Official Report


Subordinate Legislation Committee, 13 Jan 2004

Scottish Parliament
Subordinate Legislation Committee
Tuesday 13 January 2004

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: [The Convener opened the meeting at 10:30]

Delegated Powers Scrutiny

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Local Governance (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1

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The Convener (Dr Sylvia Jackson): : I welcome members to the second meeting this year of the Subordinate Legislation Committee.

Item 1 is delegated powers scrutiny. This week, we are considering the Local Governance (Scotland) Bill at stage 1. Members will see from their legal brief that the bill contains seven provisions that confer powers on the Scottish ministers to make subordinate legislation. In addition, the bill gives ministers certain direction-making powers.

First, we will consider part 1, "Local government elections". The first order-making power comes under section 1(2). The procedure that is currently proposed for that power is the annulment procedure. Does the committee think that an alternative procedure ought to be suggested?

Members: : No.

Mike Pringle (Edinburgh South) (LD): : The proposed procedure is fine.

The Convener: : The second order-making power comes under section 9(1), which makes further provision about local government elections.

It has been noted that section 42 of the Representation of the People Act 1983 is rather more prescriptive than the power conferred by the bill, which is very much wider. Do members think that the procedures that have been selected for that power are appropriate?

Gordon Jackson (Glasgow Govan) (Lab): : I think that they are okay.

Mike Pringle: : I also think that they are okay.

The Convener: : That is agreed.

Section 10(3)(d) inserts two new subsections into section 28 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973. The new subsections are concerned with empowering the Scottish ministers to make rules in relation to the consideration, for the purposes of part 1 of the bill, of electoral arrangements for local government areas. That will replace provisions that are currently enshrined in primary legislation with order-making powers. New section 28(1B) of the 1973 act provides for the affirmative procedure to be used, so as to ensure that the substance of the rules will be subject to parliamentary scrutiny and approval. Are we agreed about that?

Members: : Agreed.

The Convener: : Section 17, in part 2, is on the

"Pay, pensions etc. of councillors".

It authorises the Scottish ministers to provide for the payment by local authorities of remuneration, allowances and expenses to members of those authorities. There is provision in section 17(4) requiring ministers to consider recommendations by the proposed Scottish local authorities remuneration committee, where relevant, before making regulations under the section. The only substantive matter mentioned in the legal advice is that of whether annulment is the correct procedure. Are we happy to use annulment for the powers?

Members: : Yes.

Mike Pringle: : I think that annulment is fine here.

The Convener: : Section 18(1) concerns "Severance payments for councillors". The issues here are a rerun of those applying to section 17. Is that agreed?

Members indicated agreement.

The Convener: : We come now to part 3, "Miscellaneous and general" provisions. Section 21 is entitled "Ancillary provision". We have raised previously the inclusion of the term "supplemental". I would like to consider section 21 alongside section 23(2), which is on the commencement order.

Alasdair Morgan (South of Scotland) (SNP): : There is one point that we should raise with the Executive. Although the example that it has supplied to illustrate why it wants to do things in the way that it has was quite persuasive, the fact remains that that is a different way from that which it used in the Criminal Procedure (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill, which we considered last week. It strikes me that, whichever way the Executive or we decide is best, we should at least be using these arrangements consistently and not just doing a pick and mix between one bill and the next. We should ask the Executive why it thought that the arrangement used in the Local Governance (Scotland) Bill was a good one, yet it was apparently not good enough for the bill that we considered last week. Could the Executive consider at least being consistent from one week to the next?

The Convener: : Are we agreed on that?

Members: : Yes.

The Convener: : I recall from the previous occasion that there were limits on the provision concerned.

Instruments Subject
to Annulment

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Support and Assistance of Young People Leaving Care (Scotland) Regulations 2003 (SSI 2003/608)
Title Conditions (Scotland) Act 2003 (Conservation Bodies) Amendment Order 2003 (SSI 2003/621)

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The Convener: : We move now to item 2, which is instruments subject to annulment. No points of substance have been identified on the first two instruments.

Sea Fishing (Restriction on Days at Sea) (Scotland) Amendment (No 3) Order
2003 (SSI 2003/623)

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The Convener: : Are there any points to raise on the order?

Alasdair Morgan: : Although the subject matter may be of considerable controversy, I do not think that the technicalities are.

The Convener: : Yes, it is an extremely controversial matter at the moment.

Mike Pringle: : There are people wanting to commit all sorts of things all over Scotland. That does not sound good at all.

Christine May (Central Fife) (Lab): : Actually, it is in the waters around Scotland.

The Convener: : The Subordinate Legislation Committee, however, has no points to raise under its remit.

Members indicated agreement.

Instruments Not Laid
Before the Parliament

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Homelessness etc (Scotland) Act 2003 (Commencement No 1) Order 2003
(SSI 2003/609)
Abolition of Feudal Tenure etc (Scotland) Act 2000 (Commencement No 3) Order 2003 (SSI 2003/620)

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The Convener: : Item 3 is instruments not laid before the Parliament. No points arise on the orders.

That brings us to the end of the meeting, colleagues. Thank you very much.

: Meeting closed at 10:36.