Have your say on the Commonwealth Development Corporation Bill

30 November 2016

Do you have relevant expertise and experience or an interest in the Commonwealth Development Corporation Bill which is currently passing through Parliament?

If so, you can submit your views in writing to the House of Commons Public Bill Committee which is going to consider this Bill.

The Public Bill Committee is now able to receive written evidence. The sooner you send in your submission, the more time the Committee will have to take it into consideration.

The Committee is expected to meet for the first time on Tuesday 6 December 2016; it will stop receiving written evidence at the end of the Committee stage, which is scheduled to be 1.00pm on Thursday 8 December 2016. However, please note that when the Committee reports it is no longer able to receive written evidence and it can report earlier than the expected deadline of 1.00pm on Thursday 8 December 2016.

Commonwealth Development Corporation Bill 2016

Summary of the Commonwealth Development Corporation Bill:

CDC Group plc (henceforth “CDC”) is a public limited private equity company owned entirely by the Department for International Development (DFID). CDC is a major component of the support that DFID provides to the private sector in developing countries, and its remit is to invest in private enterprises (typically enterprises which struggle to attract investment from elsewhere). DFID has a statutory requirement to spend development assistance on poverty reduction, and in line with this CDC’s objective is to:

  • invest in the creation and growth of viable private businesses in poorer developing countries to contribute to economic growth for the benefit of the poor; and
  • mobilise private investment in these markets both directly and by demonstrating profitable investments as part of the mission of the DFID to fight world poverty.

Prior to 2012, CDC made no direct investments but instead invested through fund managers, which in turn invested in businesses. In 2012, a new investment strategy meant that in addition to investment in funds, CDC now invests directly in businesses. The new investment policy also included a new and exclusive geographical focus on Africa and South Asia as well as an increased focus on the poorest countries.

The Commonwealth Development Corporation Act 1999, the most recent Act of Government setting the operational rules for CDC, imposed a limit on the financial assistance that the Government could provide to CDC of £1.5 billion. In July 2015, the UK Government invested £735 million in CDC, over five times the net amount invested in it since its inception in 1948. Total assistance has thus reached the limit allowed under current legislation.

The Commonwealth Development Corporation Bill 2016-17 proposes increasing this limit to £6 billion. It also makes provisions for a further increase to £12 billion without the need for further primary legislation. A statutory instrument containing regulations under section 15 of the 1999 Act as proposed to be amended could increase the limit if approved by a resolution of the House of Commons.

Follow the progress of the Commonwealth Development Corporation Bill

The Bill was presented to the House on 16 November 2016. On Tuesday 29 November, the Bill received its Second Reading in the House of Commons where MPs debated the main principles of the Bill.

The Bill has now been sent to a Public Bill Committee where detailed examination of the Bill will take place. The Bill Committee is expected to hold oral evidence sessions in the morning of Tuesday 6 December.

Guidance on submitting written evidence

Deadline for written evidence submissions

The Public Bill Committee is now able to receive written evidence. The sooner you send in your submission, the more time the Committee will have to take it into consideration.

The Committee is expected to meet for the first time on Tuesday 6 December 2016; it will stop receiving written evidence at the end of the Committee stage on Thursday 8 December 2016. Please note that when the Committee reports it is no longer able to receive written evidence and it can report earlier than the expected deadline of 1.00pm on Thursday 8 December 2016.

What should written evidence cover?

Your submission should address matters contained within the Bill and concentrate on issues where you have a special interest or expertise, and factual information of which you would like the Committee to be aware.

Your submission could most usefully:

  • suggest amendments to the Bill with explanation; and
  • (when available, probably from September) support or oppose amendments tabled or proposed to the Bill by others with explanation

It is helpful if the submission includes a brief introduction about you or your organisation. The submission should not have been previously published or circulated elsewhere. If you have any concerns about your submission, please contact the Scrutiny Unit (details below).

How should written evidence be submitted?

Your submission should be emailed to scrutiny@parliament.uk. Please note that submissions sent to the Government department in charge of the Bill will not be treated as evidence to the Public Bill Committee. Submissions should be in the form of a Word document. A summary should be provided. Paragraphs should be numbered, but there should be no page numbering.

Essential statistics or further details can be added as annexes, which should also be numbered. To make publication easier, please avoid the use of coloured graphs, complex diagrams or pictures. As a guideline, submissions should not exceed 3,000 words.

Please include in the covering email the name, address, telephone number and email address of the person responsible for the submission. The submission should be dated.

What will happen to my evidence?

The written evidence will be circulated to all Committee Members to inform their consideration of the Bill. 

Most submissions will also be published on the internet as soon as possible after the Committee has started sitting.

Those making a submission to a Bill Committee should note the following:

  • Committees publish most of the written evidence they receive on the internet (where it will be accessible to search engines).
    If you do not wish your submission to be published, you must clearly say so and explain your reasons for not wishing its disclosure. The committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish. If you wish to include private or confidential information in your submission to the committee, please contact the clerk of the committee to discuss this. The Scrutiny Unit (details below) will be able to provide you with contact details for the clerk.
  • A Committee is not obliged to accept your submission as evidence, nor to publish any or all of the submission even if it has been accepted as evidence. This may occur where a submission is very long or contains material to which it is inappropriate to give parliamentary privilege (see Guide for Witnesses (PDF PDF 1.25 MB)for further information on parliamentary privilege).
  • Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a submission, in which case it should be clearly referenced, preferably with a hyperlink.
  • You should be careful not to comment on matters currently before a court of law, or matters in respect of which court proceedings are imminent. If you anticipate such issues arising, you should discuss with the clerk of the committee how this might affect your submission.
  • Once submitted, no public use should be made of any submission prepared specifically for the committee unless you have first obtained permission from the clerk of the committee. If you are given permission by the committee to publish your evidence separately, you should be aware that you will be legally responsible for its content.
  • Evidence which is accepted by the Committee may be published online at any stage; when it is so published it becomes subject to parliamentary copyright and is protected by parliamentary privilege.
  • Once you have received acknowledgement that the evidence has been published you may publicise or publish your evidence yourself. In doing so you must indicate that it was prepared for the Committee, and you should be aware that your publication or re-publication of your evidence may not be protected by parliamentary privilege.
  • Public Bill Committees do not investigate individual cases of complaint or allegations of maladministration.

Data protection

  • The personal information you supply will be processed in accordance with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 for the purposes of attributing the evidence you submit and contacting you as necessary in connection with its processing.
  • The Clerk of the House of Commons is the data controller for the purposes of the Act.
  • If you have any queries or concerns about the collection and use of this information please advise the committee team providing your full contact details.

Scrutiny Unit contact details
Email: scrutiny@parliament.uk
Telephone: 020 7219 8387
Address: Ian Hook
Senior Executive Officer
Scrutiny Unit
House of Commons 
London SW1A OAA

Image: iStockphoto

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