HL Deb 28 February 2000 vol 610 cc326-49

3.7 p.m.

Report received.

Clause 2 [Promotion of well-being]:

Lord Campbell of Alloway moved Amendment No. 1: Page 1, line 18, at beginning insert ("subject to section (Discrimination in the provision or facilities or services) of this Act and to sections 2A and 2B of the Local Government Act 1986,").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I rise to speak to my amendment to Clause 2. I am advised that, in order to render it intelligent within the evolving framework of amendments to the Bill, I have to speak to Amendment No. 81, which is a prohibition of positive discrimination as to the provision of services and facilities not generally available on public expenditure for the benefit of any group of persons. I must speak also to Amendment No. 82, which relates to the prohibition of explicit sexual material unless approved by the board of governors if made available in any maintained school.

The first purpose of the amendment to Clause 2 is to avoid conflict on the Bill as it stands between Clause 2 and the amendment moved in Committee by my noble friend Lady Young, which is now reflected in Clause 82, which restores Section 2(a) of the 1986 Act as amended to include bullying.

The other purpose is to pave the way for Amendments Nos. 81 and 82 by removing putative conflict with Clause 2. Amendments Nos. 81 and 82 are free standing. They have been accepted by the Table as complementary to Section 2A(1)(a) of the 1986 Act which stands unamended; that is, the prohibition of the promotion of homosexuality or the publication of material to that end. Albeit complementary, these amendments adopt a new, nondiscriminatory approach which prohibits positive discrimination in favour of any group of persons of whatever sexual orientation or none. It introduces the new prohibition in any maintained school of explicit sexual material of the type which your Lordships have seen in the exhibition, if not approved by the board of governors on which parents now sit.

Amendments Nos. 81 and 82 are not concerned directly with Section 2A(1)(b) in relation to the prohibition of teaching the acceptability of homosexual pretended family relationships. Section 2A(1)(b) stands unamended. However, with this evolving framework, Amendment No. 86 to Schedule 1, tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, reflects an amendment which was moved at Committee stage by the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Blackburn. That will be supported in due course as complementary to the amendments to which I am speaking. That will also be the case when, at the Committee stage of the Learning and Skills Bill, Amendment No. 235, moved by the right reverend Prelate to amend Section 403 of the Education Act 1996, is again moved at Report stage, which I gather will be on 14th March.

As the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, will remember, it was accepted at Committee stage of this Bill that, if an amendment such as Amendment No. 86 to the first schedule were carried into the Bill, there would need to be consequential amendments to Clause 2. However, that has not been carried in the form of the amendment to which I speak. When my noble friend Lady Young moved her amendment, which is now reflected in Clause 82, a vacuum had been created by the Bill as it then stood by Clause 62, by the abolition of Section 2A of the 1986 Act and Section 28 of the 1988 Act by Schedule 5. Clause 2 could afford no acceptable safeguard or control.

Many noble Lords, including myself, had our reservations. However, we went into the Lobby to hold the fort—and we were right to do so—until some acceptable resolution was proposed in conformity with the European Convention on Human Rights and which did not engender resentment and confusion. However, but for the stalwart initiative of my noble friend, whom I am so glad to see in her place, and the support of this House, there would have been no time for reflection, no breathing space, no new approach and no hope of compromise. The vote of this Chamber was one of commonsense, signal service rendered by this House to Parliament and the people. However, now we have that breathing space; now we can enter the gateway of compromise.

A new approach—perhaps I may express it as a kind of "concordat" between Church and state—was inspired by the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Blackburn, who speaks as chairman of the Church of England Board of Education on behalf of the churches. I suppose I must declare an interest as one of his wayward flock. It is plain from the Waterhouse report that in these depths of evil depravity no distinction whatever may be drawn between the heterosexual and the homosexual abuser. Based on any European Convention on Human Rights approach, under our domestic law homosexuals are entitled to respect for their private life, freedom of expression and equality of treatment, not only in the Army but generally.

In 1998 the ECHR was not part of our domestic law. It is not understood today how any overtly discriminatory provision against homosexuals or the promotion of homosexuality with punitive sanctions against a local authority under Section 28(2)(a) or (b) could be enforced in our courts. Section 28, which, as I understand it, was not opposed in another place, was designed to deal with the wholly unacceptable activities of certain urban local authorities regarding the promotion of homosexuality. Albeit not so well drafted, none the less it served its purpose for approximately 12 years. It has now served that purpose and it should be replaced by new concepts, such as the concordat as implemented by Article 86 to the first Schedule. That concordat sets up an overview and scrutiny committee where the local authority is the local education authority as regards educational functions and as regards the provision of sex education in adopting the principles of family life. There should be no physical or verbal abuse with regard to sexual orientation and no encouragement of sexual activity, as proposed by the right reverend Prelate in Amendment No. 235 of the Learning and Skills Bill.

Amendments Nos. 81 and 82 retain punitive sanctions against the local authority and are in implementation of the concept of the right reverend Prelate that sex education is a matter for governors and head teachers who have parental right of withdrawal. As the first purpose of this amendment is to remove the conflict between Clauses 2 and 82 as regards implementation, the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, will remember that anticipatory objection was taken on Amendments Nos. 2, 3, 150 and 152 of this Bill to that effect. It is the conflict between the mandatory provision under Clause 28 with all the panoply of the law, and the massive delegation of absolute discretion under Clause 2 to do anything considered likely to improve social well-being in the area, which might well bring us back to the dreadful situation as it was before Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988.

Furthermore, under Clause 2 as it stands, whatever the local authority does, "to improve social wellbeing", that exercise of discretion would not be subject to the jurisdiction of force under judicial review save in a wholly exceptional circumstance.

I refer to the amendment tabled by my noble friend, now Clause 82. Clause 2 was compatible with Clause 62 of the Bill when drafted. However, because of the repeal of Section 2A of the Local Government Act 1986 and Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988, Clause 2 is not compatible with the Bill as amended by my noble friend by Clause 82 nor with either of the amendments to which I speak, nor with amendments tabled which reflect the concordat.

The second purpose is to avoid conflict between Clause 2 and Amendments Nos. 81 and 82. Amendment No. 81 prohibits positive discrimination in favour of any group of persons, whether homosexual, heterosexual or of whatever interest or inclination as regards exclusive provision for the benefit of facilities and services not generally available on the expenditure of public funds by local authorities. It is a general prohibition and not directed against any group of whatever sexual orientation. As such it would conform with the European Convention on Human Rights.

Amendment No. 82 is concerned with sexually-explicit material of the type your Lordships have seen on exhibition. A prohibition is imposed upon the local authority against making such material available for children in any maintained school without the consent and approval of the board of governors. As your Lordships know, parents now sit on such boards. It is suggested that this is an appropriate and sufficient method of seeking to protect the children. That prohibition on the local authority is in general terms. It is not directed against any group of whatever sexual disposition. Neither the prohibition nor the method of control suggested would be contrary to the convention. I beg to move.

Lord Dixon-Smith

My Lords, the House will be grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Campbell of Alloway, for drawing to our attention all the legal and legislative complexities we face when discussing this issue. It is an interesting coincidence that the amendment tabled by my noble friend almost follows on from the Question tabled today by the noble Lady, Baroness Rendell of Babergh. As an amateur at this game, I admire my noble friend's experience as a parliamentarian and his skill as a lawyer and wordsmith which enabled him to table the amendment at the start of our proceedings today.

The amendment will give the House, if it chooses, the opportunity to continue a debate which it undertook for well over five hours only a fortnight ago. I suspect that the House may decide that that is not the most useful way in which to spend an afternoon. I have no wish to do anything which would restrict the freedom of the House to discuss the matter for as long as it wishes. However, it seemed to me that after our earlier debate and its result there would be discussions between the Government, the bishops and other interested parties to bring this subject to perhaps what some might consider to be a more felicitous conclusion than the one reached. However, perhaps my noble friend Lady Young might think that the conclusion we reached is the appropriate one.

Lord Campbell of Alloway

My Lords, I am obliged to my noble friend for giving way. I am not here to listen to or take admonitions from my noble friend on the Front Bench.

Lord Dixon-Smith

My Lords, I apologise to my noble friend if anything I said was "admonitory", if that is not a new word (I hope that I am not inventing new words). However, I apologise if that was the case. It was certainly not intended to be. However, it will be interesting to hear what the Minister might have to say on the progress of such discussions. It seems clear that the matter will return to this House before the Bill is eventually passed. It will clearly have to go from this place to another, and to return here for further discussion. There will, therefore, be a great deal of opportunity for further debate after the discussions between the interested parties have taken place. I believe that that would be a more preferable way in which to deal with the matter. For that reason, we shall not be supporting my noble friend this afternoon.

Baroness Hamwee

My Lords, I assume that the Minister may tell us that, as far as concerns Sections 2A and 2B of the 1986 Act, Amendment No. 1 is not necessary because, until what we have come to refer to as "Section 28" is repealed, it remains on the statute book. As with other restrictions, it will apply to the exercise of the powers of local government. Indeed, to take one example, I believe that is why we have Clause 5 in the Bill. That clause gives certain powers to the Secretary of State to repeal, revoke or dis-apply enactments which may obstruct local authorities from exercising their powers. I, too, have no wish to re-run the debate referred to by the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith. As far as we are concerned, it is sad that that is the case. Our views on Section 28 are well known.

Perhaps I may respond to one of the comments made by the noble Lord, Lord Campbell of Alloway. I make clear that we support the powers which are to be given to local authorities under Section 2. As we established in Committee, such powers must be exercised reasonably.

The noble Lord referred to his later amendments. I confess that I do not understand Amendment No. 81. I am sure that that is my failing, not that of the draftsman. The amendment refers, among other things, to the delivery of education and healthcare and allows for them to be discriminatory. It is almost implicit that education must discriminate in the sense that it provides for individuals. I have some difficulties therefore with the clause though of course I accept the good intentions of the noble Lord to try to clarify the position.

I have some difficulties also with Amendment No. 82. As was said, we shall return to this topic under the question of guidelines, though it would perhaps be better debated as part of the educational provision rather than simply local authorities. However, I am unclear as to how, as a matter of practice, governors would apply this provision. Currently, sex education is a matter for the governors. But for individual items to go before a board of governors for approval may prove extremely cumbersome. My experience of schools is that different governors have responsibility for different areas, including the area of the curriculum under which sex education generally falls. So governors will be involved in any event.

I am not clear what may be taken to fall into the category of "sexually explicit" material. It could be interpreted very widely by those who are mischievous. It occurred to me that Romeo and Juliet or A Midsummer Night's Dream—particularly the relationship between Titania and Bottom—could fall within that category. It is a difficult road down which to start.

3.30 p.m.

The Lord Bishop of Blackburn

My Lords, I find myself in some difficulty with these amendments, partly because they are highly technical. I do not feel that they are necessary, particularly Amendment No. 1. In that regard I echo what was said by the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, and the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee.

The noble Lord, Lord Campbell of Alloway, was gracious in his comments in relation to myself and the amendment I placed before the House. But let me repeat what I said last week on another Bill; that is, that the discussions with the Department for Education and Employment, and in particular with the Secretary of State, continue. I am sorry that we have not by this stage been able to see amendments which may well be made to the Learning And Skills Bill, which is perhaps—as was hinted at by the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee—the proper place to continue this discussion.

The Secretary of State has to see a number of interested parties and not just the Churches. I should not like to think of it as a "concordat" between the Churches and the Government; the consultation is much wider than that. The Churches play their part and, fortunately, I have been able to play some part also. I am among those who hope that the noble Lord will withdraw the amendment at this stage in order to allow the discussions to continue and for the Secretary of State properly to consult. I am hopeful that what will come out of those discussions may be helpful both to the House and, more importantly, to parents and others throughout the country who are looking for some kind of assurance.

Earl Russell

My Lords, I listened with interest to the noble Lord, Lord Campbell of Alloway. I understand of course what he is driving at. I raise one or two purely technical points in relation to the drafting of the amendment.

In relation to Amendment No. 81, I have the fullest sympathy with any attempt to secure a policy of nondiscrimination. But I was once asked by the noble and right reverend Lord, Lord Habgood, in this Chamber, whether I could indicate a distinction between those grounds on which it was proper to discriminate and those grounds on which it was not. That is a question about which I am still thinking.

The noble Lord, Lord Campbell of Alloway, attempts to address that question in Amendment No. 81. I am not sure that he has it right. He has his non-discrimination provision, save in respect of counselling, health care, education and in the prevention of the spread of disease". But does that adequately cover, for example, the case of disability? A PE teacher may legitimately wish to provide a slightly different regime for somebody with a club foot than for somebody with two able feet. In so doing, will be infringe the provision as presently drafted by the noble Lord, Lord Campbell of Alloway? This is a question which needs addressing and if we are to see more of this amendment, I hope that will be done.

I share the doubts of my noble friend Lady Hamwee in relation to the words "sexually explicit". I can remember some of the diagrams put in front of us in biology lessons when I was young. They were clinical, detached, accurate and about as unarousing as anything I can possibly imagine. But in the strict and literal sense they could perhaps have been described as "sexually explicit". Perhaps the Minister will take the advice of his noble and learned friend the Attorney-General as to whether or not those words have been included in previous legislation and, if so, whether we have any accepted judicial construction of their meaning. If not, we should be a little wary of using them.

Lord Whitty

My Lords, like the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, I hoped that we would move into the body of this Bill rather than attempt a rerun of discussions on Section 28. Having said that, I understand what the noble Lord, Lord Campbell of Alloway, is attempting to do, and that he is attempting to do it in as even-handed a way as possible. However, Amendment No. 81 does not do that and Amendment No. 82 runs into the sort of trouble just spelt out by the noble Earl, Lord Russell; namely, that there are serious judicial problems in defining what is and what is not sexually explicit and whether or not it is appropriate to use those terms in what is, after all, sex education.

I agree with the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, that Amendment No. 1 is unnecessary. In relation to what is now Clause 82, the principal decision of the House was made clear. The Government did not support that. It may be that another place has a view on that and, as the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, said, we will no doubt return to that in due course. However, the main anxieties addressed during that debate related to education and, as the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Blackburn spelt out, constructive discussions are taking place between the Churches and my right honourable friend the Secretary of State. We will need a wider debate on their outcome, which will no doubt take place in the Learning and Skills Bill. I believe that we will achieve a satisfactory way of meeting most of the anxieties raised. It is not sensible, therefore, for the House to reopen that debate at this stage, though we may well have to return to it after the Learning and Skills Bill has been dealt with and the Commons has considered this Bill.

As it stands, the amendment is unnecessary. Clause 82 places a restriction on local authority action. Section 2 is subject to all other restrictions, including those within the Bill, and therefore the addition of the amendment would not create any further restriction on the ability of local authorities to act. The provision of well-being is a broad power for local authorities but it is subject to all other legislative restrictions. What is now Clause 82 is no different from any other in that respect.

Clause 3(1) of this Bill further states that the power under Clause 2(1) does not enable a local authority to do anything which it is unable to do by virtue of any prohibition, restriction or limitation on its powers which is contained in any enactment (whenever passed or made). That is clear. Moreover, the full implication of the adoption of this amendment and the related amendments would mean that the kind of discrimination to which the noble Earl referred—namely, specific provision for the disabled, for pensioners and other subsections of the community, including the gay and lesbian community—may fall foul of such a generalised provision. That is not the kind of restriction that is intended to be placed on local authorities in their pursuit of well-being because they all have varying communities containing different subsections that will require different treatment.

The general intention behind the amendment is unnecessary. Its effect would be to limit local authorities in what has been broadly accepted as a positive step towards the pursuit of well-being of the community and indeed might jeopardise it. I hope that the noble Lord will not pursue the amendment and that we can continue with the debate on local government reform rather than revert to discussions on matters covered by what was Section 28.

Lord Campbell of Alloway

My Lords, I am grateful to all noble Lords who have spoken. I hope it has not been felt that the time spent on this discussion has been other than useful. I am asked if I will take the amendment back, and I am fully prepared to do so. I may return to the matter at a later stage when I have read what has been said in the debate. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Baroness Hamwee moved Amendment No. 2. Page 1, line 20, leave out from beginning to end of line 2 on page 2 and insert—

  1. ("(a) the promotion or improvement of economic development and wealth creation in their area,
  2. (b) the promotion of social development in their area, and
  3. (c) the promotion of the Improvement of the environment in their area").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, the amendment further probes the provision for the new powers spelled out in Clause 2. The wording of the amendment is taken from the Greater London Authority Act. I have tabled the amendment not because of my feeling, as the Minister suggested at the last stage, that what was good enough for the GLA is good enough for the whole of local government. I take the same view he does: one looks at the generality of local government first. The amendment does not seek to impose GLA provisions but is a genuine request for clarification. I should like to understand the nuances of a comparison of the Bill with the GLA Act. It is the wording of the GLA Act that I have incorporated.

I appreciate that we are not starting with a clean sheet in regard to local government, but I should like to understand the distinction between the two sets of drafting. If we do not clarify the matter, it could be left to a local authority to answer that question if its actions were to be challenged by an individual through an application for judicial review. The differences between the two sets of wording, which are very close but not identical, would, I am sure, be picked over at length by lawyers. I prefer to get the point out of the way at this early stage of the legislative procedure.

The amendment seeks clarification of the distinction between the well-being powers expressed in the Bill and the powers to promote economic development, wealth creation, social development and the improvement of the environment. I beg to move.

Lord Whitty

My Lords, the noble Baroness asks for clarification, and, by implication, indicates that she will not press the amendment. The noble Baroness has to some extent reflected the fact that there is a difference, as I explained in Committee. The terms of reference for a new organisation are spelt out in a different way to those that build on existing statutory and customer practice functions. These are already contained in the raft of local authorities' statutory and other functions.

I can give the noble Baroness some comfort in regard to her central concern. Notwithstanding the differences in the way the two powers are drafted, the well-being power given to local authorities under Clause 2 is in no sense narrower than that given to the GLA in Section 30 of the GLA Act. If the amendment is accepted, it could narrow the well-being power and leave local authorities with less scope to act than the GLA. For example, paragraph (c) refers to allowing local authorities to take action only to promote the improvement of the environment. The GLA has a power to do anything that furthers its principal purposes, but this might be construed as meaning that the local authorities could not do it themselves but should promote it among others. I am sure that that is not the intention, but there is a possibility, remote though it may be, of it being construed in that way.

We believe that Clause 2 is drafted in a way that best fits its purpose and gives the widest scope to local authorities to take action to improve the economic, social and environmental conditions of their communities. I hope that the noble Baroness is reasonably happy with my explanation and will not pursue the matter.

Baroness Hamwee

My Lords, can the Minister confirm in terms that the provisions set out in the amendment are all within the well-being powers as expressed in Clause 2? I appreciate that it is a technical point, and that that may be difficult.

Lord Whitty

My Lords, that is right, subject to the qualifications we referred to in our previous debate because, clearly, other statutory limitations may apply.

Baroness Hamwee

My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for putting that on the record. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Dixon-Smith moved Amendment No. 3. Page 2, line 23, at end insert— ("() Action by a local authority outside its own boundaries shall only be undertaken with the consent of the authority within whose boundaries the action is to be taken.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this amendment allows us a brief reprise of a debate in Committee when the Minister said: We need to make it clear that we expect local authorities to cooperate. On the other hand, we do not want to be over-prescriptive on the face of the Bill. We would not want to be quite as limiting as the noble Lord is tempting us to be. None the less. I am happy to go away and to look at the matter in order to see whether there is a better way in which we can make it absolutely clear that local authorities should act in co-operation".—[Official Report, 25/1/00; col. 1457]

The amendment is tabled in a form designed to tease the Minister into giving noble Lords further clarification because the Bill would permit one local authority to act within the area of another local authority in a singular way rather than in a cooperative way, which I know is not the Government's intention. Equally, I am sure that in normal circumstances no local authority would behave in that way. Unfortunately—and I use that word advisedly—when legislating it is incumbent on us all to consider the aberrant behaviour that every now and again we are all guilty of as human beings. I beg to move.

Baroness Carnegy of Lour

My Lords, I support what my noble Lord has just said. I have not been present at previous stages of the Bill, but I have read the proceedings with great interest. It is the intention of the Government that local authorities of various kinds and at various levels should co-operate, and that is of course right. However, the noble Baroness, who herself has great experience of local government, will know that it is quite possible for one local authority to be somewhat interfering in the responsibilities of another, and that there many devious ways in which mischievous people can act.

If one authority wished to take action within an area for which another authority is responsible, surely it would be right to make it absolutely clear in the legislation that the other authority should be in agreement. It is a simple suggestion. I rather hope that the noble Baroness will accept that the position should be clear in the Bill, especially when one thinks about how this will operate in practice between various local authorities.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton

My Lords, as my noble friend Lord Whitty said in Committee, we have sympathy with the intentions that lie behind Amendment No. 3. The success of both community planning and action taken under the well-being power depends on local authorities, including different tiers of authority, working together for the common good of their communities.

The noble Baroness, Lady Carnegy of Lour, drew our attention to something that we in England and Wales have never come across; namely, conflicts between local authorities. I am sure that that must be a totally Scottish phenomenon. As the noble Baroness implied in her contribution, we certainly expect authorities to adopt a sensible and responsible attitude to the new freedoms that the Bill will give them. Those freedoms are intended to allow local authorities to work together and take action for the common good of their communities. We shall make this point very strongly in the guidance that will accompany the powers.

The noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, asked whether we are still considering some way of legislating in this area. I can assure him that we are still giving the matter consideration. However, we want to do so without imposing a disproportionate burden on local authorities. We do not want to be overly prescriptive. A requirement to obtain consent would go further, for example, than the current economic development powers, which require only consultation between authorities. Therefore, we need to continue to give this some thought.

If the noble Lord could stretch his patience a little further, I can assure him that we will bring forward proposals very soon. With that assurance, I hope that he will feel able to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Dixon-Smith

My Lords, my patience, like that of many other people, is considerably elastic. With the assurance that thought is still being given to the matter, I am happy to beg leave to withdraw my amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Dixon-Smith moved Amendment No. 4: Page 2, line 24, leave out ("affects") and insert ("limits").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this amendment relates to a matter of preference for one word against another. Clause 2(6) says: Nothing in subsection (4) or (5) affects the generality of the power under subsection (1)". I have some difficulty with that wording. If subsections (4) and (5) do not affect the generality of the power in subsection (1), I cannot, for the life of me, think why they are there. If they do affect the generality of that power, it seems to me that subsection (6) is wrong. I have chosen to take the view that subsections (4) and (5) do affect subsection (1) and, therefore, the word "affects" is perhaps the word that causes a problem in subsection (6). It seems to me that the House should consider deleting that word and replacing it with "limits"; otherwise, we shall have a quarter of a page of unnecessary verbiage on the face of the Bill. I should like to think that neither the Government nor the parliamentary draftsmen who are responsible for the legislation would create such a situation willingly or voluntarily. I beg to move.

Lord Whitty

My Lords, I was not entirely clear as to the purpose of this amendment until the noble Lord made his opening remarks. However, I believe I am now clearer in that respect. I should point out that this is a tried and tested formulation and one that is well understood by the courts. As drafted, subsection (6) would leave no room for doubt as to its effect.

The noble Lord is right in a very direct sense. We have set out examples in subsection (4) of the wide-ranging activities that authorities might want to undertake when using the well-being power but, as the wording of subsection (6) makes clear, this is not an exhaustive list. It also means that no other implication could be drawn. Apart from limiting the list of things set out in subsection (4), it might indicate the broad areas of activity rather than being taken as a total limit. Therefore, we feel that the word "affects" is more appropriate than "limits". With that explanation, I hope that the noble Lord will not pursue this amendment.

Lord Dixon-Smith

My Lords, this is a fine semantic argument. It seems to me that we could debate the matter for a long time and generally make no progress. We would, therefore, waste a great deal of the time of the House, which is not my intention. I am grateful to the Minister for his explanation, which I shall study. In the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Dixon Smith moved Amendment No. 5: Page 2, line 25, at end insert— ("(7) Nothing in this Part shall empower a local authority to engage in trade other than that which is provided for in the Local Authority (Goods & Services) Act 1970.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this is a probing amendment. It has been tabled to enable us to explore again with the Minister what limits there are to this fairly general power—although it is not completely general—under Clause 2(1). I have a certain case in mind which prompted me to table this amendment. One could well envisage a situation where some shire district authority would take the view that certain circumstances in a particular village meant that it was worth subsidising the village shop and post office in order to keep it going—for example, where the post office was likely to be closed and, in any event, the local shop was uneconomic. Indeed, this is a prevalent situation across large areas of the country. Such a decision might well be judged to be an appropriate use of this power, and I would have no difficulty with it.

However, there just might be circumstances where an authority could decide that it was appropriate for it to run the shop and that it should itself indulge, if you like, in trading in the goods provided by the village shop. In my view, that would be an improper extension of the power and something that we should seek to avoid. Indeed, that would be trading in goods in competition with all the other retail organisations involved in that particular trade. I do not believe that any sensible local authority would actually want to handle matters in that way, but the possibility might arise.

As I said, I thought it right to table this amendment to enable us to explore exactly what limits the Government have in mind in this sort of area. We need to be quite clear where we stand. I have no difficulty at all with the idea of subsidising a village shop—in other words, you virtually invite a shopkeeper to submit a tender to the local authority for the running of the shop if it requires a degree of subsidy to keep it going. That sort of proposition would be in line with the sort of support that is given to rural transport in many areas. That is straightforward enough. However, the extension beyond that point would concern me. That is why I have tabled the amendment. I beg to move.

4 p.m.

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer

My Lords, I speak to Amendment No. 10, which is grouped with Amendment No. 5, which we are discussing. We on these Benches disagree with the somewhat inflexible line taken by the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith. Amendment No. 10 seeks to enable a local authority to engage in certain activities—which would be covered by proper record keeping—when it considers that is appropriate.

It may well be appropriate to engage in certain activities in certain instances. I take up the example of the village shop. That matter is particularly topical at the moment. A shop and post office may be faced with closure because no one wishes to continue to run it. In such circumstances it may be appropriate for a local authority to play a prime part in keeping it going, perhaps for a short time until someone else is found, or perhaps for a much longer time, if necessary, if the establishment in question serves a wide rural area. Amendment No. 10 seeks to introduce much greater flexibility for local authorities in this area. Local authorities are trying to get away from the regime under CCT which did not permit them to do anything in this regard. That regime involved them in red tape and bureaucracy and they were not even permitted to trade for the benefit of a local community.

Clearly a line needs to be drawn between a local authority threatening other local traders and engaging in activities which seek to benefit the wider community. Under the powers in this Bill and under the community planning power, a local authority will no doubt take account of the views of its local community. I believe that Amendment No. 10 is far more likely to result in local authorities being able to engage in certain activities that are seen to benefit local communities rather than being restricted by red tape as they have been in the past.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton

My Lords, I am afraid that we must oppose Amendments Nos. 5 and 10. There is a good deal of unnecessary confusion, both inside and outside the House, about the effect of the well-being provisions on the ability of local authorities to engage in trading activities. Therefore it may be helpful to set the record straight.

At present, authorities' ability to trade in goods and services is controlled by the Local Authorities (Goods and Services) Act 1970. This permits authorities to charge for goods and services only where these are provided by the authority to a "public body" as defined by that Act. The goods and services Act is a permissive piece of legislation. It does not therefore contain any prohibition, restriction or limitation that would bite on the new well-being power by virtue of Clause 3(1). In other words, once Clause 2 comes into force, local authorities will be able to provide goods and services to anyone. It will no longer matter whether they are a "public body" as defined by the 1970 Act, or not.

But, while they will be able to provide goods and services to anyone, they will not be able to charge for them. Clause 3(2) specifically prevents authorities from using the well-being power to raise money. Therefore they will only be able to charge for goods and services using the power in Section 1(3) in the 1970 goods and services Act and this limits charging to circumstances where authorities are trading with "public bodies". In other words, nothing in the current Bill will change the current ability of local authorities to engage in trading. Amendment No. 5, is, therefore, totally unnecessary.

Amendment No. 10 would, on the other hand, dramatically change the position by ensuring that, where they exercised their well-being powers, authorities could provide goods and services to anyone—not just public bodies—and could charge for the goods and services so provided. I appreciate that the noble Baroness will be disappointed—and the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, presumably pleased—to hear that this is not an amendment that the Government can accept. It is altogether too sweeping. However, the noble Baroness may be somewhat reassured to know that the Government are looking for some sensible relaxation of the circumstances in which authorities can charge for goods and services.

The Government are currently exploring these issues with business, voluntary organisations, local government and the trade unions. As we said during the passage of what is now the Local Government Act 1999, the powers in that Act enabling us to relax any legislative provisions preventing authorities from securing best value give us an opportunity to review the legal framework covering the provision of goods and services by local authorities. We are currently looking at the circumstances in which authorities might engage in such activities; the limits that should apply; and the safeguards that ought to exist in order to protect the taxpayer and—as the noble Baroness, Lady Miller of Chilthorne Domer, recognised—ensure fair competition. We intend to issue a consultation paper on these issues in the spring. I feel sure that the points raised in this brief debate by the noble Lord and the noble Baroness will contribute to that consultation. With that reassurance, I hope that the noble Lord. Lord Dixon-Smith, will be prepared to withdraw his amendment and that the noble Baroness will be persuaded not to move hers when we reach it.

Lord Dixon-Smith

My Lords, I am grateful for the noble Baroness's response, which gives me comfort. I look forward with interest to seeing the forthcoming consultation paper. In the mean time, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

The Deputy Speaker (Lord Strabolgi)

My Lords, I should inform the House that if Amendment No. 6 is agreed to, I cannot call Amendment No. 7.

Clause 3 [Limits on power to promote well-being]:

Lord Dixon-Smith moved Amendment No. 6: Page 2, line 30, leave out subsection (2) and insert— ("() A local authority, in considering expenditure relating to section 2(1), may only spend money, whether raised by precept, borrowing or otherwise, up to a sum limited in any one year by the amount that would be raised if the level of the Council Tax precept on a Band D house within its area were increased by £2.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, as the Bill is drafted, local authorities are provided with a new, pretty general power. However, as a consequence of having that power, they may not raise money, whether by precepts, borrowing or otherwise. That seems to me somewhat illogical. In Committee I tried to excise that particular part of the Bill, but that was not acceptable to the Government. What we are dealing with here, of course, is government control over local authorities. The only reason that I can see for having that restriction in the Bill is because the Government are afraid that local authorities will let their hearts run away with their heads, and, more importantly, let their members "run away" with their council taxpayers' funds, with unpleasant results.

Those who feel that local authorities will run away with public funds have, all too often, had their fears borne out. However, I have always argued that if local authority members wish to run away with local taxpayers' funds, they should be allowed to do so on the reasonable ground that the local electorate will learn to behave responsibly and not to elect those who are rash enough to behave in such an unreasonable way. One of the biggest problems that local government have had for many years has been the increasing tendency of government to wet nurse local government and not treat its members as responsible individuals. They are hopelessly over-restricted as a result.

I think that some expenditure is necessary, but the Government clearly think that it should be limited. In the good old, bad old days one might have thought of the product of a penny rate as being perhaps an appropriate way of dealing with this matter. The product of a penny rate was a sum of money which had what I would call a good provenance. It permitted local authorities to expend money up to that limit in ways which were otherwise not normally acceptable within the local government legislation that was then in place. Should an emergency arise, it was judged to be the appropriate level at which the national government would begin to look at the consequences of, let us say, a natural disaster in a local authority's area. If the expenditure went above the product of a penny rate, it was then possible that assistance might be made available.

We do not have the product of a penny rate and so I had to think of a reasonable way of going forward in the new environment of council tax and banded properties. As I understand it now, the normal way in which one assesses the impact of a particular increase in costs on a local authority is by the impact that it has on a Band D house, that band being about the middle of the range. If one has a much smaller property, one goes down to band A and the impact is commensurately less; if one goes up to band G or band H, the impact is commensurately more.

I have hit on the figure of £2 for a band D house within an authority's area for the simple reason that it would not produce a completely unreasonable impost, but it would produce a sum of money which would enable authorities to do something useful under the power given to them in this legislation. If one takes a fairly typical London borough with about 100,000 houses, £2 on a band D house would produce £200,000. That is not a large sum of money but most local authorities would find it extremely useful. It would increase a council tax payer's burden by about one-third of 1 per cent, so we are looking at a very marginal amount.

This seems a sensible way forward. While I am not optimistic that the Minister will say "What a frightfully good idea", I invite him to consider the amendment; otherwise we shall be in some difficulties and in a position of inconsistency. We shall be giving local authorities a power on the one hand and, at the same time, putting in place what I have called in other places an "anti-power", which restricts their ability to do anything about it, on the other. I beg to move.

Baroness Hamwee

My Lords, we share the view of the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, about local authorities being allowed to make their own decisions because local taxpayers, wearing their hats as electors, will give their own views in due course. I am not sure that I would use the term "run away with the council tax payers' money", but I take his general point.

However, we cannot support the amendment. The Minister may correct me, but I understand that Clause 2 allows local authorities overarching powers; it is not that they are being provided with one detailed additional power. Whatever the situation—even were this to be one extra detailed power—I think that the £2 limit is unambitious. As the noble Lord said, it is a matter for the electors. I am not enthusiastic about the Bill applying yet another restriction on local authorities as regards their tax raising and spending.

4.15 p.m.

Lord Peyton of Yeovil

My Lords, my noble friend is to be congratulated on his persistence. He may be erring on the side of optimism in hoping to persuade the Government to do something, but he deserves support and commendation from behind him.

On first sight, this part of the Bill puzzled me. It seemed to me that the Government were being quite lavish in the promises to local government in Clause 2, where it states: Every local authority is to have power to do anything which they consider is likely to achieve any one or more of the following objects". I shall not read out the rest of the clause. That seemed as though the Government were in a very generous state of mind towards local authorities.

But then we get to Clause 3, which states: (1) The power under section 2(1) does not enable a local authority to do anything which they are unable to do by virtue of any prohibition". It continues: (2) The power under section 2(1) does not enable a local authority to raise money (3) The Secretary of State may by order make provision preventing local authorities from doing, by virtue of section 2(1), anything which is specified, or is of a description specified, in the order". Then Clause 3(4) subjects local authorities to guidance from the Secretary of State after due consultation.

I do not wish to pretend for a moment—it would open the door to the Minister—that the previous administration had an immaculate record so far as concerns local government. It deluged local authorities regularly in a mass of legislation, to a point which must have been exceedingly discouraging to those who felt inclined to enter their ranks. Indeed, if any over-confident candidate for local government had ever consulted me—which would be a foolish thing to do, I admit—I would have advised him or her that whatever they did, do not. The one thing they could rely on was the mistrust of the central government, of whatever party, and of being hedged around by a whole lot of regulations.

The first clause that I quoted is a classic case. I will not quote it again. It states that local authorities can do anything that they like or think appropriate; and then the next clause states that they cannot. It hedges restrictions around them.

I do not believe that people worth their salt will continue to want to go into local government as long as they are hamstrung by central government. At some time or other, another government must take a different line. My noble friend is entirely right to move his amendment.

Baroness Young

My Lords, I support the amendment of my noble friend Lord Dixon-Smith. It is an important amendment on a very important issue of principle—that is, how much freedom a local authority can have.

I recall very well that when the present Government were in opposition they were very much against the then policy of the Conservative government on rate capping. I lived in an authority which was rate capped. I remember it very clearly, not only from the debates which took place in your Lordships' House but from personal experience of its effects. The argument against it was that it denied local authorities the freedom to do what elected representatives thought right for their particular community, it was too expensive and people did not want to pay the rates, or the council tax as it would be now.

It may come as a surprise to the Government to know that, within the party, I argued against this policy. I thought that if one wished to have effective local government it should be able to spend and, if necessary, to go bankrupt. That would be a salutary lesson all round if people behaved in what is really a totally irresponsible fashion. That is the consequence; and the consequence should come down firmly on the heads of those responsible. I am not advocating that as a policy in any sense, but it seems that what lies behind the amendment is a similar principle to that debated previously: how much freedom should a local authority have? As my noble friend made quite clear, and in my local government days—a long time ago now there was the freedom to spend the money which could be raised from an increase of a penny rate. That was a long time ago, but it was a measure of freedom which, if they wished to, local authorities could exercise and use for particular areas. It may not have been the right sum of money, but it was at least a sum of money. If I have understood my noble friend correctly, his amendment aims to find a rather similar kind of money to offer a similar kind of freedom.

That should not be at all incompatible with the rest of the Bill. Such a provision would be valued by local authorities. If it is considered that local authorities cannot be trusted to raise the sums of money for things which, at the beginning of the Bill, they are to be allowed to do, the amendment will at least give them a measure of freedom. Even if the Government cannot accept it today, I hope that they will take it away and consider it seriously.

Lord Smith of Leigh

My Lords, I welcome the comments from noble Lords opposite, in particular, from the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, who presumably speaks with some authority about his party's conversion to Financial freedom for local authorities. I am afraid that my experience of 18 years of the previous government was not quite like that.

Noble Lords may remember that I spoke on Clause 3(2) in Committee. I share some of the concerns expressed by noble Lords on that subsection. However, the comments made by my noble friend Lady Farrington helped to clarify the way in which that clause will work. Amendment No. 6 would be both restrictive in its effect and also unfair in its consequences. It returns to the old product of a penny rate. Obviously, inflation has increased the amount to £2. But that is a restrictive amount because it is not all that much for local authorities to spend and it may not be enough. It is rather unambitious.

The point made by the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, about band D being the mid-point of the range is in a sense true, since the range moves upwards from band A, but it is not the median point of the council tax range. In my own authority, over 88 per cent of all properties are below band D, with only 4 per cent being above. I am sure that in many other local authorities, that statistic could well be reversed. Therefore, the way in which local authorities could raise money would be in a sense differential. Those authorities with a large proportion of properties in the lower tax bands obviously will not be able to raise as much money as those with a large number of properties above band D. There are ways in which we may continue to explore the limit which appears to be in Clause 3(2), but the amendment is not the way forward.

Baroness Carnegy of Lour

My Lords, I hope that the Minister will not accuse me of being unable to speak because I am a Scot, for I cannot speak for local government in Scotland these days as it is ruled out by law.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton

My Lords, I apologise to the noble Baroness if she interpreted what I intended as a light remark put slightly ironically as being in any way an attempt to dissuade her from taking part in the debate. Her contribution is welcome.

Baroness Carnegy of Lour

My Lords, that reassurance is extremely kind and gives me courage and comfort. The noble Lord, Lord Smith of Leigh, has criticised the amendment. He did so in detail and I understand what he said, but I hope that when the Minister replies, she will tell the House whether, having listened to this argument again, she believes that there is in principle an argument for the Bill to define an area in which the Secretary of State cannot stop a local authority from doing something which it would like to do in the way of raising money. We must pay attention to what noble Lords have said—I believe my noble friend Lord Peyton made the point—about the need to get good people into local government.

It is absolutely desperate that if an entrepreneurial person is asked to promote the well-being of his area and comes upon a way of doing so by raising a little money to spend on something, he knows that the Secretary of State has the power to stop him if he so wishes—admittedly, after consultation. Would it not be possible to create some area of legislation in which the Secretary of State cannot do so in order to give councillors confidence that they may have the interest and satisfaction of doing something to help their areas in such a way?

Baroness Hamwee

My Lords, when the Minister replies, will she explain to the House what is to happen to Section 137? I appreciate that it will be required for parishes which will not have the well-being power, but, as I understand it, Section 137 was enacted because there were not at that time general powers for local authorities, so the raising of a penny rate had to be read alongside the additional powers which the local authorities might want to exercise. I have looked at the back of the Bill in the repeals section. Section 137 does not feature, but I realise that I am now confused as to how it lies alongside the new powers.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton

My Lords, again I apologise to the noble Baroness, Lady Carnegy of Lour. I learnt early on that irony is often misunderstood.

I am in the unusual position of being able to agree in part and in philosophy with the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, and all noble Lords who have taken part in the debate, because, in using the Clause 2 power, local authorities may spend any amount of money they wish on promoting or improving the economic, social and environmental well-being of their communities. I can tell from the way in which the debate has proceeded and the way in which the noble Lord moved his amendment that he would in fact be placing a limitation on what could be spent by a local authority in any year on improving or promoting the economic, social and environmental well-being of its area. My noble friend Lord Smith made it clear that a national limit would be inhibiting and would bite on or empower different local authorities unevenly.

The Government's position is in direct contradiction to the effect of rather than the intention behind the amendment. In our view, it is for individual local authorities, not central government, to determine how they should use the new well-being powers and for local government, not central government, to determine how much they should spend, based on their understanding of local circumstances and needs. The measures that we put in place in last year's Local Government Act and are putting in place through the Bill will strengthen efficiency and local accountability. It is to local communities that local authorities should answer on how they use their well-being powers and for the expenditure that they incur.

We welcome the conversion of noble Lords on the Opposition Front Bench and the Opposition Benches to the principle of empowering local authorities to make judgments. However, in response to the noble Baroness, Lady Carnegy of Lour, we believe that it is necessary, in the interests of people in particular areas, that where local authorities act irresponsibly, the Secretary of State has the power to ensure that rises in council tax are not at an unacceptable level.

The amendment has the effect of limiting the freedom of local authorities. I apologise if in previous explanations we may not have made that as clear as would have proved helpful, but, in the light of that explanation, I hope that the noble Lord will seek leave to withdraw his amendment. In reply to the specific question from the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, Section 137 will be repealed.

4.30 p.m.

Lord Dixon-Smith

My Lords, in response to the Minister's final comment, I assume Section 137 will be repealed using the powers given in Clause 5 of the Bill. I may not be correct.

Perhaps I may revert to the debate. I thank noble Lords on this side of the House who have supported the point that I sought to make. They have done that well. I regarded this amendment as unambitious, just as everyone else has done. However, when out on a fishing trip sometimes the smallest fly used is the most successful. One often sees very large fish landed on what appears to be an impossibly small fly.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton

My Lords, perhaps it would help the House if I were to say that the repeal of Section 137 is in Clause 7 of the Bill.

Lord Dixon-Smith

My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister, I had missed the point. Perhaps I may revert to my fishing trip. If one hooks a fish in the right part of the mouth, one can have a degree of success beyond that which would be suggested by the tackle used. I must admit that I was seeking to hook the Government on this issue and to persuade them to unbend. Of course I accept that the Bill does not place any limitation on what is spent on this power. I have been trying to avoid repeating arguments that I used in Committee. While there are no limits on an authority's power to spend, Clause 3(2) says quite categorically: The power under section 2(1) does not enable a local authority to raise money (whether by precepts. borrowing or otherwise)". If a local authority has a budget and its budget is committed—I do not know of a local authority that does not have a committed budget—and it is then given an added power under which it is told, "You may do X, Y and Z, but you may not raise money in order to do anything about that power", I am not convinced that one can do anything about it. There are not many things one can do in local government which do not cost money in some shape or form.

I see the Minister is getting anxious about what I am saying. I am open to correction. I accept that within a budget local authorities can of course reallocate resources. Last year we debated the Local Government Bill which introduced the concept of best value. If the concept of best value is working, no under-employed resources are floating around. That may not be the case as local authorities can always take decisions. We are dealing here with a difference of degree. I do not find the Government's response entirely adequate.

The noble Lord, Lord Smith of Leigh, mentioned how unambitious I had been. I explained the reasons for that. I accept also the differential effects of my proposal. I accept that, as I have worded the amendment, it restricts expenditure. The noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, made that point. That said, I assume that Clause 5 of the Bill, which permits a Minister to make regulations amending or repealing legislation found to be restrictive would also apply to the Bill. I envisage also that it would not be very long before a stream of local authorities were running to the Government to say, "This clause of the Bill is very restrictive. Please relax it". I envisage also that the Government might be susceptible to those pleas.

There is a fundamental problem with this aspect of the Bill. In the light of the Minister's reply, I am minded to test the mood of the House.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton

My Lords, I wish to place on record explicitly the Government's position because I still do not think it is clear to the House. The effect that any spending might have on a council tax increase is a matter for the local authority. Before authorities increased the council tax we would expect them to look at whether they could raise money more effectively or efficiently—that will not surprise the noble Lord—taking account of what local people were prepared to pay. There is an important general point. We have said that we will look at the ability of councils to charge for the services they provide with the well-being power. That will represent a new form of raising finance. We are considering it. Beyond that we would expect this new power to be implemented within the current finance system. As I made clear, we are not precluding local authorities from being able to spend money and raise their council tax in pursuit of their own local priorities within the reasonable bounds established by other legislation. The noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, appears to interpret this as the Government saying that local authorities may not spend money or raise finance in the normal way within the overall constraints that apply to local authorities at all times. We have a genuine difficulty of understanding over this point.

Lord Dixon-Smith

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness. We do have a genuine misunderstanding. I am dealing with the Bill. If it said that local authorities could spend on this power within their existing budgets, that would be acceptable. That means that at the present time this is an additional function which has to come out of existing volumes of money because the Bill says: The power under section 2(1) does not enable a local authority to raise money (whether by precepts, borrowing or otherwise)". That includes everything. Therefore I do not think that money is available except as would be provided by the considerable ingenuity of local authorities. That is a fairly fundamental difference. I may be guilty of a misunderstanding. If I am, I have no doubt that I shall get the result that I deserve. But I am inclined to test the opinion of the House on what is a fundamental difference.

4.38 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 6) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 66; Not-Contents, 135.

Division No. 1
Aldington, L. Denham, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L. Dixon-Smith, L.
Biffen, L. Elles, B.
Boardman, L. Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Brabazon of Tara, L. Elton, L.
Bridges, L. Flather, B.
Brigstocke, B. Fookes, B.
Brougham and Vaux, L. Gardner of Parkes, B.
Burnham. L. [Teller] Gilmour of Craigmillar, L.
Buscombe, B. Glentoran, L.
Byford, B. Goschen, V.
Campbell of Alloway, L. Gray of Contin, L.
Campbell of Croy, L. Greenway, L.
Carnarvon, E. Hanningfield, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B. Hayhoe, L.
Chadlington, L. Henley, L.[Teller]
Cope of Berkeley, L. Hooper, B.
Courtown, E. Howell of Guildford, L.
Cox, B. Hunt of Tanworth, L.
Crickhowell, L Hurd of Westwell, L.
Dean of Harptree, L. Jenkin of Roding, L.
Luke, L. Peyton of Yeovil, L.
Marsh, L. Rawlings, B.
Miller of Hendon, B. Renton, L.
Montrose, D. Roberts of Conwy, L.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L. Rotherwick, L.
Naseby, L. Seccombe, B.
Northbrook, L. Skelmersdale, L.
Northesk, E. Stewartby, L.
O'Cathain, B. Strathclyde, L.
Onslow, E. Trefgarne, L.
Palmer, L. Wilcox, B.
Perry of Southwark, B. Young, B.
Ahmed, L. Howells of St Davids, B.
Alton of Liverpool, L. Howie of Troon, L.
Amos, B. Hoyle, L.
Archer of Sandwell, L. Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L. Islwyn, L.
Ashton of Upholland, B. Jacobs, L.
Avebury, L. Janner of Braunstone, L.
Bach, L. Jay of Paddington, B.(Lord Privy Seal)
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Blackburn, Bp. Jeger, B.
Blackstone, B. Jenkins of Putney, L.
Blease, L. Judd, L.
Blood, B. Laming, L.
Borrie, L. Lea of Crondall, L.
Bradshaw, L. Lipsey, L.
Bragg, L. Lockwood, B.
Brett, L. Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Brookman, L. Longford, E.
Bruce of Donington, L. Lovell-Davis, L.
Carter, L. [Teller] Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
Castle of Blackburn, B. McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller]
Christopher, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L. McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L. Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Craig of Radley, L. Maddock, B.
Currie of Marylebone, L. Mallalieu, B.
David, B. Mason of Barnsley, L.
Davies of Coity, L. Massey of Darwen, B.
Davies of Oldham, L. Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B. Milner of Leeds, L.
Desai, L. Molloy, L.
Dholakia, L. Molyneaux of Killead, L.
Dixon, L. Murray of Epping Forest, L.
Dormand of Easington, L. Orme, L.
Dubs, L. Patel of Blackburn, L.
Eatwell, L. Paul, L.
Elder, L. Peston, L.
Evans of Parkside, L. Phillips of Sudbury, L.
Falkland, V. Pitkeathley, B.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B. Prys-Davies, L.
Faulkner of Worcester, L. Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Filkin, L. Rendell of Babergh, B.
Gale, B. Richard, L.
Gavron, L. Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Gladwin of Clee, L. Russell, E.
Goldsmith, L. Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Goodhart, L. Sawyer, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L. Scotland of Asthal, B.
Goudie, B. Serota, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B. Shepherd, L.
Gregson, L. Shore of Stepney, L.
Guildford, Bp. Simon, V.
Hamwee, B. Simon of Glaisdale, L.
Hardy of Wath, L. Smith of Clifton, L.
Harris of Greenwich, L. Smith of Leigh, L.
Harris of Haringey, L. Stallard, L.
Harrison, L. Steel of Aikwood, L.
Haskel, L. Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Hayman, B. Stone of Blackheath, L.
Hilton of Eggardon, B. Strabolgi, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B. Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Tenby, V. Uddin, B.
Thomas of Gresford, L. Varley, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B. Whitaker, B.
Whitty, L.
Thomson of Monifieth, L. Wilkins, B.
Thornton, B. Williams of Elvel, L.
Tomlinson, L. Williams of Mostyn, L.
Tordoff, L. Woolmer of Leeds, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

Forward to