Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Deregulation Fifteenth Report


FIFTEENTH REPORT



8 MAY 2000

By the Select Committee appointed to report whether the provisions of any bill inappropriately delegate legislative power, or whether they subject the exercise of legislative power to an inappropriate degree of parliamentary scrutiny; to report on documents laid before Parliament under section 3(3) of the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994 and on draft orders laid under section 1(4) of that Act; and to perform, in respect of such documents and orders, the functions performed in respect of other instruments by the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments.

ORDERED TO REPORT

DRAFT REGULATORY REFORM BILL

Introduction

1. The Government describes the Regulatory Reform Bill as a key part of its regulatory reform agenda. The main provision of the Bill is intended to remove some of the barriers to wider application of the deregulation order-making power under sections 1-4 of the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994 (DCOA). In the Government's own words "the new order-making power is intended to be wide enough, but no wider than necessary, to deal with regulatory reform measures which the Government wishes to achieve."[1] In parallel with the widening of the power, the Bill strengthens the tests and safeguards governing its use. We draw attention at the outset of this report to the fact that the new power is very significantly wider than the existing deregulation order-making power.

2. The Bill also makes provision to replace section 5 of DCOA, which is concerned with enforcement of regulations, replacing a little-used procedure with a reserve power for Ministers to set out a code of good practice in enforcement.

3. The Bill, which has had a lengthy gestation period, was announced in the Queen's Speech in 1999. On 18 April 2000 the Government published the Bill in draft, as a Command Paper, "so that the Deregulation Committee in the House of Commons and the Delegated Powers and Deregulation Committee in the House of Lords can consider it and report formally on the proposals".[2] We warmly welcome our continued involvement in pre-legislative scrutiny.[3] Although the two Committees were asked to report on the present draft Bill within a month, this enabled us to consider the present draft on three occasions, and to take oral evidence in public session from Lord Falconer of Thoroton, Minister of State in the Cabinet Office. The full transcript of this evidence is printed with this report.

The Parliamentary Deregulation Committees

4. The House of Commons Deregulation Committee has similar functions to our own with regard to deregulation proposals. We have co-operated closely with that Committee, while operating entirely independently of it. In particular, there is a complete exchange of papers between the two Committees, including the exchange of evidence from witnesses, thereby avoiding unnecessary duplication of effort. Throughout the past five years the relations between the two Deregulation Committees have been excellent, even though we have never exercised our power to meet concurrently.

5. In our evidence to the Royal Commission on House of Lords Reform last year we commented that "this full co-operation between the Commons and Lords Committees is regrettably unusual at Westminster, and is a practice which we strongly commend in the light of our experience. We do not underestimate the change of culture which will be necessary to achieve this co-operation."

6. In addition to our role in connection with deregulation proposals we have a further role as a Delegated Powers Scrutiny Committee, for which there is no parallel in the House of Commons. In this report the Committee is responding to the draft bill principally in our role as a Delegated Powers Committee. Most of our concerns relate to the width of the order-making powers. The deregulation procedure as such gives us few concerns because of the requirements of consultation and Parliamentary consideration contained in the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994, and the additional proposed safeguards. The House of Commons Deregulation Committee will be responding separately on these procedural issues.

The Deregulation Process

7. The Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994 provides a two-stage process for the parliamentary scrutiny of deregulation orders which, in all cases, must be preceded by consultation. Section 3 of the 1994 Act requires the Minister, before making a deregulation order, to "consult such organisations as appear to him to be representative of interests substantially affected by his proposals". Further consultation takes place when the Committees of each House invite the submission of oral or written evidence. Effective consultation is essential to maintain confidence in the deregulation system and to ensure that proposals have been tested by the opinion of those who would be affected by them.

8. A document containing the proposal is laid under section 3(3) of the Act in the form of a draft of the order, together with explanatory material; and we and the Commons equivalent committee have 60 days in which to consider and report on it. [4] The Government then lay under section 1(4) of the Act a draft order, either in its original form or amended to take account of the two committees' views, for approval by resolution of each House.[5] In the Lords a motion to approve a draft order can only be moved after we have made a second report on it.[6]

9. In addition to the Minister tabling a motion that the House should approve the draft order, there is in the House of Lords the opportunity for a debate, if any peer wishes it, on an accompanying motion at the same time as the motion to approve a draft order. The companion motion is moved first and can be amended and voted on. There is a Government undertaking that, in the event of a motion hostile to a draft deregulation order being agreed to by the House, the motion for the draft order would not be moved.[7] Although this procedure has never been used, it underlines the principle that the House of Lords has the right to reject draft deregulation orders, and we therefore attach great importance to it. The Government has drawn attention to this procedure in the explanatory notes to the draft bill.[8]

10. Consultation is therefore at the heart of the deregulation process, and one of the Committee's tasks is to decide whether consultation has been adequate. We have used two criteria here: first, the extent of the consultation; secondly, the time allowed for responses. We have criticised certain proposals which have come close to failing one or other of these tests, and one - the Draft Deregulation (Sunday Dancing) Order 1995 - has actually failed.

11. Unlike the House of Commons, this House has not made a Standing Order setting out our scrutiny task in detail and regulating our work.[9] Our scrutiny of deregulation proposals is governed therefore by our terms of reference and by the 1994 Act. The first deregulation proposal was deposited on 5th April 1995. Since then, 46 deregulation orders have been made. Most of these can best be described as implementing "small but worthy" reform. We do not see this as a criticism of the process. In all cases the orders have been used to remove burdens from businesses or individuals, and in most cases we suspect that these burdens would not otherwise have been removed for lack of parliamentary time. During the five years that the Act has been in operation this Committee has only rejected two proposals.[10]

12. The main thing to be said about the Deregulation procedure since the May 1997 general election is that it has been comparatively little used, as the Table shows. There have been only nine stage 2 deregulation orders[11] since May 1997. We would have expected the deregulation procedure to have been used rather more than it has been over the past three years.

DEREGULATION STATISTICS BY SESSION
94-95
95-96
96-97
97-98
98-99
Number of stage 1 deregulation proposals reported on
8 (incl. one which the Committee recommended should not proceed)
19
17 (incl. one which the Committee recommended should not proceed)
7
2
Number of stage 2 deregulation orders reported on
2
21
14
5
4

Notes:

  • The first deregulation proposal was deposited on 5 April 1995.
  • During the 1993-94 session the Committee reported twice on the Deregulation and Contracting Out Bill.
  • During the 1999-2000 session to date the Committee has reported on only one stage 1 deregulation proposal.

13. In our Special Report on the 1997-98 session we commented in the following terms on the falling-off of the use of the deregulation procedure:

"We understand that the Government is considering proposals for reform of the deregulation process. We are not opposed, in principle, to minor reforms of this process. In the Committee's view, however, the comparative dearth of deregulation proposals during the 1997-98 session had little, if anything, to do with any inherent defects in the deregulation process, and far more to the fact that the newly-elected Government had big manifesto commitments and therefore deregulation was not a priority."

Enhancing Parliamentary Scrutiny

14. During the passage of the Deregulation and Contracting Out Bill there was a considerable fear that the then Government's proposals would "cut out the crucial opportunity for parliamentarians to go through legislation line by line and to make ministers justify what they are doing."[12] As a result of these concerns the procedural safeguards in the Bill were strengthened, for example to allow the two Deregulation Committees 60 days to scrutinise each Stage 1 proposal, as opposed to the 40 days which the original Bill allowed.

15. The case for these additional safeguards has been proved over the past five years. But with them the parliamentary scrutiny of deregulation proposals has worked well. Far from cutting out the opportunity for parliamentarians to go through legislation line by line - an opportunity which, in practice, may be thwarted either by parliamentary procedures such as guillotining or selecting amendments, by parliamentary practices such as late night sittings, or by the activities of the Whips - we believe that the Deregulation Committee procedure has enhanced detailed parliamentary scrutiny of proposals which might otherwise either not have seen the light of parliamentary day or might have received only the most cursory scrutiny.

16. As we have already observed, consultation is at the heart of the deregulation process. Unlike some of its Commonwealth counterparts, which have considerable experience of legislative consultation, for the Westminster Parliament the consultation process for deregulation proposals has been a novel experiment. Despite - or perhaps partly because of - our criticisms of the way in which the consultation process has been carried out in some cases - we consider the experiment of pre-legislative processes inherent in the deregulation procedure to have been a considerable success, and one which could usefully be built on by extending the exercise to selected public bills and statutory instruments. Lord Falconer agreed with this view (Q 10). Indeed, he drew attention to the fact that the parliamentary Deregulation Order procedures had been deemed such a success that they had been built on for the new order-making power in the Local Government Act 1999 (Q 11).

17. The concept of two-session parliamentary scrutiny of public bills, to allow a substantially increased time for consultation and a less pressured parliamentary timetable, is gaining wider currency. Our experience of consultation on deregulation proposals leads us to the unsurprising, and welcome, conclusion that those most immediately affected by legislative change often make important comments on proposals.[13]

18. In our consultation-based scrutiny of proposals for draft Deregulation Orders we are used to proposing changes, where these are necessary, to Deregulation Orders, and we are able to do so under the terms of the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994. In every case to date where we have recommended the amendment of a draft Deregulation Order, the Government has amended the draft Order accordingly. This power for Parliament to secure amendment is not available for other statutory instruments, where both Houses of Parliament are faced with the stark options of "take it or leave it" - options which, in practice, sometimes mean that Parliament agrees to statutory instruments in the knowledge that they are technically incorrect. Our detailed experience of the working of Deregulation and Contracting Out Act leads us to believe that this Parliamentary control over Deregulation Orders should be extended to other selected statutory instruments.

The March 1999 Consultation Document

19. In March 1999 the Cabinet Office issued a consultation document on its proposals to amend the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994. Forty-seven individuals or organisations responded to these proposals,[14] including both Parliamentary Deregulation Committees. We reported on those proposals in our fourteenth report of last session.[15] The Government's original proposals, and our response to them, are outlined in Annex 1 to this report. The Government response to that report was published as an Annex to our 28th report of last session.[16]

Subsequent Developments

20. In September 1999 the Government announced that "Following a consultation exercise on the proposed changes, these proposals have now further crystallised. The Government intends to carry forward the following proposals as described in the consultation document:

  • the proposal to allow deregulation orders to impose limited additional burdens in the interests of the greater good;
  • the proposal to allow the use of deregulation orders to clarify the law;
  • the proposal to allow the use of deregulation orders to remove or reduce burdens on government;
  • the proposal to allow the order-making power to apply to legislation passed after 1994."

21. Some of these proposals were wide-ranging in the extreme. As indicated above, they included a proposal to allow the use of deregulation orders to remove or reduce burdens on government. We note that this proposal, and a number of others, have now been dropped. Since September the Government has further amended some of the remaining proposals, and strengthened the safeguards. The result is the present draft bill.

SECTION 5 OF THE ACT

22. In September 1999 the Government issued a consultation document on the revision of the enforcement provisions contained in section 5 of the 1994 Act.[17] Section 5 gives Ministers powers that can be exercised by Order to:

·  require that when, outside formal enforcement action, an enforcement officer tells a business that it should take some remedial action, the business is entitled on request to a written statement making clear what action is necessary and why;

·  require enforcers, where they take immediate enforcement action which would impose a significant cost, to provide a statement as soon as practicable explaining the reasons for the immediate action;

·  require enforcers to issue business with a notice that they are "minded to" take enforcement action; the business would then be entitled to have its point of view heard and taken into account within a specified period before any formal action was taken;

·  require that when formal action is taken, the business should be told exactly what rights it has to appeal; and

·  apply relevant provisions to third parties who have a direct economic interest.

23. In September 1999 the Regulatory Impact Unit issued a further consultative document, "Proposals to Improve the Quality of Enforcement Services: A Consultative Document on Section 5 of the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994". The current proposal in clause 9, which we examined from the viewpoint of the creation of a delegated power, is to replace Section 5 with a discretionary power for Ministers to set out a code of good enforcement. The intention is that the Government would only use these powers if it proved impossible to achieve widespread adoption of the existing Enforcement Concordat on a voluntary basis. A Code of Practice would be likely to be based on, but not identical to, the existing Enforcement Concordat.[18] Any secondary instrument would not carry a penalty. There would not be an obligation on enforcement bodies to follow the code but if they did not, courts and tribunals could take this into account along with the other circumstances of the case if the enforcement body took formal action. The proposal is designed to provide assurance to business and others that enforcers will follow good enforcement principles and procedures.

24. The new powers would be subject to the negative resolution procedure, which was the procedure accepted by Parliament for the power in the existing section 5.

25. In October 1999 the Committee considered the proposal for a delegated legislative power contained in the new consultation document and saw no objection to it. We agreed with the premise that the way in which regulations are enforced is as important as the regulations themselves, and commented as follows:

"Clearly the voluntary approach will only be effective in achieving consistency in enforcement practice if the overwhelming majority of enforcement agencies implement the Concordat within a reasonable timeframe. We note that in the first 18 months of the Concordat's existence only a quarter of local authorities signed up to it, which is presumably why the Government is seeking the powers.[19] No doubt Parliament, in examining any bill or draft bill, will want to be told the current figures for local authority subscription to the Concordat and, if the percentage is still low, to examine possible reasons for this."

26. Our view on this provision remains unchanged.

The Proposed New Order-Making Power

27. The current order-making power has mostly been used for small items. This was in line with a Government commitment during the passage of the bill, intended to allay fears that the novel powers which the then Government was proposing to take would be used responsibly.

28. The draft Regulatory Reform Bill seeks to extend the power very considerably. The explanatory notes state, more than once, that the "power is intended to be sufficiently wide, but no wider than necessary, to achieve regulatory reform". [20] The notes explain that the governing purpose in clause 1 is relied on to restrict the scope of the power, and it is with this that any application for judicial review of an order made under the power would be concerned. There are a number of significant differences between the proposed new order-making power and the power under DCOA. According to the explanatory notes, orders under the new power - expected to be called "regulatory reform orders" - will be capable of:

  • making and re-enacting statutory provision;
  • imposing additional burdens where necessary, provided they are proportionate and they strike a fair balance between the public interest and the interests of those affected by the new burden;
  • removing inconsistencies and anomalies in legislation;
  • dealing with burdensome situations caused by a lack of statutory provision to do something;
  • applying to legislation passed after the Bill if it is at least two years old when the order is made and has not been amended in substance during the last two years;
  • relieving burdens from anyone except Ministers and government departments (where only they would benefit); and
  • allowing administrative and minor detail to be further amended by subordinate provisions orders, subject to negative resolution procedure.

In addition, it is relevant that the area of activity covered by the draft bill is wider than that covered by the order-making power in the 1994 Act. The power in the 1994 Act is restricted to "a burden affecting any person in the carrying on of any trade, business or profession or otherwise".[21] In the present draft bill there is no qualification of the word activity.[22]

29. These differences, which we discussed with the Minister (QQ 13-37), amount to major extensions of the existing order-making power. As the Minister put it, "Under the old Bill, all that you could do was to identify a particular burden and then remove it ... piecemeal ... the effect of the new Bill is that you are able to look at new things across the whole gamut of the particular area of regulation. That is a very, very significant change" (Q 37).

30. The Minister informed us that it was considered within Government that the restrictions within the current legislation meant that the opportunities for its use had been more or less exhausted - hence the need, in the Government's view, for the new, much wider power (Q 4).

31. The test of maintaining necessary protection is carried over from the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act and supplemented by an additional test that no order should prevent anyone from exercising an existing right or freedom which they might reasonably expect to continue to exercise (the "reasonable expectations" test). Two further stringent tests (proportionality and fair balance) apply if an order would impose a burden. The requirements for extensive public consultation and scrutiny by the two Parliamentary Committees will remain. In addition, Ministers bringing forward regulatory reform orders will be required to present more explanatory information to Parliament than they did with deregulation orders, to reflect the wider powers and additional safeguards.

Opinion of the Committee

THE NATURE OF THE NEW ORDER-MAKING POWER

32. In 1994 the Delegated Powers Scrutiny Committee[23] reported twice on the Deregulation and Contracting Out Bill. It described the power conferred by Chapter I of Part I of that Bill as "unprecedented in time of peace". This power was controversial, and indeed opposed, at the time it was enacted, although it has become more widely accepted in use. But that power pales into insignificance when compared to the powers which are proposed to be taken by the draft Regulatory Reform Bill. We have no doubt that the House of Lords will wish to debate any such successor bill with rigour.

33. Our work on bills has involved the consideration of large numbers of new delegated legislative powers but those powers have hitherto been presented as supplementing substantive provisions of the bill. We have on occasions questioned whether a bill (or part of a bill) was a "skeleton" which did not have sufficient substance to support delegated powers, and these comments have always been acted on by the Government of the day. This bill is different. It does not outline a detailed framework for future secondary legislation. It is, as the Government acknowledges,[24] an enabling bill, creating a power to legislate by order on the topics covered by the majority of bills introduced in recent years. Depending on how this power was used by successive Governments, it would be capable of bringing about a major change in the long-standing arrangements for the parliamentary consideration of legislation.

34. There are few limits to the power in clause 1 of the draft bill to amend existing legislation. The new power goes much wider than the existing deregulation power, as the explanatory notes indicate time and again.[25] Clause 1(1) requires that any order is made for the purpose of reforming legislation which has the effect of imposing burdens affecting any person in the carrying on of any activity. Most legislation could be regarded as having such an effect. A considerable proportion of all bills are concerned with the amendment of earlier legislation which imposes burdens on individuals or corporations or which authorises or enables categories of person to act in a particular way. The proposal could allow much of the legislative programme to be implemented by orders rather than by bills.

35. We have already referred to the assertion in the explanatory notes that the proposed power is "no wider than necessary" to achieve regulatory reform. This may well be true: we have certainly found ourselves unable to define the power in a way which would cover all the reforms which Ministers have in mind but exclude matters about which Ministers have no intention of legislating by order. Lord Falconer readily acknowledged that there is no precise line drawn in the draft bill between matters in respect of which it is appropriate to legislate by way of order and other matters in respect of which it would not be so appropriate, nor is it the Government's intention to try to draw one. It will, he said, be for Ministers to decide whether or not the use of the new power would be "appropriate" (Q 13), likening the task of so deciding to the difficulty of defining an elephant. "You cannot describe it but you know it when you see it" (Q 13). When asked whether he would "be content to rely totally on a successor administration's definition or interpretation of what was appropriate and what an elephant was" Lord Falconer replied "Yes, I would" (Q 16). He also relied on the safeguard that both Committees would be expected to comment if they considered a proposal inappropriate. It would therefore be open to a future Government, of a presently unknown political complexion, to propose changes of potentially great significance by means of an order.

THE SAFEGUARDS

36. There are clearly strong arguments that a broader regulatory order-making power would be useful. But this is a bill of an enabling nature cast in wide terms. We do not believe that these new powers could conceivably be acceptable to the House in principle unless there were stringent safeguards to protect against potential abuse, including a sufficient measure of Parliamentary control. The House will obviously want to scrutinise the safeguards extremely carefully.

37. We have already set out the protection afforded by the existing procedures. We welcome the new safeguards which have been provided in the draft bill, including the Human Rights safeguards. We attach particular importance to the Government's acceptance of our recommendations that the legislation (i) should establish the circumstances under which an order imposing limited additional burdens in the interests of the greater good might be brought forward, (ii) that any such order should strike a fair balance between the general interest of the community and the rights of the individual, (iii) that it should not be disproportionate and (iv) that it should not adversely affect any right or freedom which those concerned might reasonably expect to be able to continue to enjoy. Like the Government, we also attach considerable importance to the other safeguards which would be put in place, including widescale consultation, a regulatory impact assessment and examination by the two Parliamentary scrutiny Committees.

38. In addition, in his oral evidence Lord Falconer confirmed that the Government was in principle sympathetic to a suggestion which the Committee had made earlier that there should be a five year review of the operation of each deregulation order (Q 1).

39. We are conscious that the Government regards the two Parliamentary Deregulation Committees as valuable protections against the abuse of this unprecedently wide power. In particular, it contemplates the two Committees deciding whether the use of the power is appropriate (Q 53). Clearly the Committees would provide some protection. But from our own standpoint we do not consider - however flattering it might be to do so - that the fact that we carry out this work to the best of our ability within the existing framework is lasting protection against the misuse of the extremely wide powers now proposed. Although to date the Government has always acted on our recommendations regarding draft deregulation orders, it is not obliged to do so, but only to take account of our reports. The legislation allows the Minister to continue regardless of the views of either Committee (though those views will, of course, inform the subsequent debates on the resolutions to approve the draft Order).

40. Paragraph 7 of the Explanatory Notes to the draft bill states that "on no occasion has a Minister ignored an adverse report from either Committee; the proposed order has always been re-cast or withdrawn accordingly. The Government intends to continue this practice in its use of regulatory reform orders." Clearly this is important and welcome, but it is a promise given only on behalf of the present Government, and not its successors.

41. In paragraph 8 of this report we have drawn attention to the Government undertaking that, in the event of a motion hostile to a draft deregulation order being agreed to by the House of Lords, the motion for the draft order would not be moved. In oral evidence Lord Falconer accepted in principle that this undertaking would apply to the present bill (Q 62). He also accepted that if a motion hostile to a draft order were agreed to the Government would have to start the order-making process again from scratch (Q 64). This is clearly the strongest ultimate safeguard.

42. We have also repeatedly reminded the Government that when Parliament considered the Deregulation and Contracting Out Bill there was an accompanying document giving carefully worked out synopses of examples of the way in which the power would be used, many of which resulted in deregulation proposals.[26] This proved helpful in demonstrating to Parliament how the powers would be used and enabled Ministers to show that the advantages to be gained justified the risks of conferring apparently wide powers. We consider that a similar document would be of even greater value this time.

43. Finally, we note that the few examples which the Government has given of ways in which the new power would be used involve significant pieces of legislation, each equivalent to a bill. The proposal to reform the fire safety regime in particular, which is currently spread across about 120 pieces of primary legislation and a similar number of statutory instruments,[27] would involve the Committee in a major scrutiny task, and it is likely that the Committee would receive a substantial amount of evidence on the detailed policy elements of such proposals. The Committee's work has already expanded in recent years and it is inevitable that we would need additional resources to make such scrutiny possible.

44. The Committee has considered the subject matter of the draft bill for over a year, during which time both we and the Government have tried to think of ways in which the power could be circumscribed on the face of the bill in such a way to make its abuse impossible.[28] During this consultation period neither we nor the Government have been able to find a fail-safe solution capable of expression in amendments to the draft bill. The Government could provide undertakings during the passage of the bill, and these would be welcome. But, as the Minister readily admitted, an assurance given on the floor of the House cannot bind a successor Government (Q 25).

Conclusion

45. During a protracted consultation process the Government has listened to our concerns and dropped many of its original proposals whilst strengthening the safeguards in the bill. The main issue which the present draft bill raises - the considerable widening of the power to legislate by order - is one for the House as a whole to decide.

46. The preservation of the supremacy of Parliament is a matter of crucial constitutional importance. The Government has so far been unable to circumscribe the legislation so as to limit it to those objectives which they say they wish to achieve, and the power has been left open-ended. For this reason the Government attaches great significance to the substantial safeguards including the two Parliamentary Deregulation Committees, to which they look for guidance as to whether each use of the power will be appropriate. Only Parliament itself can decide whether this guidance from the Committees and the unfettered and important power of either House to refuse to approve the final draft order makes this unprecedentedly wide power acceptable.[29]

APPENDIX

The members of the Select Committee are:

    L. Alexander of Weedon (Chairman)
    L. Ampthill
    L. Dahrendorf
    L. Goodhart
    L. Hogg of Cumbernauld
    L. Mayhew of Twysden
    L. Merlyn-Rees
    L. Prys-Davies
    L. Waddington


1   Explanatory notes to the draft Bill, paragraph 3 (printed in Cm 4713). Back

2   Cm 4713. Back

3   This is the first draft bill to be considered by a House of Lords Committee this session, and the fourth draft bill which has come before this Committee for pre-legislative scrutiny of its delegated powers. In our 7th report of this session (HL Paper 36) we sought to evaluate the involvement of House of Lords Committees in pre-legislative scrutiny. Back

4   We refer to this elsewhere in this report as stage 1. Back

5   We refer to this elsewhere in this report as stage 2. Back

6   Standing Order 70(1)(b). Back

7   House of Lords Deb., 20 October 1994, col. 352. Back

8   Paragraph 9. Back

9   See Commons Standing Order 141. Back

10   The first proposal which the Committee rejected was that for the Draft Deregulation (Sunday Dancing) Order 1995 (15th Report, session 1994-95, HL Paper 102). In the 1996-97 session we reported that it would be inappropriate to proceed with the proposal for the Draft Deregulation (Civil Aviation Act 1982) Order 1997 as there appeared to be a doubt whether it was intra vires. Back

11   Taking sessions 1997-98 and 1998-99 together, and excluding the Sunday Dancing and Licensing Proposal of this session, which has not yet reached second stage scrutiny. Back

12   Jonathan Hirst QC, quoted in The Times of 20 January 1994. Back

13   For example, the Committee recommended amendments to the Draft Deregulation (Licence Transfers) Order 1997 to meet points raised in evidence by Birmingham Magistrates' Court and Paisner & Co solicitors, both of which have detailed working knowledge of licensing law (21st Report 1996-97, HL Paper 72, paragraphs 93-95 and 104). Back

14   These responses are summarised on the Cabinet Office website at http://www.cabinet-office.gov.uk/regulation/index/orders.htm Back

15   14th report session 1998-99, HL Paper 55. Back

16   28th report session 1998-99, HL Paper 111. Back

17   Proposals to Improve the Quality of Enforcement Services: a Consultative Document on Section 5 of the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994 was published on 28 September 1999. Back

18   Explanatory notes to the draft Bill, paragraph 74. Back

19   By March 2000, the Concordat had been adopted by about half the local authorities in England and Wales (including all County Councils) and by the vast majority of central government enforcement agencies. In the light of take-up of the Concordat, the Government is seeking only a reserve power (explanatory notes to the draft Bill, paragraph 20). Back

20   Explanatory notes to the draft Bill, paragraph 10. Back

21   1994 Act, s 1(1)(a). Back

22   Clause 1(1) of the draft bill refers to "burdens affecting persons in the carrying on of any activity". Back

23   As the present Committee was then called. Back

24   See paragraph 92 of the explanatory notes: "As an enabling Act, it [the Bill] will itself have no financial effect." Back

25   For example, paragraphs 3, 10, 11, 27. Back

26   DTI, Deregulation: Cutting Red Tape, January 1994. Back

27   See paragraph 29 of the Explanatory Notes to the draft Bill. Back

28   For one example of our efforts, see QQ 22-24 of the oral evidence. Back

29   This report is also published on the Internet at the House of Lords Select Committee Home Page (http://www.parliament.uk), where further information about the work of the Committee is also available. Back


 
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