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Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, I beg to move the second Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper.

Moved, That it be an instruction to the Committee of the Whole House to which the National Lottery Bill has been committed that they consider the Bill in the following order: Clauses 1 to 6, Schedule 1, Clauses 7 to 13, Schedule 2, Clauses 14 to 20, Schedule 3, Clauses 21 to 23.—(Lord Davies of Oldham.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.


 
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Equality Bill [HL]

3.06 pm

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): My Lords, on behalf of my noble and learned friend Lord Falconer of Thoroton, I beg to move that the Commons amendments be now considered.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to. Commons Amendments

[The page and line references are to Bill 85 as first printed for the Commons.]


1 Clause 7, page 3, line 36, leave out "body" and insert "person"
2 Page 4, line 6, leave out "body" and insert "person"
3 Page 4, line 8, leave out "body" and insert "person"
4 Page 4, line 9, leave out "body" and insert "person"
5 Page 4, line 10, leave out "body's" and insert "person's"

Baroness Ashton of Upholland: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 1 to 5. This is a small group of minor drafting amendments.

Clause 7 limits the role of the new commission in relation to human rights issues in Scotland. It allows the commission to take human rights action in relation to devolved issues only with the consent of a "body" established by Act of the Scottish Parliament. When the clause was first drafted, it was anticipated that this would be a Scottish human rights commission. The Bill which is now before the Scottish Parliament would, in fact, create a Scottish commissioner for human rights. The amendments merely update the drafting to reflect the fact that the Scottish Parliament is considering the creation of a post and not a body. They in no way change the policy underlying the clause.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 1 to 5.—(Baroness Ashton of Upholland.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.


6 Clause 14, page 8, line 5, after "tenants" insert "in England or Wales"
7 Page 8, line 10, leave out "circumstances in which it is unreasonable to withhold" and insert "reasonableness in relation to"
8 Page 8, line 19, at end insert-
"(3A) The Commission may issue a code of practice giving practical guidance to landlords and tenants of houses (within the meaning of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 (asp 01)) in Scotland about—
(a) circumstances in which the tenant requires the consent of the landlord to carry out work in relation to the house for the purpose of making the house suitable for the accommodation, welfare or employment of any disabled person who occupies, or intends to occupy, the house as a sole or main residence,
(b) circumstances in which it is unreasonable to withhold that consent,
(c) circumstances in which any condition imposed on the granting of that consent is unreasonable, and
 
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(d) the application in relation to such work of—
(i) sections 28 to 31 and 34(6) of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 (asp 10), and
(ii) sections 52, 53 and 64(6) of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 (asp 01)."
9 Page 8, line 46, at end add—
"(9) In relation to a code of practice under subsection (3A), the Secretary of State shall consult the Scottish Ministers before—
(a) approving a draft under subsection (6)(a) above, or
(b) making an order under subsection (7)(b) above."
10 Clause 15, page 9, line 18, at end insert-
"(4A) Subsection (4)(b) does not apply in relation to a code issued under section 14(3A)."

Baroness Ashton of Upholland: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 6 to 10. We come to what may seem a large and very complex group of amendments, but let me assure noble Lords immediately that this is not as complex as it might first appear.

These amendments have one simple purpose—to ensure that disabled residential tenants and occupiers in Scotland are able to receive the same help and support from the new commission and the Disability Rights Commission as tenants and occupiers will receive in England and Wales if a dispute arises about making a disability-related adaptation to their home.

The Disability Discrimination Act 1995, by virtue of changes made by the Disability Discrimination Act 2005, provides for the Disability Rights Commission to draft a code of practice giving practical guidance on all matters to do with disability-related improvements, to provide a conciliation service when a dispute arises, and to provide legal support should the issue go to court. These powers, which apply only in relation to England and Wales, were rolled forward to the new commission in this Bill.

Meanwhile, the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006, which provides important rights for tenants in Scotland to make disability-related adaptations to their homes, completed its legislative passage late last year. As noble Lords will know, housing is a devolved area, but the Disability Rights Commission and the Commission for Equality and Human Rights are reserved bodies, so only the Westminster Parliament can confer functions on them. It therefore falls to this Bill to complete the picture. These amendments do that by ensuring that the Disability Rights Commission and, in due course, the new commission can prepare a code of practice, and provide conciliation services and legal support for tenants involved in disputes about disability-related adaptations in Scotland.

The key amendments for noble Lords' consideration in this group are: Amendment No. 8, which gives the new commission power to draft a code of practice on all matters to do with disability-related works—improvements are referred to as works in Scotland; Amendment No. 14, which enables the new commission to set up conciliation services to be used to
 
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resolve disputes in respect of disability-related works; and Amendment No. 18, which enables the new commission to provide legal assistance in respect of disputes about disability-related works in Scotland.

Amendment No. 21 confers power on the Disability Rights Commission to prepare codes of practice, provide a conciliation service and give legal assistance in Scotland, which is similar to the powers that it has for England and Wales. This is necessary so that the Disability Rights Commission can bridge the gap before the new commission is created, thereby ensuring that disabled people in Scotland will have a similar level of support and guidance to those in England and Wales.

These amendments provide parity for landlords and tenants between England, Wales and Scotland in relation to support and guidance for disability-related improvements and works. I apologise for the large number of amendments which may seem complex but, as I have explained, their purpose is relatively simple. I commend this group of amendments to the House.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 6 to 10.—(Baroness Ashton of Upholland.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.


11 Clause 21, page 11, line 27, leave out "24(1)(a)" and insert "24(1)"

Baroness Ashton of Upholland: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 11. In speaking to this amendment, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 34 and 35. Amendment No. 11 corrects an anomaly in referencing in the Bill. Our intention is to oblige the new commission to inform the recipient of an unlawful act notice of the effect of its power under Clause 24 to apply to a court for an injunction in England and Wales, or an interdict in Scotland, to prevent discrimination. Without this amendment, the commission's obligation would be restricted to informing the recipient of an unlawful act notice of its power to apply for an injunction in England and Wales, but not in Scotland. That was never our intention and does not make any sense, especially for an unlawful act notice issued in Scotland. Therefore, Amendment No. 11 extends the obligation on the commission to include its power to apply for an interdict in Scotland, and gives effect to our intention.

Amendments Nos. 34 and 35 mirror each other for Scotland and Wales respectively and correct two drafting errors in the Bill. The policy intention is for the Bill to require the commissioner appointed for his or her knowledge about conditions in Scotland to chair the Scotland committee, and for the commissioner appointed for knowledge of Wales to chair the Wales committee. However, due to previous amendments to this schedule, the referencing is askew and makes no sense. I commend this group of amendments to the House.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 11.—(Baroness Ashton of Upholland.)
 
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On Question, Motion agreed to.


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