The Earl of Lytton (Crossbench) opened the debate with Amendments 58 and 59 covering compensation for land acquisition. He declared an interest in professional purchase and acknowledged assistance from the Compulsory Purchase Association in drafting the new clause. He explained: 'My amendments are an attempt to test the government's resolve and are a litmus test of their real intentions as regards growth and infrastructure.'
He continued: 'Amendment 58 is about advance payments... If taken forward, it would ensure that adequate information was provided by the claimant, that demands for excessive or irrelevant information were curtailed, and that payments would have to be made in a timely fashion.' He also explained Amendment 59: 'Loss payments are top-up sums paid to claimants in recognition of compulsion being used... The amendment would reverse that inequitable treatment between occupiers sustaining the front-line loss and investors sitting somewhere else. The amendment would also change the basis of the calculation of loss payments for occupier claimants from a percentage of the land value element to a percentage of the total value of the claim.'
Lord McKenzie of Luton (Labour) followed saying: '...if it is one of the components that are holding up growth, it should be addressed. I checked with one of my colleagues, whose knowledge of this is greater than mine, his reaction to the amendment and certainly to advance payments and loss payments. The response was that the amendment does not seem unreasonable. I think that is quite a way from our saying that we are in a position to support these amendments but I look forward to the minister's reply, particularly on the question of, if not now, when will we be able to look at the system holistically and unravel some of the complexities and inefficiencies that my noble friend has identified.'
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Conservative) responded on behalf of the government. He said: 'For both of these amendments, the issues raised would require further investigation before they could be taken forward.' He proposed a meeting to discuss the amendments in more detail.
The Earl of Lytton agreed to the meeting and withdrew Amendment 58.
Members of the Lords also discussed the electronic communications code and broadband infrastructure, devolved powers for local councils to boost growth and provisions for town and country planning.
Growth and Infrastructure Bill summary
The bill looks at the following areas:
- promoting growth and facilitating provision of infrastructure
- reducing delays in the planning system
- the rights of employee shareholders.
Previous stages of the Growth and Infrastructure Bill
What is committee stage?
Detailed line by line examination of the separate parts (clauses and schedules) of the bill takes place during committee stage, starting from the front of the bill and working to the end. 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 - in which all the amendments are placed in order.
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.