Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill [HL] — Commons Amendments

– in the House of Lords at 3:07 pm on 12th January 2016.

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Votes in this debate

Relevant documents: 1st, 3rd, 4th and 17th Reports from the Delegated Powers Committee

Motion on Amendments 1 to 18

Moved by Baroness Williams of Trafford

That this House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments 1 to 18.

1: Clause 1, page 1, line 10, at end insert—

“(ba) functions exercisable by a Minister of the Crown that have been devolved as a result of agreements so as to become exercisable by a mayor for the area of a combined authority (including information as to any such functions that remain exercisable by a Minister of the Crown as a result of an agreement providing for functions to be exercisable jointly or concurrently);”

2: Clause 1, page 1, line 11, after “functions” insert “(so far as not falling within paragraph (ba))”

3: Clause 1, page 1, line 14, leave out “under section 2”

4: Clause 1, page 1, line 19, at end insert—

“( ) In this section—

“combined authority” means a combined authority established under section 103 of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009;

“Minister of the Crown” has the same meaning as in the Ministers of the Crown Act 1975.”

5: Clause 2, page 2, line 1, leave out Clause 2

6: Clause 3, page 2, line 18, leave out subsection (2)

7: Clause 3, page 3, line 8, leave out from “authority,” to end of line 10 and insert “there are one or more non-consenting constituent councils but the combined authority and at least two constituent councils consent.”

8: Clause 3, page 3, line 13, leave out second “the” and insert “each”

9: Clause 3, page 3, line 15, leave out subsection (5)

10: Clause 5, page 4, line 26, at end insert “, or

(c) so far as authorised by an order made by the Secretary of State—

(i) for a person appointed as the deputy mayor for policing and crime by virtue of an order under paragraph 3(1) of Schedule 2, or

(ii) for a committee of the combined authority, consisting of members appointed by the mayor (whether or not members of the authority), to exercise any such function.

( ) An order under subsection (3)(c)(ii) may include provision—

(a) about the membership of the committee;

(b) about the member of the committee who is to be its chair;

(c) about the appointment of members;

(d) about the voting powers of members (including provision for different weight to be given to the vote of different descriptions of member);

(e) about information held by the combined authority that must, or must not, be disclosed to the committee for purposes connected to the exercise of the committee’s functions;

(f) applying (with or without modifications) sections 15 to 17 of, and Schedule 1 to, the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 (political balance on local authority committees etc).”

11: Clause 5, page 4, line 39, leave out paragraph (b) and insert—

“(b) in accordance with arrangements made by virtue of this section or section 107DA.”

12: Clause 5, page 4, line 41, at end insert—

“( ) include provision for general functions to be exercisable by the mayor subject to conditions or limitations specified in the order (including, for example, a condition for general functions to be exercisable only with the consent of the appropriate authorities (as defined by section 107B(6)));”

13: Clause 5, page 5, line 3, at end insert—

“( ) provide that functions that the mayoral combined authority discharges in accordance with arrangements under section 101(1)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972 (discharge of local authority functions by another authority) are to be treated as general functions exercisable by the mayor (so far as authorised by the arrangements).”

14: Clause 5, page 5, line 12, at end insert “, and

( ) in the case of an order made in relation to an existing mayoral combined authority, the mayor of the authority.”

15: Clause 5, page 5, line 14, leave out “the” and insert “a”

16: Clause 5, page 5, line 16, at end insert—

“107DA Joint exercise of general functions

(1) The Secretary of State may by order make provision for, or in connection with, permitting arrangements under section 101(5) of the Local Government Act 1972 to be entered into in relation to general functions of a mayor for the area of a combined authority.

(2) Provision under subsection (1) may include provision—

(a) for the mayor for the area of a combined authority to be a party to the arrangements in place of, or jointly with, the authority;

(b) about the membership of any joint committee;

(c) about the member of the joint committee who is to be its chair;

(d) about the appointment of members to a joint committee;

(e) about the voting powers of members of a joint committee (including provision for different weight to be given to the vote of different descriptions of member).

(3) Provision under subsection (2)(b) to (d) may include provision for the mayor or other persons—

(a) to determine the number of members;

(b) to have the power to appoint members (whether or not members of the combined authority or a local authority that is a party to the arrangements).

(4) Provision under subsection (2)(c) may include provision as to the circumstances in which appointments to a joint committee need not be made in accordance with sections 15 to 17 of, and Schedule 1 to, the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 (political balance on local authority committees etc).

(5) In this section references to a joint committee are to a joint committee falling within section 101(5)(a) of the Local Government Act 1972 that is authorised to discharge, by virtue of an order under this section, general functions of a mayor for the area of a combined authority.”

17: Clause 5, page 5, line 32, at end insert “, and

( ) in the case of an order made in relation to an existing mayoral combined authority, the mayor of the authority.”

18: Clause 5, page 6, line 14, leave out “the” and insert “a”

Photo of Baroness Williams of Trafford Baroness Williams of Trafford The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

My Lords, in moving en bloc that this House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments 1 to 18, I will also speak to Commons Amendments 21 to 39, 42 to 44, 62 to 73, 75, 76, 78, 79 and 80 to 82, and speak about the amendments that the noble Lord, Lord Beecham, has tabled to Commons Amendment 31 and Commons Amendment 36.

I am very pleased to put forward this group of amendments, which demonstrate the progress that has been made since the Bill was first introduced last May and that the Government have listened to the views made known in this House and in the other place. I do not wish to detain the House too long on this group, as we have a lot to discuss, but I put on record that I am grateful for the continued constructive approach of noble Lords opposite, particularly the noble Lords, Lord McKenzie, Lord Beecham and—I have just spotted him—Lord Smith of Leigh and Lord Shipley. I am also grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Warner, for the ongoing discussions to refine his clause on health matters, but we shall return to those matters later today.

It is in that spirit that I first speak to Amendments 1, 2 and 4, where the Government are pleased to accept the amendments inserted by this House for an annual report by the Secretary of State on devolution. These further amendments came as a result of listening to the debate in the other place. They will ensure that the Secretary of State’s annual report will include information on the extent to which powers that have been devolved to a mayor also remain exercisable by a Minister of the Crown. It is only right that the Government are transparent when it comes to the devolution of powers to both local and combined authorities and these amendments, which the Government introduced in the other place, do just that.

I shall, of course, listen to noble Lords very carefully when they speak later today, but I cannot help noticing that they have not tabled anything for debate in response to Amendments 3 and 5, which remove Clause 2, inserted in this place against the wishes of the Government. We have removed the requirement that each Bill placed before Parliament be accompanied by a ministerial Statement explaining the extent to which the provisions are compatible with devolution. We are concerned with the reality of devolution. The Bill provides the necessary provisions to achieve genuine devolution of powers to those areas that want it. For many Bills, such a devolution statement would represent superfluous bureaucracy, having no implication for functions that can be devolved, such as national security, defence and international relations. The removal of the clause was not opposed in the other place and we remain of the view that these provisions should not be included in the Bill.

Amendment 6 removes the requirement that a mayor cannot be a precondition of transferring local authority or public authority functions to a combined authority. In our manifesto we specifically committed to,

“devolve far-reaching powers over economic development, transport and social care to large cities which choose to have elected mayors”.

Government policy, therefore, is expressly to make the transfer of local authority or public authority functions to a combined authority dependent on that local authority having a mayor. This is because, if areas are to have these new, far-reaching powers, they must adopt strong governance and accountability arrangements. People need to know who is responsible for decisions affecting their daily lives and who to hold to account.

However, we are not forcing mayors on anyone. Whether an area has a mayor and the far-reaching powers that come with having one is entirely a matter for local areas. We want to hear from those areas what their proposals are, what powers and budgets they want devolved to them, and what governance arrangements they need to support those powers and budgets. But, if an area wants to have a devolution deal of the scale and ambition of Greater Manchester’s, for those kinds of functions to be devolved, having a directly elected mayor is an essential prerequisite.

This requirement, which Amendment 6 removes, poses major risks to the delivery of the Greater Manchester and Sheffield city region deals. This is because, if the Government tried to make orders using the powers in new Section 107A to deliver these deals, there is a possibility that the courts would find that these deals contravened this statutory prohibition, the effect of which would be likely to result in no further orders being made to transfer additional functions to that area. This is an outcome that I doubt anyone would want. The other place divided twice and decided by majorities of 81 and 95 respectively to remove the requirement. The message from the elected House is clear. For these reasons, I hope noble Lords will agree to this amendment.

Amendments 7, 8, 15, 18, 21, 22, 23, 30 and 82 give more flexibility over how devolution can work for different places. The amendments build on the provisions we approved to further enhance the flexibility for existing combined authorities where one or more of the constituent local authorities do not wish to sign up to certain aspects of devolution.

As it left us, the Bill enabled a local authority to be removed from a combined authority if it does not agree to the combined authority’s wish to adopt the position of mayor. These amendments enable one or more councils that do not want to adopt a mayor or to agree to the first devolution of powers to be removed from the combined authority. This means that councils that do not wish to agree to such aspects of the deal cannot be forced to, but neither can they prevent the combined authority and councils that do agree to the adoption of mayor or the devolved powers proceeding with these.

Amendments 9, 12, 14, 17, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 42, 43, 44 and 76 simplify and harmonise the Bill’s provisions relating to the local consents needed before powers can be conferred or exercised. As a general rule, the constituent authorities and the combined authority—where there is one—would need to consent before any secondary legislation is made. And where there is one, the mayor would need to consent before any secondary legislation can be made to change the area of a combined authority or specify any functions to be exercisable individually by a mayor.

Amendments 31, 32, 33, 80 and 81 enable combined authorities to be established, and functions conferred, on a more flexible basis. I will also speak to the amendment to Commons Amendment 31 which is in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Beecham. The Government made these amendments in the other place in response to powerful interventions by the Member for Sheffield South East and the chair of the Communities and Local Government Select Committee.

He and others on the opposition Benches were concerned that some areas were finding it challenging to secure agreement from all councils concerned about the geography over which a combined authority should be established.

The noble Lord, Lord Beecham, is seeking through his amendment to remove this additional flexibility—in effect to require that both district and county councils must consent before any changes to the combined authority or movement of functions can be made. I want to put it beyond any doubt that these amendments do not in themselves change any combined authority in any place. In line with the Bill’s enabling approach, they purely provide additional flexibility in two-tier local government areas so that a district or county council would be able to join an existing combined authority with the agreement of the local authority itself and the combined authority, provided that the remaining statutory requirements are satisfied.

The amendments also make corresponding provision around membership of the combined authorities and enable powers to be conferred with the agreement of the same authorities. So a district council could join a combined authority if the combined authority and the district council consent: the county council’s consent would not be needed. Or a county council could join a combined authority if the combined authority and the county council consent: the consent of the district councils in the two-tier local government area would not be needed. This means that, before laying a draft order to implement such provisions, the Secretary of State would need to be satisfied that making such a change would lead to an improvement of the exercise of the statutory functions and would also have regard to the need to secure effective and convenient local government and reflect effective and convenient local government. There would need to be a consultation on the proposed change to the area and each House of Parliament would, of course, need to approve such an order before it could be made.

I reassure noble Lords that the Government’s aim, as it has been throughout the devolution discussions, is to build consensus, because that is how devolution will last. We will work with local areas to deliver economically sensible areas of devolution with effective governance. When exercising these powers, the Secretary of State has committed to maintain the preference for consensus which he has shown to date. The amendments are intended to provide that no council could unreasonably veto a proposal for an area to join an existing combined authority which the other councils involved and the combined authority agreed. At the very least, no authority can reasonably refuse to discuss with a neighbour the potential for reform. I hope that noble Lords will see the merits in these amendments and agree that they are in line with the enabling approach of the Bill.

I will now move to Amendments 34 to 39, which amend Clause 16 which streamlines the establishment of governance arrangements. In doing so, I hope to speak early to the amendment to Commons Amendment 36 which is in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Beecham. The Government accepted Amendment 36, which was a Back-Bench amendment tabled in the other place. It enables the Secretary of State to make regulations to fast-track the process for structural or boundary change in relation to a two-tier council area without the need for the unanimous consent of the affected councils.

In considering this proposition, the Government further modified it to ensure that this provision would be piloted for a period of no longer than three years, expiring on 31 March 2019. Noble Lords will recall that we discussed the tensions that can result from the complexity of two-tier arrangements and how these might be simplified where there is a lack of consensus about how it might best be achieved. Similar concerns were also expressed in the other place about the potential for a council to effectively veto any proposals that might lead to the fast-tracking of any kind of structural or boundary change, however sensible and supported they might be.

We heard the arguments for and against the proposal and had much sympathy with the underlying proposition that, where there is a sensible structural change to be made which would benefit the wider area, it should not be possible for any one council in an area to effectively veto the consideration of such a proposal. That is why we accepted the amendment, but on the basis that it be piloted for three years. We have deliberately tied the end of the pilot to coincide with the Secretary of State’s fourth devolution report to Parliament.

The noble Lord, Lord Beecham, is seeking to require a consenting local authority to demonstrate that it has made reasonable efforts to achieve local consensus for proposed changes to structural or boundary provision. I hope that the House will agree that the Secretary of State has made it quite clear that the way to proceed is through consensus. Any subsequent draft regulations would have to be approved by both Houses, and, at the same time as laying these, the Secretary of State is also required to lay before Parliament a report explaining the effect of the regulations, including a description of any consultation or information about representations considered by the Secretary of State. This would already enable Parliament to take a view on the extent to which efforts had been made to reach local consensus.

Above all, the crux of the matter is this: areas can already submit unitary proposals to the Secretary of State, with or without the consent of all local authorities, under the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007. The amendment merely allows the Secretary of State to fast-track implementation where there is a strong case to proceed.

Amendments 34 and 35 and Amendments 37 to 39 are largely technical. They clarify the nature and range of matters that the Secretary of State can make regulations about, should he be asked to do so by areas putting any such proposals to him. They do not extend the scope of the provisions first presented to this House.

Amendments 10 and 11 provide additional options for a mayor to be supported in undertaking their mayoral functions. As it left this House, the Bill enabled a mayor to delegate general mayoral functions to the deputy mayor, or to a member or officer of the combined authority. These amendments enable a mayor to delegate functions specified by order to a committee appointed by the mayor, or to the deputy mayor for policing and crime.

Before it could be made, the order would, of course, need local consent, agreement from the Secretary of State and approval from Parliament. Amendments 13, 16 and 75 provide further flexibilities for mayoral combined authorities. They enable, if specified by order, mayors of combined authorities, if they so choose, to exercise any of their general functions jointly with other authorities or combined authorities with the same functions. The orders would specify the arrangements for any such joint committees, such as the establishment, membership, chairmanship, the number and appointment of members, and the voting powers of members.

These amendments also provide that mayoral functions to be exercised jointly must be exercised by a joint committee established by the mayor, and that such committees would be subject to the same requirements for access to meetings and papers as any other local authority committee. They would, for example, enable a joint committee comprising the mayors of two combined authorities, or a combined authority mayor and local authorities, to exercise their functions jointly across the area, providing greater flexibility about how mayors, combined authorities and local authorities can work together. We believe that these amendments provide genuine additional flexibility in the way in which mayors of combined authorities can discharge jointly—that is, where all the councils involved have that function and they see benefit in exercising it jointly over a wider area.

Amendments 62, 63, and 73 are drafting changes that clarify the timing of an order transferring PCC functions to an elected mayor and ensure that, in line with provisions for police and crime commissioners generally, a person acting temporarily in place of a mayor with PCC functions cannot carry out particular strategic functions such as issuing a police and crime plan.

Amendments 64 to 70 and 72 make minor drafting changes so that a deputy mayor appointed in respect of a police and crime commissioner’s function is to be known as the deputy,

“mayor for policing and crime”, rather than the deputy PCC mayor. This brings the Bill into line with arrangements in London, therefore providing clarity and consistency in the post title of mayoral deputies with police and crime commissioner functions.

Amendment 71 would enable the Secretary of State by order to give a police and crime panel scrutiny functions over the general functions of the mayor where those functions are ones that the mayor has arranged for the deputy mayor for policing and crime to exercise. This is necessary to ensure that scrutiny of these functions and any related functions are exercised by the most appropriate body: namely, the police and crime panel.

Finally, Amendments 78 and 79 enable functions to be discharged jointly, as well as concurrently, with economic prosperity boards.

Photo of Lord Kennedy of Southwark Lord Kennedy of Southwark Shadow Spokesperson (Housing), Opposition Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs) 3:15 pm, 12th January 2016

My Lords, I will contain my remarks largely to the amendments of my noble friend Lord Beecham. Regarding some of the amendments that the Minister has mentioned, it is fair to say that we welcome the fact that the Commons has accepted the points raised here by noble Lords, but we regret that some have not been agreed. I notice that the Minister said that it is up to local areas to agree whether they want to have mayors. That is correct but, standing here now, I think of the situation that Bristol finds itself in. It is uniquely, except for London, unable to decide that it does not want to have a mayor any more. We have discussed that issue before and it is regrettable.

I also find it hard to accept that a Government who talk about devolution and localism should then seek to impose structures, not allowing an authority to decide its own best form of governance. Is that really the right way forward? One of the problems with the Government’s handling of these matters is in not always allowing a local authority to decide the proper mechanism for its area.

My noble friend Lord Beecham has tabled a number of amendments relating to Commons Amendment 31, which was put into the Bill very late in the day during consideration on Report in the other place. It is fair to say that this provision took local government by surprise. Considerable concern has been expressed about the aim to give districts and counties the right to request a governance change without regard to the other authority. It surely must be that seeking agreement by working in collaboration is the best way forward. I note what the Minister said about trying to get consensus but that is why my noble friend Lord Beecham has tabled his amendments. They are about ensuring that we get consensus on these things.

It would be helpful if the noble Baroness, Lady Williams of Trafford, could explain further how the government amendments came about. I know that she made reference to Mr Clive Betts, and I am conscious that the amendment came from him, but we want to know a bit more about the discussions that took place, including those with local government. Government Amendment 31 leaves too much to chance, which is why my noble friend seeks to ensure a more collaborative process.

The Minister explained the situation but it is fair to say that her explanation, although clear, was quite complicated. If it is complicated for this House, what is it going to be like on the ground? It will be even more complicated. Transport is now delivered by one area and education by another. We then have directly elected mayors and PCCs, with the possibility of the fire and rescue service also being taken over. This seems to me a recipe not for good governance but for confusion and a lack of democratic accountability.

I know the east Midlands very well, as I worked there for about 15 years. Both Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire are very well-run authorities. It has not come from these councils or authorities to have this provision; it has clearly come from a bit further north in Sheffield. I see no desire among local residents there to have different arrangements. As your Lordships will know, both counties have a proud history. Derby and Nottingham left them and are now unitary authorities. They are both large rural areas with large towns. They have a proud mining history but are also a centre for new start-up businesses and for more established businesses such as—

Photo of Lord Scriven Lord Scriven Liberal Democrat 3:30 pm, 12th January 2016

Will the noble Lord give way? I am a former leader of Sheffield City Council and a resident of the city. Has the noble Lord spoken to the leaders of Chesterfield and Bassetlaw councils, where people may have a different view to the one he has just expressed?

Photo of Lord Kennedy of Southwark Lord Kennedy of Southwark Shadow Spokesperson (Housing), Opposition Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

I have not spoken to the leaders of Chesterfield or Bassetlaw councils but I have spoken to the leaders of Derbyshire County Council and Nottinghamshire County Council. It is an area I know quite well, but I accept we are not going to agree on all our points.

This is also an area of considerable natural beauty with a thriving tourism industry. I would be grateful if the noble Baroness could talk about the devolution deal for Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. Discussions are taking place with those councils, but there are concerns. They are worried that any deal there will be potentially undermined by having further discussions about other councils leaving that area. This is not a good way of going forward.

Photo of Lord Shipley Lord Shipley Liberal Democrat

My Lords, there are advantages and disadvantages when this House considers a Bill in advance of the House of Commons. The advantages are that we can take an early view of proposals and make suggestions for the other place to consider. Among the disadvantages is that we can be asked to consider a very large number of amendments from the Government at a very late stage. This afternoon, we have 87 government amendments, of which 59 are in this group alone. This adds to the complexity and means that we have to be very careful in agreeing to amendments, as we have not had fuller consideration of them in Committee.

That said, in many cases, the amendments proposed by the Government improve the Bill. They clarify and enable, and they promote localism. We will shortly, I hope, have a further discussion about Amendments 31A and 36A, but the Minister has moved that we agree with Amendments 1 to 18 at this stage, and I want to say one or two things about the overall content and context of the amendments under discussion. The promotion of localism has to be a partnership if it is to be successful, which I think is what the Minister has said. For that reason, the additional powers now being proposed for the Secretary of State need to be used very sparingly, and I hope we will hear from the Minister further confirmation as the afternoon progresses that this is indeed the Government’s intention. In that context, Amendments 31, 31A, 36 and 36A are extremely important, and I support the amendments which will be moved later this afternoon by the noble Lord, Lord Beecham.

We have also received the advice of the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee, which published its comments on 22 December. That committee rightly pointed out that when we considered the Bill in the summer, the Government gave assurances that the powers of the Secretary of State over brokering bespoke deals would be constrained by the need for all councils in a given area to consent. That requirement no longer has to apply, at least until March 2019.

On these Benches we have always been strong advocates of localism and the further devolution of powers to local authorities or combinations of them. But partnership and consent matter if devolution is to work. For that reason, I hope that we will hear assurances from the Minister that the powers will be used very sparingly, that they will only be used in circumstances that promote effective localism and that the procedural guarantees sought by the noble Lord, Lord Beecham, will be followed so that local authorities are encouraged to work collaboratively together.

I have two further points. The Minister referred to the fact that there will be an annual report. I am very pleased about that in the context of all our debates in Committee and on Report. Although not all of the amendments proposed by your Lordships’ House were agreed in the other place, the annual report will give a focus for clarifying and sharing what has happened, what good practice has been promoted and which pilots have proved successful. It is very important that that does not stay in Whitehall with Ministers but is shared with the whole country. I hope that the Minister will be able to confirm that not only will that annual report be issued but this House will have the opportunity to debate it.

The second issue I want to draw attention to from the Minister’s opening speech is her use of the words strong governance. She said that an elected mayor model is a model for strong governance, so that the public know where responsibilities lie. I have expressed doubts about the single-leader model and the ability of a single person to do so many things—perhaps, to be the police and crime commissioner or to take on responsibility through the combined authority structure for fire and rescue. If NHS matters or responsibility for children’s services are to be devolved to a combined authority level, it seems difficult for one person to do so very much and remain democratically accountable. I can hear the Minister’s reply, which will be that those matters will then be devolved to other leaders within the combined authority. We have had these debates before in the summer. Of course, we do not have elected mayors yet in most places and will not for the next two or three years, but it will be very important to review how they are performing as part of the annual report.

I have two concerns about this in a democratic sense. One is that councillors of constituent authorities will know less and less about what is actually happening in their areas because more and more decisions will effectively be centralised. Secondly, the general public may not understand who will be responsible for a decision and where it should be challenged if they do not agree with it. Reviewing that constantly seems very important.

That is all I want to say at this stage. I may say a bit more when the noble Lord, Lord Beecham, moves his amendments to Amendments 31 and 36 but, for the moment, I think that there is a different mood in England now about devolution. There are problems and, in some places, occasional conflicts, but, in the main, there is a willingness to accept devolved powers from Whitehall and Westminster—indeed, a very strong desire to do so. The moves of the previous Government and this one have demonstrated that the appetite is there for those devolved powers to be granted.

Photo of Lord Beecham Lord Beecham Shadow Spokesperson (Housing), Shadow Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow Spokesperson (Justice)

My Lords, for the avoidance of doubt, I should say that, although I am speaking from the Back Benches, I have not resigned from the Front Bench, nor have I yet been removed from it.

I am grateful to the Minister for the meeting she held yesterday to explain the 50 or so amendments in this group—almost constituting a Bill in themselves. In addition to the points made by my noble friend Lord Kennedy, I would be grateful if she explained in more detail the effect of Amendment 34 on electoral arrangements. What would be covered by the order-making power? Would it extend to ward boundary changes, council size or the electoral cycle? Will the function be carried out by the Secretary of State or the Electoral Commission? If there is to be secondary legislation, will it be by affirmative resolution?

The noble Lord, Lord Shipley, has already referred to the report of the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee. In a spirit of consensus, no doubt, he did not quite quote the committee’s rather stringent comments about the way the Government have proceeded. Paragraph 2 of the report states:

Amendment 36 is one of a number of amendments to clause 16 of the Bill. Clause 16 confers a power on the Secretary of State by regulations to make changes to the governance arrangements, constitution and membership, and the structural and boundary arrangements”.

Having considered the Government’s response, the committee concluded:

“We remain of the view that the powers conferred by clause 16 are inappropriate in the absence of the kinds of constraints and protections which apply to combined authorities under Part 6 of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009. Amendment 36, which will have the effect of weakening the consent regime under clause 16, serves only to strengthen our view in this regard”.

The report was published on 22 December. We are now half way through January and the Government have not yet responded except, by implication, to reject it by ignoring it. Perhaps the Minister will give some explanation of the Government’s position on the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee’s report.

More generally, it is necessary to ask whether the Government have thought through the implications of the impact of some of the changes the amendments in this group and the other groups may have on the existing local government structure if, for example, district councils in two-tier areas join combined authorities, as is apparently envisaged in the case of some districts in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. They may join for the purposes of participating in infrastructure schemes or economic development while remaining within their county councils for other services, for example, education or social care. What if the combined authority then seeks to take responsibility for the NHS? This is happening in Greater Manchester. My noble friend Lord Smith will no doubt enlighten us on the progress that is being made there, which will be watched with interest, not to say fascination, by others in local government.

What happens in areas where district councils depart from their county for some purposes but not for others? Would public health and child and adult services have to be transferred to the combined authority, given that Amendments 21 and 22 refer only to the consent of members of the combined authority? If so, what impact might that have on the services in what is left of the county council? This is one of the effects of Amendment 45, which revokes the requirement for a local authority to consent to regulations revoking a transfer of functions where the revocation relates to health service functions. If not, what is the purpose of Amendment 45? Further, what, if any, are the implications for police and fire services, on which the noble Lord, Lord Shipley, briefly touched?

Moreover, given that the revenue support grant is to disappear and the entirety of business rates will henceforth accrue to local authorities, have the Government thought through the implications for areas in which districts might opt to join the neighbouring combined authority for some purposes—for example, economic development—but not others? Where would the business rates generated in those districts go? If they go in whole or in part to the district or the combined authority, is there not a risk that services to other parts of the existing county, which would have benefited from business rates in that area, will suffer a potential risk because they may not have a proportionate business rate income, actual or potential, in the rest of the county and may suffer as a result? Are these the sort of matters the Secretary of State will consider under Amendments 23 and 42? If so, what criteria are envisaged to apply?

The amendments in my name have effectively been more than adequately covered by my noble friend Lord Kennedy. The need for a consensual approach, which I think is right, was acknowledged by Ministers in what was almost a last-minute debate on the Bill in the House of Commons. However, the amendments seek only to strengthen the process under which conclusion might be reached; they do not postulate a particular outcome but emphasise the importance of seeking consensus, particularly among the communities that would be affected, not only within those districts that might seek to join in a combined authority but in the residual area of the county that may be affected by that decision.

There are people in local government, and I am one of them, who might be accused of being paranoid about this Government’s attitude to local government, but that is because it is very difficult to avoid the conclusion after the past five and a half years that they are out to get us in so many ways. It must be asked: are these measures the first step towards a further wholesale reorganisation of local government, beginning but not necessarily ending with the disappearance of two-tier local government in the counties? Will the Government disavow any such intention and any aspirations to replace existing unitary councils by transferring their functions to an elected mayor and a single elected combined authority? I dare say that my noble friend Lady Hollis may have some views on that point, which she has made before forcefully and with her customary eloquence.

Is there any question of merging or reorganising what may be truncated counties shorn of significant population? If, to take a couple of counties at random, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire were to find that a significant number of district councils had elected to join a combined authority—if that had been agreed by whatever process, including consensus—and they were left shorn of a substantial income base and a substantial population, would the temptation not then arise for the

Government to suggest that the residual parts of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire should be combined into a new authority? That would be a massive and radical change.

The concept of devolution is welcome but, as has previously been made clear by noble Lords in discussing the Bill, and indeed today by my noble friend Lord Kennedy and the noble Lord, Lord Shipley, there is real concern about these and other aspects, not least the Government’s adoption of what might be called the Henry Ford approach—insisting upon having an elected mayor as a condition of the devolution deal. In this case, it is not a question of having any colour car as long as it is black; rather, you can have devolution as long as you have an elected mayor. However, there remains a major question as to whether the Government’s new model structures would be supplied with sufficient petrol in their fuel tanks.

Photo of Baroness Williams of Trafford Baroness Williams of Trafford The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government 3:45 pm, 12th January 2016

My Lords, I thank all noble Lords who have spoken in this debate. I shall start with the question from the noble Lord, Lord Kennedy, about two-tier authorities and what sorts of discussions we have been involved with. On a personal level, I have spoken to councils up and down the country. While I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Scriven, that there is not consensus across the country, there is certainly the feeling that in some areas districts might feel vetoed by counties and vice versa, so this provision will enable either districts or counties to move in the way that they would wish. Consensus is of course the thing that we are seeking, but we also do not want authorities to be able to veto others in the aims that they seek to achieve.

The noble Lord asked me about transport across combined authority areas. We shall get on to transport in later groups, but of course Transport for the North, which will cover a vast area, will deal with just that issue, because of course transport does not start at one local authority boundary and finish at the other end of it; it transcends areas and is ideally placed to be dealt with on that much broader scale.

To go back to the first point, I understand that officials have held discussions with the County Councils Network and with the authorities involved—I am going beyond what I have been doing. Extensive discussions have taken place across the country.

The noble Lord also talked about the Bristol issue. Noble Lords will recall that an amendment was moved in this place, which the other place accepted, which put the Bristol mayor in the same position as mayors of other authorities, so that the local electorate can petition for a referendum to be held on whether mayoral governance in Bristol should continue and such a referendum is able to be held after the 10-year moratorium period—therefore from 2022. The other place accepted this as Clause 21 as the Bill left the other place.

The noble Lord, Lord Shipley, talked about powers being used very circumspectly. As the Secretary of State made clear in the other place, when he exercises those powers which the amendments made in the other place have given him, he will maintain the preference for consensus which he has shown to date, and the Government’s aim is to build on that consensus.

The noble Lord also talked about the large number of amendments which have come back to this House, and I agree with him that there are a large number. However, he also talked about the sensibleness of most of those amendments and about the need to work in partnership. He is absolutely right that devolution will not be effective in the long term unless partnership is effective. That is why the word “consensus” has been mentioned so much in today’s debate, because unless those local authorities can work together, they will not succeed in their aims for growth and other things.

The noble Lord also asked for further assurances that the powers will be used sparingly and that the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Beecham, would be reflected in the annual report. I hope that in my initial speech I gave those assurances, and I will give them again. Of course what will go into the report will be a matter for Bill managers, but I hope that I have made my feelings clear on that.

Both the noble Lords, Lord Shipley and Lord Beecham, talked about the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee. I wrote yesterday—and I accept some criticism for the lateness of that letter—about Amendment 36, that,

“the context for these regulations making provision about local authority structures will be the implementation of devolution deals, specifically fast tracking the processes of such legislation as the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007. I also commented”— back on 29 June

“as you rightly refer, to the need for consent by all councils being sufficient safeguard that fast tracking will not remove inappropriately any essential constraint or protection. Notwithstanding this, we subsequently introduced a further safeguard by requiring that the use of this regulation power must be accompanied by the transparency given by a specific report to Parliament setting out the context (i.e. describing the bespoke deal) and providing information about any consultations or representations in connection with the regulations”.

Photo of Lord Tyler Lord Tyler Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Constitutional and Political Reform)

My Lords, I serve on the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee. The Minister will recall that this is not the first time she has been put in an impossible situation. With great respect to her, in the light of the very serious concerns and anxieties expressed by that committee about this section of the Bill and the powers given to the Minister under the Bill, it is not good enough for her to be provided with that text to read to the House at this stage without us being given an opportunity to see its significance. We in the committee took great care, with very good advice, over how these powers were going to be exercised. The department has put the Minister in an impossible situation. It had all last week—I assume that those in the department were working—to get this information to the House, and your Lordships should be given the opportunity to see these things in print rather than having to rely on the Minister. She has been put in this position twice. She should have the best possible advice and support, and she should go back to the department and say “Not good enough”.

Photo of Baroness Williams of Trafford Baroness Williams of Trafford The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

My Lords, I can but apologise for the fact that the letter has arrived late and I hope noble Lords will accept that apology from me. However, I accept the noble Lord’s point.

Amendment 45, referred to by the noble Lord, Lord Beecham, enables the Secretary of State to revoke orders conferring health functions on a combined authority. I hope the noble Lord will be slightly patient—perhaps we can come to that in a later grouping when my noble friend Lord Prior will be talking about health.

The noble Lord, Lord Beecham, also asked me, I think, what happens to business rates if a district joins a combined authority without a county. There is no direct relationship between the membership of the combined authority and the business rates, which will be subject to further legislation. I hope that that helps the noble Lord.

Photo of Lord Beecham Lord Beecham Shadow Spokesperson (Housing), Shadow Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow Spokesperson (Justice)

It depends on the legislation, although I do not envisage that the noble Baroness will be in quite the same position in that context as she has been over the point that she has just made. Can she indicate what time period we are looking at and what consultation will take place over that issue, and with whom?

Photo of Baroness Williams of Trafford Baroness Williams of Trafford The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

My Lords, I expect a very quick timescale, given that some devolution deals have already been done. Time would be of the essence in getting these matters through, so I would expect the consultation process and the regulations to be dealt with fairly quickly. That is imperative, given that devolution deals have been done with different places. I hope that that is good enough for him.

The noble Lord also asked me about Amendment 34. The regulations will be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure and the amendment makes clear exactly what procedures can be fast-tracked. These include changes to electoral arrangements but the Boundary Commission’s responsibilities remain unchanged. I think we went through that yesterday but I am very happy to confirm that, as it is a very important point.

The noble Lord also asked me whether the Government are trying to reorganise local government. The answer is no. We are here to assist where local government wants to reorganise itself in terms of unitarisation. He also asked whether we are taking a Henry Ford approach. I hope that Cornwall shows that we are not. It will be up to local authorities to come forward with their proposals for their areas in due course.

I have been passed a note which says that—if I can read the writing—regarding business rates, “future legislation” means primary legislation, which we will bring forward as parliamentary time allows. I hope that I have satisfied noble Lords in all the questions that they have raised.

Photo of Lord Kennedy of Southwark Lord Kennedy of Southwark Shadow Spokesperson (Housing), Opposition Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

Perhaps the noble Baroness could say a bit more. Regarding my noble friend’s Amendment 31C, I agree that we should move forward on a basis of consensus. I also agree that no council should have a veto. I accept that entirely, as it would just stop things happening. However, that is why my noble friend’s amendment says that either council may make a referral to the Secretary of State. His intention is to avoid that happening; equally, his intention is to get consensus where we can. Can she say why she will not accept that amendment?

Photo of Baroness Williams of Trafford Baroness Williams of Trafford The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

My Lords, we are trying to find the fine line here between consensus and councils not being able to veto the wider wish. I hope that that, in my own words, explains why we do not want to accept that amendment.

Motion agreed.

Motion on Amendments 19 and 20

Moved by Baroness Williams of Trafford

That this House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments 19 and 20.

19: Clause 8, page 9, line 6, after “liabilities” insert “(including criminal liabilities)”

20: Clause 8, page 9, line 15, at end insert—

“(5A) Subsection (5B) applies where an order under subsection (1) contains a reference to a document specified or described in the order (for example, in imposing a condition by virtue of subsection (2)(a) for an authority to have regard to, or to comply with, a statement of policy or standards set out in the document).

(5B) If it appears to the Secretary of State necessary or expedient for the reference to the document to be construed—

(a) as a reference to that document as amended from time to time, or

(b) as including a reference to a subsequent document that replaces that document, the order may make express provision to that effect.

(5C) See also section 19 of the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act 2015 (devolving health service functions) which contains further limitations.”

Photo of Baroness Williams of Trafford Baroness Williams of Trafford The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government 4:00 pm, 12th January 2016

My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in its minor and technical Amendments 19, 20, 40 41, 55 to 61, 83 and 84. Amendments 19 and 40 ensure that the reference to “document” in regulations is construed as referring to that document as it may subsequently be amended from time to time or replaced.

Amendments 20 and 41 ensure that it is possible to transfer along with a function the criminal liabilities associated with that function.

Amendment 55 makes it clear that, in addition to the ability to make any changes to legislation that may be needed in consequence of any of the provisions in this Bill, the Secretary of State also has the power to make regulations which make necessary changes following the making of secondary legislation made under the powers in the Bill.

Amendments 56 to 61, 83 and 84 provide that where the Secretary of State has powers in relation to certain electoral matters, those powers may also be exercised concurrently with the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. These amendments ensure consistency with similar powers to make secondary legislation regarding the conduct of elections in the Local Government Act 2000.

Motion agreed.

Motion on Amendments 21 to 30

Moved by Baroness Williams of Trafford

That this House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments 21 to 30.

21: Clause 8, page 9, line 35, leave out from beginning to “and” in line 36 and insert “the appropriate consent is given”

22: Clause 8, page 9, line 38, at end insert—

“(1A) For the purposes of subsection (1)(b), the appropriate consent is given to the making of an order under section 105A only if—

(a) in the case of an order in relation to an existing combined authority, each appropriate authority consents;

(b) in any other case, each constituent council consents.

Paragraph (a) is subject to subsections (1B) and (1C).

(1B) Subsection (1C) applies where—

(a) an order under section 105A in relation to an existing combined authority is the first such order to be made in relation to that authority,

(b) the authority is not a mayoral combined authority, and

(c) there are one or more constituent councils who do not consent to the making of the order.

(1C) For the purposes of subsection (1)(b), the appropriate consent is given to the making of the order if the combined authority and at least two constituent councils consent to the making of the order.

(1D) Where an order under section 105A is made by virtue of subsection (1C) of this section, the Secretary of State must make an order under section 106 to remove the area of each non-consenting constituent council from the existing area of the combined authority.

(1E) The requirement in subsection (1)(b) for the appropriate consent to be given to the making of an order under section 105A does not apply where—

(a) the order revokes (in whole or in part), or otherwise amends, a previous order under that section, and

(b) the only purpose of the order is to provide for a health service function of a combined authority to cease to be exercisable by the authority.

(1F) In subsection (1E)(b), “health service function of a combined authority” means a function which—

(a) relates to the health service, as defined by section 275(1) of the National Health Service Act 2006, and

(b) is exercisable by the combined authority by virtue of an order under section 105A.

(1G) The requirement in subsection (1)(b) for the appropriate consent to be given is subject to section 106A.”

23: Clause 8, page 10, line 12, at end insert—

“and a “constituent council” is a council within paragraph (a) or (b).”

24: Clause 10, page 10, line 30, leave out “so far as the constituent councils consent,” and insert “subject to subsection (10A),”

25: Clause 10, page 10, line 32, at end insert—

“(10A) Regulations under this section by virtue of subsection (8) that include provision within subsection (10)(b) may be made only with the consent of—

(a) the constituent councils, and

(b) in the case of regulations in relation to an existing combined authority, the combined authority.

(10B) Subsection (10A) is subject to section 106A of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009 (which enables regulations to be made without the consent of all the constituent councils in certain circumstances).”

26: Clause 10, page 10, line 36, leave out “(10) and” and insert “(8) to”

27: Clause 10, page 11, line 14, at end insert “, and

( ) in the case of regulations in relation to an existing combined authority, the combined authority.”

28: Clause 10, page 11, line 14, at end insert—

“(6A) Subsection (6) is subject to section 106A of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009 (which enables regulations to be made without the consent of every authority within paragraph (a) and (b) of that subsection in certain circumstances).”

29: Clause 10, page 11, line 26, at end insert—

“( ) In section 105 of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009 (constitution and functions of combined authorities: economic development and regeneration), omit subsection (4).”

30: Clause 11, page 11, line 38, leave out “the” and insert “a”

Motion on Amendments 21 to 30 agreed.

Motion on Amendment 31

Moved by Baroness Williams of Trafford

That this House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment 31.

31: Clause 15, page 14, line 33, at end insert—

“( ) In section 104 (constitution and functions of combined authorities: transport), after subsection (9) (inserted by section 9(1) above) insert—

“(10) An order under this section may be made in relation to a combined authority only with the consent of—

(a) the constituent councils, and

(b) in the case of an order in relation to an existing combined authority, the combined authority.

(11) In subsection (10) “constituent council” means—

(a) a county council the whole or any part of whose area is within the area or proposed area of the combined authority, or

(b) a district council whose area is within the area or proposed area of the combined authority.

(12) Subsection (10) is subject to section 106A.”

( ) In section 105 (constitution and functions of combined authorities: economic development and regeneration), after subsection (3) insert—

“(3A) An order under this section may be made in relation to a combined authority only with the consent of—

(a) the constituent councils (as defined by section 104(11)), and

(b) in the case of an order in relation to an existing combined authority, the combined authority.

(3B) Subsection (3A) is subject to section 106A.”

( ) In section 106 (changes to boundaries of a combined authority’s area)—

(a) in subsection (2), omit paragraph (b);

(b) omit subsection (3);

(c) after subsection (3) insert—

“(3A) An order under this section adding or removing a local government area to or from an existing area of a combined authority may be made only if—

(a) the relevant council in relation to the local government area consents,

(b) the combined authority consents, and

(c) the mayor for the area of the combined authority (if it is a mayoral combined authority) also consents.

(3B) For the purposes of subsection (3A)(a), the “relevant council” in relation to a local government area is—

(a) if the local government area is the area of a county council, the county council;

(b) if the local government area is the area of a district council whose area does not form part of the area of a county council, the district council;

(c) if the local government area is the area of a district council whose area forms part of the area of a county council, the district council or the county council.

(3C) If there are two relevant councils in relation to a local government area by virtue of subsection (3B)(c), the condition in subsection (3A)(a) for the relevant council to consent is met if—

(a) in the case of an order under subsection (1)(a), either or both of the relevant councils consent;

(b) in the case of an order under subsection (1)(b), both of the relevant councils consent.

(3D) Subsections (2) and (3A) do not apply to an order under subsection (1)(b) that is made as a result of the duty in section 105B(1D) or 107B(4).”

( ) After section 106 insert—

“106A Section 106(1)(a) orders: consent requirements under other powers

(1) Subsection (2) applies where—

(a) the area of a district council is added to the area of a combined authority by an order under section 106(1)(a),

(b) the area of the district council forms part of the area of a county council,

(c) the Secretary of State proposes to exercise a relevant power as a result of, or otherwise in connection with, the making of the order, and

(d) (apart from subsection (2)) the relevant power is exercisable only with the consent of (among other authorities) the county council mentioned in paragraph (b).

(2) The relevant power is exercisable whether or not the county council consents.

(3) Subsection (4) applies where—

(a) the area of a county council is added to the area of a combined authority by an order under section 106(1)(a),

(b) the area of the county council includes the areas of district councils,

(c) the Secretary of State proposes to exercise a relevant power as a result of, or otherwise in connection with, the making of the order, and

(d) (apart from subsection (4)) the relevant power is exercisable only with the consent of (among other authorities) a district council within paragraph (b).

(4) The relevant power is exercisable whether or not the district council consents.

(5) In this section, “relevant power” means a power—

(a) to make an order under section 104, 105 or 105A, or

(b) to make regulations under—

(i) section 74 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 (by virtue of subsection (8) of that section), or

(ii) section 23(5) of the Local Government Act 2003.””

Amendments 31A to 31C, as amendments to Amendment 31, not moved.

Motion on Amendment 31 agreed.

Motion on Amendments 32 to 35

Moved by Baroness Williams of Trafford

That this House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments 32 to 35.

32: Clause 15, page 15, leave out line 25

33: Clause 15, page 15, leave out lines 38 to 42

34: Clause 16, page 16, line 4, leave out from “arrangements” to end of line 6 and insert “, or electoral arrangements, in relation to local authorities under Part 1 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 or under Part 3 of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009.”

35: Clause 16, page 16, line 9, at end insert—

“( ) Regulations under this section may in particular make provision—

(a) about how the enactments mentioned in subsection (1) or (2) are to apply in relation to particular cases (including by disapplying the application of any such enactment to a particular case or applying it subject to any variations that are specified in the regulations);

(b) about any of the matters listed in section 11(3) or (4) of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (including provision in relation to such matters of a kind mentioned in section 12 of that Act).

Nothing in paragraph (a) limits the power to make provision under subsection (4)(c).”

Motion on Amendments 32 to 35 agreed.

Motion on Amendment 36

Moved by Baroness Williams of Trafford

That this House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment 36.

36: Clause 16, page 16, line 11, at end insert—

“(3A) Regulations under this section, so far as including structural or boundary provision in relation to a non-unitary district council area, may be made if at least one relevant local authority consents.

(3B) Local authority in this case is defined as—

(a) a non-unitary district council whose area is, or forms part of, the non-unitary district council area;

(b) a county council whose area includes the whole or part of the nonunitary district council area.

(3C) Relating to subsections (3A) and (3B)—

“non-unitary district council area” means the area or areas of one or more non-unitary district councils;

“non-unitary district council” means a district council for an area for which there is also a county council;

“structural or boundary provision” means provision about the structural or boundary arrangements of local authorities in regulations made by virtue of subsection (1)(c).

(3D) Subsections (3A) to (3C) expire at the end of 31st March 2019 (but without affecting any regulations already made under this section by virtue of subsection (3A)).”

Amendment 36A, as an amendment to Amendment 36, not moved.

Motion on Amendment 36 agreed.

Motion on Amendments 37 to 44

Moved by Baroness Williams of Trafford

That this House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments 37 to 44.

37: Clause 16, page 16, line 13, at end insert—

“( ) includes power to make different provision for different purposes;”

38: Clause 16, page 16, line 14, after “make” insert “incidental, supplementary, consequential,”

39: Clause 16, page 16, line 17, at end insert—

“( ) Section 15 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (power to transfer of functions, property etc as part of incidental etc provision) applies in relation to subsection (4)(b) above as it applies in relation to sections 13 and 14 of that Act.”

40: Clause 17, page 17, line 23, after “liabilities” insert “(including criminal liabilities)”

41: Clause 17, page 17, line 32, at end insert—

“(5A) Subsection (5B) applies where regulations under subsection (1) contain a reference to a document specified or described in the regulations (for example, in imposing a condition by virtue of subsection (2)(a) for an authority to have regard to, or to comply with, a statement of policy or standards set out in the document).

(5B) If it appears to the Secretary of State necessary or expedient for the reference to the document to be construed—

(a) as a reference to that document as amended from time to time, or

(b) as including a reference to a subsequent document that replaces that document, the regulations may make express provision to that effect.

(5C) See also section 19 (devolving health service functions) which contains further limitations.”

42: Clause 18, page 17, line 48, after “authority” insert “by whom a function becomes exercisable by virtue of the regulations”

43: Clause 18, page 18, line 2, after second “the” insert “relevant”

44: Clause 18, page 18, line 6, after “make” insert “incidental, supplementary, consequential,”

Motion on Amendments 37 to 44 agreed.

Motion on Amendments 45 to 51

Moved by Lord Prior of Brampton

That this House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments 45 to 51.

45: Clause 18, page 18, line 9, at end insert—

“(2A) The requirement in subsection (1)(a) for the relevant local authority to consent to the making of regulations under section 17 does not apply where—

(a) the regulations revoke (in whole or in part), or otherwise amend, previous regulations under that section, and

(b) the only purpose of the regulations is to provide for a health service function of the relevant local authority to cease to be exercisable by the authority (which may include provision under subsection (2)(b) in relation to that purpose).

(2B) In subsection (2A)(b), “health service function of a relevant local authority” means a function which—

(a) relates to the health service, as defined by section 275(1) of the National Health Service Act 2006, and

(b) is exercisable by the authority by virtue of regulations under section 17.”

46: Clause 19, page 18, leave out lines 29 to 33 and insert—

“(1) Regulations under section 17 of this Act or an order under section 105A of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009 (transfer of public authority functions to combined authorities) (“the 2009 Act”)—

(a) must not transfer any of the Secretary of State’s core duties in relation to the health service;”

47: Clause 19, page 18, line 34, leave out “or supervisory”

48: Clause 19, page 18, line 36, leave out from “must” to first “the” in line 37 and insert “, if transferring functions relating to the health service to a local authority or a combined authority, make provision about the standards and duties to be placed on that authority having regard to”

49: Clause 19, page 18, line 38, leave out from “on” to “being” in line 39 and insert “the authority responsible for the functions”

50: Clause 19, page 18, line 40, at end insert—

“(2) For the purposes of subsection (1)(a), “the Secretary of State’s core duties in relation to the health service” means the duties of the Secretary of State under—

(a) sections 1 to 1G of the National Health Service Act 2006 (“the NHSA 2006”) (duty to promote comprehensive health service etc.),

(b) sections 6A to 6BB of that Act (duties regarding the reimbursement of costs of services provided in another EEA state),

(c) section 12E of that Act (duty as respects variation in provision of health services),

(d) sections 13A, 13B, 13U and 223B of that Act (duties regarding mandate to, and annual report and funding of, the NHS Commissioning Board),

(e) section 247C of that Act (duty to keep health service functions under review),

(f) section 247D of that Act (duty to publish annual report on performance of the health service in England),

(g) section 258 of that Act (duty regarding the availability of facilities for university clinical teaching and research), and

(h) sections 3 to 6 of the Health Act 2009 (duties in relation to the NHS Constitution and the Handbook to it), in so far as those duties would (apart from subsection (1)(a)) be transferable by regulations under section 17 or an order under section 105A of the 2009 Act.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (1)(b)—

(a) “health service regulatory function” means a function in relation to the health service which is a regulatory function within the meaning given by section 32 of the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006,

(b) the functions of the National Health Service Commissioning Board under Chapter A2 of Part 2 of the NHSA 2006 (clinical commissioning groups) are to be treated as “health service regulatory functions” in so far as they do not fall within the definition in paragraph (a), and

(c) functions exercisable by a body by virtue of directions given under section 7 of the NHSA 2006 (functions of Special Health Authorities) are not “vested in” that body.

(4) But subsection (1)(b) does not prevent the transfer of functions of the National Health Service Commissioning Board which—

(a) arise from arrangements under section 1H(3)(a) of the NHSA 2006 (provision of services for the purpose of the health service), and

(b) relate to those providing services under those arrangements.

(5) For the purposes of subsection (1)(c), “national service standards” means the standards contained in any of the following—

(a) the NHS Constitution (within the meaning of Chapter 1 of Part 1 of the Health Act 2009);

(b) the standing rules under section 6E of the NHSA 2006 (regulations as to the exercise of functions by the NHS Commissioning Board or clinical commissioning groups);

(c) the terms as to service delivery required by regulations or directions under the NHSA 2006 for contracts or other arrangements for the provision of primary medical services, primary dental services, primary ophthalmic services or pharmaceutical services under Part 4, 5, 6 or 7 of that Act;

(d) the recommendations or guidance of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence made or given pursuant to regulations under section 237 of Health and Social Care Act 2012;

(e) the quality standards prepared by that Institute under section 234 of that Act;

(f) the guidance published under section 14Z8 of the NHSA 2006 (guidance on commissioning by the NHS Commissioning Board); and such standards are “placed on” a body if the body is required to have regard to or comply with them.

(6) For the purposes of subsection (1)(c)—

(a) “national information obligations” means duties regarding the obtaining, retention, use or disclosure of information, and

(b) “national accountability obligations” means duties (for example, those to keep accounts or records, or to provide or publish reports, plans or other information) which enable the management of a body, or the way in which functions are discharged, to be examined, inspected, reviewed or studied.

(7) For the purposes of this section, a function is transferred by regulations under section 17 or by an order under section 105A of the 2009 Act, if—

(a) provision is made under subsection (1)(a) of the section in question for the function to be the function of a local authority or a combined authority, or

(b) provision is made under subsection (1)(b) of that section for a function corresponding to the function to be conferred on a local authority or a combined authority.

(8) Nothing in this section prevents the conferral on a local authority or a combined authority of duties to have regard to, or to promote or secure, the matters mentioned in sections 1 to 1F of the NHSA 2006 when exercising a function transferred to it by regulations under section 17, or by an order under section 105A of the 2009 Act.

(9) In this section, “the health service” has the meaning given by section 275(1) of the NHSA 2006.”

51: After Clause 19, insert the following new Clause—

“Amendments of the National Health Service Act 2006 Schedule (Amendments of the National Health Service Act 2006) contains amendments of the National Health Service Act 2006 in connection with the exercise of health service functions of combined or local authorities and the control of information about local authority social care.”

Photo of Lord Prior of Brampton Lord Prior of Brampton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health

My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree the Motion on Commons Amendments 45 to 51. I shall speak also to other amendments in the group, including the clause inserted in the Bill following Clause 19 by Amendments 51 and 74.

Your Lordships will remember our debates on the issue of safeguards for the devolution of NHS functions, culminating in the insertion of the amendment from the noble Lord, Lord Warner, at Third Reading, against the Government’s wishes. We have now accepted this amendment and have worked to provide even further assurances. I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Warner, for his ongoing co-operation and for his support for the further amendments as introduced in Committee in the other place. These amendments provide further clarity about the role of the Secretary of State for Health and what may and may not be included in any future transfer order giving local organisations devolved responsibility for health services.

The clause as amended also includes clear provision to exclude from the scope of transfers the oversight role of NHS England in relation to CCGs, and makes it clear that local devolution settlements do not change the responsibilities of our NHS regulators or their functions in protecting the interests and safety of patients.

The provision of the noble Lord, Lord Warner, as amended, protects the integrity of the National Health Service and makes it clear that, whatever devolution arrangements might be agreed with a particular area, the Secretary of State’s core duties in relation to the health service will not be altered. These clear statements in legislation, making provision for the protection of the integrity of the National Health Service, are intended to provide further confidence in future devolution deals. The amendments to the clause give further definition and clarity to support the valuable principles behind the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Warner, and I commend them to the House.

Places such as Greater Manchester and London are calling for the ability to design and deliver better health and care services and the ability to make decisions at a level that works best for their communities, either locally or, where it makes more sense, at a regional or sub-regional level.

As we know, devolution deals must be tailored to the particular needs and circumstances of a local area. The Bill already allows government to devolve a range of powers and functions currently carried out by Whitehall departments or bodies such as NHS England to a combined authority or a local authority. In seeking to introduce Schedule 3A, which amends the NHS Act 2006, we are now taking the opportunity to make available further options in health legislation for combined authorities and local authorities to work together with clinical commissioning groups and NHS England across a wider area, such as Greater Manchester, to improve integration of services.

Crucially, wherever a responsibility for NHS functions is delegated or shared in this way, accountability would remain with the original function holder, whether that is NHS England or a clinical commissioning group. The original function holder would continue to be accountable via the existing mechanisms for oversight which ultimately go up to the Secretary of State. In respect of the arrangements which may be made for the exercise of the Secretary of State’s public health functions, each partner is liable for its own actions and, as with the rest of the health service—both public health and NHS elements—the Secretary of State remains accountable to Parliament.

We are seeking to introduce Amendment 45 to provide that the requirements for local authority consent do not apply to regulations revoking previous transfers of health service functions. Noble Lords will be aware also that Amendment 22, to which the noble Baroness, Lady Williams, has spoken, includes a similar provision whereby consent from a combined authority and local authorities is not needed where an order solely revokes a transfer of public authority health functions.

These amendments mean that, in the event that it becomes appropriate to restore NHS functions in a local area to NHS bodies, this can be achieved without the need for the consent of the combined authority and local authorities concerned. This reflects the fundamental principle for health devolution in Clause 19—that the Secretary of State for Health’s key responsibilities for the NHS will remain unchanged in any devolution arrangements. We would envisage using the powers to revoke only in circumstances where it was clear that duties and standards such as those referenced in Clause 19 were not being met, and that revoking the transfer was the best option to achieve the necessary improvement in performance. I beg to move.

Photo of Lord Warner Lord Warner Non-affiliated

My Lords, I shall speak in a friendly way towards the Minister on his amendments to the amendment that the House was good enough to pass at Third Reading. I cannot guarantee to be quite as friendly towards the Minister on all matters relating to the NHS and social care in future. I suspect that we shall have a good counter around that course on Thursday.

What it shows is that this House has an important scrutiny function to perform. I know that we gave the Minister a pretty hard time on this issue, but the Government rather deserved it. I think that it was very foolish for the Government to bring the Bill to this House with the devolution of NHS functions in it without clarity about how that would work in relation to existing NHS legislation, particularly the 2006 and 2012 Acts. I am glad that the Government have seen the error of their ways and I am extremely grateful to the Minister and his colleague, Alistair Burt, for the considerate way in which they discussed with me this set of amendments.

I am happy to commend them to the House because they meet the concerns that were expressed at an earlier stage, and I accept the points made by the Minister about the need, very occasionally, to revoke some of these changes. I do not accept the advice from the BMA in its guidance that there should be more safeguards. Given the nature of NHS legislation in this country, it is inevitable that where the Secretary of State sees real damage being done in a local area, he has to step in and make some changes. It is almost inevitable that on the odd occasion that will be necessary, so I am quite happy to support the change proposed by the Minister.

This shows the House in a good state in its ability to exercise its scrutiny functions—and, at the time of the Strathclyde report, it does us well to pat ourselves a little bit on the back that we have actually helped the Government improve their legislation.

Photo of Lord Beecham Lord Beecham Shadow Spokesperson (Housing), Shadow Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow Spokesperson (Justice)

My Lords, Warner Brothers established a remarkable reputation in the field of entertainment. It would be churlish if the noble Lord, who perhaps no longer counts himself as a brother to some of us on these Benches, was not to be congratulated on effecting a substantive change to the Bill that improves it. Members on all sides will want to join the Minister in paying tribute to the noble Lord’s efforts.

As to the rather peculiar route taken by the Government in this matter, I think it became apparent to those of us who attended the meeting chaired by the noble Baroness at which the noble Lord, Lord Prior, was present, together with the silent presence of the Minister for devolution and the northern powerhouse, that at that point there really had been virtually no contact between the relevant departments, notably DCLG and the Department of Health. Clearly matters have improved since then and the House will be grateful to the two Ministers, who I suspect have got together much more effectively than had been possible at that stage. So far as the Opposition are concerned, we welcome the changes that have been made.

But questions still remain, some of which I referred to in my earlier speech in relation to the first group, about the position particularly in what are now county areas, where it is conceivable that certain districts may affiliate to combined authorities in an adjacent area. If, for example, there was a situation where there was a district council in Cheshire rather than a unitary, which joined the combined authority—it may or may not; I have no idea what is happening in the north-west, and no doubt my noble friend Lord Smith will enlighten us—and it affiliated for economic purposes with the combined authority and health was then taken over by that combined authority, what would happen to the social care part of the overall concept of health and social care? I do not think that that question has been resolved. It certainly has not been resolved in my mind, but that may be a defect on my part. It would be good to have some enlightenment about that situation.

A move like that would not only have an impact on the authority that is moving into a combined authority but, potentially, have a significant impact on the residual services available within the county that it will have left for these purposes. It may not have started out that way but, in time, what may have begun as an economic decision may be changed by the devolution of health in the way that has been described. It would be helpful if the Minister would indicate in particular the Government’s view about the potential for difficulties involving the social care aspect of what needs to be a closer working partnership between these two services, which I think all parties recognise is highly desirable.

I also think that we all await with great interest the outcome in Greater Manchester. It is an attractive concept but it may have different implications for different areas and may not be quite as straightforward as we would like to think. My fear is that county districts joining, for some purposes but not for others, a combined authority may not really have been given any serious consideration. If it has not thus far—bearing in mind the Manchester experience as it evolves—it should certainly be the subject of further consideration and discussion, not only with health bodies but also with local government.

Photo of Lord Shipley Lord Shipley Liberal Democrat 4:15 pm, 12th January 2016

From these Benches, I also thank the noble Lord, Lord Warner, for the success of all his work and for the determined way in which he made his proposals. It proves the value of this House in the legislative process and demonstrates one of the advantages of our getting a Bill first because some of the scrutiny work was done at that stage.

In the context of annual reporting, to which I referred a little while ago, when there is an annual report about the success of NHS devolution, will it not simply reflect the views of the NHS and the combined authorities but the views of all stakeholders in health and social care? It is a very simple thing, in a sense, but it could be easily missed. It would be very helpful to have a response to that request on the record.

Photo of Lord Mackay of Clashfern Lord Mackay of Clashfern Conservative

My Lords, I am sorry I was not here at the beginning of this short debate. I had a meeting with a Minister on another matter. It was my privilege to consider with the noble Lord, Lord Warner, his original amendment. I supported it at that time, although not to the extent of going to the Division when he pressed it. From the answer that my noble friend had given, I believed that Ministers would take account of this. I sensed, possibly rightly, that it had not been very fully considered up to that point. I am glad that it is now being considered.

My concern is really the same as that of the noble Lord, Lord Warner. If it is not properly done, this kind of devolution could damage the nationality of the National Health Service, making it local with a postcode lottery according to where you happen to be. The amendment proposed by the Government is different in its way of approaching the matter and has dealt with that in a satisfactory way. I find it difficult to know the position about social care. I understand it is still a local authority responsibility and not for the National Health Service. The difference in funding is important in this connection also. I shall be glad to hear what the Minister has to say in answer to the noble Lord, Lord Beecham, on that point and on how the report will deal with the views of stakeholders other than just the central authorities themselves.

Photo of Lord Smith of Leigh Lord Smith of Leigh Labour

My Lords, I also support the amendments moved by the noble Lord, and I thank him for his explanation. When the noble Lords introduced the amendment in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Warner, they obviously had a suspicion about what was going on in Greater Manchester— understandably so. We heard the phrase “postcode lottery” from the previous noble and learned Lord. One reason why Greater Manchester wants to take control of health is that there is a current postcode lottery. The average outcomes for health in Greater Manchester, despite the efforts of Governments of all persuasions since 1948, have remained doggedly subject to that postcode lottery. We want to use the powers that we can use locally to start to do something about it.

With the permission of your Lordships’ House, I shall try to explain what we are doing in Greater Manchester and why we need not fear. It is only 11 months since we signed the original memorandum of understanding with NHS England to share health. The combined authority has not taken control of health; we share responsibility with our health partners. Our number one achievement is to raise the governance. We have 37 difference organisations in Greater Manchester with some responsibility for this agenda. I have the dubious task of chairing the strategic partnership board, but colleagues across the piece are working collectively to achieve an outcome. In our collaboration with NHS England, the regulators are being as sympathetic as possible.

Already we have seen clinical benefits. We have made sure that every area of Greater Manchester has access to a hub seven days a week so that people can receive medical advice—which was not the case before—and that has continued to expand. We have started to commission collectively more work on public health, recognising that this will be a key to achieving significant change in population health. We set up an organisation called Dementia United, which is going to join all the partners together to look at dementia in terms of acute services, primary care services and social care. In December, we agreed a strategic plan to take us forward for the next few years in Greater Manchester. It complies with all national objectives and reflects the needs of Greater Manchester as a sub-region, but also the localities within Greater Manchester.

The focus, first, is on prevention. If we can get people not to need healthcare, that is the best way for people, for the health system and for care. We need to make sure that each locality addresses the issues that exist in those 10 areas of Greater Manchester. There is quite wide variation in provision, as one might expect, between GP services in one area and another. We just got those up to the same level and have made a great improvement. With acute care services, again there is huge variation between the outcomes of hospitals in Greater Manchester. We need to improve that, and we need to give better support both in the clinical and the back-office sense. To fund this, apart from the money we get from the Government, we think we can operate more efficiently and effectively by integrating lots of services; that will be important.

We are also grateful to the Government for allowing us an initial injection of funding from the transformation fund. Skilled negotiation on our part and obviously the generosity of the Government meant that we got £450 million from that fund. That will kick-start some major changes in Greater Manchester. The benefits will include better clinical outcomes; we have targets on those. We will make sure that children get to school at the age of five in better health and are more ready for school than they are at the moment. We are supporting the elderly so that they can live longer in their own homes.

This is not just about health, however. If we can start to improve the health of people in Greater Manchester, it will reduce some of the barriers to employment and help us to get more people into work. The next step, obviously, will be better engagement with the public and, crucially, with the staff across both NHS and social care. We are making sure that we have detailed implementation plans, so that this does not become a dusty strategic report—one that is very worthy but stays on the shelf—but is actually implemented. The strategy will make a difference, we believe, to the lives of people in Greater Manchester.

I should emphasise that, the more I have gone into this, the more I have come to realise that there is no boundary between health and social care. The figures vary, but they say that some 40% of the people who come to see the GP in his surgery are not really seeing him on medical matters but on social matters. For example, they may have housing problems or employment problems, so they are not sleeping at night and need support, and so they come to the doctor for tranquillisers. Some GPs are good at dealing with that; some simply give the tranquilisers. We need to make sure that we start to address the issues that people have and not assume all the time that it must be a medical issue.

My noble friend Lord Beecham asked what happens to the areas around Greater Manchester. Obviously, that is not determined, although we have already made a decision on acute provision in Greater Manchester that reflects Derbyshire, because, clearly, many in north-west Derbyshire—in Glossop and so on—look to Greater Manchester rather than elsewhere, and so we clearly need to reflect that. However, such areas would need their own locality plan for what they are doing in that area, working together with all the local health and social care partners. There is a need to reflect that some stuff is done at the regional level, some stuff is done at the sub-regional level and some stuff is done at the local level.

Social care is an important element of this. In some parts of Greater Manchester, under the locality plan the acute hospital will run the social care services. In other areas, such as Wigan, we will have a care organisation to ensure that everyone looks at how we can stop people getting ill—that is our main intention—rather than treating them once they are ill. That will vary slightly in different areas, but we will reflect those different localities.

We are making good progress and there is great collaboration going on. I thank the Government for the opportunity, and I think we will make a difference.

Photo of Lord Prior of Brampton Lord Prior of Brampton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health

My Lords, first, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Warner, for his very friendly comments—long may they continue. As he and other noble Lords have mentioned, this is a good example of the scrutiny provided by this House in ensuring that we have, as my noble and learned friend Lord Mackay mentioned, a truly National Health Service, and that this legislation preserves, rather than undermines, the integrity of the National Health Service, with accountability, after devolution, still clearly with the Secretary of State for Health and to Parliament.

The noble Lord, Lord Beecham, asked what will happen in the event that things do not work out—I think that was the issue that he raised. The answer is, I think, that it will depend on the negotiations in each individual case. There need to be sensible arrangements from the outset as to what will happen in the event that things do not work out, which the Secretary of State will need to take a view on when agreeing to the deal at the beginning. In a sense, the end game needs to be considered early on in the proceedings. However, I may have missed the point that the noble Lord was making.

Photo of Lord Beecham Lord Beecham Shadow Spokesperson (Housing), Shadow Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow Spokesperson (Justice)

That may be partly my fault. My point was not that things might not work out in, for example, the Greater Manchester context; the problem that I raise is the situation that might arise where a district comes out of a county and into a combined authority for certain purposes and that combined authority decides that it wants to deal with health, but the social services provision, unless there is another change, remains with the county within which that district exists. That seems to me the area that has not yet been resolved; it is certainly not clear in my mind and, looking around, I think that there are others whose minds may also be confused by the situation. It is not an easy question for the Minister to answer, and if he is not able to do so, I will understand, but I think that it is a matter that needs to be addressed between the two departments and, if I may say so, in consultation with the local government world as well as the health world, before we get to the point where the situation becomes one where such a risk develops. It is not the case in Greater Manchester, but it may occur elsewhere if we have that movement by county districts into combined authorities for some purposes.

Photo of Baroness Hollis of Heigham Baroness Hollis of Heigham Labour 4:30 pm, 12th January 2016

My noble friend is spot on, but there is an additional complication because that very same district authority will be responsible for housing, including supported housing, which is to some extent under assault, as we may discuss on the second Bill we are considering today, the Welfare Reform Bill. We could have three players here: a combined authority with devolved NHS responsibility; a county council that may or may not be willing in principle to send over some of its social services, such as adult social care; and the district council that remains responsible for the bricks and mortar side, as opposed to the support services side, for, say, the frail elderly, hostels, refuges and the like. There is a real problem about ensuring the consensual structure that we all want to see. We welcome the Government’s responsiveness to the untidiness of geography and of functions, but there are a lot of issues still to be resolved on this score.

Photo of Lord Beecham Lord Beecham Shadow Spokesperson (Housing), Shadow Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow Spokesperson (Justice)

I am sorry to intervene again, but from what my noble friend just said it occurs to me that it is not just social care; one has to think about education and children’s services, where there is also a potential dimension. So far, nobody has mentioned that. That is another department that ought to be involved. Of course, we cannot resolve this today, but I urge that the kind of discussions I have mentioned should take place, and I now add the education department to that.

Photo of Lord Prior of Brampton Lord Prior of Brampton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health

My Lords, life is untidy, unfortunately. It is never clear and you cannot foresee all eventualities. The only response I can give noble Lords today is that the Secretary of State will deal with each matter on a case-by-case basis. I do not think that anyone can lay down a blueprint for dealing with that now, but I am happy to discuss it with the noble Lord and the noble Baroness if they want to do so. Maybe this is not the right place to go into all of that. I hope that that will be acceptable to them.

The noble Lord, Lord Shipley, raised the report on the success of devolution. I think I can speak for the Secretary of State for Health in saying that he would want to involve all relevant stakeholders in that report, not least patients, frankly, for obvious reasons. I am happy to put that on the record.

I conclude by thanking the noble Lord, Lord Smith, for updating us all on what is happening in Manchester. We on both sides of the House wish Greater Manchester well. It is a trailblazer and a very important development. We hope that we will see more devolution across England while still retaining the central accountability and integrity of the National Health Service.

Motion on Amendments 45 to 51 agreed.

Motion on Amendment 52

Moved by Baroness Williams of Trafford

That this House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment 52.

52: Clause 20, page 18, line 41, leave out Clause 20

Photo of Baroness Williams of Trafford Baroness Williams of Trafford The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

My Lords, in moving the Motion I shall speak against the amendment to the Motion, which will be moved by the noble Lord, Lord Shipley.

Commons Amendment 52 removes from the Bill Clause 20, which would amend Section 2 of the Representation of the People Act 1983 by lowering the minimum voting age from 18 to 16 for the local government franchise in England and Wales. Accepting Commons Amendment 52 would maintain the status quo on that local government franchise. Through his amendment the noble Lord, Lord Shipley, seeks to change that franchise so that 16 and 17 year-olds could vote in all elections that are based on this local government franchise, including local government elections in England and Wales, police and crime commissioner elections, those for the Greater London Authority and mayor, and elections to the National Assembly for Wales. Sixteen and 17 year-olds would be eligible to vote in local neighbourhood planning referendums, council tax referendums and referendums on local authority governance arrangements.

We have discussed the voting age a number of times, and I do not wish to detain this House any longer than may be necessary on this matter. On each occasion we have made the Government’s position clear—that is, we do not believe that it is appropriate to lower the voting age to 16; and even if it was, this Bill would not be the place to make such a change.

Moreover, the other place has on two occasions, and by significant majorities, voted in support of its Amendment 52 maintaining the status quo on the local government franchise. The views of the other place are clear, and I believe that on such significant constitutional matters this unelected House should accept the very clear decision of the other place, given the democratic legitimacy that it has.

As to the substantive arguments, which we have made clear in earlier debates on this issue, it is at 18 rather than 16 that society generally views a young person as becoming an adult. Furthermore, most democracies consider 18 the right age to enfranchise young people. Only Austria in the European Union has lowered the voting age to 16 for national elections. While accepting that it is entirely right that the issue of the franchise in Scotland is one for the Scottish Parliament, the Scottish experience and position do not provide an example that this Parliament must necessarily follow.

Photo of Lord Purvis of Tweed Lord Purvis of Tweed Liberal Democrat

My Lords, I cannot see the Minister’s noble friend Lady Goldie, who led for her party in the Scottish Parliament on this issue and gave enthusiastic backing for lowering the voting age for local government elections in Scotland. Given what the Minister has just said, will she clarify the Conservative Party’s position on the capacity of 16 and 17 year-olds to vote in local government elections? Her party seems to think that it is peculiarly difficult for English 16 and 17 year-olds to vote in council elections but that Scottish 16 and 17 year-olds have that capacity. Therefore, if local elections fell on the same day in Berwick and Berwickshire, the English 16 and 17 year-olds would, in the opinion of the Conservative Party, not have the relevant capacity whereas those in Berwickshire would. Will the Minister explain why that is the case?

Photo of Baroness Williams of Trafford Baroness Williams of Trafford The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

My Lords, I think I said that the franchise in Scotland was a matter for the Scottish Government, that this unelected House was not the place to discuss the franchise, that this Bill was not the place to discuss the franchise and that the other place had given its very decisive view on the franchise. Those are the main points I am making, not that children in Berwick are less able than children in Glasgow to have this franchise. I am discussing the appropriateness of introducing this measure in this place on this Bill at this time, and urging noble Lords not to support it. I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Shipley, will withdraw his amendment. It may be appropriate to have a full discussion on the franchise in the round at another time but now is not the time to do it. I hope that the noble Lord will withdraw his amendment.

Amendment to the Motion on Amendment 52

Moved by Lord Shipley

Leave out “agree” and insert “disagree”.

Photo of Lord Shipley Lord Shipley Liberal Democrat

My Lords, back in July, on Report, this House voted by 221 votes to 154—a majority of 67—that 16 and 17 year-olds should have the right to vote in local elections. When the Bill went to the House of Commons, this decision was reversed and, as a consequence, the matter has returned to this House to be considered once again.

I find it strange that so much emphasis is put on citizenship in young people’s education but that the natural extension of this to enable them to vote is a step this Government seem reluctant to take. Ten years ago, the Power commission, funded by the Joseph Rowntree Trust, concluded in its report on how to increase political participation that the voting age should be lowered to 16. It was one of its key recommendations, but it has never been acted on.

We cannot complain that younger generations are not engaging with politics when they cannot participate fully. Young people surely have a right to a say in how the communities they live in are run. They use public services locally; they are very politically conscious and we ought to build on that. Crucially, we need to get young people into the way of voting and starting at 18 can be too late, as turnout levels of people under 25 show. Our democracy depends on high levels of participation, and voting at 16 would instil in more young people the habit of voting. We now have the precedent of the Scottish referendum, 16 months ago, when 16 and 17 year-olds were entitled to vote. Although Scotland is outside the scope of the Bill, this precedent has served, in practice, as a pilot and has changed mindsets because it was a clear success.

Noble Lords are all aware that votes at 16 has been the subject of ongoing debate in this House since the general election. In recent months, we have had significant debates on the right to vote at 16 in the EU referendum Bill. We asked the Government to rethink their position, but this was reversed in the other place and, by a narrow margin, not pressed further in this House. In the context of that decision on the EU referendum Bill, I have carefully considered whether there is a justification for asking the House of Commons to think again about lowering the voting age in the context of this Bill. For this is a different Bill: it relates to local government, not to a referendum, and I have concluded that there is a case and a justification for doing so. The issue is important: it relates to the nature of our democracy and young people’s engagement with the democratic process. In the House of Commons, on 17 November, the Minister said that:

“It is undeniable that there is a debate to be had on the issue”.—[Hansard, Commons, 17/11/15; col. 556.]

I agree with him, and I think this House would do so, too. However, it is not clear to me when the Government plan to have that debate. I will listen very carefully to anything further the Minister has to say in response to this debate but, for the moment, I beg to move.

Photo of The Earl of Listowel The Earl of Listowel Crossbench

My Lords, adolescence is a difficult time for all young people, whether they grow up in loving families or not. I remain concerned that the amendment would put an additional burden on adolescents. I am also worried that it would put a target on the back of young people for unscrupulous politicians, which might be unhelpful. Finally, I agree with Barry Sheerman, a very well-respected Labour MP who was, for many years, head of the Education Select Committee in the other place. In recent discussions on the franchise in that place, he talked of his concern about the shrinking of childhood.

Many noble Lords support this proposal: I ask them to consult on it with experts in child development. So far, only the Government have referred to the evidence about adolescence. They have referred to neurobiological research into adolescence terminating in the early 20s but, so far, I am not aware of that evidence being referred to by those proposing the amendment.

Photo of Lord Storey Lord Storey Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Education)

The noble Earl mentioned child development experts. Could he name the experts who are saying that it would put a target on the back of 16 year-olds if they were allowed to vote?

Photo of The Earl of Listowel The Earl of Listowel Crossbench

Certainly. In her final paper on adolescence as a development disturbance, Anna Freud, a pioneer of child development, highlighted the challenges which children face as they go through adolescence. In particular, she highlights the burdens which society puts on them in terms of exams and decisions about careers, which may affect their whole life course, at a time when they are trying to move from childhood into adulthood. I refer the noble Lord to that paper. There are child development experts—I know of at least one—who are very much in favour of this and others who are very much opposed to it. I ask those proposing this amendment to find some consensus among these individuals.

There would be one further benefit. If those proposing this would consult child development experts on this matter, when people such as myself and others wish to raise the age of criminal responsibility it would make the case for us to say, “We have talked to the child development experts and they all say that 10 is far too low for the age of criminal responsibility. We should raise it”. Noble Lords can set a good example in this matter so I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Shipley, might consider withdrawing his amendment.

Photo of Lord Cormack Lord Cormack Conservative 4:45 pm, 12th January 2016

My Lords, briefly, I support what the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, has said. He made some extremely telling points, which should certainly be taken into account, but I want to confine my own brief remarks to another point. The elected House has spoken. It has spoken not just once but twice. It has not whispered or murmured but spoken very clearly, with an emphatic majority. At this late stage in the Bill, it is not for us to go into what has so often been called piecemeal constitutional change. It is for us to accept the limitations on our role and power: to concede, above all things, on the franchise to the elected House; to accept that we perfectly properly used the right that this House has to ask Members in the other place to think again. They thought, and they spoke emphatically. We now need to listen.

Photo of Lord Tyler Lord Tyler Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Constitutional and Political Reform)

I think that my friend here, the noble Lord, Lord Kennedy, would like to follow me. He might like to react to what I have to say.

This afternoon the Minister, and indeed others, seem to be again saying, “Yes, one day this will happen but not now”. That is a position which I understand—it is a perfectly reasonable position—but it cannot be repeated and repeated without the Government coming forward and saying when and how. On 18 November, I thought that the noble Lord, Lord Faulks, put it very succinctly when he said:

“There may come a time for change, when we lower the age to 16. There may be a debate to be had. This is not the moment for that debate”.—[Hansard, 18/11/15; col. 179.]

When is it going to be the time for that debate? This is the doctrine of unripe time, which I think I am right in saying that Sir Humphrey was always quoting to Jim Hacker in “Yes Minister”. Whenever they wanted to avoid taking a decision they would say, “We’ll get to it one day. Yes, of course it’ll be important”. But it is not going to be sufficient simply to put this off for ever.

The Prime Minister himself has said, as we understand it, to the leader of the Conservatives in the Holyrood Parliament that, yes, there will be an opportunity for the full debate which I think the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, and I will both want to contribute to. When are we going to have that debate? We cannot go on for ever leaving this on the side, as if it somehow does not matter that one part of the United Kingdom adjoining another has a completely different franchise, as my noble friend Lord Purvis said. If this is the United Kingdom, the franchise should be consistent across the United Kingdom.

There is also an important issue here about the way in which we discuss these issues in this House. The noble Lord, Lord Cormack, seems to think that it is inappropriate for this House to have any views whatever about elections. I dispute that. During my whole period in this House, we have been able to improve the law in relation to elections in a more dispassionate way than when I was a Member of the other place. It has a special interest in the electoral arrangements, in the Representation of the People Acts and so on. This House has a proper responsibility, a disinterest, which is extremely relevant to important questions about the franchise and the way in which our democracy works. If we give that up it will be an important loss of responsibility and role for this House, and I hope that we will not go down that track. In response, I trust that the Minister will be able to tell us, as the Prime Minister has hinted to his colleagues in the Holyrood Parliament, that there will be an opportunity for the wider debate that Ministers keep telling us is timely and should be happening. If she cannot tell us that, then we are right to make progress in this Bill and move in this direction.

Photo of Lord Kennedy of Southwark Lord Kennedy of Southwark Shadow Spokesperson (Housing), Opposition Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

My Lords, while I have every sympathy with the amendment proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Shipley, and with the comments of the noble Lord, Lord Tyler, I should say right at the outset that if the amendment is pressed to a vote, noble Lords on these Benches will abstain.

My party fought the general election last year on a commitment to bring forward legislation to enable 16 and 17 year-olds to vote. We have, on numerous occasions, had debates, asked questions, moved Motions and won votes to advance the cause, but it has fallen on deaf ears on the government Benches. They have shown not the slightest interest in considering this change and I have come to the conclusion that it will probably take a Government of a different political persuasion to bring it about.

Not even the enthusiastic support of Ruth Davidson MSP, the leader of the Tory party in Scotland, or of the noble Baroness, Lady Goldie, the former leader, has made any difference at all to the government Benches. We will continue to press the case at the appropriate time—the worst thing that the Government have done of course is to deny 16 and 17 year-olds a vote in the referendum on the European Union. The Government and the House of Commons have rejected this proposal repeatedly.

We are a revising Chamber. The elected Commons has made a decision, as the noble Lord, Lord Cormack, said, and I do not intend to challenge it further on this occasion. In taking this decision, I am also mindful of the advice from the Electoral Commission about making decisions in a timely manner and the extra work that would be involved in the short space of time before the elections.

Photo of Lord Purvis of Tweed Lord Purvis of Tweed Liberal Democrat

Before the noble Lord sits on his hands, is his position on this for the Official Opposition purely tactical? Is it their principled position that 16 and 17 year-olds should have the opportunity to elect local government representatives whenever this Parliament—both Houses, including this House—has an opportunity to give it to them, or is it purely tactical given the weakness of the Official Opposition?

Photo of Lord Kennedy of Southwark Lord Kennedy of Southwark Shadow Spokesperson (Housing), Opposition Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

We have repeatedly supported the idea of votes for 16 and 17 year-olds. I think noble Lords will find that the position of the noble Lord today is a tactical one.

Photo of Lord Beecham Lord Beecham Shadow Spokesperson (Housing), Shadow Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow Spokesperson (Justice)

When it comes to sitting on their hands, few better exponents of that philosophy could be found than those on the Liberal Democrat Benches. They sat on their hands and colluded with the enormous damage inflicted on local government and elsewhere for five years. They are not in any position to lecture us about anything around consistency. Furthermore, it is quite clear that the Government’s unfortunate position on this has been confirmed on three or four occasions in votes at the other end. We are not in a position to change that. Noble Lords on the Liberal Democrat Benches know that it will not change. This is gesture politics of a typical kind and we ought to have nothing whatever to do with it. When we get a change of Government, we will see a change in the voting age, not only for local authority elections but for parliamentary elections, European elections and any future referendums.

Photo of Baroness Williams of Trafford Baroness Williams of Trafford The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

My Lords, I think I had better quickly break up the fight. When is the right time to have the debate on the franchise? It is most certainly not in a devolution Bill, in the House of Lords, when the House of Commons has voted decisively, on two occasions, to overturn this amendment. As for any arguments in addition to those I have already made, I have nothing much to add other than to back up the points that the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, made at the previous stage of the Bill. The Electoral Commission has also voiced concern about this amendment. Other than that, I have nothing further to add. It is not the time, it is not the Bill and we are not the House to be deciding this.

Photo of Lord Shipley Lord Shipley Liberal Democrat

My Lords, I am very grateful for the contributions that we have had from a number of Members of the House. They have at least helped to inform our thinking. I listened very carefully to the Minister’s reply, which has not added much at all. I conclude two things. First, there was no indication in that reply that the confirmation by the Minister in the other place, James Wharton, in November, that it was undeniable that there is a debate to be had on the issue, will be acted on by the Government. I think that it should be.

Secondly, this House supported the lowering of the voting age when it last considered the matter as part of this Bill. I think it is for the House to decide whether it wishes to press the matter further. I hope that it will. It is very important that we should engage young people with the democratic process at an earlier age than 18, and I therefore beg leave to test the opinion of the House.

Division on Amendment 52A (to Amendment 52)

Contents 99; Not-Contents 250.

Amendment 52A disagreed.

Division number 1 Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill [HL] — Commons Amendments

Aye: 97 Members of the House of Lords

No: 248 Members of the House of Lords

Ayes: A-Z by last name

Tellers

Nos: A-Z by last name

Tellers

Motion on Amendment 53

Moved by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon

That this House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment 53.

53: After Clause 21, insert the following new Clause—

Sub-national transport bodies

After Part 5 of the Local Transport Act 2008 insert—

“PART 5A

SUB-NATIONAL TRANSPORT BODIES

Establishment and constitution of STBs

102E Power to establish STBs

(1) The Secretary of State may by regulations establish a sub-national transport body for any area in England outside Greater London.

(2) In this Part—

(a) “STB” means a sub-national transport body established under this section, and

(b) references to the area of an STB are to the area in England for which the STB is established.

(3) Regulations under this section must specify—

(a) the name by which the STB is to be known, and

(b) the area of the STB.

(4) The area of an STB must consist of the whole of the area of two or more relevant authorities (whether or not of the same kind).

(5) Each of the following is a “relevant authority” for the purposes of this Part—

(a) a combined authority;

(b) an ITA;

(c) a county council that comes within subsection (6);

(d) a unitary district council that comes within that subsection;

(e) the Council of the Isles of Scilly.

(6) A council comes within this subsection if no part of its area forms part of—

(a) the area of a combined authority, or

(b) an integrated transport area.

(7) An STB is to be established as a body corporate.

102F Requirements in connection with regulations under section 102E

(1) Regulations under section 102E may be made establishing an STB for an area only if the Secretary of State considers that—

(a) its establishment would facilitate the development and implementation of transport strategies for the area, and

(b) the objective of economic growth in the area would be furthered by the development and implementation of such strategies.

(2) The reference in subsection (1)(a) to “transport strategies”, in relation to the area of an STB, is a reference to strategies for improving—

(a) the exercise of transport functions in the area (whether or not exercisable by the STB), and

(b) the effectiveness and efficiency of transport to, from or within the area.

(3) Regulations under section 102E establishing an STB for an area may be made only if—

(a) the constituent authorities have together made a proposal to the Secretary of State for there to be an STB for the area, and

(b) those authorities consent to the making of the regulations.

(4) For the purposes of this Part, the constituent authorities of an STB are every relevant authority whose area is within the area, or proposed area, of the STB.

(5) Before making a proposal under this section the constituent authorities must consult—

(a) each appropriate authority (if it is not a constituent authority), and

(b) any other persons whom the constituent authorities consider it is appropriate to consult.

(6) The Secretary of State may require the constituent authorities to consult any other persons (not already consulted under subsection

(5)(b)) whom the Secretary of State considers should be consulted in connection with a proposal under this section.

(7) For the purposes of subsection (5), each of the following is an “appropriate authority” if any part of the authority’s area adjoins the area of the proposed STB—

(a) a combined authority;

(b) an ITA;

(c) Transport for London;

(d) a county council;

(e) a unitary district council;

(f) a London borough council.

102G Constitution of STBs

(1) The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision about the constitutional arrangements in relation to an STB.

(2) “Constitutional arrangements”, in relation to an STB, include arrangements in respect of—

(a) the membership of the STB (including the number and appointment of members of the STB),

(b) the voting powers of members of the STB (including provision for different weight to be given to the vote of different descriptions of member),

(c) the executive arrangements of the STB, and

(d) the functions of any executive body of the STB.

(3) Regulations made by virtue of subsection (2)(a) which include provision about the number and appointment of members of the STB must provide—

(a) for the members of the STB to be appointed by the STB’s constituent authorities, and

(b) for those members to be appointed from among the elected members of the constituent authorities.

(4) Regulations made by virtue of subsection (2)(a) may provide for persons, who are not elected members of the constituent authorities, to be appointed as co-opted members of an STB; but such regulations must provide (by virtue of subsection (2)(b)) for those co-opted members to be non-voting members of the STB.

(5) The voting members of an STB may resolve that provision made in accordance with subsection (4) is not to apply (generally or in relation to particular matters) in the case of the STB.

(6) In subsection (2)(c) “executive arrangements” means—

(a) the appointment of an executive;

(b) the functions of the STB which are the responsibility of an executive;

(c) the functions of the STB which are the responsibility of an executive and which may be discharged by a committee of the STB, by an officer of the STB or by a body other than the STB;

(d) arrangements relating to the review and scrutiny of the discharge of functions;

(e) access to information on the proceedings of an executive of the STB;

(f) the keeping of a record of any arrangements relating to the STB and falling within any of paragraphs (a) to (e).

(7) The provision which may be made by regulations by virtue of subsection (2)(d) includes—

(a) provision setting up or dissolving an executive body of an STB, or merging two or more executive bodies of an STB;

(b) provision conferring functions on, or removing functions from, an executive body of an STB;

(c) provision transferring functions of an STB to an executive body of the STB, and transferring functions of an executive body of an STB to the STB.

(8) Regulations under this section may authorise an STB to delegate any of its functions to one or more of its constituent authorities (and any such delegation may be made subject to conditions or limitations).

(9) Regulations under this section may not provide for the budget of an STB to be agreed otherwise than by the STB.

(10) For the purposes of subsections (3) and (4), the “elected members” of a constituent authority—

(a) in the case of a combined authority, are the mayor for the area of the combined authority (if there is one) and those members of the authority who are appointed from among the elected members of the authority’s constituent councils (see section 85(1)(b) above as applied by section 104(2) of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009);

(b) in the case of an ITA, are those members of the ITA who are appointed from among the elected members of the ITA’s constituent councils (see section 85(1)(b) above);

(c) in the case of a county council, a unitary district council or the Council of the Isles of Scilly, are the elected members of the council.

Functions

102H General functions

(1) The Secretary of State may by regulations provide for an STB to have any of the following functions in relation to its area—

(a) to prepare a transport strategy for the area (see section 102I);

(b) to provide advice to the Secretary of State about the exercise of transport functions in relation to the area (whether exercisable by the Secretary of State or others);

(c) to co-ordinate the carrying out of transport functions in relation to the area that are exercisable by different constituent authorities, with a view to improving the effectiveness and efficiency in the carrying out of those functions;

(d) if the STB considers that a transport function in relation to the area would more effectively and efficiently be carried out by the STB, to make proposals to the Secretary of State for the transfer of that function to the STB;

(e) to make other proposals to the Secretary of State about the role and functions of the STB.

(2) The Secretary of State may by regulations provide for an STB to have other functions of a description set out in the regulations.

(3) Regulations under subsection (2) may be made only for functions to be exercisable in relation to the area of the STB that—

(a) relate to transport,

(b) the Secretary of State considers can appropriately be exercised by the STB, and

(c) are not already exercisable in relation to that area by a local authority or a public authority (see instead sections 102J and 102K respectively for a power to transfer such functions to an STB).

(4) The Secretary of State may by regulations make further provision about how an STB is to carry out functions that it has under or by virtue of this Part.

(5) Regulations under this section in relation to an existing STB may be made only with the consent of the STB.

(6) Nothing in this section limits the power of the Secretary of State to confer other functions on an STB under this Part.

102I Transport strategy of an STB

(1) The transport strategy of an STB is a document containing the STB’s proposals for the promotion and encouragement of sustainable, safe, integrated, efficient and economic transport facilities and services to, from and within the area of the STB.

(2) The transport facilities and services mentioned in subsection (1) are—

(a) those required to meet the needs of persons (including pedestrians) living or working in, or visiting, the area of the STB, and

(b) those required for the transportation of freight.

(3) An STB may include in its transport strategy any other proposals it considers appropriate that relate to transport to, from or within its area.

(4) An STB must publish its transport strategy.

(5) If an STB revises its transport strategy, the STB must publish the strategy as revised.

(6) In preparing or revising its transport strategy an STB must carry out a public consultation.

(7) In carrying out a public consultation under subsection (6), the STB must ensure that such of the following persons as the STB considers appropriate (taking into account the proposals to be contained in the strategy) have a reasonable opportunity to respond to the consultation—

(a) the Secretary of State;

(b) a combined authority;

(c) another STB;

(d) an ITA;

(e) a Passenger Transport Executive;

(f) Transport for London;

(g) a person to whom a licence is granted under section 8 of the Railways Act 1993 (licences authorising persons to be operator of railway assets);

(h) Highways England Company Limited;

(i) a local highway authority (within the meaning of the

Highways Act 1980);

(j) a county council in England;

(k) a unitary district council;

(l) a London borough council.

(8) In preparing or revising its transport strategy an STB must (among other matters) have regard to—

(a) the promotion of economic growth in its area,

(b) the social and environmental impacts in connection with the implementation of the proposals contained in the strategy,

(c) any current national policy relating to transport that has been published by or on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government, and

(d) the results of the public consultation mentioned in subsection (6).

(9) The Secretary of State must have regard to proposals contained in the transport strategy of an STB that appear to the Secretary of State to further the objective of economic growth in the area of the STB in determining—

(a) national policies relating to transport (so far as relevant in relation to such proposals), and

(b) how such policies are to be implemented in relation to the area of the STB.

(10) The constituent authorities of an STB must exercise transport functions with a view to securing the implementation of the proposals contained in the STB’s transport strategy.

(11) In this Part “transport strategy”, in relation to an STB, means the transport strategy prepared or revised by an STB under this section by virtue of the function in section 102H(1)(a).

102J Exercise of local transport functions

(1) The Secretary of State may by regulations provide for functions that are exercisable by a local authority in an area that is, or is to become, the area of an STB to be exercisable by the STB.

(2) Regulations under this section may be made—

(a) only in relation to functions that relate to transport, and

(b) only if the Secretary of State considers that the function can appropriately be exercised by the STB.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (2)(a), regulations under this section may be made in respect of a function that relates both to transport and to other matters only so far as the function is exercisable in relation to transport.

(4) Regulations under this section may make provision for a function to be exercisable by the STB either generally or subject to such conditions or limitations as may be specified in the regulations.

(5) Regulations under this section may make provision—

(a) for a function to be exercisable by the STB instead of by the local authority, or

(b) for a function to be exercisable by the STB concurrently with the local authority.

(6) Regulations under this section may be made only with the consent of—

(a) the local authority concerned, and

(b) in the case of regulations made in relation to an existing STB, the STB.

(7) In this section “local authority” means—

(a) a combined authority;

(b) an ITA;

(c) a Passenger Transport Executive;

(d) a county council in England;

(e) a unitary district council;

(f) the Council of the Isles of Scilly.

102K Other public authority functions

(1) The Secretary of State may by regulations provide for functions that are exercisable by a public authority in relation to an area that is, or is to become, the area of an STB to be exercisable by the STB.

(2) Regulations under this section may be made—

(a) only in relation to functions that relate to transport, and

(b) only if the Secretary of State considers that the function can appropriately be exercised by the STB.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (2)(a), regulations under this section may be made in respect of a function that relates both to transport and to other matters only so far as the function is exercisable in relation to transport.

(4) Regulations under this section may make provision for a function to be exercisable by the STB either generally or subject to such conditions or limitations as may be specified in the regulations.

(5) Regulations under this section may make provision—

(a) for a function to be exercisable by the STB instead of by the public authority, or

(b) for a function to be exercisable by the STB jointly with the public authority.

(6) Regulations under this section in relation to an existing STB may be made only with the consent of the STB.

(7) In this section—

“function” does not include a power to make regulations or other instruments of a legislative character;

“Minister of the Crown” has the same meaning as in the Ministers of the Crown Act 1975;

“public authority”—

(a) includes a Minister of the Crown or a government department;

(b) does not include a local authority as defined by section 102J.

102L Funding

(1) The Secretary of State may pay grants to STBs to cover expenditure incurred in the carrying out of their functions.

(2) Grants may be paid under this section subject to any conditions the Secretary of State thinks appropriate (including conditions as to repayment).

(3) The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision—

(a) for the constituent authorities of an STB to contribute to its costs, and

(b) about the basis on which the amount payable by each constituent authority is to be determined.

General powers etc

102M General powers

(1) An STB may do—

(a) anything it considers appropriate for the purposes of the carrying out of any of its functions (its “functional purposes”),

(b) anything it considers appropriate for purposes incidental (whether directly or indirectly) to its functional purposes,

(c) anything it considers to be connected with—

(i) any of its functions, or

(ii) anything it may do under paragraph (a) or (b), and

(d) for a commercial purpose, anything which it may do under any of paragraphs (a) to (c) otherwise than for a commercial purpose.

(2) Where subsection (1) confers power on an STB to do something, it confers power (subject to section 102N) to do it anywhere in the United Kingdom or elsewhere.

(3) Power conferred on an STB by subsection (1) is in addition to, and is not limited by, the other powers of the STB.

(4) Where an STB has an executive body established by virtue of section 102G, the STB may delegate to that body its function of taking action under subsection (1) (but not the function of determining what action to take).

102N Boundaries of power under section 102M

(1) Section 102M(1) does not enable an STB to do anything which it is unable to do by virtue of a post-commencement limitation which is expressed to apply—

(a) to its power under section 102M(1),

(b) to all of its powers, or

(c) to all of its powers but with exceptions that do not include its power under section 102M(1).

(2) Section 102M(1) does not authorise an STB to borrow money.

(3) Section 102M(1)(a) to (c) do not authorise an STB to charge a person for anything it does otherwise than for a commercial purpose (but see section 93 of the Local Government Act 2003 (power of STBs and other best value authorities to charge for discretionary services)).

(4) Section 102M(1)(d) does not authorise an STB to do things for a commercial purpose in relation to a person if a statutory provision requires the STB to do those things in relation to the person.

(5) Where under section 102M(1)(d) an STB does things for a commercial purpose, it must do them through—

(a) a company within the meaning given by section 1(1) of the Companies Act 2006, or

(b) a registered society within the meaning of the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014.

(6) In this section—

“post-commencement limitation” means a prohibition, restriction or other limitation imposed by a statutory provision that—

(a) is contained in an Act passed after the end of the Session in which the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act 2015 is passed, or

(b) is contained in an instrument made under an Act and comes into force on or after the commencement of section (Sub-national transport bodies) of that Act;

“statutory provision” means a provision of an Act or of an instrument made under an Act.

102O Power to make provision supplemental to section 102M

(1) The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision preventing an STB from doing under section 102M(1) anything which is specified, or is of a description specified, in the regulations.

(2) The Secretary of State may by regulations provide for the exercise by STBs of the power conferred by section 102M(1) to be subject to conditions, whether generally or in relation to doing anything specified, or of a description specified, in the regulations.

(3) Before making regulations under subsection (1) or (2) the Secretary of State must consult—

(a) such representatives of STBs,

(b) such representatives of local government, and

(c) such other persons (if any), as the Secretary of State considers appropriate.

(4) Subsection (3) does not apply to regulations under subsection (1) or

(2) which are made only for the purpose of amending earlier such regulations—

(a) so as to extend the earlier regulations, or any provision of the earlier regulations, to a particular STB or to STBs of a particular description, or

(b) so that the earlier regulations, or any provision of the earlier regulations, cease to apply to a particular STB or to STBs of a particular description.

102P Power of direction

(1) The Secretary of State may by regulations confer on an STB a power to give directions to a constituent authority about the exercise of transport functions by the authority in the area of the STB.

(2) The power to give a direction by virtue of subsection (1) about the exercise of a function extends only so far as the exercise of the function is relevant to the implementation of the STB’s transport strategy.

(3) Regulations under this section conferring a power to direct may include provision—

(a) for the power to be given generally or subject to conditions or limitations;

(b) for the power to apply to all transport functions or only to those functions specified or described in the regulations;

(c) about the manner in which directions are to be given;

(d) about the consequences arising if there is a contravention of a direction.

(4) Provision under subsection (3)(d) may include provision enabling the STB—

(a) to take any steps it considers appropriate to reverse or modify the effect of a constituent authority exercising a transport function in contravention of the direction, and

(b) to recover any reasonable expenses incurred in taking those steps as a civil debt from the constituent authority.

Boundary and name changes

102Q Change to boundaries of an STB’s area

(1) The Secretary of State may by regulations change the boundaries of the area of an STB by—

(a) adding the area of a relevant authority to an existing area of an STB, or

(b) removing the area of a constituent authority from an existing area of an STB.

(2) Regulations under this section may be made—

(a) only if the constituent authorities have together made a proposal to the Secretary of State for the boundaries to be changed in the manner that would be provided for in the regulations;

(b) in the case of regulations under subsection (1)(a), only if the relevant authority whose area would be added to the area of the STB joins in the making of the proposal;

(c) in the case of regulations under subsection (1)(b), only if the resulting area of the STB meets the condition in section 102E(4).

(3) Regulations under this section changing the boundaries of the area of an STB may be made only if the Secretary of State considers that paragraphs (a) and (b) of section 102F(1) would apply in relation to the area as varied by the regulations.

(4) Regulations under this section may be made only with the consent of—

(a) the STB, and

(b) in the case of regulations under subsection (1)(a), the relevant authority whose area would be added to the area of the STB.

102R Change of name

(1) An STB may change its name by a resolution in accordance with this section.

(2) The resolution must be considered at a meeting of the STB that is specially convened for the purpose.

(3) Particulars of the resolution must be included in the notice of the meeting.

(4) The resolution must be passed at the meeting by not less than twothirds of the members of the STB who vote on it.

(5) An STB which changes it name under this section must—

(a) send notice of the change to the Secretary of State, and

(b) publish the notice in such manner as the Secretary of State may direct.

(6) A change of name under this section does not affect the rights or obligations of the STB or any other person, or render defective any legal proceedings.

(7) Any legal proceedings may be commenced or continued as if there had been no change of name.

Supplementary

102S Incidental etc provision

(1) The Secretary of State may by regulations make incidental, consequential, transitional or supplementary provision for the purposes of, or in consequence of, regulations under this Part or for giving full effect to such regulations.

(2) Regulations under this Part may make different provision for different STBs or otherwise for different purposes.

(3) The provision which may be included by virtue of this section in regulations includes provision for the transfer under the regulations of property, rights and liabilities.

(4) The provision which may be included by virtue of subsection (3) in regulations includes provision—

(a) for the creation or imposition by the Secretary of State of new rights or liabilities in respect of anything transferred under the regulations;

(b) for the management or custody of transferred property;

(c) for bodies to make agreements with respect to any property, income, rights, liabilities and expenses of, and any financial relations between, the parties to the agreement.

(5) The provision which may be included by virtue of this section in regulations includes provision amending, modifying, repealing or revoking any enactment, whenever passed or made.

(6) In this section “enactment” includes an enactment comprised in subordinate legislation (within the meaning of the Interpretation Act 1978).

102T Procedure for regulations under this Part

(1) Regulations under this Part must be made by statutory instrument.

(2) A statutory instrument containing regulations under this Part may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament.

(3) At the same time as laying a draft of a statutory instrument containing regulations under this Part before Parliament, the Secretary of State must lay before Parliament a report explaining the effect of the regulations and why the Secretary of State considers it appropriate to make the regulations.

(4) Subsections (2) and (3) do not apply to a statutory instrument that contains regulations only of the following kinds—

(a) regulations under section 102J that make provision under subsection (4) of that section for a function to be exercisable by an STB for a limited period of time;

(b) regulations under section 102J that make provision under subsection (5)(b) of that section;

(c) regulations under section 102K that make provision under subsection (4) of that section for a function to be exercisable by an STB for a limited period of time;

(d) regulations under section 102K that make provision under subsection (5)(b) of that section;

(e) regulations under section 102O(1) that make provision for the purpose mentioned in section 102O(4)(b);

(f) regulations under section 102O(2) that make provision for that purpose or for imposing conditions on the doing of things for a commercial purpose.

(5) A statutory instrument to which subsections (2) and (3) do not apply is subject to annulment by resolution of either House of Parliament.

(6) If a draft of regulations under this Part would, apart from this subsection, be treated for the purposes of the standing orders of either House of Parliament as a hybrid instrument, it is to proceed in that House as if it were not a hybrid instrument.

102U Interpretation

In this Part—

“combined authority” means a body established as a combined authority under section 103 of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009;

“constituent authority”, in relation to an STB, has the meaning given by section 102F(4);

“ITA” means an Integrated Transport Authority for an integrated transport area in England;

“Passenger Transport Executive” means a body which is such an Executive for the purposes of Part 2 of the Transport Act 1968;

“relevant authority” has the meaning given by section 102E(5);

“STB” has the meaning given by section 102E(2);

“transport functions” means any statutory functions relating to transport;

“transport strategy” has the meaning given by section 102I(11);

“unitary district council” means a district council whose area is not part of the area of a county council.””

Photo of Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport), Parliamentary Under-Secretary 5:10 pm, 12th January 2016

My Lords, in speaking to Commons Amendment 53 I shall also speak to Amendments 77, 85, 86 and 87. In the summer 2015 Budget, my right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to the northern powerhouse, a fundamental part of our plan to deliver a healthy and balanced economy for working people across this United Kingdom. The provisions on sub-national transport bodies—STBs—we are debating today were introduced in the last Session and passed through the other place without amendment. I thank all Members and in particular my honourable friend Andrew Jones for that.

These provisions on STBs are a continuation of the revolution going on in the way we govern England. The Government are committed to devolve powers and budgets to boost local growth, which can be seen throughout this Bill. While we are investing record sums in transport across the country—in the north this amounts to £13 billion on transport in this Parliament —we have for far too long accepted that decision-making on that funding has to be made in Whitehall. We need greater local input from those who know their economies best if we want to transform growth in the north and throughout the country. Transport will make a significant difference to that transformation by reducing journey time between the great cities of the north, pooling their strengths and making them greater than the sum of their parts—in short, a northern powerhouse.

Transport for the North is already established and is the unified voice of transport in the north of England. We are working with TfN and other transport bodies on road and rail links in the north and on an integrated smart ticketing system akin to the Oyster card we have in London. I also welcome the recent appointments of John Cridland as chair and David Brown as CEO to drive forward progress.

My right honourable friend the Chancellor also announced extra funding for TfN in the summer but if we want to see long-term permanence and stability,

TfN—and all other STBs—need to be put on a statutory footing. This new clause on sub-national transport bodies will do just that. It creates the legislative framework to allow the Government to set up the first STB, which will be Transport for the North. This will be done by secondary legislation, but other areas could come forward to propose that they are also created as an STB.

STBs will initially advise the Secretary of State for Transport on strategic transport schemes and investment priorities in their own area. The Secretary of State may grant individual STBs additional responsibilities around the decision-making and delivery of strategic transport schemes and significant cross-regional schemes such as the work TfN is already undertaking on smart ticketing. There is also the potential to assume more strategic transport responsibilities over time.

However, as I have already said, this clause goes further than TfN alone. It provides a way to create STBs across the whole of England, outside London, at the request of local areas. For example, noble Lords will know of the newly strengthened Midlands Connect Partnership, which brings together 26 local authorities and 11 local enterprise partnerships, working with national agencies and government to drive forward improved transport links across the Midlands to power the Midlands engine. Accordingly, it is necessary for TfN, Midlands Connect and all future STBs to be enshrined as statutory bodies with appropriate statutory powers, and I commend the amendment to the House.

Photo of Lord Beecham Lord Beecham Shadow Spokesperson (Housing), Shadow Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow Spokesperson (Justice) 5:15 pm, 12th January 2016

My Lords, I cannot really account for it but somehow Part 5A of the Local Transport Act 2008 has managed to escape my notice hitherto. I am interested to see that the Government have decided to incorporate reference to transport infrastructure in the devolution Bill, and that is very welcome, but I am not entirely clear about the scope of the proposals before us. Clearly, I welcome the Commons amendments here but, on the face of it, they appear to relate to Highways England and to rail matters, which of course are very important, but I could not see any reference to such issues as ports and airports as part of the functioning of these transport bodies. Perhaps the noble Lord could advise whether they are included and, if not, say why not.

Of course, those of us in the north—the noble Lord has referred to Transport for the North—are very conscious of the huge disparity in the expenditure on transport infrastructure in our part of the country and the vast amounts that have been poured into Crossrail, which we have heard recently is to be further extended. Rather worryingly, it is to go under the block of flats in Balham in which I have a flat. That will no doubt take some time but the disproportion in expenditure is quite remarkable. It is a huge factor and one hopes that it will be redressed.

I am not entirely clear about the likely size of these sub-national transport bodies. A lot of the work will serve to connect different parts of the country but in the part of the country that I come from, in particular, we will be looking at cross-country routes to the north-west—to Cumbria and Carlisle from Newcastle and Sunderland and places on the east coast. For the purposes of these bodies, will we not be looking at, for example, simply the combined authority area, because that does not extend beyond the borders of Northumberland and Cumbria? If the area is to go beyond that, what sorts of boundaries will we be looking at? If it does not go beyond that, what mechanism will exist to bring together areas which are not part of the same combined authority?

Photo of Lord Shipley Lord Shipley Liberal Democrat

My Lords, first, I thank the Minister for his briefing note, which I received last week, on the proposals in this amendment for sub-national transport bodies. I welcome the switch in emphasis that he has referred to. The noble Lord, Lord Beecham, talked about levels of expenditure and, in particular, the enormous amount that is spent on London and the south-east in comparison with the north of England. Having a sub-national transport body of this kind will be extremely helpful in refocusing the attention of Whitehall on the need to fund the north better than it currently does. Therefore, I thank the Minister for that and I think that the proposals are absolutely right but I want to say two things.

The first concerns the question of to whom the sub-national transport bodies will be accountable—in other words, the extent to which the constituent councils of those sub-national bodies will have a regular reporting mechanism. It seems to me very important that there should be a regular means of providing feedback from those councils to the sub-national transport body. Secondly, I hope that the Minister will agree to a system of annual reporting, which occurs elsewhere in the Bill in relation to combined authorities, elected mayors and other matters. Can he confirm that there will also be annual reporting by the sub-national transport bodies? I would find that extremely helpful.

My last point relates to the use of the negative procedure as opposed to the affirmative procedure. The Minister will have seen the report of the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee, which challenges the use of the negative procedure. The grounds are that the powers will exist for a limited period of time. The definition of a “limited period of time” does not appear anywhere. Is it a matter of a few months or of two or three years, or is it a matter of something more significant?

I hope that the Government might be persuaded of the importance of using the affirmative procedure. Given the scale and magnitude that this proposal represents in reality, I think that using the affirmative procedure would be better than using the negative procedure. Does the Minister have any comments on that?

Photo of Lord Smith of Leigh Lord Smith of Leigh Labour

My Lords, I also welcome these amendments, and I thank the Minister for the way that he has introduced them. Obviously, this is very important activity, and without statutory backing Transport for the North has already had a major in-fight over agreeing the northern franchises for the rail networks that affect all our northern counties.

In terms of reporting back, I assure the noble Lord, Lord Shipley, that in the process of franchising we in Greater Manchester have had regular reports from our delegates at Transport for the North. There is accountability for what goes on.

I will probably upset the Minister but, while I am on my feet, I will say that one of the great aspects of the deal for devolution in Greater Manchester was the prospect of franchising the buses, which of course account for the vast majority of transport movements in those areas that are involved. I recognise that that will come under separate legislation, a buses Bill, but we still await sight of that Bill and hope that it is not going to be too long.

Photo of Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport), Parliamentary Under-Secretary

My Lords, I thank all noble Lords for their contributions.

I want to pick up on the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Smith, in response to the noble Lord, Lord Shipley. There is accountability, and that accountability is very much to the stakeholders that make up the particular STB. As for the limits or extension of these areas, that will very much be dependent on the local authorities themselves and the collaboration that takes place. The key point I emphasise is one of strategic decision-making, which is the intention behind the creation of such bodies, as we are already seeing with the creation of TfN. Indeed, the reason behind putting TfN on a statutory footing is that the very bodies that make it up have also requested this.

I will now pick up some of the questions raised by noble Lords. The noble Lord, Lord Shipley, also asked about annual reporting. The legislation makes it clear that STBs shall produce and publish their strategy and updates to that strategy. That can be seen with TfN, which produced its additional reports in March 2015 and has plans for annual updates, the next being in March 2016.

The noble Lord, Lord Beecham, asked about the extent to which different modes of transport are covered by STBs. The whole essence of sub-national transport bodies will be to cater for all modes of transport within a defined geography, including ports and airports. This can already be seen in the work of TfN, which has set out quite clearly its plans for all modes of transport, including ports and airports. I take on board totally the point the noble Lord made that this is not just about linking up rail and roads; it is about ensuring that, where there are ports and airports, these also form part of the strategic transport strategy for a given geographical region.

The noble Lord, Lord Beecham, also asked about the size of STBs. As I have already said, it is really up to the local areas to come forward with proposals; it is about bringing together local authorities. There may be some traditionally defined areas, but it is about how local authorities can come together and collaborate across traditional borders to ensure the best result for a particular region. In terms of the requirements, there must be two appropriate authorities to form an STB.

Photo of Lord Beecham Lord Beecham Shadow Spokesperson (Housing), Shadow Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow Spokesperson (Justice)

A particular authority or area might want to belong to two such networks. For example, one can see clearly that there is a case for the north-east and Cumbria coming together on the horizontal routes. Equally, Cumbria might want to go south towards my noble friend Lord Smith and vice versa. Is it possible to belong to two such networks?

Photo of Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport), Parliamentary Under-Secretary

It is dependent on how the STB proposals come back. However, in practice, I cannot see a deterrent to that because this is about providing strategic links. I am sure all noble Lords will welcome a linking up between the noble Lords, Lord Beecham and Lord Smith, on strategic transport arrangements. The idea behind this is to empower local authorities to make the right decisions for their particular area.

As to specific local authorities belonging to two networks through legislation, what would happen in the scenario painted by the noble Lord is that if a local authority is already part of an STB, there is nothing stopping that local authority, after the creation of a new STB, being co-opted on to the other to ensure that that strategic link is operational.

The noble Lord, Lord Shipley, referred to placing a limit on the period for regulations. The very nature of the temporary transfer of functions is that there will be a clearly limited interim time for this. If a temporary transfer of functions works well and there is evidence to show that there would be value in effecting a permanent transfer, there would be further regulations to ensure that that could take place.

I hope I have answered the questions that have been raised.

Photo of Lord Smith of Leigh Lord Smith of Leigh Labour

Could the Minister comment on the buses Bill and when we are likely to see it?

Photo of Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport), Parliamentary Under-Secretary

I raised the issue of the buses Bill when I was being briefed for this Bill. I know that it has been drafted and we are looking for appropriate parliamentary time to ensure that we can introduce it at the earliest opportunity.

I again thank all noble Lords for their support for the amendment.

Photo of Lord Mackay of Clashfern Lord Mackay of Clashfern Conservative

I think new Section 102T deals with the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Shipley, about requiring affirmative resolution for the generality of regulations under this provision.

Photo of Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport), Parliamentary Under-Secretary

As ever, my noble friend is correct.

Motion agreed.

Motion on Amendment 54

Moved by Baroness Williams of Trafford

That this House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment 54.

54: Insert the following new Clause

English National Park authorities: general powers

After section 65 of the Environment Act 1995 insert—

65A English National Park authorities: general powers

(1) An English National Park authority may do—

(a) anything it considers appropriate for the purposes of the carrying out of any of its functions (its “functional purposes”),

(b) anything it considers appropriate for purposes incidental (whether directly or indirectly) to its functional purposes,

(c) anything it considers to be connected with—

(i) any of its functions, or

(ii) anything it may do under paragraph (a) or (b), and

(d) for a commercial purpose, anything which it may do under any of paragraphs (a) to (c) otherwise than for a commercial purpose.

(2) Where subsection (1) confers power on an English National Park authority to do something, it confers power (subject to section 65B) to do it anywhere in the United Kingdom or elsewhere.

(3) Power conferred on an English National Park authority by subsection (1) is in addition to, and is not limited by, the other powers of the authority.

(4) In this section, and in sections 65B and 65C, “English National Park authority” means a National Park authority for a National Park in England.

65B Boundaries of powers under section 65A

(1) Section 65A(1) does not enable an English National Park authority to do anything which it is unable to do by virtue of a pre-commencement limitation.

(2) Section 65A(1) does not enable an English National Park authority to do anything which it is unable to do by virtue of a post-commencement limitation which is expressed to apply—

(a) to its power under section 65A(1),

(b) to all of its powers, or

(c) to all of its powers but with exceptions that do not include its power under section 65A(1).

(3) If exercise of a pre-commencement power of an English National Park authority is subject to restrictions, those restrictions apply also to exercise of the power conferred on it by section 65A(1) so far as that power is overlapped by the pre-commencement power.

(4) Section 65A(1) does not authorise an English National Park authority to borrow money.

(5) Section 65A(1)(a) to (c) do not authorise an English National Park authority to charge a person for anything it does otherwise than for a commercial purpose.

(6) Section 65A(1)(d) does not authorise an English National Park authority to do things for a commercial purpose in relation to a person if a statutory provision requires the authority to do those things in relation to the person.

(7) Where under section 65A(1)(d) an English National Park authority does things for a commercial purpose, it must do them through—

(a) a company within the meaning given by section 1(1) of the Companies Act 2006, or

(b) a registered society within the meaning of the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014.

(8) In this section—

“post-commencement limitation” means a prohibition, restriction or other limitation imposed by a statutory provision that—

(a) is contained in an Act passed after the end of the Session in which the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act 2015 is passed, or

(b) is contained in an instrument made under an Act and comes into force on or after the commencement of section (English National Park authorities: general powers) of that Act;

“pre-commencement limitation” means a prohibition, restriction or other limitation imposed by a statutory provision that—

(a) is contained in an Act passed no later than the end of the Session in which the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act 2015 is passed, or

(b) is contained in an instrument made under an Act and comes into force before the commencement of section (English National Park authorities: general powers) of that Act;

“pre-commencement power” means power conferred by a statutory provision that—

(a) is contained in an Act passed no later than the end of the Session in which the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act 2015 is passed, or (b) is contained in an instrument made under an Act and comes into force before the commencement of section (English National Park authorities: general powers) of that Act;

“statutory provision” means a provision of an Act or of an instrument made under an Act.

65C Power to make provision supplemental to section 65A

(1) The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision preventing an English National Park authority from doing under section 65A(1) anything which is specified, or is of a description specified, in the regulations.

(2) The Secretary of State may by regulations provide for the exercise by English National Park authorities of the power conferred by section 65A(1) to be subject to conditions, whether generally or in relation to doing anything specified, or of a description specified, in the regulations.

(3) Before making regulations under subsection (1) or (2) the Secretary of State must consult—

(a) such representatives of English National Park authorities, and

(b) such other persons (if any), as the Secretary of State considers appropriate.

(4) Subsection (3) does not apply to regulations under subsection (1) or

(2) which are made only for the purpose of amending earlier such regulations—

(a) so as to extend the earlier regulations, or any provision of the earlier regulations, to English National Park authorities, or

(b) so that the earlier regulations, or any provision of the earlier regulations, cease to apply English National Park authorities.

65D Procedure etc. for regulations under section 65C

(1) The power to make regulations under section 65C—

(a) is exercisable by statutory instrument;

(b) includes power to make different provision for different purposes;

(c) includes power to make incidental, supplementary, consequential, transitional, transitory or saving provision;

(d) may, in particular, be exercised by amending, repealing, revoking or otherwise modifying any provision made by or under an Act passed before the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act 2015 or in the same Session as that Act.

(2) A statutory instrument containing regulations under section 65C may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament.

(3) Subsection (2) does not apply to a statutory instrument that contains regulations only of the following kind—

(a) regulations under section 65C(1) that make provision for the purpose mentioned in section 65C(4)(b);

(b) regulations under section 65C(2) that make provision for that purpose or for imposing conditions on the doing of things for a commercial purpose;

(c) regulations made by virtue of subsection (1)(c) that do not contain provision amending or repealing a provision of an Act.

(4) A statutory instrument to which subsection (2) does not apply is subject to annulment by resolution of either House of Parliament.

(5) If a draft of regulations under section 65C would, apart from this subsection, be treated for the purposes of the standing orders of either House of Parliament as a hybrid instrument, it is to proceed in that House as if it were not a hybrid instrument.””

Photo of Baroness Williams of Trafford Baroness Williams of Trafford The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

My Lords, this will be my last opportunity to thank all noble Lords who have been involved with this devolution Bill. From my point of view it has been a very constructive process. It is my first Bill and I have rather enjoyed it, given the debates that we have had.

I now beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment 54. I shall speak also to Amendment 77 in relation to the general power of competence for national parks.

I am grateful to my noble friend Lord De Mauley for bringing this issue to my attention. He and I met the national park authorities on 23 July to discuss the matter. Alas, this was after the Bill had left this House, so we sought to resolve the issue by amending the Bill in another place.

Amendment 54 confers new general powers on national park authorities in England similar to those conferred on, among others, fire and rescue authorities and integrated transport authorities in Chapters 2 and 3 of Part 1 of the Localism Act 2011. These new powers for national park authorities can be described as a functional power of competence. The new powers allow an authority to act as an individual could, with certain limitations, in relation to the functions that an authority has. For example, the powers will allow a national park authority to act through a company and to trade in a broader way than it currently can.

National park authorities have asked for this power as they consider it will enable them to act in a more entrepreneurial and innovative way. They believe they will be in a better position to enter into partnerships that will support growth across our rural economy. For example, it will enable them to work in partnership with other bodies more proactively on the rollout of broadband, and to make a contribution towards the implementation of broadband infrastructure. Jim Bailey, the chair of National Parks England, has said:

“We are pleased to see the Government introduce this amendment. This will help National Park authorities to maximise opportunities to fulfil our statutory purposes”.

It is important, though, to understand that a power of competence does not override existing legislation, so national park authorities will continue to be bound by their statutory purposes of conserving and enhancing the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of an area and promoting opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities.

The statutory framework of protection and consent will remain unchanged, and in using their new powers, the park authorities cannot promote or permit activities that are incompatible with these statutory purposes. The power will not be used to encourage or permit too much or inappropriate development in national parks. It is also important to be clear that this power will not be used by national park authorities as an opportunity for them to start charging entry to national parks. All but a very small percentage of land in national parks is owned privately—this is an important point—not by the national park authorities, and therefore they have no legal basis for doing so.

Photo of Lord Deben Lord Deben Conservative 5:30 pm, 12th January 2016

My Lords, can my noble friend give an assurance that these new powers, which are no doubt welcome, will not be used by park authorities to enable them unfairly to compete with people within the parks? Unfortunately, some national parks have behaved in a pretty high-handed way. I think that happens less now than when I was Secretary of State, when I had to deal with such cases. I just want to make sure that the new powers cannot be used in a non-competitive way.

Photo of Baroness Williams of Trafford Baroness Williams of Trafford The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

My Lords, there has been much speculation about what these powers might mean in respect of fracking and so on. The whole purpose of the amendment is to give park authorities the scope to be more innovative, rather than to act in an unduly competitive way with each other.

The part of government Amendment 77 that amends Section 65 of the Environment Act 1995 is minor and technical and contains the amendments consequential on government Amendment 54. I hope that noble Lords will feel able to accept the amendment.

Photo of Lord Beecham Lord Beecham Shadow Spokesperson (Housing), Shadow Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow Spokesperson (Justice)

My Lords, this amendment is welcome and has been warmly supported by the national parks authorities, although I understand that there was some slight misunderstanding about that on the part of the Opposition in the House of Commons. Certainly, we want to endorse the sentiments of the noble Baroness about the potential for each national park authority. Of course, I come from a part of the world where there is a remarkable national park, and it occurs to me that the Government might want to facilitate a close relationship between combined authorities such as the one in the north-east and, I suspect, the one in the Sheffield area with the Peak District National Park, so they can collaborate in a way that perhaps was not possible before. It would of course be a matter for the authorities, rather than for legislation, but it is something the Government might encourage.

One matter that was raised in the House of Commons was clarified at the time by the Minister, but I invite the noble Baroness to repeat the assurance that nothing in this proposal would facilitate the adoption of fracking in any national park area—that is, that it would not be open to a national park authority to allow such a development. It would be good to have it on the record in your Lordships’ House as well as in the Commons.

Photo of Lord Shipley Lord Shipley Liberal Democrat

My Lords, I welcome the proposal for the national parks. As with the rest of the Bill, a regular review of how this power is being used would be welcome, and I am sure we will have that.

We thank the Minister for her leadership on the Bill. It has been seven months since we began the process, which we have found rewarding. Although from time to time there have been differences—some still remain—the truth is that the outcome is in the interests of stronger government at the sub-regional and local level in England, and I welcome that. We will see how it goes over the next few years, but I am very optimistic that the groundwork put in by the Minister and her colleagues during this Parliament and the last one is going to bear fruit.

Photo of Lord Judd Lord Judd Labour

My Lords, National Parks England, which is the umbrella body for the park authorities, is making no secret of the fact that it positively welcomes this amendment and sees great opportunities in it. I have one anxiety on which I would like an assurance, but I suspect that it comes at a slightly different angle from that of the noble Lord, Lord Deben. There is sometimes a subjective dividing line between commercialisation of the parks and using commercial opportunities to strengthen their purposes. Elsewhere in legislation the Government have, to their credit, stood firmly by the definition of what national parks are. They are not areas which are ripe for commercial exploitation, rather they are areas in which sensible co-operation between the park and the authority could do a great deal to strengthen the authority and enhance the well-being of the people in the community. But the purpose of the park is to enable more people from all ethnic groups in Britain to appreciate the contrast of beauty, landscape and all the rest. I suspect that the Minister is 100% on my side on this, but I would like an assurance that this undoubtedly important amendment, containing as it does such great advances, will not be allowed to become an excuse for commercialisation, in the wrong sense, of the parks at the expense of their real purpose.

Photo of Lord Beecham Lord Beecham Shadow Spokesperson (Housing), Shadow Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow Spokesperson (Justice)

My Lords, I appear to have failed to notice that we are dealing with the last group of amendments. Obviously I want to join the noble Lord, Lord Shipley, in thanking the Minister for her charming and helpful approach to legislation—this will do her reputation as a Minister no good at all—and to thank the members of the Bill team, who have always been helpful and approachable. That has been the case right from the start, I believe, some nine months ago when the Bill was conceived and has now been delivered in its final shape. It bears a great deal to the way in which the noble Baroness and her colleagues have assisted Members from all sides of the House.

Photo of Baroness Williams of Trafford Baroness Williams of Trafford The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

I thank the noble Lords, Lord Beecham and Lord Shipley, for their kind words. All three noble Lords have talked about the power of collaboration between authorities while not under- mining what the original intent of the national park functions is. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Judd, that the new power of functional competence does not change the statutory duty and purpose of the park authority; I can give him an absolute assurance on that. I can also assure the noble Lord, Lord Beecham, that nothing in the proposal facilitates fracking. I think I gave that assurance to my noble friend Lord Deben. It might help him if I read the provisions of new Clause 65C to be inserted under Amendment 54. It states:

“The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision preventing an English National Park authority from doing under section 65A(1) anything which is specified, or is of a description specified, in the regulations”.

The Secretary of State has the power to make sure that the checks and balances are in place for a national park’s priorities and functions to be protected.

I think that I have answered all points made by noble Lords and I thank them for the enjoyable experience that this Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill has been.

Motion agreed.

Motion on Amendments 55 to 87

Moved by Baroness Williams of Trafford

That this House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments 55 to 87.

55: Clause 22, page 19, line 8, after “of” insert “, or made under,”

56: Clause 25, page 20, line 3, leave out subsection (2)

57: Schedule 1, page 21, line 29, after “State” insert “or the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster”

58: Schedule 1, page 25, line 28, after “State” insert “or the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

59: Schedule 1, page 26, line 12, after “State” insert “or the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster”

60: Schedule 1, page 26, line 13, after “State” insert “or the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster”

61: Schedule 1, page 26, line 17, after “State” insert “or the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster”

62: Schedule 2, page 26, line 33, leave out “police and crime commissioner functions” and insert “functions of a police and crime commissioner”

63: Schedule 2, page 26, line 34, at end insert—

“( ) A duty under this Schedule to make provision by order is a duty to make such provision in an order made at any time before the first election of a mayor who, by virtue of an order under section 107E(1), is to exercise functions of a police and crime commissioner.”

64: Schedule 2, page 27, line 24, leave out “PCC mayor” and insert “mayor for policing and crime”

65: Schedule 2, page 27, line 25, leave out “PCC mayor” and insert “mayor for policing and crime”

66: Schedule 2, page 27, line 31, leave out “PCC mayor” and insert “mayor for policing and crime”

67: Schedule 2, page 27, line 38, leave out “PCC mayor” and insert “mayor for policing and crime”

68: Schedule 2, page 28, line 4, leave out “PCC mayor” and insert “mayor for policing and crime”

69: Schedule 2, page 28, line 6, leave out “PCC mayor” and insert “mayor for policing and crime”

70: Schedule 2, page 28, line 9, leave out “PCC mayor” and insert “mayor for policing and crime”

71: Schedule 2, page 28, line 23, at end insert—

“4A (1) The Secretary of State may by order provide for a police and crime panel to have oversight functions in relation to any general functions of the mayor that are the subject of arrangements under section 107D(3)(c)(i) (power to arrange for general functions to be exercisable by deputy mayor for policing and crime).

(2) If it appears to the Secretary of State expedient for the police and crime panel also to have oversight functions in relation to other general functions of the mayor that are related to general functions in respect of which an order is made under sub-paragraph (1), the Secretary of State may by order provide for the panel to have oversight functions in relation to those other general functions.

(3) An order under this paragraph may disapply, or otherwise modify, the application of paragraph 1(3) of Schedule 5A so far as relating to general functions of the mayor in respect of which a police and crime panel has oversight functions.

(4) In this paragraph—

“oversight functions”, in relation to general functions of the mayor, are functions that are of a corresponding or similar kind to those that a police and crime panel has in relation to PCC functions of the mayor;

“police and crime panel” means a panel established by virtue of an order under paragraph 4.”

72: Schedule 2, page 28, line 41, leave out from “mayor” to end of line 42 and insert “and the deputy mayor for policing and crime”

73: Schedule 2, page 30, line 12, at end insert—

“( ) Subsections (5) and (6) of section 107C, so far as relating to the exercise of PCC functions, are subject to any provision contained in an order under this Schedule.”

74: After Schedule 3, insert the following new Schedule—

“SCHEDULE 3A

AMENDMENTS OF THE NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE ACT 2006

1 The National Health Service Act 2006 is amended as follows.

2 (1) Section 7A (exercise of Secretary of State’s public health functions) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (2), after paragraph (c) insert—

“(d) a combined authority.”

(3) In subsection (4), after “group” insert “or a combined authority”.

3 In section 13Z (exercise of functions), after subsection (6) insert—

“(7) This section is subject to sections 13ZA and 13ZB in the case of arrangements that are devolved arrangements (within the meaning of section 13ZA).”

4 After section 13Z insert—

13ZA Section 13Z: further provision in relation to devolved arrangements

(1) This section applies to arrangements under section 13Z(2) for one or more functions of the Board to be exercised in relation to a particular area by or jointly with a relevant prescribed body (“devolved arrangements”).

(2) “Relevant prescribed body” means a body prescribed under section 13Z(2)(c) that is either—

(a) a combined authority whose area includes the whole or part of the area to which the arrangements relate, or (b) a local authority (within the meaning of section 2B) whose area includes the whole or part of that area.

(3) The power of the Board under section 13Z(2) to enter into devolved arrangements in relation to any functions includes power to arrange for such functions to be exercised in relation to the area to which the arrangements relate—

(a) by the relevant prescribed body jointly with one or more other eligible bodies;

(b) jointly with the Board, the relevant prescribed body and one or more other eligible bodies.

(4) A body is an “eligible body” if it—

(a) falls within paragraph (a), (b) or (c) of section 13Z(2), and

(b) exercises functions in relation to the area to which the arrangements relate.

(5) Where, by virtue of subsection (3), the Board enters into devolved arrangements with a relevant prescribed body and one or more eligible bodies, at least one of those eligible bodies must be a clinical commissioning group.

(6) Where, by virtue of subsection (3), one or more eligible bodies are a party to devolved arrangements, the power under section 13Z(4) to establish a joint committee includes a power to establish a joint committee of which one or more of the eligible bodies are members.

(7) But the members of a joint committee established under section 13Z(4) by virtue of subsection (6) must include—

(a) the relevant prescribed body;

(b) at least one clinical commissioning group with whom a function is exercised jointly under the devolved arrangements;

(c) if under the devolved arrangements a function is exercisable jointly with the Board, the Board.

(8) The terms and conditions on which devolved arrangements are made may include terms authorising a joint committee established by virtue of subsection (6) to establish and maintain a pooled fund.

(9) A pooled fund is a fund—

(a) which is made up of payments received from the Board under the devolved arrangements in accordance with terms of payment agreed under section 13Z(5), and

(b) out of which payments may be made towards expenditure incurred in the discharge of any of the functions in relation to which the devolved arrangements are made.

13ZB Section 13Z: arrangements in relation to the function under section 3B(1)(d)

(1) This section applies to arrangements under section 13Z(2) that are or include arrangements in relation to the exercise of a relevant commissioning function.

(2) “Relevant commissioning function” means a function of the Board under section 3B(1)(d) of arranging for the provision of services or facilities in respect of a particular area (“the commissioning area”).

(3) The power to enter into the arrangements under section 13Z is subject to the following provisions of this section.

(4) The arrangements must provide for the relevant commissioning function to be exercisable by at least one relevant prescribed body jointly with—

(a) one or more eligible bodies, or

(b) the Board and one or more eligible bodies, (and the arrangements are, accordingly, devolved arrangements to which section 13ZA applies).

(5) At least one of the eligible bodies mentioned in subsection (4) must be a clinical commissioning group.

(6) The Board may enter into the arrangements in relation to the provision of a service or facility in the commissioning area only if it considers it appropriate to do so having regard to—

(a) the impact on the provision of the service or facility in the commissioning area;

(b) the impact on the provision of the service or facility in other areas;

(c) the number of persons in the commissioning area to whom the service or facility is provided;

(d) the number of persons who are able to provide the service or facility;

(e) the cost of providing the service or facility;

(f) the financial implications for the relevant prescribed body, and for other bodies, with whom the arrangements are made.

(7) Regulations may provide for this section not to apply to arrangements so far as relating to a relevant commissioning function of a prescribed description.

(8) In this section, “eligible body” and “relevant prescribed body” have the same meaning as in section 13ZA.”

5 After section 14Z3 insert—

14Z3A Joint exercise of functions with combined authorities

(1) A clinical commissioning group may arrange for—

(a) any commissioning function of the group to be exercised jointly with a combined authority;

(b) any commissioning function that the group exercises on behalf of another clinical commissioning group under section 14Z3(2)(a) to be exercised jointly with a combined authority.

(2) Two or more clinical commissioning groups may arrange for any commissioning functions of those groups that are exercised jointly with each other under section 14Z3(2)(b) to be exercised jointly also with a combined authority.

(3) Regulations may provide that the powers in subsections (1) and (2) do not apply in relation to a commissioning function of a prescribed description.

(4) Where any commissioning functions of a clinical commissioning group (or groups) are exercised jointly with a combined authority under subsection (1) or (2), they may be exercised by a joint committee of the group (or groups) and the authority.

(5) Arrangements under subsection (1) or (2) may be on such terms and conditions (including terms as to payment) as may be agreed between the clinical commissioning group (or groups) and the combined authority.

(6) Where two or more clinical commissioning groups enter into arrangements with the same combined authority under subsection (1) or (2), the terms as to payment mentioned in subsection (5) may include terms authorising a joint committee established under subsection (4) to establish and maintain a pooled fund.

(7) A pooled fund is a fund—

(a) which is made up of payments received under the arrangements from all the groups that are parties to the arrangements, and

(b) out of which payments may be made towards expenditure incurred in the exercise of any of the commissioning functions in respect of which the arrangements are made.

(8) Arrangements under subsection (1) or (2) do not affect the liability of a clinical commissioning group for the exercise of any of its functions.

(9) In this section “commissioning functions” means the functions of clinical commissioning groups in arranging for the provision of services as part of the health service (but does not include the function of making a request to the Board for the purposes of section 14Z9).”

6 In section 75 (arrangements between NHS bodies and local authorities), after subsection (7) insert—

“(7A) For the purposes of this section, a combined authority that exercises a prescribed function within subsection (1)(a) of an NHS body under voluntary arrangements is to be treated as an NHS body.

(7B) “Voluntary arrangements” means arrangements made with the combined authority under—

(a) section 7A (exercise of Secretary of State’s public health functions),

(b) section 13Z (exercise of the Board’s functions), or

(c) section 14Z3A (joint exercise of functions with clinical commissioning groups).

(7C) Regulations under this section, so far as made before or in the same Session as that in which the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act 2015 is passed, apply to a combined authority that is treated as an NHS body by virtue of subsection (7A) as if it were a prescribed NHS body for the purposes of those regulations.

(7D) But a combined authority to which regulations under this section apply by virtue of subsection (7C) may enter into prescribed arrangements in relation to the exercise only of functions within subsection (1)(a) that are exercisable by the authority under voluntary arrangements.

(7E) Regulations under this section may provide for the regulations to apply in relation to a combined authority subject to any prescribed limitations or conditions.

(7F) Nothing in subsection (7D) prevents a combined authority from being a party to arrangements made by virtue of this section in relation to any prescribed functions of an NHS body that are exercisable by the authority as a result of an order under section 105A of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009 (public authority functions exercisable by combined authorities).”

7 (1) Section 251 (control of patient information) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (2)(a), after “health service bodies” insert “or relevant social care bodies”.

(3) After subsection (12) insert—

“(12A) In this section—

“care” includes local authority social care,

“local authority social care” means—

(a) social care provided or arranged for by a local authority, and

(b) any other social care all or part of the cost of which is paid for with funds provided by a local authority,

“patient” includes an individual who needs or receives local authority social care or whose need for such care is being assessed by a local authority,

“social care” includes all forms of personal care and other practical assistance provided for individuals who are in need of such care or assistance by reason of age, illness, disability, pregnancy, childbirth, dependence on alcohol or drugs or other similar circumstances.”

(4) In subsection (13), at the end insert—

““relevant social care body” means—

(a) a local authority, or

(b) any other body or person engaged in the provision of local authority social care.”

8 In section 275(1) (interpretation), after the definition of “clinical commissioning group” insert—

““combined authority” means a combined authority established under section 103 of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009,”.

9 In section 276 (index of defined expressions), at the appropriate place insert—

“combined authority……………………Section 275(1)””

75: Schedule 4, page 34, line 22, at end insert—

Local Government Act 1972

A1 The Local Government Act 1972 is amended as follows.

A2 In section 100E (application of Part 5A to committees and subcommittees), in subsection (3) after paragraph (b) insert—

“(bba) a committee in place by virtue of section 107D(3)(c)(ii) of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009;

(bbb) a joint committee in place by virtue of section 107DA of that Act;”.”

A3 In section 100J (application of Part 5A to new authorities etc)—

(a) in subsection (1) after paragraph (be) insert—

“(bf) a sub-national transport body;”;

(b) in subsection (3), after “(be),” insert “(bf),”;

(c) in subsection (4), in paragraph (a) after “joint authority,” insert “a sub-national transport body,”.

A4 In section 101 (arrangements for discharge of functions by local authorities)—

(a) after subsection (1C) insert—

“(1D) A combined authority may not arrange for the discharge of any functions under subsection (1) if, or to the extent that, the function is a mayoral function of a mayor for the area of the authority.

(1E) “Mayoral function” has the meaning given by section 107F(7) of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009.”;

(b) after subsection (5B) insert—

“(5C) Arrangements under subsection (5) by two or more local authorities with respect to the discharge of any of their functions cease to have effect with respect to that function if, or to the extent that, the function becomes a general function of a mayor for the area of a combined authority.

(5D) Subsection (5C) does not prevent arrangements under subsection (5) being entered into in respect of that function by virtue of section 107DA of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009 (joint exercise of general functions).

(5E) In subsection (5C), “general functions” has the meaning given in section 107D(2) of that Act.”;

(c) in subsection (13) after “combined authority,” insert “a subnational transport body,”.

A5 In section 270 (general provisions as to interpretation), in subsection (1) after the definition of “specified papers” insert—

““sub-national transport body” means a sub-national transport body established under section 102E of the Local Transport Act 2008;”.

Local Government Act 1985

A6 The Local Government Act 1985 is amended as follows.

A7 In section 72 (accounts and audit), for subsection (5) substitute—

“(5) Any reference in this section to a new authority includes a reference to—

(a) the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority;

(b) a sub-national transport body established under section 102E of the Local Transport Act 2008;

(c) a combined authority established under section 103 of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009.”

A8 In section 73 (financial administration), in subsection (2) after “reference to” insert “—

(a) a sub-national transport body established under section 102E of the Local Transport Act 2008;

(b) ”.”

76: Schedule 4, page 34, line 23, at end insert—

“A9 The Local Government Finance Act 1988 is amended as follows.

A10 In section 74 (levies), omit subsection (9).”

77: Schedule 4, page 34, line 31, at end insert—

Local Government and Housing Act 1989

1A (1) The Local Government and Housing Act 1989 is amended as follows.

(2) In section 4 (designation and reports of head of paid service), in subsection (6)(a) for “, (ja) and (jb)” substitute “and (ja) to (jc)”.

(3) In section 13 (voting rights of members of certain committees: England and Wales), in the definition of “relevant authority” in subsection (9), for “(jb)” substitute “(jc)”.

(4) In section 20 (duty to adopt certain procedural standing orders), in subsection (4)(a) for “(jb)” substitute “(jc)”.

(5) In section 21 (interpretation of Part 1 of Act), in subsection (1) after paragraph (jb) insert—

“(jc) a sub-national transport body established under section 102E of the Local Transport Act 2008;”.

Railways Act 1993

1B (1) Section 24A of the Railways Act 1993 (Secretary of State franchise exemptions: operator agreements) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (4)—

(a) in paragraph (a), after sub-paragraph (i) insert—

“(ia) an STB,”;

(b) in paragraph (b), after “Executive” insert “, an STB”;

(c) in paragraph (c)(i), after “Executive” insert “, STB”;

(d) in paragraph (c)(ii), after “Executive” insert “, STB”.

(3) In subsection (5)—

(a) in paragraph (a) of the definition of “relevant company”, after “Executive” insert “, an STB”;

(b) in paragraph (b) of that definition, after “Executive” insert “, an STB”;

(c) after that definition insert—

““STB” means a sub-national transport body established under section 102E of the Local Transport Act 2008.”

Environment Act 1995

1C (1) Section 65 of the Environment Act 1995 (National Park authorities: general purposes and powers) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (5), after paragraph (b) insert—

“Paragraph (b) is subject to subsection (6A).”

(3) After subsection (6) insert—

“(6A) Subsection (5)(b) does not apply in relation to a National Park authority for a National Park in England (see instead section 65A for general powers of such authorities).”

Local Government Act 1999

1D In section 1 of the Local Government Act 1999 (best value authorities), in subsection (1) after paragraph (hb) insert—

“(hc) a sub-national transport body established under section 102E of the Local Transport Act 2008;”.

Freedom of Information Act 2000

1E In Schedule 1 to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (public authorities), in Part 2 (local government: England and Wales), after paragraph 28 insert—

“28A A sub-national transport body established under section 102E of the Local Transport Act 2008.””

78: Schedule 4, page 34, line 35, leave out “In section 91 (exercise of local authority functions),” and insert “(1) Section 91 (exercise of local authority functions) is amended as follows.

(2) ”

79: Schedule 4, page 34, line 36, at end insert—

“( ) In subsection (4)—

(a) omit “or” at the end of paragraph (a);

(b) after paragraph (b) insert—

“(c) for the function to be exercisable by the EPB and the local authority jointly, or

(d) for the function to be exercisable by the EPB jointly with the local authority but also continue to be exercisable by the local authority alone.”

80: Schedule 4, page 35, line 2, leave out lines 2 to 4 and insert—

“(2A) But section 85 of that Act, in its application to a combined authority by virtue of subsection (2), is subject to subsections (2AA) and (2AB).

(2AA) If the area of the combined authority includes the area of the whole of a county that comprises the areas of one or more district councils, the representative councils for the purposes of section 85(1)(c) of that Act (as applied to a combined authority) are either the county council or the council for each of the districts (as determined by or in accordance with the order).

(2AB) In relation to a mayoral combined authority, section 85(4) of that Act is not to be taken as preventing the mayor from being a voting member of the authority.”

81: Schedule 4, page 35, line 13, leave out paragraph (b)

82: Schedule 4, page 35, line 38, at end insert—

“8A In section 113 (requirements in connection with changes to existing combined arrangements), after subsection (3) insert—

“(4) This section does not apply to an order under section 106(1)(b) that is made as a result of the duty in section 105B(1D) or 107B(4).”

83: Schedule 4, page 35, line 43, at end insert—

“( ) After subsection (1) insert—

“(1A) In relation to an order under Schedule 5B, subsection (1) has effect as if the reference to the Secretary of State were a reference to the Secretary of State or the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.”

84: Schedule 4, page 36, line 2, at end insert—

“10A In section 115 (transfer of property, rights and liabilities), in subsection (1) after “liabilities” insert “(including criminal liabilities)”.

10B In section 116 (consequential amendments), after subsection (1) insert—

“(1A) In relation to an order under Schedule 5B, subsection (1) has effect as if the references to the Secretary of State were references to the Secretary of State or the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.”

85: Schedule 4, page 36, line 27, at end insert—

Equality Act 2010

12A In Schedule 19 to the Equality Act 2010 (public authorities), in Part 1 (general), after the entry “A joint authority established under Part 4 of that Act for an area in England (including, by virtue of section 77(9) of the Local Transport Act 2008, an Integrated Transport Authority established under Part 5 of that Act of 2008)” insert—

“A sub-national transport body established under section 102E of the Local Transport Act 2008.””

86: Schedule 4, page 37, line 8, at end insert—

Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014

18 (1) The Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 is amended as follows.

(2) In section 40 (access to local government meetings and documents), in subsection (6) after paragraph (j) insert—

“(ja) a sub-national transport body,”.

(3) In section 44 (interpretation of Act), in subsection (1) after the definition of “special trustees for a hospital” insert—

““sub-national transport body” means a sub-national transport body established under section 102E of the Local Transport Act 2008.”.

(4) In Schedule 2 (relevant authorities), after paragraph 28 insert—

“28A A sub-national transport body.””

87: In the Title, line 5, after “functions;” insert “to confer power to establish, and to make provision about, sub-national transport bodies;”

Motion on Amendments 55 to 87 agreed.