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Lord Berkeley: My Lords, I am extremely grateful to my noble friend for that explanation. I know that she has said some of it many times before, but the way in which she has encapsulated her argument brings me a good deal of comfort. I hope that these provisions will be implemented in the shortest possible time. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 158 [Power of Mayor to transfer functions]:

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 38:


Page 96, line 30, after ("above") insert ("or by a transport subsidiary's agreement").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving the amendment, I shall speak also to the other amendments grouped with it. I mentioned on Report that we might need to make some further minor amendments to TfL's detailed operational powers, and this group of amendments seeks those provisions which will ensure that certain agreements entered into by TfL subsidiaries will have the same status as agreements entered into by TfL itself, which are covered by subsections (2) and (3) of Clause 156.

Agreements made by TfL itself for the carrying on by other persons of activities which it has the power to carry on, such as, for example, the running of a bus

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service, will have a special status by virtue of being made under Clause 156. For example, if a Clause 156 agreement is made with a bus operator, the bus service becomes part of the London network. It does not need a special licence and automatically falls within the London free travel scheme. However, most agreements of this kind will not be made with TfL as such, but will be made by TfL subsidiaries. Therefore, it is necessary to give the agreements by those subsidiaries an equivalent status. The combined effect of these amendments does just that. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 160 [Guarantees]:

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 39:


Page 98, line 4, at end insert ("or
(c) any person (other than such a subsidiary) with whom such a subsidiary has entered into a transport subsidiary's agreement, where the guarantee is given for the purpose of enabling that person to carry out the agreement.").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 162 [Provision of information]:

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 40:


Page 99, line 19, after ("persons") insert ("under any transport subsidiary's agreement or").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 163 [Restrictions on disposal of land]:

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood moved Amendment No. 41:


Page 99, line 38, leave out ("different") and insert ("larger").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, in moving this amendment I apologise for the fact that the word "longer", which is what we intended, has been substituted--no doubt due to a "typo"--by the word "larger", which does not make sense in the context of the amendment. However, given the number of times that the Government have had to correct their own amendments, I hope that they will be tolerant of this mistake. I believe that the purpose of the amendment is quite clear.

Clause 163 deals with the restrictions on disposal of land by Transport for London or the authority. In brief it provides that the consent of the Secretary of State is required for sales of land which are now or have been operational within the previous five years.

On Report I moved a series of amendments dealing with this question of transfer of operational land. In his response to those amendments, the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, said that he believed that five years was a reasonable time for operational land to fall out of the category of "operational" and into the category of "non-operational". However, the noble Lord said,


    "the noble Baroness may have a point with Amendment No. 389 which provides that the Secretary of State can only lengthen the five-year period. I am therefore prepared to consider this point and, it is to be hoped, return to it at Third Reading".--[Official Report, 19/10/99; col. 1010.]

We are at Third Reading and we tabled this amendment in case the Minister should not have tabled a similar amendment. I do not believe that he has. For that reason, I beg to move.

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6.15 p.m.

Lord Whitty: My Lords, the noble Baroness is correct to say that in the previous debate on these amendments in this clause I undertook to consider further her amendment. I believed that it had certain merit. However, since then I have discovered that my sympathy for that amendment was perhaps misplaced. Therefore, I am afraid that I cannot accept her amendment.

The key reason is that it would deprive the Secretary of State of some flexibility, not necessarily for any obvious benefit. For example, it would mean that once the five-year period had been increased to seven years it could not thereafter be reduced back to five years. While that ratchet effect might not be seen to have much effect in the immediate circumstances, it does not fit in well with the principle to which we tried to adhere in this context; that is, while restating the principle that operational land must not be permanently disposed of without Parliament having an opportunity to consider it, we have attempted to give TfL some flexibility over the money spent on its property holdings. As part of that flexible approach, we have given the Secretary of State a number of mechanisms whereby he can assist TfL while at the same time ensuring that operational land is protected.

Even if the noble Baroness's amendment were agreed to and the five-year period lengthened, it would still be open to the Secretary of State to issue a consent to the sale of land which had ceased to be operational less than five years ago, or whatever longer period had been specified by the Secretary of State.

In practice there are other ways round this problem. However, on the face of it, it would decrease the flexibility and not add a great deal to the protection of operational land. I did not see fit to accept the noble Baroness's earlier amendment and I am afraid that I cannot accept this one.

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood: My Lords, I am bound to say that I rather sympathise with the noble Lord. I suspect that he was given one set of briefs prior to the debate and another set subsequent to it. Also, I am disappointed because I believe that, following the privatisation of the railways, we have had a good example of the extent to which sales of operational land or land which could become useful for transport purposes have been allowed to take place. Indeed, until very recently they were allowed to take place without any let or hindrance. The five-year limit which is introduced into this Bill as far as concerns land belonging to Transport for London is some measure of protection, but it is only a minor one. We all know that land which has remained idle and then sold is irreplaceable. One cannot create a transport corridor or recreate a transport corridor, particularly one with fixed rails on it, once that corridor has been removed.

Therefore, I deeply regret the Government's attitude. I hope that it will not cause the mayor and the assembly further difficulties in the implementation of the mayor's transport strategy. However, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

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Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 42:


After Clause 168, insert the following new clause--

MEANING OF TRANSPORT SUBSIDIARY'S AGREEMENT

(" .--(1) In this Act "transport subsidiary's agreement" means an agreement with a person ("the contractor")--
(a) which is entered into by, or transferred to, a subsidiary of Transport for London, and
(b) which falls within subsection (2) or (3) below.
(2) An agreement falls within this subsection if it includes provision for the carrying on by the contractor, whether as agent for the subsidiary or otherwise, of any activities which Transport for London has power to carry on; and such an agreement may include provision with respect to the provision or financing of any public passenger transport services.
(3) An agreement falls within this subsection if it includes provision for the carrying on by the contractor of any activities which Transport for London does not have power to carry on and also provision for one or more of the following, namely--
(a) the carrying on by the contractor of such activities as are mentioned in subsection (2) above;
(b) the provision by the contractor to the subsidiary of services ancillary to the provision of public passenger transport services; and
(c) the use by the contractor of land or other property owned by Transport for London or a subsidiary of Transport for London, or transferred to the contractor by Transport for London or a subsidiary of Transport for London, for the purposes of the agreement.").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 173 [Structure of fares and services]:

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 43:


Page 104, line 22, at end insert ("or in pursuance of a transport subsidiary's agreement").

On Question, amendment agreed to.


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