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Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer: My Lords, I thank the Minister for that reply. I am slightly surprised by it because my amendment simply asks that the authority should receive guidance to define a household income. It does not ask individual households what their income is. It therefore does not involve developing a mechanistic ratio, as he called it. It simply asks for a definition and leaves the Secretary of State to set out such measures.

I understand that there is currently a consultation. The fact is that the responses will be received too late to be incorporated in the Bill, even if the Government were minded to do so. We might well be left to drift for several more years in this unacceptable position.

I was saddened not to have the support of the noble Baroness, Lady O'Cathain, from the water industry's point of view. The industry also feels that something must be done to address the levels of debt, which it, too, finds difficult.

Baroness O'Cathain: My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness for giving way. I was tempted to speak earlier but we have gone over this piece twice already and measures are currently being considered. I was going to ask the Minister a question on another occasion but, while I am on my feet, I may as well ask him it now.

Baroness Byford: My Lords, I am afraid that my noble friend cannot.

Baroness O'Cathain: No, my Lords, I cannot. Isn't he lucky?

Baroness Byford: My Lords, my noble friend could write to the Minister.

Baroness O'Cathain: I will, my Lords.

My issue on debt is different from that discussed by the noble Baroness. I wanted to keep them separate.

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer: My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness for her explanation that she regards the matter as a different issue. I am disappointed by the Government's response. I remember that a number of the Minister's colleagues in another place, and indeed in this House, were a vociferous part of the national forum on water poverty. The measure that I have set out would move the matter forward, and I had hoped that the

24 Jun 2003 : Column 181

Government would have taken it on board. They clearly are not minded to do that, so I shall test the opinion of the House.

5.49 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 57) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 45; Not-Contents, 126.

Division No. 2


Addington, L.
Alderdice, L.
Alton of Liverpool, L.
Avebury, L.
Barker, B.
Bradshaw, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Craigavon, V.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
Dholakia, L.
Finlay of Llandaff, B.
Goodhart, L.
Hamwee, B.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Howe of Idlicote, B.
Hylton, L.
Linklater of Butterstone, B.
Livsey of Talgarth, L. [Teller]
Mackie of Benshie, L.
Maclennan of Rogart, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Michie of Gallanach, B.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B. [Teller]
Newby, L.
Northover, B.
Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, L.
Perry of Walton, L.
Razzall, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rennard, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Russell, E.
Sandberg, L.
Sandwich, E.
Scott of Needham Market, B.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Shutt of Greetland, L.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Steel of Aikwood, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Tordoff, L.
Walmsley, B.
Williams of Crosby, B.


Acton, L.
Ahmed, L.
Alli, L.
Amos, B.
Andrews, B.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Bernstein of Craigweil, L.
Billingham, B.
Blackstone, B.
Borrie, L.
Boston of Faversham, L.
Brennan, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L.
Campbell-Savours, L.
Carter, L.
Chan, L.
Clark of Windermere, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cohen of Pimlico, B.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L.
Craig of Radley, L.
Crawley, B.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L. [Teller]
Desai, L.
Dixon, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Elder, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Fyfe of Fairfield, L.
Gale, B.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Golding, B.
Goldsmith, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Grocott, L. [Teller]
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harris of Haringey, L.
Harris of High Cross, L.
Harrison, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jones, L.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Layard, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Lipsey, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Mallalieu, B.
Marsh, L.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Mitchell, L.
Morgan, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Nicol, B.
Orme, L.
Parekh, L.
Patel of Blackburn, L.
Paul, L.
Pendry, L.
Peston, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Radice, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Renwick of Clifton, L.
Richard, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Sheldon, L.
Simon, V.
Slim, V.
Smith of Leigh, L.
Stallard, L.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Strange, B.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Temple-Morris, L.
Thornton, B.
Turnberg, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Varley, L.
Walker of Doncaster, L.
Warner, L.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Weatherill, L.
Whitaker, B.
Whitty, L.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L. (Lord President of the Council)
Williamson of Horton, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

24 Jun 2003 : Column 182

6 p.m.

[Amendment No. 58 not moved.]

Lord Dixon-Smith moved Amendment No. 59:

    After Clause 39, insert the following new clause—

After section 5 of the WIA there is inserted—
(1) In this section the Agency, the Authority, the Chief Inspector of Drinking Water and (if separately appointed) the Chief Inspector of Drinking Water for Wales and the Consumer Council for Water shall together be referred to as "the regulators".
(2) The Secretary of State, the Assembly and the regulators shall exercise all their statutory powers and duties, which relate to or may affect the water industry, in a coordinated manner.
(3) To that end, the Secretary of State, the Assembly and the regulators shall consult and cooperate with one another.""

The noble Lord said: My Lords, Amendment No. 59 deals with co-ordinated regulation. We debated the matter in Grand Committee on Amendment No. 102. The amendment was supported by the noble Baroness, Lady Miller of Chilthorne Domer, and the noble Lord, Lord Borrie. That amendment was criticised because it was exceedingly long, taking up one and a half columns of Hansard. Amendment No. 59 is the former Amendment No. 102 stripped down to its bare essentials.

24 Jun 2003 : Column 183

The Minister concluded his remarks in Grand Committee by inviting other Members to bring forward a more appropriate amendment. He said:

    "Perhaps I may leave it to other noble Lords to bring forward a more appropriate amendment".—[Official Report, 8/4/03; col. GC29.]

That leaves us with the burden and we have done our best. I hope that it satisfied the Minister and that he is pleased with the result; otherwise we shall have to invite him to take it away to improve on it.

It is a sensible amendment in principle and I ask the Minister to consider it seriously. I beg to move.

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer: My Lords, we support the idea of co-ordinated regulation. Although the Minister may point out some way in which the amendment can be improved, it seems to do the job.

Lord Borrie: My Lords, I gave a word of support for the amendment in Grand Committee. However, when I read it now, because of the very fact that it has been simplified, it looks like motherhood and apple pie. I say to myself, surely sensible regulators will get together and co-ordinate their activities. They will not live in separate ivory towers. Do we really need to have on the statute book that they should co-operate with one another? I now question the necessity of the amendment.

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