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Baroness Seear: My Lords, before the noble Lord sits down, I am sure that he is not misleading the House, but no commission actually applies the law. It brings a case to the law courts as a result of its investigations; it is then the law courts which impose the law. There is no question of the commission acting as a legal body.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: My Lords, I suggest that the noble Baroness looks at the amendments we are discussing and asks what interpretation can be put on them.

20 Jul 1995 : Column 412

I turn now to Amendments Nos. 90 and 91—as I have not yet finished and not yet sat down—which deal with the separate question of the role of the National Advisory Council on Employment of People with Disabilities, NACEPD. Let me try to explain why we believe that NACEPD should be retained and why I hope that my noble friend will withdraw these two amendments.

In summary, our aims are to: avoid institutional duplication; retain expertise while the employment code of practice is being drawn up; and ensure that government receive advice in the long term on employment and training matters from whichever body is then most appropriate to provide it. The NDC will be the primary source of advice to government on general issues and will be the lead body pursuing the aims of the legislation. What we are seeking to do in subsections (9) and (10) of Clause 34 is to ensure that the NDC does not waste its time by looking at issues which more naturally fall to an existing statutory body, that is to say, NACEPD.

NACEPD's members are appointed because of their knowledge and expertise of employment and disability issues. Ministers in the former employment department have drawn on their advice in making decisions and senior officials meet with members regularly to discuss programmes, services and policies affecting people with disabilities. Moreover, we need their help now. Amendments Nos. 100 and 101 provide for the deletion of Clauses 37 and 38 of the Bill, which provide for my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Education and Employment to draw up and issue a code of practice to support employment rights.

Employers and voluntary organisations want a code to be available in time to help them become familiar with the law and advise them on the steps they might need to take. NACEPD will perform immediately the task of helping us with the code of practice and guidance. That is the reason I hope my noble friend will not press Amendments Nos. 100 and 101.

This debate turns on two points: first, whether the Government, acting on the advice of influential and independent advisory bodies, should take responsibility for implementing this ambitious legislation or whether we should delegate this responsibility to a new, untried, centralised bureaucracy. We do not believe that government and Parliament should abandon their responsibility in this new and sensitive area. The second point is how best to change attitudes and actions in society to ensure that disabled people are able to secure their rights. We believe the mechanisms provided in this Bill are the best approach to bringing about the necessary changes and ensuring that disabled people get the help they need at the right time and the right place effectively to secure their rights.

It is in the nature of pressure groups always to want more for the people they represent. But it is the duty of government and the House to bring forward measures which take account of the needs of all members of society. That is why again I hope that, having heard my explanations, my noble friend will withdraw his amendment. If he does not seek to withdraw it and presses the issue to a vote, I hope that not only my noble friends but also other noble Lords who look seriously at this issue will join me in the Lobbies.

20 Jul 1995 : Column 413

Lord Lester of Herne Hill: My Lords, before the Minister sits down—

Noble Lords: Order, order!

Lord Swinfen: My Lords, this has been a long and interesting debate, particularly when coupled with the even longer debate that we had at Committee stage. There is some confusion over the investigative powers in these amendments. A number of those who have spoken suggested that they are general investigative powers; that the NDC could go into a place of work and investigate the general ideas behind the way that that operator was dealing with disabled people. These powers are no more than the powers one would need to investigate an individual case before carrying out—preferably—a conciliation rather than going off to a tribunal.

My noble friend Lord Renton mentioned that under these amendments the NDC would have to set up branches throughout the country. There is no disputing that. The Government have already said that they would have to set up a number of organisations throughout the country or make use of existing organisations, and presumably fund them; so there is no difference between us.

There has been some talk of the cost of this body. I realise that this is a difficult area because it is a new subject. I understand that the EOC costs £7 million and the CRE £15 million annually. But these amendments do not give the NDC the same powers—it would not be so powerful—though I recognise that it is a difficult area. Money would need to be spent to ensure that the powers behind the Bill were enforced. That would be the case whether or not my amendments were accepted. The importance that the Government appear to give to the NDC, without these amendments, may be recognised by the suggestion that it will cost only £250,000 a year.

I listened with interest to what my noble friend and others said. I have not been satisfied and should therefore like to test the opinion of the House.

5.47 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 86A) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 136; Not-Contents, 164.

Division No. 1

CONTENTS

Ackner, L.
Addington, L.
Airedale, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Astor of Hever, L. [Teller.]
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Birk, B.
Birmingham, Bp.
Blease, L.
Blyth, L.
Brightman, L.
Broadbridge, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Carmichael of Kelvingrove, L.
Carter, L.
Castle of Blackburn, B.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
Coventry, Bp.
Craigavon, V.
Dahrendorf, L.
Darcy (de Knayth), B.
David, B.
Dean of Beswick, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Desai, L.
Diamond, L.
Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Eatwell, L.
Elis-Thomas, L.
Falkender, B.
Falkland, V.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Fisher of Rednal, B.
Flowers, L.
Foot, L.
Freyberg, L.
Gallacher, L.
Geraint, L.
Gladwin of Clee, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Grey, E.
Hamwee, B.
Hanworth, V.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Haskel, L.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hollick, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Holme of Cheltenham, L.
Hooson, L.
Howell, L.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hughes, L.
Hutchinson of Lullington, L.
Inchyra, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L.
Jacques, L.
Jay, L.
Jay of Paddington, B.
Jeger, B.
Jenkins of Hillhead, L.
Judd, L.
Kennet, L.
Kilbracken, L.
Kinloss, Ly.
Kirkwood, L.
Leigh, L.
Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lovell-Davis, L.
Macaulay of Bragar, L.
McCarthy, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
McNair, L.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Mayhew, L.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Methuen, L.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Monkswell, L.
Morris of Castle Morris, L.
Nelson, E.
Nicol, B.
Ogmore, L.
Oxford, Bp.
Parry, L.
Peston, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Rea, L.
Redesdale, L.
Richard, L.
Ritchie of Dundee, L.
Rix, L.
Rochester, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Russell, E.
St. Albans, Bp.
St. Edmundsbury and Ipswich, Bp.
St. John of Bletso, L.
Sandwich, E.
Seear, B.
Sefton of Garston, L.
Serota, B.
Shannon, E.
Shepherd, L.
Simon, V.
Stallard, L.
Stedman, B.
Strabolgi, L.
Strafford, E.
Swinfen, L. [Teller.]
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Tonypandy, V.
Tordoff, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Wallace of Coslany, L.
Waverley, V.
Weatherill, L.
Wedgwood, L.
Wharton, B.
White, B.
Wilberforce, L.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Wise, L.
Zouche of Haryngworth, L.

NOT-CONTENTS

Abinger, L.
Ailsa, M.
Alexander of Tunis, E.
Archer of Weston-Super-Mare, L.
Arran, E.
Balfour, E.
Barber, L.
Belhaven and Stenton, L.
Beloff, L.
Belstead, L.
Birdwood, L.
Blaker, L.
Blatch, B.
Borthwick, L.
Boyd-Carpenter, L.
Brabazon of Tara, L.
Braine of Wheatley, L.
Brentford, V.
Brigstocke, B.
Brookes, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Burnham, L.
Butterworth, L.
Byron, L.
Cadman, L.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Campbell of Croy, L.
Carlisle of Bucklow, L.
Carnock, L.
Carr of Hadley, L.
Carrington, L.
Chalker of Wallasey, B.
Chelmsford, V.
Chesham, L. [Teller.]
Clanwilliam, E.
Clark of Kempston, L.
Coleraine, L.
Courtown, E.
Cranborne, V. [Lord Privy Seal.]
Cross, V.
Cumberlege, B.
Dacre of Glanton, L.
Davidson, V.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Denham, L.
Denton of Wakefield, B.
Digby, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Donegall, M.
Downshire, M.
Dundee, E.
Eccles, V.
Eden of Winton, L.
Ellenborough, L.
Elles, B.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Elton, L.
Faithfull, B.
Foley, L.
Forte, L.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L.
Fraser of Kilmorack, L.
Gainsborough, E.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Gibson-Watt, L.
Gisborough, L.
Goschen, V.
Haig, E.
Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L.
Hambro, L.
Hamilton of Dalzell, L.
Harding of Petherton, L.
Harmar-Nicholls, L.
Harmsworth, L.
Hayhoe, L.
Hemphill, L.
Henley, L.
Hogg, B.
Hood, V.
Hooper, B.
Hothfield, L.
Howe, E.
Inglewood, L.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Kenilworth, L.
Killearn, L.
Kimball, L.
Kinnoull, E.
Laing of Dunphail, L.
Lane of Horsell, L.
Lauderdale, E.
Lindsay, E.
Long, V.
Lucas, L.
Lucas of Chilworth, L.
Lyell, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
McConnell, L.
Mackay of Ardbrecknish, L.
Mackay of Clashfern, L. [Lord Chancellor.]
Macleod of Borve, B.
Malmesbury, E.
Mancroft, L.
Marlesford, L.
Massereene and Ferrard, V.
Merrivale, L.
Mersey, V.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Milverton, L.
Monckton of Brenchley, V.
Monk Bretton, L.
Monson, L.
Montgomery of Alamein, V.
Moore of Lower Marsh, L.
Mountevans, L.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Moyne, L.
Munster, E.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Newall, L.
Northesk, E.
O'Brien of Lothbury, L.
O'Cathain, B.
Oppenheim-Barnes, B.
Oxfuird, V.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Pender, L.
Peyton of Yeovil, L.
Pym, L.
Quinton, L.
Rankeillour, L.
Rawlings, B.
Reay, L.
Rees, L.
Rennell, L.
Renton, L.
Rodger of Earlsferry, L.
Romney, E.
Sainsbury of Preston Candover, L.
Saint Albans, D.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Savile, L.
Seccombe, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Shrewsbury, E.
Strange, B.
Strathcarron, L.
Strathclyde, L. [Teller.]
Sudeley, L.
Teviot, L.
Thatcher, B.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Thomas of Swynnerton, L.
Tollemache, L.
Torphichen, L.
Trefgarne, L.
Trumpington, B.
Ullswater, V.
Vivian, L.
Wakeham, L.
Waterford, M.
Willoughby de Broke, L.
Wolfson, L.
Wynford, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

20 Jul 1995 : Column 415

5.57 p.m.

[Amendment No. 87 had been withdrawn from the Marshalled List.]

20 Jul 1995 : Column 416


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