Improving legislation

Lord Norton

At Wednesday’s meeting of the Constitution Committee, we devoted most of our time to discussing a draft of our report on the Cabinet Office.  However, we also approved a short report on the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies and Credit Unions Bill.  This is a Private Member’s Bill which has Government support.  The subject matter is uncontentious, but we raised with Government a number of concerns about the drafting, not least the breadth of the ‘Henry VIII’ clauses.  As a result, the Government has accepted our concerns and brought forward amendments to meet them. 

I mention this simply as an indication of the type of constructive dialogue that takes place between committees and ministers.  Some concerns are raised in reports; some points are raised in correspondence.  When I chaired the Constitution Committee, I was in correspondence with ministers on a number of Bills, with various amendments being made by Government as a consequence.  Many recommendations are not on fundamental issues, though some are on crucial aspects of a Bill.   Taken in combination, the  changes made are substantial.  Committee reports on Bills may receive little attention – the report I have drawn to your attention may gets it highest readership through this post – but they make an important contribution to improving what reaches the statute book.

6 comments for “Improving legislation

  1. Croft
    12/12/2009 at 11:27 am

    While you’ll get no opposition from me on restricting Henry VIII clauses – I really don’t like them at all as they so easily deny meaningful scrutiny or proper opposition.

    However, surely it would be better to simply amend the companies act or subsequent legislation to bring the co-ops into that legislation rather than create yet another new (mirroring) crime – really do we need more criminal offences?!

    “the report I have drawn to your attention may gets it highest readership”

    It would certainly be interesting to see the logs as to which articles on the parliament site received most views – something many websites do.

    • Gar Hywel
      12/12/2009 at 8:44 pm

      No law can be perfect, least of all Industrial and Provident law, or Friendly society law, which is used in practise every day of the year by thousands of people.

      Anybody who is intent on winding up either kind of enterprise,and for their own advantage, is able to do so by careful manipulation of the members. We saw that with a number of Rugby football clubs which had been variations of friendly society
      until professionalism came along.

      All the accountant do is the accounts……?

      as always in small business it is the facts of the business which are not the main concern which may be become the most profitable, and then those people who co-operate or work together as friends/community,may begin to think of their own self interest.

      It is those with the deeply held principles who do not.

  2. Gar Hywel
    12/12/2009 at 4:35 pm

    I listened last night and very much enjoyed the anecdotes of our noble co-operative friend about Jack Cohen’s pass book number.

    The IACA has a down on the Coop group accounting format or it did six or seven years ago and out through some rather unpleasant legislation from Europe which caused a great deal of work changing from pass book to bank account.

    I understand that this Bill is a regular bill every 30 years.

    If my pass book had a value update instead of being worthless i would be glad too. the previous cocasion they upgraded the share value they went from 10p to £1 according to one ageing member who was very pleased about it.

    For me? Nought,nochte, niente,nada, but the pleasure of belonging to a world wide movement, to which about 1 in 6 of people worldwide belong, at some time in their lives.

  3. tory boy
    14/12/2009 at 10:10 pm

    Lord Norton I have not seen Baroness Carnegy of Lour in the chmaber for the last few months is she still alive if so has she been unwell??

  4. lordnorton
    14/12/2009 at 11:17 pm

    tory boy: You will not have seen Baroness Carnegy recently. She has taken leave of absence.

  5. tory boy
    15/12/2009 at 2:47 pm

    But given the fact that Baroness Carnegy had a very active year last parliament particularly on the marine and coastal access bill is not a bit odd for her now to take leave of absence??

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