Rt Hon Lord Lilley

     On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. You will know that the Government have made a commitment to publish an impact assessment spelling out the costs, benefits and alternatives of any major measure, piece of legislation or change in policy before introducing it, so that the House can debate it in a fully informed manner.

    Last week the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change announced in the House that he was raising the target for reducing carbon emissions from 60 per cent. to 80 per cent.-a one third increase. If that results in a corresponding increase in costs, it will increase the costs of the programme by some £70 billion. However, when I wrote to the Secretary of State asking him whether he intended to publish an impact assessment and if so, when, I received the reply that the Government did intend to publish such an assessment, but not until after Royal Assent. That means that tomorrow, if things do not change, the House will discuss a measure not knowing to the nearest £70 billion what it will cost, or the corresponding change in benefits. I believe that that is an insult to the House and to our tax-paying constituents. Have you any powers, Mr. Speaker, either to require the Secretary of State to rush forward an impact assessment so that we know what we are debating, or to delay tomorrow’s debate until an assessment has been published so that we can debate it in a well-informed manner?