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16B"Expiry of section (Consequential and incidental provision)
Section (Consequential and incidental provision) shall cease to continue in force after a period of twelve months unless an order

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providing for its continuation in force has been laid before and approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament." "—(Lord Goodhart.)

The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth: My Lords, right reverend Prelates on these Benches are often sceptical about Henry VIII powers and we should like to associate ourselves with the words of the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart.

5.45 p.m.

Lord Kingsland: My Lords, I am grateful for the Government's clarification regarding the scope of the clause and, in particular, for the Home Secretary's statement yesterday (at col. 228 of the Official Report on proceedings in another place) to which the Minister has referred. I should, however, like to press the Minister for further enlightenment along the same lines as the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart.

In another place, the Minister of State cited a number of precedents for the inclusion of such a clause. I should like to concentrate on the precedent that the wording used in this clause, as amended in another place, might set. She read out the clause dealing with consequential and incidental provision in the Adoption and Children Bill. The honourable lady then stated:


    "That is no different from the provision before us...The Bills that have come before the House in the past few days have all contained this provision".—[Official Report, Commons, 5/11/02; col. 225.]

With respect to the honourable lady, that statement is plainly incorrect. The crucial words, in my submission, in the clause in the Adoption and Children Bill, quoted by the Minister of State, are the words that define the purposes for which the Secretary of State can make provision using secondary legislation. The Adoption and Children Bill states that he can make such a provision,


    "for the purposes of, in consequence of or for giving full effect to any provision of this Act".

The clause inserted into this Bill at Third Reading, as amended in another place yesterday, uses a much broader term; namely, the words,


    "in connection with the provision of this Act".

There is, therefore, no mention in the clause that we are considering today of the fact that any order needs to comply with the purposes of the Bill to be consequential upon it or to give full effect to it. It merely needs to be "in connection with a provision" of the Bill.

Indeed, in all the examples cited by the Minister of State, the words "in connection with" did not appear at all.

Secondly, I should like to ask the Minister about the absence of another term that I had thought might be included in the light of last week's debate. Your Lordships will recall that, in the light of the memorandum submitted to the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee, the Home Office stated, at paragraph 4, that it wished to use this power

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to provide for a "transitional period" in respect of appeals under the carriers' liability regime in Schedule 8.

The clause as amended allows the Secretary of State to make only consequential and incidental provision. However, yesterday in another place, when the Minister of State cited the precedents that I have just mentioned (at cols. 224 and 225 of the Official Report), all the provisions that she cited from previous enactments included the word "transitional".

There are two possible explanations for the absence of the power to make transitional provision under the clause as amended. One is that in all the enactments cited yesterday by the Minister of State in another place, and in others not cited by her, the inclusion of the word "transitional" was unnecessary, as it was already covered by the words "consequential" and "incidental". If that is the explanation, this House and another place have been enacting otiose provisions for many years.

The other explanation is that, because the word "transitional" is not used, transitional provisions cannot be made under the clause as amended, only consequential or incidental provisions. If that is the case, either the Government have got the drafting wrong, or they are planning to make the transitional provision under some other power.

I welcome the Government's attempts at clarification, but I hope that the Minister will be able to respond to the points that I have raised.

Lord Dahrendorf: My Lords, it may be of interest to your Lordships that, following the important debate on this issue at Third Reading I asked the legal adviser to the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee to produce a report on the various versions of clauses of this kind which have appeared in recent legislation. Such a report will be put before the committee in the near future. I hope that the proposal made by my noble friend Lord Goodhart will be listened to by the usual channels and that there will be an opportunity to consider the issue in all of its ramifications, including that mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Kingsland.

Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville: My Lords, I think that my noble friend Lord Kingsland was unaware that there is a corrected version of Hansard, and I hope that there will be consequential amendments to his speech to reflect the actual columns that now stand in the corrected version.

Lord Filkin: My Lords, I shall respond first to the thoughtful speech of the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, addressing directly the question of the sunset clause. As he and other noble Lords have said, there are a number of examples in which the power to make consequential and incidental amendments already exist. They are not subject to sunset clauses. We do not think that that would be desirable, because we could not be certain of identifying all the changes that may be needed within 11 months; others may turn up and

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it is superfluous to keep returning to extend such a provision. Having said that, we shall make every effort to identify those amendments as quickly as possible; it is clearly desirable to do so, as far as we are able.

On the noble Lord's important and interesting questions about whether there is scope for reflection on the different forms of words used in such powers and whether that is the product of happenstance or is for good reason, I was going to say that I shall not interpose myself between discussions of the usual channels, but shall let them proceed. However, the noble Lord, Lord Dahrendorf, has helpfully signalled that the Delegated Powers Committee will move on that. No doubt the Government will want to reflect on its comments and give their views on any report that it produces. Those processes are all thoughtful and sensible.

I turn to the questions posed by the noble Lord, Lord Kingsland, which, as ever, are good and difficult. He asked why the provision is different from that of the Adoption and Children Bill and why the absence of the transitional terms. The power in that Bill is wider; for example, it includes supplementary provision and anything necessary in consequence of the Bill when enacted. For reasons that the House will understand, we have taken only the narrow powers that we need, especially in the light of the tone and feeling of our discussion last week. On the question of why there is no transitional provision, I am advised that we see no need for it. That is why there is no mention of that in the Bill. I sincerely hope that we are right in that respect. I commend the Motion to the House.

Lord Goodhart: My Lords, Amendment No. 16B does not concern a matter on which that I feel that it is appropriate to challenge the decision of the other place. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

LORDS AMENDMENT

17Clause 14, page 9, line 8, at end insert— "( ) An accommodation centre shall be established only when the Secretary of State is satisfied that the proposed location is suitable to the needs of the persons to be accommodated therein."


    The Commons disagreed to this amendment for the following reason—


17ABecause it is unnecessary to restrict the power to establish an accommodation centre in the terms proposed.

Lord Filkin: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do not insist on their Amendment No. 17 to which the Commons have disagreed for their reason numbered 17A.

We have rightly given considerable attention to accommodation centres at each stage of the Bill. Our aim in establishing such centres is to trial a system that provides for faster processing of asylum claims, minimises the impact on local services such as health and education, and provides the support that has been asked of the state by asylum seekers. Those are the three fundamental aims of accommodation centres.

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We have listened to many debates on various issues relating to accommodation centres: their size, location, how long people will stay in them, the facilities that should exist, how we will process cases more quickly and how we may be encouraged to proceed even more quickly. We have also considered inspection arrangements, ways to ensure that residents are treated fairly, and conditions of residence. We have undertaken to carry out a thorough and transparent evaluation of those pilot accommodation centres once they are operational. I shall not weary the House by listing the significant number of alterations that we have made on the subject of accommodation centres in response to the good scrutiny that the House has given the measures.

We have never pretended that there is only one way to achieve those three aims, but we have some essential principles. Those are proper, decent and appropriate support for destitute asylum seekers; the importance of faster processing; the fact that it is reasonable to share across the country the responsibility for looking after asylum seekers while their cases are being considered, rather than concentrating it in only a few places; and improving contact management—for obvious reasons, there is no point in our losing contact with people while they are going through the process.

Within the ambit of those principles, we are prepared to be flexible. Throughout consideration of the Bill, we have listened and responded to points made by noble Lords and others. We have made clear that our minds are not closed on the operation of those principles. For example, yesterday, my honourable friend Beverley Hughes said that we will trial a smaller centre for single men only. She said that it may house about 400 people. I make clear, as she did, that that is not a firm figure, although 400 may well be the upper end of what is envisaged. As I said on Report, the number could be as small as 250.

I can again confirm what was said in another place: the smaller trial centre may be in or on the edge of an urban area. Let me emphasise that point categorically. Naturally, given that the first few accommodation centres, which are undergoing their planning process, have been in rural areas, there has been some question about that. This is not a rural-only policy and never has been. On the other hand, neither is it an urban-only policy; nor should it be.

I shall not weary the House with a description of the locations of the 60,000-odd people who are currently in National Asylum Support Service accommodation—I have done so during debate on the Bill's previous stages—but they are entirely in urban areas, in most of our major cities. It is right that our major cities make their contribution by providing support and accommodation for asylum seekers while their cases are considered. Equally, there is no reason why that responsibility should fall only to them. I do not think that the House would think that reasonable. So we are saying neither only urban nor only rural. We

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must pragmatically consider where it is best to provide accommodation centres that meet the principles and provide for the needs.


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