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Baroness Hamwee: I am grateful for that. As I indicated, I did not feel that my amendment was necessarily the right amendment. However, I felt it was appropriate at this stage of the Bill to get the matter within your Lordships' consciousness as one that perhaps needs to be pursued. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

12.45 p.m.

Lord Jenkin of Roding moved Amendment No. 12:

Page 3, line 26, leave out from ("determined") to end of line 31 and insert ("in accordance with section 7(2); and").

The noble Lord said: With this amendment we are discussing Amendments Nos. 13, 14, 17, 18, 19 and 20. They all bear on the same point: what is the majority that should be necessary to activate a scheme? The noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, and I have come up with exactly the same answer, which is that it should be two-thirds. The Bill originally provided for more than half. We are providing two-thirds or more--at least, my amendments are providing two-thirds or more: I am not sure that that is necessarily implied by the noble Baroness's amendments. However, if my amendment is accepted, it will not then be possible to put the noble Baroness's amendments as they will have been pre-empted. I believe that my amendments will achieve the purpose of establishing a two-thirds majority as the threshold for the approval of a scheme. I hope that has the approval of the Committee. I beg to move.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Brougham and Vaux): I have to tell the Committee that if Amendment No. 12 is agreed to, I cannot call Amendments Nos. 13 or 14.

Baroness Hamwee: I am happy to be pre-empted on this and support the noble Lord's amendment.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: We welcome the amendments. The proposal to increase the proportion of votes needed to establish a BID from a majority to two-thirds will ensure that any BID established has the clear support of businesses in the area.

Lord Jenkin of Roding: I am grateful for that support. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 13 and 14 not moved.]

Lord Jenkin of Roding moved Amendment No. 15:

Page 3, line 34, at end insert--
("(5) Where a draft scheme has been modified pursuant to subsection (3) above, the local authority shall inform the applicant of the modification before making an election order.").

The noble Lord said: I spoke to this amendment with Amendment No. 6. I beg to move.

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On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 4, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 5 [Provisional BID charge list]:

[Amendment No. 16 not moved.]

Clause 5 agreed to.

Clause 6 agreed to.

Clause 7 [Elections]:

The Deputy Chairman of Committees: In calling Amendment No. 17, I should point out that if it is agreed to, I cannot call Amendments Nos. 18 and 20.

Lord Jenkin of Roding moved Amendment No. 17:

Page 4, line 32, leave out ("a majority") and insert ("two-thirds or more").

The noble Lord said: I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 18 not moved.]

Lord Jenkin of Roding moved Amendment No. 19:

Page 4, line 34, leave out ("more than half") and insert ("two-thirds or more of").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 20 not moved.]

Clause 7, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 8 agreed to.

Clause 9 [Services etc provided by local authority]:

Baroness Hamwee moved Amendment No. 21:

Page 5, line 15, after ("section") insert ("4(1) or").

The noble Baroness said: In moving this amendment, I shall also speak to Amendments Nos. 22 and 23. Amendment No. 21 queries why in Clause 9(1)(a) as regards a local authority and the reference to,

    "in coming to an opinion as to the making of an election order"

Clause 4(1) is not mentioned, but Clause 4(2) is. However, I am beginning to be even more confused than I was when I tabled the amendment because I am now wondering whether it is correct to mention Clause 4(2) at all. That subsection refers to not making an election order. Whether it is right in Clause 9(1)(a) to speak about,

    "coming to an opinion as to the making of an election order under section 4(2)"

when that subsection speaks about not making an election order, I am not sure. However, that amendment is not down for consideration. I am probably taking the Committee around hoops that may be unnecessary. My query is as to why Clause 4(1) is not mentioned.

Amendment No. 22 deals with the local authority's assumption about existing provisions. That takes us back to the point made earlier today. I have suggested wording which I am not wedded to. I do not believe that it is perfect. The local authority may make an assumption. I am proposing that it has a report on the issue. Although not every local authority proceeds with the speed at which the last few minutes of this Committee stage have progressed--that is in no way a criticism of the Deputy Chairman of Committees because I see him looking at me--it is nevertheless

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sometimes the case that local authorities do not give public consideration to matters in a desirable way. Having reports on paper which are then available to the public is often useful. I am proposing that a report should be considered and not simply a move direct to the assumption. Amendment No. 23 is consequential to this amendment. I beg to move.

Lord Jenkin of Roding: Perhaps I may be able to relieve the noble Baroness of some of her anxieties. I share the view that the drafting of these amendments is not in a form appropriate for entry into the Bill. The noble Baroness has raised some important points on Clause 9. With my advisers, we are continuing to examine what is the best way of dealing with the matter. Amendment No. 21 seeks to relate the opinion of the local authority about making an order to Clause 4(1). That subsection confers the power on the local authority to make, or to refuse to make, an order: it does not refer to the opinion of the local authority in coming to that decision. Clause 4 is silent on the way in which local authorities exercise their judgment generally. It is assumed that, as a matter of law, that will be done reasonably. If a local authority makes a decision which is unreasonable, as I know to my cost, one may find that it is open to review in the courts. We see the point that the noble Baroness is getting at, but I do not believe she has succeeded--and we have not succeeded--in tabling an amendment which addresses the issue in a watertight fashion. I can assure the noble Baroness that work is continuing on it.

As regards Amendments Nos. 22 and 23, the point that the noble Baroness made is accepted. This returns to the matter of additionality. I am equally clear that this is not the way to deal with it. So on the undertaking that we are looking carefully at these matters and still consulting--and I certainly undertake to have a word with the noble Baroness--it may be helpful if she does not press these amendments.

Lord Bowness: My noble friend Lord Jenkin of Roding said that the matter is still under consideration. I believe that at Second Reading I raised a point about the wording of,

    "not in substitution for the existing provision",

and attempted to make the point that an "existing provision" is easier to determine when one is looking at revenue. It seems to me that one of the things that a BID company might wish to do is to bring forward capital improvements. It can be argued that staged capital improvements across an authority were its "existing provision". I would not want the wording,

    "not in substitution for the existing provision"

to prevent the BID company making an application which involved what otherwise would have been done by a local authority at some time in the future being done at an earlier date. When we discussed that at Second Reading the point may well have been taken. I hope that the question of capital expenditure is still part of the ongoing consideration.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: The debate on Amendment No. 21 has been interesting. The advice that

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I have received is that the amendment is not necessary to achieve the objective. I believe that it would be helpful for discussions to take place between now and the next stage of the Bill.

Amendment No. 22, requiring local authorities to consider a report of existing provision, is attempting to ensure that the improvements from the BID scheme are in addition to those delivered by the local authority. We can certainly support the thrust of these amendments which is to ensure that where businesses put in extra money they receive extra services rather than providing an excuse for the local authority to withdraw its own spending.

However, as the noble Lord, Lord Bowness, said, although the amendments try to deal with this risk, I am sure that the Committee will recognise the difficulty of fixing a level of service and assessing how it can be sensibly measured and maintained over a number of years. The noble Lord referred to what may be a capital programme that is intended to take place over a period of years. While Clause 9 is directed towards the idea that a BID's provision should be additional to existing levels of service, I am sure that the Committee would wish to consider whether it is really effective in proposing a way of measuring that or of enforcing the intention.

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