Clause 86

Part of Local Transport Bill [ Lords ] – in a Public Bill Committee at 1:10 pm on 8th May 2008.

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Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Shadow Minister (Transport) 1:10 pm, 8th May 2008

This morning, when I moved amendment No. 275, part of the Minister’s answer to me was that clause 86 was the part of the Bill that dealt with section 15 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989. As I pointed out, the trouble with that is that clause 86 is one of those very wide catch-all clauses.

Clause 86 deals with incidental, consequential, transitional or supplementary provisions and the ability of the Secretary of State to make those as he or she deems necessary. The explanatory notes cite two examples. First, to provide for

“the transfer of property and assets to an” integrated transport authority

“in consequence of an order...which has delegated certain functions to an ITA.”

So that is clear; it is a consequential provision. The second example cited is,

“in consequence of making an order, for instance to reflect the fact that a new ITA has been established.”

Again, that is clear; there is a need for a transitional provision. However, one might argue that though the consequential and transitional examples that have been given in the explanatory notes are fair, the purpose for which the provisions under the headings “incidental” or “supplementary” would be used is not clear.

I am perfectly aware of what consequential and transitional purposes may be, but I am far from clear as to exactly how the Secretary of State would want to use those provisions in an incidental or a supplementary manner, given that we have throughout the Bill given the Secretary of State extremely wide powers to do as she sees fit, and to include persons and local authorities and to undertake consultations as she sees appropriate. The Secretary of State has wide-ranging discretion already and I cannot see what these powers will be needed for. I am looking for specific examples of why the incidental or supplementary powers are needed. It is an extremely wide-ranging catch-all clause. It implies a potentially huge transfer of power. I am concerned about exactly what the limits to that power are and why the Minister or Secretary of State should need that wide-ranging power.