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Lord Whitty: My Lords, the main concern as expressed by the noble Earl is in relation to Amendment No. 465. The terms of the amendment are relatively clear. It provides statutory protection for third parties against disclosure of information collected by the arbiter except where it is necessary to carry out the specific statutory functions referred to in the clause. The intention of the new clause is to protect the interests of third parties, who may be, for example, sub-contractors or other suppliers in contractual relationships with the authority, without hampering the statutory duties of the arbiter and the other bodies set out in the clause. It is necessary to provide that protection and it is therefore necessary also to provide the exceptions in order that the arbiter can effectively carry out his duties.
The noble Baroness, Lady Miller, said that the amendments are not technical amendments because they are new clauses. One needs to look at the nature of the new clauses. The clause to which I have just referred is indeed a new clause but it follows through the logic of what the arbiter needs to provide and the protection for third parties. If we look at the new clause in Amendment No. 455, we likewise see that, although it is indeed a new clause--and I regret that we failed to move these amendments in the proper way at the proper time--it can reasonably be said to be an
Lord Henley: My Lords, I am slightly confused. I confess that I rise somewhat late in the debate. My understanding is that we are now debating an earlier amendment that we had not previously discussed and that we are including the three large new clauses in government Amendments Nos. 455, 464 and 465.
Lord Whitty: My Lords, perhaps I may clarify my understanding of what happened. There were a number of amendments relating to the previous clause which were being formally moved and agreed. We moved on to these clauses, which again were formally moved but as if they were part of the previous group, whereas we had intended to move them at the Dispatch Box. In fact, we moved too rapidly to take them through. So, although there was a formal movement, that was not what was expected either by ourselves or by the noble Earl. We therefore agreed to return to those clauses and deal with them properly, which is what we are now doing.
Lord Henley: But, my Lords, again with the leave of the House, they are government amendments containing new clauses. There may be some confusion if the Government attempt to press them now, without our knowing exactly what they are about. Might it not be better if the Government were to withdraw them at this stage and promise to return with them after further discussions with my noble friends at Third Reading?
Baroness Hamwee: My Lords, with the leave of the House, we on these Benches are not confused. As interested, but slightly detached observers of this process, we see that there is clearly some difficulty. I believe that the Minister has given the House the explanation that he would have given had the clauses been spoken to at the point at which they were moved.
We feel--and I hope that it does not sound too selfish--that, since we have another opportunity to return to the Bill at a later stage, and we are making quite fast progress, we should like to continue with that rate of progress.
Earl Attlee: My Lords, one of my main concerns related to Amendment No. 465. But that was only after cursory examination of the Minister's amendments. There may be difficulties with other amendments and we may detect those when we examine the whole Bill. As my noble friend Lord Henley pointed out, the Minister has not fully explained each individual amendment, even though they contain large new clauses.
I hope that we can deal with these amendments now. I am in the hands of the House. Should the noble Lord wish to press this matter to a Division, I have no doubt that we could consider withdrawing them. However, it seems to me that, in the circumstances, we should proceed with the amendments and clear the business relating to this section of the Bill. I appeal to noble Lords to do the sensible thing and what we all intended to do in the first place.
Earl Attlee: My Lords, the Minister claimed that he had left the amendments with us for a week. I point out that it is two months since the end of the Committee stage. However, I can assure him that we will not press the amendments to a Division.
Page 111, line 42, leave out subsection (8).
Page 112, line 26, leave out (relevant authority") and insert (Secretary of State").
Page 112, line 36, leave out (he considers relevant") and insert (is ancillary or incidental").
Page 113, line 7, leave out subsection (1) and insert--
((1) Any matter relating to a PPP agreement may be referred to the PPP arbiter for consideration by him--
(a) by all the parties to the PPP agreement acting jointly, if they so agree; or
(b) by any party to the PPP agreement.").
Page 113, line 10, leave out from (and") to end of line 11 and insert--
((a) if the matter was referred under paragraph (a) of that subsection, shall give to the parties who referred the matter such guidance as he considers appropriate; or
(b) if the matter was referred under paragraph (b) of that subsection, may give to the parties to the PPP agreement such guidance as he considers appropriate.").
Page 113, line 24, leave out subsection (2) and insert--
((2) The objective specified in this subsection is to ensure that an opportunity to review and amend the requirements imposed, or proposed to be imposed, on a PPP company by or under the PPP agreement in question is afforded to the appropriate relevant body if, in the opinion of the PPP arbiter, the proper price for the performance of those requirements exceeds the resources which that relevant body has notified to the PPP arbiter that it has, or expects to have, available for the purpose.
In this subsection appropriate relevant body" means a relevant body which is a party to the PPP agreement and is to pay the price under the agreement.").
Page 113, line 38, leave out subsection (4) and insert--
((4) The objective specified in this subsection is to ensure that any rate of return incorporated in the PPP agreement in question would, in the opinion of the PPP arbiter,--
(a) taking into account such matters as may be specified in the PPP agreement, and
(b) leaving out of account such other matters as may be so specified,
be earned by a company which is efficient and economic in its performance of the requirements imposed on the PPP company by or under the PPP agreement.").