Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Twelfth Report



This bill is to facilitate the Government's response to the financial difficulties of British Energy, to provide for the repeal of Part 2 of the Electricity Act 1989 ("the 1989 Act") and to remove the ceiling on financial assistance relating to nuclear liabilities and change the tax status of that assistance.


Clause 2(2) to (4)

There are two delegated powers in the bill - at clauses 2(2) to (4) and 4(3). The first of these is addressed in the memorandum from the Department of Trade and Industry. The memorandum is printed at Annex 1 to this Report.

The nature and extent of the power in clause 2 is fully described in the Department's memorandum. Although the memorandum suggests that Part 2 of the 1989 Act may include some remaining "live" provisions (additional to sections 72 and 74), we accept that much of Part 2 is now likely to be of limited practical effect, and consider that clause 2(2) and the Henry VIII power to make consequential, transitional or saving provision at clause 2(3) are justified.

The Department explains why only sections 72 and 74 are repealed by the bill itself. Other provisions of Part 2 of the 1989 Act may be repealed following the thorough check and discussions with the industry referred to in the Department's memorandum. So there is the potential for an order to repeal a provision which is both "live" and significant; in the case of repeal of such a provision, the opportunity for a debate is, in the Committee's view, sufficiently important to require the affirmative procedure.

We considered whether the negative procedure provided for is appropriate for the Henry VIII power in clause 2(3). We concluded that the provision which can be made in exercise of this power is limited (as the order relates to the repeal of provisions which, apart from sections 72 and 74 and possibly some others, are largely spent) and that, therefore, the negative procedure is appropriate in these circumstances.

Clause 4(3)

The power in clause 4(3) is explained fully at paragraphs 21 to 27 of the Explanatory Notes to the bill. The power is limited to extending a date by up to three years and is subject to affirmative procedure (House of Commons only as it relates solely to the incidence of corporation tax). In our view, both the delegation and the level of scrutiny are appropriate.


Save for the point raised in paragraph 4 above, there is nothing in the delegated powers in this bill to which the Committee wishes to draw the attention of the House.

previous page contents next page

House of Lords home page Parliament home page House of Commons home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2003