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Lord Sainsbury of Turville moved Amendment No. 25:


On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Triesman moved Amendment No. 26:


    Page 8, line 21, at end insert—


"(4A) A statutory instrument containing provision made by virtue of subsection (4) is subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament, unless the only such provision it contains is transitory, transitional or saving provision."

The noble Lord said: The amendments to Clause 15 include Amendment No. 28, which, although it will not be moved, I shall try to sweep up in the generality of what I say. I am quite sure that that offends against some principle or other, but let me do my best.

Under Clause 15(6), commencement orders which add to, replace or omit any part of the text of an Act are subject to an affirmative procedure, but otherwise

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orders under Clause 15 are not subject to any parliamentary procedure. However, the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee recommended in its report of 29 January 2004 that certain orders—other than those falling under subsection (6)—be subject to the negative procedure.

I appreciate that it is at least very likely that noble Lords tabled Amendment No. 28 in response to that recommendation, but its effect would be that an order which contained even the smallest and simplest transitional provision would be subject to the negative procedure. It would be unduly burdensome if an order were made subject to that procedure simply because, for example, it ensured that a particular provision in the Bill applied only to patents granted after the provision came into force. In short, the procedure would be disproportionate.

None the less, the Government are keen to act on the committee's recommendation. That purpose must guide all noble Lords in their consideration of this matter. Amendments Nos. 26 and 27 are therefore what we hope will be a practical alternative. They ensure that orders which contain any supplementary, incidental or consequential provision are subject to the negative procedure; but orders which contain only transitory, transitional or saving provision are not subject to such procedure. That is the distinction. As before, orders which make textual amendments to Acts will be subject to the affirmative procedure.

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The committee acknowledges in its report, as noble Lords will know, that such an arrangement is not without precedent. One such precedent, for the sake of illustration, is Section 276 of the Enterprise Act 2002.

In the light of that explanation and the amendments that the Government have tabled today, I hope that noble Lords opposite will feel able to withdraw their amendment and support the Government's response to the committee's report. I beg to move.

Earl Attlee: I am grateful for the Minister's explanation of his amendments. It is not profitable to duplicate the work of the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee. On that basis, provided that we get a clean bill of health from that committee for the Government's amendments, I shall support them and not move mine.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Triesman moved Amendment No. 27:


    Page 8, line 27, at end insert "; and subsection (4A) does not apply to such an instrument"

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 28 not moved.]

Clause 15, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 16 agreed to.

Bill reported with amendments.

        The Grand Committee adjourned at four minutes before six o'clock.

Written Statements

Monday, 8 March 2004

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NHS Trusts

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Health has made the following Written Ministerial Statement today.

Pursuant to the dissolution of 16 National Health Service trusts since 1 August 2002 and their reconfiguration through the establishment of seven new NHS trusts, I propose to create originating capital for the new NHS trusts equal to the net assets transferred to them and therefore to remit the outstanding debt of the dissolved trusts.

Assets from some of the dissolved trusts were also transferred to primary care trusts. Public dividend capital is not required as a financing transaction for these transfers as primary care trusts are subject to a different financial regime. Net assets transferred from dissolving NHS trusts to primary care trusts are reflected in an increase to the general fund of the primary care trust.

These operations involved no overall loss to the Exchequer. Her Majesty's Treasury has today presented a minute to the House giving particulars and circumstances of the proposed remission which it has approved in principle.

Council for Science and Technology

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): My right honourable friend the Prime Minister today appointed 16 members to the Council for Science and Technology following its recent review. The appointments represent a wide range of experience from the scientific community, business and charities. The 16 appointments are:

Professor Sir John Beringer CBE

Professor Geoffrey Boulton OBE FRS FRSE

Professor Janet Finch CBE DL AcSS

Mr Andrew Gould

Professor Wendy Hall CBE FREng

Dr Hermann Hauser FREng CBE CPhys FInstP

Dr Dieter Helm

Professor Alan Hughes

Dr Sue Ion OBE FREng

Dr Rob Margetts CBE FREng

Sir Paul Nurse FRS

Sir Keith Peters FRS PMedSci

Dr Raj Rajagopal FREng CEng FIEE FIMechE FIE FCMI

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Professor Michael Sterling FREng

Professor Kathy Sykes

Dr Mark Walport FMedSci

The Council for Science and Technology is government's top level independent advisory body on strategic policy for science, engineering and technology. Its advice has been instrumental in helping the Government develop their present strategies for improving the excellence of the research base and putting it on a sustainable footing, for improving science education and for making effective use of science, engineering and technology. On 22 July 2003 the Government announced updated terms of reference and a new organisation for the CST to reflect the needs of the UK Government and the devolved administrations for advice in coming years.

The CST will report to the Prime Minister and the First Ministers of the devolved administrations. The 16 members will choose one of their number to act as co-chair alongside the Government's Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir David King.

Full details of the CST's terms of reference and organisation, and biographies of the members, can be found at www.cst.gov.uk.

Decisions on appointments have been made following open competition and wide consultation with key players.

Deepcut: Surrey Police Final Report

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Bach): My right honourable friend the Minister of State for Defence (Mr Adam Ingram) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The chief constable of the Surrey Police has today published his report following the completion of the police examinations into wider issues identified during police investigations into the deaths of Privates Sean Benton, Cheryl James, Geoff Gray and James Collinson at the Princess Royal Barracks Deepcut between 1995 and 2002. We welcome the conclusion of the police investigation and the report. The report makes recommendations which we are considering carefully. I intend to make a further announcement on this subject in the near future.

Each of these four deaths was an individual tragedy in its own right and we very much regret the loss of these young lives. The police report acknowledges that we have been working energetically to ensure that lessons have been learnt and to improve the Army's care regime. It concludes by recommending that the Ministry of Defence considers a broader inquiry into how the care regime can be further improved and to provide assurance that the momentum that has developed will be sustained.

As the report highlights, one key element of the work we have undertaken has been the Army learning account, which is a continuous record of lessons learnt and the action taken as a result. The

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report also refers to work undertaken by the Directorate of Operational Capability (DOC) into the care of recruits in initial training, which I published last year. This was followed some five months later by a further report assessing progress in implementing recommendations (Hansard 10 February 2003 col. 35WS, and 16 July 2003 col. 42WS).

We are committed to continuous improvement in the training and care regime, and will look carefully at

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what benefits a broader investigation might offer and what form such an investigation might take.

The Army has co-operated fully with the Surrey police throughout all their investigations, and we have been as open as possible with the families within the constraints imposed on us by the ongoing police investigation. In recognition of the degree of parliamentary interest in the Deepcut deaths, the chief constable has asked that copies of his report be placed in the Libraries of both Houses: I am making the necessary arrangements to do so.


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