§ 3.7 p.m.
§ The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg)
My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be read a second time.
This is the second consolidation Bill which I have brought before your Lordships this Session. The Audit Commission was established by Part III of the Local Government Finance Act 1982. Its main purpose then was to audit the accounts of local authorities. Since 1982, it has been given additional functions and its powers have been extended to cover other public bodies. The most substantial change was in 1990 when it was given responsibility to audit the accounts of health service bodies. The 1982 Act has been amended so extensively that the Law Commission has undertaken a consolidation.
The Bill consolidates Part III of the 1982 Act and sections of the Education Reform Act 1988, the National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990 and the Local Government Act 1992. My right honourable friend the Deputy Prime Minister has consulted the Audit Commission, government departments and other bodies about the Bill. None has raised any objection.
We support the valuable work of parliamentary draftsmen and the Law Commission in bringing the statute book up to date and making it easier to follow. I commend the latest proofs of that work to the House. If your Lordships are content to give the Bill a Second Reading it will be referred to the Joint Committee on Consolidation Bills in the usual way. I beg to move.
Moved, That the Bill be now read a second time.—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ On Question, Bill read a second time, and committed to the Joint Committee on Consolidated Bills.