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Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: I cannot speak for my noble friend, but I believe he indicates that he is satisfied. I have one small point. I understand the distinctions that have been drawn, but I am not entirely sure that the reasons have been explained. I understand that in the case of the Campbeltown to Ballycastle ferry no financial provision could have been made by the Scottish executive under this Bill. Could the Scottish executive have contributed to the harbour costs at Campbeltown?

Lord Hardie: That is so, because harbours and piers are devolved.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: I understand that that applies even to a ferry service that is not covered by the provision. I am grateful for that response. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 203 not moved.]

23 Jul 1998 : Column 1145

Lord Sewel moved Amendment No. 204:


Page 75, leave out lines 36 to 39.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 205 and 206 not moved.]

The Earl of Mar and Kellie moved Amendment No. 206A:


Page 77, line 24, leave out ("section 22") and insert ("sections 22 and 26").

The noble Earl said: Amendments Nos. 206A and 206B are grouped together. Amendment No. 206A seeks to devolve the powers and duties of social work departments to provide residential accommodation and to recover the costs in respect of accommodation provided both by the social work department and by private contractors. As conditions vary widely throughout the United Kingdom and because social work is one of the most essential matters to be devolved, the setting of cost limits and charges of residential accommodation should be devolved to the Scottish parliament. It would be especially useful if the Scottish parliament were to adopt policies towards residential accommodation which differed substantially from elsewhere.

Amendment No. 206B seeks to devolve social security policy in respect of Section 25 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 concerning the provision of accommodation for children. That Act allows the local authorities to make financial charges on parents for the provision of accommodation. It would be sensible if these charges were approved by the Scottish parliament, especially as it will set social work policy and standards. I beg to move.

Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale: I have listened carefully to what the noble Earl has said. The Government do not consider that the subject matter of Section 26 of the 1948 Act is covered by the reservation anyway. However, in view of the points he has raised and the relationship between Sections 26 and 22, I would like to take the opportunity to consider the noble Earl's views more fully. I would like to take this away and I would find it helpful if he would agree not to press this amendment tonight.

Amendment No. 206B seeks to except Section 25 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 from the social security reservation. This amendment is unnecessary. Section 25 of the Children (Scotland) Act imposes a duty and powers on local authorities to provide certain children and other young persons with accommodation. Along with other local authority responsibilities, these fall to be devolved to the Scottish parliament. In view of this explanation, I hope that the noble Earl will agree that the amendment is not necessary and withdraw it.

The Earl of Mar and Kellie: I am most grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Ramsay of Cartvale, for her encouraging remarks. It is quite remarkable. As usual, I do not know what to do with myself.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: Perhaps I can congratulate her.

The Earl of Mar and Kellie: I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

23 Jul 1998 : Column 1146

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 206B not moved.]

[Amendment No. 207 not moved.]

[Amendment No. 208 not moved.]

Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale moved Amendment No. 208A:


Page 78, line 3, at beginning insert ("The regulation of").

The noble Baroness said: I speak to Amendments Nos. 208A to 208C, 209A, 209B, 292NA, 293ZA, and 294ZA. Over the past two weeks we have looked again at the structure of the pensions reservation at Section 3 of Head 6. We have concluded that this section would benefit from some restructuring to make it easier to follow. Amendment Nos. 208A to 208C, 209A and 209B bring about these changes. They do not reflect any change of policy. Occupational and personal pensions are to be reserved, but matters relating to the provision of pensions for certain persons are to be within the competence of the Scottish parliament. The amendments reflect an attempt to make our policy intentions clearer.

The amendments should be looked at as a group. The net result of the amendments is that Section 3 on occupational and personal pensions will now contain two parts only. The first will be an expanded section dealing with the reservation of the various pension matters, making clearer the particular areas where the parliament can legislate. The second will be a much smaller interpretation section. The section dealing with the illustration of the reservation will no longer be necessary as the material from that will be incorporated within the section dealing with the reservation itself. The same applies to the exceptions from the reservations section.

As the Committee may remember, the section dealing with Scots private law has already been discussed in Amendment No. 209. The key amendments in the group are Amendments Nos. 208A and 208B. Amendments Nos. 294ZA and 293ZA move the definitions from the pensions section to the general definition in Clause 112 because they are also needed for other provisions in the Bill.

Amendments Nos. 208C, 209A and 209B are consequential amendments which delete material that is no longer necessary. Amendment No. 292NA is of course a purely technical drafting amendment. I can expand on the amendments, but in view of the lateness of the hour I shall stop there. I shall expand on the matters if any noble Lord wishes to put any questions. I beg to move.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: The Minister will be happy to hear that due to the lateness of the hour I have just one question to put to her. This is an important matter. When I read it, I appreciated that the Government were doing a considerable rewrite of the way they were approaching the issue. I should be grateful if during the Recess I could have a letter which will show me what the clause will look like, rather than just have the amendments, and an explanation. I should be grateful to have that so that I can study it. Pension matters are of some interest to me. That is not just a reflection of my age

23 Jul 1998 : Column 1147

but of the fact that I took the Pensions Act through this place, and I should like to study this to ensure that the Government are doing the wise and sensible thing with regard to those people who will be affected by a reservation on pensions.

Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale: I understand that, and of course I am happy to agree to the noble Lord's request.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale moved Amendments Nos. 208B and 208C:


Page 78, line 3, at end insert ("including the obligations of the trustees or managers of such schemes.
Provision about pensions payable to, or in respect of, any persons, except--
(a) the persons referred to in section 76(3),
(b) in relation to a Scottish public authority to which paragraph 1 or 2 of Part III of Schedule 5 applies, persons who are or have been a member of the public body, the holder of the public office, or a member of the staff of the body, holder or office.
The subject-matter of the Pensions (Increase) Act 1971.
Schemes for the payment of pensions which are listed in Schedule 2 to that Act, except those mentioned in paragraphs 38A and 38AB").
Page 78, leave out lines 13 to 26.

23 Jul 1998 : Column 1148

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Lord Sewel moved Amendment No. 209:


Page 78, leave out lines 27 to 35.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale moved Amendments Nos. 209A and 209B:


Page 78, leave out lines 37 to 42.
Page 78, leave out lines 44 to 46.

On Question, amendments agreed to.

House resumed.

City of Westminster Bill [H.L.]

Reported from the Unopposed Bill Committee with amendments.

Government of Wales Bill

Returned from the Commons with one amendment agreed to with an amendment, with certain amendments disagreed to with reasons for such disagreements, and with the remaining amendments agreed to; the Commons amendment and reasons ordered to be printed. (HL Bill 149).

        House adjourned at one minute before eleven o'clock.

23 Jul 1998 : Column 1147


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