Wales Bill - Committee (2nd Day) (Continued)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 11:00 pm on 7th November 2016.

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Photo of Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales 11:00 pm, 7th November 2016

My Lords, once again I apologise to the noble Lord, Lord Wigley, in particular. I was a victim of the way in which the grouping was set out; because the government amendments were put first, that was the way I felt was appropriate to tackle it. I shall try to respond to points that have been made on these various amendments.

First, no noble Lord should have been taken by surprise by the Government’s attitude on policing. We made it very clear that we have a set agenda, which I have set out. I do not accept that this was somehow a surprise.

I am happy to meet the noble Baroness, Lady Finlay, about the alcohol reservation, to see whether we can meet her concerns. I have spoken to the noble Baroness, Lady Morgan, about the Pubs Code levy—so it did not just come up this evening—and explained that one reason why we do not think it appropriate for devolution is that the way that the levy operates would not be affordable in Wales. I said when speaking to those amendments that that would be to the detriment of Wales, but I am happy to look at it further with her if she wants to revisit it. I am very happy to speak to the noble Baroness, Lady Randerson, about the issue of ticketing and bus services that she raised, to see what we can do.

I accept that a lot of issues are involved here, from bouncers to alcohol and Pubs Code and so on. I accept that it is late at night and that we have covered a lot of territory, although there was considerable discussion on an issue where I think that virtually the whole House was united. We spent a great deal of time discussing that on an earlier amendment, which was certainly not of my choosing, although I was happy to respond for the Government on it.

I hope that noble Lords will feel able not to press their amendments in the group—which is, I appreciate, a considerable number of amendments. The reason for some of the government amendments is that we have been listening and are responding—on teacher’s pay, the community infrastructure levy and so on. I hope that noble Lords accept when they say that the number of government amendments indicates that it is a fluid area that that is because we have been listening. I am happy to indicate that we will listen further, and I hope that that has been my approach, but I am duty bound to let noble Lords know what are regarded as red lines for the Government, where we are unable to meet the wishes of some—perhaps a majority—of noble Lords. However, where we can help and where powerful arguments are being made—as I have indicated have been on a number of amendments this evening—we are happy to move.

With that, I ask noble Lords who have tabled amendments in this group not to press them.

Amendment 47A agreed.