Clause 80

Local Transport Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:00 am on 8th May 2008.

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Delegation of local authority functions

Photo of Graham Stringer Graham Stringer Labour, Manchester, Blackley

I beg to move amendment No. 84, in clause 80, page 70, line 3, at end add—

‘(5) An order under this section may be made only if the local authority whose function is to be delegated by the order has consented to the delegation of that function.’.

Photo of Ann Winterton Ann Winterton Conservative, Congleton

With this it will be convenient to discuss amendment No. 85, in clause 81, page 71, line 19, at end add—

‘(13) An order under this section may be made only if each council which would be subject to a direction made pursuant to the order has consented to the Secretary of State making the order.’.

Photo of Graham Stringer Graham Stringer Labour, Manchester, Blackley

I shall be brief. The provisions in clause 80 will remove powers from local authorities, and the set of decisions under clause 84 will hand powers to local authorities after the failure of an integrated transport authority. Amendments Nos. 84 and 85, as well as amendment No. 86 to clause 84, would require the local authority’s consent before the Government could take a decision to move powers one way or the other. We have debated this matter during debate on earlier clauses, so given the time I do not want to pursue it at length, but I am interested in the Minister’s thinking on it.

Photo of Ann Winterton Ann Winterton Conservative, Congleton 10:15 am, 8th May 2008

As my hon. Friend says, we have had this discussion before. We hope that when an ITA is established or changed, there will always be the full support of the authorities involved, but, as I have said, in certain situations a small minority of authorities might wish to oppose reforms that are seen to be in the wider interests of the conurbation or the city region as a whole. We are trying to account for the fact that, in such a situation, the Secretary of State could proceed with a governance order, if that was felt to be in the wider interests of the area, without every authority having to agree every aspect of that order. There are requirements to consult each authority and to have regard to the identities and interests of local communities, and a governance order would be subject to parliamentary scrutiny under the affirmative procedure. I hope that that explanation re-emphasises our points about allowing enough flexibility.

Photo of Graham Stringer Graham Stringer Labour, Manchester, Blackley

I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 80 ordered to stand part of the Bill.