My Lords, Members of your Lordships’ House will have observed that I am short. I intended this speech to be equally short, but I will give it a minute or two, in order to allow this debate to be kept to five minutes or thereabouts. Then we can proceed with the very important Statement which is to follow. Between us, the noble Baroness and I will no doubt get the clock to 4.30 pm.
It would be anomalous if the existing general power of competence which applies to local government in its manifestation across the country was not to be matched with a similar power for the combined authorities. The whole point of the combined authorities is to give them a wider range of functions than local government generally enjoys and for them to take on a wider role across the provision of a range of public services. Therefore, a general power of competence would facilitate the implementation of the Government’s objectives, which are shared by Members on all sides of your Lordships’ House. I hope that the Minister will concur with that view at some little length. I beg to move.