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Lord Sainsbury of Turville moved Amendment No. 21:


("Debt")

. Any debt assumed by the Post Office company under section 74(1) shall be treated for the purposes of the Corporation Tax Acts as if it had been assumed wholly in consideration of a loan made to the company of an amount equal to the principal sum payable under the debt.").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 86 [Prohibition on affixing advertisements on certain letter boxes etc.]:

Lord Sainsbury of Turville moved Amendments Nos. 22 and 23:


    Page 51, line 39, leave out (", receptacle or other facility") and insert ("or receptacle").


    Page 51, line 45, leave out ("purposes of a universal service provider") and insert ("provision of any postal services in connection with the provision of a universal postal service or a part of such a service").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 87 [Prohibition on misleading descriptions]:

Lord Sainsbury of Turville moved Amendments Nos. 24, 25 and 26:


    Page 52, line 9, after ("house") insert (", building, room, vehicle").


    Page 52, line 22, after ("collect") insert (", receive, sort, deliver").


    Page 52, line 25, after ("collecting") insert (", receiving, sorting, delivering").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Schedule 5 [Acquisition of land]:

Lord Sainsbury of Turville moved Amendment No. 27:


    Page 87, line 16, at end insert ("as a universal service provider").

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The noble Lord said: My Lords, the group of minor drafting amendments of which this amendment is a part relates to the compulsory acquisition provisions in the schedule and other land issues in Schedule 6.

Amendments No. 27, 28, 29 and 37 clarify that a universal service provider's undertaking is limited to its undertaking as a universal service provider. The effect of the amendments is to ensure that references to a statutory undertaking or undertaker in other parts of the Bill, and in other relevant legislation, are construed correctly.

Amendments Nos. 32, 33, 34 and 35 are intended to clarify the meaning of "statutory undertakers" in paragraph 2(3) of Schedule 6 by expanding the references to the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997.

Amendment No. 31 is intended to ensure that "appropriate Minister" in paragraph 2(4) of Schedule 6 reflects the transfer of responsibility to the National Assembly of Wales of water and sewerage undertakers. It is not correct to refer only to "Minister" in that subparagraph.

I wish to notify the House that the Government are considering tabling further amendments relating to land on Third Reading. They would cover two areas. The first relates to the status of land already owned by universal service providers in connection with the provision of the universal service. The second relates to a request from the Northern Ireland Assembly about the procedures to be followed when universal service providers wish to compulsorily purchase land in Northern Ireland. If the Government table such amendments I shall write to the Opposition Front Benches before Third Reading explaining their details. I shall also place a copy of my letter in the House Library. I beg to move.

Lord Skelmersdale: My Lords, it seems to be a feature of this Government that legislation is put before us ill prepared, and that over the course of its passage through both Houses more and more and more Government amendments are made. That is not a satisfactory way of legislating. If amendments on whatever subject--in this case land--have to be made late, Parliament as a whole is given an impossible task in carrying out its role of supervising the legislation.

If the noble Lord is to put down the amendments, I hope he will see to it that at least we have two days to see them in the flesh and consider them, because on Third Reading we are not allowed manuscript amendments, nor are we allowed the sort of situation, which I was surprised we were allowed this afternoon, that we had on Amendment No. 4A. That would be quite improper. If there were a mistake in any of those amendments, the Opposition would not be able to point it out to the Government. That would be absolutely wrong.

I hope that on this occasion at least, when we are dealing with a very small Bill, and not a particularly technical one although a certain amount of interest has naturally been shown in it during our debates, we shall have time to consider the amendments adequately.

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On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Sainsbury of Turville moved Amendments Nos. 28 and 29:


    Page 87, line 25, at end insert ("as a universal service provider").


    Page 87, line 39, at end insert ("as a universal service provider").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Schedule 6 [Further provisions relating to land]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville moved Amendment No. 30:


    Page 93, line 28, at end insert--

("Power to place post-boxes etc in streets

.--(1) A universal service provider may, for any purpose in connection with the provision of a universal postal service, execute in a street works of any of the kinds mentioned in sub-paragraph (2).
(2) The kinds of works are--
(a) placing a universal postal service letter box or a universal postal service pouch-box in a street,
(b) inspecting, maintaining, adjusting, repairing, altering or renewing such apparatus which has been so placed, changing its position or removing it,
(c) works needed for, or incidental to, the purposes of any works falling within paragraph (a) or (b) (including, in particular, breaking up or opening a street).
(3) Accordingly, Part III of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 (street works in England and Wales), and the Street Works (Northern Ireland) Order 1995, apply in relation to undertakers' works in exercise of a power conferred by this paragraph.
(4) For the avoidance of doubt, references in Part III of the Act of 1991 or the Order of 1995 to apparatus shall be construed as including universal postal service letter boxes and universal postal service pouch-boxes.
(5) Subject to sub-paragraphs (6) and (7), sub-paragraph (1) authorises the universal service provider concerned to execute works of any of the kinds mentioned in sub-paragraph (2) without obtaining any consent which would otherwise be required to be given by the street authority in its capacity as such and, in the case of a maintainable highway, in its capacity as owner.
(6) Sub-paragraph (5) is without prejudice to--
(a) the provisions of Part III of the Act of 1991, or the provisions of the Order of 1995, as to the making of requirements by the street authority or as to the settlement of a plan and section and the execution of the works in accordance with them,
(b) section 61 of the Act of 1991 or Article 21 of the Order of 1995 (consent required for protected streets).
(7) Sub-paragraph (1) does not free the universal service provider concerned from obtaining any other consent, licence or permission which may be required.
(8) This paragraph binds the Crown.
(9) In this paragraph references to doing anything in a street shall be construed as including references to doing anything under, over, across, along or upon the street.
(10) In this paragraph--
"maintainable highway"--
(a) in England and Wales, has the same meaning as in Part III of the Act of 1991 and includes a street in respect of which a declaration has been made under section 87 of that Act (prospectively maintainable highways), and

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(b) in Northern Ireland, means a road (within the meaning of the Order of 1995) and includes a street in respect of which a declaration has been made under Article 46 of that Order (prospective roads),
"street" and "street authority"--
(a) in England and Wales, have the same meaning as in Part III of the Act of 1991, and
(b) in Northern Ireland, have the same meaning as in the Order of 1995, and
"universal postal service pouch-box" means any box or receptacle provided by a universal service provider for the temporary storage of postal packets in the course of transmission by post pending their collection for immediate delivery by a person who is in the course of delivering postal packets in connection with the provision of a universal postal service.
(11) In the application of this paragraph to Scotland--
(a) references to streets shall be construed as references to roads and references to street authority shall be construed as references to road works authority,
(b) "maintainable highway" means a public road within the meaning of Part IV of the Act of 1991 and includes a road in respect of which a declaration has been made under section 146 of that Act (prospective public roads),
(c) "road" and "road works authority" have the same meaning as in Part IV of the Act of 1991,
(d) in sub-paragraph (3) for the words from "Part III" to "apply" there shall be substituted "Part IV of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 (road works in Scotland) applies",
(e) in sub-paragraph (4) for the words from "Part III" to "1995" there shall be substituted "Part IV of the Act of 1991",
(f) in sub-paragraph (6)(a) for the words from "Part III" to "1995," there shall be substituted "Part IV of the Act of 1991", and
(g) in sub-paragraph (6)(b) for the words from "61" to "of 1995" there shall be substituted "120 of the Act of 1991".").

The noble Lord said: The legal authority for the installation of post boxes and postal-pouch boxes in the street is unclear in current legislation. The purpose of this technical amendment is to put universal service providers on the same basis as other statutory undertakers in relation to the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 and to reduce the unnecessary administrative burden in installing postal apparatus. This is causing delays to the installation of postal pouch-boxes, which are important to ensure that letters are delivered on time. Pouch-boxes are secure receptacles from which post men and women collect additional mail sacks without returning to the delivery office, thereby enabling health and safety legislation to be observed while responding to increasing volumes of mail. The alternative would be to deliver sacks to post men and women by van, which would be environmentally undesirable. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.


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