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 McIntosh of Haringey Lord McIntosh of Haringey Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords) 6:45 pm, 9th November 2000

My Lords, it is useful to have the candid admission that this is a wrecking amendment; or at least wrecking with regard to Chapter II of Part III of the Bill. One would be hard put to have a wrecking amendment for the whole Bill. I think that in the 18th century the Scots objected very strongly to being called North Britain. Now it looks as if the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, wishes England to be thought of as South Britain, or South Scotland even; and for us slavishly to follow the example of the Scottish Parliament. As the noble Lord, Lord Mackay, rightly said--I am in danger of taking on a Scots accent, but I shall try to avoid it--this is devolution. Indeed, that is what it is about. My understanding is that Scottish local authorities have expressed little interest in bringing forward workplace parking schemes in contrast with this country--may I call England "this country"?--where 26 local authorities have already joined our Charging Development Partnership. The Bill empowers local authorities outside London to bring forward a scheme in their area. It gives local authorities the discretion they want. It gives them the powers for which they have been asking. It is entirely appropriate that where that is the case we should continue to give them the discretion they want. They do not have to bring forward schemes, but if they want to--and it appears that they do want to--it is right that we should keep Chapter II of Part III of the Bill.

The analogy with the speed limit legislation is entirely false. Speed limits are a matter for GB legislation. It is not a devolved matter and could not be. It would be extremely confusing if there were different general speed limits in different parts of the country. On the other hand, workplace parking schemes are entirely different. We believe that it is right to continue with this proposal, as is the wish of local authorities in England.