Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Fifteenth Report


19 March 2003

By the Select Committee appointed to report whether the provisions of any bill inappropriately delegate legislative power, or whether they subject the exercise of legislative power to an inappropriate degree of parliamentary scrutiny; to report on documents and draft orders laid before Parliament under the Regulatory Reform Act 2001; and to perform, in respect of such documents and orders and subordinate provisions orders laid under that Act, the functions performed in respect of other instruments by the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments.[1]



On 10 December 2002, the Government laid before Parliament a proposal for a draft Regulatory Reform (Schemes under Section 129 of the Housing Act 1988) (England) Order 2003, together with a Statement by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM). We reported on the Government's proposals on 29 January 2003.[2]

Section 129 of the Housing Act 1988 enables local housing authorities in England and Wales to make schemes providing for grants to assist the local authority's tenants to obtain other accommodation (thereby enabling the local authority's accommodation then to be made available to those in greater need). The purpose of the order, which is to apply to England only, is to remove the requirement for local authorities (in England) to obtain the approval of the Secretary of State to operate such schemes.

In our earlier Report, we noted that the proposal as laid before Parliament would extend to England and Wales but that textual amendments made to section 129 would re-state the existing position for Wales. We took the view that this would have the effect of re-enacting the requirement for approval (by the National Assembly for Wales) and that section 1(1)(b) of the Regulatory Reform Act 2001 therefore applied. Section 1(1)(b) states that where re-enactment has the effect of imposing a burden, then the burden must be proportionate to the benefit which is expected to result from the re-enactment. We invited the ODPM to provide further details of the proportionate benefit. In response, the ODPM proposed a redrafted version of the order which would have the same effect as the original proposal but would avoid making a provision which could be construed as a re-enactment in respect of Wales. We concluded, in our Report, that the problem which we had identified was removed by the changes contained in the redrafted order and recommended that the changes should be made. These changes now appear in the order currently before Parliament.

The Regulatory Reform Committee in the House of Commons also raised this issue in their report on the original proposal.[3]


In our first Report on this proposal, we concluded that, save for the recommendation that the proposal should be amended in accordance with the redrafted version referred to in paragraph 3 above, it was appropriate to be made under the Regulatory Reform Act 2001. We remain of this view, and therefore recommend that the order, as it now stands, is in a form satisfactory to be submitted to the House for affirmative resolution.

1   This report is also published on the Internet at the House of Lords Select Committee Home Page (, where further information about the work of the Committee is also available. Back

2   10th Report, HL Paper 46, Session 2002-03. Back

3   7th Report, HC 436, Session 2002-03. Back

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