HL Deb 12 May 1987 vol 487 cc618-20

8.15 p.m.

Report received.

Then Standing Order No. 44 having been suspended (pursuant to Resolution of today's date):

Baroness Carnegy of Lour

My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a third time. In so doing, I should like to thank your Lordships for enabling the Bill's passage and for agreeing to the small but important improvements made to the Bill in this House. The Bill is all the better for that. The provisions on appeals against conditions of registration now encompass conditions made at any time, and a formal system exists for the notification by local authorities of their intention to make such conditions. In addition, the provisions on charging for registration have been extended to place health boards in a similar position as regards the scope of charges to local authorities under other provisions in the Bill.

It has so happened that our consideration of this Bill has coincided with a very busy time and long hours spent on a major piece of Scottish legislation. Nevertheless, the noble Lord, Lord Ross of Marnock, and the noble Lord, Lord Carmichael of Kelvingrove, have found time to give careful attention to the Bill and I am most grateful to them. I am sorry that the reprogramming of today's business means that neither noble Lord can be in his place this evening, and I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Kirkhill, for his presence on the Front Bench opposite. I should also like to thank the Government, and notably my noble friend the Minister, for their assistance, encouragement and support. Last, but by no means least, I express gratitude to the officials of the Scottish Office who have done so much work on the Bill and have been a very great help to me.

My honourable friend Mr. Albert McQuarrie, the Member for Banff and Buchan, is well known for his energy and expertise in the promotion of Private Member's Bills. It seems to me that in introducing this Bill he has again rendered an excellent service to us in Scotland. As it now stands, the Bill considerably enhances the existing legislation on the registration of social work establishments and nursing homes. It is my hope that the effect of the new arrangements will prove of considerable benefit to the authorities concerned, to the establishments and nursing homes concerned and, above all, to their customers. My Lords, I beg to move.

Moved, that the Bill be now read a third time.—(Baroness Carnegy of Lour.)

8.18 p.m.

Lord Kirkhill

My Lords, it would be usual for my noble friends Lord Ross of Marnock or Lord Carmichael of Kelvingrove, or both, to stand at this Dispatch Box upon this occasion. But as the noble Baroness mentioned, and as I now confirm, both have an inescapable prior engagement this evening, not perhaps entirely unconnected with the events of this week. So I find myself standing on this side of the Table, although for many years I often stood in front of where the noble Earl now sits. But I am sure that he too will stand at the Dispatch Box if only for a moment.

I come late to the Bill, but I notice that it is quite technical in character and complex in nature. Indeed I detected from a more than casual reading of Hansard that my noble friend Lord Ross of Marnock succeeded in posing a number of quite penetrating questions relating to Clause 2, questions which I thought evinced a measure of confusion between the noble Baroness and the then government spokesman. The noble Lord who sits opposite most kindly copied to me a letter which he had sent earlier to my noble friend Lord Ross of Marnock. It appears from that that the important point which he raised under Clause 2 received a very comprehensive reply from the Scottish Office. I acknowledge that publicly and thank the Minister for his consideration.

It only remains for me to say that I consider that the noble Baroness has very competently and with considerable graciousness of spirit carried a most complicated yet important piece of Scottish legislation through your Lordships' House.

The Earl of Dundee

My Lords, my noble friend Lady Carnegy referred to the part played in introducing the Bill in another place by my honourable friend Mr. Albert McQuarrie. I am sure that we would all wish to join her in expressing our thanks to him.

With regard to the proceedings in this House, I congratulate my noble friend Lady Carnegy on her successful piloting of the Bill, particularly when so much of her valuable time has been devoted lately to another piece of proposed Scottish legislation with which a number of your Lordships here tonight are also concerned and which, to borrow from the terminology of Clause 1 of this Bill, has had to be almost our "sole or main" object of attention over the last few weeks while its detailed discussion has certainly constituted our "whole or substantial function"!

I should also like to thank the noble Lord, Lord Ross, for taking such a keen interest in the substance of the Bill and the noble Lord, Lord Kirkhill, for his support and kind remarks this evening. Like my noble friend Lady Carnegy, I too hope that those concerned with the registration and operation of establishments covered by the Bill will value the improvements which it contains to the existing provisions in this area.

Baroness Carnegy of Lour

My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Kirkhill, for his very generous remarks. I agree with him that his noble friend's questions at Committee stage were exceedingly penetrating. I am glad that he feels that the letters which my noble friend on the Front Bench wrote to him have cleared up such points as we were not able totally to clarify at that stage.

On Question, Bill read a third time, and passed, and returned to the Commons with amendments.