Lords examines Business and Planning Bill

21 July 2020

The Business and Planning Bill completed its report stage and third reading in the Lords on Monday 20 July.

This bill aims to promote economic recovery and growth in response to COVID-19 and help businesses adjust to new ways of working to manage the ongoing risks.

During report stage members discussed a range of subjects including rules for the use of pavements, smoke-free areas, disabled people’s needs and consulting trade unions in the licencing process.

There were two divisions (votes) on proposed changes (amendments) to the bill.

Members considered a change (amendment 40) to prevent the sale of alcohol off-premises in a beer glass or other container that could easily be broken and used as a weapon.

135 members were in favour of this amendment, with 267 against, and so the change was not made.

The second vote related to ensuring that court orders created under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 shall not be made in connection with a credit agreement entered into under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme.

Members considered a change (amendment 53) to limit this provision only insofar as the order relates to affordability.

128 members were in favour of this amendment, with 244 against, and so the change was not made.

Following the completion of report stage, third reading, a chance for members to make sure the eventual law is effective, workable and without loopholes, also took place.

No changes to the wording of the bill were suggested ahead of third reading. Members discussed the passage of the bill through the House at its conclusion of Lords stages.

The bill now passes to the Commons for consideration of Lords amendments.

Committee stage day two: Tuesday 14 July

Members discussed changes on subjects including holiday travel and accommodation, outdoor entertainment performances, environmental protections for the longer construction working hours, planning permission rules, and putting a rolling three-month parliamentary review of the legislation in place.

Report stage, an opportunity to closely scrutinise elements of the bill and make changes, and third reading, a chance for members to make sure the eventual law is effective, workable and without loopholes, are scheduled to take place on Monday 20 July.

Committee stage day one: Monday 13 July

Members discussed a range of topics, including the length of the consultation period for pavement licence applications, the prohibition of off-premises smoking and alcohol served in open containers, and accessible formats for online planning consultations.

Second reading: Monday 6 July

Members discussed a range of issues, including the loosening of licensing regulations to allow bars and cafes to serve outside, the simplification of the planning appeals process and the risk of increased noise and light pollution due to extended hours for construction work.

Lord Greenhalgh (Conservative), Minister for Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Home Office, opened the debate.

Speakers included the president of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), a governor of the London Business School and a former First Minister of Scotland.

Earl Howe (Conservative), Deputy Leader of the House of Lords, responded on behalf of the government.

Business and Planning Bill

This bill aims to introduce a range of measures to help businesses adjust to new ways of working as the country recovers from the disruption caused by Covid-19. The measures support the transition from immediate crisis response and lockdown into recovery and getting the economy moving again. The measures also support businesses to implement safer ways of working to manage the ongoing risks from Covid-19, in particular the need for social distancing.

Further information

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