Public Bodies Bill raises serious concerns

23 November 2010

The House of Lords Delegated Powers Committee Sixth Report on government amendments to the Public Bodies Bill, published today, has found that Government amendments brought forward so far to the Public Bodies Bill fail to address concerns about parliamentary scrutiny raised in its earlier report

The Committee draws attention in the report to the ‘exceptionally broad nature’ of the powers proposed to be delegated to Ministers and finds that the Bill ‘has not been amended effectively to specify or limit the purposes for which the powers in these clauses may be exercised.’ The Bill therefore ‘remains a skeleton Bill, despite the enhanced procedural requirements,’ the report states.

The Committee has particular concerns about the proposed power in clause 11 which covers 150 bodies or offices. The report says, ‘If the House can find no over-riding reason or exceptional circumstances which justify the inclusion of clause 11 and Schedule 7, the Committee recommends that they should be removed from the Bill.’

The Committee’s Fifth Report, published 15 November 2010, found that the powers contained in the previous draft of the Bill were ‘not appropriate delegations of legislative power’ and would grant to Ministers unacceptable discretion to ‘rewrite the statute book, with inadequate parliamentary scrutiny of, and control over, the process.’

Further information

The Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee examines all Bills before the House of Lords and reports on powers proposed to be delegated to Ministers.

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