My Lords, I beg to move the Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper.
If your Lordships agree to the Motion, the Committee of Selection will meet shortly to put forward members for the ad hoc Committee on Relations between Central and Local Government. Thereafter, a further Motion will be tabled to appoint the committee. I hope therefore that your Lordships will feel able to accede to the Motion.
§ Moved, That the Second Report from the Select Committee (HL Paper 89) be agreed to.—(Viscount Cranborne.)
§ Following is the report referred to:
§ ORDERED TO REPORT
§ 1. The Liaison Committee recommends that the proposed ad hoc Committee on Relations between Central and Local Government should have the following terms of reference:
§ To consider the relationship between central government and local authorities in Great Britain; and, in particular, to consider—
- (1) the balance in that relationship between the powers exercised at central and local level;
- (2) the effect of that relationship on local authorities' activities, particularly as regulator, service provider and community leader;
- (3) the need for regulation of local authorities as a means of ensuring appropriate standards of service and value for money, and the forms such regulation should take;
- (4) the financial relationship between central government and local authorities including the extent to which financial independence for local authorities is desirable and practicable.
§ 2. We also recommend that Lord Houghton of Sowerby's Dangerous Dogs (Amendment) Bill should (if re-introduced) be referred to a Select Committee, which should report within three months of its appointment. Thereafter, we recommend that a further ad hoc Committee on the Public Service should be appointed, on which we will report further.
§ Lord Houghton of Sowerby
My Lords, I am very happy to support the Motion. Paragraph 2 of the Liaison Committee's report gives me great satisfaction, so I am well behind the report just for that purpose alone, although there are some other very ambitious projects within it.
All I need say, apart from expressing a word of thanks to all concerned for the favourable way in which they received my submissions, is that the procedural steps to be taken, which are referred to in paragraph 2, are already in hand. The timetable for them has already been fixed. I hope to get the Second Reading of the Bill over before Christmas, and thereafter the reference to the ad hoc committee mentioned in the report. I am very happy about that and I hope that the committee to be appointed immediately after Christmas can do a satisfactory job and finish its job. I am much obliged.
My Lords, with the permission of the House, I should like to pay tribute to the persistence of the noble Lord, Lord Houghton of Sowerby. It gives me great pleasure to be able to move the Motion, if only because I think the way that he has reminded your Lordships of the importance of the subject—which he has brought before your Lordships many times—has been recognised by the Liaison Committee.
I should like just to remind your Lordships that the Home Affairs Select Committee of another place has now decided that it too would like to conduct an inquiry into the operation of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. There is a tradition in your Lordships' House—I believe that it has been observed in another place—that it is not always expedient for two similar inquiries to be conducted in both places simultaneously. I feel guidance of that kind is to be honoured, of course, purely in practical terms, and I should be perfectly happy, with your Lordships' permission, to be guided by the noble Lord, Lord Houghton. If he would prefer this committee to continue, despite the inquiry which the committee in the other place is also conducting, I would be perfectly happy to see that happen. On the other hand, if he would prefer to withdraw it, I am equally happy. The respect with which the noble Lord is viewed in this House must make it his choice rather than mine.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.