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Part of Local Transport Bill [ Lords ] – in a Public Bill Committee at 1:30 pm on 8th May 2008.

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Photo of Greg Knight Greg Knight Chair, Procedure Committee 1:30 pm, 8th May 2008

I rise to support my hon. Friend, and to say to him en passant that if the Committee had the power to sit beyond today, his amendment would no longer be starred and we could have had a debate on it, so that adds to my earlier concern about the matter. I would like to hear from the Minister why she feels it necessary to include the provision, because it just seems to be a means of providing central interference in what ought to be local matters. The only possible justification for the clause would be that a Minister wanted a national plan or policy to be pretty much followed in every part of the country. However, when one looks at subsection (3), that supposition is blown out of the water, because it gives the Minister the power to issue completely different guidance to different parts of the country. It states:

“Any such guidance may make different provision for different cases and different provision for different areas.”

In that case why is she giving Ministers the power to make completely different recommendations to different areas? Is the clause nothing more than a provision to enable continued Whitehall meddling in what ought to be local issues?