Report (5th Day)

Part of Health and Social Care Bill – in the House of Lords at 4:15 pm on 6th March 2012.

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Photo of Earl Howe Earl Howe The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health 4:15 pm, 6th March 2012

My Lords, we are talking about Amendment 178A. I disagree with the noble Baroness's reading of it. It is quite clear what it says. It is geared towards making the NHS the preferred provider. The noble Baroness shakes her head. If I have misunderstood and that is not her intention, I will obviously retract that.

Yet the amendment would increase the risk of commissioners facing legal challenge under procurement law. As the noble Baroness pointed out in 2010,

"procurement must be transparent and non-discriminatory".-[Hansard, 9/3/10; col. 137.]

Amendment 178A would be a retrograde step. I ask the noble Baroness to withdraw it, as well as the other amendment in this group.