My Lords, we are pleased to see this government amendment, which requires an order where functions of a mayoral combined authority are exercisable only by the mayor—subject to delegation to the deputy mayor or another member or officer of the combined authority—to obtain the consent of appropriate authorities.
So far as delegation to the deputy mayor and others is concerned, this would appear to be undertaken by arrangement with the mayor although restrictions can be put on this by the Secretary of State by order. These restrictions would preclude certain general functions being exercisable by the deputy or may specifically enable a limited list of functions. It appears to be the case that, to the extent that the Secretary of State is taking the opportunity to fetter the delegation by order, consent of the appropriate authorities would be required. However, to the extent that the mayor is allowed free rein to arrange for others to exercise his or her functions, the consent of the appropriate authorities would not appear to be required. Is that correct and is it intended?
As I hope we demonstrated throughout the passage of the Bill, there has been substantial support and agreement on these Benches but some have expressed concerns over the position and role of a directly elected mayor. That the functions to be exercisable by the mayor will now require agreement of the relevant authorities, taken together with the prospect of some control over the budget, will provide some comfort to those concerned about the potential accumulation of power in the hands of one individual. We are happy to support the amendment.