Barbara Keeley (Worsley and Eccles South, Labour)
I welcome you, Mr Bayley, to the Chair; it is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship.
The Minister will understand that we think the powers in clause 5, on which we have just voted, are too sweeping, because we covered that at some length this morning. In terms of the procedure for the orders, will the Minister tell us more about the process of further consultation? There is concern about consultation—I still have great concerns. If there had been a belief on the part of the Government and ministerial team in consultation, there would have been rather more consultation on parts of this Bill. For instance, the whole section regarding community empowerment measures has had very little consultation or scrutiny. That makes it difficult for local authorities to plan. It also makes it difficult for voluntary and community organisations, because all those organisations are currently affected by the cuts imposed by the Government. Will future consultation on any changes affecting measures in the Bill be better than that we have seen in the run-up to the Bill?
Andrew Stunell (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Communities and Local Government; Hazel Grove, Liberal Democrat)
The correct answer to the question is, yes, we certainly intend the consultation to be appropriate and thorough, and to be taken seriously by the Secretary of State when he receives it, as he is duty bound to do.