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Lord Dixon-Smith: Grouped with Amendment No. 328B are my Amendments Nos. 329, 330, 331, 332 and 352. They have somewhat similar but not quite identical purposes to those of the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee. Amendment No. 329 seeks to ensure that the members of the London Development Agency who come from the London assembly, the Common Council of the City of London or a London borough council are there as of right. Thus it would not be possible in the first instance to appoint four members from that category in the Bill from one particular authority. So the amendment ensures that the representation comes from a wider area than would be possible under the drafting of the Bill, as I understand it.

Amendments Nos. 331 and 332 seek to delete from Clause 237, page 130, lines 1 and 6, the words, "appear to the Mayor to be persons". The mayor has to appoint people who are businessmen and not, as the wording of the Bill loosely puts it, "people who appear to be businessmen". I find that wording passing strange. That is the reason for the amendments.

Amendment No. 352 takes us to the relevant sub-paragraph of Schedule 20 towards the end of the Bill. Its purpose is to ensure that membership of those outside bodies is the prime qualification for serving on the London Development Agency. If the persons concerned cease to be members of the body from which they are appointed, they cease to be members of the London Development Agency and a successor must be appointed. Again, the purpose is deliberate, it is to ensure that the members appointed from the bodies--whether from one of the London borough councils or from the assembly--are active members of the body from which they come rather than someone who was, at the time of his appointment, a member of such a body.

As I understand the current drafting, someone from the Greater London Assembly could be appointed to serve on the London Development Agency and continue to serve on that body until the mayor chose to appoint his successor. That could take a long time and might go beyond the next election. That individual might have been away from the assembly for 10 years but would still be eligible if his appointment was continuous and it was not revised in that time. The Minister may say that that is an unlikely scenario, as it may well be. However, the fact is that under the present drafting that is a possibility. We should try to improve the drafting. It may be that the wording of my amendment is not as precise as the Minister or--perhaps more importantly--the parliamentary draftsman requires. Nevertheless,

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I ask the noble Lord to give serious consideration to these particular issues. I would be very happy if he was prepared to look at them and see whether some tightening of the drafting was desirable.

3.30 p.m.

Lord Whitty: There is a certain element of deja vu in relation to these amendments for reasons that are entirely different from the previous group. We went into many of these issues when we debated the Regional Development Agencies Bill, which is now an Act. Although we wish to have a minimum spread of experience on the agency board, we want people who can contribute to the aims of the board, in particular its economic ones, and who can act together with the various private and public institutions within the region. The same applies to London. People on the board are not representative in that sense; they are there because of their talents and experience.

Amendments Nos. 352 and 352A would allow the mayor to make it a condition of appointment that a member must resign, or cease to be chair or deputy chair, if he ceases to be an elected member of a local authority. We debated this matter at length in considering the RDA Bill. That kind of rigidity would not be conducive to the good working of the agency, and somebody of great experience could be removed directly if that happened. Clearly, the mayor must exercise a degree of judgment, but that rigidity is not appropriate. Nor is it desirable that local authority members should lose office automatically on ceasing to hold elected office. Presumably, former members of a London borough council, the Common Council of the City of London or the assembly, will still be able to bring valuable experience to the board's deliberations.

The Government have thought carefully about this in relation to this Bill and the wider context of RDAs. Clause 237 ensures that if there were only three such members on the board of the LDA the next appointment would have to be an additional member of such a council. This achieves much the same end, in that the representation of local authorities will be maintained but in a manner that is flexible and not too prescriptive.

Amendments Nos. 331 and 332 replace the requirement that half the board members including the chair must be persons who appear to the mayor to have experience of running a business to an absolute requirement that they have such experience. We have implemented the general policy on RDAs so that in London the LDA should be business-led, using a practical test which follows the model adopted for the Welsh Development Agency with some success over the years. At least half the board, including the chair, must be people who seem to the mayor to have experience of running a business. We do not wish to see anyone on the board who is there to represent a particular interest group, as would happen if Amendment No. 331 was accepted. Board members are there to use their skills and experience for the common good.

It is true that there may be many views as to what constitutes experience of running a business and the appearance of so doing. Nevertheless, this is a fairly

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common phraseology which indicates that the mayor is left with a degree of discretion in this area. I believe that it would be inappropriate, certainly on the face of the Bill, to remove that discretion. We are looking for people with experience and a balance of backgrounds, but the requirements in this set of amendments would be inappropriate from both points of view. I ask the noble Baroness to withdraw her amendments.

Baroness Hamwee: The Minister appeared to deal with the group by starting at the end and finishing at the beginning. I am not sure that he has answered my point. My concentration may well have lapsed. My point was not related to subsection (10), to which I turn in my next amendment, but the division between members of the assembly and members of local authorities. Perhaps I should read the Minister's reply in Hansard and see whether the point has been covered.

Lord Whitty: In my opening sentence I indicated my belief that Amendment No. 328B and some of the other amendments fixed the requirement too rigidly in relation to local authority representation. I also indicated that we had been over these arguments once or twice before. I recall that the noble Baroness was herself involved in some of those exchanges. Perhaps I took a shortcut, for which I apologise.

Baroness Hamwee: I do not believe that I have been involved in this debate before because, by definition, it could not have arisen in the development agencies in the other regions. However, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 329 and 330 not moved.]

The Chairman of Committees: I must point out to the Committee that, if Amendment No. 330ZA is agreed to, I cannot call Amendments Nos. 330A to 331A inclusive.

Baroness Hamwee moved Amendment No. 330ZA:

Page 129, line 39, leave out subsection (10).

The noble Baroness said: Grouped with Amendment No. 330ZA is Amendment No. 331A, to which my noble friend Lord Clement-Jones will speak. Amendment No. 330ZA is again about the business experience of members of the new agency. I have heard the observations of the Minister about the need for business experience and I do not ask him to repeat that part of his explanation. I take this opportunity to ask how and if that provision fits with Section 2(3) of the Regional Development Agencies Act 1998. As the Minister said, we spent a great deal of time on that Act and Section 2(3) was amended during the passage of that legislation following some very energetic work on the part of Members of your Lordships' House.

In making appointments under that section, the Secretary of State shall consult--I do not suggest that he appoints on the basis of representative capacity--those who represent local authorities, employers and employees within the area and individuals who may

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represent the interests of those who live, work or carry on business in rural parts of an agency's area. I accept that London is not comparable with, say, the south west, although my noble friend Lord Beaumont and I both made the point during the passage of the RDA Act that London should certainly have regard to the relationship with its own hinterland. In view of the way in which both the authority and the London Development Agency will operate, they need to be very much aware of the effect of what happens in London on surrounding areas. London of course has a few areas that are slightly less urban than others, but that is a different issue.

What happens to the consultation, given that, for instance, those who represent employees working in the area may well have particular views about business which are different from those of employers? I should like to be reassured that those interests will be taken into account in the appointments. I beg to move.

Lord Clement-Jones: I rise to speak to Amendment No. 331A. Earlier, with reference to Amendment No. 328B, the noble Lord the Minister said, with what I think was a slightly wry smile, that we might all have different opinions about what running a business means. This amendment goes to the heart of that matter.

The mayor, for instance, may have no experience at all of business. He or she may have no reference point by which to judge the candidates wishing to be on the LDA. Indeed, he or she may well have rather a different opinion about running a business from that of the existing members of the LDA. I have been involved in business for 25 years, and I probably have some strange ideas about what running a business does and does not mean. So it is not necessarily the case that even those involved in business have all the answers, but they will probably have a better idea than the mayor, who may well have been immersed in politics for a number of years. That is no slur on any candidates for that office who are present today.

However, we suggest a rather different model. It seems to us sensible to have a shortlist of three drawn up by the London Business Board, which is effectively a triumvirate comprising the London Chamber of Commerce, London First and the CBI. We on these Benches suggest that that would be an effective way of making sure that the best candidates were sourced and then identified, so that from that shortlist of three the mayor could pick the appropriate candidates.

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