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Lord Simon of Glaisdale: If the noble and learned Lord will allow me, surely the transfer from the Secretary of State to the assembly of the powers that are at present exercised is not exclusive. I certainly understood that other powers are to be transferred.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: I will have to check this, but I think that there are other powers apart from those exercisable by the Secretary of State.

Lord Simon of Glaisdale: Perhaps I may say that I am awaiting an answer from the noble Lord, Lord Williams of Mostyn. I said that there was no urgency about it provided I received it before the Report stage. So I am not in any way implying that the noble and learned Lord is to blame.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: I did not take it that the noble and learned Lord was. Whatever the specific powers under the Bill, I think the Government's general policy has repeatedly been made clear; namely, it is in general to transfer to the assembly the powers currently exercisable by the Secretary of State for Wales. Whatever the precise detail of the Bill may say in relation to wider powers, the right to determine how many bank holidays there are and when they are is not one of the powers of the Secretary of State. Therefore, it would be contrary to the general policy to give him those powers.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: If the noble and learned Lord will forgive me, and at the risk of embarrassing the noble Lord, Lord Elis-Thomas, he seemed to argue that it would not make good economic sense to have different bank holidays in England and Wales. There are already different bank holidays between Scotland and England and the two economies are fairly closely intertwined, especially in the financial sector. We Scots think that we need another bank holiday on 2nd January, for reasons that I shall not go into, and I notice, looking at my diary, that in Northern Ireland there is a bank holiday-- I presume it is a bank holiday--on 12th July, for reasons which are totally obscure to me. But that must

15 Jun 1998 : Column 1350

be different from the rest of the UK. Therefore, I do not think it is a terribly good argument to make to the noble Lord, Lord Elis-Thomas, that somehow or other our economies are so intertwined that one cannot conceive of bank holidays on different days.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: Speaking as a Scot myself, I am fully aware of the reasons why 2nd January is an additional bank holiday in Scotland. However, I cannot speak for Wales in relation to when and whether it might need separate bank holidays. I believe I have gone through the reasons why we cannot accept the amendment and I invite the noble Lord to withdraw it.

Lord Monson: I am very disappointed and surprised by the Government's reply. I support the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Elis-Thomas, not because I live in Wales--I do not--but because I live in an overcrowded United Kingdom as well as being a believer in diversity and common sense. National bank holidays, which are usually fixed for what are statistically the coldest and wettest Mondays in Spring and Summer, are a recipe for overcrowded roads, overcrowded resorts and overcharging. The more bank holidays are diversified to spread the load, so to speak, the better it will be for people throughout the United Kingdom.

Lord Elis-Thomas: I am deeply disappointed on behalf of St. David and also on behalf of the noble Viscount, Lord St. Davids, who is his representative on earth, no doubt, in this Chamber, that the Government are not prepared to be more flexible on this matter. However, I do look forward to reading the Conservative manifesto on the assembly when they will be nailing their colours to the mast, their colours being of course the flag of St. David--the black background and the yellow cross. I look forward to withdrawing my amendment in order to support at least one part of the Conservative programme for the national assembly--probably the only one.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 249B not moved.]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton moved Amendment No. 250:


Page 99, line 3, at end insert--
("The Local Government Act 1974 (c. 7)
. The Local Government Act 1974 has effect subject to the following amendments.
.--(1) Section 23 (the Commissions for Local Administration) is amended as follows.
(2) After subsection (2) insert--
"(2A) The Welsh Administration Ombudsman shall be a member of the Commission for Local Administration in Wales (so that, where the offices of Parliamentary Commissioner and Welsh Administration Ombudsman are held by different persons, the Commission for Local Administration in Wales shall consist of at least three commissioners)."
(3) In subsection (3) (meaning of "Local Commissioner"), after "other than the Parliamentary Commissioner" insert ", the Welsh Administration Ombudsman".

15 Jun 1998 : Column 1351

(4) In subsection (12) (reports by the Commissions), after "government departments" insert "or the National Assembly for Wales".
. In section 26(6)(b) (no investigation where person aggrieved has right of appeal to Minister of the Crown), after "Minister of the Crown" insert "or the National Assembly for Wales".
. In section 27(1) (authorities not entitled to make a complaint)--
(a) in paragraph (a), after "government" insert "(including the National Assembly for Wales)", and
(b) in paragraph (b), after "department" insert "or by the National Assembly for Wales" and after "Parliament" insert "or the National Assembly for Wales".
.--(1) Section 29 (provisions about investigations) is amended as follows.
(2) In subsection (3) (disclosure to Local Commissioner of communications between local authorities and government departments), after "any Government department" insert "or the National Assembly for Wales".
(3) In subsection (5) (section does not affect restrictions on disclosure of information), before "or" at the end of paragraph (a) insert--
"(aa) the restriction, imposed by paragraph 24(1) of Schedule (Welsh Administration Ombudsman) to the Government of Wales Act 1998, on the disclosure of information by the Welsh Administration Ombudsman or members of his staff;".
. In section 32(5) (inclusion in Local Commissioner's report of information derived from government communications disclosed under section 29(3))--
(a) after "department", in the first place, insert "or the National Assembly for Wales",
(b) after "department", in the second place, insert "or a member of the Assembly's staff", and
(c) after "department", in the third place, insert "or the Assembly".
.--(1) Section 33 (consultation with other Commissioners) is amended as follows.
(2) In subsection (1) (duty to consult), before "or" at the end of paragraph (a) insert--
"(aa) by the Welsh Administration Ombudsman, in accordance with the Government of Wales Act 1998,",.
and, in the words following paragraph (b), after "Commissioner" insert "or the Ombudsman" and after "under the Act of 1967" insert ", under the Government of Wales Act 1998".
(3) In subsection (2) (matters which may be covered by consultation)--
(a) after "the Parliamentary Commissioner" insert ", the Welsh Administration Ombudsman", and
(b) after "that Commissioner" insert "or the Ombudsman".
(4) In subsection (5) (confidentiality)--
(a) after "Act of 1993," insert "in paragraph 24(1) of Schedule (Welsh Administration Ombudsman) to the Government of Wales Act 1998", and
(b) omit "by any of the Commissioners mentioned in this section, or by any of their officers,".").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton moved Amendment No. 250A:


Page 99, line 8, at end insert--
("The Auditor General for Wales."").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

15 Jun 1998 : Column 1352

Lord Falconer of Thoroton moved Amendment No. 251:


Page 99, line 13, at end insert (", and
"Welsh Administration Ombudsman."").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton moved Amendments Nos. 252 and 253:


Page 99, line 20, at end insert--
("The Mental Health Act 1983 (c. 20)
. The Mental Health Act 1983 has effect subject to the following amendment.
. In section 134(3)(c) (no power to withhold correspondence between patients and ombudsmen), after "Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration," insert "the Welsh Administration Ombudsman,".").
Page 99, line 20, at end insert--

("The Mental Health Act 1983 (c. 20)

. In section 141 of the Mental Health Act 1983 (members of House of Commons suffering from mental illness), at the end insert--
"(9) This section also has effect in relation to members of the National Assembly for Wales but as if--
(a) references to the House of Commons were to the Assembly and references to the Speaker were to the presiding officer, and
(b) in subsection (7), for "defrayed out of moneys provided by Parliament" there were substituted "paid by the National Assembly for Wales"."
The Insolvency Act 1986 (c. 45)

. In section 427 of the Insolvency Act 1986 (members of House of Commons adjudged bankrupt etc.), before subsection (7) insert--
"(6B) Subsections (4) to (6) have effect in relation to a member of the National Assembly for Wales but as if--
(a) references to the House of Commons were to the Assembly and references to the Speaker were to the presiding officer, and
(b) in subsection (4), for "under this section" there were substituted "under section 12(2) of the Government of Wales Act 1998 by virtue of this section"."").

On Question, amendments agreed to.


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