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Lord Brabazon of Tara moved Amendment No. 257:

Page 74, line 31, at end insert--
("( ) Transport for London may not acquire any interest in a company whose shares are quoted on a recognised stock exchange (within the meaning of section 841 of the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988) or traded on any public market (any such company being in this section a "quoted company").
( ) Where Transport for London acquires an interest in a company which subsequently becomes a quoted company then it shall be permitted such period of time as is reasonable in all the circumstances (being a period not exceeding 2 years beginning on the day when such company first becomes a quoted company) to dispose of such holding for the best price as may be obtainable, and during such period such company shall not be regarded for the purposes of this Part as a company in which Transport for London holds an interest.")

The noble Lord said: This is a probing amendment to discover what the Government believe Transport for London might do. It will enter into financial arrangements with private companies and so forth, as provided in the Bill. We propose that it should not invest in stock market quoted companies and therefore we provide for a prohibition on the direct investment in listed shares.

We hope that Transport for London will have better things to do than to speculate in the Stock Exchange. At the same time, we realise that under PPP arrangements it could acquire shares in a quoted company; for example, if they were exchanged for assets. In our amendment to Schedule 9, we give it the opportunity to do that; it is required to sell them at a point in the future. That amendment also replaces the Secretary of State with the mayor because we believe that it is an issue of subsidiarity, an argument which we have used before in the Bill. We believe that the mayor should be able to make the decision.

1 Jul 1999 : Column 501

These are probing amendments to try to discover what kind of interests the Government believe Transport for London might find with the private sector and how they might work. I beg to move.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: These amendments would curtail the commercial land operational flexibility of Transport for London by preventing it from acquiring any interest in a publicly quoted company.

On a general point, I should make it clear here that we want the mayor and TfL to have sufficient flexibility to discharge their transport duties in a way which best delivers the improvements to transport in London, which we all want to see. Accordingly, Transport for London should not be prevented from acquiring interests in publicly quoted companies, if that helps to implement the mayor's transport strategy. To do so would place a restriction on TfL to which London Regional Transport is not currently subject, under legislation introduced by a Conservative government.

However, I should stress that the Bill is not designed to facilitate the taking back into public ownership of, for example, privately operated bus companies. What the Bill is about is giving the mayor and Transport for London similar flexibility to that of London Transport.

Although I cannot accept these amendments, I am pleased to say that I am able to agree with one small part of Amendment No. 259. As you will see from Amendment No. 258Z, we also intend to remove the need for the Secretary of State to give consent to the acquisition of shares by TfL. However, we do not believe that it is necessary to replace it with mayoral consent. The mayor has wide powers of direction over TfL and can direct TfL to seek mayoral consent if he or she so chooses.

I therefore request the noble Lord to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Brabazon of Tara: I am grateful to the Minister for her final comment about removing the Secretary of State. It is good news and I count it as a little victory. As regards the main point, I need to examine the Minister's reply in more detail. However, it seems that it would be possible for Transport for London to renationalise Railtrack, for example. It would not have the money to do so, but, theoretically, it would be able to make an offer for Railtrack. I do not believe that that would be desirable, not least as a resident of London and a ratepayer.

I must consider what the Minister said and I reserve the right to return to the issue at a later stage. In the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 258 not moved.]

Clause 136, as amended, agreed to.

1 Jul 1999 : Column 502

8.45 p.m.

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 258A:

After Clause 136, insert the following new clause--


(" .--(1) For the purpose of enabling any person to carry on any activities for which provision is made by an agreement under section 136(3) or (4) above, the Mayor may by order provide for any functions of Transport for London under any statutory provision to be exercisable by that person (whether to the exclusion of or concurrently with Transport for London).
(2) An order under this section may--
(a) provide for the functions to cease to be so exercisable when the activities cease to be carried on by that person (whether by reason of the expiry or termination of the agreement or otherwise); and
(b) make such supplementary, incidental and consequential provision as the Mayor considers expedient.
(3) The power of the Mayor to make an order under this section includes a power exercisable by order to revoke, amend or re-enact any such order.
(4) An order made by the Mayor under this section shall not have effect unless and until it is confirmed by an order made by the Secretary of State.
(5) This section does not apply to any function of Transport for London under this Act or any other statutory provision specifically amended by any provision of this Act.
(6) Any reference in this section to Transport for London includes a reference to a subsidiary of Transport for London.")

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Schedule 9 [Operating powers of Transport for London]:

[Amendments Nos. 258AZA and 258AA not moved.]

Lord Whitty moved Amendments Nos. 258B to 258N:

Page 211, line 6, leave out ("and") and insert--
Page 211, line 7, leave out from ("the") to ("may") in line 8 and insert ("purpose of discharging that or any other function of Transport for London are not required for that purpose, Transport for London")
Page 211, line 15, leave out from ("using") to end of line 16 and insert--
("(a) any services or facilities provided by Transport for London, by any subsidiary of Transport for London, or by any other person in pursuance of any agreement entered into by Transport for London by virtue of section 136(3) or (4)(a) of this Act; or
(b) any other London passenger services or London connecting services.")
Page 211, line 17, leave out sub-paragraph (2)
Page 211, leave out lines 23 to 27 and insert ("any services falling within sub-paragraph (1)(a) or (b) above.")
Page 212, line 28, at end insert ("or")
Page 212, line 34, at end insert--
("( ) Transport for London may make such charges as it thinks fit in respect of anything done in exercise of its powers under this paragraph.")
Page 213, line 9, leave out ("business of Transport for London") and insert ("discharge by Transport for London of any of its functions")
Page 213, line 16, leave out ("Transport for London's business") and insert ("the discharge by Transport for London of any of its functions")

1 Jul 1999 : Column 503

Page 213, line 18, leave out ("Transport for London's business") and insert ("the discharge by Transport for London of any of its functions")
Page 213, line 27, leave out ("Transport for London's business") and insert ("the discharge by Transport for London of any of its functions")
Page 213, line 29, leave out ("its business") and insert ("the discharge by Transport for London of any of its functions")
Page 213, line 36, leave out ("its business") and insert ("discharging any of its functions")

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Lord Berkeley moved Amendment No. 258NA:

Page 213, line 38, at end insert--
(" . Transport for London may purchase or lease land for the purpose of securing freight-related intermodal facilities adjacent to rail or waterways where it believes there is a strategic need.")

The noble Lord said: This part of Schedule 9 concerns the acquisition, disposal and development of land. I found it interesting that paragraph 14(2) provides that:

    "Transport for London may ... develop for use by other persons land belonging to Transport for London which is not required for the purposes of Transport for London's business; and ... where the use of Transport for London's land for the purposes of its business can be combined with its use by other persons, develop the land by constructing or adapting buildings". It may be interesting to see whether an additional clause can be added enabling TfL to purchase or lease land for the purpose of freight-related, inter-modal facilities such as transferring between water, rail and road for purposes such as concreting aggregates, waste disposal or supermarket goods. There is always a problem with such terminals because the rate of return in the freight business is so low that city centre prices are unaffordable.

After drafting the amendment, I wondered whether TfL was able to develop land for passenger transport businesses which it did not operate, such as coach stations. My noble friend the Minister may wish to consider that before the next stage of the Bill because I can see benefits in TfL owning a land bank for such facilities which might be required in 10 or 15 years' time. That land could be used for something else in the interim and when the time came develop it for transport related purposes.

If transport, passenger or freight, especially rail, does not have sites for interchanges, be they stations or freight yards or whatever, it will never fulfil the needs which it could realise. This is an important matter which I hope my noble friend will be able to consider. I beg to move.

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