Lords private members bills

03 December 2012

The House of Lords had its first chance to debate the key principles and purpose of three private members' bills last week (Friday 30 November), covering topics including social housing fraud, disabled parking badges and scrap metal

A private member's bill is a type of public bill (that affects the public). Private members' bills must go through the same set of procedures as other public bills. These three private members' bills were first introduced in the House of Commons.

Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Bill

The bill creates offences and makes other amends relating to sub-letting and parting with possession of social housing.

Baroness Eaton (Conservative), vice president of the Local Government Association, outlined the aim of the bill: '...to reduce the amount of social housing that is being misused, thereby ensuring that more of it is available to those in genuine need and who play by the rules. It seeks to do this by increasing the deterrent to those considering cheating the system and by strengthening the ability of landlords to detect and punish those who do.'

Disabled Persons Parking Badges Bill

The bill makes further changes for 'Blue Badge' enforcement and seeks to clarify the existing offences relating to the wrongful use of blue badges. It will also allow badges to be made available to armed forces personnel and their families posted overseas on UK bases.

The amendments affect only England and Wales.

Baroness Thomas of Winchester (Liberal Democrat), a trustee for the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign and blue badge holder, said: 'The disabled parking scheme administered by local authorities has existed since 1971 and has enabled over 2.5 million disabled people to park close to where they need to be if they display a valid blue badge.'

She explained the purpose of the bill by saying: '...this bill is vital to bring the invaluable blue badge scheme up to date and, in particular, to help tackle fraud. Those involved in both using and administering the scheme are eager to see these measures implemented.'

Scrap Metal Dealers

The bill amends the law relating to scrap metal dealers by suggesting a revised regulatory regime for the scrap metal recycling and vehicle dismantling industries. The bill will also address powers of entry and inspection.

Baroness Browning (Conservative) opened the debate and said: 'Metal theft and its illegal disposal have increased in recent years in line with world market prices for a range of metals commonly used in cabling, buildings and street furniture, among other things.

She stated: 'For too long, the disruption caused by the theft of metals has had a damaging impact on thousands of people and businesses... The theft of metal plaques from war memorials and graves causes great anguish to the loved ones.'

She explained: 'The bill before us today will enable a more robust licensing scheme by repealing the 1964 Act. It will be replaced with legislation which will require an application for a licence which the local authority can turn down or revoke.'

What is second reading?

Second reading is the opportunity for members of the Lords to debate the main principles and purpose of a bill and to flag up concerns and areas where they think changes (amendments) are needed.

Before second reading takes place, a list of speakers for the second reading debate is opened and members wishing to participate add their names to it.

The government minister, spokesperson or a member of the Lords responsible for the bill opens the debate.

Any member of the House of Lords can speak in the debate so this stage can indicate those members particularly interested in the bill - or a particular aspect of it - and those who are most likely to be involved in amending the bill at later stages.

The duration of second reading debates can vary depending on the number of speakers.

Further information

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More news on: Parliament, government and politics, Parliament, Energy and environment, Social security and pensions, Sickness, disability and carers' benefits, Waste management, Housing and planning, House of Lords news, Lords news, Wales, Bill news, England

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