Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Viscount Mills moved Amendment No. 11:

Page 19, line 44, at end insert--
("( ) Statutory bodies whose activities benefit the environment in Greater London;").

The noble Viscount said: My Lords, at the outset I should declare an interest in that I am an employee of the Environment Agency. The purpose of the amendment is to ensure that statutory bodies whose activities benefit the environment in Greater London--the Environment Agency is among them--are consulted on all of the mayor's strategies. I am of course aware that in Committee on 21st June the Minister stated:

I am most grateful for that assurance; the Minister has been most helpful. However, I hope that he will forgive me if I press him further. For although the statement is welcome it may be deemed to fall short of a categorical assurance of consultation because of the use of the phrase,

    "in those situations where their interests are affected".

Let me explain briefly why I feel the need to go further. The assurance given might be deemed satisfactory if the Environment Agency did not have as one of its principal aims to contribute towards the achievement of sustainable development, as set out in the Environment Act 1995. As your Lordships will be aware, the achievement of sustainable development requires the consideration of economic and social as well as environmental factors. Indeed the Government's own statutory guidance on sustainable development requires this integrated approach. That is why, in the agency's view, it is vital that it is consulted on all strategies.

Does the Minister agree that potentially all of the mayor's strategies will impact on the achievement of sustainable development and therefore the agency

1 Nov 1999 : Column 584

should be consulted on all and not just some of the strategies? I look forward to hearing the Minister's response. I hope he will confirm that it is the Government's intention that the mayor will consult the agency on all the strategies. I beg to move.

Baroness Miller of Hendon: My Lords, this amendment, so ably moved by my noble friend, is similar to an amendment moved by the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, in Committee. Like my noble friend, I shall be interested to hear the Minister's reply today to discover whether he can extend the kind assurance he gave on the previous occasion to ensure there is no further need for concern.

Lord Whitty: My Lords, I believe that I can give the noble Viscount, Lord Mills, the assurance he seeks. Under the provisions of the Bill, the mayor, before exercising the general power provided in Clause 30, must consult those individuals or organisations whose interests would be affected by the exercise of that power. As regards the environment, the Environment Agency has an interest in all the strategies of the mayor. The agency and all statutory bodies whose activities are designed to benefit the environment would be consulted. I have indicated that at previous stages during the progress of the Bill. I have indicated it in writing to the employer of the noble Viscount; that is, the noble Lord, Lord De Ramsey. I have indicated it too to my noble friend Lady Young of Old Scone as regards English Nature. I believe that the interests of all statutory bodies concerned with the environment are therefore covered and that it is not necessary to name such a category of body on the face of the Bill. I am happy to reiterate all those assurances today.

Viscount Mills: My Lords, I thank the Minister for reassuring us on those points. I also thank my noble friend Lady Miller of Hendon for her assistance in the matter. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 33 [Equality of opportunity]:

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 12:

Page 20, line 30, at end insert--
("( ) After each financial year the Authority shall publish a report containing--
(a) a statement of the arrangements made in pursuance of subsection (1) above which had effect during that financial year; and
(b) an assessment of how effective those arrangements were in promoting equality of opportunity.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 12 I wish to speak also to Amendment No. 13, and also to Amendment No. 95 in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Dholakia. We have had many discussions about the equal opportunities provisions of this Bill. The outcome of those discussions has been in my view to alter the approach of the Government to the matter and to improve the provisions. I am therefore grateful to those noble Lords who contributed to earlier debates. This group of amendments consolidates those improvements.

1 Nov 1999 : Column 585

Amendment No. 12 provides for the authority to publish a report each year explaining the arrangements it has put in place to promote equality of opportunity during that year and making an assessment of how effective those arrangements were in promoting equality of opportunity. That fulfils the commitment given by my noble friend at an earlier stage. This will also ensure that the authority cannot ignore any of its responsibilities in relation to equal opportunities.

Amendment No. 13 is a consequential amendment in that sense. It imposes the duty to produce the report. When the noble Lord, Lord Dholakia, moved his equivalent amendment at an earlier stage, I indicated that I understood the aims of the amendment and that I would consider it further. I was concerned about one particular aspect of it which related to the apparent disapplication of the Race Relations Act to the GLA and its related bodies, as distinct from the rest of local government. I still have a concern about that. It is not, however, impossible to complete an alternative draft to that of the noble Lord which would subsume the bulk of the noble Lord's amendment. With the leave of the House, I indicate to the noble Lord that I am prepared to accept his amendment on the understanding that a minor degree of further amendment may be necessary in another place to cover the anxiety I have mentioned. I hope that on that basis the House will accept the noble Lord's amendment. I beg to move.

Baroness Hamwee: My Lords, I refer to Amendment No. 95 which stands in my name and that of my noble friend Lord Dholakia. We are grateful to the Government and to those noble Lords from all parts of the House who supported the amendment at the previous stage. In the context of press comment over the past couple of weeks on the work of this House, it is good to see it working so well and to see noble Lords improving the Bill. We shall of course move our amendment when we reach it in the Marshalled List. We understand that some "tweaking" may be necessary to ensure that it works properly. We are glad that we have been able to contribute on such an important issue.

We are happy to see the Government's Amendments Nos. 12 and 13, to which the Minister referred at the previous stage. I am sure that if a mechanism can be found by which the issues have to be debated and the results of the authority's work are made public, that will be an entirely good thing. We support these amendments.

Lord Archer of Weston-Super-Mare: My Lords, I join the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, in thanking the Minister who has overseen this process from Second Reading through every stage. I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Dholakia, on having been so persistent. I also thank the noble Lord, Lord Harris of Haringey. Together we have fought for this clause. The Minister could not have been more understanding. I am sure that whatever change is imposed in the lower House will be

1 Nov 1999 : Column 586

acceptable. In an age when we seem to be tearing each other apart, I offer my thanks for the way he has behaved throughout the whole of this Bill.

Lord Dholakia: My Lords, I concur with the sentiment expressed by my noble friend Lady Hamwee. I am indeed grateful to noble Lords who have spoken to my amendment. I am also grateful to the Minister for accepting it. We understand that some alterations will be necessary. I hope that the gist of the amendment will be incorporated in future legislation. I thank the Minister.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 13:

Page 20, line 31, after ("conferred") insert ("or imposed").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 38 [Delegation]:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 14:

Page 23, line 25, at end insert ("or
(c) in relation to any function under Part X below (in relation to which provision for delegation is made under that Part).").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, Amendments Nos. 14, 15 and 16 are technical amendments consequential upon the changes to Part X, which we will be discussing later.

Clause 38 provides the general powers of delegation for the mayor. As it stands, the clause provides that the functions under Part X relating to culture can be delegated to the deputy mayor, GLA staff, local authorities, including the City Corporation, and to Transport for London and the London Development Agency. For example, Transport for London can be given the mayor's powers in respect of culture but the Culture Strategy Group for London cannot. We have previously given notice that we would be introducing an amendment to deal with this.

Amendment No. 14 disapplies Part X from the general power of delegation in Clause 38 and provides that the detailed and more appropriate powers of delegation included in Part X largely override Clause 38. Amendments Nos. 15 and 16 provide cross-references in Clause 40, which is concerned with contracting out, to the amendments under Part X. We will discuss later Amendment No. 84, which provides a new clause after Clause 374. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page