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Lord Elis-Thomas: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Lucas of Chilworth, for moving this amendment because it gives us an opportunity to revisit, as he said, what we discussed on Friday, when I understand he was unable to be present for a felicitous reason. We congratulate him and wish him well on that particular happy event.
The reason for my reference to the Government of Wales Bill was that I had been moving a similar amendment to his regarding the needs of business and industry in that Bill, and I had been persuaded by the eloquence of my noble and learned friend the Solicitor General on that occasion that the wording I was proposing was not required on the face of the Bill. The point of my reference on Friday was that I was hoping that Members opposite would take a similar view in regard to the amendments that they were moving. That was the intention of my reference there: it was by analogy, as it were, that I was arguing that.
I am grateful to my noble friend Lord Berkeley for emphasising that in a sustainable approach to transport policy we should, as a duty, almost automatically as part of such a policy bear in mind the needs of business, commerce and industry in all aspects. This is not just, as I indicated last Friday, the needs of the transportation industry itself, but also the needs of the businesses that use and have to select between different modes of transport. What we are trying to do in this Bill by setting the targets is to have a framework in which the decisions about modes of transport will be made on a more rational basis. It is not about undermining the present level of transportation business. It is about promoting alternatives in a more effective way.
Lord Lucas of Chilworth: My Lords, I am grateful, first of all, to the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, for his contribution because I want to assure him, as indeed I want to assure the House, that the Confederation of British Industry, whom he quoted, is well seized of its obligations with regard to the need to bring some balance into this debate.
There is no intention--I do not know where the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, gets the idea--to seek to make an exclusive list. What I am saying to him, particularly regarding his very anti-car attack on the use of the business car, which he has described as a "tax perk", is that I think he ought to go back just a few years and recall the reasons why motor cars became part of remuneration packages. He might not like what his memory tells him because it was in fact his party which forced that issue. There is no relevance, but if he is going to bring up these points I think he ought to be quite sure of the facts. In making the suggestion that he did, perhaps he is reflecting some of the feelings on his side of the House that this Bill is, despite protestations, anti-car. I do not see it that way myself.
The Minister spoke about trust. I am sorry that she used that word, because I am always pretty sceptical about assurances given by Ministers. Ministers do not actually stay in post for too long: new ones do come along, and there may be other circumstances which drive out of focus the imperative I tried to draw to your Lordships' attention this evening. I thank the noble Lord, Lord Elis-Thomas--
Lord Brabazon of Tara: My Lords, would my noble friend give way for one moment? The noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, was talking about excluding the interests of business, commerce and industry from those who are affected by the Bill. Would my noble friend not agree that all his amendment actually does is to ask the Secretary of State to have regard to those matters, not to exclude them?
Turning to the noble Lord, Lord Elis-Thomas, I thank him for his kind remarks. I thought perhaps that he was going to offer me a small gift to celebrate the occasion by accepting the amendment, but apparently not. Of course there is going to be automatic consideration, he says, of the needs which I have discussed and which have been pointed out by my noble friend. There is no automaticity in things that are unwritten. I am not happy with the situation. I think that what I have asked for is quite reasonable. It is that business, commerce and industry, which use transport for business, should have a seat at the table.
Baroness Hayman: My Lords, I was trying to assist the noble Lord by suggesting that he did not have to rely on trusting me, although undertakings given from the Front Bench that these are issues that the Government will take into account should be taken as proper undertakings. If he looks at Clause 2(1) and (2) he will see that in both cases the Secretary of State is under an obligation to publish a report as to his decisions, and those reports will clearly state the reasoning behind his decision to set or not set targets and cover the areas with which he is concerned.
Lord Lucas of Chilworth: My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister. I know that she will not take my remarks personally. Nevertheless, I should feel happier to have the needs I have described on the face of the Bill, as are the needs of the disabled--
Lord Elis-Thomas: My Lords, perhaps I may help the noble Lord on the needs of persons with disabilities and the adequate provision of taxi services in rural and non-rural areas under Clause 4(a) and (b). That was discussed on Friday. Those are different groups of people and different places where there are transportation pressures. Rural and non-rural areas are selected, as it were, at the two ends of the spectrum of difficulties of provision. That is an entirely different specification from his broad-brush request relating to the needs of business, commerce and industry.
I make no promises about gifts because that would be out of order, but I press the noble Lord to consider whether what he is demanding has been set out clearly in the Minister's assurances. With respect, I suggest that that is the case.
Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.
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