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Baroness Hamwee: I am sorry, I thought I had made this clear. The amendment seeks to ask whether the word "includes" means "includes only". It is exactly the same point as was made in Amendment No. 117A. If it has to await further consideration, I am happy for it to do so, but I wanted at least to speak to it because the same point arises.

Lord Bassam of Brighton: I understand the point entirely. A question was raised as to whether people could complain that they have to foot the bill. The answer to that is simple: no. Of course, they can vote in the ballot and that gives them the opportunity to participate in the process. They can make complaints publicly and campaign loudly, but their primary route

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is to participate and to be involved. If they disagree with the project in hand they have the right to vote. It is important for them to exercise that right.

Baroness Hanham: I thank the Minister for his reply. I believe he has replied to one more question that I asked. Subsection (2)(b), one of the areas about which I complained, concerns the domestic ratepayers entitled to vote in the ballot that will be identified by regulations not subject to the affirmative situation. That raises a point that I raised earlier about who is entitled to vote. There may be more. It was suggested that the ratepayer would be the person who would have the vote—I think that was the suggestion. The ratepayer may have three properties in the same road.

I do not believe we have the draft regulations, but it would have been helpful to have them so that in such a situation we would know how that matter will be identified. We will not be able to discuss that any further beyond today. I presume that the regulations will be available before a BID is started so that the billing authority is able to identify who will pay the bill. That lines up with what the Minister has said regarding the fact that the authority will know from whom they have to raise the money. I presume that the regulations will be available at some stage.

Lord Bassam of Brighton: I want to make a point. By putting the matter into the regulations in the way in which we suggest—we have some sympathy with the point made—we will be able to carry out some further consultation so that further thought can be given to the matter. I do not know whether that helps, but we are trying to be as helpful as we can and to understand the point being made.

Baroness Hanham: I always worry when the Minister says that he is trying to understand the point I am making. I hear what he says about consultation and I hope that that is correct. In the mean time, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 129 and 130A not moved.]

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 131:


    Page 24, line 23, at end insert—


"( ) No regulations under subsection (1) which include provision of the kind mentioned in subsection (2)(b) shall be made by the Secretary of State unless a draft of the statutory instrument containing the regulations (whether containing them alone or with other provisions) has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament."

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 57, as amended, agreed to.

[Amendment No. 132 not moved.]

Clause 58 [Power to make further provision]:

Baroness Hanham moved Amendment No. 133:


    Page 24, line 30, at end insert—


"( ) No regulations may be made under subsection (1) unless a draft of the regulations has been laid before and approved by both Houses of Parliament."

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The noble Baroness said: I am looking to see whether the Minister has his name attached to this amendment. I am told off all the time so I have to carry out some self-preservation here. In moving Amendment No. 133 I shall speak also to Amendment No. 134. Amendment No. 133 reflects the concerns voiced by the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee and its comments on Clause 58 will be familiar to the Minister. I was going to read them out but I shall not because I believe that the Minister will say that the Government always follow what that committee says. We believe that we need that on the record. Can the Minister confirm that he will be adopting the recommendations of that committee on that point and, if not, why not?

Amendment No. 134 will leave out subsection (2) from Clause 58. I feel strongly that that undermines the parliamentary scrutiny. I am happy to see that there are so many Henry VIII powers scattered throughout the Bill. The Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee has drawn attention to them and we have tabled amendments in relation to all of them to ensure that attention is drawn to the fact that they are there. Can the Minister explain why Clause 58 is necessary? I beg to move.

6 p.m.

Lord Rooker: I will speak to government Amendment No. 135 and move it formally at the appropriate time.

Amendment No. 135 reflects the recommendations of the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee. The amendment will make the Secretary of State's powers under Clause 58(1), where it includes provision for amending an Act subject to the affirmative resolution. It is necessary to build flexibility into the BID arrangements, but I accept that in this case it is reasonable and sensible for Parliament to scrutinise the regulations. We are very happy to make the change, as recommended by the Committee.

Amendment No. 133 appears to seek to go further than recommended by the Committee; it would make all the regulations under Clause 58 subject to the affirmative procedure rather than just those which contain provisions amending an Act subject to the affirmative procedure. This is a question of balance and of finding a way of providing BIDs with sufficient flexibility while retaining the safeguards. The Committee's recommendations safeguard earlier enactments with affirmative resolutions, which seems sensible, but we are not convinced of the merits of going further.

Amendment No. 134 seeks to remove subsection (2) which gives the Secretary of State the power to amend legislation in order to give full effect to the business improvement district provisions. But the subsection is necessary to allow supplemental, incidental and transitional changes to previous legislation that will ensure that the provisions of this part of the Bill and any subordinate legislation work properly. I emphasise that it does not allow the Government to

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amend legislation for any other purpose. As government Amendment No. 135 will require the affirmative resolution for the relevant regulations, we could not make any changes without the consent of Parliament. I hope that explains it.

Reading subsections (1) and (2) of Clause 58 on their own, I fully accept that it looks like the Government could do anything to a lay person, but that is not the case. I took advice on this when the noble Lord, Lord Jenkin, was still here, because I thought if he reads Clause 58 he might think that there is a way of dealing with the owners already in the Bill. However, I am assured that that is not the case because the Clause refers to giving full effect to,


    "any provision made by or under this Part".

The owners are not included under this part, so this is not a catch-all to enable the Government to amend Acts of Parliament. Government Amendment No. 135 makes it clear that Parliament will have to approve any changes anyway.

Baroness Hanham: I thank the Minister for that explanation. It is a pity that legislation that includes provisions such as this then needs such explanation. If the Delegated Powers Committee had not drawn our attention to this, it might have slipped through without anybody raising questions about it and any explanation having to be given. At least the explanation is now in Hansard so people outside the House will at least know what the Government mean and that the provisions and regulations under Clause 58 will be made by affirmative resolution. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 134 not moved.]

Lord Rooker moved Amendment No. 135:


    Page 24, line 32, at end insert—


"( ) No regulations under subsection (1) which include provision amending an Act shall be made by the Secretary of State unless a draft of the statutory instrument containing the regulations (whether containing them alone or with other provisions) has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament."

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 58, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 59 to 62 agreed to.

Clause 63 [Small business relief]:

The Earl of Caithness moved Amendment No. 136:


    Page 27, line 13, leave out subsection (5).

The noble Earl said: We move now from BIDS to rating, a slightly esoteric subject for many Members of the Committee but one of great importance. I have to declare my interest: I am a surveyor. I am a consultant to an independent residential property company in London, but it does not do ratings so there is no financial benefit to me or my firm from any provision in this part of the Bill. I hope that that covers any declaration of interest or non-interest, and that I do not need to repeat it.

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Rating is a very simple tax. It is brilliant in concept because it is very easy to establish, levy and collect—and then the Government step in and make it horrendously complicated. On behalf of all my friends in the rating profession, may I thank the Government for all the extra work they will cause them and how much fun my fellow surveyors will have in the coming years as a result of the Government's actions? If the Government stuck to the "KISS" principle, that would make things very much more simple and speedy—businesses would know where they stood, the Government would be happier and doubtless local authorities would be too. But that is not the way of the world.

Clause 63 introduces a small business relief. I am not against that in principle, but it needs to be considered. Why the Government wish England to take so long to follow Scotland in introducing its small business relief, I do not know. Why they have specified a different figure and a different rateable value, I am not sure. Perhaps the Minister could explain.

Why the attempt to make the small business relief self-financing? The Government parade the idea that they want to help small businesses, but they are not helping them at all. They are allowing small businesses to receive something with one hand and taking it away from large businesses with the other. Of course the Government are not helping—the taxpayer is not helping. The Government have yet again issued forth a load of spin in this area.

Why is this revenue-neutral? Why is it revenue-neutral in one year? Why is it not spread over the whole period of the list? Why make it so much more complicated for businesses, large and small, some of whom will benefit and some of whom will be grossly disadvantaged by this? I beg to move.


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