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Lord Wise: My Lords, I thank all noble Lords who have spoken in support of the amendments. I also thank the Minister for his comprehensive explanation in reply. I was a little disappointed from time to time, but I can understand the point of his arguments. I wish to discuss them with my noble friend Lord Derwent to see what he thinks when he has read my noble friend's reply. I reserve the right to return at Third Reading, and meanwhile I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 202 and 203 not moved.]

The Earl of Lindsay moved Amendment No. 204:


Page 152, line 21, after ("council") insert ("or county borough council").

The noble Earl said: My Lords, my noble friend spoke to Amendment No. 204 with Amendment No. 195. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 67 [National Park authorities to be levying bodies]:

5.15 p.m.

Lord Williams of Elvel moved Amendment No. 205:


Page 74, line 16, at end insert:
("( ) Before determining the total expenditure to be incurred by it in any financial year, a National Park Authority shall consult with every council by whom the local authority members of that authority fall to be appointed.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this amendment stands in the names of my noble friend Lady Hilton and myself. Clause 67 provides for the new national park authorities to issue annual levies to the local authorities

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who appoint members to them. The total of the levies, as I understand it, is to equal the difference between the authority's total budgeted revenue expenditure for the year and the income it expects to receive from other sources—mainly the national parks supplementary grant from the Department of the Environment or possibly the Welsh Office.

In theory, the local authority representatives have a two-thirds representation on the national park authority and they will be able to control its budget and therefore ensure that the levy will be kept at a level which the funding local authorities (which, after all, have to provide the money) find acceptable. However, if there are several funding local authorities, it is possible that a majority of the national park authority members might approve a budget which a minority of the funding local authority found unacceptable. As I was mentioning when the noble Viscount moved the government amendment about representation from local authorities on national park authorities, it is particularly likely to be the case if representatives from funding local authorities on national park authorities belong to minority parties in their own local authorities. They may do so simply because they happen to represent wards which fall within the national park. So there could be a conflict between the national park authority and the local authorities which are the source of the funds.

The proposed amendment would require the national park authority to consult formally with the funding authorities before settling its own budget. That happens in most cases at the moment, and would do no more than existing best practice requires, whereby a national park authority with multiple funding local authorities holds an annual consultative meeting to which it invites representatives of all those authorities before settling its own budget. That happens in best practice at the moment. Because of the new nature of the national park authorities and because of the problem introduced by the amendment which the Government put forward, I believe it is right that a consultative process of that nature should be built into the Bill. I beg to move.

Viscount Ullswater: My Lords, we place great emphasis on the importance of the new authorities having regular contacts with their constituent local authorities in matters which impinge on their responsibilities and working closely with them. I would expect that, in financial affairs, as in other issues in which they have an interest, the national park authorities will consult fully with their constituent local authorities.

I believe that it will be particularly important for the NPAs to be in close consultation with the constituent local authorities as their financial plans are developed. Our guidance will be very clear on this issue. I am also confident that the local authority members on the new authorities will make sure that there is full consultation and the interests of their constituent local authorities are properly represented and fully considered and that due weight is given to them.

I appreciate the sentiment behind the noble Lord's amendment, but perhaps with my reassurance he will feel able to withdraw it.

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Lord Williams of Elvel: My Lords, I do not believe that the noble Viscount has answered the point which I made. It is that members from funding local authorities who are on national park authorities could, as a result of the Government's amendment, be of a minority party within the funding local authority. There could therefore be a conflict between those who are members of a national park authority and those who are not members of a national park authority but control the council concerned and are responsible for setting the council tax rate.

I do not feel that the reply is other than disappointing. I understand that the noble Viscount expects close co-operation between the national park authorities and funding local authorities. He says it is important and it will be in the guidance. All that is fine, but we seek a cast-iron assurance that it will actually happen. It is a matter of worry that the national park authority could set a budget, when the national park authority itself is composed of people who do not control the budget of the local authority which funds it. That is the point that I was trying to stress. I do not think that the noble Viscount has given me an encouraging reply and I am sorry for that because there is a real problem. I shall have to examine the matter, consult with advisers and decide what to do. In the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 70 [Powers to make Orders]:

The Earl of Lindsay moved Amendment No. 206:


Page 75, line 15, after ("instrument") insert ("; and, except in the case of a statutory instrument made by virtue of section (National Park authorities in Wales)above which only—
(a) designates a date,
(b) renames a body,
(c) makes provision under paragraph 2(3) of Schedule 7 to this Act for excluding a council from the councils by whom the local authority members of a National Park authority are to be appointed, or
(d) makes provision under section 60(2) above,
any such statutory instrument shall be").

The noble Earl said: My Lords, my noble friend spoke to this amendment with Amendment No. 183. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Baroness Hamwee moved Amendment No. 207:


Page 75, line 17, leave out ("include") and insert ("comprise").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, this amendment seeks clarification of the terminology used in subsection (3) of Clause 70. Clause 70 refers to all the powers that the Secretary of State has under this part of the Bill. Subsection (3) states that the powers in question,


    "shall, in each case, include",

and then lists certain powers:


    "to make ... incidental, supplemental, consequential and transitional provision",

within the discretion of the Secretary of State.

At the last stage I queried the use of the term "include" and asked what was not actually set out in the subsection on the face of the Bill, since my understanding of the word "include" is that there must be something that is not spelt out. I therefore propose in

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this amendment that the term "include" be changed to "comprise" to make it quite clear that there is no other power. I did so, having heard from the Minister; I thank him for his letter containing reassurance that the word "include" does not carry with it any more powers than those that are listed. I was glad to have his reassurance, and I do not doubt that reassurance. However, I feel that the word "comprise" would be very much clearer in the context. I beg to move.

Viscount Ullswater: My Lords, the effect of subsection (3) of Clause 70, read together with subsection (1), is that the enabling powers to make orders which are contained in the earlier provisions of Part III of the Bill (of which Clause 60 is perhaps the most important) include power to make incidental, supplemental, consequential and transitional provision, as mentioned. The same result could have been arrived at by putting in Clause 60 itself a provision saying that "an order under this section may include" the further provision in question, and then repeating the formula for Clause 63, but that would have been unnecessarily repetitive and clumsy.

I believe that the word "comprise" contains within it the terms: "include, contain; extend to, encompass; consist of, be made up of". Therefore to change "include" to "comprise" in accordance with the amendment would either keep the meaning of the provision as it is, if one were to select the definition "include, contain; extend to, encompass", or make the provision nonsensical, if one were to select "consist of, be made up of".

I therefore ask the noble Baroness to consider perhaps that the words on the face of the Bill are correct, and to withdraw her amendment.


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