HL Deb 23 February 1988 vol 493 cc1053-4

3.7 p.m.

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Aberdare)

My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a second time.

Moved, That the Bill be now read a second time.—(Lord Aberdare.)

Lord Graham of Edmonton

My Lords, I shall not detain your Lordships' House long but it may be helpful if I set out the basis of the Bill and its importance to London and the people who live and work in our capital city.

The Bill is designed for the improvement and development of certain local government services in London. It contains provisions in respect of the operation of night cafes, and of the problems of litter. It deals with the growing problem of abandoned shopping trolleys. A substantial part of the Bill is concerned with revising and regulating conditions relating to street trading.

The Bill is promoted by Westminster City Council but has the backing of the two local authority associations affected by the Bill: the Association of London Authorities and the London Boroughs Association. I declare an interest as the president of the ALA; and in respect of a petition lodged against the Bill I am advised by the National Market Traders Federation. They have combined with the Federation of Street Traders Unions. Together they have enjoyed a substantial amount of consultation with the promoters.

Many matters which some years ago led to dispute in the GLC general powers Bill have been resolved and the street traders wish to aknowledge this. However, a matter of substance remains unresolved. This relates to a right of appeal by traders to an independent arbitrator in the event of a dispute with a participating council—a right contained in previous legislation but absent from this Bill. I am advised by the promoters that they acknowledge this deficiency and that they are anxious and willing to satisfy the burden of the petition.

With this measure of agreement, and a desire to reach mutually acceptable solutions, I have every confidence that the Committee of your Lordships' House to which this Bill will be referred can assist in giving London and Londoners a Bill making these modest changes in the regulations that govern important aspects of our lives. That is why I commend the Bill to the House.

The Chairman of Committees

My Lords, I am very interested to hear from the noble Lord, Lord Graham of Edmonton, of his split personality in this matter, in that he is on the side both of the promoters and of the petitioners. However, that is his problem. All I can say is that there is a petition from the Federation of Street Traders Unions and the National Market Traders Federation, and unless this petition is withdrawn it will be referred in the usual way to the Select Committee. I commend the Bill to the House.

On Question, Bill read a second time, and committed to a Select Committee.