Monday, January 16, 2006

That Lords amendment in full

More on the Lords amendment in the Guardian. The Times reports:

Today's Lords vote will delay the progress of the Bill which insiders say was the brainchild of Tony Blair and David Blunkett and is likely to be quietly dumped when, or if, Gordon Brown succeeds as Prime Minister.

The text is below. What a glorious day!

123* Insert the following new Clause—
"Commencement: report on costs and benefits
(1) No provision of this Act, except sections 38, 39, 45 and this section, shall be brought into force until the Secretary of State has laid before Parliament a report in accordance with subsection (2) and that report has been approved by the House of Commons.
(2) The report shall contain—
(a) a detailed estimate of the revenue and capital costs arising from this Act (the "cost estimate"); and
(b) a statement of the expected benefits of this Act.
(3) The cost estimate shall cover costs incurred by the bodies specified in subsection (6) and shall comprise—
(a) a statement in the format of resource accounts as defined in the Government Resource and Accounts Act 2000;
(b) a statement of cash expenditures;
(c) a statement setting out the material assumptions that have been made in preparing the cost estimate.
(4) The cost estimate shall include—
(a) the actual costs incurred in the period from 26th April 2004 to the date to which the cost estimate is prepared; and
(b) the costs that are estimated to be incurred during a period of 10 years after the date to which the estimate is prepared or such longer future period as shall be determined by the Secretary of State.
(5) The cost estimate shall be analysed into each of the financial years ending 31st March covered by the cost estimate.
(6) The bodies referred to in subsection (3) are—
(a) all Government departments or agencies;
(b) any other person who carries out functions under this Act;
and for the avoidance of doubt it is hereby declared that "Government departments or agencies" includes any Northern Ireland department and the National Assembly for Wales.
(7) The cost estimate shall be examined by the Comptroller and Auditor General who shall prepare a report on it and shall lay the report before Parliament."


Anonymous said...

Nice commentory

Anonymous said...

Hmm. Business decision makers split costs into those that are sunk and those that are not, sunk costs being those that have already been incurred and those from which the company cannot extricate itself (e.g. many contractual obligations). Since sunk costs relate to funds you no longer have control over, only non-sunk costs are relevant to a decision. SO...
Obstructive chancellors and squeals from other departments aside, what is to stop Bliar from simply spending as much as possible on the program BEFORE the commons vote - diverting funds from elsewhere for example? By sinking as many of the costs as possible, he can minimise at least that part of the opposition that is based on financial considerations?

Ian Brown said...

Right. For example, the Passport Agency is moving ahead with putting biometrics and chips into passports and requiring personal interviews for new applicants under prerogative powers that do not need new legislation.