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Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish moved Amendment No. 144:


Page 38, line 12, at end insert:
("( ) Before making any regulations under subsection (1) the Secretary of State shall consult such representative organisations as he thinks fit.").

20 Jul 1995 : Column 468

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I have spoken to this amendment. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 53 [Rail vehicle accessibility regulations]:

[Amendments Nos. 145 to 147 not moved.]

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish moved Amendments Nos. 148 to 151:


Page 39, leave out line 4.
Page 39, line 11, after second ("vehicle") insert ("—
(a)") .
Page 39, line 12, at end insert ("and
(b) first brought into use, or belonging to a class of vehicle first brought into use, after 31st December 1998;").
Page 39, line 21, at end insert:
("(7A) The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision as to the time when a rail vehicle, or a class of rail vehicle, is to be treated, for the purposes of this section, as first brought into use.
(7B) Regulations under subsection (7A) may include provision for disregarding periods of testing and other prescribed periods of use.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I have spoken to these amendments. With the leave of the House I shall move them en bloc. I beg to move.

On Question, amendments agreed to.

[Amendment No. 151A not moved.]

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish moved Amendment No. 152:


Page 39, line 25, leave out ("this section") and insert ("subsection (1)").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I have spoken to this amendment. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 153 to 155 not moved.]

Clause 54 [Exemption from rail vehicle accessibility regulations]:

[Amendment No. 155A not moved.]

[Amendment No. 156 not moved.]

Clause 55 [Offences by bodies corporate etc.]:

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish moved Amendment No. 157:


Transpose Clauses 46 to 49, 51 to 55 and 50 to after Clause 33.

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I have spoken to this amendment. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 56 [Application to Crown etc.]:

The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Lord Henley) moved Amendment No. 158:


Page 41, line 1, after ("Police") insert (", the British Transport Police, the Royal Parks Constabulary or the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority Constabulary").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 158 I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 159 to 165. In another place it was made clear that four occupations were to be excluded—the Armed Forces, the police, firefighters and prison staff. Amendments were passed to make clear that the Armed Forces will not be covered by the Bill. Firefighters, prison officers and the MoD police were then specifically excluded.

20 Jul 1995 : Column 469

The amendments now before us make minor additions to the existing exclusions, but remain within the four occupation groups. They exempt from the employment provisions prison custody officers, MoD firefighters, specially constituted national police forces—that is, the Atomic Energy Authorities Constabulary, British Transport police and the Royal Parks Constabulary.

That completes the list of occupations that we intend to exclude from the employment right and there is no power in the Bill to make more. I beg to move.

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: My Lords, we understand the purport of the Government's amendments and obviously debated them fairly thoroughly at Committee stage. In terms of the Armed Forces, we would not particularly dissent from the position of the Government. But it is clear that with some of the other services, where one does not expect every person involved to be in the "firing line"—to use a military metaphor—in terms of police, the fire or prison service, there are occupations within those services which can be perfectly well occupied by people with a disability. It is important that that be remembered. Men and women serving in those disciplined forces may well incur an injury or disability in the course of their work and would like to feel that they would have the opportunity to continue their career and employment within those services in appropriate occupations, whether it be behind desks, in lost property, reception work or the like.

I appreciate that those services are exempt as they now stand, but I know that the Police Federation, and I understand that this may also apply to the Prison Officers' Association, would welcome reassurances that the Government will at least encourage the directors of those forces—chief constables and so forth—while respecting the fact that they are exempt from the operation of the Act, nonetheless to seek to make accommodation wherever possible for disabled officers, particularly those whose disability has been incurred in the course of service.

Lord Henley: My Lords, I start by expressing just a faint degree of surprise at the noble Baroness's remarks. She accepts that the Armed Forces should be excluded, which I welcome, and she made that quite clear at Report stage. What surprised me was that on Tuesday her noble friend Lord McCarthy said (at col. 177 of Hansard) that noble Lords on his side of the House had attempted to have the Armed Forces included in the Bill. I always find it rather confusing when different noble Lords from the Front Bench opposite make rather confusing statements.

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: My Lords, if the noble Lord will give way, at the Committee stage we sought to include those occupations within the Armed Forces which were not in the firing line. However, we accepted the Minister's argument that one of the distinctions between the Armed Forces and the other civilian disciplined forces was that at the last resort every member of the Armed Forces—even, for example, canteen cooks—might be expected to bear arms and so on, and since then we have concentrated on the other services.

20 Jul 1995 : Column 470

Lord Henley: My Lords, I accept what the noble Baroness says. We do not mind what the noble Baroness's noble friends say from the Back Benches, but we expect a degree of consistency from the Front Bench. The noble Baroness said perfectly clearly in Committee that she would not argue the case to include the Armed Forces in the employment provisions. I was therefore a little surprised by the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord McCarthy, on Tuesday that noble Lords on his side had attempted to have the Armed Forces included in the Bill. If the noble Lord wants to check his remarks, he can look at col. 177 of the Official Report for Tuesday, 18th July.

Lord McCarthy: My Lords, perhaps I may—

Lord Henley: No, my Lords, I am not going to take an intervention. I just make the point that I prefer to have a little consistency.

Lord McCarthy: My Lords, the noble Lord is amazingly easily surprised.

Lord Henley: My Lords, I just make the point that I expect some consistency.

Perhaps I may make one or two points in response to the noble Baroness, Lady Hollis. I accept her remark that not all those in the police force or those whom I have just described are necessarily in the firing line, as she put it. The important point is exactly the same as the point we made about the Armed Forces. All those in the Armed Forces expect that they might be in the firing line.

Her more substantive point about those who acquire disabilities while they are in those services is perfectly valid. What I should like to do is to refer back to my experience from my time in the Ministry of Defence and my knowledge of the Armed Forces. Where people do acquire disabilities the Armed Forces bend over backwards to retain them where it is possible. If it is not possible, they will have to be discharged from the Armed Forces, but with pensions and so on. I note the noble Baroness's remarks about encouraging the other services to which she referred to retain, where it is possible, individual members with the disabilities that they have acquired without detriment to those services as a whole. That is obviously desirable. I see the odd nod from the noble Baroness opposite. I hope that she accepts the merits of the amendments. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Henley moved Amendments Nos. 159 to 165:


Page 41, line 1, leave out ("or").
Page 41, line 2, at end insert ("; or
( ) for purposes of a Minister of the Crown or government department having functions with respect to defence as a person who is or may be required by his terms of service to engage in fire fighting.").
Page 41, line 9, at end insert:
(""British Transport Police" means the constables appointed, or deemed to have been appointed, under section 53 of the British Transport Commission Act 1949;").
Page 41, line 20, leave out from second ("of") to end of line 24 and insert ("that Act;").
Page 41, line 24, at end insert:
(""Royal Parks Constabulary" means the park constables appointed under the Parks Regulation Act 1872;").

20 Jul 1995 : Column 471


Page 41, line 29, leave out ("and").
Page 41, line 30, at end insert ("; and
"United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority Constabulary" means the special constables appointed under section 3 of the Special Constables Act 1923 on the nomination of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority.").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

[Amendment No. 166 not moved.]

Clause 59 [Regulations and orders]:


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