Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

The noble Lord, Lord Redesdale, rightly talked about sovereign wealth funds. Any nation, particularly ours, should make itself fully aware of the implications of the new global environment in which sovereign wealth funds, and many other forms of investor that do not conform to our notion of transparency or good governance, are predators; the noble Lord, Lord Jenkin, mentioned one possible predator. To pretend that that is not the case, or that if you allow some of these people a glimmer of an opportunity they will not leap through that gap, is naïve in the extreme. I am very reassured. It is certainly the first time I have heard any government Minister lay out the procedures. They sound pretty robust.

I referred to other western European democracies and the United States. All of them are rapidly moving towards a point where they can look through deals and ownerships to see the real owners and the real purpose behind deals. We have been laggards on this, and have almost begun to make ourselves a lone voice in saying that you can go too far in looking through deals. I am not sure that that is the case. In that sense, perhaps I do sound like a protectionist—for which I do not apologise because mine is a real-world view.

I suspect that I will not come back with the amendment as it is, but I would like to think about taking the Ofgem components and eliding them with the general amendments of the noble Lord, Lord Oxburgh, on Ofgem’s remit to see if we cannot get into the Bill many of the things that the Minister made clear. There is a win here for all of us, which will not be this amendment. Frankly, I am very grateful.

Lastly, I am a disciple of John Kenneth Galbraith; it may be my age. Many of my views on the new global environment are shared by extremely reputable and recognised economists. I am not alone in this. The world is changing rapidly, and it is time for us to look more closely at whether we are semi-consciously drifting into the type of economy that the United States became in the late 19th and early 20th century, from which it eventually had to jolt itself and resile. I hope that that will not be the case in this country, but I am concerned about this drift. I am sure that I will

1 July 2008 : Column GC59

return to this issue in other places at other times. For the time being, however, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 76B not moved.]

Clauses 92 and 93 agreed to.

Clause 94 [Parliamentary control of subordinate legislation]:

Lord Bach moved Amendment No. 77:

“( ) section 13 (importation and storage of combustible gas: inspectors),( ) section 27 (carbon dioxide storage: inspectors),”

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 94, as amended, agreed to.

1 July 2008 : Column GC60

Clauses 95 and 96 agreed to.

Schedule 4 agreed to.

Clause 97 agreed to.

Schedule 5 [Repeals]:

Lord Bach moved Amendment No. 78:

“Section 180(2).”

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Schedule 5, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 98 to 102 agreed to.

Bill reported with amendments.

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page