Mr. Foulkes: Yes, the hon. Gentleman has made himself clear. He is an able lawyer and explained the point very well.
Clause 24 refers to substituting for the available amount such amount as is just-the crucial word is ``just''. The court could take excessive interest into account.
Mr. Wilshire: I want to be certain that I heard the Minister correctly. I think that I heard him suggest that certain actions might be taken notwithstanding the provisions of the clause as they relate to the immediately specified period of six months or to the 12-month period and that there could be some other period under clause 24. Reference was also made to interest, but clause 12 has nothing to do with interest. Is the position the same as that for clause 7? That clause clearly stated something, but a subsequent provision said that it did not matter and that the position could be different. In this case, the period is either immediately specified as six months or it is 12 months, but did I hear the Minister say, ``Clause 24 says that it can be longer, providing that interest is paid.''? Is that not sloppy draftsmanship?
Mr. Foulkes: No, it is not sloppy draftsmanship. The hon. Gentleman can take up the question about interest under clause 13.
I think that all the issues have been tackled.
Question put and agreed to.
Clause 12, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Interest on unpaid sums
Amendment made: No. 37, in page
7, line 6, at end insert-
`(2A) For the purposes of this section no amount is required to be paid under a confiscation order if-
(a) an application has been made under section 12(4),
(b) the application has not been determined by the court, and
(c) the period of 12 months starting with the day on which the confiscation order was made has not ended.'-[Mr. Foulkes.]
Question proposed, That the clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill.
Mr. Wilshire: We referred fairly regularly to some of the issues raised by clause 13 when we discussed clause 12, and I am concerned about one of them. The Minister said that interest would be paid at a fixed rate of 8 per cent. That might not be a relevant or accurate figure at the moment. However, if the rate is to be fixed irrespective of the economic circumstances, there will be a bit of rigidity in the Bill, which it should not have. Did the Minister mean that the rate would be fixed or that it would be fixed at 8 per cent. for the moment? I sincerely hope that the rate will reflect that payable elsewhere. If not, there will be a potential loophole because it might be cheaper for someone with large sums to borrow money in that way rather than another. I sincerely hope that the Minister will correct me and say that the rate will be fixed for the moment. Otherwise, I hope that he will say that it will be variable and that he will explain how it will be calculated and how it would alter.
Mr. Foulkes: The record will show that I said that it is currently 8 per cent.
Mr. Wilshire: We shall see what the record says. I wrote down what I thought I heard-
It being twenty-five minutes past Eleven o'clock, The Chairman adjourned the Committee without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.
Adjourned till this day at half-past Two o'clock.
The following Members attended the Committee:
Gale, Mr. Roger (Chairman)
Ainsworth, Mr. Bob
Clark, Mrs. Helen
Field, Mr. Mark
Harris, Mr. Tom
Johnson, Mr. Boris