Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Question in the Lords on Government response to review of 30 year rule

There was a short debate in the Lords on 9 March 2010 on the Government's response to the 30 year rule review, following a question by Lord Lester.
Asked By Lord Lester of Herne Hill

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to the recommendations in Review of the 30 Year Rule, chaired by Paul Dacre and published in January 2009.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): My Lords, the Government published their response to Review of the 30 Year Rule to Parliament and the general public on 25 February 2010. A copy of the response is available in the Library of the House. The Government also tabled an amendment to the Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill on the same day to bring forward the legislation necessary to implement the change to the 30-year rule and other key proposals set out in the response.

Lord Lester of Herne Hill: My Lords, I greatly welcome the Government's response, both in their paper and in securing amendments that we hope will survive any wash-up and become law. My concern is whether the Government, having willed the end, have also willed the means. The Dacre report, as the Minister will know, recommended that the Government should make adequate additional provision in the 2011 to 2014 period and subsequent Comprehensive Spending Reviews for all records-related activities in the way that was spelled out. As I understand it-the Minister will correct me if I am wrong-the Government have rejected the notion of any additional resources. Will that not undermine the whole operation?

Lord Bach: My Lords, first things first. I am grateful to the noble Lord for his support. This is in a Bill that is to come before this House in a couple of weeks' time and then we will see what happens to it. I have no doubt that all its parts will be widely accepted around the House-certainly this part will. As to the future, we will see. We have made an impact assessment, which estimates a total cost of between £50 million and £80 million over a 10-year transition period. We shall work with central government and the wider archive sector to ensure that transition to the new rule can be achieved in the most cost-effective manner.
Full debate in Hansard.

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