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Division No. 2


Anelay of St. Johns, B.
Annaly, L.
Arran, E.
Attlee, E.
Berners, B.
Blatch, B.
Bridgeman, V.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Fookes, B.
Glentoran, L.
Harmar-Nicholls, L.
Harris of Peckham, L.
Henley, L. [Teller.]
Home, E.
Kingsland, L.
Luke, L.
Mackay of Drumadoon, L.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Northbrook, L.
Northesk, E.
Norton of Louth, L.
Parkinson, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Rowallan, L.
Seccombe, B. [Teller.]
Tebbit, L.
Torrington, V.
Wynford, L.


Acton, L.
Alli, L.
Amos, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Bach, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Burlison, L.
Carter, L. [Teller.]
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Crawley, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Desai, L.
Dixon, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Grenfell, L.
Hacking, L.
Harris of Haringey, L.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Hoyle, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
McCarthy, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller.]
McNair, L.
Maddock, B.
Monkswell, L.
Morris of Castle Morris, L.
Peston, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Sewel, L.
Simon, V.
Simon of Highbury, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Thurso, V.
Wedderburn of Charlton, L.
Whitty, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

16 Jun 1999 : Column 400

10.31 p.m.

Lord Simon of Highbury moved Amendment No. 295:

Page 88, line 33, at end insert--

("Regulations and orders

. For section 12(5) (regulations and orders: procedure) there shall be substituted--
"(5) Regulations under section 5(1) or 6(1) of this Act shall not be made unless a draft has been laid before, and approved by resolution of, each House of Parliament.
(6) Regulations under section 13(7)(i) of this Act or an order under section 14(3) shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament." ").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

16 Jun 1999 : Column 401

Lord Simon of Highbury moved Amendment No. 296:

Page 88, line 36, at end insert--


. For section 13(7)(i) there shall be substituted--
"(i) any prescribed business or service, or prescribed class of business or service or business or service carried on or provided by prescribed persons or classes of person." ").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Schedule 7, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 28 [Unfair dismissal: special and additional awards]:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 297:

Page 14, line 12, at end insert--
("(3) In section 14 of the Employment Rights (Dispute Resolution) Act 1998--
(a) subsection (1) shall cease to have effect, and
(b) in subsection (2) for "that Act" substitute "the Employment Rights Act 1996."")

The noble Lord said: Amendment No. 297 repeals Section 14(1) of the Employment Rights (Dispute Resolution) Act 1998. This is necessary because Section 14(1) amends Section 117(6) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 but that section is being repealed by Schedule 8 to this Act as a result of the rationalisation of the existing system of special and additional awards provided by Schedule 8. Because Section 14(1) is being repealed, this amendment substitutes the words "the Employment Rights Act 1996" for the words "that Act" in Section 14(2) of the dispute resolution Act.

Amendment No. 302 reflects Amendment No. 297. It repeals Section 14(1) of the Employment Rights (Dispute Resolution) Act 1998 which is made redundant by this Bill. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 28, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 29 to 32 agreed to.

10.35 p.m.

Lord Simon of Highbury had given notice of his intention to move Amendment No. 297ZA:

After Clause 32, insert the following new clause--


(" .--(1) This section applies where regulations under section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972 (general implementation of Treaties) make provision for the purpose of implementing, or for a purpose concerning, a Community obligation of the United Kingdom which relates to the treatment of employees on the transfer of an undertaking or business or part of an undertaking or business.
(2) The regulations may make the same or similar provision in relation to the treatment of employees in circumstances other than those to which the Community obligation applies (including circumstances in which there is no transfer, or no transfer to which the Community obligation applies).")

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: I shall not move Amendment No. 297ZA standing in the name of my noble friend Lord Simon. As the Committee will be

16 Jun 1999 : Column 402

aware, the Government have received a request from the noble Lord, Lord Alexander, on behalf of the Delegated Powers and Deregulation Committee not to move the amendment at this stage. This is in order to enable the committee to consider the amendment at its meeting next week so that its comments may inform your Lordships' debate.

We are pleased to accede to the noble Lord's request. The Government will be submitting a supplementary memorandum to the committee, copies of which will of course be placed in the Library. We shall return to the matter on Report with the benefit of the committee's comments.

[Amendment No. 297ZA not moved.]

Clause 33 [Orders and regulations]:

Baroness Miller of Hendon moved Amendment No. 297A:

Page 16, line 3, at end insert--
("(3) Where regulations are made or are laid before Parliament for approval under this Act for the purpose of implementing any European Union Directive in United Kingdom law, the Secretary of State shall simultaneously in each case publish a statement setting out where those regulations go beyond the minimum requirement of the directive.
(4) A statement under subsection (3) shall also give estimates of--
(a) the cost to business which will arise from the regulations, and
(b) the cost which would have arisen from implementing the minimum standards permissible under the directive.")

The noble Baroness said: I shall speak to these amendments briefly. Where the Secretary of State makes regulations because of any fee directive, Amendment No. 297A requires him, first, to make clear to Parliament the way in which any regulation goes beyond the requirements of the directive. We have already seen an example of gold plating in the parental leave regulations which have gone far beyond what the directive requires.

This amendment will make the Minister think twice before imposing additional burdens on British business that are not suffered by our competitors in the EU. It will also be clear notice to Parliament about what the Secretary of State has done.

Amendment No. 297B has its inspiration from a speech to the British Chamber of Commerce on 3rd June by the Secretary of State. He said that he might be sunsetting some future regulations. I remember a story that London taxi drivers were, at one time, required to keep a bale of hay in the backs of their cabs for their horses, because someone forgot to repeal the order when motor cabs replaced the Hansom cab.

I do not know whether the story is true or apocryphal, but it is a good illustration of the need for sunset clauses. I want to take an early opportunity to assist the Secretary of State in his commendable project of constantly keeping regulations under review. This is a probing amendment, but I invite the Secretary of State to demonstrate his seriousness by accepting it. It sunsets all the regulations made under this Bill after five years unless renewed; just as he was proposing.

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Amendment No. 297C requires the Secretary of State to publish a detailed report to Parliament of the workings of this Bill. If it is the success he claims it will be, he will doubtless want to trumpet it from the top of the Clock Tower. If things go wrong, he should be prepared to admit it.

As I pointed out to his predecessor in connection with the National Minimum Wage Act, the alternative will be to extract the same information from him by a series of questions, so I hope that he will agree to provide the information as part of this very important Bill. I beg to move.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Government are very sympathetic to the thinking behind the amendments. We share the concern to avoid unnecessary burdens on business. As regards Amendment No. 297A, we are committed to ensuring that there is a rigorous and thorough assessment of the risks, costs and benefits of any new proposals. We consider a range of policy options in order to identify the best course of action. When we are implementing an EC directive, we examine options which go no further than the terms of the directive, but we also examine options which go further since they might provide better value for money.

We ensure that details of the costs and benefits are set out in the regulatory impact assessment. In respect of this Bill, the RIA gave an analysis of the reasons for and the costs of increasing the current period of statutory maternity leave from 14 to 18 weeks. The increase which went beyond the requirements of the EC directive was widely welcomed in the consultation. It reduces the confusion which many employers and workers experience as a result of the discrepancy between the current 14 weeks and maternity leave right and the 18-week maternity benefit period. Amendment No. 297A simply calls for a regulatory impact assessment which focuses in a blinkered manner on costs alone. Our regulatory assessment covers costs and benefits and we think it is preferable to the amendment.

Amendment No. 297B is about sunset clauses. As the noble Baroness recognised, Stephen Byers told the British chambers of commerce in Glasgow on 3rd June that he is attracted by the idea. We have sympathy with it in principle. In practice, this particular amendment causes us some difficulties. There is not a one-size-fits-all approach. We need to consider each regulation case by case. It may be relevant when there is a particular problem which is of short duration. But the problem here, in particular, is that it is implementing an EC directive, which is a continuing obligation. We should be in breach of the directive if we were to allow our implementing of regulations to lapse in accordance with a sunset provision of the type which is proposed here.

Amendment No. 297C addresses a serious point. We need to have a thorough cost-benefit analysis. It is clearly no less important that we should be aware of the impact which legislation has once it is in place. That is why the regulatory impact is supposed to examine ways of monitoring the impact of regulation.

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It may help the Committee if I recall the ways in which the RIA said that the impact should be monitored and evaluated. We shall monitor and evaluate the take up of parental leave and changes in maternity rights. The Employment Tribunal Service will continue to monitor the numbers of applications made, the outcomes and awards. ACAS and CAC will monitor the number of requests for their involvement in trade union recognition matters. The CAC will monitor the number of applications under the statutory recognition procedure.

In addition, we shall consider the case for a further round of the regular Workplace Employee Relations Survey, which I personally welcome greatly since I was involved with the design of the first one a number of years ago. We shall certainly trace changes resulting from that and other employment regulation. That is a more flexible and yet effective approach from that proposed in the amendments.

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