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Lord Moynihan: My Lords, before the Minister sits down, would he kindly give an undertaking to look into the case of Lympne industrial park?

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, I shall certainly look into it and write to the noble Lord. If there is anything I can do to help, I shall be glad to do so. I repeat my thanks to the noble Lord, Lord Luke, and to all who took part in this interesting debate.

Greater London Authority Bill

8.30 p.m.

Further consideration of amendments on Report resumed.

Clause 46 [Discharge of functions by committees or single members]:

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton moved Amendment No. 202:


Page 26, line 7, leave out from beginning to first (“the") in line 8.

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 202 standing in the name of my noble friend, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 203 to 208.

Currently, the provisions of Clause 46 permit the assembly to arrange for the discharge of its functions only by a committee of the assembly or by a single member of the assembly. We believe that this is too restrictive. Therefore, this group of amendments provides for the assembly also to delegate its functions to sub-committees and in certain circumstances to GLA staff.

In order to help the House I shall briefly explain the purpose of each amendment. Amendment No. 202 is a drafting amendment. The same provision is made in Amendment No. 208 and now appears at the end of the clause. Amendment No. 203 adds sub-committees as a category to which functions may be delegated by the assembly. Amendment No. 204 provides for the assembly to delegate its staff appointment functions to members of staff of the authority appointed under the provisions of Clause 56(2). This excludes delegation to the staff appointed by the mayor.

Amendment No. 205 provides for the delegation by committees to sub-committees and in turn for the delegation by sub-committees to a single member. Amendment No. 206 provides that where delegations have taken place, that will not prevent the assembly, or whoever has made those delegations, from exercising those functions where they choose to do so.

Amendment No. 207 applies and extends the provisions introduced by Amendment No. 197 in relation to the quorum of the assembly and its committees and the voting procedures in those

14 Oct 1999 : Column 598

committees. This means that questions before such committees will be decided by a majority of those present and that in the case of an equality of votes, the chair will have a second casting vote. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton moved Amendments Nos. 203 to 206:


Page 26, line 10, after (“committee") insert (“or sub-committee").
Page 26, line 11, at end insert--
(“(1A) The Assembly may arrange for a member of staff of the Authority appointed under section 56(2) below to exercise on the Assembly's behalf any function exercisable by the Assembly under section 56(2) or 59(2) below.").
Page 26, line 11, at end insert--
(“(1A) The Assembly may arrange for a member of staff of the Authority appointed under section 56(2) below to exercise on the Assembly's behalf any function exercisable by the Assembly under section 56(2) or 59(2) below.").
Page 26, line 12, leave out subsection (2) and insert--
(“(2) Any arrangements made under this section by the Assembly, or by a committee or sub-committee of the Assembly, for the discharge of any functions by--
(a) a committee or sub-committee of the Assembly,
(b) a member of the Assembly, or
(c) a member of staff of the Authority,
shall not prevent the Assembly, or the committee or sub-committee by whom the arrangements are made, from exercising those functions.").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton moved Amendment No. 207:


Page 26, line 17, at end insert--
(“( ) Subsections (1) to (1B) of section 45 above shall apply in relation to a meeting of a committee or sub-committee of the Assembly as they apply in relation to a meeting of the Assembly.").

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood had given notice of her intention to move, as an amendment to Amendment No. 207, Amendment No. 207A:


Line 2, leave out (“(1) to (1B)") and insert (“(1A) and (1B)").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, in the absence of my noble friend, I can safely say that the Minister's explanation clearly indicated the correct meaning of Amendment No. 207 and our worries have been removed.

However, the way in which the amendments to Clause 45 have been laid out is extremely confusing. Perhaps one of these days we shall find a clearer way of numbering our amendments. I shall not move my amendment.

[Amendment No. 207A, as an amendment to Amendment No. 207, not moved.]

On Question, Amendment No. 207 agreed to.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton moved Amendment No. 208:


Page 26, line 17, at end insert--
(“( ) Subsections (1) to (2) above are subject to any express provision contained in this Act or any Act passed after this Act.").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

14 Oct 1999 : Column 599

Lord Whitty moved Amendments Nos. 209 and 210:


After Clause 46, insert the following new clause--

ASSEMBLY COMMITTEES AND SUB-COMMITTEES

(“ .--(1) For the purpose of discharging, in pursuance of arrangements under section 46(1)(a) above, any functions exercisable by the Assembly--
(a) the Assembly may appoint a committee of the Assembly (an “ordinary committee"); and
(b) an ordinary committee may appoint one or more sub-committees (“ordinary sub-committees").
(2) Subject to the provisions of this section--
(a) the number of members, and
(b) their term of office,
shall be fixed in the case of an ordinary committee by the Assembly or, in the case of an ordinary sub-committee, by the appointing committee.
(3) An ordinary committee or sub-committee must not include any person who is not an Assembly member.
(4) The Assembly may appoint one or more committees (“advisory committees") to advise it on any matter relating to the discharge of its functions.
(5) An advisory committee--
(a) may consist of such persons (whether Assembly members or not) appointed for such term as may be determined by the Assembly; and
(b) may appoint one or more sub-committees (“advisory sub-committees") to advise the committee with respect to any matter on which the committee has been appointed to advise.").
After Clause 46, insert the following new clause--
MINUTES

(“ .--(1) Minutes of the proceedings of a meeting of the Assembly, or of any committee or sub-committee of the Assembly, shall be kept in such form as the Assembly may determine.
(2) Any such minutes shall be signed at the same or next suitable meeting of the Assembly, committee or sub-committee by the person presiding at that meeting.
(3) Any minute purporting to be signed as mentioned in subsection (2) above shall be received in evidence without further proof.
(4) For the purposes of subsection (2) above, the next suitable meeting of the Assembly, or of a committee or sub-committee of the Assembly, is their next following meeting or, where standing orders of the Authority provide for another meeting to be regarded as suitable, either the next following meeting or that other meeting.
(5) In the application of this section in the case of a meeting of the Assembly under section 44(2) above, “minutes" includes--
(a) the text of any question put pursuant to section 44(2) above at the meeting, and
(b) the text of the answer given to any such question,
whether the question was put, or the answer given, orally or in writing.").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 47 [Political composition of Assembly committees]:

Lord Whitty moved Amendments Nos. 211 and 212:


Page 26, line 21, after (“its") insert (“ordinary committees and advisory").
Page 26, line 22, after (“ordinary") insert (“or, as the case may be, advisory").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

14 Oct 1999 : Column 600

Clause 48 [Openness]:

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 213:


Page 26, line 29, after (“council,") insert (“and
(b) any committee or sub-committee of the Assembly were a committee or sub-committee of a principal council, within the meaning of that Part,").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 214:


Page 26, line 38, at end insert--
(“(2A) In the following provisions of that Act, namely--
(a) section 100A(2) (which requires the exclusion of the public from meetings and makes other provision to prevent disclosure of confidential information in breach of the obligation of confidence), and
(b) section 100D(4) (which prevents the inclusion in a list of documents of any document which would so disclose such information),
any reference to the disclosure (or likelihood of disclosure) of confidential information in breach of the obligation of confidence includes a reference to the disclosure of information of any of the descriptions specified in subsection (2B) below without the consent of the relevant body concerned.
(2B) The descriptions are--
(a) any information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person which was acquired in consequence of a relationship between that person and a relevant body;
(b) the amount of any expenditure proposed to be incurred by a relevant body under any particular contract, if and so long as disclosure would be likely to give an advantage to a person entering into, or seeking to enter into, a contract with the relevant body, whether the advantage would arise against the relevant body or another such person;
(c) any terms proposed or to be proposed by or to a relevant body in the course of negotiations for any particular contract, if and so long as disclosure would prejudice the relevant body in those or any other negotiations concerning the subject matter of the contract;
(d) the identity of any person as the person offering any particular tender for a contract for the supply of goods or services to a relevant body;
and in this subsection “relevant body" means Transport for London or the London Development Agency.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 214 I shall speak also to Amendment No. 217. Amendment No. 214 modifies the assembly's openness arrangements under Clause 48 of the Bill. Its effect is to place a duty on the assembly not to disclose to the public certain kinds of commercially sensitive information relating to transport for London or the LDA without the consent of the body concerned.

The amendment narrowly defines that information. In essence, we are talking about information about the financial or business affairs of any person which TfL or the LDA has obtained as a result of the relationship with that person.

TfL and the LDA will be executive, businesslike organisations. Much of their business is bound to be about commercial matters. If they are not to be put at a commercial disadvantage, they will need to be able to ensure that they are able to guarantee the same degree of commercial confidentiality to people with whom they do business as a local authority. Clearly, the

14 Oct 1999 : Column 601

assembly will be able to obtain information from Transport for London and the London Development Agency using its powers under Clause 5l, including commercially sensitive information. The issue here is a limitation on their ability to disclose it.

Amendment No. 217 clarifies that the modified version of Part VA of the Local Government Act 1972--that is, the openness arrangements under Clause 48--applies to assembly committees and subcommittees in the same way that Part VA of the 1972 Act applies to committees and subcommittees of principal councils. It is a clarifying amendment. I beg to move.


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