Wales Bill - Report (1st Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:15 pm on 14th December 2016.

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Photo of Baroness Randerson Baroness Randerson Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Transport) 7:15 pm, 14th December 2016

My Lords, I start by making clear that I do not share the views of the noble Lord, Lord Wigley, on the value for money of the repairs to Buckingham Palace, which I see as a major tourist attraction and therefore well worth the investment.

I agree, however, with his views on the limits to the Assembly’s powers on energy and support his amendments to increase them. For many years, it has been Liberal Democrat policy to give the Assembly power over energy, with the exception of nuclear energy. It is essential that we keep pressing this issue because it is so illogical to have this 350 megawatt limit plucked— I understand why—out of the air.

Will the Minister supply us with further information on fixed-odds betting terminals? We have had some very interesting suggestions. The noble Baroness, Lady Morgan, said that she is unclear about issues associated with gambling. It is certainly not something on which I can speak with any authority, but I am sure we need to make sure that the powers given to the Welsh Assembly are sufficient to be meaningful. The only reason for giving it powers over this would be to allow it to exert those powers in a way to change behaviour and deal with a very serious problem. I would be very grateful for any further information that the Minister can give us about the intention of this amendment and about, for example, the percentage of terminals that would be affected and the percentage of gamblers whose activities would be affected by this amendment.

I am very grateful that the Government have made a concession on this. It is something that has been pressed by many noble Lords, and not just in the context of this Bill. However, it is important that it should be a meaningful concession.