Clause 58 - Matters to have regard to in exercise of functions

Part of Health and Social Care (Re-Committed) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:00 pm on 7 July 2011.

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Photo of Owen Smith Owen Smith Shadow Minister (Wales) 5:00, 7 July 2011

I, too, do not intend to speak for long. However, I cannot resist letting the words “We told you so” pass my lips for the first time as a Front Bencher. I have not occasion to say that recently; my hon. Friend the Member for Leicester West has been able to do so many times so far.

When we last debated the clause, we discussed extensively an amendment tabled by my Front-Bench colleagues, which said pretty much the same as the Government’s amendment. It talked about the need to improve collaboration and integration. It said that putting a clear requirement on Monitor to have particular regard to the need to support integration and collaboration—integration about which we have heard the Minister talk—would help allay the fears that some have about fragmentation. In response, the Minister used a phrase that became extremely familiar during our 28—or was it 38?—sittings:

“Although I understand and appreciate the sentiment of the amendment, I believe it is not necessary.”––[Official Report, Health and Social Care Public Bill Committee, 15 March 2011; c. 777.]

Clearly it was necessary, which is why we have the amendment before us today, and we are happy to support it.