Amendment 467B

Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill - Committee (14th Day) – in the House of Lords at 8:50 pm on 22 May 2023.

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Baroness Scott of Bybrook:

Moved by Baroness Scott of Bybrook

467B: Clause 214, page 246, line 3, leave out “(6)” and insert “(6A)”Member’s explanatory statementThis amendment is consequential on the amendment in the Minister’s name inserting new subsection (6A) into Clause 214.

Photo of Baroness Scott of Bybrook Baroness Scott of Bybrook Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

My Lords, Amendments 467B and 467C address consequential amendments to the marine licensing cost recovery powers. Clause 214 gives the Secretary of State fee-charging powers for post-consent marine licence monitoring, variations and transfers. We are now adding a consequential amendment to clarify the position where there is an overlap between the general post-consent marine licensing fees and oil and gas marine licensing fees for the same activity, to provide that the oil and gas fees will apply in those circumstances.

Amendments 467D, 467E, 504GK, 504M, 509D and 513 will support the Government’s response to the eventual recommendations from the Grenfell Tower inquiry. The Building Safety Act 2022 set up the building safety regulator and its functions within the Health and Safety Executive. We continue to support the Health and Safety Executive in delivering these new functions, and I take this opportunity to thank it for its work over the last two years. To future-proof the building safety regulator and its critical work and protect the other important work of the Health and Safety Executive, the Government consider it essential that we have the option to move the building safety regulator to an existing or new body in the future. This will allow the Government to respond quickly, if needed, to the Grenfell Tower inquiry, which we expect to be published at the end of this year. I recognise that there will be concerns about how broad these powers are. To provide reassurance, the powers are affirmative and include a 24-month sunset provision, which can be extended only if needed and only after Parliament’s consideration.

In speaking to Amendment 467F, which introduces a new clause after Clause 214, I will speak also to Amendments 509C, 504N and 514. This new clause addresses a concern of schools that occupy premises held on special trusts for the purposes of those schools. Local authorities have a discretionary power to provide premises for academies, but there is currently no requirement to transfer the land, as exists for maintained schools. Instead, the local authority tends to offer the academy trust company a lease. If trustees hold particular premises specifically for a school and the school moves to other premises, they cannot carry out the purpose of their charity if nothing else is done, as their premises end up without a school.

The new clause ensures more consistent treatment across the system, where the local authority must transfer the new premises it is providing to the charitable school trustees. In exchange, the trustees must pay the local authority the proceeds of sale from the existing premises—or, if the local authority agrees, the trustees can simply transfer the existing premises to it.

I turn to Amendment 504HA. In the light of the successful passage of the Historic Environment (Wales) Bill through the Senedd Cymru, the Government are giving further consideration to the approach to the power under paragraph 7(2) of the new schedule to be inserted after Schedule 15 by government Amendment 412B. As such, I do not intend to move Amendment 504HA at this time.

Lastly, I turn to Amendments 504K and 504L. The United Kingdom faces constant threats to its national security, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has made us all too aware. These amendments will ensure that Ministers can require information about properties that may be used to threaten national security, wherever they are in the United Kingdom.

I beg to move.

Photo of Lord Stunell Lord Stunell Liberal Democrat

My Lords, I want to comment on and ask some questions about the amendments in this string that relate to the building safety regulator: Amendments 467D, 467E, 504GK, 504M, 509D and 513. The Minister somewhat skated over their significance; I have some serious questions to ask. It is worth pointing out that these amendments tabled by the Government are so out of scope that one of the amendments is seeking to extend the Bill’s scope so that they can be included.

Briefly, these amendments would give the Secretary of State powers to scrap the building safety regime set up by the Building Safety Act, which was passed just 12 months ago. That regime, with a new building safety regulator under the auspices of the Health and Safety Executive, was a specific and central recommendation of the Hackitt review, which the Government accepted in full at the time and which had the sustained support of your Lordships’ House at every stage of the Bill’s passage. There was criticism of that Bill as it went through this House but it centred on the inadequate compensation provisions and the uncertainty created by the delay in bringing the regulatory regime fully into force, which does not actually happen until later this year. No concerns were expressed about the regulatory mechanism being set up.

The 18-month delay in the coming into force of that regulator was said by the Government at the time to be necessary to allow time for the regulator to set up shop and because of the need for the construction industry to train up qualified personnel and then deliver, in accordance with the regulator’s requirements. Bringing the building regulation system under the Health and Safety Executive was warmly welcomed on all sides. Again, the criticism was that its reach was too limited and should not be confined to high-rise and high-risk buildings; it was said that the regulator’s remit should be expanded. No voice was raised that this was the wrong model, still less that it was unfit for the essential job of upgrading building standards drastically and rapidly following the Grenfell Tower fire.

Last year, the Government resisted the expansion of the regulator’s role on the grounds that it had to learn to walk before it started to run. Since the regulator was appointed, multiple workstreams and training programmes have begun throughout the construction industry in what is undoubtedly one of the most challenging catch-up operations that it has ever faced. The industry has faced up to it because of the unflinching, no-holds-barred approach of the regulator—strongly supported, of course, because of the certainty that primary legislation gives it—means that it had no choice. There is no risk—or, in some quarters of the construction industry, no hope—of the regulator going soft over time because it is there through primary legislation with a very strong remit.

That has led to a settled determination in the industry to face up to the costs and difficulty of compliance. These amendments undermine that certainty and very much risk causing confusion in the industry—real and confected. That may be used as an excuse for delay and for second-guessing the Health and Safety Executive regulator’s requirements. It certainly risks blunting the focus of the regulator in the vital next 18 months, which is exactly when it will need the most muscle and determination.

The abrupt and unexpected departure of the first regulator, appointed earlier this year, can now be seen in that light. Who would want to join a new public body, such as the regulator, and take up a career in an organisation that the Government have announced that they intend to replace at short notice? Who would want to lead it? My first question to the Minister is: what assessment have Ministers made of the impact on the existing regulator’s capacity to recruit and retain high-quality leaders and staff in the face of its imminent dissolution? These amendments thrust the vital building safety regulatory regime into limbo at the most critical moment of its existence. Therefore, there must be a truly compelling reason to introduce them.

The Government’s answer, such as it is, is that there might be a need to respond very rapidly to some dramatic unforeseen recommendations in the final report of the Grenfell inquiry. It is not too difficult to envisage recommendations which could be very wide-ranging and require systemic changes, not least to the aspects of the functioning of the police, the fire and rescue service, local government, central government, housing providers and landlords. It is easy to imagine that there could be very powerful recommendations forthcoming. However, in respect of the building safety regime, its recommendations, if any, are highly likely to be about increasing the remit and scope of the regulator, created directly from the recommendations of Dame Judith Hackitt and unlikely to propose the dissolution of the building regulator. It would be especially alert to the risks of doing that at such a critical inflection point in getting a rapid improvement in building safety. So my second question to the Minister is: have the Government got further and better information than me about the nature of the recommendations which might come from that inquiry, which contradicts my assumption that they are highly unlikely to require that the building safety regulatory regime be dismantled?

If the Government were right last year that the building safety regulator would need 18 months to set itself up, how long would it take to set up the replacement that the Government propose? If the Government were right last year that the regulator needed to learn to walk before it began to run, how long do the Government imagine that their own back-of-the-envelope new scheme would take from the publication of the statutory instrument to the full performance of its functions? So my third question is: how will the necessary upward trajectory in standards, which is needed right across the building industry, be maintained during any transition period from the system that they dismantle to the system that they propose to introduce via a statutory instrument? If my concerns are misplaced and the Government have got the outcome that they want, and their proposition is a correct one, then the method they have chosen by which to achieve it in the amendment is wrong, in principle and in practice.

In principle, such a dramatic reversal of a recently taken and widely supported measure put in primary legislation ought not to be left to Ministers, using a wholly flawed so-called affirmative procedure, to change completely without proper accountability to your Lordships’ House. In practice, there is an enduring government record of failures of perception and awareness when they draft statutory instruments on the hoof. Blunders are frequently made, obvious consequences are often overlooked and post-publication rectification now happens with over a third of statutory instruments as a result.

However, this is not a statutory instrument about labelling jam correctly or minimum net sizes for catching fish in the Atlantic. It is about the most fundamental job of government: to keep its citizens safe, where blunders have consequences, and where time and again it has been proven that, when there is proper scrutiny, blunders are reduced. There is less sloppy work in the first place, because people know it will be scrutinised, and there is more chance of catching those errors that slip through simply because of that scrutiny. In this case, avoiding Whitehall blunders means lives can be saved.

My fourth question to the Minister is: what assessment has been made of the alternative option of introducing emergency legislation, should some unlikely conjunction of events require it, rather than taking a provenly risky route of bringing forward a statutory instrument as proposed in the Government’s Amendment 504GK? I could spend time pointing out just how foolish this proposition is, but I have posed four questions and, without clear and positive answers by the Minister today, these matters will certainly have to return on Report. This is too important an issue to leave lying as a set of amendments on the 14th day of Committee consideration, shoved into the Bill without detailed consideration and, in my opinion, detailed reconsideration.

Photo of The Earl of Lytton The Earl of Lytton Crossbench 9:00, 22 May 2023

My Lords, it was with concern that I read the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee’s 31st report in relation to the very matter that the noble Lord, Lord Stunell, with his usual precision and excellence, has outlined: namely, the question of the building safety regulator.

It cannot be very often that a committee comes up with statements such as:

“We consider that the Supplementary Memorandum provides wholly inadequate justification for giving the Secretary of State such a broad Henry VIII power to—” and the third bullet point under that is,

“determine what functions the regulator will have”.

It could have added “and modify them at will”, because that is in fact what the situation is. It goes on to say,

“we consider that Amendment 467D contains an inappropriate delegation of power that should not form part of the Bill”.

It could not be clearer.

The noble Lord, Lord Stunell, set about providing a whole series of logical and technical explanations to this. However, there is another explanation, and this is my take on the back story of what is really going on here. Throughout the process, post the Grenfell tragedy, the Government have sought to manage risk and control what might otherwise be seen as unacceptable political and economic fallout. Ever since their own consolidated advice note of January 2020, admitting in so many words that many of the issues found at Grenfell Tower could affect other buildings of any height, they have sought to delimit the ongoing and subsequent damage that that caused.

This spawned a reference to the department’s technical advisers and a resultant independent expert’s statement of July 2021. That sought to identify and justify that buildings under 11 metres were of an inherently lower risk. This in turn triggered an approach to RICS to amend its EWS1 scheme and its advice to mortgage valuers. We know the outcome of that was greeted with significant ministerial disapproval.

Clause 213, on at least one level—I am not going back over all that—could be seen as an attempt to silence or modify the views of independent professionals to align with the Secretary of State’s thinking or to cancel concepts of commercial risk assessment. Amendment 467D, for its part, could be interpreted as seeking to make sure that risk assessment and remediation via the building safety regulator is toned down. This would at least fit with differing standards under the Government’s pledged remediation contract, of which we have heard a great deal in recent months, and a fair interpretation of the Building Safety Act 2022 standards.

I leave it to your Lordships to consider whether these are, as I suspect, connected in some discrete or perhaps not so discrete policy aimed at managing risk and potentially seeking to outrun market sentiment. All I say is that Governments will never succeed in outrunning market sentiment; to suppose that that might happen is tantamount to saying that you can walk on water. From that point of view, I do not get it.

I remind the Committee, first, that low-rise does not equate to acceptably low-risk. The independent expert’s statement came 11 months after a disastrous fire at four-storey Richmond House in the London Borough of Merton, which was apparently not seen as fit to mention. Secondly, whatever the various machinations, blame-shifting, smoke and mirrors or other activities, it is government policy that has resulted in hundreds of thousands of home owners, many of whom have written to me, being unable to mortgage or sell their properties and facing enormous recurring charges for insurance and other measures. If the Financial Times is to be believed, leasehold flats are now falling seriously out of favour in the marketplace. This is just when increasing densities, and indeed more housebuilding and better use of scarce urban sites, are called for. It is a matter of government policy that we should build more homes.

The genie is out of the bottle and is not going back in. Around 15 months ago, I said in the context of the Building Safety Bill, as it was then, that the Government needed to get ahead of the curve in dealing with this. They have not done so; they are labouring in the wake of events. This is not good enough. It makes the building safety regulator substantially the sole control of the department, as opposed to being an independent body like the Health and Safety Executive. I just add that it was changing the health and safety regime a few years ago that radically changed injuries and fatalities on construction sites. Therefore, it has form and a track record. This approach to the building safety regulator is totally unacceptable, as far as I am concerned.

Photo of Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle Green 9:15, 22 May 2023

My Lords, it is a great pleasure to follow what I have to say are two very important speeches. They were from two expert contributors and I have nothing to add except to say that they have certainly convinced me that there is grave cause for concern here.

I want to speak about another government amendment, Amendment 467F, about requiring local authorities to transfer land to academy trusts. We have to look at this in the context of the huge privatisation of public land—2 million hectares, 10% of the entire British land mass—over the past few decades. In 2018 prices, that was estimated to be worth £400 billion. It is also in the context of the Government in the past month having apparently won—certainly in the High Court anyway—a legal tussle with Annington Homes, owned by the private equity firm Terra Firma, over the privatisation of the Ministry of Defence housing portfolio, which the National Audit Office estimated had left the Government between £2 billion and £4 billion worse off.

The amendment is quite long and quite technical and I have done my best to grind my way through to make some sense of it. What we are seeing here is a swap. What is the Government’s assessment of the risk of this swap and of the lack of clarity that might occur in terms of local democracy and local understanding?

I have a couple of other things to ask about this amendment. Proposed new paragraph 9A(7) talks about the local authority bearing the costs of this swap. Why? There is also the underlying concern of many local residents around the country and many local authorities that potentially an essential resource disappears from public space for the interests of private profit. One of the case studies for this was the Durand Academy, a particularly infamous case in Lambeth where the Department for Education terminated an academy’s funding agreement and it maintained that it still owned the land on the school site, and accommodation and a leisure centre had been built there.

Speaking as a former school governor, I am well aware of the complications that have arisen from school buildings that are also mixed with private accommodation, private accommodation that is leasehold and private accommodation owned by the council. Very complex situations are being created so I am really seeking reassurance from the Minister that this amendment is not going to add further risks in terms of the transfer of lands to academy trusts.

Photo of The Bishop of Chelmsford The Bishop of Chelmsford Bishop

My Lords, following the noble Baroness, Lady Bennett, I rise to speak in favour of government Amendment 467F and at the outset say that my right reverend friend the Bishop of Durham, who leads for the Church of England on education, very much regrets that he cannot be in his place.

We are grateful to the Department for Education and the department for levelling up for working together and with us in the Church to fulfil the Government’s commitment to bringing forward legislation to safeguard statutory protections relating to issues arising from the occupation of land by Church academies. The decision not to progress the Schools Bill might have meant that this uncontroversial but important change to legislation would have been lost, so it is very good to have the amendment in this Bill, which will maintain the important legacy of educational endowments that provide land for the purposes of a school with a religious character. This is important for all schools with a religious character, not just Church of England schools, and it will remove a significant barrier on the journey to academisation for Church schools, which is vital in the Government’s policy aims, as such schools make up one-third of the entire school sector and seek to serve local communities up and down the country.

As boards of education implement their strategies for the development of the family of Church schools in each diocese, they need to have confidence to do so in a way that ensures the security of that provision for the future. That still requires further work on governance arrangements which we are developing in partnership with the DfE through the use of the Church model articles, but it also requires legislation with regard to the way land is held on separate charitable trusts for use by academy companies. This amendment provides that legislation and captures clearly the issue as described in the fact sheet that accompanied the now withdrawn Schools Bill.

We therefore welcome this amendment to preserve trustees’ existing land interests once schools whose sites are held on educational endowments become academies. This amendment is a vital step towards ensuring that school sites continue to be used for original charitable purposes, enabling schools with a religious character to engage with the changing educational landscape. It will give greater certainty to the sector, the Catholic Education Service, the Church of England Education Office and our dioceses that together serve nearly 2 million children today and are at the heart of communities across our villages, towns and cities. It ensures that the distinctive Christian ethos of Church schools will be protected in the long term by reassuring the sector that on conversion to an academy, the nature and purpose of the trust deed of the school site will continue to be preserved if the academy needs to relocate. We therefore wholeheartedly support this amendment.

Photo of Baroness Pinnock Baroness Pinnock Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Levelling Up, Communities and Local Government)

My Lords, I concur with and support entirely the comments made by my noble friend Lord Stunell and the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, about the amendments in this miscellany transferring the building safety regulator from the Health and Safety Executive. I hope the Minister will be able to give us a very clear reason why this change is being made in the Bill—indeed, why it is being made at all.

I want to focus my comments on Amendment 467F. It is a good job I am speaking after the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Chelmsford, because it was not at all clear to me that that is what it is about. That is the problem with this group of government amendments; as I said earlier, a miscellany of issues has been put together because this is a levelling-up Bill and we can throw anything in. My guess was that it came from the Schools Bill, but reading the amendment without any explanation, it was not clear at all, so I have a few questions to put to the Minister.

First, can she assure us that the comments of the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Chelmsford are accurate and this is entirely about schools with religious foundations, because that is not clear? In fact, I have a series of questions so that I can understand what the Government are seeking to achieve. Having been a school governor for very many years, I know that it is important that land use for schools is clear—whether they are part of a trust or a local authority—because otherwise future changes are very difficult. I speak from the heart in that regard.

This amendment puts forward four conditions that must occur. The heading of the new paragraph is “Compulsory transfer to trustees”, which is what first made me think that this perhaps needs more questioning. The idea is that a local authority has some premises, and an academy or trust has some, and they can do a swap. As this is to be a compulsory swap, what local consultation will there be and will it be a democratic decision? The implication is that it will not be a democratic decision of the local authority; it will be a compulsory land—or premises—swap. That is one issue on which I would like an answer. The second is, what if the premises to be exchanged are in a different location? If a school becomes located in a different part of the borough, what will that mean for the provision of school places within that council area? Would planning consent be required for schools to be relocated? Who will pay local authorities’ costs for the transfer? What if one set of premises was of higher value than the one that a school is taking over? How does that work? There is a series of questions to be answered. The Government had directed local authorities to sell their assets to help fund local services. What if the set of premises had been earmarked for sale for the benefit of the local authority? How does that work?

The noble Baroness, Lady Bennett, asked similar questions to mine, and the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Chelmsford explained that it is all about religious foundation schools. That is not clear in the Bill, and there is no Explanatory Memorandum. Apparently, there was one in respect of the Schools Bill; well, that is not very helpful to us.

Having just resigned as a governor of a voluntary controlled school which had a lot of land issues when it became an academy because of land ownerships and trusts, I really do want answers to this series of questions. As far as I am concerned, the building safety regulator and the compulsory transfer of land to trustees are two major issues that should not have been put in this Bill. They are nothing to do with levelling up.

Photo of Baroness Hayman of Ullock Baroness Hayman of Ullock Opposition Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Shadow Spokesperson (Levelling Up, Housing, Communities and Local Government)

My Lords, I start by commenting on the amendments on building safety. I will not repeat the points that other noble Lords have made. The noble Lord, Lord Stunell, went thoroughly into the reasons why there are concerns about these amendments, as did the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, so there is no need for me to repeat the detail; the concerns have been raised extremely clearly.

I want to ask just one thing. This provision seeks to transfer powers to the Health and Safety Executive, so that it will become the building safety regulator. When we left EU REACH, the chemicals regulation system, we raised a lot of concerns about the Government’s proposal that the HSE become the regulator for the UK REACH. The concerns were about the skills and resource levels of the HSE in taking on these new responsibilities. If the Government now intend to give the HSE yet another very large responsibility, how is the department being set up to manage all these increased responsibilities that the Government keep putting on its shoulders?

I was quite interested that the noble Lord, Lord Stunell, said that one of the amendments extended the scope of the Bill to allow the others in. I congratulate the Government on finding anything that was out of scope of the Bill—it is quite an achievement.

Amendment 467F, also spoken to by the noble Baroness, Lady Bennett of Manor Castle, is about the transfer of lands to academy schools. I reiterate the point made by the noble Baroness, Lady Pinnock: does this mean that local authorities have to transfer land even if they do not want to? How is that being managed and consulted on? The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Chelmsford made an extremely helpful speech for understanding the background to this issue, giving the Church’s opinion about church school academies.

I want to make a point here. The local school in the village next to where I live where all the local children go was a lovely Church of England school. It had a poor Ofsted inspection, where it failed on one small part, and was then forced into being an academy trust. It is a church academy trust and the school is doing well, but the point is that the school did not want to do that; it just wanted to carry on as a Church of England school. I do not think any school should be forced to go down a route that it does not want to go down.

Lastly, I want to thank the Bill manager. He sent me a very helpful email explaining Amendment 504HA, so I put my thanks to him on the record.

Photo of Baroness Scott of Bybrook Baroness Scott of Bybrook Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities) 9:30, 22 May 2023

I thank noble Lords for that interesting debate on the government amendments. The noble Lord, Lord Stunell, asked why this measure is necessary. The Health and Safety Executive has a strong identity and a regulatory background focusing on safety. That is why it was well positioned in 2020 to deliver the building safety regulator quickly, and why the Building Safety Act specified that the Health and Safety Executive—which, I say to the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, comes under the DWP—would be that regulator.

However, it is clear from the evidence given to the Grenfell Tower inquiry that the Government must provide stronger stewardship across the wider built environment, addressing safety alongside issues such as housing standards and the intergenerational impact of new buildings. That may require longer-term reform and could impact on building-related regulatory functions that are currently spread across multiple regulators and arm’s-length bodies. The Government must continue to consider the best vehicle to deliver that intent.

That does not affect the ambitious timeline for the building safety regulator. That is important work. We expect the regime to be fully operational by April 2024 and are determined not to impact on that programme. I say again that we are grateful to the Health and Safety Executive for all that it has done to bring this regime to life.

Photo of Lord Stunell Lord Stunell Liberal Democrat

I ask the Minister to consider the timeline a little more carefully. If the current regulator is not going to be in full flow until April next year, and if the Grenfell inquiry’s final report comes—as she suggested it would—some time next year, are the Government confident that they can maintain a viable building safety regulatory operation using the existing structure based on the HSE, properly staffed and properly led, through that transition period? Is she further satisfied that a two-year window following the publication of the Grenfell Tower final report is sufficient to undertake the very wide-ranging review that she has just been outlining? Would it not make more sense to pause that process and, once the Grenfell Tower inquiry’s report is received, take a measured look at all those together and produce a further Bill in good time, with proper consideration by your Lordships?

Photo of Baroness Scott of Bybrook Baroness Scott of Bybrook Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

No, my Lords, because we are not actually putting anything in place in this Bill. We are giving the Secretary of State the opportunity to do so if the Grenfell Tower inquiry comes out with something that it requires. I have no doubt that the building safety regulator will continue to work as it has always worked—with professionalism —to deliver that, and I am not hearing any issues from the building safety regulator.

The noble Lord, Lord Stunell, asked why these measures were not included in the 2022 Act. The Government recognised the need for major reform of the building safety regime to be delivered as quickly as possible, following the tragedy of Grenfell. The priority is now delivering this new regime effectively while remaining open to going further and faster wherever any evidence makes it clear that we should do so. We are just making sure that we are ready if the inquiry decides that we need to.

The noble Lord, Lord Stunell, mentioned transition, and of course it is important that, if there is to be another system, there is a good transition. The regulations will be taken through the affirmative procedure, as set out in these amendments, in close consultation with the HSE, and we will work with Parliament to ensure that they are delivered in a seamless and exemplary manner.

Photo of Lord Stunell Lord Stunell Liberal Democrat

I am sorry to trespass on the time of the Committee, but can the Minister give a clear understanding that the existing complete independence of the building safety regulator will be maintained when the Government come up with their new alternative? I remind her that considerable time was spent in this Chamber safeguarding the professional independence of the regulator and freeing it from the possibility of interference, by either the Government or other bodies.

Photo of Baroness Scott of Bybrook Baroness Scott of Bybrook Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

What I can assure the noble Lord of is that, if we do have to go down this route, both Houses of Parliament will have a say in that. I am sure that we will have long debates on it. The noble Lord also asked about accountability to the House. As I have said, the powers will be made under the affirmative procedure to ensure that the House is given full and proper opportunity to scrutinise any proposals if they come in due course.

The noble Earl, Lord Lytton, brought up the concerns raised by the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee in its 31st report of this Session. I reassure noble Lords that the powers that we are seeking to take in Amendment 467D are intended to allow us to change only the home of the building safety regulator, as created by the Building Safety Act. There is no intention or plan for fundamental policy change in that.

Moving on, the noble Baroness, Lady Pinnock, asked whether Amendment 467F was entirely about schools with religious foundations. There are also non-religious schools that have these charitable site trustees. We are not talking about academy trusts here: we are talking just about the charitable site trustees. They are mainly religious, but there are others that are not.

The noble Baroness, Lady Pinnock, also asked whether the trust required proceeds from the original premises to fund—no, I am sorry, this is something that I asked. It might be interesting to the noble Baroness that, if the trust required proceeds from the original premises to fund new schools, I was concerned about that. It has been made clear to me that capital funds come from local authorities where there is a need to provide sufficient school places, so I hope that will also put the noble Baroness’s mind at rest.

I was asked where the local authority fits into this. It will be in no worse a position than if the same schools had relocated as maintained schools or as foundation and voluntary schools, where the local authority would be obliged to provide the new site and transfer it to the trustees. Land would be held for the purposes of the academy, with appropriate protections for public value, including that the land could ultimately return to the authority if in future it is no longer needed for a school, so the local authority is protected on that.

The noble Baroness also asked whether it is a compulsory swap and what local consultation there would be for the local authority on the swap. It would be a compulsory swap only if the trustees are being asked to surrender their interest in the current site in exchange. We would expect such arrangements to occur only after the usual processes for relocating a school, which would include consultation and a consideration of the impact of moving places from one site to the other. All those issues would have been looked at.

The noble Baroness, Lady Hayman of Ullock, asked whether—I cannot read this.

Photo of Baroness Scott of Bybrook Baroness Scott of Bybrook Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

We are not placing further responsibilities on to the Health and Safety Executive. The intention is purely to allow the Government to move building safety functions from the HSE to another body in future, if that is needed. That is the important thing.

I think that I have answered all the questions but I will look in Hansard. If I have not, I will certainly write to noble Lords.

Amendment 467B agreed.