03/02/2017 House of Commons


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03/02/2017

Live coverage of proceedings in the House of Commons, including the second reading of the Child Poverty Bill, the Local Authority Roads Bill and the Unlawful Killing Bill.


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So, again, in this situation such as that, yes that might happen, but not

:29:14.:29:22.

actually driven by the people in the locality who want the item, that you

:29:23.:29:28.

are asking for, if you see what I mean. What you have got is somebody

:29:29.:29:35.

else setting the rules. Bringing local accountability, giving people

:29:36.:29:41.

within councils into the authority is the ability to set those rates

:29:42.:29:44.

then click that revenue is really something that I would welcome. At

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the moment, the ability to do that is a long winded process of two

:29:50.:29:54.

years for you how to apply for various changes in legislation and

:29:55.:30:00.

so on. Take Bury St Edmunds. I had 550 long-stay car park uses last

:30:01.:30:08.

year and 1.38 7 million short stay. This is a town of 40,000. We have

:30:09.:30:14.

problems in the medieval grade. I was really pleased to see the master

:30:15.:30:18.

plan come out this week in which it was spoken that we would have a

:30:19.:30:29.

policy whereby we took varying procedures into account in order to

:30:30.:30:33.

stop the off-street parking that blight so many people's lives,

:30:34.:30:38.

particularly in the medieval quarter of the time. It must be that we

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provide solutions in this place and we give local councils the ability

:30:44.:30:50.

to set the right solution. This report encourages a blend of

:30:51.:30:55.

pedestrian first recommendations in order to restore and keep the

:30:56.:31:00.

medieval grade for pedestrians, tourists, shoppers and residents.

:31:01.:31:04.

The small size of our grid, which is not only beautiful but historic,

:31:05.:31:09.

needs attention in order to make sure that parking does not blight

:31:10.:31:15.

it. I agree with you, we have a vibrant economic environment, people

:31:16.:31:20.

need to park and work, and we have, luckily, a wonderful tourist

:31:21.:31:26.

attraction in the town and that draws people to it. That is

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juxtaposed against the market towns that very much need the flexibility

:31:31.:31:37.

of doing it. What concerns with this amendment is that we are using our

:31:38.:31:46.

sledgehammer to crack a nut -- crack a nut. My honourable friend pointed

:31:47.:31:54.

out, it does seem to be an amendment that does what it does within the

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body of the bill. I think the honourable lady for giving away.

:32:03.:32:09.

There are provisions for local authorities to increase parking

:32:10.:32:22.

charges. What all this does is to restrict this bill to be reducing

:32:23.:32:27.

prices, there would still be powerless to increase car park

:32:28.:32:35.

charges, that would still be there. Fine, but that still pictures back

:32:36.:32:39.

to the point made earlier that isn't that already contained within the

:32:40.:32:43.

body of the bill, so aren't we adding a little bit of jam to what

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is already in the cake. Mr Speaker, I am grateful for you

:32:47.:33:01.

calling me at what has been a debate. I congratulate my honourable

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friend for bringing this to the house. I hope that I can convince

:33:09.:33:17.

him and my honourable friends that he will not be... I do hope that I

:33:18.:33:26.

can do that. I have to tell the house and the honourable member for

:33:27.:33:31.

Torbay that when the committee met on Wednesday, there were no

:33:32.:33:40.

amendments. The bill was reported to the house unamended, so this is a

:33:41.:33:47.

somewhat late entry in the race. And was not a member of the bill

:33:48.:33:52.

committee so could not move the bill to committee stage so the

:33:53.:33:56.

opportunity to raise this ad report stage, just to clarify that. I feel

:33:57.:34:03.

I am in error because I should have clearly as my honourable friend to

:34:04.:34:08.

join the committee. I think he would have made it a major contribution.

:34:09.:34:14.

One of the privileges of having a private member's bill is that one

:34:15.:34:20.

does have some influence on the membership of the committee and it

:34:21.:34:25.

is good to see my honourable friend who served on the committee and say

:34:26.:34:32.

that the committee examined with some care the bill. Mr Speaker, when

:34:33.:34:37.

I spoke at the end of the second reading debate in November, I said

:34:38.:34:43.

that I could not in all honestly say that this modest to clause bill

:34:44.:34:48.

would improve the quality of life in every city and town in this country.

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I also said that I am grateful for the government supports and I am

:34:55.:34:59.

pleased to see my honourable friend, the member for Nuneaton in his place

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today. I also see the opposition spokesman in his place on the front

:35:13.:35:16.

bench and as he will know his party were supportive of this measure in

:35:17.:35:22.

committee. I hope that we can continue to have his support today.

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This bill is very simple. My honourable friend the member for

:35:35.:35:39.

Christchurch, who is not known as a great friend of private member's

:35:40.:35:46.

legislation, whispered in my year one day, being a very educated man

:35:47.:35:50.

and a classical scholar perhaps, said it was her day minimus spill

:35:51.:35:57.

that I interpreted had very little in it. That was the point of this. I

:35:58.:36:07.

was number five on the list. Having decided to run with this issue, it

:36:08.:36:12.

had to be as simple bill that appeals to all sides of the house.

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And not something that was going to attract controversy and encourage

:36:17.:36:23.

colleagues to speak for perhaps a long time on the bill and impede

:36:24.:36:35.

progress. . I described this as a Santa Claus bill as we were in the

:36:36.:36:42.

run-up to Christmas, because the first and perhaps most important

:36:43.:36:47.

provision of this bill is that it allows councils to reduce parking

:36:48.:36:51.

charges about giving a 21 day notice in the local newspaper or in the

:36:52.:36:57.

media. As I will develop this point in my speech, I think this is

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increasingly a really important for local councils to have flexibility

:37:06.:37:07.

and I will explain why in a moment. It doesn't actually affect the

:37:08.:37:39.

charges themselves. I was somewhat stunned when I went into the shop in

:37:40.:37:47.

the house to see Santa Christmas holding the Santa act as a Christmas

:37:48.:37:53.

decoration for the tree. Clearly, I have been able to inspire somebody

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to produce this Christmas decoration. I can issued you Mr

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Speaker, being a slightly superstitious member, I would not

:38:07.:38:10.

conceive of putting that on the tree until it had been passed as an

:38:11.:38:15.

actor. Whether and to what extent the honourable gentleman indulges in

:38:16.:38:23.

retail therapy, and what assessment he has made of the aesthetic

:38:24.:38:29.

measures in the shopper window as a matter I think of consuming almost

:38:30.:38:35.

intoxicating interest to members of the house. I question if it is

:38:36.:38:39.

altogether relevant to the subject matter which is supposed to be under

:38:40.:38:44.

discussion. I feel sure he will have a response.

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I am flattered that you should bring me back to this point and asked me

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to explain myself. I crave your indulgence because they did in error

:38:57.:39:00.

produce the Christmas decoration and was rightly called to order because

:39:01.:39:05.

we cannot use devices enable speeches. I am wary of your own

:39:06.:39:14.

determination to maintain procedures so I did not venture to do that

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today. The point I'm trying to make, Mr Speaker, is that this bill came

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about as the Santa Claus bill, is something that brings about a lot of

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and can be used particularly in the run-up to run-up to Christmas to

:39:34.:39:39.

help people in the shopping, whereas previously the councils would be not

:39:40.:39:43.

able to act quickly to respond to situations. I will deliver that

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point any more. I will move on to say that my own local council, in

:39:49.:39:57.

Hinckley, just across the board from my honourable friend, has many car

:39:58.:40:05.

parks. It will certainly have an impact on the way that Hinckley and

:40:06.:40:08.

Bosworth Borough Council implements parking in the future. Hinckley has

:40:09.:40:19.

been very successful as a town centre, most recently being a

:40:20.:40:22.

finalist in the Great British High Street competition. And

:40:23.:40:32.

cost-effective parking for a time they can achieve that success. He is

:40:33.:40:40.

right to talk about the success of times. Would he agree that is why it

:40:41.:40:44.

is so important that we are clear that this bill is about varying

:40:45.:40:50.

charges down, not by varying the map? I am glad my honourable friend

:40:51.:40:57.

has intervened. He represents a beautiful seaside town, Torbay. In

:40:58.:41:04.

fact, I knew his Conservative predecessor years ago who was also

:41:05.:41:08.

passionately concerned about the Tyne. He was known as spy 13 because

:41:09.:41:16.

of his other job, which was writing spy novels and I wish him well if he

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is tuning into this debate. He is doing the right thing for his

:41:25.:41:28.

constituency, may I say to my honourable friend, in Torbay where

:41:29.:41:30.

parking is clearly going to be critical. I can assure him that B

:41:31.:41:38.

looks a clause this bill is about enabling councils to reduced

:41:39.:41:41.

charges. In the future they would have to go to the expense of

:41:42.:41:47.

reducing the charges by publishing the notice in local newspapers. With

:41:48.:41:56.

the honourable friend give way? Thank you. Isn't that come in a

:41:57.:42:07.

nutshell, we really don't need to press this moment because it is that

:42:08.:42:11.

flexibility, the fact that in the market they can charge a pine for

:42:12.:42:15.

two hours, in Bury St Edmunds the produce the fees on a Tuesday

:42:16.:42:20.

afternoon. Local solutions to local issues to stimulate the High Street.

:42:21.:42:30.

I am grateful to my honourable friend. But I think for comparison,

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I would just make clear what these two clauses do. The first clause

:42:45.:42:46.

provides for a path of government to provides for a path of government to

:42:47.:42:50.

make regulations that simplify the procedure to be followed for

:42:51.:42:53.

lowering parking charges. At present, councils must give 24 days

:42:54.:42:59.

per litigation and put signage in the car park if they want to lower

:43:00.:43:03.

their charges. The private sector, on the other hand, can take a

:43:04.:43:06.

business decision to lower without going through this process. To give

:43:07.:43:12.

councils flexibility to reduce their charges, this clause would allow my

:43:13.:43:18.

honourable friend to simplify this requirement putting local

:43:19.:43:20.

authorities on an even footing with the private sector. So my honourable

:43:21.:43:24.

friend for Torbay has not picked up on this point, but he might like to,

:43:25.:43:30.

which is the fact that this gives councils flexibility to reduce their

:43:31.:43:34.

charges and puts them on an even footing with the private sector. I

:43:35.:43:38.

am sure my honourable friend may have spoken about this, had he

:43:39.:43:42.

thought about it. He might want to come back to it on the fact that

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this will put things on an even footing with the private sector.

:43:48.:43:58.

Accept the valid points he makes. A private sector operator can change

:43:59.:44:01.

the signs overnight if they wish to change the prices in a car park,

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where as a council has to go through a very long procedure. But would he

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agree with me that councils are meant to be bodies charged with

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delivering the public good in an area rather than just a company that

:44:13.:44:16.

is looking to make as much money as it can offer the asset it owns? I

:44:17.:44:24.

honourable friend is hopefully leading me to an area I am going to

:44:25.:44:27.

talk about, which is the impact of pricing on car parking charges

:44:28.:44:33.

generally. But I would make this further point. It is equally

:44:34.:44:36.

important that councils should consider the effect of increased

:44:37.:44:40.

parking charges on the high street. To that end, the clause makes

:44:41.:44:43.

provision for a consultation requirements of the councils take on

:44:44.:44:47.

the views of local businesses and residents when they are looking to

:44:48.:44:50.

increase parking charges on an existing traffic order. They must

:44:51.:44:55.

already consult on a traffic order. However, it is proportionate to

:44:56.:44:59.

expect them to consult if they are raising charges during the life of

:45:00.:45:04.

the traffic order. So my honourable friend, who has been probing the

:45:05.:45:14.

probing amendment, I said to my four for Torbay, there no fear here that

:45:15.:45:21.

this bill is going to increase parking charges. It cannot do that.

:45:22.:45:28.

I would resist my honourable friend the minister's potential to spring

:45:29.:45:30.

to the dispatch box, because I know he will make a speech later. He is

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nodding his head to reassure me that I haven't put anything in this bill

:45:37.:45:40.

which will allow local authorities to increase charges, but simply

:45:41.:45:44.

saying that they need to ask people before they contemplate such a

:45:45.:45:51.

measure. Am grateful to my honourable friend for giving way.

:45:52.:45:58.

His seat of Bosworth, the A5 is the link through to Aldridge-Brownhills

:45:59.:46:03.

and onto Nuneaton. So three of us have something in common. But on the

:46:04.:46:10.

point about consultation, would he agree that as a resident of one of

:46:11.:46:15.

the -- one of the frustrating things is when you turn up in a town centre

:46:16.:46:19.

and you find that car parking charges have gone up and you had no

:46:20.:46:26.

idea about it. That is why consultation is important. When you

:46:27.:46:29.

open your purse and find you haven't got the right coins to put in the

:46:30.:46:33.

machine... I welcome the fact that this bill seeks to emphasise

:46:34.:46:39.

consulting and listening to the views of residents. My honourable

:46:40.:46:46.

friend knows how fast our area is developing. There is this huge

:46:47.:46:52.

business park being developed in my constituency and dust on the border

:46:53.:46:57.

of my honourable friend's constituency. My honourable friend

:46:58.:47:01.

and I have been working over the years to improve the A5 and there

:47:02.:47:05.

are some major improvements in the offing. It is of course a national

:47:06.:47:13.

road and an important relief road when there are problems on the M6

:47:14.:47:18.

and other roads. So I think we will see an improvement in traffic

:47:19.:47:21.

movements generally. And if you are going to have an improvement in

:47:22.:47:24.

traffic movements, you need an improvement in how you manage the

:47:25.:47:29.

people who are moving around. So when the road traffic act was put

:47:30.:47:34.

into place, I don't think anybody thought there would be the

:47:35.:47:37.

fluctuations in patterns of shopping that we have now. We are in a new

:47:38.:47:41.

landscape. The world has speeded up. It is a completely different world

:47:42.:47:47.

since the advent of mobile phones and/or the electronic media. So I

:47:48.:47:57.

think these two clauses together offer an opportunity to take into

:47:58.:48:00.

account the views of local communities while giving councils

:48:01.:48:04.

the flexibility to decrease parking charges and better support the goal

:48:05.:48:13.

of thriving town centres. Mr Speaker, I have also received

:48:14.:48:17.

support from other organisations, which is worth mentioning. There is

:48:18.:48:29.

an organisation which is very concerned with parking. I say to my

:48:30.:48:36.

honourable friends, we should be aware that the value of UK retail

:48:37.:48:41.

sales was 339,000,000,020 15, providing jobs for 3.3 million

:48:42.:48:51.

employees by 2017 in approximately 287,000 outlets. However,

:48:52.:48:53.

increasingly, the high street has been exposed to intense competition,

:48:54.:48:57.

including an increased rise in online shopping and out-of-town

:48:58.:49:02.

retailing, due to the ease with which consumers can use these

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options. I think this point that they raised about online shopping is

:49:09.:49:12.

important. We saw all the stories in the press about the impact on major

:49:13.:49:17.

stores of online shopping and how difficult it is for them to fight

:49:18.:49:27.

back. In the Midlands, we have these huge warehouses and distribution

:49:28.:49:34.

centres. We are particularly aware where the M1 and to join. This is

:49:35.:49:38.

the ideal place in the middle of England. I represent geographical

:49:39.:49:44.

middle of England. It is in my constituency. So that is important.

:49:45.:49:57.

There is another point, the parking charges barrier to regeneration,

:49:58.:50:00.

which colleagues might want to expand on. I give way. Just on the

:50:01.:50:09.

point my honourable friend mentioned about online retailing, one of the

:50:10.:50:13.

things that was highlighted in a report in 2011 highlighted the role

:50:14.:50:21.

of the small towns, who were charging way above the average in

:50:22.:50:25.

the UK, thus putting them at a disadvantage. Would my honourable

:50:26.:50:32.

friend agree that it is important that town councils have the

:50:33.:50:37.

flexibility to be able to react quickly in line with the threat from

:50:38.:50:42.

online retail? I do agree with that, and I am about to come to the impact

:50:43.:50:46.

of the bill will have across the country and how it will impact with

:50:47.:50:53.

some other figures. But may I indulge first by just referring him

:50:54.:50:57.

to the porters review, which clearly showed that car parking charges were

:50:58.:51:01.

the biggest barrier to the regeneration of our town centres. It

:51:02.:51:08.

is perhaps no surprise, considering that the average hourly parking

:51:09.:51:16.

which in London is ?8.44, 18% more than the minimum wage. It is a

:51:17.:51:27.

staggering figure. The Rethinking parking on the high street report

:51:28.:51:29.

clearly states that footfall does reflect town centre performance,

:51:30.:51:34.

with those towns that have higher footfall generating a high level of

:51:35.:51:39.

spend, meaning that the high street will remain under threat from

:51:40.:51:42.

out-of-town retail facilities and online, where lack of parking or

:51:43.:51:54.

extensive parking is not an issue. Would my honourable friend agree,

:51:55.:51:57.

given that he has referred to London as having expensive parking charges,

:51:58.:52:01.

but still having a thriving business centre around places like Oxford

:52:02.:52:05.

Street, would he agree that London operates very differently in terms

:52:06.:52:09.

of an economy than the rest of the country and that anything like that

:52:10.:52:12.

in any other town would have devastated the shopping centres and

:52:13.:52:19.

high-street businesses? I do accept that London is a special case and we

:52:20.:52:22.

don't represent London. But I thought it was instructive to make

:52:23.:52:29.

the point that these charges are so high here. What is also important,

:52:30.:52:37.

given my honourable friend's remarks just now, is to look at how this

:52:38.:52:46.

provision will operate in practice. For greater accuracy, I asked the

:52:47.:52:50.

Commons library to provide some figures for me of the scale of

:52:51.:52:55.

natural settlements known as build-up areas to most of us in the

:52:56.:53:02.

country. We actually have, according to the 2011 census, 56 cities, of a

:53:03.:53:16.

population of 5000 or more and 1590 villages with a population of

:53:17.:53:24.

between one and 5000. Each of the settlements could be affected by the

:53:25.:53:31.

provisions of this bill. Pride is a dangerous word in parliamentary

:53:32.:53:37.

life. I think we can get to proud sometimes, but am delighted to bring

:53:38.:53:43.

a bill to the House which affects not just a particular constituency

:53:44.:53:48.

matter, but has a national impact. And this bill will have huge

:53:49.:53:51.

ramifications for business. My honourable friend, the member for

:53:52.:54:00.

Nuneaton, is nodding. On that broader point of business and

:54:01.:54:07.

regeneration, I wonder if maybe my honourable friend will touch on

:54:08.:54:14.

this. Giving councils that ability to have the flexibility to reduce

:54:15.:54:18.

their car parking charges when they deem it necessary, be it for a

:54:19.:54:22.

specific event or whatever, that can play a vital part in regeneration,

:54:23.:54:27.

because whilst they may not be getting the income from the car

:54:28.:54:30.

parking, they don't have the cost associated with advertising for that

:54:31.:54:35.

reduction in car parking, but they could get an extra income through

:54:36.:54:39.

increasing the vibrancy of the high street through their nondomestic

:54:40.:54:41.

rate collection, which goes back into the council. My honourable

:54:42.:54:48.

friend for Aldridge-Brownhills has struck on a rich seam there. I am

:54:49.:54:55.

not personally going to mine it, but no doubt she can come back with me

:54:56.:55:01.

on this. The statistics I have just given, I should for clarity said

:55:02.:55:06.

that those towns and cities and villages are in England. And this

:55:07.:55:13.

bill would affect Wales, but will not be included in Wales. I don't

:55:14.:55:18.

have the statistics for Wales. I wanted him to something that hasn't

:55:19.:55:23.

been mentioned so far, and that is what I call unusual events.

:55:24.:55:29.

Exceptional events. I'm going to cite two exceptional events and

:55:30.:55:34.

suggest that this bill might be useful in those circumstances. I

:55:35.:55:44.

have always been happy to represent the constituency of Bosworth, which

:55:45.:55:49.

is where English history changed on the 22nd of August, 1485, when the

:55:50.:55:55.

last of the Yorkist Plantagenet line, King Richard, died in horrid

:55:56.:56:06.

circumstances, leaving Henry Tudor to be crowned Henry VII. Just before

:56:07.:56:18.

the 2015 election, the mortal remains of Richard had been

:56:19.:56:23.

discovered in a car park in Leicester. Interestingly, he was

:56:24.:56:36.

found, the exact position was under a parking bay with the letter R on

:56:37.:56:44.

it, which turned out to be for Rex, King of England. Just before the

:56:45.:56:51.

2015 general election, Richard's mortal remains were taken back to

:56:52.:56:58.

the Battle of Bosworth Field, where he had died, killed in action over

:56:59.:56:59.

500 years earlier. The question was, just how many

:57:00.:57:22.

people were going to turn up. I was invited, Madam Deputy Speaker, I

:57:23.:57:28.

welcome you to the chair, I was invited to attend the proceedings of

:57:29.:57:36.

Bosworth Field, and also to attend the events are two words in market

:57:37.:57:40.

with a police escort, given the with a police escort, given the

:57:41.:57:44.

narrow lanes, there was no way I could do more than one event, I

:57:45.:57:50.

couldn't do them all. I arrived at the battlefield two hours early

:57:51.:57:53.

because I had no idea how long that was going to take me to get there.

:57:54.:57:58.

We had a marquee that was I think six times the size of this chamber

:57:59.:58:05.

absolutely packed, journalists from all over the world, and the roads

:58:06.:58:12.

were very clogged. It was an incredibly emotional experience to

:58:13.:58:20.

see this often arrive on the field but was and then silence. A very

:58:21.:58:24.

special day was. The point is this, special day was. The point is this,

:58:25.:58:32.

if this gets its third reading today and comes back approved from the

:58:33.:58:37.

other place and becomes law, for councils in a situation like that

:58:38.:58:41.

they could at a stroke want to change the parking regulations on

:58:42.:58:44.

the day, they might be in a situation where they realised the

:58:45.:58:51.

charges are ridiculous and they need to process people quickly. The other

:58:52.:58:58.

events which I wanted to refer to was completely the opposite

:58:59.:59:02.

situation as far as traffic was concerned. That was to the solar

:59:03.:59:07.

eclipse that took place on August the 11th 1999. Would he agree that

:59:08.:59:17.

special events are about the community coming together and

:59:18.:59:22.

bringing a surge of trade and the local authorities wanted to rip

:59:23.:59:28.

people off we could see the effects like happened with the solar eclipse

:59:29.:59:31.

in Cornwall that were people increased prices, people just

:59:32.:59:37.

didn't,. I have a good recollection of this. The first point I would

:59:38.:59:42.

make is that it is not about raising charges, it is about lowering

:59:43.:59:45.

charges and grazing consultation levels. That is the sound bite. That

:59:46.:59:52.

is what this bill is all about and that is why allows my honourable

:59:53.:59:56.

friend to withdraw his amendment. He talks about private car park owners

:59:57.:00:02.

who wanted to ratchet up charges in Cornwall. My honourable friend, the

:00:03.:00:07.

member for Cornwall Southeast who is not here today he has had only dues

:00:08.:00:12.

with car parking, nor has the honourable member for Stevenage he

:00:13.:00:16.

has had his issues and had a successful debate in Westminster

:00:17.:00:19.

Hall the other day, but what happened was so much in the

:00:20.:00:22.

newspapers about the pandemonium that was going to be caused by the

:00:23.:00:26.

huge numbers of people going to Cornwall to watch the eclipse, which

:00:27.:00:31.

would have blocked out the light of the sun totally for about a minute,

:00:32.:00:38.

that there was so much media hype that nobody turned up. The numbers

:00:39.:00:47.

were way down. Quite the reverse happened. It might have been the

:00:48.:00:51.

councils had made provision to reduced charges then suddenly

:00:52.:00:53.

realised there was no need to do it at all. Rather than with a 21 days

:00:54.:00:59.

and have lost revenue, in that situation the opposite would have

:01:00.:01:08.

applied. I will be concluding my remarks soon. I wanted to refer to

:01:09.:01:12.

what the Federation of Small Businesses said to me yesterday.

:01:13.:01:20.

Apart from generously congratulating me on negotiating the narrows of the

:01:21.:01:26.

rivers to get to disappoint the Private Members' Bill, said that

:01:27.:01:33.

they are wholly supportive of the views of the measures in this bill

:01:34.:01:39.

and that it would be an additional tool for government to support local

:01:40.:01:44.

small businesses and ensure that they and their customers can park

:01:45.:01:47.

and that is why it would be very welcome. The room research shows

:01:48.:01:52.

that seven in ten small firms think parking is a priority for the future

:01:53.:01:57.

of independent shops, independent retailers in town centres are the

:01:58.:02:01.

engines which help make the UK's local communities what they are. In

:02:02.:02:10.

the reports, going the extra mile, they find that small businesses are

:02:11.:02:14.

overwhelmingly reliant on roads with nine in ten firms placing high value

:02:15.:02:22.

on the network with so many small businesses relying on the road

:02:23.:02:29.

network, they argue... The final point, they are clear the

:02:30.:02:34.

consultation with businesses before making local authorities increase

:02:35.:02:40.

the cost of parking is what we require. I thank my honourable

:02:41.:02:52.

friend forgiving way. Would he agree with me that this is particularly

:02:53.:02:56.

pertinent inroad communities and small market town for a lot of the

:02:57.:03:00.

trade has to come in from villages and so one? So the accessibility and

:03:01.:03:07.

ability to control prices in a way that facilitates the businesses that

:03:08.:03:12.

we want to survive because there is nothing sadder than a dying High

:03:13.:03:16.

Street, that is what we need to aim for. One is always looking for help

:03:17.:03:21.

in this place and I think my honourable friend has made

:03:22.:03:25.

Michaelson remarks for me. What we are talking about here is a simple

:03:26.:03:30.

to clause bill which has been reported from a committee without

:03:31.:03:34.

amendment that seeks to allow councils to reduced parking charges

:03:35.:03:41.

without consultation, but insists on consultation if they want to

:03:42.:03:45.

increase charges. Before I sit down I would just like to say to my

:03:46.:03:49.

honourable friend the member for Torbay, I think this is a very

:03:50.:03:55.

helpful amendment that he has proposed. He clearly feels

:03:56.:04:02.

passionately about this issue and he is right to come to the chamber and

:04:03.:04:06.

get us to scrutinise this in some detail, but I do hope that I have

:04:07.:04:13.

been able to give him the reassuring study requires and I look to my

:04:14.:04:19.

honourable friend the Minister who has responsibility for this who is

:04:20.:04:23.

sitting on the front bench, to flesh out any point that I have not made

:04:24.:04:28.

and give the government's approval, but that I thank my honourable

:04:29.:04:38.

friend from Torbay. I welcome the opportunity to comment on this

:04:39.:04:43.

amendment and the important points raised by my honourable friends, the

:04:44.:04:50.

member for Torbay. My honourable friends and constituency neighbour,

:04:51.:04:55.

the member for Bosworth, has already set out insignificant detail his

:04:56.:05:00.

views in relation to this amendment and whilst I think my honourable

:05:01.:05:08.

friend for Torbay's intentions are good, as they generally are and

:05:09.:05:12.

generally and the best interests of his constituents, I think my

:05:13.:05:15.

right to speak against the amendment right to speak against the amendment

:05:16.:05:21.

that has been tabled and now I am going to take this opportunity to

:05:22.:05:26.

separate the government's view as why we do not think that the

:05:27.:05:32.

amendment is a good idea and why the amendment should not stand. The bill

:05:33.:05:38.

creates the power to make regulations, to simplify the

:05:39.:05:41.

procedure is local authorities must follow if they want to lower the

:05:42.:05:46.

parking charges for it also introduces a consultation

:05:47.:05:48.

requirement if local authorities want to increase parking charges.

:05:49.:05:54.

Parking provision plays an important role in the line people to access

:05:55.:05:59.

our high streets in town centres. Town centres continue to play a

:06:00.:06:05.

central role in the lives of our communities and parking charges can

:06:06.:06:08.

be an important factor when people choose which town centre they want

:06:09.:06:15.

to visit. Some out-of-town shopping malls provide free parking and

:06:16.:06:20.

councils therefore need to think very carefully about the level and

:06:21.:06:26.

range of parking that is available. Parking charges will no doubt play a

:06:27.:06:33.

very important role in the choice that people make and the government

:06:34.:06:41.

is absolutely committed to promoting our town centres and high streets as

:06:42.:06:45.

thriving places at the heart of our communities. If I may now turn to

:06:46.:06:53.

the issue of consultation for increased charges. I strongly

:06:54.:06:57.

believe that it is right and proper for local authorities to consult the

:06:58.:07:00.

to increase charges. This is not, local communities and town centre

:07:01.:07:31.

and I would like to stress this, and I would like to stress this,

:07:32.:07:31.

asking councils in a very Luke List this is not about the government

:07:32.:07:32.

way to take account the views of way to take account the views

:07:33.:07:32.

local communities before they seek to increase charges. In May and

:07:33.:07:43.

constituency the local District Council has decided not to listen to

:07:44.:07:46.

views of local people, increase Parker and charges and the part --

:07:47.:07:56.

car parking charges has dropped by ?350,000, which shows why it is so

:07:57.:08:00.

important to consult local people, listen very carefully to what they

:08:01.:08:04.

say because quite often the views of those local people and the views of

:08:05.:08:08.

those business owners are the views of those very people who are going

:08:09.:08:14.

to be using those car parts and depending on those car parts for

:08:15.:08:21.

their livelihoods. I thank the Minister for giving away and it is

:08:22.:08:24.

disappointing to hear that that council does not have the kind of

:08:25.:08:32.

pro-business leadership inhabiting 2008 and 2010. Would he reassured me

:08:33.:08:35.

that under this bill if it goes forward the government would not be

:08:36.:08:39.

bringing it forward in a way that would be making it easier to

:08:40.:08:42.

increase parking charges and this is purely about making it easier to

:08:43.:08:48.

vary downwards, so we don't have consultations if you want to pay

:08:49.:08:54.

less money. I can certainly reassure him that if a council, whether that

:08:55.:09:02.

was in Torbay or whether it was in Nuneaton or elsewhere in the

:09:03.:09:07.

country, did seek to increase the charges following the limitation of

:09:08.:09:09.

this bill they would certainly have to consult with local people before

:09:10.:09:20.

taking that decision. I can reassure my honourable friend for Torbay that

:09:21.:09:24.

the provisions that we have before us today will not be implemented on

:09:25.:09:29.

the day that it receives Royal assent. We want to make sure that we

:09:30.:09:33.

have some balance to this and that the powers created are practical and

:09:34.:09:39.

proportionate, to make sure that these measures work in practice

:09:40.:09:44.

prior to the laying of regulations we will consult with local

:09:45.:09:49.

authorities and the Local Government Association. We will also consult

:09:50.:09:55.

with the British parking Association and other interested organisations

:09:56.:09:58.

to ensure that there import important views are taken into

:09:59.:10:04.

account before the regulations are made. Furthermore, Parliamentary

:10:05.:10:09.

colleagues will have the opportunity to consider any regulations by the

:10:10.:10:13.

normal procedure is for secondary legislation. My department will also

:10:14.:10:17.

undertake a new burdens assessment to establish the administrative

:10:18.:10:23.

affect on local authorities of this duty to consult. We also believe

:10:24.:10:30.

that this is a measure that will strengthen local democracy by giving

:10:31.:10:37.

people and businesses have voice in decisions on car parking charges

:10:38.:10:43.

that impact on the vitality of any particular town centre. On that

:10:44.:10:51.

point, do you think it is the most practical way of local businesses,

:10:52.:10:54.

particularly when you have a business improvement district within

:10:55.:10:58.

a time, Halesowen is going through the process of becoming a business

:10:59.:11:02.

improvement district. Would he agree that is an appropriate forum for

:11:03.:11:06.

local businesses to express their views about parking and charges and

:11:07.:11:12.

its impact in town centres? As ever, my honourable friend for Hill to one

:11:13.:11:17.

makes a very pertinent point. I am glad to hear about the business

:11:18.:11:24.

improvement district that businesses in Halesowen are trying to bring

:11:25.:11:29.

forward. I am also glad to say the businesses in my constituency in

:11:30.:11:33.

Nuneaton are trying to do a very similar thing and bring broader

:11:34.:11:36.

business improvement district. I think that is an excellent vehicle

:11:37.:11:42.

for local businesses to be able to express the view over this type of

:11:43.:11:44.

issue. It will be an excellent vehicle also

:11:45.:11:54.

for the local authority, taking two into account the measures of this

:11:55.:11:57.

bill to use that for an as one of the important consul tees that

:11:58.:12:07.

should be consulted before parking charges are increased within a local

:12:08.:12:15.

authority area. I welcome the news that my honourable friend's

:12:16.:12:18.

department will be consulting on the issue of consultation and seeking

:12:19.:12:26.

views. I understand that that may take time. Is he able to give us end

:12:27.:12:34.

the indication as to the timescale on this bill? Does he think the

:12:35.:12:44.

aspect over car parking charges will be in place before Christmas, given

:12:45.:12:48.

that it has been called the Santa clause Bill? We have heard a great

:12:49.:12:51.

deal about Santa Claus, and I am not sure whether my honourable friend

:12:52.:12:56.

for Portsmouth bought the Santa decoration he came across in the

:12:57.:13:02.

House shop. But perhaps he did, on the basis that once the Santa clause

:13:03.:13:06.

Bill hopefully passes through this House, not wanted to tempt fate, he

:13:07.:13:09.

will be able to put it on his tree next year. He said he didn't want to

:13:10.:13:15.

tempt fate, and hopefully we will not be doing that today, but the

:13:16.:13:18.

honourable lady makes a good point and that would certainly be our

:13:19.:13:25.

intention, to make sure the measures in relation to areas being able to

:13:26.:13:27.

reduce their parking charges can be brought forward to enable the

:13:28.:13:41.

situation she mentions. Whilst I appreciate that there has been much

:13:42.:13:46.

talk in today's Bill around car parking, would my four agree that

:13:47.:13:53.

one of the biggest areas of contention for residents and local

:13:54.:13:55.

people without question with this bill will help is around our local

:13:56.:14:00.

hospitals, where we have huge problems around parking and the

:14:01.:14:04.

facility to allow a consultation with those local people will make

:14:05.:14:11.

sure we get some good results and good shortages put in place? I think

:14:12.:14:18.

that consultation is always important, and the two issues are

:14:19.:14:23.

interlinked in terms of the fact that many of the hospitals he

:14:24.:14:27.

mentions are situated in and around town centres, which can cause all

:14:28.:14:34.

sorts of pressures. In relation to a local authority's position, it can

:14:35.:14:40.

also have a beneficial effect if they are able to use the measures

:14:41.:14:47.

within this bill in a positive way that would seek to increase the

:14:48.:14:51.

number of people using their car parks if they decide to lower

:14:52.:14:56.

charges, which would then take pressure off other car parks. It is

:14:57.:15:00.

also an important point that there are many town centres where there

:15:01.:15:05.

are also many residents living around those town centre areas

:15:06.:15:10.

where, if the parking charges are not proportionate to the situation,

:15:11.:15:15.

people will often seek to park in the streets around a town centre and

:15:16.:15:21.

avoid using the car parks because it is easy to walk into the town

:15:22.:15:28.

centre, exacerbating the problems for people who live in these areas

:15:29.:15:35.

because often, by definition, a town centre is a historic place in a

:15:36.:15:40.

particular area. Generally, the properties around the town centre

:15:41.:15:48.

will usually date back quite a while in history, say, the end of the 19th

:15:49.:15:55.

century, beginning of the 20th century, when nobody had a car.

:15:56.:16:00.

Therefore, those streets were not built for cars and there is a lot of

:16:01.:16:04.

pressure in those streets for parking just amongst the residents

:16:05.:16:07.

themselves. The last thing those residents want is councils that hike

:16:08.:16:14.

parking charges up and could do that without consultation, when it would

:16:15.:16:21.

put more pressure on those streets and the parking arrangements there.

:16:22.:16:31.

So it is an important part of the bill to put in place a situation

:16:32.:16:41.

where councils will consult. Would my honourable friend confirm that

:16:42.:16:47.

the regulations also cover coach parking? There was a situation in

:16:48.:16:52.

one of my market towns, Helmsley, where coach parking charges were

:16:53.:16:57.

increased significantly, which then deterred tourist coaches from coming

:16:58.:17:01.

to that town, which is a renowned market town in a tourist

:17:02.:17:08.

destination. And that reduced the number of coaches coming to the

:17:09.:17:13.

town. We then ran a campaign and the local authority decided to remove

:17:14.:17:16.

those charges, which has helped tremendously in generating and

:17:17.:17:21.

attracting new visitors to the town. I would be interested to hear the

:17:22.:17:24.

minister's thoughts on whether this is covered also. Thank you, Madam

:17:25.:17:32.

Deputy Speaker. I noticed that I have cleared the public gallery!

:17:33.:17:39.

Which is an achievement in itself. As the honourable gentleman says on

:17:40.:17:41.

the opposition front bench, not for the first time! It is always good to

:17:42.:17:49.

be part of the legislative process where the honourable gentleman on

:17:50.:17:53.

the front bench opposite is in his place. In terms of Helmsley, that is

:17:54.:18:01.

an interesting example. They were the winner of the 2015 great British

:18:02.:18:09.

high street competition, a competition that I thought at the

:18:10.:18:11.

time would put paid to my ministerial career, because Helmsley

:18:12.:18:19.

was in the final with Chipping Norton, and Chipping Norton was the

:18:20.:18:24.

constituency of the former Prime Minister David Cameron. And when

:18:25.:18:31.

Helmsley beat Chipping Norton in the final, I thought my life might not

:18:32.:18:35.

be worth living. But I am glad to say that the former Prime Minister

:18:36.:18:39.

did not hold it against me in that sense. But Helmsley is an important

:18:40.:18:45.

example, because it is a place where a significant number of visitors go,

:18:46.:18:53.

and therefore there has to be provision for things like coaches

:18:54.:19:07.

and buses to park in those areas. The parking of buses in a bus

:19:08.:19:13.

station is possibly subject to a different situation. And this is

:19:14.:19:19.

something I will probably have to come back to my honourable friend

:19:20.:19:27.

about. But I would say that in those places, we certainly have a

:19:28.:19:30.

situation where there are many events that happen where local

:19:31.:19:35.

traders may be heartened if the local authority were to use the

:19:36.:19:37.

provisions that come from this bill once it becomes an act and reduce

:19:38.:19:44.

their car parking charges. In conclusion, Madam Deputy Speaker, I

:19:45.:19:49.

would like to say that I believe good communication between local

:19:50.:19:54.

authorities and the public is vital for healthy democracy. This extends

:19:55.:19:59.

to local authorities being clear about the decision-making process.

:20:00.:20:04.

This means the public knowing why those decisions were taken,

:20:05.:20:07.

decisions that affect individuals and their communities, decisions

:20:08.:20:14.

that can have a profound effect on the lives and jobs of many people. I

:20:15.:20:26.

thank the minister and particularly the member in charge, the honourable

:20:27.:20:29.

member for Bosworth, for the comments they made in response to

:20:30.:20:33.

the new clause. As I said, I moved this to get clear what the purpose

:20:34.:20:40.

of this bill is and the procedures that would be created under it in

:20:41.:20:43.

relation to local authorities and what they would be able to do. I

:20:44.:20:46.

accept that it is right that there is a flexibility. The drive of this

:20:47.:20:53.

bill is to make it easier to vary parking charges downwards.

:20:54.:20:56.

Therefore, having heard the extensive reassurances provided by

:20:57.:20:59.

the member in charge, which were particularly persuasive he has

:21:00.:21:03.

succeeded in his goal. And having heard the reassurances from the

:21:04.:21:06.

minister, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment. Is it the pleasure of

:21:07.:21:11.

the House that new clause one be withdrawn? New clause one by Leif

:21:12.:21:17.

withdrawn. Consideration completed, third reading what they? -- what

:21:18.:21:29.

they? Now? Now. With your leave, I beg to move that this bill be read a

:21:30.:21:38.

third time. If you could just say now... ! David driven it. Thank you,

:21:39.:21:47.

Madam Deputy Speaker. I am so shocked to have got a bill through

:21:48.:21:51.

the proceedings at this House that I forgot the procedure which I know so

:21:52.:21:57.

well at the last moment. Thank you for guiding me correctly. As I beg

:21:58.:22:07.

to move this third reading, I would like to make a couple of brief

:22:08.:22:14.

remarks. It is a special moment for me to bring a bill to counter the

:22:15.:22:25.

third bill in the House of Commons. I had three criteria for a private

:22:26.:22:29.

member's bill. I to be sufficiently uncontroversial to pass through all

:22:30.:22:32.

stages in the two Houses of Parliament, and I have sat through

:22:33.:22:37.

seven parliaments in this house and seen many bills but the dust on a

:22:38.:22:42.

Friday. I did not want to join that club. That is why I have kept it to

:22:43.:22:53.

two clauses. Secondly, I wanted to have a national impact. Some

:22:54.:22:56.

selecting a bill, I didn't want something that was parochial, I

:22:57.:22:59.

wanted something that would make a difference across the country.

:23:00.:23:03.

Thirdly, I wanted something that would improve the lives of our

:23:04.:23:07.

constituents. To use the old-fashioned language, our duty is

:23:08.:23:14.

to improve the condition of the people. That is what they said in

:23:15.:23:19.

the 19th century. The modern translation is that our job is to

:23:20.:23:30.

make people's lives better. So if I am allowed to be called a second

:23:31.:23:34.

time, I might offer a few words of thanks, but at this point I will sit

:23:35.:23:38.

down and say again how delighted I am that colleagues have allowed this

:23:39.:23:42.

bill to third reading. The question is that the bill now be read for the

:23:43.:23:49.

third time. Andy Slaughter. Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. It is a

:23:50.:23:55.

pleasure to be here for the opposition to respond to the

:23:56.:23:58.

honourable gentleman's bill. I wish him success with it, as my

:23:59.:24:03.

honourable friend said at the second reading. It has the support and I am

:24:04.:24:12.

sure it will do as he says and bring pleasure around the country. I would

:24:13.:24:26.

say in response to the bill, check the new burdens money, make sure it

:24:27.:24:29.

is all there at the appropriate time. Having said that, unlike last

:24:30.:24:35.

week, when we spent some five hours looking at different stages of a

:24:36.:24:42.

bill, I would make two short observations. The honourable member

:24:43.:24:51.

for Torbay was making his interesting and somewhat lengthy

:24:52.:24:53.

comment earlier. He said two things I mildly disagree with. One is that

:24:54.:25:00.

local authorities can fill their boots with parking charges and use

:25:01.:25:06.

it for whatever they like. Now, the facility to charge money and other

:25:07.:25:09.

road traffic regulation act was tested in the case of outfield and

:25:10.:25:16.

Barnett, and the conclusion there by the learned judge Mr Justice Lang

:25:17.:25:22.

was that the 1984 act is not fiscal measure does not authorise the local

:25:23.:25:29.

authority to charge for parking in order to rate surplus revenue for

:25:30.:25:35.

other transport purposes, funded by the general fund. Some authorities

:25:36.:25:44.

connected to local traffic matters, I don't think it can simply be used

:25:45.:25:50.

for revenue. Just to help the honourable gentleman and bring a

:25:51.:25:54.

little bit of clarity, I think he's in what he says in terms of on

:25:55.:26:02.

street ticket revenue. But in terms of off-street car parking, there are

:26:03.:26:07.

no current restrictions on how off-street ticket revenue is spent

:26:08.:26:08.

by local authorities. I was interested that the bill does

:26:09.:26:18.

deal with both on street and off-street parking. The other matter

:26:19.:26:23.

that was mentioned by the honourable member for Torbay was that he can't

:26:24.:26:29.

envisage circumstances when he would get letters from people asking for

:26:30.:26:34.

parking charges to go up. That may well be true about council owned car

:26:35.:26:40.

parks and off-street parking, but of course often it is the case of on

:26:41.:26:43.

street parking but this is shared use between residents and those who

:26:44.:26:52.

are nonresident who wish to park the and pay and display. Quite often,

:26:53.:26:58.

charging is for the purposes of regulating the access between

:26:59.:27:06.

residents and visitors and in some cases residents to ask for certain

:27:07.:27:11.

levels of charge. I don't think it goes to the heart. The intention is

:27:12.:27:18.

to give flexibility to local authorities and to encourage them to

:27:19.:27:23.

more boring than raising them. I just make that point because these

:27:24.:27:30.

matters are often fraught for councils. I hope that councils to

:27:31.:27:36.

try to do a decent job in pleasing everybody. If they don't, they tend

:27:37.:27:42.

to get booted out. Having made those pettifogging remarks I am not going

:27:43.:27:52.

to prolong comments. As the responders says, he wants to make

:27:53.:27:58.

people better -- like that of the people around the country. This been

:27:59.:28:08.

the first matter of discussion on the bill for reducing child poverty.

:28:09.:28:19.

If I may have humbly say as someone who has a great deal of child

:28:20.:28:23.

poverty in the constituency which we could get onto that. I am absolutely

:28:24.:28:36.

pleased to be able to contribute to this debate than I would like to

:28:37.:28:39.

thank the honourable member for Bosworth for bringing forward this

:28:40.:28:44.

Private Members' Bill for what is now the third reading. This bill

:28:45.:28:49.

seeks to make provision for the procedure to be followed by local

:28:50.:28:54.

authorities when varying the charges to be paid for off-street parking

:28:55.:28:58.

and parking on designated highways. As it amends provision within the

:28:59.:29:04.

Road traffic act of 1984 in order to convince -- in order to consider the

:29:05.:29:08.

merits of this bill it is necessary to consider the existing powers that

:29:09.:29:12.

local authorities have with regards to parking and hide this bill

:29:13.:29:15.

differs from the existing regulation. Section 41 and 42 of the

:29:16.:29:24.

Road traffic act 1991 awarded new powers to local authorities to vary

:29:25.:29:28.

car parking charges at both designated on street parking places

:29:29.:29:34.

and in the off-street car parks, too. I understand that the

:29:35.:29:40.

discussions on the provision of what would be caught in the 1991 act were

:29:41.:29:43.

fairly limited and that the only debate came at the Lords report

:29:44.:29:46.

stage with the government introduced a new clause on off-street car

:29:47.:29:54.

parks. The then Transport Minister said the amendment applies to the

:29:55.:30:01.

variation of charges and off-street parking places. Local authorities

:30:02.:30:04.

prescribing charges and off-street parking places will in the future be

:30:05.:30:07.

able to very those charges subsequently by the simpler public

:30:08.:30:14.

notice procedure, to be presented by regulations made by the Secretary of

:30:15.:30:17.

State and subject to the negative resolution procedure instead of

:30:18.:30:22.

having to make a new parking order. The powers which were provided to

:30:23.:30:27.

the 1991 act are contained in sections 35 C and 46 a of the Road

:30:28.:30:35.

traffic regulation act of 1984 as amended. The current procedures

:30:36.:30:40.

regarding the ability of local authorities to amend parking charges

:30:41.:30:43.

are stipulated also through regulations 25 of the local

:30:44.:30:48.

authorities traffic orders procedure is in England and Wales, regulation

:30:49.:30:59.

1996, specifically SI 1996/2489. When seeking to either increase or

:31:00.:31:04.

decrease charges, these regulations require the local authorities to do

:31:05.:31:08.

so and to do the following. First of all they have to publish a notice of

:31:09.:31:13.

variation at least once in a newspaper which circulates within

:31:14.:31:17.

the area where the charges are to be opted at least 21 days before the

:31:18.:31:21.

proposed changes are due to come into effect. They also have two...

:31:22.:31:27.

The relevant notice Altima specify the date when it is due to come into

:31:28.:31:31.

force Ulster that must stipulate parking place the notice relates to

:31:32.:31:36.

and must outline the alterations to the charges which would take effect

:31:37.:31:42.

for each parking place. Finally, the local authority must take steps to

:31:43.:31:46.

ensure that copies of the notice are displayed in the affected areas and

:31:47.:31:51.

that these remain in a legible condition until the date when the

:31:52.:31:56.

changes come into effect. Through amending the existing powers of the

:31:57.:32:00.

Secretary of State sections 35 C and 46 a of the Road traffic act 1984,

:32:01.:32:06.

this bill revisits the current regulations and seeks to reduce the

:32:07.:32:09.

bureaucratic burden placed on local authorities who are seeking to

:32:10.:32:15.

reduce the parking charges. Furthermore, this bill allows a new

:32:16.:32:18.

condition that will mean that local authorities will need to consult if

:32:19.:32:22.

they are looking to increase the parking charges under an existing

:32:23.:32:27.

traffic order. The intention behind this bill is fairly clear. It seeks

:32:28.:32:35.

to give councils more flexibility to innovate with regards to the parking

:32:36.:32:40.

strategies and to make it easier for them to reduce car parking charges

:32:41.:32:45.

in order to react to particular circumstances or events, many of

:32:46.:32:49.

which we have already heard on the floor of the house today. As the

:32:50.:32:54.

honourable member for Bosworth has rightly pointed out, parking

:32:55.:32:58.

policies have the potential to enhance the economic viability of

:32:59.:33:03.

our high streets and that benefits to town centres and communities

:33:04.:33:05.

whose strike the correct talents when it comes to parking charges can

:33:06.:33:11.

be considerable. Before entering this House, I worked in the retail

:33:12.:33:19.

industry for 30 years, during which time I witnessed first-hand the

:33:20.:33:23.

impact that parking strategies can have on the High Street. The

:33:24.:33:28.

independent retailers and traders and small businesses which are the

:33:29.:33:34.

lifeblood of our town centres rely on a balanced parking policy, which

:33:35.:33:38.

promotes the regular turnover of parking spaces. It also must manage

:33:39.:33:42.

traffic flows successfully and it must ensure that the level of

:33:43.:33:47.

charges are reasonable and proportionate in relation to the

:33:48.:33:50.

retail offer which is available to consumers. My own local authority

:33:51.:33:58.

has sought to introduce a range of additional charges over recent years

:33:59.:34:02.

and has miserably failed to strike such a balance. A pointer will

:34:03.:34:10.

return to shortly. Before doing so, it is worth exploring the link

:34:11.:34:16.

between town centre prosperity and car parking provision in more

:34:17.:34:20.

detail. There are of course our plethora of different factors that

:34:21.:34:25.

the town centre. For this reason, it the town centre. For this reason, it

:34:26.:34:30.

is incredibly difficult to evidence a clear link between parking

:34:31.:34:33.

policies and success of town centres. In 2013 a number of

:34:34.:34:40.

different organisations, including the Association of town and city

:34:41.:34:45.

management, the British parking Association, Springboard research

:34:46.:34:51.

Ltd and parking downtown research International put together a report

:34:52.:34:54.

entitled rethink parking on the High Street. It was guidance parking

:34:55.:35:00.

provision in town and city centres. This report look to see what

:35:01.:35:05.

evidence could be collated and what could be learnt regarding the

:35:06.:35:10.

relationship between car parking provision and town centre success.

:35:11.:35:14.

Through analysing a range of information using a representative

:35:15.:35:20.

group of town centres and primary indicators, those factors which are

:35:21.:35:23.

judged that the largest impact on the health of the town centre, the

:35:24.:35:29.

report provides some preliminary evidence which suggests important

:35:30.:35:33.

trends and which provides a solid foundation for comprehensive

:35:34.:35:37.

research. Due to the wide range of variable factors at play, the method

:35:38.:35:52.

used in the report was tightly drawn to focus on a number of specific

:35:53.:35:57.

influences, for example instead of considering alterations of parking

:35:58.:36:02.

the report focuses specifically on the first two hours as it was felt

:36:03.:36:06.

that this would cover those who have partners shopping and woods

:36:07.:36:12.

eliminate other parking habits, such as commuter parking, from the

:36:13.:36:15.

information. The parking variables which are considered included the

:36:16.:36:18.

cost of parking and the quality of the spaces. In relation to the many

:36:19.:36:25.

different indicators of town centre performance, the report measured the

:36:26.:36:30.

two key statistics of the default and spend. Finally, the individual

:36:31.:36:35.

towns which were the subject of the report were carefully selected so as

:36:36.:36:39.

to provide a representative sample of town centre landscapes across the

:36:40.:36:45.

UK. Towns in each region were included in the span the entire

:36:46.:36:50.

retail hierarchy run major city to district centre level. As a

:36:51.:36:59.

consequence of these precise methods that were used and acknowledging

:37:00.:37:02.

that the variables that were chosen are only able to reflect part of

:37:03.:37:08.

this wide and complex picture, we have to be naturally cautious of any

:37:09.:37:13.

sparing this amount of the report sparing this amount of the report

:37:14.:37:16.

does suggest interesting finds and trends. Firstly, that the parking

:37:17.:37:21.

operators are providing parking provision that equates to the

:37:22.:37:26.

football levels achieved by the location. Secondly, that there is no

:37:27.:37:30.

clear relationship between car parking charges, that is set by

:37:31.:37:37.

parking orders for operators, and the quality offer of the location

:37:38.:37:40.

with some live range or smaller town centre potentially overcharging.

:37:41.:37:45.

Finally, that the mid-range and smaller groupings of centres that

:37:46.:37:49.

charge more than the national average with regard to theirs offers

:37:50.:37:54.

suffer a higher than higher average decline in football in 2011, the

:37:55.:38:00.

year the information was collected. Whilst we have to be cautious and

:38:01.:38:03.

acknowledge that this is not conclusive evidence that the cost of

:38:04.:38:07.

parking has a tangible influence on town centre prosperity, it does open

:38:08.:38:11.

up an avenue for further research and it conforms to the common-sense

:38:12.:38:19.

opinion with regard to the likelihood of the existence of a

:38:20.:38:23.

link. Indeed, the fact that the report suggest that town centres

:38:24.:38:26.

with higher than average parking costs showed an average decline in

:38:27.:38:32.

2011 will hardly come as a surprise to most. It is evident that further

:38:33.:38:38.

research is required before it can be categorically stated that any

:38:39.:38:44.

such link exists. Furthermore, this tale of any detrimental impact than

:38:45.:38:48.

higher than average parking costs may have the High Street and habits

:38:49.:38:53.

of consumers is also unknown and requires additional investigation.

:38:54.:38:58.

Each town centre is unique and is exposed the widely different

:38:59.:39:03.

external factors and so what is true in one context may not be

:39:04.:39:08.

demonstrated in another. I ever, the initial trend as suggested by this

:39:09.:39:12.

report certainly should act as a wake-up call for local authorities

:39:13.:39:20.

up and down the country. The very point leads me onto the record of my

:39:21.:39:27.

own local authority, Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council, who

:39:28.:39:30.

have had a chequered history when it comes to implementing parking

:39:31.:39:35.

charges. During the second reading of this bill a few months ago I

:39:36.:39:38.

challenge the notion that local authorities do not use car parking

:39:39.:39:43.

charges as a means of generating additional revenue. Now whilst I am

:39:44.:39:50.

not placed to comment on the choices that other local authorities have

:39:51.:39:54.

made over the last few years, I can say a few words about Calderdale's

:39:55.:39:59.

unflattering record in this regard. In 2012 the Cabinet of Calderdale

:40:00.:40:04.

Council approved a raft of additional car parking charges. The

:40:05.:40:11.

title of the paper was the parking income generation study. And the

:40:12.:40:19.

first line of the report unashamedly made it explicitly clear that the

:40:20.:40:24.

intention of the proposals was to generate additional revenue from

:40:25.:40:32.

parking. The proposals included a wide-ranging additional charges were

:40:33.:40:36.

parking was free up to then added into generate an extra ?800,000 per

:40:37.:40:42.

annum. Some of the measures outlined in the report were a genuine temp

:40:43.:40:48.

two manage existing parking and traffic difficulties, including

:40:49.:40:53.

long-standing problems around Calderdale Royal Hospital for

:40:54.:40:55.

example, many of the proposals the areas where there was no

:40:56.:41:02.

identifiable problems of parking or traffic management. Such measures

:41:03.:41:06.

included the introduction of evening car parking charges in car parks

:41:07.:41:10.

which were previously free in the small market towns and villages of

:41:11.:41:16.

my constituency, such as Brighouse, Wrekenton and West feel. As members

:41:17.:41:22.

will be aware, local authorities are only allowed to spend parking income

:41:23.:41:29.

on certain things. Section 55 of the Road traffic regulations act of 1984

:41:30.:41:33.

as amended is the relevant piece of legislation here. It states that the

:41:34.:41:38.

local authority shall keep an open account of their income and

:41:39.:41:41.

expenditure in respect of parking places for which they are at the

:41:42.:41:50.

local authority. Sections 55 subsection two and subsection four

:41:51.:41:53.

other particularly prevalent parts that other what a surplus may be

:41:54.:41:54.

spent on. These are where the council has

:41:55.:42:04.

previously used money from a general fund to pay back money, meeting

:42:05.:42:16.

parts of costs of provision of parking accommodation. If it appears

:42:17.:42:24.

that the provision of further off-street accommodation is

:42:25.:42:26.

unnecessary or undesirable for the following purposes, meeting costs

:42:27.:42:30.

incurred whether by the local authority or some other person in

:42:31.:42:35.

the local transport services. The purposes of highway or road

:42:36.:42:38.

improvement projects in the local authority's area, in the case of

:42:39.:42:42.

London authorities, meeting costs incurred by the authority in respect

:42:43.:42:50.

of the maintenance of roads. The purposes of environmental

:42:51.:42:53.

improvement in the local area and finally, they can use money in the

:42:54.:42:56.

case of such local authorities as may be prescribed for any other

:42:57.:43:02.

purposes for which the authority may lawfully incur expenditure around

:43:03.:43:09.

parking. Of course, some of these charges which are implemented by

:43:10.:43:12.

local authorities fit more comfortably than others within the

:43:13.:43:16.

remit of legislation in section 55. In the examples given a few moments

:43:17.:43:20.

ago within my own local authority, it could be argued that while the

:43:21.:43:25.

measures to address problem parking issues around a busy hospital for

:43:26.:43:29.

within both the letter and the spirit of the law, the proposals to

:43:30.:43:34.

cash in on the lucrative market of evening parking charges in a busy

:43:35.:43:39.

town centre are more questionable and difficult to justify. Local

:43:40.:43:46.

authorities such as Calderdale will, I suspect, continue to try to defend

:43:47.:43:50.

their actions in increasing parking charges. However tenuous the links

:43:51.:43:59.

with a genuine desire to improve traffic situations in the area. The

:44:00.:44:02.

judgment which has already been mentioned by the right honourable

:44:03.:44:07.

member opposite in the case of Attfield and Barnet council

:44:08.:44:12.

clarified the position where local authorities seek to use their powers

:44:13.:44:17.

to charge local residents for parking explicitly in order to raise

:44:18.:44:22.

surplus revenue for other transport purposes funded by the General fund.

:44:23.:44:27.

In making her judgment against Barnet Council, Mrs Justice Lang

:44:28.:44:32.

said that the council cannot set out with the objective of raising

:44:33.:44:37.

parking charges in order to generate a surplus to fund other transport

:44:38.:44:48.

schemes. David Attfield was able to win the case because the council was

:44:49.:44:52.

open about increasing charges to provide revenue. The Cabinet

:44:53.:44:56.

committee paper I alluded to earlier is produced by Calderdale Council

:44:57.:45:00.

was frequently explicit in its overt intention to raise charges to

:45:01.:45:04.

provide additional revenue. So I suspect that had this proposal been

:45:05.:45:10.

formally challenged in the courts, a similar outcome to the verdict in

:45:11.:45:13.

Attfield and Barnet may have been reached. Residents and community

:45:14.:45:18.

groups, not to mention opposition councils and local authorities

:45:19.:45:21.

across the country, may wish to pay attention to the ways in which local

:45:22.:45:27.

authorities attempt to justify such increases in the future, as I am

:45:28.:45:31.

sure Barnet Council is not unique in seeking to use motorists as cash

:45:32.:45:37.

cows. In the absence of any further legal challenges to the practices of

:45:38.:45:42.

local authority, it is down to residents and councillors to hold

:45:43.:45:45.

local politicians to account. The additional charges I mentioned in

:45:46.:45:51.

Calderdale that were improved in 2012 formally took effect in 2014.

:45:52.:45:55.

Within months, the discontent of local residents and businesses who

:45:56.:45:59.

were adversely affected by the charges had triggered opposition

:46:00.:46:03.

councillors to hold a vote of no-confidence in the ruling Labour

:46:04.:46:08.

administration and the council. The vote was carried and within weeks of

:46:09.:46:12.

the new parking meters being installed, they were removed once

:46:13.:46:15.

again on the orders of the new Conservative-led administration.

:46:16.:46:20.

That is just one example of local democracy in action. However, such

:46:21.:46:28.

is the nature of the finely balanced political landscape of Calderdale

:46:29.:46:31.

Council that a few years later, the same Labour Cabinet once again were

:46:32.:46:36.

in control and they are now seeking to reimpose many of the same

:46:37.:46:40.

additional parking charges once again. The latest proposals for

:46:41.:46:49.

additional charges affect a number of local towns including Brickhouse,

:46:50.:46:53.

where the local business group have worked incredibly hard to

:46:54.:46:58.

reinvigorate the town centre and to increase footfall. The efforts of

:46:59.:47:02.

the traders in Brickhouse have seen town centre flourish and it runs

:47:03.:47:11.

several farmers' markets every year, which bring people from across the

:47:12.:47:14.

country. To the dismay of the traders, the residents and local

:47:15.:47:18.

councillors, the counsellor seeking to impose on street parking charges

:47:19.:47:25.

in the town centre despite it being widely acknowledged that there are

:47:26.:47:29.

no problems with the flow of traffic, nor with the turnover of

:47:30.:47:33.

parking spaces for consumers. To say the local business community are

:47:34.:47:38.

furious is an understatement. The traders are rightly concerned about

:47:39.:47:40.

the damaging effect that these proposals could have upon their

:47:41.:47:44.

businesses and their livelihoods and despite making their feelings known

:47:45.:47:50.

to the council, the local Labour politicians seem content to proceed

:47:51.:47:54.

with their plans regardless of the scale of any opposition. This bill

:47:55.:48:01.

makes provision for local authorities to consult interested

:48:02.:48:04.

parties if they are seeking to increase the cost of parking

:48:05.:48:08.

charges, to ensure the impacts of the towns are fully considered. This

:48:09.:48:15.

can only be a positive step forward. Local businesses, residents and

:48:16.:48:21.

councillors understand their own town centres and communities. They

:48:22.:48:27.

are the ones who can recognise which measures will work and how their

:48:28.:48:32.

local high street can be properly managed. It is a right that they are

:48:33.:48:36.

consulted on any potential increases in charges and that detailed

:48:37.:48:41.

consideration is given the impacts of such proposals on their town

:48:42.:48:46.

centres. I appreciate that many local authorities will engage in

:48:47.:48:51.

thorough consultation with their communities when it comes to such

:48:52.:48:55.

issues, and I applaud them for doing so. But let me assure members that

:48:56.:49:02.

this does not happen everywhere, so I wholeheartedly welcome the

:49:03.:49:05.

provision within this bill to ensure that local communities are involved

:49:06.:49:09.

in the decision-making process. I am sure that local communities such as

:49:10.:49:14.

Brighouse will also welcome this measure and the opportunities it

:49:15.:49:18.

will present to them to ensure that their views are taken into

:49:19.:49:22.

consideration. During the second reading of this bill, the honourable

:49:23.:49:26.

member from Royton, the opposition spokesman, raised questions in

:49:27.:49:31.

relation to how the consultation process might work. He is correct in

:49:32.:49:38.

that further detail with relation to the consultation process is indeed

:49:39.:49:41.

required, and I trust that my honourable friend the member for

:49:42.:49:44.

Nuneaton will elaborate upon this point later. As well as making

:49:45.:49:51.

provision for consulting local communities, this bill also seeks to

:49:52.:49:55.

make it easier for local authorities to lower their parking charges to

:49:56.:49:59.

promote the economic viability of town centres. Specifically, it makes

:50:00.:50:04.

provision for a reduction in charges without the need for the current 21

:50:05.:50:10.

days' notice. This reform will provide local authorities with the

:50:11.:50:13.

flexibility to react more quickly to changes and the ability to innovate

:50:14.:50:18.

in providing additional support town centres. Many of the market towns

:50:19.:50:23.

within my constituency, such as Hebden Bridge, are still getting

:50:24.:50:28.

back on their feet following the devastating floods they experienced

:50:29.:50:37.

on Boxing Day in 2015. And just as a note, Hebden Bridge won the small

:50:38.:50:40.

market town category of the great British high street awards last

:50:41.:50:45.

year. And that is despite the flooding, so well done to them. Many

:50:46.:50:50.

of the businesses within these towns struggled in the months after the

:50:51.:50:55.

floods, when footfall on the high street was significantly reduced.

:50:56.:50:59.

This proposal would have allowed the local authority flexibility of

:51:00.:51:03.

quickly deciding how car parking charges in those towns could have

:51:04.:51:09.

been used as a tool to support local businesses. Ideas such as free

:51:10.:51:14.

parking on certain days or unlimited -- a limited production dock I will

:51:15.:51:23.

give way. Just on that point flexibility and a local authority

:51:24.:51:30.

being able to reduce car parking charges to reflect a situation like

:51:31.:51:33.

the flooding, would my honourable friend agree that another advantage

:51:34.:51:38.

of that would be, when you have an issue such as flooding, those

:51:39.:51:42.

volunteers that come from outside to help those communities through a

:51:43.:51:47.

difficult patch, and one of my local councillors had a collection of

:51:48.:51:50.

materials to help in that situation, it would have been a great gesture

:51:51.:51:56.

for the council to be able to make? I would like to thank my honourable

:51:57.:52:03.

friend for her interjection. One of the great points about the floods

:52:04.:52:08.

was that it was not the dozens of volunteers that game, but we had

:52:09.:52:11.

thousands of people come to the Calder Valley, as no doubt other

:52:12.:52:20.

areas did as well. And the outpouring of support for our

:52:21.:52:22.

communities at that time from the whole of the UK, we had people

:52:23.:52:26.

coming from Cornwall and even overseas to help, firemen and people

:52:27.:52:33.

bringing food, mops, buckets, cleaning materials. You are right,

:52:34.:52:40.

it is about giving something back to those people, for example a free car

:52:41.:52:44.

parking. It is a small gesture compared to the huge support they

:52:45.:52:52.

gave us at that awful time. But as I have said, ideas such as parking on

:52:53.:52:58.

certain days for free or limited reductions in charges could have

:52:59.:53:06.

been considered. Measures such as these would have provided traders in

:53:07.:53:10.

these towns with a boost at the time that they were struggling to attract

:53:11.:53:17.

footfall. We don't want football, because we haven't got a football

:53:18.:53:24.

pitch! It is now over 12 months since the flooding hit the Calder

:53:25.:53:27.

Valley, and the effects of the floods are still being felt by many

:53:28.:53:34.

businesses. One of the main gateways to the town centre of a limp was

:53:35.:53:37.

destroyed by the floods and still remains closed to traffic, in effect

:53:38.:53:43.

cutting the town of Elland in half, very similar to what we have seen in

:53:44.:53:50.

other places. Traders and small businesses in Elland have struggled

:53:51.:53:54.

with significantly lower levels of footfall in the past year, not least

:53:55.:53:57.

as a consequence of the closure of that bridge. Under this bill, the

:53:58.:54:01.

local authority could have sought to introduce an imaginative strategy to

:54:02.:54:05.

bring people to the town. This would have provided a huge lift to the

:54:06.:54:10.

traders and the community and would have been a clear signal that the

:54:11.:54:15.

town was open for business. It is vital that councils have the

:54:16.:54:18.

flexibility to reduce or suspend charges at short notice to still

:54:19.:54:23.

elect the high street. Sometimes, this may be in relation to

:54:24.:54:27.

exceptional circumstances such as those I have alluded to. On other

:54:28.:54:32.

occasions, it may be to support a community event or festival, such as

:54:33.:54:35.

reducing charges in the run-up to Christmas trading. Furthermore, it

:54:36.:54:41.

will allow councils to experiment and innovate. In many towns, there

:54:42.:54:44.

is a significant difference between the levels of occupation in

:54:45.:54:49.

different car parks and on street parking bays within the same

:54:50.:54:53.

locality. This bill will allow councils to develop temporary

:54:54.:54:57.

incentives to increase the awareness of underutilised assets and to see

:54:58.:55:05.

which parking strategy is best suited to areas within a town.

:55:06.:55:11.

Requiring 21 days' notice for the announcement to be published in a

:55:12.:55:15.

local paper in the area is both over bureaucratic and unnecessary in this

:55:16.:55:20.

day and age. When the council is competing with the private sector,

:55:21.:55:29.

as in many areas it also puts them at a significant competitive

:55:30.:55:33.

disadvantage, as private firms can currently vary charges as they see

:55:34.:55:42.

fit. With the honourable gentleman agree that it is right that there

:55:43.:55:45.

are some restrictions in terms of making it more difficult for

:55:46.:55:48.

councils to deal with the sort of rapacious behaviour described by his

:55:49.:55:52.

own counsel when the Labour Party are in charge of it? My honourable

:55:53.:55:58.

friend is correct. I refer back to the fact that I spent 30 years in

:55:59.:56:02.

retail. I know from my experience that when there is a proper parking

:56:03.:56:07.

strategy in place, it benefits everybody. I remember one store in

:56:08.:56:12.

particular that I worked for, Wilkinson 's home and garden stores,

:56:13.:56:17.

when I was a general manager in their store in Bury in the cache. --

:56:18.:56:26.

in Lancashire. When the council there put a strategy in place for a

:56:27.:56:34.

car park next 's, business increased by 15%, a significant uplift, just

:56:35.:56:39.

by getting the car parking strategy right. So my honourable friend is

:56:40.:56:42.

right. By getting the strategy and making sure that we have a proper,

:56:43.:56:49.

open and honest debate about what can benefit all parts of towns,

:56:50.:56:53.

whether it is the high street or the local hospital area, it can make a

:56:54.:56:58.

huge difference not only to business, but also to residents and

:56:59.:56:59.

people coming to the town. I thank the honourable member for

:57:00.:57:11.

giving way. It seems to me that he is being more than a bit partisan

:57:12.:57:16.

here. Is he aware it is often Conservative controlled councils

:57:17.:57:19.

which make the most money from parking across the UK? I have looked

:57:20.:57:24.

at the Independent newspaper for December 2000 15. They say

:57:25.:57:29.

Westminster Council made an astonishing 46.4 million that year.

:57:30.:57:37.

I would like to thank the honourable gentleman for his intervention. I

:57:38.:57:43.

think I said earlier in my speech that actually those councils that do

:57:44.:57:49.

it well are welcome. Sadly there are far too many and in my case, in my

:57:50.:57:53.

own experience in a Labour-controlled council in

:57:54.:57:57.

Calderdale, they have openly admitted it. As did Barnett, who

:57:58.:58:03.

went to court, they were taken to court, that they use it as a cash

:58:04.:58:09.

cow. That is why I was not being particularly partisan but pointing

:58:10.:58:12.

out the mere fact Calderdale is a Labour-controlled council but were

:58:13.:58:16.

honest enough to say they were using it as a cash cow. I will give way. I

:58:17.:58:26.

made an early intervention that by trying to use comparators in central

:58:27.:58:31.

London to the rest of the country is ridiculous. The reason why

:58:32.:58:34.

Westminster Council makes a lot out of parking is because it is in the

:58:35.:58:40.

very centre of London. As always my honourable friend makes a valid

:58:41.:58:44.

point. Whether it is London, centre of Manchester, Birmingham or indeed

:58:45.:58:50.

leads, the strategies they will have in place compared to what they would

:58:51.:58:56.

have in small villages like Brighouse would be entirely

:58:57.:59:01.

different. He is absolutely right. I will give way to the honourable

:59:02.:59:07.

member. His experience contrasts with my experiences with our local

:59:08.:59:11.

Conservative council, this is not a political point but it reflects, I

:59:12.:59:15.

believe, a very pro-business culture in that council. One of our market

:59:16.:59:21.

towns in Thirsk have introduced a scheme in the market square car park

:59:22.:59:27.

with the first hour free, which has increased the turnover of shoppers

:59:28.:59:31.

and parkers. As I think he related to in his first remarks. He makes an

:59:32.:59:39.

incredibly valid point. As a retailer it is vitally important

:59:40.:59:42.

that when a local resident is popping down to the town centre to

:59:43.:59:47.

get a pint of milk or a loaf of bread, the essentials we need for

:59:48.:59:53.

daily living, that they can do so at absolute ease. And an excellent car

:59:54.:59:59.

parking strategy would be one that allows people to do that as fluidly

:00:00.:00:04.

and as quickly as they possibly can. Finally, Madam Deputy Speaker, high

:00:05.:00:09.

streets and town centres continue to play a fundamental role in the lives

:00:10.:00:14.

of our communities and parking is one of those factors which is most

:00:15.:00:21.

able to shape the success. If local authorities can get the correct

:00:22.:00:23.

balance, a successful parking strategy can bring visitors. And

:00:24.:00:30.

just on that point I would say, I mentioned the Brighouse business

:00:31.:00:33.

initiative earlier, how they do farmers markets in our area. One of

:00:34.:00:39.

the things they do every year is a massive 1940s we can. It brings

:00:40.:00:44.

about 200,000 people, additional people, in. That is how initiatives

:00:45.:00:50.

in town centres can really bring in footfall. Car parking plays a vital

:00:51.:00:57.

role in that. It helps to reinvigorate a town centre, as well.

:00:58.:01:02.

Certainly if the local council gets it wrong, a town centre can

:01:03.:01:05.

experience an all too different result. Where local authorities seek

:01:06.:01:09.

to support the high street by reducing charges, this Bill will

:01:10.:01:14.

facilitate them and give them the flexibility to do so. If they adopt

:01:15.:01:19.

a different approach and seek to raise charges, this Bill ensures

:01:20.:01:22.

local people and businesses are properly consulted and the impact on

:01:23.:01:27.

the town is fully considered before any changes are made. This Bill,

:01:28.:01:33.

Madam Deputy is bigger, has the potential to make a lasting positive

:01:34.:01:38.

impact upon our town centres, and I wholeheartedly support the intention

:01:39.:01:42.

behind it. I welcome the fact the Government and opposition have

:01:43.:01:45.

suggested they will support the Bill and I commenced the honourable

:01:46.:01:48.

member for Bosworth for bringing it before the House. The very final

:01:49.:01:53.

point I will make before I sit down is a message to the Minister, just

:01:54.:01:58.

to point out that whilst he has a great knack of HMV Gallery, if you

:01:59.:02:07.

would like to have a look at, the gallery is almost full. -- playing

:02:08.:02:14.

to the gallery. I would also like to add my congratulations to the

:02:15.:02:17.

honourable member for Bosworth for I think achieving his goal, which I

:02:18.:02:21.

think is incredibly simple, but also really makes a lot of common sense.

:02:22.:02:26.

The importance of this Bill is not to be underestimated. Certainly

:02:27.:02:33.

Derby City Council in the last five years have made around ?20 million

:02:34.:02:38.

from parking and fines. But for me what this does is actually enables,

:02:39.:02:43.

instead of the money just going to parking and focusing on parking, it

:02:44.:02:47.

actually enables us to look at what we should be doing to the city and

:02:48.:02:54.

city regeneration and making it better and easier for people to come

:02:55.:03:01.

in and use our cities wisely. So the provision, I think, is rightly to

:03:02.:03:05.

aim for the flexibility. This is something of particular importance

:03:06.:03:11.

to do this, to try to get people coming into our cities more often.

:03:12.:03:16.

We have mentioned before the great British high-street awards and in

:03:17.:03:21.

actual fact, the Cathedral Quarter in Derby won it last year, the

:03:22.:03:27.

high-street of the year award. We are very proud of that. It is not to

:03:28.:03:32.

be underestimated how we did that, because we took a challenge, which

:03:33.:03:39.

was a centre which was built, a new centre, built ten years ago, which

:03:40.:03:44.

at the time took away the business from other parts of the city and

:03:45.:03:49.

offered parking and shopping all in one place. Whereas now what we have

:03:50.:03:54.

managed to do is regenerate two other parts of the city, we are

:03:55.:03:58.

working on that and parking plays a significant part in that. And

:03:59.:04:04.

certainly one of the things I would look to encourage is the flexibility

:04:05.:04:09.

councils can offer in terms of looking at other things they can do

:04:10.:04:14.

in terms of having one Saturday per month where they offer cheaper

:04:15.:04:19.

parking to go to certain areas, or indeed, could they have free parking

:04:20.:04:23.

at night, or one hour in the morning, as one of my honourable

:04:24.:04:28.

friend 's mentioned? I think this is a great opportunity. I certainly

:04:29.:04:33.

think this is something we should absolutely consider. The work of the

:04:34.:04:41.

bid, and we have spoken about it before, is not going to be

:04:42.:04:46.

underestimated, because they have a challenge in terms of getting people

:04:47.:04:52.

who would normally want to have convenience shopping to actually

:04:53.:04:55.

take advantage of places not in our shopping centre. Therefore one of

:04:56.:04:59.

the ways they can do this is by having very reasonable and

:05:00.:05:06.

convenient parking. So people will think this is destination shopping

:05:07.:05:10.

where they can go, Park readily, get out of their car, they know it will

:05:11.:05:15.

be reasonable and they can go and do their shopping. This is where I

:05:16.:05:20.

think we can help, certainly small businesses, to do that. And we can

:05:21.:05:25.

encourage a two centre shopping experience as opposed to the one

:05:26.:05:30.

centre shopping experience was seeming to dominate at one point. I

:05:31.:05:35.

also think one of the things we take great advantage of in Derby is the

:05:36.:05:42.

use of events. We have the Derby test, which is very well attended,

:05:43.:05:48.

with people performing in the street, we also have Christmas

:05:49.:05:52.

markets, farmers markets, all of which we are trying to regenerate in

:05:53.:05:59.

an area in Derby for people to come and enjoy and seek entertainment.

:06:00.:06:03.

Clearly one of the things that should be done on these events is to

:06:04.:06:08.

offer a parking offer as well, to make it more attractive for people

:06:09.:06:13.

to be able to come along and attend these events. Because there is a

:06:14.:06:19.

danger that people tend to go to the shopping centre, park there and not

:06:20.:06:25.

then get out of the centre to go to other places where they will find

:06:26.:06:32.

and have entertainment. So responding to local needs is exactly

:06:33.:06:37.

what we need to do. And I certainly see this as a great opportunity for

:06:38.:06:42.

us. One of the things we are also trying to do is encourage people to

:06:43.:06:44.

walk from one destination to another. At the moment that isn't

:06:45.:06:51.

happening because you can have a cheaper offer in our centres,

:06:52.:06:55.

meaning people are parking in the centres and staying in the centres.

:06:56.:06:59.

Whereas if we had a cheaper parking outside of the centres, say in the

:07:00.:07:05.

Cathedral Quarter or Saint Peter 's quarter, that would mean people are

:07:06.:07:09.

able to park there and then go and explore other parts of our great

:07:10.:07:13.

city. Or indeed go to the market Hall where they can experience the

:07:14.:07:17.

delights of the Derby pie clips, which I can recommend to many

:07:18.:07:24.

people. If you do not know what that is it is a flattened crumpet. Like

:07:25.:07:32.

my honourable friend for Calder Valley, I have been in retail, I was

:07:33.:07:38.

in retail before I came here for over 30 years and it is not to be

:07:39.:07:43.

underestimated the value retail can actually have on our economy. And

:07:44.:07:48.

certainly the Federation of small businesses have highlighted the

:07:49.:07:52.

parking charges as one of the main issues discouraging shoppers from

:07:53.:07:56.

visiting traditional high streets. For me one of the most important

:07:57.:08:00.

things we can do is try and regenerate these traditional high

:08:01.:08:03.

street is, get people back and using them. And dependence, as well. I

:08:04.:08:10.

think these parking charges will definitely be in courage in that. --

:08:11.:08:18.

dependents. -- encouraging that. I think again what we need to do is

:08:19.:08:22.

make it as easy and attractive as possible for people to visit the

:08:23.:08:27.

high-street and cities instead of sitting and doing online shopping

:08:28.:08:32.

and it is automatically delivered to your door. Because what we are

:08:33.:08:35.

trying to do as well, certainly in Derby city, and I suspect in a lot

:08:36.:08:40.

of other city centres as well is to have not only a daytime economy we

:08:41.:08:44.

are boosting, but a night-time economy, as well. It would be lovely

:08:45.:08:49.

if we could see people walking along the high-street, having a bit of a

:08:50.:08:54.

cafe culture that you see and taking part in what is the richness of our

:08:55.:09:00.

Cathedral city. In my time as an MP I have taken part in small-business

:09:01.:09:06.

Saturday each year and gunships in some of our local shops. And I have

:09:07.:09:14.

to say... Done shifts in some of our local shops. We need to do

:09:15.:09:17.

everything we can to get people to come to these shops. If we can get

:09:18.:09:22.

people parking resolutely and easily and get them through the door they

:09:23.:09:25.

will see the offer that is available is something unique and interesting.

:09:26.:09:30.

And also something to certainly being courage. I will give way to

:09:31.:09:34.

the honourable member. -- encouraged. Would she also agree

:09:35.:09:43.

that one of the things of the high streets have is a small independent

:09:44.:09:48.

trader? Which is what business Saturday is all about. And in those

:09:49.:09:53.

shops very often you get a different offer that he would not necessarily

:09:54.:09:57.

get on the Internet. You also get that personal service. And actually,

:09:58.:10:03.

that is something worth having. So anything we can do to attract people

:10:04.:10:08.

to enjoy our towns and cities and use that as leveraged, we must

:10:09.:10:14.

encourage. Absolutely. As I mentioned earlier, we have just won

:10:15.:10:20.

a high-street award. One of the reasons is that in the Cathedral

:10:21.:10:23.

Quarter we have a unique offer in terms of shops that are available. I

:10:24.:10:27.

would like to mention one of them which I think is a good way forward,

:10:28.:10:33.

where a group of designers all get together and they all offer goods in

:10:34.:10:36.

their shop, all very individually designed and then they take a turn

:10:37.:10:40.

in working and selling those products. I think that is very

:10:41.:10:47.

innovative. It is also inspirational and draws people in because you

:10:48.:10:51.

would not get that as an example in our shopping centre. So absolutely,

:10:52.:10:56.

I completely agree with my honourable friend. The private

:10:57.:11:02.

sector has such an important part to play in this and again I think this

:11:03.:11:07.

is why we should definitely... Of course I will. She makes a point

:11:08.:11:14.

about the private sector and it is so important local authorities

:11:15.:11:18.

consult with the private sector. Yet in York when I first located a

:11:19.:11:23.

business and in our head offices, the council sold the car parks and

:11:24.:11:26.

raised the charges on the remaining car parks. Really destroyed a lot of

:11:27.:11:31.

the independent retailers in that city. Because at the same time they

:11:32.:11:36.

were giving consent for out of town shopping centres, of which the rock

:11:37.:11:42.

four around York, and then they gained from huge contributions back

:11:43.:11:46.

into the council coppers, it is really anti-business in terms of

:11:47.:11:49.

what is she says is the really important independent retailers in

:11:50.:11:52.

our towns and city centres. Having been not just in retail but

:11:53.:12:04.

an avid shopper for 30 years, I have on many occasions visited York. It

:12:05.:12:11.

is a shame. Shopping centres do have their place, but we need to work in

:12:12.:12:16.

partnership and make sure that we have two offers. As I mentioned

:12:17.:12:21.

earlier, it is two almost defined destinations. One will be the

:12:22.:12:25.

shopping centre and the other will be the independent retailers with a

:12:26.:12:28.

very different for that is available. By allowing councils like

:12:29.:12:33.

derby the freedom to set their parking charges on a more flexible

:12:34.:12:37.

basis, we can allow local knowledge to have an impact on the local

:12:38.:12:42.

understanding in terms of meeting local demand. At the same time, I

:12:43.:12:53.

think it is relevant that the local authority needs to consult in terms

:12:54.:12:57.

of whether they increase parking charges. They need to be given the

:12:58.:13:05.

opportunity to consider whether the pay increase is correct and also

:13:06.:13:13.

allow local people and businesses to be consulted in terms of whether it

:13:14.:13:17.

is appropriate. Whilst I acknowledge that they still will be able to put

:13:18.:13:24.

up prices if they choose, the opportunity to have that discussion

:13:25.:13:30.

is important. That will mean there won't be any surprises and people

:13:31.:13:33.

will at least know if prices are going up and it will allow

:13:34.:13:39.

businesses and consumers to take note of that.

:13:40.:13:50.

Finally, from my point of view, I fully support this sensible bill

:13:51.:13:57.

that is being put forward. I can't emphasise enough the need for us to

:13:58.:14:08.

keep supporting these retailers and independents and to keep encouraging

:14:09.:14:14.

entrepreneurship. Parking is such a simple, effective way of encouraging

:14:15.:14:21.

people to come into our city centres and see what the offerings. To

:14:22.:14:25.

conclude, I give my full support to this bill. I think its provisions

:14:26.:14:31.

are long overdue. It is one of these things that surprises me. Why hasn't

:14:32.:14:36.

it been brought forward before? It makes so much sense. I think these

:14:37.:14:42.

changes will be positive for villages, towns and cities up and

:14:43.:14:48.

down the country. James Morris. I would also like to congratulate the

:14:49.:14:52.

honourable member for Bosworth. This bill has the virtue of being very

:14:53.:14:57.

simple, and I think that matches his criteria. It will also meet the

:14:58.:15:01.

other criteria he laid out, so I welcome this bill and rise to

:15:02.:15:10.

support third reading of it. High streets across the UK are under

:15:11.:15:14.

pressure from a shift in spending from physical shops to online stop

:15:15.:15:20.

there were 15 shop closures a day across the UK in the first half of

:15:21.:15:25.

2016. And the number of new openings has fallen to the lowest level for

:15:26.:15:32.

five years. That is why local authorities need to be able to do

:15:33.:15:36.

all they can to help support local high streets and shops. And this

:15:37.:15:45.

bill, with its simple implementation of new provisions, will give local

:15:46.:15:50.

councils like mine the flexibility to help. I know from my own

:15:51.:15:58.

constituency the problems local businesses are facing. Halesowen,

:15:59.:16:04.

Craig Lee heath and Blackheath have important high streets within my

:16:05.:16:08.

constituency that have a wide variety of shops, places of worship

:16:09.:16:12.

Tom local services and entertainment venues which are popular among local

:16:13.:16:21.

people. However, any time I visit one of my local high streets,

:16:22.:16:25.

parking is nearly always the number one concern of local shop and

:16:26.:16:30.

business owners. The Halesowen chamber of trade in particular and

:16:31.:16:37.

local councillors in Halesowen have for a long time been campaigning for

:16:38.:16:43.

reduced charges and where appropriate, free parking on our

:16:44.:16:47.

local high street. Conservative councillors in Halesowen have

:16:48.:16:53.

secured an important trial period for two hours of free parking to

:16:54.:17:00.

help boost local footfall. If successful, I hope to see this move

:17:01.:17:03.

extended to all council owned car parks. However, while I feel this

:17:04.:17:07.

bill will prove useful to do Dudley bill will prove useful to do Dudley

:17:08.:17:14.

well councils in my constituency because it would give them the

:17:15.:17:17.

flexibility to do this more witty and more efficiently, as it stands

:17:18.:17:21.

at the moment, local residents will need to wait until April for this

:17:22.:17:25.

measure to come into effect. But local businesses are frustrated at

:17:26.:17:28.

the time it takes to get this initiative going. The chamber of

:17:29.:17:33.

trade is actively taking steps to increase footfall around the town,

:17:34.:17:40.

looking at ideas for more activities, organising celebration

:17:41.:17:43.

events and consulting with local businesses on what they need to help

:17:44.:17:49.

them succeed. I would also like to take this opportunity is to

:17:50.:17:51.

congratulate the chamber in Halesowen for the work they have

:17:52.:17:57.

done to establish the first business improvement district within the

:17:58.:18:00.

Dudley Boro, and hope that their well thought out is this plan is

:18:01.:18:07.

approved next week. Traders' groups across the country organise special

:18:08.:18:12.

promotional days to create more interest and increase the number of

:18:13.:18:16.

people visiting, but many of these groups are frustrated by the

:18:17.:18:21.

unnecessary bureaucracy they face when working with local councils to

:18:22.:18:25.

set promotional incentives on parking. Many members of this House

:18:26.:18:33.

will support their local high streets, as the honourable member

:18:34.:18:37.

Ford Dudley North dead on small business Saturday. We should be

:18:38.:18:41.

using campaigns like this to help our local shopkeepers. Just last

:18:42.:18:48.

week, I visited a new business on Halesowen high street, the English

:18:49.:18:52.

rose tea room, owned by the inspirational Gemma. She has

:18:53.:18:58.

fulfilled her lifelong dream of owning her own business and not

:18:59.:19:03.

allowed her challenges - she has been suffering from autism -- which

:19:04.:19:14.

has not held her back. We should do all we can to create an environment

:19:15.:19:20.

to help businesses like Gemma's thrive and remove barriers to

:19:21.:19:25.

success. The Federation of Small Businesses references, as the

:19:26.:19:29.

honourable member for Bosworth alluded to in his remarks, high

:19:30.:19:34.

parking charges along with other issues such as changes in the way

:19:35.:19:38.

people shop is discouraging shoppers from visiting traditional high

:19:39.:19:43.

streets. The impact on the high street has been most seriously felt

:19:44.:19:47.

by small retailers in smaller town centres. They agree that making it

:19:48.:19:53.

easier to reduce car parking charges will go some way towards alleviating

:19:54.:20:00.

this pressure. Unfortunately, as other honourable members have

:20:01.:20:02.

pointed out, many local authorities are planning to hike parking charges

:20:03.:20:07.

even further. The local government information unit think-tank last

:20:08.:20:12.

year produced a report which suggested that nine in ten local

:20:13.:20:17.

councils were considering to increase parking charges for off

:20:18.:20:22.

street parking, despite the enormous amounts of money already raised

:20:23.:20:28.

nationally. In my opinion, this is a short-sighted measure. It does not

:20:29.:20:30.

address the problem facing our high streets and is just a quick method

:20:31.:20:34.

of finding more ways to make money out of local motorists. For this

:20:35.:20:42.

reason, it is important that local people and businesses are properly

:20:43.:20:49.

engaged with the procedure if local council decides to increase parking

:20:50.:20:53.

charges. It is only right that there is proper consultation on measures

:20:54.:20:55.

which could adversely impact on local residents. This bill would

:20:56.:21:01.

result in local authorities being required to consult interested

:21:02.:21:05.

parties like local Traders' groups if there are seeking to increase the

:21:06.:21:11.

cost parking charges. I welcome this. It is essential that the views

:21:12.:21:17.

of those who work, live and rely on our high streets feel as if they

:21:18.:21:24.

have the opportunity to make their case and that their views are

:21:25.:21:32.

properly considered. In places like Brighouse and Hebden Bridge in my

:21:33.:21:37.

constituency, where the local business initiatives work tirelessly

:21:38.:21:42.

to put events on to boost footfall in the town centre, would my

:21:43.:21:48.

honourable friend agree that those types of organisations and business

:21:49.:21:53.

traders are the very people that need a high input into these

:21:54.:21:56.

consultations, because they know what goes on? The honourable

:21:57.:22:06.

gentleman makes a good point. In his constituency and my constituency,

:22:07.:22:09.

organisations like the Halesowen chamber of trade, which has done a

:22:10.:22:13.

huge amount of work trying to bring extra footfall into Halesowen, are

:22:14.:22:17.

the group who should be front and centre of consultation on the

:22:18.:22:21.

parking charges regime proposed for Halesowen, and that voice needs to

:22:22.:22:30.

be heard. This measure is not necessarily to prohibit any increase

:22:31.:22:36.

at all in charges. Occasionally, it may be necessary to increase charges

:22:37.:22:40.

if the overhead costs are rising as well, especially in car parks would

:22:41.:22:45.

require access through machines and extra staffing. It is about ensuring

:22:46.:22:53.

the impacts on towns are fully considered and preventing increases.

:22:54.:22:57.

On street parking often sees the same level of increases as

:22:58.:23:02.

off-street, when the costs of providing these spaces are nowhere

:23:03.:23:07.

near the same. This often leads to local residents feeling that they

:23:08.:23:12.

are a cash cow, as other honourable members have pointed out, for local

:23:13.:23:16.

authorities to plug a financial hole. A balance needs to be struck.

:23:17.:23:19.

It is not a one size fits all situation. This bill will make it

:23:20.:23:23.

quicker and easier for local authorities to do the right thing

:23:24.:23:28.

where they think necessary. This measure will also allow local

:23:29.:23:33.

authorities the flexibility to incentivise use of car parks which

:23:34.:23:36.

are underused. These are spaces which the Council are paying to

:23:37.:23:40.

maintain and are sitting idle with little use. This is not a benefit to

:23:41.:23:46.

either the local authority or shopping centres. Empty car parks

:23:47.:23:48.

can become a magnet for anti-social behaviour and crime, so it is

:23:49.:23:53.

important for local authorities to be able to respond to declining

:23:54.:23:57.

numbers quickly and within the best interests of the local area. The

:23:58.:24:07.

honourable gentleman makes a salient point about when car parks fall into

:24:08.:24:13.

disrepair. They become places of anti-social behaviour, which acts as

:24:14.:24:15.

a double disincentive for people wanted to come to towns. I thank the

:24:16.:24:20.

honourable lady for her intervention. I totally agree. We

:24:21.:24:27.

mustn't allow these places to become centres of anti-social behaviour.

:24:28.:24:32.

They are critical in getting car parking white and making them places

:24:33.:24:37.

that people want to go. It is critical to town centre regeneration

:24:38.:24:41.

and creating that good retail environment. I further welcome the

:24:42.:24:46.

government's moved to look at further reforms to the local

:24:47.:24:54.

government transparency code, which tends to ensure that motorists can

:24:55.:24:57.

see first-hand the complete breakdown of parking charges that

:24:58.:25:01.

their councils impose and how much they raise. There is normally a

:25:02.:25:07.

suspicion among drivers that parking charges and penalties are being used

:25:08.:25:12.

to increase the amount of money that local authorities can spend. Local

:25:13.:25:16.

authorities have no legal powers to set parking charges at a higher

:25:17.:25:19.

level than that needed to achieve the objective of relieving or

:25:20.:25:23.

preventing congestion of traffic. This bill allows local authorities

:25:24.:25:31.

to become more mindful of this fact. In the 2013-14 financial year,

:25:32.:25:36.

councils received just under ?739 million from on street parking and

:25:37.:25:41.

?599 million from off-street parking. The income received varies

:25:42.:25:46.

wildly from counsel to counsel. The boards did not receive any income

:25:47.:25:51.

from parking, whereas Cambridge City Council received over ?3 million

:25:52.:25:56.

from on street parking. In total, councils in England made net profits

:25:57.:26:05.

of 60 million and more from penalty charge notices. My own local

:26:06.:26:09.

authorities have recorded nearly half ?1 million between them in

:26:10.:26:14.

profit from parking charges. Local people want and deserve to have

:26:15.:26:17.

faith that this money is being used properly. Under the last Labour

:26:18.:26:25.

government, revenue from parking increased from 608,000,019 97 to 1.3

:26:26.:26:32.

billion in 2010. Such parking enforcement has undermined local

:26:33.:26:36.

high streets and I'm grateful to the government for making efforts to

:26:37.:26:39.

rein in these overzealous and unfair rules.

:26:40.:26:45.

I have supported the government's action on tackling higher parking

:26:46.:26:52.

charges and aggressive parking enforcement which causes

:26:53.:26:54.

considerable distress to thousands of motorists. I want to congratulate

:26:55.:27:00.

the government on the measures it has used to stop parking being used

:27:01.:27:06.

as a stealth tax, including stopping the industrial use of CCTV spy cars.

:27:07.:27:12.

I believe it is in the best interest of my constituents and that of local

:27:13.:27:15.

businesses and high streets that this bill, very ably introduced by

:27:16.:27:23.

the honourable member for Boswell, will enact the link between parking

:27:24.:27:27.

charges and the health of British high street. It cannot be under

:27:28.:27:33.

estimated, this will make it easier for local authorities to lower their

:27:34.:27:38.

charges to promote economic vitality in our town centres and if an

:27:39.:27:41.

increase is to be considered, the right steps should be taken to make

:27:42.:27:47.

sure they are properly considered. I believe these are the right measures

:27:48.:27:51.

to help our local high streets and inject that much-needed incentive to

:27:52.:27:57.

revive town centres and high Street in my constituency and across the

:27:58.:28:07.

country. First, I would like to congratulate my honourable friend

:28:08.:28:09.

Tom Bosworth in bringing forward this very important bill. It is a

:28:10.:28:18.

dilemma and I will always be a champion of small, independent

:28:19.:28:21.

businesses. Everything we do in terms regulation should consider the

:28:22.:28:31.

needs of small businesses and try to create that level playing field with

:28:32.:28:37.

large business that we absolutely need to seek to encourage the

:28:38.:28:43.

success of the local, small, independent retailer and business.

:28:44.:28:47.

Small, independent businesses cover around 60% of our private in sector

:28:48.:28:56.

employed workforce and around 60% of private sector turnover, so they are

:28:57.:29:03.

hugely important. I must declare and called house's attention to my

:29:04.:29:09.

declaration of member's interests. We have an estate agent business,

:29:10.:29:16.

which has 190 small, independent shops around the UK in various high

:29:17.:29:21.

Street and market towns. We do not rely on them all in terms of

:29:22.:29:25.

football, so it is not a big issue for us in terms of car parking and

:29:26.:29:31.

people coming to town centres and city centres, but it is for the

:29:32.:29:35.

general health of those towns and villages and our cities to make sure

:29:36.:29:40.

that we absolutely have a vibrant and healthy sector in our high

:29:41.:29:49.

streets and town centres. As our business started to grow, we started

:29:50.:29:56.

in 1992, our business grew and we became the market leader in our town

:29:57.:30:02.

of York which is where our first business started. We thought, this

:30:03.:30:08.

is going quite well, we are doing OK, our business is starting to

:30:09.:30:13.

prosper. And then three or four years another very good independent

:30:14.:30:25.

started up later. We looked very carefully at the business and what

:30:26.:30:29.

we were doing and we started to work harder again and it made us focus on

:30:30.:30:35.

what made a successful in the first place. That is a small illustration

:30:36.:30:40.

of what the importance is of small, independent businesses. It is not

:30:41.:30:46.

just about the fact that they are at the heart of the community. It is

:30:47.:30:51.

not just about the fact that they provide a better service, as my

:30:52.:30:56.

honourable friend from Bury St Edmunds referred to. It is also

:30:57.:31:03.

about their dynamics of the commercial realities of business.

:31:04.:31:07.

They hold big business to account. Wherever we see a situation with big

:31:08.:31:17.

business in a monopolistic situation, and they tend to

:31:18.:31:22.

monopolise the out-of-town shopping centres we see, I think we can see

:31:23.:31:25.

less good quality. An extreme example of that, I believe, is

:31:26.:31:31.

British Telecom. It is a private sector monopoly. We have all

:31:32.:31:37.

experienced some of the letters and complaints we get from our

:31:38.:31:40.

constituents about the lack of quality when you get a private

:31:41.:31:45.

sector monopoly. We absolutely need to have that balance between big

:31:46.:31:51.

business and our many, very good big businesses in this nation, and our

:31:52.:31:57.

business aspired to be a big business, but we also need to make

:31:58.:32:03.

sure that we have a very vibrant small, independent business sector.

:32:04.:32:06.

That is why I think this is so important. In my experience I have

:32:07.:32:13.

experienced some really bad policies, bad local government

:32:14.:32:17.

policies in terms of car parking, and the one I referred to earlier is

:32:18.:32:23.

the one we saw in Europe where we started our first business. It is

:32:24.:32:28.

not in my constituency, a lot of my constituents work in Europe and a

:32:29.:32:32.

lot have businesses in your and our head office is still in York, but

:32:33.:32:38.

York City Council went through a policy of selling of important city

:32:39.:32:42.

centre car parks which created revenues for the Council, which also

:32:43.:32:47.

created section 106 contributions from the developers of those car

:32:48.:32:54.

parks. The remaining car parks had more pressure put on them and the

:32:55.:32:57.

charges went up in those car parks. In the centre of Europe it is ?2 an

:32:58.:33:05.

hour to park. It is ridiculous, a deterrent from getting people into

:33:06.:33:11.

the centre. At the very same time they are granting planning consent

:33:12.:33:14.

for out-of-town shopping centres with free parking. There are four

:33:15.:33:19.

out-of-town shopping centres around York in a town with 200,000

:33:20.:33:24.

residents. There was no consultation with local businesses. Any

:33:25.:33:29.

consultations that did happen, there were panics with some of the

:33:30.:33:35.

independent retailers in the centre of York, but the council pushed

:33:36.:33:40.

ahead anyway much to the detriment of independent retailers in the city

:33:41.:33:45.

centre. But some more positive examples I feel are in my

:33:46.:33:51.

constituency. Hamilton District Council has a very innovative policy

:33:52.:34:00.

in some of their conurbations. In Thirsk they have a market square car

:34:01.:34:05.

parks and they allow people to come and park for an hour and they get a

:34:06.:34:10.

ticket from a machine and they get an hour's free parking, or they can

:34:11.:34:16.

pay 60p and park for two hours. It creates tremendous turnover in the

:34:17.:34:20.

town centre which is what businesses want. They want people to come in so

:34:21.:34:28.

they can shop in that short cycle when people want to come in for a

:34:29.:34:32.

short time and shop or go to lunch. It is easy to do that, rather than

:34:33.:34:39.

to get the money and the machine if you want to park for longer. It

:34:40.:34:43.

means great turnover in the town. You can pay to park for longer.

:34:44.:34:50.

Would he agree with me, because somewhat similar to my constituency

:34:51.:34:55.

near to a large town, in my case Cambridge, in his case York, that is

:34:56.:35:00.

a different environment to those small, rural environments around

:35:01.:35:07.

small market towns that we want to generate that throughput so those

:35:08.:35:11.

traders can survive so the people in the locality who cannot very often

:35:12.:35:15.

achieved their shopping without getting in their car have an equal

:35:16.:35:19.

choice to others who live near a town. She makes a very good point

:35:20.:35:24.

and I could not agree with her more. I guess the key is what we are

:35:25.:35:29.

looking for here is a symbiotic relationship between the local

:35:30.:35:33.

authority and the businesses in that town. There is a close relationship.

:35:34.:35:38.

Of course the local authority benefits from success of a business

:35:39.:35:45.

in a town. But sometimes that conversation is not as comprehensive

:35:46.:35:50.

as it needs to be, or is not as close. The understanding is not

:35:51.:35:55.

there. Some of the provisions of this bill, which is about the

:35:56.:35:59.

consultation of changes to car parking, or the ability to lower car

:36:00.:36:02.

parking without going through a detailed process, that is why it is

:36:03.:36:09.

so important to take this legislation through. Another good

:36:10.:36:16.

example is my town of Malton. In the centre it is still owned by the

:36:17.:36:20.

Fitzwilliam estate, so most of the shops and the car parks in the

:36:21.:36:25.

centre are owned by an estate. It is in their very interest because they

:36:26.:36:30.

owned the shops, and there are quite a few houses in the centre, and they

:36:31.:36:36.

own the car parks. It is a very vibrant commercial environment. As

:36:37.:36:40.

well as investing heavily in the town and improving the shops, they

:36:41.:36:48.

changed the parking in the town so there is two hours free car parking

:36:49.:36:53.

in the town centre car parks, which again has provided this fantastic,

:36:54.:37:00.

vibrant commercial activity which we see in Malton. It has been

:37:01.:37:09.

tremendously successful. There is a guy called Tom Leland who has set

:37:10.:37:16.

out to develop a brand around Malton. He has called the

:37:17.:37:22.

Yorkshire's food capital. We have the Malton food Festival. We have a

:37:23.:37:26.

fantastic weekend. Honourable members must consider coming. There

:37:27.:37:32.

is music, there is a beer festival at the same time and some of

:37:33.:37:36.

Yorkshire's finest food. Yorkshire does have the finest produce for

:37:37.:37:45.

food. So... As you can tell. It has been a wonderful success story and

:37:46.:37:50.

the town has been regenerated on the back of it. It has to be seen to be

:37:51.:37:54.

believed and that is because there was a sin by author relationship

:37:55.:37:58.

between the car park owners, the town centre owners and the

:37:59.:38:01.

businesses, a deep understanding between them. Helmsley, again it is

:38:02.:38:09.

a place where you get a lot of coach parties coming to see the wonders of

:38:10.:38:16.

Helmsley, a fantastic market town. Richard III had a connection with

:38:17.:38:23.

Helmsley. The last King of the House of York was Richard III, so he had a

:38:24.:38:33.

connection in Helmsley Castle. Richmond Castle as well. As the

:38:34.:38:40.

minister said earlier, it was successful in the British high

:38:41.:38:42.

street towards winning best market town. It was on the back of the

:38:43.:38:48.

fantastic efforts of the traders and the local authority in that town.

:38:49.:38:53.

But coach parking was introduced in one of the car parks and it became a

:38:54.:39:02.

real deterrent for coaches coming to the town, coaches carrying 50

:39:03.:39:08.

tourists. So local people went to the council and campaigned on this

:39:09.:39:12.

issue and they got the charges taken away, which brought the coach

:39:13.:39:16.

parties back to the town. It is a good example of how business,

:39:17.:39:21.

working with local authorities, can have a positive effect and have a

:39:22.:39:26.

deep understanding of some of the challenges around running small,

:39:27.:39:32.

independent businesses. Of course those are positive examples, but

:39:33.:39:35.

there are examples we have heard of already here today. According to the

:39:36.:39:45.

RAC, ?756 million of charges and penalties in 2015 for car parks

:39:46.:39:55.

across the UK, up 9% on 2015. 34% on 2010. This attacks the shoppers and

:39:56.:40:02.

the businesses, businesses that are paying rates. They want service from

:40:03.:40:07.

the council, yet they are seen, as we have heard before, as sitting

:40:08.:40:13.

ducks, golden geese, or whatever analogy you want. A sitting duck and

:40:14.:40:22.

a golden goose at the same time! We should make sure we look after that

:40:23.:40:26.

golden goose and not treat it as a sitting duck! Because ultimately

:40:27.:40:35.

people, shoppers and businesses will vote with their feet. In

:40:36.:40:39.

conclusion... Very happy to give way. While my honourable friend is

:40:40.:40:46.

on the subject of geese, doesn't he think the local authorities who take

:40:47.:40:49.

the wrong approach to this are likely to cook their goose? It is a

:40:50.:40:57.

very good point. It has been a fantastic debate. We have talked

:40:58.:41:06.

about the foul consequences of not having good parking policies in the

:41:07.:41:11.

local town. We did mention the dog and duck earlier in my honourable

:41:12.:41:20.

friend's remarks. Our local pub has a connection with the Neville family

:41:21.:41:26.

and it was a staging post on the web from Durham Cathedral to York

:41:27.:41:31.

Minster. In conclusion, what we need is a level playing field. We must

:41:32.:41:37.

always look after the interests of small business. We should not in

:41:38.:41:43.

this house worship at the altar of big business. We should absolutely

:41:44.:41:47.

put small business, independent retailers, at the heart of

:41:48.:41:52.

everything we do and I absolutely support the provisions of this bill

:41:53.:41:55.

because I think that is exactly what it does.

:41:56.:42:01.

Can I remind members that it is a narrow bill and although the

:42:02.:42:08.

contributions are enjoyable, it would be nice... ! I shall do my

:42:09.:42:17.

best to focus on the content of the bill. I must congratulate my

:42:18.:42:22.

honourable friend, the member for Bosworth for bringing in this brief,

:42:23.:42:27.

but important bill, which as other members have said, could be of such

:42:28.:42:30.

benefit to their constituents and mine also. It is a pleasure to

:42:31.:42:36.

follow my honourable friend, the member for Thirsk and Malton, who

:42:37.:42:38.

has talked about many of the benefits of the bill. Although I

:42:39.:42:44.

will try and stick to the topic, I will follow his example in making

:42:45.:42:53.

sure I don't duck the issues. I am very lucky to represent a

:42:54.:42:58.

constituency which is peppered with historic towns and villages. I will

:42:59.:43:04.

mention particularly the historic market town of Faversham and the

:43:05.:43:08.

villages of Lennon and Headcorn. I mention those not because the other

:43:09.:43:13.

villages are not worth visiting, but because those three or have car

:43:14.:43:20.

parks in them. In the car parks are very important for allowing

:43:21.:43:25.

residents to access the shops and services in each of those centres.

:43:26.:43:30.

And those centres, despite the pressures on the appeal of

:43:31.:43:35.

out-of-town shopping and supermarkets and the internet, those

:43:36.:43:42.

centres are doing well. Just last year, Faversham was a rising star

:43:43.:43:46.

award winner in the great British high-street awards. It is a town

:43:47.:43:52.

that I take great pleasure in shopping in regularly. Lots of small

:43:53.:43:57.

shops are providing services that can be hard to find if you go to the

:43:58.:44:01.

supermarket. You are unlikely to get your pictures framed at the

:44:02.:44:07.

supermarket. And they do a fabulous selection of flowers at the florist

:44:08.:44:12.

which you can get made appropriately for an event. The yarn shop which

:44:13.:44:19.

recently opened, because as we know, there is a boom in knitting and

:44:20.:44:23.

sewing crafts, is serving that. So there are new shops opening, along

:44:24.:44:29.

with a huge amount of historic sites to visit while you are there. So

:44:30.:44:35.

these towns and villages are managing despite the pressures they

:44:36.:44:41.

are facing, but it's not easy. Faversham had to say goodbye to our

:44:42.:44:44.

sweet shop just a couple of weeks ago, which is a lovely feature of

:44:45.:44:48.

the town. It was attractive to see all the sweets. That has fallen foul

:44:49.:44:57.

of these pressures, as well as our attempts to lead healthier lives.

:44:58.:45:02.

Perhaps the children of Faversham are not eating so many sweets now.

:45:03.:45:06.

But I know my son will miss going to that when recycling to town. -- when

:45:07.:45:13.

we cycle into town. I value our towns and village centres, as I know

:45:14.:45:17.

many of my constituents do. It is not just for the shops that you can

:45:18.:45:22.

visit, but also the way that these town centres serve as a community

:45:23.:45:27.

meeting place. You will often bump into somebody you have not seen for

:45:28.:45:30.

a while if you are in the Market Square in Faversham. For me, it is a

:45:31.:45:38.

great way to catch up with constituents, with councillors. I

:45:39.:45:41.

almost always meet not one, but several people as I go through

:45:42.:45:45.

Faversham. My husband knows not to expect me back at the time I say I'm

:45:46.:45:49.

going to get back because I will inevitably meet several people and

:45:50.:45:52.

have long conversations as I go through. With the honourable lady

:45:53.:45:58.

agree that one of the ways of keeping town centres vibrant is to

:45:59.:46:04.

ensure that car parking prices can vary, relating to events going on

:46:05.:46:09.

and to encourage people to go in and in particular, that they are

:46:10.:46:15.

competitive as well? I thank my honourable friend for making these

:46:16.:46:18.

points. This is why I am talking about the value of town and village

:46:19.:46:26.

centres and the importance of them to community, because it is linked

:46:27.:46:29.

to the role car parking charges play in helping towns and villages to

:46:30.:46:35.

play this role. As I said, the chance meetings that you have in the

:46:36.:46:39.

town and village centre are valuable part of keeping our community is

:46:40.:46:44.

strong. And we know we need our communities to get stronger again. I

:46:45.:46:51.

would not deny that the large out-of-town shopping centre doesn't

:46:52.:46:53.

have an important role to play. I know some of my constituents will go

:46:54.:46:58.

to Bluewater when they want to get clothes or do a big shop. It is not

:46:59.:47:04.

in my constituency, so I am not a regular visitor that, but it has a

:47:05.:47:08.

role to play. But it is not the place where you are going to bump

:47:09.:47:11.

into somebody that you have not seen for a while. This is a challenge. It

:47:12.:47:17.

is difficult for our towns and villages to compete with those

:47:18.:47:23.

destination shopping sites and the internet, and we know that parking

:47:24.:47:28.

charges are a factor in this. Other members have reported to the -- they

:47:29.:47:34.

have referred the Federation of Small Businesses' report which said

:47:35.:47:39.

the car parking charges are a factor in people deciding where they are

:47:40.:47:44.

going to shop. In a rural area, much though we want to encourage people

:47:45.:47:48.

to use other modes of transport, the reality is that the car is the way

:47:49.:47:52.

most people need to travel. So car parking charges are a factor for

:47:53.:47:56.

most people in deciding where they are going to shop. So for the sake

:47:57.:48:01.

of our towns and villages and many of us who would like to see car

:48:02.:48:06.

parking charges as low as possible, I understand that it is not as

:48:07.:48:13.

simple as putting car parking charges down to the lowest possible

:48:14.:48:16.

level or getting rid of them altogether. There is an element of

:48:17.:48:20.

the revenue that is needed to maintain car parks. There is also

:48:21.:48:24.

the point of when you have a station near the town centre. You don't want

:48:25.:48:29.

your town centre car park to be used as all-day station parking. And that

:48:30.:48:34.

is a risk, that it if you get rid of car parking charges, it would just

:48:35.:48:39.

become a station car park and therefore, you wouldn't have the

:48:40.:48:42.

footfall of people coming and going and being able to use the car park

:48:43.:48:48.

to get to the shops. So it is important that there be flexibility

:48:49.:48:52.

about the level that car parking charges are set, and also for a

:48:53.:48:58.

council to be able to experiment and work out what works and critically,

:48:59.:49:06.

to enable councils to be able to reduce car parking charges at times

:49:07.:49:13.

for special events. If you have a station in a town, the idea of

:49:14.:49:17.

having a very low car parking charge may be impossible to do all the

:49:18.:49:22.

time, but you could for specific events reduce the charges for that

:49:23.:49:30.

event. Faversham is a fantastic town for special events. My honourable

:49:31.:49:38.

friend, mentioned the food festival in his constituency in Malton.

:49:39.:49:42.

Faversham has a food festival and a separate beer festival. We don't

:49:43.:49:46.

have to have them on the same day! It is a hop festival. I shall be

:49:47.:49:50.

called out if I call it the beer festival. It is the Faversham hop

:49:51.:49:56.

festival. Albeit for that festival, a lot of people come by train. You

:49:57.:50:02.

may understand why! We also have the hat festival, the nautical festival,

:50:03.:50:07.

because Faversham is also a nautical town, the transport festival and we

:50:08.:50:14.

have markets on the first and third Saturday of the month. So there are

:50:15.:50:19.

many events to come to in Faversham. Those could be days for the council

:50:20.:50:23.

to drop the car parking charges, or on the other hand, it might be an

:50:24.:50:27.

opportunity to experiment with dropping car parking charges on days

:50:28.:50:33.

when the town is quieter and there is a way to bring people into town

:50:34.:50:37.

when there is not an event going on. The point is that this bill is about

:50:38.:50:41.

giving councils more flexibility to be able to do that and to test what

:50:42.:50:46.

works for bringing more footfall into a town. That is why I am

:50:47.:50:51.

delighted to support the bill. On the other hand, one point was made

:50:52.:50:57.

today which is worthwhile, emphasising that increasing car

:50:58.:51:01.

parking charges is another matter. It is important that increases the

:51:02.:51:05.

car parking charges should be consulted on with rigour, because

:51:06.:51:11.

increases to car parking charges are clearly a concern for residents and

:51:12.:51:19.

a concern for businesses. Given what I have been saying about how car

:51:20.:51:24.

parking charges affect people's decisions, increasing car parking

:51:25.:51:27.

charges could be a concern for businesses and some worry that they

:51:28.:51:30.

might be put out of business. So it is right that if car parking charges

:51:31.:51:34.

are to be increased, there should be consultation. Something I did before

:51:35.:51:41.

speaking today was check with my local councils what their thoughts

:51:42.:51:49.

were about this bill. I was in touch with the chair of the transportation

:51:50.:51:53.

committee of Maidstone borough council, one of the two councils in

:51:54.:52:00.

my constituency and Councillor David Burton, the chair of the committee,

:52:01.:52:05.

said of this bill that he was happy with it and that it would place no

:52:06.:52:10.

extra burdens on local councils. So I thought that was a good thing to

:52:11.:52:17.

hear. He also flagged how he thinks the excellent modern transport Bill

:52:18.:52:27.

is valuable and emphasised the point that councils will have to move

:52:28.:52:29.

quickly to keep up with the pace of change. I certainly welcome that my

:52:30.:52:37.

local councils have been good at bringing in payment by smartphone,

:52:38.:52:41.

which is another thing which can be very helpful when thinking of

:52:42.:52:45.

flexibility, enabling people to pay as they leave or top up easily while

:52:46.:52:51.

parking. These are all important for councils to be using to support

:52:52.:52:56.

local towns and villages and the shops in them. To conclude, I very

:52:57.:53:05.

much support and want to see thriving towns and villages enter

:53:06.:53:09.

is. Therefore, I am delighted to support this bill. Wendy Morton.

:53:10.:53:17.

Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. I write to support my honourable

:53:18.:53:21.

friend from Bosworth's bill again today. And I congratulate him on all

:53:22.:53:27.

the work he has been doing in getting the bill thus far. I am

:53:28.:53:31.

sure, like others in this chamber, we all wish it is speedy passage

:53:32.:53:39.

through this place, because we can understand the benefits it will

:53:40.:53:42.

bring to our constituents and constituencies. I believe that this

:53:43.:53:51.

bill will make a difference across the country. My honourable friend

:53:52.:53:56.

used the phrase "We come into politics to make a difference", and

:53:57.:53:59.

this bill can make a difference to so many people in a small, but

:54:00.:54:07.

simple way. The aim of the bill is to make it easier for local

:54:08.:54:09.

authorities to lower their parking charges, to promote the economic

:54:10.:54:16.

vitality of town centres allowing local authorities to react more

:54:17.:54:19.

quickly to market changes, putting them on an even footing with the

:54:20.:54:25.

private sector and promoting parking flexibility, something we have heard

:54:26.:54:28.

so much about today, by allowing local authorities at short notice to

:54:29.:54:32.

provide free or discounted parking to support town centre events. It is

:54:33.:54:36.

also intended to provide local authorities to consult interested

:54:37.:54:40.

parties if they are seeking to increase the cost of parking charges

:54:41.:54:45.

and to ensure the impacts on the towns are considered. The it was

:54:46.:54:52.

described earlier as the Santa clause Bill, but this bill is not

:54:53.:54:56.

just for Christmas. I believe it is for all year round. I apologise, I

:54:57.:55:01.

needed to get that one in today! But it does seem a little crazy. My

:55:02.:55:08.

honourable friend is not in her place at the moment but she alluded

:55:09.:55:12.

to the fact that why haven't we sought to change the law in this

:55:13.:55:15.

regard before? It does seem crazy that currently, if the local

:55:16.:55:21.

authority wanted to offer free parking in the run-up to Christmas

:55:22.:55:23.

or Thursday night for late-night shopping or four a special event, it

:55:24.:55:32.

would cost them to do so. Because of the requirement to make all the

:55:33.:55:38.

necessary advertisements. That seems hardly an incentive for a local

:55:39.:55:42.

authority to go down the route. It has almost been a barrier to them to

:55:43.:55:47.

make those changes. In today's economic climate, we have heard a

:55:48.:55:51.

lot about the rise of internet shopping, the rise of the

:55:52.:55:53.

out-of-town shopping centres. They all have their role to play. But it

:55:54.:56:00.

strikes me that this bill offers a simple and cost-effective way to

:56:01.:56:07.

enable councils to effect change. It is not about saying they must lower

:56:08.:56:12.

all the car parking charges, much as we would all like that. It is about

:56:13.:56:17.

giving them the flexibility to lower our parking charges when they feel

:56:18.:56:21.

it is in the interests of that local community to do so, taking account

:56:22.:56:30.

of community needs. I see it is almost a tool in the tool box of

:56:31.:56:35.

local authorities. I believe it means that the councils can win

:56:36.:56:37.

because of that reduction in the cost of advertising. Residents can

:56:38.:56:43.

win because it saves them money and crucially, retailers and local high

:56:44.:56:49.

streets can win as well. I understand that car parking revenue

:56:50.:56:55.

is important to local authorities. I made the point earlier in one of my

:56:56.:56:58.

interventions about the need to strike that balance. But sometimes,

:56:59.:57:04.

by reducing car parking charges for an event, say, a local authority can

:57:05.:57:10.

get extra revenue overall from businesses because if they have a

:57:11.:57:14.

thriving town centre, they get the income from business rates.

:57:15.:57:22.

I really believe local authorities will be able to react quicker,

:57:23.:57:28.

support local events and businesses, support local residents, and that is

:57:29.:57:33.

what this bill is fundamentally about. We are unfortunately in my

:57:34.:57:39.

constituency, we do at least have some free parking. I think in

:57:40.:57:47.

Aldridge Village Centre in particular. Where you are able to

:57:48.:57:53.

offer that, it really does encourage people to go in and shop locally. It

:57:54.:57:59.

is something I know members on both sides of this house are often

:58:00.:58:03.

speaking of and are often encouraging people and residents to

:58:04.:58:08.

do so. If you pop into the local shops, you do your banking, you go

:58:09.:58:13.

to the post office. In Aldridge you would go and have a cup of coffee or

:58:14.:58:18.

a sweet and you spend that little bit more time in the town centre,

:58:19.:58:23.

all adding to that vibrancy. I think this bill is about cutting down

:58:24.:58:30.

bureaucracy. Something else that we on this side of the chamber often

:58:31.:58:34.

talk about. This bill will remove that you're crazy. Put simply, it is

:58:35.:58:40.

a no-nonsense bill, it is a common-sense bill, and I will be

:58:41.:58:50.

supporting it. It is my pleasure to add to others the congratulations to

:58:51.:58:54.

the honourable member for Boswell for bringing forward what is

:58:55.:58:59.

unusually a very simple bill with a simple game that affects a great

:59:00.:59:05.

number of people. I welcome the fact it is easier for our local councils

:59:06.:59:09.

to sort their car parking, but I would like to talk about enabling

:59:10.:59:15.

them to have a sense of place. That is really important. The honourable

:59:16.:59:22.

member for Thirsk alluded to it, as did the honourable member for

:59:23.:59:25.

Halesowen when he said it was not a one size fits all solution. A sense

:59:26.:59:32.

of place is very much understanding your locality, your businesses, your

:59:33.:59:36.

residence, and those people who come to your town. Our towns are

:59:37.:59:41.

changing, which is why local authorities need flexibility. In

:59:42.:59:48.

Bury St Edmunds we have residents living alongside the businesses and

:59:49.:59:51.

the tourist attractions and a vast number of tourists come to our town.

:59:52.:59:59.

As I mentioned, we are getting towards 2 million parking slots in a

:00:00.:00:04.

town of 42,000 people per annum. That shows how popular we are, but

:00:05.:00:11.

it also shows we need to have local flexibility and local

:00:12.:00:15.

accountability. That is different to my town down the road at Stowmarket.

:00:16.:00:23.

They have a less vibrant centre and they will need to apply different

:00:24.:00:26.

measures to how they are going to accommodate their businesses and

:00:27.:00:31.

stimulate a vibrant economy that is right for them. As the honourable

:00:32.:00:37.

member for Faversham said, this is about building communities and about

:00:38.:00:43.

people having time to go in and actually enjoy where they live and

:00:44.:00:50.

actually... Of course. She makes a very good point about the different

:00:51.:00:55.

types of town she has in her constituency. Isn't that the point

:00:56.:01:03.

about this bill? It requires local authorities to work alongside

:01:04.:01:07.

businesses to develop the right strategies or parking to make sure

:01:08.:01:11.

they make the best of the opportunities whatever the different

:01:12.:01:17.

conurbation is? Absolutely, I couldn't agree more. It is actually

:01:18.:01:23.

the fact that in Bury St Edmunds I have a 6% occupancy rate in the

:01:24.:01:27.

town, which he will know for retail is very low. 50% of what the

:01:28.:01:35.

national average is. It won the award for having the best Christmas

:01:36.:01:38.

fare anywhere in the country this year. It has a plethora of things we

:01:39.:01:45.

can enjoy. It also has its own Cathedral. Tonight I will be

:01:46.:01:50.

hopefully attending at the Theatre Royal Northanger Abbey in one of the

:01:51.:01:54.

only Regency theatres in the country. It is fantastic. But I also

:01:55.:02:01.

have great things in Stowmarket, but it is different and we need to

:02:02.:02:07.

understand how this bill can facilitate that. One thing I would

:02:08.:02:11.

like to ask the Minister, and perhaps he could write to me if

:02:12.:02:14.

today is not the place for us to tease this out, is that in my

:02:15.:02:22.

particular area I have a County Council, a Borough Council, a

:02:23.:02:26.

District Council, three town councils, and very often it is only

:02:27.:02:30.

the good working of those councils together that facilitate solutions

:02:31.:02:37.

because some of the complexity of these different authorities owning

:02:38.:02:42.

different car parts and so on. When decisions want to be made, for

:02:43.:02:48.

example in Stowmarket, when the town council wanted to have a cheaper

:02:49.:02:53.

parking rate for two hours, that was a collaboration with the District

:02:54.:02:57.

Council and the town council. Sometimes in these multiple tiers we

:02:58.:03:02.

have a complexity that even a simple instrument like this bill perhaps

:03:03.:03:09.

does not address. It might be that there is a little more work to be

:03:10.:03:13.

done in order to facilitate those areas that are not as simple as a

:03:14.:03:20.

metropolitan area in order for them to have conversations to facilitate

:03:21.:03:23.

quicker than is possible at the moment changes in their local

:03:24.:03:28.

environment to their car parking, particularly permanent in an area

:03:29.:03:34.

like Bury where we have the Contra problem to a lot of towns. We very

:03:35.:03:39.

often do not have enough car parking spaces. It would be really good for

:03:40.:03:46.

us to perhaps address issues like funding multistorey car parks and so

:03:47.:03:51.

on and being able to drive initiatives like that which would

:03:52.:03:56.

allow us greater parking, so our town centres are sclerotic. When

:03:57.:04:01.

town centres are blocked, it is my residence who suffer. People park

:04:02.:04:09.

without thinking somewhere in the town and residents cannot access

:04:10.:04:14.

their houses. Permits are a good use, but that stops people parking

:04:15.:04:18.

for business, so that is what I mean about a whole environment. I agree

:04:19.:04:23.

with the honourable lady because I think there are issues with this

:04:24.:04:27.

bill. Perhaps it should not have come to the third Reading today and

:04:28.:04:32.

maybe we should have spent longer in committee ironing out some of these

:04:33.:04:38.

issues? I thank the honourable lady for her intervention. No, I think

:04:39.:04:42.

the beauty of this bill and why I would like to see it go through

:04:43.:04:47.

today is its simplicity. But we live in a very fast moving environment, a

:04:48.:04:52.

very fast paced environment, where things constantly change around us.

:04:53.:04:58.

My point is that where we have a complexity of local government with

:04:59.:05:01.

different authorities having responsibility over car parking,

:05:02.:05:05.

maybe this is something we should look to address as we go forward.

:05:06.:05:12.

Would she like me recall that there was a report stage on this bill

:05:13.:05:16.

earlier today and that would have been the opportunity if anyone had

:05:17.:05:20.

objections to the wording to make some changes, as I suggested myself?

:05:21.:05:26.

I could not agree more with the honourable member for Torbay. As

:05:27.:05:29.

there has been a plethora of people speaking on the bill today there has

:05:30.:05:34.

been somewhat of a dearth of those on the opposite side saying what

:05:35.:05:38.

benefits a simple bill like this could bring, but also perhaps

:05:39.:05:44.

challenging, as is appropriate, at that reading. I am listening to the

:05:45.:05:50.

honourable lady and I do think she is pushing her luck. A lot of us on

:05:51.:05:56.

this site are very angry about the fact that the bill is being talked

:05:57.:06:01.

out by her and her friends on the government backbenchers today. If

:06:02.:06:06.

she wants to do that, she can play games, but please do not criticise

:06:07.:06:13.

us. I do apologise. It was merely a statement of fact. However... Whilst

:06:14.:06:24.

we are considering this bill, it is as others have said, incumbent on us

:06:25.:06:31.

to look at where we are going in the future. As I conclude, I would like

:06:32.:06:36.

to mention my own town council in Bury St Edmunds who have usefully,

:06:37.:06:44.

in order to help ameliorate some of the problems around from the car

:06:45.:06:48.

parking situation in my town, they have actually recruited some PS oh,

:06:49.:06:59.

Emma Howell, to regain control over civil parking enforcement from the

:07:00.:07:04.

police. She has single-handedly authorised over 100 civil parking

:07:05.:07:10.

orders in her first few weeks, including the leader of the town

:07:11.:07:16.

council who recruited her! She is indeed delivering greater monitoring

:07:17.:07:21.

powers to local councils in order to exercise local management to which I

:07:22.:07:25.

do hope this bill will add as we go forward. Thank you, Madam Deputy

:07:26.:07:32.

Speaker. I am conscious of the time and what has been said already, so I

:07:33.:07:37.

will keep my remarks rather brief. When I withdrew my amendment, I

:07:38.:07:43.

still think this bill is right to go forward in the form it is in and it

:07:44.:07:49.

will give a valuable opportunity for local councils to vary charges

:07:50.:07:53.

downwards without going through the consultation process. It is rightly

:07:54.:08:00.

there, but it is somewhat bizarre that under current legislation the

:08:01.:08:03.

council has to spend money to try and do something that will cost it

:08:04.:08:10.

money. In terms of this, I think it will be very beneficial bill and

:08:11.:08:13.

will deal with some of the issues are used to encounter when I was in

:08:14.:08:18.

local government myself. I will not go through a whole list of the

:08:19.:08:23.

festivals and events in Torbay. I did that during the report states.

:08:24.:08:28.

But the key thing I would like to hear from the Minister is how when

:08:29.:08:34.

this bill goes forward, how they will be working with councils to

:08:35.:08:38.

make sure it is used. Sometimes in legislation on a Friday, legislation

:08:39.:08:43.

is not something to do for the fun of it, it is something to do that

:08:44.:08:50.

will have an impact. One is interested to see how the local

:08:51.:08:53.

authorities will use this power and how they promote it when it is

:08:54.:08:59.

brought into effect. I hope this bill gets a third reading, I hope we

:09:00.:09:04.

do not have to have a division to achieve that. I hope this is taken

:09:05.:09:09.

forward, it is a bill in the right form and it is perfectly acceptable

:09:10.:09:14.

and should achieve its third reading today. I am pleased to speak in

:09:15.:09:20.

support of the bill's third reading. I would like to start by

:09:21.:09:26.

congratulating my honourable friend and member for Bosworth who is

:09:27.:09:30.

bringing in this bill in his third year in this house. I wish him well

:09:31.:09:38.

today with getting this bill through to third reading, hopefully

:09:39.:09:44.

unopposed, and to the bill going down to the other place and

:09:45.:09:50.

hopefully not being amended. I also understand it is my honourable

:09:51.:09:53.

friend for Bosworth's first Private member's bill. As somebody who not

:09:54.:10:04.

too long ago was on the backbenches, I was never fortunate during that

:10:05.:10:08.

time to secure a private member's bill, generally because I never

:10:09.:10:17.

appeared far enough up the ballot. I never had the chance to bring

:10:18.:10:22.

forward such an important piece of legislation as my honourable friend

:10:23.:10:27.

has. So I congratulate him. As I indicated that the bill's second

:10:28.:10:31.

reading, parking remains an issue that is very familiar. My

:10:32.:10:36.

ministerial postbag remains very busy. The Royal Mail certainly

:10:37.:10:41.

continues to enjoy the rewards of the numerous missives that I receive

:10:42.:10:48.

on parking and in the three months since we started this process in

:10:49.:10:53.

November it certainly remains the case that I still am receiving a

:10:54.:10:57.

significant level of correspondence in this regard. High streets and

:10:58.:11:02.

town centres are essential parts of the fabric of our lives and are the

:11:03.:11:08.

social core of our communities. The need for affordable parking to

:11:09.:11:13.

access town centres is critical and to the continued growth of our high

:11:14.:11:17.

streets. The previous government recognised this in a number of

:11:18.:11:22.

reforms brought forward on parking facilities owned by councils. The

:11:23.:11:26.

previous government brought forward reforms to make it mandatory for

:11:27.:11:30.

local authorities to give ten minute grace periods for all on street

:11:31.:11:34.

parking bays and all off street parking bays. This gives town

:11:35.:11:41.

centres and consumers greater flexibility to allow them to

:11:42.:11:45.

complete their business in the town without having to worry about

:11:46.:11:50.

feeding the meter. The use of CCTV camera cars by local authorities

:11:51.:11:55.

that were being used as revenue generating devices was also a cause

:11:56.:12:00.

for concern, that is why an addition to grace periods was good.

:12:01.:12:10.

Individuals can have a degree of certainty that when they get a

:12:11.:12:13.

ticket they will know about it on the day.

:12:14.:12:23.

The government believes in town hall transparency and believes that the

:12:24.:12:28.

transparency, believes that transparency is the foundation of

:12:29.:12:33.

local accountability. It is the key that gives people the tools they

:12:34.:12:36.

need to hold their local councils to account. Since 2010, transparency

:12:37.:12:43.

and town halls has improved greatly. The Conservative led coalition

:12:44.:12:48.

government changed the rules on attending town hall meetings to

:12:49.:12:51.

enable the press and public to report on more meetings, including

:12:52.:12:57.

being able to film proceedings at council meetings. More than that, we

:12:58.:13:02.

have also changed the rules on what information local authorities must

:13:03.:13:07.

make public, because transparency is good for the health of democracy. In

:13:08.:13:15.

2011, the government issued a code of recommended practice for local

:13:16.:13:18.

authorities on data transparency come to place more power in

:13:19.:13:22.

citizens' hands, to increase democratic accountability and make

:13:23.:13:25.

it easier for people to contribute to local decision-making and help

:13:26.:13:31.

shape local public services. The scope and content of the 2011 code

:13:32.:13:36.

of recommended practice for local authorities on data transparency was

:13:37.:13:41.

reviewed in 2012. Was my department consulting on a proposed update of

:13:42.:13:48.

the code. As a result of the consultation, the government

:13:49.:13:52.

published a revised local government transparency code in 2014 and

:13:53.:13:57.

further updated the code in February 20 15. Since October 2014,

:13:58.:14:01.

compliance with part two of the code has been mandatory. The local

:14:02.:14:07.

government transparency code 2015 requires certain authorities to

:14:08.:14:10.

publish certain information, including about parking. We

:14:11.:14:15.

encourage local authorities to produce an annual report about their

:14:16.:14:18.

enforcement activities within six months of the end of each financial

:14:19.:14:24.

year. The report should cover financial statistical and other data

:14:25.:14:30.

reflecting the revenues received from car parking operations. The

:14:31.:14:33.

Department for Transport require data to help develop parking policy,

:14:34.:14:40.

but there is a concern that the data being supplied is not as

:14:41.:14:44.

comprehensive as it should be, and most local authorities do not feel

:14:45.:14:48.

obligated to do so. Accordingly, when we consulted last year about

:14:49.:14:52.

updates to the transparency code, we proposed that the requirements to

:14:53.:14:58.

publish data relating to the local authorities' parking counts be

:14:59.:15:01.

expanded to include greater detail about parking charges. We also

:15:02.:15:07.

propose that local authorities should publish statistics about the

:15:08.:15:11.

enforcement of parking restrictions by that particular local authority.

:15:12.:15:16.

Specifically, we propose that local authorities be required to provide

:15:17.:15:23.

data on total income and expenditure on parking account, kept under

:15:24.:15:28.

section 55 of the Road traffic regulation 1984, and off-street

:15:29.:15:31.

parking charges and penalty charges, which are not covered under section

:15:32.:15:38.

55 of the 1980 Four Rd traffic act regulation. In that particular point

:15:39.:15:41.

has been raised by a number of honourable members during this

:15:42.:15:44.

debate. We propose that local authorities be required to provide a

:15:45.:15:53.

breakdown of income, of on street parking charges come on street

:15:54.:15:58.

penalty charges, off Street car parking charges and off street

:15:59.:16:00.

penalty charges. The responses to this proposal were enlightening but

:16:01.:16:09.

not altogether surprising. They confirmed parking data is a great

:16:10.:16:12.

interest to the public and of course, why wouldn't it be? Because

:16:13.:16:17.

after council tax, parking charges are arguably one of the most visible

:16:18.:16:22.

ways that local authorities take money from the public. Now, turning

:16:23.:16:31.

to my honourable friend's bill and how it recognises that on the one

:16:32.:16:37.

hand councils need flexibility is, it also recognises the need to

:16:38.:16:41.

involve local communities in its decision-making process. The Parking

:16:42.:16:45.

Places (Variation of Charges) Bill offers a real opportunity for small

:16:46.:16:51.

but very sensible reforms to local authority car parks. The bill will

:16:52.:16:55.

give the government powers to scrap the bureaucratic requirements on

:16:56.:16:58.

local authorities if they wish to lower their parking charges. This

:16:59.:17:01.

offers real opportunity for councils to take a flexible approach in

:17:02.:17:08.

supporting their high streets. For example, by responding to be

:17:09.:17:10.

opportunity of town Centre festivals, of which a number have

:17:11.:17:14.

been referenced by honourable members this morning. One thing I

:17:15.:17:21.

have learned from my involvement with the great British high street

:17:22.:17:26.

competition in 2015 is the real passion that still exists in this

:17:27.:17:31.

country for high streets and town centres. But while there is a need

:17:32.:17:37.

for councils to offer flexibility is in respect of parking charges to

:17:38.:17:40.

support their town centres, it's important that we recognise the

:17:41.:17:45.

charging levels are quite often a significant concern for town centre

:17:46.:17:48.

businesses. The government therefore thinks it's fit and proper that

:17:49.:17:52.

councils are responsive to local concern before the King to increase

:17:53.:17:59.

charges. My honourable friend's bill provides for consultation and

:18:00.:18:02.

requirements but if councils want to raise their charges on an existing

:18:03.:18:07.

traffic order I believe it's sensible that this reform balances

:18:08.:18:11.

the needs of the local authority to set a fair pricing policy, but one

:18:12.:18:17.

that also takes into account the views, and quite rightly, as local

:18:18.:18:23.

people. So just to conclude, I appreciate the points that have been

:18:24.:18:27.

made today. I'm grateful for the way the House has handled the bill, and

:18:28.:18:32.

I want to thank the many colleagues who have made significant

:18:33.:18:39.

contributions, and as I said when we started this bill, the bill does

:18:40.:18:42.

represent a small but needed reform to help deliver a more effective

:18:43.:18:48.

parking model that is supportive of our great British high streets and

:18:49.:18:51.

town centres and I congratulate my honourable friend for Bosworth

:18:52.:18:54.

making it this far and hope this bill ultimately becomes an act of

:18:55.:19:06.

Parliament. Madame Dev disfigure, I welcome you to your place -- Madame

:19:07.:19:11.

Deputy Speaker. I'd like to thank all colleagues here today for

:19:12.:19:18.

contributing to the debate and wish this bill well on its travels to the

:19:19.:19:23.

other place, the House of Lords. And I'd like to if I may make this point

:19:24.:19:28.

to their noble lordships landlady ships. This bill passed the Commons

:19:29.:19:34.

unamended. There were no amendments that committee stage and there were

:19:35.:19:40.

discussions with the opposition and there was agreement, and I say to

:19:41.:19:45.

the honourable lady on the front bench opposite, who expressed some

:19:46.:19:49.

concerns just now, there were opportunities here to load this bill

:19:50.:19:55.

was a lot more material and it was kept very narrow because in my long

:19:56.:20:01.

experience of Fridays it was not going to proceed unless it was very

:20:02.:20:06.

narrow. Madam Deputy Speaker, if I may continue with an earlier play on

:20:07.:20:10.

words, I hope the noble Lords will get their ducks in a row. I hope

:20:11.:20:15.

they won't add to them. We've quite enough here. It would be instructive

:20:16.:20:23.

for councils up and down the land if they study this debate. There have

:20:24.:20:28.

been some wonderful contributions will stop I'd just like to become

:20:29.:20:32.

two or three points that have come up. My honourable friend for Thirsk

:20:33.:20:35.

and Malton spoke with the experience of starting and expanding a small

:20:36.:20:41.

business. I thought the point that he made about the power of one hour

:20:42.:20:48.

free parking and then an additional 60p per hour was very persuasive.

:20:49.:20:52.

Many councils up and down the land should notice that. The honourable

:20:53.:20:56.

lady for Faversham in Kent and my honourable friend and the honourable

:20:57.:21:05.

lady for Bury St Edmunds touched on festivals and the importance of

:21:06.:21:09.

having special events that draw people into towns was focused on in

:21:10.:21:16.

this debate, and of course that's where you need flexibility in

:21:17.:21:20.

parking. Madame Deputy Speaker, I thank the members of the committee

:21:21.:21:25.

for their help and members I've already thanked this afternoon. I'd

:21:26.:21:28.

like to thank the two ministers who have helped me, who have spoken, my

:21:29.:21:34.

honourable friend the member for Croydon Central for housing plan is

:21:35.:21:40.

to minister spoke -- the member spoke in committee, my honourable

:21:41.:21:43.

friend for local government, by political neighbour in

:21:44.:21:45.

Leicestershire, the member for Nuneaton has spoken today and as

:21:46.:21:51.

I've already said, I've had the support of the opposition. I'd also

:21:52.:21:54.

like to thank my honourable friend for Nuneaton for allowing the access

:21:55.:22:00.

to some of his officials. I know it's not normal to thank them, but

:22:01.:22:02.

I'm going to thank Philip Dunkley and Thomas Adams for their

:22:03.:22:05.

assistance and eight making sure that I was properly briefed so

:22:06.:22:12.

Madame Speaker it is with great happiness and surprise that I find

:22:13.:22:16.

myself in a situation that I have a private member's bill that can

:22:17.:22:21.

affect every town, every city and every large village in the country,

:22:22.:22:24.

and I hope it processes through the House of Lords. The question is the

:22:25.:22:33.

Bill be now read the third time. As many are of the opinion, say "aye".

:22:34.:22:40.

To the contrary, "no". The ayes have it. Not amended at the Public Bill

:22:41.:22:52.

Committee to be considered. We begin with amendment one, with which it

:22:53.:22:58.

will be convenient to consider amendments to three.

:22:59.:23:12.

Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. And if it's in order I would like to

:23:13.:23:20.

speak to both of my amendments, one after the other, because I do

:23:21.:23:26.

appreciate that time is marching on. But Madame Deputy Speaker, just to

:23:27.:23:29.

be clear, I have supported my honourable friend for Torbay's bill,

:23:30.:23:34.

I was at second reading. I was also at the Bill committee stage. But

:23:35.:23:38.

there were a couple of points that as I went through Bill committee and

:23:39.:23:41.

on reflection I felt were worthy of a little bit more probing, as the

:23:42.:23:47.

detail was not on the face of the bill. In reference to my first

:23:48.:23:55.

Amendment, regarding public consultation. This is a very

:23:56.:23:59.

important Bill will stop it stretches across many, many

:24:00.:24:03.

different facets, reaching into potentially many different

:24:04.:24:06.

communities. And the government at second reading indicated it will

:24:07.:24:09.

conduct a form of consultation and review with all the relevant

:24:10.:24:12.

stakeholders, on the technical details of this bill. But given the

:24:13.:24:19.

technical nature of the Bill, I am seeking some reassurances from the

:24:20.:24:25.

Minister, hence the insertion of, after public consultation. Because

:24:26.:24:28.

for some very small community radio stations that are often run by

:24:29.:24:35.

community volunteers, I really want to be certain, Madam Deputy Speaker,

:24:36.:24:40.

that they are part of this consultation process. It would be

:24:41.:24:43.

wrong if they were precluded and left out at the expense of the

:24:44.:24:49.

larger ones. And now, turning to my second amendment, again at Bill

:24:50.:24:56.

committee stages there were some concerns raised, in particular from

:24:57.:25:02.

the community media Association about the nature of the Bill. So in

:25:03.:25:08.

considering under my second amendment, I'm concerned that the

:25:09.:25:12.

provision in the draft order, subsection four, paragraph C, that

:25:13.:25:17.

the order may require a small-scale radio multiplex services to be

:25:18.:25:21.

provided on a non-commercial basis is not a sufficient guarantee that

:25:22.:25:25.

the services will be operated primarily for public and community

:25:26.:25:31.

benefit. Second reading, we had so much about the benefits of community

:25:32.:25:34.

radio and the way they can really get into some of those often very

:25:35.:25:38.

hard to reach communities that on both sides of the House we are all

:25:39.:25:42.

too familiar with, so that's what I'm seeking in this amendment.

:25:43.:25:47.

There's a high risk where a small-scale radio multiplex services

:25:48.:25:50.

run on a commercial basis that charges to small-scale and community

:25:51.:25:55.

radio content providers could remain excessive, and that opportunities to

:25:56.:26:00.

reduce the cost for small-scale and community radio operators through

:26:01.:26:03.

sale of spare capacity would be lost and this would be ashamed. A

:26:04.:26:08.

commercially operated small-scale radio multipacks operator may be

:26:09.:26:11.

inclined to populate available capacity with content from those

:26:12.:26:18.

providers prepared to pay the highest rate, rather than content of

:26:19.:26:21.

the greatest public value. For example, content providers that have

:26:22.:26:25.

very low fixed costs, such as those providing semiautomated

:26:26.:26:26.

predominantly music services may be better placed to afford high costs

:26:27.:26:34.

of transmission and content providers who invest in original

:26:35.:26:42.

local content including speech and local journalism. Again, those

:26:43.:26:45.

community stations that go to the heart of our communities. My

:26:46.:26:47.

amendments produce -- proposes it be required for public and community

:26:48.:26:50.

benefit rather than for commercial reasons, in order to favour existing

:26:51.:26:56.

community radio providers or consortia of small-scale local and

:26:57.:26:58.

community media to come together to operate the multiplex.

:26:59.:27:05.

This would not preclude a small-scale, local, commercial radio

:27:06.:27:13.

service to play a role to hold the multiplex licence and two operated

:27:14.:27:19.

on such a base that local services, including small-scale, radio

:27:20.:27:24.

services, are provided with a free cost base and any income generated

:27:25.:27:37.

will be there. I want to be really sure that we are making sure that we

:27:38.:27:42.

reach out to those parts of the community that really benefit from

:27:43.:27:49.

community radio. I have a speech I was going to do today which almost

:27:50.:27:55.

echoes exactly what she is saying. Can I say I wholeheartedly agree

:27:56.:27:58.

with the principles she is espousing. I will not do my speech

:27:59.:28:06.

in the hope that we will get to my honourable friend's speech later,

:28:07.:28:10.

but I wholeheartedly accept what she is saying. I am grateful, I was just

:28:11.:28:15.

about to sit down, be reassured. I am hoping my friend, the honourable

:28:16.:28:23.

member for Torbay, will give us the assurances we are looking for and

:28:24.:28:25.

hopefully I will be able to withdraw my amendment. Question is that

:28:26.:28:34.

amendment one be made. The question is that amendment one be made. I

:28:35.:28:44.

apologise, Madam Deputy Speaker, I am a novice at this. I would like to

:28:45.:28:50.

also just very quickly add my amendment. I was here for the second

:28:51.:28:55.

reading and so for me this is episode two, a little similar to my

:28:56.:29:02.

honourable friend from Brownhill. I wish to probe a little bit further

:29:03.:29:06.

for community radio. I spoke about the importance of it and in

:29:07.:29:11.

particular the amendment, which is that the Secretary of State is not

:29:12.:29:15.

to make an order under this section in relation to small-scale radio

:29:16.:29:21.

multiplex services, with the exception of conditions to provide a

:29:22.:29:25.

small-scale capacity to provide services of a description set out in

:29:26.:29:32.

262. I want to know there is going to be enough space for community

:29:33.:29:37.

radio in the system, in layman's language. When Ofcom went out and

:29:38.:29:43.

did their trialling what was quite amazing was that you had within the

:29:44.:29:50.

pie chart existing local commercial radio 9.2%. Existing local community

:29:51.:29:57.

stations taking up 18.3%, but new format is made up a staggering

:29:58.:30:04.

72.5%, which showed there was a real appetite for community stations. I

:30:05.:30:09.

think this is something we have to look at and take into account with

:30:10.:30:13.

this bill to make sure that we have given adequate provision. What it

:30:14.:30:19.

tells us is there is a thirst from those people who want to serve their

:30:20.:30:26.

local community. Of course. On top of what she is saying, do the same

:30:27.:30:31.

report said that not only was there a real appetite for it, the report

:30:32.:30:37.

also said it was technically possible and also economically

:30:38.:30:41.

sustainable. There is evidence within the report to say that that

:30:42.:30:46.

is the case. I thank the honourable member for adding weight to my

:30:47.:30:49.

desire to probe further to see whether we can make sure that we

:30:50.:30:54.

have facilitated local community radio to have its place rightfully

:30:55.:31:00.

and vibrantly at the centre of its communities. We also know that

:31:01.:31:05.

Ofcom, who trialled this, are keen to deliver the provision. I want to

:31:06.:31:11.

know with this amendment to understand the access there will be

:31:12.:31:16.

to access the multiplexes specifically. In and around our

:31:17.:31:21.

communities things like forces radios, hugely important to a huge

:31:22.:31:26.

sector of the community, universities running radios that

:31:27.:31:30.

reach out to students, churches and cathedrals, but we also have new

:31:31.:31:36.

forms of media and local groups and enterprises that want to reach in

:31:37.:31:42.

and inform their local communities. They all work of minimal budgets,

:31:43.:31:47.

usually on a charitable status, and if they cannot get the space in

:31:48.:31:53.

order to access listeners, what is the point? My amendment is largely

:31:54.:32:02.

to probe and to ask that question. Surely we can ring fenced a little

:32:03.:32:11.

bit for the people who need it? Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker, it

:32:12.:32:15.

is a pleasure to be speaking on report stage. I will be urging the

:32:16.:32:21.

two members to withdraw their amendments. Starting with amendment

:32:22.:32:28.

one, I appreciate the intention of this amendment and I also noted the

:32:29.:32:32.

comments from the honourable member for West Ham as well, to be sure

:32:33.:32:37.

that local communities can have their views heard when a licence

:32:38.:32:40.

application is made. I hope the honourable member will consider

:32:41.:32:45.

withdrawing it, bearing the whole intention of this bill is to create

:32:46.:32:51.

a lighter touch registration scheme for the smaller operators. This is

:32:52.:32:57.

about small, commercial stations and community groups being able to

:32:58.:33:03.

broadcast. Is it therefore important that these multiplexes are not

:33:04.:33:07.

dominated by large media companies, that we do not end up with

:33:08.:33:12.

monopolies, people holding several licenses, to make sure there is

:33:13.:33:17.

availability on those multiplexes for those stations, which is the

:33:18.:33:24.

basis of this bill? I will be coming on a bit later when I make comments

:33:25.:33:29.

on amendment number three and deal with that point in detail. The whole

:33:30.:33:35.

idea is to give community stations and ability to go on DA B.

:33:36.:33:41.

Theoretically there is an ability, but at the moment the scale is so

:33:42.:33:46.

large that very few operators in a community station would ever get to

:33:47.:33:53.

that scale. In London the local area is London, so a community station

:33:54.:33:57.

would find it extremely difficult because they would have to pay the

:33:58.:34:03.

cost of transmission to London. A sponsor in Croydon is unlikely to be

:34:04.:34:07.

of any great relevance to somebody living in Barking and Dagenham. This

:34:08.:34:14.

bill must be seen as the first part of a three stage process. The first

:34:15.:34:18.

is the bill, which allows the legal framework for the government to act

:34:19.:34:24.

and without it the DA B community sector will not exist. It will

:34:25.:34:28.

disappear. It also includes a very limited ability to amend primary

:34:29.:34:34.

legislation by the affirmative procedure and this reflects what was

:34:35.:34:40.

done with community radio in 2004 and local TV in 2012. Strikingly

:34:41.:34:46.

similar circumstances and purposes. We have to be careful in terms of

:34:47.:34:52.

those types of provision, but in this instance it is so strikingly

:34:53.:34:56.

similar to precedence parliaments have set before it makes sense to do

:34:57.:35:02.

it on this one. The next would be to create the structure and the third

:35:03.:35:07.

and final stage would be Ofcom issuing licences to the individual

:35:08.:35:12.

multiplex operators. In terms of the second stage and the amendment

:35:13.:35:17.

talking about adding consultation, the minister, the honourable member

:35:18.:35:21.

for West Suffolk, has already confirmed a second reading that the

:35:22.:35:26.

detail of how a licensing scheme should operate and it will be

:35:27.:35:30.

subject to a full consultation by the government. It will enable the

:35:31.:35:34.

government to take account of different views from community radio

:35:35.:35:38.

and commercial radio and ensure the right protections are in place, to

:35:39.:35:43.

ensure licenses are taken up. The position of community stations are

:35:44.:35:53.

protected. On the specific point of consultation, can I stress the

:35:54.:35:56.

importance of making sure that consultation process is sufficiently

:35:57.:36:01.

long enough to allow those radio stations to be able to feed in. I am

:36:02.:36:06.

not expecting a set time frame today, but I want to stress that

:36:07.:36:11.

point. My understanding is the government will have a suitable

:36:12.:36:18.

timescale and groups like the community media Association are

:36:19.:36:21.

already aware of the bill and its provisions and many operators will

:36:22.:36:25.

be starting to think about the type of comments you want to make in

:36:26.:36:31.

relation to the consultation. The honourable member is welcome to stop

:36:32.:36:38.

me again if I am wrong, but it applies to orders made under the

:36:39.:36:43.

bill rather than to require statutory consultation for an

:36:44.:36:46.

individual licence. I see percent from somebody in a sedentary

:36:47.:36:51.

position. Just for clarity, I confirm that. I therefore hope

:36:52.:36:58.

members will accept that if every order under this act was required by

:36:59.:37:03.

statute to be subject to a full consultation, this would strike at

:37:04.:37:05.

the very heart of the intention behind this bill. The intention is

:37:06.:37:11.

to create a legislator framework that would be adaptable and it may

:37:12.:37:15.

not always be appropriate for every order made to be preceded by a full

:37:16.:37:19.

public consultation. The government needs to have the flexibility to act

:37:20.:37:25.

quickly and correct deficiencies or make minor and technical changes

:37:26.:37:29.

without having to wait for the conclusion of a consultation, a

:37:30.:37:35.

consultation that would make little sense. Technology is moving on

:37:36.:37:44.

significantly. Internet stations are able to broadcast with no licence,

:37:45.:37:48.

but we have to bear in mind with technology moving on, it is right

:37:49.:37:54.

the government has an ability to reflect that, but more serious

:37:55.:37:57.

changes would need to be the subject of consultation. If we say any order

:37:58.:38:03.

under this power needs to have a consultation that could inhibit and

:38:04.:38:13.

they would be consultations that very few people would wish to engage

:38:14.:38:17.

with. Effectively it is about technical details. My understanding

:38:18.:38:24.

is that once the initial consultation is complete, the

:38:25.:38:26.

government was said out the details licensing arrangements that will be

:38:27.:38:32.

intense subject to debate by both houses of parliament before coming

:38:33.:38:36.

into effect. There is also parallel work with the government to do with

:38:37.:38:42.

Ofcom in relation to the functioning of the new regime. I hope that will

:38:43.:38:47.

give the honourable lady the explanation she needs as to what

:38:48.:38:51.

consultation will happen and I hope she agrees to withdraw her

:38:52.:38:56.

amendment. I fully appreciate the sentiment behind the second

:38:57.:39:05.

amendment. I hope for the reasons I am about to separate the honourable

:39:06.:39:08.

member will also agree to that amendment. It already enables the

:39:09.:39:15.

Secretary of State to allow small-scale, multiplex services to

:39:16.:39:24.

be supplied by non-commercial basis. It must seek to provide an

:39:25.:39:28.

infrastructure to an area. We must be clear that multiplex is about

:39:29.:39:35.

providing infrastructure for small-scale operations. It is not

:39:36.:39:41.

the individual services you would chew into, although you need the

:39:42.:39:45.

infrastructure for them to exist. Part of the objective behind the

:39:46.:39:48.

amendment is already provided for in the bill.

:39:49.:39:59.

I believe there are likely to be opposing views in future

:40:00.:40:06.

consultations as to whether services in multiplexes should include those

:40:07.:40:09.

being run on a commercial basis and I would not want to prejudge the

:40:10.:40:13.

consultation by closing off this option in the bill. Whilst it is not

:40:14.:40:20.

a specific aim, any future move to have a totally digital broadcast

:40:21.:40:25.

system for radio would require an option for small-scale, commercial

:40:26.:40:29.

stations to move onto DA B. The current system does not do that as

:40:30.:40:33.

is evidenced by the lack of growth we have seen of local stations going

:40:34.:40:39.

on to this currently existing multiplexes. The evidence from the

:40:40.:40:43.

trials indicates unique radio services being provided and the

:40:44.:40:55.

breakdown is where 18.3% for existing community stations, 9.2%

:40:56.:40:58.

for an existing commercial station, and new formats were 72.5%. I hope

:40:59.:41:03.

this will give the honourable ladies some comfort that stations are

:41:04.:41:09.

getting onto DA B when this type of structure is in place as we have

:41:10.:41:16.

seen in the trial schemes. As mentioned earlier, the detail of how

:41:17.:41:20.

the new regime should operate will be subject to full consultation and

:41:21.:41:28.

the details will be subject to both houses of parliament, giving an

:41:29.:41:33.

opportunity to members to ensure that these objectives are included.

:41:34.:41:38.

There are likely to be a number of areas that the government will need

:41:39.:41:42.

to receive views on, for example on the number of licences each person

:41:43.:41:49.

or organisation can hold. As was mentioned by the amendment that was

:41:50.:41:56.

not selected for debate, I recognise these are the issues that the

:41:57.:42:00.

community media Association has raised. They are important issues. I

:42:01.:42:15.

accept that. But at this stage it is right the government maintains an

:42:16.:42:18.

open mind and I would urge members to resist this amendment.

:42:19.:42:25.

When we're discussing this bill, it's the fact previous legislation

:42:26.:42:32.

is now up inflexible for an era when technology has moved on

:42:33.:42:35.

significantly. Turning to amendment number three, submitted by the

:42:36.:42:39.

honourable member for Bury St Edmunds, I again hope the member

:42:40.:42:43.

will consider withdrawing it for the reasons I will shortly set out. I

:42:44.:42:47.

can totally appreciate the intention behind it, reserving space for

:42:48.:42:51.

community stations, and I suspect this may be partly motivated by the

:42:52.:42:56.

superb work done by British forces broadcasting service at a number of

:42:57.:42:59.

bases around the UK, given the honourable member's Strong work in

:43:00.:43:03.

the Ministry of Defence. It would be natural that these stations should

:43:04.:43:08.

be able to migrate onto DAB if they choose to and I'm clear this is

:43:09.:43:12.

about choice in this bill, there is no compunction for anyone to use

:43:13.:43:16.

small-scale DAB multiplex rather than a traditional license. However,

:43:17.:43:22.

if we were going to open all digital solution we need to give them a

:43:23.:43:24.

practical opportunity to do that. The problem with this amendment is

:43:25.:43:28.

it would require the government by statute to disk up -- to adopt a

:43:29.:43:36.

position which would prejudge the consultation for preserving the

:43:37.:43:38.

capacity for community stations and I want to see this Bill retains the

:43:39.:43:43.

maximum flexibility in creating the new regime that will follow it. I

:43:44.:43:47.

think members have to have in mind there are hundreds of potential

:43:48.:43:51.

locations for small-scale multiplexes and some may not be

:43:52.:43:55.

viable, specifically reserved space, or there could be operations making

:43:56.:44:00.

it unnecessary in a particular multiplex's case. I want Ofcom to be

:44:01.:44:06.

a license small-scale multiplexes to operate under conditions appropriate

:44:07.:44:09.

for the localities they will cover. I'd also not once provision that

:44:10.:44:13.

creates a radio version of a Parliamentary train service, namely

:44:14.:44:18.

a small bit of capacity kept just to meet a statutory requirement, rather

:44:19.:44:21.

than deliver an actual real goal. Ultimately this issue will again be

:44:22.:44:25.

the subject of a full consultation that will follow this bill becoming

:44:26.:44:30.

law. But we can see the evidence from existing ones of what happens

:44:31.:44:36.

whether current Leeds suggests current system is brought forward

:44:37.:44:39.

and we see community stations going on. It's worth bearing in mind the

:44:40.:44:44.

whole impetus behind the small-scale trial that the Department of

:44:45.:44:47.

Culture, Media and Sport initiated in December 2013 was to ensure that

:44:48.:44:52.

small stations, community stations and commercial radio stations, had a

:44:53.:44:56.

digital option, especially if the strong shift in listening to digital

:44:57.:45:01.

radio continues. This needs to be a practical option. Particularly we

:45:02.:45:05.

are seeing the biggest change in the last few years, certainly since the

:45:06.:45:08.

previous piece of legislation, has been the expansion of DAB into a car

:45:09.:45:14.

radios. Not that long ago very, very few cars, perhaps the most expensive

:45:15.:45:18.

vehicles, had a DAB radio installed. Now, quite a number have a DAB radio

:45:19.:45:26.

install. It means when they switched to digital they find there is a

:45:27.:45:29.

selection there, it's more likely to be the national radio stations, it's

:45:30.:45:34.

almost certain to beat the syndicated regional ones, but they

:45:35.:45:38.

may find that even commercial radio stations that are not that small,

:45:39.:45:45.

for example there is an example Parisse FM, isn't actually on DAB.

:45:46.:45:52.

That is either going to the people just migrate to Consolidated media

:45:53.:45:55.

services, reducing choice and diversity are not all the actually

:45:56.:46:01.

people don't migrate onto DAB and stick with FM, which in the long run

:46:02.:46:06.

I suspect they will be a move to want to look at when radio could

:46:07.:46:11.

switch over. He makes a very good point about small community radio

:46:12.:46:17.

stations on FM rather than DAB. I've got one in my constituency, Vale

:46:18.:46:22.

radio, covering the Vale of York and Vale of Pickering, but currently not

:46:23.:46:29.

-- not on DAB because of costs and the licensing regime and this Bill

:46:30.:46:31.

is intended to help organisations such as that. I thank the honourable

:46:32.:46:38.

member for highlighting the whole purpose of this bill, which we can

:46:39.:46:42.

come onto a bit more in third reading. But it is about the fact

:46:43.:46:46.

that the current regulatory system that exists, if this bill doesn't

:46:47.:46:50.

survive today, or if it gets talked out, then what will happen is it the

:46:51.:46:56.

national and local multiplexes will continue, they'll still be there for

:46:57.:47:00.

the largest operators in radio, that's fine, that suits their needs,

:47:01.:47:04.

however, it will be the small community radio stations that are

:47:05.:47:08.

the ones that will take the hit and ultimately see less users, less

:47:09.:47:13.

choice and diversity, and also a regulatory system that would not

:47:14.:47:17.

reflect the advancing technology. On second reading I made the point that

:47:18.:47:21.

in the 1960s, the outcome of an outdated attitude to broadcasting

:47:22.:47:25.

regulation was ships that just off our shores. The reality on this is

:47:26.:47:30.

more radio stations would move onto the Internet, which myself and the

:47:31.:47:37.

honourable member could go and set up on Internet radio station in our

:47:38.:47:41.

office if we wanted to start broadcasting out. I'm not sure how

:47:42.:47:44.

money people would want to listen to it. But that's the point of how

:47:45.:47:48.

technology is moving on. In terms of giving people access to those

:47:49.:47:53.

services, I can see some knobs of ascent to the point that very few

:47:54.:47:56.

people might wish to listen to it, we can do that on Internet but it's

:47:57.:48:03.

not got the type of ease of access that traditional rodeo -- radio

:48:04.:48:08.

broadcasting mediums have. Yes, it's growing, and those who are tech

:48:09.:48:11.

savvy probably have apps on their foes to do it, but it's not as easy

:48:12.:48:15.

as having a simple digital radio that you can carry around that's

:48:16.:48:19.

effectively something that is portable and doesn't have the size

:48:20.:48:24.

of things like a laptop, and iPad or a smartphone. That's why I think

:48:25.:48:27.

it's so important that we look to progress and have the version of the

:48:28.:48:34.

bill unamended as it stands. That's where I'm quite clear, there needs

:48:35.:48:36.

to be flexible as you for the future. What I wouldn't want to find

:48:37.:48:41.

it in a year or two's time through well-intentioned reasons, we set up

:48:42.:48:44.

some restrictions on the bill and then finding a year or two's time

:48:45.:48:48.

that we are stunting growth and development in a rapidly moving

:48:49.:48:54.

forward technology. It's safe to say that our forefathers, 30 or 40 years

:48:55.:48:58.

ago, if we'd told them you could run broadcasting system for radio off

:48:59.:49:04.

laptop, about this big, they'd have sat there in amazement. Broadcasting

:49:05.:49:07.

station was a large room with a great tower on it. They'd have said,

:49:08.:49:14.

what is a laptop? It's the way technology is moving on and it needs

:49:15.:49:17.

to be flexible and adaptable, because there are so many different

:49:18.:49:19.

locations. We are not replicating this Bill the guarantee of BBC

:49:20.:49:25.

coverage, courage on the multiplex that is in the place for local and

:49:26.:49:29.

national multiplexes, that was relevant for that time and for the

:49:30.:49:32.

scale of the operations they were. I would be is to set a specific

:49:33.:49:38.

requirement in every single licence for guaranteeing community access,

:49:39.:49:41.

however, it's almost certain that Ofcom would want to consider how it

:49:42.:49:46.

keeps a diversity on a particular multiplex, or how it gives an

:49:47.:49:49.

opportunity, and the evidence from what we've seen is that actually

:49:50.:49:53.

community radio stations have benefited very well from the

:49:54.:49:57.

small-scale trials. But if we start to have a reservation or price

:49:58.:50:01.

control and again, that's another thing we could consider, it would

:50:02.:50:08.

get is into quite odd arguments as parliament into exactly where we set

:50:09.:50:12.

price controls on particular areas, and also is a very purpose of smalls

:50:13.:50:16.

scale multiplexes, there will be more of them which would bring costs

:50:17.:50:21.

down and competition. There's got to be an incentive for the multiplex

:50:22.:50:25.

owners to invest in this technology and equipment, and doesn't require a

:50:26.:50:32.

significant investment, and what kind of rate of return would they

:50:33.:50:36.

expect? That's obviously you need to create that incentive for this

:50:37.:50:41.

equipment to be established. Thank the honourable member for his

:50:42.:50:46.

intervention. It -- the bill gives provision for some of these to be

:50:47.:50:49.

run as not for profit, effectively as community, and there's some

:50:50.:50:53.

operations from a different stations come easily example I gave, was

:50:54.:50:57.

whether things like a University or local authority might wish to

:50:58.:51:00.

provide the infrastructure. We don't want to get into the game of local

:51:01.:51:04.

authorities running radio stations, but you could run the infrastructure

:51:05.:51:09.

under this license for not per for -- not purposes, but then the

:51:10.:51:13.

station is, a commercial station could make a profit, but the key

:51:14.:51:16.

issue is at the moment you can go from running an Internet radio

:51:17.:51:20.

station in your bedroom to running a very small scale FM operation, and

:51:21.:51:26.

build your business, build up your listeners to being a more

:51:27.:51:30.

significant company. In the instance of additional radio regulation, to

:51:31.:51:34.

go on to it you in some areas need to go to accompany turning over ?1

:51:35.:51:38.

million a year to pay the broadcast fees as part of that turnover.

:51:39.:51:42.

That's why this is so important. I'm conscious of time. So I will wind

:51:43.:51:51.

up, particularly by urging the two honourable members to withdraw their

:51:52.:51:55.

amendments, and I'd urge the community media Association, who's

:51:56.:51:58.

been very active with can -- contacting members, I've welcomed

:51:59.:52:03.

that, and groups such as radio Centre, who have been in contact, to

:52:04.:52:07.

work with the government through the consultation to deliver the

:52:08.:52:10.

objectives I've outlined above. This is about opening up an opportunity,

:52:11.:52:15.

giving community stations a chance to go digital and helping stimulate

:52:16.:52:19.

creativity as we've seen and attend trial areas. I'll say more on third

:52:20.:52:24.

reading but I hope the honourable two members have received the

:52:25.:52:27.

assurances they need and withdraw these amendments. Thank you, I have,

:52:28.:52:37.

I'm very grateful to my honourable friend, am I doing this right? Yes,

:52:38.:52:44.

for his explanation, and he's gone a long way to reassure me, give me the

:52:45.:52:48.

reassurances I need and explained the work of the trials, the way that

:52:49.:52:54.

I see this is the start of the process and for that reason and the

:52:55.:53:00.

need I believe to keep this Bill flexible with the leave of the House

:53:01.:53:06.

IBEC to withdraw my amendments. Is at your pleasure the amendment be

:53:07.:53:10.

withdrawn? Amendment by leaves withdrawn. Amendment withdrawn.

:53:11.:53:19.

Consideration completed. Third reading, what day? Now. The question

:53:20.:53:25.

is the bill be read in the third time. Thank you, Madam Deputy

:53:26.:53:33.

Speaker. It's a pleasure to move the bill be read a third time and to

:53:34.:53:36.

thank honourable members for the contributions that have been made

:53:37.:53:40.

today, and to those who served on the bill committee. I don't intend

:53:41.:53:44.

to detain the house hugely, in terms of this third reading, but I do want

:53:45.:53:49.

to set out the wider purposes of this Bill and why I believe it's

:53:50.:53:52.

right that it's now receives its final approval from this House

:53:53.:53:57.

today. The whole purpose of the bill is to tackle a hole in the

:53:58.:54:01.

legislation that currently exists around broadcasting. There are three

:54:02.:54:08.

levels of radio, national, regional and larger local, and community. At

:54:09.:54:13.

the moment, three of them exist on the analogue frequencies. Two of

:54:14.:54:17.

them exist on the digital frequencies. And that's why it's now

:54:18.:54:22.

important to create an opportunity via the framework to have community

:54:23.:54:26.

stations to go onto digital. I very clear this Bill is not about forcing

:54:27.:54:32.

any station to go onto digital platform. If they wish to stay on

:54:33.:54:36.

the analogue platform. During the passage of this bill through this

:54:37.:54:39.

House and in committee we've had comments around future moves to have

:54:40.:54:44.

a switchover in the same way as we had with television some years ago,

:54:45.:54:48.

but that is not the intention of this bill, and those requirements

:54:49.:54:52.

are not in this Bill. I'd also be clear we do need to keep a

:54:53.:54:58.

flexibility in this Bill to allow the hundreds of different

:54:59.:55:01.

circumstances to be taken into account during the issue of

:55:02.:55:04.

individual licences. It would clearly be rather bizarre to say, as

:55:05.:55:11.

we don't do in any other community licence, that the idea of what might

:55:12.:55:15.

be an appropriate restriction to cover Croydon, which is almost the

:55:16.:55:20.

size of commentary -- Coventry but is an individual community in

:55:21.:55:23.

London, will be the same requirement in Whitehaven in Cumbria, where is

:55:24.:55:28.

actually the start I think the first place to switchover to digital TV,

:55:29.:55:32.

it would not be appropriate in that community to put in the same sort of

:55:33.:55:36.

restrictions we might think would be sensible and reasonable for a large

:55:37.:55:41.

suburban part of London. It's also worth noting that and I firmly

:55:42.:55:45.

believe is out there are because one of the points that has been made a

:55:46.:55:48.

few times during the process of this Bill is, is there a demand for this?

:55:49.:55:53.

It's all very well to sit here and legislate and say that we should

:55:54.:55:56.

have this. I'll come to the honourable member in a moment. Is

:55:57.:56:01.

there a demand? What we see from the ten small-scale trials as they are

:56:02.:56:06.

simple to operate and there is a demand and new choices are created.

:56:07.:56:10.

I give way. On that very point about digital technology, my honourable

:56:11.:56:14.

friend from Thirsk and Malton alluded to it earlier, in the Calder

:56:15.:56:20.

Valley we really do struggle with reception, so to allow community

:56:21.:56:25.

radios and small radio stations move onto digital, surely we have to have

:56:26.:56:28.

the technology in place first of all for them to do that. Thank you, I

:56:29.:56:33.

thank the honourable member for that intervention, and he's right. The

:56:34.:56:39.

thing is the technology actually exists. It's their, you can have

:56:40.:56:43.

small-scale broadcasting, particularly looking at for example

:56:44.:56:50.

the use of high buildings. If you put the transmission equipment on a

:56:51.:56:53.

tall building it takes out the cost of maintaining a large radio mast,

:56:54.:56:57.

the traditional type of broadcasting system we might think of. The

:56:58.:57:03.

technology exists, but ability to license it does not.

:57:04.:57:10.

What happens to the trial stations in the ten areas if we do not get on

:57:11.:57:17.

and legislate? They will end up closing. A trial system is not the

:57:18.:57:22.

proper way of regulating broadcasting in the long term. Yes,

:57:23.:57:27.

it can be used to create the trial areas and the feedback is it has

:57:28.:57:32.

gone down very well, but that cannot go on for ever. It needs to be

:57:33.:57:37.

brought to an end. I totally and utterly agree with that sentiment. I

:57:38.:57:43.

thank the honourable member for that statement. Sometimes in this chamber

:57:44.:57:47.

we are exchanging comments to each other that are not normally quite so

:57:48.:57:54.

supportive, so it is welcome. Thinking of the many diverse

:57:55.:57:57.

communities in east London who in reality are not going to go on to a

:57:58.:58:00.

London wide multiplex, they cannot do that. They will be able to get

:58:01.:58:08.

small-scale licences and provide competition to larger operations and

:58:09.:58:12.

they will be unique services with individual choice. I am delightful

:58:13.:58:16.

and delighted to have the support of the honourable member for this bill.

:58:17.:58:22.

I suspect we will be moving on to the third reading vote and I hope

:58:23.:58:28.

she will be shouting iMac in her usual style. There is an issue

:58:29.:58:43.

around could somebody own more than one small-scale multiplex? The

:58:44.:58:48.

suggestion was brought up by the honourable member for Cardiff West

:58:49.:58:52.

and the specific point on that would be if we restricted it to them only

:58:53.:58:57.

having one, we could tap bizarre outcomes. For example, in an area

:58:58.:59:04.

where more than one is needed, I would think in London one might be a

:59:05.:59:13.

good restriction. But for the British forces services, do we do

:59:14.:59:20.

that for one station, it would clearly be better for them to allow

:59:21.:59:25.

them to have more than one across the country in particular military

:59:26.:59:30.

bases. If you put restrictions in, we could see bizarre things

:59:31.:59:39.

happening like having to put in a structure that allows somebody to

:59:40.:59:47.

get around it. I am interested to hear the minister's thoughts on this

:59:48.:59:54.

point as well, how we stop it from being local and national media

:59:55.:00:00.

multiplex systems. If we were too strict on the bill, we would end up

:00:01.:00:04.

with having a situation where there would be some quite outcomes that

:00:05.:00:14.

were never intended. I hope when the bill heads to the other players,

:00:15.:00:19.

their Lordships will recognise that as well, why there is a specific

:00:20.:00:23.

reason why we have not put that restriction in on this bill. If ever

:00:24.:00:28.

in the future we decided to go for a switchover, we need to provide an

:00:29.:00:32.

option for companies who are not large-scale media conglomerates, but

:00:33.:00:37.

who do have more than one station. I hope in considering today's third

:00:38.:00:44.

reading that is taken into consideration. I look for the list

:00:45.:00:49.

of community radio stations that are out there who will get the first

:00:50.:00:53.

real chance to go onto DAB and there are so many of them and they are

:00:54.:00:58.

very diverse. They are in communities that struggle to get

:00:59.:01:03.

their voices heard. I hope when the bill gets the third reading they

:01:04.:01:08.

will see that as an encouragement to continue and a real positive for the

:01:09.:01:13.

future. That is why I am proud to have brought this bill to the floor

:01:14.:01:17.

of the House and I am hopeful today the House will agree to give its

:01:18.:01:20.

third reading and sent it on its way. Thank you very much, I will be

:01:21.:01:32.

short and pithy to give my fellow members a chance to speak to move

:01:33.:01:37.

the business on. I would like to thank the honourable member for

:01:38.:01:41.

Torbay for his expansive reason as to why he did not think my amendment

:01:42.:01:46.

was going to give any greater clarity to the bill. I have followed

:01:47.:01:51.

this with interest and I would like to think there is space for a

:01:52.:01:57.

community radio to have its full place and, like he said, to allow

:01:58.:02:02.

those such as the British forces, ethnic music to have its place

:02:03.:02:08.

within its community, so they can have a voice as well. There is an

:02:09.:02:15.

enthusiasm for small and commercial, independent stations to broadcast on

:02:16.:02:18.

DAB and I would like to hope they can do that without cost being a

:02:19.:02:25.

factor in why they do not and I hope this bill would enable this to

:02:26.:02:30.

happen. I would like to say that he has my support. I rise to support

:02:31.:02:39.

the reading of this bill and to congratulate the honourable member

:02:40.:02:42.

for Torbay for introducing this bill. It seems to me to be a bill

:02:43.:02:48.

which is very much on the cusp of very important new developments in

:02:49.:02:52.

the world of digital radio, helping to open up the market to community

:02:53.:02:59.

radio stations that want to broadcast on DAB. I particularly

:03:00.:03:11.

wanted to refer to a community radio station which is broadcasting to my

:03:12.:03:15.

constituency, the Black Country radio. As the honourable member for

:03:16.:03:22.

Torbay may know, the Black Country radio has been one of the smaller

:03:23.:03:28.

radio stations which has been taking part in the local DAV trial. They

:03:29.:03:35.

speak very positively of the benefits of the trial and they tell

:03:36.:03:41.

me that if they had wanted to broadcast over DAB before the trial

:03:42.:03:44.

had been introduced, it would have cost them thousands of pounds, that

:03:45.:03:53.

is an to that radio station. Now the Black Country community radio

:03:54.:03:56.

station is beginning to position itself as a vital source of local

:03:57.:04:01.

community news for the Black Country area, covering local politics and

:04:02.:04:09.

local community events. I am very hopeful that once this bill has

:04:10.:04:14.

passed through the other place and hopefully gets its third reading

:04:15.:04:18.

today, that the trial will be extended and this will allow the

:04:19.:04:26.

Black Country radio to continue to extend its reach as a very effective

:04:27.:04:33.

local community radio station. I think my honourable friend's bill is

:04:34.:04:39.

going to be a major contributing factor in enhancing the offer of the

:04:40.:04:43.

Black Country community radio station. As my honourable friend for

:04:44.:04:49.

Torbay pointed out, digital radio is a large growth market and there has

:04:50.:04:56.

been a proliferation of local radio stations which I want to tap into

:04:57.:05:03.

and I think this bill will be a very effective mechanism of stimulating

:05:04.:05:09.

that market. In the second quarter of 2016, we saw a large set of

:05:10.:05:14.

digital stations posting results for the first time and it showed that

:05:15.:05:19.

digital radio listening had reached a new high of 45.3%. We have seen

:05:20.:05:28.

considerable annual growth in audiences for digital radio, I

:05:29.:05:35.

growth of 4.5% over the last year. This bill allows small radio

:05:36.:05:41.

stations to take full advantage of the growth in this sector and I have

:05:42.:05:47.

already cited the example of the Black Country radio station. It will

:05:48.:05:52.

bring growth and prosperity to small radio stations and this will benefit

:05:53.:05:57.

the local community. The aim of this bill is ably articulated by the

:05:58.:06:02.

honourable member for Torbay is to create a system of radio and

:06:03.:06:08.

multiplexes. National multiplexes for UK wide transmission, local

:06:09.:06:12.

radio multiplexes and small-scale radio multiplexes for sub county

:06:13.:06:18.

level transmission. These three tier system with a lighter touch

:06:19.:06:21.

regulatory framework will open the market and bring with it the

:06:22.:06:26.

when it comes to the deregulation of when it comes to the deregulation of

:06:27.:06:34.

the industry. This bill also puts in place a provision which excludes

:06:35.:06:38.

larger radio stations, such as the BBC who have existing licences in

:06:39.:06:44.

either national or local radio multiplex services, from holding a

:06:45.:06:50.

small-scale multiplex licence. This helps to make sure that these new

:06:51.:06:56.

multiplex sites will not be abused by larger radio stations and ensures

:06:57.:07:00.

they can be used for the purposes they were intended, to let smaller

:07:01.:07:05.

radio stations see the benefits of using the DAB format. I would like

:07:06.:07:12.

to congratulate the honourable member for Torbay for steering this

:07:13.:07:16.

bill through to its third reading stage. I think it represents a very

:07:17.:07:22.

important modernisation of the existing licensing regime that will

:07:23.:07:27.

take into account the different needs of local radio stations,

:07:28.:07:33.

facilitating this creation of a richer market and a better

:07:34.:07:38.

broadcasting experience for the consumer. I think we would all agree

:07:39.:07:45.

that the current broadcasting act of 1996 has failed to keep pace with

:07:46.:07:49.

the recent technological developments and market changes we

:07:50.:07:54.

have seen and this bill is very important contribution to the of

:07:55.:07:59.

digital radio and I very much support the third reading of this

:08:00.:08:08.

bill. I would just like to congratulate my honourable friend

:08:09.:08:12.

from Torbay for bringing this legislation forward and for his deep

:08:13.:08:17.

understanding of the technologies that lie behind these fantastic

:08:18.:08:19.

evolutions in our broadcasting abilities. I will support this bill

:08:20.:08:28.

and particularly his reference to it creating more competition in the

:08:29.:08:33.

market. More commercial operators. It can be dominated by quite large

:08:34.:08:38.

national change even though they present themselves as local

:08:39.:08:45.

operators. If those operators do compete with those larger stations

:08:46.:08:50.

or networks for revenue from advertising, that can only be good

:08:51.:08:54.

for opportunities for local people and for more business people. But of

:08:55.:09:01.

course also community operators. I have an excellent community operator

:09:02.:09:08.

in my constituency called Valle Radio, who have a deep understanding

:09:09.:09:13.

of the local area. They are local people themselves and they regularly

:09:14.:09:21.

do slots on the local MP. They came down to see what happened on a

:09:22.:09:26.

typical MP's day. That local connection is incredibly important.

:09:27.:09:31.

To facilitate these smaller operators you need more affordable

:09:32.:09:34.

access and this is exactly what this is about, breaking down larger DAV

:09:35.:09:43.

areas into areas 60% smaller than the typical schemes available at the

:09:44.:09:47.

moment, which means it should be cheaper and more accessible. Putting

:09:48.:09:55.

bandwidth aside specifically for the small commercial operators and for

:09:56.:10:02.

community stations. As my honourable friend alluded to, these actual

:10:03.:10:08.

schemes, the equipment and the multiplexes themselves, can be

:10:09.:10:13.

provided by not for profit operators, which again will mean the

:10:14.:10:17.

accessibility and cost of access is more suitable for local community

:10:18.:10:26.

operators. They can have niche channels, but it very much relates

:10:27.:10:30.

to the local area in terms of content of their programmes and in

:10:31.:10:34.

terms of their local insights. Clearly there is demand, Madame

:10:35.:10:41.

Deputy Speaker, for these towels and for this spectrum. There are 444

:10:42.:10:49.

small commercial stations that would like to get onto DAB and do not have

:10:50.:10:56.

any access at the moment and this is a growing part of the broadcasting

:10:57.:11:00.

market, 45% of listeners today listen on digital. That will go to

:11:01.:11:06.

50% by the end of this year. It certainly is very significant in

:11:07.:11:11.

terms of its access to the market and its future in terms of how

:11:12.:11:16.

people will listen to radio in the future. One thing I would like to

:11:17.:11:24.

question to my honourable friend and the Minister is around the actual

:11:25.:11:30.

multiplex operators. Just in terms of the numbers of licences they can

:11:31.:11:35.

own, and I referred to this earlier in my intervention, to making sure

:11:36.:11:39.

we do not end up in a situation where you have a monopolistic

:11:40.:11:44.

situation with a media company who owns lots of these multiplexes and

:11:45.:11:50.

then has control over pricing, which is absolutely vital, making sure

:11:51.:11:53.

there is a restriction on the numbers of multiplexes that one

:11:54.:11:59.

licence holder can hold. At the same time we need to balance that with

:12:00.:12:06.

the need for investment. There is investment in terms of technology,

:12:07.:12:09.

equipment and staffing and you have to balance the two to make sure it

:12:10.:12:15.

delivers a solution and both the roll-out of these multiplexes,

:12:16.:12:18.

whilst making sure the community operators and the small commercial

:12:19.:12:25.

I'll keep this intervention fairly short. I'm conscious the front

:12:26.:12:30.

benches want to say something. In terms of reassure Hing Hing, look at

:12:31.:12:38.

subsection B, Ofcom will make provision as to the gullibility

:12:39.:12:42.

ability of eight small-scale license including persons holding national

:12:43.:12:47.

and local, if they felt a monopoly was emerging in an area used powers,

:12:48.:12:53.

but that's one for the detailed consultation on this point and

:12:54.:12:56.

reorder, rather than the bill itself. Yes, he makes a good point.

:12:57.:13:03.

Perhaps monopoly is too strong a word. Nevertheless, you could get in

:13:04.:13:07.

a situation of a hinterland, Weverton operator of these multiplex

:13:08.:13:11.

licences who has too strong a control, particularly in a given

:13:12.:13:18.

area. Just to put some protections in place to make sure that

:13:19.:13:21.

affordability of access remains. Whilst as I say, retaining an

:13:22.:13:24.

incentive for a commercial operator, because they may we be commercial

:13:25.:13:29.

operators who have the not-for-profit operators have still

:13:30.:13:32.

got that incentive to invest. I'd like to say and congratulate the

:13:33.:13:39.

Department for their foresight in starting this trial in 2014 and

:13:40.:13:44.

putting that time and investment in this new technology, which is

:13:45.:13:51.

leading to this potential roll-out and this new opportunity for a lot

:13:52.:13:54.

of commercial stations and for community operators, but just to

:13:55.:14:00.

conclude by really congratulate in a game my honourable friend for his

:14:01.:14:03.

deep understanding of the process of Parliament to get this far and he is

:14:04.:14:08.

nearly over the finishing line, but also his understanding of the

:14:09.:14:12.

technology. His work will help many, many operators and many commutative

:14:13.:14:18.

going forward. -- community is going forward. Thank you very much and my

:14:19.:14:24.

remarks at third reading today will also be fairly brief, since we've

:14:25.:14:27.

quite extensively discussed the Berlin committee and there's been a

:14:28.:14:32.

very good debate today, at report stage, and at third reading, and I

:14:33.:14:35.

know the honourable member and the government are as keen as we are by

:14:36.:14:40.

2pm to hear from my honourable friend. Therefore my remarks won't

:14:41.:14:46.

be overly extensive. The honourable gentleman for Torbay am I did

:14:47.:14:50.

congratulate him at the committee stage and I do again today, for

:14:51.:14:55.

bringing forward the bill and along its parliamentary journey. He said

:14:56.:14:58.

earlier on should those amendments have been accepted by the House

:14:59.:15:02.

there would be no chance to do anything about it later. That is not

:15:03.:15:06.

technically correct because his bill makes it down the other end of the

:15:07.:15:09.

building and they may have a different view and might have wanted

:15:10.:15:12.

to take out something we put in at this end of the building, but

:15:13.:15:15.

nevertheless they were amendments that were discussed, similar ones,

:15:16.:15:20.

at committee stage, and it will now before the other place to decide

:15:21.:15:23.

about the reassurances he's been able to give with regard to those

:15:24.:15:25.

amendments which are subsequently withdrawn. I do congratulate the

:15:26.:15:34.

honourable member for the bill. It was a noncontroversial hand-out bill

:15:35.:15:36.

from the government, but you still have to carry it effectively through

:15:37.:15:41.

its parliamentary stages and he indeed has done that, although it

:15:42.:15:44.

might possibly be not unfair to observe that there is a bill at

:15:45.:15:49.

committee stage in the other place right now, the Digital economy Bill,

:15:50.:15:54.

bit which it might have been a suitable part of, had it been ready

:15:55.:15:58.

in time for the government bill. We support this bill. We championed

:15:59.:16:03.

community radio whilst we were in government. We created the community

:16:04.:16:10.

radio order in 2004, establishing the community radio fund, and the

:16:11.:16:14.

bill continues that work by updating the infrastructure available to

:16:15.:16:17.

community radio stations and facilitating affordable access to

:16:18.:16:22.

digital frequencies. I'm sure most members of a House, particularly as

:16:23.:16:27.

we heard at second reading, have a community radio in their own

:16:28.:16:31.

constituency in mind throughout the debate, and I will, like others,

:16:32.:16:37.

paid tribute to my local radio station, Radio Cardiff. But

:16:38.:16:40.

community radio stations are agents for social good, they involve

:16:41.:16:46.

volunteers, engage listeners and contribute to social cohesion and

:16:47.:16:49.

any measure which supports these stations in extending their reach

:16:50.:16:53.

and expanding their impact is very welcome. So from this side of a

:16:54.:16:58.

House, we give our welcome to the bill and we will support it at third

:16:59.:17:05.

reading and hopefully send it on its way to a bright future in the other

:17:06.:17:09.

place and hopefully without too much further delay into law, so it makes

:17:10.:17:16.

the impact that undoubtedly will do at a local level in our

:17:17.:17:25.

constituencies. The minister. Thank you, and thank you for calling me on

:17:26.:17:30.

this important occasion. First, let me begin by taking this opportunity

:17:31.:17:34.

to congratulate my honourable friend. It's the first chance I've

:17:35.:17:38.

had the opportunity to soak for getting the broadcasting services

:17:39.:17:42.

bill through to this stage, through to third reading, and he has done an

:17:43.:17:46.

extremely detailed and thorough job with the bill. It's a great credit

:17:47.:17:50.

to him that this bill looks like it's going to pass into law without

:17:51.:17:54.

taking anything for granted in the other place of course. The

:17:55.:17:58.

government supports this bill, because it will enable the creation

:17:59.:18:03.

of an appropriate and low-cost licensing regime for the

:18:04.:18:07.

transmission of digital radio on a small scale. It will give small

:18:08.:18:12.

commercial and community stations a platform to broadcast on digital,

:18:13.:18:17.

which is currently beyond their reach, due to costs and constraints

:18:18.:18:23.

of the existing statutory re-theme. The detailed -- regime. The detail

:18:24.:18:27.

of how the new licensing regime will operate will be subject to full

:18:28.:18:30.

consultation that has been referred to earlier in the debate. But I

:18:31.:18:35.

would like to thank all the honourable members and my honourable

:18:36.:18:37.

friends for their very thoughtful contributions to the debate on this

:18:38.:18:42.

bill today and also in the previous sessions that we've had, in

:18:43.:18:47.

particular the honourable members for Aldridge-Brownhills, Thirsk and

:18:48.:18:51.

Malton, Calder Valley and Halesowen and Raleigh Regis. With your

:18:52.:18:58.

forbearance, there were some questions that have been raised that

:18:59.:19:02.

I just want to quickly try and deal with before we move on. My

:19:03.:19:07.

honourable friend the member for Bury St Edmunds asks the question

:19:08.:19:12.

about access for small community radio stations. I just wanted to

:19:13.:19:17.

reassure my honourable friend the aim is to provide a means for all

:19:18.:19:21.

small stations, especially community stations, to go digital. The

:19:22.:19:25.

builders allow us to put in protection to reserve capacity and

:19:26.:19:29.

exclude large operators, however this is done needs a very flexible

:19:30.:19:37.

approach. -- the bill does allow us. My honourable member the member for

:19:38.:19:41.

Thirsk and Malton asks a similar question. I can confirm to him the

:19:42.:19:46.

bill already gives Ofcom the power to exclude holders of existing local

:19:47.:19:50.

and national multiplex licence holders from taking licenses in

:19:51.:19:54.

small-scale digital radio multiplexes. This will stop large

:19:55.:19:59.

groups, particularly large media organisations, which operates

:20:00.:20:01.

digital radio multiplexes on a larger scale from holding small

:20:02.:20:05.

radio multiplexes. This will have the benefit of keeping down the cost

:20:06.:20:09.

of carriage on small-scale multiplexes because they will not be

:20:10.:20:13.

open to existing large scale commercial radio multiplex

:20:14.:20:18.

operators. The final question, which was raised by the honourable member

:20:19.:20:23.

for Cardiff West, was about why is this not in the Digital economy

:20:24.:20:28.

Bill. This has been dealt with before by my honourable friend the

:20:29.:20:33.

member for West Suffolk. He has said that DSM -- DC MS needed to see the

:20:34.:20:37.

conclusions of the Ofcom trials before we move to legislation. Ofcom

:20:38.:20:44.

didn't publish that evaluation until September 2016, which was several

:20:45.:20:48.

months after the introduction of the Digital economy Bill, which I think

:20:49.:20:52.

the honourable member knew anyway, but we'll move on from there. This

:20:53.:20:58.

must have repeatedly said how important local radio is to them --

:20:59.:21:05.

listeners have repeatedly said. We search in 2015 indicates 45% of

:21:06.:21:10.

local commercial radio listeners valued the local news on it and 35%

:21:11.:21:14.

value it for local travel and weather information. It's clear that

:21:15.:21:21.

radio remains a very popular medium, with industry figures indicating 90%

:21:22.:21:26.

of adult population listened to the radio each week and that overall

:21:27.:21:30.

listening to radio remained strong, with over 1 billion hours being

:21:31.:21:34.

consumed by adults in the UK each week. Although radio's popularity,

:21:35.:21:41.

measured by its reach and audience hours, have been stable over recent

:21:42.:21:45.

years, radio is changing. Listening on analogue is falling back, as DAB

:21:46.:21:52.

listening on platforms only continue to grow steadily. Currently, digital

:21:53.:21:58.

radio's share is 45.5%, as my friend for Torbay said, of all radio

:21:59.:22:03.

listening, and almost 60% of homes are now owning ADA DAB radio. The

:22:04.:22:12.

radio industry can't think this will continue and this means Digital will

:22:13.:22:15.

overtake analogue as the default listening mode in the near future.

:22:16.:22:20.

One of the drivers, almost literally, of this change, is new

:22:21.:22:25.

cars. Around 85% of new cars sold according to the Society of Motor

:22:26.:22:30.

Manufacturers and Traders, now have DAB radio is installed as standard

:22:31.:22:36.

and according to digital radio UK, one quarter of all in car radio

:22:37.:22:40.

listening is digital. This is behind total listening growing at 39% a

:22:41.:22:45.

year. I'd also endorse what might honourable friends and said about

:22:46.:22:50.

the important role played by local radio stations. Small commercial and

:22:51.:22:54.

community radio stations continue to provide an important means of

:22:55.:22:58.

informing and engaging with their communities, as well as providing

:22:59.:23:02.

entertaining, popular and lively programming. So government

:23:03.:23:05.

recognises the importance of smaller stations to their local communities,

:23:06.:23:10.

and we have been aware for some time of the desire for small commercial

:23:11.:23:14.

and community radio stations to have a route to broadcast on a digital

:23:15.:23:18.

platform, which meets their needs. This is the objective behind this

:23:19.:23:22.

bill, to give smaller stations the ability to broadcast on digital. A

:23:23.:23:27.

key success of the small-scale multiplex trials, set up by Ofcom,

:23:28.:23:32.

has been the strong support from smaller stations, including

:23:33.:23:34.

community radio and the way that they've all worked together. The

:23:35.:23:40.

majority of trial small-scale multiplexes are full, or nearly

:23:41.:23:44.

full. The development of a lair of small-scale multiplexes will provide

:23:45.:23:49.

the answer in most cases for how to provide the 400 small commercial and

:23:50.:23:53.

community radio stations currently transmitting to their local areas on

:23:54.:23:59.

FM or medium wave, with the opportunity to broadcast cost

:24:00.:24:03.

effectively on a digital platform. The development of a tier of

:24:04.:24:07.

small-scale DAB networks across the country could also attract new

:24:08.:24:11.

entrants to launch radio services. Some with successful programme

:24:12.:24:15.

formats from prior experience of broadcasting via the Internet.

:24:16.:24:21.

Overall we think the development is likely to result in a wider

:24:22.:24:25.

selection of stations and programme content for listeners, which I think

:24:26.:24:30.

we will all agree can only be a really positive thing. This will

:24:31.:24:35.

create new audiences for advertisers and sponsors, facilitating growth in

:24:36.:24:41.

the sector. The government welcomes this bill. And supports it, as it

:24:42.:24:50.

moves to the other place. It's had a very strong airing in this place and

:24:51.:24:55.

we hope the other place will give the bill a fair wind, given its

:24:56.:24:59.

limited but extremely targeted scope. The cross-party support,

:25:00.:25:04.

including all honourable members here today, and the reassurances

:25:05.:25:08.

that have been given by me and the honourable member for Torbay today,

:25:09.:25:15.

thank you. With the leave of the House can I thank those members who

:25:16.:25:19.

spoken and particularly the support that has just been received from the

:25:20.:25:23.

government to this bill. I think this is a welcome measure that will

:25:24.:25:27.

make a difference to so many communities across the country, and

:25:28.:25:30.

I'm pleased it will be going up with cross-party support, not least given

:25:31.:25:33.

the position in terms of the balance in the other place. This is a bill

:25:34.:25:36.

that will have an impact across the whole of the United Kingdom. The

:25:37.:25:39.

bill we've just finished discussing is one that will cover the whole UK

:25:40.:25:45.

and will bring a real benefit of listening, creativity and diversity

:25:46.:25:51.

and ultimately jobs to all parts of the United Kingdom. But I'm

:25:52.:25:54.

conscious that time is marching on. There's another bill that I'm keen

:25:55.:25:59.

to hear in a minute and to make some supportive remarks on, so with that

:26:00.:26:03.

I'll thank all members who have spoken and allow the question to be

:26:04.:26:09.

put. The question is that the Bill be now read the third time. As many

:26:10.:26:12.

are of the opinion, say "aye". To the contrary, "no". I think the ayes

:26:13.:26:27.

have it, the ayes have it. Order. Child Poverty in the UK (Target for

:26:28.:26:36.

Reduction) Bill second reading. Child Poverty in the UK (Target for

:26:37.:26:38.

Reduction) Bill, Mr Jarvis. I beg to move that the bill be read

:26:39.:26:50.

a second time. It is a privilege to have the opportunity to debate my

:26:51.:26:54.

bill on the floor of the House today. This bill seeks to establish

:26:55.:26:59.

a target for the reduction of child poverty because it is a fundamental

:27:00.:27:02.

principle of fairness that every child should have the best start in

:27:03.:27:08.

life. One of the great privileges of serving in Parliament is the broad

:27:09.:27:12.

range of people you get the opportunity to meet. Kelly Louise, a

:27:13.:27:17.

remarkable ten-year-old, stands out as someone who bravely shared her

:27:18.:27:19.

experiences of growing up in poverty. She spoke of the stresses

:27:20.:27:28.

poverty imposed on her family, how that affected her and the coping

:27:29.:27:32.

mechanisms she used to make life liveable. From what you wear to

:27:33.:27:37.

school, to the home you return to, she conveyed her poverty shapes so

:27:38.:27:42.

much of a young person's life. When you see poverty through the lens of

:27:43.:27:47.

children, the solutions become a little clearer and more urgent. That

:27:48.:27:52.

is the reason why I served in Parliament, to ensure that where you

:27:53.:27:55.

are bored is no barrier to your future. Is the honourable member

:27:56.:28:03.

aware that the Joseph Rowntree Foundation issued figures which

:28:04.:28:07.

indicated that while most of the population in poverty will be

:28:08.:28:12.

decreasing by 2021, four children it will increase? My honourable friend

:28:13.:28:17.

speaks with great authority on these matters and I am aware of those

:28:18.:28:21.

figures and I will refer to them later on in my speech, but I am

:28:22.:28:28.

grateful for her intervention. I was making the point the reason all of

:28:29.:28:32.

us in this house served in Parliament is to ensure that where

:28:33.:28:35.

you grow up does not determine where you end up. As a member of

:28:36.:28:41.

Parliament for Barnsley Central, it is a huge privilege to work to

:28:42.:28:46.

ensure that children who grow up in my constituency get the same life

:28:47.:28:51.

opportunities as more other affluent parts of the country. Today I will

:28:52.:28:56.

make the case that our shared duty means that in 2017 no child in

:28:57.:29:01.

Britain should have to grow up in poverty. I will set out some of the

:29:02.:29:06.

challenges facing those children and their families, because if we are to

:29:07.:29:11.

take the required steps for poverty to be no longer an everyday reality

:29:12.:29:22.

for children in Britain, we must recognise the realities of modern

:29:23.:29:24.

poverty and we must develop solutions which are coordinated and

:29:25.:29:27.

prioritised, building partnerships with communities, employers and

:29:28.:29:32.

devolved administrations. As in life if you want to achieve something in

:29:33.:29:37.

government, it is useful to set a target. It is a starting point upon

:29:38.:29:42.

which a renewed effort can be built. The measures contained within that

:29:43.:29:47.

target and policies required to achieve it should rightly be at

:29:48.:29:52.

length. But my bill intends to establish the principle rather than

:29:53.:29:57.

be prescriptive. In doing so I deferred to the advice of the House

:29:58.:30:04.

of commons library to note, targets let those responsible for delivery

:30:05.:30:07.

know what needs to happen so they can plan, monitor and deliver. Does

:30:08.:30:15.

he agree with me if you do not meet your targets and you change your

:30:16.:30:17.

actions, you do not change your targets. I am grateful again to my

:30:18.:30:24.

honourable friend who speaks with real authority on this matter. I

:30:25.:30:29.

absolutely agree with what she is saying. Let us be clear, this house

:30:30.:30:36.

has previously united behind that principle, most notably in the

:30:37.:30:39.

passing of the 2010 child poverty act. I congratulate him on bringing

:30:40.:30:46.

forward this important bill. He is right to emphasise the importance of

:30:47.:30:52.

targets and targets work. When Labour set its targets to reduce

:30:53.:30:56.

child poverty by a quarter by 2005 and have by 2010, when we saw

:30:57.:31:04.

progress falling back, action needed to be taken, which resulted in more

:31:05.:31:09.

than a million children being removed from poverty. I honourable

:31:10.:31:15.

friend speaks with huge knowledge and authority on this matter and she

:31:16.:31:20.

is absolutely right. Today represents an opportunity for all of

:31:21.:31:24.

us here to send out a clear statement of intent, that our goal

:31:25.:31:29.

is that no child should have to grow up in poverty and we will hold

:31:30.:31:34.

ourselves accountable and measure progress through the target we seek

:31:35.:31:39.

to set. But why is it so urgent that we do so? The Resolution Foundation

:31:40.:31:45.

highlights falling living standards among the least well off. It is a

:31:46.:31:49.

combination of rising inflation, welfare cuts and lower pay

:31:50.:31:55.

increases. They warn for the purist this time of Parliament will be the

:31:56.:31:59.

worst for living standards since records began and the worst since

:32:00.:32:06.

1980s for inequality. I wonder if my honourable friend agrees that a

:32:07.:32:10.

growing problem in our country now is child poverty where parents are

:32:11.:32:17.

working? I would agree with my honourable friend, she has

:32:18.:32:19.

anticipated some of the remarks I will come to very quickly, but I am

:32:20.:32:26.

grateful for her intervention. I was referring to a recent report from

:32:27.:32:29.

the Resolution Foundation. I would like to refer to a landmark report

:32:30.:32:36.

from the Royal College of paediatrics and Child health. They

:32:37.:32:40.

highlight the stark inequalities between children of different

:32:41.:32:43.

backgrounds and the effect of poverty in worsening children's

:32:44.:32:52.

Hell. -- health. He has drawn attention to the importance of

:32:53.:32:56.

targets for child poverty and I agree with him about the impact of

:32:57.:33:02.

those targets when Tony Blair set them in 1999. One of the reason we

:33:03.:33:06.

are going backwards is because targets have been abolished by

:33:07.:33:11.

governments since 2010. My right honourable friend speaks because of

:33:12.:33:16.

experience of implementing a target in government and we are grateful

:33:17.:33:21.

for the work he has done. He is right, the reality is if any

:33:22.:33:25.

government was serious about reducing the number of children

:33:26.:33:29.

growing up in poverty, they would seek to set themselves a target.

:33:30.:33:34.

That takes us to the essence of what this debate is about. But I am

:33:35.:33:39.

confident that every member of this house serves constituents who live

:33:40.:33:44.

in poverty. Every member of Parliament has considerable numbers

:33:45.:33:48.

of constituents who grow up in poverty. All of us in this place

:33:49.:33:53.

should and will be aware of the many challenges faced by families right

:33:54.:33:58.

across the country. Times are hard and for many money is short. In

:33:59.:34:04.

Britain today on average nine children in a classroom of 30 grow

:34:05.:34:09.

up in poverty. For those 4 million children it can mean living in a

:34:10.:34:14.

cold and cramped home, falling behind in school and suffering ill

:34:15.:34:19.

health later in life. Today we have an opportunity to make a clear

:34:20.:34:23.

commitment to do right by those children because feelings of concern

:34:24.:34:28.

and insecurity about our future direction as a country are becoming

:34:29.:34:35.

commonplace. This is not just about the Brexit debate, it extends to a

:34:36.:34:40.

fundamental question of what we are prepared to tolerate as a society.

:34:41.:34:44.

Ipsos Mori regularly surveys the public to ask about the top issues

:34:45.:34:50.

facing Britain. One in five people now highlight poverty as one of the

:34:51.:34:55.

biggest challenges facing our country. The anxiety has increased

:34:56.:34:58.

significantly in recent times and it now stands at the highest level

:34:59.:35:05.

since the question was first asked in 1997. In these uncertain times we

:35:06.:35:10.

face a defining challenge in order to provide greater security to our

:35:11.:35:17.

families and calling time on child poverty must be fundamental to that.

:35:18.:35:21.

Without a change in approach, the ISS predict that by 2020, levels of

:35:22.:35:26.

relative child poverty will increase by 50%. The reality may be starker.

:35:27.:35:34.

Greater economic uncertainty, rising costs and lower pay growth mean the

:35:35.:35:39.

ISS conclude that the outlook for poverty is almost certainly worse.

:35:40.:35:44.

That is a wake-up call to a looming crisis. Ever increasing child

:35:45.:35:49.

poverty is not inevitable, it is a result of political choices. When

:35:50.:35:56.

child poverty rose sharply in the 1980s and peaked in the late 1990s

:35:57.:36:02.

before falling very significantly, the previous government, which

:36:03.:36:07.

happen to be Labour, showed us how that can be achieved, delivering the

:36:08.:36:10.

biggest achievement of any EU nation in tackling child poverty, to lift 1

:36:11.:36:17.

million children out of poverty. It did not happen by accident. The

:36:18.:36:20.

government set themselves a target and made achieving it a target.

:36:21.:36:31.

Investment in early years education, start care, support was expanded for

:36:32.:36:35.

families so they could enjoy greater control over their lives and greater

:36:36.:36:41.

security in their finances. Policies including the tax credit system and

:36:42.:36:45.

the doubling of the amount of maternity leave taken, all of this

:36:46.:36:49.

was supported by the child poverty unit which has now been quietly

:36:50.:36:54.

disbanded by the government. That cross departmental unit,

:36:55.:37:00.

co-sponsored by the Department for Education, work and pensions and the

:37:01.:37:05.

Treasury, held a special status. He recognised that action against child

:37:06.:37:10.

poverty required across government approach. Its closure risked giving

:37:11.:37:16.

the impression that tackling child poverty has been downgraded. Setting

:37:17.:37:21.

a target can help put that right. It would demonstrate the seriousness of

:37:22.:37:24.

purpose and determination to stop more children living in poverty

:37:25.:37:29.

because we have a duty to this generation to make progress on

:37:30.:37:34.

addressing child poverty once again. I am grateful. He mentioned the

:37:35.:37:41.

Royal College of paediatrics' report a moment ago. Was he aware that they

:37:42.:37:48.

found we had one of the worst levels in infant mortality in Western

:37:49.:37:53.

Europe? Eliminating child poverty would save the lives of 1400

:37:54.:38:00.

children under 15 years old a year. I am grateful to my honourable

:38:01.:38:04.

friend, not only for that incredibly important point she has made, but

:38:05.:38:08.

for her unstinting support throughout this process. That is a

:38:09.:38:13.

shocking statistic, it brings shame on our country, and collectively we

:38:14.:38:19.

have to strive to do much better. This bill is about providing an

:38:20.:38:23.

opportunity for government, for all of us, to seek to do much better. I

:38:24.:38:30.

will give way. I wonder if he has seen the analysis of the end child

:38:31.:38:35.

poverty coalition showing that since 2010 the cost of living has gone up

:38:36.:38:41.

by 19%, the state pension has gone up by 22% and child benefit by 2%.

:38:42.:38:48.

Does that not indicate where this child poverty statistic has arisen?

:38:49.:38:52.

I honourable friend put his finger on the nub of the problem. Those in

:38:53.:38:58.

work are increasingly struggling to make ends meet and that is what this

:38:59.:39:02.

debate is about, how we can provide support to those families. I thank

:39:03.:39:09.

the honourable member and as somebody who grew up in a family

:39:10.:39:14.

that was rich in love, but not in money, can I welcome him bringing

:39:15.:39:19.

this bill to the floor today. Sometimes my comments are about IQ

:39:20.:39:22.

anger, but no alternative, so it is welcome to hear examples of

:39:23.:39:31.

alternatives. I hope in a few moments he will be able to hear a

:39:32.:39:35.

few more alternative proposals coming from myself. Forgive me. I

:39:36.:39:42.

will make more progress. A target provides a strong foundation for a

:39:43.:39:46.

wider approach which matches the complexity of the causes of poverty

:39:47.:39:50.

today. I will briefly set out proposals contained in my bill. My

:39:51.:39:55.

bill will ask the government to consult with the social mobility

:39:56.:39:58.

commission to decide the date by which the target should be met. It

:39:59.:40:04.

is not prescriptive in all of the poverty measures this target should

:40:05.:40:08.

include, it requires the Secretary of State to bring forward a proposal

:40:09.:40:13.

to allow for a range of measures to be considered, including the

:40:14.:40:18.

government's indicators of children living in workless households and

:40:19.:40:22.

educational attainment at age 16. I am clear it should include reference

:40:23.:40:27.

to the four established measures of poverty based on income because it

:40:28.:40:32.

is a central factor in meeting children's needs. Income measures

:40:33.:40:36.

which have enjoyed cross-party support and the recording of which

:40:37.:40:40.

which was placed on a statutory footing by the coalition. As my

:40:41.:40:46.

honourable friend alluded to money is not everything, but that does not

:40:47.:40:50.

mean it is nothing. A target should recognise that. In order to ensure

:40:51.:40:57.

accountability to the target, my bill requires the government to lay

:40:58.:41:01.

before Parliament a child poverty strategy, setting out the measures

:41:02.:41:04.

the government will take to meet the target. I thank the honourable

:41:05.:41:11.

member. Does he agree with me that the government could learn from the

:41:12.:41:16.

Welsh Labour government that acknowledged in 2011 there should be

:41:17.:41:21.

a strategy around tackling child poverty with five key areas for

:41:22.:41:25.

improvement? They are making their way towards achieving those goals,

:41:26.:41:29.

but the government could learn from the Labour government in Wales. He

:41:30.:41:36.

is right, there is a lot of incredibly constructive work going

:41:37.:41:40.

on around the country. In Wales, Scotland and in other parts of

:41:41.:41:44.

Britain as well and collectively we all have a responsibility and a duty

:41:45.:41:47.

to look at that and learn from it and spread is best practice across

:41:48.:41:52.

the country. There would be a strategy setting

:41:53.:42:01.

out the measures the government will take to meet the target and

:42:02.:42:04.

crucially to report on progress towards meeting it. Now is the time

:42:05.:42:10.

to make an unambiguous -- unambiguous commitment to reduce

:42:11.:42:13.

child poverty and to measure our progress through setting a target.

:42:14.:42:16.

The social and economic costs of failure are too great to risk and a

:42:17.:42:22.

target can help to coordinate an approach across government, so

:42:23.:42:25.

reducing poverty should be incorporated into strategy is being

:42:26.:42:29.

developed on social justice, housing and industrial policy. The issue of

:42:30.:42:38.

child poverty is one that affects members of both sides of this House

:42:39.:42:44.

and I really welcome him and his bill coming forward today and I'd

:42:45.:42:46.

like to congratulate him on that and to make the point in looking at the

:42:47.:42:50.

Bill, does he acknowledge that there are many other factors that could be

:42:51.:42:54.

looked at as well, one we're looking at poverty. Not just income, but

:42:55.:42:58.

things such as rural poverty as well, that affects many children

:42:59.:43:03.

around the country. I'm grateful for that intervention. She's right. What

:43:04.:43:07.

I've done so far in this speech is outlined the moral case for action

:43:08.:43:11.

on poverty, but also there's a sound economic one as well. We should

:43:12.:43:17.

recognise that focus is necessary, in order to build an economy that

:43:18.:43:22.

really works for everyone. Action on child poverty today can strengthen

:43:23.:43:26.

our economy, improve productivity and reduce pressures on the public

:43:27.:43:32.

purse. Both the IMF and the OECD have highlighted how poverty acts as

:43:33.:43:36.

a drag on economic growth, reducing poverty will also strengthen our

:43:37.:43:42.

economy. Not least because the less well-off households spend more of

:43:43.:43:46.

the money they receive than those which are better off. When we hear

:43:47.:43:50.

about those who are, as the Prime Minister described them, just about

:43:51.:43:54.

managing, we must all seek to understand the reality of those

:43:55.:43:59.

people's lives. Many families are just one bill away from finding

:44:00.:44:02.

themselves struggling. Those families have been feeling the

:44:03.:44:06.

squeeze four years, with half of households seeing no meaningful

:44:07.:44:12.

increase in pay since 2005. Over the last decade, real earnings have

:44:13.:44:16.

fallen by more than 10%, which the TUC points out leaves the UK equal

:44:17.:44:22.

bottom league table amongst OECD nations, joint only with Greece.

:44:23.:44:27.

This has been the longest pay squeeze in over a century. Poverty

:44:28.:44:32.

also increases the demand on the public purse, being responsible for

:44:33.:44:38.

one in every ?5 of public spending, put simply, poverty will make it

:44:39.:44:41.

even harder to balance the books in the future. I will give way. A quick

:44:42.:44:49.

point, it isn't just about now, but poverty amongst children creates

:44:50.:44:52.

conditions in which those children don't thrive in the future. And

:44:53.:44:56.

actually, it will cost us more in the future dealing with the poverty

:44:57.:45:02.

that are children are experiencing today, food, education, prosperity,

:45:03.:45:06.

health, etc. Absolutely. My honourable friend is absolutely

:45:07.:45:10.

right. This is about investing in our future as a country. Research

:45:11.:45:14.

from the Joseph Rowntree foundation estimates that the annual cost to

:45:15.:45:19.

the public purse comes to ?78 billion. That's why it's penny wise

:45:20.:45:24.

but Pound foolish to cut investment in early years interventions. I'm

:45:25.:45:29.

going to make a bit of progress, if I may. It is therefore with some

:45:30.:45:34.

concern that the House of Commons library analysis shows that since

:45:35.:45:37.

2010, investment in sure start children's centres have been cut by

:45:38.:45:43.

half. That has resulted in over 300 local centres closing. Those social

:45:44.:45:47.

challenges of poverty, gaps between the richest and the rest of our

:45:48.:45:51.

society in our schools, and with poor health, all come with economic

:45:52.:46:00.

costs. As well as we -- redirecting public spending, poverty makes it

:46:01.:46:03.

harder to achieve the productivity gains that workers and the economy

:46:04.:46:06.

desperately need. This matters, because for too many families, work

:46:07.:46:11.

no longer pays. Two thirds of children in poverty grow up in the

:46:12.:46:15.

home where at least one parent works. So while the government

:46:16.:46:18.

rightly highlights the role that work can play in moving people out

:46:19.:46:24.

of poverty, taking a comrades approach requires action to support

:46:25.:46:28.

those trapped on low incomes, so they can progress into better paid

:46:29.:46:32.

jobs -- copper heads of approach. Four in five people who went to

:46:33.:46:38.

low-paid work remained low paid ten years later. The upcoming industrial

:46:39.:46:42.

strategy can two steps to support those workers. It should feature a

:46:43.:46:46.

plan to support low-wage industries and government can also play a role

:46:47.:46:50.

by bringing together employers and trade unions to focus on raising

:46:51.:46:55.

productivity, which is the key to increasing pay. Localised pay

:46:56.:47:00.

commissions could also play a role in areas dominated by low pay. By

:47:01.:47:06.

taking action now on low pay we can recognise the realities of the

:47:07.:47:10.

modern world of work for so many and in doing so reduce child poverty.

:47:11.:47:16.

There is vital work under way across the country to support families who

:47:17.:47:21.

have hit hard times. In my Barnsley constituency, the local anti-poverty

:47:22.:47:26.

board, led by Councillor Jenny Platts wings together local partners

:47:27.:47:30.

to support residents. They identify those families most in need, then

:47:31.:47:36.

target resources to provide debt advice, information on Fuel Poverty

:47:37.:47:39.

Action to sound healthy eating programmes. Despite that local

:47:40.:47:43.

effort, more than one in four children grow up in poverty and

:47:44.:47:48.

Barnsley. So today, I stand here to give a voice to those 5114 children.

:47:49.:47:54.

I would like to take this opportunity to place on record my

:47:55.:47:59.

thanks to the child poverty action group, who have long campaigned on

:48:00.:48:03.

this issue and I'm very proud to have their support for my bill. I'd

:48:04.:48:07.

also like to thank the Parliamentary clerks and those many stakeholders

:48:08.:48:10.

who have lent support through this process. I will give way. I'm

:48:11.:48:14.

grateful to my honourable friend for giving way. He's making incredibly

:48:15.:48:18.

powerful speech. We'll see also join me in welcoming the work the

:48:19.:48:23.

anti-poverty charities like Magic Breakfast do, who are providing

:48:24.:48:27.

primary school breakfast clubs to tackle child poverty. Does he agree

:48:28.:48:31.

with me that we shouldn't need charity to make sure that children

:48:32.:48:35.

are well fed or well closed, or that families have the right level of

:48:36.:48:39.

income? These are structural issues with our economy and its vital

:48:40.:48:42.

government not only commits to a target, but the action to rebalance

:48:43.:48:47.

our economy in a fair away. My honourable friend makes an important

:48:48.:48:50.

point and I'm sure all others on this side and I hope many others on

:48:51.:48:55.

the other side of the House will absolutely agree with him. What it

:48:56.:48:58.

does neatly as take me really to the nub of this issue. I brought this

:48:59.:49:03.

bill forward because millions of children in Britain need real

:49:04.:49:08.

change. Poverty destroys childhoods and limits futures. Ending that

:49:09.:49:12.

burning injustice should be a defining mission for the government.

:49:13.:49:17.

A century ago, Joseph Rowntree demanded action on poverty. He made

:49:18.:49:21.

the case to a Liberal government that the prevalence of poverty in

:49:22.:49:25.

Britain would undermine its continued presence as a world power.

:49:26.:49:32.

That sense of national purpose, in tackling poverty, was also witnessed

:49:33.:49:35.

most memorably during our country's darkest hours. In 1942, in the

:49:36.:49:42.

middle of a world war, Winston Churchill's coalition government

:49:43.:49:45.

published the beverage Report. It defined in national minutes --

:49:46.:49:50.

mission that would follow in peace time under Clement Attlee. Today, at

:49:51.:49:55.

moment of great uncertainty for our country that at any time since,

:49:56.:49:58.

ending poverty once again deserves to be unrelenting effort. Brexit

:49:59.:50:06.

should not be used as an excuse for inaction. Instead, it should provide

:50:07.:50:10.

the reason for a new approach. Britain's place in the world

:50:11.:50:14.

tomorrow will be brighter if we focus on child poverty today.

:50:15.:50:19.

Solving this historic problem should be part of a modern national

:50:20.:50:24.

mission. Our success as a country will increasingly require is to meet

:50:25.:50:29.

our duty to those who are left behind, to provide security,

:50:30.:50:35.

opportunity and hope to those who need it most. To end poverty so that

:50:36.:50:39.

every child can realise their potential. That has to be our

:50:40.:50:45.

ambition. It should be that unites us all, so letters set ourselves

:50:46.:50:52.

that target once more. Thank you. The question is that the bill be now

:50:53.:51:00.

read a second time. Kate Green. I'm going to speak only for a very short

:51:01.:51:04.

time come because time is very tight. I warmly welcome this very

:51:05.:51:08.

important legislation. Prior to entering this house I was part of a

:51:09.:51:14.

coalition of well over 100 organisations that came together in

:51:15.:51:17.

the end child poverty campaign, to Professor -- to press for the

:51:18.:51:21.

legislation that was eventually passed in this Parliament and became

:51:22.:51:25.

the 2010 child poverty act. That set out both targets for the reduction

:51:26.:51:29.

of child poverty across a range as my honourable friend has said of

:51:30.:51:34.

four measures, not just one, but a range of targets, but more

:51:35.:51:40.

importantly still perhaps, it also highlighted the need for cross

:51:41.:51:43.

government and cross civil society strategies to address all the

:51:44.:51:47.

dimensions of poverty, housing, education, employment, parenting and

:51:48.:51:52.

child well-being. What we saw between 1997 and 2010, as Labour set

:51:53.:51:57.

about reducing child poverty and set targets for doing so, is that

:51:58.:52:00.

targets are the most powerful tool we have for driving progress and

:52:01.:52:07.

measuring and taking action when progress falters. It's right that

:52:08.:52:11.

the government continues to emphasise the importance of

:52:12.:52:14.

addressing poverty with its new measures, but when two thirds of

:52:15.:52:18.

children in poverty are growing up in families where someone is in paid

:52:19.:52:21.

work I just have to say to the Minister that a target that simply

:52:22.:52:25.

looks at worthlessness misses one of the key and perhaps most disgraceful

:52:26.:52:33.

aspects of child poverty today. No working parent should be struggling

:52:34.:52:36.

to provide for and care for their children. That shames our country.

:52:37.:52:41.

It shames a country as rich as ours that one in four children continues

:52:42.:52:45.

to grow up poor. I know that there is consensus right round the House

:52:46.:52:50.

for the importance of the Bill that my honourable friend brings forward

:52:51.:52:55.

this afternoon. We need more than warm words. We need media sold

:52:56.:53:00.

targets established in legislation, committed to by government and the

:53:01.:53:04.

determination of policies and the resources to achieve them. It can be

:53:05.:53:12.

done, it must be. Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. I did debate on my

:53:13.:53:16.

mind giving time whether to get up but I understand the Minister has

:53:17.:53:19.

quite a few remarks to make any way, which would take us through the

:53:20.:53:24.

time. I wanted from this bench, there was a response to an excellent

:53:25.:53:28.

speech from the member for Barnsley Central in moving this bill and I

:53:29.:53:33.

made perhaps complements him, it's pleasing to hear that sort of

:53:34.:53:36.

quality of performance from those benches at this time on a Friday

:53:37.:53:39.

than it would be to hear it just after 12 o'clock on a Wednesday,

:53:40.:53:43.

with six questions to pursue your agenda. In terms of what is set out,

:53:44.:53:47.

I think it's welcome that there's a bill before the house about looking

:53:48.:53:51.

at how we target reductions of child poverty. I look at my own

:53:52.:53:57.

constituency, particularly parts have very high levels. I have an

:53:58.:54:02.

area like a poor man's sandbanks, the large numbers are quite wealthy

:54:03.:54:06.

retirees live, and the other side of the hill a large number of working

:54:07.:54:09.

families, particularly working families who work in lower paid

:54:10.:54:13.

industries such as tourism and the care sector. So for me it is welcome

:54:14.:54:18.

to see the debates and some of the ideas on it. One of the things I've

:54:19.:54:22.

always had is thought we might don't just look at relative incomes.

:54:23.:54:26.

Probably the honourable will agree, just to have a debate or a target

:54:27.:54:31.

that reflects actually those on the lowest incomes may not change, but

:54:32.:54:36.

if others come down in theory relative poverty has disappeared.

:54:37.:54:41.

However, if you've got, for me it's about those on the lowest incomes

:54:42.:54:43.

are coming up, getting more opportunities and getting more

:54:44.:54:52.

ability. I reiterate fully and also would like to say how important this

:54:53.:54:57.

is and how it affects all of those within our constituencies. For me,

:54:58.:55:02.

its rural poverty that is a real big problem, because we also like rural

:55:03.:55:07.

services, buses, the ability for children's life chances to lift

:55:08.:55:10.

themselves, but I would like to say that I agree with the honourable

:55:11.:55:14.

member for Stratford and Urmston that this is a complex issue,

:55:15.:55:18.

because house prices and rental prices has an acute place to play

:55:19.:55:24.

here. Absolutely, I would fully agree, and if you are living in a

:55:25.:55:29.

wealthy rural community and you are in poverty there's a sense of social

:55:30.:55:33.

isolation as well. You will be at school having your friends having

:55:34.:55:37.

certain things and what others are getting, and at schools, the point I

:55:38.:55:42.

going to make, this sort of bill could be developed in future

:55:43.:55:47.

sessions to include what we do around educational attainment

:55:48.:55:50.

because one big thing we see almost a double hit of poverty that someone

:55:51.:55:55.

grows up in a family where there is deprivation, but then those on free

:55:56.:56:00.

school meals don't do well in our education system and I can remember

:56:01.:56:03.

was hearing or speech from the member for Surrey Heath in which he

:56:04.:56:07.

pointed out that less pupils in the entire cohort of free school meals

:56:08.:56:14.

had got three Days the passport to a top university, than had actually

:56:15.:56:18.

got out of Eton, just one group, soak I'm aware of the time but I was

:56:19.:56:23.

conscious to minister would have spoken to the mark anyway, but I

:56:24.:56:27.

felt from these benches we had why this bill is something that's not

:56:28.:56:31.

just Labour members are pleased to see, not just the Scottish party

:56:32.:56:34.

members but the ones that backbenchers will be pleased see and

:56:35.:56:38.

why I hope it will be taken forward another time. Order. Order, the

:56:39.:56:44.

debate to be resumed what day. The 24th of February, Madam Deputy

:56:45.:56:49.

Speaker. Friday the 24th of February. Point of order.

:56:50.:57:01.

My bill was due to be read for the second time today, but that has not

:57:02.:57:09.

been the case. I want to thank the 100,000 members of the public who

:57:10.:57:12.

have signed a petition, but I want to recognise Tim 's poor families

:57:13.:57:24.

who have travelled to be here today. The government which will object to

:57:25.:57:28.

the bill, but there is lots of support for this across the House,

:57:29.:57:31.

even from the honourable gentleman himself, and I am working by the

:57:32.:57:36.

government. Today is not the day, but there will be a day for Helen's

:57:37.:57:43.

law. I understand the point the honourable gentleman is making. He

:57:44.:57:47.

knows that from the chair I cannot as a matter of order do anything

:57:48.:57:55.

about the fact that this bill has not yet been reached. But I also

:57:56.:58:02.

appreciate it is sometimes difficult for those who do not have a full

:58:03.:58:06.

grasp of Parliamentary procedures, which is most people... How true. As

:58:07.:58:17.

honourable members indicate that includes a great number of people

:58:18.:58:23.

who sit in this house, but the point I would like to make to the

:58:24.:58:27.

honourable gentleman is that the fact that his bill has not been

:58:28.:58:32.

reached today is not an indication that his bill is not held in high

:58:33.:58:38.

esteem, and it is not an indication that the points which he would have

:58:39.:58:47.

raised in his bill would have had a lot of support in this house and

:58:48.:58:52.

what he is trying to achieve. It is very worthy. As he said, there will

:58:53.:59:02.

be another day. In fact, we are just coming to that now. Unlawful

:59:03.:59:10.

killing, recovery of remains Bill, second reading. Objection taken.

:59:11.:59:18.

Second reading, what day? Friday the 24th of February. Friday the 24th of

:59:19.:59:24.

February. And that will be the other day. Guardianship, missing persons

:59:25.:59:34.

Bill, second reading. I beg to move. The question is it will now be read

:59:35.:59:39.

a second time. As many as are of the opinion, say "aye". To the contrary,

:59:40.:59:46.

"no".. The eyes have it. Protection of family homes, enforcement and

:59:47.:59:55.

development Bill. On behalf of the member I beg to move. Object.

:59:56.:00:00.

Objection taken. Second reading on what day? Friday the 24th of

:00:01.:00:08.

February. Cram Tennessee's Bill, second reading. I beg to move. The

:00:09.:00:13.

question is the bill now be read a second time. As many as are of the

:00:14.:00:17.

opinion, say "aye". To the contrary, "no".. The ayes have it. Cue gardens

:00:18.:00:27.

leases Bill, second reading. With permission, now. The question is the

:00:28.:00:33.

bill be read a second time. As many as are of the opinion, say "aye". To

:00:34.:00:36.

the contrary, "no".. The ayes have it. I beg to move this house do now

:00:37.:00:49.

adjourned. The question is this house do now adjourned. Thank you,

:00:50.:00:53.

Madam Deputy Speaker. I am grateful to have the opportunity to lead this

:00:54.:00:58.

debate and I wish to thank my honourable friend, the member for St

:00:59.:01:02.

Helens North, for championing Helen 's Law in this house last year a

:01:03.:01:10.

tireless campaign after Helen McCourt was murdered in 1988. This

:01:11.:01:14.

is not a speech I would ever wish to make. On the 15th of June, 1995,

:01:15.:01:20.

Miss Jane Harrison disappeared following a trip to Wood Green

:01:21.:01:24.

shopping Centre. She has never been seen again and her body has never

:01:25.:01:31.

been found. She was just 22. She was murdered by her jealous and

:01:32.:01:35.

controlling partner, Kevin Doherty. Jane left behind a grieving family,

:01:36.:01:41.

devastated parents, sisters and two young sons, then aged 14 and 18

:01:42.:01:47.

months old. I would like this house to acknowledge the presence of

:01:48.:01:51.

Jane's family in the public gallery today. I know that Harrison 's would

:01:52.:02:02.

be very grateful for the opportunity to meet with the Minister in person

:02:03.:02:05.

to discuss their case. The path to justice for the Harrison family has

:02:06.:02:07.

been long and at times impossible. In January, 2013, after 18 years of

:02:08.:02:13.

heartache and agony for the family, Kevin Doherty was finally sentenced

:02:14.:02:16.

to 12 years in jail for manslaughter. At the time of Jane's

:02:17.:02:23.

murder he was leading a double life. He was married to someone else with

:02:24.:02:28.

whom he had other children, but was also in a relationship with Jane.

:02:29.:02:33.

Together they had a baby and Jane had a teenage son from a previous

:02:34.:02:38.

relationship. Doherty was a controlling partner and had been

:02:39.:02:42.

abusive to Jane previously. On the day of her disappearance of the

:02:43.:02:47.

couple were seen arguing near the flat on Powys Road, Islington. The

:02:48.:02:52.

last trace of Jane was at 5pm on Wood Green shopping Centre by items

:02:53.:02:59.

by the family holiday to Florida. However, Doherty had already

:03:00.:03:02.

cancelled the plans for the holidays without Jane knowing because he knew

:03:03.:03:08.

they were not going. He claimed he had later dropped her off at her

:03:09.:03:12.

mother's house and she had never returned home. Jane was reported

:03:13.:03:18.

missing by him the following day. It was not until 2012 that

:03:19.:03:24.

technological advances allowed for analysis to be undertaken which

:03:25.:03:28.

proved that Doherty had lied to the police in 1995 when he had been

:03:29.:03:33.

originally arrested. He had claimed that Jane had called a landslide at

:03:34.:03:38.

the family flat twice after she had disappeared. On both occasions they

:03:39.:03:43.

happened in the presence of witnesses. Call analysis in 2012

:03:44.:03:49.

showed the calls had been made from Doherty's mobile telephone.

:03:50.:03:53.

Furthermore, his movements in the days after Jane's disappearance did

:03:54.:03:59.

not tie in with cell site data. What happened on June the 16th, 1995

:04:00.:04:05.

remains largely unknown. But we do know Doherty killed Jane and no one

:04:06.:04:10.

else has ever been investigated as being connected to this case. His

:04:11.:04:14.

manslaughter conviction in 2012 should have provided the House and

:04:15.:04:19.

family with closure, but 12 years is not enough for a man who took away a

:04:20.:04:25.

loving mother, sister and daughter from her family. At the same time he

:04:26.:04:30.

has never expressed any remorse for Jane's murder, nor has he ever

:04:31.:04:36.

revealed the location of her body. His final act of remorseless cruelty

:04:37.:04:40.

has meant that the Harrison family has never been able to give Jane the

:04:41.:04:44.

dignity of a funeral and a resting place. The Harrison 's have never

:04:45.:04:51.

had somewhere to visit together on anniversaries, somewhere to place a

:04:52.:04:56.

bunch of flowers. Jane's parents Phyllis and John devoted their lives

:04:57.:05:01.

to search for justice for their daughter and raised the two beloved

:05:02.:05:07.

sons she left behind. But they died before they were ever able to see

:05:08.:05:12.

Doherty finally brought to justice. Jane's sister Claire Tobe it was her

:05:13.:05:16.

mother's dying wish that Jane was found and laid to rest with her

:05:17.:05:21.

parents. But Doherty has denied the family this source of closure, so I

:05:22.:05:28.

hope the Minister can emphasise with the horror the Harrison is felt when

:05:29.:05:32.

they discovered that Doherty, the same man that not only murdered

:05:33.:05:39.

Jane, but had concealed her body for 22 years could be eligible for

:05:40.:05:44.

parole next year, six years into the 12 year sentence. I thank my

:05:45.:05:51.

honourable friend. Why we are waiting on Helen's law there is

:05:52.:05:55.

nothing to shop the parole board changing its guidelines and I would

:05:56.:05:59.

like to hear the minister today say what he is going to do to act on the

:06:00.:06:05.

letter I received in May 2016 to say this will not be reviewed by the

:06:06.:06:10.

parole board. When will we hear that those guidelines are going to be

:06:11.:06:14.

updated so that people like Doherty will not be released on parole? Can

:06:15.:06:20.

I agree with my honourable friend? In the English legal system it does

:06:21.:06:25.

not require the convicted murderer to admit guilt or to reveal the

:06:26.:06:29.

location of the victim's remains before being released on parole. It

:06:30.:06:34.

should be common sense that Kevin Doherty, like Ian Simms, the

:06:35.:06:41.

murderer of Helen McCourt, should under no circumstances be eligible

:06:42.:06:46.

for applying for parole. The law must be changed to acknowledge the

:06:47.:06:50.

suffering that Doherty has caused the Harrison family. I wish to

:06:51.:06:53.

reaffirm support for the campaign lead in Parliament by my honourable

:06:54.:07:01.

friend. Murderers like Doherty must be denied parole for as long as they

:07:02.:07:05.

refuse to disclose the whereabouts of their victim's remains. Secondly,

:07:06.:07:11.

Doherty and those like him must serve a full life tariff without

:07:12.:07:16.

option of parole or release until the murderer discloses the location

:07:17.:07:20.

and enables the recovery of their victim's remains. This must retain

:07:21.:07:25.

regardless of their behaviour in prison. Thirdly, the following

:07:26.:07:32.

rarely used common law fences must automatically be applied in murder

:07:33.:07:36.

and manslaughter trial is without a body, that of preventing the burial

:07:37.:07:40.

of a body and conspiracy to prevent the burial of a body, disposing of a

:07:41.:07:47.

body, obstructing a coroner, as applied in the case of Regina versus

:07:48.:07:54.

Hunter, 1974. These pieces of legislation serve to properly

:07:55.:07:58.

enforce laws already in place but rarely used. Currently such

:07:59.:08:02.

decisions are made by the parole board on a case-by-case basis, but

:08:03.:08:07.

the law needs to change so the law is by default on the side of victims

:08:08.:08:12.

and their families and not of the murderers. Even putting aside the

:08:13.:08:18.

family's pain and grief, these murderers are dangerous. By refusing

:08:19.:08:22.

to admit their guilt and by denying families a

:08:23.:08:33.

small act of closure, they demonstrate their culpability and

:08:34.:08:37.

their very real threat to society. Sadly honourable members will know

:08:38.:08:39.

that Jane Harrison is one of so many devastating cases where a body has

:08:40.:08:42.

never been found. I would like to take the opportunity to remind the

:08:43.:08:45.

House of the other prolific murderers were the body has never

:08:46.:08:52.

been recovered, including Helen McCourt in 1988, 22, Keith Bennett

:08:53.:08:58.

in 1964, 12 years old, Paul Morrison in 2011, 32 years, Daniel Jones,

:08:59.:09:06.

Essex, 15, Suzanne Pilley from Scotland in 2010 and Little April

:09:07.:09:12.

Jones in 2012 who was just five years of age. Each of these families

:09:13.:09:16.

have suffered untold grief without the humanity of a funeral and a

:09:17.:09:21.

peaceful resting place. Since 2007 there have been 30 murders across

:09:22.:09:27.

England and Wales were no body has been recovered. In every single one

:09:28.:09:35.

of these cases, a murderer who continues to torment the families of

:09:36.:09:38.

the victims in such a cold-blooded way should be under no circumstances

:09:39.:09:44.

eligible for freedom. Jane's killers should not have the option of

:09:45.:09:49.

freedom until Jane's family are granted the dignity of a final

:09:50.:09:53.

resting place. Without robust laws in place our justice system can go

:09:54.:09:57.

horribly wrong. Take the example of Sidney Cooke, a convicted child

:09:58.:10:04.

molester and serial killer. He was sentenced to 19 years in 1989 for

:10:05.:10:09.

the manslaughter of 14-year-old Jason Swift and was guilty of murder

:10:10.:10:16.

of seven-year-old Mark Tyldesley. But in 1989 his sentence was reduced

:10:17.:10:21.

to 16 years and he was paroled in nine years later in April, 1998,

:10:22.:10:28.

having refused rehabilitation in prison and having never reveal where

:10:29.:10:31.

Mark Tyldesley's body was to his bereaved parents. Mercifully he was

:10:32.:10:37.

arrested in 1999 and received two life sentences. But our justice

:10:38.:10:43.

system has made terrible mistakes in the past and we must now, to stop

:10:44.:10:48.

this happening in the future, act now. The policy of nobody, no

:10:49.:10:54.

parole, is in force in South Australia and is being considered at

:10:55.:10:59.

federal level. Under this law convicted murderers are given an

:11:00.:11:03.

opportunity to cooperate with the police in exchange for parole

:11:04.:11:07.

options. All states in Australia have considered something like this

:11:08.:11:12.

with South Australia and Victoria taking the lead in its

:11:13.:11:16.

implementation. The law will only apply to people who have the

:11:17.:11:21.

opportunity for parole anyway, meaning a person could not get a

:11:22.:11:29.

lesser charge for information on the whereabouts of a body if they had no

:11:30.:11:32.

chance for parole on the outset. At the same time describing the

:11:33.:11:35.

location of the body would not allow a murderer to be released early. The

:11:36.:11:39.

parole board should still have the final say and could deny it.

:11:40.:11:45.

As of now, Australia is the only country that has implemented

:11:46.:11:52.

something like this. Myself and my honourable friend and many others

:11:53.:11:55.

firmly believe that the UK could lead the way and be the second

:11:56.:11:59.

country to enshrine this law. This would not only give grieving

:12:00.:12:04.

families the chances for some closure, but also serve as a future

:12:05.:12:08.

example to others. I hope that the Minister will today outlined the

:12:09.:12:12.

Ministry of Justice's plans to amend the law to reflect the

:12:13.:12:16.

ground-breaking and fair mechanism, delivering justice to families that

:12:17.:12:19.

deserve it and to the memories of so many. Jane Harrison's family cannot

:12:20.:12:24.

be let down by our justice system and I hope the Minister will agree

:12:25.:12:30.

with me that we all have a duty to preserve Jane's memory. Jane should

:12:31.:12:35.

be remembered in life more than a death as a loving mum, sister and

:12:36.:12:39.

daughter. This wasn't an easy speech to write and this is a very

:12:40.:12:43.

difficult subject for any of us to talk about, so I would like to end

:12:44.:12:48.

with a few words from Jane's sister, Claire, who has fought for years for

:12:49.:12:52.

justice for her sister. We were so close and we spoke every day. She

:12:53.:12:56.

was a wonderful sister and a devoted mother. I know that the last thing

:12:57.:13:00.

that my sister thought of the day she died was hurt two boys. This

:13:01.:13:07.

grief that we have carried for 22 years doesn't get easier, it gets

:13:08.:13:11.

harder each day. And not to have some closure, somewhere for us to

:13:12.:13:18.

gather, to lay flowers, it's simply absolute agony. I want to ask the

:13:19.:13:23.

Minister what if this was a member of your family? Can you put yourself

:13:24.:13:28.

in our shoes? Can you stand to see a man who had caused such devastation

:13:29.:13:33.

walk free? Please help others, for the sake of our whole family and the

:13:34.:13:37.

memory of our wonderful Jane, and for all those who have had to suffer

:13:38.:13:42.

the same agony before and since, please listen. Minister. Thank you,

:13:43.:13:52.

Madam Deputy Speaker. I would like to congratulate the honourable

:13:53.:13:55.

member for Richmond Morden for securing this important debate

:13:56.:14:00.

today. I would like to begin by expressing my deepest sympathies to

:14:01.:14:03.

Jane Harrison's family. It's impossible to imagine the pain they

:14:04.:14:07.

have experienced and continue to suffer, after losing Jane in such

:14:08.:14:11.

tragic circumstances. I would also like to take this opportunity to

:14:12.:14:16.

extend my deepest sympathies to bury McCourt, who has tirelessly

:14:17.:14:19.

campaigned for a law change in memory of her daughter, Helen. On a

:14:20.:14:26.

personal level, when considering this debate and indeed the private

:14:27.:14:30.

member's bill of the honourable gentleman from St Helens North, I

:14:31.:14:38.

recall the sight of Winnie Johnson, the mother of Keith Bennett, who

:14:39.:14:42.

died never knowing where her son was buried, and indeed her face etched

:14:43.:14:51.

with agony on the anniversary of her off the Moors murders stays with me.

:14:52.:14:56.

To lose us loved one in such circumstances is truly horrendous.

:14:57.:15:01.

The fact that Woody was denied the opportunity to give her some proper

:15:02.:15:05.

burial is too awful to comprehend, so I understand why do you have

:15:06.:15:09.

secured this debate and why the honourable gentleman is pursuing his

:15:10.:15:13.

campaign for Helen's Law. The honourable lady has set out the

:15:14.:15:16.

background to the case. I must stress that is a Justice Minister I

:15:17.:15:19.

would not normally comment on individual cases. She'll be -- this

:15:20.:15:26.

case involves a conviction for manslaughter, not murder. I did not

:15:27.:15:31.

think it would be helpful to revisit that conviction or discuss what

:15:32.:15:34.

amounts to manslaughter or murder. It might be helpful to me explain

:15:35.:15:39.

the different options available when sentencing for manslaughter and the

:15:40.:15:43.

different consequences of this sentences. Murder is the only

:15:44.:15:47.

offence that carries a mandatory life sentence. In every case where

:15:48.:15:52.

someone is convicted of murder, they will receive a life sentence. Apart

:15:53.:15:57.

from the most serious cases, who will receive a whole life order, the

:15:58.:16:02.

court will set a tariff for that offender. That means they will serve

:16:03.:16:06.

a minimum time before they are considered for release and will only

:16:07.:16:09.

be released by the independent parole board when they consider it

:16:10.:16:13.

safe to do so. Manslaughter on the other hand has a maximum penalty of

:16:14.:16:18.

a life sentence, but it is a discretionary rather than a

:16:19.:16:22.

mandatory life sentence. The judge can impose a life sentence, or any

:16:23.:16:26.

other sentence short of a life sentence, having considered all of

:16:27.:16:31.

the factors in each case. The length of a custodial sentence imposed must

:16:32.:16:33.

reflect the culpability of the offender and in the case of

:16:34.:16:37.

manslaughter this can vary widely, given the wide range of behaviour

:16:38.:16:43.

which the offence covers. Defendants convicted of manslaughter can and do

:16:44.:16:48.

receive standard determinate sentences, in contrast to a life

:16:49.:16:52.

sentence, and since the introduction of the criminal just act 2003,

:16:53.:16:56.

prisoners serving a standard determinate sentence are

:16:57.:16:58.

automatically released at the halfway point in their sentence. The

:16:59.:17:03.

remainder of the sentences served on licence in the community. While on

:17:04.:17:07.

licence, offenders will be subject to probation supervision and the

:17:08.:17:12.

licence will include appropriate conditions. If an offender breaches

:17:13.:17:15.

these conditions they may be recalled to prison. I should stress

:17:16.:17:19.

that those offenders serving standard determinate sentences are

:17:20.:17:22.

released automatically by statute and not considered for release at

:17:23.:17:26.

the discretion of a body such as the parole board. It's also worth noting

:17:27.:17:29.

that an offender convicted of manslaughter, serving a determinate

:17:30.:17:33.

sentence of whatever length, will not be eligible for release earlier

:17:34.:17:37.

than the halfway point and the home detention curfew scheme. The

:17:38.:17:41.

judiciary are of course aware of how sentences are structured when

:17:42.:17:44.

determining the appropriate sentence in a particular case, and explain

:17:45.:17:48.

the effects of the sentence in open court. Therefore any offender

:17:49.:17:53.

subject to do offence and -- determinate sentence will be

:17:54.:17:58.

released at a fixed point irrespective of whether they admit

:17:59.:18:02.

their guilt or cooperate with the authorities. There is no discretion

:18:03.:18:05.

under the law to hold them beyond the sentence imposed by the court,

:18:06.:18:08.

to change this would require a very significant change in the law and in

:18:09.:18:13.

sentencing generally. It also raises some practical issues, which I want

:18:14.:18:18.

to mention briefly. These are similar issues to those which the

:18:19.:18:21.

private members bill from the honourable member for St Helens

:18:22.:18:25.

North has championed, otherwise known as Helen's Law, in response to

:18:26.:18:29.

the murder of Helen McCourt. I must stress the government sympathises

:18:30.:18:33.

with the calls for a Helen's Law. I met, along with my colleague the

:18:34.:18:37.

honourable member for St Helens North, to discuss his private

:18:38.:18:41.

member's bill earlier this week. I congratulate him on his approach.

:18:42.:18:46.

During that meeting. I would also like to express my respect and

:18:47.:18:50.

admiration for Marie McCourt, who has led the campaign for Helen's

:18:51.:18:54.

Law. I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to her

:18:55.:18:57.

commitment to this issue and her tireless work over many years. As I

:18:58.:19:02.

said earlier, any murder is horrific and no family should have to go

:19:03.:19:05.

through such traumatic experience, with the added pain of not knowing

:19:06.:19:09.

the whereabouts of their loved one and being denied the chance to lay

:19:10.:19:12.

them to rest. For this reason the government welcomes the discussion

:19:13.:19:17.

of the unlawful killing -- the unlawful killing ruck Rickert --

:19:18.:19:23.

Lawful Killing (Recovery of Remains) Bill has generated. His bill does

:19:24.:19:28.

not present a legally sound solution to this difficult issue, in short, a

:19:29.:19:32.

proponent -- proposes to deny released to those who refuse to

:19:33.:19:38.

disclose the place of the victims' remains. There are some concerns in

:19:39.:19:44.

how these proposed changes can be delivered, concerns regarding the

:19:45.:19:47.

legality as well as the potentially adverse effect it would have on the

:19:48.:19:50.

families of victims if they were to be made aware of the information

:19:51.:19:55.

disclosed by offenders. As the victims' Minister I will always

:19:56.:20:00.

represent and work hard toward delivering in the best interest of

:20:01.:20:04.

victims of crime, such as I intend to ensure that any changes made to

:20:05.:20:08.

the current process are tailored towards delivering a just and fair

:20:09.:20:15.

outcome. I do not want today to get into any technical or legal details

:20:16.:20:18.

during this debate, but let me just say that we have all to be careful

:20:19.:20:22.

not to support something that would create perverse incentives for

:20:23.:20:26.

offenders to lie about where the victim's remains are located, to try

:20:27.:20:31.

and secure release, or to further torment victims' families. There's a

:20:32.:20:34.

risk that each and every time an offender claimed to remember when

:20:35.:20:38.

the victim's remains had been buried they would have to be taken

:20:39.:20:41.

seriously, which could result in them being allowed to leave prison

:20:42.:20:46.

temporarily to help authorities search for the body. In that regard

:20:47.:20:48.

I think once again about Woody Johnson. We don't want offenders

:20:49.:20:53.

creating false stories to toy with victims' families or to create false

:20:54.:20:57.

hope. The further pain and anxiety inflicted upon victims' families as

:20:58.:21:01.

a result of this is simply unthinkable. And additionally,

:21:02.:21:04.

whilst the government has been unable to examine the billing

:21:05.:21:08.

detail, there are several other complex practical and legal issues

:21:09.:21:11.

arising from the proposals. These could avoid -- include avoiding

:21:12.:21:18.

oratory sentences, being clear about the level of cooperation required

:21:19.:21:21.

and whether it needs to lead to a successful outcome and avoiding

:21:22.:21:25.

unlawful retrospective at locations of provisions. I would however like

:21:26.:21:29.

to reassure the house that government is taking this issue very

:21:30.:21:33.

seriously. As already mentioned, I met with the honourable member for

:21:34.:21:37.

St Helens North this week to discuss his bill and the options going

:21:38.:21:40.

forward. The government understands the importance of this issue and is

:21:41.:21:43.

committed to considering what more can be done. I want to place on the

:21:44.:21:55.

record my thanks to him in the Ministry of Justice for meeting with

:21:56.:21:58.

me this week and the approach they have taken, which is a constructive

:21:59.:22:02.

one. Notwithstanding what he has said about some of the practical

:22:03.:22:06.

difficulties, I don't believe any of those are insurmountable. In terms

:22:07.:22:10.

of the impact on victims, for Marie McCourt and her family, for Jean

:22:11.:22:16.

Harrison's family, the thing that is causing them most torment and

:22:17.:22:21.

anguish is the thought that the murderer of their loved ones will be

:22:22.:22:24.

released from prison and the Minister should make no mistake

:22:25.:22:30.

about that whatsoever. -- Jane Harrison. I thank the honourable

:22:31.:22:34.

gentleman for his intervention. Of course I get that. The government

:22:35.:22:39.

bowed to the independent parole board last year and asked them to

:22:40.:22:44.

review its guidance -- wrote to the independent parole board. In regard

:22:45.:22:51.

of prisoners who don't rip accept responsibility for their offence and

:22:52.:22:54.

refuse to disclose the location of their victim. The parole board is

:22:55.:22:57.

strengthening its guidance, which will be issued in the spring.

:22:58.:23:02.

Clarifying the issues that may need to be considered, where the offender

:23:03.:23:05.

does not disclose the whereabouts of the victim's body. Whilst it

:23:06.:23:09.

reaffirms that the parole board's primary focus is on the risks to the

:23:10.:23:12.

public it makes clear the offender with holding this information may

:23:13.:23:15.

raise factors that are relevant to risk and therefore can result in the

:23:16.:23:20.

offender not being released. The parole board continued to improve

:23:21.:23:23.

and develop the way they liaise with and involves victims in their

:23:24.:23:27.

decision-making. I very much welcome their approach, which recognises how

:23:28.:23:31.

difficult it must be for victims to engage in any consideration of an

:23:32.:23:34.

offender's release. In addition to this the government is aware of the

:23:35.:23:37.

recent developments in some other countries, and we will be examining

:23:38.:23:41.

these approaches in more detail and seeing how they are working in

:23:42.:23:47.

practice. Mercifully these cases are rare, but we will consider whether

:23:48.:23:50.

they should be appropriate for our justice system in England and Wales.

:23:51.:23:54.

With reference to one question that was raised, regards to the family

:23:55.:24:00.

having a chance to influence the conditions of release. I don't think

:24:01.:24:03.

it's appropriate for me here to discuss individual details of the

:24:04.:24:08.

case. As has previously been said by the Department, we will be happy to

:24:09.:24:12.

meet with the family to update them. I know that the family have been

:24:13.:24:15.

kept informed of any of developments in this case by the victim liaison

:24:16.:24:20.

officer in the national probation service in relation to any move to

:24:21.:24:24.

open conditions and on the eligibility and conditions of any

:24:25.:24:29.

temporary release. In conclusion, I would like to end by a gain

:24:30.:24:34.

extending my deepest sympathies to the family of Jane Harrison and

:24:35.:24:36.

thank the honourable member for drawing this issue to the attention

:24:37.:24:41.

of the house. As victims Minister I firmly believe that victims are the

:24:42.:24:45.

heart of our criminal justice system and I know this is a deeply

:24:46.:24:49.

distressing and troubling issue for victims' families. There is sadly no

:24:50.:24:54.

solution here and I can tell the honourable lady that we will examine

:24:55.:24:58.

all the options that might provide a lawful and effective way to

:24:59.:25:02.

encourage offenders from withholding information. We all agree that we

:25:03.:25:06.

should consider any practical solution that would allow families

:25:07.:25:16.

to lay their loved ones to rest. The question is this House do now

:25:17.:25:28.

adjourn. As many as of that opinion say aye. The ayes have it. Order,

:25:29.:25:30.

order.

:25:31.:25:33.

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