'Within one calendar month of receipt of the calculations made by the Commission under section 5 of Article 3 of the Decision, a paper will be presented by Her Majesty's Government to both Houses of Parliament explaining the financial consequences of these calculations for the Consolidated Fund. '—[Mr. Teddy Taylor.]
Brought up, and read the First time.
I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.
With this it will be convenient also to consider the following new clauses: No. 17 — Report on Operation of the Decision—
No. 19—Report on additional revenues—'A Report shall be placed before each House of Parliament annually on the financial liability placed on the Consolidated Fund of the implementation of the Decision.'.
'A Report shall be submitted to both Houses of Parliament by Her Majesty's Government in the event of any additional revenues being agreed in terms of Article 2 of the Decision.'.
The new clause proposes annual reports. We have found to our distress previously that the High reports have not always been shown in what has happened. With regard to the Government's estimates on contributions and so on, it would be helpful to have a regular system of reporting back. I wonder whether my hon. Friend sees any scope for agreeing something along those lines.
I shall be as brief as the hon. Member for Southend, East (Mr. Taylor). I have no doubt that the Economic Secretary will reply that the information is readily available, but such information should be clearly available so that we understand exactly what the abatement mechanism involves and the amounts of money that we pay in terms of the various articles and decisions to which the new clauses refer. Information should be less misleadingly available than is evidenced in the parliamentary replies which the Economic Secretary has given to the hon. Member for Southend, East.
The Government will endeavour to provide the necessary information in as clear a form as possible. Calculations relating to abatement will be included in the preliminary draft budget, the draft budget and the budget as adopted, all of which will be laid before the House with explanatory memorandums. I shall ensure, as I always try to do, that that information is made available as soon as possible after those documents are in our hands. There is further information in the public expenditure White Paper and in the Autumn Statement.Those documents should provide the information that hon. Members need. It is especially difficult to deal with parliamentary questions about refunds and abatements at the moment, because we are at the point of transition from the old system to the new, so the manner of presentation is not always straightforward. I think, however, that I can respond favourably to the spirit of the remarks that have been made.
In view of that answer, which I greatly appreciate, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the motion.
Motion and clause, by leave, withdrawn.
To report progress and ask leave to sit again.— [Mr. Peter Lloyd.]
Committee report progress; to sit again tomorrow.