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Lord Redesdale: Obviously, we were hoping for a more definitive answer at this stage. The Minister has set out his view that the Government will solve this problem, but he has given the impression that the answer may come after the Bill has passed from this House to the other place.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I did not intend to give that impression. Clearly, it would be helpful--to me at any rate, if to nobody else--if we were able to resolve these issues before the Bill leaves this House. All I said was that that is not essential for the legislation. The Bill would still be effective even if amendments were introduced in another place.

Lord Redesdale: On that basis, I should like to return to this at a later stage, and I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Baroness Rawlings moved Amendment No. 8:

After Clause 26, insert the following new clause--

Commencement (No. 2)

(" . This Act shall not come into force until the investment policy of the Corporation has been approved by resolution of each House of Parliament.").

The noble Baroness said: The effect of this amendment is to make the coming into force of the Act conditional on both Houses approving the investment policy of the CDC. This is not a wrecking amendment. It is designed to ensure that both Houses have a say beyond the setting-up of the purely formal framework, and that the privatisation of the CDC transformation is properly carried through. Parliament should have the opportunity of discussing the fundamental elements of the partnership. The intention is to ensure that the investment policy does not unduly restrict the commercial freedom of CDC and thereby hinder the earning of a satisfactory return for the shareholders. I shall not take up the time of the Committee by reiterating the concerns about the geographical restriction to investment contained in the investment policy. I say only that the investment policy merits a full discussion.

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The intention of the amendment is also to ensure that the investment policy is effectively in place before the transformation of the CDC starts. At Second Reading, the Minister said:

    "The investment policy will be put into place before private participation is invited".--[Official Report, 7/12/98; col. 722.]

I hope that he can give assurances to that effect. I beg to move.

Baroness Amos: We fully recognise the need for scrutiny. Drafts of the first investment policy, along with the memorandum and articles of association and the progress report on the statement of business principles, have been placed in the Library of the House. We welcome comments on those documents and shall, of course, give careful consideration to any comments which are received.

However, it is important to say that after consideration of those comments, we do not intend to make any substantial changes to the draft currently available prior to transformation. We shall place the final version in the Library of both Houses.

The mechanism for subsequent amendments to the investment policy after it has been adopted is set out in the articles of association. This allows for any necessary adaptation in the light of changing circumstances. Agreement to any change would be a ministerial decision which would be accountable to Parliament in the normal way.

I remind the Committee that Parliament has not had any role previously in approving the investment policies of the CDC while it has been a statutory corporation. The amendment is therefore unnecessary and I hope that, following my explanation, the noble Baroness will withdraw it.

Baroness Rawlings: I thank the noble Baroness for those reassurances. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 27 [Short title and extent]:

[Amendment No. 9 not moved.]

Clause 27 agreed to.

Schedules 1 to 3 agreed to.

Title agreed to.

Bill reported to the House without amendment.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees: This concludes the Committee's proceedings on the Bill.

The Committee adjourned at twenty-eight minutes past four o'clock.

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