HL Deb 13 July 1978 vol 394 cc1700-39

3.29 p.m.

Read 3a, with the Amendments.

Clause 16 [Subject committees]:

Baroness ELLES moved Amendment No. 1:

Page 9, line 5, at end insert— ("Provided that no committee shall be appointed with functions not relating to matters with respect to which the powers of the Assembly are exercisable.").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, if I may say so, this is really a final probing Amendment, and I will state straight away that we have no wish to press this Amendment unless something untoward comes up in an explanation from the noble and learned Lord or whoever answers on behalf of Her Majesty's Government.

The Amendment has been tabled again because the Amendment introduced by the Government on the Report stage of the Bill modified and widened the power of the Assembly in its statutory rights to set up committees by the words, "the area of government". Obviously, as my noble friend Lord Elton pointed out at the time, this can also be interpreted very widely and covers a much broader field of activity than the original wording of the Bill, which restricted the rights of the Assembly to set up committees within the terms of certain clauses in the Bill.

The point of our Amendment, which we did not pursue at the time—and I should like to make this perfectly clear—was of course to ensure that the Welsh Assembly should be precluded from appointing a committee which might cover matters relating to functions and powers which have not been devolved to the Welsh Assembly. I wanted to take the opportunity of making it quite clear that it is perfectly understandable that any committee set up will discuss any matters which it wishes to discuss; the fact that the committee is not called the European committee, or whatever it is, will not preclude it from discussing matters brought to its attention. All we want to ensure is that particular committees are not set up to deal with functions and powers which are outside the devolved matters for the Welsh Assembly.

I particularly wanted to emphasise this matter because of a statement made by the right honourable gentleman Mr. Enoch Powell in another place in a debate on a similar Amendment during the recent stages of the Scotland Bill. He suggested that the fact that the Assembly—he was then talking about the Scottish Assembly—had the right to set up committees which covered areas of government which were devolved precluded by silence the right to set up other committees. The Minister who replied, Mr. Millan (in col. 836 of the Official Report for 7th July), did of course say that Mr. Powell's interpretation was wrong and the fact that there was no specific right for the Assembly to set up committees covering matters which were not devolved did not actually exclude that.

I wondered whether I could have a statement from the Government saying that this is the correct interpretation also in respect of the Welsh Assembly. We are, of course, not satisfied if this is the right interpretation, but nevertheless I think it is right that this matter should he clarified before the Bill leaves this House. One of the reasons why I do not think it right that we should vote on this particular Amendment is that a similar Amendment was voted on in another place in relation to the Scotland Bill, and was defeated. But I would be grateful for an interpretation from the Government on this particular matter. I beg to move.


My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness for having made it quite clear that in moving the Amendment she is not seeking to restrict discussion and debate in the Assembly and its committees to the functions that are to he devolved. Clearly, that would be not possible, nor indeed desirable. At an earlier stage the noble Baroness feared that without an Amendment of this kind there would be "an absolute proliferation of committees" involving great expense. I suggest that it is unreasonable to indicate or to forecast that the Assembly will rush into the appointment of a vast array of committees regardless of expense. Its Members will be those who have been brought up politically in Wales, and the Welsh are, if I may say so, politically mature people. It is very unlikely that they would proliferate a large number of committees just for the fun of it or in the hope of extending the functions which are attributed to them in the Bill. It surely must be left to the Assembly itself to decide, for example, whether it wants separate committees for the countryside, for ancient monuments, and for historical buildings and tourism, or whether one committee might effectively deal with all those functions in those three areas together.

In exercising its functions the Assembly and its committees will be bound to be concerned with developments and proposals on functions which the Assembly is not to exercise. Proposals for legislation at Westminster are a clear example. An Assembly committee on housing will need to consider the Government's proposals for new housing legislation which might well affect the Assembly's responsibility. If this Amendment were accepted, the effect might well be that such a committee's terms of reference could not extend to consideration of that kind of matter, although I think it is implied in what the noble Baroness said at the beginning of her speech that in practice the committee should be free to discuss policy in relation to such a matter and to consider those proposals.

I think that it would be wrong explicitly to prohibit the Assembly from appointing a committee, even though it might seek to do so, to consider, for example, the problems of school-leavers in Wales, the level and effect of unemployment, and matters of that kind. I think it would be wrong to restrict this democratic Assembly in its power to appoint committees to consider those matters. Accordingly, I submit that this provision really is impracticable and an unreasonable limitation on the workings of a democratic Assembly.

Baroness ELLES

My Lords, I thank the noble and learned Lord for that explanation. I hope that what he has said will act as a guideline to the Welsh Assembly when setting up its committees, and that it will confine the committees established and appointed to the matters which have been devolved to them. The functions of this new body should be made clear to the people of Wales; it should be clear what actions of government they are in fact performing. They already have three other levels of government. It must be made quite clear what are the functions of the Welsh Assembly. Probably one of the ways in which that will be understood by the Welsh people will be by the committees set up and the work done by the committees.


My Lords, I hope I have not misled the noble Baroness into thinking that it will not be possible for the Assembly to bring into being committees to consider non-devolved matters, without, of course, having any power or function in regard to them. I think I made that clear earlier.

Baroness ELLES

My Lords, I thank the noble and learned Lord for that addendum, if I may call it that, because it does fill out even more what the words "areas of government" really mean; they are obviously very widely drawn. Nevertheless, I think we have gone into this matter far enough. I am sure the Welsh Assembly, if it is set up, will be a reasonable body and will conduct itself in a reasonable manner. I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 76 [Interpretation]:

3.38 p.m.

Baroness STEDMAN moved Amendments Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 5:

Page 32, line 2, leave out from ("to") to end of line 3 and insert ("carry on any")

Page 32, line 7, after ("Office") insert (", the British Railways Board")

Page 32, line 7, leave out lines 8 to 10 and insert ("but subject to subsection (4) below")

Page 32, line 24, leave out from beginning to ("shall") in line 26 and insert— ("(4) The Secretary of State may by order provide that any persons specified in the order shall be treated as being, or as ceasing to be, excepted statutory undertakers for the purposes of this Act or for such of those purposes as may be so specified; and a statutory instrument made under this subsection").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, I hope it will be for the convenience of your Lordships' House if we take Amendments Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 5 together because all of them concern the definition of "excepted statutory undertakers" in Clause 76. As we explained during Report stage, we wish to get the definition in Clause 76 as precise as possible, but at the end of the day we still need the flexibility of an order-making provision to add or subtract from the definition. The Amendments we now propose are similar to those which we tabled on Report stage but then withdrew to allow an opportunity for general debate. I hope they now show a slight improvement.

The Amendments have four purposes. First, they exclude from the definition bodies which are empowered to "construct" or "work" but not to "carry on" the various undertakings listed in subsection (1). Secondly, the Amendments recast the definition so that the British Railways Board is now included by name rather than by general reference to railway and light railway undertakers. This means that if, for example, a passenger transport executive were to run a light railway in Wales they would not thereby become an excepted statutory undertaker. Thirdly, the Amendments enable the Secretary of State by order to subtract from the definition as well as to add to it. We explained on Report stage why we thought this flexibility was needed, and I think that that explanation was accepted.

Fourthly, we have tried to take some account of the concern of the noble Lord, Lord Elton, as to presentation. As I understand it, he thought it odd that an order-making power should be inserted in the sentence which defines excepted statutory undertakers. Our previous Amendment would have compounded that oddity. But our new Amendment separates the order-making power from the definition in subsection (1) and places it at what we hope the noble Lord will consider a more respectable distance in subsection (4). I beg to move.


My Lords, who would suppose that three short words could contain so much meaning! It is a fascinating occupation on this Bench to anticipate, if one can, which alter ego of the noble and learned Lord will emanate from the Front Bench. I noticed a certain hesitation in his own choice also, but I felicitate the noble Baroness, Lady Stedman, on her choice and seize this opportunity—although it is being ahead of the game, but I fear that on the appropriate day the opportunity will not present itself to me and I am anxious to show the goodwill that exists between the Front Benches—to congratulate the noble Baroness on her birthday, which I understand will be tomorrow. From her expression I see that she perhaps did not wish to be reminded of it, in which case I apologise. However, I assure her that the days of that apprehension are not yet appropriate!

The noble Baroness has kindly returned to a matter with which we had difficulty during the Report stage and has grouped Amendments Nos. 2 to 5 together. It is worth mentioning in passing, without rancour but for note for future occasions, that I cannot recall throughout our discussions on this Bill having had notice of any proposed groupings of Amendments, which I have always had as regards other Bills. Moreover, in Committee, when I drew this matter to the attention of the Government Front Bench, I was told that in future we would be given notice. This particular grouping is a very obvious one. I have no complaint, and we have had no difficulty, but to be given notice is a useful practice which should continue.

We then come to the clarification of definition and the inclusion of the power to subtract from the list of definitions, as well as the power to make additions to the list, of those bodies which qualify as excepted statutory undertakings. I have no quarrel with that, and I think that I made my wry comments on the elasticity of this provision, which is phenomenal, at an earlier stage. I notice that the noble Baroness has made, or her advisers have made, a courteous, but minimal, move towards distancing the power from the clause. I think that it is unusual, and perhaps in drafting terms inelegant, to have a power inserted in a clause which calls itself a clause for definition. It is, in fact, a clause for another purpose, and it seems to me that there might usefully be added a little note in the margin where the clause and its purpose are named. However, that, of course, is not the subject of debate here because it is only an annotation as regards the Bill and not the Bill itself. I hope that what I have said is noted. We have no objection to the Amendment.


My Lords, may I also take this opportunity to congratulate the noble Baroness and to support what the noble Lord, Lord Elton, has said. No doubt the noble Baroness will be thanking the noble Lord, Lord Elton, for what may be considered to be some kind of birthday present—tomorrow at least, according to the usual channels, there will not be so many probing Amendments to keep her busy; she will have a free day. However, in seriousness, I should like to support what the noble Baroness said about Amendment No. 3 because that seems to me to be a helpful Amendment.

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Schedule 2 [Existing statutory functions]:

3.45 p.m.

Lord ELTON moved Amendment Nos. 6 and 7: Page 41, column 2, leave out lines 33 to 35. Page 41, line 37, leave out ("that Act") and insert ("the Education Act 1944 (c. 31)").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this pair of Amendments are the fruit of a long exchange between the noble Lord and myself partly across the Floor of the House, partly through the post and even, at one stage, on the telephone. It really comes down to the following. The entry referred to in Amendment No. 6 in lines 33 to 35 of column 2 on page 41, was apparently a necessary paver to an Amendment which we shall be discussing later as regards Schedule 11.

Very briefly, it was apparent to my untutored eye that if we provided a power for the Secretary of State in Schedule 11 as an addition to a Bill which was devolved, and if we did not reserve that additional power in Schedule 2, then that, in itself, would become a power of the Welsh Assembly, and as the power was, in fact, the power for the Secretary of State to act in place of the Welsh Assembly, it would have been otiose.

However, it was explained that if on every occasion that this was necessary it was done, the length of the Bill would become inordinate, and if it were not done on any occasion the very uniformity of the omission of this entry in the Bill would be sufficient to make it clear to the courts that the reservation was intended, though not stated. I was anxious that the inclusion, on this solitary occasion, of a reservation should not invalidate that principle. I have been told that it is necessary to withdraw it because otherwise it would invalidate that principle. Therefore, Amendment No. 6 removes the unnecessary paving stone which might otherwise trip up the people walking across it.

Amendment No. 7 which is adjacent to Amendment No. 6 is, as your Lordships will see, a perfectly straightforward drafting Amendment. I am taking out the first reference to the 1944 Act in Schedule 2 and the subsequent references are to "that Act". The specific reference has to be inserted at the second point and, as it is being excised at the first, I beg to move.

The MINISTER of STATE, DEPARTMENT of EDUCATION and SCIENCE (Lord Donaldson of Kingsbridge)

My Lords, I have nothing to add to the very clear explanation of the noble Lord, Lord Elton, and I am happy to accept both Amendments.

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

3.48 p.m.

Baroness STEDMAN moved Amendment No. 8:

Page 44, line 29, column 2, at end insert— ("The powers under section 29")

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, during Report stage the noble Lord, Lord Stanley of Alderley, and other noble Lords argued that we should reserve certain powers in Section 29 of the Rent (Agriculture) Act 1976, which deals with agricultural dwelling-house advisory committees. The Government's belief is that it is a matter of balance whether the powers in Section 29 are regarded as being of an agricultural or housing nature. However, if they are to be regarded as agricultural, our view is that all the powers in Section 29, and not just those in subsections (8) and (9)—as proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Stanley, on Report stage—should be reserved. There would be administrative awkwardness if the Government were to be responsible for directing the committees and regulating their procedure but not for other matters, such as the appointment of secretaries and the meeting of expenses.

During Report stage the noble Lord agreed to withdraw his Amendment on the understanding that the Government would table a more complete Amendment on Third Reading. This we have done, and I hope it is acceptable. It reserves all the powers under Section 29 of the 1976 Act so that the Assembly will now have no powers in respect of agricultural dwelling-house advisory committees. I beg to move.


My Lords, I should like to thank the Government. I should also like to thank my noble friend Lord O'Hagan, and the noble Lord, Lord Collison, who helped to guide me in bowling a slightly straighter ball than I dreamt I was bowling. The Government have been very good to accept the Amendment and I thank them very much.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Baroness STEDMAN moved Amendment No. 9:

Page 44, line 43, at end insert—

("The Home Purchase Assistance and Housing Corporation Guarantee Act 1978 (c. 27) sections 1 and 2(2) to (4). The functions under those sections so far as exercisable otherwise than in relation to advances to or loans by (the institutions specified in paragraphs 2, 3 and 5 of the Schedule.").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, this Amendment devolves certain powers under the Home Purchase Assistance and Housing Corporation Guarantee Act 1978, which was very recently before this House. The Act provides special assistance for those saving to buy a home for the first time. The Act also increases the aggregate maximum amount of loans which may be guaranteed by the Housing Corporation under Section 10 of the Housing Act 1974.

The intention of the Amendment is that the Assembly should have for Wales the ministerial powers in the Act which deal with lending by certain bodies or groups of bodies in the public sector, including local authorities. All powers with respect to private sector lending are, however, to be reserved and will continue to be exercised by Ministers. These arrangements bring the new Act into line with the existing policy in the Wales Bill whereby the Assembly is to have wide powers in respect of housing, which is a subject primarily of concern to those people living in Wales, save for the important exclusion of the provision of finance by private financial institutions.

The ministerial powers to be devolved in relation to the public bodies in question include such matters as the power to prescribe price limits on property for which loans are sought and the minimum levels of savings to qualify. The Assembly will be responsible for making advances to lending bodies to pay for its part of the scheme. I beg to move.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

3.51 p.m.

Lord SANDYS moved Amendment No. 10:

Schedule 2, page 47, line 9, column 2, at end insert— ("The functions under sections 29, 35, 36, 38, 39, 41 and 42 so far as relating to terms and conditions of service, appeals, pensions, gratuities or allowances payable on retirement or death, or compensation for loss of office or employment or loss or diminution of emoluments.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in this Amendment, we return to the problem of the remuneration of doctors, dentists, physicians and pharmacists. We discussed an Amendment very similar to this in Committee on Thursday, 15th June. At that time we were in some difficulty over the particular situation of remuneration of those concerned, and we return now to the same position, but with the Amendment altered to include the original drafting of the Bill when introduced on the first print of the Bill. In addition, there is the word "appeals". We believe that the addition of the word "appeals" to the Government's original drafting on the first print of the Bill will be satisfactory.

We have studied the reply made by the noble Lord, Lord Donaldson of Kings-bridge, at column 565 of the Official Report of 15th June and he made particular reference to this point. He said this: The entries in Part II of Schedule 2 in the publication print of the Bill for the sections named in this Amendment were designed to fulfil this policy in relation to general medical practitioners, dentists, opticians and pharmacists. But it became apparent that these entries in Part VI did not fulfil the Government's intent. The phraseology concerned could, in certain contexts, carry a much wider meaning than matters affecting remuneration and it could be construed to incorporate functions unassociated with remuneration but which are intimately concerned with the day-to-day running of the Health Service ".

That is the heart of the dilemma because, unhappily, the remuneration of those concerned and the functions of management are very closely related. We believe it to be very nearly impossible to separate those two. We have come as close to it as we believe possible and have included "appeals" because, in view of the fact that there will be a number of situations which will arise in this context, we believe that this is very necessary. I beg to move.


My Lords, when we debated the Amendment to which the noble Lord referred in Committee, I made clear the Government's policy on this matter. There is no difference at all between the intentions behind this Amendment and those of the Government as to pay and related terms and conditions of service. We believe that they should remain the responsibility of the Government. We do, however, consider that some of the terms and conditions of service not related to pay should become the responsibility of the Assembly because their reservation could interfere with the Assembly's management of the Health Service in Wales. When the noble Lord, Lord Hill of Luton, in a very strong speech on this subject, asked, "Why not leave it as it was?", that was the answer; for as it was it did move these subsidiary elements, which are an essential part of administration, from the devolved people. Otherwise, I think that we are in total agreement.

The Government scheme, which I described in Committee, enables the Secretary of State to distinguish between the various terms and conditions of service and to issue directions in respect of those where pay and related matters predominate. I do not wish to detail your Lordships by restating what I said earlier. It is enough to say that it placed control for determining what functions related to remuneration in the hands of the Secretary of State, which, of course, is also the wish of the movers of the Amendment. It also allowed for the Assembly to run the Health Service as a coherent whole in the areas not directly affecting pay. This is what the Amendment interferes with. It also provided flexibility for the future. The scheme covered by the Amendment before your Lordships could create administrative problems; for example, in there being no clear line of demarcation between the Assembly's responsibilities and those of the Secretary of State; these in turn could lead to legal uncertainties as to the effect of the entry. As I have said, "terms and conditions of service" is a phrase which goes very wide indeed.

I think that I have said enough to make it clear that I do not feel that we can accept this Amendment. We believe that it confuses the issue and I very much hope that the noble Lord, Lord Sandys will not find it necessary to press it.


My Lords, may I ask the Minister whether he is limiting his reply to the first part of this Amendment in so far as it relates to "terms and conditions of service"? The Amendment covers pensions, gratuities or allowances payable on retirement or death and certain other aspects of compensation. Does the noble Lord's answer cover all those aspects?—because as I understood him, he mentioned only the first part relating to terms and conditions of service.


My Lords, with the leave of the House, we must not start a debate, but perhaps I might be allowed to answer this. The determination of what is relevant to the Secretary of State and what is relevant to the Assembly under the Bill as it stands is in the hands of the Secretary of State.


My Lords, we return to a situation which is very largely unresolved because I think that the Government are as much in a dilemma as we are, though the noble Lord, Lord Donaldson of Kingsbridge, has repeated many of the arguments which he stated earlier. I think that he also added the arguments of his honourable friend Mr. Alec Jones at an earlier stage. It does not appear to me that this Amendment has the support of either the noble Lord, Lord Hill of Luton, or the noble Lord, Lord Porritt, and I should find it very difficult to press the Amendment at this stage. As this is the final stage at which we shall have an opportunity to make Amendments to the Bill, I feel that it is for the benefit of your Lordships if I withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

3.59 p.m.

Lord DONALDSON of KINGS-BRIDGE moved Amendment No. 11: Page 48, leave out lines 15 to 19.

The noble Lord said: My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Sandys, has, I think, very wisely withdrawn his Amendment which dealt with the terms and conditions of service of medical practitioners, opticians, dentists and pharmacists. Throughout our deliberations on the Bill, the Government have sought to ensure that, when the Bill leaves this House for another place, it will do so in an internally consistent form. The purpose of the Amendment which I am now moving is to ensure that the terms and conditions of service of employed Health Service staff are brought into line with noble Lord's wishes in respect of medical practitioners, opticians, dentists and pharmacists. It is moved without predjuice to any action the Government may wish to take in another place. I beg to move.


My Lords, this Amendment does what was sought to be done at the Committee stage of the Bill, when the noble Lord was good enough to withdraw it for further consideration. Furthermore, he has been good enough to write a letter to me, and to others. It seems to me to go some way—indeed, a good way—but not quite far enough. The issue here must not be obscured; it is the issue that the level of consulatants, the requirements—clinical and other—for consultant status, and the mode of their employment, must not result in a lower standard of consultants in Wales as compared with the rest of this Island.

This is important to Wales and, although I am not going to elaborate the point, particularly to some areas of Wales, what is done here is to transfer from the Secretary of State to the Assembly, by means of regulation and otherwise, the responsibility of laying down the standards to be observed in the selection of consultatants, the procedure to be observed, and so on. This goes to the Assembly. Will the noble Lord give an assurance that this cannot, of itself, result in lower professional, clinical, or other requirements for the appointment of consultants in Wales than those which obtain today and those which obtain in the Island as a whole?

It is important to establish that, following the transfer of responsibility for the mode of appointment and the criteria to be applied to applicants, the transfer will still leave the Secretary of State, where necessary, in full authority over these items. I am a little puzzled because there was an associated Amendment at Committee stage which the noble Lord perhaps did not withdraw. I have not been able to find it in this complicated Bill. But if the noble Lord can give an assurance that this change, of itself, will not, and cannot, result in a different, lower level of standards for consultants, then it leaves me quite happy. This comparison between consultants and general practitioners, the common argument of the Amendment just withdrawn and the one that is now being moved, has left me a little puzzled. I should like, please, an assurance that there cannot as a result of this be a lowering of the requirements for consultant status and consultant and specialist appointments. That, no one here wants.


My Lords, before the noble Lord, Lord Donaldson, replies, may I say that I hope he will be able to give what may be termed a very firm assurance in this particular regard, because we had a considerable debate on the particularly important matter of the maintenance of standards on 15th June. It is a matter which is regarded by the Government, the medical profession and all concerned as being of the first importance. At that particular time, we most strongly resisted the removal of these particular four lines, 15 to 19, on page 48. It appears that the noble Lord, Lord Hill of Luton, would accept this Amendment by the Government subject to an assurance. If an assurance can be given in very firm terms, then so be it, but if we feel that the assurance is of a different character I must advise the noble Lord that we may have to resist the Amendment.


My Lords, I seem to be being bullied into saying something I might not think right, and the noble Lord will have no effect of that kind. I have not the slightest difficulty in giving this assurance. The intention of the Government, as I expressed it the last time we debated it, is exactly the same as that that the noble Lords, Lord Hill and Lord Sandys, have been speaking about. This Amendment, added to the absence of the noble Lord's Amendment, effects this, in the Government's opinion, effectively, and I give the fullest assurance that the result of passing this Bill in the present form will not involve any divagation of standards of the kind the noble Lord has feared.


My Lords, the word "divagation" leaves me puzzled. It is not one which I think many of your Lordships have used in common parlance. Would the noble Lord accept a different word which perhaps he might be permitted, with the leave of the House, to add to his statement?


My Lords, with the leave of the House, I will accept any word which has the same meaning. It means" an induced difference".

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

4.7 p.m.

Baroness STEDMAN moved Amendment No. 12:

Page 52, leave out lines 50 and 51 and insert—

(" The Commons Registration Act 1965 (c. 64) section 19. The power to make regulations for the purposes specified in paragraphs (e) and (g) of subsection (1).").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, in proposing the Government's Amendment, I should also like to speak to Amendment No. 13 in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Stanley of Alderley, since both concern the Commons Registration Act 1965. The Government's Amendment was originally tabled on Report stage, but was withdrawn following a misunderstanding as to its effect. I have subsequently written to the noble Lord, Lord Stanley, seeking to clear up this misunderstanding and also to answer some points about which he is concerned. For the benefit of those who have not had copies, perhaps I could repeat the substance of my letter for the record.

The effect of the Government's Amendment is to devolve the regulation-making powers in Section 19 of the 1965 Act except so far as they relate to the Commons Commissioners and the Church Commissioners. Following an earlier Committee stage debate, we now agree that these two matters are not apt for devolution. The powers under Section 17 of the Act, which again concerns the Commons Commissioners, are already reserved in the Bill as it stands and will remain reserved under our Amendment. Column 1 of the Amendment only relates to Section 19 of the Act, so powers under all other sections are reserved. In practice, the only ministerial powers under the Act which are not now spent or irrelevant are those in Sections 17 and 19.

Concern was expressed by the noble Lord, Lord Stanley, about the provision in Section 15 relating to the qialification of grazing rights on commons. As I said in my letter, this is the section which gives Parliament the power to determine the number of animals to which grazing rights apply, and because it is not a ministerial power it will not be devolved to the Assembly. Any doubt which might be in the noble Lord's mind as to this has, I hope, been entirely removed by our Amendment, which specifically limits the scope of devolution (in column 1) to the powers under Section 19.

The aspects of Section 19 which we propose to devolve relate, in broad terms, to the keeping of commons' registers by local authorities. The present regulations are in fact the same for England and for Wales. But subsection (4) already allows for the possibility of different regulations should circumstances require. It seems sensible to us that, should the need arise for different Welsh regulations, they should be made by the Assembly—which will be responsible for most other commons and local authority matters. I can hardly imagine that they will wish to make different regulations unless there is good cause. I might add—as again Lord Stanley has expressed concern on the matter—that the regulations cannot be used to redefine persons with an interest in common land.

I hope that what I have said will meet most of the noble Lord's concerns. We have tried to be flexible on the matter but we think his Amendment goes too far; its effect would be to reserve all aspects of Section 19 as well as Section 17, which would leave nothing devolved in the Act. I hope the Amendment will be acceptable and that, as a result of my explanation, the noble Lord will not press his at a later stage. I beg to move.


My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness for her letter and for putting it on the record; it will clear up all the points I asked. I do not want to belabour the point, but the noble Baroness said in in effect that it seemed unlikely the Welsh Assembly would want to make different regulations but that it should have the opportunity to do so if it wished. I still believe the Welsh Assembly could do this under Section 19(4), so it would be tidier to reserve both sections. Once again I get the impression that the only reason for exluding Section 19 is as a sop to the Welsh Assembly, with no real meaning. I am sorry to be ungracious about this because I realise I have been given something. I suppose that because they gave me twice as much as I asked for on my last Amendment they are going to give me only half as much on this one. The Government move in a most mysterious way, but I thank the noble Baroness.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 13 not moved.]

4.12 p.m.

Baroness STEDMAN moved Amendment No. 14:

Page 54, line 38, at end insert—

("The Inner Urban Areas Act 1978 (c.) section 1, section 2(4)(b) as applied by section 9, section 3(2) as applied by section 5(3), sections 7, 8, 9(6) and 12, and paragraph 2 of the Schedule.").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, this Amendment is the first of four Amendments which take account of the Inner Urban Areas Bill. This Bill received its Third Reading in your Lordships' House on 10th July and I am advised it is in order for the Wales Bill to refer to it. Reference is already contained in the Scotland Bill. The Government's approach is to devolve outright to the Assembly powers under the Inner Urban Areas Bill which are primarily environmental in nature and to reserve outright powers which are primarily industrial or commercial. This Amendment devolves to the Assembly powers in respect of specification of designated districts, loans for site preparation, and loans and grants for improving amenities, the entering into arrangements with local authorities and the adoption of local plans.

The Amendment also devolves powers in respect of the specification of special areas and the approval of improvement areas. But as these powers have industrial and commercial as well as environmental implications, later Amendments to Schedules 3 and 4, Nos. 19 and 20, will provide the ministerial protection. When we come to it, Amendment No. 28 to Schedule 11 will deal with powers under Clause 2 of the Bill, which again in certain cases have industrial and commercial implications. Powers of a purely industrial nature, such as those in Clause 3 relating to common ownership and co-operative enterprises, are to be reserved. I beg to move.


My Lords, as the noble Baroness pointed out, the Act to which the Bill refers has achieved its final form only in the last 72 hours. Therefore the Amendments drawn up for this Bill to meet its arrival have been on the Order Paper only briefly. Though I suppose I should apologise for not knowing about them, I need not apologise greatly because this is one of the exigencies of Parliamentary life. I hope therefore the noble Baroness will make a full explanation of each of the references to the Act as she comes across them in her long list of Amendments so that those who are concerned with the Act and have to apply it through this Bill will have some sort of guide to which they can refer. I make this plea because the normal function of Opposition is to raise objections and difficulties and appear to be difficult in Committee, and later to draw out from the Government the explanations which they might otherwise not get. In this case the responsibility rests only and squarely on the noble Baroness, and I hope she manages the task with her customary efficiency.

Baroness STEDMAN

My Lords, I was proposing to do just that for those reasons.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Baroness STEDMAN moved Amendment No. 15:

Page 55, column 2, leave out lines 20 to 26 and insert—

("The powers under section 111(2) so far as their exercise is incidental to functions which remain exercisable by a Minister of the Crown.").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, this is a minor Amendment, the need for which was identified during Report stage. Section 111(2) of the Water Resources Act 1963 enables persons authorised by Ministers to enter upon land for the purposes of their functions. Section 112(4) concerns the settling of disputes relating to entry on the land of statutory water undertakers. At present the Bill devolves powers under these two provisions subject to an exclusion relating to the land of certain navigation authorities. The terms of the exclusion are inappropriate to the provisions to which they relate; they make little sense in the case of Section 111(2), and none at all in the case of Section 112(4). What is instead required is to ensure that Ministers as well as the Assembly are able to authorise entry on land after devolution for the purpose of carrying out the functions for which they are respectively responsible. That is what is achieved by the Amendment. I beg to move.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

4.16 p.m.

Baroness STEDMAN moved Amendment No. 16:

Page 58, line 6, column 2, at end insert—

("The power under section 160 so far as exercisable for the purposes of section 5 of the Transport Act 1978 (c.)").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, this is the first of two Amendments which take account of the Transport Bill. The other is Amendment No. 18. The Transport Bill has completed its Report stage in your Lordships' House, and I am advised that it is in order for the Wales Bill to refer to it. The Scotland Bill was similarly amended on Third Reading to deal with the Transport Bill. The changes made to the Transport Bill on its Report stage on Tuesday do not have any effect on the Government's Amendments to the Wales Bill. Most of the ministerial powers contained in the Transport Bill concern British Rail and the National Freight Corporation, and all these powers are to be reserved, as is already the case with similar powers in earlier legislation.

In these cases reservation can be achieved by silence. However, a technical problem is created by Clause 5 of the Transport Bill, which concerns community bus services. Subsection (5)(a) states that a driver must be a volunteer, and, if not the holder of a public service vehicle driver's licence, must fulfil such conditions as may be prescribed for drivers of community buses. It is wished to reserve this power of prescription in common with all matters concerning drivers' qualifications. But the actual power is technically not in Clause 5 of the Transport Bill but in Section 160 of the Road Traffic Act 1960, which at present is partly devolved in the entry in Schedule 2. It is therefore necessary to reserve Section 160 of the 1960 Act so far as it relates to Clause 5 of the Transport Bill. That is achieved by the Amendment. No other ministerial powers are contained in the parts of the Bill dealing with bus licensing, and the only power in the whole Bill which is appropriate for devolution is in Clause 3. We shall be coming to this shortly with an Amendment. I beg to move.


My Lords, in language favoured by the noble Lord, Lord Donaldson of Kingsbridge, this topic is both inspissated and obfuscatory. I am afraid I cannot fully grasp what it is that the noble Baroness is trying to do. There is some anxiety among those concerned with what will happen to community buses under the Transport Bill—which is still a Bill and not yet an Act—in that those who are driving community buses may not have the qualifications which she described. Therefore, I was not entirely certain, when I accepted on a provisional basis the Amendments brought forward by the noble Baroness the other day, that this power was being maintained for the United Kingdom as a whole, let alone for Wales. I hope she will accept that there is some uncertainty in the minds of the Association of District Councils as to whether this power is being retained at all in its comprehensive form, let alone as to how it will be affected by devolution. Would the noble Baroness repeat, slightly more slowly, what she just said?

Baroness STEDMAN

My Lords, it sounds complicated because we are dealing not only with the Transport Bill but also with the references in the Transport Bill to the Road Traffic Act. What we are saying is that what we have said in the Transport Bill is that a driver must be a volunteer and, if not, he must be the holder of a public service vehicle driving licence. He must fulfil such conditions as may be prescribed for drivers of community buses. What we want to do is to reserve the power of prescription in common with all matters concerning drivers' qualifications so that the same rights will be administered nationally and will not be devolved to the Assembly. The actual power to which we are referring is not directly in the Transport Bill but indirectly in the Transport Bill because of the cross-reference to the Road Traffic Act, but I can assure the noble Lord that we are intending to maintain the standards that we have.


My Lords, I am very grateful for that explanation, which means that it may well be necessary to put down a series of Amendments to the Transport Bill.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

4.21 p.m.

Baroness STEDMAN moved Amendment No. 17:

Page 58, line 7, column 2, at beginning insert—

("The functions under sections 2, 3(2) and 4(2) so far as exercisable in relation to byelaws made by virtue of section 8 of the Civil Aviation Act 1978 (c. 8)").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, at Report the Government brought forward Amendments to the Schedule 2 entry for the Civil Aviation Act 1971 to ensure that the Assembly would have no competence in respect of the control of aircraft noise. This Amendment before your Lordships is designed to achieve the same effect. The powers under Sections 2, 3(2) and 4(2) of the Civil Aviation Act 1978 are concerned with the making of by-laws in respect of Department of Trade, local authority and private aerodromes. The ministerial powers in relation to these by-laws are devolved to the Assembly in Schedule 2. But the Civil Aviation Act 1978 amends the powers in Sections 2, 53(2) and 4(2) so that they include the power to make by-laws for controlling the operation of aircraft for the purpose of limiting or mitigating the effect of noise, vibration and atmospheric pollution caused by aircraft using the aerodromes. These powers are not to be devolved to the Assembly. My Lords, I beg to move.


My Lords, I have pursued this point throughout this Bill, and at a previous stage I inquired from the noble Baroness whether the Amendment brought forward by the Government at that time was restricted to pollution by noise, and she said it was. I now understand that the Assembly is to have powers to control other forms of pollution. I am not fully certain as to what is retained at the centre in the control of pollution by aircraft because, as we have discussed this in stages, I am afraid that I find it rather difficult to grasp the exact ambit which is now left to the Assembly and that which is left to the Department. Could the noble Baroness clarify that point?

Baroness STEDMAN

My Lords, not in any great detail because my recollection is the same as that of the noble Lord; we have gone over this matter in stages and one does not see it as a coherent whole at any one point of time. What we are doing with this Amendment is to include the powers to make by-laws for controlling the operation of the aircraft for the purpose of limiting or mitigating the effect of noise, vibration and the atmospheric pollution caused by aircraft and we are not devolving those powers to the Assembly. I think that was what the noble Lord was after in his earlier Amendments. He did not want those powers devolved to the Assembly; he wanted them to be kept on national standards.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Baroness STEDMAN moved Amendment No. 18:

Page 58, line 47, column 1, at end insert—

("The Transport Act 1978 (c.) section (5)(b).").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, this is the second of the two Amendments dealing with the Transport Bill.

The only power to be devolved under this Bill is that in Clause 3. Subsection (5) enables the county councils to require information from public passenger undertakings when preparing or revising their public passenger transport plans. Subsection (5)(b) then provides that the Secretary of State may give directions as to the form and content of this information. This power of direction, since it is at the moment a ministerial power, is to be devolved to the Assembly as the Assembly will be responsible for most other matters relating to passenger transport planning. I beg to move.


My Lords, I should have thought that this was a function wholly suitable for the Assembly to carry out if the Transport Bill becomes an Act.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Schedule 3 [Enactments conferring powers exercisable concurrently]:

Baroness STEDMAN moved Amendments Nos. 19 and 20:

Page 62, line 36, at end insert— ("The Inner Urban Areas Act 1978 (c.) paragraph 2 of the Schedule.").

Schedule 4, page 63, line 29, at end insert—

("The Inner Urban Areas Act 1978 (c.) section 8. All powers under the section.").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, it might be convenient to take together Amendment No. 19 and Amendment No. 20 to Schedule 4. Both concern powers under the Inner Urban Areas Bill which are devolved in Schedule 2. Special ministerial protections are required in Schedules 3 and 4 because in both cases the powers have industrial and commercial, as well as environmental, implications.

The first Amendment, No. 19, relates to the Schedule to the Inner Urban Areas Bill which enables a designated district authority to declare an area to be an improvement area. The Secretary of State has powers of veto and revocation under paragraph 2 of the Schedule. The Amendment to the Wales Bill makes these powers concurrent; that is, either the Secretary of State or the Assembly may prevent an area being declared an improvement area or require it to cease to be one. This reflects the fact that such areas qualify both for environmental grants and loans (in respect of which powers have been devolved) and for industrial and commercial grants (in respect of which powers are to he reserved).

The second Amendment relates to Clause 8 of the Inner Urban Areas Bill. This contains the power to specify an area as a special area to which the provisions for grants and loans under Clauses 9, 10 and 11 will apply. Some of these grants and loans are industrial and commercial in nature, and others concern devolved environmental and infrastructure matters. Accordingly, the devolution of the power to specify areas under Clause 8 is to be subject to ministerial consent. I beg to move.


My Lords, my earlier observations, of course, apply. I am very interested in the machinery by which we are doing this. I see that the Inner Urban Areas Bill has returned to the Commons amended. Can the noble Baroness tell us whether or not the series of Amendments she proposes—if there are others, or maybe there are only these two—will still be correctly drawn if the Amendments made in this place are accepted in another place. I do not wish to make a meal of this subject. I do not even know whether it is a precedent, and it would be interesting to know if it is a precedent, but one can see a situation developing, as my noble friend Lord O'Hagan has just said, where the inclusion of an Amendment in one Bill going through Parliament may change the course of another Bill going through Parliament. With the Bill with which he is concerned. the Transport Bill, there is an opportunity for that to be done, but there is no such opportunity in this case. If very briefly the noble Baroness could clarify to us the processes which are expected to be gone through in either eventuality, I should be grateful.

Baroness STEDMAN

My Lords, with the leave of the House, may I say that I am reasonably confident that these Amendments are drafted in the right way whatever may be the fate of the Bill before it gets back to us. So far as precedent is concerned, it is an interesting point that the noble Lord raises. I do not know, but I should like to know and, if I find out, I will certainly write to the noble Lord to tell him what the precedents are for it, but I cannot tell him at this point of time; I do not know of any.


My Lords, it is a dangerous precedent to create a precedent unknowingly.

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

4.29 p.m.

Baroness STEDMAN moved Amendment No. 21: Page 67, leave out lines 16 to 20.

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, this Amendment is aimed at removing an impracticality from the Amendment to Schedule 8 which the noble Lord, Lord Middleton, carried on Report stage, and we have written to the noble Lord explaining our reasons. The noble Lord's Amendment introduced a procedure whereby a water authority may apply to the Secretary of State for him to intervene under Schedule 8. I do not want to discuss the merits of this procedure, which was the subject of a very long debate at Report stage. But, on reflection, we consider that one particular aspect of it creates a potentially very serious practical difficulty. Our Amendment is aimed only at removing this difficulty, so that we can return a workable Bill to another place.

What is now paragraph 11 of Schedule 8 provides that, where a water authority has applied to the Secretary of State to intervene, the exercise by the Assembly of the power to which the application for intervention relates should be superseded. The difficulty is that during the period when the Secretary of State is considering whether to intervene, neither he nor the Assembly will be able to exercise the power concerned; and in some cases it might be necessary for the Secretary of State to hold an inquiry to establish the facts before deciding whether to intervene. This could have serious repercussions where rapid action is required—for instance, if an order needs to be made under Section 2 of the Drought Act 1976—and it would also throw out the arrangements for statutory time limits which are contained in some of the provisions to which the intervention procedures apply. For this reason, I hope that your Lordships will accept the Government's Amendment. It will delete paragraph 11 of Schedule 8—which creates the difficulties I have outlined—but otherwise it will leave Lord Middleton's Amendment intact and it will return the Bill to another place in a workable condition. I beg to move.


My Lords, as the noble Baroness has explained, what is now proposed appears to remove a chunk from the Amendment which the House agreed at Report stage. I believe that we were on common ground with the noble Baroness, but we hoped that where one of the water authorities which straddles the Welsh boundary was at variance with the Assembly over a matter concerning the national water policy, informal means could be found for resolving the matter. However, we felt very strongly that provision should be made in the Bill for a form of machinery; and that is what the earlier Amendment did. That being so, when the Amendment was being framed it was thought to be important that some provision should he made regarding what was to happen during the period when the Secretary of State was considering the application, so paragraph 11 was included. It provided that the powers to be exercised by the Assembly should be suspended, if for no other reason than that that might possibly serve to hasten the Secretary of State's consideration so that the matter could be resolved quickly.

I am grateful to the noble Baroness, who has written to me on this point, and I think I am persuaded that there are cases where there might well be a hiatus in government. I am a little surprised at the instance she quoted to me regarding the Drought Act, because this is a matter in which the water authority applies to the Secretary of State to take action where the general economy is in danger due to shortage of water, whereas, in this case, where a Welsh authority has exercised the powers, I very much doubt whether the Assembly would fail to act responsibly. We all think that the Assembly will act responsibly in all matters. I should have thought that here the intervention power would not be needed at all. We must accept that there might be occasions where government would be held up, hut the possibility is remote. I believe that the main effect of our Amendment is not gravely imparied, and so I advise my noble friends not to resist the present Amendment.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Schedule 11 [Amendments of Enactments]:

4.34 p.m.

Lord ELTON moved Amendment No. 22: Page 72, line 21, after ("(a)") insert ((Where the proposals under this section are made by a Welsh local education authority").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, the Amendment relates to the substance of Schedule 11 as it was amended at an earlier stage. The original Amendment imported into Schedule 11 two new subsections to the Education Act 1944, they being subsections (4A) and (4B) of Section 13 of the Act. The Amendment, as Amendment No. 108D, was carried on a Division on 14th of June—that is to say, almost exactly a month ago. On the evening of 10th of this month—three days ago—I received a long and technical reasoned objection to the whole concept of this Amendment from the noble Lord. Lord Donaldson of Kingsbridge, whom I assume will be replying today. Therefore, the time to meet these objections has been rather shorter than that which it took to prepare them.

I know that the noble Lord is still unhappy with the general principle of the Amendment as it may, or may not be, effective, but I shall leave it to him to say why, before in my reply, I say why I think his objections, if I have seized them correctly, are without force. However, there were a number of other objections which had force, and these are met in my Amendments Nos. 22 to 27. The first three of this set of Amendments (Nos. 22, 23, and 24) relate to page 72 of the Bill. They all relate to the new subsection (4A) of Section 13 of the Act of 1944, and I think it will be to the convenience of the House if I take them together.

The noble Lord's first objection was that the subsection as drafted went beyond the Long Title of the amending Bill, by reason of the fact that it applied to England as well as to Wales when it came to determining the proceedings of the Secretary of State. Although it did not alter the Secretary of State's power, it altered the proceedings, and, to be safe, I have met that by altering the wording at the beginning of subsection (4A). Therefore we propose to insert the words, Where the proposals under this section are made by a Welsh local education authority…". That applies to the whole of the subsection, whereas, as drafted at present, the restriction to Wales does not occur until paragraph (c) of subsection (4A). Your Lordships will see that at paragraph (c) it is stated: where the functions of the Secretary of State under this section have been discharged by the Welsh Assembly …". The force of that restriction is being removed from that part of the subsection to the beginning of the subsection. That therefore renders necessary as a consequential Amendment, Amendment No. 24, which removes the reference to Wales which presently appears at the place referred to in the Amendment.

The other Amendment in the group, No. 23, is a consequential drafting Amendment in order to keep the syntax correct when the reference has been removed from the middle to the beginning of the subsection. That was the objection; and that is how we have met it. I beg to move.


My Lords, I do not know whether the noble Lord would be happy to discuss all six Amendments to Schedule 11 together, or whether he wishes to take separately the first three to which he has spoken.


My Lords, the substance is different. I propose that we deal with the principle that we have not mentioned but which the noble Lord has at the back of his mind, which applies to them all. I will reply to that in my wind-up to this debate. The next debate will be about a different matter, in relation to which the noble Lord put into my head an idea which I thought was a good one, and which I have embodied. I do not know whether the noble Lord's brief is so interlaced with the two matters that he cannot separate them. We shall have to see how he gets on. I want to preserve the oportunity to speak twice more, not once more.


My Lords, I anticipate no problems with my brief. It is worth reminding noble Lords what the Amendment is ultimately about. We are talking about technical details. The Amendment itself is an attempt to give the Secretary of State power of approval over certain schemes—basically, the proposals by local education authorities to establish new schools, to cease to maintain schools, or to make significant changes in the character or size of premises at schools—and to give the Secretary of State an appeal on these points over and above the Assembly. The noble Lord and I have corresponded on the technical aspect, we have both taken advice, and I believe that we have reached a stage of polite disagreement.

When we discussed the original Amendments—that is, the ones which appeared as Amendments Nos. 6 and 7 today—we made it clear that the Government could not accept the policy behind them, and this is still the case. We see no point in devolving powers to the Assembly only to place the Secretary of State in the position of a kind of court of appeal to which people can turn if dissatisfied with the Assembly's decisions.

At the time the noble Lord moved his Amendment to Schedule 11, I said that it was not technically acceptable; and I think it is worth pointing out also that he is making a particular exception in this case in a field otherwise almost totally devolved. Although the Amendments before your Lordships go some way towards meeting my objections, I am afraid it is still the case that even if these Amendments are carried the entry for Sections 13(4A) and 13(4B) in Schedule 11 will be defective. To achieve the desired effect we should have to start afresh; and I have written to the noble Lord about the points at issue. My letter is long and complicated, and I do not propose to read it into the record unless at a later stage somebody asks for it; but my advice is that I cannot accept these Amendments even as a tidying up of a general situation with which, in any case, I do not agree. So, in the circumstances, I am afraid I must resist them.


My Lords, one sympathises with the noble Lord's position, of course, though one cannot agree with it. Perhaps I may take from him part of the burden of explaining (which he has not explained) the technical objection, because I think this is what we are about to vote upon. The principal objection seems to be that there are duties and powers ancillary to the power to approve proposals, some of which may need a partial reservation where it is the Secretary of State who gives approval; and Section 13(6) of the 1944 Act is given as an example of this.

I should like to remind your Lordships of our earlier discussions on Clause 75 of this Bill. Clause 75, which to a layman is a sinister provision included in the Bill, says: The enactments mentioned in Schedule 11 to this Act"— and this is one of them— shall have effect subject to the amendments specified in that Schedule". That is quite clear, but after that it says: A Minister of the Crown may by order make such amendments in any Act passed before or in the same session as this Act"—

and that refers, of course, to this Bill, which we are now discussing, as well as many others— and in any other enactment passed or made before the passing of this Act as appear to him necessary or expedient in consequence of this Act". When asked why this was so, we were told that there were many cases where there would need to be partial reservations which were too small and pernickety to be embodied in the Bill as an original Amendment at this stage. It seems to me that the noble Lord has in fact produced for us exactly such an example: that this Clause 75 is incorporated in the Bill to meet the objections which he has made to our scheme in this Amendment.

I think that the matter of the reservation of a power of appeal is an important one. It may be an isolated example, but I said at Second Reading, and repeated at Committee and Report stages, that one of our functions is to have important principles discussed in another place, and this was not. I am confident, and my advisers are confident—and they are well qualified—that the particular objection I have referred to is not without force, and I therefore ask your Lordships to repose your confidence in that advice and to accept this Amendment.

4.44 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said Amendment (No. 22) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 101; Not-Contents, 74.

Adeane, L. Cockfield, L. Exeter, M.
Ailesbury, M. Colville of Culross, V. Falkland, V.
Aldenham, L. Cork and Orrery, E. Ferrier, L.
Ampthill, L. Craigavon, V. Fortescue, E.
Auckland, L. Cranbrook, E. Gainford, L.
Avon, E. Croft, L. Geoffrey-Lloyd, L.
Balfour of Inchrye, L. Cullen of Ashbourne, L. Greenway, L.
Barnby, L. Daventry, V. Gridley, L.
Belstead, L. de Freyne, L. Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L.
Berkeley, B. Denham L.
Bessborough, E. Derwent, L. Hawke, L.
Bradford, E. Ebbisham, L. Henley, L.
Caithness, E. Eccles, V. Home of the Hirsel, L.
Campbell of Croy, L. Ellenborough, L. Hylton-Foster, B.
Carrington, L. Elles, B. Kemsley, V.
Cathcart, E. Elliot of Harwood, B. Kinnaird, L.
Clancarty, E. Elton, L. Kinnoull, E.
Clitheroe, L. Emmet of Amberley, B. Lauderdale, E.
Leinster, D. O'Hagan, L. Strathcarron, L.
Long, V. [Teller.] Onslow, E. Strathclyde, L.
Macpherson of Drumochter, L. Porritt, L. Strathcona and Mount Royal, L
Mancroft, L. Rankeillour, L. Tenby, V.
Marley, L. Rawlinson of Ewell, L. Terrington, L.
Massereene and Ferrard, V. Redmayne, L. Teviot, L.
Melville, V. Reigate, L. Teynham, L.
Middleton, L. Romney, E. Trenchard, V.
Monson, L. Ruthven of Freeland, Ly. Tweeddale, M.
Morris, L. Sandys, L. Vaux of Harrowden, L.
Mottistone, L. Selkirk, E. Vernon, L.
Mountgarret, V. Sharples, B. Vickers, B.
Mowbray and Stourton, L. [Teller.] Skelmcrsdale, L. Vivian, L.
Sligo, M. Ward of North Tyneside, B.
Newall, L. Soames, L. Wilson of Langside, L.
Northchurch, B. Stanley of Alderley, L. Young, B.
Nugent of Guildford, L.
Amherst, E. Goronwy-Roberts, L. Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Annan, L. Hale, L. Rochester, L.
Ardwick, L. Hampton, L. Sainsbury, L.
Aylestone, L. Harris of Greenwich, L. Samuel, V.
Banks, L. Hatch of Lusby, L. Sefton of Garston, L.
Birk, B. Henderson, L. Segal, L.
Boston of Faversham, L. Howie of Troon, L. Shepherd, L.
Brockway, L. Hutchinson of Luliington, L. Shinwell, L.
Byers, L. Jacobson, L. Snow, L.
Caccia, L. Jacques, L. Stedman, B.
Castle, L. Janner, L. Stewart of Alvechurch, B.
Collison, L. Kirkhill, L. Stone, L.
Cooper of Stockton Heath, L. Leatherland, L. Strabolgi, L. [Teller.]
Crook, L. Listowel, E. Wallace of Coslany, L.
Cudlipp, L. Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, B. Wedderburn of Charlton, L.
David, B. Lloyd of Hampstead, L. Wells-Pestell, L. [Teller.]
Davies of Leek, L. Lloyd of Kilgerran, L. Whaddon, L.
Davies of Penrhys, L. Lovell-Davis, L. Wigg, L.
Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L. McGregor of Durris, L. Wigoder, L.
Douglas of Barloch, L. Melchett, L. Willis, L.
Elwyn-Jones, L. (L. Chancellor.) Murray of Gravesend, L. Winterbottom, L.
Gaitskell, B. Oram, L. Wise, L.
Gardiner, L. Parry, L. Wootton of Abinger, B.
Gladwyn, L. Peart, L. (L. Privy Seal.) Wynne-Jones, L.
Gordon-Walker, L. Pitt of Hampstead, L.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Resolved in the affirmative, and Amendment agreed to accordingly.

4.52 p.m.

Lord ELTON moved Amendments Nos. 23 and 24:

Page 72, line 22, leave out ("the proposals made under this section") and insert ("them")

Page 72, line 28, leave out from beginning to ("that") in line 30.

The noble Lord said: My Lords, with the leave of the House, I beg to move Amendments Nos. 23 and 24.

Lord ELTON moved Amendments Nos. 25 to 27:

Schedule 11, page 72, line 30, after ("approval") insert ("or as the case may be that decision to withhold approval")

Schedule 11, page 72, line 33, leave out ("against that approval")

Schedule 11, page 72, line 44, leave out ("objections to the Secretary of State") and insert ("to the Secretary of State objections either to the approval or as the case may be to the decision to withhold approval referred to in a public notice made under subsection (4A) of this section").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, we are still looking at the same part of the Bill; that is to say, the Amendment. In the correspondence I had with the noble Lord on the subject of these Amendments, it was suggested to me that the situation had changed by reason of the introduction of what we are not allowed to call another tier of government but what is certainly another tier of decision, and that there was an extra dimension to the matter. As the noble Lord, Lord Donaldson, has said, what we are discussing is an appeal from a decision of the Welsh authority to approve a scheme against which objections have been made. As it may also not approve a scheme and as that decision might be the subject of a grievance—and it might be the subject of a grievance by a local authority in this case—then it was suggested that this was a question which might also be brought into the purview of the Bill. I am always glad to take advice from noble Lords opposite. The occasions when it is possible to do so are rare and correspondingly valuable; but that I have sought to do—including both approval and refusal to approve. I do not think it necessary to spell out the way in which this is done unless the noble Lord opposite, with his screwdriver and pliers, will demonstrate that this also is defective. Then it may be necessary to do so. Otherwise, it suffices if I have said what is the intention. With the leave of the House, I beg to move Amendments Nos. 25 to 27 en bloc.


My Lords, in view of the passing of Amendment No. 22 there is no purpose in opposing this Amendment or the next two. I am therefore happy to accept them.


My Lords, I am glad to note that the noble Lord is happier than he looks at accepting the Amendments.

Baroness STEDMAN moved Amendment No. 28: Schedule 11, page 85, line 31, at end insert—


88.— (1) Section 2(4)(b) of the Inner Urban Areas Act 1978 shall have effect, in any case where—

  1. (a) the loan is made by a designated district authority in Wales, and
  2. (b) the Assembly is satisfied that it is not for the acquisition, construction or alteration of a building intended for use for industrial or commercial purposes,
as if the reference to the Secretary of State were a reference to the Assembly.

(2) Paragraphs 1(3)(b) and 3(3)(b) of the Schedule to that Act shall have effect, in relation to any area in Wales, as if the reference to the Secretary of State included a reference to the Assembly").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, this is the last of the Amendments dealing with the Inner Urban Areas Bill. It may be appropriate to say that I have taken advice on the question which was raised earlier as to whether we were establishing a precedent in the way in which we were dealing with this question. I am advised that it is quite common towards the end of a Parliamentary Session for one Bill to contain textual references to another. Any difficulties created by amendment to one Bill can be accommodated by printing changes to the other Bill. It is clear what provisions are being referred to even if, occasionally, clause numbers may be changed. I can assure the noble Lord that we are not setting a precedent in the way in which we are dealing with the Inner Urban Areas Bill today.

The Amendment provides for the devolution of the power to vary interest rates under Clause 2(4)(b) of the Bill except in respect of loans for industrial or commercial purposes. Loans under Section 2 may be for the acquisition of land or for the carrying out of works. Secondly, it provides that maps of improvement areas should be sent by designated district authorities both to the Assembly and to the Secretary of State. This reflects the fact that such areas must be approved by both. I beg to move.


My Lords, as this is the last series, I should thank the noble Baroness for her explanation which, as always, was an extremely concise and lucid one. Perhaps this is not the stage for compliments but this is a good example of what she has been doing and we are grateful.

Lord ELTON moved Amendments Nos. 29 and 30:

Page 85, line 35, at beginning insert ("Subject to paragraph 1A below")

Page 85, line 37, at end insert— ("1A If this Act and the Scotland Act 1978 are passed in the same session, the day mentioned in paragraph 1 above shall be the same day as that on which the referendum provided for in the Scotland Act 1978 shall be held").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this Amendment, together with Amendment No. 30, seeks to secure that the referendum on the question of whether or not there is to be a Welsh Assembly shall be held on the same day as the referendum on the question of whether there is to be a Scottish Assembly. We have trodden this ground fairly thoroughly and the Government have given assurances in the Scotland Bill. They gave some assurances during the progress of this Bill at earlier stages that it was their honest and open intention to carry out the two referendums on the same day. Then they added, "Providing nothing untoward occurs". This is an elastic phrase. I should like to know what it conceals. I have spent some time trying to think what extraordinary event could occur which would make it appropriate to ask the question of the Scots on one day and inappropriate to ask the Welsh on the same day, unless the day itself had been chosen with malice aforethought. If it was a day of particular importance in one country which perhaps another chooses to observe as a universal holiday, that might be the case. But that cannot be what is anticipated for that would be to anticipate incompetence or else malice aforethought. So it cannot be that.

What we wish to know if we are not to press this Amendment is what it is that the noble and learned Lord feels might occur which would make it unfortunate if we were to press it. If the Government say it is their intention to do this—and it may be marginally discourteous (although that is not intended) to require them to do it after they have already said that such is their intention—what can be the objection? We shall listen to the reply with considerable interest. With the leave of the House, I beg to move Amendments Nos. 29 and 30 en bloc.


My Lords, it is the case, as the noble Lord said, that we have traversed this ground on several occasions. The same Amendments were discussed during the Third Reading of the Scotland Bill. On that occasion, the paving Amendment was negatived without a Division and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Wilson of Langside, did not move his substantive Amendment. That, your Lordships may think, was a clear indication that so far as Scotland at any rate was concerned, it was decided that this proposed provision should not be made in the Scotland Bill. It is perhaps a little surprising therefore to see it sought to be introduced in the Wales Bill. Clearly, we cannot look at the two Bills in isolation. If we introduce a statutory provision that the Welsh referendum is to take place on the same day as the Scottish referendum, it follows by inexorable logic that the Scottish referendum is to take place on the same day as the Welsh referendum, about which, I venture to think there will be little disagreement even at this late hour on this sunny afternoon. We have decided not to make this statutory requirement in relation to the Scotland Bill and so it is surprising to see the Amendment on the Marshalled List once again.

I am asked why it is that we take the view that although it is the firm intention of the Government—which has been repeated more than once—that both referenda should be held on the same day, we still believe that a certain flexibility is necessary in case of unforeseen circumstances. I am afraid that I cannot satisfy the curiosity of the noble Lord, Lord Elton, about what future unforeseen events may prove to be which may make it impracticable to hold the two referenda on the same day. Your Lordships will remember the wise advice of Mark Twain: it is always dangerous to prophesy especially about future events. Your Lordships may think there is some wisdom in that observation. Strange things can happen and I think that, for the sake of flexibility, there should not be this statutory requirement. We have nothing up our sleeves about this matter; it is merely a prudence to avoid the unexpected making it impossible to achieve the holding of the referenda.


My Lords, as I spoke on the Scotland Bill, I am interested in what is in the Wales Bill. Will the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor give the same categorical assurance on the Wales Bill as he gave on the Scotland Bill, that in so far as it is humanly within the control of himself and his colleagues, it is the firm intention to have the referenda on Scotland and Wales on the same day? If he does that—in other words, to repeat the assurance now that he gave on the Scotland Bill—then perhaps noble Lords on the other side of the House might be satisfied.


My Lords, I thought that I had given that assurance. If I failed to make it clear, I give my noble friend that absolute assurance as to what the intention is.


My Lords, I am obliged to the noble and learned Lord and also the noble Lord, Lord Wigg. It is firmly on the record that this is the Government's intention and that they cannot conceive of what could occur to deter them from carrying out their intention. Their amazement will only be exceeded by ours if such an occurrence takes place. In the light of that, I beg leave to withdraw my Amendments.

Amendments, by leave, withdrawn.

5.4 p.m.

Lord ELTON moved Amendment No. 31: Page 86, line 16, after ("officers") insert ("and any other expenses incurred exclusively and necessarily for the purposes of organising and administering the conduct of the referendum").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this relates to the expenses to be borne by Her Majesty's Government in one form or another during the conduct of the referendum campaign. Your Lordships will remember that the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor flung at my head, as though it were a missile, the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Wedderburn of Charlton, on the Scotland Bill. I have since read that speech. It seems to me that, with one exception, it is an outcry not against the drafting or the effectiveness of the Amendment, as I had supposed from what was said last time, but against its results, which are intentional.

It is intentional that the Government should not publish a White Paper on the issue of the referendum because they have said already that they are not going to do so. It is the intention that the Secretary of State should not travel to Scotland for the specific purpose of addressing a public meeting at public expense—of course, he can travel otherwise. That is intentional. When is the beginning of the referendum? I think it has begun already. I do not think we need a beginning date for that.

However, the noble Lord was concerned as to the meaning of the restriction of the use of the resources of the Government. I personally think that what we already have on the Marshalled List and in the Bill is adequate. As I understood matters when I was a Parliamentary candidate—and I do not think that has changed—all the proper expenses of arranging an election campaign were to be met only by the returning officer. The provision of the ballot boxes, the ballot papers and hiring the schools, went through the hands of the returning officer. However, as there is obviously doubt among distinguished and noble Lords, I have taken advice and added what may be superfluous but is at least clarificatory in the form of words in Amendment No. 31. Those words are to add: and any other expenses incurred exclusively and necessarily for the purposes of organising and administering the conduct of the referendum". If therefore there he some which do not properly pass through the hands of the returning officer, that is covered by this Amendment. If, on the other hand, there is doubt as to what is meant by the expenses that the returning officers normally bear, that is covered by this Amendment. This does not broach a new principle; it makes it crystal clear what it is that your Lordships have already decided upon. I hope the Government accept this Amendment. I beg to move.


My Lords, the Amendment appears to be intended to ensure that the official Opposition Amendment to paragraph 5 of Schedule 12 carried at Report stage has not inadvertently slammed the door on what they would regard as legitimate expenditure of public funds on the referendum. It does not have that effect because the original Amendment was misconceived and itself is not effective. As the noble Lord has explained, the Amendment which is now before us has the laudable motive of attempting to ensure that public funds can be spent on what noble Lords opposite would regard as legitimate purposes in the organisation of the referendum. This Amendment is wholly unnecessary. Expenditure on the organisation and conduct of the referendum will be ministerial expenses falling on a vote in the usual way as mentioned in Clause 71.

I ventured at Report stage in using what is somewhat severe language for me on this Bill—which has been conducted so agreeably through your Lordships' House—to describe this Amendment as "an absurdity". It was nevertheless, in spite of that view, carried by your Lordships. In my submission, this Amendment's attempt to refine and rescue an absurdity is misconceived and unnecessary. However, if the noble Lord wishes to pile Pelion upon Ossa, I shall not stand in his way.


My Lords, I have never really seen myself in that role. However, the noble and learned Lord has invited me to adopt it with such persuasive charm, in contrast to the unusually severe language which he used before, that I think I can fulfil that role to the satisfaction of the House.

5.10 p.m.

Lord ELTON moved Amendment No. 32:

Page 87, leave out lines 10 to 14 and insert— ("Mae'r Senedd wedi penderfynu ymgynghori ag etholwyr Cymru ynglyn a ddylid gweithredu Deddf Cymru 1978.