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Lord Dixon-Smith moved Amendment No. 20:

Line 1, leave out from ("make) to ("; and") in line 2 and insert ("further provision for the prevention and control of pollution and to implement European Community Directive 96/61 on Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control")

The noble Lord said: I begin to feel that I have a certain masochistic tendency about bringing forward this amendment. Again, it sets out to try to improve the wording of the Bill, on this occasion in its Long Title.

The existing wording states that it is to:

Lord Renton: As it stands, this Bill is a mass of detailed, regulating powers and this is an attempt to inform the public--all those people, here and abroad, who must comply with it. Its purpose really should be made clear.

The purpose clause which we discussed earlier would have achieved that purpose. But the noble and learned Lord, Lord Simon of Glaisdale, who is not in his place just at this moment, suggested that we should amend the Long Title. There is a lot to be said for that. As it stands, the Long Title tells us very little. It states that it is a Bill to:

    "Make provision for a new system of pollution prevention and control; and for connected purposes". That tells us practically nothing whereas the amendment states the fact on which the Bill is founded. The amendment states that the Bill seeks to make,

    "further provision for the prevention and control of pollution and to implement European Community Directive 96/61", which is not mentioned in the Bill,

    "on Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control".

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    The words "and for connected purposes" would remain in the Long Title. Therefore, I suggest that we are helping the Government and trying to do them a service by putting forward this amendment. I hope that they will have the good sense to accept it.

Lord Whitty: I understand both the reason for raising the point and the tone with which it has been pressed. In response to the earlier intervention of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Simon of Glaisdale, I said that my current advice is that once the Bill is produced, we cannot change its Long Title unless other amendments require us to do so. I am not sure that any such amendment has been passed in the course of the afternoon to require that. I need to take advice on that issue before I can support any such move.

I have, earlier this afternoon, already given a commitment to the Committee that I shall consider whether a better definition of the purpose clause would be a beneficial improvement to the Bill. Perhaps I may tell the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, that I shall consider the Long Title in that same context, bearing in mind the strong legal and procedural advice that I have received on what we can change in terms of the Long Title at this stage.

It may be that we shall be able to discuss that commitment between now and Report and, in view of that, I ask the noble Lord to withdraw his amendment, at this stage at least.

Baroness Hamwee: I hope that the Minister will be successful in obtaining advice that the Long Title should reflect what is in the Bill. I understand that it would be wrong to amend it, anticipating amendments which have not been accepted. However, we do not want to have a situation in which, to the casual reader--should there be a casual reader of such legislation--the Long Title does not indicate the thrust of the Bill. If that is the case, we, as legislators, are not doing a service to those who need to refer to the legislation. In some senses, the Long Title is a sort of index as to the overall thrust of what is in the Bill. Without changing the way in which the regulations are to be dealt with, I hope that it will be possible to provide in the Long Title a reference-point to the way in which the directive is being approached.

Lord Renton: I should amplify what I said earlier about the lack of reference in the Bill to the European Community directive. I should have added that there is an obscure reference in one of the schedules.

Lord Jenkin of Roding: Throughout the afternoon, the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, has been at pains to tell the Committee just how much change has been made to the Bill compared with the Bill introduced to the House last December. Indeed, it is not unfair to say--he is entitled to some credit for this--that large parts of the Bill have been rewritten.

It seems to me that in those circumstances one is obliged to look again at the Long Title to see whether it reflects what is in the Bill. It may have reflected the

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provisions of the Bill as first introduced. However, many amendments have been accepted, both previously in Committee and much more so today. In those circumstances, it is right to look again at the Long Title.

In a sense, the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, is hoist by his own petard. Either he has changed the Bill to meet a large number of requirements, in which case he should change the Long Title, or it is all cosmetic, in which case he leaves it as it is. But he cannot have it both ways.

Lord Whitty: Whether or not I am hoist by my own petard, which is not a totally unfamiliar position for me, at present I am constrained by the legal advice which I have received. Therefore, I cannot move at present in relation to the Long Title. But, as I have said to the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, both as regards an amended purpose clause and an amendment to the Long Title, I shall consider the matter further and consult the noble Lord and other noble Lords who are interested before Report stage. On that basis, I hope that the Committee will feel that it is not necessary to press it at this stage. I hope that we shall reach an accommodation at a later stage of the Bill.

Lord Dixon-Smith: I am grateful to those who have spoken in support of the amendment. As the noble Lord, Lord Jenkin of Roding, said, this is now a very different Bill from the original draft. I am most grateful to the Minister for his reply, which gives some cause for hope. I am also grateful for his earlier reply. If we cannot handle the matter one way, perhaps we can handle it in another. There are supposed to be more ways than one of killing a cat. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

House resumed: Bill reported with amendments.


5.40 p.m.

The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Simon of Highbury): rose to move, That this House takes note of the Government's outline proposals for a national changeover plan for EMU.

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I am delighted to be able to respond to the request by the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, for a debate on the national changeover plan. I welcome this opportunity to explain the thorough preparations that we are making to give the UK a real option of joining a successful single currency. I thank all those individuals and organisations who have been involved in taking this project to the stage where we could publish the plan. It has been a major consultation process, with a wide range of representative groups of business interests.

I hope your Lordships will support what we have achieved so far and our plans for taking forward preparations. I look forward to hearing your Lordships' views on this important issue.

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I hope to cover three main areas: the Government's policy on membership of EMU; the preparations made to deal with the arrival of the euro from January of this year--what we have done to make sure that the UK is ready for the euro, whether in or out of EMU--and, finally, the work being done in both the public and private sectors to give the UK a real option of joining.

The question of British participation in the single currency is certainly one of the most important issues this country is likely to face for a generation. So, on coming to office, the Government made a number of important decisions. First, we announced our commitment in principle to economic and monetary union and our decision to make clear and unambiguous economic benefit to this country the decisive test for UK membership. Secondly, we spelled out our firm intention to take the lead in a period of preparation in order to ensure a genuine option to decide to join a successful single currency early in the next Parliament. Thirdly, because of the magnitude of the issue, we said that the final decision on joining should be taken by the British people at a time when it is possible to judge more accurately that the economic benefits are clear.

I have said that the essential decision is economic. The Government's central economic objective is to achieve high and stable levels of growth and employment. Britain's interests in the single currency need to be judged against this objective and to do that we have set out our five economic tests. We stand by the tests as the basis for a rounded and pragmatic assessment of the economic case for membership.

Our tests are challenging and we are making progress towards meeting them. Monetary and fiscal policy have been put on a stable, long-term footing which, we are convinced, will help to put an end to the particular instabilities and volatilities which have plagued the UK economy in the past. Greater economic stability will minimise differences between our economic cycle and that of the eurozone. We have also taken numerous steps to improve the degree of flexibility in our economy through new deals for the young and long-term unemployed and reforms to the tax and benefit system. However, we cannot say that our economic tests are met yet. We need to be able to judge that that convergence is capable of being sustained.

Ensuring this country has a real option of deciding to join a successful euro is the best way of promoting our national interest. The Government are committed to delivering a genuine choice to the British people. That means we need to start making preparations now. It is only through a period of intensive preparation that government, Parliament and the British people will be in a position to make an informed decision about where our economic interests lie.

Our policy on entry is, therefore, clear. It is important that we should prepare for the reality of the euro whether the UK is in or out. In autumn 1997, the Chancellor of the Exchequer set up, under my leadership, the Business Advisory Group with representatives from nearly 20 key business and trade organisations, the Trades Union Congress and the

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Consumers' Association. The Business Advisory Group's remit was to consider the practical implications of EMU.

In January 1998, the Business Advisory Group reported on a range of preparations, issues and arrangements for possible UK entry. Throughout 1998, the Treasury's Euro Preparations Unit was the focus for taking forward the Business Advisory Group's recommendations and stimulating preparations in both the public and private sectors.

Here are just some of the steps that the Government have taken to help business prepare. The Government have produced a range of publications on economic and monetary union and core information for business, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in the form of 20 clear, concise factsheets on "business preparations for the euro". Over 375,000 sets of fact sheets have now been requested by industries and companies.

We have set up a euro preparations website and opened a 24-hour telephone line for ordering the factsheets and carried out a high level national communications campaign aimed at business including TV advertising and direct mailing. The Government have provided speakers for numerous euro preparations events and trained over 500 staff of business intermediary organisations across the UK.

The Government have published six-monthly progress reports on overall and sectoral preparations. The Government have also been responsive in their approach. The public sector is ready to facilitate business use of the euro. Firms can now pay taxes, file accounts, issue and redenominate shares, receive certain agricultural grants and grants under regional selective assistance (RSA) in euros. Customs and Excise has trained 10,000 staff to respond to business needs. All that means that the public sector and business is getting ready for the euro whether the UK is in or out.

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