Clause 34

Equality Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:15 pm on 18 June 2009.

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Leasehold and commonhold premises and common parts

This amendment removes the powers of Government to remove specific types of premises from the application of this protection.

We have some concerns that the provision will make the protection of premises open to the whims of the Government of the day. If a Government were to decide that they disagreed with protection in all its forms in all these premises, they could remove all types of proposed buildings and premises from the application of the protection. I am seeking reassurance from the Minister that she is not as worried about this as I am.

Photo of Vera Baird Vera Baird Solicitor General, Attorney General's Office

I assure the hon. Lady that we have no sinister reason to exclude any particular premises. Property and housing legislation is complex and the provisions in the clause are novel. They will take a bit of time to bed in and we will monitor how they work in practice. In time, there may be aspects of common parts, for instance, that mean that we have to exclude certain things from the provisions, so we have given ourselves the power to do so. There is nothing sinister at all in this. Of course, I cannot predict whether future Governments will have sinister motives, but it seems to us an important power to have in reserve.

Photo of Lynne Featherstone Lynne Featherstone Shadow Minister (Children, Schools and Families), Liberal Democrat Spokeperson (Children, Schools and Families)

I thank the Minister. She alluded to my concern in her last sentence. Given that the future is unknown, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 34 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 35 ordered to stand part of the Bill.