Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

I accept that at present they seem to operate only in central London, so Westminster council faces the biggest problem. However, like my noble friend Lord Berkeley, I would have preferred to see London-wide licensing

10 Oct 2011 : Column 1361

of pedicabs. They will no doubt move elsewhere, with Camden, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Southwark and Lambeth all likely to have them in parts of their boroughs. By-laws that differ from borough to borough just risk confusion and it would be better to have a London-wide option. However, as I said, the Opposition support the thrust of the amendment and I hope that the Government can indicate what they will do to deal with this problem.

Earl Attlee: My Lords, I can understand why my noble friend Lady Gardner of Parkes has moved this amendment. She has explained the problem and other noble Lords have made sensible and balanced contributions. However, Transport for London and ultimately the mayor are responsible for pedicabs in London. The Government take the view that issues surrounding pedicabs in London should be dealt with at a local level, which this amendment would provide for. After all, this issue only really affects London. However, the mayor, Transport for London and the London local authorities are already taking the initiative to address the matter with straightforward measures that avoid the trap of overregulation. Noble Lords will be aware that Westminster City Council is currently working up a voluntary-

Lord Berkeley: I am sorry to interrupt the Minister but I believe that they operate in Oxford, and there is a similar problem there. But I do not know what the solution is.

Earl Attlee: My Lords, I skilfully avoided saying that this problem was unique to London, because I thought this issue might arise, and I might get challenged by someone like the noble Lord.

Westminster City Council is currently working up a voluntary registration scheme for pedicabs, with registration being incentivised by providing parking bays and pedicab ranks for members. Those operators and riders subscribing to the scheme will sign up to a code of practice, and the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, has already alluded to these developments. This registration scheme would then tie in with the provisions relating to the enforcement of road traffic offences in relation to pedicabs, which are included in the London Local Authorities and Transport for London (No. 2) Bill, currently before Parliament. Effective implementation of the provisions in the Bill relies on a system of licensing or registration being in place. The relevant clause could not come into force until a registration scheme for owners and riders has been approved by the Mayor of London.

Baroness Gardner of Parkes: I thank the noble Earl and the noble Lords who have contributed to the debate. It has been much wider and more interesting than I had expected. However it is an issue, and I would like to respond on a couple of points.

The noble Lord, Lord Berkeley said that it should apply to the whole of London. I draw attention to the fact that traffic varies tremendously in London. For example, on the subject of disabled parking, the blue badge scheme does not apply in any of the three

10 Oct 2011 : Column 1362

central London boroughs. You have to have a blue badge and a local badge as well to take full advantage of disabled parking. If you have a blue badge, there are blue-badge places you can use, but you cannot use any other parking places. Each of the three central London boroughs said it would make it impossible for them, because they would be flooded by people coming from outside the boroughs. So this is a long-standing arrangement just for central London.

I do not agree with the noble Lord that you need to have licensing for pedicabs out in Havering, for example, which I represented at one time. I do not believe there are any pedicabs running around Havering. I think they are a fun thing in central London. However my concern is not the fun element, which I agree with my noble friend Lord Jenkin, is absolutely wonderful. In Bangkok it was great fun to travel around in them. However it is not a fun element if you are at risk of being injured due to their ignoring road behaviour. That is what worries me.

This is an issue that needs to be tackled. I accept that it might be better tackled somewhere else and in some other way. Perhaps LRT could deal with it selectively, but it has to be done selectively, because many boroughs will have no problem at all. If-as the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley has said-Oxford already has pedicabs then there are other places which need this issue to be addressed now. But again, the areas will need to be limited.

I have listened to the debate and I think it is valuable to have it on record for when this issue comes up again as it surely will in some other capacity. Meanwhile I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 194 withdrawn.

Amendment 195

Moved by Lord Clement-Jones

195: After Clause 30, insert the following new Clause-

"CHAPTER 8Powers in relation to casino premises licence

Variation of licences: abolition of permitted areas

(1) A relevant local authority may consider and, if thought fit, grant an application to vary a converted casino premises licence so that it relates to premises to which it did not previously relate and may do so regardless of whether or not-

(a) the premises to which the application relates are situated in the area of the relevant local authority which issued the licence; and

(b) the area of the relevant local authority in which those premises are situated was a permitted area when the converted casino premises licence was originally issued.

(2) Subsection (1) shall not require a relevant local authority to consider any application to vary a converted casino premises licence if that local authority has passed a resolution under section 166 of the Gambling Act 2005 (resolution not to issue casino licences) and that resolution is in effect at the time the application is made.

(3) In Schedule 4 to the Gambling Act 2005 (Commencement No. 6 and Transitional Provisions) (Amendment) Order 2006 (transitional provisions), for sub-paragraph (13) of paragraph 65 (application of the Gambling Act 2005 to casino premises licences granted on a conversion application) substitute-

"(13) An application to vary a converted casino premises licence so that it relates to premises to which it did not previously relate shall be made-



10 Oct 2011 : Column 1363

(a) in the case of premises wholly or partly situated in the area of the licensing authority which issued the licence, to that licencing authority; or

(b) in the case of premises wholly or partly situated in the area of another licensing authority, to that other licensing authority, and section 213(f) (definition of licensing authority) shall apply to such an application as if the licensing authority considering such an application under paragraph (b) was the authority which issued that licence.

(14) Nothing in paragraph (13)(b) shall require a licensing authority to consider or grant an application to vary a converted casino premises licence so that it relates to premises to which it did not previously relate if-

(a) the premises are wholly or partly situated in the area of a licensing authority which did not issue the licence; and

(b) the licensing authority has resolved under section 166 not to issue casino premises licences and that resolution is in effect at the time the application is made.".

(4) In this section-

"converted casino premises licence" has the same meaning as in the Gambling Act 2005 (Commencement No. 6 and Transitional Provisions) (Amendment) Order 2006;

"permitted area" means the area of a local authority which was a permitted area for the purposes of the Gaming Act 1968;

"relevant local authority" means a local authority in England, Wales or Scotland which is a licensing authority under the Gambling Act 2005."

Lord Clement-Jones: My Lords, I shall speak also to Amendment 249A. This proposed new clause originates from a well researched report by Ernst & Young in July 2010, commissioned by the National Casino Industry Forum. It was designed to show the impact of a number of regulatory reforms, which would improve the economics of the gaming industry, benefit the public, and the public purse.

The current situation is totally illogical and, in the long run, unsustainable. There are currently 53 permitted areas where casinos regulated under the Gaming Act 1968 are allowed. The system of permitted areas was introduced principally to reduce the number of casinos to a manageable number. The areas were chosen on a subjective basis. The 1971 regulations included a formula under which any county borough outside Greater London with a population of 125,000 people became a permitted area.

When county boroughs were abolished in 1974, the formula was altered so as to bring in those former county boroughs which had a population of 125,000 or more at any time between 1 December 1970 and 1 October 1973. The list has remained frozen ever since. That is almost 40 years ago. In that time, demographics and economic conditions in these areas have changed enormously and 187 licences have been issued under the Gaming Act 1968. I should emphasise that this number is finite, which means that no more can be granted, but the number can be reduced. Of the 187 licences currently in force, 149 are trading; the balance have either closed down as commercially not viable or have not been opened, many for the same reason. Compare that to the 8,800 betting shops in existence, which are not similarly constrained.

Currently, a casino can relocate only within the permitted area in which it is located; so it cannot locate to another permitted area or to a town that is not in a permitted area. Hence, if the permitted area is overcrowded and the casino is commercially unviable

10 Oct 2011 : Column 1364

it has no option but to close. Yet some 60 local authorities applied for a 2005 licence and were disappointed. This has led to a number of consequences. There are too many casinos within existing permitted areas; there has been a closing down of casinos with resultant loss of jobs; and the Exchequer is losing money from gaming tax lost as a consequence.

What is the solution? We need to be able to permit a casino to move to anywhere in the UK where the local authority is prepared to have one of the existing casino licences. Local authorities would consider whether they wish to have a licensing policy that states they can have a casino within their area. Many local authorities do, as can be seen from the number who applied to have a 2005 Act casino in their area, but were unsuccessful, as I stated earlier.

A casino operator with a non-operating licence-for example, where it has closed down because there were too many casinos in the current permitted area-could apply to transfer the licence to a local authority that wishes to have a casino. No local authority can be forced to have a casino. Under Section 166 of the Gambling Act 2005, it can resolve on a licensing policy stating that no casino licence will be granted. A local authority which has a no-casino policy currently in place will be excluded, unless it decides to change its licensing policy.

Even if a local authority passes a policy stating that a casino can be located in its area, the public has to be consulted. Before a new casino can open there will still need to be separate planning and premises licence applications where the public and any other interested party will be able to make representations. Only if these two things happen will the casino be able to move to a new location.

What are the consequences? The impact of this amendment, if accepted, will be to create new leisure facilities in a locality, new capital expenditure, new jobs-the NCIF calculates that 2,400 to 3,000 new jobs could be created in consequence-and increased revenue for the Exchequer. The Ernst & Young analysis confirms that up to £12 million in additional gaming duty would be levied if just 20 casinos relocated.

This proposal does not increase problem gambling as there is no increase in the overall permitted number of casino licences. Therefore, this is a genuine win-win solution. By way of explanation, Amendment 249A will extend the benefit of these provisions to Scotland. I beg to move.

Lord Beecham: My Lords, it is almost refreshing to move from the constant headlines about the casino economy, which the world has enjoyed for the past few years, to something as substantive and reasonable as the noble Lord has brought to the House today in terms of the limited number of premises to which this amendment would apply. The key to the argument of the noble Lord is that this should be a matter for local decision within the overall context of that limited number. It seems to be entirely consistent with the approach of localism-it should be a matter for local determination-with the benefits that the noble Lord has referred to being realised in a number of places that wish to see that kind of development augmenting

10 Oct 2011 : Column 1365

their current offer to residents and visitors. I hope that the Government will look sympathetically on the amendment and facilitate its passage.

Lord Shutt of Greetland: My Lords, I thank noble Lords who have spoken on this amendment. I am aware that this amendment would make changes that some elements of the British casino industry have been seeking for some time. I can sympathise with the sentiments behind it, but this is not the right time to discuss the issues that the noble Lord raises. It is not an uncontroversial proposal and it would be wrong to assume that there is unanimous support for it either inside or outside the industry.

Seventeen new licenses were provided for by the Gaming Act 2005 aimed at contributing to economic development and regeneration in carefully selected locations. We do not know what sort of impact this proposal could have on the eight competitions to award the new licenses which are currently under way. All of those have yet to launch their processes. It would not be right to bring forward measures at this stage which could undermine these competitions and adversely affect the benefits that these new casinos could bring to local communities.

Nor should we assume that the casino industry in Britain is united behind this proposal. I understand that the industry is split over the idea. The National Casino Industry Forum supports it, but the Casino Operators Association is thoroughly opposed. That is not to say that the Government reject outright the principle behind the amendment, but there is some way to go before we could consider offering our support and we would need to look at some issues. For example, the amendment as proposed does not require the 40 or 50 currently dormant casino licences to be handed back as a quid pro quo. That might be an important gesture to ensure that any new flexibility did not lead to a substantial increase in the number of casinos.

The relevant Minister, the Minister for Tourism, who is responsible for gambling policy has met with representatives of the industry a number of times and they are fully aware of his views. I am sure that he would be prepared to consider this matter in the future in the terms that I have just outlined. With those reassurances, I hope that the noble Lord is willing to withdraw the amendment.

Lord Clement-Jones: My Lords, I thank the Minister for that reply. If those are reassurances, I wonder what a negative response would be. I thank the noble Lord, Lord Beecham, for his very positive response and I am grateful for his support. This is an anomaly and it should be covered by localism, the very word in the title of the Bill. On the other hand, I understand that the industry is not completely united on this. There is some wisdom in what the Minister has to say about waiting to see the outcome of the second round of the 2005 licences.

I take some comfort from the Minister's comments that this will be kept under review. I have an awful feeling that it is never the right time and that it is easy to say that it is not the right time now. The NCIF, myself and others will be entering the lists again just as soon as the 2005 round is over and the impact of

10 Oct 2011 : Column 1366

those new casinos is known because I think the good sense of this proposal is self-evident. In the mean time, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 195 withdrawn.

Amendment 195ZA

Moved by Lord Marlesford

195ZA: After Clause 30, insert the following new Clause-

"Litter deposited from motor vehicles

(1) Local authorities may make byelaws about litter deposited from motor vehicles.

(2) Such byelaws may include provisions about-

(a) the application of section 87 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (offence of leaving litter) to litter deposited from motor vehicles;

(b) the procedures for identifying the person in charge of a motor vehicle; and

(c) the information which the registered keeper of a vehicle may be required to provide the local authority."

Lord Marlesford: My Lords, I seek to include a provision to support local authorities in reducing the level of litter from vehicles. The Minister will know that an amendment was tabled in the other place, new Clause 23, on Report. I also tabled an amendment to raise the issue in Committee, but I withdrew it on the understanding that it could be revisited on Report.

A minor change to the law in this area is supported by the Campaign to Protect Rural England and its president, Bill Bryson, the Keep Britain Tidy group and the Local Government Group. More than 100 councils have requested that change so that they can take action against those who litter from vehicles. I should perhaps declare an interest, having previously been for five years the chairman of CPRE and currently being the president of the Suffolk Preservation Society.

I am sorry-indeed, ashamed-to say that Britain is a very dirty nation. It is one of the dirtiest nations on a world scale but would be pretty close to the top of dirty nations on a European scale, which is very shaming. Litter is something on which we can take action. Many years ago, when I was young in the 1960s, I sat for a while at the feet of Ernest Marples. Ernest Marples was one of the most remarkable Ministers I was ever able to observe. He had a maxim in politics: "It is not what you say that matters; it is what you do". I want to say something about what we can do about litter on roads.

I have followed the issue for a while. There are two basic reasons why there is so much litter on roads. The first, of course, is that it is thrown on to the roads; but secondly, a real problem, is that contractors or subcontractors whom the local authorities designate to clean up roads fail to do their job. I have frequently followed that up, because when I go along a really dirty road, I am inclined to put down a Question for Written Answer to ask the Government when they intend to have it cleared up. Almost always, I get the Answer that it will be cleared up shortly; and almost always it is, but I do not think that that is necessarily the best way to go about it.



10 Oct 2011 : Column 1367

We are in no doubt that littering from cars is a serious problem. It is estimated that seven out of 10 pieces of litter which blight in the countryside are dropped from cars. In 2009, the AA found in an online poll of more than 8,000 drivers that 75 per cent of them thought that littering was a serious problem and that 94 per cent of them thought that it damaged their community.

It is clear that Ministers in Defra share our concerns. In December, my noble friend Lord Henley-who has now, of course, moved to greater and even more important things-reported at the first National Litter Convention that the Secretary of State, my right honourable friend Caroline Spelman, had asked him to look at the roadside litter issue. At the launch of the Waste Review in June, I understand that my right honourable friend referred to littering from cars as a perennial bugbear and suggested that there might be a need for a roadside litter summit. Given that the issue is clearly being taken seriously by the Government, I suggest that the Bill is the ideal place to do something, rather than just to talk.

Existing law already allows for people who throw litter from cars to be fined. The problem is that, in practice, councils have found it very difficult to use the power, as it is often impossible to prove who within the car was responsible for throwing the litter. The change in the law that I advocate would correct that problem very simply and allow councils to issue fines to the registered owner of the vehicle, who would be responsible for paying the fine concerned unless another person was nominated by the driver to pay it. That is a standard feature which currently applies to speeding fines, seatbelt offences and fly-tipping. The change is not about more regulation, it is about better and more effective regulation. It is something that we know that local councils are asking for.

More than 1,000 CPRE supporters have written to their MPs to request that the amendment be made. I gather that the Labour Party made a pre-election pledge to make this legislative change, so there is clearly widespread support for making existing powers to tackle roadside littering more effective.

The amendment tabled in another place proposed that the Bill should be amended in the way that I outlined. Amendment 195ZA is very similar, but it would give local councils the power to make by-laws to address the problem. I am not saying that Amendment 195ZA is entirely practical as it stands, but I look forward to the Minister's response because, in the other place, the Minister did not provide the honourable Member for Gateshead, Ian Mearns, with a substantive reply. I hope that the Minister will commit to introducing a government amendment to tackle this problem at Third Reading. We are all on the same side in this, but it is a matter of actually doing something. I beg to move.

5.45 pm

Lord Reay: My Lords, I have put my name to my noble friend's amendment. Litter thrown from motor cars is a scourge of the countryside. It is a regular practice for people to discard litter from moving vehicles-in particular, drink containers and food wrappings. I am sure that to try to reduce the incidence of that habit is a

10 Oct 2011 : Column 1368

goal worth pursuing. It is surely one test of how well a country is governed how tidy it is. I remember, when I visited Libya in the last years of Gaddafi's regime, how staggered and disgusted I was to see the quantity of litter to be found on the road between the airport and the centre of Tripoli. It was knee-deep in plastic. Of course, that was under a dictatorship, where regulating such things should be easier.

I also understand that the present situation here, where responsibility must be pinned on the person who has thrown the litter, is unsatisfactory. It is difficult enough to trace a car from which litter has been thrown. To then require the prosecuting authority to identify the culprits in the car is surely asking too much. It seems to me quite reasonable to hold the registered keeper of the vehicle responsible. As my noble friend explained, that is the idea behind the amendment. Whether such a change in the law would be successful in reducing the amount of litter thrown, we would have to see. I can certainly imagine that it would have a deterrent effect, with vehicle keepers not wanting to be exposed to legal penalties as a result of the actions of other people, whether members of their family or not, and therefore to some extent themselves acting as policemen.

Unfortunately, the amendment, for a reason which I do not entirely understand, does not propose creating a new national offence. As I understand it, the Bill was thought to be an unsuitable vehicle, although the amendment in another place proposed exactly that. This amendment would simply enable local authorities to adopt by-laws along the lines my noble friend described. As he said, there are grounds for believing that many local authorities might be interested in doing that. On that basis, I recommend the amendment to the House. I very much hope that the Minister will indicate that the Government now intend to do something about this problem.

Lord Jenkin of Roding: My Lords, I have huge sympathy with my noble friend's amendment. Before he left the Chamber, my noble friend Lord Newton, who is taking part in the Welfare Reform Bill Committee, said that he was sorry not to be able to add his voice because he feels very strongly about this.

For nearly 30 years I lived in rural Essex within reach of my former constituency, and one of the disadvantages of the road we lived in was that it was perennially the subject of littering. There was a corner at the bottom of the hill with a bit of spare ground on the left-hand side and my children very quickly christened it "Mattress Corner". It had become a place where people could dump their unwanted mattresses, which then had to be cleared up by the local authority. It was not only that. We lived a mile and a half outside the village where there was a fish and chip shop. We discovered that we were almost exactly the distance away that it took people to eat a bag of chips. I found myself as the riparian householder having to go out at fairly regular intervals with a plastic sack and one of those nice machines with which you can pick up things and pop them in the sack, simply to clear up the litter on both sides of the road that had been deposited by passing vehicles. Even if you saw a car with litter being thrown out of the window as it went past, there was

10 Oct 2011 : Column 1369

nothing you could do. You did not know who the driver was or who had thrown it out. There was no point in taking down the number because nobody would do anything about it. You had to prove who it was. So I have every sympathy with this.

My noble friend Lord Marlesford said that it is not enough just to talk; you have to do. I have previously declared an interest as the joint president of London Councils and I am happy to say that London Councils is engaged at the moment in tackling this problem in London. It does this on behalf of the London boroughs and I think it is now ahead of the game. The London Local Authorities Act 2007 contains a provision to decriminalise the dumping of litter from cars and to impose a liability for penalty charges on the keeper of the vehicle. That is slightly different from the proposal put forward in my noble friend's amendment but it is clear that we all have the same objectives in mind. A London Local Authorities Bill is currently awaiting its final stages in the other place. It will make a small drafting correction to that provision which will allow it to come into force.

Other steps are necessary. Discussions have taken place and progress is being made with the Ministry of Justice in relation to the making of regulations which will enable London borough councils to enforce their penalty charges under the civil regime in the courts. Officials are also co-operating on the necessary alterations to the Civil Procedure Rules and London borough councils understand that these changes and regulations will be made very shortly. I hope my noble friend on the Front Bench will be able to confirm that the provisions will be implemented very soon and the system can start to work in London. That is doing and not just talking. I believe London will show that this solution is perfectly feasible and can be addressed by local authorities. Other authorities may wish to copy what London Councils is doing and it will not be the first time that has happened. I support my noble friend's amendment.

Lord Beecham: My Lords, I am very taken with the image of the noble Lord, Lord Jenkin, patrolling the highways and byways of rural Essex as a sort of unpaid litter warden. It is a charming thought and I am sure he did a very good job, but he should not have to. That is the message of the amendment tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Marlesford, and I congratulate him on bringing this matter to the attention of the House and hope that the Government will be able to respond. As the noble Lord said, the matter was debated in another place on an amendment moved by the Member for Gateshead, Ian Mearns, with whom I was discussing this on the train from Newcastle this morning. He received what seemed to be a sympathetic response from the Minister, Andrew Stunell, who said:

"We will certainly look carefully at the matters that have been raised".-[Official Report, Commons, 18/5/11; col. 441.]

Time has passed so I hope that the consideration has taken place. I think it is preferable to have this in national legislation rather than leave it to by-laws. There seems to be no reason why this amendment should not be proceeded with on this Bill or at least a clear indication given that it will have some priority in

10 Oct 2011 : Column 1370

other legislation. But this is really too good an opportunity to miss and I hope that the Minister in replying, even if he cannot say today that the amendment will be accepted, will indicate that by Third Reading there will be a clear position and the Government will feel able to adopt it.

Of course, as the noble Lord pointed out, this is essentially a matter of enforcement. There is little point in having regulations without the capacity to enforce them. But, as the Essex police have found out in another context, enforcing measures concerning the driving of vehicles is not necessarily straightforward. This would certainly obviate the kind of difficulties that have arisen in another case and one would hope that the Government would see the logic of that and accept the thrust of the noble Lord's amendment, and see to it one way or another that the objective which most of your Lordships share is carried into being.

Lord Shutt of Greetland: My Lords, I thank noble Lords who have taken part in this debate and pay tribute to the noble Lord, Lord Marlesford, and his tenacity in pursuing this issue. It is always said that this is a House of experts. I had not appreciated the expertise that we had between us about the distance from the fish and chip shop to the home. I am also an expert on this. The home where I was brought up and lived until I was 23 was the exact same distance from the fish and chip shop. It was our garden that caught the recycled newspapers which in those days were used for wrapping up fish and chips, and we had to keep shifting them, so I understand the concern that people have about litter.

This amendment would give local authorities an explicit power to make by-laws about littering from cars. Throwing litter from vehicles on to public land is a littering offence under Section 87 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Indeed, some local authorities successfully tackle litter louts, issuing them with fixed penalty notices. I fully acknowledge that taking enforcement action against those who litter from vehicles can often represent a practical problem. However, extending the scope of the littering offence, as was also suggested by the Local Government Group in its amendment rejected in Committee in the Commons, raises issues of fairness and proportionality. A registered keeper may be open to prosecution even though they did not commit the offence and were not present to prevent it. It may not always be a ready solution for the registered keeper to avoid prosecution by identifying who was the actual offender.

However, as has been mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Jenkin of Roding, powers will shortly become available to London boroughs following enactment of the latest London Local Authorities Bill, currently before Parliament, which will allow them to issue a civil penalty to registered keepers where enforcement officers witness littering from a vehicle. It makes sense to learn the lessons from the application of that approach in London before moving to wider legislation-and legislation is not the only approach. Changing littering behaviour is key. That is why the Government are supporting Keep Britain Tidy in developing the Love Where You Live campaign. That work with businesses, local authorities and civil society partners will make

10 Oct 2011 : Column 1371

an important contribution to changing behaviour on littering in all its forms. The Defra Secretary of State is calling together later this year representatives of vehicle hirers, motoring associations, manufacturers, service stations, et cetera, with a view to agreeing a voluntary commitment to tackle littering from vehicles.

It is one of the guiding principles of making a by-law that no by-law should reproduce national legislation, which is what this amendment would achieve. That being the case, and although I certainly support the intention behind the amendment, which is that the anti-social practice of littering should be a criminal offence, I cannot support it and trust that the noble Lord will feel able to withdraw it.

6 pm

Lord Marlesford: My Lords, I am afraid that that was a real example of talk rather than action. Frankly, it was a very disappointing answer. My noble friend said that we should wait and see how the new penalty worked in London. He spoke of changing behaviour and said that the offence might be disproportionate or unfair. It is a thoroughly unsatisfactory answer. I did not get the feeling that my noble friend was indicating that any action on the Bill would be taken at Third Reading. I will of course withdraw the amendment today, but we may well have to press it at Third Reading. The Minister's answer really was disappointing. If this Government cannot steel themselves to do something about litter, what can they achieve?

Amendment 195ZA withdrawn.

Clause 31 : Power to require local or public authorities to make payments in respect of certain EU financial sanctions

Amendment 195ZAA

Moved by Earl Attlee

195ZAA: Clause 31, page 29, line 22, leave out subsections (1) to (5) and insert-

"(1) A Minister of the Crown may, in accordance with the provisions of this Part, require public authorities to make payments of amounts determined by a Minister of the Crown in respect of an EU financial sanction to which this Part applies.

(2) A requirement to make a payment under this Part-

(a) may only be imposed on a public authority if-

(i) the authority has been designated under section (Designation of public authorities); and

(ii) the EU financial sanction concerned is one to which the designation applies; and

(b) must be imposed by a notice given to the authority under section 33 (referred to in this Part as a final notice)."

Earl Attlee: My Lords, I shall speak to a necessarily long list of amendments, starting with Amendment 195ZAA. The amendments deal with EU fines. I thank noble Lords for the constructive suggestions made during and since Committee. As a direct result, I am able to move some substantial amendments and therefore intend to take a little time explaining them.



10 Oct 2011 : Column 1372

To start, it would be helpful to reaffirm the basic principles here: this is about encouraging authorities not to incur fines for the UK in the first place. In the unprecedented circumstance that the UK is fined in relation to an infraction, it is about achieving compliance quickly, using a process which is fair, proportionate, reasonable and holds no surprises. We do not want to pay escalating fines to Europe. We have never incurred fines regarding an infraction and do not see these provisions as a prelude to being more relaxed about infraction proceedings or fines.

All this is reflected in the policy statement of the Local Government Group, which has been placed in the House Library and updates the one previously put forward by the Greater London Authority. I strongly welcome the statement, which is very helpful. I thank both the Local Government Group and the Greater London Authority for working with us so closely on this, and for their help and support. This paper will form the basis of a government policy statement on which we will consult more fully in due course.

The noble Lords, Lord Tope and Lord McKenzie of Luton, each provided convincing proposals on designation in Committee. I have combined these and taken them further so that the Minister would need to designate each authority by order, using the affirmative procedure and specifying the infraction case and related activities of the authority, before the Localism Bill's provisions could be used. The activities described must take place after the order comes into force and will relate to the authority's functions and obligations.

This means that authorities can be designated only for something which is their responsibility. Only actions or failures to act following designation would be taken into account when deciding whether to pass on a fine, and only in relation to the specific infraction case. The designation order would cease to have effect when the infraction case was closed. This responds to concerns on retrospectivity raised previously and highlighted in Committee by my noble friend Lord Newton of Braintree. It puts in place a mechanism which will give authorities an early opportunity to put things right, to solve the problem, before any fine. It also means that this House and the other place will have the ability to test the rationale for the proposed designation in debate. If this does not provide sufficient incentive, and in the unprecedented circumstance that the UK is fined for failing to comply with EU law, we will establish an independent advisory panel before seeking to recover any fines.

I am grateful to my noble friend Lady Gardner of Parkes and the noble Lord, Lord Best, for suggesting how an independent advisory panel could provide sufficient checks and balances to ensure that the Minister could not act, at the same time, as prosecutor, judge, jury and co-defendant on these matters. As I made clear in Committee, we remain committed to the principles of transparency, fairness, reasonableness and proportionality. This amendment will enhance all these qualities.

Such a panel would be formed at the point of need, with relevant legal, topical and sectoral expertise for the specific case. The Minister would consult the panel on the procedure and timetable. The panel would

10 Oct 2011 : Column 1373

receive representations directly from the Minister and from the authorities involved. It would carry out fact-finding and make published recommendations to the Minister, including on the fair apportionment of culpability.

I remain strongly of the opinion that decision-making should remain with the Minister as an elected member of the Government with responsibility to make such decisions on resources. Any Minister acting against recommendations would need strong reasons for doing so should there be a subsequent judicial review.

The amendments on the process reflect the new role of an independent panel and will enable the authority better to plan its finances by covering all possible payments up front: lump-sum, accrued and ongoing periodic fines. This transparency could be a big help, allowing the authority to weigh the costs of fines against the costs of speedy compliance.

Any ongoing liability to pay towards a fine from the EU would end at the point where the authority demonstrated that it had taken all reasonable steps to comply. There is also provision for liability to be reduced-but not increased-if there is a change of circumstances.

We are extending the provisions to cover reserved matters in devolved areas. I am grateful to the noble Lords, Lord Wigley and Lord Empey, who spoke on this, with others, in Committee. I can confirm to the House that the extension of the provisions to cover reserved matters, without prejudicing the performance of any devolved functions, has the full agreement of all the devolved Administrations. On the request of the Welsh Government, we are also providing a mirror power for Welsh Ministers to pass on EU fines to responsible public authorities exercising devolved functions in Wales. This replicates the UK provisions in their entirety, including designation by order.

The rest of my amendments make changes to ensure that the clauses as a whole work together.

Finally, I should like to respond to the amendment proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley-in advance of him moving it-which would ensure that the Government could not designate any rail or inland waterway provider. I agree that we should not penalise companies for their private services and functions, but where a company is performing a public function, and only for that public function, it needs to be encouraged to comply with EU law in order to avoid significant fines being picked up by the British taxpayer. Where a private company has responsibility under statute to carry out public functions, the default position would be to use any existing regulatory framework to resolve the issue. A Minister would seek to designate a private company only if it was carrying out a public function, if it had caused or contributed to an active infraction case, and if any regulatory body had not been able effectively to incentivise compliance. This would of course be tested by this House and the other place should a Minister seek to designate in such circumstances.

I hope that this demonstrates that I have taken on board the points raised in Committee, and that these provisions are stronger and better as a result. With these amendments there is a very clear emphasis on

10 Oct 2011 : Column 1374

incentivising avoidance of fines. We are radically devolving power, but that needs to go hand in hand with responsibility. Therefore, I strongly believe that these provisions will help to protect UK taxpayers. I beg to move the government amendment, and hope that the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, will be willing to withdraw his amendments at the appropriate point after he has spoken to them.

Lord Tope: My Lords, as I think I was the first to complain about the original provisions of the Bill when we considered it in Committee, it is only right that I should now be the first to rise to congratulate the Minister on what he has achieved since we were in Committee. I said at that time, with great regret, that the first that local government knew of the Government's intentions on EU fines was when they read it in the Bill, which was most unsatisfactory. That is not the responsibility of the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, at all. His responsibility is the leadership that he has shown since that time in retrieving this situation. None of us would have wished to start from there, but that is where we found ourselves. The noble Earl has worked tirelessly since that time to achieve a compromise that is fully and wholly accepted by the Local Government Group, the Greater London Authority and, as far as I am aware, all others involved in this. It is still their position that it would be better if this were not in the Bill at all, but that is not too surprising-most people would rather not have provisions to fine them in legislation. Given that it is the Government's intention, for the reasons given, that this will be in the Bill when it is enacted, then-thanks to the noble Earl and, as I think he would be the first to acknowledge, thanks to his officials-we have achieved a satisfactory outcome.

The only point that I would like to add is to welcome-as I also said in Committee-the statement of policy. It is a very good intention that the Government will discuss with local government those areas of concern in upcoming proposed EU legislation that has a significant effect upon local government. That is a very welcome good intention but I want to be sure that it happens. I have no doubt whatever that, as far as the noble Earl's department is concerned, that has always been the case. I have been for many years a member of the Local Government Association's European and international board and its predecessor's bodies, right back to the days of the Local Government International Bureau. For some time in the early days of the new Labour Government we had regular meetings not only with CLG but also with the FCO and the Europe Minister to discuss issues of concern. They fell into abeyance some years ago and do not happen any longer. My plea to the noble Earl, and through him to the Government, is to ensure that this very welcome statement of policy does not just remain a statement of good intent but is actually put into practice. I am sure that this sort of meaningful dialogue between representatives of local government and representatives of central Government-not just CLG but also the FCO and other departments dealing with these issues, as appropriate-can only be to mutual benefit and will, we all hope, ensure that the provisions that we will shortly pass will never need to be used.



10 Oct 2011 : Column 1375

6.15 pm

Lord Jenkin of Roding: My Lords, I raised this issue at Second Reading, as did a number of other noble Lords. I would like to join my noble friend Lord Tope in expressing gratitude to my noble friend Lord Attlee for the immense amount of work that he and his officials have done to produce this substantial body of amendments, which to my mind now make this provision acceptable. I particularly welcome his efforts to produce what probably would be called a "Keeling schedule", showing what these clauses will look like in toto if the amendments are passed. It is rather difficult otherwise to fit them into the Bill. However, that was an immensely helpful document which I hope my noble friend's other colleagues on the Front Bench might be persuaded to imitate from time to time. For those of us who have to grapple with these things ourselves, it can be much more helpful to know what the whole thing is going to look like, rather than just looking at a whole series of amendments. This is a very helpful precedent which I hope will be followed in the future.

I have only one question to my noble friend. It is a point that I have made on previous occasions, and it concerns retrospective operation. My noble friend has assured me that nothing in these amendments will make the powers retrospective so that a penalty may be imposed on a local authority for something that has already happened. I would be most grateful if he could give us an assurance on this when he winds up the debate.

I understand that this cannot apply to fines that have already been imposed on the Government, but you could have a directive which imposed obligations on a local authority where that local authority was previously in breach and subsequently a fine was imposed on central Government. I would welcome an assurance that under no circumstances could that fine refer to anything that has happened before the date of the process introduced by these amendments. Nothing could be done before these amendments have taken effect-they must not be retrospective or retroactive. I take encouragement from my noble friend saying that one of his principles is that there will be no surprises. That, to my mind, is immensely valuable. If he could say that that rules out any retroactive effect of these amendments, that would be very helpful indeed.

I thank my noble friend for his enormous efforts. He explained to me that he had to get the assent of every other government department in Whitehall. He is a magician to have achieved that. One understands the difficulties that he has faced and I thank him very much.

Lord Berkeley: My Lords, I join the noble Lords, Lord Tope and Lord Jenkin, in congratulating the Minister. I raised one or two issues in relation to this matter in Committee and I think that the noble Earl has done a fantastic job in a short space of time to come up with a process that few can fault, if one is going to have fines at all, and they do arise. I warmly congratulate him and join others in hoping that this happens more often with other legislation that comes before your Lordships' House.

Before I speak to my own amendments, I would like to follow up on a point that the noble Lord, Lord

10 Oct 2011 : Column 1376

Jenkin, made about the retrospective nature. There will be a time when these clauses come into effect, but there is also a time when the European process moves forward from infraction proceedings and reasoned opinions to the court summons and finally the court decision. That can take several years. The UK Government have a good record in complying with EU regulations. I am involved in railway issues, and in the first railway package there are 13 member states with infraction proceedings against them. We are not one of them, except for a new one relating to the Channel Tunnel. On the whole, we have quite a good record, but quite often the cause of the eventual fine could be something that was created several years beforehand. The local authority may not have been able to do something, or something may have gone wrong and it is grinding on with the Government refusing to give way, and three or four years later it gets to the European Court. I hope that the Minister will look at the retrospective nature of this not only from the UK side but also from the European side as to where the so-called potential offence has been committed and when.

My amendment was of course a probing one. I am very grateful to the Minister for his answer, which he gave before I had the chance to speak to it. That enables me to ask another question to clarify things. The Minister said that the provision would apply to a private company carrying out or performing "public functions". I assume that "public functions" in this respect means operating rail or inland waterway infrastructure, although that could be carried out by a private company. I am not convinced that the Rail Regulator has powers to enforce fines on Network Rail-I do not think that there is a regulator for inland waterways yet-when something contravenes European regulations. I am sure that there will be an answer to this but perhaps when he responds the Minister could agree to look at this matter further so that there is some clarity within Network Rail and eventually the British Waterways charity about the circumstances under which they might be liable for a fine. I conclude by congratulating Minister very strongly on a really good piece of legislation.

Baroness Gardner of Parkes: I am delighted by the policy statement but I have one question that I hope the Minister will be able to answer. In relation to panel membership, I notice that the statement of policy specifies:

"The relevant representative body will put forward nominations in respect of its members",

of persons with sectoral experience, to the Minister. What opportunities will there be for bodies such as the Greater London Authority which are not part of a representative organisation to make nominations to the Minister in respect of panel membership? I would be grateful if he could answer that question, which probably relates to Amendment 195ZAJ but I find it so difficult when I look at all those amendments to know exactly which one it relates to.

Lord Beecham: I join other noble Lords in warmly congratulating the noble Earl on the manner in which this matter has now been put back on track. The noble Lord, Lord Tope, said that most of us would not have

10 Oct 2011 : Column 1377

wished to have started from here, but where we are ending owes very much to the thoroughness, attention to detail and decisiveness of the noble Earl-qualities in which he emulates his distinguished grandfather. It is some 49 years since I had the pleasure of meeting the noble Earl's grandfather and he made a significant impression on me, young as I was at that time. The noble Earl is doing so again today, not merely on me but on all Members of your Lordships' House.

Lord Jenkin of Roding: My noble friend's grandfather lived in my constituency.

Lord Beecham: He was none the worse for that. I do not think that his wife, who used to drive him around, would have been guilty of depositing fish and chip papers anywhere near the noble Lord's house.

The position that we have reached is one that the Local Government Association has worked very hard with the Minister and colleagues from all sides of the House to achieve. In particular, the outcomes around the designation and the opportunity to correct a situation that perhaps led to a fine-the provision of an effective appeals system-have all been significant. I am encouraged that the statement of policy that has been produced by the Local Government Group is one that I understand the Government are minded to adopt. Perhaps when he replies the noble Earl will indicate how far their consideration of the document has gone and whether there are likely to be any issues of significance that might not accord with the proposals that have been made. I understand that effectively an agreed position has been reached around four main areas: working in partnership; that there should be no surprises; that there should be a fair and proportionate process; and that consideration should be given to the ability to pay.

One of the crucial issues first voiced in the debate to the Committee by the LGA was the lack of an opportunity for local government to be involved in the legislation from which proceedings ultimately might flow in terms of infringement of European law. It is welcome that the Government have now indicated that local government will be identified specifically as a key sector for consultation when the Government enter into negotiations on EU legislation that could ultimately lead to fines coming down to local authorities. That is an extremely important extension of the consultative role that should ensure that the legislation is right in the first place, which would be a distinct improvement on the position hitherto.

The Minister has made it clear that there will be no surprises in future. No local authority will be taken by surprise because of the designation process, which is a reasonable one in which Parliament will be involved. Equally, the process will be broadly based in terms of those involved in deciding a number of matters-for example, whether the UK Government themselves have contributed to the infraction. I take it that that will also apply to any infraction that might have been contributed to by the devolved Administrations where their activities impinged on European legislation. I assume that that is taken care of in the arrangements that the Government have come to with the devolved Administrations.



10 Oct 2011 : Column 1378

My final point is crucially important. The panel will determine these matters and the Minister will consider the authority's ability to pay a fine and provide for possible alternatives in the event that the ability to pay is not present. It is conceivable that a small district council might find it impossible to pay a significant fine in respect of some infraction of environmental legislation within its competence. It is extremely welcome that the Government have acknowledged that that is a risk and that they will not be seeking to extort from such an authority a contribution to a financial penalty that would seriously impede the activities of that local authority.

Thanks very largely to the Minister, we have reached a satisfactory position on this. It has been a good example of the way in which local government and the Government can work together and in which Ministers can listen to proceedings in your Lordships' House, take back concerns and proposals and work with them. I hope that the noble Earl will feel able, metaphorically at least, to bite one or two of his ministerial colleagues in the hope that this becomes a habit across government and not confined to the noble Earl.

Earl Attlee: My Lords, I thank my noble friend Lord Tope and other noble Lords for their kind comments. First, I plead not guilty for all the work: it was my officials what done it.

My noble friend Lord Tope talked about consultation on the EU legislation and the fact that we are committed to consulting with local authorities. I am confident that the LGG will hold our feet to the fire on this issue.

My noble friend Lord Jenkin mentioned Keeling schedules. They are useful in certain circumstances but the decision to use them is decided on a case-by-case basis.

My noble friend also asked me to give an assurance that under no circumstances could fines refer to activities, errors and omissions made before the Bill passes. I am very happy to give an absolute assurance that under no circumstances can the provisions be used retrospectively. Subsection (5)(b) of the clause proposed by Amendment 195ZAH means that only actions or inactions after designation can be taken into account. This is extremely important because it allows all those affected to concentrate on solving the problem rather than listening to the lawyers and doing nothing other than arguing. It is a very important point.

6.30 pm

Similarly on retrospectivity, the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, talked about something that could have gone wrong several years before. The point about designation covers that point. Previous actions and inactions do not count; only actions after the point of designation count. Therefore, it does not matter if effectively the EU legislation was retrospective in some way because it is only after designation that an authority is in difficulties.

My noble friend Lady Gardner of Parkes asked whether authorities that do not have a representative body can make nominations for the independent panel. I anticipated this question and have given it careful

10 Oct 2011 : Column 1379

consideration. It is inconceivable that the Minister would not speak with affected parties when setting up an independent panel. We will need the panel to be visibly independent and robust. A Minister would have no desire to face a legal challenge about fixing the composition of the panel in his favour.

The noble Lord, Lord Beecham, asked about the statement of policy of the Local Government Group. Most of the heavy lifting has already been done in order to secure agreement to move forwards. The Local Government Group, the Greater London Authority and devolved Administrations will all be invited to input as we adopt the Local Government Group statement into one that applies more broadly across the country and to a wider range of public authorities. I am hopeful that there will not be significant rewrites and we will reaffirm all its key principles: no surprises; proportionality and reasonableness; and working together.

Lord Beecham: And ability to pay?

Earl Attlee: And ability to pay-a very important point. The fines can only be set at a level that will not effectively bankrupt the authority. That is one of the principles in the legislation.

Amendment 195ZAA agreed.

Amendments 195ZAB to 195ZAD

Moved by Earl Attlee

195ZAB: Clause 31, page 30, line 5, leave out "an EU financial sanction" and insert "a final"

195ZAC: Clause 31, page 30, line 8, leave out "local or"

195ZAD: Clause 31, page 30, line 9, at end insert-

"(8) In this Part-

(a) "EU financial sanction" means a sanction consisting of a lump sum or penalty payment (or both) imposed by the Court of Justice in Article 260(2) proceedings for an infraction of EU law;

(b) "infraction of EU law", in relation to an EU financial sanction, means the failure to comply with a judgment of the Court of Justice given in proceedings under Article 258 or 259 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union; and

(c) "Article 260(2) proceedings" means proceedings under Article 260(2) of that Treaty."

Amendments 195ZAB to 195ZAD agreed.

Amendments 195ZAE to 195ZAG

195ZAE: After Clause 31, insert the following new Clause-

"Duty of the Secretary of State to issue a policy statement

(1) The Secretary of State must publish a statement of policy with respect to-

(a) the designation of public authorities under section (Designation of public authorities);

(b) the imposition and variation of requirements to make payments under this Part; and

(c) such other matters relating to the operation of the provisions of this Part as the Secretary of State may think appropriate to include in the statement.



10 Oct 2011 : Column 1380

(2) The Secretary of State may from time to time revise and republish the statement of policy required by this section.

(3) A revised statement of policy may include saving or transitional provisions relating to the continued application for any purpose of any provisions of an earlier published version of the statement.

(4) The Secretary of State must consult such persons as the Secretary of State considers appropriate before publishing, or revising and republishing, the statement of policy required by this section.

(5) In exercising functions under this Part in relation to an EU financial sanction which has been or may be imposed on the United Kingdom-

(a) a Minister of the Crown, and

(b) a panel established under section (Establishment of independent panel),

must have regard to the statement of policy most recently published under this section."

195ZAF: After Clause 31, insert the following new Clause-

"The EU financial sanctions to which Part 2 applies

(1) This Part applies to any EU financial sanction imposed on the United Kingdom after the commencement of this Part, subject to subsection (2).

(2) If a Minister of the Crown gives a certificate-

(a) specifying a part of an EU financial sanction, and

(b) stating that this Part is not to apply to that part of the sanction,

this Part applies to that EU financial sanction as if it did not include that part.

(3) A certificate under subsection (2)-

(a) may make specific provision about the application of this Part to any of the following-

(i) the lump sum (if any) paid by the United Kingdom;

(ii) any periodic payment due from the United Kingdom under the terms of the EU financial sanction before the certificate is given; and

(iii) any subsequent periodic payment that may fall due from the United Kingdom under those terms; and

(b) must be given in such form and published in such manner as the Minister of the Crown giving it thinks fit.

(4) Any provision under subsection (3)(a)(iii) that is made in a certificate under subsection (2) may be varied (including in relation to its effect in relation to any periodic payment that has become due from the United Kingdom since the earlier certificate) by a further certificate under subsection (2)."

195ZAG: After Clause 31, insert the following new Clause-

"Meaning of "public authority" and related terms

(1) This section defines various terms used in this Part.

(2) "Public authority" means-

(a) a local authority to which subsection (3) applies; or

(b) any other person or body which has any non-devolved functions.

(3) This subsection applies to-

(a) any of the following in England-

(i) a county council, district council or London borough council;

(ii) the Common Council of the City of London (in its capacity as a local authority);

(iii) the Greater London Authority; and

(iv) the Council of the Isles of Scilly;

(b) a council constituted under section 2 of the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994;

(c) a district council within the meaning of the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 1972;

(d) a council of a county or county borough in Wales.



10 Oct 2011 : Column 1381

(4) References to functions are to functions of a public nature.

(5) References to non-devolved functions are to functions which are not devolved functions.

(6) References to devolved functions are to-

(a) Scottish devolved functions, that is to say functions the exercise of which would be within devolved competence (within the meaning of section 54 of the Scotland Act 1998);

(b) Northern Ireland devolved functions, that is to say functions which could be conferred by provision included in an Act of the Northern Ireland Assembly made without the consent of the Secretary of State (see sections 6 to 8 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998); or

(c) Welsh devolved functions, that is to say functions which are exercisable in relation to Wales and could be conferred by provision falling within the legislative competence of the National Assembly for Wales as defined in section 108 of the Government of Wales Act 2006.

(7) References to a public authority with mixed functions are to a public authority which has both non-devolved and devolved functions.

(8) The "appropriate national authority", in relation to a public authority with mixed functions, means the following national authority or authorities (according to whichever one or more of the following paragraphs apply to that public authority)-

(a) the Scottish Ministers, if the public authority has any Scottish devolved functions;

(b) the relevant Northern Ireland department, if the public authority has any Northern Ireland devolved functions; and

(c) the Welsh Ministers, if the public authority has any Welsh devolved functions."

Amendments 195ZAE to 195ZAG agreed.

Amendment 195ZAH

Moved by Earl Attlee

195ZAH: After Clause 31, insert the following new Clause-

"Designation of public authorities

(1) A Minister of the Crown may by order designate a public authority for the purposes of this Part.

(2) The order must-

(a) specify the public authority by name;

(b) identify any EU financial sanction to which the designation applies; and

(c) describe the activities of the authority which are covered by the designation.

(3) The order may identify an EU financial sanction for the purposes of subsection (2)(b) by-

(a) specifying an EU financial sanction that has been imposed on the United Kingdom;

(b) specifying any Article 260(2) proceedings that have been commenced and providing that the designation is to apply to any EU financial sanction that may be imposed on the United Kingdom in those proceedings;

(c) specifying a judgment of the Court of Justice finding that the United Kingdom has failed to comply with an EU obligation and providing that the designation is to apply to any EU financial sanction that may be imposed on the United Kingdom for failing to comply with that judgment; or

(d) specifying or describing any proceedings under Article 258 or 259 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union that have been or may be commenced and providing that the designation is to apply to any EU financial sanction that may be imposed on the United Kingdom for failing to comply with a judgment of the Court of Justice given in those proceedings.



10 Oct 2011 : Column 1382

(4) The order may, for the purposes of subsection (3)(d), describe any proceedings under Article 258 or 259 that may be commenced by reference to the subject-matter of-

(a) a Reasoned Opinion addressed to the United Kingdom under Article 258 or 259 (as the case may be); or

(b) any other document sent to the Government of the United Kingdom by the Commission of the European Union or by another member State which gives notice to the Government of the possibility of proceedings being commenced against the United Kingdom.

(5) The activities described for the purposes of subsection (2)(c) must be activities of the public authority which-

(a) are carried out in the exercise of non-devolved functions of the public authority; and

(b) take place after the provisions of the order describing the activities come into force.

(6) The following may not be designated under this section-

(a) the House of Commons, the House of Lords, the Scottish Parliament, the Northern Ireland Assembly or the National Assembly for Wales;

(b) a Minister of the Crown or a United Kingdom government department;

(c) a member of the Scottish Executive;

(d) the First Minister or the deputy First Minister for Northern Ireland, a Northern Ireland Minister or a Northern Ireland Department;

(e) a member of the Welsh Assembly Government;

(f) a court or tribunal.

(7) Before making an order designating a public authority a Minister of the Crown must consult-

(a) the public authority concerned; and

(b) if it is a public authority with mixed functions, the appropriate national authority.

(8) In sections 32 to 33 references to "acts", in relation to a public authority which has been designated under this section, are to acts within a description of activities covered by the designation."

Amendment 195ZAHA (to Amendment 195ZAH) not moved.

Amendment 195ZAH agreed.

Amendment 195ZAJ

Moved by Earl Attlee

195ZAJ: After Clause 31, insert the following new Clause-

"Establishment of independent panel

(1) This section applies where-

(a) an EU financial sanction to which this Part applies has been imposed by the Court of Justice; and

(b) at least one public authority has been designated under section (Designation of public authorities) and the EU financial sanction is one to which the designation applies.

(2) A Minister of the Crown must establish a panel for the purpose of carrying out any functions it may be given by or under any provision of this Part in relation to that EU financial sanction.

(3) The panel must be established before any warning notice is given to a public authority in relation to that EU financial sanction.

(4) The panel is to consist of one or more individuals appointed by a Minister of the Crown who appear to a Minister of the Crown to have suitable qualifications, expertise or experience to carry out their duties.

(5) A Minister of the Crown may invite nominations for appointment to the panel from such organisations as a Minister of the Crown considers appropriate.



10 Oct 2011 : Column 1383

(6) The validity of any acts of the panel are not affected by a vacancy among its members.

(7) A Minister of the Crown may pay to a member of the panel such fees, allowances or expenses as a Minister of the Crown may determine.

(8) A Minister of the Crown may provide such staff, accommodation or other facilities as a Minister of the Crown may consider necessary to enable the panel to carry out its functions."

Amendment 195ZAJ agreed.

Amendment 195ZAK had been withdrawn from the Marshalled List.

Clause 32 : Warning notices

Amendments 195ZAL to 195ZAZC

Moved by Earl Attlee

195ZAL: Clause 32, page 30, line 11, leave out subsection (1) and insert-

"(1) Before a public authority which has been designated under section (Designation of public authorities) can be required to make any payment under this Part in respect of an EU financial sanction to which the designation applies-

(a) a Minister of the Crown must give a warning notice under this section to the public authority;

(b) the procedures set out in the warning notice (with any changes made under subsection (7)) must be followed; and

(c) a Minister of the Crown must determine the matters mentioned in section (Matters to be determined before a final notice is given)(4)."

195ZAM: Clause 32, page 30, line 16, leave out "the Minister" and insert "a Minister of the Crown"

195ZAN: Clause 32, page 30, line 17, leave out from "Justice" to "financial" in line 18 and insert "imposing the EU"

195ZAP: Clause 32, page 30, line 24, leave out "a payment under this Part" and insert "payments under this Part (which may be or include ongoing payments)"

195ZAQ: Clause 32, page 30, line 25, leave out subsections (3) to (5) and insert-

"(3) The warning notice must also-

(a) identify the EU financial sanction to which the notice relates;

(b) specify the total amount of that sanction (see subsection (6C));

(c) if that sanction is or includes a penalty payment, specify the amount and frequency of any periodic payments that fall due from the United Kingdom under the terms of the penalty payment (see subsection (6D));

(d) set out the reasons for making the statement required by subsection (2);

(e) set out the proposed procedures and arrangements for determining the matters mentioned in section (Matters to be determined before a final notice is given)(4) (which may include arrangements for securing that matters arising under the notice are dealt together with matters arising under other warning notices given to other public authorities in respect of the same EU financial sanction);

(f) propose a timetable for those procedures and for any steps to be taken by the panel or a Minister of the Crown before any requirement to make a payment can be imposed on the authority;

(g) invite the authority to make representations to a Minister of the Crown about the matters mentioned in paragraphs (e) and (f);



10 Oct 2011 : Column 1384

(h) invite the authority to make representations to the panel (with any supporting evidence) about anything the authority considers relevant to the matters mentioned in section (Matters to be determined before a final notice is given)(4), including its response to any representations made (and any supporting evidence submitted) to the panel -

(i) by a Minister of the Crown or a government department (whether in relation to matters arising from the notice or matters arising from any other warning notice given to another public authority in relation to the same EU financial sanction);

(ii) by another public authority which has been given a warning notice in relation to the same EU financial sanction; or

(iii) by the appropriate national authority in response to an invitation under paragraph (j) included in the notice; and

(j) if the authority has mixed functions, invite the appropriate national authority to make representations about anything contained in or arising from the notice."

195ZAR: Clause 32, page 31, line 14, at end insert "of the Crown giving it"

195ZAS: Clause 32, page 31, line 15, at end insert-

"(6A) Before a Minister of the Crown gives a warning notice to the authority, the Minister of the Crown must consult the panel as to the contents of the notice (including in particular the proposed procedures and timetable mentioned in subsection (3)(e) and (f)).

(6B) If the authority has mixed functions, a Minister of the Crown must-

(a) consult the appropriate national authority before deciding to give a warning notice to the authority; and

(b) give the appropriate national authority a copy of any warning notice the Minister of the Crown decides to give.

(6C) In subsection (3)(b) the "total amount of the sanction" means the sum of the following-

(a) the amount of the lump sum (if any) due from the United Kingdom under the terms of the EU financial sanction (disregarding any amount that falls to be excluded from the lump sum by virtue of section (The EU financial sanctions to which Part 2 applies)(2)); and

(b) the total amount of the periodic payments (if any) which have fallen due from the United Kingdom on or before a day specified in the notice (disregarding any amount that falls to be excluded from any of those payments by virtue of section (The EU financial sanctions to which Part 2 applies)(2);

and the day specified for the purposes of paragraph (b) must be no later than the day on which the warning notice is given to the authority.

(6D) The periodic payments to be taken into account for the purposes of subsection (3)(c) do not include-

(a) any periodic payment taken into account in calculating the total amount of the sanction for the purposes of subsection (3)(b); or

(b) any periodic payment, or any part of a periodic payment, that falls to be excluded from the EU financial sanction by virtue of section (The EU financial sanctions to which Part 2 applies)(2)."

195ZAT: Clause 32, page 31, line 16, leave out "The Minister" and insert "A Minister of the Crown"

195ZAU: Clause 32, page 31, line 17, leave out "(3)(d)(ii)" and insert "(3)(g)"

195ZAV: Clause 32, page 31, line 17, leave out "subsection (3)(b)" and insert "section (Matters to be determined before a final notice is given)(4)"



10 Oct 2011 : Column 1385

195ZAX: Clause 32, page 31, line 18, after "authority" insert "-

(a) "

195ZAY: Clause 32, page 31, line 19, leave out "criteria,"

195ZAZ: Clause 32, page 31, line 20, leave out "(3)(b), (c) or (e)." and insert "(3)(e) and (f); and

(b) a copy of the warning notice incorporating those changes.

(7A) A Minister of the Crown must consult the panel before making any changes under subsection (7)."

195ZAZA: Clause 32, Page 31, line 21, leave out "local or"

195ZAZB: Clause 32, Page 31, line 22, leave out "subsection (3)(b)" and insert "section (Matters to be determined before a final notice is given)(4)"

195ZAZC: Clause 32, Page 31, line 24, at end insert-

"(9) In this section and section (Matters to be determined before a final notice is given) "the panel" means the panel established under section (Establishment of independent panel) to deal with the EU financial sanction to which the notice relates."

Amendments 195ZAL to 195ZAZC agreed.

Amendment 195ZAZD

Moved by Earl Attlee

195ZAZD: After Clause 32, Insert the following new Clause-

"Matters to be determined before a final notice is given

(1) This section applies where-

(a) a warning notice has been given to a public authority; and

(b) the panel has considered all representations made to it under the procedures set out in that notice.

(2) The panel must make, to a Minister of the Crown, a report on the matters to which the representations made to the panel relate.

(3) The report-

(a) may be published by the panel in such manner as the panel thinks fit and, if not published by the panel, must be published by the Minister of the Crown to whom it is made in such manner as the Minister of the Crown thinks fit;

(b) must include recommendations as to the determination of the matters mentioned in subsection (4)(a) and (b);

(c) if the authority has made representations to the panel about anything the authority considers relevant to any of the matters mentioned in paragraphs (c) to (e) of subsection (4), must include recommendations as to the determination of the matters mentioned in those paragraphs; and

(d) must include the panel's reasons for any recommendations included in the report.

(4) After having had regard to the report, a Minister of the Crown must determine the following matters-

(a) whether any acts of the authority did cause or contribute to the infraction of EU law concerned and, in relation to any periodic payments mentioned in subsection (3)(c) of section 32, whether those acts have continued and will continue to do so;

(b) the proportion of-

(i) the total amount of the sanction (as specified under subsection (3)(b) of that section), and

(ii) any periodic payments (as specified under subsection (3)(c) of that section),

that, in the light of the acts of the authority which are determined to have had or to be having an effect mentioned in paragraph (a), is to be regarded as reflecting the authority's share of the responsibility for the infraction of EU law concerned or, in relation to any such periodic payments, the continuing infraction of EU law concerned;



10 Oct 2011 : Column 1386

(c) whether the authority should be required to make any payment or payments in respect of the EU financial sanction;

(d) if so, what payment or payments the authority should make towards-

(i) the total amount of the sanction specified under subsection (3)(b) of that section; and

(ii) any periodic payments specified under subsection (3)(c) of that section; and

(e) when any such payment or payments should be made.

(5) In determining the matters mentioned in subsection (4)(c), (d) and (e) the Minister of the Crown must have regard to-

(a) the effect on the authority's finances of any amount it may be required to pay and in particular, if the authority has mixed functions, the need to avoid any prejudicial effect on the performance by the authority of its devolved functions;

(b) the determination under subsection (4)(b); and

(c) any other relevant considerations.

(6) Before making a final decision on the matters mentioned in subsection (4)(c), (d) and (e), the Minister of the Crown must invite-

(a) representations from the authority about the potential effect on its finances and, if it has mixed functions, the effect on its devolved functions of any amount it may be required to pay; and

(b) if the authority has mixed functions, representations from the appropriate national authority."

Amendment 195ZAZD agreed.

Clause 33 : EU financial sanction notices

Amendments 195ZAZE and 195ZAZF

Moved by Earl Attlee

195ZAZE: Clause 33, Page 31, line 26, leave out from "give" to end of line 30 and insert "a final notice to a public authority only if a Minister of the Crown has decided in accordance with section (Matters to be determined before a final notice is given) to impose a requirement under this Part on the authority."

195ZAZF: Clause 33, Page 31, line 31, leave out subsections (2) to (6) and insert-

"(2) The final notice must-

(a) identify the EU financial sanction to which the notice relates;

(b) specify the total amount of the sanction (see subsection (3)) and, where relevant, the amount and frequency of any future periodic payments (see subsection (4));

(c) describe the acts of the authority that a Minister of the Crown has under section (Matters to be determined before a final notice is given)(4) determined-

(i) caused or contributed to the infraction of EU law concerned, in relation to the total amount of the sanction; or

(ii) are causing or contributing to the continuing infraction of EU law concerned, in relation to any other periodic payments due from the United Kingdom;

and set out the reasons for that determination;

(d) summarise the other determinations made by a Minister of the Crown under section (Matters to be determined before a final notice is given)(4) and set out the reasons for making them;

(e) specify the amount required to be paid by the authority towards the total amount of the sanction and when it is to be paid (and if it is to be paid in instalments, the instalments and the date on which they become payable);



10 Oct 2011 : Column 1387

(f) specify the amount to be paid towards any periodic payment that falls due from the United Kingdom and the time when that amount is to be paid (or, if the notice so provides the time when two or more such amounts are to be paid);

(g) specify how and to whom payments are to be made.

(3) In subsection (2)(b), (c) and (e) the "total amount of the sanction" means the sum of the following-

(a) the amount of the lump sum (if any) due from the United Kingdom under the terms of the EU financial sanction (disregarding any amount that falls to be excluded from the lump sum by virtue of section (The EU financial sanctions to which Part 2 applies)(2)); and

(b) the total amount of the periodic payments (if any) which have fallen due from the United Kingdom on or before a day specified in the final notice (disregarding any amount that falls to be excluded from any of those payments by virtue of section (The EU financial sanctions to which Part 2 applies)(2));

and the day specified for the purposes of paragraph (b) must be no later than the day on which the final notice is given to the authority.

(4) In subsection (2)(b) "future periodic payments" means periodic payments other than-

(a) any periodic payment taken into account in calculating the total amount of the sanction; or

(b) any periodic payment, or any part of a periodic payment, that falls to be excluded from the EU financial sanction by virtue of section (The EU financial sanctions to which Part 2 applies)(2).

(5) The requirement to make payments towards periodic payments falling due from the United Kingdom after the notice is given continues so long as those periodic payments continue to fall due, unless a Minister of the Crown gives the authority a notice under this subsection terminating the requirement or varying it so as to make it less onerous for the authority.

(6) A notice under subsection (5) may be given, either on the application of the authority or without such an application, where a Minister of the Crown considers it appropriate in the light of a change in the circumstances which applied when the final notice was given or when it was last varied (as the case may be).

(7) A Minister of the Crown may-

(a) consult the panel, or refer any matter relating to the possible termination or variation of the requirement for its advice or recommendations;

(b) invite the authority to make representations; and

(c) if the authority has mixed functions, invite the appropriate national authority to make representations,

before deciding whether to terminate or vary the requirement mentioned in subsection (5).

(8) If the authority makes an application under subsection (6) a Minister of the Crown may by notice to the authority suspend the requirement until further notice (but this does not affect the liability to make any payment once the suspension is ended, unless the final notice is varied to have that effect)."

Amendments 195ZAZE and 195ZAZF agreed.

Clause 34 : Further warning notices

Amendment 195ZAZG

Moved by Earl Attlee

195ZAZG: Clause 34, Leave out Clause 34

Amendment 195ZAZG agreed.



10 Oct 2011 : Column 1388

Clause 35 : Further EU financial sanction notices

Amendment 195ZAZH

Moved by Earl Attlee

195ZAZH: Clause 35, Leave out Clause 35

Amendment 195ZAZH agreed.

Clause 36 : Meaning of "local or public authority"

Amendment 195ZAZJ

Moved by Earl Attlee

195ZAZJ: Clause 36, Leave out Clause 36

Amendment 195ZAZJ agreed.

Clause 37 : Interpretation of Part: general

Amendments 195ZAZK to 195ZAZM

Moved by Earl Attlee

195ZAZK: Clause 37, Page 34, leave out lines 16 to 23 and insert-

""the appropriate national authority", in relation to a public authority with mixed functions, has the meaning given by section (Meaning of "public authority" and related terms)(8);

"Article 260(2) proceedings" has the meaning given by section 31(8)(c);

"Court of Justice" means the Court of Justice of the European Union;

"EU financial sanction" has the meaning given by section 31(8)(a);

"final notice" means a notice under section 33;

"functions", "non-devolved functions" and "devolved functions" are to be construed in accordance with section (Meaning of "public authority" and related terms);

"infraction of EU law", in relation to an EU financial sanction, has the meaning given by section 31(8)(b);"

195ZAZL: Clause 37, Page 34, line 25, at end insert-

""periodic payment", in relation to an EU financial sanction that is or includes a penalty payment, means a payment due under the terms of the penalty payment;

"public authority" has the meaning given in section (Meaning of "public authority" and related terms)(2);

"public authority with mixed functions" has the meaning given by section (Meaning of "public authority" and related terms)(7)."

195ZAZLA: Clause 37, Page 34, line 25, at end insert-

""warning notice" means a notice under section 32."

195ZAZM: Clause 37, Page 34, line 26, leave out subsection (2)

Amendments 195ZAZK to 195ZAZM agreed.

Amendments 195ZAZMZA to 195ZAZMZK

Moved by Earl Attlee

195ZAZMZA: After Clause 37, insert the following new Clause-

"PARTEU fines: Wales

Power to require Welsh public authorities to make payments in respect of certain EU financial sanctions

(1) The Welsh Ministers may, in accordance with the provisions of this Part, require Welsh public authorities to make payments of amounts determined by the Welsh Ministers in respect of an EU financial sanction to which this Part applies.



10 Oct 2011 : Column 1389

(2) A requirement to make a payment under this Part-

(a) may only be imposed on a Welsh public authority if-

(i) the authority has been designated under section (Designation of Welsh public authorities); and

(ii) the EU financial sanction concerned is one to which the designation applies; and

(b) must be imposed by a notice given to the authority under section (Final notices) (referred to in this Part as a final notice).

(3) If a final notice is registered in accordance with rules of court or any practice direction, it is enforceable in the same manner as an order of the High Court.

(4) Any sums paid by a Welsh public authority under this Part are to be paid into the Welsh Consolidated Fund.

(5) In this Part-

(a) "EU financial sanction" means a sanction consisting of a lump sum or penalty payment (or both) imposed by the Court of Justice in Article 260(2) proceedings for an infraction of EU law;

(b) "infraction of EU law", in relation to an EU financial sanction, means the failure to comply with a judgment of the Court of Justice given in proceedings under Article 258 or 259 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union; and

(c) "Article 260(2) proceedings" means proceedings under Article 260(2) of that Treaty."

195ZAZMZB: After Clause 37, insert the following new Clause-

"Duty of the Welsh Ministers to issue a policy statement

(1) The Welsh Ministers must publish a statement of policy with respect to-

(a) the designation of Welsh public authorities under section (Designation of Welsh public authorities);

(b) the imposition and variation of requirements to make payments under this Part; and

(c) such other matters relating to the operation of the provisions of this Part as the Welsh Ministers may think appropriate to include in the statement.

(2) The Welsh Ministers may from time to time revise and republish the statement of policy required by this section.

(3) A revised statement of policy may include saving or transitional provisions relating to the continued application for any purpose of any provisions of an earlier published version of the statement.

(4) The Welsh Ministers must consult such persons as the Welsh Ministers consider appropriate before publishing, or revising and republishing, the statement of policy required by this section.

(5) In exercising functions under this Part in relation to an EU financial sanction which has been or may be imposed on the United Kingdom-

(a) the Welsh Ministers, and

(b) a panel established under section (Establishment of independent panel (No.2)),

must have regard to the statement of policy most recently published under this section."

195ZAZMZC: After Clause 37, insert the following new Clause-

"The EU financial sanctions to which Part (EU fines: Wales) applies

(1) This Part applies to an EU financial sanction imposed on the United Kingdom if-

(a) the sanction is imposed after the commencement of this Part, and

(b) the Welsh Ministers certify that this Part applies to the sanction.

(2) If a certificate under subsection (1)-



10 Oct 2011 : Column 1390

(a) specifies a part or parts of the EU financial sanction concerned, and

(b) states that this Part applies only to that part, or those parts, of the sanction,

this Part applies to the sanction as if it included only that part or those parts.

(3) A certificate under subsection (1)-

(a) may make specific provision about the application of this Part to any of the following-

(i) the lump sum (if any) paid by the United Kingdom;

(ii) any periodic payment due from the United Kingdom under the terms of the EU financial sanction before the certificate is given; and

(iii) any future periodic payment that may fall due from the United Kingdom under those terms; and

(b) must be given in such form and published in such manner as the Welsh Ministers think fit.

(4) Any provision under subsection (3)(a)(iii) that is made in a certificate under subsection (1) may be varied (including in relation to its effect in relation to any periodic payment that has become due from the United Kingdom since the earlier certificate) by a further certificate under subsection (1)."

195ZAZMZD: After Clause 37, insert the following new Clause-

"Meaning of "Welsh public authority" and related terms

(1) Subsections (2) to (5) define various terms used in this Part.

(2) "Welsh public authority" means-

(a) a council of a county or county borough in Wales; or

(b) any other person or body which has any Welsh devolved functions.

(3) References to functions are to functions of a public nature.

(4) References to Welsh devolved functions are to functions which are exercisable in relation to Wales and could be conferred by provision falling within the legislative competence of the National Assembly for Wales as defined in section 108 of the Government of Wales Act 2006.

(5) The "appropriate national authority", in relation to a Welsh public authority with any functions other than Welsh devolved functions, means the following national authority or authorities (according to whichever one or more of the following paragraphs apply to that Welsh public authority)-

(a) a Minister of the Crown, if the Welsh public authority has any functions which are not devolved functions;

(b) the Scottish Ministers, if the Welsh public authority has any Scottish devolved functions; and

(c) the relevant Northern Ireland Department, if the Welsh public authority has any Northern Ireland devolved functions.

(6) In subsection (5)(a) "devolved functions" means-

(a) Welsh devolved functions;

(b) Scottish devolved functions; or

(c) Northern Ireland devolved functions.

(7) In subsections (5) and (6)-

"Northern Ireland devolved functions" means functions which could be conferred by provision included in an Act of the Northern Ireland Assembly made without the consent of the Secretary of State (see sections 6 to 8 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998);

"Scottish devolved functions" means functions the exercise of which would be within devolved competence (within the meaning of section 54 of the Scotland Act 1998)."

195ZAZMZE: After Clause 37, insert the following new Clause-

"Designation of Welsh public authorities

(1) The Welsh Ministers may by order designate a Welsh public authority for the purposes of this Part.



10 Oct 2011 : Column 1391

(2) The order must-

(a) specify the Welsh public authority by name;

(b) identify any EU financial sanction to which the designation applies; and

(c) describe the activities of the authority which are covered by the designation.

(3) The order may identify an EU financial sanction for the purposes of subsection (2)(b) by-

(a) specifying an EU financial sanction that has been imposed on the United Kingdom;

(b) specifying any Article 260(2) proceedings that have been commenced and providing that the designation is to apply to any EU financial sanction that may be imposed on the United Kingdom in those proceedings;

(c) specifying a judgment of the Court of Justice finding that the United Kingdom has failed to comply with an EU obligation and providing that the designation is to apply to any EU financial sanction that may be imposed on the United Kingdom for failing to comply with that judgment; or

(d) specifying or describing any proceedings under Article 258 or 259 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union that have been or may be commenced and providing that the designation is to apply to any EU financial sanction that may be imposed on the United Kingdom for failing to comply with a judgment of the Court of Justice given in those proceedings.

(4) The order may, for the purposes of subsection (3)(d), describe any proceedings under Article 258 or 259 that may be commenced by reference to the subject-matter of-

(a) a Reasoned Opinion addressed to the United Kingdom under Article 258 or 259 (as the case may be); or

(b) any other document sent to the Government of the United Kingdom by the Commission of the European Union or by another member State which gives notice to the Government of the possibility of proceedings being commenced against the United Kingdom.

(5) The activities described for the purposes of subsection (2)(c) must be activities of the Welsh public authority which-

(a) are carried out in the exercise of Welsh devolved functions of the authority; and

(b) take place after the provisions of the order describing the activities come into force.

(6) The following may not be designated under this section-

(a) the National Assembly for Wales;

(b) a Minister of the Crown or a United Kingdom government department;

(c) a member of the Welsh Assembly Government;

(d) a court or tribunal.

(7) Before making an order designating a Welsh public authority the Welsh Ministers must consult-

(a) the authority concerned; and

(b) if the authority concerned has any functions other than Welsh devolved functions, the appropriate national authority.

(8) In sections (Warning notices) to (Final notices) references to "acts", in relation to a Welsh public authority which has been designated under this section, are to acts within a description of activities covered by the designation."

195ZAZMZF: After Clause 37, insert the following new Clause-

"Establishment of independent panel (No. 2)

(1) This section applies where-

(a) an EU financial sanction to which this Part applies has been imposed by the Court of Justice; and

(b) at least one Welsh public authority has been designated under section (Designation of Welsh public authorities) and the EU financial sanction is one to which the designation applies.



10 Oct 2011 : Column 1392

(2) The Welsh Ministers must establish a panel for the purpose of carrying out any functions it may be given by or under any provision of this Part in relation to that EU financial sanction.

(3) The panel must be established before any warning notice is given to a Welsh public authority in relation to that EU financial sanction.

(4) The panel is to consist of one or more individuals appointed by the Welsh Ministers who appear to the Welsh Ministers to have suitable qualifications, expertise or experience to carry out their duties.

(5) The Welsh Ministers may invite nominations for appointment to the panel from such organisations as the Welsh Ministers consider appropriate.

(6) The validity of any acts of the panel are not affected by a vacancy among its members.

(7) The Welsh Ministers may pay to a member of the panel such fees, allowances or expenses as the Welsh Ministers may determine.

(8) The Welsh Ministers may provide such staff, accommodation or other facilities as the Welsh Ministers may consider necessary to enable the panel to carry out its functions."

195ZAZMZG: After Clause 37, insert the following new Clause-

"Warning notices

(1) Before a Welsh public authority which has been designated under section (Designation of Welsh public authorities) can be required to make any payment under this Part in respect of an EU financial sanction to which the designation applies-

(a) the Welsh Ministers must give a warning notice under this section to the authority;

(b) the procedures set out in the warning notice (with any changes made under subsection (9)) must be followed; and

(c) the Welsh Ministers must determine the matters mentioned in section (Matters to be determined before a final notice is given (No. 2))(4).

(2) A warning notice is a notice stating that the Welsh Ministers, having regard to the judgment of the Court of Justice imposing the EU financial sanction, believe-

(a) that acts of the authority may have caused or contributed to the infraction of EU law for which the EU financial sanction was imposed; and

(b) that, if acts of the authority did cause or contribute to that infraction of EU law, it would be appropriate to consider requiring the authority to make payments under this Part (which may be or include ongoing payments) in respect of that financial sanction.

(3) The warning notice must also-

(a) identify the EU financial sanction to which the notice relates;

(b) specify the total amount of that sanction (see subsection (7));

(c) if that sanction is or includes a penalty payment, specify the amount and frequency of any periodic payments that fall due from the United Kingdom under the terms of the penalty payment (see subsection (8));

(d) set out the reasons for making the statement required by subsection (2);

(e) set out the proposed procedures and arrangements for determining the matters mentioned in section (Matters to be determined before a final notice is given (No. 2))(4) (which may include arrangements for securing that matters arising under the notice are dealt together with matters arising under other warning notices given to other Welsh public authorities in respect of the same EU financial sanction);

(f) propose a timetable for those procedures and for any steps to be taken by the panel or the Welsh Ministers before any requirement to make a payment can be imposed on the authority;



10 Oct 2011 : Column 1393

(g) invite the authority to make representations to the Welsh Ministers about the matters mentioned in paragraphs (e) and (f);

(h) invite the authority to make representations to the panel (with any supporting evidence) about anything the authority considers relevant to the matters mentioned in section (Matters to be determined before a final notice is given (No. 2))(4), including its response to any representations made (and any supporting evidence submitted) to the panel -

(i) by the Welsh Ministers (whether in relation to matters arising from the notice or matters arising from any other warning notice given to another Welsh public authority in relation to the same EU financial sanction);

(ii) by another Welsh public authority which has been given a warning notice in relation to the same EU financial sanction; or

(iii) by the appropriate national authority in response to an invitation under paragraph (j) included in the notice; and

(j) if the authority has any functions other than Welsh devolved functions, invite the appropriate national authority to make representations about anything contained in or arising from the notice.

(4) The warning notice may contain such other information as the Welsh Ministers consider appropriate.

(5) Before giving a warning notice to the authority, the Welsh Ministers must consult the panel as to the contents of the notice (including in particular the proposed procedures and timetable mentioned in subsection (3)(e) and (f)).

(6) If the authority has any functions other than Welsh devolved functions, the Welsh Ministers must-

(a) consult the appropriate national authority before deciding to give a warning notice to the authority; and

(b) give the appropriate national authority a copy of any warning notice the Welsh Ministers decide to give.

(7) In subsection (3)(b) the "total amount of the sanction" means the sum of the following-

(a) the amount of the lump sum (if any) due from the United Kingdom under the terms of the EU financial sanction (disregarding any amount that falls to be excluded from the lump sum by virtue of section (The EU financial sanctions to which Part (EU fines: Wales) applies)(2)); and

(b) the total amount of the periodic payments (if any) which have fallen due from the United Kingdom on or before a day specified in the notice (disregarding any amount that falls to be excluded from any of those payments by virtue of section (The EU financial sanctions to which Part (EU fines: Wales) applies)(2));

and the day specified for the purposes of paragraph (b) must be no later than the day on which the warning notice is given to the authority.

(8) The periodic payments to be taken into account for the purposes of subsection (3)(c) do not include-

(a) any periodic payment taken into account in calculating the total amount of the sanction for the purposes of subsection (3)(b); or

(b) any periodic payment, or any part of a periodic payment, that falls to be excluded from the EU financial sanction by virtue of section (The EU financial sanctions to which Part (EU fines: Wales) applies)(2).

(9) The Welsh Ministers may, after considering any representations made by the authority under subsection (3)(g) but before the matters mentioned in section (Matters to be determined before a final notice is given (No. 2))(4) are determined, give the authority-

(a) a notice stating any changes that the Welsh Ministers have decided to make to the procedures or timetable as originally set out in the warning notice under subsection (3)(e) and (f); and



10 Oct 2011 : Column 1394

(b) a copy of the warning notice incorporating those changes.

(10) The Welsh Ministers must consult the panel before making any changes under subsection (9).

(11) A warning notice given to a Welsh public authority may be withdrawn at any time before the matters mentioned in section (Matters to be determined before a final notice is given (No.2))(4) are determined, but this does not prevent another warning notice being given to the authority in relation to the same EU financial sanction.

(12) In this section and section (Matters to be determined before a final notice is given (No.2)) "the panel" means the panel established under section (Establishment of independent panel (No.2)) to deal with the EU financial sanction to which the notice relates."

195ZAZMZH: After Clause 37, insert the following new Clause-

"Matters to be determined before a final notice is given (No. 2)

(1) This section applies where-

(a) a warning notice has been given to a Welsh public authority; and

(b) the panel has considered all representations made to it under the procedures set out in that notice.

(2) The panel must make a report to the Welsh Ministers on the matters to which the representations made to the panel relate.

(3) The report-

(a) may be published by the panel in such manner as the panel thinks fit and, if not published by the panel, must be published by the Welsh Ministers in such manner as they think fit;

(b) must include recommendations as to the determination of the matters mentioned in subsection (4)(a) and (b);

(c) if the authority has made representations to the panel about anything the authority considers relevant to any of the matters mentioned in paragraphs (c) to (e) of subsection (4), must include recommendations as to the determination of the matters mentioned in those paragraphs; and

(d) must include the panel's reasons for any recommendations included in the report.

(4) After having had regard to the report, the Welsh Ministers must determine the following matters-

(a) whether any acts of the authority did cause or contribute to the infraction of EU law concerned and, in relation to any periodic payments mentioned in subsection (3)(c) of section (Warning notices), whether those acts have continued and will continue to do so;

(b) the proportion of-

(i) the total amount of the sanction (as specified under subsection (3)(b) of that section), and

(ii) any periodic payments (as specified under subsection (3)(c) of that section),

that, in the light of the acts of the authority which are determined to have had or to be having an effect mentioned in paragraph (a), is to be regarded as reflecting the authority's share of the responsibility for the infraction of EU law concerned or, in relation to any such periodic payments, the continuing infraction of EU law concerned;

(c) whether the authority should be required to make any payment or payments in respect of the EU financial sanction;

(d) if so, what payment or payments the authority should make towards-

(i) the total amount of the sanction specified under subsection (3)(b) of that section; and

(ii) any periodic payments specified under subsection (3)(c) of that section; and



10 Oct 2011 : Column 1395

(e) when any such payment or payments should be made.

(5) In determining the matters mentioned in subsection (4)(c), (d) and (e) the Welsh Ministers must have regard to-

(a) the effect on the authority's finances of any amount it may be required to pay and in particular, if the authority has any functions other than Welsh devolved functions, the need to avoid any prejudicial effect on the performance by the authority of those other functions;

(b) the determination under subsection (4)(b); and

(c) any other relevant considerations.

(6) Before making a final decision on the matters mentioned in subsection (4)(c), (d) and (e), the Welsh Ministers must invite-

(a) representations from the authority about the potential effect on its finances and, if it has any functions other than Welsh devolved functions, the effect on those other functions of any amount it may be required to pay; and

(b) if the authority has any functions other than Welsh devolved functions, representations from the appropriate national authority."

195ZAZMZJ: After Clause 37, insert the following new Clause-

"Final notices

(1) The Welsh Ministers may give a final notice to a Welsh public authority only if they have decided in accordance with section (Matters to be determined before a final notice is given (No.2)) to impose a requirement under this Part on the authority.

(2) The final notice must-

(a) identify the EU financial sanction to which the notice relates;

(b) specify the total amount of the sanction (see subsection (3)) and, where relevant, the amount and frequency of any future periodic payments (see subsection (4));

(c) describe the acts of the authority that the Welsh Ministers have under section (Matters to be determined before a final notice is given (No.2))(4) determined-

(i) caused or contributed to the infraction of EU law concerned, in relation to the total amount of the sanction; or

(ii) are causing or contributing to the continuing infraction of EU law concerned, in relation to any other periodic payments due from the United Kingdom;

and set out the reasons for that determination;

(d) summarise the other determinations made by the Welsh Ministers under section (Matters to be determined before a final notice is given (No.2))(4) and set out the reasons for making them;

(e) specify the amount required to be paid by the authority towards the total amount of the sanction and when it is to be paid (and if it is to be paid in instalments, the instalments and the date on which they become payable);

(f) specify the amount to be paid towards any periodic payment that falls due from the United Kingdom and the time when that amount is to be paid (or, if the notice so provides, the time when two or more such amounts are to be paid);

(g) specify how and to whom payments are to be made.

(3) In subsection (2)(b), (c) and (e) the "total amount of the sanction" means the sum of the following-

(a) the amount of the lump sum (if any) due from the United Kingdom under the terms of the EU financial sanction (disregarding any amount that falls to be excluded from the lump sum by virtue of section (The EU financial sanctions to which Part (EU fines: Wales) applies)(2)); and

(b) the total amount of the periodic payments (if any) which have fallen due from the United Kingdom on or before a day specified in the final notice (disregarding any amount that falls to be excluded from any of those payments by virtue of section (The EU financial sanctions to which Part (EU fines: Wales) applies)(2));



10 Oct 2011 : Column 1396

and the day specified for the purposes of paragraph (b) must be no later than the day on which the final notice is given to the authority.

(4) In subsection (2)(b) "future periodic payments" means periodic payments other than-

(a) any periodic payment taken into account in calculating the total amount of the sanction; or

(b) any periodic payment, or any part of a periodic payment, that falls to be excluded from the EU financial sanction by virtue of section (The EU financial sanctions to which Part (EU fines: Wales) applies)(2).

(5) The requirement to make payments towards periodic payments falling due from the United Kingdom after the notice is given continues so long as those periodic payments continue to fall due, unless the Welsh Ministers give the authority a notice under this subsection terminating the requirement or varying it so as to make it less onerous for the authority.

(6) A notice under subsection (5) may be given, either on the application of the authority or without such an application, where the Welsh Ministers consider it appropriate in the light of a change in the circumstances which applied when the final notice was given or when it was last varied (as the case may be).

(7) The Welsh Ministers may-

(a) consult the panel, or refer any matter relating to the possible termination or variation of the requirement for its advice or recommendations;

(b) invite the authority to make representations; and

(c) if the authority has any functions other than Welsh devolved functions, invite the appropriate national authority to make representations,

before deciding whether to terminate or vary the requirement mentioned in subsection (5).

(8) If the authority makes an application under subsection (6) the Welsh Ministers may by notice to the authority suspend the requirement until further notice (but this does not affect the liability to make any payment once the suspension is ended, unless the final notice is varied to have that effect)."

195ZAZMZK: After Clause 37, insert the following new Clause-

"Interpretation of Part: general

In this Part-

"act" includes omission;

"the appropriate national authority", in relation to a Welsh public authority with any functions other than Welsh devolved functions, has the meaning given by section (Meaning of "Welsh public authority" and related terms)(5);

"Article 260(2) proceedings" has the meaning given by section (Power to require Welsh public authorities to make payments in respect of certain EU financial sanctions)(5)(c);

"Court of Justice" means the Court of Justice of the European Union;

"EU financial sanction" has the meaning given by section (Power to require Welsh public authorities to make payments in respect of certain EU financial sanctions)(5)(a);

"final notice" means a notice under section (Final notices);

"functions" and "Welsh devolved functions" are to be construed in accordance with section (Meaning of "Welsh public authority" and related terms)(3) and (4);

"infraction of EU law", in relation to an EU financial sanction, has the meaning given by section (Power to require Welsh public authorities to make payments in respect of certain EU financial sanctions)(5)(b);

"Minister of the Crown" has the same meaning as in the Ministers of the Crown Act 1975;

"periodic payment", in relation to an EU financial sanction that is or includes a penalty payment, means a payment due under the terms of the penalty payment;



10 Oct 2011 : Column 1397

"warning notice" means a notice under section (Warning notices);

"Welsh public authority" has the meaning given in section (Meaning of "Welsh public authority" and related terms)(2)."

Amendments 195ZAZMZA to 195ZAZMZK agreed.

Amendment 195ZAZMA

Moved by Lord Lucas

195ZAZMA: After Clause 41, Insert the following new Clause-

"Empty rates

In section 45 of the Local Government and Finance Act 1988 (unoccupied hereditaments: liability) in subsection 4A for "one" substitute "or equal to one fifth", and for "prescribed" substitute "chosen in each particular case by the Local Authority"."

Lord Lucas: My Lords, I am not at all sure that this is the right solution to the problem but I am sure the problem is there and I very much hope this Bill will deal with it. When one is looking at the application of localism to urban environments and to giving local communities some degree of control and influence over what is happening, one of the great problems-certainly a problem in the bit of London I lodge in during the week which is Lavender Hill-is empty properties. They are principally retail properties where the owners appear to have decided that they would rather they went empty than accept a lower rent and have some kind of commercial activity within them.

My view is that these owners should pay the full cost they are inflicting on the community by following that course of action. By allowing the street to appear derelict and empty they reduce the trade for other businesses. They reduce the prosperity of the area. They reduce the opportunity for jobs for people who live in the area. It is a thoroughly delinquent behaviour. It is something that costs the rest of the community dear. I do not believe that the current arrangements that merely allow for an ordinary empty rate are at all satisfactory. If we are going to have in the future the opportunity to create a neighbourhood in Lavender Hill, one of the first things we will wish to tackle is all the empty shops. We will not wish to do it by trying to persuade people to pay the vast rents which the street used to be able to command in the days when it was prosperous which was now some long while ago-it was 10 or 15 years ago. Some of these properties have stood empty since then. We will need some way of battening on to these landlords and making them realise that although it is their property and theirs to do what they do with it, if they choose to leave it empty and derelict they should pay the community something in respect of the costs they are causing it by their actions. I beg to move.

Lord Beecham: My Lords, the noble Lord has drawn attention to a significant problem with commercial property but the same principle can apply to residential property, particularly in the private rented sector. There are a significant number of homes left empty-it runs into some hundreds of thousands. In urban areas in particular it is very often private rented properties that are left unoccupied. They are as much a blight on the local neighbourhood as empty commercial properties

10 Oct 2011 : Column 1398

and of course the demand for accommodation is considerable. Just recently walking around the ward I represent I noticed a number of properties that have been empty for some years. They are not in particularly good condition but not sufficiently dangerous to allow the local authority to take steps. It would certainly be an incentive for landlords to let those properties and bring them into use for the benefit of the whole area if a similar principle were adopted for residential properties as the noble Lord proposes for commercial properties. I hope the Government will look sympathetically on that aspect of it and endorse the noble Lord's amendment.

Baroness Gardner of Parkes: My Lords, I am slightly concerned by this amendment as I think there is an international problem occurring of people buying things online to such an extent-I heard this in Australia while I was there and I believe it is the same everywhere-that people are closing up small shops because there is simply no way they can afford to compete with online purchases. I do not know what will happen in these instances. What will local authorities do? Will the people who own the shops be encouraged to convert them into residential accommodation or would it be considered very damaging to the whole high street suddenly to find that instead of shops in continuity in a row suddenly two or three were houses? In the past there were lots of little shops that were once houses. Would we be prepared to see the reverse of that happening?

I think it is a very complicated issue, and, if the landlord simply cannot get a tenant now, what does he do? Does he allow the property to fall down? I do not know what the answer is, particularly with the shop premises.

Lord Kennedy of Southwark: The amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, raises a significant issue. I can clearly see the point that he is making. If the Government are not minded to accept it, I hope that the noble Lord will be able to give us some insight into the Government's thinking on how they intend to deal with this problem. My noble friend Lord Beecham raised a significant point about residential property, which is probably just as important as the point about commercial property.

Lord Shutt of Greetland: My Lords, I thank noble Lords who have spoken on this amendment, particularly the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, who moved it. The amendment would give authorities the power to reduce the liability for empty property rates. Our ability to take action on empty property rates needs to be balanced against the costs involved, the targeted support that we already provide on business rates and the overriding need to reduce public expenditure and support the economy generally by reducing the deficit. This Government have already doubled small business rate relief for two years, which will benefit about half a million rate payers, with about one-third of a million paying no rates at all for that period. We are also taking powers through this Bill to waive £175 million of backdated business rates demands levied on businesses, including some in ports.



10 Oct 2011 : Column 1399

Unfortunately, in taking these matters into consideration, support for empty property rate measures is currently simply unaffordable. While the Government have no immediate plans for reform, we are certainly keeping this matter under review. However, the Bill does give local authorities powers to provide discounts on business rates bills as they see fit, provided they fund the relief themselves. So authorities will be able to reduce bills in the way suggested by the amendment.

I hope that the noble Lord is willing to withdraw the amendment, but I assure him that the matter is under review. It is quite interesting, because I have within the papers here a note about the reliefs. In 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11, changes were made.

Lord Lucas: My Lords, can I just point out to my noble friend that the effect of my amendment is not to reduce business rates but to multiply them by five times, resulting in greatly increased revenue to the local authority and the Exchequer. I am afraid that in some way his briefing is somewhat wide of the mark. I should be delighted if he would write to me when his officials have been able to revise their mathematics. As the noble Lord, Lord Beecham, clearly understands, this is about increasing the rates and increasing government revenue. I would hate it to be thought that I was in any way undermining the stalwart efforts of my right honourable friend the Chancellor to reduce the deficit.

Lord Shutt of Greetland: My Lords, I am delighted that the noble Lord has made those comments. I think that the officials had difficulties with this, and quite frankly so did I. I sought out the Local Government Finance Act 1998, but I am afraid that it has been amended, because the reference that he makes is not there. Immediately before speaking, I tried to check this myself, because I had some doubt about this. The whole area is under review, as it seems to have been for four years on the trot, because Chancellors and local government people have changed the position. So it is still the fact that the area is under review, but it is one that does impact on the economy. Having heard what the noble Lord said in his latter remarks, clearly, we will need to reflect further. But I cannot make any commitments at this stage. Perhaps a few tender words here and there might help us to understand exactly what he is about.

Lord Kennedy of Southwark: Can the Minister give the House an indication that he will come back before Third Reading? I would not want the noble Lord, Lucas, to have to come back again on Third Reading on this matter.

Lord Shutt of Greetland: I will certainly use my best endeavours to see that we can write to the noble Lord and that copies are placed in the Library so that other noble Lords with an interest can see the results of that.

Lord Beecham: Can the Minister also consider the points that I made in addition to those made by the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, for Third Reading?



10 Oct 2011 : Column 1400

Lord Shutt of Greetland: I will endeavour to look at them, although I believe that they were on a different matter. Nevertheless, in the interests of moving forward, I am sure that we will be able to look at that too.

6.45 pm

Lord Lucas: My Lords, I am very grateful to my noble friend. I apologise for being so confusing in the preparation of my amendment. I say this as an aside, in case anyone from the House authorities is listening in, it is high time that statutes in force were made easily available to Peers who wish to table amendments. They are in the Library, but that is no use if you happen to be working from outside. I imagine that I picked up the statute as it was on the internet and have been tripped up by that and have confused my noble friend and his officials. I apologise for that. But to have a proper set of statutes in force available over the internet would be a bonus.

As the noble Lord, Lord Beecham, understood, this amendment is clearly about trying to allow neighbourhoods through referenda to encourage their local councils as part of a plan to regenerate a neighbourhood to put a squeeze on landlords to bring empty properties back into use. I entirely agree with what the noble Lord, Lord Beecham, said. Flats over shops are certainly a significant problem round where we are; there are just empty properties at a time when accommodation is short. There has to be some way in which to encourage these properties back into use, some backstop that allows a local authority to get tough if a landlord will not be reasonable about these things. To my mind, that particularly applies to street frontage property, when the fact that it is empty is apparent to everybody and it becomes a blight on the other people trying to do business. To answer the point made by my noble friend, they can be converted into offices, or starter units for young businesses, which again are in short supply in Lavender Hill, and would be most welcome if we went down that route.

I know that this is a complicated area and I am not at all sure that empty rates is the way in which to attack it, but I would be very grateful for a letter from my noble friend to say how the Government intend to enable neighbourhoods to tackle this problem under the general heading of localism. But for now, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 195ZAZMA withdrawn.

Amendment 195ZAZMAA

Moved by Baroness Royall of Blaisdon

195ZAZMAA: Before Clause 42, Insert the following new Clause-

"Youth councils

(1) Every local authority must establish a council representing the interests of young people within the authority's area, to be known as a "youth council".

(2) A local authority must-

(a) consult the relevant youth council of any authority proposal that may affect the youth council or young people in the community;

(b) provide an opportunity for the youth council to respond to the proposal; and



10 Oct 2011 : Column 1401

(c) take the views of the youth council into account when making a decision about the proposal.

(3) Subsection (2) does not affect the ability of the youth council to make a properly constituted petition to the local authority.

(4) At least 60 per cent of the members of the youth council must be under the age of 18 years."

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: My Lords, I rise to move and speak to Amendment 195ZAZMAA.

I am doing some work at the moment on political engagement of young people and this amendment is the result of meetings that I have had with hundreds of young people up and down the country and with people who are working or have been working in youth services-that is to say, statutory youth services, which are fast diminishing, charities, and organisations such as Girlguiding UK, of which I am a very proud member. What happens to young people and the services that they receive is, of course, crucial to the well-being of this country and the future well-being of individuals and our society. We have the most fantastic young people in our country, who often get a very bad press thanks to a very small minority of them. Most young people in this country are full of energy and have real determination and a real desire to contribute to their communities. Sometimes, however, they need a bit of help. At the moment, rather than being helped, a lot of young people in our society are suffering disproportionately from the cuts, which we believe are too fast and too deep. In my part of the country, in Gloucestershire, the area that I know best, youth services have been decimated. While volunteers are doing an extraordinary job, volunteers are not enough. Young people in our country cannot just depend on volunteers. They need properly trained youth workers as well. The Minister may well say that it is up to local authorities how they spend their money. I think that is a bit of a smokescreen, but that is by the by.

We talk about rights and responsibilities of young people and the fact that they need to get that balance right from a very young age. We all talk about the need to engage our young people more in our communities, and we want to nurture democracy by ensuring that more and more young people vote and perhaps even become councillors or MPs. One of the best ways to engage young people is to include them and to make them part of the democratic processes in which we engage, including the decision-making process. At the moment young people, if they are under the age of 18, are excluded from the decision-making processes of councils despite the fact that so many decisions taken by local councils are extremely important for those young people and have a huge impact on their lives. I am not just talking about youth services. For example, when a decision is taken to cut bus services-sometimes for good reasons and sometimes I would question the reasons-it has a huge impact on the ability of young people to go to college or to sixth form college, and indeed to have a social life. Consequently those young people cannot reach their full potential.

I have tabled my amendment because I think it is very important that young people should have some means of engaging in the decision-making process. This is just one suggestion, on which I hope the Government will look favourably. However, if they

10 Oct 2011 : Column 1402

cannot accept the amendment, I should be very grateful for an opportunity to discuss with the Minister and her officials how we can better include young people in the decision-making process in the future. Of course I understand that at the moment the voting age is 18. Personally, I would argue on other occasions that that should be reduced to 16.

Lord Greaves: Hear, hear.

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: My Lords, we will have that discussion at a later date. For the moment, we have a voting age of 18. Notwithstanding that fact, I think that it is very important that young people who are younger than 18 should have their views properly assessed and that they should have an opportunity to have proper discussions with the people who are taking the important decisions in councils and other bodies that so profoundly affect their lives.

There is another amendment in this group that relates to petitions, but I understand that there may be some other movement from the Government on petitions and referendums. If, however, the current proposals from the Government stand, I would argue that young people themselves should have an opportunity to petition the Government as outlined in Amendment 195ZAZNZA. I beg to move.

Lord Tope: My Lords, if the purpose of this amendment was to enable a short debate on the political engagement of young people, I have no hesitation whatever in supporting that intention. If it is the intention to prescribe how local authorities should do it-and I do not think that it is-it has no place at all in a localism Bill. However, I am assuming it is the former, and indeed I think that the noble Baroness, in moving the amendment, said it was a suggestion-in fact, a very good suggestion. I want briefly to echo the importance of the political engagement of young people in the community. I can only speak with direct experience of my own local authority, where our youth parliament plays a very active role, and which in its elections last year had almost the highest turnout in the whole of London. That is in a relatively small London borough where young people play an active part. Similarly, we have young ambassadors who play a very active part not in matters particularly for young people but in the whole life of the borough, in issues that are of importance to people of all ages.

Therefore I wholly support and encourage the intention of this debate. It is important not just that young people are listened to but that what they are saying is heard and acted on. I can give another example of a project in which I am involved with a new building. We had the young ambassadors round to carry out a very detailed and thorough inspection of it. They raised a whole load of points, both about the physical nature of the building and particularly about the programmes that were being run there. They made a report to us, I ensured that the management board gave them a full written response and they came back six months later to ensure that it was being acted on. That is the sort of engagement that we want, not the rather patronising one where we say, "Yes, of course, that's very good", and then do nothing whatever about it. Real engagement

10 Oct 2011 : Column 1403

means not that we are listening but that we are hearing and that we are acting on their suggestions. To enable me to make that point, I am grateful to the noble Baroness for the amendment. I hope very much that she will not press it, because I do not think that it is for us, in a localism Bill, to be prescribing to local authorities how they should act on this issue; rather it is for us to encourage all local authorities to act on it and to do it effectively.

Lord Lucas: My Lords, in contrast to some of my noble friends, I am very much in favour of the involvement of young people in democracy and in giving them a formal role in it.

Lord Cormack: I hope my noble friend will not mind my pointing out that one can be wholly in favour of young people being involved in democracy without necessarily believing that the age of 16 should be the voting age.

Lord Lucas: My Lords, of course I believe always in the wisdom of my noble friend, even if my own views differ. I note that the Government, in their wisdom, always intend to legislate that people of any age may be members of a neighbourhood forum; so young people may well take part in the formation of policy for their area. I regret that the age at which they may vote on it remains 18. As noble Lords may remember from Committee, I would like to see it a good deal lower. I think that when you get down to a very small area, young people have a much more active and early understanding of what needs to be done in a locality than perhaps they do when you are trying to balance the affairs of a whole local authority, let alone a country. However, I celebrate the wisdom of the noble Baroness in not putting an age limit on participation in neighbourhood forums, and I very much hope that she will encourage other ways of allowing young people to participate in neighbourhood referenda and other aspects of localism.

Lord Cormack: My Lords, I am provoked into making a few remarks. I entirely agree with the noble Lord, Lord Tope, that this amendment does not have a place in the Localism Bill. However, like him, I am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Royall, for raising this issue. I think we must all accept that we have not engaged our young people sufficiently. When we came back for one day after those dreadful riots, I made the point that perhaps we should consider some form of citizenship ceremony for all young people-I believe at the age of 18, although perhaps it could be 16-where they proclaim recognition of their role, their responsibilities and their allegiance. It would demand reciprocation on our part that they have a greater opportunity to participate.

I do not believe and never have believed that the age of 16 is the right age to vote, but that does not invalidate the general point that I am seeking to make and indeed that the noble Baroness was seeking to make in her brief remarks. I will make my remarks equally brief. I hope that when my noble friend the Minister comes to reply, she will at least be able to indicate a general sympathy, just as I hope-when the noble Baroness withdraws her amendment, as I trust

10 Oct 2011 : Column 1404

she will-that we will be able to recognise that this is not actually part of a mandate from the Government in a localism Bill, as the noble Lord, Lord Tope, said. It is merely an opportunity for us to encourage local authorities throughout the country to address the issue of young people perhaps a little more imaginatively than some of them have done-although by no means all.

7 pm

Baroness Hanham: My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness for introducing that interesting short debate on this matter. I have a lot of sympathy with what she has to say about the importance of engaging young people in what is going on. If she will forgive me saying so, though, her amendments are not necessary, and I will tell her why.


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page