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Baroness Gardner of Parkes: I have one question, which is about subsection (7)(a) in the new clause to be

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inserted by Amendment No. 455AXC. It concerns the costs of collecting or providing information. I seek an assurance from the Minister that there are no severe cost implications for local authorities, costs that could be without their control, with the Greater London Authority imposing very expensive demands on them.

Lord Whitty: The schemes will be brought together by the GLA in partnership with the London local authorities; and who bears the costs will be by agreement in that context. The short answer is no, there will not be an additional cost to which the local authorities would be subjected without their consent.

Lord Harris of Haringey: I am grateful to my noble friend for introducing the amendment. There have been extensive consultations with the Association of London Government on this provision. The proposal here meets many of the concerns and issues raised. For that reason, I welcome it.

I retain a nagging concern. On an earlier amendment, the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay of St Johns, referred to the possibility that we might have an elected mayor who did not always harbour the best of intentions towards everything that exists in London. I have a slight concern as regards existing research work carried out by the London Research Centre on behalf of the London boroughs. There might be pressure from a future mayor who may not understand its importance to request that a scheme be agreed. The London boroughs would clearly wish the work to continue and would no doubt agree to such a scheme. However, the resources to pay for that work might already have been transferred to the mayor. I seek the Minister's assurance that the Secretary of State will use the powers available under this group of amendments to ensure that under those circumstances the Secretary of State might intervene to protect the boroughs' resources and research requirements.

Lord Tope: I echo but do not repeat the noble Lord's words. I do not do so because I happen to be a vice chair of the ALG and of course support my chair occasionally!

The reason that we did not move the two previous amendments was that we felt it appropriate to hear first from the Minister on these amendments which were clearly more substantial, and provided in large measure what we had hoped for. I place on record our thanks to the Minister and his officials for the considerable discussions that have taken place with the ALG to try to resolve the issue. It has been, and still is, a matter of some concern to the boroughs, for the reasons outlined by the noble Lord, Lord Harris.

These amendments go a long way towards meeting the provisions we sought. We are grateful that they have been tabled at Committee stage so that we have the chance to consider them. If there are matters about which we are still unsure, or improvements we believe can be made, we shall have the opportunity to return to the issue at a later stage.

I am a little unclear on two small points. There is a requirement for the mayor to consult each London borough council. There is no requirement for the mayor

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to take any notice of that consultation. I am sure that it is implicit that he or she would do so. Perhaps there is a last resort for the boroughs: if they do not get what they want, they withhold their two-thirds support. However, it would be helpful if the Minister would spell out clearly that the mayor is expected not only to consult but to listen and then to act in line with what the boroughs say.

On a similar point, the mayor is rightly given a right of appeal to the Secretary of State. Some criteria are suggested on which the Secretary of State, after consulting the boroughs, might consider that appeal. What is the position if the boroughs wish to appeal against the mayor's refusal to carry something out? I can see no provision--I may have missed it--giving the boroughs a similar right of appeal. If they do so, under what criteria would the Secretary of State consider such an appeal?

It would be helpful if the Minister were able to respond on those points. I again thank the Minister and his officials for bringing forward this provision at this stage.

Lord Whitty: Consultation here, as elsewhere in the Bill, means that the mayor needs to consider any representations before making a final decision. Therefore he has to take them into account. Given all that, I recognise that there may be a final position of conflict. There is a reserve power here for the Secretary of State when there is a dispute--for example, where the majority of boroughs may wish to carry out research but the mayor is unwilling to co-operate--if the boroughs could persuade the Secretary of State to use that power, and vice versa. So there is a reserve power--it is to be hoped rarely used--to enable both those circumstances to be met. I commend the amendment.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 315, as amended, agreed to.

7.45 p.m.

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 455AXC:


After Clause 315, insert the following new clause--

INFORMATION SCHEMES

(" .--(1) The Mayor may make schemes for the collection of information relating to any matters concerning Greater London or any part of it.
(2) The schemes that may be made under this section include schemes under which each London local authority must provide to the Mayor, in accordance with the scheme, information--
(a) required by the Mayor to be provided; and
(b) falling within such description of information as is specified in the scheme.
(3) A scheme under this section may be made only after consultation with each London local authority.
(4) A scheme under this section shall have effect so as to be binding on all the London local authorities only if at least two-thirds of those authorities give their agreement to the scheme.
(5) A scheme under this section shall state whether or not it is to remain in effect indefinitely and, if it is not to remain in effect indefinitely, shall state the period for which it is to remain in effect.

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(6) A scheme under this section may include provision relating to--
(a) the method by which information to be collected or provided under the scheme is to be analysed;
(b) the form in which such information is to be collected or provided;
(c) the ownership of information collected or provided under the scheme;
(d) the method by which information is to be transferred or stored under the scheme;
(e) the persons to whom information collected or provided under the scheme may, or must not, be disclosed;
(f) bearing the costs of the scheme.
(7) The provision which may be made by virtue of subsection (6)(f) above includes in particular provision--
(a) for the costs of collecting or providing information of a description specified in the scheme to be borne by the Mayor or a London local authority or by both the Mayor and a London local authority in such proportions as may be specified by or under the scheme;
(b) for the recovery of costs related to the scheme by the Mayor from a London local authority, by a London local authority from the Mayor or by a London local authority from another such authority.
(8) A scheme under this section may contain such supplementary provision as the Mayor considers necessary or expedient.
(9) The powers of the Mayor under this section are without prejudice to any other power of the Mayor under or by virtue of this Act to require any London local authority to provide information.
(10) For the purposes of this section "London local authority" means a London borough council or the Common council.")

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 455AXD had been withdrawn from the Marshalled List.]

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 455AXDA:


After Clause 315, insert the following new clause--

SCHEMES FOR THE PROVISION OF INFORMATION BY LONDON COUNCILS: SUPPLEMENTARY

(" .--(1) Where--
(a) a scheme is made by virtue of subsection (2) of section (Information schemes) above, but
(b) the agreement of at least two-thirds of the London local authorities is not given to the scheme as mentioned in subsection (4) of that section,
the Mayor may apply to the Secretary of State for a direction that the scheme is to have effect so as to be binding on all those authorities.
(2) A direction by the Secretary of State under subsection (1) above shall specify the date from which the scheme is to have effect by virtue of the direction.
(3) Before giving a direction under subsection (1) above the Secretary of State shall consult each London local authority and may give such a direction only if he considers--
(a) that the provision of information of the description which may be required by the Mayor to be provided under the scheme is necessary for the exercise of functions of the Authority; and
(b) that the provisions of the scheme will not impose an unreasonable financial burden on the London local authorities.
(4) For the purposes of any scheme made by virtue of subsection (2) of section (Information schemes) above each London local authority shall have power to collect any information which is required to be provided by that authority to the Mayor under the scheme.

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(5) For the purposes of this section a London local authority means a London borough council or the Common council.")

On Question, amendment agreed to.


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