Skip to main content

Departmental Contingent Liability Notification (Royal Mail)

Volume 569: debated on Friday 25 October 2013

It is normal practice when a Government Department proposes to undertake a contingent liability in excess of £300,000 for which there is no specific statutory authority for the Minister concerned to present a departmental minute to Parliament giving particulars of the liability created, explaining the circumstances and to refrain from incurring the liability until 14 parliamentary sitting days after the issue of the statement, except in cases of special urgency and/or confidentiality.

During the preparatory phase of the Royal Mail transaction, there was a need for strict confidentiality as to the content of the preparatory work, including the scope of the Royal Mail transaction liabilities and the transaction timetable.

On 10 September 2013, following the “non-standard notification” procedure outlined in “Managing Public Money” (annex 5.4), I wrote to the Chairs of the Public Accounts Committee and the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee outlining the proposal to provide certain indemnities on behalf of Government.

As a matter of record I have placed a departmental minute in the Libraries of both Houses explaining the procedure followed and containing a description of the liabilities undertaken.