My Lords, one of the advantages of the Bill—as I have read it and, I hope, understood it—is that it is a receptacle in central government for the proposals coming from local government. There are not really any severe restrictions on that. There was one, on which we had a Division, that may well have resulted in an even more rigid arrangement than was in place or, indeed, than the noble Lord, Lord McKenzie, thought when he moved it. Anyway, I shall not go into that now.
Originally the Bill was intended to be extremely flexible on this question, with suggestions from any size of authority and any combination of authority. I entirely accept what the noble Baroness, Lady Hollis of Heigham, has said, with her great experience of local government. I am sure that there is scope for a great number of different types of co-operation that will have the effect of bringing forward the sort of proposals made by the noble Lord opposite when he was Deputy Prime Minister—at that time it was the north in particular, but this is about the possibility of co-operation throughout the country—that can give life to the economic aspirations of the people of an area.