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This is another brief amendment, and it is equally self-explanatory. We are talking about the commission representing rural needs, giving advice and monitoring and making reports about the way in which policies are adopted. I suspect that here, too, we shall be arguing about what is implicit and what is explicit, but I would like it made explicit in the Bill that the commission’s reports can also address the ways in which the policies of a Government, a local authority or an organisation do not meet rural needs. If we are to ensure that the commission is given the credibility that we all want it to have, everyone should understand its role. I rest my case. If we are going to ensure that it takes heed of rural communities and rural needs, we must also fully and explicitly understand that its function is to point out the problems as well as the positive things.
Saying that something is beginning to meet rural needs or is meeting 50 per cent. of rural needs is the reverse of the half full, half empty argument, but it would be better if the Bill clearly stated that the commission’s reports should address failures as well as positive things. I hope that the Minister will accede to this minor proposal to make something explicit in the Bill.
Paragraph (c) establishes the monitoring function of the commission. It places a duty on the commission to monitor and report on the implementation of policies—that is, to assess the way in which policies are adopted by the Government and others are implemented—and the extent to which those policies meet rural needs.
The amendment is relatively harmless, and relatively unnecessary. By implication, when the commission reports on the way in which policies have been adopted by relevant persons, such a report would highlight the good and the bad. The use of the word “extent” would also render the extra words “or not meeting” superfluous. Policies could meet need to a greater or a lesser extent.
The amendment is therefore unnecessary. I trust that the hon. Gentleman will withdraw it on that basis.
I had hoped that the Minister would at least have attempted to humour me on an amendment as minor as this. It is usual, during the passage of a Bill, for the Minister to accede to some completely minor amendment, just so that the Opposition have a feeling of success, even though it is purely token. This could have been the Minister’s opportunity to do that, and I could have left the Committee Room, issued all my press releases and really made a great deal of this, but he is flatly refusing to accede to two minor words—