Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill: Lords third reading

21 March 2013

Members of the House of Lords completed third reading of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, the final chance to amend the bill, yesterday (Wednesday 20 March).

Discussion began around plans to abolish the Agricultural Wages Board. Lord Whitty (Labour) introduced Amendment 7, saying: ‘I have... concentrated on a very narrow area which was not fully debated last time, although we touched on it in some detail. However, there was no amendment before us then that required a further economic assessment from the government of the impact of the abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board.’

He continued: ‘Whatever we may think about the abolition of the board and whatever opinion we may have about the need to raise, reduce or protect wages, we should get a better economic assessment before we do it. That is really all my amendment proposes.’

Earl Cathcart (Conservative) opposed the amendment, saying: ‘The National Farmers' Union has agreed to publish regularly all the data that the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, calls for in this amendment. Let us not duplicate the work. I do not see the need for yet another impact assessment.’

The amendment went to a vote, resulting in 110 for and 207 against.

Discussion then moved onto copyright, Lord Howarth of Newport (Labour) moved Amendment 10, looking at the orphan works licensing scheme, he said: ‘The term "orphan works", as we know, denotes material such as books, letters, diaries, documentation from the voluntary sector, broadcasts and newspapers held in our great public collections which may still be in copyright but where the owners of the copyright cannot be identified - or, if they have been identified, cannot be found.‘

He continued: ‘We need a workable orphan works licensing scheme that will make this material accessible; and, contrary to suggestions made by some campaigners, rights-holders ought to be paid for the use of their intellectual property, whether they are identified in the process of digital search or appear subsequently, if they request that they should be paid.’

Lord Clement-Jones (Liberal Democrat) made a further suggestion, saying: ‘I am not unsympathetic to... Amendment 10, but on the argument that he makes for a review of the orphan works scheme - and many of us have doubts about how that is going to operate in practice - I wonder whether it could not be done more frequently in the Intellectual Property Office's annual report.’

The amendment was withdrawn after Viscount Younger of Leckie (Conservative) responded on behalf of the government, saying: ‘Regarding Amendment 10, the government agree that there will need to be a full and proper evaluation of the effectiveness of the orphan works scheme, and its impact on users and rights holders. That is why the government have committed to a review of the functioning of the scheme one year after it is fully functional. This post-implementation review would be undertaken by the orphan works authorising body and would include, for example, data on the number of orphan works registrations, and permissions issued by the authorising body.’

The bill will now return to the House of Commons with amendments. The amendments will be considered in the Commons on 16 April 2013.

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.

More about the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill

What is third reading?

Third reading in the chamber is the final chance for the Lords to change the contents of a bill and plug any remaining loopholes.

The day before third reading starts, amendments (proposals for change) are published in a marshalled list – in which all the amendments are placed in order.

Unlike the House of Commons, amendments can be made at third reading in the House of Lords, provided the issue has not been fully considered and voted on at an earlier stage.

Amendments at third reading in the Lords are often used to clarify specific parts of the bill and to allow the government to make good any promises of changes to the bill made at earlier stages.

Further information

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