Payments towards certain compliance costs

Part of Investigatory Powers Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 4:30 pm ar 3 Mai 2016.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Minister of State (Home Office) (Security) 4:30, 3 Mai 2016

The amendment is designed to ensure that the Government’s commitment to cost recovery for providers is explicitly provided for in the Bill. The hon. and learned Gentleman is right to raise this issue again, reflecting what we heard during the witness session when we debated the issue in part. In his evidence, Mark Hughes said he was aware that

“Under the proposals in the Bill—the Home Secretary has made reference to it—we would recover our costs from the Home Office, as we have done under existing legislation.”

He went on to say that

“the proposed regime is more sensible as long as it is clear that we will recover 100% of our costs.”––[Official Report, Investigatory Powers Public Bill Committee, 24 March 2016; c. 45-46, Q126.]

And I am clear, quoting the Home Secretary, that

“100% of the compliance costs will be met by the Government.”—[Official Report, 15 March 2016; Vol. 607, c. 821.]

The hon. and learned Gentleman asks what that means in practice. The £174 million he mentioned is not a cap, but an estimate. It is dealt with in the impact assessment, and there is no cap in the impact assessment. We will meet costs such as they arise. We are determined to make sure that the Bill works and is not inhibited by any doubts about the cost of its implementation. Clearly, future Governments will inherit this legislation. It is worth emphasising that the current policy has not changed since the passage of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, so it has survived three Governments of different colours or combinations of colours—we used to be more rainbow-like than we are now, which is actually quite welcome, by the way. We are clear that 100% means what it says.

Above and beyond that—the hon. and leaned Gentleman did not ask for this, but I will add it—we need to be clear that the providers are consulted on any changes to the cost model and that they will be able to seek review of any variation to the notice that affects the level of their contribution. To sum up: we have an estimate, not a cap; a determination that 100% means 100%; a willingness to have a proper input into this; and an assurance—which I think is what the hon. and leaned Gentleman really seeks—that the Government will cover the costs so that the Bill does what it should.