Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Deregulation Second Report



80.  The bill is essentially a series of amendments to the Race Relations Act 1976. The Home Office Memorandum explains the new delegated powers. During the Second Reading debate on the bill Lord Lester of Herne Hill expressed concern about section 19C to be inserted in the Race Relations Act 1976 by clause 1(1) of the bill and said that he had drawn the Committee's attention to this.[4] The Committee has considered what Lord Lester said in the debate but as section 19C does not contain a delegated legislative power we are unable to comment. The policy behind section 19C is clearly a matter which the House will return to when the bill is considered in committee.

Clause 1

81.  Subsection (2) of clause 1 inserts a new Schedule A1 into the Act. The Schedule is a list of public authorities to whom section 19B (inserted by clause 1(1)) will apply. Subsections (5) and (6) of section 19B allow the Secretary of State to amend Schedule A1 by adding to it functions of a public nature or removing from it bodies which no longer exist or have ceased to exercise public functions or removing from it functions which appear to him not to be public functions. While this is a Henry VIII power, it is severely limited and the Committee considers appropriate the negative procedure which is attracted by section 74(2).

Clause 7

82.  This clause inserts a new section 67A into the Act to provide for special procedure where courts hear proceedings involving issues of national security. The new section enables rules of court to make the appropriate provisions. The relevant rule-making powers are those under which county court rules and sheriffs court rules are made.

Schedule 2, Paragraph 4

83.  This paragraph extends the Henry VIII power in section 73 of the Act to amend certain provisions of the Act. This power would allow the Secretary of State to render lawful an act which would otherwise be unlawful by virtue of the new section 19B. The Act requires the Secretary of State to consult the C.R.E. about any proposed order under this power and an order is subject to affirmative procedure, which the Committee considers appropriate.


84.  The Committee has referred to the Henry VIII powers in the bill. There is nothing in the bill which the Committee wishes to draw to the attention of the House.

4   In other words, again for reasons of administrative convenience, the Government seek to bypass the need for parliamentary approval of racially discriminatory practices and procedures operated by their officials. I have expressed my concern about this and other provisions to the Delegated Powers Scrutiny Committee, whose report will inform subsequent discussion of the Bill. [Hansard HL 14/12/99; col.144] Back

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