Tuesday 11 February 2014
Energy and Climate Change
Elexon Ltd (Contingent Liability)
The Energy Act 2013 makes provision for electricity market reform (EMR) measures which are intended to ensure sufficient investment comes forward to replace old generation plant with new low-carbon generation.
The Act enables amendments to the transmission licence and the balancing and settlement code (BSC) to allow Elexon Ltd to undertake settlement functions for EMR. To ensure these functions can be discharged effectively and on time, Elexon Ltd has begun preparatory work to put in place the necessary arrangements.
Elexon’s existing role, expertise and experience will help ensure that settlement systems are delivered in a manner that reduces administrative burdens for suppliers, for generators, the CfD counterparty and capacity market settlement body—thereby reducing costs to consumers.
Reflecting the critical nature of this preparatory work, I am writing to inform the House of a departmental minute which will be presented to Parliament today, giving notice of a contingent liability for the issuing of indemnity provisions to Elexon Ltd for actions it undertakes during the settlement system set-up phase.
We believe it appropriate to offer an indemnity for claims that could arise. This is because Elexon Ltd is a company that operates on a not-for-profit basis and is funded by parties to the BSC. In the absence of an indemnity, any costs would need to be passed on to the parties to the BSC. As this group is not identical to EMR participants, passing on costs to BSC parties would not be appropriate.
The indemnity would cover costs over and above those reclaimed by Elexon Ltd from insurers or through contractual arrangements with their service providers. The indemnity would not extend to any losses arising where Elexon Ltd is shown to have been wilfully negligent or for claims brought by employees of Elexon Ltd.
We judge the likelihood of the indemnity being invoked against the Department to be low. It is not possible to provide a meaningful assessment of the scale of the potential liability.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Hong Kong (Sino/British Joint Declaration)
The latest report on the implementation of the Sino/British joint declaration on Hong Kong was published today. Copies have been placed in the Library of the House. A copy of the report is also available on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website (www.gov.uk/government/organisations/foreign-commonwealth-office). The report covers the period from 1 July to 31 December 2013. I recommend the report to the House.
Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill
Currently schedule 7 to the Government of Wales Act 2006 includes an exception to the National Assembly’s competence in relation to “anti-social behaviour orders”. As a result, an amendment to schedule 7 to that Act is necessary to ensure the exception’s continuing operation following the reforms made in this Bill.
In line with the devolution settlement, this amendment should have the same scope as the current exception. Criminal justice is not devolved to the Assembly but the exception is necessary to make clear that in legislating about social welfare or any other transferred subject, the Assembly does not have the competence to make provision for orders equivalent to those first created by the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. As this Bill abolishes these orders and repeals the relevant sections of the 1998 Act—among other things—an amendment to the exception was also necessary as a consequence. The amendment maintains the existing scope by relating only to orders that deal with the kinds of behaviour that could have been restricted under the existing regime and which we would reasonably regard as part of the criminal justice system.
In the Government’s evidence to the Silk commission in March this year, we highlighted that there was some confusion as to how the current exception should be interpreted. Since submitting that evidence, we have concluded that the exception should be interpreted narrowly, to mean the subject matter of orders under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. The amendment is designed to reflect that conclusion.
House of Commons Commission
IPSA Supplementary Estimate 2013-14
The Speaker’s Committee for the IPSA is established under the Parliamentary Standards Act 2009. The Committee is reviewing IPSA’s draft supplementary estimate and will announce whether it is satisfied that it is consistent with the efficient and cost-effective discharge by the IPSA of its functions before the supplementary estimate is laid before the House.
Electoral Commission Committee
Local Government Boundary Commission for England (Estimate)
The Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission is established under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendum Act (PPERA) 2000. Under paragraph 11, schedule 1 of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009 it must review the Local Government Boundary Commission for England’s (LGBCE) estimate before it is laid before the House and decide whether it is satisfied that the estimate is consistent with the economical, efficient and effective discharge by the Commission of its functions.
The Committee has approved the draft supplementary estimate without modification, in line with the advice provided to it under statute by HM Treasury.