Transport Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:45 pm on 9th November 2000.

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Photo of Lord Dixon-Smith Lord Dixon-Smith Conservative 6:45 pm, 9th November 2000

My Lords, Clause 178 seeks to introduce the workplace parking levy. My amendment proposes to remove that clause. I was moved to table the amendment when a fellow toiler at the cliff face of government legislation, who was also studying transport legislation in Scotland, discovered that the smooth monolithic face of the Labour Government on this issue had cracked. A long time ago he tabled an amendment to the transport legislation in Scotland, which is now in Committee, which would have removed the workplace parking levy. Miracle of miracles, within the past few days the Labour-led Government in Scotland have decided that my colleague's proposal is a wise one. They have accepted the amendment and tabled the appropriate consequential amendments in order for that to take effect.

The Minister may well argue that in the United Kingdom where there is devolved government some matters may be treated differently in different parts of the country. We have had that kind of debate in the past. Equally, it is true that an argument which has validity in one part of the United Kingdom almost certainly has validity in another. I believe that the concerns of Scottish trade unions would be shared by their English counterparts if they thought about this matter objectively. We believe that the amendment will help the Bill move forward.

I do not believe that we should treat Scottish opinion lightly. Slightly further on in the Marshalled List one finds a government amendment in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Macdonald of Tradeston, which deals with a little matter of rural speed limits. That particular amendment provides that the Secretary of State shall consult Scottish Ministers and the National Assembly for Wales. Clearly, the Minister takes Scottish opinion quite seriously. I believe that in the interests of the Bill we should agree with Scotland on this particular issue and remove the workplace parking levy from the Bill. I beg to move.