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Session 2003 - 04
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Order of Business 24 March 2004

Here you can browse the House of Commons Order of Business for 24 March 2004.

* indicates a question for oral answer.
[R] indicates that the Member has declared a relevant interest.
Questions for oral answer not reached receive a written answer.
Supplementary questions will also be asked. Other Ministers may also answer.

+ indicates Government business.
Timings are indicative only.

At 11.30 a.m.      Prayers
Oral Questions to the Secretary of State for Wales
*1 Mr Elfyn Llwyd (Meirionnydd Nant Conwy):    What representations he has received on the provision of affordable housing in Wales; and what discussions he has had on this with the First Secretary of the National Assembly for Wales.
( 162542 )
*2 Mr David Amess (Southend West):    What discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on the number of special constables in Wales.
( 162543 )
*3 Ian Lucas (Wrexham):    If he will discuss with the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry the establishment in North Wales of a research centre for the manufacture of renewable energy products.
( 162544 )
*4 Julie Morgan (Cardiff North):    What discussions he has had with the (a) National Assembly for Wales Government and (b) Cabinet colleagues on the effects of Sure Start in Wales.
( 162545 )
*5 Hywel Williams (Caernarfon):    What discussions he has had regarding the provision of air ambulance services in Wales; and if he will make a statement.
( 162546 )
*6 Mr Wayne David (Caerphilly):    What assessment he has made of the effectiveness of police community support officers in Wales.
( 162547 )
*7 Gareth Thomas (Clwyd West):    If he will make a statement on the effectiveness of present arrangements in relation to enacting primary legislation affecting Wales.
( 162548 )
*8 Paul Flynn (Newport West):    What percentage of the population are in full-time employment in Wales; and if he will make a statement.
( 162549 )
*9 Bob Spink (Castle Point):    If he will make a statement on recent employment trends in the private sector in Wales.
( 162550 )
*10 Mr Ben Chapman (Wirral South):    If he will make a statement on dredging in the Dee Estuary.
( 162551 )
*11 Mr Andrew Turner (Isle of Wight):    What discussions he has had since 25th February with the National Assembly for Wales Government on NHS funding in Wales.
( 162552 )
*12 Sir Nicholas Winterton (Macclesfield):    What recent discussions he has had with the First Secretary about the work of the Welsh Development Agency.
( 162553 )
*13 Miss Anne McIntosh (Vale of York):    What recent discussions he has had on the (a) environmental and (b) health impact of wind farms in Wales.
( 162554 )
*14 Mark Tami (Alyn & Deeside):    What discussions he has held with (a) ministerial colleagues and (b) the National Assembly for Wales Government (i) to promote and (ii) to enhance the Airbus project at Broughton.
( 162555 )
*15 Huw Irranca-Davies (Ogmore):    What discussions he has had with the National Assembly for Wales Government and Cabinet colleagues on targeted help for the poorest pensioners in Wales.
( 162556 )

At 12 noon
Unless otherwise indicated the Members listed below will ask a Question without notice.
Oral Questions to the Prime Minister
*Q1 Steve Webb (Northavon):    If he will list his official engagements for Wednesday 24th March.
( 163178 )
*Q2 Mr Peter Luff (Mid Worcestershire):    
( 163179 )
*Q3 Andrew Rosindell (Romford):    
( 163180 )
*Q4 Mr Neil Gerrard (Walthamstow):    
( 163181 )
*Q5 Tony Lloyd (Manchester Central):    
( 163182 )
*Q6 Mr Edward Garnier (Harborough):    
( 163183 )
*Q7 Mr Nick Hawkins (Surrey Heath):    
( 163184 )
*Q8 David Burnside (South Antrim):    
( 163185 )
*Q9 John Mann (Bassetlaw):    What assessment he has made of the level of credit card debt.
( 163186 )
*Q10 Mr Colin Breed (South East Cornwall):    
( 163187 )
*Q11 Mr John Randall (Uxbridge):    
( 163188 )
*Q12 Vera Baird (Redcar):    
( 163189 )
*Q13 Mr Paul Burstow (Sutton & Cheam):    
( 163190 )
*Q14 Mr Michael Jack (Fylde):    
( 163191 )
*Q15 Chris Grayling (Epsom & Ewell):    
( 163192 )

At 12.30 p.m.Urgent Questions (if any)
Ministerial Statements (if any)

Preliminary Business

Ten minute rule Motion



[Up to 20 minutes]

      Mr Robert Walter
        That leave be given to bring in a Bill to make new provision about establishing the existence of byways open to all traffic.

        The Member moving and a Member opposing this Motion may each speak for up to ten minutes (Standing Order No. 23).

         Note: Provision has been made for a Business Motion to be moved at 7.00 p.m. (Standing Order No. 15).

Main Business


OPPOSITION DAY (7th allotted day—first part)

      Mr Michael Howard
      Mr Oliver Letwin
      Mr David Willetts
      Mr Stephen O'Brien
      Mr Nigel Waterson
      David Maclean
 Sir Nicholas Winterton      
        That this House believes that all Post Office customers who wish to continue receiving their benefits, pension payments and tax credits through the Post Office should be able to do so through a Post Office Card Account opened at the counter of a Post Office or sub-post office; notes that the Government has encouraged Post Office customers to use their own bank accounts or basic bank accounts, whilst preventing the promotion of the Post Office Card Account; further believes that the Government should use the roll out of Direct Payment to encourage the take-up of all benefits and tax credits; calls on the Government to clarify urgently how housebound, disabled and older people who are not able to cope with the three direct payment options will be able to claim their pensions and benefits after 2005; recognises the significant role played by local post offices in both rural and urban areas; appreciates that ending cash benefit payments will deprive sub-postmasters of an average of 35 per cent. of their income; notes that this will make many post offices commercially unviable and is likely to lead to yet further closures; further calls on the Government to ensure that the urban post office closure programme is conducted systematically and only after consulting all relevant parties including Post Office users; and condemns the Government's failure to deliver benefits and tax credits in a simple, easy to understand manner while at the same time jeopardising the future prosperity of the Post Office.

          As Amendments to Mr Michael Howard's proposed Motion (Post Office Services):
      Mr Charles Kennedy
      Sir Menzies Campbell
      Steve Webb
      Malcolm Bruce
      Paul Holmes
      Mr Andrew Stunell
        Line      1,      leave out from `House' to end and add `recalls that more than 3,000 post offices closed under the last Conservative government, a trend that has continued under Labour; notes current Conservative calls for a systematic programme of urban post office closures; supports the need to protect the post office network, particularly rural branches which provide a lifeline for rural communities; notes that many benefit claimants, chiefly pensioners, prefer to collect their benefits at a local post office using an order book; further notes that people who choose a Post Office Card Account are faced with a lengthy and complicated application process; calls on the Government to provide people with clear and consistent information on all the new payment options available to them, including an option for pensioners to keep their pension books if they wish to do so; urges the Government to simplify the application process for a Post Office Card Account; requests clarification of when and to whom the exceptions service will be available; and urges the Government to outline its procedure for dealing with benefit claimants who do not respond to the invitation to switch to direct payment before April 2005.'.

      The Prime Minister
      Mr Secretary Prescott
      Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer
      Mr Secretary Blunkett
      Ms Secretary Hewitt
      Mr Secretary Smith
 Mr Chris Pond      
        Line      1,      leave out from `House' to end and add `supports the Government's strategy to modernise the way benefits and pensions are paid, and to provide customers with a choice of accounts; welcomes the fact that with Direct Payment customers will still be able to collect their cash from the Post Office if they wish using a current account or basic bank account with Post Office access or the Post Office Card Account; notes the Government's plans for a cheque payment, cashable at post offices, for people who cannot be paid through an account; recognises that Direct Payment is a more modern, efficient and secure method of payment which will also help increase financial inclusion; welcomes the fact that more customers are now paid through an account than by order book without problems, including nearly six million pensioners; notes the previous government's attempt to introduce a Benefit Payment Card, which wasted millions of pounds of tax-payers' money; notes the fact that the Post Office had not until recently kept up with changes in customer demand and so had seen transaction volumes dropping and losses increasing; recognises the need for change and congratulates the Government for taking decisive action to help turn the business around; welcomes the record £2 billion investment in the Post Office network over a five-year period, including £450 million for the rural network and £210 million to modernise the urban network; and believes that this will help ensure a viable Post Office network that people will want to use.'.

        The selection of the matter to be debated this day has been made by the Leader of the Opposition (Standing Order No. 14(2)).

        Proceedings on the Motion in the name of Mr Michael Howard may continue, notwithstanding Standing Order No. 14(2)(c)(i), until Four o'clock or for three hours after their commencement, whichever is the later, and shall then lapse if not previously concluded (Order of 17th March).

At 7.00 p.m.


BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE        [No debate]

      The Prime Minister
        That, at this day's sitting, proceedings on the Lords Message relating to the European Parliamentary and Local Elections (Pilots) Bill may be proceeded with, though opposed, until any hour.

To be decided without debate (Standing Order No. 15).

+  3  


[Up to one hour]

        For Motions and Amendments relating to the Lords Message, see separate Paper.

        Proceedings shall, so far as not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion one hour after their commencement (Order of 8th March).

+  4  


      The Prime Minister
        That this House do now adjourn.

        Proposed subject for debate: Equitable Life Inquiry.

        The oral evidence taken before the Treasury Committee on Tuesday 16th March, on the Equitable Life Inquiry, HC 71-iv, Session 2003-04, is relevant.

        Proceedings on the Motion for the adjournment of the House relating to Equitable Life may be proceeded with, though opposed, until Seven o'clock or for three hours, whichever is the later, and shall then lapse (Order of 17th March).

+  5  


[No debate]

      Mr Secretary Blunkett
        That the draft Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) (Fees) Order 2004, which was laid before this House on 23rd February, be approved.

To be decided without debate (Standing Order No. 118(6)).

+  6  


[No debate after 7.00 p.m.]

      Mr Peter Hain
      Mr Bob Ainsworth
        That Mrs Cheryl Gillan be discharged from the Committee of Public Accounts and Mrs Angela Browning be added.

If opposed, this item cannot be taken after 7.00 p.m.

At the end of the sitting:



        Proposed subject:      Participation in elections (Mark Tami).

        Debate may continue until 7.30 p.m., or for half an hour, whichever is later (Standing Order No. 9 and Order of 29th October 2002).



1Welsh Grand Committee8.50 a.m.
2.00 p.m.
Room 10 (public)
To consider the matter of the Budget Statement and its implications for Wales.
2Standing Committee D (Justice (Northern Ireland) Bill [Lords]) (Programming Sub-Committee)6.00 p.m.Room 13 (private)
3European Standing Committee C2.00 p.m.Room 9 (public)
To consider EU Document No. 5188/04 relating to a Review of the Working Time Directive.
4Third Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation2.30 p.m.Room 11 (public)
To consider the draft Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Modification) Order 2004.


5Work and Pensions9.30 a.m.

9.45 a.m.
The Grimond Room, Portcullis House (private)
Subject: Health and Safety.
Witnesses: Hugh Robertson, Senior Policy Advisor, Trade Union Congress; Terry Lane, Deputy General Secretary, Steve Kay, Chairman, Health and Safety Executive Branch and Graeme Henderson, Deputy Vice President, Prospect; and David Bergman, Director, Courtney Davis, Deputy Director, and Steve Tombs, Chairman, Centre for Corporate Accountability, and Ann Jones, Simon Jones Memorial Campaign (at approximately 10.45 a.m.).
6Procedure2.00 p.m.

2.15 p.m.
Room 18 (private)
Subject: Programming of Legislation.
Witnesses: Mr Graham Allen MP, Mr Mark Fisher MP, Mr Richard Shepherd MP, Mr Paul Tyler MP, and Rt Hon Sir George Young MP.
7Transport2.00 p.m.

4.15 p.m.
The Grimond Room, Portcullis House (private)
Subject: British Transport Police.
Witnesses: Sir Alistair Graham, Member of the British Transport Police Committee and Chairman-designate of the BTP Authority, and Ian Johnston CBE, QPM, Chief Constable, British Transport Police.
8Environment, Food and Rural Affairs2.15 p.m.
2.30 p.m.
Room 8 (private)
Subject: Agriculture and EU Enlargement.
Witnesses: National Farmers' Union and the Country Land and Business Association; Food and Drink Federation; and Federation of the Food and Drink Industries of the Czech Republic.
9Treasury1.45 p.m.

2.00 p.m.
The Wilson Room, Portcullis House (private)
Subject: The 2004 Budget.
Witnesses: Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr Ed Balls, Chief Economic Adviser, Mr Jon Cunliffe, Managing Director, Macroeconomic Policy and International Finance, Mr Nicholas Holgate, Director, Welfare Reform, Mr John Kingman, Director, Enterprise and Growth Unit, Mr Jonathan Stephens, Director, Public Spending, Mr Andrew Lewis, Head of Tax Policy Team, HM Treasury.
10Accommodation and Works2.30 p.m.The Thatcher Room, Portcullis House (private)
11Defence2.30 p.m.

3.00 p.m.
Room 15 (private)
Subject: Defence White Paper: Delivering Security in a Changing World.
Witnesses: General Sir Michael Walker GCB CMG CBE ADC Gen, Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Sir Alan West GCB DSC ADC, First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff, General Sir Mike Jackson KCB CBE DSO ADC Gen, Chief of the General Staff, and Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup KCB AFC ADC, Chief of the Air Staff.
12European Scrutiny2.30 p.m.Room 19 (private).
13Health3.00 p.m.Room 7 (private).
14Environmental Audit3.30 p.m.

3.50 p.m.
Room 20 (private)
Subject: Budget 2004.
Witnesses: Friends of the Earth; Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (approximately 4.30 p.m.).
15Northern Ireland Affairs Sub-Committee3.30 p.m.

3.45 p.m.
Room 21 (private)
Subject: Social Housing Provision in Northern Ireland.
Witness: The Chartered Institute of Housing Northern Ireland.
16Public Accounts3.30 p.m.Room 16 (public)
Subject: English Regions: An early progress report on the New Deal for Communities programme.
Witnesses: Dame Mavis McDonald DCB, Permanent Secretary, Mr Joseph Montgomery, Director General, and Mr Alan Riddell, Neighbourhood Renewal Unit, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.
17Modernisation of the House of Commons4.00 p.m.

4.05 p.m.
Room 17 (private)
Subject: Connecting Parliament with the Public.
Witnesses: Carol Devon, Director of Access and Information, and Rosemary Everett, Head of Participation Services, Scottish Parliament; Baroness Hamwee, Chair, Samantha Heath, Deputy Chair, Richard Horsman, Director, Secretariat, Mr Edward Welsh, Head of Media, Greater London Assembly (at approximately 4.35 p.m.); Professor Stephen Coleman, Oxford Internet Institute (at approximately 5.10 p.m.).
18Selection4.45 p.m.Room 13 (private).
19Welsh Affairs4.15 p.m.
4.30 p.m.
Room 6 (private)
Subject: Manufacturing and Trade in Wales.
Witnesses: Professor John Tomaney, and Dr Colin Wren, University of Newcastle Upon Tyne Business School; David Newlands, Senior Lecturer, University of Aberdeen; Local Government Association and Welsh Local Government Association (at approximately 5.30 p.m.).
20International Development5.45 p.m.

6.00 p.m.
The Thatcher Room, Portcullis House (private)
Subject: Kenya: DFID's Country Assistance Programme and Progress Towards the Millennium Development Goals.
Witnesses: Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP, Secretary of State, and Mr Matthew Wyatt, Head of DFID Kenya, Department for International Development.


21Draft Disability Discrimination Bill2.30 p.m.

2.45 p.m.
The Boothroyd Room, Portcullis House (private)
Witness: Law Society.

[The decision of a Committee to sit in public may be rescinded without notice.]

Written Ministerial Statements to be made today

1    Minister for the Cabinet Office:      Central Office of Information: Targets for 2003-04.
2    Secretary of State for Health:      Patient charges for dental treatment.
3    Secretary of State for Defence:      Gulf veterans' illnesses—research into reproductive health.
4    Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer:      The UK and the IMF 2003.
5    Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs:      E-diplomacy.
6    Secretary of State for Wales:      Public Audit (Wales) Bill, Clause 54.


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Prepared 24 March 2004