My Lords, I have been trying not to get into a lot of the groups on the Bill but I regret not getting into this one. Amendment 198 makes such good sense because politics is a fairly dire arrangement these days. A lot of voters have lost interest and do not trust us. Getting people involved at the local level is an excellent way of stimulating their appetite for more politics at different levels, so I very much support Amendment 198.
I quite like Amendment 209, but somehow “environmental issues” is just thrown in—you have to say it, do you not? I do not know what it means. I would like it to mean a lot but I am not sure that it means very much at all.
The noble Lord, Lord Young of Cookham, quotes to us the Conservative Party manifesto when the Government have broken so many promises and back-tracked on so many things. I hardly think it is a very good example for any of us to hold up as something we need to follow. Plus, his comments about the green belt were absolutely outrageous. It is not for people with gardens or people with country estates; it is for people who live in inner cities, who have no gardens or green space to walk about in. The green belt has a huge value for them, so please let us not forget that.
Amendment 211 is from the noble Lord, Lord Lansley, and the noble Lord, Lord Young of Cookham, for whom I have huge respect, by the way. My telling him that the Conservative Party manifesto might as well be thrown in the bin—as it has been by the Conservative Party—does not mean that I do not have huge respect for him. Again, this amendment is about economic growth. We went through this in the Budget. Growth is not about well-being or prosperity; it is about grabbing more and more of the earth’s resources. It is not necessarily something that we want to keep promoting. If we are going to talk about growth, can we please talk about well-being, green spaces and environmental support, and not just constantly about businesses, inward investment and that sort of thing?
Let us please try to remember that we have a climate crisis. It does not matter whether you believe it or not; the fact is that the IPCC has published a report that was gone through by dozens of Governments and hundreds of scientists. They all quibbled over it, but they finally came to a report that is absolutely devastating. We really should be looking at that. Every time we put down an amendment, we should have that at the back of our minds, so that we say things that will help us in the future and help our children and grandchildren. At the moment, we are not doing that.