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Lord Lucas moved Amendment No. 101:


Page 53, leave out line 14.

The noble Lord said: My Lords, In moving the above amendment, I shall speak also to Amendment No. 102. Both amendments, by removing four superfluous definition expressions from Clause 90, correct a drafting error in the Bill as introduced. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Lucas moved Amendment No. 102:


Page 53, leave out lines 18 to 20.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 91 [Contributions by the Secretary of State]:

[Amendment No. 103 not moved.]

Clause 92 [Recovery of contributions]:

Lord Lucas moved Amendment No. 104:


Page 54, line 9, at end insert--
("( ) For the purposes of this section--
(a) a "grant" includes the cost of scheme works for a group repair scheme (see section 65(1)), and
(b) "repayment of grant" includes the payment to the authority of the balance of the cost (see section 71(3)) by assisted participants in such a scheme.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving the above amendment, I shall, with the leave of the House, speak also to Amendment No. 105 tabled in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Williams of Elvel, and Amendments Nos. 106 and 177 tabled in my name.

Clause 92 enables the Secretary of State to recover contributions paid to a local authority for grants in respect of which repayments have been made to the authority, or could have been recovered if reasonable steps had been taken. It is for the Secretary of State to

18 Apr 1996 : Column 889

determine what steps it would have been reasonable for an authority to take. Amendment No. 104 provides similar powers for recovery of contributions made to authorities for group repair schemes.

Amendment No. 106 provides that, in determining whether an authority has taken reasonable steps to recover payments, the Secretary of State can take into account whether it has properly exercised its discretion not to demand payment or to demand payment of a lesser sum.

It is not the purpose of the provision to intervene in the lawful exercise by local authorities of their power of waiver. The provision is to ensure that where the discretion to waiver is exercised improperly, the cost of failing to recover the grant, or part of the grant, falls locally and not on the taxpayer at large.

It would appear from Amendment No. 105, brought forward by the noble Lord, Lord Williams, that there is concern over the provision in Clause 92(3) which allows the Secretary of State to determine what reasonable steps should be taken to recover grant. We share the noble Lord's concerns over what might be considered as stark wording in the provision as drafted. It is due to the noble Lord drawing attention to the matter in this way that we have given consideration to how the intent of the provision might be clarified. That has led to the government amendments that I have described. In view of what I have said, I hope that the noble Lord will feel able to resist moving his amendment when the time comes.

Amendment No. 177 relates to the transitional provisions which will be required under Clause 100 for the change from the current renovation grant system to the one contained in Part I of the Bill. Under Clause 100, certain applications for mandatory grant made after introduction of the Bill and before commencement of Part I will be treated as applications for discretionary grant under the current legislation. Amendment No. 177, combined with Clause 100(5), puts beyond doubt that we will have the power to make all the appropriate transitional changes to the current legislation. I beg to move.

Lord Williams of Elvel: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, for introducing these amendments. I shall have to read rather carefully what he said, but he appears to have met our concerns raised in Amendment No. 105. I am grateful to the Government for having paid attention to the arguments we put forward in Committee. In the light of what the noble Lord said, I shall not move Amendment No. 105.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 105 not moved.]

Lord Lucas moved Amendment No. 106:


Page 54, line 20, at end insert--
("In determining whether the authority took reasonable steps, the Secretary of State may consider whether the authority properly exercised its discretion not to demand repayment of grant or to demand payment of a lesser sum.").

18 Apr 1996 : Column 890

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I have spoken to Amendments Nos. 106, 107, 108, 109 and 110 previously. I beg to move en bloc.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 94 [Parsonages, charities, &c.]:

Lord Lucas moved Amendment No. 107:


Page 55, line 1, leave out ("to 28") and insert ("and 27").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Lucas moved Amendment No. 108:


After Clause 98, insert the following clause--

Disabled persons

(".--(1) For the purposes of this Part a person is disabled if--
(a) his sight, hearing or speech is substantially impaired,
(b) he has a mental disorder or impairment of any kind, or
(c) he is physically substantially disabled by illness, injury, impairment present since birth, or otherwise.
(2) A person aged eighteen or over shall be taken for the purposes of this Part to be disabled if--
(a) he is registered in pursuance of any arrangements made under section 29(1) of the National Assistance Act 1948 (disabled persons' welfare), or
(b) he is a person for whose welfare arrangements have been made under that provision or, in the opinion of the social services authority, might be made under it.
(3) A person under the age of eighteen shall be taken for the purposes of this Part to be disabled if--
(a) he is registered in a register of disabled children maintained under paragraph 2 of Schedule 2 to the Children Act 1989, or
(b) he is in the opinion of the social services authority a disabled child as defined for the purposes of Part III of the Children Act 1989 (local authority support for children and their families).
(4) In this Part the "social services authority" means the council which is the local authority for the purposes of the Local Authority Social Services Act 1970 for the area in which the dwelling or building is situated.
(5) Nothing in subsection (1) above shall be construed as affecting the persons who are to be regarded as disabled under section 29(1) of the National Assistance Act 1948 or section 17(11) of the Children Act 1989 (which define disabled persons for the purposes of the statutory provisions mentioned in subsections (2) to (4) above).").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 99 [Minor definitions: Part I]:

Lord Lucas moved Amendments Nos. 109 and 110:


Page 56, line 34, at end insert--
(""introductory tenant" means a tenant under an introductory tenancy within the meaning of Chapter I of Part V of the Housing Act 1996;").
Page 57, line 11, at end insert--
(""secure tenancy" and "secure tenant" have the same meaning as in Part IV of the Housing Act 1985;").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Lord Lucas: My Lords, I beg to move that further consideration on Report be now adjourned.

Moved accordingly and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

        House adjourned at nine minutes before ten o'clock.


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