HL Deb 21 June 1999 vol 602 cc737-76

House again in Committee on Clause 26.

Baroness Miller of Hendon moved Amendment No. 91:

Page 16, line 7, leave out subsection (8)

The noble Baroness said: In moving the amendment, I speak also to Amendment No. 92.

Clause 26(8) is one of the shortest but most centralising restrictive clauses in this or any Bill. Amendment No. 91 seeks to delete subsection (8) which allows the Secretary of State to limit the authority's expenditure. The power goes beyond those over local government. It is untrammelled. No consultation or representation procedure is provided for. The restrictions can be imposed at any time, whatever the state of the authority's budget. The only safeguard is the requirement of parliamentary approval for those restrictions, but that is inadequate protection. The Government have brought forward yet another Henry VIII clause.

Clause 26(9) allows the Secretary of State to amend the clause by order to remove or restrict prohibitions or limitations on the authority's power. At present the clause restricts the authority from exercising housing, education, social or health services. Those limitations are an important part of the constitutional settlement of London government that the Bill proposes. They are important demarcations between the authority and the London boroughs and other agencies. The relationship between these bodies is set by it.

The restrictions also reduce the ability of the Secretary of State to play off the authority and the London boroughs against each other by threatening to transfer responsibilities to deliver services.

Subsection (9) undermines that. While any order would be subject to affirmative resolution, that does not encompass the significance of the issues and provide appropriate opportunity for parliamentary and outside scrutiny. I beg to move.

Baroness Hamwee

On an earlier amendment, the noble Baroness stated that she was glad to add her name to our amendment. The roles are reversed in respect of Amendment No. 91. I am not sure that my name should have been added to Amendment No. 92. I think that there was some over-enthusiasm somewhere. However, we support Amendment No. 91 for the reasons I have given on earlier occasions. No doubt we shall return to them on further amendments.

8.45 p.m.

Lord Whitty

We are back to the fundamental difference. We believe that the Secretary of State needs to retain some powers to prevent the misuse of the authority's general power. The two amendments would deny future Secretaries of State the flexibility to lift or ease prohibitions that they considered no longer necessary. At the same time, they would remove the provision giving a reserve power to impose limits on expenditure.

Ever since we proposed the creation of the GLA, we have made it clear that the new authority would be small and streamlined in terms of staff and costs. We are clear that Londoners want a GLA which spends its money on services rather than on bureaucracy or functions which can best be provided by the other public authorities.

We need some reserve powers in this area. The Government will not be in the business of deciding how precisely the mayor will spend the budget. But if an irresponsible mayor funded a significant expansion of the GLA, or activities to undermine the position of other public authorities, or essential services were starved of funds as a result of those decisions, some reserve powers are needed. There are similar reserve powers in the remainder of local government. It would be wrong for London to be outside the regime for controlling local authority finances.

The amendment would remove any such reserve powers. I do not believe that that is what we had intended and what Londoners have indicated that they want. Clearly they are reserve powers and they would be used sparingly. Nevertheless, I think that we need those powers. I ask the noble Baroness to withdraw the amendment.

Baroness Miller of Hendon

The Minister's answer is interesting. It is somewhat paradoxical. The Government are removing the capping elsewhere. It seems strange that that power remains. Under the circumstances, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 92 not moved.]

Clause 26 agreed to.

Clause 27 [Consultation]:

Baroness Hamwee moved Amendment No. 92A:

Page 16, line 14, leave out from ("Authority") to end of line 15 and insert ("considers appropriate having regard to the impact of the exercise by the Authority of its functions on all applicable interests")

The noble Baroness said: Clause 27(1) provides that the general power, is exercisable only after consultation with such bodies or persons as the Authority may consider appropriate in the particular case".

The amendment leaves out that generalised wording and substitutes consultation with those it considers, appropriate having regard to the impact of the exercise by the Authority of its functions on all applicable interests".

I wish to make two main points on the amendment. First, as drafted, the Bill refers to the exercise of the general power. The amendment deals with the exercise of functions. It may be a more appropriate point at which to consult. In one or two places in the Bill I have difficulty—I am sure that it is my failure and not that of the draftsman—in understanding the dividing line between powers and functions. The authority should consider in detail how its actions will impact on the various interests, and it should consult accordingly. The distinction between the amendment and the wording in the Bill is that the amendment does not leave consultation as an option.

I tabled the amendment in part because of the concern expressed by the CBI and the London Chamber of Commerce that the references to consultation with business in Clauses 27 and 34 are not sufficiently water-tight. On these Benches we take the view that the opinions of the business community are of great importance, but we do not consider that they should override the views of other communities. They are not to be overlooked or sidelined, but neither should they be paramount. I think that the Government take a similar view. We think that there should be less prescription, but we should ensure that, to the extent that the Bill prescribes how the GLA is to conduct itself, the matter is dealt with adequately.

The Committee will probably agree that the health of the city depends to a very significant extent on its business community. It is not just a matter of wealth creation; there are a number of other issues: for example, the environment will be affected. The use by business of transport for its own functions and for its employees could affect air quality, depending on the mode of transport used. The business community will have strong views on how well the transport system functions.

In the area of social development, the employees of any given business may well cover a range of salary and wage levels, and there will be implications arising from that. The management of any good business will understand the strains on its staff and their aspirations.

Business has a lot to contribute to the work of the bodies that will administer transport matters. I refer also to the police and the planning authorities.

The amendment is not confined to business interests. The authority should decide whether or not to consult the different interests that will be affected. That is central to the clause. I beg to move.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton

The amendment attempts to exchange one form of words for a longer form of words without changing their meaning or. more importantly, their effect.

The mayor must consult those people whose interests are affected by the exercise of the general power. The provisions impose a duty on the authority to consult such people or bodies as it considers appropriate. The most obvious appropriate consultees are those whose interests are affected. The impact that the exercise of the power would have on those interests is necessarily one of the matters which the authority would have to consider.

The noble Baroness, in moving the amendment, referred to different interest groups that could be affected in different exercises of the general power. It is therefore integral to the consultation process that they are consulted. The amendment is therefore unnecessary, and I invite the noble Baroness to withdraw it.

Baroness Hamwee

The amendment does seek to substitute one form of words for another. There are conventions in parliamentary drafting, but the words do not say that the authority "must consult". Therefore, reassured by the Minister's reply, although it is something we shall consider carefully, for the moment, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Baroness Hamwee moved Amendment No. 93:

Page 16, line 24, at end insert— ("() statutory bodies some or all of whose responsibilities are concerned with the whole or part of Greater London;")

The noble Baroness said: In moving Amendment: No. 93, I shall speak also to Amendment No. 96, and to Amendments Nos. 94 and 95 which are grouped with it.

Amendment No. 93 seeks to provide that statutory bodies with responsibilities for London are also to be consulted with regard to the exercise of functions and, through the reference in Clause 34, the preparation of the strategies.

There are a number of such bodies which would normally be consulted by central Government. We believe that the authority should not have the way in which it approaches its work circumscribed or prescribed, but, if it is prescribed, we should ensure that the prescription is as effective as possible.

Clause 25 imposes duties on the authority to exercise its powers in various ways, including the way in which it achieves sustainable development in the UK. One of the consultees that I have in mind is the Environment Agency, which has contributed towards sustainable development as one of its principal aims. Guidance will require the use of an integrated approach by the agency towards achieving that aim.

We believe that the expertise that has been built up by the agency in this area makes it essential that it is consulted by the mayor in preparing the strategies. There is no other existing statutory body which covers the London area which has a duty with regard to sustainable development, and there is no other organisation that covers the breadth of the environmental issues encompassed by the Environment Agency's statutory functions. The agency is very clear that it should be consulted over the preparation of all strategies.

The Minister may say that, of course, the Environment Agency and other statutory bodies will be consulted, but given that the Bill is so long and so detailed, we are troubled about why statutory bodies are not included. The drafting fails to give guidance on consulting such agencies, and we think that they should be included in the list.

Amendment No. 96 is about the distinction between exercise of the power and preparation of the strategy. We propose that in determining the consultation under Clause 27(1) the authority shall have regard to the consultation undertaken in the preparation or revision of the applicable strategy.

We tabled the amendment because, although the power must exist before the mayor can prepare a strategy, before the power is exercised the strategy should logically be in place. There are provisions in regard to consulting on strategies and in regard to their preparation and revision; and the authority should not forget what it has been told in that exercise in any consultation under this provision. I beg to move.

9 p.m.

Lord Swinfen

My amendment No. 94 is grouped with this amendment and it is supported by the noble Baronesses, Lady Darcy de Knayth and Lady Thomas of Walliswood. Among the mayor's various duties is to consult on transport proposals. I am concerned particularly about the interests of disabled people, many of whom cannot get around on their own two feet. Therefore it is vital for them that there is a proper transport strategy throughout the Greater London authority area.

The local boroughs are required to consult organisations of disabled people and the mayor and the GLA are required to consult the local boroughs. But the boroughs may well have their own agenda and their advice to the mayor may therefore be skewed. They may be looking at their own small area rather than over London as a whole. The authority should have the duty to consult with organisations of and for disabled people so that it learns what is required from those who need public transport more than anyone else.

Lord Quirk

This group includes an amendment in my name, No. 95, concerning the place in London of educational and training institutions. I must obviously justify my perception of the need to add yet another interest to those the authority will be obliged to consult before exercising the power conferred by Clause 25(1). And, since the educational and training bodies of my amendment include colleges and universities in which I continue to have an interested involvement. I should preface my words by declaring a professional interest; professional in that it is an interest directed solely at the advancement of education.

In the GLA Bill, both here in Part II and again in Part V, where the terms for setting up the London Development Agency are presented, it is insisted that various bodies and interests be consulted. Very properly so. It would be absurd if decisions could be made out of the blue that adversely affected, for example, the interests of the finance sector in the Square Mile, or which ignored the wealth-producing industries and businesses, large and small, which are located throughout the length and breadth of Greater London.

My amendment adds a sector of comparable importance. The field of adult education and training in London is vast; its assets are vast; its wealth-production is vast, its value-added component is vast. And vast too is the range of institution making up the totality; a range that embraces Imperial College (large, public and world-class) as it embraces RADA (small, private and world-class).

All this has a long and quite logical history for a capital city. Apprentice doctors were already learning their trade at Bart's Hospital a thousand years ago. The Inns of Court are not very much younger. attracting to London, as capital city, Oxford's and Cambridge's ambitious young men and turning them into ambitious middle-aged men. The city's mediaeval guilds ensured that physicians and lawyers were joined by apprentices in all manner of other crafts no one would dream of relating to the adjective "crafty".

And as the population increased in this centre of power and affluence, more facilities such as hospitals were needed and with them (staying just with the medical illustration) came the need for more medical schools to train more doctors. But such simple linear historical logic must then give way to other factors: critical mass, for instance, the phenomenon of momentum, and the urge of craftsfolk of excellence to co-locate with other craftsfolk of excellence. Still staying with the medical paradigm, London at the present time has a quantity and quality of medical expertise that cannot be explained in terms of population or wealth or political power. In this very year, 1999, of all the new dental surgeons due to qualify in the whole of England, one-third (32.4 per cent to be precise) will qualify at a London dental school. And of all the new doctors qualifying in the whole of England this year, well over one-third (37 per cent) will qualify at one or other of London's medical schools.

There are several other measures of how London's education and training clearly punch above London's size and population weight. And this figure of one third of the national total keeps recurring. The London institutions attract about one third of all the overseas students who come to the UK. These London institutions comprise likewise about one third of the whole country's blue skies research capacity. And London institutions provide far, far more than one third of what one might call "specialist expertise"—whether one is thinking of ophthalmology, human fertility or tropical diseases; or whether one is thinking of the advanced study of Slavonic, oriental or other exotic languages. Our concert halls help to explain the presence of our world-class music academies; our theatres, the peerless drama schools. A wit once asked where else could the LSE have conceivably been located than snuggling behind the roads connecting the Law Courts, Fleet Street and the Stock Exchange. Well, where else, one might similarly ask, should Beerbohm Tree and Bernard Shaw have located the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, now approaching its centenary under the leadership of the noble Lord, Lord Attenborough?

But it is not only for the great specialised professions that London acts as an irresistible education and training magnet. Leaving regretfully aside (purely through pressure from the clock at this time of the evening) the scores and scores of further education colleges which supply the needs of students in their hundreds of thousands, and which include the Camberwell College of Arts and the London College of Fashion.

Let me end with a few words about private-sector adult education in London. This is voluminous; it is especially attractive to overseas students; and it is of immense economic value to London and Londoners. One interesting example is Richmond College, a small private-sector university providing both a basic liberal arts education and also some more specialised degrees such as an MBA. Virtually the entire student body comes from abroad, and of course as well as being attracted by what Richmond teaches, and how, students are crucially attracted by where Richmond teaches it. This college is located in London because of our galleries, our theatres, our finance industry, our libraries. Our whole array of cultural opportunity is focused on London.

Here, then, is a thumbnail sketch of the educational and training sector glimpsed professionally, educationally, culturally and socially. Let me just add a word about the sector economically. The sector is a major landowner, with a major stake in property development and urban planning. It is a major employer, providing around 60,000 jobs directly, not counting the many jobs indirectly provided, for example, by firms servicing the sector. It serves around 800,000 student clients. many of them not Londoners but drawn to London by the sector's existence and excellence. The sector has a gross annual income of around £3 billion which, irrespective of its source, is virtually all spent in London. In consequence, the gross benefit to the London economy is huge. Indeed, it has been calculated that the university part alone of this whole education and training sector contributes £4 billion per year to the London economy. That is no less than 4 per cent of London's GDP.

No mayor of London in her right mind is going to ignore a segment of London's economic life of such staggering dimensions. No member elected to a Greater London Authority, no member joining a London Development Agency can fail to be aware of its significance. So is this amendment perhaps unnecessary? That is not so because precisely the same could be said of the other vital interests which are already listed on the face of the Bill as requiring to be consulted. My amendment just puts the education and training sector on precisely the same footing.

And the Government may be assured that the mechanisms by which this sector can conveniently and efficiently be consulted are already in place. There are well structured representative bodies comprising the London Higher and Further Education Partnership. with data at their fingertips and relevant ties to the London First Centre, which of course enjoys DTI support. So I look forward to the Minister's response to these arguments which I have ventured to put.

Lord Renton

I wish to support Amendment No. 94, which has already been moved, briefly but convincingly, by my noble friend Lord Swinfen. Before I go any further, I should declare that I am a patron of the Greater London Association for the Disabled, of which my late wife, until she died in 1986, was the president. That is a body which has done very great work for disabled people in London. As London is the largest city in the United Kingdom, there are inevitably a large number of disabled people there.

It should be one of the concerns—indeed, a major concern—of the new authority for Greater London that the disabled should be a specific responsibility. Indeed, when the words, organisation of disabled and older people", are used, one could very well insert the words, the Greater London Association for the Disabled, shortly known as GLAD". Be that as it may, I believe that within the responsibilities of the new authority there should be a responsibility for the disabled. Therefore, I warmly support my noble friend's amendment.

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood

Perhaps I may add a few words of support to the amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Swinfen, to which my name has been added. We are considering those who should be consulted by the authority in the exercise of its general powers. Unfortunately, a list of those people appears on the face of the Bill, as currently written. I say "unfortunately" because we all know what happens to such lists; people wish to continue adding to them. That is precisely what the noble Lords, Lord Swinfen and Lord Quirk, quite justifiably want to do because we have the curious situation where representatives of different racial, ethnic and national groups should be consulted; representatives of different religious groups should also be consulted; bodies which represent business interests should be consulted, but not bodies which represent organisations of disabled or older people.

It is not enough to say that such bodies could be included under voluntary bodies some or all of whose activities benefit the whole or part of Greater London. The same could be said of all the other bodies which have been separately listed. Are the Government saying that elderly and disabled people, who, taken together, are more numerous than any of the groups given separate mention, are less important, or is their non-appearance in the list simply a manifestation of their lack of clout in the political process?

9.15 p.m.

Lord Tope

Perhaps I may again speak briefly in support of the amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Quirk. One of the difficulties is that once one begins to list specific groups or categories of people who should be consulted, inevitably the list becomes endless and with very good justification one could add more and more groups. I am aware of that.

The Government started on that process in listing various groups and categories in the Bill. The noble Lord, Lord Quirk, has made the case extremely well as to why education and training interests should be listed among those which are required to be consulted. Only for reasons of time he passed very briefly over his reference to colleges of education. Later this evening I shall be moving an amendment which tries to give effect to the view that I expressed at Second Reading and that is shared by my colleagues, that the GLA should have strategic responsibility for further education. That fits very properly within the role of the GLA and more particularly the LDA, as regards all matters of further education and training.

Therefore, if we are to list bodies which are to be consulted, the interests which are very important not only to London but particularly to the GLA itself and its functions should also be included. For those reasons I support the amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Quirk.

Baroness Miller of Hendon

We support Amendment No. 93 moved very ably by the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee. We too on these Benches have been lobbied by the Environment Agency. There is no point at all in my going over the same points that the noble Baroness raised.

The only other point I make is that during Committee stage in the other place there were several amendments to Clause 27 which increased the range of organisations which the authority will have to consult. As other Members of the Committee have said, the list can continue to grow like Topsy. The fact is that, if there is a range of voluntary and other bodies which have to be consulted, as there is no corresponding provision for statutory bodies, this matter needs to be considered.

As regards Amendment No. 94, we also agree that it is very necessary, particularly because the various changes that are to take place concerning transport will have a bearing on disabled and older people. It is right that consultation should take place.

We have difficulty with Amendment No. 95, as drafted, simply because it refers to bodies which represent educational and training interests. We very much believe that, as those are matters normally dealt with by the boroughs, we do not want to come into conflict immediately.

When the noble Lord began moving his amendment in such an excellent manner he discussed at length adult education and further and higher education. We agree with that, but those organisations do not appear in the amendment as drafted, but simply, bodies that represent education and training interests". The amendment might be just a little too wide. That is the only problem that we have with this amendment. If it were brought back in a different form we would most certainly support it.

Lord Whitty

Several Members of the Committee have pointed to the problem with this amendment. Once one begins listing matters, there is no end to the list. The reality is that Clause 27 provides for consultation with all appropriate persons and bodies in the particular case. The list subsumes quite a number of the other bodies which have been referred to. It is not exclusive because there is a general requirement.

It is our view that the interpretation means that it is inevitable that, as a result of this clause and Clause 34(2), where a general power is exercised in the preparation or revision of any strategy, the authority must—and I emphasise that word—consult those people whose interests are affected or bodies who represent those interests or a mixture of the two. In other words, these provisions impose a duty on the authority to consult such people as it considers appropriate.

The most appropriate consultees are the people whose interests are affected and those representing them. Therefore, in all those contexts, the authority must—I emphasise "must"—consult, among others, organisations representing the disabled, the elderly, education, training services, the Environment Agency and other statutory bodies in those situations where their interests are affected by the use of the general power or by the use of any strategies which are developed.

If we were to add to Clause 27(3) a whole range of bodies, that list would never end. It is best to define those bodies whose interests are affected by the strategy or by the particular power being exercised. Undoubtedly, representatives of the disabled and the elderly are subsumed in the title "voluntary bodies". That list is not intended to be exhaustive. Therefore, I do not believe that it is necessary to add to the list.

In relation to educational establishments, I concur with what the noble Lord, Lord Quirk, said. He made a strong case on the importance of the whole structure of the contribution of London's economy and employment. However, in certain aspects, their activities are not relevant to the activities of the GLA but, for example, they are relevant to the London boroughs. We do not want to confuse the issue, as the noble Baroness has just said. There will be aspects on which the general importance will relate to only some of the particular strategies or the particular powers which the GLA shall be exerting.

The other problem in adding to the list is not simply the length of the list—although that would be a problem in itself—but that the longer the list, the more likely the presumption that all other bodies are thereby excluded. Therefore, what is intended by these amendments to be a move towards inclusiveness could be exclusive of other interests which have yet to be the subject of any amendment at this stage.

The amendments are unnecessary and, in certain circumstances, could be counterproductive. In all cases, the local authority must consult appropriate bodies and persons. Under that heading, all those that have been referred to in this discussion would be included.

In relation to the disabled and transport, there is particular provision in the transport provisions of the Bill for ensuring accessibility to transport systems within London. I believe that the anxiety of the noble Lord, Lord Swinfen, will be met later in the Bill.

Baroness Carnegy of Lour

I have listened with great interest to the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Quirk. He spoke on a subject in which I take a great interest and about which I believe I know a certain amount. I also listened with care to the Minister's reply.

The Minister gave a classic reply—I have heard it many times before—that we must keep the list short, that it should be all-embracing and that those not included in the list will wish that they were and that they had asked to be included. One understands that that causes trouble.

However, it is not just that the authority may, in its decisions, affect the interests of the educational institutions. I would suggest that the authority will not be able to promote economic development and wealth creation, or to promote social development and the improvement of the environment without drawing on the resources of the educational institutions; in London. It is not a matter of simply not treading on their toes. If the authority does not consult such people, it will not use the resources of the area where the responsibility lies. I believe that the Minister's reply was not appropriate in the case of the educational institutions.

I have not been lobbied on this matter. I have a flat in London and live here for two or three days a week. I do riot know in detail how the institutions work in relation to local authorities. But I feel that this over-arching authority will have to draw a great deal upon the educational resources of Greater London. If it does not consult, it will not get on too well.

The Government should therefore reflect on this matter. It is an area where the authorities have to consult; they have to pick the brains of those who have the resources at their disposal. If they do not do that, they will not do a very good job. The Government should think hard about this amendment before the next stage because, when Ministers read what the noble Lord, Lord Quirk, said, they will quickly see his point. It is an important matter.

Lord Renton

The Minister's reply seems to rely upon paragraph (a) of Clause 27(3), which reads, Those descriptions are— (a) voluntary bodies some or all of whose activities benefit the whole or part of Greater London". One has to read that in the light of what is set out in paragraphs (b), (c) and (d). Paragraph (b) relates to bodies representing racial, ethnic or national groups; paragraph (c) relates to religious groups and (d) relates to business in Greater London.

If those three matters deserve to be specifically mentioned, surely the disabled need to be specifically mentioned. Can we be certain that the work of the Greater London Association for the Disabled would necessarily be covered by paragraph (a). It is a voluntary body and some or all of its activities have an effect, but the expression, the whole or part of Greater London", does not necessarily relate to people, unless one has to imply that it means the people of Greater London. Let us leave no room for doubt in this matter. The work of the Greater London Association for the Disabled is so important that attention needs to be drawn to it, just as attention needs to be drawn to the interests of racial and religious groups.

It would clarify the situation and be a great advantage to have something along the lines of Amendment No. 90. It could do no harm and might be necessary.

Lord Swinfen

I agree with my noble friend Lord Renton. I do not know whether the Minister is aware that 10.7 per cent or approximately three-quarters of million Londoners are disabled. There are probably at least twice that number who are elderly. It is a high proportion and there should be a specific provision on the face of the Bill that they and their organisations should be properly consulted.

The Minister was arguing against the Bill as drafted when he said that by producing a list we exclude those who are not on the list. But the Bill already contains a list. It is either a question of taking this clause and redrafting it completely or producing a proper list that will satisfy the noble Lord, Lord Quirk, the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, and myself—all of whom spoke to different amendments—and those who supported us from all around the Committee, except from behind the Minister. When we started he had no supporters behind him. He had been sent naked out into the world by his party without any support. So I am glad that he has someone to support him now.

9.30 p.m.

Lord Quirk

Perhaps I may return briefly to what the Minister said in his response to Amendment No. 95 I take the points that he has made and I shall study them very carefully. But I am afraid that there is no match between local authorities and the higher and further education sector. The latter—that is, the educational and training sector—cuts across all the London boroughs. I should like to give the Committee just two examples. The University of Westminster is huge. It has major campuses in several boroughs. The London Institute, which is in Davies Street, is organised as a federation, including the Camberwell College of Art that I mentioned, and four others. Again, they are scattered across the London boroughs. It is precisely because the GLA is our opportunity to have an overarching body that I fear that the relegation of my proposal to local authority aegis simply will not work.

Lord Dixon-Smith

I hope that the Minister will consider most carefully what is being said. The noble Lord, Lord Quirk, has made an absolutely solid case for the inclusion of educational interests, through to further, higher and adult educational interests, in a list. My noble friends Lord Renton and Lord Swinfen and the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, have all made very solid cases in respect of the disabled and the elderly.

The Minister will recall the debate in Grand Committee in the Moses Room on the Local Government Bill, when I argued that the longer a list the more exclusive it becomes, rather than becoming more inclusive. I must admit that I find that this particular part of the Bill would have been perfectly satisfactory if subsection (2) had read something along the lines of the following: In determining what consultation (if any) is appropriate under subsection (1) above, the Authority shall bear in mind the service that it is considering and those who would be affected by it". If that was where the list stopped, then of course every interest mentioned in all the amendments in this group would be included. We would not need to add this sector, that sector or, indeed, the other sector. The only reason that we need to add those sectors is because we already have so many sectors mentioned in the Bill. As I said, the longer the list, the more exclusive it becomes rather than becoming more inclusive.

Although I accept that Clause 27(1) gives the general authorisation, once that list is there in subsections (2), (3) and (4) it begins to make subsection (1) appear less and less significant. Indeed, one tends to lose sight of it. Therefore, there is a case for looking at the drafting of Clause 27 to see whether it would not be more inclusive if it had rather greater brevity.

Lord Whitty

The noble Lord may be correct in certain hypothetical circumstances. However, those are not the amendments that we have before us; indeed, the amendments before us actually move in entirely the opposite direction. He is right to say that, in responding to the noble Lord, Lord Renton, I am relying not so much on Clause 27(3)(a) for saying that the elderly and the disabled are covered—although I believe that they will be covered for the most part by the inclusion of "voluntary bodies" in terms of their representative organisations—but really on Clause 27(1), which states that the Secretary of State may consider other persons or bodies if they are, appropriate in the particular case", as the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith just said.

Therefore I believe that both in terms of interests being affected and—to respond to the noble Baroness, Lady Carnegy—in respect of the contribution, expertise and resources that they can bring to the development of London, the assessment concerns whether they are, appropriate in the particular case". Certainly educational institutions, representatives of the disabled, representatives of the elderly and a long list of other bodies will qualify as being, appropriate in the particular case". Any list may be susceptible to lobbying for additions. The bodies mentioned in Clause 27(3) are included as the result of a degree of lobbying. However, it is clear from Clause 27(1) that it is not intended to be an exhaustive list. At best it is an illustrative list. I believe that the inclusion of several additional items—as this group of amendments would provide—would add to the problem which the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, reminds me we have touched on before in a different context; namely, that a greater apparent inclusiveness actually causes exclusiveness. I believe that we should draw a line here knowing that a vast majority of other organisations ought to be consulted because they are appropriate in particular circumstances.

If we were to include everything that everyone has suggested tonight, at the next stage of the Bill we would have another half dozen organisations or areas of representation which need to be included. I hope that with the reassurances I have given as regards what Clause 27(1) means, the Committee will not pursue the amendment further in attempting to add to Clause 27(3). I hope that I have said enough to convince the Committee that at least at this stage we should not take the matter further tonight.

Baroness Hamwee

In the Minister's first response he said that—I think that I have written this down correctly but I shall check—the authority must consult all relevant interests. That is close to my Amendment No. 92A which we discussed in the previous group when the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, made a similar point. I thought that the noble Lord, Lord Renton, asked an interesting question about whether the whole or part of Greater London is a geographic or a social description.

The general point that the longer the list the greater the presumption that other bodies are excluded is a matter with which I find some difficulty. It seems to me that if one starts on a list at all there is a presumption that other bodies are excluded. I suspect that this is a matter to which we may want to return at a later stage, not least because we all want to check precisely what the Government said in the first response on the obligations of secondary consultees, if I may put it that way. The Minister talked about local authorities having an obligation to consult those who are included in this group of amendments. I find it difficult to concede that local authorities would have a duty or even any role in consulting statutory bodies which advise central government. I refer to further education and training in this regard. Much as we would like the boroughs to have that kind of link—

Lord Whitty

I do not think that I said that the local authorities—if by that the noble Baroness means the London boroughs—should have that role. We did not want to confuse the educational responsibilities of the London boroughs when we were talking about educational institutions because the GLA is clearly not an education authority.

Baroness Hamwee

I am obliged to the Minister for that explanation. I am sorry if I misunderstood him. Nevertheless, there is a lot of meat in these amendments. At the end of this fairly long debate I doubt that many Lords are satisfied with the outcome. However, for tonight, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 94 not moved.]

9.45 p.m.

Baroness Hamwee moved Amendment No. 94A:

Page 16, line 28, at end insert— ("() a London Civic Forum;")

The noble Baroness said: The Committee did not have to wail long for another proposed addition to the list. Amendment No. 94A seeks to add to the list a London civic forum. The authority is required to consider consulting bodies, as we have just discussed, and the amendment proposes that "a" civic forum—I stress "a"—is included in the list; I do not necessarily give the term "civic forum" an upper case "c" and: "f". It would not necessarily be the forum proposed by the development team working on this matter, although I applaud its work and acknowledge its assistance in preparing the amendment.

I do not suggest by the amendment that those involved should not be supported in what they are doing. However, I think that they, among others, would happily acknowledge that the objective of a civic forum is important and that their model may not be the only one, although clearly a lot of work has gone into it. I believe that the Government are ready to acknowledge that and, therefore, in part, my amendment seeks to encourage the Government to go rather further than they have so far in statements as to the role of a civic forum for London.

I am aware of the time. However, I believe that it is an important amendment. I shall try not to be too long-winded; on the other hand, it would not be appropriate to attempt to cut down what I have to say to only a very few words.

The genesis of the idea was the Scottish civic forum which has now been born, as it were—it was launched in March this year. I understand that consultation with the Scottish civic forum will be a part of the standing orders of the Scottish Parliament. The Green Paper which preceded the proposals for the GLA raised the prospect, quite rightly, of a new and inclusive culture for the governance of London. It was this that led to the first discussions about a civic forum for London. The London Voluntary Services Council published a paper proposing a civic forum which was supported in many responses to the Government's Green Paper. The White Paper took the idea a little further, indicating that the Government were attracted to the notion and hoped that the mayor would work with them.

Those who have been involved with the proposal are concerned that the mechanisms in the Bill will not deliver the new and inclusive politics promised by the Green Paper; the novelty of one directly elected political personality dominating the Government. The Committee will readily recognise that that point resonates with us.

In another place there were discussions about the possibility of a permissive amendment with regard to consultation with a civic forum. We are proposing that amendment in Clause 37. The discussions dealt with, among other matters, the decline in trust in all forms of government and almost all politicians. Although the devolution agenda, in creating new institutions, goes a long way to addressing the issue, it cannot do so alone. A basic infrastructure is needed to allow and encourage political participation. A voice and presence is needed, particularly for marginalised groups. The earlier amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Harris of Haringey, addressed that issue to a considerable extent. I regard those proposals as belated. We also need to allow for serious debate in a way that organised political parties do not always encourage as well as we might.

The question is asked: would not a civil forum comprise the usual bunch? It would be odd if the LVSC, the London Chamber of Commerce and the London Churches Group were not involved, but the proposed structure would be much more fluid and inclusive—very much cross-sector, cross-community. Although it may be a talking shop, sometimes one needs a talking shop.

The proposal would maximise the contribution of organisations of civil society to the governance of London and build on the lessons of partnership between sectors. Those lessons are not new. The London Pride Partnership has been going some time. I was a member of the LPP for a short while and a member of London First in its original form. There is a huge amount to be learnt by people in different sectors coming together and beginning to understand one another's constraints, difficulties, ambitions and so on.

The particular problem of London's minority ethnic communities has already been discussed today. I hate to generalise. The difficulty with trying to summarise such issues is that it can sound as though one begins to understand them. We have failed to include all members of our society, particularly in black and minority ethnic communities. The Black Londoners Forum works closely with those responsible for the current proposal.

We are proposing the amendment to address the need for consultation. It would not tie the hands of the mayor. I noted what was said about the mayor being obliged to consult. The proposal would also send a significant message about the importance of involving all parts of civil society in the good governance of London not just to mayoral candidates but to the whole community.

If the Minister is not attracted by the amendment at this point, I hope that we shall hear how the Government believe such a dialogue should take place, if not through legislation. We are not seeking to establish the forum through legislation, but let us hear how the Government can assist in dealing with what is widely regarded as a serious issue. I beg to move.

Lord Bowness

I am sorry to disagree with the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, when she has moved an amendment that is so obviously motivated by good intentions, but it would be an enormous mistake to include this amendment on the face of the Bill. It is a consultation too far. If the mayor and the assembly cannot be trusted to work out how to carry out the inclusive consultation that is imposed on them at virtually every stage in regard to almost every function, in extraordinary detail, then the mayor and assembly will not be very useful.

Also, it is wrong to make an assumption that a civic forum for Greater London as a whole would serve the purposes outlined by the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee. That makes an assumption about the nature of Greater London and the places that comprise it which I do not believe to be true. It may be that much more localised means of consultation with the communities and interests referred to by the noble Baroness would be far more appropriate.

We have to leave something for the mayor and assembly to decide. My worry is that the White Paper envisaged the assembly and the authority as a new type of political organisation setting out to achieve many of the points referred to by the noble Baroness. What are the assembly members, and the constituency assembly members—to say nothing of all the other organisations, voluntary bodies and borough councils around Greater London—for unless they are to go out and try to achieve some of those, albeit very worthy aims? I resist the amendment.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton

As my honourable friend the Minister for London explained in another place, our primary objective in establishing the GLA's structure and its procedures is that it should be accessible to the people of London and able to respond to and reflect their interests, needs and priorities. An essential means of securing that objective is to ensure that effective consultation takes place.

Londoners must be confident that their views about what the authority does, or plans to do, are taken into account. That is why we have included comprehensive requirements for consultation throughout the Bill, including the significant changes to the consultation procedures in Clauses 27 and 34 which were introduced during the Commons Report stage.

While considering those changes, we also considered the comments of the committee and others about whether or not we should require the authority to establish a civic forum or impose that duty upon it. We concluded that we should not. In our view, it would be wrong to place that requirement on the authority and so hamper the authority's discretion. The arrangements that the authority makes to fulfil its consultation duties—and I stress the word "duties"—should be a matter for the authority to decide, not Parliament.

I cannot but agree with the noble Lord, Lord Bowness. In fact, during the course of this short debate I occasionally wondered whether we had strayed into the first meeting of the assembly as opposed to determining the framework and the duties that would be imposed upon it.

The noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, referred to the provision in Clause 27(4), the specific power to make appropriate arrangements for undertaking consultations. There can be no doubt, therefore, that the authority could establish a civic forum if it thought that was the best way forward. The noble Baroness drew a parallel with the Scottish Civic Forum. At the time I was working as a Whip on the Bill. My recollection is that this was not imposed from the centre but sprang from the necessarily different work on, and background to, the establishment of the Scottish Parliament.

Therefore, I invite the noble Baroness to withdraw her amendment. It may well be that in the end the authority decides that this is the appropriate way forward, but we believe that ultimately the decision lies with the authority.

Baroness Hamwee

We talked earlier today about schizophrenia, although like the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith. I believe the analogy of pots and kettles is rather better. It does not raise the kind of issues that I would not wish to raise in referring to a mental illness.

In suggesting that we may have strayed into something like a meeting of the assembly, the Minister put her finger on our concern. It is that the assembly is insufficiently strong vis-à-vis the mayor. That is one of our concerns that runs right through the Bill.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton

Perhaps I may interrupt the noble Baroness. I meant merely that the assembly is plural, that is what made me use the term "assembly" as opposed to the authority as a whole.

Baroness Hamwee

The noble Baroness also said that the Government do not believe that the obligation should be imposed on the authority. Like the noble Lord, Lord Bowness, although he may not have recognised it from the amendment, we believe that a great deal should be left to the mayor and assembly to decide. But if this is the model we have, which prescribes huge swathes of duties for the mayor and assembly, we need to respond to the model.

We take entirely the point that the authority should have a great degree of autonomy. We do not feel that logically it leads to us accepting what is put in front of us on the face of the Bill and not seeking other rules for it.

We believe that the Bill imposes a number of duties with which we disagree and that it fails to impose duties which we believe it should. It is an important issue and I am disappointed by the response. However, given this stage of the Bill, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Quirkhad given notice of his intention to move Amendment No. 95:

Page 16, line 30, at end insert— ("(e) bodies which represent educational and training interests")

The noble Lord said: As I said earlier, I should like time to reflect on the interesting points made during the debate this evening. Therefore, for the present, I prefer not to move the amendment.

[Amendment No. 95 not moved.]

[Amendment No. 96 not moved.]

Clause 27 agreed to.

Clause 28 [Subsidiary powers of the Authority]

Baroness Hamweemoved Amendment No. 97:

Page 17, line 1, leave out subsection (2)

The noble Baroness said: The amendment seeks to delete Clause 28(2). The clause prohibits the authority from raising or lending money, except in accordance with the enactments relating to those matters.

We believe that the authority should have far greater financial autonomy than this model proposes. With the amendment, I seek to understand from the Minister why it is necessary, since there are other enactments, to make the provision in that form. Is it thought necessary that the precise provision is confined to the lending institutions so that we do not get into anything like the interest-swap cases of the 1980s? In other words, is it thought necessary to make it quite clear that such lending or borrowing, which is more of an issue, would clearly be ultra vires?

At a number of points we have made quite clear our concern about the autonomy of the authority vis-à-vis central Government. My noble friends and I discussed this matter during the dinner adjournment. I believe that it boils down to trust. My noble friend Lord Tope and I were members of the Select Committee which considered central and local government relations under the chairmanship of the noble Lord, Lord Hunt of Tanworth, some two or three years ago. I am not sure whether other Members of the Committee were also members of that Select Committee. It was no accident that the title of the committee's report was Rebuilding Trust.

Trust between different levels of government is, in our view, necessary in order that the lower tier of government—I do not use that term because I believe it to be any less important but because noble Lords will know what I mean—is given the necessary freedom for it to do its job with some imagination and a feeling that it is valued, with the opportunity to make the odd mistake but, while doing so, to flourish and develop. I shall not continue to make the same point given the time, but I want that point to be recorded in Hansard since it goes right to the heart of very many of our amendments. I beg to move.

10 p.m.

Lord Bowness

I read this subsection and the proposed amendment rather more narrowly. I assumed that it related to Clause 28(1) which itself poses certain questions that need to be answered before a view can be taken about the amendment. The Explanatory Notes say that Clause 28 provides for the authority to be able to do anything which is incidental to the exercise of its functions, including its general power under Clause 25. The sidenotes, which I appreciate are not part of the law, describe them as subsidiary powers. However, Clause 28(1) is quite different and provides that, The Authority … may do anything (including the acquisition or disposal of any property or rights) which is calculated to facilitate, or is conducive or incidental to, the exercise of any functions of the Authority exercisable by the Mayor", and so forth. The provision is not limited to incidental matters.

Bearing in mind that Clause 27 places limitations on the power given in Clause 25(1), one wonders what are the qualifications and restrictions related to this particular clause. To give but one example, the restrictions on Clause 25(1) were imposed but now appear to be removed. Is it being said that to facilitate any function of the authority, be it exercised by the mayor, assembly, or both jointly, anything can be done? If so, I find that hard to believe. However, that is what the clause says.

Lord Whitty

It may assist both the noble Baroness and the noble Lord if I relate Clause 28 to Section 111 of the Local Government Act 1972, with which they may be more familiar. That section provides that an authority, shall have power to do any thing … which is calculated to facilitate, or is conducive or incidental to, the discharge of any of their functions". This wording more or less reflects the terminology in the Local Government Act 1972. A subsection of that section of the Local Government Act makes it clear that that power is not a way round the local government financial regime; in other words, while the local authority—in this case the GLA—can do things which are not expressly within its power as long as they are conducive or incidental to its main purpose, that does not include measures which get round the financial regime.

We have said all along—we have heard arguments against it—that the GLA will be subject to the local government financial regime. Although by the deletion of that clause the amendment will not explicitly give wider revenue-raising powers to the GLA, by implication it casts doubt on or undermines the GLA's duty to comply with the local government finance regime. We have made it clear on a number of occasions that that is not our intention.

That is the genesis and intention of the clause. Were the second subsection to be deleted, we believe that that would undermine and cast doubt on whether the GLA was bound by similar restrictions to other local authorities. I hope that with that explanation, the noble Baroness will withdraw the amendment.

Lord Bowness

If that is the safeguard that the Government seek to achieve, why is it not stated that that section of the Local Government Act applies to the authority?

My concern does not relate so much to subsection (2), but to what the authority can do. The limitations which flow from Section 111 are not necessarily to be read into this clause as it stands.

Lord Whitty

The powers in subsection (1) make it explicit that the authority, as with other local authorities, under the Local Government Act can undertake certain functions as long as they have a demonstrable relationship to its express functions. They cannot undertake anything outside that. There is some degree of flexibility, but still limitation. As regards the GLA, that includes the general power. I do not know whether that clarifies the position.

Lord Bowness

The explanation has made the position worse. Clause 25(1) enables the authority to do almost anything. Clause 25(2) is fairly wide. By implication, it suggests that the authority will be able to do almost anything anywhere to achieve those aims and objectives. I fail to see what limit there is. Indeed, the specific limits which we discussed under Clause 26 do not seem to apply to this. We have to rely on the Government's assurance that this is meant to be a reiteration of Section 111 and interpreted accordingly. With respect, it does not seem to say that.

Lord Whitty

As with other subsections between Clause 25(1) and this subsection, this provision modifies, clarifies or puts limits on Clause 25(1). This subsection makes it clear that we are treating the powers and finances of the GLA in the same way as with other local authorities, reflecting more or less the wording of other local authority legislation. It is no more sinister than that.

Baroness Hamwee

We shall read carefully what the Minister said. Perhaps I am the only Member of the Committee who, although familiar with Section 111, does not read it every night before going to bed. I shall read it with this clause. I am not sure that the Minister has answered my point. However, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 28 agreed to.

Clause 29 [Authority functions to be exercisable by Mayor, Assembly or both]:

[Amendment No. 98 had been withdrawn from the Marshalled List.]

Baroness Miller of Hendon moved Amendment No. 98A:

Page 17, line 9, leave out paragraphs (b) and (c)

The noble Baroness said: Clause 29(1) gives power for any of the functions of the authority to be exercisable by the mayor alone acting on behalf of the authority, the assembly alone, or the mayor and assembly jointly. The amendment is very simply explained. We want the authority's powers to be exercisable by the mayor alone. Deletion of paragraphs (b) and (c) would mean that the mayor, acting on behalf of the assembly, would be required to work together with the assembly. It would impose upon them a requirement of co-operation and would effectively prevent the assembly from taking any action which is counter to that proposed by the mayor, who will have been directly elected by popular vote on his own mandate.

The intention in creating the office was that the mayor should be an all-powerful executive and that the assembly should provide the necessary checks, balances and scrutiny. We cannot have the authority interfering with the mayor's functions or the strategies that he formulates. By leaving in "only by the mayor acting on behalf of the authority", as we propose, this emphasises our belief in the co-operation between the two and the division between the executive and the legislature. I spoke about this matter when we discussed whether the deputy mayor should come from the assembly or be elected. I beg to move.

Lord Tope

I shall be equally brief because the amendment reflects the long-held difference of view between ourselves and the other Opposition Party. We still believe that the mayor should come from the assembly and be more accountable to the assembly. It follows from that that we therefore strongly oppose the amendment. We share the view of the noble Baroness that the mayor and the assembly should work co-operatively, and I believe that that will mostly be the case. However, I am astonished that the Conservative Party wishes to remove any powers at all from the assembly, given that there will be a mayor and assembly, and there is just a possibility that there will be some Conservative members on the assembly. I am surprised, even given its position, that it should wish to reinforce it in this way: it is diametrically opposite to our view and we cannot therefore support the amendment.

Lord Whitty

We are all agreed that the mayor and the assembly should operate co-operatively, but some differentiation in function is necessary. The Bill provides for the majority of the authority's functions to be executive functions to be exercised by the mayor, and that is entirely in accord with our vision of how the authority would work and the democratic mandate of the mayor. The assembly also has a democratic mandate, and it is right that the assembly rather than the mayor should exercise certain functions on behalf of the authority. For example, the assembly, after consulting the mayor, is responsible for the appointment of permanent staff to the authority. It is important to distinguish that staff from the personal appointments of the mayor.

Other functions flow directly from the assembly's scrutiny role. It would be a nonsense if, for example, the assembly's power to summon, which is specifically intended to enable the assembly to hold the mayor to account, were to be exercisable by the mayor alone. That is not a sensible outcome. There are other instances where perhaps the mayor and the assembly could jointly have responsibility, for example the holding of people's question time, because they are both accountable to the people of London. However, in general there needs to be some differentiation in function. We do not therefore think that the mayor should take over all the functions of the authority, as implied in the amendment.

Baroness Miller of Hendon

I am sure that the Minister would not expect me to accept his explanation, although I understand why he gave it in the terms that he did. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 29 agreed to.

[Amendment No. 99 not moved.]

Clause 30 agreed to.

10.15 p.m.

Schedule 4 agreed to.

Clause 31 [Delegation]:

Baroness Hamwee moved Amendment No. 100:

Page 18, line 11, at end insert— ("() the Assembly:")

The noble Baroness said: In moving Amendment No. 100, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 101 and 102. Clause 31 provides that the mayor can delegate to named individuals and bodies, or to a mixture, including any member of the authority. Amendment No. 100 seeks to allow the mayor also to delegate to the assembly. In tabling the amendment, I am again emphasising the assembly's lack of executive power. I have tabled the amendment to suggest that there may be certain tasks which the assembly could appropriately carry out, even with the divisions of responsibilities as the Bill provides. For instance, some of the consultation exercises could well be undertaken by the assembly.

If the Committee is puzzled as to why Amendments Nos. 101 and 102 appear on the Marshalled List, I am puzzled too. I queried whether I should be using the singular or plural in this context. I am aware that the Government are syntactically plural, but a singular body. I apologise for the confusion, because only one amendment should have been tabled. I do not mind which.

The point of the amendment is to probe whether delegation can be imposed by the mayor without the agreement of the bodies referred to. I beg to move.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton

As the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, said, these amendments relate to the arrangements for the delegation of the mayor's functions. Amendment No. 100 would enable the mayor to delegate functions to the assembly. That would undermine the clear separation of powers we have proposed between the mayor—the executive arm of the authority—and the assembly, which will have a scrutiny and investigative role.

As the Bill makes clear, the assembly will question the mayor on the exercise of his or her functions, and will be able to summon people and papers to ensure that the authority's decision-taking procedures are open and accountable. But how would the assembly be able to scrutinise the exercise of the functions delegated to it by the mayor? It is unlikely that, on the one hand, the assembly could exercise certain executive functions and, on the other hand, hold itself to account for the exercise of those functions. The amendment would inevitably make the authority's decision-taking procedures less transparent and less accountable.

Furthermore, the delegation of functions from mayor to assembly would undermine the assembly's autonomy. It would become answerable to the mayor for the exercise of those delegated functions. That would not be healthy for an accountable administration—the scrutineer would in effect answer to the executive, blurring the clear delineation of responsibilities which we have set out in the Bill. For that reason, I ask the noble Baroness to withdraw Amendment No. 100.

Amendment No. 101 would specify that the mayor could only delegate functions to a local authority with its agreement. That is certainly our intention. We do not want the mayor to be able to force local authorities to take on GLA functions where they do not wish to do so. I would therefore be grateful if the noble Baroness could withdraw Amendment No. 101 on the understanding that I shall give further consideration to the wording of Clause 31(1)(e). I shall of course bring forward an amendment at a later stage if that is needed to give full effect to our intentions.

Baroness Hamwee

I am grateful for that response in connection with delegation to local authorities. I thought it unlikely that the Government proposed anything other than that which the noble Baroness described, but I am concerned to make sure that in a very detailed Bill, some important detail is not overlooked.

With regard to the possible confusion between delegation and scrutiny, sometimes those are within the same body. In Amendment No. 100, I was not proposing that every function could be delegated. It would he for the mayor to choose and, as I say, there may be some functions which could appropriately be handed over to be exercised. However, I note what the noble Baroness said and I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 101 and 102 not moved.]

Lord Dixon-Smith moved Amendment No. 103:

Page 18, line 27, leave out from ("subsection") to end of line

The noble Lord said: This is a fairly small amendment which deals with Clause 31 yet again and, indeed, the power of the mayor to delegate the exercise of his functions. Subsection (4) states: Each of the following bodies, namely—

  1. (a) Transport for London,
  2. (b) the London Development Agency,
shall have power to exercise functions on behalf of the Authority in accordance with this section, whether or not they have the power to do so apart from this subsection and irrespective of the nature of the function".

This is a probing amendment to find out exactly what is meant or intended by that particular wording. It seems to me to be rather obscure because it seems to hold out the possibility that either Transport for London or the London Development Agency may have delegated to them by the mayor functions which are inappropriate and nothing to do with that which they are normally expected to do. It was in the hope of gaining some explanation of what those words mean that I tabled the amendment. I beg to move.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton

I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, for his explanation of the amendment. It may be helpful if I set out what we intend this provision to achieve.

Under Clause 31(4), Transport for London and the London Development Agency will be able to exercise functions on behalf of the authority, irrespective of the nature of the function. But they will only be able to exercise those functions which the mayor chooses to delegate to them and, of course, the mayor will be free to revoke any such delegation.

The purpose of this provision is to give the mayor some flexibility in running his administration; for example, the mayor might want the London Development Agency and Transport for London to work together on joint projects. A flexible power such as this is necessary to ensure that the mayor can deliver on his or her strategic priorities.

Of course, it is unlikely that the mayor would delegate functions to those bodies where there was no practical reason for doing so, or where they had little expertise about the function in question. If the mayor did make delegations which were questionable in some way, the assembly would hold the mayor to account and challenge the effectiveness of the arrangements that the mayor was seeking to put in place.

With that assurance as regards how the provision will work, I ask the noble Lord to withdraw the amendment.

Lord Dixon-Smith

I am grateful for the explanation of what is intended. The noble Baroness has great faith in the ability of the assembly to find out all the funny little things which may go on under delegation arrangements and then to monitor them properly. I am infinitely sceptical. I shall study what she said and if we need to return to the subject, we shall undoubtedly do so. In the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Dixon-Smith moved Amendment No. 104:

Page 18, line 40, at end insert (", subject to any contractual notice required")

The noble Lord said: This amendment and Amendment No. 105 run together. Amendment No. 104 adds to Clause 31(7), An authorisation under this section may be varied or revoked at any time by the Mayor", subject to any contractual obligation. Delegation is always difficult. One can envisage a situation in which the mayor may delegate something to a borough such as a maintenance problem. The borough would then make a contract with a contractor to fulfil the specific function. At that point the authorisation under this subsection may be revoked at any time by the mayor. This amendment is simply to make explicit that if contractual obligations are involved they must be permitted to expire.

Amendment No. 105 states that subsection (8) should be excluded. There is a very good reason for that. The subsection states that, any authorisation under this section shall continue in effect until the beginning of the next term of office of any person as Mayor". The mayor is the mayor until his successor is elected. When the successor takes over he is the mayor. At that point the new mayor automatically has all the powers of the mayor. He has the power to vary or revoke automatically any agreement made by his predecessor. In that case subsection (8) is unnecessary. Therefore, it would be preferable for it to be withdrawn. That is the reason for that amendment. I look forward with interest to the response of the Minister. I beg to move.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton

I am unable to give a positive response to Amendment No. 104, the purpose of which still seems unclear. It would require the mayor, in varying or revoking any delegation authorisation, to do so subject to any contractual notice required. Any contract entered into by the delegate of the mayor always remains the mayor's contract. Revoking a delegation will not affect the status of any contract already entered into.

The amendment is unnecessary. Clause 31 provides for delegation of the mayor's function subject to any conditions imposed that the mayor may decide. Any of the persons or bodies listed in Clause 31, including the deputy mayor, any member of the staff of the authority, Transport for London, the London Development Agency and any local authority will therefore be well aware of the terms on which the mayor had decided to delegate functions to them.

It would be odd to place additional constraints on the mayor. As regards arrangements for delegating his or her functions, it will be for the mayor to decide how best to organise the authority's decision-taking structures.

As regards Amendment No. 105 the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, will no doubt be pleased to hear that I agree that subsection (8) is unnecessary and could lead to practical problems if all delegations were automatically to cease on a new mayor taking office. I am therefore happy to accept his amendment. I ask the noble Lord to withdraw Amendment No. 104, but, as I have said, I am happy to accept Amendment No. 105.

10.30 p.m.

Lord Dixon-Smith

I feel a celebration is in order for Amendment 105. I am most grateful to the noble Baroness for her response on that amendment. It is quite something to "score one" so to speak.

On Amendment 104, I shall study what the noble Baroness has said. I entirely accept the right of the mayor to vary or revoke any of his delegation arrangements. However, I am concerned that, after he has made perfectly valid delegation arrangements, someone to whom a function is delegated may find that he enters into a commercial arrangement which involves periods of notice and such matters. In fact, if that were the case, it would be entirely appropriate that some period of notice should be placed in that particular secondary contract. I shall study what the noble Baroness has said. In the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Dixon-Smith moved Amendment 105:

Page 18, line 41, leave out subsection (8)

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 31, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 32 agreed to.

Clause 33 [General duties of the Mayor in relation to his strategies]:

Lord Dixon-Smith moved Amendment No. 106:

Page 19, line 26. leave out ("spatial") and insert ("London")

The noble Lord said: Amendment No. 106 appears to have attracted a long list in its grouping, but all the amendments are identical. About five minutes after I had thought that the point was worth debating, I began to regret it. We had to go through the Bill and discover in how many places "spatial development strategy" was mentioned. If one makes this amendment, it is necessary to amend the Bill.

The problem is the meaning of "spatial". The Collins dictionary refers to it as relating to space. Of course, we are talking about London's development strategy, but the Bill simply says "spatial development strategy". Development implies buildings rather than space and it also implies enclosure. I have some difficulty with that.

I then turned to the Shorter Oxford Dictionary where spatial is defined as, consisting of or characterized by space"— that takes me no further forward than the Collins dictionary—"having extension in space" or consisting of space. Again, that chimes in nicely with the Collins dictionary. In the Shorter Oxford Dictionary I found the following: ideas which have been formed from a vast quantity of temporal and spatial experience".

It seemed to me that that was getting near to what is a spatial development strategy.

The real problem with spatial development strategy is that there is no conception or mention of spatial development in any of the planning laws. Everybody is familiar with the idea of a structure plan that could be a spatial development plan, a unitary development plan for a borough, or a local development plan. If one had a London development plan everyone would know what that was. However, a spatial development plan seems to be a difficult concept.

Therefore, I want to suggest to the Minister, quite seriously, that everyone may consider themselves back on terra firma, instead of slightly out in orbit, were we to change the word "spatial" to "London". With that in mind, I beg to move the amendment.

Baroness Hamwee

I was looking forward to the noble Lord reading that long list of amendments; we would all have cheered at the end!

I cannot agree with the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, in his amendment. The title of a strategy should reflect its content and to me "London development strategy" sounds like something the new London Development Agency should produce.

The term "spatial" may not trip off the tongue in this context, though it is increasingly used in planning circles, more perhaps by those involved in planning in the European context than locally, which is our experience. I hope that that of itself does not persuade the noble Lord it is a bad expression.

"Spatial" involves space or place and that is what the spatial development strategy will be about. I am sorry not to be able to agree with the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith.

Lord Whitty

I am sorry that the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, objects to the term "spatial". On his first tack his references to being in orbit suggested a Star Trek connotation. This has nothing to do with that. It is very much down to earth in relation to the use of space and place.

We make no apology for introducing a new term into planning law, which is precisely what we are doing. In this instance it could well be that insisting on the familiar could limit the intention of this part of the Bill. We are bringing in a new type of planning instrument for a new type of authority. The word was chosen advisedly and has some significance. It is the first time it has been used in English law, but it is important that we move in that direction.

The term is intended to embrace more than just the conventional development and use of land concepts, and should include the spatial—that is to say, the geographical—elements of transport, economic development and other strategies, bringing them together in one single comprehensive framework for London's future development.

As the noble Baroness said, this is not an unfamiliar term to planners, particularly those who have operated beyond this country. It is a term that is well understood in countries such as the Netherlands and Germany where "spatial planning" or similar terms signify an integrated approach to public policy. The results in many German and Dutch cities are there to be seen.

The term is now being used in our own draft guidance which my department recently issued on regional planning guidance—PPG 11. So we are moving in the direction of using this term more widely. The main purpose of the spatial development strategy would be to provide longer-term strategic guidance on the broad location of housing, industry, transport provision and other infrastructure. But it will also affect matters that are strictly related to the use and development of land, matters which may be taken forward outside the statutory planning system; for example, transport investment priorities and integration, road user charging policies or economic regeneration projects as a whole.

It is a new concept. My belief is that the noble Lord's amendment will narrow that concept and I urge the Committee to stick with the new, wider and I suggest more visionary view of how this should develop under the new authority.

Lord Dixon-Smith

I am grateful to the Minister for his explanation, which I shall study with care. In the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Clement-Jones moved Amendment No. 107:

Page 19, line 36, at end insert (", and () the health strategy prepared and published under section (The Health Strategy Group for London).")

The noble Lord said: The relevant provisions regarding the health of persons in Greater London are now included in Clauses 33(7)(a) and 25(4)(a) of the Bill. The former places a duty on the authority to carry out a health impact assessment in the exercise of its powers; the latter provides a duty on the mayor to promote improvements in health when considering the various strategies adopted by the GLA. However, the fact is that those clauses do not go far enough in the view of these Benches. Health, particularly public health, is an essential aspect of any strategy, whether it is for transport, planning or urban regeneration. Above all, it is highly relevant to tackling inequalities in the capital.

Currently, the Bill provides for a very wide variety of strategies. I do not need to adumbrate all of these; but clearly they include strategies for transport, for the London Development Agency and for London air quality. Why, in this context, should health be the poor relation and not have provision for its own strategy? What makes it so very different? Almost all of the strategies concerned require a variety of different agencies to fulfil them and health is no different.

Now that London has its own single London NHS region, it is surely highly desirable that there should be a strategy for health that can tie in with all the other strategies. Some 13 of the 20 most deprived boroughs in England are in London, with all that that implies for the health of the people in those areas. Detentions under the Mental Health Act in London are nearly twice as high as the national average; indeed, 42 per cent of all HIV positive adults in the UK live in inner-London and 40 per cent of Londoners live in wards that are among the most deprived in the country. Those are just some of the figures that are unique to London as a city. They show some of the unique health problems that London has.

The approach of the Healthy Cities project, co-ordinated by the World Health Organisation, has been to develop partnerships and joint local strategies between all local and other authorities that contribute to health. Without a strategy determined for London as a whole in this way, the task of achieving a healthier London will be made immeasurably more difficult. A health strategy is in fact already being drawn up by various partners in London. Why should the mayor and the assembly not take a leading role in this effort? Without an amendment such as the one I propose, the GLA will be marginalised in the consideration of London's health.

The noble Lord, Lord Rea, has written to me today. Unfortunately, he is unable to be present this evening but has asked for his support to be put on the record. As we know, the noble Lord has a long record in public health in London. If government in London is genuinely to be joined-up at London level, as much as it is becoming at national level, then this amendment is very much needed. I beg to move.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton

These amendments would provide for a health strategy group for London with the function of drafting a health strategy and advising the mayor on its contents. We have listened to a number of representations, both in the other place and from outside organisations, about how the role of the GLA in respect of health should best be expressed in the Bill. We brought forward a number of amendments on Report to sharpen the mayor's role.

The effect of those amendments is that health considerations will be a top priority for the mayor in discharging his or her two most important functions—the preparation of strategies and the exercise of the general power. For example, in deciding whether or not to exercise the authority's general power, the mayor must have regard to the effect that the proposed exercise of the power would have on the health of Londoners. If the mayor then proceeds to exercise the general power, he must do so in a way best calculated to promote improvements in the health of persons in London.

Similarly, in relation to strategies, the mayor must have regard to the effect which a proposed strategy, or revision, would have on the health of persons in Greater London. In addition, where the mayor prepares or revises any strategy, he or she shall include such available policies and proposals relating to the subject matter of the strategy as he or she considers best calculated to promote improvements in the health of persons in Greater London.

This framework will ensure that the mayor acts in such a way as to further improvements in the health of Londoners. In addition, because the mayor will have to have regard to the need to ensure that all strategies are consistent with each other—a provision, incidentally, which the noble Lord's Amendment No. 117 seeks to remove—there will be an integrated approach to health issues across the board.

I do not therefore accept the case for a separate health strategy. As we have explained, the promotion of health improvements will be taken into account in the exercise of mayoral functions. But as the mayor will have no executive responsibilities in respect of health services and major health service providers in London will be outside the remit of the authority, it would be misleading to require a separate health strategy to be produced. Similarly we see no need for a health strategy group to assist in the carrying out of that function.

However, of course the mayor would be free to publish a document and call it a health strategy if she or he wished to do so, although it would not be covered by the provisions set out in Clauses 33 to 36. She or he could also convene an advisory group of health experts if this was thought to be appropriate, for example in the case that the noble Lord referred to; namely, involvement in the Healthy Cities project. But these are properly matters for the mayor to decide. We have sought to ensure that health concerns permeate throughout the strategy-making process. Therefore I feel able to ask the noble Lord to withdraw this amendment.

10.45 p.m.

Lord Clement-Jones

I thank the Minister for some of the olive branches and the interesting ideas for voluntary action by the mayor that were mentioned at the end of her response. Some of those matters are worth building on. Unfortunately, the problem with purely voluntary action is that it does not have that legitimacy which it would have if it were built into the primary legislation. I do not deny that a multi-agency strategy would be needed. Of course I note that the noble Lord, Lord Harris of Haringey, in the context of fluoridation argued for a multi-agency strategy that works with regard to the key issues that affect every Londoner. I say "Amen" to that. I believe that it is very much the way forward.

We on these Benches do not think it is absolutely necessary that the authority should have responsibility for London's health in an executive capacity. We shall table an amendment later in the Bill which has that effect, but it is not an absolutely sine qua non of the Bill in order for the mayor and the authority to have the responsibility for making a strategy. We shall consider carefully in Hansard the noble Baroness's words and may well return to this matter at Report stage. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Clinton-Davis moved Amendment No. 108:

Page 19, line 36, at end insert (", and () the strategy for the River Thames prepared and published under section (River Thames Strategy) below.")

The noble Lord said: It may be for the convenience of the Committee to consider also Amendment No. 451 which sets out in detail the nature of the strategy that I suggest. These amendments express a wide strategy for utilising London's crowning glory, the River Thames, far more purposefully than has ever been the case before. The measure extends right across the whole spectrum of policies to provide that additional strategy for the River Thames. It includes in that transport, spatial development—if I dare say that after the previous debate—biodiversity, municipal waste, air quality, ambient noise, and indeed cultural activities too. In other words, it is all about the provision of a strategy for this wonderful waterway that we have the privilege of having in our great city, and indeed beyond.

In my submission, the River Thames could be much more effectively used as an activity of the metropolis. As far as I can see, there is no corresponding or complementary provision in the Bill and this is why I think it ought to be included. As some have suggested, it is not intended that these provisions should have the effect of arrogating to the GLA areas of authority over which it is not entitled to adjudicate.

Nevertheless, the authority has a direct interest in seeking, with others, to draw together those diverse strands to give effect to the provision of a coherent approach. My amendment demonstrates the inter-relationship of policies relevant to those considerations. I believe that it contributes to the need overall to bring back, effectively, a public transport service to the river and to address issues affecting transport, freight and water.

I understand that the Government will argue—unless they have changed their minds since the matter was before another place—that there is no necessity for a document separate from the provisions contained in the Bill. I am aware that, inter alia, in Clause 264 and in the provisions of Clause 33, the mayor's duties include the promotion and encouragement of the use of the Thames; and that he will be obliged to address as part of his strategies issues of waste, transport, biodiversity and public access. It follows that if my noble friend can establish satisfactorily that those issues are comprehensively dealt with in the Bill, he will demonstrate equally that my amendment is otiose—but it is important to get that very clear assurance from the Minister this evening.

My concern, which has been expressed by the London Rivers Association—notwithstanding the reply that was given to a similar debate in the other place—is that the reply given by the Minister is not wholly accurate: that it leaves too much by way of discretionary powers. In my judgment, there is a clear necessity to provide a holistic strategy for the River Thames. Clause 33 provides for "the desirability" to promote the river, emphasising above all its transport role. Of course, that is of critical importance, but the river is also important in terms of enhancing civic and cultural qualities and as a resource for public amenity in the widest possible sense.

The difference therefore between the Minister in another place—and, presumably, my noble friend—and those who have suggested the amendment, is the need to reflect these powers as a statutory duty on the mayor to pursue a spatial development strategy. I remain unconvinced by the argument adduced by the Minister in another place that there is no need to translate this duty into the Bill. Apparently, the Government take the view that there is a need to avoid the risk of what is called "compartmentalisation" or "marginalisation" of Thames policies and that a separate strategy is not desirable. With respect, that represents an unco-ordinated approach, or at least the risk of providing an unco-ordinated approach, and the consequence could ensue that significant elements of policies affecting the river are overlooked altogether.

The amendment seeks to import into the Bill a specific Thames strategy and the strengthening of the LRA's consultative status. These are matters worthy of further consideration. I look forward to hearing my noble friend's reply. I beg to move.

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood

I tend to support the spirit of the noble Lord's amendment. I will not make a long speech because, if we continue to go at this speed, we shall be here for another 15 hours—and I do not think that is acceptable.

I add bridges for both foot and vehicular traffic to the features that the noble Lord said were so important to the River Thames. They will be much affected by the mayor's other strategies. It is tempting to have a special strategy for the river that combines its leisure, open air recreational, transport and other uses. I look forward to the Minister's arguments against the proposal, for I am sure that the Government are against it, so that we can decide whether to take this issue further. For the present, I think that we are all rather sympathetic to the noble Lord's ideas.

Lord Luke

Speaking entirely on my own behalf, I too support the noble Lord's ideas. About 18 months ago, I undertook a lot of research into the use of the River Thames—or its non-use, as I regret is very much the case these days. At least half the problem is lack of co-ordination between the various bodies concerned—the Port of London Authority, local authorities and so on. If the mayor has some strategy or authority—or both, he may get things done a great deal better. We will have the opportunity to return to this issue but I support the amendment in principle.

Lord Whitty

Like the noble Lord, Lord Luke, I recognise the importance of the river and the concerns that my noble friend Lord Clinton-Davis outlined. The Thames guidance, which is an annex to the Secretary of State's strategic guidance for London planning authorities, provides the current strategic framework for planning policies on the Thames. The mayor's spatial development strategy will in due course replace the regional planning guidance, and we make specific provision in Clause 264 for the SDS to cover particular parts of London, such as the Thames, in more detail—in at least the same way that the Thames guidance does. The mayor will be able to include in SDS policies a strategy for addressing the wide-ranging topics of the river's built and natural environment, its use in transportation and recreation, and the development of the river front.

Our intention is that the Secretary of State's strategic guidance will remain until it is replaced by the spatial development policy—at which point it will be open to the mayor to reproduce or improve on current policies relating to the Thames. That will be a matter for the mayor and is not something that should be or needs to be in the Bill.

In addition to the coverage that will be given to the Thames in the SDS, Clause 33 provides for the mayor to have regard to the desirability of promoting and encouraging transportation use of the Thames and other applications such as recreation and public access. Other aspects of the mayor's strategy include waste disposal, the biodiversity plan, and cultural and recreational use.

The Thames will be covered in a number of ways in the Bill as it stands and be considered in a number of dimensions in the mayor's strategy—particularly in relation to spatial development. There are distinct advantages in that approach, which embeds policies for the river within other strategies rather than drawing them out into a separate strategy.

There is one particular reason for our avoiding compartmentalisation in this respect. By keeping the strategic guidance for the Thames within the ambit of the spatial development strategy, it will enjoy the benefit of the requirement that the boroughs' unitary development plans must be in general conformity with the mayor's planning strategy. A separate strategy for the Thames would not enjoy the same teeth when it came to securing the implementation in practice at borough level in relation to those boroughs with a Thames frontage. So the effect of this amendment could be that the Thames would in reality have less, not more, protection than it does now.

I hope that the noble Lord does not infer from my words that we do not regard the development of the Thames as a central feature for the responsibilities of the mayor. We do. But we do not believe that specifying a Thames strategy in advance in that way would be appropriate. I hope that he can, at least at this stage, withdraw his amendment.

11 p.m.

Lord Clinton-Davis

I thank my noble friend for his reply, although I am not entirely convinced. I feel that he is thrusting aside a gem of wisdom. But that is for him to decide. I am not convinced that this amendment would diminish the protection afforded to the Thames. However, I shall look carefully at what my noble friend has said and may well return to the matter at a later stage. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 109 not moved.]

Baroness Miller of Hendon moved Amendment No. 110:

Page 19, line 39, at end insert— ("() Each of the said strategies shall include specific performance indicators and targets by reference to which it is proposed that the success of each strategy may be measured.")

The noble Baroness said: In moving this amendment, I should like to speak also to Amendment No. 143. Amendment No. 110 relates to Clause 33 which sets out the duties of the mayor in relation to his various strategies. The duties under the clause relate to review and appraisal and revising the strategies where necessary.

There is one important feature missing from this review and appraisal; namely, that the mayor, when formulating his strategies, should also publicly state what the performance indicators are under which the success or failure of the various strategies can be judged by the public. The objects of the strategies cannot be kept confidential. The targets of the strategies—the performance indicators—must be made public in advance. There is nothing very complicated, nothing very difficult for the mayor to comply with.

The noble Lord, Lord Graham of Edmonton, tabled a similar amendment, with one variation, referring to Clause 25(1), which we do not like, as we indicated in the recent debate. We believe that our amendment is correctly positioned. Otherwise, we should certainly have supported the noble Lord's amendment. Although the noble Lord is not in his place, I hope that he supports our amendment in spirit.

Amendment No. 143 jumps ahead to Clause 38. In subsection (2)(a) as drafted the mayor is required to include in his annual report an assessment of the mayor's progress in implementing his strategies. That is in line with the regime affecting regional development agencies, which are required to have measurable targets, which is presumably why Section 7A(2) of the 1998 Act is mentioned in the subsection.

So far, so good. The provision is entirely commendable—commendable, that is, as far as it goes. But it does not go quite far enough. Apart from his initial strategies as published by him, under Clause 33(2) the mayor is to keep those strategies under review—constant review, one hopes—and to revise them as necessary. The amendment merely makes it clear that it is the amended strategies that are the ones to he included in the annual report.

It may be suggested that that is obvious and that an amendment is not necessary in order for it to be done. However, what gives us concern is that, in reviewing his activities for the year for the purpose of publishing his annual report, the mayor's attention may be drawn to the need to amend a strategy. What we do not want to happen is for the mayor to be able to claim that the revision of his strategy came too late to be covered by the annual report.

The amendment does not cast an extra burden on the mayor, especially if he would be likely to meet its provision anyway. If the amendment is stating the obvious, then it clearly would not adversely affect the Bill and might simply be regarded as belt and braces. I beg to move.

Lord Berkeley

I wish to speak to this amendment and that of the noble Lord, Lord Graham of Edmonton, which was not moved. I give an example of a similar situation on the railways with Railtrack. I should declare an interest as chairman of the Rail Freight Group. Railtrack is required to produce a network management statement every year which is similar to a strategy for the railways. One problem which many of us have found is to check in succeeding years whether the company has achieved what last year it said that it would achieve. One tends to find that the structure of the report has changed; the targets and the information may have changed. It is important to have a consistent measure of what has been achieved this year against what the company said last year that it would do. That could apply to many strategies shown in the document.

I have no comment on which of the two amendments is right, but I should be grateful if my noble friend could bear the matter in mind.

Baroness Hamwee

We have no quarrel—indeed, the opposite—with the notion that the authority should be careful in monitoring its progress. However, we are not enthusiastic about the Bill prescribing how it should do so. It is a matter for the authority to decide how and what indicators and targets it sets to find its own mechanisms. The noble Lord, Lord Bowness, said earlier that there must be something left for the authority to do.

Baroness Young of Old Scone

I wish to comment on the powerfulness of the issue of targets and indicators for the new authority. There is quite a lot of evidence from other spheres of activity, particularly in the environmental area, of the power of setting objectives and developing targets in order to assess performance over a period of time.

Alas, the politics of mayoraldom are such that we could see a wide variety of personal imprints being placed on the office of mayor over time. The issue that underlies the setting of objectives, targets and indicators, is that they can be tracked over a number of years and provide continuity of policy. That does not mean that we are "strait-jacketing" the political decisions that lie behind policy. It means that, in terms of the outcomes we seek to achieve by the implementation of policy, we can judge over time exactly how well we are doing.

The Minister should bear in mind that this is a mechanism that has been used successfully in a variety of places across government in the past few years. The biodiversity action plan, which is a unique institution in public life shared by the statutory and voluntary sector, is a prime example. It is also an example of how we can make government more businesslike. It is a technique that has been generally used by businesses in an effective way over a number of years. Perhaps we could press the Minister to think more clearly about how we might direct the authority and the mayor more clearly through requiring them, not necessarily to set objectives and targets, but to adopt a system of objectives and targets for the regulation of their business.

Baroness Miller of Hendon

I am grateful for the support from Members of the Committee on the other side. Perhaps the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, misunderstood. In general terms, I believe that she agreed with targets and so on, but Clause 33(2) provides that the mayor should keep under review each of the strategies mentioned and revise the strategies as he considers necessary. All we are saying is that each of the strategies should contain the specific performance targets. I hope that the noble Baroness may feel that she can support the amendments.

Baroness Hamwee

I am sorry if I used the wrong terminology. I believe that "authority" is defined somewhere as meaning "mayor and assembly" or "mayor or assembly". My point remains the same. I very much support the suggestion that any body which, as the noble Baroness mentioned, needs to look at its outcomes over a period, should have mechanisms for doing so. Those are likely to be performance indicators and targets; the terminology may be interchangeable. I simply use the term "mechanisms for monitoring and testing itself". I believe that to be absolutely right. Throughout the Bill we have resisted the prescription applied by the Government, and we would be inconsistent if we did not make the same point in connection with Opposition amendments. That is the extent of my concern about the amendment.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton

These amendments would require mayoral strategies to include specific performance indicators and targets against which the success of each strategy might be measured. Details of progress would be included in the mayor's annual report. We agree with the intention underpinning these amendments. Our White Paper said that, the Mayor would set a small number of clear benchmarks as part of each strategy, against which progress could be measured". As my honourable friend the Minister for Transport in London made clear in another place, we would anyway expect the mayor to set out a series of targets against which his or her performance might be measured, as is now common practice in local authorities and many other organisations. But, as the noble Baroness has already indicated, there may be scope for an additional requirement to establish targets to be included in the Bill. In that context we shall consider most carefully the points raised and the experience referred to by my noble friend Lord Berkeley. As my honourable friend made clear, we need to consider exactly what such a requirement would mean in practical terms for each strategy, and what would be the most appropriate mechanism for reporting on progress. That consideration is now taking place.

I note the point made by the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee. Viewed from this side of the Chamber, we have been presented with a moving target. Noble Lords have referred to those matters that should be left to the authority, in some cases the Civic Forum, and those matters where, as the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, said, the authority determines whether targets should be required, as in this case.

We agree with what these amendments seek to achieve and hope to be able to return to the matter at Report stage with appropriate amendments. On that basis, I hope that the noble Baroness will feel able to withdraw the amendment.

Baroness Miller of Hendon

I am very glad to hear the Minister's response, and I shall certainly seek leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Baroness Miller of Hendon moved Amendment No. 110A:

Page 19, line 39, at end insert— ("(2B) As soon as practicable after being elected or re-elected as Mayor. the Mayor shall prepare and publish a document to be known as "the Mayor's general statement" for the purpose of indicating how the consistency required in subsection (5)(b) below is to be achieved. (2C) The Mayor's general statement prepared under subsection (2B) above shall contain a broad indication of the Mayor's proposals and policies for each of the strategies mentioned in subsection (1) above.")

The noble Baroness said: This amendment can be described very briefly. It simply adds to the requirements for transparency and open government in Greater London. The effect is that after each election the new mayor must publish what we have called a general statement indicating two objectives of his period in office. First, he must indicate how he hopes to achieve the consistency between his various strategies that Clause 33(5) requires of him. Secondly, the indication just referred to must also show what the mayor's policies are for each of the strategies mentioned in Clause 33 which he has a statutory obligation to formulate and perform.

It will be noted that these indications are not the formal strategies themselves which the mayor is required to devise and publish. This requirement is to give general advance notice of those strategies. It is a kind of trailer, such as one gets at the cinema of forthcoming attractions. The advance notice will serve two purposes. First, on the commencement of the new mayoral term he shall (to use a tried and tested cliché) hit the ground running. Secondly, the mayor will have to acquire or retain office on the basis of policies which he will have thought out in advance and, presumably, will have included in his personal manifesto. There will be none of those comments beloved of politicians as an excuse for lack of clarity in their campaign promises, for example that they cannot give any details of what is to be done until they have had a chance to examine the books. The mayor will campaign on the basis of the manifesto. He will have no problem in producing a general statement of his proposals and intended strategies without delay after his election.

If the mayor's strategies and performance indicators are designed to make the mayor's successes and failures clear to the electors, the general statement will be an indication of how close his strategies are when he is in office to those promised while seeking election. I beg to move.

11.15 p.m.

Baroness Hamwee

As the noble Baroness describes, the document would be so close to the mayor's manifesto as to be pretty much the same. As regards the assembly's scrutiny role, or members of the public in their relationship with the mayor—we shall come later in Committee to the proposals for question time, annual reports, and so on—there is nothing to stop questioning of the mayor about the consistency of his action in office compared with the manifesto. Given the noble Baroness's ability to produce extracts from her party's manifesto speedily and authoritatively, I am sure that she will set a good example to her colleagues in the assembly.

Amendment No. 117 stands in my name and that of my noble friends, not because we object to the underlying notion in Clause 33(5)(b), which refers to, the need to ensure that the strategy is consistent with each other strategy", but simply because we regard it as unnecessarily and over-prescriptive. Given all the other provisions in the Bill, I do not believe that the mayor could sensibly produce strategies which were inconsistent one with another. If the mayor produces inconsistent strategies, and may be making a mess of the job, it is a matter for the assembly to scrutinise and criticise, and in the final event for the electorate.

The provision seems an example of the Government not trusting the ability of the mayor—whoever he or she may be—to carry out the job with a modicum of common sense and prospect of success.

Lord Whitty

I am puzzled by the comments of the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, with some of which I may agree. The amendment seeks to delete a provision designed to ensure that the strategies are consistent one with another. I am not sure whether that is a question of the balance of powers between the mayor and the assembly or between the mayor and electorate.

Baroness Hamwee

I am not being clear. I do not argue that the strategies should be inconsistent. I do not think that it is necessary to say so. If they look as though they will be inconsistent, what is the position of the assembly in scrutinising what the mayor proposes? The Government regard the need to act as a nanny as more necessary and desirable than we do.

Lord Whitty

Nothing in this provision dilutes the role of the assembly if it considers that the strategies are inconsistent. Surely it is better to put that obligation on the mayor in the first place. That is what the subsection intends. It means, for example, that environmental considerations have to be taken into account across the board in all the strategies. I should have thought that the noble: Baroness would welcome that. If, having been obliged so to do and having attempted so to do but not having succeeded in the eyes of the assembly, clearly it is up to the assembly to tell him so. I would have thought that the obligation of the mayor should be written in. The consistency of cross-strategies should be included. I could not, therefore, accept Amendment No. 117.

In regard to Amendment No. 110A, I agree with the noble Baroness, Lady Miller, that it is important that the mayor should communicate his or her policies and intentions effectively. However, I do not believe that in this context we should be excessively prescriptive about the matter. The mayor will already have had to prepare and publish a range of strategies, a regular monthly report and an annual report. Those documents will provide the sources and scope for the mayor to set out the policies and explain how they fit together.

If the mayor wishes to do anything in addition, it should be a matter for him or her to decide. The communications policy of the authority will therefore be in the hands of the mayor. subject to the provision of the specific documents to which I have referred. In any event, the broad outlines of the policies will be clear to Londoners after the election of the mayor, because he or she will presumably have fought the election campaign on the basis of a manifesto which included clear policy strategies, at least in broad terms. Londoners will have made their choice at the polls on that basis.

It is not for us to dictate the communications strategy of the mayor because we would hope that it would be effective and coherent, and I am sure that all candidates will have that very much in mind. I think the amendment is over prescriptive, and I ask the noble Baroness to withdraw it.

Baroness Miller of Hendon

I am not sure that it is over prescriptive, but at twenty past eleven at night we have had a good debate on this issue and I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton

I beg to move that the House do now resume.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

House resumed.

House adjourned at twenty-two minutes past eleven o'clock.