HC Deb 25 February 1997 vol 291 cc198-211 6.46 pm
Ms Roseanna Cunningham (Perth and Kinross)

I beg to move amendment No. 1, in page 1, line 10, after 'aesthetic', insert 'anthropological, sociological,'.

Clause 1 extends the list of bodies eligible to receive lottery funds. My amendment would include in that list things with a sociological or anthropological interest, thus enabling communities to be included. The Bill will allow the trustees to provide financial assistance to projects which would, among other things, secure the preservation or enhancement of such things and would encourage the maintenance and development of the skills required for their preservation or enhancement". It would make sense to include in both those provisions the preservation of a community for a community.

Clause 1(3) provides that financial assistance may be given to various projects, including projects to acquire property of any kind (including land)". That aspect is of interest to me in my capacity as my party's spokesperson on both environment and land.

The amendment arose from a discussion that I had in January with Ms Anthea Case, director of the national heritage memorial fund, as a result of the rejection of the bid submitted by the Isle of Eigg trust to buy the Isle of Eigg. The meeting was an attempt to clarify the reasons for that rejection. The decision was complex, but it was clear from the meeting with Ms Case that the board considered that, in the terms of the legislation, heritage did not include people or communities. She also said that, although the definition in the Bill was much wider, it still would not have included the interests of the community or objectives such as relieving poverty.

In the case of the Isle of Eigg trust, there was a perceived potential for a conflict between the interests of the community and the interests of heritage as defined by the legislation. That was also described as a conflict between the private interests of the community and the public interests of the nation. In the trust's constitution, community representatives had a greater interest than the so-called national heritage interest, as represented by the Scottish Wildlife Trust.

Mrs. Helen Liddell (Monklands, East)

I am well aware of the issue that the hon. Lady is raising. It has caused concern to me as well—and to my hon. Friend the Member for Hamilton (Mr. Robertson), who has raised it with the national heritage memorial fund. My only anxiety is that this may be a rather complicated way of trying to resolve a problem which could be resolved more simply. I say that in as helpful a way as possible. Perhaps it is due to a natural reticence about seeing the concerns of people defined as sociological and anthropological, rather than being defined more precisely in terms of the community aspect of the heritage lottery fund.

Ms Cunningham

We felt that the issue needed to be resolved, and we had a clear opportunity to do that— especially in view of Miss Case's advice that, as the Bill currently stood, the definition of "heritage" would not cover the circumstances that arose in the Isle of Eigg trust. It was deemed that there was a risk that social and economic objectives on the island could take precedence over so-called heritage interests, and that that would continue to be an issue even after the present Bill, with its extension, went through—as it presumably would.

The opportunity that the Bill presented to widen the definition to include community interests gave rise to the amendment, but if there are better ways of doing it I should be interested to hear about them. We want the change to be made so that bids such as that of the Isle of Eigg trust can be made and have a chance of succeeding without being ruled out on the basis of technicalities. I would argue—as would many other hon. Members—that the preservation of a community is not the same as the private interests of the individual, but the issue appeared to be being presented in those terms. A sustainable and healthy community is a prerequisite for a sustainable environment.

Eigg is a very beautiful island, which ought to be preserved; but it is also an island of great need, where people live without mains electricity, gas, a public water supply or refuse disposal arrangements. All those are practical difficulties which must be dealt with.

Dr. Norman A. Godman (Greenock and Port Glasgow)

Surely there is little or no difference between the acquisition of an island and the acquisition of an estate. There is no difference between an attempt by people living on an island to buy that island, and a similar attempt by people living on an estate.

Ms Cunningham

The hon. Gentleman may be making an analogy with the Assynt crofters. There has been one other occasion in Scotland on which this kind of community interest has been paramount and has, in a sense, taken precedence over individual private interests. As Scottish Members will know, ownership of Eigg has received extensive publicity over many years, and we all know of the difficulties to which private absentee ownership has led for the community there. That is why there is so much anxiety about the decision in this instance.

I have outlined some of the practical difficulties that the community has to bear and which are a result of the negligence of successive absentee landlords. The island and the estate had been allowed to deteriorate and the people faced a very insecure future.

Dr. Godman

Many of us would much prefer the island to be owned by a trust rather than by such eccentric characters as Mr. Schellenberg.

Ms Cunningham

The hon. Gentleman is right. The recent history of the Isle of Eigg has caused grave concern, and community ownership would seem a far more secure arrangement for the future than the current ownership by Mr. Marumma—which is in itself problematic—and the previous ownership by Mr. Schellenberg, which lasted for many years and during which very little was done for the community.

The bid for the community was a partnership between Highland council and the Scottish Wildlife Trust, and won the support of many hon. Members on both sides of the House. It was made in the recognition that securing a sustainable future for the community and securing the same for the island were inextricably linked. The same circumstances can be seen in other parts of Scotland, but they may also be in evidence in other parts of the United Kingdom.

It is a peculiar and restrictive definition of "heritage" that excludes the survival of communities, as the Bill at present appears to do. In Scotland, certainly, heritage is about much more than the Churchill papers, the opera house or, indeed, the national museums. As the director of the Scottish Wildlife Trust said at the time of the rejection of the bid: To buy back a Scottish island … from its absentee … owner and regenerate and protect it for future generations to come would seem to me to be a perfect heritage project. That was how it was seen on both sides of the political divide in Scotland.

Arguably, community ownership in Scotland revives a much older aspect of, in particular, highland heritage: the indissoluble link between people and place. I believe that a concept of heritage that included people and community would be supported by the vast number of members of the Scottish public who buy lottery tickets every week.

Mr. Robert Key (Salisbury)

The hon. Lady is right in saying that cultural heritage is part of the general heritage. Is not the case of the Isle of Eigg, however, similar to that of the Isle of Raasay, or that of the Scilly islands off Cornwall? What matters is the sustainable development that can be encouraged on those islands, rather than the question of ownership. The infamous Dr. Green on Raasay was a prime example of the same thing more than 30 years ago. Encouraging the economic life of the community is more important than ownership.

Ms Cunningham

That may be so in theory, but our experience in Scotland tells us that it is not necessarily so in practice. Certainly, the Assynt crofters have built a far more sustainable future for Assynt than they had under the previous ownership, and so far the individual ownership of the Isle of Eigg has not so far shown the possibility to which the hon. Gentleman refers.

The people who live on Eigg put up with an extraordinary position for a long time. Only then did they decide that the only answer for the future was to buy the island as a community. They are, in a sense, following the precedent laid down by the Assynt crofters, although the land ownership and the issues are different. We should allow this development to take place. I shall be interested to hear the Government's response, especially in the light of Miss Case's view that under the Bill, even as it stands, the people cannot really be included in the concept of heritage. I know that views may differ, but in the absence of any clear guideline I intend to press the amendment.

Mr. Brian Wilson (Cunninghame, North)

I support the principle of the amendment, which is interesting in an historical context. The national heritage memorial fund did not appear out of thin air: it has a distinguished pedigree which, sadly, has been largely forgotten in the course of time. Its origins lie in the national land fund which was set up by the post-war Labour Government and which Hugh Dalton described in his Budget statement as a memorial to those who had fallen in the second world war better than any work of art in stone or bronze."—[Official Report, 9 April 1946; Vol. 421, c. 1840.] The purpose of the national land fund was to acquire properties for the enjoyment of the nation and to ensure access for the enjoyment of the nation. The fund's achievements in its early years were stunning. Many properties and areas of land were bought for the nation in that period, and they are still enjoyed by the common people of every part of the United Kingdom.

Mr. John McFall (Dumbarton)


Mr. Wilson

I think I know what my hon. Friend has to say.

Mr. McFall

My hon. Friend will remember that one of the first uses to which the fund was put was to purchase land on Ben Lomond and Loch Lomond. Fifty years later, there has still not been any progress in that area. My hon. Friend will correct me if I am wrong.

7 pm

Mr. Wilson

I think that my hon. Friend is right. The one that I was thinking of, which I believe is in his constituency, was Rowardennan —

Mr. McFall

The same property.

Mr. Wilson

It is the same property. It was bought for access by people, and particularly for the Scottish Youth Hostels Association, I believe. There is a long list. It was a fantastic period of acquisition, but not for the state—that is the important point—which used its interventionist role to acquire the land and property for third parties. The Balmacara estate in Lochalsh is another obvious example. It was bought through the national land fund and handed over to the National Trust for Scotland. Throughout Britain, such properties were acquired.

I need hardly say that the Tories hated the concept from the outset. They resisted the setting up of the national land fund. They were not interested in war memorials which took the form of giving ordinary people access to the land. Stone and bronze might be all right, but certainly not land, so the Tories opposed the setting up of the fund, and when they inherited power in 1951 they set about destroying it.

Initially the Tories did that by stealth. They allowed the national land fund to fall into disuse and there were no further acquisitions. Then, around 1955, Peter Thorneycroft in his Budget robbed the fund of its assets and returned them to the Exchequer, leaving a small fraction of what had originally been there. The Tories then slipped through an important clause which allowed the fund to acquire not only land and property, but the contents of property. In that way, with one piece of sleight of hand the national land fund was transformed from a land fund, as its name suggested, into an arts fund. It became a slush fund for the owners of stately homes and other properties. It was used for buying works of art and as a subsidy for the people who had such things to sell.

The Tories changed the fund's name to the national heritage fund and in the fulness of time that became the national heritage memorial fund, which in turn spawned the national heritage lottery fund, so there is a straight continuum.

Sir Hector Monro (Dumfries)

May I put the hon. Gentleman right? I took the legislation through the House in 1979 or 1980. The word "memorial" was added in Committee because we wanted to mark the relationship with those who had given their lives in the war. That was an important step. I am not saying that what the hon. Member for Perth and Kinross (Ms Cunningham) says in principle may not be right, but it would be worrying to change the principle of that legislation without more detailed consultation than we are having today.

Mr. Wilson

The right hon. Gentleman can rest assured that we are not going to change the legislation tonight without having more detailed consideration, but it is an important marker to lay down. I have sufficient respect for the right hon. Gentleman to think that it may well have been he who did it. After a 40-year gap, the concept of "memorial" was restored to the fund. It is an important reminder that its origins, as I am sure he would endorse, were as a memorial fund to buy land for the enjoyment of the nation.

Until recent years, the national heritage memorial fund would not consider the acquisition of land. It has been an advance that in recent years it has been prepared to recognise that land is a vital part of the national heritage and it has supported some important acquisitions on that basis. It has supported the acquisition of Strathaird on Skye by the John Muir trust, Glen Feshie in the Cairngorms and other lands of which the right hon. Member for Dumfries (Sir H. Monro) is well aware.

That is good, but the fund still has to demonstrate a case in terms of the environment to have an interventionist role. The proposition that it should be able to intervene on social as well as environmental grounds is modest superficially, but has far-reaching consequences because it would be a device whereby Government could intervene to rescue not only communities such as Eigg, which has been mentioned, but many others, where there is a will and a need for community ownership as the only device for sustaining the economy and the social fabric of the region. But the money simply is not available.

In other words, the fund could act as an interventionist instrument in the market for land. On that basis, it is an admirable concept to promote. I have advocated it in the past and I hope to do so again, but the key to the whole land question is that there must be ways of intervening in the market and that the highest bidder must not be allowed to prevail because the record of the highest bidder has been disastrous in many areas.

For many years, Eigg was under the benign ownership of the Runciman shipping family, but paradoxically, just as with the Horlicks in Gigha or other benevolent landowners, it is they who best demonstrate the weakness of the system because, inevitably, the benevolent landowner dies and every time that happens the lottery starts all over again and the community do not know who they are going to end up with.

Eigg ended up initially with a terrible man called Farnham-Smith, an imposter who claimed to be a commander. It turned out eventually that he had once been a very junior officer in the London fire brigade, but by then he had scammed public money and visited a terrible blight on Eigg—followed by Schellenberg and Maruma, and we all know that story.

However, Eigg is not an isolated example, but a general principle. There must be means of intervening in the land market. The one that we are discussing is interesting and has great potential and my main purpose in rising to speak was to point out that it has a strong and important historical pedigree.

Mr. Robert Maclennan (Caithness and Sutherland)

As so often in these matters, I find myself in considerable agreement with the hon. Member for Cunninghame, North (Mr. Wilson), although I notice that he can speak with authority about the power of ownership—in his case, the power of the ownership of the press, which he never hesitates to use to the full to attack people who happen not to belong to his political party. I go along entirely with him in rebutting the arguments of the hon. Member for Salisbury (Mr. Key), who suggested that ownership was not a significant factor in considering land matters.

I take the history of this back beyond the history to which the hon. Member for Cunninghame, North referred. He might agree with me, as I do with him, that Lloyd George, after the first world war, played a notable part in making land available for soldiers returning from the war. The outcome of that role is that the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food is a significant landowner. In another measure, we are considering whether that land should be brought closer to the communities than it has been under the ownership of the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

I have also had a long history of seeking to bring the ownership of land in the community to the community. When I was in the Labour party, I proposed a Bill, which alas did not enjoy universal support from the Labour party at the time, to require owners of land either to disgorge their land or to accept higher tax rates on it if they were not prepared to meet certain community development standards. Unfortunately, those arguments fell on deaf ears until they were taken up by Sir Kenneth Alexander in the Highlands and Islands development board, who put forward proposals that were very close to those that I had advocated some years earlier. Those proposals were, once again, not acted on by the then Labour Government and fell when that Government fell, and no more has been heard of them since.

Mr. Wilson

As we are swapping anecdotes in this potted history of the land issue, perhaps the hon. Gentleman will recall where he stood on the Crofting Reform Act 1976. If people such as I had been supported by people such as him—he was then representing the Labour party in Parliament—in advocating community rather than individual croft ownership of land, most assuredly the highlands and islands would be a much better place today.

Mr. Maclennan

I must admit that I have always found it easier to represent the interests of my constituents, not as a whipped Labour Member but as an independent-minded member of an independent-minded party. The straitjacket that I was in in 1976 was made the tighter by the fact that I was a member of that Government.

The reality is that land and land ownership is the key to the well-being of many communities, and that their future could be greatly assisted by the widening of the ambit of the national heritage memorial fund, which is what we are debating today. I am glad that the hon. Member for Perth and Kinross (Ms Cunningham) has moved amendment No. 1, because it has given us an opportunity to consider the matter in some detail. Like her, I have great sympathy with the objective of obtaining for the people ownership of the island of Eigg. However, I do not believe that the people who live there—some of whom have come quite recently—are a part of the heritage in quite the way that she described. The important feature is the capacity of those who are living there productively to develop their land, not to keep the land in aspic.

The Assynt case to which the hon. Member for Perth and Kinross referred is important, both as a precedent and as a spur to other communities to do likewise. It is a precedent in that several public funds assisted the Assynt crofters trust to acquire ownership of the land. The trust was assisted by the local authority, by the local enterprise company, Highland and Islands Enterprise, and by many individuals across the length and breadth of the country.

The virtue and value of ownership is demonstrable. Paragraphs 1(3)(1) and 1(3)(2) are too narrowly defined to take account fully of those opportunities, although I realise that clause 1 allows trustees to provide assistance when the interest to be protected is of a scenic, aesthetic, archaeological or scientific nature. I think that all those interests exist in the case of the isle of Eigg, and therefore find it hard to believe that the application was refused on the ground of the narrowness of clause 1. It is beyond argument that the island of Eigg is important, and that it is a suitable case for such treatment.

7.15 pm

The island of Canna was an example of beneficent ownership when owned by John Lorne Campbell. It came into the ownership of the National Trust through his bounty, and it remains a remarkable testimony to enlightened ownership—in sharp contrast to some of the other cases that have been mentioned in this debate, including the isle of Raasay.

I believe that it should be possible to seek assistance from the national heritage memorial fund to acquire land for purposes of strengthening community existence in areas such as those under discussion. I am not certain that to describe the ends as "anthropological" or "sociological", as the amendment does, assists in the goal of strengthening community existence. Notwithstanding my doubts on that, however, I think that the purpose behind the amendment moved by the hon. Member for Perth and Kinross merits our support. I hope that the Minister will be able to tell the House today that the Government's intention is that such cases should be open to assistance if such assistance is suitable in the view of the trustees, and that there is nothing in the Bill to prevent communities from so acquiring the lands.

I can understand objections to using the national heritage memorial fund to provide electricity, water or other forms of aid that might be necessary to sustain the development of an island. That would seem to be a more appropriate task for economic or social development agencies, such as Highlands and Islands Enterprise or the local enterprise company. To acquire ownership of land, however, seems to go right back to the fund's original purposes, on which the current fund is based. I am entirely at one with the hon. Member for Cunninghame, North on that, and I hope that he will say so in his columns in the West Highland Free Press.

Dr. Godman

I promise that my speech will be exceedingly brief. I should like to tell the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan) that I am at one with him in his comments on the use of the national heritage memorial fund. I should also like to tell the right hon. Member for Dumfries (Sir H. Monro)—who was far too modest to mention his role in the 1979–80 proceedings—that his actions led to the insertion of the term "national heritage memorial fund". We owe him a vote of thanks.

I have some sympathy for the amendment moved by the hon. Member for Perth and Kinross (Ms Cunningham), although I, too, winced when I saw the terms "sociological" and "anthropological". I am sure that she would argue that she used those terms merely as a technical device.

As for the Eigg trust, I have every sympathy for the people who live on that beautiful island. The hon. Member for Salisbury (Mr. Key) asked the hon. Member for Perth and Kinross a question on sustainable development. I believe that the island could have sustainable economic development through, for example, tourism, and perhaps through fishing and one or two related activities.

A few years ago, on one beautiful summer's day, I and other members of the then Scottish Select Committee visited the island. It was then owned by Mr. Schellenberg. I recall—not that it had anything to do with the right hon. Member for Dumfries or myself—that, on the very day that we visited, the island had its first robbery. He, my hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock and Loudoun (Mr. McKelvey), the late Nicholas Fairbairn and I picked up quite a few fivers and tenners in the heather.

The people of the island have been treated badly by a succession of owners. Mr. Schellenberg, with respect, could be described as an eccentric. More recently, a German who is supposed to be an artist promised all types of things to the islanders but delivered not one of them. In moving amendment No. 1, the hon. Member for Perth and Kinross has argued a good case for the Eigg trust, which I think is worthy of support. We should be able to use the national heritage memorial fund to enable communities to acquire land. I look forward to the day when the Scottish Grand Committee debates the important and controversial issue of who owns and manages the land of Scotland.

The Minister of State, Department of National Heritage (Mr. Iain Sproat)

As regards the terms of the amendment tabled by the hon. Member for Perth and Kinross (Ms Cunningham), I hope that I can satisfy her—although I have my doubts—that the words that she wishes to insert into the Bill are both unnecessary and undesirable.

Clause 1 inserts into the National Heritage Act 1980 two new provisions defining the scope of the funding powers of the NHMF trustees. Under the first provision—that is, new section 3 of the 1980 Act—the trustees' powers will be exercisable in the case of things of any kind which are of scenic, historic, archaeological, aesthetic, architectural, engineering artistic or scientific interest". We are confident that that catalogue—bearing in mind particularly the inclusion of historic, archaeological and scientific interest—can be wide enough to encompass anthropology and sociology.

A project relating to objects of anthropological or sociological interest would thus qualify for NHMF funding, provided—I emphasise this, as it was omitted from most if not all of the speeches so far—the trustees were satisfied that the project was of importance to the national heritage and of public benefit. Even under the existing legislation, the heritage lottery fund has already provided support for a number of museum projects where collections of local historical interest might be viewed as having a sociological emphasis. Examples include the local history collections at the Oxfordshire county museum and the ethnography collections at the Royal Albert Memorial museum in Exeter.

I would further direct the hon Lady's attention to the second provision in clause 1 of the Bill—that is, new section 3A of the 1980 Act. This gives the NHMF a new power to support certain projects that the trustees consider relate to an important aspect of the history, natural history or landscape of the United Kingdom and are of public benefit. The projects concerned cover public exhibitions, archive projects and comprehensive works of reference.

The aim of the new funding power is to enable the NHMF to help enhance understanding of the nation's history independently of its physical remains.

Mr. Andrew Welsh (Angus, East)

Is the Minister saying without any contradiction that the isle of Eigg could be purchased under the provisions of the heritage fund?

Mr. Sproat

It could be done if the trustees were convinced that it would be of public benefit and in the national interest, not the sociological or anthropological issues that the hon. Lady is seeking to insert into the Bill. As the hon. Gentleman knows, the NHMF and the heritage lottery fund work totally independently of Ministers. I understand that on legal advice they felt that there was a conflict between the public interest and the interest of the residents, and for that reason they declined to give the go-ahead to the bid.

Mr. Wilson

It is obviously a narrow and important point to define, but although the community interest and the public interest might not be synonymous terms, they are certainly not contradictory. If decisions by the trustees are made on the basis of language, it is important for the Minister to define those terms, particularly the use of the word "public". The definition may go beyond the community that is directly affected, so is it the local authority or, in the case of Eigg—

Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Janet Fookes)

Order. That is a very long intervention. I think that the hon. Gentleman has made his point.

Mr. Sproat

It is a fair point. It is certainly true that the community interest and the national interest are not synonymous. It could be that on occasions they would not be in conflict, but as I understand it, on this occasion there was doubt that the crofters' interest was synonymous with the national interest. That was the sticking point. It is up to the trustees of the NHMF and the heritage lottery fund to make a judgment based on their interpretation of that interest.

The hon. Gentleman asked whether I could give a sharper, clearer definition. The answer is no. It would require a legal, forensic use of language that I cannot guarantee to produce off the top of my head, and it would also vitiate the principle that the judgment must be made by the trustees. Having taken expert and legal advice, which is what they nearly always do, the trustees believe that there could be a conflict between the narrow but, in the view of Opposition Members, good interest of the crofters and the national interest. To answer the latter part of the hon. Gentleman's question, the national heritage memorial fund would be looking for an access far more general than the community and the local authority area to which he referred.

Ms Roseanna Cunningham

That narrow point is the nub of the matter. As the community interest had 50 per cent. representation on the trust board, potentially in future the community, the Scottish Wildlife trust and the Highland council could disagree. The decision was taken because the community was looking for 50 per cent. Had there been only 25 per cent. interest, it might have been okay. Is the Minister saying that any such application where the community is looking for 50 per cent. or more will always be ruled out?

Mr. Sproat

No. I would say neither that nor reducing it to 25 per cent. would guarantee that it would be acceptable. It would be up to the trustees to judge for themselves whether any percentage was benefiting a particular or sectional interest to the disbenefit of the national interest. That is a matter that the trustees must decide for themselves in the specific circumstances of any application. On this occasion, the 50 per cent. to which the hon. Lady referred was present, and they decided that it was not in the national interest.

I hope that, in the light of what I have said, the hon Lady will agree that the amendment she proposes would not serve the purpose that she seeks. Given that the list of heritage "interests" specified in new section 3 is already rather long, I would be most reluctant to extend it any further without good reason. The risk in adding further entries to the list is not just that it would become impossibly unwieldy but that the omission of any particular specialism might then be a source of misunderstanding and concern.

Ms Cunningham

I shall not add anything further, but I must insist on the amendment.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 99, Noes 169.

Division No. 83] [7.27 pm
Adams, Mrs Irene Boateng, Paul
Alton, David Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E)
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Callaghan, Jim
Barnes, Harry Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)
Beith, Rt Hon A J Campbell-Savours, D N
Bennett, Andrew F Canavan, Dennis
Benton, Joe Chidgey, David
Bermingham, Gerald Clapham, Michael
Betts, Clive Clark, Dr David (S Shields)
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian) McFall, John
Clelland, David Mackinlay, Andrew
Coffey, Ms Ann Maclennan, Robert
Corston, Ms Jean Mahon, Mrs Alice
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try SE) Marek, Dr John
Cunningham, Ms Roseanna Marshall, David (Shettleston)
(Perth Kinross) Martin, Michael J (Springburn)
Dafis, Cynog Meale, Alan
Dalyell, Tam Michael, Alun
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli) Milburn, Alan
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H) Mortey, Elliot
Dewar, Rt Hon Donald Mullin, Chris
Dixon, Rt Hon Don Murphy, Paul
Donohoe, Brian H O'Brien, William (Normanton)
Eastham, Ken O'Hara, Edward
Ennis, Jeff Olner, Bill
Faulds, Andrew Pendry, Tom
Fisher, Mark Pike, Peter L
Flynn, Paul Powell, Sir Raymond (Ogmore)
Foster, Fit Hon Derek Raynsford, Nick
Foster, Don (Bath) Reid, Dr John
Fyfe, Mrs Maria Robertson, George (Hamilton)
Godman, Dr Norman A Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Golding, Mrs Llin Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Graham, Thomas Simpson, Alan
Gunnell, John Skinner, Dennis
Home Robertson, John Sutcliffe, Gerry
Hoyle, Doug Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N) Thurnham, Peter
Hughes, Roy (Newport E) Timms, Stephen
Hutton, John Tipping, Paddy
Illsley, Eric Touhig, Don
Janner, Greville Turner, Dennis
Johnston, Sir Russell Tyler, Paul
Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham) Walley, Ms Joan
Keen, Alan Wigley, Dafydd
Kennedy, Mrs Jane (Broadgreen) Wilson, Brian
Kilfoyle, Peter Wray, Jimmy
Kirkwood, Archy Young, David (Bolton SE)
Liddell, Mrs Helen
Lloyd, Tony (Stretf'd) Tellers for the Ayes:
Loyden, Eddie Mr. Elfyn Llwyd and
Lynne, Ms Liz Mr. Andrew Welsh.
Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey) Congdon, David
Alexander, Richard Conway, Derek
Allason, Rupert (Torbay) Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F)
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Coombs, Simon (Swindon)
Atkins, Rt Hon Robert Cope, Rt Hon Sir John
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Cormack, Sir Patrick
Batiste, Spencer Couchman, James
Beggs, Roy Cran, James
Bellingham, Henry Currie, Mrs Edwina
Biffen, Rt Hon John Davies, Quentin (Stamf'd)
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Davis, Rt Hon David (Boothferry)
Booth, Hartley Day, Stephen
Boswell, Tim Devlin, Tim
Bottomley, Peter (Eltham) Dorrell, Rt Hon Stephen
Bowis, John Dover, Den
Brandreth, Gyles Duncan, Alan
Brazier, Julian Duncan Smith, Iain
Bright, Sir Graham Dunn, Bob
Brown, Michael (Brigg Cl'thorpes) Durant, Sir Anthony
Browning, Mrs Angela Elletson, Harold
Burns, Simon Evans, Jonathan (Brecon)
Butcher, John Evans, Nigel (Ribble V)
Butler, Peter Evans, Roger (Monmouth)
Carlisle, John (Luton N) Faber, David
Carlisle, Sir Kenneth (Linc'n) Fabricant, Michael
Carrington, Matthew Fenner, Dame Peggy
Cash, William Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)
Chapman, Sir Sydney Freeman, Rt Hon Roger
Clappison, James French, Douglas
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth Fry, Sir Peter
(Rushcliffe) Gallie, Phil
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl Paice, James
Goodlad, Rt Hon Alastair Patnick, Sir Irvine
Greenway, Harry (Ealing N) Patten, Rt Hon John
Greenway, John (Ryedale) Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N) Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth
Grylls, Sir Michael Porter, David
Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archibald Powell, William (Corby)
Hawkins, Nick Richards, Rod
Hawksley, Warren Riddick, Graham
Heald, Oliver Robathan, Andrew
Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David Roberts, Rt Hon Sir Wyn
Hendry, Charles Robertson, Raymond S (Ab'd'n S)
Hill, Sir James (Southampton Test) Rowe, Andrew
Hordem, Rt Hon Sir Peter Shaw, David (Dover)
Howell, Sir Ralph (N Norfolk) Shepherd, Sir Colin (Heref'd)
Hughes, Robert G (Harrow W) Sims, Sir Roger
Hunt, Rt Hon David (Wirral W) Skeet, Sir Trevor
Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)
Jack, Rt Hon Michael Smith, Tim (Beaconsf'ld)
Jenkin, Bernard (Colchester N) Speed, Sir Keith
Jessel, Toby Spencer, Sir Derek
Kirkhope, Timothy Spicer, Sir Michael (S Worcs)
Knight, Rt Hon Greg (Derby N) Spink, Dr Robert
Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston) Sproat, Iain
Knox, Sir David Squire, Robin (Hornchurch)
Kynoch, George Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Lait, Mrs Jacqui Stephen, Michael
Lawrence, Sir Ivan Stern, Michael
Legg, Barry Streeter, Gary
Lennox-Boyd, Sir Mark Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Lester, Sir Jim (Broxtowe) Taylor, Sir Teddy
Lidington, David Temple-Morris, Peter
Lilley, Rt Hon Peter Thomason, Roy
Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham) Thompson, Sir Donald (Calder V)
Luff, Peter Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
MacGregor, Rt Hon John Townsend, Sir Cyril (Bexl'yh'th)
MacKay, Andrew Tracey, Richard
Maclean, Rt Hon David Tredinnick, David
McLoughlin, Patrick Twinn, Dr Ian
Maitland, Lady Olga Viggers, Peter
Malone, Gerald Walden, George
Marshall, John (Hendon S) Walker, Bill (N Tayside)
Marshall, Sir Michael (Arundel) Waller, Gary
Martin, David (Portsmouth S) Waterson, Nigel
Merchant, Piers Wells, Bowen
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling) Whittingdale, John
Mitchell, Sir David (NW Hants) Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Moate, Sir Roger Wilkinson, John
Molyneaux, Rt Hon Sir James Willetts, David
Montgomery, Sir Fergus Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Needham, Rt Hon Richard Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesf'ld)
Newton, Rt Hon Tony Wood, Timothy
Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Norris, Steve Tellers for the Noes:
Oppenheim, Phillip Mr. Roger Knapman and Mr. Sebastian Coe.
Ottaway, Richard

Question accordingly negatived.

Order for Third Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Bill be now read the Third time.—[Mr. Sproat.]

7.38 pm
Mr. Tony Banks (Newham, North-West)

In accordance with my hon. Friends on the Front Bench, I welcome the Bill as amended—or not as the case may be—but I want to say something about the trustees of the national heritage memorial fund, the way in which they are appointed and the powers that they will have under the Bill.

The Bill extends the trustees' areas of responsibility and gives them the ability to spend that much more money from the national heritage memorial fund, which amounts to about £280 million a year. I understand that they are not particularly good spenders. Indeed, they are among the slowest spenders. I think that the Secretary of State ought to look at the way in which the trustees' internal systems work.

I find the sort of people who are trustees annoying. Who are they? Where have they suddenly come from? They have effectively become the arbiters of taste; they will decide what particular moneys will be spent on what particular schemes. They all share the same value system. I do not see anyone from Forest Gate or the east end in this little lot, yet in large measure the money that has been raised from the national lottery, which goes into the national heritage memorial fund, comes from communities such as the one that I represent. Where is our input into the decision making?

The list of trustees includes Lord Rothschild, for example. I notice that there are at least four old Etonians among the trustees. Indeed, Eric Anderson is a former headmaster of Eton. I of course understand that my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central (Mr. Fisher) might have some affinity with such individuals, but he knows that I love him dearly. Most of the trustees, if not all, came from public schools or were educated at one. What do they know about life in Forest Gate among ordinary working-class communities? Those people will be spending vast sums of money that are raised by the communities to which I have referred.

Does Lord Rothschild ever do the national lottery? He is as rich as Croesus, so I doubt very much that he does. In fact, someone said that Lord Rothschild could lose a winning lottery ticket and not even be upset. Sir Richard Carew Pole, another trustee, is a 13th baronet. We have lots of those in Newham; we are always falling over baronets as we go around the place. I notice in "Who's Who" that Sir Richard is described as a farmer and a daydreamer. I hope that he does not daydream when he is out on a tractor—of course, he would not be out on a tractor, because he is a gentleman farmer and would let someone else to do the dirty work.

Why should such people be making the decisions? Where is our input? They are all appointed by the Secretary of State. You can bet your life that a list of the great and good has been pushed forward and the Secretary of State has said, "Oh yes, I went to school with this one. Oh, he's a good chap." That is the way in which the system works. I find it obnoxious and unacceptable that the great and the good will decide exactly how our money will be spent. I want to know, for example, whether the Secretary of State or the Minister has considered getting some good working-class stock on the list. I am available—I did not go to public school.

The trustees' powers are being extended, so they will undoubtedly be looking round at the sort of things that their friends are interested in funding. That is what it amounts to; that is what will happen. They will decide what is to be considered national heritage. After all, the same people decided to give £13 million, or was it £14 million, of lottery money—when one is the hon. Member for Davyhulme (Mr. Churchill) and gets so much money, it does not really matter whether the amount is an extra £1 million or £2 million either way—to Churchill's scribbling, which I found thoroughly objectionable. They thought that, since it was the 50th anniversary of the end of the second world war, there would be great acclaim for such a decision; that people would take great pride in it; that the working-class would be throwing their sweaty caps up in the air and saying, "Wow, what a great thing to be doing!" Suddenly, of course, the roof fell in because people thought that the decision was distasteful and the wrong way in which to spend lottery money.

I participate in the lottery every week—in fact, twice a week now. I would very much like to win. As I have said, I would fax from Mustique or wherever I happened to be my application for the Chiltern Hundreds when I won. I would not even bother to turn up. I object to these middle class and upper middle class public school boys and girls spending money that we raise in areas such as the east end. I want to ensure that they consider schemes in areas where they do not normally go, know nothing about and, frankly, do not care anything about.

When my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central becomes the new Minister responsible for the arts, I hope that he will go through the lists of appointees and not show any affection for old Etonians merely because he is one of them. I hope that he will be cheerfully slitting throats. That is what we want in this place; we want a bit of red terror when the Labour Government come to power. I want Labour Ministers going through the lists of the great and the good, weeding out the Tories and all the friends of the Tories.

One of my hon. Friends raised the fact yesterday that so many Tories who are connected with companies that give £4 million to the Conservative party serve on quangos. That is corruption because it is patronage. I do not think that we should be prepared to allow it to happen with money that is effectively public money—money that has been raised in areas such as mine in the east end so that a bunch of middle-class tossers can decide how it should be spent.

I shall not oppose the Third Reading, but I hope that I have put on record my extreme distaste at the way in which people are selected by the Secretary of State and can decide how our money will be spent.

7.46 pm
Mr. Sproat)

I should like to correct a minor inaccuracy in the tirade of vilification of the hon. Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Banks). The trustees are appointed by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister. I say sincerely to the hon. Gentleman that, if he has any suitable names in mind for membership of any of the 50 quangos that we have to fill in the Department of National Heritage, I would be extremely interested to hear them. There is certainly no superfluity of excellent candidates, so if he can suggest anyone, whether from his constituency or elsewhere, I would genuinely like to hear about them.

Dr. Godman

Will the Minister assure me that the trustees play the game with applications from Northern Ireland and Scotland?

Mr. Sproat


Question put and agreed to.

Bill read the Third time, and passed, with amendments.

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