Clause 33 - Appeals

Energy Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:30 pm on 9th June 2011.

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Photo of Gregory Barker Gregory Barker The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change 4:30 pm, 9th June 2011

I beg to move amendment 5, in clause 33, page 22, line 1, leave out ‘this section’ and insert ‘subsection (2)’.

Photo of Edward Leigh Edward Leigh Chair, Public Accounts Commission, Chair, Public Accounts Commission

With this it will be convenient to consider Government amendments 6 to 8, 11, 13, 19 and 22.

Photo of Gregory Barker Gregory Barker The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change

I will now speak to amendments 5 to 8, 11, 13, 19 and 22, which the Committee will be relieved to know are technical in nature. Clause 33 will require the Secretary of State to provide for a right of appeal in the event that he or a specified public body imposes a sanction or takes other action following, for example, a breach of the code of practice by a green deal participant or a failure by a seller to comply with a disclosure obligation.

Amendments 5, 7, 8, 11, 13, 19 and 22 will allow Scottish Ministers to amend and revoke their existing subordinate legislation so that the green deal appeals mechanism can be implemented properly in Scotland. The amendments mirror powers that the Secretary of State already has under clause 33 to amend subordinate legislation in England and Wales. The amendments will help to ensure that an effective and robust appeals mechanism is available both north and south of the border.

Amendment 6 is a technical amendment, tabled at the suggestion of our colleagues in Scotland to reflect the fact that it is more correct to refer to a Scottish court or tribunal making an award of “expenses” rather than “costs”. On that basis, I hope that hon. Members will support the amendments.

Photo of Tom Greatrex Tom Greatrex Shadow Minister (Scotland)

I am conscious that the legislative consent motion process is of limited interest even at an earlier hour, so I will be extremely brief.

I want to make a couple of points on the potential consequences of the amendments and how the LCM process relates to some of the regulations that, as has been said several times, will be significant to how the green deal takes effect in Scotland. There may be good reasons why there are differences between Scotland and England on some aspects of regulation, but there are concerns about the potential for differences that may confuse consumers, given that much of the green deal relies on secondary legislation, an assessment and suppliers. I want to seek reassurance that the Government and the devolved Administration in Edinburgh have thought about those potential significant differences. A lot of the people that they will rely on to make the green deal effective to people are companies that operate across Great Britain.

I also want reassurance that the information provided to consumers is correct for the appropriate part of Britain. There have been problems in the past with a number of things across borders and jurisdictions, when people were used to having a single market providing information that was not technically correct for the people in Scotland. There is a potential for divergence within the green deal, which reflects the comments that the Minister made previously about the green deal being of universal interest and available to all. We do not want there to be less confidence in Scotland than there should be.

Photo of Gregory Barker Gregory Barker The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change

I am happy to give the hon. Gentleman an absolute assurance. We have a good relationship with the Scottish Administration on such issues, and we have been working in good collaboration at official and ministerial levels.

Amendment 5 agreed to.

Amendments made: 6, in clause 33, page 22, line 21, at end insert ‘or, in Scotland, expenses’.

Amendment 7, in clause 33, page 22, line 24, leave out ‘this section’ and insert ‘subsection (2)’.

Amendment 8, in clause 33, page 22, line 25, at end insert—

‘(5A) If the Scottish Ministers consider it appropriate for the purpose of, or in consequence of, any provision falling within subsection (3)(a), (d), (f) or (g), they may by regulations revoke or amend any subordinate legislation, or any provision included in an instrument made under an Act of the Scottish Parliament, if the provision making the revocation or amendment would be within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament if it were included in an Act of that Parliament.’.—(Gregory Barker.)

Clause 33, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 34 and 35 ordered to stand part of the Bill.