Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Fourteenth Report

Annex 4


Letter from Lord Sainsbury of Turville, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Science at the Department of Trade and Industry, to the Chairman

I am writing in response to the 12th report of the Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform, for which I am most grateful.

As the Committee is aware, the Government's intention in respect of Clause 2(2) is that the power that it provides should be as a 'tidying' provision to remove provisions that no longer apply, rather than a tool to remove provisions that are still 'live' and have a continuing effect. We believe Part 2 of the Electricity Act to now be of limited practical effect. However, we have stated that we would want to have an opportunity to consult with industry and to check whether any of the provisions of Part 2 are still 'live'.

The Committee expressed concern that the power in Clause 2(2) could potentially be used to repeal a provision "which is both 'live' and significant". It therefore concluded that there ought to be an opportunity for debate, suggesting the affirmative procedure would be more appropriate than the negative procedure that is presently provided for in Clause 2(4).

Although we do not expect any future repeals under this provision to be significant or controversial, we understand the view expressed by the Committee and recognise that Parliament may like to have an opportunity to debate the effect of any potential repeals.

It is for this reason that I intend to agree to the recommendation of the Committee in this respect and to the Bill being amended accordingly.

I am copying this letter to Baroness Miller and Lord Ezra and also placing a copy in the Libraries of the House.

14 March 2003

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