Select Committee on Home Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Letter to the Chairman of the Committee from Mr Charles Clarke MP, Minister of State, Home Office


  I am writing to express my regret to you and all your colleagues on the Committee for the fact that we failed to notify you as quickly as we should about the announcement that we made yesterday on waiving fees for volunteers. Please accept my assurance that no slight was intended.

  The issue of fees has been under close consideration for a while. Matters moved rapidly yesterday, once we found that the way was clear to make an announcement in relation to volunteers. Given the obvious interest in this, we were sure that it was right to let people know the situation as quickly as possible.

  Officials genuinely did not know that an announcement was in prospect yesterday when they came to attend the Committee's hearing.

  You will appreciate that our foremost concern was to let Parliament know, which we achieved through the written answer. We should have thought as the next step to contact you or your officials on the Committee, and I apologise for the fact that we did not. My officials realised the oversight and planned to remedy it this morning, but found that your officials were already aware of the announcement.

7 February 2001

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