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Lord Dixon-Smith: My Lords, before the Minister sits down, if he will give me an assurance that, in the event that the local authority has nothing to spend these charges on in the transport field, the charges can then cease, I have no difficulties with what he suggests and would be happy to withdraw the amendment. However, when we discussed the matter earlier, that did not appear to be the situation. Once the charges start, they run. There is a difficulty.

Lord Whitty: My Lords, no, there will be a review after 10 years as to whether the charges are still

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needed. Charges are needed on the one hand for funding; and on the other hand to achieve certain changes in the traffic behaviour to fit in with an integrated transport plan. It may well be that the funding element may diminish over time. I suspect that the period will be considerably longer than 10 years, but the traffic management dimension is unlikely to diminish. I cannot, therefore, give the noble Lord that assurance.

Lord Dixon-Smith: My Lords, there is a fundamental difference between us on the issue of when a local tax is not a local tax. What local authorities are being asked to introduce is a national tax which may be applied for a time for local purposes. I do not think that that is proper. It is too late in the evening to divide the House, although I am immensely tempted to do so, because there is an important principle involved.

I am not satisfied with the Minister's answer, but in the circumstances I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 35 to 39 not moved.]

Lord Whitty: My Lords, I beg to move that the Bill do now pass.

Moved, That the Bill do now pass.--(Lord Whitty.)

On Question, Bill passed, and returned to the Commons with amendments.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now adjourn. In moving the Motion, perhaps I may place on record our thanks to the staff for the long hours that they have worked on this Bill and all this week. In particular I thank the Hansard writers, who have worked very long hours.

Noble Lords: Hear, hear!

        House adjourned at twenty-one minutes past eight o'clock.

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