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Lord Stanley of Alderley: I have two amendments in this group. They are Amendments Nos. 194A and 194D. I have a nasty feeling that my noble friend Lord Mackay might say the same about my amendments as he said about those of the noble Lord, Lord Elis-Thomas. We will wait and see. Clause 66 is welcome in principle in that it ensures that an appraisal as to the likely costs and benefits of complying with any proposed assembly legislation should be carried out before a draft of the legislation is laid before the assembly.

However, the clause provides no guidance on what form such appraisals might take. In relation to environmental matters, it is possible that the assembly will be pressed to pass regulations which are tougher--I can hear my noble friend coughing--and more expensive to comply with for land managers in Wales than in England. The purpose of the amendment is to ensure that proposed environmental legislation appraisals must compare the costs to business of complying with any similar legislation in force or proposed for England.

In my final amendment on that point, Clause 66(3) ensures that if a regulatory appraisal indicates that the costs of complying with any proposed assembly

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legislation are likely to be significant, appropriate consultation (including with business) must be carried out and the regulatory appraisal published. This begs a number of questions including how a judgment is to be made about whether costs are likely to be significant. Does the way the clause is drafted mean that there is no obligation to publish regulatory appraisals unless it is judged that the cost of complying would be significant?

The purpose of the amendment is to probe the application of assembly regulation to farmers by providing that, if legislation would result in lower payments to farmers in Wales compared with those payable for similar purposes to farmers in England, then the costs of complying must be considered significant, and therefore statutory consultation must be carried out.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Amendments Nos. 94, 107, 155, 194A, 194B, 194C and 194D are grouped together. I shall deal with them together.

They fall into this group because they are all concerned with the assembly procedures for making subordinate legislation and, in particular, the regulatory appraisals which will frequently be an element of those procedures.

Amendment No. 94 deals with implementing Community law. In so far as it seeks to add appraisals to those procedures, it is unnecessary. Orders implementing Community law will be assembly general subordinate legislation under Clause 59, and therefore Clause 66 applies.

The same argument applies to Amendment No. 107. Clause 43, to which the amendment relates, does not in fact confer a separate category of order-making powers on the assembly. It simply explains the nature of the order-making powers which have been or will be conferred on the assembly under transfer of function orders. Orders under the order-making powers will be assembly general subordinate legislation, and so regulatory appraisals will generally apply.

The question is raised as to the nature of the appraisals which will operate. Amendment No. 94 calls for a report to be made on whether the costs to business would exceed the minimum necessary for proper implementation. Amendments No. 107, 155, 194A and 194D want comparisons to be made with the costs arising from parallel developments in either the United Kingdom or England. Amendments Nos. 194B and 194C envisage that appraisals should contain assessments of financial, social and environmental costs as well as the costs to business. The noble Lord, Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish, invited me to wriggle on the hook. I have no intention of wriggling because I believe that that is in many ways unrealistic. It would be a burden on the assembly which in all likelihood would be impossible to sustain. As the noble Lord rightly said, the assembly would be expected not only to assess the implications of its own proposals but also those proposed for England or for the United Kingdom. If the proposals for England were not yet in place so that an assessment could not be made, one presumes that the assembly would not be able to make its orders. If there were changes to the English orders, as the noble

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Lord, Lord Mackay pointed out, there would be the call for a re-review of assembly costs or assembly regulation consequences.

This does not address the realities of the situation. We are looking for regulatory appraisal where appropriate. There will be consultations with the representatives of business, in which I include agriculture. Those representatives will draw attention to any apparently excessive burden being placed on Welsh business. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Mackay, that, if one is going to devolve, one has to accept the necessary consequences: that the assembly will come to conclusions which may well be different from those which obtain in England, Northern Ireland or Scotland. That is an inevitable and right consequence of devolution. There is no point in giving apparent power to assemblies or parliaments and then saying that they may not exercise them. I agree with the noble Lord. I do not wriggle because I detect no hook.

On Amendments Nos. 194B and 194C, the Bill sets out a framework for regulatory appraisal. It is for the assembly to determine what sort of appraisal it needs. Not all appraisals will have to be exactly identical for each set of subordinate regulations. It is for the assembly to decide these things. If its members are fit to be elected, they are fit to be trusted with coming to discrete conclusions on different topics.

The noble Lord, Lord Elis-Thomas, invited me to say--I am not sure that this is quite the occasion--what the benefits to business will be. They will be the development of the powerhouse; a closer connection with devolved institutions and powers; the opportunity to affect them, if they wish, by standing for election; the opportunity for close consultation; and the opportunity for business, if the assembly and the reconstruction of the agencies into the powerhouse works well, of a decent climate. We hope in particular--I think sensibly--that the agricultural recovery that is required will be more easily facilitated if we have the assembly with devolved powers in agriculture.

I say respectfully to the noble Lord, Lord Elis-Thomas, that Amendments Nos. 94, 107 and 155 proceed under a misapprehension that it will be for the subordinate legislation scrutiny committee to undertake and report on the outcome of regulatory appraisals. That is not in fact the intention. The flow-chart on page 33 of the advisory group's consultation paper indicates that either the assembly secretary or the relevant subject committee will arrange the appraisal, depending on whether "fast-track" or "full" scrutiny is proposed for the relevant draft order. In other words, responsibility is placed on assembly members to decide as appropriate in suitable circumstances.

As regards Amendment No. 194D, we do not think it appropriate that the concept of "significant" costs identified by an appraisal should be illustrated by a specific and tightly drawn example such as is proposed in that amendment. I have every sympathy with the particular example, but we believe that the significance of costs needs to be looked at on a case-by-case basis and in particular contexts. We should not as a matter of principled approach try to limit the assembly's freedom of action by specific provision in the Bill.

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Those are the comments which I offer on the amendments. They are not necessary. They are an unreasonable and rather doubting, feeble-faced approach to the powers we are giving the assembly.

Lord Elis-Thomas: The Minister, with the able assistance of the Opposition Front Bench, has given the robust response which I probably expected. We will wish to return to the matter when we debate Clause 115 on consultation with business. I am sure that many of us believe that that represents a weak response to the issues which have been put forward by all sections of the business community.

The noble Lord, Lord Mackay, expressed surprise that I should speak for the CBI in Wales on these matters. We in Wales are a great family and we speak with and of each other on all kinds of occasions. As it happens, I have a close working relationship with the CBI through the public-private partnership which I chair on media development. He should understand that the Left, the centre-Left and the centre-Right in Wales are one big family. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 30, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 31 [Consultation about public appointments]:

Lord Elis-Thomas moved Amendment No. 94A:

Page 19, line 44, after ("Crown") insert (", Assembly Secretary").

The noble Lord said: This is a simple and easily acceptable amendment. It is about the need for the Crown to ensure in making public appointments that consultation includes not only assembly secretaries but the assembly itself. It results from a concern about the appointment of public bodies which has been expressed on a number of occasions, in particular by the great Labour Party, which I love to call the party in Wales as opposed to the party of Wales. Which party becomes the party for Wales is a matter of conjecture at this time of night and a matter for election in due course. That of course includes the Liberal Democrats.

As a result of the concern about public appointments, it is essential to state that we do not want to see the replacement of a Whitehall-based "quangocracy" with a Cardiff-Bay based "quangocracy". Assembly secretaries should not be able to appoint persons to public bodies without consultation with the assembly itself. I beg to move.

10.45 p.m.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The purpose of Clause 31 is to ensure that, as a matter of statute, Ministers of the UK Government or other persons are required to consult the assembly about appointments to public posts which relate to Wales. An example of the provision that we intend should appear in the Order in Council under Clause 31 is a requirement for the assembly to be consulted about the appointment of the BBC national governor for Wales, members of S4C and the Welsh member of the Independent Television Commission.

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The noble Lord, Lord Elis-Thomas, explained that his amendment was designed to ensure that assembly secretaries would consult the assembly about appointments made by them. I remind him that the proposal by the National Assembly Advisory Group in paragraph 6.10 of its consultation paper--namely, that appointments to public bodies in Wales should be made by assembly secretaries--is a consultation proposal. The group has yet to present its full and final advice to the Secretary of State on this question, but I know that it is giving careful consideration to the input which subject committees might have into the appointment process.

Finally, Clause 31 is not strictly relevant to the question of the position of assembly secretaries. The exercise of a power of appointment by an assembly secretary would be a matter to be dealt with by delegation under Clause 63. Clause 31 deals with the separate matter of powers of appointment exercisable not by the assembly but by Ministers or other persons quite separate from the assembly. In view of my response, I hope that the noble Lord will feel able to withdraw his amendment.

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