SCOTLAND BILLFURTHER OBSERVATIONS
18. The Committee has seen the letter
of 2 October from Lord Sewel (Scottish Office Minister for Agriculture,
the Environment and Fisheries) to the Chairman giving an account
of amendments concerning delegated powers which had been tabled
and others which the Government intended to move at Report stage.
Those amendments already tabled were subsequently moved and carried
during the Committee stage of the Bill, on 6 and 8 October.
It was impossible for the Committee to meet to consider the amendments
and to report on them before the House considered the amendments
in Committee. The Committee's views were specifically sought on
these amendments, and the Lord Advocate gave an indication on
the floor of the House that if we advised against any changes,
further amendments could be considered during the Report stage.
19. The amendments appear to be
complex but the aim was to make it easier for the reader to understand
the provisions in the Bill about Parliamentary control over powers
and to meet criticism of the Bill by the Committee,
which the Government accepted was justified. In the Committee's
view, the new version is easier to use than the old and makes
the changes of substance which we sought in our previous Report
on the Bill. The concerns which we expressed in our earlier Report
have been met and there is nothing in the amendments discussed
in the Minister's letter which the Committee wishes to draw to
the attention of the House.
20. Paragraph 16 of Lord Sewel's
letter also referred to some further amendments related to subordinate
legislation which the Government proposed to bring forward at
Report Stage. Unlike most of the amendments referred to in Lord
Sewel's letter these amendments were not tabled at Committee stage,
and the House is indeed expected to consider them on Report. They
are drafting amendments on which the Committee has no comments.
21. There is nothing in the amendments
detailed in Lord Sewel's letter which the Committee wishes to
draw to the attention of the House.
4 Unfortunately some confusion resulted from the heading "Report" to the list of amendments attached to the letter. Back
5 In our 24th report of this session (HL Paper 124), which was ordered to be printed on 24 June. Back