Lord Marland (Conservative) opened the debate, saying: ‘I begin by underlining this government's commitment to fostering growth and restoring the UK's economic prosperity. We recognise that legislation itself cannot generate economic activity, but it can help to set the framework in which enterprise can flourish. The bill provides a package of measures that will get rid of unnecessary bureaucracy that encumbers business, improve the competition framework to ensure well functioning markets and advance business and consumer confidence alike.’
Lord Stevenson of Balmacara (Labour), raised his concerns about the bill, saying: ‘The bill is a missed opportunity. It does nothing to help Britain out of a double-dip recession made in Downing Street. Nor will it assist businesses to enhance their competitiveness or give them what they want in terms of a long-term industrial strategy. Business leaders are already unimpressed with the government's business policy and this bill will not change their views. It contains inadequate measures to boost business confidence, nothing to enhance the UK's international competitiveness and no measures to increase competition in consumer markets or to protect consumers from powerful vested interests.’
Lord Razzall (Liberal Democrat), followed, and said: ‘Inevitably, this is a mixed bag of a bill, although it is not the ragbag or hotchpotch referred to by the opposition, both in another place and here. Although generally we on these benches support it, I think that a review of the bill in your Lordships' House must look at each measure against the question whether a particular measure improves demand and/or increases business investment.’
In a parliamentary first, procedures set up to support a disabled Member’s participation were used during the debate. Baroness Campbell of Surbiton’s assistant delivered part of her speech in the Lords Chamber when Baroness Campbell (Crossbench) could not continue. Previously, only members and clerks have spoken in parliamentary debates.
The bill will continue with line by line scrutiny in committee stage.
Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill summary
The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill includes:
- changes to competition policy and employment law
- measures for reducing regulation
- the Green Investment Bank
- directors’ remuneration
- rules around copyright and planning.
What is committee stage?
Detailed line by line examination of the separate parts (clauses and schedules) of the bill takes place during committee stage. Any member of the Lords can take part.
It usually starts no later than two weeks after the second reading and can last for one to eight days or more.
The day before committee stage starts, amendments (changes) are published in a marshalled list (amendments on related subjects are grouped together).
During committee stage every clause of the bill has to be agreed to and votes on the amendments can take place. All proposed amendments can be discussed and there is no time limit, or guillotine, on discussion of amendments.