Examination of Witnesses (Questions 7220
7220. MR CAMERON: Thank you. I have got
no other questions for you.
The witness withdrew
7221. CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much,
Mr Donovan. Now, I am told that there is a fly-past and a number
of people want to watch it. I do not want in any way to discourage
you from doing that, but there is a penalty, you will have to
come back a bit earlier after lunch. I therefore suggest we adjourn
until twenty past two and then we will go on with this Petition.
7222. MS LIEVEN: Thank you, my Lord,
and I will call Mr Berryman.
7223. CHAIRMAN: There are a number of
matters I would like to raise with you at some time, Ms Lieven.
So far as concerns the Committee in general we will come back
at twenty past two.
After a short adjournment
7224. CHAIRMAN: I hope you enjoyed the
fly-past. Ms Lieven, I know it is not for you, I know it is for
Mr Elvin, but railways. The situation is this: we have scheduled
the railway Petitioners immediately after the recess but there
is now a hang-up because the ORR has not made its decision, and
it may or may not make its decision according to which method
it uses. The Petitioners will have great difficulty in deciding
what they wish to say until they know what amendments are proposed
by the Department for Transport as a result of the ORR's decision
because we all know that the railway clauses are going to be amended.
The Petitioners are going to be in difficulty if they do not know
that. The two things that are likely to happen are that if we
put this off for any length of time at all we are not going to
have a quorum on the Committee and if we do not have a quorum
on the Committee we cannot hear the Petitioners and then there
is going to be trouble about the date for recommittal and consequently
Royal Assent. It seems to me that the Department for Transport
is going to have to make up its mind fairly soon, and I would
ask you to take instructions on this, about what amendments they
are going to make to the railway clauses. If they cannot do it
we may have to ask the Petitioners to come on a provisional basis,
assuming that they have read what the ORR says, and address us
on that basis. This is a thoroughly unsatisfactory situation and
is one that may be able to be put right with a bit of help from
the Government and, indeed, yourselves. I leave it there. It is
quite a serious dilemma on timetabling and one that we had not
7225. This is on a totally different subject
and goes back to the Petition of Mr Pritchett. This is Day 17,
page five. Mr Pritchett said that the Land Compensation Act 1973,
which introduced the home loss payment, included a provision that
it was ten per cent of the value of the home up to a maximum of
£15,000 and this was based on the value of average houses
at that date. One: is that correct factually? Two: it was then
changed by statutory instrument, no doubt several of them, the
latest one you showed us was 2007, and the figure is now a maximum
of £44,000. Is that or is it not ten per cent of the average
house value in 2007? I do not expect you to answer that today,
but Mr Smith would be able to tell us. In order that we should
do justice to that particular Petition we need to know what are
7226. MS LIEVEN: Yes.
7227. CHAIRMAN: Perhaps Mr Smith could
come back at some suitable time and tell us. There is no hurry.
7228. MS LIEVEN: My Lord, what I am going
to suggest on the starting point is your Lordship has asked two
factual questions which neither Mr Mould nor I, nor I suspect
Mr Smith, could just answer here and now. We will go and find
out the factual answers and give your Lordships and your Ladyship
a note on it.
7229. CHAIRMAN: That is exactly what
7230. MS LIEVEN: If you then wish Mr
Smith to speak to the note then we will make sure he is available.
We will deal with it in that way in the first place. It may take
more than overnight because it may not be absolutely straightforward.
7231. CHAIRMAN: I am not expecting to
have it tomorrow. Mr Pritchett had better see it.
7232. MS LIEVEN: Absolutely, my Lord.
When we write to the Committee we will copy Mr Pritchett.
7233. CHAIRMAN: It is just that we have
got no evidence about either of these matters and I think we need
7234. MS LIEVEN: My Lord, on the first
issue we have made a careful note, we hear precisely what the
Committee says, and we will go away and discuss it with our clients
as to how to take this matter forward on the railways.
7235. CHAIRMAN: We will expect to hear
from you in due time.
7236. MS LIEVEN: Certainly on that one,
my Lord, your Lordships will hear from us very shortly as to what
steps we intend to take.
7237. CHAIRMAN: I think due time is pretty
7238. MS LIEVEN: Absolutely, my Lord.
That was what I intended to suggest by the words I just used.
We will come back to your Lordships very promptly on the steps
we intend to take in the light of your Lordship's comments.
7239. CHAIRMAN: Because, of course, the
Petitioners will have to be told too.