Select Committee on Liaison Fourth Special Report

Annex 2

Letter to the Leader of the House of Commons, Rt Hon Harriet Harman QC MP, from the Chairmen of the Business and Enterprise Committee, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee and Transport Committee, 10 December 2007

We are writing about the announcement by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on Planning Reform, which accompanied first reading of the Planning Bill [27 November 2007, c 12 WS].

We note that the Planning White Paper referred to the need for Parliamentary scrutiny. However there was little or no suggestion about the form that scrutiny might take.

The ministerial statement less than two weeks ago invited the House to consider establishing a new Select Committee to consider draft national policy statements, with membership drawn from the existing Committees on Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, on Transport and on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

We recognise that our Committees do contain the necessary expertise to carry out this type of scrutiny. However we would welcome an early opportunity to discuss the way this process would operate in practice.

You will appreciate that your proposal will have important implications for our Committees, especially with reference to the resources currently made available to us to undertake our existing scrutiny work. If a quality job is to be undertaken by the House of reporting on these items of major national importance, then I hope you would agree the merits of the proposal for such a meeting and explicitly commit the Government to hold such a discussion with us as part of the Government contribution to today's Second Reading of the Planning Bill.

We are copying this letter to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and to the Chairman of the Liaison Committee.


Peter Luff

Michael Jack

Gwyneth Dunwoody

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