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Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 366A:


Page 232, line 40, at end insert--
(“(ba) any wholly owned subsidiary (within the meaning of section 736(2) of the Companies Act 1985) of Transport for London,").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving this amendment I wish to speak also to Amendments Nos. 366B, 372 to 375, 375D, 376 to 380, 383, 384, 386, 392 to 394, 396A to 396E, 434 to 439, 447, 463, 466, 470, 528, 571, 578 and 576. This is a fairly large group

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of amendments. They are largely technical in nature and make adjustments and additions to the powers of TfL to fit in with other parts of the Bill.

Amendment No. 366A enables TfL to delegate its functions to sub-committees and other bodies. Amendment No. 366B deals with the ability of TfL to engage in joint committees. Amendments Nos. 376 to 378 and 386 place a duty on TfL to provide information to the public about London public transport services. That issue was raised by the noble Lord, Lord Brabazon, in Committee. The amendments also give TfL a number of additional powers, including, in Amendment No. 380, the ability to provide intermodal freight facilities, a point raised by my noble friend Lord Berkeley in Committee. Other powers conferred by the amendments give the mayor the power to distribute property rights and liabilities among TfL, its subsidiaries and PPP companies; to provide for the tax status quo to continue; to enable TfL to join with boroughs to discharge functions through joint committees; to give TfL power to make by-laws for its railways and piers; and to give TfL the power to run the London Transport Museum.

The group also contains a number of minor technical and typographical amendments further clarifying TfL's functions and London Transport's existing powers on disposals and transfer schemes. I regret to say that it is possible that we may need to make some further minor changes in that light at Third Reading but I hope that we can keep those to an absolute minimum. I trust that the House will accept these amendments. But should noble Lords have any queries on any of the amendments, I shall endeavour to elucidate. I beg to move.

Earl Attlee: My Lords, this is an enormous and largely unrelated group of amendments. My noble friend Lord Dixon-Smith will speak after me on this point. We shall have to see how the Bill looks after the Report stage. We reserve the right to return to these matters at a later stage.

The Minister mentioned Amendment No. 439, which allows the mayor to approve schemes for the transfer of key system assets between TfL, subsidiaries of TfL, PPP companies or PPP third parties. The power in relation to the PPP company or third party is subject to the provisions of the relevant PPP agreement. However, it is not immediately clear whether the assets involved have to be key systems assets under that agreement or whether they can be taken out of one PPP agreement with “ limited and put into a second agreement with Y limited. I am not sure whether the noble Lord has the answer at his fingertips. Perhaps he will write to me on that point.

Amendment No. 447 introduces a new schedule. Paragraph 11 of that schedule introduces a bizarrely draconian power for TfL to demand information it requires from anyone. Why? If the property being transferred is from TfL to someone else, presumably TfL will already have that information. If it is in relation to a PPP company, the governing PPP agreement should already have dealt with that point.

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Will Paragraph 11 not enable TfL to go on fishing expeditions for information? Irrespective of the underlying purpose of Paragraph 11, we will be tabling amendments at a later stage to insert a confidentiality provision. I look forward to the Minister's explanation of Paragraph 11.

6.45 p.m.

Lord Dixon-Smith: My Lords, such a large grouping is a temptation. I regret to inform the House that I have fallen into temptation. I have one or two questions for the Minister.

Amendment No. 375 inserts a new clause. It states:


    “The Secretary of State may by order made with the consent of the Treasury provide that Transport for London",

and so on. I presume that the consent of Parliament will also be required for the order. It would be interesting to know whether that is to be by affirmative or negative procedure. I regret that I have not had the time adequately to research which way round the procedure will be. I am taking the liberty of asking the Minister for that information.

I find Amendment No. 386 very curious indeed. It states:


    “Transport for London shall make available such information as it thinks fit which ... relates to public passenger transport services".

It continues:


    “The information shall be made available, in such manner as Transport for London thinks fit, to ... the general public".

It then goes on to refer to,


    “such other persons as Transport for London thinks fit".

I am curious to know from the Minister who these “other persons" are who are not the general public. I can think of one person, but only one. I think that the drafting is a little curious on that point.

Amendment No. 447 introduces yet another schedule to the Bill. The Bill really is growing like Topsy. Having read the schedule, I found myself trying to understand it. The second part of the schedule is headed Contents of transfer schemes. Is states:


    “The property, rights and liabilities which may be transferred by a transfer scheme include property, rights and liabilities which would not otherwise be capable of being transferred or assigned".

I should be grateful for an explanation of precisely what that means.

Sub-paragraph (2) states:


    “No right of reverter, right of pre-emption, right of forfeiture, right of re-entry ... shall operate or become exercisable as a result of any transfer of land or other property by virtue of a transfer scheme, or any instrument or agreement made in connection with a transfer scheme".

I should like an explanation of exactly what that convoluted phraseology might mean. I think I know what it means, but my thoughts are very hesitant indeed.

If I detected a common theme throughout this rather diverse grouping, it was finally destroyed--dare I say?--by Amendment No. 528, dealing with the transfer and disposal of historical records and relics. Although I accept that historical records and relics are

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in a sense property, I could not see what that had to do with this grouping. My thought was: what have I missed, and what are the Government trying to hide? I am sure that the Minister and the Government are not trying to hide anything from us. I trust that the noble Lord will forgive my suspicious nature. However, I should be grateful for answers to the questions that I have posed.

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood: My Lords, I welcome the amendment to which the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, drew attention. It enables TfL to provide interchange facilities for freight transport. It is a most useful addition to the Bill.

Lord Whitty: My Lords, I was able to follow some of the issues raised; on others, I fear that I shall have to write to noble Lords. Perhaps I may deal with them in the sequence in which the matters arise in the Bill.

In regard to Amendment 386 and the question of who are the “general public", the term “persons" refers to organisations; “general public" tends to imply individuals. Such organisations may include departments or other institutions with which TfL needs to maintain information flows.

A question arises as to which assets are referred to in Amendment No. 439 and what can be done with those assets. First, perhaps I may explain that the provisions in these amendments protect the assets of TfL. We are talking about key system assets. The amendments are necessary to ensure that designated assets can be returned to the public sector at the end of PPP contracts. They provide TfL with the flexibility to manage structural organisation of the PPP contracts. By and large, those contracts will be in the region of 30 years' duration. Transfer from one PPP to another is unlikely, but it is not entirely impossible. The amendments require the return of those designated assets to TfL at the end of that period.

Paragraph 11 of Amendment No. 447 is necessary to ensure that up-to-date information about the assets is available to TfL. Any information will be included in the original PPP agreements, as the noble Lord suggested. But that information may change over time. A PPP agreement lasting 30 years may require the PPP company to provide different information from that required at the beginning of the contract.

The last amendment referred to by the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, related to the London Transport museum and other historical areas. We regard it as part of the function of TfL to provide background on the development of transport within London and more broadly. We have therefore included that provision to give it the authority to do so. Both in relation to the museum and in relation to archival material on transport in general, that needs to be explicit in statute. There have been examples in the past where it has not been explicit and such material has been lost to posterity.

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I shall have to write to the noble Lord in regard to his reference to an order with the authority of the Treasury. There was one other point where, I regret to say, I completely lost the noble Lord. I shall therefore need to reply in writing.

As to the coherence of this group of amendments--which may not be apparent at a casual glance, or even on detailed perusal--they clarify the overall powers for TfL in this and related clauses of the Bill. We need to pin it down in a number of respects. Some powers are relatively minor. Some, like that referred to by the noble Baroness, Lady Thomas, which was also raised at an earlier stage by my noble friend Lord Berkeley, are important powers. Some are tidying up provisions. Nevertheless, we are attempting to put in place a coherent, final picture of TfL's responsibilities. I believe that the amendments achieve that. I shall write to noble Lords on outstanding issues. I commend the amendments to the House.

On Question, amendment agreed to.


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