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Amendments to the Regional Assemblies (Preparations) Bill

Regional Assemblies (Preparations) Bill



Before Clause 1



Insert the following new Clause—
  "Regional boundaries
(1)  Before making any order under this Act the Secretary of State shall—
(a)  invite all local authorities in England to submit to him proposals for the creation of regions for the purposes of this Act;
(b)  invite such other persons and bodies as appear to him to represent relevant interests throughout England to submit to him proposals for the creation of regions for the purposes of this Act;
(c)  upon receipt of submissions in response to paragraphs (a) and (b) invite the Electoral Commission to comment on the submissions and to make proposals to the Secretary of State for the creation of regions for the purposes of this Act having regard to—
(i)  the desirability of all regions being, in so far as is compatible with sub-paragraph (ii), of approximately equal population size; and
(ii)  the need to reflect the identities and interests of local communities,
(d)  publish the proposals made to him by the Electoral Commission under paragraph (c); and
(e)  make an order creating regions for the purposes of this Act, having regard to the proposals published under paragraph (d).
(2)  For the purposes of this section "relevant interests" means professional bodies, trades unions, voluntary organisations, faith groups, political parties, business organisations and community organisations.
(3)  For the purposes of subsection (1) paragraphs (a) and (b), the Secretary of State shall set out a timetable for the giving of responses to him."

Clause 1



Page 1, line 5, at beginning insert "Subject to subsection (1A)"
Page 1, line 7, at end insert—
"(1A)  No order under subsection (1) shall be made until an Act setting out the powers, responsibilities and constitutional arrangements of Elected Regional Assemblies and the Bill has received Royal Assent."
Page 1, line 8, at end insert—
"(   )  The boundaries of a region subject to a referendum order under subsection (1) will be specified by the Secretary of State."
Page 1, line 10, leave out "two"
Page 1, line 10, at end insert—
"(   )  A review of the boundaries of the regions in England has been conducted in accordance with section (Regional boundaries)."
Page 1, line 11 leave out "The first condition is that"
Page 1, line 12, at end insert "by consulting the electorate, the regional chamber, local authorities, the business community, cultural and voluntary sectors and other interested parties about the regional boundaries."
Page 1, line 12, at end insert—
"(   )  The second condition is that the Secretary of State has commissioned and published a report by an independent auditor expressing his opinion that on the basis of the information available to him at the time of his report, no additional public expenditure overall would be incurred as a result of the proposed implementation of an elected regional assembly and the associated reorganisation of local government in the region."
Page 1, line 12, at end insert—
"(4A)  The Secretary of State has concluded on the basis of evidence available to him that there is substantial support from the business community, regional chambers, local authorities, cultural and voluntary sector and local electors within the region for the holding of such a referendum and such evidence has been laid before both Houses of Parliament."
Page 1, line 13, leave out "The second condition is that"
Page 2, line 1, leave out subsection (6) and insert—
"(   )  The Secretary of State may make the order at any time during the period of two years starting with the date on which he gives a direction under section 12 in relation to the region so long as before he makes the order he has no cause to think that that level of interest has changed materially."
Page 2, line 11, after "have" insert "received parliamentary approval for him to have"
Page 2, line 12, leave out subsection (8) and insert—
"(   )  In coming to the conclusion under subsection (1), the Secretary of State must consider—
(a)  views expressed to him by the original consultees (as in subsection (4A)), and
(b)  such published material as he thinks appropriate."
Page 2, line 15, at end insert—
"(   )  Before making an order under subsection (1), the Secretary of State shall satisfy himself that, during the period of twelve months prior to the laying of the order, neither the Regional Chamber nor the Regional Development Agency within the region to be specified in the order have carried out any activities which they do not have power to carry out and which are intended to influence the outcome of such a referendum, and issue a certificate that he is so satisfied."

After Clause 5



Insert the following new Clause—
  "Further referendum on petition
(1)  This section applies if an elected assembly for a region has been established pursuant to a referendum held under section 1(1).
(2)  The Secretary of State shall by order cause a further referendum to be held in a region specified in the order if he is presented with a petition requesting such a referendum signed by not less than 5 per cent of the electors eligible to vote in the region as defined in section 3(1).
(3)  The question to be asked in a referendum held pursuant to an order under subsection (2) is the question set out in section 2(1)."

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©Parliamentary copyright 2003
6 March 2003