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"Relating To Housing Revenue Account And Housing Subsidies"

Volume 890: debated on Monday 21 April 1975

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No. 15, in Schedule 1, page 12, leave out lines 1 to 37.

These are all minor and drafting amendments. They are linked with the proposed new Schedule which we shall be incorporating, I trust, later in the Bill—Schedule No. 2A which is dealt with by Amendment No. 18.

On that basis, I commend these Lords Amendments to the House.

The Minister of State is putting us in a great difficulty in this and other matters. The list of amendments appears to be larger than the Bill itself. We find ourselves in a very difficult situation when we have Lords amendments which are in total about as large as the Bill.

The Minister has said that these are drafting and consequential amendments, but there are one or two on which we should like to ask questions. Not only do we have Lords amendments, but we also have a list of amendments in the name of the Secretary of State to that group of amendments. There has been a great deal of confusion, which was highlighted by the Secretary of State when he was addressing the conference of the STUC in Aberdeen on Friday, and when he indicated that these amendments would deal with the situation arising out of the Local Government (Scotland) Bill in relation to the Clydebank councillors. Therefore, I think there is a great deal of confusion on the part of the Government.

Lords Amendment No. 12 takes out the reference in Clause 11 to the note in Schedule 1. Why is that reference being removed when the note at the end of Schedule 1, unlike other notes which are taken out, is to remain?

Next, why is the Minister proposing to make Lords Amendments Nos. 14 and 15? The title of Schedule 1 is "Miscellaneous and consequential amendments", but by Lords Amendment No. 15 it is proposed to remove the miscellaneous Part III. Why is that? It does not seem to make drafting sense.

When I was asked to handle these Lords amendments by my colleague the Under-Secretary of State who usually deals with these matters—who, the House will be glad to know, has gone to the Law of the Sea Conference at Geneva—I had not realised that the volume of Lords amendments was longer than the original Bill, so I was a little surprised to find that that was so, as the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Taylor) is. However, I shall do my best to deal with all these matters as we come to them.

I turn now to the hon. Gentleman's questions. Lords Amendment No. 12 takes out the words in Clause 11
"but subject to the note at the end of that Schedule ".
These words are put in at the appropriate points of the Bill itself by Lords Amendments Nos. 1 and 2 to Clauses I and 3.

The rest of Schedule 1, that is, Part III thereof, is taken out by Lords Amendment No. 15 because the provisions of Part III appear in the new Schedule 2A which is the subject of Lords Amendment No. 18. The reason for the change is that it was thought desirable for the convenience and easier understanding of those who will have to deal with this legislation that Schedule 1 should be divided into two parts, the first—that is, Part I and Part II—remaining in Schedule 1 and the second—that is, Part III—forming part of the new Schedule 2A along with several other provisions which I shall explain in due course. That explanation applies also to Lords Amendment No. 14 because, after the removal of Part III from Schedule 1, the description inserted by Lords Amendment No. 14 relates accurately to Parts I and II of Schedule 1.

Question put and agreed to.

Subsequent Lords Amendment agreed to.