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Transpose Clause 154 to after Clause 155

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 155 [Revocation]

[Amendment No. 277 not moved.]

Lord Whitty moved Amendments Nos. 277A and 277B:


Page 82, line 33, after ("be") insert ("revoked or")
Page 82, line 36, leave out ("local") and insert ("London")

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 155, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 156 [Consultation]:

Lord Whitty moved Amendment 277C:


Page 83, line 3, leave out paragraph (a) and insert--
("(a) each London authority,")

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 156, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 157 [Publication]:

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 277D:


Page 83, line 22, leave out from ("document") to end of line 24

The noble Lord said: The clauses require the mayor to do two things: he or she must make the guidance document and any revisions to it available for inspection free of charge for an appropriate period; and he or she must also supply on request a copy of the guidance document and any revisions to it for a reasonable fee for an appropriate period. That appropriate period is defined as six years from the publication of the document or any revisions of it. The relevant change to the drafting of the original clause is the reference to the appropriate period and its definition. That ensures that

1 Jul 1999 : Column 543

anyone who is interested in seeing or obtaining a copy of the guidance document or any revisions to it will be able to do so up to six years from the date of publication. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Whitty moved Amendment Nos. 277E to 277G:


Page 83, line 26, leave out from ("revised") to end of line 27
Page 83, line 27, at end insert--
("( ) In this Act, references to the guidance document include, except where the context otherwise requires, a reference to the guidance document as revised.")
Page 83, line 31, at end insert--
("( ) A copy of the guidance document shall be kept available for the appropriate period by the Mayor for inspection by any person on request free of charge at the principal offices of the Authority at reasonable hours.
( ) A copy of the guidance document, or any part of it, shall be supplied to any person on request during the appropriate period for such reasonable fee as the Mayor may determine.
( ) In this section "the appropriate period" in the case of the guidance document is the period of six years beginning with the date of publication of that document pursuant to this section.")

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 157, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 158 and 159 agreed to.

Clause 160 [Interpretation]:

Lord Whitty moved Amendment Nos. 277H and 277J:


Page 84, line 22, at end insert--
(""the guidance document" shall be construed in accordance with section 150(2) above,")
Page 84, line 22, at end insert--
("London authority" shall be construed in accordance with section 148(6) above,")

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 160, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 161 [Power of Authority to give guidance to the Franchising Director]:

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood moved Amendment No. 277JA:


Page 85, line 3, after ("may") insert (", after consultation with the London Transport Users' Committee,")

The noble Baroness said: The amendment would require the authority to consult the London Transport Users Committee before it gave guidance to the franchising director. If the Government amendments that are coming up are passed, as I have no doubt that they will be, we shall have directions to the franchising director rather than merely guidance. That makes it even more important that the LTUC should be consulted. If there is no requirement it appears that the onus is always on the LTUC to make its concerns known.

In another place the Minister argued that this amendment was unnecessary as the LTUC had the opportunity to present its concerns to the mayor. But when we begin to consider railways and the relationship

1 Jul 1999 : Column 544

between the authority and franchising director we believe that this very important watchdog should be brought in. I beg to move.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: This amendment would require the mayor to consult the LTUC before issuing guidance to the franchising director. The LTUC is the new representative body for transport users that we intend to establish under this Bill. We shall debate it later. We want the LTUC to play an active role in representing the interests of transport users, and that is why it will be able to make recommendations to the assembly, the mayor and Transport for London about the exercise of their respective functions. We do not, therefore, think it necessary to require the mayor to consult the users' committee before issuing guidance to the franchising director. It will be open to the mayor to do so if he or she wishes, but we believe that that should be a matter of good practice rather than a heavy-handed legal requirement.

In addition, to impose a requirement on the mayor to consult the LTUC would prevent the mayor from taking swift action when necessary if he or she wished to issue urgent guidance to the franchising director. I hope, therefore, that the noble Baroness will feel able to withdraw the amendment.

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood: I am a little disappointed by the Minister's reply. The Bill makes the very broad-brush statement that,


    "The Authority may give guidance"-- it is to be an instruction--


    "to the Franchising Director in relation to the provision of railway services in Greater London". I would have thought that, when the authority was thinking about what guidance to give, the most important group of people to be consulted would be representatives of the users of that transport system. I understand from the Minister's reply that she is not prepared to concede the strength of my argument. For the time being, I shall withdraw the amendment. However, we may need to return to this matter later, possibly by amending the provisions that create the London Transport Users' Committee or in some other way. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 277K:


Page 85, line 3, after ("give") insert ("instructions or")

The noble Lord said: In moving Amendment No. 277K, I should like to speak also to Amendments Nos. 277L to 277T, 278A, 279U to 279X and 279VA to 279ZA. I shall need to deal with this group of amendments in a little more detail. The amendments give effect to a very important part of the Bill and the undertaking given in the other place earlier in the passage of the Bill by my honourable friend the Minister for Transport in London. She then committed the Government to bringing forward measures more fully to define the relationship between the mayor and the

1 Jul 1999 : Column 545

franchising director, which we anticipate will eventually be between the mayor and the proposed strategic rail authority.

The Committee will be aware that we are committed to giving the mayor a strong voice in rail, but that the mayor's powers should not detract from the wider strategic responsibilities of the franchising director and the strategic rail authority. We have taken careful note of the numerous points made on this issue and believe that the amendments that we have tabled will help to create the right framework.

Amendment No. 279XA places the franchising director under a duty to consult the mayor over proposed changes to service levels and fares on rail services. It is a very similar power to the franchising director's existing duty under Section 31A of the London Regional Transport Act 1984 which requires him to consult London Regional Transport. However, the new clause expands that duty so that the franchising director must consult the mayor about fares and services to, from and within London, rather than services wholly within London. The widening of the franchising director's duty reflects the fact that the mayor has a general transport duty under Clause 123 in respect of transport facilities and services to, from and within Greater London.

Amendment 277S gives clarification of the position where there is a conflict between the mayor's instructions and guidance to the franchising director and those issued by the Secretary of State. Under these amendments, the franchising director will have to implement the mayor's instructions and guidance unless to do so will "prevent or seriously hinder him" complying with the Secretary of State's guidance. This is intended to more precisely ensure that whilst the mayor should, rightly, be able to influence the operation of London rail services, his instructions and guidance should not undermine or be inconsistent with national policy objectives as set out in the Secretary of State's instructions and guidance. The amendment preserves that principle but gives the mayor more flexibility than was available to him or her under the original wording.

The amendment allows the mayor's instructions and guidance to differ from the Secretary of State's in some respects. In some circumstances, the franchising director would have to implement the mayor's instructions and guidance even if it conflicted with the Secretary of State's, as long as implementation did not "prevent or seriously hinder" the implementation of the Secretary of State's instructions and guidance. For example, the mayor's instructions and guidance might require the franchising director to ensure that certain stations were staffed at all times of the day, whereas the Secretary of State's instructions and guidance might specify less stringent minimum requirements. Although, on the face of it, the two sets of instructions and guidance would conflict, implementing the mayor's instructions would not prevent or seriously hinder compliance with the Secretary of State's objectives.

Amendments Nos. 277K to 277M, 277P to 277R, 277T, 278A, 279UA and 279VA allow the mayor to issue "instructions" as well as "guidance" to the

1 Jul 1999 : Column 546

franchising director. This is a technical amendment designed to harmonise the wording in the Bill with that of the Railways Act 1993.

Amendment No. 277N provides that the franchising director is to implement the mayor's instructions and guidance "in the manner best calculated to give effect to the instructions and guidance", rather than simply to implement them. Again, this reflects the similar wording in the Railways Act 1993.

Amendment No. 279YA restricts TfL's ability to enter into direct agreements with franchised train operators. The effect is that any instructions in respect of additional railway services will have to be included in the mayor's instructions and guidance to the franchising director. The franchising director will then procure the services on behalf of the mayor. The franchising director will only be able to refuse the mayor's requests if the constraints in subsection (5) are triggered.

We have taken this approach on additional services in acknowledgement of the fact that London's rail network is uniquely complex and very heavily used. The franchising director is best placed to make decisions about the allocation of scarce track capacity and to advise the mayor on how his or her requirements for additional services can best be met; otherwise there is a risk that additional services procured on an ad hoc basis could result in a sub-optimal use of the network. The franchising director, and eventually the SRA, will be able to take a strategic view on the best way of providing those services so as to ensure best use of the scarce capacity, and advise the mayor accordingly.

However, the clause does allow TfL to enter into indirect agreements with train operators, where these are through the franchising director or through a London local authority. The local authority exception is designed to allow for local agreements covering transport facilities provided jointly by TfL, the local authority, and a train operator.

Amendment No. 279ZA places the Secretary of State under a duty to consult the mayor if the Secretary of State proposes to vary the amount of penalty fares payable on heavy rail services.

I should mention here that, in addition to those tabled, there is one other measure which my honourable friend the Minister for Transport in London announced and which is not included here. It relates to a power for the mayor to bring forward proposals for new investment in the rail infrastructure by promoting local Bills in Parliament and orders under the Transport and Works Act 1992.

We intend to bring forward such proposals. We are working on them now, and we shall bring them forward at a later stage. The amendments I propose give the mayor a strong voice in rail, as promised in the White Paper, and strike the right balance between the mayor's powers and the wider strategic transport interest.


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