03/02/2017 House of Commons

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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


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


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


else setting the rules. Bringing local accountability, giving people


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


policy whereby we took varying procedures into account in order to


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


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


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


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


pedestrian first recommendations in order to restore and keep the


medieval grade for pedestrians, tourists, shoppers and residents.


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


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


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


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


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


juxtaposed against the market towns that very much need the flexibility


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


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


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


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


There are provisions for local authorities to increase parking


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


prices, there would still be powerless to increase car park


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


And not something that was going to attract controversy and encourage


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


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


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


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


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


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


increasingly a really important for local councils to have flexibility


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


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


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


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


to produce this Christmas decoration. I can issued you Mr


Speaker, being a slightly superstitious member, I would not


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


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


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


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


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


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


discussion. I feel sure he will have a response.


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


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


produce the Christmas decoration and was rightly called to order because


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Bosworth Borough Council implements parking in the future. Hinckley has


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


finalist in the Great British High Street competition. And


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


looks a clause this bill is about enabling councils to reduced


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


make regulations that simplify the procedure to be followed for


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


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


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


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


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


honourable friend to simplify this requirement putting local


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


important that councils should consider the effect of increased


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


provision for a consultation requirements of the councils take on


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


increase parking charges on an existing traffic order. They must


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


which will allow local authorities to increase charges, but simply


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


consulting and listening to the views of residents. My honourable


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


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


of my honourable friend's constituency. My honourable friend


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


think these two clauses together offer an opportunity to take into


account the views of local communities while giving councils


the flexibility to decrease parking charges and better support the goal


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


friend agree that it is important that town councils have the


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


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


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


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


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


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


is perhaps no surprise, considering that the average hourly parking


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


staggering figure. The Rethinking parking on the high street report


clearly states that footfall does reflect town centre performance,


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


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


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


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


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


but still having a thriving business centre around places like Oxford


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


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


in any other town would have devastated the shopping centres and


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


ramifications for business. My honourable friend, the member for


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


increasing the vibrancy of the high street through their nondomestic


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


the 2015 election, the mortal remains of Richard had been


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


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


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


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


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


500 years earlier. The question was, just how many


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


were very clogged. It was an incredibly emotional experience to


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


events which I wanted to refer to was completely the opposite


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


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


special events are about the community coming together and


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


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


in Cornwall that were people increased prices, people just


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


has had his issues and had a successful debate in Westminster


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


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


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


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


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


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


councils had made provision to reduced charges then suddenly


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


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


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


what the Federation of Small Businesses said to me yesterday.


Apart from generously congratulating me on negotiating the narrows of the


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


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


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


small businesses and ensure that they and their customers can park


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


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


of independent shops, independent retailers in town centres are the


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


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


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


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


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


consultation with businesses before making local authorities increase


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


in this place and I think my honourable friend has made


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


to clause bill which has been reported from a committee without


amendment that seeks to allow councils to reduced parking charges


without consultation, but insists on consultation if they want to


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


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


helpful amendment that he has proposed. He clearly feels


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


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


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


honourable friend the Minister who has responsibility for this who is


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


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


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


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


member for Torbay. My honourable friends and constituency neighbour,


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


creates the power to make regulations, to simplify the


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


parking charges for it also introduces a consultation


requirement if local authorities want to increase parking charges.


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


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


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


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


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


councils therefore need to think very carefully about the level and


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


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


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


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


the issue of consultation for increased charges. I strongly


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


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


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


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


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


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


constituency the local District Council has decided not to listen to


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


proportionate, to make sure that these measures work in practice


prior to the laying of regulations we will consult with local


authorities and the Local Government Association. We will also consult


with the British parking Association and other interested organisations


to ensure that there import important views are taken into


account before the regulations are made. Furthermore, Parliamentary


colleagues will have the opportunity to consider any regulations by the


normal procedure is for secondary legislation. My department will also


undertake a new burdens assessment to establish the administrative


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


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


people and businesses have voice in decisions on car parking charges


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


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


particularly when you have a business improvement district within


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


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


local businesses to express their views about parking and charges and


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


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


improvement district that businesses in Halesowen are trying to bring


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


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


business improvement district. I think that is an excellent vehicle


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


issue. It will be an excellent vehicle also


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


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


should be consulted before parking charges are increased within a local


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


department will be consulting on the issue of consultation and seeking


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


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


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


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


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


for Portsmouth bought the Santa decoration he came across in the


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


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


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


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


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


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


reduce their parking charges can be brought forward to enable the


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


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


one of the biggest areas of contention for residents and local


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


hospitals, where we have huge problems around parking and the


facility to allow a consultation with those local people will make


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


that consultation is always important, and the two issues are


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


are also many residents living around those town centre areas


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


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


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


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


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


particular area. Generally, the properties around the town centre


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


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


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


pressure in those streets for parking just amongst the residents


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


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


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


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


where councils will consult. Would my honourable friend confirm that


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


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


increased significantly, which then deterred tourist coaches from coming


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


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


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


those charges, which has helped tremendously in generating and


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


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


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


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


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


be part of the legislative process where the honourable gentleman on


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


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


high street competition, a competition that I thought at the


time would put paid to my ministerial career, because Helmsley


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


constituency of the former Prime Minister David Cameron. And when


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


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


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


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


and therefore there has to be provision for things like coaches


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


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


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


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


situation where there are many events that happen where local


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


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


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


would like to say that I believe good communication between local


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


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


This means the public knowing why those decisions were taken,


decisions that affect individuals and their communities, decisions


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Therefore, having heard the extensive reassurances provided by


the member in charge, which were particularly persuasive he has


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


wanted something that would make a difference across the country.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


pleasure to be here for the opposition to respond to the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


for Torbay was making his interesting and somewhat lengthy


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


local authorities can fill their boots with parking charges and use


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


by local authorities. I was interested that the bill does


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


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


envisage circumstances when he would get letters from people asking for


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


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


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


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


charging is for the purposes of regulating the access between


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


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


to give flexibility to local authorities and to encourage them to


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


thank the honourable member for Bosworth for bringing forward this


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


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


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


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


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


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


local authorities have with regards to parking and hide this bill


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


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


car parking charges at both designated on street parking places


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


able to very those charges subsequently by the simpler public


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


State and subject to the negative resolution procedure instead of


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


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


traffic regulation act of 1984 as amended. The current procedures


regarding the ability of local authorities to amend parking charges


are stipulated also through regulations 25 of the local


authorities traffic orders procedure is in England and Wales, regulation


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


decrease charges, these regulations require the local authorities to do


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


variation at least once in a newspaper which circulates within


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


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


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


force Ulster that must stipulate parking place the notice relates to


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


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


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


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


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


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


this bill revisits the current regulations and seeks to reduce the


bureaucratic burden placed on local authorities who are seeking to


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


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


they are looking to increase the parking charges under an existing


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


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


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


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


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


honourable member for Bosworth has rightly pointed out, parking


policies have the potential to enhance the economic viability of


our high streets and that benefits to town centres and communities


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


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


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


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


independent retailers and traders and small businesses which are the


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


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


traffic flows successfully and it must ensure that the level of


charges are reasonable and proportionate in relation to the


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


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


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


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


between town centre prosperity and car parking provision in more


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


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


is incredibly difficult to evidence a clear link between parking


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


different organisations, including the Association of town and city


management, the British parking Association, Springboard research


Ltd and parking downtown research International put together a report


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


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


evidence could be collated and what could be learnt regarding the


relationship between car parking provision and town centre success.


Through analysing a range of information using a representative


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


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


report provides some preliminary evidence which suggests important


trends and which provides a solid foundation for comprehensive


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


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


influences, for example instead of considering alterations of parking


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


that this would cover those who have partners shopping and woods


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


information. The parking variables which are considered included the


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


different indicators of town centre performance, the report measured the


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


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


to provide a representative sample of town centre landscapes across the


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


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


consequence of these precise methods that were used and acknowledging


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


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


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


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


operators are providing parking provision that equates to the


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


clear relationship between car parking charges, that is set by


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


with some live range or smaller town centre potentially overcharging.


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


charge more than the national average with regard to theirs offers


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


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


acknowledge that this is not conclusive evidence that the cost of


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


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


opinion with regard to the likelihood of the existence of a


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


with higher than average parking costs showed an average decline in


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


research is required before it can be categorically stated that any


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


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


of consumers is also unknown and requires additional investigation.


Each town centre is unique and is exposed the widely different


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


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


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


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


own local authority, Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council, who


have had a chequered history when it comes to implementing parking


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


challenge the notion that local authorities do not use car parking


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


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


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


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


Council approved a raft of additional car parking charges. The


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


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


intention of the proposals was to generate additional revenue from


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


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


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


two manage existing parking and traffic difficulties, including


long-standing problems around Calderdale Royal Hospital for


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


identifiable problems of parking or traffic management. Such measures


included the introduction of evening car parking charges in car parks


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


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


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


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


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


local authority shall keep an open account of their income and


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


local authority. Sections 55 subsection two and subsection four


other particularly prevalent parts that other what a surplus may be


spent on. These are where the council has


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


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


that the provision of further off-street accommodation is


unnecessary or undesirable for the following purposes, meeting costs


incurred whether by the local authority or some other person in


the local transport services. The purposes of highway or road


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


London authorities, meeting costs incurred by the authority in respect


of the maintenance of roads. The purposes of environmental


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


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


purposes for which the authority may lawfully incur expenditure around


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


local authorities fit more comfortably than others within the


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


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


measures to address problem parking issues around a busy hospital for


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


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


town centre are more questionable and difficult to justify. Local


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


their actions in increasing parking charges. However tenuous the links


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


judgment which has already been mentioned by the right honourable


member opposite in the case of Attfield and Barnet council


clarified the position where local authorities seek to use their powers


to charge local residents for parking explicitly in order to raise


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


In making her judgment against Barnet Council, Mrs Justice Lang


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


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


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


open about increasing charges to provide revenue. The Cabinet


committee paper I alluded to earlier is produced by Calderdale Council


was frequently explicit in its overt intention to raise charges to


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


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


Attfield and Barnet may have been reached. Residents and community


groups, not to mention opposition councils and local authorities


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


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


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


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


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


local politicians to account. The additional charges I mentioned in


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


Within months, the discontent of local residents and businesses who


were adversely affected by the charges had triggered opposition


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


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


the new parking meters being installed, they were removed once


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


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


is the nature of the finely balanced political landscape of Calderdale


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


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


additional parking charges once again. The latest proposals for


additional charges affect a number of local towns including Brickhouse,


where the local business group have worked incredibly hard to


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


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


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


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


councillors, the counsellor seeking to impose on street parking charges


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


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


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


furious is an understatement. The traders are rightly concerned about


the damaging effect that these proposals could have upon their


businesses and their livelihoods and despite making their feelings known


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


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


makes provision for local authorities to consult interested


parties if they are seeking to increase the cost of parking


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


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


councillors understand their own town centres and communities. They


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


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


consulted on any potential increases in charges and that detailed


consideration is given the impacts of such proposals on their town


centres. I appreciate that many local authorities will engage in


thorough consultation with their communities when it comes to such


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


this does not happen everywhere, so I wholeheartedly welcome the


provision within this bill to ensure that local communities are involved


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


Brighouse will also welcome this measure and the opportunities it


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


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


member from Royton, the opposition spokesman, raised questions in


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


that further detail with relation to the consultation process is indeed


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


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


provision for consulting local communities, this bill also seeks to


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


back on their feet following the devastating floods they experienced


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


market town category of the great British high street awards last


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


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


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


This proposal would have allowed the local authority flexibility of


quickly deciding how car parking charges in those towns could have


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


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


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


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


the flooding, would my honourable friend agree that another advantage


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


volunteers that come from outside to help those communities through a


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


certain days for free or limited reductions in charges could have


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


other places. Traders and small businesses in Elland have struggled


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


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


local authority could have sought to introduce an imaginative strategy to


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


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


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


flexibility to reduce or suspend charges at short notice to still


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


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


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


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


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


is a significant difference between the levels of occupation in


different car parks and on street parking bays within the same


locality. This bill will allow councils to develop temporary


incentives to increase the awareness of underutilised assets and to see


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


are some restrictions in terms of making it more difficult for


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


here. Is he aware it is often Conservative controlled councils


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


at the Independent newspaper for December 2000 15. They say


Westminster Council made an astonishing 46.4 million that year.


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


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


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


own experience in a Labour-controlled council in


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


have in small villages like Brighouse would be entirely


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


member. His experience contrasts with my experiences with our local


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


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


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


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


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


incredibly valid point. As a retailer it is vitally important


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


balance, a successful parking strategy can bring visitors. And


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


experience an all too different result. Where local authorities seek


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


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


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


local people and businesses are properly consulted and the impact on


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


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


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


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


suggested they will support the Bill and I commenced the honourable


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


aim for the flexibility. This is something of particular importance


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


who would normally want to have convenience shopping to actually


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


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


convenient parking. So people will think this is destination shopping


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


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


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


encourage a two centre shopping experience as opposed to the one


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


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


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


with people performing in the street, we also have Christmas


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


an area in Derby for people to come and enjoy and seek entertainment.


Clearly one of the things that should be done on these events is to


offer a parking offer as well, to make it more attractive for people


to be able to come along and attend these events. Because there is a


danger that people tend to go to the shopping centre, park there and not


then get out of the centre to go to other places where they will find


and have entertainment. So responding to local needs is exactly


what we need to do. And I certainly see this as a great opportunity for


us. One of the things we are also trying to do is encourage people to


walk from one destination to another. At the moment that isn't


happening because you can have a cheaper offer in our centres,


meaning people are parking in the centres and staying in the centres.


Whereas if we had a cheaper parking outside of the centres, say in the


Cathedral Quarter or Saint Peter 's quarter, that would mean people are


able to park there and then go and explore other parts of our great


city. Or indeed go to the market Hall where they can experience the


delights of the Derby pie clips, which I can recommend to many


people. If you do not know what that is it is a flattened crumpet. Like


my honourable friend for Calder Valley, I have been in retail, I was


in retail before I came here for over 30 years and it is not to be


underestimated the value retail can actually have on our economy. And


certainly the Federation of small businesses have highlighted the


parking charges as one of the main issues discouraging shoppers from


visiting traditional high streets. For me one of the most important


things we can do is try and regenerate these traditional high


street is, get people back and using them. And dependence, as well. I


think these parking charges will definitely be in courage in that. --


dependents. -- encouraging that. I think again what we need to do is


make it as easy and attractive as possible for people to visit the


high-street and cities instead of sitting and doing online shopping


and it is automatically delivered to your door. Because what we are


trying to do as well, certainly in Derby city, and I suspect in a lot


of other city centres as well is to have not only a daytime economy we


are boosting, but a night-time economy, as well. It would be lovely


if we could see people walking along the high-street, having a bit of a


cafe culture that you see and taking part in what is the richness of our


Cathedral city. In my time as an MP I have taken part in small-business


Saturday each year and gunships in some of our local shops. And I have


to say... Done shifts in some of our local shops. We need to do


everything we can to get people to come to these shops. If we can get


people parking resolutely and easily and get them through the door they


will see the offer that is available is something unique and interesting.


And also something to certainly being courage. I will give way to


the honourable member. -- encouraged. Would she also agree


that one of the things of the high streets have is a small independent


trader? Which is what business Saturday is all about. And in those


shops very often you get a different offer that he would not necessarily


get on the Internet. You also get that personal service. And actually,


that is something worth having. So anything we can do to attract people


to enjoy our towns and cities and use that as leveraged, we must


encourage. Absolutely. As I mentioned earlier, we have just won


a high-street award. One of the reasons is that in the Cathedral


Quarter we have a unique offer in terms of shops that are available. I


would like to mention one of them which I think is a good way forward,


where a group of designers all get together and they all offer goods in


their shop, all very individually designed and then they take a turn


in working and selling those products. I think that is very


innovative. It is also inspirational and draws people in because you


would not get that as an example in our shopping centre. So absolutely,


I completely agree with my honourable friend. The private


sector has such an important part to play in this and again I think this


is why we should definitely... Of course I will. She makes a point


about the private sector and it is so important local authorities


consult with the private sector. Yet in York when I first located a


business and in our head offices, the council sold the car parks and


raised the charges on the remaining car parks. Really destroyed a lot of


the independent retailers in that city. Because at the same time they


were giving consent for out of town shopping centres, of which the rock


four around York, and then they gained from huge contributions back


into the council coppers, it is really anti-business in terms of


what is she says is the really important independent retailers in


our towns and city centres. Having been not just in retail but


an avid shopper for 30 years, I have on many occasions visited York. It


is a shame. Shopping centres do have their place, but we need to work in


partnership and make sure that we have two offers. As I mentioned


earlier, it is two almost defined destinations. One will be the


shopping centre and the other will be the independent retailers with a


very different for that is available. By allowing councils like


derby the freedom to set their parking charges on a more flexible


basis, we can allow local knowledge to have an impact on the local


understanding in terms of meeting local demand. At the same time, I


think it is relevant that the local authority needs to consult in terms


of whether they increase parking charges. They need to be given the


opportunity to consider whether the pay increase is correct and also


allow local people and businesses to be consulted in terms of whether it


is appropriate. Whilst I acknowledge that they still will be able to put


up prices if they choose, the opportunity to have that discussion


is important. That will mean there won't be any surprises and people


will at least know if prices are going up and it will allow


businesses and consumers to take note of that.


Finally, from my point of view, I fully support this sensible bill


that is being put forward. I can't emphasise enough the need for us to


keep supporting these retailers and independents and to keep encouraging


entrepreneurship. Parking is such a simple, effective way of encouraging


people to come into our city centres and see what the offerings. To


conclude, I give my full support to this bill. I think its provisions


are long overdue. It is one of these things that surprises me. Why hasn't


it been brought forward before? It makes so much sense. I think these


changes will be positive for villages, towns and cities up and


down the country. James Morris. I would also like to congratulate the


honourable member for Bosworth. This bill has the virtue of being very


simple, and I think that matches his criteria. It will also meet the


other criteria he laid out, so I welcome this bill and rise to


support third reading of it. High streets across the UK are under


pressure from a shift in spending from physical shops to online stop


there were 15 shop closures a day across the UK in the first half of


2016. And the number of new openings has fallen to the lowest level for


five years. That is why local authorities need to be able to do


all they can to help support local high streets and shops. And this


bill, with its simple implementation of new provisions, will give local


councils like mine the flexibility to help. I know from my own


constituency the problems local businesses are facing. Halesowen,


Craig Lee heath and Blackheath have important high streets within my


constituency that have a wide variety of shops, places of worship


Tom local services and entertainment venues which are popular among local


people. However, any time I visit one of my local high streets,


parking is nearly always the number one concern of local shop and


business owners. The Halesowen chamber of trade in particular and


local councillors in Halesowen have for a long time been campaigning for


reduced charges and where appropriate, free parking on our


local high street. Conservative councillors in Halesowen have


secured an important trial period for two hours of free parking to


help boost local footfall. If successful, I hope to see this move


extended to all council owned car parks. However, while I feel this


bill will prove useful to do Dudley bill will prove useful to do Dudley


well councils in my constituency because it would give them the


flexibility to do this more witty and more efficiently, as it stands


at the moment, local residents will need to wait until April for this


measure to come into effect. But local businesses are frustrated at


the time it takes to get this initiative going. The chamber of


trade is actively taking steps to increase footfall around the town,


looking at ideas for more activities, organising celebration


events and consulting with local businesses on what they need to help


them succeed. I would also like to take this opportunity is to


congratulate the chamber in Halesowen for the work they have


done to establish the first business improvement district within the


Dudley Boro, and hope that their well thought out is this plan is


approved next week. Traders' groups across the country organise special


promotional days to create more interest and increase the number of


people visiting, but many of these groups are frustrated by the


unnecessary bureaucracy they face when working with local councils to


set promotional incentives on parking. Many members of this House


will support their local high streets, as the honourable member


Ford Dudley North dead on small business Saturday. We should be


using campaigns like this to help our local shopkeepers. Just last


week, I visited a new business on Halesowen high street, the English


rose tea room, owned by the inspirational Gemma. She has


fulfilled her lifelong dream of owning her own business and not


allowed her challenges - she has been suffering from autism -- which


has not held her back. We should do all we can to create an environment


to help businesses like Gemma's thrive and remove barriers to


success. The Federation of Small Businesses references, as the


honourable member for Bosworth alluded to in his remarks, high


parking charges along with other issues such as changes in the way


people shop is discouraging shoppers from visiting traditional high


streets. The impact on the high street has been most seriously felt


by small retailers in smaller town centres. They agree that making it


easier to reduce car parking charges will go some way towards alleviating


this pressure. Unfortunately, as other honourable members have


pointed out, many local authorities are planning to hike parking charges


even further. The local government information unit think-tank last


year produced a report which suggested that nine in ten local


councils were considering to increase parking charges for off


street parking, despite the enormous amounts of money already raised


nationally. In my opinion, this is a short-sighted measure. It does not


address the problem facing our high streets and is just a quick method


of finding more ways to make money out of local motorists. For this


reason, it is important that local people and businesses are properly


engaged with the procedure if local council decides to increase parking


charges. It is only right that there is proper consultation on measures


which could adversely impact on local residents. This bill would


result in local authorities being required to consult interested


parties like local Traders' groups if there are seeking to increase the


cost parking charges. I welcome this. It is essential that the views


of those who work, live and rely on our high streets feel as if they


have the opportunity to make their case and that their views are


properly considered. In places like Brighouse and Hebden Bridge in my


constituency, where the local business initiatives work tirelessly


to put events on to boost footfall in the town centre, would my


honourable friend agree that those types of organisations and business


traders are the very people that need a high input into these


consultations, because they know what goes on? The honourable


gentleman makes a good point. In his constituency and my constituency,


organisations like the Halesowen chamber of trade, which has done a


huge amount of work trying to bring extra footfall into Halesowen, are


the group who should be front and centre of consultation on the


parking charges regime proposed for Halesowen, and that voice needs to


be heard. This measure is not necessarily to prohibit any increase


at all in charges. Occasionally, it may be necessary to increase charges


if the overhead costs are rising as well, especially in car parks would


require access through machines and extra staffing. It is about ensuring


the impacts on towns are fully considered and preventing increases.


On street parking often sees the same level of increases as


off-street, when the costs of providing these spaces are nowhere


near the same. This often leads to local residents feeling that they


are a cash cow, as other honourable members have pointed out, for local


authorities to plug a financial hole. A balance needs to be struck.


It is not a one size fits all situation. This bill will make it


quicker and easier for local authorities to do the right thing


where they think necessary. This measure will also allow local


authorities the flexibility to incentivise use of car parks which


are underused. These are spaces which the Council are paying to


maintain and are sitting idle with little use. This is not a benefit to


either the local authority or shopping centres. Empty car parks


can become a magnet for anti-social behaviour and crime, so it is


important for local authorities to be able to respond to declining


numbers quickly and within the best interests of the local area. The


honourable gentleman makes a salient point about when car parks fall into


disrepair. They become places of anti-social behaviour, which acts as


a double disincentive for people wanted to come to towns. I thank the


honourable lady for her intervention. I totally agree. We


mustn't allow these places to become centres of anti-social behaviour.


They are critical in getting car parking white and making them places


that people want to go. It is critical to town centre regeneration


and creating that good retail environment. I further welcome the


government's moved to look at further reforms to the local


government transparency code, which tends to ensure that motorists can


see first-hand the complete breakdown of parking charges that


their councils impose and how much they raise. There is normally a


suspicion among drivers that parking charges and penalties are being used


to increase the amount of money that local authorities can spend. Local


authorities have no legal powers to set parking charges at a higher


level than that needed to achieve the objective of relieving or


preventing congestion of traffic. This bill allows local authorities


to become more mindful of this fact. In the 2013-14 financial year,


councils received just under ?739 million from on street parking and


?599 million from off-street parking. The income received varies


wildly from counsel to counsel. The boards did not receive any income


from parking, whereas Cambridge City Council received over ?3 million


from on street parking. In total, councils in England made net profits


of 60 million and more from penalty charge notices. My own local


authorities have recorded nearly half ?1 million between them in


profit from parking charges. Local people want and deserve to have


faith that this money is being used properly. Under the last Labour


government, revenue from parking increased from 608,000,019 97 to 1.3


billion in 2010. Such parking enforcement has undermined local


high streets and I'm grateful to the government for making efforts to


rein in these overzealous and unfair rules.


I have supported the government's action on tackling higher parking


charges and aggressive parking enforcement which causes


considerable distress to thousands of motorists. I want to congratulate


the government on the measures it has used to stop parking being used


as a stealth tax, including stopping the industrial use of CCTV spy cars.


I believe it is in the best interest of my constituents and that of local


businesses and high streets that this bill, very ably introduced by


the honourable member for Boswell, will enact the link between parking


charges and the health of British high street. It cannot be under


estimated, this will make it easier for local authorities to lower their


charges to promote economic vitality in our town centres and if an


increase is to be considered, the right steps should be taken to make


sure they are properly considered. I believe these are the right measures


to help our local high streets and inject that much-needed incentive to


revive town centres and high Street in my constituency and across the


country. First, I would like to congratulate my honourable friend


Tom Bosworth in bringing forward this very important bill. It is a


dilemma and I will always be a champion of small, independent


businesses. Everything we do in terms regulation should consider the


needs of small businesses and try to create that level playing field with


large business that we absolutely need to seek to encourage the


success of the local, small, independent retailer and business.


Small, independent businesses cover around 60% of our private in sector


employed workforce and around 60% of private sector turnover, so they are


hugely important. I must declare and called house's attention to my


declaration of member's interests. We have an estate agent business,


which has 190 small, independent shops around the UK in various high


Street and market towns. We do not rely on them all in terms of


football, so it is not a big issue for us in terms of car parking and


people coming to town centres and city centres, but it is for the


general health of those towns and villages and our cities to make sure


that we absolutely have a vibrant and healthy sector in our high


streets and town centres. As our business started to grow, we started


in 1992, our business grew and we became the market leader in our town


of York which is where our first business started. We thought, this


is going quite well, we are doing OK, our business is starting to


prosper. And then three or four years another very good independent


started up later. We looked very carefully at the business and what


we were doing and we started to work harder again and it made us focus on


what made a successful in the first place. That is a small illustration


of what the importance is of small, independent businesses. It is not


just about the fact that they are at the heart of the community. It is


not just about the fact that they provide a better service, as my


honourable friend from Bury St Edmunds referred to. It is also


about their dynamics of the commercial realities of business.


They hold big business to account. Wherever we see a situation with big


business in a monopolistic situation, and they tend to


monopolise the out-of-town shopping centres we see, I think we can see


less good quality. An extreme example of that, I believe, is


British Telecom. It is a private sector monopoly. We have all


experienced some of the letters and complaints we get from our


constituents about the lack of quality when you get a private


sector monopoly. We absolutely need to have that balance between big


business and our many, very good big businesses in this nation, and our


business aspired to be a big business, but we also need to make


sure that we have a very vibrant small, independent business sector.


That is why I think this is so important. In my experience I have


experienced some really bad policies, bad local government


policies in terms of car parking, and the one I referred to earlier is


the one we saw in Europe where we started our first business. It is


not in my constituency, a lot of my constituents work in Europe and a


lot have businesses in your and our head office is still in York, but


York City Council went through a policy of selling of important city


centre car parks which created revenues for the Council, which also


created section 106 contributions from the developers of those car


parks. The remaining car parks had more pressure put on them and the


charges went up in those car parks. In the centre of Europe it is ?2 an


hour to park. It is ridiculous, a deterrent from getting people into


the centre. At the very same time they are granting planning consent


for out-of-town shopping centres with free parking. There are four


out-of-town shopping centres around York in a town with 200,000


residents. There was no consultation with local businesses. Any


consultations that did happen, there were panics with some of the


independent retailers in the centre of York, but the council pushed


ahead anyway much to the detriment of independent retailers in the city


centre. But some more positive examples I feel are in my


constituency. Hamilton District Council has a very innovative policy


in some of their conurbations. In Thirsk they have a market square car


parks and they allow people to come and park for an hour and they get a


ticket from a machine and they get an hour's free parking, or they can


pay 60p and park for two hours. It creates tremendous turnover in the


town centre which is what businesses want. They want people to come in so


they can shop in that short cycle when people want to come in for a


short time and shop or go to lunch. It is easy to do that, rather than


to get the money and the machine if you want to park for longer. It


means great turnover in the town. You can pay to park for longer.


Would he agree with me, because somewhat similar to my constituency


near to a large town, in my case Cambridge, in his case York, that is


a different environment to those small, rural environments around


small market towns that we want to generate that throughput so those


traders can survive so the people in the locality who cannot very often


achieved their shopping without getting in their car have an equal


choice to others who live near a town. She makes a very good point


and I could not agree with her more. I guess the key is what we are


looking for here is a symbiotic relationship between the local


authority and the businesses in that town. There is a close relationship.


Of course the local authority benefits from success of a business


in a town. But sometimes that conversation is not as comprehensive


as it needs to be, or is not as close. The understanding is not


there. Some of the provisions of this bill, which is about the


consultation of changes to car parking, or the ability to lower car


parking without going through a detailed process, that is why it is


so important to take this legislation through. Another good


example is my town of Malton. In the centre it is still owned by the


Fitzwilliam estate, so most of the shops and the car parks in the


centre are owned by an estate. It is in their very interest because they


owned the shops, and there are quite a few houses in the centre, and they


own the car parks. It is a very vibrant commercial environment. As


well as investing heavily in the town and improving the shops, they


changed the parking in the town so there is two hours free car parking


in the town centre car parks, which again has provided this fantastic,


vibrant commercial activity which we see in Malton. It has been


tremendously successful. There is a guy called Tom Leland who has set


out to develop a brand around Malton. He has called the


Yorkshire's food capital. We have the Malton food Festival. We have a


fantastic weekend. Honourable members must consider coming. There


is music, there is a beer festival at the same time and some of


Yorkshire's finest food. Yorkshire does have the finest produce for


food. So... As you can tell. It has been a wonderful success story and


the town has been regenerated on the back of it. It has to be seen to be


believed and that is because there was a sin by author relationship


between the car park owners, the town centre owners and the


businesses, a deep understanding between them. Helmsley, again it is


a place where you get a lot of coach parties coming to see the wonders of


Helmsley, a fantastic market town. Richard III had a connection with


Helmsley. The last King of the House of York was Richard III, so he had a


connection in Helmsley Castle. Richmond Castle as well. As the


minister said earlier, it was successful in the British high


street towards winning best market town. It was on the back of the


fantastic efforts of the traders and the local authority in that town.


But coach parking was introduced in one of the car parks and it became a


real deterrent for coaches coming to the town, coaches carrying 50


tourists. So local people went to the council and campaigned on this


issue and they got the charges taken away, which brought the coach


parties back to the town. It is a good example of how business,


working with local authorities, can have a positive effect and have a


deep understanding of some of the challenges around running small,


independent businesses. Of course those are positive examples, but


there are examples we have heard of already here today. According to the


RAC, ?756 million of charges and penalties in 2015 for car parks


across the UK, up 9% on 2015. 34% on 2010. This attacks the shoppers and


the businesses, businesses that are paying rates. They want service from


the council, yet they are seen, as we have heard before, as sitting


ducks, golden geese, or whatever analogy you want. A sitting duck and


a golden goose at the same time! We should make sure we look after that


golden goose and not treat it as a sitting duck! Because ultimately


people, shoppers and businesses will vote with their feet. In


conclusion... Very happy to give way. While my honourable friend is


on the subject of geese, doesn't he think the local authorities who take


the wrong approach to this are likely to cook their goose? It is a


very good point. It has been a fantastic debate. We have talked


about the foul consequences of not having good parking policies in the


local town. We did mention the dog and duck earlier in my honourable


friend's remarks. Our local pub has a connection with the Neville family


and it was a staging post on the web from Durham Cathedral to York


Minster. In conclusion, what we need is a level playing field. We must


always look after the interests of small business. We should not in


this house worship at the altar of big business. We should absolutely


put small business, independent retailers, at the heart of


everything we do and I absolutely support the provisions of this bill


because I think that is exactly what it does.


Can I remind members that it is a narrow bill and although the


contributions are enjoyable, it would be nice... ! I shall do my


best to focus on the content of the bill. I must congratulate my


honourable friend, the member for Bosworth for bringing in this brief,


but important bill, which as other members have said, could be of such


benefit to their constituents and mine also. It is a pleasure to


follow my honourable friend, the member for Thirsk and Malton, who


has talked about many of the benefits of the bill. Although I


will try and stick to the topic, I will follow his example in making


sure I don't duck the issues. I am very lucky to represent a


constituency which is peppered with historic towns and villages. I will


mention particularly the historic market town of Faversham and the


villages of Lennon and Headcorn. I mention those not because the other


villages are not worth visiting, but because those three or have car


parks in them. In the car parks are very important for allowing


residents to access the shops and services in each of those centres.


And those centres, despite the pressures on the appeal of


out-of-town shopping and supermarkets and the internet, those


centres are doing well. Just last year, Faversham was a rising star


award winner in the great British high-street awards. It is a town


that I take great pleasure in shopping in regularly. Lots of small


shops are providing services that can be hard to find if you go to the


supermarket. You are unlikely to get your pictures framed at the


supermarket. And they do a fabulous selection of flowers at the florist


which you can get made appropriately for an event. The yarn shop which


recently opened, because as we know, there is a boom in knitting and


sewing crafts, is serving that. So there are new shops opening, along


with a huge amount of historic sites to visit while you are there. So


these towns and villages are managing despite the pressures they


are facing, but it's not easy. Faversham had to say goodbye to our


sweet shop just a couple of weeks ago, which is a lovely feature of


the town. It was attractive to see all the sweets. That has fallen foul


of these pressures, as well as our attempts to lead healthier lives.


Perhaps the children of Faversham are not eating so many sweets now.


But I know my son will miss going to that when recycling to town. -- when


we cycle into town. I value our towns and village centres, as I know


many of my constituents do. It is not just for the shops that you can


visit, but also the way that these town centres serve as a community


meeting place. You will often bump into somebody you have not seen for


a while if you are in the Market Square in Faversham. For me, it is a


great way to catch up with constituents, with councillors. I


almost always meet not one, but several people as I go through


Faversham. My husband knows not to expect me back at the time I say I'm


going to get back because I will inevitably meet several people and


have long conversations as I go through. With the honourable lady


agree that one of the ways of keeping town centres vibrant is to


ensure that car parking prices can vary, relating to events going on


and to encourage people to go in and in particular, that they are


competitive as well? I thank my honourable friend for making these


points. This is why I am talking about the value of town and village


centres and the importance of them to community, because it is linked


to the role car parking charges play in helping towns and villages to


play this role. As I said, the chance meetings that you have in the


town and village centre are valuable part of keeping our community is


strong. And we know we need our communities to get stronger again. I


would not deny that the large out-of-town shopping centre doesn't


have an important role to play. I know some of my constituents will go


to Bluewater when they want to get clothes or do a big shop. It is not


in my constituency, so I am not a regular visitor that, but it has a


role to play. But it is not the place where you are going to bump


into somebody that you have not seen for a while. This is a challenge. It


is difficult for our towns and villages to compete with those


destination shopping sites and the internet, and we know that parking


charges are a factor in this. Other members have reported to the -- they


have referred the Federation of Small Businesses' report which said


the car parking charges are a factor in people deciding where they are


going to shop. In a rural area, much though we want to encourage people


to use other modes of transport, the reality is that the car is the way


most people need to travel. So car parking charges are a factor for


most people in deciding where they are going to shop. So for the sake


of our towns and villages and many of us who would like to see car


parking charges as low as possible, I understand that it is not as


simple as putting car parking charges down to the lowest possible


level or getting rid of them altogether. There is an element of


the revenue that is needed to maintain car parks. There is also


the point of when you have a station near the town centre. You don't want


your town centre car park to be used as all-day station parking. And that


is a risk, that it if you get rid of car parking charges, it would just


become a station car park and therefore, you wouldn't have the


footfall of people coming and going and being able to use the car park


to get to the shops. So it is important that there be flexibility


about the level that car parking charges are set, and also for a


council to be able to experiment and work out what works and critically,


to enable councils to be able to reduce car parking charges at times


for special events. If you have a station in a town, the idea of


having a very low car parking charge may be impossible to do all the


time, but you could for specific events reduce the charges for that


event. Faversham is a fantastic town for special events. My honourable


friend, mentioned the food festival in his constituency in Malton.


Faversham has a food festival and a separate beer festival. We don't


have to have them on the same day! It is a hop festival. I shall be


called out if I call it the beer festival. It is the Faversham hop


festival. Albeit for that festival, a lot of people come by train. You


may understand why! We also have the hat festival, the nautical festival,


because Faversham is also a nautical town, the transport festival and we


have markets on the first and third Saturday of the month. So there are


many events to come to in Faversham. Those could be days for the council


to drop the car parking charges, or on the other hand, it might be an


opportunity to experiment with dropping car parking charges on days


when the town is quieter and there is a way to bring people into town


when there is not an event going on. The point is that this bill is about


giving councils more flexibility to be able to do that and to test what


works for bringing more footfall into a town. That is why I am


delighted to support the bill. On the other hand, one point was made


today which is worthwhile, emphasising that increasing car


parking charges is another matter. It is important that increases the


car parking charges should be consulted on with rigour, because


increases to car parking charges are clearly a concern for residents and


a concern for businesses. Given what I have been saying about how car


parking charges affect people's decisions, increasing car parking


charges could be a concern for businesses and some worry that they


might be put out of business. So it is right that if car parking charges


are to be increased, there should be consultation. Something I did before


speaking today was check with my local councils what their thoughts


were about this bill. I was in touch with the chair of the transportation


committee of Maidstone borough council, one of the two councils in


my constituency and Councillor David Burton, the chair of the committee,


said of this bill that he was happy with it and that it would place no


extra burdens on local councils. So I thought that was a good thing to


hear. He also flagged how he thinks the excellent modern transport Bill


is valuable and emphasised the point that councils will have to move


quickly to keep up with the pace of change. I certainly welcome that my


local councils have been good at bringing in payment by smartphone,


which is another thing which can be very helpful when thinking of


flexibility, enabling people to pay as they leave or top up easily while


parking. These are all important for councils to be using to support


local towns and villages and the shops in them. To conclude, I very


much support and want to see thriving towns and villages enter


is. Therefore, I am delighted to support this bill. Wendy Morton.


Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. I write to support my honourable


friend from Bosworth's bill again today. And I congratulate him on all


the work he has been doing in getting the bill thus far. I am


sure, like others in this chamber, we all wish it is speedy passage


through this place, because we can understand the benefits it will


bring to our constituents and constituencies. I believe that this


bill will make a difference across the country. My honourable friend


used the phrase "We come into politics to make a difference", and


this bill can make a difference to so many people in a small, but


simple way. The aim of the bill is to make it easier for local


authorities to lower their parking charges, to promote the economic


vitality of town centres allowing local authorities to react more


quickly to market changes, putting them on an even footing with the


private sector and promoting parking flexibility, something we have heard


so much about today, by allowing local authorities at short notice to


provide free or discounted parking to support town centre events. It is


also intended to provide local authorities to consult interested


parties if they are seeking to increase the cost of parking charges


and to ensure the impacts on the towns are considered. The it was


described earlier as the Santa clause Bill, but this bill is not


just for Christmas. I believe it is for all year round. I apologise, I


needed to get that one in today! But it does seem a little crazy. My


honourable friend is not in her place at the moment but she alluded


to the fact that why haven't we sought to change the law in this


regard before? It does seem crazy that currently, if the local


authority wanted to offer free parking in the run-up to Christmas


or Thursday night for late-night shopping or four a special event, it


would cost them to do so. Because of the requirement to make all the


necessary advertisements. That seems hardly an incentive for a local


authority to go down the route. It has almost been a barrier to them to


make those changes. In today's economic climate, we have heard a


lot about the rise of internet shopping, the rise of the


out-of-town shopping centres. They all have their role to play. But it


strikes me that this bill offers a simple and cost-effective way to


enable councils to effect change. It is not about saying they must lower


all the car parking charges, much as we would all like that. It is about


giving them the flexibility to lower our parking charges when they feel


it is in the interests of that local community to do so, taking account


of community needs. I see it is almost a tool in the tool box of


local authorities. I believe it means that the councils can win


because of that reduction in the cost of advertising. Residents can


win because it saves them money and crucially, retailers and local high


streets can win as well. I understand that car parking revenue


is important to local authorities. I made the point earlier in one of my


interventions about the need to strike that balance. But sometimes,


by reducing car parking charges for an event, say, a local authority can


get extra revenue overall from businesses because if they have a


thriving town centre, they get the income from business rates.


I really believe local authorities will be able to react quicker,


support local events and businesses, support local residents, and that is


what this bill is fundamentally about. We are unfortunately in my


constituency, we do at least have some free parking. I think in


Aldridge Village Centre in particular. Where you are able to


offer that, it really does encourage people to go in and shop locally. It


is something I know members on both sides of this house are often


speaking of and are often encouraging people and residents to


do so. If you pop into the local shops, you do your banking, you go


to the post office. In Aldridge you would go and have a cup of coffee or


a sweet and you spend that little bit more time in the town centre,


all adding to that vibrancy. I think this bill is about cutting down


bureaucracy. Something else that we on this side of the chamber often


talk about. This bill will remove that you're crazy. Put simply, it is


a no-nonsense bill, it is a common-sense bill, and I will be


supporting it. It is my pleasure to add to others the congratulations to


the honourable member for Boswell for bringing forward what is


unusually a very simple bill with a simple game that affects a great


number of people. I welcome the fact it is easier for our local councils


to sort their car parking, but I would like to talk about enabling


them to have a sense of place. That is really important. The honourable


member for Thirsk alluded to it, as did the honourable member for


Halesowen when he said it was not a one size fits all solution. A sense


of place is very much understanding your locality, your businesses, your


residence, and those people who come to your town. Our towns are


changing, which is why local authorities need flexibility. In


Bury St Edmunds we have residents living alongside the businesses and


the tourist attractions and a vast number of tourists come to our town.


As I mentioned, we are getting towards 2 million parking slots in a


town of 42,000 people per annum. That shows how popular we are, but


it also shows we need to have local flexibility and local


accountability. That is different to my town down the road at Stowmarket.


They have a less vibrant centre and they will need to apply different


measures to how they are going to accommodate their businesses and


stimulate a vibrant economy that is right for them. As the honourable


member for Faversham said, this is about building communities and about


people having time to go in and actually enjoy where they live and


actually... Of course. She makes a very good point about the different


types of town she has in her constituency. Isn't that the point


about this bill? It requires local authorities to work alongside


businesses to develop the right strategies or parking to make sure


they make the best of the opportunities whatever the different


conurbation is? Absolutely, I couldn't agree more. It is actually


the fact that in Bury St Edmunds I have a 6% occupancy rate in the


town, which he will know for retail is very low. 50% of what the


national average is. It won the award for having the best Christmas


fare anywhere in the country this year. It has a plethora of things we


can enjoy. It also has its own Cathedral. Tonight I will be


hopefully attending at the Theatre Royal Northanger Abbey in one of the


only Regency theatres in the country. It is fantastic. But I also


have great things in Stowmarket, but it is different and we need to


understand how this bill can facilitate that. One thing I would


like to ask the Minister, and perhaps he could write to me if


today is not the place for us to tease this out, is that in my


particular area I have a County Council, a Borough Council, a


District Council, three town councils, and very often it is only


the good working of those councils together that facilitate solutions


because some of the complexity of these different authorities owning


different car parts and so on. When decisions want to be made, for


example in Stowmarket, when the town council wanted to have a cheaper


parking rate for two hours, that was a collaboration with the District


Council and the town council. Sometimes in these multiple tiers we


have a complexity that even a simple instrument like this bill perhaps


does not address. It might be that there is a little more work to be


done in order to facilitate those areas that are not as simple as a


metropolitan area in order for them to have conversations to facilitate


quicker than is possible at the moment changes in their local


environment to their car parking, particularly permanent in an area


like Bury where we have the Contra problem to a lot of towns. We very


often do not have enough car parking spaces. It would be really good for


us to perhaps address issues like funding multistorey car parks and so


on and being able to drive initiatives like that which would


allow us greater parking, so our town centres are sclerotic. When


town centres are blocked, it is my residence who suffer. People park


without thinking somewhere in the town and residents cannot access


their houses. Permits are a good use, but that stops people parking


for business, so that is what I mean about a whole environment. I agree


with the honourable lady because I think there are issues with this


bill. Perhaps it should not have come to the third Reading today and


maybe we should have spent longer in committee ironing out some of these


issues? I thank the honourable lady for her intervention. No, I think


the beauty of this bill and why I would like to see it go through


today is its simplicity. But we live in a very fast moving environment, a


very fast paced environment, where things constantly change around us.


My point is that where we have a complexity of local government with


different authorities having responsibility over car parking,


maybe this is something we should look to address as we go forward.


Would she like me recall that there was a report stage on this bill


earlier today and that would have been the opportunity if anyone had


objections to the wording to make some changes, as I suggested myself?


I could not agree more with the honourable member for Torbay. As


there has been a plethora of people speaking on the bill today there has


been somewhat of a dearth of those on the opposite side saying what


benefits a simple bill like this could bring, but also perhaps


challenging, as is appropriate, at that reading. I am listening to the


honourable lady and I do think she is pushing her luck. A lot of us on


this site are very angry about the fact that the bill is being talked


out by her and her friends on the government backbenchers today. If


she wants to do that, she can play games, but please do not criticise


us. I do apologise. It was merely a statement of fact. However... Whilst


we are considering this bill, it is as others have said, incumbent on us


to look at where we are going in the future. As I conclude, I would like


to mention my own town council in Bury St Edmunds who have usefully,


in order to help ameliorate some of the problems around from the car


parking situation in my town, they have actually recruited some PS oh,


Emma Howell, to regain control over civil parking enforcement from the


police. She has single-handedly authorised over 100 civil parking


orders in her first few weeks, including the leader of the town


council who recruited her! She is indeed delivering greater monitoring


powers to local councils in order to exercise local management to which I


do hope this bill will add as we go forward. Thank you, Madam Deputy


Speaker. I am conscious of the time and what has been said already, so I


will keep my remarks rather brief. When I withdrew my amendment, I


still think this bill is right to go forward in the form it is in and it


will give a valuable opportunity for local councils to vary charges


downwards without going through the consultation process. It is rightly


there, but it is somewhat bizarre that under current legislation the


council has to spend money to try and do something that will cost it


money. In terms of this, I think it will be very beneficial bill and


will deal with some of the issues are used to encounter when I was in


local government myself. I will not go through a whole list of the


festivals and events in Torbay. I did that during the report states.


But the key thing I would like to hear from the Minister is how when


this bill goes forward, how they will be working with councils to


make sure it is used. Sometimes in legislation on a Friday, legislation


is not something to do for the fun of it, it is something to do that


will have an impact. One is interested to see how the local


authorities will use this power and how they promote it when it is


brought into effect. I hope this bill gets a third reading, I hope we


do not have to have a division to achieve that. I hope this is taken


forward, it is a bill in the right form and it is perfectly acceptable


and should achieve its third reading today. I am pleased to speak in


support of the bill's third reading. I would like to start by


congratulating my honourable friend and member for Bosworth who is


bringing in this bill in his third year in this house. I wish him well


today with getting this bill through to third reading, hopefully


unopposed, and to the bill going down to the other place and


hopefully not being amended. I also understand it is my honourable


friend for Bosworth's first Private member's bill. As somebody who not


too long ago was on the backbenches, I was never fortunate during that


time to secure a private member's bill, generally because I never


appeared far enough up the ballot. I never had the chance to bring


forward such an important piece of legislation as my honourable friend


has. So I congratulate him. As I indicated that the bill's second


reading, parking remains an issue that is very familiar. My


ministerial postbag remains very busy. The Royal Mail certainly


continues to enjoy the rewards of the numerous missives that I receive


on parking and in the three months since we started this process in


November it certainly remains the case that I still am receiving a


significant level of correspondence in this regard. High streets and


town centres are essential parts of the fabric of our lives and are the


social core of our communities. The need for affordable parking to


access town centres is critical and to the continued growth of our high


streets. The previous government recognised this in a number of


reforms brought forward on parking facilities owned by councils. The


previous government brought forward reforms to make it mandatory for


local authorities to give ten minute grace periods for all on street


parking bays and all off street parking bays. This gives town


centres and consumers greater flexibility to allow them to


complete their business in the town without having to worry about


feeding the meter. The use of CCTV camera cars by local authorities


that were being used as revenue generating devices was also a cause


for concern, that is why an addition to grace periods was good.


Individuals can have a degree of certainty that when they get a


ticket they will know about it on the day.


The government believes in town hall transparency and believes that the


transparency, believes that transparency is the foundation of


local accountability. It is the key that gives people the tools they


need to hold their local councils to account. Since 2010, transparency


and town halls has improved greatly. The Conservative led coalition


government changed the rules on attending town hall meetings to


enable the press and public to report on more meetings, including


being able to film proceedings at council meetings. More than that, we


have also changed the rules on what information local authorities must


make public, because transparency is good for the health of democracy. In


2011, the government issued a code of recommended practice for local


authorities on data transparency come to place more power in


citizens' hands, to increase democratic accountability and make


it easier for people to contribute to local decision-making and help


shape local public services. The scope and content of the 2011 code


of recommended practice for local authorities on data transparency was


reviewed in 2012. Was my department consulting on a proposed update of


the code. As a result of the consultation, the government


published a revised local government transparency code in 2014 and


further updated the code in February 20 15. Since October 2014,


compliance with part two of the code has been mandatory. The local


government transparency code 2015 requires certain authorities to


publish certain information, including about parking. We


encourage local authorities to produce an annual report about their


enforcement activities within six months of the end of each financial


year. The report should cover financial statistical and other data


reflecting the revenues received from car parking operations. The


Department for Transport require data to help develop parking policy,


but there is a concern that the data being supplied is not as


comprehensive as it should be, and most local authorities do not feel


obligated to do so. Accordingly, when we consulted last year about


updates to the transparency code, we proposed that the requirements to


publish data relating to the local authorities' parking counts be


expanded to include greater detail about parking charges. We also


propose that local authorities should publish statistics about the


enforcement of parking restrictions by that particular local authority.


Specifically, we propose that local authorities be required to provide


data on total income and expenditure on parking account, kept under


section 55 of the Road traffic regulation 1984, and off-street


parking charges and penalty charges, which are not covered under section


55 of the 1980 Four Rd traffic act regulation. In that particular point


has been raised by a number of honourable members during this


debate. We propose that local authorities be required to provide a


breakdown of income, of on street parking charges come on street


penalty charges, off Street car parking charges and off street


penalty charges. The responses to this proposal were enlightening but


not altogether surprising. They confirmed parking data is a great


interest to the public and of course, why wouldn't it be? Because


after council tax, parking charges are arguably one of the most visible


ways that local authorities take money from the public. Now, turning


to my honourable friend's bill and how it recognises that on the one


hand councils need flexibility is, it also recognises the need to


involve local communities in its decision-making process. The Parking


Places (Variation of Charges) Bill offers a real opportunity for small


but very sensible reforms to local authority car parks. The bill will


give the government powers to scrap the bureaucratic requirements on


local authorities if they wish to lower their parking charges. This


offers real opportunity for councils to take a flexible approach in


supporting their high streets. For example, by responding to be


opportunity of town Centre festivals, of which a number have


been referenced by honourable members this morning. One thing I


have learned from my involvement with the great British high street


competition in 2015 is the real passion that still exists in this


country for high streets and town centres. But while there is a need


for councils to offer flexibility is in respect of parking charges to


support their town centres, it's important that we recognise the


charging levels are quite often a significant concern for town centre


businesses. The government therefore thinks it's fit and proper that


councils are responsive to local concern before the King to increase


charges. My honourable friend's bill provides for consultation and


requirements but if councils want to raise their charges on an existing


traffic order I believe it's sensible that this reform balances


the needs of the local authority to set a fair pricing policy, but one


that also takes into account the views, and quite rightly, as local


people. So just to conclude, I appreciate the points that have been


made today. I'm grateful for the way the House has handled the bill, and


I want to thank the many colleagues who have made significant


contributions, and as I said when we started this bill, the bill does


represent a small but needed reform to help deliver a more effective


parking model that is supportive of our great British high streets and


town centres and I congratulate my honourable friend for Bosworth


making it this far and hope this bill ultimately becomes an act of


Parliament. Madame Dev disfigure, I welcome you to your place -- Madame


Deputy Speaker. I'd like to thank all colleagues here today for


contributing to the debate and wish this bill well on its travels to the


other place, the House of Lords. And I'd like to if I may make this point


to their noble lordships landlady ships. This bill passed the Commons


unamended. There were no amendments that committee stage and there were


discussions with the opposition and there was agreement, and I say to


the honourable lady on the front bench opposite, who expressed some


concerns just now, there were opportunities here to load this bill


was a lot more material and it was kept very narrow because in my long


experience of Fridays it was not going to proceed unless it was very


narrow. Madam Deputy Speaker, if I may continue with an earlier play on


words, I hope the noble Lords will get their ducks in a row. I hope


they won't add to them. We've quite enough here. It would be instructive


for councils up and down the land if they study this debate. There have


been some wonderful contributions will stop I'd just like to become


two or three points that have come up. My honourable friend for Thirsk


and Malton spoke with the experience of starting and expanding a small


business. I thought the point that he made about the power of one hour


free parking and then an additional 60p per hour was very persuasive.


Many councils up and down the land should notice that. The honourable


lady for Faversham in Kent and my honourable friend and the honourable


lady for Bury St Edmunds touched on festivals and the importance of


having special events that draw people into towns was focused on in


this debate, and of course that's where you need flexibility in


parking. Madame Deputy Speaker, I thank the members of the committee


for their help and members I've already thanked this afternoon. I'd


like to thank the two ministers who have helped me, who have spoken, my


honourable friend the member for Croydon Central for housing plan is


to minister spoke -- the member spoke in committee, my honourable


friend for local government, by political neighbour in


Leicestershire, the member for Nuneaton has spoken today and as


I've already said, I've had the support of the opposition. I'd also


like to thank my honourable friend for Nuneaton for allowing the access


to some of his officials. I know it's not normal to thank them, but


I'm going to thank Philip Dunkley and Thomas Adams for their


assistance and eight making sure that I was properly briefed so


Madame Speaker it is with great happiness and surprise that I find


myself in a situation that I have a private member's bill that can


affect every town, every city and every large village in the country,


and I hope it processes through the House of Lords. The question is the


Bill be now read the third time. As many are of the opinion, say "aye".


To the contrary, "no". The ayes have it. Not amended at the Public Bill


Committee to be considered. We begin with amendment one, with which it


will be convenient to consider amendments to three.


Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. And if it's in order I would like to


speak to both of my amendments, one after the other, because I do


appreciate that time is marching on. But Madame Deputy Speaker, just to


be clear, I have supported my honourable friend for Torbay's bill,


I was at second reading. I was also at the Bill committee stage. But


there were a couple of points that as I went through Bill committee and


on reflection I felt were worthy of a little bit more probing, as the


detail was not on the face of the bill. In reference to my first


Amendment, regarding public consultation. This is a very


important Bill will stop it stretches across many, many


different facets, reaching into potentially many different


communities. And the government at second reading indicated it will


conduct a form of consultation and review with all the relevant


stakeholders, on the technical details of this bill. But given the


technical nature of the Bill, I am seeking some reassurances from the


Minister, hence the insertion of, after public consultation. Because


for some very small community radio stations that are often run by


community volunteers, I really want to be certain, Madam Deputy Speaker,


that they are part of this consultation process. It would be


wrong if they were precluded and left out at the expense of the


larger ones. And now, turning to my second amendment, again at Bill


committee stages there were some concerns raised, in particular from


the community media Association about the nature of the Bill. So in


considering under my second amendment, I'm concerned that the


provision in the draft order, subsection four, paragraph C, that


the order may require a small-scale radio multiplex services to be


provided on a non-commercial basis is not a sufficient guarantee that


the services will be operated primarily for public and community


benefit. Second reading, we had so much about the benefits of community


radio and the way they can really get into some of those often very


hard to reach communities that on both sides of the House we are all


too familiar with, so that's what I'm seeking in this amendment.


There's a high risk where a small-scale radio multiplex services


run on a commercial basis that charges to small-scale and community


radio content providers could remain excessive, and that opportunities to


reduce the cost for small-scale and community radio operators through


sale of spare capacity would be lost and this would be ashamed. A


commercially operated small-scale radio multipacks operator may be


inclined to populate available capacity with content from those


providers prepared to pay the highest rate, rather than content of


the greatest public value. For example, content providers that have


very low fixed costs, such as those providing semiautomated


predominantly music services may be better placed to afford high costs


of transmission and content providers who invest in original


local content including speech and local journalism. Again, those


community stations that go to the heart of our communities. My


amendments produce -- proposes it be required for public and community


benefit rather than for commercial reasons, in order to favour existing


community radio providers or consortia of small-scale local and


community media to come together to operate the multiplex.


This would not preclude a small-scale, local, commercial radio


service to play a role to hold the multiplex licence and two operated


on such a base that local services, including small-scale, radio


services, are provided with a free cost base and any income generated


will be there. I want to be really sure that we are making sure that we


reach out to those parts of the community that really benefit from


community radio. I have a speech I was going to do today which almost


echoes exactly what she is saying. Can I say I wholeheartedly agree


with the principles she is espousing. I will not do my speech


in the hope that we will get to my honourable friend's speech later,


but I wholeheartedly accept what she is saying. I am grateful, I was just


about to sit down, be reassured. I am hoping my friend, the honourable


member for Torbay, will give us the assurances we are looking for and


hopefully I will be able to withdraw my amendment. Question is that


amendment one be made. The question is that amendment one be made. I


apologise, Madam Deputy Speaker, I am a novice at this. I would like to


also just very quickly add my amendment. I was here for the second


reading and so for me this is episode two, a little similar to my


honourable friend from Brownhill. I wish to probe a little bit further


for community radio. I spoke about the importance of it and in


particular the amendment, which is that the Secretary of State is not


to make an order under this section in relation to small-scale radio


multiplex services, with the exception of conditions to provide a


small-scale capacity to provide services of a description set out in


262. I want to know there is going to be enough space for community


radio in the system, in layman's language. When Ofcom went out and


did their trialling what was quite amazing was that you had within the


pie chart existing local commercial radio 9.2%. Existing local community


stations taking up 18.3%, but new format is made up a staggering


72.5%, which showed there was a real appetite for community stations. I


think this is something we have to look at and take into account with


this bill to make sure that we have given adequate provision. What it


tells us is there is a thirst from those people who want to serve their


local community. Of course. On top of what she is saying, do the same


report said that not only was there a real appetite for it, the report


also said it was technically possible and also economically


sustainable. There is evidence within the report to say that that


is the case. I thank the honourable member for adding weight to my


desire to probe further to see whether we can make sure that we


have facilitated local community radio to have its place rightfully


and vibrantly at the centre of its communities. We also know that


Ofcom, who trialled this, are keen to deliver the provision. I want to


know with this amendment to understand the access there will be


to access the multiplexes specifically. In and around our


communities things like forces radios, hugely important to a huge


sector of the community, universities running radios that


reach out to students, churches and cathedrals, but we also have new


forms of media and local groups and enterprises that want to reach in


and inform their local communities. They all work of minimal budgets,


usually on a charitable status, and if they cannot get the space in


order to access listeners, what is the point? My amendment is largely


to probe and to ask that question. Surely we can ring fenced a little


bit for the people who need it? Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker, it


is a pleasure to be speaking on report stage. I will be urging the


two members to withdraw their amendments. Starting with amendment


one, I appreciate the intention of this amendment and I also noted the


comments from the honourable member for West Ham as well, to be sure


that local communities can have their views heard when a licence


application is made. I hope the honourable member will consider


withdrawing it, bearing the whole intention of this bill is to create


a lighter touch registration scheme for the smaller operators. This is


about small, commercial stations and community groups being able to


broadcast. Is it therefore important that these multiplexes are not


dominated by large media companies, that we do not end up with


monopolies, people holding several licenses, to make sure there is


availability on those multiplexes for those stations, which is the


basis of this bill? I will be coming on a bit later when I make comments


on amendment number three and deal with that point in detail. The whole


idea is to give community stations and ability to go on DA B.


Theoretically there is an ability, but at the moment the scale is so


large that very few operators in a community station would ever get to


that scale. In London the local area is London, so a community station


would find it extremely difficult because they would have to pay the


cost of transmission to London. A sponsor in Croydon is unlikely to be


of any great relevance to somebody living in Barking and Dagenham. This


bill must be seen as the first part of a three stage process. The first


is the bill, which allows the legal framework for the government to act


and without it the DA B community sector will not exist. It will


disappear. It also includes a very limited ability to amend primary


legislation by the affirmative procedure and this reflects what was


done with community radio in 2004 and local TV in 2012. Strikingly


similar circumstances and purposes. We have to be careful in terms of


those types of provision, but in this instance it is so strikingly


similar to precedence parliaments have set before it makes sense to do


it on this one. The next would be to create the structure and the third


and final stage would be Ofcom issuing licences to the individual


multiplex operators. In terms of the second stage and the amendment


talking about adding consultation, the minister, the honourable member


for West Suffolk, has already confirmed a second reading that the


detail of how a licensing scheme should operate and it will be


subject to a full consultation by the government. It will enable the


government to take account of different views from community radio


and commercial radio and ensure the right protections are in place, to


ensure licenses are taken up. The position of community stations are


protected. On the specific point of consultation, can I stress the


importance of making sure that consultation process is sufficiently


long enough to allow those radio stations to be able to feed in. I am


not expecting a set time frame today, but I want to stress that


point. My understanding is the government will have a suitable


timescale and groups like the community media Association are


already aware of the bill and its provisions and many operators will


be starting to think about the type of comments you want to make in


relation to the consultation. The honourable member is welcome to stop


me again if I am wrong, but it applies to orders made under the


bill rather than to require statutory consultation for an


individual licence. I see percent from somebody in a sedentary


position. Just for clarity, I confirm that. I therefore hope


members will accept that if every order under this act was required by


statute to be subject to a full consultation, this would strike at


the very heart of the intention behind this bill. The intention is


to create a legislator framework that would be adaptable and it may


not always be appropriate for every order made to be preceded by a full


public consultation. The government needs to have the flexibility to act


quickly and correct deficiencies or make minor and technical changes


without having to wait for the conclusion of a consultation, a


consultation that would make little sense. Technology is moving on


significantly. Internet stations are able to broadcast with no licence,


but we have to bear in mind with technology moving on, it is right


the government has an ability to reflect that, but more serious


changes would need to be the subject of consultation. If we say any order


under this power needs to have a consultation that could inhibit and


they would be consultations that very few people would wish to engage


with. Effectively it is about technical details. My understanding


is that once the initial consultation is complete, the


government was said out the details licensing arrangements that will be


intense subject to debate by both houses of parliament before coming


into effect. There is also parallel work with the government to do with


Ofcom in relation to the functioning of the new regime. I hope that will


give the honourable lady the explanation she needs as to what


consultation will happen and I hope she agrees to withdraw her


amendment. I fully appreciate the sentiment behind the second


amendment. I hope for the reasons I am about to separate the honourable


member will also agree to that amendment. It already enables the


Secretary of State to allow small-scale, multiplex services to


be supplied by non-commercial basis. It must seek to provide an


infrastructure to an area. We must be clear that multiplex is about


providing infrastructure for small-scale operations. It is not


the individual services you would chew into, although you need the


infrastructure for them to exist. Part of the objective behind the


amendment is already provided for in the bill.


I believe there are likely to be opposing views in future


consultations as to whether services in multiplexes should include those


being run on a commercial basis and I would not want to prejudge the


consultation by closing off this option in the bill. Whilst it is not


a specific aim, any future move to have a totally digital broadcast


system for radio would require an option for small-scale, commercial


stations to move onto DA B. The current system does not do that as


is evidenced by the lack of growth we have seen of local stations going


on to this currently existing multiplexes. The evidence from the


trials indicates unique radio services being provided and the


breakdown is where 18.3% for existing community stations, 9.2%


for an existing commercial station, and new formats were 72.5%. I hope


this will give the honourable ladies some comfort that stations are


getting onto DA B when this type of structure is in place as we have


seen in the trial schemes. As mentioned earlier, the detail of how


the new regime should operate will be subject to full consultation and


the details will be subject to both houses of parliament, giving an


opportunity to members to ensure that these objectives are included.


There are likely to be a number of areas that the government will need


to receive views on, for example on the number of licences each person


or organisation can hold. As was mentioned by the amendment that was


not selected for debate, I recognise these are the issues that the


community media Association has raised. They are important issues. I


accept that. But at this stage it is right the government maintains an


open mind and I would urge members to resist this amendment.


When we're discussing this bill, it's the fact previous legislation


is now up inflexible for an era when technology has moved on


significantly. Turning to amendment number three, submitted by the


honourable member for Bury St Edmunds, I again hope the member


will consider withdrawing it for the reasons I will shortly set out. I


can totally appreciate the intention behind it, reserving space for


community stations, and I suspect this may be partly motivated by the


superb work done by British forces broadcasting service at a number of


bases around the UK, given the honourable member's Strong work in


the Ministry of Defence. It would be natural that these stations should


be able to migrate onto DAB if they choose to and I'm clear this is


about choice in this bill, there is no compunction for anyone to use


small-scale DAB multiplex rather than a traditional license. However,


if we were going to open all digital solution we need to give them a


practical opportunity to do that. The problem with this amendment is


it would require the government by statute to disk up -- to adopt a


position which would prejudge the consultation for preserving the


capacity for community stations and I want to see this Bill retains the


maximum flexibility in creating the new regime that will follow it. I


think members have to have in mind there are hundreds of potential


locations for small-scale multiplexes and some may not be


viable, specifically reserved space, or there could be operations making


it unnecessary in a particular multiplex's case. I want Ofcom to be


a license small-scale multiplexes to operate under conditions appropriate


for the localities they will cover. I'd also not once provision that


creates a radio version of a Parliamentary train service, namely


a small bit of capacity kept just to meet a statutory requirement, rather


than deliver an actual real goal. Ultimately this issue will again be


the subject of a full consultation that will follow this bill becoming


law. But we can see the evidence from existing ones of what happens


whether current Leeds suggests current system is brought forward


and we see community stations going on. It's worth bearing in mind the


whole impetus behind the small-scale trial that the Department of


Culture, Media and Sport initiated in December 2013 was to ensure that


small stations, community stations and commercial radio stations, had a


digital option, especially if the strong shift in listening to digital


radio continues. This needs to be a practical option. Particularly we


are seeing the biggest change in the last few years, certainly since the


previous piece of legislation, has been the expansion of DAB into a car


radios. Not that long ago very, very few cars, perhaps the most expensive


vehicles, had a DAB radio installed. Now, quite a number have a DAB radio


install. It means when they switched to digital they find there is a


selection there, it's more likely to be the national radio stations, it's


almost certain to beat the syndicated regional ones, but they


may find that even commercial radio stations that are not that small,


for example there is an example Parisse FM, isn't actually on DAB.


That is either going to the people just migrate to Consolidated media


services, reducing choice and diversity are not all the actually


people don't migrate onto DAB and stick with FM, which in the long run


I suspect they will be a move to want to look at when radio could


switch over. He makes a very good point about small community radio


stations on FM rather than DAB. I've got one in my constituency, Vale


radio, covering the Vale of York and Vale of Pickering, but currently not


-- not on DAB because of costs and the licensing regime and this Bill


is intended to help organisations such as that. I thank the honourable


member for highlighting the whole purpose of this bill, which we can


come onto a bit more in third reading. But it is about the fact


that the current regulatory system that exists, if this bill doesn't


survive today, or if it gets talked out, then what will happen is it the


national and local multiplexes will continue, they'll still be there for


the largest operators in radio, that's fine, that suits their needs,


however, it will be the small community radio stations that are


the ones that will take the hit and ultimately see less users, less


choice and diversity, and also a regulatory system that would not


reflect the advancing technology. On second reading I made the point that


in the 1960s, the outcome of an outdated attitude to broadcasting


regulation was ships that just off our shores. The reality on this is


more radio stations would move onto the Internet, which myself and the


honourable member could go and set up on Internet radio station in our


office if we wanted to start broadcasting out. I'm not sure how


money people would want to listen to it. But that's the point of how


technology is moving on. In terms of giving people access to those


services, I can see some knobs of ascent to the point that very few


people might wish to listen to it, we can do that on Internet but it's


not got the type of ease of access that traditional rodeo -- radio


broadcasting mediums have. Yes, it's growing, and those who are tech


savvy probably have apps on their foes to do it, but it's not as easy


as having a simple digital radio that you can carry around that's


effectively something that is portable and doesn't have the size


of things like a laptop, and iPad or a smartphone. That's why I think


it's so important that we look to progress and have the version of the


bill unamended as it stands. That's where I'm quite clear, there needs


to be flexible as you for the future. What I wouldn't want to find


it in a year or two's time through well-intentioned reasons, we set up


some restrictions on the bill and then finding a year or two's time


that we are stunting growth and development in a rapidly moving


forward technology. It's safe to say that our forefathers, 30 or 40 years


ago, if we'd told them you could run broadcasting system for radio off


laptop, about this big, they'd have sat there in amazement. Broadcasting


station was a large room with a great tower on it. They'd have said,


what is a laptop? It's the way technology is moving on and it needs


to be flexible and adaptable, because there are so many different


locations. We are not replicating this Bill the guarantee of BBC


coverage, courage on the multiplex that is in the place for local and


national multiplexes, that was relevant for that time and for the


scale of the operations they were. I would be is to set a specific


requirement in every single licence for guaranteeing community access,


however, it's almost certain that Ofcom would want to consider how it


keeps a diversity on a particular multiplex, or how it gives an


opportunity, and the evidence from what we've seen is that actually


community radio stations have benefited very well from the


small-scale trials. But if we start to have a reservation or price


control and again, that's another thing we could consider, it would


get is into quite odd arguments as parliament into exactly where we set


price controls on particular areas, and also is a very purpose of smalls


scale multiplexes, there will be more of them which would bring costs


down and competition. There's got to be an incentive for the multiplex


owners to invest in this technology and equipment, and doesn't require a


significant investment, and what kind of rate of return would they


expect? That's obviously you need to create that incentive for this


equipment to be established. Thank the honourable member for his


intervention. It -- the bill gives provision for some of these to be


run as not for profit, effectively as community, and there's some


operations from a different stations come easily example I gave, was


whether things like a University or local authority might wish to


provide the infrastructure. We don't want to get into the game of local


authorities running radio stations, but you could run the infrastructure


under this license for not per for -- not purposes, but then the


station is, a commercial station could make a profit, but the key


issue is at the moment you can go from running an Internet radio


station in your bedroom to running a very small scale FM operation, and


build your business, build up your listeners to being a more


significant company. In the instance of additional radio regulation, to


go on to it you in some areas need to go to accompany turning over ?1


million a year to pay the broadcast fees as part of that turnover.


That's why this is so important. I'm conscious of time. So I will wind


up, particularly by urging the two honourable members to withdraw their


amendments, and I'd urge the community media Association, who's


been very active with can -- contacting members, I've welcomed


that, and groups such as radio Centre, who have been in contact, to


work with the government through the consultation to deliver the


objectives I've outlined above. This is about opening up an opportunity,


giving community stations a chance to go digital and helping stimulate


creativity as we've seen and attend trial areas. I'll say more on third


reading but I hope the honourable two members have received the


assurances they need and withdraw these amendments. Thank you, I have,


I'm very grateful to my honourable friend, am I doing this right? Yes,


for his explanation, and he's gone a long way to reassure me, give me the


reassurances I need and explained the work of the trials, the way that


I see this is the start of the process and for that reason and the


need I believe to keep this Bill flexible with the leave of the House


IBEC to withdraw my amendments. Is at your pleasure the amendment be


withdrawn? Amendment by leaves withdrawn. Amendment withdrawn.


Consideration completed. Third reading, what day? Now. The question


is the bill be read in the third time. Thank you, Madam Deputy


Speaker. It's a pleasure to move the bill be read a third time and to


thank honourable members for the contributions that have been made


today, and to those who served on the bill committee. I don't intend


to detain the house hugely, in terms of this third reading, but I do want


to set out the wider purposes of this Bill and why I believe it's


right that it's now receives its final approval from this House


today. The whole purpose of the bill is to tackle a hole in the


legislation that currently exists around broadcasting. There are three


levels of radio, national, regional and larger local, and community. At


the moment, three of them exist on the analogue frequencies. Two of


them exist on the digital frequencies. And that's why it's now


important to create an opportunity via the framework to have community


stations to go onto digital. I very clear this Bill is not about forcing


any station to go onto digital platform. If they wish to stay on


the analogue platform. During the passage of this bill through this


House and in committee we've had comments around future moves to have


a switchover in the same way as we had with television some years ago,


but that is not the intention of this bill, and those requirements


are not in this Bill. I'd also be clear we do need to keep a


flexibility in this Bill to allow the hundreds of different


circumstances to be taken into account during the issue of


individual licences. It would clearly be rather bizarre to say, as


we don't do in any other community licence, that the idea of what might


be an appropriate restriction to cover Croydon, which is almost the


size of commentary -- Coventry but is an individual community in


London, will be the same requirement in Whitehaven in Cumbria, where is


actually the start I think the first place to switchover to digital TV,


it would not be appropriate in that community to put in the same sort of


restrictions we might think would be sensible and reasonable for a large


suburban part of London. It's also worth noting that and I firmly


believe is out there are because one of the points that has been made a


few times during the process of this Bill is, is there a demand for this?


It's all very well to sit here and legislate and say that we should


have this. I'll come to the honourable member in a moment. Is


there a demand? What we see from the ten small-scale trials as they are


simple to operate and there is a demand and new choices are created.


I give way. On that very point about digital technology, my honourable


friend from Thirsk and Malton alluded to it earlier, in the Calder


Valley we really do struggle with reception, so to allow community


radios and small radio stations move onto digital, surely we have to have


the technology in place first of all for them to do that. Thank you, I


thank the honourable member for that intervention, and he's right. The


thing is the technology actually exists. It's their, you can have


small-scale broadcasting, particularly looking at for example


the use of high buildings. If you put the transmission equipment on a


tall building it takes out the cost of maintaining a large radio mast,


the traditional type of broadcasting system we might think of. The


technology exists, but ability to license it does not.


What happens to the trial stations in the ten areas if we do not get on


and legislate? They will end up closing. A trial system is not the


proper way of regulating broadcasting in the long term. Yes,


it can be used to create the trial areas and the feedback is it has


gone down very well, but that cannot go on for ever. It needs to be


brought to an end. I totally and utterly agree with that sentiment. I


thank the honourable member for that statement. Sometimes in this chamber


we are exchanging comments to each other that are not normally quite so


supportive, so it is welcome. Thinking of the many diverse


communities in east London who in reality are not going to go on to a


London wide multiplex, they cannot do that. They will be able to get


small-scale licences and provide competition to larger operations and


they will be unique services with individual choice. I am delightful


and delighted to have the support of the honourable member for this bill.


I suspect we will be moving on to the third reading vote and I hope


she will be shouting iMac in her usual style. There is an issue


around could somebody own more than one small-scale multiplex? The


suggestion was brought up by the honourable member for Cardiff West


and the specific point on that would be if we restricted it to them only


having one, we could tap bizarre outcomes. For example, in an area


where more than one is needed, I would think in London one might be a


good restriction. But for the British forces services, do we do


that for one station, it would clearly be better for them to allow


them to have more than one across the country in particular military


bases. If you put restrictions in, we could see bizarre things


happening like having to put in a structure that allows somebody to


get around it. I am interested to hear the minister's thoughts on this


point as well, how we stop it from being local and national media


multiplex systems. If we were too strict on the bill, we would end up


with having a situation where there would be some quite outcomes that


were never intended. I hope when the bill heads to the other players,


their Lordships will recognise that as well, why there is a specific


reason why we have not put that restriction in on this bill. If ever


in the future we decided to go for a switchover, we need to provide an


option for companies who are not large-scale media conglomerates, but


who do have more than one station. I hope in considering today's third


reading that is taken into consideration. I look for the list


of community radio stations that are out there who will get the first


real chance to go onto DAB and there are so many of them and they are


very diverse. They are in communities that struggle to get


their voices heard. I hope when the bill gets the third reading they


will see that as an encouragement to continue and a real positive for the


future. That is why I am proud to have brought this bill to the floor


of the House and I am hopeful today the House will agree to give its


third reading and sent it on its way. Thank you very much, I will be


short and pithy to give my fellow members a chance to speak to move


the business on. I would like to thank the honourable member for


Torbay for his expansive reason as to why he did not think my amendment


was going to give any greater clarity to the bill. I have followed


this with interest and I would like to think there is space for a


community radio to have its full place and, like he said, to allow


those such as the British forces, ethnic music to have its place


within its community, so they can have a voice as well. There is an


enthusiasm for small and commercial, independent stations to broadcast on


DAB and I would like to hope they can do that without cost being a


factor in why they do not and I hope this bill would enable this to


happen. I would like to say that he has my support. I rise to support


the reading of this bill and to congratulate the honourable member


for Torbay for introducing this bill. It seems to me to be a bill


which is very much on the cusp of very important new developments in


the world of digital radio, helping to open up the market to community


radio stations that want to broadcast on DAB. I particularly


wanted to refer to a community radio station which is broadcasting to my


constituency, the Black Country radio. As the honourable member for


Torbay may know, the Black Country radio has been one of the smaller


radio stations which has been taking part in the local DAV trial. They


speak very positively of the benefits of the trial and they tell


me that if they had wanted to broadcast over DAB before the trial


had been introduced, it would have cost them thousands of pounds, that


is an to that radio station. Now the Black Country community radio


station is beginning to position itself as a vital source of local


community news for the Black Country area, covering local politics and


local community events. I am very hopeful that once this bill has


passed through the other place and hopefully gets its third reading


today, that the trial will be extended and this will allow the


Black Country radio to continue to extend its reach as a very effective


local community radio station. I think my honourable friend's bill is


going to be a major contributing factor in enhancing the offer of the


Black Country community radio station. As my honourable friend for


Torbay pointed out, digital radio is a large growth market and there has


been a proliferation of local radio stations which I want to tap into


and I think this bill will be a very effective mechanism of stimulating


that market. In the second quarter of 2016, we saw a large set of


digital stations posting results for the first time and it showed that


digital radio listening had reached a new high of 45.3%. We have seen


considerable annual growth in audiences for digital radio, I


growth of 4.5% over the last year. This bill allows small radio


stations to take full advantage of the growth in this sector and I have


already cited the example of the Black Country radio station. It will


bring growth and prosperity to small radio stations and this will benefit


the local community. The aim of this bill is ably articulated by the


honourable member for Torbay is to create a system of radio and


multiplexes. National multiplexes for UK wide transmission, local


radio multiplexes and small-scale radio multiplexes for sub county


level transmission. These three tier system with a lighter touch


regulatory framework will open the market and bring with it the


when it comes to the deregulation of when it comes to the deregulation of


the industry. This bill also puts in place a provision which excludes


larger radio stations, such as the BBC who have existing licences in


either national or local radio multiplex services, from holding a


small-scale multiplex licence. This helps to make sure that these new


multiplex sites will not be abused by larger radio stations and ensures


they can be used for the purposes they were intended, to let smaller


radio stations see the benefits of using the DAB format. I would like


to congratulate the honourable member for Torbay for steering this


bill through to its third reading stage. I think it represents a very


important modernisation of the existing licensing regime that will


take into account the different needs of local radio stations,


facilitating this creation of a richer market and a better


broadcasting experience for the consumer. I think we would all agree


that the current broadcasting act of 1996 has failed to keep pace with


the recent technological developments and market changes we


have seen and this bill is very important contribution to the of


digital radio and I very much support the third reading of this


bill. I would just like to congratulate my honourable friend


from Torbay for bringing this legislation forward and for his deep


understanding of the technologies that lie behind these fantastic


evolutions in our broadcasting abilities. I will support this bill


and particularly his reference to it creating more competition in the


market. More commercial operators. It can be dominated by quite large


national change even though they present themselves as local


operators. If those operators do compete with those larger stations


or networks for revenue from advertising, that can only be good


for opportunities for local people and for more business people. But of


course also community operators. I have an excellent community operator


in my constituency called Valle Radio, who have a deep understanding


of the local area. They are local people themselves and they regularly


do slots on the local MP. They came down to see what happened on a


typical MP's day. That local connection is incredibly important.


To facilitate these smaller operators you need more affordable


access and this is exactly what this is about, breaking down larger DAV


areas into areas 60% smaller than the typical schemes available at the


moment, which means it should be cheaper and more accessible. Putting


bandwidth aside specifically for the small commercial operators and for


community stations. As my honourable friend alluded to, these actual


schemes, the equipment and the multiplexes themselves, can be


provided by not for profit operators, which again will mean the


accessibility and cost of access is more suitable for local community


operators. They can have niche channels, but it very much relates


to the local area in terms of content of their programmes and in


terms of their local insights. Clearly there is demand, Madame


Deputy Speaker, for these towels and for this spectrum. There are 444


small commercial stations that would like to get onto DAB and do not have


any access at the moment and this is a growing part of the broadcasting


market, 45% of listeners today listen on digital. That will go to


50% by the end of this year. It certainly is very significant in


terms of its access to the market and its future in terms of how


people will listen to radio in the future. One thing I would like to


question to my honourable friend and the Minister is around the actual


multiplex operators. Just in terms of the numbers of licences they can


own, and I referred to this earlier in my intervention, to making sure


we do not end up in a situation where you have a monopolistic


situation with a media company who owns lots of these multiplexes and


then has control over pricing, which is absolutely vital, making sure


there is a restriction on the numbers of multiplexes that one


licence holder can hold. At the same time we need to balance that with


the need for investment. There is investment in terms of technology,


equipment and staffing and you have to balance the two to make sure it


delivers a solution and both the roll-out of these multiplexes,


whilst making sure the community operators and the small commercial


I'll keep this intervention fairly short. I'm conscious the front


benches want to say something. In terms of reassure Hing Hing, look at


subsection B, Ofcom will make provision as to the gullibility


ability of eight small-scale license including persons holding national


and local, if they felt a monopoly was emerging in an area used powers,


but that's one for the detailed consultation on this point and


reorder, rather than the bill itself. Yes, he makes a good point.


Perhaps monopoly is too strong a word. Nevertheless, you could get in


a situation of a hinterland, Weverton operator of these multiplex


licences who has too strong a control, particularly in a given


area. Just to put some protections in place to make sure that


affordability of access remains. Whilst as I say, retaining an


incentive for a commercial operator, because they may we be commercial


operators who have the not-for-profit operators have still


got that incentive to invest. I'd like to say and congratulate the


Department for their foresight in starting this trial in 2014 and


putting that time and investment in this new technology, which is


leading to this potential roll-out and this new opportunity for a lot


of commercial stations and for community operators, but just to


conclude by really congratulate in a game my honourable friend for his


deep understanding of the process of Parliament to get this far and he is


nearly over the finishing line, but also his understanding of the


technology. His work will help many, many operators and many commutative


going forward. -- community is going forward. Thank you very much and my


remarks at third reading today will also be fairly brief, since we've


quite extensively discussed the Berlin committee and there's been a


very good debate today, at report stage, and at third reading, and I


know the honourable member and the government are as keen as we are by


2pm to hear from my honourable friend. Therefore my remarks won't


be overly extensive. The honourable gentleman for Torbay am I did


congratulate him at the committee stage and I do again today, for


bringing forward the bill and along its parliamentary journey. He said


earlier on should those amendments have been accepted by the House


there would be no chance to do anything about it later. That is not


technically correct because his bill makes it down the other end of the


building and they may have a different view and might have wanted


to take out something we put in at this end of the building, but


nevertheless they were amendments that were discussed, similar ones,


at committee stage, and it will now before the other place to decide


about the reassurances he's been able to give with regard to those


amendments which are subsequently withdrawn. I do congratulate the


honourable member for the bill. It was a noncontroversial hand-out bill


from the government, but you still have to carry it effectively through


its parliamentary stages and he indeed has done that, although it


might possibly be not unfair to observe that there is a bill at


committee stage in the other place right now, the Digital economy Bill,


bit which it might have been a suitable part of, had it been ready


in time for the government bill. We support this bill. We championed


community radio whilst we were in government. We created the community


radio order in 2004, establishing the community radio fund, and the


bill continues that work by updating the infrastructure available to


community radio stations and facilitating affordable access to


digital frequencies. I'm sure most members of a House, particularly as


we heard at second reading, have a community radio in their own


constituency in mind throughout the debate, and I will, like others,


paid tribute to my local radio station, Radio Cardiff. But


community radio stations are agents for social good, they involve


volunteers, engage listeners and contribute to social cohesion and


any measure which supports these stations in extending their reach


and expanding their impact is very welcome. So from this side of a


House, we give our welcome to the bill and we will support it at third


reading and hopefully send it on its way to a bright future in the other


place and hopefully without too much further delay into law, so it makes


the impact that undoubtedly will do at a local level in our


constituencies. The minister. Thank you, and thank you for calling me on


this important occasion. First, let me begin by taking this opportunity


to congratulate my honourable friend. It's the first chance I've


had the opportunity to soak for getting the broadcasting services


bill through to this stage, through to third reading, and he has done an


extremely detailed and thorough job with the bill. It's a great credit


to him that this bill looks like it's going to pass into law without


taking anything for granted in the other place of course. The


government supports this bill, because it will enable the creation


of an appropriate and low-cost licensing regime for the


transmission of digital radio on a small scale. It will give small


commercial and community stations a platform to broadcast on digital,


which is currently beyond their reach, due to costs and constraints


of the existing statutory re-theme. The detailed -- regime. The detail


of how the new licensing regime will operate will be subject to full


consultation that has been referred to earlier in the debate. But I


would like to thank all the honourable members and my honourable


friends for their very thoughtful contributions to the debate on this


bill today and also in the previous sessions that we've had, in


particular the honourable members for Aldridge-Brownhills, Thirsk and


Malton, Calder Valley and Halesowen and Raleigh Regis. With your


forbearance, there were some questions that have been raised that


I just want to quickly try and deal with before we move on. My


honourable friend the member for Bury St Edmunds asks the question


about access for small community radio stations. I just wanted to


reassure my honourable friend the aim is to provide a means for all


small stations, especially community stations, to go digital. The


builders allow us to put in protection to reserve capacity and


exclude large operators, however this is done needs a very flexible


approach. -- the bill does allow us. My honourable member the member for


Thirsk and Malton asks a similar question. I can confirm to him the


bill already gives Ofcom the power to exclude holders of existing local


and national multiplex licence holders from taking licenses in


small-scale digital radio multiplexes. This will stop large


groups, particularly large media organisations, which operates


digital radio multiplexes on a larger scale from holding small


radio multiplexes. This will have the benefit of keeping down the cost


of carriage on small-scale multiplexes because they will not be


open to existing large scale commercial radio multiplex


operators. The final question, which was raised by the honourable member


for Cardiff West, was about why is this not in the Digital economy


Bill. This has been dealt with before by my honourable friend the


member for West Suffolk. He has said that DSM -- DC MS needed to see the


conclusions of the Ofcom trials before we move to legislation. Ofcom


didn't publish that evaluation until September 2016, which was several


months after the introduction of the Digital economy Bill, which I think


the honourable member knew anyway, but we'll move on from there. This


must have repeatedly said how important local radio is to them --


listeners have repeatedly said. We search in 2015 indicates 45% of


local commercial radio listeners valued the local news on it and 35%


value it for local travel and weather information. It's clear that


radio remains a very popular medium, with industry figures indicating 90%


of adult population listened to the radio each week and that overall


listening to radio remained strong, with over 1 billion hours being


consumed by adults in the UK each week. Although radio's popularity,


measured by its reach and audience hours, have been stable over recent


years, radio is changing. Listening on analogue is falling back, as DAB


listening on platforms only continue to grow steadily. Currently, digital


radio's share is 45.5%, as my friend for Torbay said, of all radio


listening, and almost 60% of homes are now owning ADA DAB radio. The


radio industry can't think this will continue and this means Digital will


overtake analogue as the default listening mode in the near future.


One of the drivers, almost literally, of this change, is new


cars. Around 85% of new cars sold according to the Society of Motor


Manufacturers and Traders, now have DAB radio is installed as standard


and according to digital radio UK, one quarter of all in car radio


listening is digital. This is behind total listening growing at 39% a


year. I'd also endorse what might honourable friends and said about


the important role played by local radio stations. Small commercial and


community radio stations continue to provide an important means of


informing and engaging with their communities, as well as providing


entertaining, popular and lively programming. So government


recognises the importance of smaller stations to their local communities,


and we have been aware for some time of the desire for small commercial


and community radio stations to have a route to broadcast on a digital


platform, which meets their needs. This is the objective behind this


bill, to give smaller stations the ability to broadcast on digital. A


key success of the small-scale multiplex trials, set up by Ofcom,


has been the strong support from smaller stations, including


community radio and the way that they've all worked together. The


majority of trial small-scale multiplexes are full, or nearly


full. The development of a lair of small-scale multiplexes will provide


the answer in most cases for how to provide the 400 small commercial and


community radio stations currently transmitting to their local areas on


FM or medium wave, with the opportunity to broadcast cost


effectively on a digital platform. The development of a tier of


small-scale DAB networks across the country could also attract new


entrants to launch radio services. Some with successful programme


formats from prior experience of broadcasting via the Internet.


Overall we think the development is likely to result in a wider


selection of stations and programme content for listeners, which I think


we will all agree can only be a really positive thing. This will


create new audiences for advertisers and sponsors, facilitating growth in


the sector. The government welcomes this bill. And supports it, as it


moves to the other place. It's had a very strong airing in this place and


we hope the other place will give the bill a fair wind, given its


limited but extremely targeted scope. The cross-party support,


including all honourable members here today, and the reassurances


that have been given by me and the honourable member for Torbay today,


thank you. With the leave of the House can I thank those members who


spoken and particularly the support that has just been received from the


government to this bill. I think this is a welcome measure that will


make a difference to so many communities across the country, and


I'm pleased it will be going up with cross-party support, not least given


the position in terms of the balance in the other place. This is a bill


that will have an impact across the whole of the United Kingdom. The


bill we've just finished discussing is one that will cover the whole UK


and will bring a real benefit of listening, creativity and diversity


and ultimately jobs to all parts of the United Kingdom. But I'm


conscious that time is marching on. There's another bill that I'm keen


to hear in a minute and to make some supportive remarks on, so with that


I'll thank all members who have spoken and allow the question to be


put. The question is that the Bill be now read the third time. As many


are of the opinion, say "aye". To the contrary, "no". I think the ayes


have it, the ayes have it. Order. Child Poverty in the UK (Target for


Reduction) Bill second reading. Child Poverty in the UK (Target for


Reduction) Bill, Mr Jarvis. I beg to move that the bill be read


a second time. It is a privilege to have the opportunity to debate my


bill on the floor of the House today. This bill seeks to establish


a target for the reduction of child poverty because it is a fundamental


principle of fairness that every child should have the best start in


life. One of the great privileges of serving in Parliament is the broad


range of people you get the opportunity to meet. Kelly Louise, a


remarkable ten-year-old, stands out as someone who bravely shared her


experiences of growing up in poverty. She spoke of the stresses


poverty imposed on her family, how that affected her and the coping


mechanisms she used to make life liveable. From what you wear to


school, to the home you return to, she conveyed her poverty shapes so


much of a young person's life. When you see poverty through the lens of


children, the solutions become a little clearer and more urgent. That


is the reason why I served in Parliament, to ensure that where you


are bored is no barrier to your future. Is the honourable member


aware that the Joseph Rowntree Foundation issued figures which


indicated that while most of the population in poverty will be


decreasing by 2021, four children it will increase? My honourable friend


speaks with great authority on these matters and I am aware of those


figures and I will refer to them later on in my speech, but I am


grateful for her intervention. I was making the point the reason all of


us in this house served in Parliament is to ensure that where


you grow up does not determine where you end up. As a member of


Parliament for Barnsley Central, it is a huge privilege to work to


ensure that children who grow up in my constituency get the same life


opportunities as more other affluent parts of the country. Today I will


make the case that our shared duty means that in 2017 no child in


Britain should have to grow up in poverty. I will set out some of the


challenges facing those children and their families, because if we are to


take the required steps for poverty to be no longer an everyday reality


for children in Britain, we must recognise the realities of modern


poverty and we must develop solutions which are coordinated and


prioritised, building partnerships with communities, employers and


devolved administrations. As in life if you want to achieve something in


government, it is useful to set a target. It is a starting point upon


which a renewed effort can be built. The measures contained within that


target and policies required to achieve it should rightly be at


length. But my bill intends to establish the principle rather than


be prescriptive. In doing so I deferred to the advice of the House


of commons library to note, targets let those responsible for delivery


know what needs to happen so they can plan, monitor and deliver. Does


he agree with me if you do not meet your targets and you change your


actions, you do not change your targets. I am grateful again to my


honourable friend who speaks with real authority on this matter. I


absolutely agree with what she is saying. Let us be clear, this house


has previously united behind that principle, most notably in the


passing of the 2010 child poverty act. I congratulate him on bringing


forward this important bill. He is right to emphasise the importance of


targets and targets work. When Labour set its targets to reduce


child poverty by a quarter by 2005 and have by 2010, when we saw


progress falling back, action needed to be taken, which resulted in more


than a million children being removed from poverty. I honourable


friend speaks with huge knowledge and authority on this matter and she


is absolutely right. Today represents an opportunity for all of


us here to send out a clear statement of intent, that our goal


is that no child should have to grow up in poverty and we will hold


ourselves accountable and measure progress through the target we seek


to set. But why is it so urgent that we do so? The Resolution Foundation


highlights falling living standards among the least well off. It is a


combination of rising inflation, welfare cuts and lower pay


increases. They warn for the purist this time of Parliament will be the


worst for living standards since records began and the worst since


1980s for inequality. I wonder if my honourable friend agrees that a


growing problem in our country now is child poverty where parents are


working? I would agree with my honourable friend, she has


anticipated some of the remarks I will come to very quickly, but I am


grateful for her intervention. I was referring to a recent report from


the Resolution Foundation. I would like to refer to a landmark report


from the Royal College of paediatrics and Child health. They


highlight the stark inequalities between children of different


backgrounds and the effect of poverty in worsening children's


Hell. -- health. He has drawn attention to the importance of


targets for child poverty and I agree with him about the impact of


those targets when Tony Blair set them in 1999. One of the reason we


are going backwards is because targets have been abolished by


governments since 2010. My right honourable friend speaks because of


experience of implementing a target in government and we are grateful


for the work he has done. He is right, the reality is if any


government was serious about reducing the number of children


growing up in poverty, they would seek to set themselves a target.


That takes us to the essence of what this debate is about. But I am


confident that every member of this house serves constituents who live


in poverty. Every member of Parliament has considerable numbers


of constituents who grow up in poverty. All of us in this place


should and will be aware of the many challenges faced by families right


across the country. Times are hard and for many money is short. In


Britain today on average nine children in a classroom of 30 grow


up in poverty. For those 4 million children it can mean living in a


cold and cramped home, falling behind in school and suffering ill


health later in life. Today we have an opportunity to make a clear


commitment to do right by those children because feelings of concern


and insecurity about our future direction as a country are becoming


commonplace. This is not just about the Brexit debate, it extends to a


fundamental question of what we are prepared to tolerate as a society.


Ipsos Mori regularly surveys the public to ask about the top issues


facing Britain. One in five people now highlight poverty as one of the


biggest challenges facing our country. The anxiety has increased


significantly in recent times and it now stands at the highest level


since the question was first asked in 1997. In these uncertain times we


face a defining challenge in order to provide greater security to our


families and calling time on child poverty must be fundamental to that.


Without a change in approach, the ISS predict that by 2020, levels of


relative child poverty will increase by 50%. The reality may be starker.


Greater economic uncertainty, rising costs and lower pay growth mean the


ISS conclude that the outlook for poverty is almost certainly worse.


That is a wake-up call to a looming crisis. Ever increasing child


poverty is not inevitable, it is a result of political choices. When


child poverty rose sharply in the 1980s and peaked in the late 1990s


before falling very significantly, the previous government, which


happen to be Labour, showed us how that can be achieved, delivering the


biggest achievement of any EU nation in tackling child poverty, to lift 1


million children out of poverty. It did not happen by accident. The


government set themselves a target and made achieving it a target.


Investment in early years education, start care, support was expanded for


families so they could enjoy greater control over their lives and greater


security in their finances. Policies including the tax credit system and


the doubling of the amount of maternity leave taken, all of this


was supported by the child poverty unit which has now been quietly


disbanded by the government. That cross departmental unit,


co-sponsored by the Department for Education, work and pensions and the


Treasury, held a special status. He recognised that action against child


poverty required across government approach. Its closure risked giving


the impression that tackling child poverty has been downgraded. Setting


a target can help put that right. It would demonstrate the seriousness of


purpose and determination to stop more children living in poverty


because we have a duty to this generation to make progress on


addressing child poverty once again. I am grateful. He mentioned the


Royal College of paediatrics' report a moment ago. Was he aware that they


found we had one of the worst levels in infant mortality in Western


Europe? Eliminating child poverty would save the lives of 1400


children under 15 years old a year. I am grateful to my honourable


friend, not only for that incredibly important point she has made, but


for her unstinting support throughout this process. That is a


shocking statistic, it brings shame on our country, and collectively we


have to strive to do much better. This bill is about providing an


opportunity for government, for all of us, to seek to do much better. I


will give way. I wonder if he has seen the analysis of the end child


poverty coalition showing that since 2010 the cost of living has gone up


by 19%, the state pension has gone up by 22% and child benefit by 2%.


Does that not indicate where this child poverty statistic has arisen?


I honourable friend put his finger on the nub of the problem. Those in


work are increasingly struggling to make ends meet and that is what this


debate is about, how we can provide support to those families. I thank


the honourable member and as somebody who grew up in a family


that was rich in love, but not in money, can I welcome him bringing


this bill to the floor today. Sometimes my comments are about IQ


anger, but no alternative, so it is welcome to hear examples of


alternatives. I hope in a few moments he will be able to hear a


few more alternative proposals coming from myself. Forgive me. I


will make more progress. A target provides a strong foundation for a


wider approach which matches the complexity of the causes of poverty


today. I will briefly set out proposals contained in my bill. My


bill will ask the government to consult with the social mobility


commission to decide the date by which the target should be met. It


is not prescriptive in all of the poverty measures this target should


include, it requires the Secretary of State to bring forward a proposal


to allow for a range of measures to be considered, including the


government's indicators of children living in workless households and


educational attainment at age 16. I am clear it should include reference


to the four established measures of poverty based on income because it


is a central factor in meeting children's needs. Income measures


which have enjoyed cross-party support and the recording of which


which was placed on a statutory footing by the coalition. As my


honourable friend alluded to money is not everything, but that does not


mean it is nothing. A target should recognise that. In order to ensure


accountability to the target, my bill requires the government to lay


before Parliament a child poverty strategy, setting out the measures


the government will take to meet the target. I thank the honourable


member. Does he agree with me that the government could learn from the


Welsh Labour government that acknowledged in 2011 there should be


a strategy around tackling child poverty with five key areas for


improvement? They are making their way towards achieving those goals,


but the government could learn from the Labour government in Wales. He


is right, there is a lot of incredibly constructive work going


on around the country. In Wales, Scotland and in other parts of


Britain as well and collectively we all have a responsibility and a duty


to look at that and learn from it and spread is best practice across


the country. There would be a strategy setting


out the measures the government will take to meet the target and


crucially to report on progress towards meeting it. Now is the time


to make an unambiguous -- unambiguous commitment to reduce


child poverty and to measure our progress through setting a target.


The social and economic costs of failure are too great to risk and a


target can help to coordinate an approach across government, so


reducing poverty should be incorporated into strategy is being


developed on social justice, housing and industrial policy. The issue of


child poverty is one that affects members of both sides of this House


and I really welcome him and his bill coming forward today and I'd


like to congratulate him on that and to make the point in looking at the


Bill, does he acknowledge that there are many other factors that could be


looked at as well, one we're looking at poverty. Not just income, but


things such as rural poverty as well, that affects many children


around the country. I'm grateful for that intervention. She's right. What


I've done so far in this speech is outlined the moral case for action


on poverty, but also there's a sound economic one as well. We should


recognise that focus is necessary, in order to build an economy that


really works for everyone. Action on child poverty today can strengthen


our economy, improve productivity and reduce pressures on the public


purse. Both the IMF and the OECD have highlighted how poverty acts as


a drag on economic growth, reducing poverty will also strengthen our


economy. Not least because the less well-off households spend more of


the money they receive than those which are better off. When we hear


about those who are, as the Prime Minister described them, just about


managing, we must all seek to understand the reality of those


people's lives. Many families are just one bill away from finding


themselves struggling. Those families have been feeling the


squeeze four years, with half of households seeing no meaningful


increase in pay since 2005. Over the last decade, real earnings have


fallen by more than 10%, which the TUC points out leaves the UK equal


bottom league table amongst OECD nations, joint only with Greece.


This has been the longest pay squeeze in over a century. Poverty


also increases the demand on the public purse, being responsible for


one in every ?5 of public spending, put simply, poverty will make it


even harder to balance the books in the future. I will give way. A quick


point, it isn't just about now, but poverty amongst children creates


conditions in which those children don't thrive in the future. And


actually, it will cost us more in the future dealing with the poverty


that are children are experiencing today, food, education, prosperity,


health, etc. Absolutely. My honourable friend is absolutely


right. This is about investing in our future as a country. Research


from the Joseph Rowntree foundation estimates that the annual cost to


the public purse comes to ?78 billion. That's why it's penny wise


but Pound foolish to cut investment in early years interventions. I'm


going to make a bit of progress, if I may. It is therefore with some


concern that the House of Commons library analysis shows that since


2010, investment in sure start children's centres have been cut by


half. That has resulted in over 300 local centres closing. Those social


challenges of poverty, gaps between the richest and the rest of our


society in our schools, and with poor health, all come with economic


costs. As well as we -- redirecting public spending, poverty makes it


harder to achieve the productivity gains that workers and the economy


desperately need. This matters, because for too many families, work


no longer pays. Two thirds of children in poverty grow up in the


home where at least one parent works. So while the government


rightly highlights the role that work can play in moving people out


of poverty, taking a comrades approach requires action to support


those trapped on low incomes, so they can progress into better paid


jobs -- copper heads of approach. Four in five people who went to


low-paid work remained low paid ten years later. The upcoming industrial


strategy can two steps to support those workers. It should feature a


plan to support low-wage industries and government can also play a role


by bringing together employers and trade unions to focus on raising


productivity, which is the key to increasing pay. Localised pay


commissions could also play a role in areas dominated by low pay. By


taking action now on low pay we can recognise the realities of the


modern world of work for so many and in doing so reduce child poverty.


There is vital work under way across the country to support families who


have hit hard times. In my Barnsley constituency, the local anti-poverty


board, led by Councillor Jenny Platts wings together local partners


to support residents. They identify those families most in need, then


target resources to provide debt advice, information on Fuel Poverty


Action to sound healthy eating programmes. Despite that local


effort, more than one in four children grow up in poverty and


Barnsley. So today, I stand here to give a voice to those 5114 children.


I would like to take this opportunity to place on record my


thanks to the child poverty action group, who have long campaigned on


this issue and I'm very proud to have their support for my bill. I'd


also like to thank the Parliamentary clerks and those many stakeholders


who have lent support through this process. I will give way. I'm


grateful to my honourable friend for giving way. He's making incredibly


powerful speech. We'll see also join me in welcoming the work the


anti-poverty charities like Magic Breakfast do, who are providing


primary school breakfast clubs to tackle child poverty. Does he agree


with me that we shouldn't need charity to make sure that children


are well fed or well closed, or that families have the right level of


income? These are structural issues with our economy and its vital


government not only commits to a target, but the action to rebalance


our economy in a fair away. My honourable friend makes an important


point and I'm sure all others on this side and I hope many others on


the other side of the House will absolutely agree with him. What it


does neatly as take me really to the nub of this issue. I brought this


bill forward because millions of children in Britain need real


change. Poverty destroys childhoods and limits futures. Ending that


burning injustice should be a defining mission for the government.


A century ago, Joseph Rowntree demanded action on poverty. He made


the case to a Liberal government that the prevalence of poverty in


Britain would undermine its continued presence as a world power.


That sense of national purpose, in tackling poverty, was also witnessed


most memorably during our country's darkest hours. In 1942, in the


middle of a world war, Winston Churchill's coalition government


published the beverage Report. It defined in national minutes --


mission that would follow in peace time under Clement Attlee. Today, at


moment of great uncertainty for our country that at any time since,


ending poverty once again deserves to be unrelenting effort. Brexit


should not be used as an excuse for inaction. Instead, it should provide


the reason for a new approach. Britain's place in the world


tomorrow will be brighter if we focus on child poverty today.


Solving this historic problem should be part of a modern national


mission. Our success as a country will increasingly require is to meet


our duty to those who are left behind, to provide security,


opportunity and hope to those who need it most. To end poverty so that


every child can realise their potential. That has to be our


ambition. It should be that unites us all, so letters set ourselves


that target once more. Thank you. The question is that the bill be now


read a second time. Kate Green. I'm going to speak only for a very short


time come because time is very tight. I warmly welcome this very


important legislation. Prior to entering this house I was part of a


coalition of well over 100 organisations that came together in


the end child poverty campaign, to Professor -- to press for the


legislation that was eventually passed in this Parliament and became


the 2010 child poverty act. That set out both targets for the reduction


of child poverty across a range as my honourable friend has said of


four measures, not just one, but a range of targets, but more


importantly still perhaps, it also highlighted the need for cross


government and cross civil society strategies to address all the


dimensions of poverty, housing, education, employment, parenting and


child well-being. What we saw between 1997 and 2010, as Labour set


about reducing child poverty and set targets for doing so, is that


targets are the most powerful tool we have for driving progress and


measuring and taking action when progress falters. It's right that


the government continues to emphasise the importance of


addressing poverty with its new measures, but when two thirds of


children in poverty are growing up in families where someone is in paid


work I just have to say to the Minister that a target that simply


looks at worthlessness misses one of the key and perhaps most disgraceful


aspects of child poverty today. No working parent should be struggling


to provide for and care for their children. That shames our country.


It shames a country as rich as ours that one in four children continues


to grow up poor. I know that there is consensus right round the House


for the importance of the Bill that my honourable friend brings forward


this afternoon. We need more than warm words. We need media sold


targets established in legislation, committed to by government and the


determination of policies and the resources to achieve them. It can be


done, it must be. Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. I did debate on my


mind giving time whether to get up but I understand the Minister has


quite a few remarks to make any way, which would take us through the


time. I wanted from this bench, there was a response to an excellent


speech from the member for Barnsley Central in moving this bill and I


made perhaps complements him, it's pleasing to hear that sort of


quality of performance from those benches at this time on a Friday


than it would be to hear it just after 12 o'clock on a Wednesday,


with six questions to pursue your agenda. In terms of what is set out,


I think it's welcome that there's a bill before the house about looking


at how we target reductions of child poverty. I look at my own


constituency, particularly parts have very high levels. I have an


area like a poor man's sandbanks, the large numbers are quite wealthy


retirees live, and the other side of the hill a large number of working


families, particularly working families who work in lower paid


industries such as tourism and the care sector. So for me it is welcome


to see the debates and some of the ideas on it. One of the things I've


always had is thought we might don't just look at relative incomes.


Probably the honourable will agree, just to have a debate or a target


that reflects actually those on the lowest incomes may not change, but


if others come down in theory relative poverty has disappeared.


However, if you've got, for me it's about those on the lowest incomes


are coming up, getting more opportunities and getting more


ability. I reiterate fully and also would like to say how important this


is and how it affects all of those within our constituencies. For me,


its rural poverty that is a real big problem, because we also like rural


services, buses, the ability for children's life chances to lift


themselves, but I would like to say that I agree with the honourable


member for Stratford and Urmston that this is a complex issue,


because house prices and rental prices has an acute place to play


here. Absolutely, I would fully agree, and if you are living in a


wealthy rural community and you are in poverty there's a sense of social


isolation as well. You will be at school having your friends having


certain things and what others are getting, and at schools, the point I


going to make, this sort of bill could be developed in future


sessions to include what we do around educational attainment


because one big thing we see almost a double hit of poverty that someone


grows up in a family where there is deprivation, but then those on free


school meals don't do well in our education system and I can remember


was hearing or speech from the member for Surrey Heath in which he


pointed out that less pupils in the entire cohort of free school meals


had got three Days the passport to a top university, than had actually


got out of Eton, just one group, soak I'm aware of the time but I was


conscious to minister would have spoken to the mark anyway, but I


felt from these benches we had why this bill is something that's not


just Labour members are pleased to see, not just the Scottish party


members but the ones that backbenchers will be pleased see and


why I hope it will be taken forward another time. Order. Order, the


debate to be resumed what day. The 24th of February, Madam Deputy


Speaker. Friday the 24th of February. Point of order.


My bill was due to be read for the second time today, but that has not


been the case. I want to thank the 100,000 members of the public who


have signed a petition, but I want to recognise Tim 's poor families


who have travelled to be here today. The government which will object to


the bill, but there is lots of support for this across the House,


even from the honourable gentleman himself, and I am working by the


government. Today is not the day, but there will be a day for Helen's


law. I understand the point the honourable gentleman is making. He


knows that from the chair I cannot as a matter of order do anything


about the fact that this bill has not yet been reached. But I also


appreciate it is sometimes difficult for those who do not have a full


grasp of Parliamentary procedures, which is most people... How true. As


honourable members indicate that includes a great number of people


who sit in this house, but the point I would like to make to the


honourable gentleman is that the fact that his bill has not been


reached today is not an indication that his bill is not held in high


esteem, and it is not an indication that the points which he would have


raised in his bill would have had a lot of support in this house and


what he is trying to achieve. It is very worthy. As he said, there will


be another day. In fact, we are just coming to that now. Unlawful


killing, recovery of remains Bill, second reading. Objection taken.


Second reading, what day? Friday the 24th of February. Friday the 24th of


February. And that will be the other day. Guardianship, missing persons


Bill, second reading. I beg to move. The question is it will now be read


a second time. As many as are of the opinion, say "aye". To the contrary,


"no".. The eyes have it. Protection of family homes, enforcement and


development Bill. On behalf of the member I beg to move. Object.


Objection taken. Second reading on what day? Friday the 24th of


February. Cram Tennessee's Bill, second reading. I beg to move. The


question is the bill now be read a second time. As many as are of the


opinion, say "aye". To the contrary, "no".. The ayes have it. Cue gardens


leases Bill, second reading. With permission, now. The question is the


bill be read a second time. As many as are of the opinion, say "aye". To


the contrary, "no".. The ayes have it. I beg to move this house do now


adjourned. The question is this house do now adjourned. Thank you,


Madam Deputy Speaker. I am grateful to have the opportunity to lead this


debate and I wish to thank my honourable friend, the member for St


Helens North, for championing Helen 's Law in this house last year a


tireless campaign after Helen McCourt was murdered in 1988. This


is not a speech I would ever wish to make. On the 15th of June, 1995,


Miss Jane Harrison disappeared following a trip to Wood Green


shopping Centre. She has never been seen again and her body has never


been found. She was just 22. She was murdered by her jealous and


controlling partner, Kevin Doherty. Jane left behind a grieving family,


devastated parents, sisters and two young sons, then aged 14 and 18


months old. I would like this house to acknowledge the presence of


Jane's family in the public gallery today. I know that Harrison 's would


be very grateful for the opportunity to meet with the Minister in person


to discuss their case. The path to justice for the Harrison family has


been long and at times impossible. In January, 2013, after 18 years of


heartache and agony for the family, Kevin Doherty was finally sentenced


to 12 years in jail for manslaughter. At the time of Jane's


murder he was leading a double life. He was married to someone else with


whom he had other children, but was also in a relationship with Jane.


Together they had a baby and Jane had a teenage son from a previous


relationship. Doherty was a controlling partner and had been


abusive to Jane previously. On the day of her disappearance of the


couple were seen arguing near the flat on Powys Road, Islington. The


last trace of Jane was at 5pm on Wood Green shopping Centre by items


by the family holiday to Florida. However, Doherty had already


cancelled the plans for the holidays without Jane knowing because he knew


they were not going. He claimed he had later dropped her off at her


mother's house and she had never returned home. Jane was reported


missing by him the following day. It was not until 2012 that


technological advances allowed for analysis to be undertaken which


proved that Doherty had lied to the police in 1995 when he had been


originally arrested. He had claimed that Jane had called a landslide at


the family flat twice after she had disappeared. On both occasions they


happened in the presence of witnesses. Call analysis in 2012


showed the calls had been made from Doherty's mobile telephone.


Furthermore, his movements in the days after Jane's disappearance did


not tie in with cell site data. What happened on June the 16th, 1995


remains largely unknown. But we do know Doherty killed Jane and no one


else has ever been investigated as being connected to this case. His


manslaughter conviction in 2012 should have provided the House and


family with closure, but 12 years is not enough for a man who took away a


loving mother, sister and daughter from her family. At the same time he


has never expressed any remorse for Jane's murder, nor has he ever


revealed the location of her body. His final act of remorseless cruelty


has meant that the Harrison family has never been able to give Jane the


dignity of a funeral and a resting place. The Harrison 's have never


had somewhere to visit together on anniversaries, somewhere to place a


bunch of flowers. Jane's parents Phyllis and John devoted their lives


to search for justice for their daughter and raised the two beloved


sons she left behind. But they died before they were ever able to see


Doherty finally brought to justice. Jane's sister Claire Tobe it was her


mother's dying wish that Jane was found and laid to rest with her


parents. But Doherty has denied the family this source of closure, so I


hope the Minister can emphasise with the horror the Harrison is felt when


they discovered that Doherty, the same man that not only murdered


Jane, but had concealed her body for 22 years could be eligible for


parole next year, six years into the 12 year sentence. I thank my


honourable friend. Why we are waiting on Helen's law there is


nothing to shop the parole board changing its guidelines and I would


like to hear the minister today say what he is going to do to act on the


letter I received in May 2016 to say this will not be reviewed by the


parole board. When will we hear that those guidelines are going to be


updated so that people like Doherty will not be released on parole? Can


I agree with my honourable friend? In the English legal system it does


not require the convicted murderer to admit guilt or to reveal the


location of the victim's remains before being released on parole. It


should be common sense that Kevin Doherty, like Ian Simms, the


murderer of Helen McCourt, should under no circumstances be eligible


for applying for parole. The law must be changed to acknowledge the


suffering that Doherty has caused the Harrison family. I wish to


reaffirm support for the campaign lead in Parliament by my honourable


friend. Murderers like Doherty must be denied parole for as long as they


refuse to disclose the whereabouts of their victim's remains. Secondly,


Doherty and those like him must serve a full life tariff without


option of parole or release until the murderer discloses the location


and enables the recovery of their victim's remains. This must retain


regardless of their behaviour in prison. Thirdly, the following


rarely used common law fences must automatically be applied in murder


and manslaughter trial is without a body, that of preventing the burial


of a body and conspiracy to prevent the burial of a body, disposing of a


body, obstructing a coroner, as applied in the case of Regina versus


Hunter, 1974. These pieces of legislation serve to properly


enforce laws already in place but rarely used. Currently such


decisions are made by the parole board on a case-by-case basis, but


the law needs to change so the law is by default on the side of victims


and their families and not of the murderers. Even putting aside the


family's pain and grief, these murderers are dangerous. By refusing


to admit their guilt and by denying families a


small act of closure, they demonstrate their culpability and


their very real threat to society. Sadly honourable members will know


that Jane Harrison is one of so many devastating cases where a body has


never been found. I would like to take the opportunity to remind the


House of the other prolific murderers were the body has never


been recovered, including Helen McCourt in 1988, 22, Keith Bennett


in 1964, 12 years old, Paul Morrison in 2011, 32 years, Daniel Jones,


Essex, 15, Suzanne Pilley from Scotland in 2010 and Little April


Jones in 2012 who was just five years of age. Each of these families


have suffered untold grief without the humanity of a funeral and a


peaceful resting place. Since 2007 there have been 30 murders across


England and Wales were no body has been recovered. In every single one


of these cases, a murderer who continues to torment the families of


the victims in such a cold-blooded way should be under no circumstances


eligible for freedom. Jane's killers should not have the option of


freedom until Jane's family are granted the dignity of a final


resting place. Without robust laws in place our justice system can go


horribly wrong. Take the example of Sidney Cooke, a convicted child


molester and serial killer. He was sentenced to 19 years in 1989 for


the manslaughter of 14-year-old Jason Swift and was guilty of murder


of seven-year-old Mark Tyldesley. But in 1989 his sentence was reduced


to 16 years and he was paroled in nine years later in April, 1998,


having refused rehabilitation in prison and having never reveal where


Mark Tyldesley's body was to his bereaved parents. Mercifully he was


arrested in 1999 and received two life sentences. But our justice


system has made terrible mistakes in the past and we must now, to stop


this happening in the future, act now. The policy of nobody, no


parole, is in force in South Australia and is being considered at


federal level. Under this law convicted murderers are given an


opportunity to cooperate with the police in exchange for parole


options. All states in Australia have considered something like this


with South Australia and Victoria taking the lead in its


implementation. The law will only apply to people who have the


opportunity for parole anyway, meaning a person could not get a


lesser charge for information on the whereabouts of a body if they had no


chance for parole on the outset. At the same time describing the


location of the body would not allow a murderer to be released early. The


parole board should still have the final say and could deny it.


As of now, Australia is the only country that has implemented


something like this. Myself and my honourable friend and many others


firmly believe that the UK could lead the way and be the second


country to enshrine this law. This would not only give grieving


families the chances for some closure, but also serve as a future


example to others. I hope that the Minister will today outlined the


Ministry of Justice's plans to amend the law to reflect the


ground-breaking and fair mechanism, delivering justice to families that


deserve it and to the memories of so many. Jane Harrison's family cannot


be let down by our justice system and I hope the Minister will agree


with me that we all have a duty to preserve Jane's memory. Jane should


be remembered in life more than a death as a loving mum, sister and


daughter. This wasn't an easy speech to write and this is a very


difficult subject for any of us to talk about, so I would like to end


with a few words from Jane's sister, Claire, who has fought for years for


justice for her sister. We were so close and we spoke every day. She


was a wonderful sister and a devoted mother. I know that the last thing


that my sister thought of the day she died was hurt two boys. This


grief that we have carried for 22 years doesn't get easier, it gets


harder each day. And not to have some closure, somewhere for us to


gather, to lay flowers, it's simply absolute agony. I want to ask the


Minister what if this was a member of your family? Can you put yourself


in our shoes? Can you stand to see a man who had caused such devastation


walk free? Please help others, for the sake of our whole family and the


memory of our wonderful Jane, and for all those who have had to suffer


the same agony before and since, please listen. Minister. Thank you,


Madam Deputy Speaker. I would like to congratulate the honourable


member for Richmond Morden for securing this important debate


today. I would like to begin by expressing my deepest sympathies to


Jane Harrison's family. It's impossible to imagine the pain they


have experienced and continue to suffer, after losing Jane in such


tragic circumstances. I would also like to take this opportunity to


extend my deepest sympathies to bury McCourt, who has tirelessly


campaigned for a law change in memory of her daughter, Helen. On a


personal level, when considering this debate and indeed the private


member's bill of the honourable gentleman from St Helens North, I


recall the sight of Winnie Johnson, the mother of Keith Bennett, who


died never knowing where her son was buried, and indeed her face etched


with agony on the anniversary of her off the Moors murders stays with me.


To lose us loved one in such circumstances is truly horrendous.


The fact that Woody was denied the opportunity to give her some proper


burial is too awful to comprehend, so I understand why do you have


secured this debate and why the honourable gentleman is pursuing his


campaign for Helen's Law. The honourable lady has set out the


background to the case. I must stress that is a Justice Minister I


would not normally comment on individual cases. She'll be -- this


case involves a conviction for manslaughter, not murder. I did not


think it would be helpful to revisit that conviction or discuss what


amounts to manslaughter or murder. It might be helpful to me explain


the different options available when sentencing for manslaughter and the


different consequences of this sentences. Murder is the only


offence that carries a mandatory life sentence. In every case where


someone is convicted of murder, they will receive a life sentence. Apart


from the most serious cases, who will receive a whole life order, the


court will set a tariff for that offender. That means they will serve


a minimum time before they are considered for release and will only


be released by the independent parole board when they consider it


safe to do so. Manslaughter on the other hand has a maximum penalty of


a life sentence, but it is a discretionary rather than a


mandatory life sentence. The judge can impose a life sentence, or any


other sentence short of a life sentence, having considered all of


the factors in each case. The length of a custodial sentence imposed must


reflect the culpability of the offender and in the case of


manslaughter this can vary widely, given the wide range of behaviour


which the offence covers. Defendants convicted of manslaughter can and do


receive standard determinate sentences, in contrast to a life


sentence, and since the introduction of the criminal just act 2003,


prisoners serving a standard determinate sentence are


automatically released at the halfway point in their sentence. The


remainder of the sentences served on licence in the community. While on


licence, offenders will be subject to probation supervision and the


licence will include appropriate conditions. If an offender breaches


these conditions they may be recalled to prison. I should stress


that those offenders serving standard determinate sentences are


released automatically by statute and not considered for release at


the discretion of a body such as the parole board. It's also worth noting


that an offender convicted of manslaughter, serving a determinate


sentence of whatever length, will not be eligible for release earlier


than the halfway point and the home detention curfew scheme. The


judiciary are of course aware of how sentences are structured when


determining the appropriate sentence in a particular case, and explain


the effects of the sentence in open court. Therefore any offender


subject to do offence and -- determinate sentence will be


released at a fixed point irrespective of whether they admit


their guilt or cooperate with the authorities. There is no discretion


under the law to hold them beyond the sentence imposed by the court,


to change this would require a very significant change in the law and in


sentencing generally. It also raises some practical issues, which I want


to mention briefly. These are similar issues to those which the


private members bill from the honourable member for St Helens


North has championed, otherwise known as Helen's Law, in response to


the murder of Helen McCourt. I must stress the government sympathises


with the calls for a Helen's Law. I met, along with my colleague the


honourable member for St Helens North, to discuss his private


member's bill earlier this week. I congratulate him on his approach.


During that meeting. I would also like to express my respect and


admiration for Marie McCourt, who has led the campaign for Helen's


Law. I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to her


commitment to this issue and her tireless work over many years. As I


said earlier, any murder is horrific and no family should have to go


through such traumatic experience, with the added pain of not knowing


the whereabouts of their loved one and being denied the chance to lay


them to rest. For this reason the government welcomes the discussion


of the unlawful killing -- the unlawful killing ruck Rickert --


Lawful Killing (Recovery of Remains) Bill has generated. His bill does


not present a legally sound solution to this difficult issue, in short, a


proponent -- proposes to deny released to those who refuse to


disclose the place of the victims' remains. There are some concerns in


how these proposed changes can be delivered, concerns regarding the


legality as well as the potentially adverse effect it would have on the


families of victims if they were to be made aware of the information


disclosed by offenders. As the victims' Minister I will always


represent and work hard toward delivering in the best interest of


victims of crime, such as I intend to ensure that any changes made to


the current process are tailored towards delivering a just and fair


outcome. I do not want today to get into any technical or legal details


during this debate, but let me just say that we have all to be careful


not to support something that would create perverse incentives for


offenders to lie about where the victim's remains are located, to try


and secure release, or to further torment victims' families. There's a


risk that each and every time an offender claimed to remember when


the victim's remains had been buried they would have to be taken


seriously, which could result in them being allowed to leave prison


temporarily to help authorities search for the body. In that regard


I think once again about Woody Johnson. We don't want offenders


creating false stories to toy with victims' families or to create false


hope. The further pain and anxiety inflicted upon victims' families as


a result of this is simply unthinkable. And additionally,


whilst the government has been unable to examine the billing


detail, there are several other complex practical and legal issues


arising from the proposals. These could avoid -- include avoiding


oratory sentences, being clear about the level of cooperation required


and whether it needs to lead to a successful outcome and avoiding


unlawful retrospective at locations of provisions. I would however like


to reassure the house that government is taking this issue very


seriously. As already mentioned, I met with the honourable member for


St Helens North this week to discuss his bill and the options going


forward. The government understands the importance of this issue and is


committed to considering what more can be done. I want to place on the


record my thanks to him in the Ministry of Justice for meeting with


me this week and the approach they have taken, which is a constructive


one. Notwithstanding what he has said about some of the practical


difficulties, I don't believe any of those are insurmountable. In terms


of the impact on victims, for Marie McCourt and her family, for Jean


Harrison's family, the thing that is causing them most torment and


anguish is the thought that the murderer of their loved ones will be


released from prison and the Minister should make no mistake


about that whatsoever. -- Jane Harrison. I thank the honourable


gentleman for his intervention. Of course I get that. The government


bowed to the independent parole board last year and asked them to


review its guidance -- wrote to the independent parole board. In regard


of prisoners who don't rip accept responsibility for their offence and


refuse to disclose the location of their victim. The parole board is


strengthening its guidance, which will be issued in the spring.


Clarifying the issues that may need to be considered, where the offender


does not disclose the whereabouts of the victim's body. Whilst it


reaffirms that the parole board's primary focus is on the risks to the


public it makes clear the offender with holding this information may


raise factors that are relevant to risk and therefore can result in the


offender not being released. The parole board continued to improve


and develop the way they liaise with and involves victims in their


decision-making. I very much welcome their approach, which recognises how


difficult it must be for victims to engage in any consideration of an


offender's release. In addition to this the government is aware of the


recent developments in some other countries, and we will be examining


these approaches in more detail and seeing how they are working in


practice. Mercifully these cases are rare, but we will consider whether


they should be appropriate for our justice system in England and Wales.


With reference to one question that was raised, regards to the family


having a chance to influence the conditions of release. I don't think


it's appropriate for me here to discuss individual details of the


case. As has previously been said by the Department, we will be happy to


meet with the family to update them. I know that the family have been


kept informed of any of developments in this case by the victim liaison


officer in the national probation service in relation to any move to


open conditions and on the eligibility and conditions of any


temporary release. In conclusion, I would like to end by a gain


extending my deepest sympathies to the family of Jane Harrison and


thank the honourable member for drawing this issue to the attention


of the house. As victims Minister I firmly believe that victims are the


heart of our criminal justice system and I know this is a deeply


distressing and troubling issue for victims' families. There is sadly no


solution here and I can tell the honourable lady that we will examine


all the options that might provide a lawful and effective way to


encourage offenders from withholding information. We all agree that we


should consider any practical solution that would allow families


to lay their loved ones to rest. The question is this House do now


adjourn. As many as of that opinion say aye. The ayes have it. Order,




Live coverage of proceedings in the House of Commons, including the second reading of the Child Poverty in the UK (Target for Reduction) Bill, the Local Authority Roads (Wildlife Protection) Bill and the Unlawful Killing (Recovery of Remains) Bill.