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Y Pwyllgor Materion Allanol a Deddfwriaeth Ychwanegol

External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee

12/03/2018

Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol

Committee Members in Attendance

Bethan Sayed AM Yn dirprwyo ar ran Steffan Lewis
Substitute for Steffan Lewis
David Melding AM Yn dirprwyo ar ran Suzy Davies
Substitute for Suzy Davies
David Rees AM Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor
Committee Chair
Dawn Bowden AM Yn dirprwyo ar ran Jack Sargeant
Substitute for Jack Sargeant
Jane Hutt AM
Jenny Rathbone AM
Mark Isherwood AM
Michelle Brown AM

Y rhai eraill a oedd yn bresennol

Others in Attendance

Ian Williams Llywodraeth Cymru
Welsh Government
Katie Wilson Llywodraeth Cymru
Welsh Government
Rebecca Evans AM Tyst
Witness

Swyddogion Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru a oedd yn bresennol

National Assembly for Wales Officials in Attendance

Gemma Gifford Dirprwy Glerc
Deputy Clerk
Jennifer Cottle Cynghorydd Cyfreithiol
Legal Adviser
Rhys Morgan Clerc
Clerk

Cynnwys

Contents

1. Cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datgan buddiannau 1. Introductions, apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest
2. Bil Rheoleiddio Landlordiaid Cymdeithasol Cofrestredig (Cymru) - trafodiadau Cyfnod 2 2. Regulation of Registered Social Landlords (Wales) Bill - Stage 2 proceedings
Grŵp 1: Cyfranogiad tenantiaid (Gwelliannau 5, 6) Group 1: Tenant participation (Amendments 5, 6)
Grŵp 2: Gwaith craffu gan Gynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru (Gwelliannau 7, 16, 22, 4) Group 2: Scrutiny by the National Assembly for Wales (Amendments 7, 16, 22, 4)
Grŵp 3: Methiant i gydymffurfio â deddfiad (Gwelliannau 8, 13, 14) Group 3: Failure to comply with an enactment (Amendments 8, 13, 14)
Grŵp 4: Pŵer i benodi swyddogion (Gwelliannau 9, 10, 11, 12) Group 4: Power to appoint officers (Amendments 9, 10, 11, 12)
Grŵp 5: Eglurhad mewn perthynas â Deddf Tai 1996 a Deddf Tai 1988 (Gwelliannau 1, 15, 24) Group 5: Clarifications in relation to the Housing Act 1996 and Housing Act 1988 (Amendments 1, 15, 24)
Grŵp 6: Pwerau gwneud rheoliadau (Gwelliannau 17, 18, 19, 20, 21) Group 6: Regulation-making powers (Amendments 17, 18, 19, 20, 21)
Grŵp 7: Amserlenni ar gyfer diswyddo penodeion (Gwelliannau 23, 2, 3) Group 7: Timescales for removal of appointees (Amendments 23, 2, 3)
3. Papurau i'w nodi 3. Papers to note
4. Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42(vi) i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod hwn a'r cyfarfod ar 19 Mawrth 4. Motion under Standing Order 17.42(vi) to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of this meeting and its meeting on 19 March

Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Lle mae cyfranwyr wedi darparu cywiriadau i’w tystiolaeth, nodir y rheini yn y trawsgrifiad.

The proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation is included. Where contributors have supplied corrections to their evidence, these are noted in the transcript.

Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 14:15.

The meeting began at 14:15.

1. Cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datgan buddiannau
1. Introductions, apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest

Good afternoon. Can I welcome Members and the public to this afternoon's session of the External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee? Can I remind Members that the meeting is bilingual? If we require translation from Welsh to English, that's available via the headphones on channel 1. If you require amplification, that's available on the headphones via channel 0. Can I also remind Members to switch off their mobiles or put them on silent, please, or any other equipment that may interfere with the broadcasting? There is no scheduled fire alarm this afternoon, so if there is one that takes place, please follow the directions of the ushers as you leave the building.

The committee's received apologies from Steffan Lewis, Jack Sargeant and Suzy Davies, and we've received substitutions on their behalf from Bethan Sayed, David Melding and Dawn Bowden this afternoon—they are substitutes for the meeting.

2. Bil Rheoleiddio Landlordiaid Cymdeithasol Cofrestredig (Cymru) - trafodiadau Cyfnod 2
2. Regulation of Registered Social Landlords (Wales) Bill - Stage 2 proceedings

We move on to the next item on the agenda, which is Stage 2 proceedings of the Regulation of Registered Social Landlords (Wales) Bill and consideration of the Stage 2 amendments. Before we commence with that, I'd just like to remind people of a few of the procedures. The purpose of this meeting is to undertake Stage 2 of the Bill. In relation to this item, Members should have before them the marshalled list of amendments and the groupings of the amendments for debate, and if you haven't, please let the clerking team know so we can make sure you have them.

The marshalled list of amendments is a list of all amendments tabled, marshalled in the order in which sections appear on the Bill. So, for this meeting, the order in which we consider the amendments will be: sections 2 to 20, then Schedule 1, then Schedule 2, then section 1, then finally the long title. You will see from the groupings list that amendments have been grouped to facilitate debate, but the order in which they are called and moved for a decision is dictated by the marshalled list. Members will need to follow the two papers and, therefore, I will advise Members when I call them whether they are being called to speak in the debate or to move the amendments for a decision. There will be one debate for each group of amendments, and Members who wish to speak in a particular group should indicate this in the usual way. Because it is a debate, Members, also, if they wish to intervene at any point, should please indicate to me if they wish to intervene on that issue.

For the record, and in accordance with convention agreed by the Business Committee, as Chair, I will move the amendments on behalf of the Minister. For expediency, I will assume the Minister wishes me to move all her amendments and I will do so at the appropriate place in the marshalled list. However, Minister, if you decide you do not wish a particular amendment to be moved, please indicate at the relevant point in time.

In line with usual practice, legal advisers to the committee and the Minister are not expected to provide advice on the record, and if Members wish to seek legal advice during the proceedings, please do so by passing a note to the legal adviser, and I will then suspend the meeting for that advice to be discussed. Are Members content with those proceedings? If they are, then we'll move straight into the process.

Grŵp 1: Cyfranogiad tenantiaid (Gwelliannau 5, 6)
Group 1: Tenant participation (Amendments 5, 6)

The first group of amendments to be considered are on tenant participation—amendments 5 and 6. The lead amendment in this group is amendment 5 in the name of David Melding, and I call on David Melding to move amendment 5 and speak to his amendments in this group.

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 5 (David Melding, gyda chefnogaeth Bethan Sayed).

Amendment 5 (David Melding, supported by Bethan Sayed) moved.

Diolch yn fawr, Cadeirydd. Good afternoon, Minister and fellow Members. Before I speak to the first group of amendments on this Bill, can I first highlight the fact that all of my amendments today, in one form or another, have been derived from the recommendations of the sub-committee of this committee or from the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee's report? They, obviously, were undertaken as part of Stage 1 scrutiny of this Bill. I'd also like to highlight that it's not my intention to move amendment 23 in the final group of amendments, group 7. In the light of deeper examination of the Government's amendment in that same group, I've decided to support the wording of the Government's amendment on that specific issue.

As I said in the Stage 1 debate last month, while this Bill's aims are inarguably in the public interest, given the judgment of the Office for National Statistics, we should all recognise that the Bill is a significant act of deregulation within the housing sector and, consequently, as was identified in both of the committee reports, it

'will require diligent risk management and effective monitoring.'

Given that my amendments have derived from the cross-party committee discussions and from the general principles of this Bill, which, again, have cross-party support, I think it is worth appreciating that no-one here wants to disrupt or slow down the reclassification process. My intention this afternoon is simply to improve the Bill.

Chair, in group 1, the purpose of amendments 5 and 6 is to provide for a formal process for tenant participation and consultation where there are amalgamations and other structural changes to a registered social landlord. Amendments 5 and 6 also ensure that no amalgamations or other structural changes are valid unless the RSL concerned has first carried out a consultation, in which all of the society's tenants have been invited to participate. These amendments also provide that the the Welsh Minister, by regulations, sets out the methods and the time frame to be applied to any consultation, and that these regulations may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before, and approved by, the National Assembly for Wales.

In comparison to the Bill in Scotland, these amendments are more relaxed and less restrictive in terms of tenant participation. In section 6 and 7 of the Scottish Bill, an RSL has to consult tenants and to obtain their agreement to the restructuring in cases where the restructuring would lead to a change of landlord for the tenant, or to the landlord becoming a subsidiary of another body. That was already in the body of the Scottish Bill, as it was introduced, and so it is clear that in their approach to reclassification the rights and protections of the tenant are key. And, obviously, I'm seeking to provide a similar type of amplification, but not as restrictive as the Scottish case.

So, I do feel that here in Wales the least we can do at this amendment stage is to guarantee that tenants have the opportunity to participate and engage when such a huge change is going on around them in terms of the constitutional structure of an RSL. As I said in the Stage 1 debate, what is more powerful than putting a statement like this on the face of primary legislation? And I think we saw in our evidence sessions that there would be sector support for this approach. If I can remind you that TPAS Cymru, the tenants' organisation, told the committee, and I quote:

'our view is certainly that we want tenants to be involved in this process and that the end result needs to be to ensure that there is enough community involvement in how organisations are run...So, we'd certainly welcome making sure that tenants were able to feed into that process and how those organisations operated but, at the same time, we'd want that to be developed in a way that was permissible with this Bill allowing...to be enacted in a way that refers to the ONS decision.'

And indeed, that, essentially, is the balance that I've tried to strike by not making the requirement too onerous, but making it real so that it is a proper added protection for the tenants.

On this point, Chair, can I note that with this particular amendment, we shouldn't have any worries, therefore, about the reclassification decision, especially when we compare what's being proposed here to what has been agreed in Scotland? The reclassification requires the removal of some of the public sector controls that are in place, and the rest of the Bill adequately does that, as the ONS have already told us. These amendments ensure that tenants get to represent themselves more vigorously, and that is a very self-contained thing that doesn't have any spillover effects on the likely attitude of the ONS.

In the same way that the private businesses are regulated with protections for consumer rights, the RSLs who now will be operating more independently because of this Bill, should it become an Act, could operate with this amendment acting as a protection of tenants' rights.

I don't think we need to say, as they do in Scotland, that it would be necessary for tenants to give their agreement to certain constitutional changes, but I do think it should be on the face of the Bill that tenants have to be consulted.

Now, in her evidence to this committee, the Minister said that this Bill does not provide tenants, and I quote,

'with any greater or lesser influence than they already have at the moment.'

But, of course, what I'm seeking to do with this amendment is to go that one stage further and entrench and guarantee those rights and amplify them slightly, so that nothing that is currently unforeseen will end up diluting them should this Bill become an Act and when it is operating in practice.

This Bill, otherwise, would do nothing to strengthen the role of tenants within the regulatory regime of RSLs, and I believe that would be a missed opportunity. So, it's a very constructive amendment, in my view, to make good that right. And as you indeed, Chair, said, in the Stage 1 debate on the general principles, the Welsh Government should take this opportunity that this Bill presents them to strengthen the role of tenants before certain constitutional changes and mergers may be considered. So, I move the amendments.

14:25

Thank you. Plaid Cymru have supported this amendment, and thank you to David Melding for laying it. I think it's important in the sense that anything that we can do within legislation to enhance the role of tenants is to be commended. I understand that the Minister has said that she will be able to carry out this type of requirement via the regulatory guidance, and that you will be putting, potentially, statutory guidance—updated statutory guidance—before the Assembly, but to mirror what David Melding said, if it's on the front of the legislation, then there are no ifs or buts about how they are consulted and there is a legal requirement to do so. I think, in the age where some tenants may have an issue with how much they are engaged in the processes to do with their tenure, why not then try and make sure that it's as strong as it possibly can be? I acknowledge that this is seen as a technical piece of legislation, but at the end of the day, it may change the nature of how the RSLs operate. Well, it will, in the sense that they will be private bodies. So, therefore, we need to ensure that the tenants have a key role to play. So, I would like to support this particular amendment.

Thank you. Are there any other Members who wish to speak? Jenny.

Clearly, it's very important that we are safeguarding the rights of tenants and that they don't see their homes sold above their heads without any consultation. So, I'd be keen to hear from the Minister what her proposals are to ensure that RSLs are obliged to consult tenants before any material changes occur.

If no other Members wish to speak, I call the Minister to speak.

Thank you, Chair. Thank you to Members for a useful discussion this afternoon, but also in the scrutiny process thus far in the Assembly as well.

In my response to the Chair of the External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee, I confirmed that tenants at the heart of regulation is one of the key principles of the regulatory framework, and this Bill does nothing to change this or my view that the regulatory expectation that RSLs consult with tenants and listen to their views is fundamental. RSLs are required to demonstrate that tenants are involved in shaping services and decisions, and also that services are high quality and improving, as set out in performance standard 2, issued under section 33A of the Housing Act 1996. As a consequence of this Bill, we will update and issue statutory guidance under section 33B of the housing Act, and that will set out regulatory expectations on RSLs, including on such matters as consultation. I reiterate my offer to the committee to share the draft guidance, which I made in my written response to the committee's report. The Scottish Bill maintains the status quo there, and our Bill, as drafted, maintains the status quo here, but I have listened carefully to the concerns of this committee, Members elsewhere, and also to stakeholders, including TPAS Cymru and the Chartered Institute of Housing throughout the scrutiny process this far. I do intend to bring forward an amendment at Stage 3 to address these concerns about tenant consultation.

Amendments 5 and 6 are constructive, but unfortunately, as drafted, they effectively place a duty for RSLs to consult before a wide range of constitutional changes, not only in respect of amalgamations et cetera but also in respect of steps taken by an RSL to make arrangements with their creditors or prior to taking certain steps in relation to resolving insolvency. Sometimes, in these circumstances, a formal consultation with tenants might not be practical or possible, due to the urgency of the situation. However, I can assure you that, in these situations, appropriate communication with the tenants features as part of the regulatory guidance, and it will be subject to regulatory oversight. Additionally, amendments 5 and 6 seek to invalidate certain resolutions, and this may have some unforeseen consequences, for example creating uncertainty as to whether the Financial Conduct Authority or the Registrar of Companies can register those resolutions, or whether they must consider whether or not an RSL has carried out a lawful consultation.

So, I do believe there's a more appropriate way of giving effect to an obligation on RSLs to consult, and I have asked my officials to work on developing such an amendment with a view to introducing it at Stage 3. Such an amendment will ensure that there is consultation with tenants when RSLs are considering constitutional changes, such as voluntary mergers or amalgamations. There are, however, circumstances where formal consultation is neither practical nor possible, and these, as I've said, include an RSL in financial stress or potential insolvency where urgent intervention, including perhaps the rescue by another RSL, might be required. So, my amendment would also recognise these circumstances, as well as resolving the operational difficulties that I've mentioned.

So, given the issues outlined there and my commitment to bring forward a comprehensive amendment at Stage 3, I would ask Members—

14:30

I think the key here is whether your amendment will include an obligation on the face of the Bill.

Yes, the intention is to introduce an amendment where there is an obligation to consult with tenants, but in circumstances that don't give rise to, potentially, the unintended consequences of amendments 5 and 6 as tabled. So, I would ask Members today to reject amendments 5 and 6 on the understanding that I would bring forward an amendment at Stage 3.

Thank you, Chair. Can I first begin by thanking Bethan for the support of Plaid Cymru for the two amendments in this group and also the support that will be forthcoming in the second group? I'm very grateful for the level of cross-party work that's been conducted on this matter.

It sounds as though the Minister is going some way to accepting the principle that, as Bethan put it, there are no ifs and buts about whether we should put an obligation on the face of the Bill, and that seems to me to be very, very important. I think I infer that Jenny Rathbone was going in a similar direction that, however it's constructed, there needs to be an obligation to consult, and obviously we feel that should come via the primary legislation itself.

Now, the Minister has said that tenants are at the heart of regulations—and I think we have no reason to doubt that—and that statutory guidance is the main way of filling out that commitment. Indeed, under my amendment, that is still what would happen, it's just that it's then on the face of the Bill that there is a requirement, and then the manner in which consultations proceed would be contained in statutory guidance. I think that that would cover most of the practical circumstances that concern the Minister.

I do acknowledge that she's going to bring forward an amendment, and should it be that we don't pass my amendment this afternoon, I can assure you that I will look at that in all good faith to see whether, at Stage 3, I could support it. But I've not had sight of that amendment, nor have I had discussions with the Minister, so, I feel it's appropriate that I press the committee to vote on the appropriateness of my amendment.

I just want to give committee members the offer to have further discussions on the content and form of an amendment that Welsh Government would seek to bring forward at Stage 3. I'd be more than happy to enter into further conversations with David Melding and other Members.

I'd be more than happy to have those conversations, but it doesn't stop me from moving the amendments this afternoon, Chair, with your permission, of course.

Thank you. You pre-empted my next question, so you do wish to proceed to vote on amendment 5. Therefore, the question is that amendment 5 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] I have an objection, and therefore we now take a vote by a show of hands. The question is that amendment 5 be agreed. All those in favour please raise your hands. All those against please raise your hands. There is a tied vote. I therefore use my casting vote in the negative against the amendment in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii). Therefore, amendment 5 is not agreed. 

Gwelliant 5: O blaid: 4, Yn erbyn: 4, Ymatal: 0

Gan fod nifer y pleidleisiau yn gyfartal, defnyddiodd y Cadeirydd ei bleidlais fwrw yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 6.20(ii).

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 5: For: 4, Against: 4, Abstain: 0

As there was an equality of votes, the Chair used his casting vote in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii).

Amendment has been rejected

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 6 (David Melding, gyda chefnogaeth Bethan Sayed).

Amendment 6 (David Melding, supported by Bethan Sayed) moved.

The question is that amendment 6 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] We have an objection. Therefore, I will now take a vote by a show of hands. Can all those in favour of amendment 6 please raise your hands? All those against, please raise your hands. Thank you. Therefore, we have a tied vote, and again I use my casting vote in the negative against the amendment, in accordance with Standing Order 6.20. Therefore, amendment 6 is not agreed. 

14:35

Gwelliant 6 : O blaid: 4, Yn erbyn: 4, Ymatal: 0

Gan fod nifer y pleidleisiau yn gyfartal, defnyddiodd y Cadeirydd ei bleidlais fwrw yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 6.20(ii).

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 6 : For: 4, Against: 4, Abstain: 0

As there was an equality of votes, the Chair used his casting vote in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii).

Amendment has been rejected

Grŵp 2: Gwaith craffu gan Gynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru (Gwelliannau 7, 16, 22, 4)
Group 2: Scrutiny by the National Assembly for Wales (Amendments 7, 16, 22, 4)

We now move on to group 2. The lead amendment in group 2 is amendment 7 in the name of David Melding. These amendments will consider scrutiny by the National Assembly for Wales. I call on David Melding to speak to his amendment and others in this group. 

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 7 (David Melding, gyda chefnogaeth Bethan Sayed).

Amendment 7 (David Melding, supported by Bethan Sayed) moved.

Thank you, Chair. The first three amendments in this group have arisen from a recommendation put forward in the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee's report, namely recommendation 7 of that report. Amendments 7 and 16 put a requirement on Welsh Ministers to lay directions that are issued under sections 5—those are regarding constitutional and structural changes—and 14, regarding certain disposals of land by RSLs, before the Assembly within 14 days of that direction being given. Amendment 4 is consequential to amendment 16 and will entail the changing of the overview section of the Bill should amendment 16 be agreed.

Chair, these first three amendments of group 2 are very significant in my view. Under these sections, Welsh Ministers have the power to issue directions to RSLs regarding the technical and practical aspects of any notifications issued by RSLs to Welsh Ministers in relation to constitutional and structural changes to an RSL or in relation to certain disposals of land by an RSL. Given the importance of the directions that these amendments concern, the failure to comply with them would result in possible enforcement or penalty notice, and to aid transparency, the CLAC committee agreed that it would be appropriate to see any such direction laid before the National Assembly within 14 days of the direction being given. 

Chair, the final amendment in this group, amendment 22, puts in place a requirement that the Assembly should conduct post-legislative scrutiny of the Bill within a two to four-year period after the day upon which an Act would receive Royal Assent. Specifically, the amendment provides that a committee of the Assembly will undertake a review of the Act's operation and, if appropriate, in consequence of its findings, to make recommendations for the repeal or amendment of the Act, and to publish said findings and recommendations. As we all recognise, this amendment stems from a recommendation of the sub-committee endorsed then by the full committee. During our deliberations we all concluded that post-legislative scrutiny was vital in this case to specifically ensure the tenants' rights are safeguarded and that RSLs are not disposing of land and assets in a way unanticipated by the Welsh Government. 

And, if I could, Chair, I would like to just touch upon the general importance of post-legislative scrutiny. As has been stated by the Law Commission themselves—and I'm very pleased to see the Welsh Government is working very closely with the Law Commission on areas such as the unfair practice of leasehold tenures—post-legislative scrutiny would translate into better regulation and into developing a more stringent focus on implementation. One could say that about legislation in general, not about this proposal specifically. But I think the general point is a very, very important one. We've also now begun to see post-legislative scrutiny work in practice and it has had an important effect really in improving our procedures. I'd refer Members to the post-legislative scrutiny that was undertaken on the mental health Measure, which I think was a seminal piece of work, and did indeed pick up some aspects of that Measure that had led to unanticipated consequences and areas, therefore, of public policy that had to be adapted. 

So, I think, ultimately, Chair, post-legislative scrutiny can be our insurance policy to ensure that none of the risks or worries that have been highlighted so far in the scrutiny of this Bill actually come to fruition. We all accept the intentions are very noble and indeed we are operating under an imperative in terms of the ONS. Can I welcome the Minister's positive response to this recommendation in her letter to this committee? I hope we can now follow through and support this amendment for post-legislative scrutiny today. Thank you. 

I just wanted to speak very quickly on this and to endorse what David Melding has said in relation to the post-legislative scrutiny. I think it's an effective form of legislating so that we can assess what has happened, especially with regard to disposal of land and assets, something that is very important in this age of land being at a premium, and I think it's important that the Assembly would have a view on that. So, it was just to put on record our support as a party. 

14:40

Thank you. Are there any other Members who wish to speak? There are not, so I call on the Minister—. Jenny. 

I suppose, in her answer, perhaps, if the Minister could clarify how the Government proposes to ensure that housing associations are not inappropriately disposing of land in a way that might not have been envisaged by the Bill, because that is obviously a key issue, because once land's been sold, it can't be bought back at anything other than a very high price, and, given that this land has been acquired in order to provide social housing, I find it really important that we ensure that it isn't disposed of unless there's extremely good reason and it has the blessing of the Welsh Government. 

Thank you. Are there any other Members? No. Minister. 

Okay, thank you. I'll begin by addressing amendments number 4 and 22. The External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee recommended that the National Assembly conducts post-legislative scrutiny of the Bill should it become an Act to ensure that, in particular, tenants' rights are safeguarded and that RSLs are not disposing of land and assets in a way unanticipated by the Welsh Government.

As I stated in my response to the committee, the Welsh Government welcomes any scrutiny by the Assembly and would, of course, wish to assist in this scrutiny wherever possible. I would be very pleased to see post-legislative scrutiny of this Bill should it become an Act by this or any other future Assembly committee. Underlying this recommendation is the need to safeguard social housing assets and tenants' rights. These are key principles of regulation, and I assure you that robust regulatory oversight will continue, and these are areas where we would seek to respond to the concerns that Jenny Rathbone has just spoken to.

However, this amendment would restrict the ability of the Assembly to decide how it should prioritise its resources in the future, potentially into the next Assembly term. The Assembly already has the ability to review legislation or the activities of RSLs under its existing powers, and the recent consideration of the regulation of social landlords conducted by the Public Accounts Committee is a really good example of this. 

So, as I’ve stated, I would very much welcome scrutiny by the Assembly about the implementation of this Bill. However, I wouldn't want to impact upon the discretion of the Assembly in future in terms of deciding its own priorities. So, I would ask that those recommendations are not supported, whilst also at the same time being supportive of future scrutiny of this Bill. 

Moving on to amendments 7 and 16, we have considered this matter very carefully and are content that, given the nature and the content of the directions, the Bill as it stands is appropriate. The scope of the directions to be given under sections 5 or 14 of the Bill is very limited and these directions will deal with the delivery, form and content of a notification to be given to the Welsh Ministers and the time frames for doing so.  The directions are therefore administrative in nature and will not contain substantive provisions. There are already a number of other direction-making powers in the Housing Act 1996, and across a wide variety of legislation that don't have any procedure attached to them, and directions are not normally made by statutory instrument and do not normally attract any Assembly procedure.

However, Chair, having said that, I am more than happy to give a commitment that directions given under the new provisions will be published on the Welsh Government’s website, as I set out in my written response to the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee. So, on that basis, I would ask that these amendments are not supported.

Thank you, Minister. I call on David Melding to reply to the debate. 

Yes, thank you, Chair. Again, I thank Bethan for the support of Plaid Cymru, and, as Bethan correctly said, the arrangements here are particularly important in terms of the disposal of assets, and, as Jenny Rathbone echoed, once an asset is disposed of then it can't be reacquired, other than at exorbitant cost, if then at all possible.

I was beginning to think the Minister was going to say, 'Yes, we're happy with this amendment.' But to say both that you welcome post-legislative scrutiny and then actually to say, somehow, you don't agree with it in this particular instance because you don't want to bind the Assembly, well, it's the Assembly that's binding itself, if it wants to conduct post-legislative scrutiny, and it's even possible that this post-legislative scrutiny could be conducted within this the fifth Assembly. If this Bill is enacted fairly soon, we would have three years, nearly, of this Assembly to run, and the post-legislative scrutiny should fall between two and four years hence.

I think it's really important when the legislature identifies particular Acts that are needed and, in our best judgment at the time, are at their most coherent, but we realise, because of the very sensitive and important nature of the public policy that's been affected, that we may not have anticipated all the consequences as they unfold in practice, and, therefore, we identify that a certain level of risk management is required. We've all said that this Bill is a requirement of an ONS decision. Now, they're reflecting changing international accountancy practice—I realise that—but the impetus for the change in the law has not come from the legislature; it's come from the ONS. It's our view that this means that we've got to be very, very careful in the scrutiny of this whole area, because it is principally about deregulation, because the ONS said that this sector was regulated to a level that meant it was not independent. So, the reverse of that is that the current protections that are given to people in this sector—tenants most importantly—are going to change, and we agree that, overall, there are reasons for that that we cannot avoid if we want to see this sector flourish in terms of the number of affordable homes that they can deliver. But it is still a measure of deregulation and needs to be managed as such, and, under those circumstances, I have to say, I am very, very disappointed that you don't agree to post-legislative scrutiny being part of an Act. There is a precedent for this happening, and I would urge—with what success I don't know, but I'll soon find out—but I would urge those Members who normally support the Government to reflect very much on this and to act as legislators primarily, and to perhaps see through the Minister's arguments and ask her to rethink by keeping this measure in front of the Assembly at its next stage, by supporting these amendments.

Again, on the directions, directions are administrative, but they're for administrating really serious things like the disposal of assets—you've got to be very careful. And whilst most directions may not normally be SIs, there are cases in which that level of procedure is appropriate just because of the weight of what they're seeking to do. I really don't think it's too arduous to actually present within 14 days an SI in front of the Assembly. So, I would urge Members to support these amendments, which would greatly add to the level of scrutiny, both now and in the post-legislative scrutiny in future, which will do much to manage the risks that are inevitably inherent in this Bill.

14:45

Thank you, David. From your last summing up, it seems that you wish to move ahead to a vote.

Yes. I just wanted to confirm that you do. Therefore, the question is that amendment 7 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] I have an objection. Therefore, I will now take a vote by a show of hands. The question is that amendment 7 be agreed. Can those in favour please raise your hands? Thank you very much. Can those against please raise your hands? Thank you very much. There is a tied vote of four for, four against. Therefore, under Standing Order 6.20, I now vote against the amendment in accordance, and in the negative. Therefore, amendment 7 is not agreed.

Gwelliant 7: O blaid: 4, Yn erbyn: 4, Ymatal: 0

Gan fod nifer y pleidleisiau yn gyfartal, defnyddiodd y Cadeirydd ei bleidlais fwrw yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 6.20(ii).

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 7: For: 4, Against: 4, Abstain: 0

As there was an equality of votes, the Chair used his casting vote in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii).

Amendment has been rejected

Grŵp 3: Methiant i gydymffurfio â deddfiad (Gwelliannau 8, 13, 14)
Group 3: Failure to comply with an enactment (Amendments 8, 13, 14)

We now return to the marshalled list, and next on the marshalled list of amendments is group 3. And therefore, we move on to group 3, which relates to the failure to comply with an enactment. The lead amendment is amendment 8 in the name of David Melding, and I call on David Melding to speak to his amendment and the other amendments in this group.

14:50

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 8 (David Melding).

Amendment 8 (David Melding) moved.

Thank you again, Chair. The three amendments in group 3, namely, amendments 8, 13 and 14, ensure that a failure to comply with the regulatory framework and the associated performance standards is explicitly recognised on the face of the Bill as a failure to comply with a requirement imposed under an enactment.

Again, this amendment arises from a recommendation of this committee, and can I just say that it was encouraging to see this level of scrutiny as the Bill went through that process? Ultimately, Chair, this is a key area of deregulation that will require careful management, and the protections that are afforded by the revised regulatory framework would become more important in terms of regulating RSLs when the legislation changes that are proposed come into force.

The Minister's logic and reasoning for not seeing this amendment as appropriate is similar to her response in group 1 regarding tenants' participation—ultimately, that the Government thinks a regulation approach is best suited to dealing with these matters. But, unarguably, this amendment would add significant statutory weight and guarantee by providing a duty to comply with the regulations.

The unseen positive consequence of this amendment is the increase in confidence for financial lenders. UK Finance emphasised this point in their evidence when they stated, and I quote:

'we expect funders could take comfort from the wide definition of failure proposed in the legislation...which we take as including a failure in relation to the regulatory framework. For absolute clarity, however, we suggest that consideration be given to ensuring in the legislation that the "failure to comply with a requirement imposed by or under an enactment" is clearly defined as including a failure in relation to the regulatory framework.'

So, this, Chair, is exactly what the amendment seeks to do. With such high levels of uncertainty around deregulation, I think we can at least, by adding a duty to comply in this Bill, give lenders the confidence they need to help finance the important work that this sector does. Otherwise, as highlighted by UK Finance themselves, and I quote:

'The implications could be a reduced ability of RSLs to attract new private investment at a time when more is needed to support delivery of the 20,000 homes target.'

So, I move.

Thank you. Are there any other Members who wish to speak on this group? I see there are none. Therefore, I call the Minister to speak.

Thank you. Standards issued under section 33A of the Housing Act 1996 impose requirements on RSLs and are therefore clearly requirements imposed under an enactment. These standards form part of the regulatory framework. The changes are set out in the explanatory notes accompanying the Bill, and I can give the committee my commitment that I'll instruct officials to review and, if required, amend the explanatory notes to give additional clarity.

If we were to include a statement in the Bill that standards issued under section 33A are requirements imposed under an enactment, there is a risk that this could cast doubt on the interpretation of other requirements imposed by or under enactments that made no similar statement. For example, if there was express mention of the performance standards but not directions, were directions subsequently to be issued, people might question whether or not they were a requirement imposed by or under an enactment and therefore within the threshold. So, I wouldn't want to introduce this confusion unnecessarily.

Amendments 8, 13 and 14 all refer to the regulatory framework for housing associations registered in Wales and its associated performance standards. Performance standards are standards that are issued in accordance with section 33A of the Housing Act 1996, and the phrase 'performance standards' is the colloquial terminology for such standards. The standards form a central part of the regulatory framework. However, the regulatory framework itself doesn't have a statutory basis and it doesn't appear in legislation. The framework sets out the process for how regulatory judgments that reflect the regulator's assessment of an RSL's compliance with the standards are reached. 

As the amendments as drafted refer to documents that do not have a statutory basis and do not correctly identify section 33A of the Housing Act 1996, they wouldn't operate effectively, even if they were to be accepted. And, in any event, as I think David Melding did recognise at the start of his contribution, they are unnecessary, as performance standards under section 33A are already caught by the definition of a requirement imposed by or under an enactment. And, as I've said, to clarify that position further is unnecessary and might cast doubt on the interpretation of other provisions where such a clarification is not provided. So, on that basis, I would ask that the committee rejects amendments 8, 13 and 14.

14:55

Thank you, Minister. I call on David Melding to reply to the debate.

Well, with this legislation, the regulatory framework becomes key as a management tool of the risk that inevitably increases as a result of reclassification. I simply think that it clarifies matters if a failure under the regulatory framework is recognised as a failure under enactment. The fact that this is spelled out in other places just means to me that there is everything to be gained from the clarity of restating it here for emphasis and the importance of it in the future as we rely more and more on the regulatory framework to govern this sector. And I'm not best pleased when the Government comes along and says, 'This is very important, but you haven't quite understood it'. You know, we are the legislature; we have full legal advice, and committees have looked at this and found it convincing that it should be tightened up and clarified. So, I'm not going to withdraw the amendment and I move it this afternoon, Chair.

Thank you. Clearly, we therefore move on to the question of whether amendment 8 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] I have an objection, therefore I will take a vote by a show of hands on amendment 8. And the question is that amendment 8 be agreed. Can those in favour please raise their hands? Thank you. Those against, please raise your hands. Thank you. As there is a tied vote, four for and four against, I use my casting vote in the negative against the amendment in accordance with Standing Order 6.20, and therefore amendment 8 is not agreed.

Gwelliant 8: O blaid: 4, Yn erbyn: 4, Ymatal: 0

Gan fod nifer y pleidleisiau yn gyfartal, defnyddiodd y Cadeirydd ei bleidlais fwrw yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 6.20(ii).

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 8: For: 4, Against: 4, Abstain: 0

As there was an equality of votes, the Chair used his casting vote in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii).

Amendment has been rejected

Grŵp 4: Pŵer i benodi swyddogion (Gwelliannau 9, 10, 11, 12)
Group 4: Power to appoint officers (Amendments 9, 10, 11, 12)

We will go on with the marshalled list, and the next item on the marshalled list is group 4, the power to appoint officers. The lead amendment in this group is amendment 9 in the name of David Melding, and I call on David Melding to speak to his amendment and others in this group.

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 9 (David Melding).

Amendment 9 (David Melding) moved.

Thank you, Chair. The purpose of group 4's amendments is to ensure that any appointments made under section 6, the removal or appointment of an officer of a registered social landlord, and section 8, the appointment of a manager of a registered social landlord, end when the relevant requirement is complied with or the relevant failure is remedied. Under these sections, an officer can be appointed to ensure

'compliance with a requirement imposed by or under an enactment',

and a manager can be appointed when the Welsh Ministers are satisfied that an RSL 

'has failed to comply with a requirement imposed by or under an enactment.'

During the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee's scrutiny—and I should say I'm a member of that committee—we asked the Minister whether consideration had been given to including provisions in sections 6 and 8 of the Bill regarding limiting the time for which officers or a manager of an RSL are appointed by the Welsh Ministers where there's been a failure to comply with an enactment. We also queried whether it would be clearer to state that any appointments made under sections 6 or 8 of the Bill will end when the relevant requirement is complied with or the relevant failure has been remedied to the satisfaction of Welsh Ministers.

In a letter of response to the CLAC report, the Minister argued that this recommendation, and I quote:

'would not allow for a transition period in which the officer would remain in post while...the Welsh Ministers satisfied themselves that the RSL was now capable of operation without the officer's assistance.'

End quote. However, the wording of this amendment specifically states, quote:

'until such time as the requirement imposed by or under an enactment is complied with to the satisfaction of the Welsh Ministers'.

End quote. So, ultimately, this amendment allows that the position should stay in place until the requirement is resolved to the satisfaction of Welsh Ministers, but it does this in a much clearer way. As soon as the Welsh Ministers are happy that the requirement has been resolved, under this amendment, the legislation will require that that position be dissolved, as it is no longer needed. So, I move this amendment, or the amendments in this group.

Thank you. Are there any other Members who wish to speak in this group? I see there are not. Therefore, I call the Minister to speak.

15:00

Thank you, Chair. The appointment of an officer or manager is a function of the Welsh Ministers as the regulator and, as part of exercising their regulatory function, Welsh Ministers must consider when and how it's appropriate to exercise those powers. We are satisfied that the current regulatory regime contains sufficient safeguards and operates in such a way that officers or managers appointed by Welsh Ministers to deal with a specific problem will not stay in post longer than is necessary or appropriate, and this may need to extend beyond the point at which the requirement imposed by or under an enactment is achieved. If steps are taken to appoint an officer or manager to address a problem, there will be substantial regulatory involvement. The process of the situation will be monitored and the appropriate time for such an appointment to end will be determined from an informed position.

A couple of my practical concerns would be that the amendments remove the flexibility to have a transition period in which the officer or manager would remain in post after the breach had been remedied. It's often the case that there is further input required, for example, while Welsh Ministers monitor whether an RSL can sustain its improvement. The amendments also remove the Welsh Ministers’ ability to renew appointments, which takes away further flexibility to keep an appointee in post during that transitional period. So, for these reasons, I would ask that the amendments are not supported.

Thank you, Minister. And I call on David Melding to reply to the debate.

Well, the danger, clearly, is that the transition period could be—well, it'll be subjective and therefore to some degree open-ended. This I would have thought undermines the ONS's concern, or their eagerness, to see that there is a clear independence in the governance of RSLs. And I think once the requirement has been met—and that would involve an assessment of its sustainability and deep-rootedness in terms of the reform, but let's remember that these officers will have been appointed because there's been a failure in regulation, so the RSL would have failed to operate at the basic standard, at least at the basic standard, as laid out in regulations. So, I think we can assume that, once rectified and sustained, there shouldn't be an open-ended process beyond that, otherwise, if that really were required, we would be saying that there were RSLs out there who couldn't really be relied upon to observe the basic regulatory framework structure without this level of involvement and monitoring. So, I think that's troubling and you'd need to return to more general governance issues if that was really required. Our version is much crisper: it states that that appointment lasts as long as the deficiency does and once you can be reasonably satisfied that it's been met and that is a sustainable position then the requirement for that appointment also stops. I so move.

Thank you. And, as you have confirmed that you have moved amendment 9, the question is amendment 9 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] I have an objection, therefore the vote by a show of hands. And the question is that amendment 9 be agreed. Can those in favour please raise your hands? Thank you. Those against, please raise your hands. Thank you. As there's a tied vote, four in favour and four against, I use my casting vote in the negative against the amendment in accordance with Standing Order 6.20, and therefore amendment 9 is not agreed.

Gwelliant 9: O blaid: 4, Yn erbyn: 4, Ymatal: 0

Gan fod nifer y pleidleisiau yn gyfartal, defnyddiodd y Cadeirydd ei bleidlais fwrw yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 6.20(ii).

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 9: For: 4, Against: 4, Abstain: 0

As there was an equality of votes, the Chair used his casting vote in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii).

Amendment has been rejected

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 10 (David Melding).

Amendment 10 (David Melding) moved.

Amendment 10 has been moved. And therefore the question is: does any Member object to amendment 10 being agreed? [Objection.] I have an objection. Therefore, I now take a vote by show of hands. Can those in favour of amendment 10 being agreed please raise your hands? Thank you. Can those against please raise your hands? Thank you. As there's a tied vote, four in favour, four against, I use my casting vote in the negative against the amendment in accordance with Standing Order 6.20, and therefore amendment 10 is not agreed.

Gwelliant 10: O blaid: 4, Yn erbyn: 4, Ymatal: 0

Gan fod nifer y pleidleisiau yn gyfartal, defnyddiodd y Cadeirydd ei bleidlais fwrw yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 6.20(ii).

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 10: For: 4, Against: 4, Abstain: 0

As there was an equality of votes, the Chair used his casting vote in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii).

Amendment has been rejected

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 11 (David Melding).

Amendment 11 (David Melding) moved.

The question is that amendment 11 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] I have an objection, therefore I will now take a vote by a show of hands. Can those in favour of amendment 11 please raise your hands? Thank you. Can those against please raise your hands? Thank you. And as there's a tied vote, four in favour, four against, I use my casting vote in the negative against the amendment in accordance with Standing Order 6.20, and therefore amendment 11 is not agreed.

Gwelliant 11: O blaid: 4, Yn erbyn: 4, Ymatal: 0

Gan fod nifer y pleidleisiau yn gyfartal, defnyddiodd y Cadeirydd ei bleidlais fwrw yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 6.20(ii).

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 11: For: 4, Against: 4, Abstain: 0

As there was an equality of votes, the Chair used his casting vote in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii).

Amendment has been rejected

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 12 (David Melding).

Amendment 12 (David Melding) moved.

The question is that amendment 12 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] I have an objection, and therefore I will take the vote by a show of hands. Can those in favour of amendment 12 please raise your hands? Thank you. Can those against please raise your hands? Thank you. As there is a tied vote, again, four in favour and four against, I use my casting vote in the negative against the amendment in accordance with Standing Order 6.20, and therefore amendment 12 is not agreed. 

15:05

Gwelliant 12: O blaid: 4, Yn erbyn: 4, Ymatal: 0

Gan fod nifer y pleidleisiau yn gyfartal, defnyddiodd y Cadeirydd ei bleidlais fwrw yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 6.20(ii).

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 12: For: 4, Against: 4, Abstain: 0

As there was an equality of votes, the Chair used his casting vote in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii).

Amendment has been rejected

Grŵp 5: Eglurhad mewn perthynas â Deddf Tai 1996 a Deddf Tai 1988 (Gwelliannau 1, 15, 24)
Group 5: Clarifications in relation to the Housing Act 1996 and Housing Act 1988 (Amendments 1, 15, 24)

I move on now to group 5, which relates to clarifications in relation to the Housing Act 1996 and the Housing Act 1988. The lead amendment in the group is amendment 1 in the name of the Minister. 

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 1 (Rebecca Evans).

Amendment 1 (Rebecca Evans) moved.

I move amendment 1 in the name of the Minister, and call on the Minister to speak to her amendment and any other amendments in this group. Minister.

Thank you, Chair. Speaking first to amendment 1, this amendment has been introduced in order to clarify the amendments made by section 9 of the Bill. Section 9 of the Bill amends paragraph 15H of Schedule 1 to the Housing Act 1996, which enables Welsh Ministers to force an amalgamation of two registered societies. Paragraph 15H currently only applies to RSLs that are registered societies. The Bill, as drafted, created some ambiguity as to whether or not paragraph 15H would apply only to registered societies after the amendments had been made. The intention of the Bill was for paragraph 15H to maintain the status quo and remain only applying to registered societies. This intention is clear in the explanatory notes. My amendment will therefore add a reference to registered societies in the amendments that section 9 of the Bill makes to paragraph 15H to clarify the position so that 15H continues to apply only to RSLs that are registered societies. 

Moving on to amendment 15, the repeal of section 81 of the Housing Act 1988, the purpose of the repeal of section 81 of the Housing Act 1988 is to remove the requirement for RSLs to obtain consent for the disposal of land. Section 81 applies only to disposals of land by RSLs where the land in question was acquired from a housing action trust. RSLs are registered in Wales and must be principally concerned with Welsh housing. However, this does not prevent RSLs from owning and managing property in England, although, in practice, owning and managing land in England accounts for a very small proportion of RSL operations. Under section 81, an RSL has to obtain consent for the disposal of land in Wales from Welsh Ministers, and disposal of land in England from the Secretary of State. Therefore, in order to remove central Government controls to the extent necessary to achieve the reclassification of RSLs, it is necessary to repeal the entire section. It has already been repealed in relation to non-profit registered providers or the RSL equivalent in England. The repeal will include the removal of the function of Secretary of State to consent to certain disposals if that land is in England. This repeal of the Secretary of State's function raises no separate issue of principle, and we are content that this effect is incidental to, or consequential on, the main purpose of the repeal, which is to remove the requirement for RSLs to obtain central Government consent for disposals. And I am satisfied that the Bill is within the legislative competence of the Assembly.

And, finally, speaking to amendment 24, I'm satisfied that the amendment that inserts a definition of 'notify' into section 63 of the Housing Act 1996 is drafted in the most appropriate way. When inserting a new definition into a list of definitions, it is common drafting practice to provide that the new definition should be inserted in the appropriate place rather than identifying which existing definitions it should appear between. And the reason for this is that it's possible that, before the amendments commenced, another piece of legislation may come along and insert another definition in the space where the amendment was going to insert a definition. By providing that the new definition is to be inserted in the appropriate place, it means that it can be inserted in whatever is the correct alphabetical position at the time the insertion is commenced. I therefore would urge Members to support amendment 1 and reject amendments 15 and 24. 

Thank you, Minister. I call on David Melding to speak.

Thank you, Chair. Can I say I do support amendment 1 that the Welsh Government has laid to clarify the Bill? My amendments, therefore, are in the spirit of adding further clarification. So, amendment 15's purpose is to amend section 13(2) to make it clear that section 81 of the Housing Act 1988 is only amended in relation to Wales. As it stands, section 13 of the Regulation of Registered Social Landlords (Wales) Bill repeals section 81 of the Housing Act 1988, which applies to England and Wales. In the CLAC committee, we asked the Minister if it would be clearer to state on the face of the Bill that section 81 is only repealed in respect of Wales, and the Minister responded by saying that it was her belief that the reference to England had already been removed as England is addressing this particular issue, and therefore section 81 of the Housing Act 1988 needs to be omitted in its entirety, and she's just referred to that. However, in the view of the CLAC committee—this was something that the Chair, Mick Antoniw, reiterated in his contribution to the Stage 1 debate in the Senedd—this amendment is necessary because section 81 of the Housing Act 1988 still contains references to England. We concluded that it should be made clear that section 13 of the Bill falls within legislative competence by clearly stating that section 81 of the Housing Act 1988 is only repealed in relation to Wales. Whatever the Welsh Government argues in respect of whether they believe their Bill goes far enough on this issue, this amendment will provide clarity and certainty.

And, Chair, my last amendment in this group, amendment 24 ensures that it's clearer when the definition of 'notify' is to be inserted into section 63 of the Housing Act 1996. Paragraph 13 of Schedule 2 to the Bill inserts the words '"notify" means notify in writing;' into section 63 of the Housing Act 1996 in the appropriate place. Again, we looked at this in the CLAC committee. We asked the Minister if paragraph 13 of the Bill should be amended to make the provision clearer as to where these words are to be inserted, and an accompanying Welsh Government official told us that, 'the notification—'. This just sums up why we need the clarity; this is what the official said on behalf of the Minister in scrutiny evidence:

'the notification requirements inserted by the Bill are inserted into the Housing Act 1996, and there's already a definitions section in there that says '"notice" means notice in writing', but the wording in our notifications sections just says they have to notify the Welsh Ministers. So, it's just to round it off, really, to say that 'notify' also means 'notify in writing'. So, it will apply to the notification provisions as set out in the Bill.'

Chair, following this response it was the view of CLAC that for the purposes of clarity, the specific location to which the definition of 'notify' is to be inserted should be set out in the Bill, and I still move amendments 15 and 24. 

15:10

Thank you. Are there any other Members who wish to speak on this group? I see there are not, and therefore I call on the Minister to reply to the debate.  

Thank you very much, Chair. I would begin by making some comments regarding amendment 15 and, clearly, I've been further advised since the first evidence that I gave to committee on this issue, and I've been advised that it is necessary to repeal this section for England and for Wales. If the proposed amendment 15 is accepted and the section repealed only in relation to Wales, this would leave a small element of section 81 under which any RSLs disposing of certain land in England would be required to obtain the consent of the Secretary of State, and this is a central Government control. 

In order to achieve the reclassification of RSLs, it is necessary to remove central Government controls, and therefore it is necessary to repeal the entire section, and it is correct that the section has already been repealed in relation to non-profit registered providers of social housing by the Housing and Planning Act 2016. This is the Act that addressed the ONS reclassification in England. 

On the issue of competence, RSLs are principally concerned with the provision of housing in Wales, and we are satisfied that any effect in respect of properties owned by RSLs in England is incidental or consequential on the primary purpose of removing the requirement for RSLs to obtain central Government consent for disposals of land. 

We are content that the removal of section 81 is entirely within competence under section 108(5)(b) of the Government of Wales Act 2006, and we are content that the removal of the Secretary of State's consent function is within competence under paragraph 6 of Part 3 of Schedule 7 to the Government of Wales Act 2006.  

Amendment 24 doesn't change the substance of the definition, as I understand it in the way described. Rather, it provides that a new definition is to be inserted in a specific place within the Bill.  

Thank you, Minister. And do you wish for me to proceed to a vote on amendment 1? 

The question is that amendment 1 be agreed. Does any Member object? There are no objections, therefore, amendment 1 is agreed.

15:15

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.34.

Amendment agreed in accordance with Standing Order 17.34.

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 13 (David Melding).

Amendment 13 (David Melding) moved.

Thank you. The question is that amendment 13 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] I have an objection, therefore I will take a vote by a show of hands. The question is that amendment 13 be agreed. Those in favour, please raise your hands. Thank you. Those against, please raise your hands. Thank you. As it's a tied vote, four in favour and four against, I'll use my casting vote in the negative against the amendment in accordance with Standing Order 6.20, and therefore amendment 13 is not agreed.

Gwelliant 13: O blaid: 4, Yn erbyn: 4, Ymatal: 0

Gan fod nifer y pleidleisiau yn gyfartal, defnyddiodd y Cadeirydd ei bleidlais fwrw yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 6.20(ii).

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 13: For: 4, Against: 4, Abstain: 0

As there was an equality of votes, the Chair used his casting vote in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii).

Amendment has been rejected

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 14 (David Melding).

Amendment 14 (David Melding) moved.

The question is that amendment 14 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] I have an objection, therefore I will take a vote by a show of hands. The question is that amendment 14 be agreed. Can those in favour please raise your hands? Thank you. Can those against please raise your hands? Thank you. As there's a tied vote, four in favour and four against, I use my casting vote in the negative against the amendment in accordance with Standing Order 6.20. Therefore, amendment 14 is not agreed. 

Gwelliant 14: O blaid: 4, Yn erbyn: 4, Ymatal: 0

Gan fod nifer y pleidleisiau yn gyfartal, defnyddiodd y Cadeirydd ei bleidlais fwrw yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 6.20(ii).

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 14: For: 4, Against: 4, Abstain: 0

As there was an equality of votes, the Chair used his casting vote in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii).

Amendment has been rejected

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 15 (David Melding).

Amendment 15 (David Melding) moved.

The question is that amendment 15 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] We have an objection, therefore I will take a vote by show of hands. Can those in favour of amendment 15 being agreed, please raise your hands? Thank you. Can those against please raise your hands? Thank you. As it's a tied vote, I use my casting vote in the negative: four against, four for. Therefore, the amendment is not agreed in accordance with Standing Order 6.20 as I go against the amendment.

Gwelliant 15: O blaid: 4, Yn erbyn: 4, Ymatal: 0

Gan fod nifer y pleidleisiau yn gyfartal, defnyddiodd y Cadeirydd ei bleidlais fwrw yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 6.20(ii).

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 15: For: 4, Against: 4, Abstain: 0

As there was an equality of votes, the Chair used his casting vote in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii).

Amendment has been rejected

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 16 (David Melding, gyda chefnogaeth Bethan Sayed).

Amendment 16 (David Melding, supported by Bethan Sayed) moved.

The question is amendment 16 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] I have an objection, therefore, I will take a vote by a show of hands. And the question is that amendment 16 be agreed. Can all those Members in favour please raise your hands? Thank you. Can those who are against please raise your hands? Thank you. As it's a tied vote, four in favour and four against, I use my casting vote in the negative against the amendment in accordance with Standing Order 6.20. Therefore, amendment 16 is not agreed.

Gwelliant 16: O blaid: 4, Yn erbyn: 4, Ymatal: 0

Gan fod nifer y pleidleisiau yn gyfartal, defnyddiodd y Cadeirydd ei bleidlais fwrw yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 6.20(ii).

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 16: For: 4, Against: 4, Abstain: 0

As there was an equality of votes, the Chair used his casting vote in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii).

Amendment has been rejected

Grŵp 6: Pwerau gwneud rheoliadau (Gwelliannau 17, 18, 19, 20, 21)
Group 6: Regulation-making powers (Amendments 17, 18, 19, 20, 21)

To go back to the marshalled list, we now move on to group 6, which relates to regulation-making powers, and the lead amendment in this group is amendment 17 in the name of David Melding. I call on David Melding to speak to the amendment and others in this group.

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 17 (David Melding).

Amendment 17 (David Melding) moved.

Thank you, Chair. Amendments 17, 18, 19 and 20 in group 6 are amendments to clarify that the regulation-making powers in this Bill are to make consequential amendments only.

Amendment 21 is a further amendment to ensure that the regulation-making powers shall lapse when the ONS confirms that RSLs have been reclassified. Explanatory notes to the Bill state that section 18 provides that the Welsh Ministers may make consequential amendments for the purpose of giving full effect to any provisions set out in the Bill.

Section 18(1) of the Bill contains a Henry VIII power where regulations are used to amend primary legislation and provides that the Welsh Ministers may make such provision, amending, repealing or revoking any enactment as they consider appropriate in consequence of any provision made by, or under, the Bill, or for the purpose of giving full effect to any provision made by, or under, the Bill.

Section 18(4) provides that where regulations are made under section 18(1), which amend or repeal either an Act or Measure of the Assembly, or an Act of the UK Parliament, i.e. when exercising the Henry VIII power, the power under section 18(1) is subject to the affirmative procedure. Section 18(5) provides that where any other regulations are made under section 18(1), they will be subject to the negative procedure.

During the CLAC scrutiny, we asked why the affirmative procedure does not apply to all regulations made under section 18, regardless of whether they amend primary legislation, and the Minister told us that this section provides the power to make essentially consequential amendments, and that the approach taken is in line with the Counsel General's guidance.

Further to this, we did receive some sector concern in regard to this issue. In response to the sub-committee's public consultation on the Bill, UK Finance wrote to express their concern that the proposed power in section 18 is too wide. And in their written evidence, they said, and I quote:

'If it is to be enacted, we suggest that the Committee might consider a sunset provision for this power, such that it falls away at the end of the current Assembly term. Without this, we expect funders (particularly distant investors who might be less familiar with the sector) might perceive an openended ability of Ministers to change the functions of the regulator as a risk of indefinite uncertainty. This could reduce investor appetite and increase the possibility of reticence among funders when considering Welsh RSLs as funding/investment propositions within the wider UK and international context.'

Amendment 21 in this group specifically rectifies their concerns regarding the open-endedness of these powers. We noted that the purpose of the Bill is to enable the ONS to reclassify RSLs as private non-financial corporations. Once this has been done, we do not see why it would be necessary for the Welsh Ministers to exercise their power under section 18 any further.

To conclude this grouping, Chair, can I just say that section 18 contained the only free-standing regulation-making powers in the Bill? We in the committee welcome section 18(4) of the Bill, which provides that, where regulations amend primary legislation, they will be subject to the affirmative procedure. However, if regulations are to deal with consequential powers and to make consequential amendments, as stated by the Minister, then we would recommend that section 18(1) of the Bill should be amended accordingly to provide only for what is needed. Can I also acknowledge the Minister's attempts to rectify this issue with one of her original four submitted amendments? I note that and hope that my amendments in this group can be accepted.

15:20

Does any other Member wish to speak? I see there are not, and I call the Minister to speak.

Thank you very much, Chair. It did appear, from the Stage 1 committee sessions, that some stakeholders were uncertain as to the exact scope of the power in section 18 of the Bill, and that they may have interpreted it as a power to make further legislative changes for the purposes of achieving the reclassification of RSLs by the ONS. But this isn't the case, and we have subsequently had discussions with stakeholders who are now satisfied in terms of what their understanding of the Bill and the provisions are. Instead, what is in the Bill is a narrow power, which is limited to making changes to other legislation, which are needed to make that legislation operate properly in the light of specific changes, which are made on the face of the Bill. Changes made using the power would have to be closely connected with the changes made by the Bill. So, whilst the drafting of the section is sound in this regard, in terms of it being a narrow power limited to making changes to other legislation, which are needed to make the legislation operate properly in the light of the changes made to the face of the Bill, I do consider that it would be helpful to amend the heading of section 18 to indicate more clearly this narrow scope of the power, and I am advised that the most appropriate way to do this would be via a printing change to the Bill.

Amendments 17 to 20 would have the effect that the power could not be used to amend other legislation at all, as the wording, which provides the power to amend any enactment, has been removed. This would mean that if other legislation was identified that needed to be amended to make it operate properly, it could not be easily done.

Amendment 21 proposes that these powers should lapse as soon as the Welsh Ministers receive confirmation that reclassification has been effected, but I should stress again that this is not a power to make amendments for the purpose of achieving reclassification. The narrow power conferred by section 18 must be able to be used beyond the reclassification decision, which is expected soon after Royal Assent, as at that point all required consequential amendments may not yet have been identified. Therefore, if the power to make amendments were to lapse, as suggested, and any necessary amendment regulations had not yet been made, our ability to make them would be at an end.

Although we do our utmost to identify all the provisions that need amending and to deal with them in one batch, it is always possible that a provision might come to light subsequently. It's also possible that provisions made after the data reclassification will also need to be amended. It might be helpful if I gave an example of the type of consequential amendment that we're discussing. This could be found, for example, in the land registration rules. These currently set out a form of a restriction that refers to the consent to the disposal of land by an RSL, which we are removing. This form will need to be updated to reflect the fact that there will no longer be a requirement for the RSL to obtain consent. So, it's these types of consequential amendments that need to be made in order to ensure that the substantive provisions within the Bill operate effectively.

So, for these reasons, I would ask that these amendments are not supported.

Thank you, Minister. I call on David Melding to reply to the debate.

Well, I listened carefully to what the Minister said, and I welcome—to some extent, anyway—what she said in terms of the narrow scope and will reflect on that, but I'm not going to withdraw my amendments.

As far as the stakeholders being satisfied, we do operate at a very high level of scrutiny—the highest level of scrutiny—when we're passing legislation, and so I do think it would be appropriate to see that evidence, if it has changed, and it's a pity that we've not been able to see it before we conducted these very important proceedings, but perhaps that's a deficiency that can be rectified before we moved to Stage 3. But I move my amendments.

15:25

Thank you. Amendment 17 has been moved, and the question is that amendment 17 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] I have an objection. Therefore, I will take a vote by a show of hands. The question is that amendment 17 be agreed. Can those in favour please raise your hands? Can those against please raise your hands? Thank you. As there's a tied vote—four in favour and four against—I use my casting vote in the negative, against the amendment, in accordance with Standing Order 6.20. Therefore, amendment 17 is not agreed.

Gwelliant 17: O blaid: 4, Yn erbyn: 4, Ymatal: 0

Gan fod nifer y pleidleisiau yn gyfartal, defnyddiodd y Cadeirydd ei bleidlais fwrw yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 6.20(ii).

Gwrthodwyd gwelliant.

Amendment 17: For: 4, Against: 4, Abstain: 0

As there was an equality of votes, the Chair used his casting vote in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii).

Amendment has been rejected.

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 18 (David Melding).

Amendment 18 (David Melding) moved.

The question is that amendment 18 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] I have an objection. Therefore, I'll take a vote by a show of hands. The question is that amendment 18 be agreed. Can those in favour please raise your hands? Thank you. Can those against please raise your hands? Thank you. As there's a tied vote, I use my casting vote in the negative, against the amendment, in accordance with Standing Order 6.20, and therefore amendment 18 is not agreed.

Gwelliant 18: O blaid: 4, Yn erbyn: 4, Ymatal: 0

Gan fod nifer y pleidleisiau yn gyfartal, defnyddiodd y Cadeirydd ei bleidlais fwrw yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 6.20(ii).

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 18: For: 4, Against: 4, Abstain: 0

As there was an equality of votes, the Chair used his casting vote in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii).

Amendment has been rejected

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 19 (David Melding).

Amendment 19 (David Melding) moved. 

The question is that amendment 19 be agreed to. Does any Member object? [Objection.] I have an objection. Therefore, I'll take a vote by a show of hands. The question is that amendment 19 be agreed. Can all those in favour please raise your hands? Thank you. Can those against please raise your hands? Thank you. As there's a tied vote—four for and four against—I use my casting vote in the negative, against the amendment, in accordance with Standing Order 6.20. Therefore, amendment 19 is not agreed.

Gwelliant 19: O blaid: 4, Yn erbyn: 4, Ymatal: 0

Gan fod nifer y pleidleisiau yn gyfartal, defnyddiodd y Cadeirydd ei bleidlais fwrw yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 6.20(ii).

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 19: For: 4, Against: 4, Abstain: 0

As there was an equality of votes, the Chair used his casting vote in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii).

Amendment has been rejected

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 20 (David Melding). 

Amendment 20 (David Melding) moved. 

The question is that amendment 20 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] I have an objection. Therefore, I'll take a vote by a show of hands. The question is that amendment 20 be agreed. Can all those in favour please raise your hands? Thank you. Can all those against please raise your hands? Thank you. As there's a tied vote—four in favour and four against—I use my casting vote in the negative, against the amendment, in accordance with Standing Order 6.20. Therefore, amendment 20 is not agreed.

Gwelliant 20: O blaid: 4, Yn erbyn: 4, Ymatal: 0

Gan fod nifer y pleidleisiau yn gyfartal, defnyddiodd y Cadeirydd ei bleidlais fwrw yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 6.20(ii).

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 20: For: 4, Against: 4, Abstain: 0

As there was an equality of votes, the Chair used his casting vote in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii).

Amendment has been rejected

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 21 (David Melding). 

Amendment 21 (David Melding) moved. 

The question is that amendment 21 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] I have an objection. Therefore, I will take a vote by a show of hands. The question is that amendment 21 be agreed. Can all those in favour please raise your hands? Thank you. And all those against, please raise your hands. Thank you. As there's a tied vote—four in favour, four against—I use my casting vote in the negative, against the amendment in accordance with Standing Order 6.20. Amendment 21 is not agreed.

Gwelliant 21: O blaid: 4, Yn erbyn: 4, Ymatal: 0

Gan fod nifer y pleidleisiau yn gyfartal, defnyddiodd y Cadeirydd ei bleidlais fwrw yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 6.20(ii).

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 21: For: 4, Against: 4, Abstain: 0

As there was an equality of votes, the Chair used his casting vote in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii).

Amendment has been rejected

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 22 (David Melding, gyda chefnogaeth Bethan Sayed).

Amendment 22 (David Melding, supported by Bethan Sayed) moved.

Amendment 22 has been moved, and therefore the question is that amendment 22 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] I have an objection. Therefore, I will take a vote by a show of hands. The question is that amendment 22 be agreed. Can all those in favour please raise your hands? Thank you. 

Can I take that again? All those in favour please raise your hands. Let's make sure that we are clear in what we're voting for. All those in favour of amendment 22, please raise your hands. Thank you. All those against amendment 22, please raise your hands. Thank you. As there's a tied vote—four for and four against—I use my casting vote in the negative, against the amendment, in accordance with Standing Order 6.20. Therefore, amendment 22 is not agreed.

Gwelliant 22: O blaid: 4, Yn erbyn: 4, Ymatal: 0

Gan fod nifer y pleidleisiau yn gyfartal, defnyddiodd y Cadeirydd ei bleidlais fwrw yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 6.20(ii).

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 22: For: 4, Against: 4, Abstain: 0

As there was an equality of votes, the Chair used his casting vote in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii).

Amendment has been rejected

Grŵp 7: Amserlenni ar gyfer diswyddo penodeion (Gwelliannau 23, 2, 3)
Group 7: Timescales for removal of appointees (Amendments 23, 2, 3)

We move on to group 7. At the beginning of this afternoon's proceedings, David Melding indicated that he did not wish to move amendment 23. If that's the case, amendment 2 will become the lead amendment. However, does any other Member wish to move amendment 23? They do not. Therefore, amendment 23 is not moved.

Ni chynigiwyd gwelliant 23 (David Melding).  

Amendment 23 (David Melding) not moved. 

Amendment 2 becomes the lead amendment, which is the Minister's amendment. I therefore invite the Minister to speak to her amendment and the others in this group.

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 2 (Rebecca Evans). 

Amendment 2 (Rebecca Evans) moved.

Thank you, Chair. The Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee referred to section 7C as inserted by Schedule 1 to the Bill and stated,

'we do not see why a RSL must wait for two months before removing an appointee from its board once it has been notified which appointees are to be removed. We consider that this may cause unnecessary delay and uncertainty.'

I agree that, once a local authority has nominated a person to be removed, there is no need for a delay in that removal, and therefore I have brought forward amendments 2 and 3 to give effect to the committee's recommendation. The amendments I have laid have the effect that, once a local authority has specified the person or persons to be removed, the RSL can remove them immediately, but they allow a local authority two months following the commencement of the provision—a reasonable period of time—to nominate a person for removal before any unilateral action can be taken by the RSL.

Although David Melding hasn't moved his amendment, I would like to recognise that our amendments do intend to achieve the same thing, and that is to remove that unnecessary delay in respect of the removal of local authority appointees from RSL boards, and our Government amendment does have the additional safeguard of allowing the local authority to nominate which of its appointees should be removed. So, I would ask the committee to support amendments 2 and 3.

15:30

Thank you, Minister. Does any Member wish to speak? David.

Yes, I'm very happy to support the Minister's version, which, in a fuller way, achieves the intention of my amendment also. So, I'm happy to support. 

Thank you. Therefore, Minister I take it you wish me to move amendment 2 in your name? 

The question therefore is that amendment 2 be agreed. Does any Member object? There are no objections, therefore amendment 2 is agreed. 

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.34.

Amendment agreed in accordance with Standing Order 17.34.

Minister, do you wish to proceed to a vote on amendment 3? 

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 3 (Rebecca Evans).

Amendment 3 (Rebecca Evans) moved.

Therefore I move amendment 3 in the name of the Minister, and the question is that amendment 3 be agreed. Does any Member object? There are no objections. Therefore amendment 3 is agreed.

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.34.

Amendment agreed in accordance with Standing Order 17.34.

We now go back to the marshalled list. David, do you wish to move amendment 24?

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 24 (David Melding).

Amendment 24 (David Melding) moved.

It has been moved, and therefore the question is that amendment 24 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] I have an objection. Therefore, I will now take a vote by show of hands. The question is that amendment 24 be agreed. Can those in favour please raise your hands? Thank you. Can those against amendment 24 please raise your hands? Thank you. As there's a tied vote, four in favour and four against, I use my casting vote in the negative against the amendment in accordance with Standing Order 6.20, and amendment 24 is not agreed. 

Gwelliant 24: O blaid: 4, Yn erbyn: 4, Ymatal: 0

Gan fod nifer y pleidleisiau yn gyfartal, defnyddiodd y Cadeirydd ei bleidlais fwrw yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 6.20(ii).

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 24: For: 4, Against: 4, Abstain: 0

As there was an equality of votes, the Chair used his casting vote in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii).

Amendment has been rejected

Cynigiwyd gwelliant 4 (David Melding, gyda chefnogaeth Bethan Sayed).

Amendment 4 (David Melding, supported by Bethan Sayed) moved.

The question is that amendment 4 be agreed. Does any Member object? [Objection.] I have an objection, therefore I'll take a vote by show of hands. The question is that amendment 4 be agreed. Can those in favour please raise your hands? Thank you. Can those against please raise your hands? Thank you. As there's a tied vote, I use my casting vote in the negative against the amendment in accordance with Standing Order 6.20, and therefore amendment 4 is not agreed. 

Gwelliant 4: O blaid: 4, Yn erbyn: 4, Ymatal: 0

Gan fod nifer y pleidleisiau yn gyfartal, defnyddiodd y Cadeirydd ei bleidlais fwrw yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 6.20(ii).

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant

Amendment 4: For: 4, Against: 4, Abstain: 0

As there was an equality of votes, the Chair used his casting vote in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii).

Amendment has been rejected

We've reached the end of the amendments and the groupings, and before I complete the proceedings on Stage 2, can I thank the Minister and her officials, and can I apologise for not asking you to introduce your officials? I know they're not allowed to speak during this session, but they have sat there giving you advice. Could you just identify for the record your officials with you today, Minister? 

Yes. Katie Wilson, Welsh Government lawyer working on this Bill, and Ian Williams, director of homes and places. 

Thank you. I noticed they were giving you advice, but they're not allowed to speak in the session. But thank you for that. 

You will obviously be sent a transcript of the meeting, and if you identify any factual inaccuracies, please let the clerking team know as soon as possible for that purpose.

Stage 2 proceedings are now complete and Stage 3 begins tomorrow. The relevant dates for Stage 3 proceedings will be published in due course. Now, Standing Orders make provision for a Minister to prepare a revised explanatory memorandum taking into account the amendments agreed today and perhaps the discussions that took place today, and that revised memorandum should be laid at least five working days before Stage 3 proceedings. So, can I remind you to do so, please? Because very often we find that they're not always done on time. I'm sure you will, Minister. 

Therefore, this session on Stage 2 has now come to its end, so thank you very much.

Barnwyd y cytunwyd ar bob adran o’r Bil.

All sections of the Bill deemed agreed.

3. Papurau i'w nodi
3. Papers to note

For members of the committee, can I move on to item 3, which is papers to note? Paper 1 to note is the correspondence from the Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP, who is chair of the Committee for Exiting the European Union at the House of Commons. The paper is regarding the sectoral analysis. Paper 2 is also from Hilary Benn regarding the EU exit analysis publication.

Paper 3 to note is from Robin Walker MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Department for Exiting the European Union, also regarding the EU exit analysis. Paper 4 is the research and legal briefing summary on the Law Derived from the European Union (Wales) Bill, and paper 5 is correspondence from the Cabinet Secretary for Finance regarding the Horizon 2020 report. Are Members content to note those, with the proviso that, of course, the law derived from the European Union Bill will be debated tomorrow at Stage 1 in Plenary? 

4. Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42(vi) i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod hwn a'r cyfarfod ar 19 Mawrth
4. Motion under Standing Order 17.42(vi) to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of this meeting and its meeting on 19 March

Cynnig:

bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod, a'r cyfarfod ar 19 Mawrth, yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(vi).

Motion:

that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting, and its meeting on 19 March, in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(vi).

Cynigiwyd y cynnig.

Motion moved.

If Members are content, then we move on to item 4, which is a motion to exclude the public for the remainder of today's meeting, under Standing Order 17.42(vi). Are Members content to move into private session for the remainder of today's meeting? I see they are, and therefore we now move into private session. 

15:35

Derbyniwyd y cynnig.

Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 15:35.

Motion agreed. 

The public part of the meeting ended at 15:35.

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