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Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: In Amendments Nos. 25, 27 and 28, the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, flags up some important and legitimate areas of concern such as the relationship between the elected mayor and the rest of the council; electoral arrangements; and the system of allowances proposed by the council. They are, nonetheless, detailed matters compared to the general formulation of other parts of Clause 2(2) and therefore sit rather oddly here.

That does not mean that these matters are not important to the Government. Clearly, the relationship between the mayor and the rest of the council is crucial. But, as a number of Members present will have seen, most of these issues are already covered by the draft guidance placed in the Library. We shall continue to develop that guidance in further consultation with the local government associations, academics and others. I believe that is the proper way to address these issues, rather than by amendment tonight.

Amendment No. 32 would require the Secretary of State to consult an authority before making any order which includes modifications to legislation for that authority which do not appear in the schedule to the Bill. That is precisely what the Government would intend in such circumstances. We believe, therefore, that the amendment is not necessary, but equally we would not want to stand in its way should the Committee wish to see it as part of the Bill.

Lord Hunt of Tanworth: Amendment No. 32 seems very sensible and in line with what I hope would always be the practice. If the Government are content to be placed under such a requirement, for my part I see no difficulty at all with the proposal. However, I am not attracted to laying down a requirement in the Bill for

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local authorities to set out what their allowance structures, etc., are intended to be. It seems to me that this and some of the other matters mentioned are more properly dealt with outside legislation. Under the Bill, if the Secretary of State states a requirement in his guidance that a particular issue should be covered in an application to experiment, he may not then approve an application unless he is satisfied that the authority has had regard to that guidance in framing its application. I should therefore not be willing to support those amendments.

Baroness Hamwee: The assurances given with regard to a number of the matters I mentioned are very welcome, and I shall move Amendment No. 32 at the appropriate point. I beg leave to withdraw Amendment No. 25.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 26 not moved.]

[Amendments Nos. 27 and 28 not moved.]

Lord Hunt of Tanworth moved Amendment No. 29:

Page 4, line 13, leave out ("subsection (2) above") and insert ("this section").

The noble Lord said: This is merely a technical amendment intended to insert the correct internal reference into the clause and to clarify its purpose; namely, to ensure that local authorities shall have regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State in describing the arrangements which are the subject of their application. I beg to move.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: The Government support this amendment.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Baroness Hamwee moved Amendment No. 30:

Page 4, line 17, at end insert ("after consultation with the Local Government Association and such other representatives of local government as appear to him to be appropriate.").

The noble Baroness said: I shall speak also to Amendment No. 36. In these amendments, perhaps rather cheekily, I suggest that there should be consultation with the Local Government Association or other representatives of local government in connection with the guidance. I have every expectation of being told that that is what is happening. But we used to make this request when the Conservatives were in control. I see no reason not to put down the same point now. I beg to move.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: As the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, would expect, the amendments are exactly in line with the Government's approach. As I have already said, we have made available in the Library of the House a very early draft of the guidance the Secretary of State would be required to issue if this Bill were enacted. The Government are committed to an open consultative approach to the drafting of this guidance as it is clearly very important that we get it right. We have therefore already consulted the LGA and the department's panel of prominent

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academics on the drafting of this guidance and fully intend to continue doing so. The Government would therefore be happy to support these amendments in principle, though we might wish to see the amendments elsewhere in the Bill.

Lord Hunt of Tanworth: With regard to these amendments I have to declare an interest because, as the Committee is aware, I am the honorary president of the LGA. Members of the Committee will not be surprised, therefore, that I, too, shall be content to make explicit the LGA's rightful place in determining the guidance to be issued to local authorities.

I noted what the noble Baroness, Lady Farrington, said about the possibility of there being a more acceptable way of working the provision into the Bill. I wonder, therefore, whether the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, might be prevailed upon to withdraw the amendment at this stage, on the understanding that I will take advice and bring back similar provisions at a later stage.

Baroness Hamwee: I am content. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

9.15 p.m.

On Question, Whether Clause 2 shall stand part of the Bill?

Lord Lucas: I wish to take the opportunity to question the noble Lord, or perhaps the noble Baroness would like to answer for him, as to how it is intended that the powers under this clause should operate after the Welsh assembly becomes fully functional.

My understanding, which may well be erroneous, is that the powers under Clause 2 will pass in their entirety to the Welsh assembly and that no residual right will remain with the Secretary of State for Wales. But perhaps I am mistaken and everything will stay with the Secretary of State for Wales, or the powers may even in some way be divided. I should be fascinated to know how the division will work and what exactly it is envisaged should happen under the Bill. I am sure that everything is known and planned and it is only my ignorance that needs to be satisfied. However, I should be delighted if either the noble Lord or the noble Baroness were able to do that.

While I am on the subject, presumably if we were to insert the words of the amendment we have just discussed into the Bill there would need to be separate provision for whatever the equivalent of the Local Government Association in Wales is or will be.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: I rise after careful thought and with some trepidation, as I have to declare a past interest as chair of the Association of County Councils for England and Wales, before its demise, and leader of the Labour Group of members of the Association of County Councils for England and Wales.

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The power of the Secretary of State in Clause 2 is no different from the powers of the Secretary of State in other legislation to approve or direct. In so far as the power would relate to Welsh authorities, it would need to be considered alongside all other similar powers in the legislation for the Welsh assembly. I hope that that helps the noble Lord.

Lord Lucas: I do not find it at all helpful. I am sure that the Government must know how they intend to deal with the matter and whether these are powers which will remain with the Secretary of State for Wales or powers that will go to the Welsh assembly. I wish to know the Government's intention. I shall be content for the noble Baroness to promise that she will write to me a detailed, informative letter on the subject, but I shall not be content to let the matter pass with less than that.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: It would be discourteous of me to refuse to write but I am sure it would be equally discourteous for me to indicate that the letter would contain all the information that the noble Lord wishes to have. I feel there is little else to add, except to tell him that, of course, the Welsh Local Government Association is part of the LGA and is therefore being consulted on all the proposals.

Lord Lucas: Yes. I shall refer to the second matter first. It may be part of the LGA now, but it will not be by the time the Bill is operational. Presumably the Welsh Local Government Association does not envisage continuing in subservience to the English association when Wales has its own local government.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: I can assure the noble Lord that at no time in my long experience over many years with colleagues, authorities and officers in Wales, have they ever accepted that they are subservient. They are equal partners, and where it appears appropriate and beneficial to them to join in concert with English local authorities they do so, as they do with associations in other parts of the United Kingdom when appropriate. But please let it not be said in your Lordships' Chamber that the Welsh are subservient.

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