Clause 29

– in a Public Bill Committee at 11:00 am on 3rd February 2009.

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Regulations etc.

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of John Healey John Healey Minister of State (Department of Communities and Local Government) (Local Government)

The clause applies to all the secondary legislation-making powers in the Bill. We have spelt this out because, as it is a revenue-raising Bill, it is important that there are no gaps in the BRS system. The power in the clause is important to our ability to achieve that.

The powers are all exercisable by making regulations, apart from the power to make a commencement order under clause 32. In particular, clause 29(3) provides standard scope and flexibility for that provision to be made

“generally or only for specific cases”, and for

“different provision for different cases or areas” to be made. In addition, the subsection provides for secondary legislation to

“make incidental, supplementary, consequential, transitional, transitory or savings provision.”

I said earlier that these are standard provisions. I questioned officials on whether “transitory” was a standard component of such clauses and was told, “It comes and goes.” That reflects the fact that we may make regulations under the special introductory provision that we have just discussed, which is available for a limited period.

Photo of Bob Neill Bob Neill Shadow Minister (Communities and Local Government), Deputy Chair, Conservative Party

Can the Minister can help me? Do those who advise him think that it is transitory, or do they consider that it is transitory?

Photo of John Healey John Healey Minister of State (Department of Communities and Local Government) (Local Government)

They are confident. They are confident that that element that comes and goes in other legislation is required here simply because we need to give effect to what will be transitory provisions if regulations are required under clause 27.

I remind the Committee that I have published a statement of intent that indicates how we intend to approach the main regulation-making powers under the Bill. I can confirm—this will be of particular interest in  another place—that I do not consider that any exercise of Commons privilege over the regulation-making powers is required or appropriate. Essentially, local government revenue raising could be subject to Commons privilege, but generally that privilege is not asserted. In the case of the BRS, that would not be appropriate because such revenue will not come to the central Exchequer, but will be collected and held at local authority level, so it would not be appropriate to consider subjecting it to any form of Commons privilege. I am sure that Members of the other place will appreciate that confirmation and will look forward to the scrutiny role that they will play on all the regulations, as well as the Bill.

Photo of Dan Rogerson Dan Rogerson Opposition Whip (Commons), Shadow Minister (Communities and Local Government)

I shall not detain the Committee long. I merely want to draw attention to subsection (3). The Government have vigorously made the point about the need for consistency and about how the Bill must apply in all cases—for example, with regard to a ballot across all parts of the country, although I am not threatening to revisit that argument. Subsection (3) clearly talks about a provision that applies

“generally or only for specified cases or which applies subject to specified exceptions;

(b) may make different provision for different cases or different areas”.

That tends to support the argument that there may be specific examples where different provisions may apply. I merely make that point in passing.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 29 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 30 ordered to stand part of the Bill.