Part of the debate – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:00 am on 28th February 2007.
Whatever our attitudes toward facial hair, we are drawn together by a recognition of what the Bill can do for the quality of life of our constituents and their ability do something about their communities.
The sittings motion reflects two things. The first is that the Bill deserves proper scrutiny. It is striking the degree to which it enjoys support in breadth and depth, both in and outside the House. That is largely because it is recognised as an honest attempt to tackle a serious problem—the social cost and impact of the loss of so many local services from communities across the country. That has consequences on quality of life, particularly for the elderly, on the strength of local economies, on the environment, owing to the increasing need to travel by car, and on people’s sense of engagement and civic participation—their sense of being able to shape the quality of their environment.
The second reason that the sittings motion has set aside good time for scrutiny is that we recognise, as sponsors of the Bill, that it is honest but not perfect.It can be improved. It is in that spirit that I lookforward to a reasonable, good-humoured and open-minded debate.