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Lord Thomas of Gresford: My Lords, I believe that an answer to the noble Baroness's question may lie in the fact that this particular consequential modification order is precisely the kind of order that would be brought forward if there was found to be a breach of the Human Rights Act. The primary legislation of this Parliament would be amended by means of an order of this kind. That seems to me to be the sensible way of approaching this. It would not be necessary to return to the original Act of Parliament which has been said to be in breach in order to make the changes.

Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale: My Lords, that is the case. I do not know whether I have made matters worse or better for the noble Baroness, but Section 10 of the Human Rights Act 1998 provides for the making of remedial orders where statutory provisions are found to be incompatible with the ECHR. It would be possible for these orders to be made in relation to devolved matters by Scottish Ministers or Her Majesty in Council by Order in Council on the recommendation of the First Minister.

Schedule 2 regulates the parliamentary procedure for these orders. It regulates the parliamentary procedure for the orders in relation to the 21 Acts. Section 118 of the Scotland Act does not do all that is necessary to translate the parliamentary procedure for these orders so that it operates correctly in the Scottish Parliament. I hope that that has helped to clarify matters.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: My Lords, that is most helpful and I hope that my noble friend is satisfied. However, one point has occurred to me. I understand that any legislation passed by this Parliament in the past affecting a devolved matter which is found to be in breach must be changed by the Scottish Parliament. My question is rather difficult,

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and I do not believe that I received a full answer from the Government when we debated the devolution legislation. I shall try again, having been reminded of the matter.

What happens if the Scottish Parliament declines? I understand that the United Kingdom is a party to the European Convention and it would be the UK that would be in breach. If the Scottish Parliament declined, would the UK Parliament take the matter into its own hands and proceed to amend the legislation?

Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale: My Lords, the noble Lord has suggested an extremely hypothetical situation and I do not intend to answer it. However, should the noble Lord wish to take expert opinion on it, I shall do so on his behalf and write to him.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Transport Bill

8.52 p.m.

House again in Committee (on Recommitment).

Clause 178 [Local licensing schemes]:

[Amendments Nos. 240A to 242 not moved.]

Clause 178 agreed to.

Clauses 179 and 180 agreed to.

Clause 181 [Workplace parking places]:

[Amendments Nos. 243 to 247 not moved.]

Lord Berkeley moved Amendment No. 247A:

    Page 108, line 44, at end insert (", or

( ) a member of the public").

The noble Lord said: I should like to move Amendment No. 247A, which by nature is a probing amendment. It continues with a theme established in earlier amendments that there should be a minimum number of exceptions to any rules covering workplace parking

On reading the clause, there appears to be some difficulty in achieving a simple solution as regards which workplace parking locations are to be covered and who will be "relevant persons". Can my noble friend tell me whether city centre car parks--multi-storey or otherwise--owned by local authorities or private car park companies would be covered? Similarly, will out-of-town supermarket car parks be so covered? Those are only two examples. It is clear that both of these forms of parking facilities contribute significantly to traffic generation in the same way as office car parking.

Can my noble friend explain whether public car parks and supermarket car parks are covered? If not, why not? As I have said, this is a probing amendment. I beg to move.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I am relieved to hear that my noble friend has tabled this as a probing amendment. However, it concerns an important issue; namely, the scope of the workplace parking levy.

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Our response to the consultation paper, Breaking the Logjam, made it clear that we intend that the levy will apply to workplace parking only. That is because our most serious congestion problems are associated with peak period commuting to work.

I accept what my noble friend Lord Berkeley has said; namely, that customer parking provided for the public at retail and leisure facilities or in public car parks can contribute to local congestion, both in town centres and in other areas. However, the effects are not usually concentrated in peak periods, unlike the effect of people driving to work. The Government are not persuaded that a levy on non-workplace parking is the most effective way of changing customer travel patterns.

We have said that we shall be looking to major retail and leisure operators to work with local authorities to build on the initiatives that some major retailers have already taken to tackle over-dependency on the car. These could include providing bus shelters, funding bus priority measures on the surrounding road network and providing secure cycle parking. Retail outlets could extend or introduce easy and affordable home delivery services.

I can assure my noble friend that we expect real progress to be made in this area. We have asked the Commission for Integrated Transport to consider the case for changing the scope of the levy; I think that it would be best to wait for the commission's recommendations before taking a final decision on extending the scope of the parking levy. This approach will also provide greater flexibility in deciding how any legislation for a levy on customer parking might be drafted.

The amendment would extend the definition of "relevant person" to include members of the public. This would mean that parking at a premises by a member of the public would fall within the scope of the levy, but only if it still passed the test at the end of Clause 181(1), which the amendment would not change, of,

    "for attending a place at which the relevant person [or member of the public] carries on business".

Changing the definition of "relevant person" as provided by the amendment will not extend the scope of the levy to include customer parking.

I do not believe that the levy should apply to members of the public for the reasons that I have outlined. I therefore hope that my noble friend will agree to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Berkeley: My Lords, my noble friend has quite rightly pointed out the deficiencies of drafting in my amendment. I am sorry that the Government are not taking this opportunity to put in place powers to extend levies to supermarket and other parking facilities, perhaps to be implemented only later. However, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 247B and 247C not moved.]

Clause 181 agreed to.

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Lord Dixon-Smith moved Amendment No. 247D:

    After Clause 181, insert the following new clause--


(" .--(1) A licensing scheme under this Part shall make provision for compensation to cover costs in implementing such a scheme.
(2) Where levies are imposed under section 177(2)(a) and (b) the occupier of the premises or specified person shall be entitled to appeal to the licensing authority for compensation for the cost of implementing and managing any such scheme.
(3) Compensation shall include--
(a) the cost of advertising the scheme on the premises or in the vicinity;
(b) the cost of any equipment installed to manage or implement the scheme; and
(c) the cost of implementing any changes to a licensing scheme.
(4) Any consultation carried out under section 184 shall include information about any proposed compensation, or not, which forms part of a proposed scheme or varying of a scheme under this Part.").

The noble Lord said: Not among the least of the joys of sitting on this side of the Committee--with which noble Lords sitting opposite will be all too familiar and to which we shall render them once again in due course--is the freedom to exercise a certain intellectual anarchy. That is a real bonus, although I miss the discipline of constructive thought.

The point behind making those introductory remarks was to enable me to approach a subject from a number of different angles. Occasionally, as is the case with the amendment before the Committee, I seek to try to help the Government.

The purpose of the amendment is to make it easier for a local transport authority to introduce a workplace parking scheme. Generally speaking, the target of such a scheme is not the occupier of the premises who will have to pay the charge but the person who drives to work. We have the wonderful concept of a new tax that will be imposed on one person in order to affect someone else. I find that slightly interesting.

The amendment would make it possible for a local transport authority to say to an employer in its district that, because it is intended that the charge should fall on those who drive to work, it will provide at the entrance to the firm's car park either credit card operated gates or cash operated gates, or that employees can purchase a monthly licence, or whatever. It would enable an authority to pay for the installations and subsequently take the money and do the accounting.

It is not my business to make the charges more palatable or acceptable. It is my belief that they will prove to be pretty unpalatable and that the government may reap the benefit of their being unacceptable. This amendment might help that process, which I should welcome.

It is a serious point. If the target of the workplace parking levy is the person who drives to work and not the person who occupies the premises and runs the business, it may be worthwhile considering a concession on the face of the Bill under which a local transport authority is enabled to put in the necessary

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infrastructure so that the actual target, rather than the legislative target, is the person affected by the introduction of the charges. That would probably help the Government forward greatly. I beg to move.

9 p.m.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: That is an interesting interpretation. As it was the noble Lord who brought the amendments forward, he is entitled to his own interpretation. It is not quite what the amendments say. As I read them, they are about compensation to the owner of the premises. There is reference to a specified person, but no reference to the circumstances in which such a person would be specified; there is no regulatory power to specify a person in terms of the cost of implementing and managing any such scheme. That could apply, whether or not the charge was made on the occupier of the premises or the individual car driver occupying a car parking space. Read literally, the amendment is neutral as to whether the charge is paid by the car driver or the employer. Be that as it may, it is an interesting argument in either case.

It is also the case, I am afraid, that the amendment as drafted would mean that there would be nothing to stop the person responsible for paying the workplace parking levy seeking compensation for the actual cost of paying the workplace parking charges. In other words, you pay the charge and you get it back in compensation, which would rather nullify the whole procedure. I can see that the noble Baroness, Lady Hanham, thinks that that is a very good idea. Noble Lords might well have pressed on with opposing the Question that Clause 177 shall stand part.

There is a serious point behind the amendment that I want to address, whoever will ultimately pay the charge. It is the question of keeping the burden of administrative costs to business to a minimum. We are seized of that; we do want to minimise the administrative burden.

The levy will simply require the occupier of a premises or any other person who may be prescribed to apply to the licensing authority for a licence to cover workplace parking needs. The cost involved in handling licence applications, issuing licences and enforcement schemes will be met by the licensing authorities from the gross revenues raised by the workplace parking levy. That means that the only administrative burden placed on businesses will be the requirement to estimate the workplace parking needs and to submit the licence application. In most cases that will be fairly obvious and it should be a straightforward task. But at larger premises, as may be imagined, the number of parking spaces is not the right measure--because parking spaces can be laid out tightly or loosely. Occasional inspections may be necessary in order to see how many people were there at the peak, which is the test used in the Bill; and in certain circumstances there might be an electronic gantry at the car park entrance to count workplace vehicles in and out. It might be to the advantage of the employer to do that.

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I should emphasise that licensing authorities have no powers to insist that businesses install and pay for any equipment that is used for counting vehicles. So compliance costs in all these matters are, by definition, met by businesses. Local authorities do not meet the cost imposed on businesses when businesses satisfy demands for the payment of rates. We do not believe that businesses should be able to claim compensation from licensing authorities for complying with workplace parking levy schemes.

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