Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 10580 - 10599)

  10580. MR DINGEMANS: Yes. Which is why we petition the House of Commons or you. The alternative is that if your Lordships were to recommend that then the way to achieve that would, in fact, be to write clause 13 in completely—it would effectively be worded as paragraph 28 of the Petition. Because this is the nominated undertaker, effectively, providing damages. One could provide a situation that the nominated undertaker would provide damages in those circumstances.

  10581. CHAIRMAN: There are going to be amendments made at the Public Bill stage. You are suggesting this should be another of them?

  10582. MR DINGEMANS: We do respectfully submit that, yes. As you know, in a Hybrid Bill, such as Crossrail, the power of the Committee is to look through and decide, that although, generally, compensation is going to work for everyone else a specific person is not within these terms and it is right to amend the Bill. If your Lordships made that recommendation, then it may be possible to sort out a proper deed or it may then be necessary, as it were, to put it in the Bill itself. However, without that recommendation, as my learned friend has very fairly made clear, they have gone so far but will go no further.

  10583. CHAIRMAN: Yes. The difficulty about the new clause is that it would have to be dealt with by parliamentary counsel, I think, and it would have to have the backing of the Department for Transport.

  10584. MR DINGEMANS: Yes. That is the reality. The House of Commons did duck the issue, effectively—and at that stage we had not even got the contractual undertakings from the nominated undertaker—but they said we were in a situation where the national compensation code (if you use the shorthand) was inadequate, and then did not make specific recommendations as to how to deal with it. However, if your Lordships were persuaded by our evidence and submissions, then what we would ask for is that you might direct that either form part of the deed to be provided by the nominated undertaker to us, or into the Bill. I am not sure of your powers—I am sure you will get advice from your Clerk as to the extent of your powers in that respect—but my understanding is that your powers really are to recommend amendments to the Act.

  10585. CHAIRMAN: We can do that, yes. We cannot make them.

  10586. MR DINGEMANS: Oh no, I entirely accept that. My Lord, if that is all right, then I propose to call our evidence. There is a bundle of documents, and it is simply to illustrate the points that have been made with the witness statements.

  10587. LORD YOUNG OF NORWOOD GREEN: I just wanted to ask in relation to Farringdon Station—it is going to be a new station. You seemed to regard that as a negative impact. Having been to Farringdon Station as it currently exists, I would have thought a more modern station would not necessarily be a negative.

  10588. MR DINGEMANS: My Lord, I am sorry if I appeared to give that impression; it is not intended. I entirely accept, and I hope I have recorded in the note, that the building of the Crossrail Bill, including changing Farringdon from what might be called a less attractive amenity at the moment to something that is modern and 21st Century, will be a substantial public benefit. However, in the course of the construction of the Farringdon site, you are going to have the massive disruption—

  10589. LORD YOUNG OF NORWOOD GREEN: That bit I understand. I thought I heard you refer to the effects afterwards in terms of the operation of Crossrail—

  10590. MR DINGEMANS: I am sorry, that was simply to illustrate the difference between the 1965 Act and the 1973 Act. We are in the 1965 Act, which is the construction of the works. In the 1973 Act, which was brought in, that would be if you were suffering losses as a result of the use of the works. We are not going to make that claim because there will be no losses that we can identify. It was simply to illustrate that.

  10591. LORD YOUNG OF NORWOOD GREEN: Thank you for that clarification.

  10592. MR DINGEMANS: If it is all right with your Lordships, I propose to call Mr George Abrahams first, simply because he started work earliest and is keenest to get away. He is at page 52 of the bundle.


  10593. MR DINGEMANS: You have been sworn outside. Can you give their Lordships your full name, please?

  (Mr Abrahams) My full name is George Christopher Abrahams.

  10594. What is your occupation?
  (Mr Abrahams) I am a company director.

  10595. Of what?
  (Mr Abrahams) Of the George Abrahams group of companies.

  10596. Where do they operate from?
  (Mr Abrahams) The registered office is 218 Central Market, Smithfield.

  10597. What type of business do you carry on at Smithfield?
  (Mr Abrahams) We are traders, importers and exporters, of meat and meat-related products.

  10598. In paragraph 3 of your witness statement (I will not take you to it) you describe some of your historical associations with Smithfield. Is that right?
  (Mr Abrahams) That is right, sir. The company goes back to the 18th century. One of the group companies.

  10599. When did you start working in the market?
  (Mr Abrahams) Thirty-seven years ago.

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