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Local Government, Planning And Land (No 2) Bill

Volume 414: debated on Thursday 30 October 1980

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Consideration on Report resumed.

moved Amendment No. 164ZA:

After clause 143, insert the following new clause:

( "Planning: Corporation and local highway authority.

(".—(1) The reference to the local planning authority in paragraph 17 of Schedule 16 to the Local Government Act 1972 (duty to include in a development order under section 24 of the 1971 Act provision enabling a local authority to impose restrictions on the grant by the local planning authority of planning permission for certain descriptions of development) shall not be construed as including a reference to an urban development corporation who are the local planning authority by virtue of an order under section 143 above, and no provision of a development order which is included in it by virtue of that paragraph is to be construed as applying to such a corporation.

(2) The Secretary of State may include in a development order under section 24 of the 1971 Act provision enabling a local highway authority to impose restrictions on the grant by an urban development corporation who are the local planning authority of planning permission under the 1971 Act for such descriptions of development as may be specified in the order.")

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this new clause enables the Secretary of State to limit the powers of restriction by the local highway authority over an urban development corporation acting as local planning authority, to those kinds of development that are specified in a development order. In commending this amendment I must make it plain that the Government accept that highway safeguards are important in urban development areas. However, the central position of the UDC, and the process of renewal that it will be carrying forward, mean that the local highway authority's powers should be tailored more precisely to the circumstances of UDAs. This amendment streamlines the process by which a UDC is able to grant planning permission to a proposal. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 144 [ Building control]:

moved Amendment No. 164ZB:

Page 124, line 28, at end insert ("boroughs").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, may I also speak to Amendments Nos. 164ZC, ZD, ZE and ZF, and say that these are technical, tidying-up amendments to this clause. They do not make substantive changes to the clause, and clarify the terminology used elsewhere in the clause. On this basis, I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

moved Amendment No. 164ZC:

Page 124, line 32, after ("London") insert ("boroughs").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I have spoken to this amendment. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

moved Amendment No. 164ZD:

Page 124, line 41, leave out ("(including a local Act)").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I have spoken to this amendment. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

moved Amendment No. 164ZE:

Page 125, line 5, leave out ("regulations or enactments") and insert ("legislation").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I have spoken to this amendment. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

moved Amendment No. 164ZE:

Page 125, line 19, at end insert—
(" "building legislation" means—
  • (a) the London building legislation;
  • (b) any other enactments under which the corporation is to exercise building control functions; and
  • (c) building regulations.").
  • The noble Lord said: My Lords, I have spoken to this amendment. I beg to move.

    On Question, amendment agreed to.

    Clause 150 [ Highways]:

    moved Amendment No. 164A:

    Page 128, line 30, after ("may") insert ("provided it has consulted with the street works authority prior to the execution of such street works)").

    The noble Viscount said: My Lords, on behalf of my noble friend Lord Evans of Claughton, I rise to move Amendment No. 164A. I think it would be for the convenience of the House if I spoke also to Amendment No. 164B, as they run together. These amendments were put forward by my noble friend at the Committee stage. It was very late at night, and I think it was the noble Lord, Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal, who gave the reply, which did not seem to take us very much further. My noble friend withdrew the amendments on the understanding that he could bring them forward again, which is what I am now doing on his behalf.

    This is a fairly simple question. It relates to Clause 150 which provides:

    "When any street works have been executed in a private street … in an urban development area, the urban development corporation may serve a notice on the street works authority requiring it to declare the street (or part) to be a highway"

    and to take on the responsibility for maintaining it.

    My noble friend's first amendment suggests that they can ask to have the street taken over only provided the street authority has been consulted before the execution of the works, which seems a sensible way of doing it. The clause provides that if the street works authority think the work is not up to the standard they need, they can apply to the court for an order. That seems an unnecessarily complicated way of doing it and that it would be better for the UDA to discuss with the street works authority before they do the work, so limiting the amount of discussion afterwards and the necessity to refer to the court.

    The second amendment is an extension of what is at present in the clause. The clause provides that the street authority can object and take action through the court if the work done on the private street has not brought it up to the standard of the UDA. My noble friend is suggesting that it should be brought up to the standard of the area in which the street works authority operates, perhaps outside the area of the UDA, rather than just bringing it up to a standard which might be lower within the area of the UDA. I beg to move.

    My Lords, I hope the noble Viscount, Lord Simon, particularly in view of what was said earlier when we were discussing this whole area of UDCs, will accept that the Government attach considerable importance to consultation with local authorities which would be concerned with UDCs. That is why we tabled Amendment No. 163 and why we shall now have a requirement for a UDC to prepare a code of practice as to consultation with the relevant local authorities about the exercise of its power.

    The kind of issues referred to by the noble Viscount appear to be related to the exercise by UDCs of the powers under Clause 150. If that is so, I consider that they would be among the items which could be included in a code. In view of that, I do not see why we need a separate provision requiring consultation over street works. I recognise that a street works authority, where there is to be a UDA, might be anxious about any proposals for road adoption which a UDC might have, and that surely is where the code comes in. If we are successfully to regenerate the urban development areas, it is important that access is created and improved between the areas of the dock estate and the remainder of the UDA and locality. It is also important that such access is created in ways that are realistic and it therefore seems important that the standards by which such road schemes are judged relate to the UDA and not necessarily to the wider locality.

    Thus, it is through the consultation mechanism that a UDC and a street works authority will be able to settle on standards that are mutually acceptable. That is the hope and anticipation, and perhaps the noble Viscount will take the view that we should see what happens and will not press the amendment. With everything we have said, especially in these really new areas—in the sense that we are moving into new fields—that will be the test at the end of the day.

    I shall be happy to rely on the code of practice, my Lords. There was only one point on which I was not sure, being nothing like so well informed on these subjects as my noble friend Lord Evans of Claughton, and that was whether the street works authority was necessarily the local authority within the meaning of the consultation.

    My Lords, I am sorry to have to answer the noble Viscount by saying that it can but it may not necessarily be the same; it will depend on the kind of area it is. We debated this point at length previously. If UDCs should ever go beyond the two into urban and metropolitan areas, then it will depend on the circumstances. The county authorities and metropolitan areas have certain functions as regards highways and streets, whereas the district authorities do not have that function. That makes it difficult for me to give a simple answer to the noble Viscount, much as I should like to do so, but I think he follows the gist of what I have said.

    I do indeed, my Lords, and I am grateful to the Minister for that explanation. I think it can be assumed that the code of practice will cover relationships not only with local authorities but with other authorities, possibly even with public utilities and the like. I am sure the code of practice could be extended to cover this case, and as my noble friend would no doubt be happy with that I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    [ Amendment No. 164B not moved.]

    Clause 156 [ Supply of goods, etc. by local authorities]:

    7.56 p.m.

    moved Amendment No. 164C:

    Page 134, line 21, at end insert—
    ("(4) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section and without prejudice to the generality of section 132(3)(b) and 132(3)(c) of this Act, a local authority may enter into agency arrangements with any urban development corporation for the purpose of achieving the object of that section.").

    The noble Viscount said: My Lords, I am almost out of my depth on this one, which I move on behalf of my noble friend Lord Evans of Claughton, who raised this point in Committee when he was not entirely happy with the reply he received. He wants to be quite sure that the UDC can act as an agent for the local authority and, equally, that the local authority can act as an agent for the UDC for the purpose of achieving the objects of this provision. My noble friend thought reluctantly he might have to return to the matter because those who had been advising him on it, Merseyside County Council, were not entirely satisfied with the reply given by the Minister. I beg to move.

    My Lords, as Clause 156 provides for local authorites to supply goods and services to a UDC, we have enabled local authorities to be paid for a wider range of goods and services that a UDC might require. What, however, we do not wish to do is to provide for local authorities to become agents of a UDC for the central purpose of achieving the object of the UDC under Clause 132. We should not have taken steps to set up UDCs in the first place if we thought there was a likelihood that the main function would be contacted out in the manner suggested in the amendment. That is the problem and I recall that when we discussed this in Committee there was not a great deal between the noble Lord, Lord Evans of Claughton, and myself over this. He just wanted to see whether he should take it further, which obviously he has done, but my answer is the one I have given; namely, that the amendment would go further than we believe is necessary in practice.

    My Lords, I am obliged for what the Minister said. Obviously, it would be rather ridiculous if a local authority had a number of professional services at its disposal just across the way and a UDC should then have to set up professional services of its own to deal with such matters as drainage, inspection or anything of that kind. Judging from what the noble Lord said, I think that the point is covered, that the UDC can employ the professional services of the adjacent local authority.

    My Lords, with the leave of the House, may I say that at the end of the day it will very much be a matter of what makes good sense. As the noble Viscount rightly said, if the situation is obvious and logical it would be silly of those who are running UDCs not to take advantage of what is available; I should certainly hope that they would. But there is a great difference between that and spelling out obligations, and it is probably there that we would slightly part company.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    Schedule 29 [ Urban Development Corporations: Finance etc.]:

    8.1 p.m.

    moved Amendment No. 165:

    Page 271, leave out from beginning of line 36 to end of line 12 on page 272 and insert—
    ("10.—(1) A corporation shall cause accounting records to be kept in accordance with the provisions of this section.
    (2) The accounting records shall be sufficient to show and explain the corporation's transactions.
    (3) The accounting records shall be such as to
  • (a) disclose with reasonable accuracy, at any time, the financial position of the corporation at that time; and
  • (b) enable the members of the corporation to ensure that any balance sheet prepared by them shows a true and fair view of the corporation's state of affairs at the end of the financial year to which it relates and that any revenue account prepared by them shows a true and fair view of the financial result of its activities in the financial year to which it relates.
  • (4) The accounting records shall in particular contain—
  • (a) entries from day to day of all sums received and expended by the corporation and the matters in respect of which the receipts and expenditure takes place; and
  • (b) a record of the assets and liabilities of the corporation; and
  • (c) where the corporation's activities involve carrying on any business or undertaking for the purposes of subsection (3)(b) of section 132 of this Act, the statements mentioned in subsection (5) below.
  • (5) The statements referred to in subsection (4)(c) above are—
  • (a) statements of the stock held by each business or undertaking at the end of each financial year of the corporation;
  • (b) all statements of stocktakings from which any such statement as is mentioned in paragraph (a) above has been prepared; and
  • (c) except in the case of goods sold by way of ordinary retail trade, statements of all goods sold and purchased in sufficient detail to enable the goods and the buyers and sellers to be identified.
  • (6) Subject to the provisions of sections 9, 10, 11 and 12 of this Act (Accounting Provisions applicable to every development body undertaking construction or maintenance work by any direct labour organisation established by it) a corporation shall:
  • (a) in respect of its activities in each of the five categories set out at subsection 3(a), (b), (c), (d) and (e) of section 132 of this Act, prepare a revenue account showing a true and fair view of the financial result of the corporation having undertaken such activities in the financial year to which it relates;
  • (b) in respect of activities as a whole, prepare a balance sheet showing a true and fair view of its affairs at the end of the financial year to which it relates.").
  • The noble Lord said: My Lords, we now embark on discussion of that wildly exciting part of the Bill that is concerned with accounting matters! I am acutely sensible of the fact that particularly at this time of night such a subject does not exactly make for exciting conversation. I move this amendment for two reasons. The first is a political reason, with which I shall deal shortly, and the other is a purely technical reason. The urban development corporations are quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisations—Quangos for short. I believe that at the moment two are envisaged, but there may be more. I am bound to say immediately that the sudden affection of Her Majesty's Government for the establishment of Quangos is something that we note with mild interest, though not necessarily with enthusiasm.

    It is when we come to the accounting aspect of the matter that we begin to understand the noble Lord's sense of relativity, or rather his Government's sense of political values. Your Lordships will remember that when we were discussing Part III of the Bill, which deals with, among other things, the accounts to be rendered to the Secretary of State by direct labour organisations, we found the matter laid out in very considerable detail in the body of the Bill itself. If one turns to Part III, one will find a whole series of accounting provisions which are set out in very great detail but which, I say with the greatest possible respect, will have the practical effect of hamstringing most DLOs' accounting departments and which will give rise to a certain amount of confusion at the noble Lord's department's headquarters in Marsham Street. In fact when assessed in their totality these provisions, judged by orthodox standards of accounting, will amount to a load of nonsense. Be that as it may, they are there in detail in the Bail.

    It should be borne in mind that when your Lordships were discussing the accounts of a direct labour organisation under the control of a local authority you were considering an organisation which is subject to local democratic control. The direct labour organisation of a local authority is finally responsible to the local electorate. Yet in the Bill there is a terrific spiel of accounting provisions—and they are in the body of the Bill itself.

    Now we come to the Quango, to the urban development corporation. It, too, has considerable functions to perform. It has very considerable responsibilities, which are outlined in, I believe, Clause 132 of the Bill. The constitution of an urban development corporation is defined in Schedule 25. It is responsible to no one at all. The urban development corporation has no democratic responsibility to any local body of electors. There are no public checks affecting an urban development corporation in its locality. It is the Minister's creature. Indeed, when the party opposite were discussing Quangos in a somewhat less enthusiastic way they very often made that point themselves.

    When it comes to an urban development corporation keeping accounts and to the provisions that are laid down for those accounts what do we find?—that those provisions are not contained in the body of the Bill at all. They are merely referred to in Clause 157, where it says that Schedule 29 shall apply. So the accounting provisions relating to these new Quangos, the urban development corporations, are relegated to a schedule, to Schedule 29, Part III, to which I now turn.

    If your Lordships will examine Part III of Schedule 29, on pages 271 and 272 of

    the Bill, you will see that these provisions are comparatively modest in content compared with the very comprehensive provisions laid down for direct labour organisations. It is stated in Part III at paragraph 10(1),

    "A corporation shall keep proper accounts and other records in relation to them".

    Well, magnificent! But that refers to a non-elected body. Why is it that the accounting provisions, adequate though they may be from the professional standpoint, should be couched in terms far more general and permissive than those relating to the DLOs?

    These new urban development corporations which, as we have learnt, will not have registered addresses, will be responsible for quite considerable financial operations. They will receive grants of all kinds. They will be able to obtain loans and to carry out a whole series of financial transactions. As we have seen from Clause 132, they will be able to conduct businesses. In fact they will be able to undertake a much more comprehensive range of work than will DLOs, yet without any tendering disciplines of the kind laid down in Part III of the Bill. Urban development corporations can engage in business, and in those businesses they are not governed by the same conditions as are DLOs; for example, they are not required to achieve a certain rate of return on capital employed based on the current cost accounting convention. No conditions at all are laid down for them. They can just go merrily ahead.

    In those circumstances, I come to the conclusion—and I trust that it will find favour with the Minister—that the minimum standard that we ought to insist upon for these new Quangos, these urban development corporations, should be the standard as laid down in the Companies Act 1976 for ordinary commercial enterprises. So your Lordships will find that in Amendment No. 165 I have endeavoured, perhaps in my own unskilled way, to reproduce for the urban development corporations, suitably adapted to meet the provisions of the Bill, the requirements with which an ordinary limited company must comply in keeping proper accounts. If the noble Lord examines Amendment No. 165, subject to what his parliamentary draftsmen and his illustrious officials may say, I think he will find that that adaptation has been generally accomplished. Perhaps odd points need polishing up, but if that is so they can always be corrected at a later stage.

    My Lords, is there any reason why this non-elected body, with considerable finances at its disposal and with very wide activities taking it into many spheres of interest which noble Lords opposite might think would normally be the prerogative of private enterprise, should not be subject to the same accounting disciplines which apply to ordinary private enterprise firms? I could not be fairer than that. Your Lordships will see that I have been bending over backwards in the accounting provisions I have suggested to accommodate myself to the political philosophy of noble Lords opposite. This, therefore, should not be a cause for complaint. After all, it is all fair competition, and bears comparison. I sincerely hope, therefore, that the noble Lord will agree that these new organisations, which are not responsible democratically to anybody, should maintain the same accounting disciplines as ought to be maintained by those private limited liability companies and corporations in this country which are bound by the Companies Act 1976, from which provisions these amendments were in fact derived. I beg to move.

    My Lords, may I say at once that I by no means share the pessimism of the noble Lord, Lord Bruce, on the likely outcome of the requirements called for under these parts of the Bill; and I wonder whether I need remind him—I am sure I do not—that we are here dealing with areas which are arguably among the most derelict and needy in the whole of the country. They require drastic action, and that is what these UDCs are all about. Therefore, when we talk of comparisons with other areas in other ways, I would respectfully submit that they really are very special, and that is why they are entitled, as we propose, to have his special treatment.

    I should also say on the point of accountability, which I think is arguably the most important point that the noble Lord made, that UDCs are of course responsible to the Secretary of State, who can give them directions, and, through him—and this is the important point—to Parliament. They have to publish annual reports and lay their accounts before Parliament, and that is something which DLOs do not have to do. May I also say that they are subject to Exchequer audit. I do not know that either that requirement or the one for laying their accounts before Parliament is something that private enterprise firms have to do.

    Having said that, may I say that in our view the amendment contains some very useful and helpful material which in fact could have improved the drafting of paragrah 10. I have in mind particularly subparagraph (3)(b) of the amendment. Unfortunately, the amendment as drafted is technically deficient, in that it teems to delete by mistake paragraphs 11, 12 and 13 of the schedule. The amendment also contains a number of onerous requirements—for instance, subparagraph (3)(a)—with which it would be virtually impossible for the UDC to comply. However, I assume that for "line 42" we should read "line 12"—I am sure that is right—on the assumption that the noble Lord's amendment relates only to paragraph 10 of Schedule 29, the accounts provisions.

    Even so, I cannot accept the amendment, but I can assure the noble Lord that we accept entirely in principle that the statement of accounts should show a true and fair view of UDC affairs and its financial results at the end of the financial year. Fortunately, subparagraph (3) of the existing version of paragraph 10 as contained in the Bill is sufficiently wide to permit this to be done by the Secretary of State, who may impose requirements on the UDC in respect of the information, manner, methods and principle of preparing the statements. But, taken as a whole, the noble Lord's amendment goes further than we are prepared to go; for example, in the rigid way in which it imposes an accounting regime related to the methods by which UDCs can achieve their objectives through Clause 132(3). There would seem to be no way in which a UDC's accounts could be tied directly to these activities. Furthermore, the Government have no present intentions of allowing UDCs to run direct labour organisations of the kind referred to in the amendment.

    In view of my assurance that the present paragraph 10 provides sufficient flexibility for the Secretary of State to prescribe the appropriate form, content and principles of accounts, I hope that the noble Lord will be prepared to withdraw his amendment. May I say that we will note very carefully what the noble Lord has said on this matter, because we recognise his great knowledge and special expertise in this field and we want the Bill to be the very best Bill we can get. Therefore, while I cannot accept the amendment for the reasons given, I certainly undertake that we will look very carefully at what the noble Lord has said to see what might be done to help when the whole procedures are taking effect.

    My Lords, I am most grateful to the noble Lord for his reply. It is not wholly satisfactory in the sense that if this part of the Bill had preceded Part HI, which deals with DLOs, I do not think the House, when it came to consider DLOs at that later stage in the Bill, after having dealt with this, would have accepted or regarded kindly the very detailed, pernickety measures which have been put in the text of the Bill relating to direct labour organisations. Nevertheless, the noble Lord has said that he will give very careful consideration to the matters which we on this side of the House have sought to raise. I have no desire to prolong your Lordships' proceedings any further on this point, and with your Lordships' permission I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    8.17 p.m.

    moved Amendment No. 166:

    Page 272, line 33, leave out ("As soon as possible after the end") and insert ("Not later than the 30th of September").

    The noble Lord said: My Lords, this amendment deals with paragraph 13 of Schedule 29, under the heading of "Reports". The existing paragraph 13 reads:

    "As soon as possible after the end of each financial year, a corporation shall make to the Secretary of State a report dealing generally with the corporation's operations during the year, and shall include in the report a copy of its audited statement of accounts for that year".

    My amendment seeks to limit that period

    to, "Not later than the 30th of September", which gives six months for this to be done. Once again I venture to draw your Lordships' attention to the position in regard to DLOs. They have to render their reports and accounts to the Secretary of State within six months, together with a return on the capital employed and a whole series of far more complicated provisions which Her Majesty's Government have inflicted on these unfortunate organisations by the provisions of Part III; and they have to do it all within six months.

    Once again there is a more leisurely attitude towards these "quango" urban development corporations. There, we do not find any particular time restriction at all: it says "As soon as possible". I would suggest that if these urban development corporations are going to be subject to the discipline, which I am quite sure the noble Lord's right honourable friend Mr. Heseltine would be only too pleased to apply to them, then we ought to incorporate it into the Bill. What is wrong with six months? In other words, why not put in the Bill something which puts a little bit of a bomb under any complacency that might conceivably exist or be encouraged by the words, "As soon as possible"? Why not insert, exactly in the same way as in the case of direct labour organisations, the words, "Not later than the 30th of September"? I beg to move.

    My Lords, I wish the noble Lord would not keep referring to Quangos with such—I was about to say "opprobrium"; but perhaps if I were to put it in the way I should prefer, it might not hit just the right note at this time of night. The fact is that this Government have (if you like) set up Quangos; but they would have to run into hundreds to equal the number set up by the previous Adminstration. If you offset the hundreds that we are disbanding and have disbanded, I think that sets the record straight. But we have never said that there is no room for special bodies to do special work; we have said that there were so many of them, that they proliferate and grow like Topsy, and that one must be careful about them.

    We would regard it as too onerous for there to be a statutory requirement for the UDC to produce its report by the end of September, particularly since the report is to include an audited statement of accounts. The draft code of practice which is under discussion with the local authorities on the publication of their reports will set only a target date for the end of September. To go further than this and embody a firm date as a statutory requirement would appear to be unnecessary. In setting down our requirements under Clause 3 of the Bill for the publication of UDC information we could include a target period similar to that for local authorities if this were seen to be the most appropriate way to proceed. Before leaving that point I would repeat that in my view the requirements for publishing annual reports and having them laid before Parliament are far more onerous than is called for by the imposition of anything that we have in mind, or that this Bill says, on direct labour organisations.

    My Lords, I must explain the reason why I referred to Quangos in the way I did and in the terms to which the noble Lord referred. It was to ingratiate myself with the noble Lord; for I thought that the way in which I treated them would be more acceptable to his political philosophy and that, therefore, I should be more likely to get my amendment accepted. I agree that these organisations perform useful functions. I have never been a member of one myself, but I have every reason to suppose that they do a good job of work; but they are not responsible democratically.

    I am a little at a loss as to why the noble Lord should say that to fix the date by 30th September places an onerous burden on the UDCs. Let him look at Clause 11 of the Bill where he is talking about local authorities which are directly-elected bodies and which have to go through a series of far more complicated and stated manoeuvres than are put in the straight general terms of Schedule 29. Perhaps I may refresh the noble Lord's memory of Clause 11. It says:
    "Every local authority who in any financial year undertake construction or maintenance work, whether under works contracts or by way of functional work or both, and every development body who in any financial year undertake construction or maintenance work by way of func- tional work, shall prepare the documents mentioned in subsection (2) below not later than 30th September in the financial year following that year".
    The noble Lord did not say that the fixing of 30th September was an onerous burden on the local authority which, thanks to the complex nature of the accounting provisions stated in the Bill, has far more exacting requirements than those in Schedule 29 affecting the UDCs. He argues that it places an undue burden on these bodies (whose accounting requirements are similar and less specific) if they have to put in audited accounts by 20th September; but in the case of the DLOs under Clause 11 he is imposing an obligation to have them in by 30th September. This does not altogether reflect that degree of fairness which I have come to expect from the noble Lord and which prolonged contact with him in the course of this Bill has given me hope that he might view favourably the amendment that I put before the House. I hope that on reflection he will agree that it is not unreasonable to insert the words "30th September" in the Bill itself.

    My Lords, gazing at Clause 11, I see no reference there to audited accounts. In subsection (2) (which is what is referred to in sub-section (1)) there is no reference to audited accounts or to a report dealing generally with corporation operations during the year such as there is in paragraph 13 of Schedule 29. The noble Lord is talking about different things. I suggest that we compare like with like.

    My Lords, with leave, the requirement is a statutory one in the case of the DLOs. If the noble Lord refers to Clause 11(3), he will see that

    "The balance sheet must show a true and fair view of the state of affairs of the local authority…".
    Therefore, the obligation to produce audited accounts is implicit in the clause. It is so required by law. As I explained in earlier discussions there is always the district audit service at the disposal of the noble Lord's right honourable friend. The service has 12 offices in the country and they employ a considerable staff under an auditor-in-chief in his own department.

    My Lords, I do not think that there is much that I can add to what I have said. I am grateful to my noble friend. The point he made is valid. There is a great difference between accounts audited in the say we intend and in the way one would need them for laying before Parliament. I see no way in which we could agree that we could put a statutory requirement like this in the Bill.

    My Lords, I am anxious to remain on terms of utter amiability with the noble Lord; and in those circumstances I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    8.27 p.m.

    moved Amendment No. 167:

    Page 272 line 37, at end insert—
    ("( ) Without prejudice to the generality of sub-paragraph (1) above, a report under this paragraph shall deal with the operation during the year of the corporation's arrangements for consultation about the exercise of its powers with local authorities the whole or any part of whose area is included in the urban development area.").

    The noble Lord said: My Lords, this amendment goes hand in hand with the new clause which we agreed earlier requiring UDCs to formulate a code of consultation with the local authorities. This amendment would add a requirement that the UDC would have to report in its annual report on the operation of the consultative arrangements during the course of the year. I am sure that this would be welcome to noble Lords opposite, and especially to the noble Lord, Lord Bruce of Donington. I beg to move.

    On Question, amendment agreed to.

    Page 272, line 37, at end insert—

    ("( ) Any person may inspect a report of a corporation (including a copy of its audited statement of accounts for that year) under this section and shall be supplied with a copy of the report by the corporation on payment of such charge for a copy as it may reasonably require.
    ( ) A corporation shall publish in at least one newspaper circulating in its area notice of—
  • (a) the place where and the time when any report under this section may be inspected
  • (b) the fact that copies of the report are available for supply to any person requiring them; and
  • (c) the charge for each such copy.").
  • The noble Lord said: My Lords, this is an amendment which I hope to be able to move in the most dulcet tones, in the hope that I may seduce the noble Lord into accepting it with complete and utter alacrity. I feel that we have common course on this, as the noble Lord has made clear from the beginning that he wants the utmost public involvement in the affairs of the local authorities and every other body with which he or his department is associated. All that this amendment does is to ensure that:

    "Any person may inspect a report of a corporation (including a copy of its audited statement of accounts for that year) under this section and shall be supplied with a copy of the report by the corporation on payment of such charge for a copy as it may reasonably require".

    The next part of the amendment goes on:

    "A corporation shall publish in at least one newspaper circulating in its area notice of—
  • (a) the place where and the time when any report under this section may be inspected—
  • (b) the fact that copies of the report are available for supply to any person requiring them; and
  • (c) the charge for each such copy.) "
  • The noble Lord will recall that the party opposite believe in open government. When it comes to direct labour organisations, your Lordships will recall that there are complete means and facilities for the public at any time to inspect these miserable accounting monstrosities that comply with Part III of the Bill relating to accounting. Nevertheless, in whatever form they turn up, the people will be able to inspect them and obtain copies. In the case of this non-elected body, the urban development corporation, when it prepares its accounts as soon as possible—since the noble Lord has not seen fit to accept my previous amendment—the public have access to them and the public are informed about their existence.

    What conceivable objection can there be to that? This is an amendment which should be accepted without any further demur at all. It will ensure that all the noble Lord's good works, and the works of the urban development corporations that are under his guidance, shall be made public, open and advertised, and the cost set out so that all the world may marvel at the wonders which have been accomplished and upon which the noble Lord ventured in his enthusiasm to deal at a slightly earlier stage. I sincerely hope that the noble Lord will be able to accept this amendment. I beg to move.

    8.32 p.m.

    My Lords, there is no doubt that the noble Lord is tonight at his most persuasive. We do not object in principle to this amendment, but it seems to us that this is the sort of matter which would be far better left to directions given to the Secretary of State under Clause 3 of this Bill. The power to require UDCs to publish information is contained in Clause 3 alongside that for other public bodies such as the new town development corporations, water authorities and so on. The powers are exercisable by directions which may specify the manner, form and occasions on which such publication is made.

    In the light of this, we prefer to avoid a specific requirement being written into Part XVI of the main legislation when we already have a provision in the Bill which has the advantage of allowing greater flexibility and adaptation over time in the light of experience and changing circumstances.

    It is very hard simply to take the point the noble Lord is making and the comparison he draws with DLOs because the comparison is not an exact one. I would have to fall back—as I do in this whole range of discussions that we have been having—on the matter of accountability, because that is what we are talking about; openness, accountability and ensuring that not only things are done but one can see how they are done and that they are right.

    The noble Lord knows that I do not differ with him at all on that. In the provisions laid down we have an adequate safeguard for the reasons that I gave on the earlier amendments. The one about Parliament is an onerous one. We have a lot of flexibility in this for adaptation. If, for any reason, it proves to be for any reason that there is a shortcoming in any way in the amount of reporting that is coming forward, then there is flexibility for any Secretary of State to move to have it as it ought to be. I am quite sure when Parliament looks at the first reports it will not hestitate to say what it thinks about them. I do not differ from the noble Lord on the principles. Why do we not give it a try and see what it looks like? There is the safeguard that I have mentioned, and I would have thought that that was the better way to proceed.

    I am very sorry, my Lords, that the noble Lord cannot accept this simple amendment. He says that in general terms it is the intention to do this anyway. Then what harm is there in it being in the Bill? If the noble Lord gives me an undertaking that in the directions he gives under another clause in the Bill he will incorporate this specific provision, then I will willingly withdraw anything that I have said.

    It seems to me that this matter is crucial. It is a question of what has been termed "open government". Here we have a local body embarked upon an enterprise, which the noble Lord has discussed in glowing terms, covering very wide areas: acquisition of all kinds of assets, assistance to all kinds of businesses; covering the vast mass of objectives that have to be attempted when embarking on the enterprise as a whole.

    Accounts are going to be prepared and audited as soon as possible. What is unreasonable about the financial results showing exactly how the enterprises work being made available to the general public? What is objectionable about that? I cannot see any objection at all. Even a private limited liability company has an obligation to file accounts within a certain specified period at the end of its financial year so that people may look at them. A local authority's accounts are going to be subject to an ever-increasing supervision. Many of us may think that there is no objection to that. Why should these development corporations escape the statutory necessity of being able to make available their financial results and accounts, not only to local authorities but to interested parties in their locality? I would have thought that this is elementary. I am well aware that the noble Lord does not intend to give way. I have done my best to try and improve the Bill without disturbing the noble Lord's political objective because this I believe to be above all the responsibility of this House as a whole. Of course, if the noble Lord will not take advantage of it, and not give it his further consideration, there is nothing left for me to do but to say that I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    Clause 160 [ Power to survey land etc.]:

    8.39 p.m.

    moved Amendment No. 168A:

    Page 137, line 11, leave out ("14") and insert ("28").

    The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving this amendment I should like to speak to Amendment Nos. 168B to 169B. All these amendments relate to the power of an urban development corporation to survey land, et cetera. At present the clause qualifies the right of entry, but whereas the statutory undertakers are given specific protections, this is not given to local authorities. These amendments seek to give local authorities the same rights. Local authorities may well own land for various functions which could be disturbed or interfered with as a result of uncontrolled access. Moreover, such land may have physical dangers about which the representatives of the urban development corporation would need to be informed. Something more than advanced notification is necessary, however, for there also needs to be the right to object to the Minister if the proposal would be seriously detrimental to the local authority.

    Thus the police and the fire services are worried that security could be breached or severely prejudiced. There are many areas with extensive and uncharted mining operations and there is a risk of damage to cables, pipes, sewers and so on. At the moment districts have a statutory duty under Section 32 of the Public Health Act 1936 to keep a sewer map. I understand also that in the North-West there is a sludge problem which could lead to very difficult consequences if these amendments were not agreed to.

    The urban development corporations are a new creation and they will not necessarily have the detailed knowledge local authorities have. It is crucial that they should have not only the right of notification but also the right of refusal in certain circumstances. To put it fairly briefly, I understand that the Government are prepared to accept, with certain minor amendments, most of the earlier amendments I have referred to and that they would like to see a redrafting of the later amendments. It would probably he for the convenience of the House if at this time I moved the first amendment only. Then as we come to the later amendments I will briefly inform the House of the amendments to the amendments, of which I have already notified the noble Lord on the Woolsack and also the Table. For the moment, I beg to move Amendment No. 168A.

    My Lords, yes, the noble Lord is correct; but I wonder whether I may be allowed to say just a few words to the whole range of the amendments—168A to 168H? I am pleased to accept Amendments Nos. 168A to 168H on the understanding that the noble Lord has changed the word "the" at the end of the first line of 168C to "their", and that the words "or used" in the second line of 168H are omitted. In accepting these amendments, the Government recognise the constructive approach exemplified by the amendments in extending to local authorities a similar kind of protection to that afforded under the clause to statutory undertakers. As I shall indicate in relation to Amendments Nos. 169A and 169B, the Government propose to table at Third Reading an amendment to incorporate the amendment consequential to 168A to 168H and which 169A and 169B seek to achieve; but in their present form they are defective.

    My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for his remarks and I beg to move Amendment No. 168A as printed.

    On Question, amendment agreed to.

    moved Amendment No. 168B:

    Page 137, line 21, after ("by") insert ("a local authority or").

    On Question, amendment agreed to.

    moved Amendment No. 168C:

    Page 137, line 25, at end insert ("performance of any of the functions or, as the case may be, the").

    The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move this amendment with the alteration of the word "the" to "their" at the end of the first line of the amendment.

    On Question, amendment agreed to.

    moved Amendments Nos. 168D to 168G en bloc:

    Page 137, line 30, at end insert ("a local authority or").
    Page 137, line 33, after second ("the") insert ("authority or").
    Page 137, line 35, after ("the") insert ("authority or").
    Page 137, line 38, after ("the") insert ("performance of any of their functions or, as the case may be, the").

    On Question, amendments agreed to.

    moved Amendment No. 168H:

    Page 137, line 41, at end insert—
    ("(4A) In exercising the powers of this section to survey land held or used by a local authority or statutory undertakers a person to whom subsection (1) above applies shall comply with all reasonable conditions imposed by the authority or undertakers with regard to the entry on, surveying of, searching or boring on or in the land, or placing or leaving on, or removal of apparatus from the land").

    The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move this amendment with the deletion in the second line of the words "or used".

    On Question, amendment agreed to.

    [ Amendment No. 168J not moved.]

    moved Amendment No. 169:

    Page 139, line 18, at end insert—
    ("(12A) The reference to section 28 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 in subsection (12) above shall be construed after the commencement of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 as a reference to section 32 of that Act.").

    The noble Lord said: My Lords, this amendment provides that the reference in this clause to Section 28 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 shall be construed as reference to Section 32 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 on the commencement of that Act. This necessary amendment has the effect of bringing up to date the provisions on penalties in this clause. I beg to move.

    On Question, amendment agreed to.

    Clause l63 [ Interpretation: statutory undertakers etc.]:

    [ Amendments Nos. 169A and 169B not moved.]

    Clause 166 [ Duty of local authorities to provide caravan sites for gipsies]:

    moved Amendment No. 170:

    Leave out Clause 166 and insert the following clause:

    ( "Duty of local authorities to provide caravan sites for gipsies.

    166.—(1) Subsection (2) of section 6 of the Act of 1968 (power to exempt from duty to provide adequate accommodation for gipsies and limitation, in certain cases, of that duty) is hereby repealed.

    (2) In section 190 of the Local Government Act 1972 (gipsy camps)—

  • (a) in subsection (1) (which in part amends section 6(2) of the Act of 1968), the words from "and in" to the end are hereby repealed, and
  • (b) subsection (2) (certain exemptions from the duty mentioned in subsection (1) above to be continued in force) is hereby repealed.").
  • The noble Baroness said: My Lords, unfortunately the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, is not able to be here, and, rather humbly, I have to move the amendments which are in his name and mine; his knowledge of the whole subject is very much greater than mine. In moving Amendment No. 170 I want to say that Sir John Cripps, in his report in April 1977, recommended that no inner borough should be asked to make provision for more than 15 gipsy caravans or to provide a transit site or stopping place, but that the 15-pitch limitation should be removed for outer London and the metropolitan counties. Sir John Cripps also recommended the removal of the power to grant exemption from the duty to provide sites and cancellation of all existing exemptions. At the Committee stage of the Bill we repealed the parts of Section 6 of the Caravan Sites Act 1968 that dealt with the exemptions. However, in the debate on the new clause in Committee, at column 1398 of Hansard of 15th October, the noble Lord, Lord

    Avebury, made a strong case for abolishing the duty of the metropolitan county councils and the London boroughs to provide for only 15 caravans. Some authorities have already exceeded 15, and the table which the noble Earl, Lord Avon, sent to both the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, and me showed that this was indeed the case.

    My noble friend Lady Stedman, when moving the Second Reading of the Labour Caravan Sites Bill in 1979, also asked for this to be done, and it was in that Bill. I think it is because of the 1972 reorganisation of local government that the limit of 15 became out-of-date in a way. It would now apply to metropolitan counties, which are far bigger and richer in resources than the old county boroughs to which the original 15 applied. It would appear to be unfair to put such a small obligation on them to provide a mere 15 pitches, compared with the counties' obligation to provide sites and satisfy the demand for all the gipsies coming to their area.

    When speaking at Committee stage I mentioned the fact that gipsies, because of their scrap metal activities and other trades, are coming more to urban areas than they used to. This is another reason for repealing subsection (2) of the 1968 Act in its entirety. The link between designation and the site provision duty is a most important one. Under the present policy, even if a London borough provides places for 15 gipsy caravans, which is its total present duty, it does not necessarily get designation powers to move on surplus gipsies. If designation is, as is claimed, a carrot, where is the carrot for London boroughs not yet designated but with a gipsy population?

    As in the Labour Bill, we have chosen not to differentiate in this amendment between inner and outer London boroughs, as it seems preferable to have no statutory limitations, although doubtless in fact the 15-pitch limit would be recognised as a sensible one for he inner boroughs, with all their problems. I beg to move.

    My Lords, this amendment was Clause 3 of the previous Goverment's Caravan Sites Bill, which was introduced into this House and then lost. That clause sought to implement recommendations contained in the Cripps Report, except in so far as the report recommended the retention of the limitation in respect of inner London boroughs.

    I am afraid we do not feel able to accept the amendment, as it now goes further than the proposals contained in our original Local Government Bill. The amendment was contained in the Caravan Sites Bill and we recognise that it implements the recommendations of the Cripps Report. However, we are content now with the elimination of the anomalies arising from the exemptions, and this is covered by Clause 166 of the Bill. It appears to us that the 15-pitch limit on the duty to provide accommodation in London boroughs and metropolitan districts is reasonable, having regard to the difficulty of providing accommodation in those areas. Should the need be greater than that number in any borough or district, the appropriate local authority will have to consider the relative merits of making the limited provision or going further if they wish to qualify for designation under Section 12.

    I should add that we are trying to discuss this matter with the London Boroughs Association but they are rather waiting to see how far we go before they commit themselves. I believe that when the noble Baroness drafted this new clause, which we very much supported, we felt that it did, and does, go far enough. I hope, bearing that in mind, that the noble Baroness will be prepared to withdraw her amendment.

    My Lords, it seems that the consultation is not yet complete and so I think I should like to reserve my position and possibly come back on Third Reading in order to find out how much further the consultation has gone. At this point I should like to thank the noble Earl, who having sent a letter to the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, copied to me. In that letter he said:

    "I understand there has been considerable consultation with all interested parties over possible changes to the 1968 Act."
    The noble Lord, Lord Avebury, told me this evening that he thought it rather odd that although there had been considerable consultation "with all interested parties ", he was not one of them; and of course the 1968 Act was his creation.

    I should very much like to reserve his position and my own on this, and possibly find out later what further consultations have gone on and what the result has been. I may well put down an amendment on Third Reading, but in the meantime I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    Clause 167 [ Removal of unlawfully parked caravans and their occupants]:

    8.55 p.m.

    moved Amendment No. 171:

    Page 144, line 4, at end insert—
    (" (11) In proceedings against any person for an offence under subsection (4) of this section it shall be a defence to prove that the accused person had reasonable grounds to believe that one or more of the caravans stationed on the land were so stationed in consequence of illness, mechanical breakdown or other immediate emergency.").

    The noble Baroness said: My Lords, this tries to put in a safeguard—the same safeguard which applies to people who are removing caravans from a site in a designated area, an unauthorised site. They can put up a defence of mechanical troubles in respect of their caravan or motor, or a defence of illness and so on. In Section 11 there is an offence of obstructing somebody trying to remove the caravan. This amendment would give the same defence to a member of the police or of the council who is trying to remove a caravan, on exactly the same grounds of illness, mechanical breakdown or other immediate emergency. I beg to move.

    My Lords, the amendment would enable a person charged with obstruction under Section 11(4) of the Caravan Sites Act 1968, as set out in Clause 167 of the Bill, to plead in his defence that he had reasonable grounds to believe that one or more caravans on the land were so stationed in consequence of illness, mechanical breakdown or other immediate emergency.

    The first point is that the amendment does not say that the land in question has to be land to which an order under Section 11 applies, though this is perhaps implicit. Secondly, the amendment would enable a person charged with obstruction to rely for his defence on the circumstances pertaining to a caravan for which he was not responsible, and, indeed, with which he had no connection, other than that it was stationed on the land. Further, he would be able to rely on the presence of that caravan irrespective of the fact that the alleged offence did not involve a caravan. Even if the defence were confined to a caravan for which the person charged was responsible, it would be wrong that he should be able to rely on it where the alleged offence did not depend on a refusal to remove the caravan, but on simple physical obstruction—for example, lying down across a field entrance to prevent the bailiffs from coming on to the land.

    The fact is that the defences in question were designed as defences to a charge of unlawfully stationing a caravan on land, and they are not all applicable to every case of obstruction. It should be observed, however, that the offence in question is intentional obstruction. In such a case, it must surely be a defence for the person charged to establish that he was so ill that he could not comply with the order under Section 11, or, in the case of an offence involving a caravan, that the caravan could not be moved because of mechanical breakdown or some other immediate emergency.

    It is relevant to point out that the defences with which the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, is concerned—which are, of course, the defences under Section 10(3) of the 1968 Act—are already required to be taken into account in relation to an order under Section 11, since under Section 11(1) such an order can only require the removal of caravans which are stationed on the land in contravention of Section 10; and this in turn involves consideration of the defence under Section 10(3). I think it is better to let the law take its course and I would have to resist this amendment.

    My Lords, I think that what the noble Earl has said misses one point: that somebody might be intentionally obstructing because someone was ill in the caravan they were seeking to remove. However, I shall read very carefully what he has said, as no doubt will the noble Lord, Lord Avebury. Again I would reserve the right to come back, and in the meantime I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    Clause 168 [ Designation of areas for purpose of making unauthorised camping unlawful]:

    9 p.m.

    moved Amendment No. 172:

    Page 144, line 24, leave out ("order") and insert ("area").

    The noble Viscount said: My Lords, on behalf of my noble friend Lord Avebury, I move Amendment No. 172. This amendment and the one following are drafting amendments. I understand that my noble friend mentioned them both during the Committee stage, but did not put them down then and was advised to do so later. He was also under the impression that he had satisfied Ministers that these were appropriate amendments. That we must see.

    The first amendment which I move is:

    "Page 144, line 24, leave out "order" and insert "area".

    The subsection will then read:

    "The Minister shall not make an order under subsection (1) or (2) above in respect of any area unless it appears to him either that adequate provision is made in the area for the accommodation of gipsies residing in or resorting to the area, or that in all the circumstances it is not necessary or expedient to make any such provision."

    My Lords, I beg to move.

    My Lords, the amendment makes it clear that in connection with designation adequate provision for the accommodation of gipsies has to be made in the area to which the application for designation relates, and not in the designation order. The amendment corrects an error in the Bill and I am happy to recommend its acceptance.

    On Question, amendment agreed to.

    moved Amendment No. 173:

    Page 144, line 34, after ("area") insert ("of the council").

    The noble Viscount said: My Lords, this is the second amendment and, if it is accepted, the subsection will read:

    "Where an order under this section is made in respect of any area of the council it shall be the duty of the county council for that area or, as the case may be, the London borough council concerned to take such steps as are reasonably practicable",

    and so on. My Lords, I beg to move.

    My Lords, I am afraid that I shall not be quite so accommodating on this one. I do not think that I led the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, astray, because I think it was the previous amendment that I said I agreed to. We find this amendment hard to accept because, at the moment, it is difficult enough to ensure that gipsies in designated areas are made aware of designation. Even if one could be sure of informing the right gipsies outside designated areas (that is, those who were thinking of moving into the designated area), it has to be borne in mind that, in so far as the designated area may consist of a district or districts, district boundaries are not indicated by road signs, and it will be difficult for gipsies coming from outside the area to know whether they are in it or not. Another consideration is that the boundary of the designated area may be wholly or partly contiguous with the county boundary, and the amendment does not seek to require that gipsies in the adjoining county should be informed.

    It is very difficult to get things over to gipsies and we feel that this would tend to confuse them. I should also add that, of course, the National Gipsy Council is normally informed. I submit that the only reasonable course is to concentrate resources on informing gipsies in designated areas. It is for that reason that the Government would like this amendment to be withdrawn.

    My Lords, I am very much obliged to the noble Earl for his explanation. I shall, of course, report back to my noble friend Lord Avebury, who will also perhaps read it in Hansard. Then if he feels that he has to come back, he can do so on Third Reading. But I hope that he will be satisfied with what the noble Earl has said. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    Schedule 30 [ Enterprise zones]:

    The noble Lord said: My Lords, I think that this amendment should be numbered 173XA. It is misprinted in the Marshalled List. But in speaking to this amendment, I should also like to speak to the following one, No. 173YA. These amendments are similar to amendments which were moved at Committee stage, but they are moved in a slightly different form on this occasion, in that they are two separate amendments as opposed to a single amendment.

    At Committee stage, I spoke of the fact that I felt that this was watering-down the democratic process, in the sense that we were allowing non-elected bodies to apply for enterprise zone status, and there was then a short debate on the issue. I think that a clear distinction should be drawn between the rights of a new town corporation and of an urban development corporation to apply for enterprise zone status. By their very nature, new town corporations function in isolation from centres of population: whereas, again by their very nature, urban development corporations are set up in developed areas.

    The effect of this is that, with an urban development corporation, the establishment of an enterprise zone could have an adverse effect on the immediate surrounding area, in the sense that jobs and trades of various natures could be transferred from the immediately surrounding urban area into the area of the enterprise zone. In those circumstances, it seems that the local authority—be it the district council or the London borough council—should be the authority which applies for enterprise zone status, and that one should not have a situation where there is an application being made by a non-elected body in the middle of a district council or London borough council area.

    Therefore, my intention tonight is not to press the first of the two amendments, because, in a sense, I think that the noble Lord opposite has rejected the omnibus deletion of these two lines, but rather to try to persuade him that different arguments apply to urban development corporations seeking enterprise zone status, than apply to new town corporations. I hope that, in that light, he will see that there is some logic behind the deletion. My Lords, I beg to move.

    My Lords, I note the intention to move just this amendment, but, if I may, I, too, will speak to No. 273YA as well. This amendment seeks to prevent a new town development corporation from drawing up a scheme for an enterprise zone and subsequently being designated as the body responsible for the zone. Promoting development and creating the right conditions for industry and commerce to flourish are particular strengths of the development corporations. We felt that in some cases it might be desirable, in order to ensure rapid development of difficult run-down areas, to combine the expertise and single-mindedness of the development corporation with the incentive of enterprise zone status.

    A number of new town areas belie the popular image of a modern, successful town set among green fields, by including considerable areas of run-down urban development, industrial dereliction, and other problems more commonly associated with the inner cities. That was why we included new town development corporations alongside urban development corporations, and of course local authorities, as appropriate bodies to be responsible for an enterprise zone.

    Naturally we would not ask a development corporation to prepare an enterprise zone scheme without first consulting the relevant local authorities. In drawing up the scheme, the corporation will be required by the terms of the statutory invitation to consult the local authorities on the content of the scheme. They will be required by the provisions of this Bill to publish the scheme, and to consider any representations—including of course representations made by the local authorities. The consultation requirement in the statutory invitation, and the requirement to publish the scheme in draft and consider representations, provide a very sufficient safeguard for local interests.

    I have already explained the general policy reasons why we included new town and urban development corporations in this part of the Bill. In the case of urban development corporations, there can be no doubt that the areas in question suffer, as I said earlier today, from some of the worst urban problems in the country, and it is just this sort of area where the traditional solutions have failed that a radical new approach is really needed. We felt that combining the attraction of an enterprise zone with the skills of a development corporation could in some cases provide the economic stimulus that was required, so in practice all but one of the enterprise zones we have announced so far will be the responsibility of the district or borough council for the area.

    The exception is the zone on the Isle of Dogs for which the proposed urban development corporation will be responsible. The urban development corporation's primary task will be the redevelopment of derelict areas in dockland. In our view, they should take the lead in establishing the enterprise zone which is designed to give a boost to one of the worst derelict areas.

    I should like to stress that we are not forcing an enterprise zone on to an unwilling local authority. Tower Hamlets Borough Council themselves made a submission to the Government asking for an enterprise zone on the Isle of Dogs. They are already fully involved in the discussions on the boundaries of the zone and the planning regime. I am quite sure that both Tower Hamlets and the UDC are doing their utmost to reach an agreement which will ensure that the Isle of Dogs enterprise zone contributes to the rapid redevelopment and the renewed prosperity of dockland. Having said that, I wonder whether the noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede, will feel able not to press his amendment.

    9.11 p.m.

    My Lords, may I thank the noble Lord for his reply. Of course he is absolutely right: Tower Hamlets is very enthusiastic about the enterprise zone context. My point, though, is which authority will make the application? Will it be the urban development corporation or will it be Tower Hamlets? I should be very happy if the noble Lord could say that the urban development corporation—indeed, some of the amendments which we discussed earlier today would have that effect—would consult with the local authority if they had decided to make an application for an urban development corporation.

    We are talking today about particular events which we have in mind, whereas in the course of time there may be other applications for urban development corporation designation. What we wish to ensure in the Bill is that the sort of good faith which we are talking about today will also occur in the future and that if in some area which none of us is thinking about at present there should be an application for an urban development corporation, that authority will also consult the local authority about the designation for an enterprise zone. If I can have the noble Lord's assurance that his intention is that the consultation processes should be written into the designation of an urban development corporation if there is the possibility of an enterprise zone being established within an urban development corporation, that would certainly satisfy me.

    My Lords, I am entirely ad idem with the noble Lord. That is exactly what we anticipate and fully expect would have to be the case. I am just hesitant about talking about things of that kind being written into the Bill when I am not sure about the precise procedures. But as to the principle, I am entirely in agreement. I would ask the noble Lord to consider not pressing his amendment or withdrawing it for the time being. I cannot give him any commitment about its being written in here, and I am sure that he knows I cannot do so. However, I am sympathetic. I just want to have a look at it.

    My Lords, I will certainly withdraw the amendment at this stage. I have specifically in mind that when an urban development corporation is designated it should be written into the designation that they should consult if it is proposed that an enterprise zone should be established.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    [ Amendment No. 273 YA, not moved.]

    moved Amendment No. 173ZA:

    Page 273, line 29, at end insert—
    (" (c) shall specify the formation, laying out or alteration of any means of access to a classified road or to a proposed road the route of which has been adopted by resolution of the highway authority and notified as such to the local planning authority; and
    (d) shall specify any other operations or use of land which appear to the highway authority to be likely to result in a material increase in the volume of traffic entering or leaving such a classified road, to prejudice the improvement or construction of such a road or to result in a material change in the character of traffic entering, leaving or using such a road").

    The noble Viscount said: My Lords, this amendment was tabled by my noble friend Lord Evans of Claughton on representations made to him by the Merseyside County Council. In its capacity as highway authority the council is concerned that it does not lose its power to issue directions under Article 12 of the Town and Country Planning General Development Order 1977 restricting the grant of planning permission—that it does not lose this power after an order designating an enterprise zone has been made under Schedule 30. It would appear to the county council that an order designating an enterprise zone has the effect of granting planning permission for the development specified in the scheme or for the development of any class so specified. They are anxious to have some assurance from the Government that when the Secretary of State invites a body to prepare a scheme the invitation should specify that the body should reach agreement with the highway authority on the matters which are set out in paragraphs (c) and (d) of this amendment. I do not think it is much use my saying more than that because I am sure that the noble Lord knows a great deal more about the operation of highway authorities in relation to planning permission than I do. I beg to move.

    My, Lords, the first statutory step in setting up an enterprise zone is for the Secretary of State to send an invitation to the authority concerned asking them to prepare a scheme. The invitation will specify the boundary of the zone, and certain other matters—for instance, the bodies which must be consulted about the scheme. As I understand it, this amendment would repuire the Secretary of State to include in the invitation various provisions about highways. He would have to specify the design of each access to a classified road, and also list any types of development which were likely to generate additional traffic. My Lords, this is not the sort of detail that belongs in the invitation. Detailed local information of this kind can only come from the local authorities. It belongs in the enterprise zone scheme, which will be published locally after an invitation has been issued. So I am afraid I cannot recommend your Lordships to accept this amendment.

    Nevertheless, I fully agree that the highway implications of an enterprise zone need to be considered in each case. The design of access to classified roads is important for road safety, and we have always said that we want to see safety standards maintained. So I expect to see the local authorities incorporate access standards agreed with the highway authorities in their enterprise zone schemes. Where people want to use a different design, that will be a reserved matter which the enterprise zone authority will decide after consulting the highway authority. I would also accept that it may be necessary to put a planning restriction on the use of some sites because the access is too restricted to take the traffic that will be generated. That too can be done in the enterprise zone scheme. To summarise, my Lords, I do not think that this amendment is the right way to deal with highway matters in enterprise zones. But they do need to be covered in the enterprise zone schemes that will be drawn up for each zone in consultation between the prospective enterprise zone authority and the highway authority. We have the power to deal with the matters which concern the noble Lord there. I hope he will accept this and withdraw his amendment.

    My Lords, I am very much obliged to the noble Lord for that. I shall, of course, read carefully what he has said and bring it to the notice of my noble friend and the Merseyside County Council. If they feel that anything further should be done, we will try to do it at Third Reading. In the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    moved Amendment No. 173ZB:

    Page 284, line 44, at end insert ("; or
    (d) it is an hereditament occupied by a major retail space user.").

    The noble Lord said: My Lords, this amendment is similar to an amendment which I tabled at Committee stage. At Committee stage the noble Lord, Lord Bellwin, in replying to the amendment admitted that here was a problem. Indeed I had hoped that he might himself be coming forward with an amendment concerning this particular problem at Report stage. If I may remind the noble Lord he said:

    "I should have thought that this was arguably one of the most difficult aspects of the proposals—some would say the most difficult aspect",

    and he went on to say towards the end of his speech, in reply to the movement of my amendment:

    "We want to get the right answers and we are still having discussions about this".

    I feel that the discussions may still be going on in the absence of any amendment from the noble Lord dealing with this specific problem. I think that enterprise zones will be successful to the extent to which they manage to succeed in creating new jobs and new industry within their areas. If they merely transfer existing jobs from immediately outside the enterprise zone to inside the enterprise zone they will not really have made any contribution at all.

    This is specifically relevant with regard to the retail trade. In the retail trade there is necessarily only so much spending money to go round, and basically people tend to spend money in the retail trade within a fairly limited area from where they happen to live. Therefore the extent to which new retail outlets are created within an enterprise zone will mean that that amount of retail trade will tend to move from immediately outside the enterprise zone to inside it, and it will not in fact be creating extra jobs or extra industry and indeed could well have the effect of bankrupting small businesses immediately outside the enterprise zone. I hope that the noble Lord will have something helpful to say to your Lordships this evening about this particular problem. I beg to move.

    My Lords, I should like to support the amendment proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby. We feel very strongly that it would be fatal to the success of enterprise zones if they were used simply to transfer businesses from just outside. Apart from that, I echo what the noble Lord said about the damaging effect on small businesses which may be just outside the enterprise zone if, let us say, a large supermarket is then opened inside the enterprise zone, free of rates. It seems to us that this is a matter which should be dealt with. I hope the noble Lord will be able to tell us that the consultations are going well.

    My Lords, I say immediatley that enterprise zones are an experiment in giving investors and entrepreneurs the freedom to develop unattractive and often derelict areas as they see best. We want to see if market forces can achieve results where other remedies have failed. That is why the measures in the enterprise zone package as far as possible apply equally to all types of business, whether industrial or commercial. In my view, it would be invidious to discriminate against retailing in the way the noble Lord suggests. After all, shops can make a major contribution to the local economy and to the appearance and overall attractiveness of an area. In many cases residents will welcome more and better shops in their areas.

    I do not agree that we should exclude retailing above a certain limit from the enterprise zone rates exemption across the board, regardless of local circumstances—I think those are the key words—because at the same time I know that a number of local authorities who wholeheartedly want an enterprise zone are seriously concerned about the possible impact of hypermarket development on existing shopping centres. So are a number of authorities concerned for adjacent areas, as noble Lords have said. We are still discussing with these authorities the particular problems in their areas, and I can and do assure both the noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby, and the noble Viscount, Lord Simon, that we are prepared to take a flexible line on this subject.

    Where it is clear that some control is necessary on large-scale retailing developments, we can achieve that through planning restrictions. We can exclude such developments from the terms of the enterprise zone scheme so that each proposal needs an individual planning permission in the normal way. Because of the amendments which the House accepted at Committee stage, we also have power to act quickly to alter the planning regime if we find that something unforeseen and damaging is happening. These are far more effective safeguards for local shopping centres, where they need protection, than excluding retailers from rates exemption.

    The Government accept that there is a problem here. There are strongly held views on both sides, and we are still exploring possible solutions with the bodies concerned. The solutions will differ from area to area, depending, among other things, on the pattern and strength of local shopping centres. As I say, we are prepared to take a flexible line which recognises these local differences. But I would not want to exclude medium to large-scale retailing units from the rating exemption across the board. That would suggest that we thought shops were in themselves bad for the local economy and for the community, and I am sure that that is not what noble Lords intend.

    I entirely take the points that have been made. We have been immersed in them for so long that, my goodness! if we do not know by now that they are a worry then we really are not on top of the job, and I like to think that we are on top of it because we think it is a fascinating experiment which, like many other experiments, has problems. So, while we certainly do not want to exempt such types of premises from rating in the way in which the amendment seeks to do, we must watch the situation very closely otherwise it could lead to the kind of effects that have been suggested, and that is very much the opposite of what we want to see.

    I hope that noble Lords will understand that we are not seeking to turn our backs on this—far from it. Frankly, I doubt that local authorities themselves would maintain their present enthusiasm if they felt that it could lead to the kind of problems that have been suggested.

    My Lords, with the leave of the House and before the noble Lord sits down, I should like to point out that it seems to me that I have not quite succeeded in getting my point across. The noble Lord spoke several times about local shopping centres but I am considering the local corner shop, which is a rather different matter. I am concerned with the small shopkeepers who are just over the border.

    My Lords, I am sorry if I gave the wrong impression. We are cognisant of their problems as well. But if we are talking of a hypermarket or even a very large retailing unit we would have to look at each separate area. I do not know each of the areas where it has already been designated, subject to agreement, and I do not know each individual situation; but it would probably be right to say that there must be some areas where they would very much welcome the kind of retailing units about which we are talking. So we must do it in a very flexible way and be aware of the kind of problems that have been mentioned, and we are aware of them.

    My Lords, with the leave of the House, I am glad that the noble Lord is seized of the problem; indeed, he told us so during the Committee stage. One wonders whether the answer to the problem is that the local authority, with such powers as it has over the enterprise zone, would be very much concerned with what effects this could have, and perhaps something could be written into the proposals in that way. However, if the noble Lord has any further ideas perhaps we can come back to them on Third Reading.

    My Lords, with the leave of the House, I should like to make one brief observation which may be helpful. Noble Lords might like to know that the possible solutions under discussion at present are about planning restrictions and not so much about changes to rating exemption, because our conclusion is that the rating exemption itself should stand. Therefore, I want to stress that we believe that there is much scope for protecting other traders through the planning regime. As regards corner shops, the chances are that they have a very local market and would be less likely to be affected, but that again will depend on the area and the individual situation. I think that we would have to wait and see the outcome of what we set up in each case.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    Clause 174 [ Precepts on local authorities for land drainage]:

    The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move what should be Amendment No. 173ZC. Clause 174 was added to the Bill in Committee and moved by my noble friend Lord Middleton. It was accepted very quickly by my noble friend Lord Ferrers in a commendably brief reply and with no other debate. The effect of this clause is to reduce the financial control of local authorities and to increase that of the Minister. It is hardly necessary for me to remind your Lordships that the resources of local government are under extreme pressure and that there is a widespread feeling among elected members that it is more difficult to control local expenditure in the absence of the democratic process.

    I appreciate that with no recent revaluation there may be a case for an increase in the maximum rate of 1·7p in the pound, but there has been no consultation with local authorities, which will actually have to pay. The method chosen is the usual, modern panacea of transferring the power to the Minister. I would remind your Lordships that this maximum is not a maximum as it can be exceeded provided a majority of the local authority members on the local land drainage committee agree. In these hard times, in my view that is a reasonable safeguard. It can be increased with local authority agreement, and that is a desirable state of affairs. I believe that this is the wrong way to deal with the problem and, in the absence of consultation with those who must pay, I think that we should delete this clause.

    My Lords, I rise to support my noble friend in this amendment, and although I am glad to be present to hear amendments by other noble friends being accepted with alacrity by the Government, in this particular case I am not so sure that I was so pleased. The fact of the matter is as my noble friend Lord Digby has said. In the circumstances, I think that the proper thing to have done would have been to accept the intention behind the amendment of my noble friend Lord Middleton, to have promised discussions and consultations with the local authorities and, as far as possible, to have had those discussions and consultations between the Committee stage and the Report stage. Then we should be dealing with an amendment on which there had been consultations. I must add my protest to that of my noble friend Lord Digby at the lack of consultation and discussion in this particular case.

    My Lords, if we have been guilty of lack of consultation, of course I would apologise to both my noble friends for the inconvenience which has been caused. They will, of course, both be aware of the volume and complexity of the amendments with which we have had to deal in this Bill and, of course, local authority associations could have made representations to us when they saw the amendment in the name of my noble friend Lord Middleton down on the Marshalled List for the Committee stage. But as far as I am aware they failed to do so. If that has upset my noble friends, of course I apologise to them.

    However, Section 46 of the Land Drainage Act 1976 specifies that the precept levied by water authorities on county councils in respect of expenditure on land drainage may not exceed 1·7p in the pound except with the consent of a majority of the local authority representatives on the land drainage committee of the authority. The limit was set in the Water Act 1973, and it represented the decimal version of the limit of four old pence, which was introduced in the River Boards Act 1948. Because of the effects of inflation on land drainage expenditure since 1973, combined with the almost static level of the penny rate product, the limit is beginning to bite in a number of areas. This places quite an obligation on the county council representatives.

    All that the amendment moved by my noble friend at the Committee stage sought to do was to permit the Secretary of State to increase the figure of 1·7p. My noble friend Lord Digby said that this reduced the control of the local authorities and it increased the control of the Secretary of State. With the greatest respect to my noble friend, I think that that is a slight exaggeration because he knows that on land drainage committees there is always a majority of representatives of the county councils.

    Within the 1·7p limit the county councillors can always outvote the nominated members. If the land drainage committee wishes to go above the 1·7p limit, then it is only the county councillors themselves and not the nominated members who are permitted to vote. Therefore, the county councillors really have the authority in all cases, and all my noble friend's amendment sought to do was to increase the limit which was originally set in 1948. I do not believe that that is an excessive request, and I think it is really only in line with inflation. I repeat to my noble friends that in the end it is the county councillors who have the majority vote on the land drainage committees. I hope, therefore, that my noble friend will not see fit to press his amendment.

    My Lords, may I briefly say a word about this amendment and express the hope that it will not be pressed by the noble Lord, Lord Digby, and if it is pressed that we shall not support it. I do this for a simple reason; again an agricultural reason. The Land Drainage Act 1976 gives the authorities that can carry out land drainage works, which include main river improvements, flood alleviation, and sea defence work. We all know what happens when the floods occur. We have seen it happening in the last few days, and it happens more or less every year. Land is damaged, sometimes permanently, cattle are lost, and I believe that it is important that enough money should be available to enable the necessary drainage work to be undertaken.

    Obviously, the cost of doing these works has increased with inflation like everything else, and therefore I firmly believe that it is perfectly right that the 1·7 limit should be moved up by the responsible Minister. With those few words, I just wish to express my view, which I hope will be supported by my noble friends, that this amendment should not be carried and that it should be opposed.

    My Lords, the Minister is quite right that local authorities have a majority on these committees, but if you take only these local authority members, provided they agree it can be increased. I feel that this is a proper safeguard. However, I must admit that, as usual, the noble Lord, Lord Collison, speaks with a lot of sense. I can see the objects behind this, and if the noble Earl the Minister would agree to make a suitable undertaking that the Government would consult with the local authorities before making any order I would be prepared to withdraw this amendment.

    My Lords, if I may have the leave of the House, may I say that of course I will see that the Government discuss the position with the local authorities before they make an order. If that satisfies my noble friend, I would be quite happy for them to do that.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    9.39 p.m.

    moved Amendment No. 1 73A:

    After Clause 174, insert the following new clause:

    ( "Rateable values.

    . Subsection (8) of section 65 of the Land Drainage Act 1976 (by virtue of which the rateable value of any land shall be construed, where that value differs from the net annual value, as referring to the net annual value) shall cease to have effect.").

    The noble Lord said: My Lords, there is a vague similarity between this amendment and the one we have just been discussing, although it does not involve ministerial orders. Section 65(8) of the Land Drainage Act 1976 perpetuates the practice of substituting the net annual value for the rateable value, where these differ, in determining the assessment of drainage rates. The practice goes back to the time when there was industrial derating in England and Wales. The purpose was to ensure that drainage rates were paid on the full value of industrial premises.

    Industrial derating was abolished in 1962 in England and Wales. Therefore, mineral hereditaments are now the only type of property for which there are different net annual values and rateable values. The reason is that royalties paid to landowners represented part payment for a capital asset and, only in part, rent in the true sense.

    In 1971, following years of pressure by the CBI, the then Government agreed that this peculiar characteristic of mineral rents should be taken into account in England and Wales, and in Scotland also, for the purpose of calculating general rates—that is, that general rates should no longer be charged on the full net annual value—and effect was given to that decision in the Mines and Quarries (Valuation) Order 1971 and the Valuation (Mines and Quarries) (Scotland) Order 1971. It is suggested that in the interests of consistency and equity, the basis for drainage rates should also now be rateable value, and accordingly I beg to move.

    My Lords, notwithstanding the fact that I may get stick from my noble friend Lord Digby for making a short speech in reply to my noble friend Lord Mottistone, all I would say is that the Government accept the point of view which my noble friend has put forward and are happy to accept the amendment.

    My Lords, may we be informed whether this amendment applies to Scotland?

    My Lords, I think I am right in saying—and if I am not I will inform the noble Lord—that it does not.

    On Question, amendment agreed to.

    9.42 p.m.

    moved Amendment No. 174:

    After Clause 175, insert the following new clause:

    ( "Amendment of s. 9 of Justices of the Peace Act 1979.

    . After section 19(2) of the Justices of the Peace Act 1979 there shall be inserted a new subsection (2) (a) as follows:—

    "(2) (a) For the purpose of subsection (2) above the districts of Brighton, Plymouth, Portsmouth and Stoke-on-Trent shall be deemed to be non-metropolitan counties.".").

    The noble Lord said: My Lords, the towns specified in the amendment are large towns in non-metropolitan counties. Prior to local government reorganisation in 1974 they had two principal committees concerned with magistrates and magistrates' work. The first, the Lord Chancellor's Advisory Committee, was concerned with making recommendations to the Lord Chancellor on the appointment of magistrates. In addition, it reported annually to the Lord Chancellor on attendances and other matters on which the Lord Chancellor required annual information. The second, the Magistrates' Courts Committee, was concerned with the maintenance of buildings, the appointment and training of staff and the training of magistrates. Those are the two committees principally concerned with the work of magistrates and magistrates' courts.

    Following reorganisation in 1974, the then Lord Chancellor, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, decided that, in spite of changes in local government, there would continue to be Lord Chancellor's advisory committees in these large towns in non-metropolitan counties and that those advisory committees would continue to be directly responsible to him; and that is still the position today.

    The Home Office, on the other hand, decided that the magistrates' courts committees in these large towns should be abandoned and that the work should be taken over by the county committee. It did so in spite of the fact that these towns were larger than many of the districts in the metropolitan counties which had kept their magistrates' courts committees. That decision was illogical and in practice it has proved to be rather unsatisfactory: so unsatisfactory that in most of these towns the local magistrates have in fact maintained their magistrates' courts committee, either under that name or some other name. For example, in the case of Plymouth they have continued to elect their magistrates' courts committee and still have a magistrates' courts committee today. In the case of Portsmouth they continue to elect a committee, but give it another name. The only difference is that whereas before the local magistrates' courts committee had certain powers, nowadays it has no power at all. It has to go to the county cap in hand before it can do anything.

    The circumstances in these large cities in non-metropolitan counties are entirely different from the circumstances in the rural divisions in those counties. For example, in the case of Portsmouth there are at present 130 magistrates, and according to the establishment set by the present Lord Chancellor within the next three years the figure will be increased to 180 magistrates. In that city there are seven courts daily. But the circumstances in the rural divisions are quite different. In some cases there are only 20 magistrates, or thereabouts; there is not even one court each day. Consequently, both the circumstances and the problems are quite different.

    Furthermore, because every division in the county must be represented on the county committee, the large cities are under-represented, in most cases grossly under-represented. For example, in the case of Hampshire, the small divisions have one representative for every 20 magistrates, but the cities have one representative for every 35 magistrates; they are grossly under-represented. There are certain consequences which flow from that under-representation. The staff gradings that are required to carry out the work of the city are quite different from the staff gradings that are required in the rural divisions, because of the different nature of the work, and there is a tendency by county committees to have an equalisation, to try to apply in the city the same gradings as they apply in the rural divisions. The consequence is that all these towns are having great difficulty in recruiting adequate staff of the right calibre. That problem is far greater than it used to be when the magistrates' courts committee of the city had control of its own affairs.

    Moreover, in the case of the city of Portsmouth a feasibility study has shown overwhelmingly that computerisation of the city records would be most cost effective, but the attitude of the county committee is that of "wait and see", because it is not a matter of urgency for the small districts in the county that have the weight on the county committee. The present system is wasteful of time, paper and money. May I give your Lordships two examples? Let us take the city of Portsmouth. Before the reorganisation, if a small repair or, say, the redecoration of a room was required, all the magistrates' clerk had to do was to get in touch with the city council, often in the same building, or in an adjoining building, and make a request for the work to be done. The appropriate department of the city council sent across a representative, the job was surveyed, and arrangements were made for the work to be done.

    But what happens now? If a small repair or some redecoration is required, the clerk to the magistrates in Portsmouth has to get in touch with the clerk to the county magistrates' courts committee, who happens to be the clerk to the court in Totton, in the south-west of the county. He then has to get in touch with the clerk to the county council, who is in Winchester. The county council, in Winchester, uses the Portsmouth City Council as its agent for repairs. So the clerk to the Portsmouth City Council then gets in touch with Portsmouth, and we are back to square one. That actually happens today. Then, after all that waste of paper and all that waste of time, and after, sometimes, misinterpretation of what is required, the work commences, or is surveyed with a view to its being commenced. I submit that that is a complete and utter waste of time and is bureaucracy of the worst kind.

    This happens in all these cases, but let us take another example—the case of Plymouth. In the case of Plymouth, you have magistrates travelling up to Exeter—a round trip of 100 miles—eight or 10 times a year for work that could quite easily be done in Plymouth itself. That is a sheer waste of money. I should have thought that this Government, who want to save money, would have dived upon this and put it right long before now. This proposal will not involve any additional staff and it will not involve any additional cost.

    My Lords, at the Committee stage the Minister said there had been a lack of consultation. I have made inquiries, and I find that in each case there has been consultation between the magistrates in the city concerned and the magistrates' courts committee of the county. They are fully acquainted with this amendment; and in the case of Plymouth they were acquainted with this amendment as far back as 1976, so they have had plenty of time to consider it. Do not let us say that there is any lack of consultation.

    It is not the function of the city magistrates to consult with the county council; their connection is the county magistrates' courts committee. They are the people they are consulting with; they are the people they have informed. In most cases the county committee has no comment. I believe that in the vast majority of cases there would be no serious disagreement with this amendment. But here I come to my final point. At the Committee stage the Minister said that this could be done only by agreement. My Lords, if we are going to wait until we get agreement between all the parties concerned before we do anything, we shall never do anything. In 1974, when these changes were made, there was no attempt to get agreement with anybody; the city magistrates were just told that this would be the position in future. Consequently, if it was not necessary to get agreement in 1974 it is not necessary to get agreement in 1980. I have pleasure in moving this amendment, and I hope it will have the support of the House.

    My Lords, I support this amendment in principle, and I should like to thank the noble Lord, Lord Jacques, for the excellent way in which he moved it. Unfortunately, Plymouth does not quite agree with everything he said and is not ready to give its support at the present time. I have received a copy of a resolution passed by the Plymouth City Council in 1979, on the following lines:

    "With regard to the request for this Council to seek powers to resume control for Magistrates' Courts in Plymouth, whilst this Council would wish to support the requests, it is of the opinion that the additional cost involved would be too prohibitive and would not be in the best interests of the ratepayers of the City."
    I have usually supported the City of Plymouth in all its requests, particularly in relation to the Act of 1974, but on this occasion, I think, I have to go by their wishes in this regard. Furthermore, I do not want to contradict the noble Lord, Lord Jacques, but they still say that there has not been sufficient consultation.

    I have therefore been asked to oppose this amendment on the ground that it is an inappropriate provision to be made in this Bill (I think there may be something to be said for that, and perhaps my noble friend who is to reply will tell me, if this principle is approved, in what kind of Bill he considers this amendment might be made) and that it should more properly be contained in a Bill relating to the administration of justice. They finally add that no sufficient consultation has taken place. I end by repeating that I agree with the principle and I thank the noble Lord for raising this amendment, but I think that, with regard to Plymouth City Council, I must abide by their wishes at the present time.

    My Lords, before the noble Baroness sits down, would she agree that the additional cost that she mentioned is not added cost; that it is a transfer of cost from the county to the city? That is what the city is commenting upon. It is not more cost but merely a transfer from one authority to another.

    My Lords, that is what I was saying just now. That is what they are objecting to. They think it might be too hard on the ratepayers of Plymouth.

    My Lords, I rise to support the plea of my noble friend Lord Jacques for a reconsideration of the existing arrangements for magistrates' courts committees. I think that he has put the case admirably. Before the 1972 Local Government Act, all was well. I wonder if it can be said hereafter that before the 1980 Local Government Planning and Land (No. 2) Bill all was well in all sorts of fields. The changes which occurred then and which affected these four particular magistrates' committees were purely the result of changes in the local government boundaries which it was hoped should result in a review also of the magistrates' court committee arrangements. What has been put strongly to my noble friend, to me and to the noble Baroness, I think, is that there is no logic in some town courts being self-governing and other of similar size not being so. The magistrates, at any rate in each of the four courts we are concerned with, are unanimous about the wish that they should have their own committee and, as far as the other three are concerned, they support the views of the local bench. So do the local law societies. There would be no upheaval in what is proposed. Indeed, the information we have is that there would be considerable saving in staff and in expenditure; and the sort of illustration my noble friend has given of the whirlygig of letters going from one end of the county to the other and then back to square one happens in other places as well. In Brighton, I am told, a similar situation arises. There is a feeling on the benches of these four authorities that they are grossly unrepresented in the new county authority.

    On the point about the Lord Chancellor, I am happy to know, lest responsibility may pass on to my shoulders, that it was a true decision on the part of the noble and learned Lord who succeeded me that these four magistrates' courts should retain their advisory committees for the four towns we are concerned with—which is a measure of the thought that some independence of control over their own arrangements ought to be allowed. I hope therefore that if the Government do not feel disposed to accept this amendment tonight, we know that the Home Office has very little to do; and it may be that if, unhappily, we meet a negative, it w ill have been heard in this debate and we may possibly see reference to this in the Queen's speech—but I doubt it.

    My Lords, I say nothing about the merits of this amendment. This saves me having to be so intrepid as to tangle with the noble and learned Lord, Lord Elwyn-Jones, on such a matter. However, I doubt whether this is the appropriate Bill to which to move such an amendment; but I have absolutely no doubt that there has been no consultation on this matter and on those grounds alone I hope that my noble friend will resist it robustly.

    My Lords, I can say that East Sussex certainly had no consultation and, as far as counties are concerned, I think the noble Lord may be misinformed as to how much consultation there has been. I will not repeat all the arguments we had in Committee but I would say that the savings, if any, are assured to be minimal. There will be duplication of staff, even if the staff is there already, and the saving in travel will be offset by other costs.

    10 p.m.

    My Lords, may I say that I understand the reason why the noble Lord, Lord Jacques, and his fellow Peers have moved this amendment both at Committee stage and this evening. My home has always been near a county borough and I genuinely understand the reaction of civic pride to some of the alterations that were made in the powers under the 1972 Local Government Act. But there was a logical thought which ran through the arrangements for the magistrates' courts committee under the 1972 Act. That was that the boundaries of the magistrates' courts committee should be related to the boundaries of the local authorities which financed them. So it was that the 1972 Act provided that there should be a separate magistrates' courts committee for the whole of each non-metropolitan county.

    The noble Lord referred in his speech to the fact that the advisory committees had continued. No one is more glad than I am—indeed the noble and learned Lord, Lord Elwyn-Jones, has commended this as being a sensible continuing arrangement. Those advisory committees have very different functions from the functions of the magistrates' courts committees.

    The noble Lord, Lord Jacques, also called in aid what I would have called a circular argument rather than a square one as he presented it to the House as to how arrangements seemed to go back and forth—or perhaps round and round—in the counties in order to be able to secure repairs to the courthouses of the various petty sessional districts of these counties.

    However one argues it, two facts are incontrovertible. The first is the one I have already submitted; that the boundaries of the magistrates courts' committees are coterminous and should continue to be coterminous with the areas which finance them. The second point was picked up by my noble friends: that there has not been real consultation on this matter. I do not think that I need quote any words; all I need do is to say that my noble friend Lady Vickers—whose heart obviously is with this amendment—had none the less to include in her words a record of the fact that the city of Plymouth were on record as saying that on financial grounds they could not support an amendment of this kind.

    Therefore, I must say with regret that the Government cannot support an amendment of this kind. So far as the future is concerned—and I feel I owe noble Lords a reply on this point; and this was really the point that the noble and learned Lord put to me—I do not think I can give any undertaking for legislation so far as a piecemeal change is concerned. As I, on behalf of the Government, have had to say this evening as a matter of principle that I do not believe that this is the right way of proceeding, I am afraid therefore I must resist not only this amendment but any similar move in the foreseeable future.

    My Lords, on the question of whether this is the appropriate Bill, I say that this Bill is such an omnibus that there is no harm in it having another passenger. I would point out to the Minister that the magistrates' courts are self-financing. The amount received in fines by the Home Office is the income, and the amount which is spent on the courts is the expenditure. They are very largely self-financing. So far as consultation is concerned, the magistrates' connection is with the county committee. As I have said, there has been consultation with the county magistrates' courts committee. They know that this amendment is before the House tonight and in general they have no comment to make.

    I am not asking the Minister to promise us legislation next week or the week after or even in the Queen's Speech, but I should like a promise that some consideration will be given to reinstituting the magistrates' courts committees in those towns where the Lord Chancellor has found it necessary to keep the advisory committees. He specified 12 towns in non-metropolitan counties which he thought were big enough and ought to have their own advisory committees. I should like an assurance from the Minister that the Home Office will look at that and see whether it cannot do the same thing so far as the magistrates' courts committees are concerned. Surely this is a matter for consideration. Is the Minister willing to give an assurance that there will be consideration of that matter?

    My Lords, if the House will allow me, of course I am always ready to look at any matter which the noble Lord puts to me, but in what I said I think I made it crystal clear that I give no commitment of any sort whatsoever.

    My Lords, in the circumstances, while I feel so strongly that I could not withdraw the amendment, I will certainly not force a Division.

    On Question, amendment negatived.

    Clause 177 [ Amendment of s. 94 of the Public Health Acts (Amendment) Act 1907]:

    10.7 p.m.

    moved amendment No. 175:

    Page 148, line 33, at beginning insert—
    (" (1) For subsection (4) of section 94 of the Public Health Acts (Amendment) Act 1907 there shall be substituted—
    " (4) Where a boat or vessel is duly licensed by or under any regulations of the Board of Trade, or such a boat or vessel and the person in charge thereof or navigating it is duly licensed—
  • (a) for the purposes of this section by the local authority in whose area it is normally navigated; or
  • (b) under any other enactment, by a harbour authority as defined in section 57(1) of the Harbours Act 1964 within whose limits of jurisdiction this section does not have effect;
  • no further licence under this section shall be required for that boat or vessel, or for the person in charge of or navigating it.".")

    The noble Viscount said: My Lords, this amendment seeks to ameliorate a very unsatisfactory situation which ought to have been thought about when the clause was drafted. As things stand, the Public Health Acts (Amendment) Act 1907 appears to require a hire boat to have a separate licence from every district council into whose area it sails. This, of course, applies to private owners who may let out their boats, even to friends, for short periods. So far as the law is concerned, this is a most ridiculous situation and I think the Government agree that something must be done. There are also other authorities who have analogous powers to the district councils for licensing pleasure craft on condition that their construction and equipment have been examined and passed as safe. Chichester and Crouch Harbour Conservancy Authorities are a case in point. This amendment would make it unnecessary to obtain a second licence.

    As I have said before, I understand that the Government agree that the situation is unsatisfactory and that some district councils' licensing schemes are insufficiently rigorous. They argue that if this amendment were accepted boat owners would tend to seek licences in those districts where they could be obtained most easily, and so reduce the safety requirements. But my amendment specifically requires a boat to be licensed by the local authority in whose area it is normally navigated. I do not claim that this amendment is a final answer, but it is a solution to an existing problem until the Government can produce a better, more comprehensive solution. I fear that unless this amendment is passed pressure of business will mean indefinite delay by the Government. Can they guarantee to produce suitable legislation within a year? If not, I should have been tempted to take this to a Division so that, if I won, something would be done; but at this time of night there would be no point in doing so. I beg to move.

    My Lords, I listened with interest to the comments of the noble Viscount, Lord Hanworth, because we had these amendments down in Committee and I think they were taken very late at night. Certainly I think this particular amendment, or something not unlike it, received rather scant debate. I certainly accept that circumstances can arise in which there is duplication of licensing controls and that this can be confusing and inconvenient to pleasure boat operators. I agree that it is unsatisfactory.

    There is certainly a case for doing what we can to remove unnecessary duplication. Indeed, we did this in Committee by writing in a new clause, which is now Clause 177. Provided we set about it in the right way, this should work to the advantage of all concerned—the licensing authorities, the pleasure boat operators and the boat-going public. However, so far as this amendment is concerned, there are problems of safety in respect of people in boats. My primary concern, and indeed that of the Government, has been to consider what the effects of the amendment could be on safety on the water.

    However desirable in itself the aim of removing duplication of controls may be, I am certain that we must not sacrifice safety in the realisation of that aim. I know that some local authorities take their responsibilities for water safety very seriously indeed. There are some local authorities who attach to licences rather less strict conditions, and I understand there are other local authorities which operate really no licensing system at all.

    If that is the situation, then I really do not think this amendment will do. It will not do, I think, on an extension of that argument which the noble Viscount very fairly put and to which he also gave a reply; namely, the fear that some unscrupulous boat operators could get themselves licensed in one area and then use their boats in a different area.

    However, I leave that to one side. I do not think we need to cross swords about that this evening, but I should like to add to what I have said, that if one looks at the amendment, it is conceivable—and I really must say this in case the matter should go to a Division—that the amendment is not drafted correctly. As it reads at present, the exemption in sub-paragraphs (a) and (b) would seem only to apply to craft which are already licensed by the Board of Trade. That is clearly anomalous and I am sure it is not the effect which the noble Viscount wants to achieve.

    Finally, as he very fairly mentioned, these are matters which are being considered at the moment by the Home Office. I cannot give him the undertaking he asks for—that the Government will bring forward legislation on this matter within a year—because a year is a very long time in politics and I cannot see that far ahead. But I do give the noble Viscount an assurance that we will do our best to bring our study of this matter to a conclusion and then try to do something about it.

    My Lords, of course the noble Lord must realise, by his own admission, that if some licensing authorities are less rigorous than others, a factor of safety already comes into the equation and I do not think that my own amendment, after what I have said, would increase this unsatisfactory situation from a safety point of view. I think really one can almost dismiss the Minister's argument on that subject.

    However, what I asked him was whether he will press forward on this, because clearly the situation is unsatisfactory. Not only is it making the law look an ass and look ridiculous but, on the Minister's own admission, there is the safety aspect, which is unsatisfactory in some cases. Nevertheless, I accept the Government's good intentions to try to do something about this; I only hope that they really will do so. So I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

    mendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    [ Amendment No. 176 not moved.]

    10.15 p.m.

    moved Amendment No. 176A:

    After Clause 177, insert the following new clause:

    ( "Amendment of s. 127 of Highways Act 1959

    . In section 127 of the Highways Act 1959 the words or a gipsy "shall be omitted.").

    The noble Baroness said: My Lords, if I may, I will speak to Amendments No. 176A and No. 188A at the same time. This new clause was accepted at Committee stage, but it was suggested that it should be put in a different place in the Bill, which is what this amendment does. Amendment No. 188A makes the necessary entry in Schedule 32 to repeal that part of Section 127 of the Highways Act 1959. My Lords, I beg to move.

    My Lords, we have already spoken to this amendment from this side of the House. I am happy to accept the proposed amendment, together with the consequential Amendment No. 188A.

    On Question, amendment agreed to.

    [ Amendment No. 177 not moved.]

    moved Amendment No. 178:

    After Clause 181, insert the following new clause:

    ( "Equestrian Traffic

    .—(1) In the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1967—

    (a) the following subsection shall be substituted for section 1(3A) (by virtue of which the provision which may be made by a traffic regulation order includes any provision prohibiting, restricting or regulating the use of a road or any part of the width thereof by foot passengers):—
    "(3A) The provision which may be made by a traffic regulation order shall include any provision prohibiting, restricting or regulating the use of a road or any part of the width thereof by, or by any specified class—
  • (a) of foot passengers; or
  • (b) of persons driving, riding or leading horses or other animals of draught or burden,
  • either generally or subject to exceptions specified in the order, and either at all times or at times, on days or during periods so specified.";

    ( b) in section 12(1) and (2) (by virtue of which a highway authority may restrict or prohibit the use of a road or any part of a road by vehicles or by vehicles of any class or by foot passengers) after the words "or by foot passengers ", in both places where they occur, there shall be inserted the words "or by persons driving, riding or leading horses or other animals of draught or burden "; and

    ( c) the following definition shall be inserted in section 104(1), after the definition of "street parking place" and "off-street parking place ":—

    "traffic" includes pedestrians and animals;

    (2) The following section shall be inserted after section 23 of the Road Traffic Act 1972:—

    "Equestrain traffic to comply with directions to stop.23A. Where a constable in uniform is for the time being engaged in the regulation of vehicular traffic in a road, a person driving, riding or leading a horse or other animal of draught or burden who proceeds across or along the carriageway in contravention of a direction to stop given by the constable, in the execution of his duty, either to persons on foot or to persons on foot and other traffic, shall be guilty of an offence.".

    (3) In Part I of Schedule 4 to that Act (prosecution and punishment) the following entry shall be inserted after that relating to section 23:—

    23APerson riding horse etc. proceeding in contravention of constable's direction.Summarily£50

    (4) The following section shall be inserted after section 159 of that Act:—

    "Power of police to stop equestrian traffic.159A. A person driving, riding or leading a horse or other animal of draught or burden on a road shall stop the same on being so required by a constable in uniform, and if he fails to do so he shall be guilty of an offence.".

    (5) In Part I of Schedule 4 to that Act the following entry shall be inserted after that relating to section 159:—

    159A Person riding horse etc. failing to stop when required by constable.Summarily£100Sections 181 and 183 apply."

    The noble Lord said: My Lords, this amendment reintroduces a Government clause which was contained in the No. 1 Bill, and it puts right an anomaly in the existing law, whereby traffic regulations orders cannot be applied to persons driving, riding or leading horses. This clause would help to regulate the commercial use of bridleways. There is an increasing problem of excessive use of bridleways—and, indeed, footpaths for that matter—for purposes for which bridleways were not originally intended; for instance, sponsored rides. It gives me very great pleasure to say that I understand that the Ramblers' Association support me in this amendment.

    It may be that the Government will say that they would prefer to put off the problem for the moment—perhaps until that long-awaited and, to me and to my noble friend Lord Bellwin, very much to be feared Wildlife and Countryside Bill. Of course, I shall understand if that is the case. My Lords, I beg to move.

    My Lords, because of the pressure of time we had intended to bring the road traffic measures forward, not in this Bill, but in a later one. However, at the instigation of my noble friend Lord Ridley, during the Committee stage of this Bill we accepted that the largely uncontroversial clauses from the No. 1 Bill, which relaxed ministerial controls over local authorities' road traffic functions, might be added to this Bill. However, this new clause does not relax a ministerial control. It is aimed at bringing a major new class of traffic—equestrian traffic—within the scope of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1967. This is not something that can be taken lightly, "on the nod" as it were. Indeed, there can be differences of view as to whether equestrians ought to be brought within the scope of traffic regulation at all. Although the Government are inclined to the view that they should, we would wish to hear counter arguments. We therefore feel that the matter deserves debate at greater length on another occasion.

    Moreover although the new clause is reproduced from the No. I Bill, the amendment is, unfortunately, technically defective. Subsection (1)(c) contains a definition of traffic that is much too broad, embracing as it does every species of animal that you may care to think of; the definition therefore needs to be narrowed. Again, subsection (1)(5), in inserting an entry corresponding to Section 159A of the Road Traffic Act 1972 in Schedule 4 to that Act, stipulates that Sections 181 and 183 apply. This is mistaken, as a horse cannot by any stretch of the imagination be regarded as being a motor vehicle.

    For all these reasons, I hope that your Lordships will be able to accept that, although the Government are not disposed to accept this amendment on this particular occasion, its subject matter is nevertheless being given active consideration, and the Government have every intention of bringing forward an alternative clause at a suitable legislative opportunity.

    My Lords, I thank my noble friend for that reply. I must say that I feel I can never win. I thought that we had copied out the whole clause word for word from the No. 1 Bill. But, evidently, we did not do it correctly, because we have motor vehicles muddled up with horses. I thank my noble friend for saying that he will do something about the problem at some stage. Therefore I beg to leave to withdraw the amendment.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    moved Amendment No. 178ZA:

    After Clause 181, insert the following new clause:

    ( "Compensation for loss of office.

    .—(1) The Secretary of State shall by regulations provide for the payment by the Secretary of State or by such body as may be prescribed by or determined under the regulations of compensation to or in respect of persons who are, or who but for any such service by them as may be so prescribed would be, holders of any such office or employment as may be so prescribed and who suffer loss of employment or loss or diminution of emoluments which is attributable to any provision of this Act or of any instrument made under this Act (other than a provision of Part XII of this Act or of any instrument made thereunder).

    (2) Regulations under this section may—

  • (a) include provision as to the manner in which and the person to whom any claim for compensation is to be made, and for the determination of all questions arising under the regulations,
  • (b) make different provision for different classes of persons and for different circumstances and make or authorise the Secretary of State to make exceptions and conditions,
  • (c) be framed so as to have effect from a date earlier than the making of the regulations,
  • but so that regulations having effect from a date earlier than the date of their making shall not place any individual in a worse position than he would have been in if the regulations had been so framed as to have effect only from the date of their making.

    (3) Regulations under this section shall be made by statutory instrument and shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.")

    The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move this amendment, and I should like to speak to the following amendment. These amendments are identical to two amendments which I moved at the Committee stage. In reply to my moving of those amendments the noble Lord, Lord Bellwin, said that there is already a scheme for payment of compensation to local government staff who are made redundant or who lose their jobs in the interests of greater efficiency. The scheme to which he referred was never, so far as I am aware, intended to cover loss caused by statutory intervention and was never intended to be an alternative to or a replacement of the Crombie code in the event of statutory intervention. Indeed, since the departmental letter referred to by the noble Lord was issued in 1976, the Crombie code has been invoked on a number of occasions. For example, regulations containing the Crombie code were made in 1977 to provide compensation for officers who suffered loss as a result of the transfer of housing functions from new towns to local authorities. A set of Crombie regulations was made in 1980 to provide compensation for officers who suffered loss as a result of the transfer of housing from the Greater London Council to local boroughs and to some district councils.

    The scheme in the March 1976 departmental letter contains two elements, both discretionary. One of them allows some added years to be awarded for superannuation purposes to a person over 50 with at least five years service who retires on the ground of redundancy or in the interests of the efficiency of the service. The number of added years cannot in any event exceed 10, and the maximum is considerably less in many cases, depending upon the officer's age and length of service. The second element in the scheme relates to the size of the redundancy payment which will normally be only the statutory redundancy payment as envisaged in the Employment Protection (Consolidation) Act 1978, formerly the Redundancy Payments Act 1965.

    Under the March 1976 letter, local authorities may, in calculating the redundancy payment, count all of an officer's continuous local government service instead of only the service with the last employer and may, if the officer's pay is more than £120 per week, use it as a base for the calculation of the actual week's pay instead of the statutory maximum of £120 per week. The Crombie code which officers expect to be applied in cases of statutory intervention is far more comprehensive and favourable than the terms of the 1976 letter. For example, it provides for a minimum lump sum payment of 13 weeks' pay, whereas the minimum redundancy payment after the same qualifying claim of employment for two years can be as little as one week's pay, depending on age, according to the terms of the letter. The code also provides long-term income support, subject to stringent provisions for review and abatement for officers with at least five years service who suffer loss of emoluments without any qualifying minimum age.

    Statutory intervention is a different circumstance from redundancies which arise from the ordinary management of local authorities' affairs. That obviously has been recognised by the use of the Crombie code and in connection with statutory reorganisations which have occurred since the last war. I am making this point in some detail because in reply to my earlier amendment the noble Lord specifically referred to the fact that the code he was referring to in the letter was a code used for greater efficiency and not the Crombie code which has been used in the past where statutory intervention is involved. I think that local authority employees have the right to expect that if they suffer loss because of legislation they will be properly compensated in that way. The Local Government, Planning and Land (No. 2) Bill is no different from previous legislation and it will certainly adversely affect the careers of some local government employees. I hope, therefore, that the noble Lord can look again at this question. I beg to move.

    My Lords, as I made plain in Committee, it is the belief of the Government that there is adequate provision for any staff who may be affected by the Bill in the compensation terms already available for local government staff who are made redundant or lose their jobs in the interests of greater efficiency. These terms were agreed between both sides of local government and are available for the staff of new towns as well as those employed by local authorities. The scheme is in process of being converted into regulations which, it is hoped, can be made later this year.

    The Minister of State for the Civil Service Department set out the reasons which had led to the Government decision not to make use of the Crombie code for future statutory reorganisations in his letter of 10th September to the General Secretary of the TUC. The code is extremely complex. It provides for the discounting of compensation when there are prospects of alternative employment. It also calls for the review and adjustment of compensation for up to two years after the loss of employment. The code was introduced at a time when the availability of redundancy benefits was much less widespread. It is becoming increasingly difficult to justify the application of a different compensation code simply because a particular reorganisation results from a statutory change. It is for these reasons that the Government intend to rely in future on the compensation arrangements which have been negotiated for each service. My Lords, it seems to me to be eminently sensible and fair in the light of conditions as they are today.

    My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for his reply which, unfortunately, I do not find very satisfactory. He does not appear to be seized of the particular problem that local government officers feel that they are being less fairly treated than were their predecessors when similar enactments affecting their job prospects were enacted by Parliament. However, I shall study his reply again with interest, but, in the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    Schedule 31 [ Minor and consequential amendments]:

    moved Amendment No. 179:

    Page 290, line 4, leave out from (" acquisition ") to end of line 5 and insert (" by the Land Authority for Wales under section 100 of the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980;
  • (k) an acquisition by means of an order under section 136 of that Act vesting land in an urban development corporation;
  • (l) an acquisition by such a corporation under section 137 of that Act; ").
  • The noble Lord said: My Lords, this is a technically necessary amendment to extend and clarify the technical modifications to the Land Compensation Act 1961. It deals with land acquisitions by the Land Authority for Wales under Clause 100 of the Bill and land vested in or acquired by urban development corporations under Clauses 136 and 137. I beg to move.

    On Question, amendment agreed to.

    moved Amendment No. 179A:

    Page 291, line 5, at end insert—
    (" (6) In Schedule 2 to the Land Compensation (Scotland) Act 1963 (acquisition of houses as being unfit for human habitation) at the end of paragraph 1(1) there shall be added or
  • (h) an acquisition by means of an order under section 136 of the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980 vesting land in an urban development corporation; or
  • (i) an acquisition by such a corporation under section 137 of that Act.".")
  • The noble Lord said: My Lords, this is the Scottish equivalent to Amendment No. 179. It makes the necessary modifications to Schedule 2 to the Land Compensation (Scotland) Act 1963. I beg to move.

    On Question, amendment agreed to.

    Schedule 32 [ Repeals]:

    moved Amendment No. 181:

    Page 295, line 19, leave out from (" subsection ") to end of line 22 and insert (" (4), the word "also" ")

    The noble Lord said: My Lords, I spoke to this amendment with Amendments Nos. 9 and 10. I beg to move.

    On Question, amendment agreed to.

    [ Amendments Nos. 182 to 187 not moved.]

    10.30 p.m.

    moved Amendment No. 188:

    Page 301, line 24, after (" 12 ") insert—
    (" In subsection (1)(a) the words "to any relevant matter arising out of a survey carried out under section 6 or 11 of this Act and ".").

    The noble Lord said: My Lords, this amendment is to remedy a defect in a previous amendment, No. 317A, which I moved and then withdrew at Committee stage, after my noble friend Lord Bellwin indicated that it went further than the Government would wish to go. This new amendment merely seeks to dispense with the present requirement in Section 12(1)( a) of the Act for publicity to be afforded to matters arising out of a mere survey of an area where a local plan is being prepared, but would retain the requirement for adequate publicity to be given to matters included in the plan itself, to enable representations to be made in connection with such proposals.

    This is one of a batch of amendments in my name at this point and at an earlier point in the Bill which had been worked out by my noble friend's department and myself. This particular one, I understand, is acceptable to Her Majesty's Government, and I would hope between this stage and Third Reading the others, which we had thought to have got right but which proved not to be right, can be retabled either by myself or my noble friend. I beg to move.

    My Lords, this amendment is part of a series with all the Us and Vs and Ws. This is acceptable.

    On Question, amendment agreed to.

    The Earl of AVON moved Amendments Nos. 118UA to 188ZA en bloc:

    Page 303, line 35, at end insert—
    ("9 & 10 Geo. 6. c. 49.Acquisition of Land (Authorisation Procedure) Act 1946.In Schedule 1, in paragraph 3(1), the words in head (b) from "except" to "case", head (c) and the proviso, and in paragraph 7A, the words "the confirming authority and to" and the words "or affixing of notices ".")

    column 3, leave out lines 39 to 43 and insert—

    (" In section 23(3), the words following paragraph (ii).")

    Page 303, line 45, column 3, leave out from ("(5)") to end of line 49 and insert ("the words following paragraph (ii).").

    Page 304, line 6, leave out from ("( b)") to ("(6)") in line 7 and insert ("(3) to").

    column 3, leave out line 8 and insert—

    ("In section 122, in subsection (2), the words "open space" in paragraph (a) and the words following paragraph (b), and subsections (3), (5) and (6).")

    Page 304, line 11, column 3, leave out ("Section 126(5)") and insert—

    ("In section 126, in subsection (4), the words "open space" in paragraph (a) and the words following paragraph (b), and subsections (5) and (7),").

    The noble Earl said: My Lords, with your Lordships' permission, I should like to move Amendments Nos. 188UA to 188ZA en bloc. They are all consequential on amendments I spoke to earlier today to Schedule 22. I beg to move.

    On Question, amendments agreed to.

    moved Amendment No. 188A:

    Page 305, line 11, at end insert—
    ("7 & 8 Eliz. 2. c. 25.Highways Act 1959.In section 127(c) the words "or a gipsy,"").

    The noble Viscount said: My Lords, I think the noble Baroness, Lady David, spoke to this amendment earlier. I beg to move.

    On Question, amendment agreed to.

    moved Amendment No. 188B:

    Page 305, line 34, column 3, at beginning insert ("Section 144(3)")

    The noble Earl said: My Lords, this amendment repeals Section 144(3) of the Local Government Act 1972. This repeal, together with the repeals of Section 73(2) and Section 8 of the Greater London Council (General Powers) Act 1978, is consequential on Clause 180 of the Bill, which removes the present restrictions upon local authorities advertising the commercial and industrial advantages of Greater London. I beg to move.

    On Question, amendment agreed to.

    moved Amendment No. 189:

    Page 305, line 37, at end insert—
    ("1973 c. 37.Water Act 1973.In Schedule 3, paragraph 11(2).")

    The noble Earl said: My Lords, this amendment repairs an omission in the Schedule of Repeals. Up till now water authorities have been entitled to pay allowances to their members by virtue of the provision in Schedule 3 to the Water Act. They will now be brought into line with a number of other bodies who may pay allowances under the Local Goverment Act 1972. The Water Act provision should, therefore, be repealed. To omit to do so would undoubtedly lead to confusion. I hope that the House will accept this amendment. I beg to move.

    On Question, amendment agreed to.

    Clause 185 [ Scotland]:

    10.35 p.m.

    moved Amendment No. 190:

    Page 150, line 9, leave out ("Parts V, IX,") and insert ("Parts IV, V, IX, XII,")

    The noble Earl said: My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 190, and I should like to speak to Amendments Nos. 191, 192 and 193. These are all technical amendments necessary to clarify the application of this Bill to Scotland. As was noted by my noble friend Lord Morris during the Committee stage, the convention in explaining the application of a Bill to Scotland is that where one is dealing with a United Kingdom statute and no express provision is made excluding Scotland, then it applies to Scotland. This clause, therefore, sets out those parts which either do not apply to Scotland or apply only in part.

    The first amendment, Amendment No. 190, adds two further Parts which have partial application to Scotland, namely, Parts IV and XII. Amendment No. 191 sets out the relevant sections which explain the partial application of each of these Parts. Amendment No. 192 simply deletes a Part which applies in part to Scotland. Amendment No. 193 is to rectify a drafting error: it adds a reference to Clause 177 which does not apply to Scotland. I beg to move.

    My Lords, I think that we are grateful to the Minister of State for producing something with which we very nearly agree. I just wonder, though, whether his first amendment is really necessary—the amendment which refers to Part XII. After all, when we look at the part which is referred to it says that that part does not refer to Scotland and refers us to a reference in a schedule. So to my mind there was no real need for him to make that change. But I can understand that he was anxious to do something that appeared to indicate that they had read the Bill and fully covered it.

    As regards Amendment No. 191, is it intended—and this relates to Part IV—that they will put in the numbers rather than the rubric and the subject of the section? It is very unusual to depart from putting in numbers and then suddenly putting in:
    "Vice-chairmen of councils in Scotland and application of Part IV to Scotland".
    It would be very clumsy if we were to leave it in that way, but I think that probably when the Bill is reprinted and every- thing is set out properly we will be able to put in the sections.

    I turn next to Amendment No. 193, which will now read: "In this Part of this Act …" What is "this Part of this Act"? Could we not just put in the part number or is there some difficulty as regards putting in the part number? What is the part number? I ask any noble Lord who holds the Bill to help me, because it bears the roman numeral, XVIX. I do not know what that is. Can anyone tell me?

    My Lords, I drew the attention of the Public Bill Office to this point and they said that it was a printer's error.

    My Lords, Yes, indeed, but there is not just one printer's error; there are about seven or eight. At one point it becomes part of the page number of the Bill. If we had had an erratum at the right time it would have helped a lot. I was mystified by this. I looked for XTX and could not find it very well. I presumed that it was that.

    My Lords, if the noble Lord would allow me, we agreed that perhaps the printer had not learned Latin at school.

    My Lords, even those of us who learned Latin at school were a bit confused by this one. It goes right through the Bill. It is right at the beginning as well. Latin is the normal lunchtime language between civil servants and Ministers; they do not talk in any other language. We could have spotted this. Anyway, the amendments will be helpful.

    I was going to make a long speech about this because, honestly, this is not the way to deal with Scottish legislation. There is no reference to Part I. I presume that the whole of Part I applies to Scotland. When the Bill was first printed in the Explanatory Memorandum it said that part of Part I applied to Scotland. Anyone trying to read this Bill in Scotland may not realise that at the end of the clauses there is another 150 pages of schedules. We dealt with them as we went along, but I doubt whether any Scots lawyer reading that would know of the schedules or parts of the schedules apply to Scotland. There is no similar guide.

    Therefore, if we are going to make a mess of this and spatter Scotland throughout what is virtually an English Bill, then let us do it properly. However, I accept the amendments. They are the best amendments that have been produced by the noble Lord in the past two days.

    My Lords, may I just say that I think this is an historic occasion. I have never known my noble friend Lord Ross of Marnock mystified in the whole of my life until tonight.

    On Question, amendment agreed to.

    10.41 p.m.

    moved Amendment No. 191:

    Page 150 line 10 leave out ("sections 43, 88") and insert ("sections [Vice-chairmen of councils in Scotland and application of Part IV to Scotland 43, 88, 107").

    On Question, amendment agreed to.

    moved Amendment No. 192:

    Page 150, line 12, leave out ("X and XII") and insert ("and X").

    On Question, amendment agreed to.

    moved Amendment No. 193:

    Page 150, line 14, leave out ("173 to 176") and insert ("173, 174, 175, 176, 177").

    On Question, amendment agreed to.

    Clause 186 [ Northern Ireland]:

    moved Amendment No. 194:

    Page 150, line 19, leave out from ("section") to ("19") in line 21 and insert ("119; in Schedule 16, so much of paragraph 5 as relates to section").

    The noble Lord said: My Lords, I come to the last of the amendments. I certainly must not rush this one. It is, in fact, a drafting amendment to correct a reference in Clause 186 which sets out the provisions in the Bill which apply to Northern Ireland. The amendment adds to the list Clause 119, which happens to be the only clause in the Bill which applies to Northern Ireland, and removes the reference to Clause 118. I beg to move.

    My Lords, we have come to the end of what has been a very long and extremely interesting Report stage of a Bill, and I think that your Lordships have given it a great deal of worthy consideration. I see the noble Baroness the Opposition Chief Whip opposite me and I think that on behalf of my noble friends on these Benches, 1 should thank your Lordships for the amount of consideration that you have given to this Bill. There have been times when we wished that the progress was a little more rapid. There are times when perhaps we wished that the consideration would have been a little less intense. But I thought I should mark the end of this stage by thanking your Lordships for what has been perhaps a severe ordeal, and I know that the noble Baroness will agree on this one point perhaps, that we are very glad to get to the end of the Report stage.

    My Lords, I think that is the only point throughout the course of this entire Bill on which I have agreed with the noble Lord the Chief Whip. Nevertheless, as always he treats us with courtesy and kindness. We deeply appreciate what he has said. We disagree with everything that he stands for and, I think, possibly everything he believes in, but we nevertheless very much appreciate his courtesy and his care for this House. We for our part could have gone on for very much longer. We think the Bill still needs an enormous amount of correction and a great deal more consideration. But, as a matter of fact, if I may be absolutely frank with the House, we just are too exhausted to go another minute further.

    On Question, amendment agreed to.