For the first time in 25 years, the House of Lords Liaison Committee is reviewing the structure and function of committees in the second chamber. FDSD is making the most of the opportunity to propose a new Committee for Future Generations to bring long-term thinking more systematically into the workings of Parliament.
More than 30 peers already back our proposal, reflecting a growing recognition in the House of Lords of the need to establish new mechanisms that can reach across party divides and enable better thinking, planning and acting for the long term.
The proposal outlines three potential functions of the committee:
- Examining current and draft legislation with a long-term perspective, to consider the impact on future generations and suggest amendments to protect their interests.
- Carrying out reviews like a select committee inquiry to explore specific issues with an eye to the long term and the interests of future generations.
- Publishing an annual report on long-term trends, which includes recommendations on how Parliament and Government should respond.
Fit for purpose
The House of Lords is well placed to bring the long view to Parliament. Relatively insulated from electoral cycles, it has more capacity than the House of Commons to think about the long-term impacts of new bills. The second chamber has a reasonably strong track record in taking the long view and has always provided a partial counter-balance to the short-termism inherent in democratic politics.
We believe that a Committee for Future Generations can strengthen the House of Lords’ position as a key player in intergenerational dialogue and debate. It is not a ‘silver bullet’; but, with strong commitment and support, could go a long way to embedding long-term thinking in the legislature.
The FDSD proposal has now been accepted by the Liaison Committee, our evidence submission is published on the Government’s website.