HC Deb 23 July 1991 vol 195 cc1084-5

Lords amendment: No. 1, in page 2, line 23, leave out "statutory provision of local application" and insert "local statutory provision".

6.36 pm
The Minister for Shipping (Mr. Patrick McLoughlin)

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.

Mr. Speaker

With this, it will be convenient to take Lords amendments Nos. 21, 22, 29 and 34.

Mr. McLoughlin

These amendments are largely technical. They arise from the existing provision in schedule 1 for transfer schemes to provide for repealing or amending any statutory provision of local application". By appearing to limit the provisions which could be repealed or amended to ones which were applicable only locally—that is, within a limited territorial area—it is possible that that expression might be taken to exclude, for example, a port authority's borrowing powers, leaving the new successor company encumbered with the old authority's more limited borrowing powers. It is precisely such statutory limits that the Bill would remove.

Dr. Norman A. Godman (Greenock and Port Glasgow)

I am extremely grateful to the Minister for showing his characteristic courtesy to me. Has he or his officials received any intimation whatsoever from the Clyde port authority concerning its private Bill which would privatise that authority? Has it decided to pull up stumps and go home?

Mr. McLoughlin

As my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State made perfectly clear on Second Reading, that is a matter for the Clyde port authority. Obviously, I hope that it will have the benefit of the Bill being on the statute book in a short time. It will be for it to decide which course to follow. It is likely to follow the course of the Bill that we are discussing.

Having briefly explained that the amendments are technical, I commend them to the House.

Ms. Joan Walley (Stoke-on-Trent, North)

The intervention by my hon. Friend the Member for Greenock and Port Glasgow (Dr. Godman) demonstrates the great concern about there being a public Bill and a private Bill. It was only as the private Bill went through the House that it was realised that the Treasury had to become involved to start getting money out of local trusts. The amendment went through the other place virtually without discussion, which means that we cannot oppose it at this stage. However, I wish to record once again our concern that this legislation is not doing its best for local communities. In effect, the interests of the port are being divorced from those of the local community. As we have just heard, until now, ports have tended to act in the interests of their local community.

Question put and agreed to.

Subsequent Lords amendments agreed to.

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