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Baroness Hanham: I will not pursue the matter today. We have a lot more work to do. None the less, the Bill is littered with references to how things will be delivered by regulation. It does not say that here, and all that we are doing is to suggest that there should be a time by which an announcement must be made to the people who have taken part. That is not an onerous responsibility, and it does not require regulations, whether made by the affirmative or negative resolution

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procedure. It would give some indication of the time by which an announcement would have to be made. For today, I will withdraw the amendment.

Baroness Hamwee: My reaction is broadly the same, except that I would add that the fact that the Select Committee did not take the point does not stop constructively critical Members of your Lordships' House doing so. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Tordoff): I remind the noble Baroness, Lady Hanham, that she cannot withdraw an amendment that has not been moved. She can decide not to move it at the appropriate point.

[Amendments Nos. 124 and 125 not moved.]

Clause 53 agreed to.

Clause 54 [Appeal against veto]:

[Amendment No. 125A not moved.]

Clause 54 agreed to.

Clause 55 agreed to.

Clause 56 [Duration of BID arrangements etc]:

Baroness Hanham moved Amendment No. 126:

    Page 23, line 41, leave out subsection (4).

The noble Baroness said: Last time, the Minister said that he had tabled the amendment first, when he put his name to mine. This time, we have a slightly different amendment.

Here, again, we see a subsection that gives the Secretary of State power to use regulations to make provision for altering BID arrangements, including terminating them. Can the Government explain the need for the provision? In what circumstances would the Secretary of State be likely to exercise the power?

On a separate point, subsection (5) goes on to explain that the provisions in subsection (4) may also prevent or restrict the alteration or early termination of BID arrangements. Subsection (6) then says that subsection (5) will not limit the power in subsection (4). That is confused and clumsy drafting. Perhaps, the Minister could add some clarity. I beg to move.

Lord Rooker: I shall speak to Amendment No. 127 and move it at the appropriate time.

The amendment would make subject to affirmative resolution the power of the Secretary of State to make the regulations regarding the alteration and termination of BID arrangements in accordance with the recommendations of the Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform.

I know that I am the new boy in this place, but I also know that, unlike another place, there is a Select Committee that looks at such things. People are free to raise any issue that they want, but the Select Committee spends time going through the Bill and issues a report, giving a considered view on whether the secondary powers should be beefed up. Members can table amendments, but the Government have a view. In the two departments that I have worked in, I

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have always reported back to the powers-that-be. It is an important committee, and, whatever it recommends, we had better toe the line because the House will have the support of the Select Committee.

In some ways, it is a bit barmy to come along and second-guess the committee, when it has looked at the Bill. People are free to raise whatever point they want, but, if the Select Committee makes a recommendation, the Government's inclination, by and large, is to accept it. If it does not give a view, we are entitled to say that there is sufficient lack of comment to conclude that it is satisfied with what we have arranged.

The regulations will be important. They set out the criteria on which a BID can be terminated before the date set out in a BID proposal—for example, an emergency that affects a BID, such as fire, flooding or foot and mouth disease. In view of that, it is understandable that the Select Committee sought the affirmative resolution procedure.

Amendment No. 126 would remove the power. That would seriously hamper our ability with the circumstances described. Parliament will have plenty of opportunity to scrutinise the regulations under the affirmative resolution procedure. I hope that, with those reassurances, the noble Baroness will withdraw her amendment. I will move Amendment No. 127 when we come to it.

Baroness Hanham: I shall scrutinise what the Minister said. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

5.45 p.m.

Lord Rooker moved Amendment No. 127:

    Page 24, line 6, at end insert—

"( ) No regulations under subsection (4) shall be made by the Secretary of State unless a draft of the statutory instrument containing the regulations (whether containing them alone or with other provisions) has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament."

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 56, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 57 [Regulations about ballots]:

Baroness Hanham moved Amendment No. 128:

    Page 24, line 8, at end insert—

"( ) No regulations may be made under subsection (1) unless a draft of the regulations has been laid before and approved by both Houses of Parliament."

The noble Baroness said: In moving the amendment, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 129 and 130.

Amendment No. 128 is a straightforward amendment. Any regulations made under subsection (1) in relation to ballots should be subject to affirmative resolution, so that the House has a chance to see what is being done. Subsection (2) gives some idea about what might be likely to be prescribed under subsection (1), although it is not an exhaustive list. Regulations may be made that deal with the question, the timing and those eligible to vote, among other matters. Those are important issues that deserve more

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detailed scrutiny than they would receive under the negative resolution procedure. Would the Government consider using the affirmative resolution procedure instead? I would be enormously grateful if the Minister did not say that the deregulation committee did not recommend anything about it.

Amendments Nos. 129 and 130 aim to probe the Government on two specific matters that the list in subsection (2) makes it clear could be prescribed by regulations made by the Secretary of State. We are not convinced that it would be advisable for the non-domestic ratepayers entitled to vote in a ballot to be subject up to the whim—perhaps I should say discretion—of the Secretary of State. We are yet more unconvinced that he should also have the authority to suggest what people the billing authority may legitimately approach to refund the cost of the ballot and under what circumstances.

We feel uneasy about those two specific matters of regulation. Why is it necessary for them to be relegated to secondary legislation rather than being set out clearly in the Bill? In particular, who are the poor likely suspects whom the Secretary of State may earmark to finance the ballot? Will they be able to appeal against footing the bill? I beg to move.

Baroness Hamwee: I tabled Amendment No. 130A, which is in the group. I make exactly the same point that I made with regard to Amendment No. 117A. Clause 57(2) provides that provisions to be made by regulations include the eight matters listed. Clause 57(3) states that those are not exclusive—that there can be more. I make the distinction that I made earlier between that and other provisions in the Bill that do not spell out the fact that to list what can be included does not exclude other matters, which is what I would understand in any event.

Lord Bassam of Brighton: I had better speak first to Amendment No. 131, a government amendment. As usual, it reflects the recommendation of the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee. It will make the Secretary of State's powers under Clause 57(1) subject to affirmative resolution. In that case we have complied, as we attempt to in nearly all circumstances, with that committee's important work.

I shall work through the opposition amendments. Amendment No. 129 seeks to remove the power of the Secretary of State to make regulations regarding those ratepayers who may vote in a ballot. That power would be used to clarify which individual had a right to cast a vote in the BID ballot—for example, the person casting the vote must be the non-domestic ratepayer of a hereditament situated in the BID area.

I imagine, although I cannot be sure, that Members of the Committee opposite have tabled this to provoke debate about delegated powers, which we have discussed before, or because they assume that property owners will be included in the BID ballot and they do not want the Secretary of State's power to be confined to defining the ratepayers alone. If it is the first reason, that is fine. If it is the second, we have had a great debate about that too.

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It is important, however, that this power remains in the Bill to provide clarity and authority to the voting procedures which will have to command the respect of ratepayers. They could otherwise be subject to legal challenge and undermine the local authority's power to impose the BID levy.

Clause 57 also gives a billing authority the power to recover the costs of conducting the BID ballot from the BID levy, once the BID is up and running. Amendment No. 130 seeks to remove the ability of the billing authority to recover the costs. We think the amendment is unreasonable and would impact negatively on the relationship between the billing authority and the BID stakeholders.

A business improvement district, as we are all agreed, is a partnership. We see from that perspective the importance of its making a contribution, but that does not prevent a billing authority from contributing to the cost of setting up a BID by paying for the BID ballot to take place. However, we do not believe it is right to enable external stakeholders—to use the jargon—to impose a requirement on billing authorities to undertake work on a BID without giving them any opportunity to recover the costs.

The billing authority cannot refuse to take part in a BID ballot, so you cannot properly compare its role with that of other stakeholders in the BID, who would be subject to different circumstances and no doubt pressures, and would stand to gain significantly from the BID projects. However, if the billing authority can regain its costs, it will not suffer detriment from being involved in BIDs. It is actually more likely to make them more of a willing partner in the schemes. That is how we would all see it working.

In addition, billing authorities may be asked to take part in more than one BID arrangement. The question could properly be posed—I think I would have posed it as a leader of a local authority—as to how many BIDs it might take for a billing authority to have to look for savings elsewhere. We are not sure that that would be desirable. Obviously it is a matter for local consideration.

Finally, we understand that Amendment No. 130A seeks to limit the power to make regulations on BID ballots to those topics that are listed in subject 2. The noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, shakes her head.

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