Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie: Under the amendment that the noble Lord has moved, I must say for the record that there is no legal reason to include this clause. It is there simply to satisfy rules relating to procedure. The noble Lord raised some important questions. The annual costs resulting from the Bill will amount to some £650,000. That is in addition to the United Kingdom's contribution to the international organisation to be established under the convention, which will be something like £3 million. The compliance with this new Act will not be cheap.

The seven additional staff will bring the complement of the national authority to 10. From the figures I have given, the noble Lord will appreciate it is anticipated that a considerable volume of the important work will be carried out by the authority to be established in The Hague. The noble Lord mentioned the figure of some £8 million. That is the compliance cost assessment. As far as I am aware, the compliance cost assessment includes not only the cost to industry, but also to all research establishments, be they independent or parts of a university. If I am wrong about that I shall write to the noble Lord.

He may find it encouraging that the industry estimates that the revised forms which are currently under development by the DTI could reduce compliance costs by something like £1 million.

I hope that that brief explanation of some of the costs that are anticipated is useful to the noble Lord.

Lord Redesdale: I thank the Minister for that answer and I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 38 agreed to.

7.30 p.m.

Clause 39 [Commencement, extent and citation]:

Lord Peston moved Amendment No. 9:

Page 23, line 14, at end insert ("and no such order shall be made unless a draft of it has been laid before and approved by resolution of each House of Parliament.").

27 Feb 1996 : Column 1447

The noble Lord said: Clause 39(1) states that:

    "This Act (except this section) shall come into force on such a day as the Secretary of State may appoint by order".
Given the trouble that we are going to and the fact that I hope that within two or three weeks the Bill will be an Act, I should like to be assured that it is the intention that the order will be laid before Parliament and the matter will be dealt with with no further delay. In other words, I take it that it is the view of the department that that resolution bringing the Act into force will be brought forward right away. I do not insist that the resolution bringing the Act into force needs to go over all of the ground again but, essentially, I want to know that that will be done without delay. I beg to move.

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie: Clause 39 is a commencement clause and follows the normal convention for clauses of this type. The positive resolution procedure would be a departure from that convention. However, I appreciate the reason for the noble Lord tabling the amendment. Again, on this matter, there is nothing between us.

27 Feb 1996 : Column 1448

It is our intention to ratify the convention as soon as possible. We want to ensure that the United Kingdom is a founding state party to the convention. We understand that the United States, which is clearly very important in this matter, is committed to ratifying the convention and hopes to be able to do so in the next few months. Russia is likely to follow the United States. The best way to encourage the United States and Russia to ratify the convention is to bring closer the prospect of the convention coming into force. It will do so some six months after 65 states have ratified it. As I said to noble Lords, we are at one on this because the United Kingdom's ratification will bring that very worthwhile prospect nearer.

Lord Peston: I thank the Minister for that answer, and I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 39 agreed to.

Schedule agreed to.

House resumed: Bill reported without amendment.

        House adjourned at twenty six minutes before eight o'clock.

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page