Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Lord Grantchester: Amendment 19A draws attention to the lack of detail in this clause in respect of appeals. While we acknowledge that it may be appropriate to include some issues in regulations, such as the fee payable, we do not consider that other issues-specifically who has the right to appeal, where they can appeal, the grounds for appeal and the powers of the court or tribunal in making a determination-are suitable matters to be left to further regulations that the Minister may draft. Surely, the class of person who is eligible to appeal under the clause is not likely to change during the course of time and there is no obvious reason why this should be flexible. We are interested to hear what the Minister of Justice and his officials might have advised in this area as it appears to breach fundamental

19 Jan 2011 : Column GC112

issues of access to justice. It is an equally important point of principle that people should have the protection of primary legislation. We ask the Minister to put down amendments to take these comments on board and to seriously consider amending the Bill in this area on Report. It is an issue that we will be turning our minds to in the next couple of months. I beg to move.

Lord Marland: I thank the noble Lord for his suggested amendment to Clause 31. This clause requires the Government to provide the right of appeal when a sanction has been imposed by the Secretary of State or their delegate. This clause provides a right of appeal against sanctions imposed for any breaches relating to consent, disclosure and acknowledgement, or requirements set by a scheme regulating and authorising Green Deal participants, such as any future schemes for registration and accreditation and their codes of practice. This clause enables an appeal to a court or tribunal. Subsection (3), which noble Lords would omit through their proposed amendment, clarifies that we can address issues such as who can appeal, under what circumstances and to what body, and the powers to suspend the sanctions originally imposed. These are all matters that would need to be dealt with in establishing a fair and workable right of appeal against any sanctions imposed and it is important that the Bill clarifies that these can be included in regulations.

Clause 31(5) enables the Secretary of State to revoke or amend any subordinate legislation governing the jurisdiction, process and powers of any existing tribunal system that may be used to enable this right of appeal. The Government will consult fully and set out details in regulations about who may appeal and under what circumstances. These regulations will be subject to the affirmative procedure.

In conclusion, I assure noble Lords that we will seek to develop a transparent and workable appeals mechanism and I hope that with this assurance the noble Lord will feel able to withdraw his amendment.

7.49 pm

Sitting suspended for a Division in the House.

8 pm

Lord Grantchester: I thank the Minister for his reply but, with respect, he has not addressed my point. We do not feel that regulations sufficiently take account of these concerns which should be under primary legislation. We are mindful that consumers must have confidence in the situation facing them and that this is something that should be upfront in the Bill. That is the most appropriate place and it is where these aspects should be dealt with, rather than in regulations. Nor did he take up my point about whether he had consulted the Ministry of Justice over any of these aspects.

Lord Marland: We have consulted the Ministry of Justice. We would not get to this point without having done so.



19 Jan 2011 : Column GC113

Lord Grantchester: I thank the Minister for clarifying that. In his answer he referred to subsection (5), which is that regulation may be introduced that,

Under subsection (6),

We are concerned about the overuse of regulation in this Bill and ask how far, under subsection (5), it is justified or appropriate that there should be powers to revoke or amend any subordinate legislation. We ask for clarification of the extent of those powers. I understand the Interpretation Act to merely interpret terms and not cover any policy issues. Finally, I should like to ask whether this part of the Bill been commentated on by the Merits Committee.

Lord Marland: There is no greater authority on these things than the Secretary of State. He is responsible for delegating powers. Every intention behind the Green Deal is that we get it right, which is why in matters involving disclosure, breaches relating to consent or any sanctions, the top-down authority will come from the Secretary of State. I hope that that clarifies that point.

As to whether this has been through the correct procedural process, I am not at liberty to answer that question now, but I will respond later rather than put officials through the mill now.

Lord Grantchester: I thank the Minister for his consideration. He no doubt understands that we take this matter extremely seriously and will consider further. In the mean time, I beg leave to withdraw.

Amendment 19A withdrawn.

Amendment 20

Moved by Lord Whitty

20: Clause 31, page 20, line 22, leave out "(including any fee which may be payable)"



19 Jan 2011 : Column GC114

Lord Whitty: My Lords, since I packed my bag before we gave up, I will be brief. This group of amendments relates to fees, on which I have expanded at some length already. Some of these simply follow through from those that we have already discussed. Some relate to appeals, and I think that a disincentive to appeals is an area of significant concern. Some relate to other details of the way in which the Green Deal will be delivered. However, they all raise the issue of fees. I think that it would be helpful to the Committee-it would certainly be helpful to me-if, before we come to the next stage, the Minister could arrange for someone to set out why the issue of fees has to apply in these various situations. That can probably be done more logically than going through clause by clause, because some of them obviously hang together. There are only three or four subjects, but there are a lot of points where fees arise. If the Minister would commit to doing that, I would be prepared to withdraw the amendment.

Lord Marland: My Lords, at this point in the proceedings the noble Lord's views on fees are well known, and he has our assurance that we will look at the issue very carefully. As we have already said, the level of any fee will be set out in secondary legislation. I think that the noble Lord is making the point that he would like us to develop a thinking process before we get to that and that, between us, we can develop it further before we get to that point. I look forward to discussing the matter with him in the near future.

Lord Whitty: My Lords, on that basis, I withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 20 withdrawn.

Clause 31 agreed.

Clause 32 agreed.

Committee adjourned at 8.06 pm.


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page