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Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendments Nos. 8 to 10:



("(1A) The fact that a company enters into a transaction in contravention of any of paragraphs 16 to 22 does not--
(a) make the transaction void, or
(b) make it to any extent unenforceable against the company.").


    Page 15, leave out lines 29 to 35.


    Page 16, line 31, at end insert ("otherwise than in pursuance of an order of the court").

26 Jul 2000 : Column 493

On Question, amendments agreed to.

[Amendment No. 11 not moved.]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendments Nos. 12 to 14:


    Page 16, line 47, at end insert ("otherwise than in pursuance of an order of the court").


    Page 18, leave out lines 6 and 7 and insert--


("(a) without any consent or leave under paragraph 20, disposes of any of its property which is subject to a security otherwise than in accordance with the terms of the security,
(aa) without any consent or leave under paragraph 20, disposes of any goods in the possession of the company under a hire-purchase agreement otherwise than in accordance with the terms of the agreement, or")


    Page 18, line 12, at end insert--

("Market contracts, etc.

22A.--(1) If the company enters into any transaction to which this paragraph applies--
(a) the company is liable to a fine, and
(b) if any officer of the company, without reasonable excuse, authorised or permitted the company to enter into the transaction, he is liable to imprisonment or a fine, or both.
(2) A company enters into a transaction to which this paragraph applies if it--
(a) enters into a market contract,
(b) gives a transfer order,
(c) grants a market charge, or
(d) provides any collateral security.
(3) The fact that a company enters into a transaction in contravention of this paragraph does not--
(a) make the transaction void, or
(b) make it to any extent unenforceable by or against the company.
(4) Where during the moratorium a company enters into a transaction to which this paragraph applies, nothing done by or in pursuance of the transaction is to be treated as done in contravention of paragraphs 12(1)(f), 14 or 16 to 22.
(5) Paragraph 20 does not apply in relation to any property which is subject to a market charge or a collateral security charge.
(6) In this paragraph, "transfer order", "collateral security" and "collateral security charge" have the same meanings as in the settlement finality regulations.").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 15 and 16 not moved.]

Lord Kingsland moved Amendment No. 17:


    Page 22, line 43, at end insert ("but may only apply within 7 days of the decision taken by the creditors' meeting").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, we proposed a similar amendment in Committee. The Minister rejected the amendment because he said the timing of any application by a member of a company was not critical for the nominee or the supervisor. Therefore, there was no reason to restrict the time period during which a member of the company could make such an application. By contrast, at Report the Minister said there might be an advantage to having a cut-off point beyond which such applications could not be made.

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He said the Government would reflect and perhaps amend the Bill to that purpose. It may be that my amendment is otiose but we shall see. I beg to move.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, I have avoided using the offensive word "otiose" in respect of the Bill. The noble Lord, Lord Kingsland, has a good point with the amendment. I said so at Report. Perhaps I did not say so glowingly enough for his taste. He said in Committee that there should be a time limit on the ability of a member of a company to go to court if the decision of a creditors' meeting--which takes effect under paragraph 35 of Schedule A1 or paragraph 5 of Schedule 2--differs from that made by the company meeting. We still take the view that that will normally be self-regulating. But we can see that there is an advantage in there being a cut-off point beyond which applications cannot be made. We shall be amending the Bill in another place to that purpose. We think that seven days is too short a period for a member to consider his position and make any application to the court which he considers appropriate under this paragraph. We think that a 28-day period would be more appropriate. However, I hope it will be thought that the coming together of minds is sufficient for the noble Lord to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Kingsland: My Lords, I am more than content with the glowing support shown by the Minister for the principle lying behind the amendment. In those circumstances, I beg leave to withdraw it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 18 not moved.]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendments Nos. 19 and 20:


    Page 29, line 17, leave out ("and 22(1)") and insert ("22(1) and 22A(1)(a)").


    Page 30, line 14, at end insert--


    Chapter


    Short title


    Extent of repeal


    ("Sch. A1, para. 22A(1)(a).Company entering into market contract, etc.1. On indictment. 2. Summary.A fine. The statutory maximum.
    Sch. A1, para. 22A(1)(b).Authorising or permitting company to do so.1. On indictment. 2. Summary. 2 years or a fine, or both. 6 months or the statutory maximum, or both.")

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Schedule 2 [Company voluntary arrangements]:

[Amendments Nos. 21 to 25 not moved.]

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Schedule 3 [Individual voluntary arrangements]:

[Amendments Nos. 26 to 30 not moved.]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill do now pass.

Moved, That the Bill do now pass.--(Lord McIntosh of Haringey.)

Baroness Buscombe: My Lords, my noble friend Lord Kingsland and I believe that we have made considerable progress on a number of important issues in the Bill, although it continues to be our submission that, in a sense, the Bill's timing is somewhat premature. We thank the Minister for the positive way in which he has responded to a fair number of those issues. I wish also to pay tribute to and thank two people who have helped us; namely, Mr Peter Griffiths and Mr Bernard Weatherill QC, whose collective skill and considerable experience on this subject matter have been invaluable.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness for her words, which I reciprocate.

On Question, Bill passed, and sent to the Commons.

Transport Bill

7.41 p.m.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): My Lords, on behalf of my noble friend Lord Macdonald of Tradeston, I beg to move that the House do now again resolve itself into Committee (on Recommitment) on this Bill.

Moved, That the House do now again resolve itself into Committee (on Recommitment).--(Lord Whitty.)

Lord Brabazon of Tara: My Lords, before the Question is put, perhaps I may observe that it is now nearly a quarter to eight in the evening on the fourth day of the Committee stage. We were promised four days for consideration of the Bill and we now find ourselves on the fourth day dealing with it at a quarter to eight in the evening. It is a massive Bill, as all noble Lords know. I should like to protest in the mildest possible way that we should find ourselves dealing with it at this time of the evening.

Lord Whitty: My Lords, I appreciate the noble Lord protesting in the mildest possible way. I understand his frustration. All of us would have preferred to start the proceedings on the Bill earlier. Regrettably, we are at that time of the year.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee (on Recommitment) accordingly.

[The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES (Lord Lyell) in the Chair.]

26 Jul 2000 : Column 496

Clause 252 agreed to.

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood moved Amendment No. 372:


    Before Clause 253, insert the following new clause--

("Road traffic strategy
ROAD TRAFFIC STRATEGY

.--(1) It shall be the duty of the Secretary of State (in respect of England) or the National Assembly for Wales (in respect of Wales), within one year of the coming into force of this Act, to prepare a strategy specifying an indicative level of road traffic for each year over the next ten years such that by the year 2010, total road traffic miles do not exceed 90 per cent. of the levels which apply on the day when this Act comes into force.
(2) In preparing the strategy the Secretary of State or National Assembly for Wales shall consult such persons as they see fit.
(3) The Secretary of State or the National Assembly for Wales shall as soon as is practicable after its completion publish the strategy and take such steps as are in their opinion necessary to ensure that the indicative levels are met.
(4) The Secretary of State or the National Assembly for Wales shall thereafter report from time to time on the progress of the strategy.
(5) The Secretary of State or the National Assembly for Wales may amend the strategy from time to time as they see fit to ensure that the indicative levels are met.").

The noble Baroness said: Before I go any further, I confess that I share the doubts of the noble Lord, Lord Brabazon of Tara, about the wisdom of starting consideration of the Bill so late in the day. We shall be dealing with some important amendments. We shall try to be brief but sometimes it will not be possible to be brief because the issues raised in the amendments are complicated.

Amendment No. 372 would introduce a new clause before Clause 253, which is the first clause in Part V of the Bill. The clause requires the Secretary of State or the National Assembly for Wales to prepare, within one year of the coming into force of this Act, a 10-year road safety strategy. The purpose of the strategy is a reduction of road traffic miles to 90 per cent of their current levels by the year 2010. It requires the two authorities to consult about the formation of the strategy, to take appropriate action to achieve the objectives of the strategy, to report on progress and to amend the strategy if necessary. The new clause is a refined and simplified version of the substantive clauses of the Road Traffic Reduction (National Targets) Bill which was introduced into this House in June 1998. Indeed, that Bill provided for other approaches to the problem of increasing road traffic to be adopted. This amendment is a continuation of that approach.

I shall not go into the details of the argument which I deployed two years ago. We are all aware of the cost in environmental damage, reduction of quality of life and crowded roads and streets of the rising tide of traffic. Indeed, increasing prosperity has worsened all of these effects. The CPRE has suggested that traffic could double or even treble by the year 2025. It is enough to say that, in their recently issued 10-year plan for transport, with its return to a large package of road-building, the Government have emphasised the need to reduce congestion rather than what causes it.

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Unfortunately, road-building, even the building of by-passes which may offer temporary relief to hard-pressed villages and towns, does absolutely nothing to reduce the number of journeys made by private car or lorry and, more particularly, the length of such journeys. Indeed, they may contribute to the opposite--more and longer journeys by road.

The new clause seeks to provide a mechanism to make reduction in the number and length of journeys by road one of the considerations which influences and informs government policy over the next 10 years. I beg to move.


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