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8.15 pm

Mr. Betts: In new clause 10, the Government are trying to set a better framework. Some on the Labour Benches are just trying to encourage the Minister to make the framework a little more specific to secure democratic accountability and prevent the misuse of powers.

Finally, I turn to the potential extension of the new PTA areas and the new ITAs. I think that that is a real possibility in south Yorkshire, north Derbyshire, north Nottinghamshire and perhaps even north Lincolnshire. The issue is exciting, because the current PTA boundary ends at the bottom of my garden. There is nothing intrinsically wrong about that, but the problem is that the travel-to-work area does not end there. The travel-to-work area of Sheffield, as a city region, extends into north Derbyshire, north Nottinghamshire and north Lincolnshire. Good relationships are now developing between the various local authorities, which want to come together on issues of transport, and perhaps skills, to consider how they can work together better.

I do not think that everything is sweetness and light between the districts and county in Derbyshire, and elsewhere, about how that will be done; there are some tensions that will have to be talked through. However, the possibility of doing that is a positive and helpful step in the Bill. I ask the Minister to think about the one issue that might be restrictive. I am thinking of representatives of an ITA that incorporated only part of a county but the whole of certain districts within that county, which could happen in, for example, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire. In such a case, there would have to be a decision on whether the county or
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each individual district was represented on the ITA. Might not making that decision, and saying that only one or the other could have representation, create a further problem for an agreed way forward between the county and districts on those other issues? Will the Minister think about how such a restriction might prove more unhelpful than it need be?

Paul Clark: We have certainly had an interesting discussion about the provisions of integrated transport authorities—those that exist and those that we want local authorities to consider as a way forward.

The last comment made by my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Attercliffe (Mr. Betts) was about the representation of districts and counties. He is right that there is a minimum position of there being a representative either from each of the districts or from the county council, by agreement. We are saying that that would be the minimum representation. I shall come back to the other matters that he raised and reflect on other things that he mentioned. I shall try to deal with some of the amendments and then with the issues that have been raised individually.

Amendment No. 11 relates to clause 73, under which the Secretary of State can make an order establishing a new integrated transport authority and integrated transport area where the local authorities in the area have reviewed their existing governance arrangements and have published a scheme that proposes that an ITA be set up. However, let me make it absolutely clear: an ITA to be established can usually cover only those geographical areas included in the proposals for a new ITA put forward by two or more local authorities—county councils, metropolitan districts, councils or unitary councils. The only exception to that rule would be in the circumstances that two or more authorities have not only been directed by the Secretary of State to undertake a review of all or part of their area but have been directed by the Secretary of State to prepare and publish a scheme for the establishment of a new ITA in that area or part of that area. I would expect that to be a rare occurrence, if it ever proved necessary at all. However, there might, for instance, be a major difference of opinion between neighbouring authorities that made it impossible for them to decide what area a new ITA should cover, thus holding up a review that could lead to improvements to transport locally.

In those circumstances, a direction by the Secretary of State determining the likely area of an ITA could remove the main blockage to a review going forward. If the local authorities failed to comply with such a direction, the Secretary of State would be able, subject to the procedures and safeguards set out in the Bill, to make an order setting up the new ITA. The Bill already provides several constraints on the Secretary of State’s power to establish a new ITA—for instance, the procedural safeguard of consulting representatives of appropriate authorities and others. What is more, any governance order setting up a new ITA would need to be approved by this House and by another place.

These safeguards will enable individual local authorities properly to represent the interests of those who live and work in their areas. I am not convinced that requiring a local referendum or the passing of resolutions before an ITA may be established would provide any worthwhile extra protection. It is worth repeating that people using
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transport in the area may not always live within the boundaries of the proposed ITA itself, especially where it is an urban area that has a large number of commuters. I hope that my explanation has convinced hon. Members that the safeguard that they are attempting to introduce into the Bill is unnecessary and that they are able to withdraw their amendments.

I turn to the Conservative amendments to new clauses 10 and 11. I have already explained the purposes of the new clauses, one of which is to provide that non-elected members of an ITA should have voting rights only where the existing voting members of that authority agree. This deals with the concern expressed in Committee that having non-elected members could lead to a shift in the political balance of the ITA. That is why, as some right hon. and hon. Members have recognised, we moved to reflect the debate that took place in Committee.

Stephen Hammond: Having listened carefully to the Minister, I am not sure that he has addressed the point raised by my amendment No. 13, which clearly refers to

That is slightly different from the Liberals’ amendment, which would provide the flexibility that the House does not appear to want. I hope that I will be able to press my amendment at the appropriate time, because the Minister has not given me the reassurance that I sought.

Paul Clark: Amendment No. 13 would mean that non-elected members had no voting rights at all under any circumstances. I have already been through that discussion. The hon. Member for Manchester, Withington (Mr. Leech) referred to the fact that individual authorities have not yet asked for non-elected members because they have not yet undertaken a review of their governance arrangements in those areas. We are not forcing non-elected voting members on anybody—we are providing the possibility that that can be decided at a local level. We have said that non-elected members cannot vote unless the ITA wants them to do so.

Graham Stringer: Will the Minister give way?

Paul Clark: Yes, on that point.

Graham Stringer: My hon. Friend has been courteous throughout this long debate, but could he explain the purpose of transferring to the ITA the power to give non-elected members the power to vote, which is very unusual?

Paul Clark: My hon. Friend has mentioned other examples of where this happens—for example, police authorities. If the provision is not widespread, that does not mean that it should not apply and that we should not be far-thinking in getting the arrangements for governance of the transport system in our towns and cities that we think are right and will deliver. One reason for giving non-elected members the power to vote could be to give a voice to passengers from outside the ITA area, such as those who commute to the travel-to-work area. That was mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Attercliffe, who welcomed
27 Oct 2008 : Column 644
the ability to change the boundaries of existing areas because of changing travel-to-work areas. All these measures reflect the changes that have happened over the past 25 years or so while provisions on the Government’s arrangements for transport within our major cities have been frozen without the ability to introduce any new ones.

Mr. Truswell: My hon. Friend mentioned the sort of constituency that might be represented by co-opted members who are given the vote, but to whom would they be accountable? Does the situation that he describes override the fears of abuse that have been expressed around the Chamber?

Paul Clark: ITAs are responsible to local authorities and, ultimately, to the people whom they serve—the travelling public. I reiterate that this is about making a provision for an ITA to take if it so wishes. If it wants to incorporate and involve non-elected members—for example, representatives from user groups, operators, or other interested bodies that it thinks would add to its deliberations—that is one of its powers. The second power is the ability to say, “You can vote or you can choose not to vote.” It is a matter to be decided locally.

Rob Marris: Many of us would find it much more reassuring if my hon. Friend were able to give the House a commitment on the point about “review at election”, if I could use that shorthand for Members who have taken part in the debate. Would the voting status of non-elected members who were given a vote by the ITA have to be reviewed by the elected members at the first meeting subsequent to any council elections?

Paul Clark: That might be a good provision to be incorporated within the constitution of an ITA, but I want to talk further about the question of a review after an election. An amendment was tabled by the hon. Member for Wimbledon to new clause 10 that would require that members were appointed precisely in proportion to their representation. This is an example of where the provision would work exactly as my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Rob Marris) says.

As other hon. Members have said, it is unlikely that we would always have a situation where a precise political balance on an appointing council matches the number of appointments that it can make to an ITA. That is why the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 sets out at length the way in which political balance works. Section 15 sets out principles by which appointments can be balanced. When political balance changes, the duty on the appointing authority is to review the representation as soon as is practical thereafter. A review would therefore be going on, even if there was not a change of political balance, because the legislation requires it. Section 15(6) of the 1989 Act deals with non-elected appointees by requiring the number of such appointees to be taken into account.

Mr. Leech: Would the Under-Secretary accept that, compared to the current arrangements for PTAs, the Government’s proposals make it far more likely that the composition of an ITA will not reflect the political balance?

27 Oct 2008 : Column 645
8.30 pm

Paul Clark: No, I do not accept that because of the safeguards in the Bill that I hope we will pass today, and in the 1989 Act. I do not believe that the proposals would do as the hon. Gentleman describes. My hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Attercliffe talked about reflecting population differences in the numbers that could come from each participating authority. That is a possibility, and the relevant ITA could decide to reflect the population on that basis. The effect of further amendments to new clauses 10 and 11 would be to preclude any representation on ITAs other than by elected councillors. The Government believe that non-elected members of the ITA could have an important role to play if the local ITA so decided.

Amendment No. 64, tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Blackley (Graham Stringer), would introduce additional procedures for any orders making changes to existing transport governance arrangements in any part of the country that the Secretary of State might make using his powers in clauses 73 to 91. A key objective of the Bill is to allow local government arrangements to be tailored to meet local needs. In contrast to the current statutory arrangements, which are extremely inflexible, the Bill allows for separate orders to be made to introduce changes in different parts of the country. An order covering the west midlands could include different provisions from one covering Merseyside. That is why provisions cannot be included on the face of the Bill, and need to be left to secondary legislation.

I entirely accept that the Bill provides for significant reforms to be covered in secondary legislation. That is why the affirmative procedure will apply, so that all such orders would need to be approved by both Houses of Parliament. That is entirely consistent with the findings of the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee in the House of Lords. The Committee considered the issue carefully. It noted the procedures and safeguards that are included in the Bill, and concluded:

Therefore, I ask my hon. Friend to consider his amendment unnecessary. I think that I have covered all the points raised in the debate, and with that I urge hon. Members to support new clause 10 and to reject the amendments tabled.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time.

Amendment proposed to the proposed new clause: (b), in line 12, at end insert—

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 132, Noes 310.
Division No. 290]
[8.34 pm


Afriyie, Adam
Ainsworth, Mr. Peter
Amess, Mr. David
Ancram, rh Mr. Michael
Atkinson, Mr. Peter
Bacon, Mr. Richard
Bellingham, Mr. Henry
Benyon, Mr. Richard

Bercow, John
Binley, Mr. Brian
Blunt, Mr. Crispin
Bone, Mr. Peter
Boswell, Mr. Tim
Brazier, Mr. Julian
Brokenshire, James
Burns, Mr. Simon
Burrowes, Mr. David
Butterfill, Sir John
Carswell, Mr. Douglas
Cash, Mr. William
Chope, Mr. Christopher
Clifton-Brown, Mr. Geoffrey
Cox, Mr. Geoffrey
Crabb, Mr. Stephen
Davies, David T.C. (Monmouth)
Davies, Philip
Davis, rh David
Djanogly, Mr. Jonathan
Duddridge, James
Ellwood, Mr. Tobias
Evennett, Mr. David
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Mr. Michael
Field, Mr. Mark
Gauke, Mr. David
Gibb, Mr. Nick
Goodman, Mr. Paul
Goodwill, Mr. Robert
Gray, Mr. James
Green, Damian
Greening, Justine
Gummer, rh Mr. John
Hague, rh Mr. William
Hammond, Stephen
Hands, Mr. Greg
Harper, Mr. Mark
Hayes, Mr. John
Heald, Mr. Oliver
Heathcoat-Amory, rh Mr. David
Hendry, Charles
Herbert, Nick
Hoban, Mr. Mark
Hollobone, Mr. Philip
Holloway, Mr. Adam
Horam, Mr. John
Howarth, Mr. Gerald
Howell, John
Hurd, Mr. Nick
Jackson, Mr. Stewart
Jones, Mr. David
Kawczynski, Daniel
Key, Robert
Knight, rh Mr. Greg
Laing, Mrs. Eleanor
Lait, Mrs. Jacqui
Lancaster, Mr. Mark
Lansley, Mr. Andrew
Leigh, Mr. Edward
Letwin, rh Mr. Oliver
Lewis, Dr. Julian
Lidington, Mr. David
Lilley, rh Mr. Peter
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter
Mackay, rh Mr. Andrew
Main, Anne
Malins, Mr. Humfrey
Maples, Mr. John
May, rh Mrs. Theresa
McCrea, Dr. William
McLoughlin, rh Mr. Patrick
Mercer, Patrick
Miller, Mrs. Maria
Milton, Anne
Moss, Mr. Malcolm
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Neill, Robert
Newmark, Mr. Brooks
O'Brien, Mr. Stephen
Osborne, Mr. George
Paice, Mr. James
Paterson, Mr. Owen
Pelling, Mr. Andrew
Penning, Mike
Penrose, John
Prisk, Mr. Mark
Pritchard, Mark
Randall, Mr. John
Redwood, rh Mr. John
Robathan, Mr. Andrew
Robertson, Mr. Laurence
Scott, Mr. Lee
Selous, Andrew
Shepherd, Mr. Richard
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, Mr. Keith
Soames, Mr. Nicholas
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spring, Mr. Richard
Stanley, rh Sir John
Steen, Mr. Anthony
Stuart, Mr. Graham
Swayne, Mr. Desmond
Swire, Mr. Hugo
Syms, Mr. Robert
Taylor, Mr. Ian
Timpson, Mr. Edward
Turner, Mr. Andrew
Tyrie, Mr. Andrew
Vaizey, Mr. Edward
Vara, Mr. Shailesh
Viggers, Sir Peter
Villiers, Mrs. Theresa
Walker, Mr. Charles
Wallace, Mr. Ben
Waterson, Mr. Nigel
Watkinson, Angela
Willetts, Mr. David
Wilshire, Mr. David
Wilson, Mr. Rob
Wright, Jeremy
Young, rh Sir George
Tellers for the Ayes:

Alistair Burt and
Mr. John Baron

Abbott, Ms Diane
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, rh Mr. Bob
Alexander, Danny
Anderson, Janet
Armstrong, rh Hilary
Atkins, Charlotte
Bailey, Mr. Adrian

Baird, Vera
Baker, Norman
Balls, rh Ed
Barlow, Ms Celia
Barrett, John
Barron, rh Mr. Kevin
Battle, rh John
Bayley, Hugh
Beckett, rh Margaret
Beith, rh Sir Alan
Benton, Mr. Joe
Berry, Roger
Betts, Mr. Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blackman-Woods, Dr. Roberta
Blears, rh Hazel
Blunkett, rh Mr. David
Borrow, Mr. David S.
Bradshaw, Mr. Ben
Brennan, Kevin
Brooke, Annette
Brown, Lyn
Brown, rh Mr. Nicholas
Brown, Mr. Russell
Bruce, rh Malcolm
Bryant, Chris
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Burnham, rh Andy
Burstow, Mr. Paul
Butler, Ms Dawn
Byers, rh Mr. Stephen
Byrne, rh Mr. Liam
Caborn, rh Mr. Richard
Cairns, David
Campbell, Mr. Alan
Campbell, rh Sir Menzies
Campbell, Mr. Ronnie
Carmichael, Mr. Alistair
Caton, Mr. Martin
Cawsey, Mr. Ian
Challen, Colin
Chaytor, Mr. David
Clark, Paul
Clarke, rh Mr. Charles
Clarke, rh Mr. Tom
Clelland, Mr. David
Clwyd, rh Ann
Coaker, Mr. Vernon
Coffey, Ann
Cohen, Harry
Cooper, rh Yvette
Corbyn, Jeremy
Cousins, Jim
Creagh, Mary
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, Mrs. Ann
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Mr. Jim
Cunningham, Tony
Curtis-Thomas, Mrs. Claire
Davidson, Mr. Ian
Davies, Mr. Dai
Davies, Mr. Quentin
Dean, Mrs. Janet
Denham, rh Mr. John
Dhanda, Mr. Parmjit
Dismore, Mr. Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Dobson, rh Frank
Donohoe, Mr. Brian H.
Doran, Mr. Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drew, Mr. David
Eagle, Angela
Eagle, Maria
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs. Louise
Engel, Natascha
Ennis, Jeff
Farrelly, Paul
Featherstone, Lynne
Field, rh Mr. Frank
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flello, Mr. Robert
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Mr. Don
Foster, Mr. Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings and Rye)
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Gapes, Mike
Gardiner, Barry
George, rh Mr. Bruce
Gerrard, Mr. Neil
Gidley, Sandra
Gilroy, Linda
Griffith, Nia
Gwynne, Andrew
Hain, rh Mr. Peter
Hall, Mr. Mike
Hall, Patrick
Hanson, rh Mr. David
Harman, rh Ms Harriet
Harvey, Nick
Havard, Mr. Dai
Healey, John
Heath, Mr. David
Hemming, John
Hendrick, Mr. Mark
Hepburn, Mr. Stephen
Heppell, Mr. John
Hesford, Stephen
Heyes, David
Hill, rh Keith
Hodgson, Mrs. Sharon
Holmes, Paul
Hood, Mr. Jim
Hoon, rh Mr. Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, David
Howarth, rh Mr. George
Howells, Dr. Kim
Hughes, rh Beverley
Hughes, Simon
Huhne, Chris
Humble, Mrs. Joan
Hunter, Mark
Hutton, rh Mr. John
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Illsley, Mr. Eric
Irranca-Davies, Huw
Jackson, Glenda
James, Mrs. Siân C.
Jenkins, Mr. Brian
Johnson, Ms Diana R.
Jones, Helen
Jones, Mr. Kevan
Jones, Lynne
Jones, Mr. Martyn
Jowell, rh Tessa

Joyce, Mr. Eric
Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keeley, Barbara
Keen, Alan
Keen, Ann
Kemp, Mr. Fraser
Kennedy, rh Mr. Charles
Kennedy, rh Jane
Khan, Mr. Sadiq
Kidney, Mr. David
Kilfoyle, Mr. Peter
Knight, Jim
Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Lamb, Norman
Lammy, Mr. David
Laws, Mr. David
Laxton, Mr. Bob
Leech, Mr. John
Lepper, David
Levitt, Tom
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony
Love, Mr. Andrew
Lucas, Ian
Mackinlay, Andrew
Mactaggart, Fiona
Malik, Mr. Shahid
Mallaber, Judy
Marris, Rob
Marsden, Mr. Gordon
Martlew, Mr. Eric
McAvoy, rh Mr. Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McCarthy, Kerry
McCarthy-Fry, Sarah
McCartney, rh Mr. Ian
McDonagh, Siobhain
McDonnell, John
McFadden, Mr. Pat
McFall, rh John
McGovern, Mr. Jim
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
McKenna, Rosemary
McNulty, rh Mr. Tony
Meacher, rh Mr. Michael
Merron, Gillian
Milburn, rh Mr. Alan
Miliband, rh David
Miliband, rh Edward
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Mr. Austin
Moffat, Anne
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moran, Margaret
Morgan, Julie
Morley, rh Mr. Elliot
Mudie, Mr. George
Mulholland, Greg
Mullin, Mr. Chris
Munn, Meg
Murphy, rh Mr. Jim
Murphy, rh Mr. Paul
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
Norris, Dan
O'Brien, Mr. Mike
O'Hara, Mr. Edward
Olner, Mr. Bill
Öpik, Lembit
Owen, Albert
Plaskitt, Mr. James
Pope, Mr. Greg
Prentice, Mr. Gordon
Primarolo, rh Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Pugh, Dr. John
Purchase, Mr. Ken
Purnell, rh James
Raynsford, rh Mr. Nick
Reid, rh John
Rennie, Willie
Riordan, Mrs. Linda
Robertson, John
Robinson, Mr. Geoffrey
Rooney, Mr. Terry
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Bob
Russell, Christine
Salter, Martin
Sanders, Mr. Adrian
Seabeck, Alison
Sharma, Mr. Virendra
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Mr. Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Simon, Mr. Siôn
Simpson, Alan
Singh, Mr. Marsha
Skinner, Mr. Dennis
Slaughter, Mr. Andy
Smith, rh Mr. Andrew
Smith, Ms Angela C. (Sheffield, Hillsborough)
Smith, Angela E. (Basildon)
Smith, rh Jacqui
Smith, John
Smith, Sir Robert
Snelgrove, Anne
Soulsby, Sir Peter
Southworth, Helen
Spellar, rh Mr. John
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Stewart, Ian
Straw, rh Mr. Jack
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Stunell, Andrew
Sutcliffe, Mr. Gerry
Tami, Mark
Taylor, Ms Dari
Teather, Sarah
Thomas, Mr. Gareth
Thornberry, Emily
Timms, rh Mr. Stephen
Todd, Mr. Mark
Touhig, rh Mr. Don
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Mr. Paul
Turner, Dr. Desmond
Turner, Mr. Neil
Twigg, Derek
Ussher, Kitty
Vis, Dr. Rudi
Walley, Joan
Waltho, Lynda
Ward, Claire
Wareing, Mr. Robert N.
Watson, Mr. Tom
Watts, Mr. Dave
Webb, Steve
Whitehead, Dr. Alan

Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, rh Mr. Alan
Williams, Hywel
Williams, Mark
Williams, Mr. Roger
Williams, Stephen
Willott, Jenny
Wills, Mr. Michael
Wilson, Phil
Winnick, Mr. David
Winterton, rh Ms Rosie
Woolas, Mr. Phil
Wright, Mr. Anthony
Wright, David
Wright, Dr. Tony
Wyatt, Derek
Younger-Ross, Richard
Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. Bob Blizzard and
Helen Goodman
Question accordingly negatived.
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