I want to touch on one or two points that have already been discussed in relation to that limit.

I think that we all accept that there should be exceptions to the prohibition on the appointment of administrative receivers. Certainly, from the perspective of the City of London, it is important that such an exception should apply to several capital markets, arrangements and transactions. I have two concerns. One has already been covered during the stand part debate on clause 241. I also think that £50 million is far too high. I know that my hon. Friend the Member for Eastbourne has tried to tease out of the Minister at least some concession that the threshold will be reconsidered. Many thresholds for arrangements in other capital markets, especially in third world and developing countries, will be set lower than £50 million. The risk is that such funds will begin to dry up if there is no protection for the banks that lend money to a riskier debtor, whether in a sovereign state or not. Will the Minister give us guidance drawn from the research that was conducted as part of the consultation process? Was full consideration given to that point?

Will the Minister give us some guidance on paragraph 9 relating to public bodies? In view of the fact that an increasing number of public bodies will be caught up in the PFI and PPP regime, will the special purpose vehicles created as part of those initiatives be considered public bodies for the purposes of the paragraph, or will they be left outside the confines of the arrangement?

Conservative Members have some concerns about how the measures will operate, although we welcome the idea that exceptions will be made. Will the Minister give us some guidance on how in practice exceptions will be made?

Photo of Douglas Alexander Douglas Alexander Minister of State (e-Commerce & Competitiveness)

I shall deal briefly with the hon. Gentleman's substantive points. I made it clear that the figure of £50 million was decided on after discussions with the City of London Law Society. As a reflection of our desire for consultation, I should add that if any parties think that we have made a substantive error in this respect, they may contact us with any evidence that they want to present. However, we believe that the figure is correct, and I shall explain why it is correct in relation to the relevant scale of figures.

We set a financial threshold of £50 million for the arrangements, which emphasises the point that the structures are specialised finance structures, not normal everyday lending. One should also take into account the environs in which the figure emerges. We are talking about a thriving area of business for UK plc, particularly in the City. True-sale arrangements, of which the Canary wharf securitisations are examples, are worth £180 billion in Europe, and some 40 per cent. of such deals are done in the United Kingdom. It is estimated that whole-business arrangements, of which the Punch Tavern securitisations is but one example, are worth some £3 billion and are used in few other jurisdictions, as

most jurisdictions do not have administrative receivership.

The hon. Gentleman also raised the matter of public-private partnerships. I emphasise that there will be opportunities to discuss the matter in more detail. Commonly known as PPPs, they enable projects that provide essential public services. Continued delivery of some public services is obviously essential, and continued recourse to administrative receivership provides for a continued exercise of step-in rights. Without recourse to administrative receivership, step-in rights could be blocked by the moratorium on administration. On that basis, we came to the view that it was appropriate for one of the exceptions to be defined in terms of the PPP, as outlined in the drafting.

I hope that that answers the queries, although there will be further opportunities to discuss the matter as the afternoon goes on.

Photo of Mark Field Mark Field Ceidwadwyr, Cities of London and Westminster

Will the Minister confirm that PPP and PFI-type arrangements will fall under the confines of paragraph 9 and that they will be regarded as public bodies for the purposes of the schedule?

Photo of Douglas Alexander Douglas Alexander Minister of State (e-Commerce & Competitiveness)

That would depend on whether the bodies were project companies within the meaning of new schedule 2A. If it will be helpful, I shall write and clarify the matter.

Question put and agreed to.

Schedule 18, as amended, agreed to.