Report (3rd Day)
Public Bodies Bill [HL]
Lord Kennedy of Southwark (Labour)
My Lords, I support Amendment 65 moved by my noble friend Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, and in doing so I shall speak to Amendment 67 tabled in my name, although I will not move it separately. This amendment, along with all the amendments in this group, seeks to improve the consultation process that holds Ministers to account by Parliament. Amendment 67 would place a duty on Ministers to consult with the relevant local government body and any relevant local authority. Who could be against that? I do think that Clause 10(1)(b) and (g) are specific enough on their own because they leave too much in doubt about what is happening. You could say that we are being left sitting in a ministerial fog when what we need is clarity. My amendment would give that clarity by placing a clear and unambiguous duty to consult local government where those functions which are going to be subject to an order have a bearing on local government.
I shall be interested to hear what the Minister has to say. I think that my amendment will help the Government along towards working more closely with local government and should cause no problems. It could even be said that it moves the Bill a bit further along the localism road that the Government say they are so keen to promote. I shall leave it there. I echo the comments of my noble friend Lord Hunt of Kings Heath in saying that I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Taylor of Holbeach, will feel able to move a little on this point.