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Lord Bowness: I am sorry to disagree with the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, when she has moved an amendment that is so obviously motivated by good intentions, but it would be an enormous mistake to include this amendment on the face of the Bill. It is a consultation too far. If the mayor and the assembly cannot be trusted to work out how to carry out the inclusive consultation that is imposed on them at virtually every stage in regard to almost every function, in extraordinary detail, then the mayor and assembly will not be very useful.

Also, it is wrong to make an assumption that a civic forum for Greater London as a whole would serve the purposes outlined by the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee. That makes an assumption about the nature of Greater London and the places that comprise it which I do not believe to be true. It may be that much more localised means of consultation with the communities and interests referred to by the noble Baroness would be far more appropriate.

We have to leave something for the mayor and assembly to decide. My worry is that the White Paper envisaged the assembly and the authority as a new type of political organisation setting out to achieve many of the points referred to by the noble Baroness. What are the assembly members, and the constituency assembly members--to say nothing of all the other organisations, voluntary bodies and borough councils around Greater London--for unless they are to go out and try to achieve some of those, albeit very worthy aims? I resist the amendment.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: As my honourable friend the Minister for London explained in another place, our primary objective in establishing the GLA's structure and its procedures is that it should be accessible to the people of London and able to respond to and reflect their interests, needs and priorities. An essential means of securing that objective is to ensure that effective consultation takes place.

Londoners must be confident that their views about what the authority does, or plans to do, are taken into account. That is why we have included comprehensive requirements for consultation throughout the Bill, including the significant changes to the consultation procedures in Clauses 27 and 34 which were introduced during the Commons Report stage.

While considering those changes, we also considered the comments of the committee and others about whether or not we should require the authority to establish a civic forum or impose that duty upon it. We concluded that we should not. In our view, it would be wrong to place that requirement on the authority and so hamper the authority's discretion. The arrangements that the

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authority makes to fulfil its consultation duties--and I stress the word "duties"--should be a matter for the authority to decide, not Parliament.

I cannot but agree with the noble Lord, Lord Bowness. In fact, during the course of this short debate I occasionally wondered whether we had strayed into the first meeting of the assembly as opposed to determining the framework and the duties that would be imposed upon it.

The noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, referred to the provision in Clause 27(4), the specific power to make appropriate arrangements for undertaking consultations. There can be no doubt, therefore, that the authority could establish a civic forum if it thought that was the best way forward. The noble Baroness drew a parallel with the Scottish Civic Forum. At the time I was working as a Whip on the Bill. My recollection is that this was not imposed from the centre but sprang from the necessarily different work on, and background to, the establishment of the Scottish Parliament.

Therefore, I invite the noble Baroness to withdraw her amendment. It may well be that in the end the authority decides that this is the appropriate way forward, but we believe that ultimately the decision lies with the authority.

Baroness Hamwee: We talked earlier today about schizophrenia, although like the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, I believe the analogy of pots and kettles is rather better. It does not raise the kind of issues that I would not wish to raise in referring to a mental illness.

In suggesting that we may have strayed into something like a meeting of the assembly, the Minister put her finger on our concern. It is that the assembly is insufficiently strong vis-a-vis the mayor. That is one of our concerns that runs right through the Bill.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: Perhaps I may interrupt the noble Baroness. I meant merely that the assembly is plural, that is what made me use the term "assembly" as opposed to the authority as a whole.

Baroness Hamwee: The noble Baroness also said that the Government do not believe that the obligation should be imposed on the authority. Like the noble Lord, Lord Bowness, although he may not have recognised it from the amendment, we believe that a great deal should be left to the mayor and assembly to decide. But if this is the model we have, which prescribes huge swathes of duties for the mayor and assembly, we need to respond to the model.

We take entirely the point that the authority should have a great degree of autonomy. We do not feel that logically it leads to us accepting what is put in front of us on the face of the Bill and not seeking other rules for it.

We believe that the Bill imposes a number of duties with which we disagree and that it fails to impose duties which we believe it should. It is an important issue and I am disappointed by the response. However, given this stage of the Bill, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

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Lord Quirk had given notice of his intention to move Amendment No. 95:

Page 16, line 30, at end insert--
("(e) bodies which represent educational and training interests")

The noble Lord said: As I said earlier, I should like time to reflect on the interesting points made during the debate this evening. Therefore, for the present, I prefer not to move the amendment.

[Amendment No. 95 not moved.]

[Amendment No. 96 not moved.]

Clause 27 agreed to.

Clause 28 [Subsidiary powers of the Authority]:

Baroness Hamwee moved Amendment No. 97:

Page 17, line 1, leave out subsection (2)

The noble Baroness said: The amendment seeks to delete Clause 28(2). The clause prohibits the authority from raising or lending money, except in accordance with the enactments relating to those matters.

We believe that the authority should have far greater financial autonomy than this model proposes. With the amendment, I seek to understand from the Minister why it is necessary, since there are other enactments, to make the provision in that form. Is it thought necessary that the precise provision is confined to the lending institutions so that we do not get into anything like the interest-swap cases of the 1980s? In other words, is it thought necessary to make it quite clear that such lending or borrowing, which is more of an issue, would clearly be ultra vires?

At a number of points we have made quite clear our concern about the autonomy of the authority vis-a-vis central Government. My noble friends and I discussed this matter during the dinner adjournment. I believe that it boils down to trust. My noble friend Lord Tope and I were members of the Select Committee which considered central and local government relations under the chairmanship of the noble Lord, Lord Hunt of Tanworth, some two or three years ago. I am not sure whether other Members of the Committee were also members of that Select Committee. It was no accident that the title of the committee's report was Rebuilding Trust.

Trust between different levels of government is, in our view, necessary in order that the lower tier of government--I do not use that term because I believe it to be any less important but because noble Lords will know what I mean--is given the necessary freedom for it to do its job with some imagination and a feeling that it is valued, with the opportunity to make the odd mistake but, while doing so, to flourish and develop. I shall not continue to make the same point given the time, but I want that point to be recorded in Hansard since it goes right to the heart of very many of our amendments. I beg to move.

10 p.m.

Lord Bowness: I read this subsection and the proposed amendment rather more narrowly. I assumed that it related to Clause 28(1) which itself poses certain questions that need to be answered before a view can be

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taken about the amendment. The Explanatory Notes say that Clause 28 provides for the authority to be able to do anything which is incidental to the exercise of its functions, including its general power under Clause 25. The sidenotes, which I appreciate are not part of the law, describe them as subsidiary powers. However, Clause 28(1) is quite different and provides that,

    "The Authority ... may do anything (including the acquisition or disposal of any property or rights) which is calculated to facilitate, or is conducive or incidental to, the exercise of any functions of the Authority exercisable by the Mayor", and so forth. The provision is not limited to incidental matters.

Bearing in mind that Clause 27 places limitations on the power given in Clause 25(1), one wonders what are the qualifications and restrictions related to this particular clause. To give but one example, the restrictions on Clause 25(1) were imposed but now appear to be removed. Is it being said that to facilitate any function of the authority, be it exercised by the mayor, assembly, or both jointly, anything can be done? If so, I find that hard to believe. However, that is what the clause says.

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