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Baroness Hamwee: My Lords, before the Minister sits down, perhaps he will clarify one point. The noble Lord has spoken of these as personal appointments. He suggested that if the mayor was wealthy he or she could appoint large numbers of people for small parts

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of the day. Are these not employees of the authority? The Minister seemed to speak of them as though it was a separate group of people. We had understood that the normal appointment procedures, including the application of equal opportunities policies, would apply to these appointments.

Lord Whitty: My Lords, they are the employees of the authority, but they will be appointed uniquely by the mayor. Therefore, at the key point, the decision lies with the mayor rather than with the normal appointment system in the authority. Crucially, the mayor will decide terms and conditions. That lays the situation open to the possible proliferation of such persons were, effectively, a subterfuge to be operated to bring allegedly part-time employees on to the payroll for these purposes, however open the procedure had been up to that point. It would be the mayor's personal appointment on the mayor's terms and conditions.

Baroness Hamwee: My Lords, with the leave of the House--I recognise that I am somewhat straining the procedures--does the Minister suggest that the mayor can make a personal contribution to the salaries of these people? That seems to be the logical conclusion of what he is saying when he speaks of the situation depending on the mayor's affluence or otherwise.

Lord Whitty: My Lords, the formal salaries will undoubtedly be paid for out of the resources of the assembly. We are guarding against very non-British possibilities of the way in which people actually get paid in this context. We need a limit in order to guard against them. Noble Lords may be familiar with what happens in certain other jurisdictions where such matters may not be so above board.

Lord Tope: My Lords, the issue becomes more absurd each time we debate it. It is a nonsense to specify in primary legislation the number of staff that the mayor may appoint so that it requires an Act of Parliament if the mayor decides he wants 11 people rather than 10. We dealt with that nonsense at an earlier stage. In Committee we suggested that, if there needs to be a limit, it should be a budgetary limit. Expenditure on such posts is more important than the number involved. We did not persuade the Government. The amendment was withdrawn; and that issue has gone.

At this last stage of the Bill, we have accepted that the Government believe it necessary, and will provide, therefore, in the Bill a limit of 10 other staff to be appointed by the mayor. We may think that that is a nonsense, but I accept that the provision is there. Our amendment accepts that it is there. Our amendment seeks to reflect all that we have debated. It is a rare pleasure to have the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, in agreement with me. In order to demonstrate the flexible working that we all advocate, there should be 10 full time equivalent staff. The Minister has not told us why there cannot be 10 full time equivalent staff. The cost would not be significantly more. The Minister made clear that it is an issue of numbers, not costs.

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It is true that the mayor can employ people on a job-share or part-time basis, but in so doing he limits the paid working capacity available to him. Why do the Government insist on imposing such a tight restriction? We are not talking about hundreds of people, but of 10. In theory the mayor could employ a large number for one hour a week, but that is becoming absurd. The normal arrangement is as described: a job share, perhaps roughly of two-thirds, one-third, or whatever. I shall never understand why we have to inhibit the mayor in this way. However, ultimately this will be an issue for a very surprised mayor to come to terms with on his first day in office when he discovers that an Act of Parliament tells him that he may have only 10 staff regardless of the number of hours per week each member of staff works.

It is an absurdity, but it lies on the Government's shoulders and I am content to leave it as the Government's responsibility. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 79 [Authority's consent to inclusion of certain provisions in local Bills]:

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 27:

Page 52, line 28, after ("of") insert ("statutory").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 27, I shall speak to Amendments Nos. 28, 130 to 133, 153 to 156 and 168 to 171. These are technical adjustments which merely seek to standardise references to the exercise of statutory functions in provisions relating to local Bills. At present, the provisions in Clause 79, which deal with London local authority Bills affecting the GLA refer to the need to consent. Where the exercise of functions is affected, other provisions refer to the "exercise of statutory functions" or simply "statutory functions".

In order to ensure that no unwarranted inference may be drawn subsequently from the variation in terminology, we are talking about the exercise of statutory functions, and these amendments standardise that. I beg to move.

Lord Jenkin of Roding: My Lords, the Minister has been kind enough to recognise that my Amendment No. 28 can be discussed in this group. It raises a short but important point as regards the Common Council of the City of London and I am seeking clarification.

The clause requires the London borough councils and the Common Council to obtain the consent of the GLA in the circumstances set out in the clause before promoting parliamentary Bills. I can understand that the London boroughs are entirely happy with that arrangement because any Bill a council promotes will be attributable to its functions as a local authority. However, the City of London is different. Its functions fall into two separate categories. The promotion of Bills might be undertaken by the Common Council either as part of its functions as a local authority for the City or as agent for the City Corporation acting in other capacities.

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In another place I introduced a number of Bills, and carried them through, dealing with Epping Forest. The management of Epping Forest is not a local authority statutory function of the City Corporation. The City was appointed as conservator of Epping Forest under the Epping Forest Act 1878, but in no sense as part of its local authority functions. The money came from what is called the "City's cash" and was not part of public expenditure.

It is therefore right that when one is dealing with such an important function as the promotion of a Bill in Parliament, it should be clear that the only circumstance in which the City Corporation needs to have the consent of the mayor is in relation to its statutory functions as a local authority.

The context may suggest that that is already the position. However, I thought it right to table Amendment No. 28 to add the extra words to put it beyond all doubt. I do not want to take up more time, but there is good statutory precedent for that and for these words. I hope that if the Minister is unable to give a categorical assurance that the position is as I have stated it ought to be, he will be prepared to accept the amendment.

Lord Whitty: My Lords, I can assure the noble Lord that the reference is intended to be to the Common Council acting solely in its capacity as local authority. The noble Lord may be aware that we have been in correspondence with the City at official level, and the legal advice is that the meaning is clear in the context to which the reference is placed. However, if the noble Lord requires further reassurance, I reiterate the point that the interpretation relates to the role of the Common Council as local authority and in no other capacity.

I hope that on the basis of that advice given to me and to the City authorities, and with that reassurance, the noble Lord will not pursue his amendment.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 28 not moved.]

Clause 128 [Application of Part VIII of Local Government Finance Act 1988]:

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No 29:

Page 82, line 12, at end insert--
("(bd) the London Pensions Fund Authority;"").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 29 I shall refer to the other amendments in the group. This group of amendments is consequential to Clauses 395 and 396 of the Bill. They fulfil our White Paper commitment to bring the London Pensions Fund Authority under the democratic control of the GLA. During Report stage, we informed the House that we would need to bring forward further minor and consequential amendments in relation to the auditing and accounts of the LPFA and these amendments complete the detail of the framework of financial administration.

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Amendment No. 29 applies to the LPFA requirements. Amendment No. 30 deals with the making and auditing of annual accounts. Amendments Nos. 134 and 135 provide respectively for the mayor to receive copies of reports and of an auditor's recommendations in respect of the LPFA.

Amendments Nos. 136 and 137 provide for public access to meetings on matters raised by the auditor. Amendments Nos. 138, 139 and 140 enable the mayor to request the Audit Commission to undertake value for money studies in relation to the LPFA.

The other amendments include the LPFA in the summary of statements of account produced by the GLA and enable the mayor to request the LPFA to provide the GLA with such information. I believe that these amendments are relatively straightforward. I beg to move.

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