Unopposed Bill Committee Minutes of Evidence

Sections 440-459

London Local Authorities Bill [HL]

Tuesday 18 February 2003

440. CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Do you happen to know whether anybody is actually making this point in the House in the Committee stage of the Courts Bill?

441. MR LEWIS: I am not sure. I have not looked myself at the reports. I am not aware of anyone from the borough councils ----

442. CHAIRMAN: I wonder if anyone has been briefed to do so. We are on about the sixth day already. I have the Order Paper here. It does not say what day it is but it is quite a few.

443. LORD TORDOFF: Could we find out if this part of the Bill has been passed through the Committee already and, if not, whether there are any amendments down.

444. MR LEWIS: I suspect it is a simple repeal provision. If it is the repeal clause at the end of the Bill then it is unlikely, I would have thought.

445. CHAIRMAN: It is also a Bill which started in this House so it will have to go through the House of Commons.

446. MR LEWIS: I do not think there is any controversy over the actual repeal of Section 59B and I doubt very much if there will be any change to that intention. The Promoters have no views on that, it is just a question of when it happens really.

447. CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Perhaps that is not something we need concern ourselves with.

448. MR LEWIS: Clause 31, Hotel Proprietors Act 1956. This clause was, of course, dealt with in the Select Committee and was allowed to proceed with the amendments proposed by the Promoters.

449. Clause 32 we shall deal with in the morning.

450. Now we come to Clause 33, my Lord. I believe you may have been warned about this but we had some last minute correspondence with the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister who reported against this clause. We have made a proposal to them for a possible amendment which we think might well meet their concerns but as yet we have not received a response from them. They are here and I wonder if we might perhaps either adjourn for a short period just to see where we stand on that or, in the alternative, I can proceed with the remaining clauses and come back to it but we would still need some time to have a word with them.

451. CHAIRMAN: I think it might be convenient for us to adjourn because we might just be able to come to a conclusion on 27 to whatever it was during that time. We will adjourn until quarter past three.

452. MR LEWIS: That should be fine.

After a short break

453. CHAIRMAN: Ladies and gentlemen, before we continue with the Bill, while you have been negotiating amongst yourselves on the advertisements clause we have concluded on the section of the fixed penalties, 26 to 29, and our conclusion is as follows: we find that the proposed Clause 29A is potentially in conflict with the provisions of Clause 116 of the Local Government Bill which is currently before the House of Commons and we therefore cannot agree that that clause should proceed. We agree to the remainder of the Clauses 26 to 29 with the amendments proposed in the Filled Bill.

454. MR LEWIS: Thank you, my Lord.

455. CHAIRMAN: We will, of course, as with the last one, be giving our reasons when we produce our report.

456. MR LEWIS: My Lord, I am pleased to report that our discussions were fruitful while you were away. The position we have reached with the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister who report against Clause 33 is this: we have been discussing very recently with them some proposed further amendments to this clause to meet the concerns which they have raised. We have not come to a final agreement on the drafting of further amendments and, understandably, the Department has to seek the agreement of other officials within the Department and also Ministers and there simply has not been enough time in the last few days for that to happen.

457. My Lord, we have put together a further paper of amendments, and I do apologise for the lateness of this, but of course I would hope that Mr Saunders would have some time perhaps before tomorrow to have a look at what we have put together. I should mention, as I have just suggested, these amendments are not agreed in a final form by the Department but they are certainly a significant step, I hope they will agree, to what they might be satisfied with at a later stage. It is, of course, open for the Department to come back in the House of Commons if they remain opposed to the clause with the additional proposed amendments. We, of course, accept that and we would not take any point against them if they do come back to the House of Commons and say that they have decided they would like Clause 33, at the worst, to be removed from the Bill or amended in a different way.

458. So, my Lord, that is the position. You have just received the amendments which themselves contain some manuscript amendments. Perhaps rather than spending time studying those in great detail right now I could, perhaps, describe what Clause 33 is all about, because we still need your approval for the Clause to go forward at all, whether or not the Department stand up and make any objection here today, which - as part of the agreement we have reached - they will not.

459. CHAIRMAN: I think we really should get this in the right order. We would like to know, first of all, what Clause 33 is all about and then we can agree to the amendments, with the fact that you have got further time to get it all right.

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