HL Deb 24 June 1975 vol 361 cc1302-23

3.58 p.m.

The LORD CHANCELLOR (Lord Elwyn-Jones)

My Lords, I have it in command from Her Majesty the Queen and the Prince of Wales that they, having been informed of the purport of the Welsh Development Agency (No. 2) Bill, have consented to place their prerogative and interests, so far as they are concerned on behalf of the Crown, the Duchy of Lancaster and the Duchy of Cornwall, at the disposal of Parliament for the purposes of the Bill. I beg to move that this Bill be now read a third time.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 3a. (The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question, Bill read 3a.

Clause 1 [The Welsh Development Agency]:

The LORD CHANCELLOR moved Amendment No. 1: Page 1, line 17, leave out ("improve") and insert (" further the improvement of ").

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, it may be convenient for your Lordships to discuss this Amendment with Amendment No. 2 with which this Amendment is linked. The effect of the Amendments is to substitute the words: to further the improvement of the environment … having regard to existing amenity as one of the purposes for which the Welsh Development Agency may exercise their functions, instead of the present purpose: to improve the environment in Wales", which was so notably unattractive to my noble friend Lady White. In her observations to the House my noble friend rightly directed our attention to one of the most important jobs of the Agency as proposed in the Bill.

These Amendments enable me to comment on the environmental provisions of the Bill, both in Clauses 1 and 13, observations which I had intended to make at Committee stage, but that opportunity did not, through unforeseeable events, arise. I hope that in doing this I shall be able to allay some of the fears of my noble friends. First, as to the environmental responsibilities the Government would like the Agency to have, some disquiet has been expressed about the position of other bodies concerned with the environment, and there was discussion about the relationship between the Agency, local authorities and other bodies. I was asked to explain in more detail what obligations were laid on the Agency to consult with local authorities and other such bodies.

Perhaps I might begin by saying a little about Clause 13. That has given rise to some concern and there have been attempts to redraft it, but I wish to make it clear that the powers in the clause have been drafted in a way which would allow the Agency to work usefully in older urban areas in Wales, with particular emphasis on areas of industrial or commercial significance. This is in line with the Government's stated intention in the consultation paper. But to attempt to limit this clause to those older urban or industrial areas alone would be restrictive. We believe it would be a pity to restrict the Agency in that way, or to confine their role so that it might be in danger of being ultra vices on some otherwise wholly acceptable scheme. So, in our view, it does not make sense to try to lay down hard and fast rules. The legislation is broadly framed, and deliberately so, in order that the Agency can amend its approach to what will best suit the circumstances.

The work which is imposed on the Agency in Clause 13 is a natural partner to the specific work concerned with derelict land reclamation, which is covered in Clause 14. Nobody in Wales would question the value of this work. It is important to recognise that by this Agency we are seeking to establish a body which will have available additional finance for the good of Wales. It is not a malevolent, uncontrollable Llyn Llanelly monster that we are inflicting upon Parliament or the public. There is no danger whatsoever of the Agency putting forward proposals which would not be acceptable to local authorities. I should like to make it clear beyond doubt that the Agency would be expected to bring forward schemes for approval in full consultation and harmony with local authorities. What we are seeking is partnership in the fullest sense.

The Agency will have to obtain planning permission from the local planning authority, since they are not—and I repeat "not"—being placed in a privileged position. They will need to seek planning permission whenever that is required. We acknowledge that bodies other than local authorities, such as the Countryside Commission and the Civic Trust—although I hasten to add that that is not an exhaustive list, and that is one of the problems involved in spelling out these other agencies in the Bill—will have an interest. This is why an obligation is laid on the Agency to consult them, and I canot believe that the Agency will fail to do so.

I hope that what I have said will reassure noble Lords that there is no question of the existing duties, powers or functions of any of the existing bodies concerned with environmental matters being affected in any way by the creation of the Agency. For the avoidance of doubt, I want to take this opportunity again to reaffirm the assurances already given that in the environmental field, as indeed in every other—for example, industrial development and promotion—the creation of the Agency will not erode the powers or responsibilities of local authorities or other bodies.

I should now like to look at the Amendment. We have sought to make it explicit throughout that there is no intention of establishing the Agency in order to detract from the role of local authorities as statutory planning authorities, as I have said. This is why we would not think it appropriate to give the Agency powers to safeguard the environment, which is a proposition that seemed attractive to my noble friend. Rather, we see the Agency's powers as being used to develop and improve the environment where there is evident scope and need for doing so. This explains the responsibilities which will be imposed on them in respect of derelict land reclamation and the re-invigoration of urban areas. At the same time, the Agency will be expected to play their part, and indeed to give a lead, by having full regard to environmental considerations in all the work they carry out or sponsor, particularly regarding industrial development.

My noble friend drew our attention at the Committee stage to the wording in the Scottish Bill—" furthering the improvement of the environment ". The implication of this is that the Agency is only one of the organisations concerned with the environment. We have looked at this again and I am glad to say that we are very content to adopt similar wording. But we have thought it right to add to this in order to meet the points which have been made. In these matters it is not easy to find a form of words which will satisfy everyone. That is a common human experience, reminding one of, for instance, the occasion when Oscar Wilde said of the Niagara Falls that they would be much more impressive if the water flowed the other way. One cannot possibly please everyone, but I hope that the phrase, "having regard to existing amenity ", and indeed the Amendment as a whole, will be acceptable to your Lordships I beg to move.

Baroness WHITE

My Lords, I should like to express my gratitude to my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor for having moved his Amendment and taking with it Amendment No. 2. I think this fairly meets the apprehensions which I expressed earlier in our deliberations. I am particularly glad that he has been good enough to spell out in some detail the attitude of the Government both to local authorities and to the other bodies—statutory ones such as the Countryside Commission, and voluntary ones such as the Civic Trust, the Council for the Protection of Rural Wales, of which I have the honour to be president, and other bodies concerned with environmental matters in the Principality. One of the difficulties was that in such consultations as took place before the Bill was promulgated this environmental aspect was, perhaps understandably, rather left on one side while people concentrated on the industrial functions of the Agency, which of course are paramount. So I am very happy that the position has now been made quite clear.

I freely admit that the various Amendments which I have suggested at different times during our previous deliberations were not entirely satisfactory, for the reasons indicated by my noble and learned friend. This Amendment to line 17 indicates a more cautious and modest approach to the Welsh environment than was contained in the earlier, rather arrogant, version. That being so, I think it would be right to accept it gratefully and to acknowledge that there may well be circumstances in which the Agency can be extremely helpful. I make no apology for having laboured this matter, because, at least in the rural areas of Wales, we not infrequently come across cases where industrial and environmental interests conflict.

It is extremely important that the Agency should be conscious that they have responsibilities in both directions. Sometimes these conflicting interests are very hard indeed to reconcile, particularly in areas of high unemployment such as North and West Wales, where there is a very natural inclination to go all out for jobs at almost any price. In the long term that is not necessarily in the interests of the area itself. Therefore, I hope very much that in all its activities the Welsh Development Agency will try to keep a fair and sensitive balance between these conflicting interests—more especially, as I say, in our most beautiful, landscaped areas of Wales.

There has never been any issue at all between us on derelict land. I think we are all proud of the work which has been done by the development land unit at the Welsh Office, and if it does as well under the aegis of the Welsh Development Agency then I am sure we shall all be very glad indeed. I welcome very much the care and attention which has been given by my noble and learned friend and his colleagues to this matter, and I wish to thank him.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


My Lords, as I indicated, Amendment No. 2 is linked with, and is to some extent consequential on, Amendment No. 1. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 1, line 17, at end insert (" (having regard to existing amenity).").—(The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question. Amendment agreed to.

4.12 p.m.

Lord ABERDARE moved Amendment No. 3:

Page 2, line 6, leave out paragraph (d) and insert— (" (d) to promote, or help to promote, good industrial relations in, and appropriate means of employee involvement in the affairs of, undertakings with which the Agency are associated;").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I am sorry that the House has to revert again to this Amendment. It is in the same terms as an Amendment which was tabled to the Scottish Bill and which is now incorporated in that Bill as a result of a decision by this House. Therefore, I had hoped that at the Report stage the Government would have felt able to bow their heads, though reluctantly, and to accept an Amendment which, although they did not agree with it, the House had expressed an opinion on and had accepted in the case of the Scottish Bill, especially because as it stands the Bill does not really make sense. This subsection now refers to undertakings which the Agency "control", but by other Amendments which we made at the Committee stage we ensured that the Agency did not control any undertakings. So that in the interests of the Bill's making sense and of bringing it into line with what we already have in the Scottish Bill, I urge your Lordships to accept this Amendment.

This Amendment seeks to replace the words "industrial democracy" with words which seem to us to give a more precise meaning of what we think should be the function of the Agency. When the matter was first considered in the House on the Scottish Bill on 10th June, many of your Lordships in all parts of the House expressed dislike of the term "industrial democracy" for various reasons. The noble Lord, Lord Taylor of Gryfe, went so far as to say that it could be dangerous to use such a term, when to many trade unionists it involves a degree of workers' control.

As a result of that debate the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, who objected to this Amendment on that occasion, went on to say: I would prefer what is in the Bill as it stands, but if the noble Lords could get together and draw up something which fits tidily into the Bill as it stands, I will not oppose it at the next stage."—[Official Report, 10/6/1975, col. 176.] We did get together, we produced the present Amendment at the Report stage, the noble Lord, Lord Hughes opposed it, but after a short debate—in which, again, the vagueness and lack of definition of the words "industrial democracy" was heavily criticised—the matter went to a Division and it was carried by 90 votes to 49. I now ask the House to include the same Amendment in the Welsh Bill, so that the two Bills may go forward to another place in harmony at least on this one point, and making sense.

The reason for the Amendment was fully argued in the previous debates and have not very much to add. I would say only that the term "industrial democracy" is hopelessly ill-defined and can mean anything to anybody. To some it means workers' control; to some it means postal ballots within unions for union elections; for others, as The Times pointed out yesterday, it includes employee participation in the affairs of local councils, and yet others would water it down to the bare minimum of consultation. It is a concept that is hardly appropriate to a legal document and, in my view, it would have been much better left out altogether and confined to a code of practice. However, it is in the Bill and, if we are to include something of this sort in it, then let us be clear what we mean. The Amendment is at least a reasonable attempt to do this. It may not be the last word; it can be debated in another place, it can be altered if necessary. But I commend it to your Lordships as preferable to the words at present in the Bill. I beg to move.


My Lords, this has been discussed earlier, but I should like to say one word in support of the views then put forward by the noble Lord, Lord Taylor of Gryfe, and reiterated today by the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare. Even if these words do not finally remain in the Bill after it has been considered in another place, I submit that the present wording containing the words "industrial democracy" are shorn of almost any precise meaning and should not form part of any legislative Act by this Parliament. Perhaps in considering this in another place, at least, the limerick might be kept in mind about the young girl of Boulogne, Who sang a most topical song; It wasn't the words that frightened the birds, But the horrible double entendre."


My Lords, I regret that I cannot cap the utterance of limericks without the potential risk of embarrassment to noble Baronesses in the House. However, I regret that I cannot accept the blandishments of the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, moderately as he has put the case for the words proposed in the Amendment, the effect of which would be to remove the Agency's function of promoting industrial democracy in undertakings which they control and replacing this with the form of words shown in the Amendment. We had a full discussion in the House on this subject during the Report stage of the Scottish Development Agency (No. 2) Bill, and there was a parallel Amendment to the Bill on the same day which, for convenience only, was withdrawn by the noble Lord, although the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, gave notice that he would return to the matter—as he has done—on Third Reading.

I have already indicated the reasons why the Government are not able to accept this Amendment. They take the view that the phrase "industrial democracy ", admittedly broad, provides for the kind of flexibility that will be needed in the various undertakings for which this Agency will be responsible, and that it describes more effectively than what is proposed in the Amendment the kind of participation by the representatives of the whole work force in decision-making in industry which is contemplated. It indicates that it means the involvement of all those within industry and responsibility for those whose lives and work are invested, as well as for those whose money is invested. But I am afraid that at this late hour on this warm afternoon it is unlikely that the process of conversion will go very far. We shall try, and I regret that we shall have to invite the House to divide upon this matter.


My Lords, if I may be allowed to say a word here, I see some problems in allowing this to go forward as it is. I quite understand that the purpose of the Amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, is different from that of the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor. The noble and learned Lord wants to go much wider than the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare. But the fact is that the House will send two Bills to another place, one relating to Scotland and the other to Wales. As I understand it, there are two subsections which are not in line one with another, because one will contain what the noble and learned Lords wants, and the other will contain what the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, wants. In other words, another place—if they take any notice of what we are doing here—will be in some confusion. We have a very good reputation, so we ought perhaps to resolve this difficulty, and choose one thing or the other.

Of the two, I think I would agree with the noble and learned Lord. Most of us know by now what is meant by the words "industrial democracy ", whether or not we agree with them. They are words in common usage. Even in an Act of Parliament one should not always reject modern usage. One should occasionally come up to scratch and use modern terms, so I do not object to that. However, I do object to going forward with two Bills on the same hot afternoon, which are quite different, and sending them to another place. I do not know the answer, but no doubt it can be ironed out in another place if we pass them this afternoon.


My Lords, I find myself frequently in agreement on matters concerning Wales with the noble Lords, Lord Aberdare and Lord Ogmore. On this occasion, however, I find it a little difficult to understand exactly why this proposal is made. If it is made so that we in Wales should fall neatly behind what is done in Scotland, that is one point of view. I have never myself felt that in any particular field, even including the Rugby field, that we in Wales should necessarily follow behind Scotland. There are many occasions when we may go a little in advance of Scotland.

I should have thought that the term "industrial democracy" was a very good and appropriate one, and one to which we ought to stick. We have always believed in democracy in Wales. I think Scotland has only intermittently believed in it! I should think that the term "industrial democracy" was completely clear, and was a term which would appeal to anyone who was grounded in Wales. I am a little surprised that the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, does not feel that. Indeed, I am very surprised that the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, does not feel that, I should have thought we would accept this.


My Lords, perhaps I did not make myself very clear. I did in fact support the Amendment of the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor, rather than the other.


My Lords, I do not think we shall ever convert each other on this matter. It would be better to take the advice of the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor and come to a decision. But before we do. I have two comments to make, first of all upon what the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, said. I would remind him again that on the occasion when this Amendment was moved in the Scottish Bill it was supported by the Liberals, so presumably the Liberal Party are divided on this issue. They supported us in the Lobbies on the occasion of the Scottish Bill.

The second point I wish to make arises from what was said by the noble Lord, Lord Wynne-Jones. We are not following Scotland in this matter. In the case of the Scottish Bill, the House took the view that it was better to try to find some form of words to express more accurately what was meant by the term, "industrial democracy ". Whereas I agree with the noble Lord that "democracy" is readily understandable, I do not agree with him that any two people necessarily agree on what "industrial democracy" means, and I tried to explain that in moving the Amendment. It would look odd if the House took one view on one Bill and now sought on another Bill altogether to take another view. We had better decide this matter on a Division.

On Question, Whether the said Amendment (No. 3) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 86; Not-Contents, 68.

Aberdare, L. Cottesloe, L. Emmet of Amberley, B.
Amory, V. Cowley, E. Erskine of Rerrick, L.
Ashbourne, L. Craigavon, V. Falkland, V.
Auckland, L. Crathorne, L. Forester, L.
Balfour of Inchrye, L. Crawshaw, L. Gainford, L.
Berkeley, B. Daventry, V. Greenway, L.
Buccleuch and Queensberry, D. de Clifford, L. Grenfell, L.
Caccia, L. Denham, L. [Teller.] Gridley, L.
Campbell of Croy, L. Derwent, L. Grimston of Westbury, L.
Carrington, L. Drumalbyn, L. Halsbury, E.
Cathcart, E. Ebbisham, L. Hanworth, V.
Clifford of Chudleigh, L. Eccles, V. Hawke, L.
Colyton, L. Elliot of Harwood, B. Home of the Hirsel, L.
Cork and Orrery, E. Elton, L. Hood, V.
Hornsby-Smith, B. Mowbray and Stourton, L. [Teller.] Somers, L.
Howe, E. Stamp, L.
Kindersley, L. Nugent of Guildford, L. Strang, L.
Lauderdale, E. Onslow, E. Strange, L.
Long, V. Porritt, L. Strathcarron, L.
Loudoun, C. Rankeillour, L. Strathcona and Mount Royal, L.
Lovat, L. Redesdale, L.
Lucas of Chilworth, L. Roberthall, L. Strathspey, L.
Lyell, L. Ruthven of Freeland, Ly. Terrington, L.
Macleod of Borve, B. Sackville, L. Tranmire, L.
Macpherson of Drumochter, L. St. Aldwyn, E. Tweedsmuir, L.
Mancroft, L. St. Helens, L. Vivian, L.
Mansfield, E. St. Just, L. Wakefield of Kendal, L.
Merrivale, L. Sandys, L. Ward of North Tyneside, B.
Morris of Borth-y-Gest, L. Sempill, Ly. Wolverton, L.
Airedale, L. George-Brown, L. Pitt of Hampstead, L.
Amherst, E. Gordon-Walker, L. Platt, L.
Ardwick, L. Hale, L. Rhodes, L.
Arwyn, L. Harris of Greenwich, L. Richie-Calder, L.
Aylestone L. Henderson, L. Rusholme, L.
Banks, L. Hughes, L. Sainsbury, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L. Jacques, L. Samuel, V.
Blyton, L. Kimberley, E. Seear, B.
Brockway, L. Lee of Newton, L. Segal, L.
Bruce of Donington, L. Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, B. Shepherd, L. (L. Privy Seal)
Buckinghamshire, E. Lloyd of Hampstead, L. Stedman, B.
Burntwood, L. Lloyd of Kilgerran, L. Stewart of Alvechurch, B.
Byers, L. Longford, E. Strabolgi, L.
Castle, L. Lovell-Davis, L. [Teller.] Summerskill, B.
Champion, L. Lyons of Brighton, L. Wade, L.
Chorley, L. Melchett, L. Wallace of Coslany, L.
Clancarty, E. Morris of Grasmere, L. Wells-Pestell, L. [Teller.]
Collison, L. Noel-Buxton, L. White, B.
Darcy (de Knayth), B. Ogmore, L. Wigg, L.
Douglas of Barloch, L. Paget of Northampton, L. Wigoder, L.
Elwyn-Jones, L. Pennell, L. Willis, L.
(L. Chancellor.) Peddie, L. Winterbottom, L.
Foot, L. Phillips, B. Wynne-Jones, L.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Resolved in the affirmative, and Amendment agreed to accordingly.

Clause 5 [Power to form committees.]

4.33 p.m.


My Lords, we have looked again at the drafting of the subsection in the light of the comments expressed by the noble Baroness, Lady White, and the helpful intervention of the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare. I am sure that the Secretary of State and the Chairman would in all cases want to consult and exchange views on the appointment of members of the Agency to Committees. However, in order to meet the points made we have brought forward this Amendment, which limits the requirement of the Secretary of State's approval to persons who are not members of the Agency. I hope, therefore, that this Amendment will commend itself to your Lordships. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 4, line 42, leave out from (" Agency ") to end of line 43 and insert (" and may be either members of the Agency or, with the approval of the Secretary of State, persons who are not members.").—(Lord Lovell-Davis.)

Baroness WHITE

My Lords, I am glad once more that my noble friends have paid some attention to expressions of opinion in your Lordships' House. There are a good many manifestations of "Nanny knows best" in this Bill, but at least this Amendment removes the most obnoxious of them, and I welcome it.


My Lords, I should like to say thank you to the noble Lord, who acknowledged that I made a suggestion. I am very grateful.

Clause 10 [Selective financial assistance.]

Lord ELTON moved Amendment No. 5:

Page 6, line 28, at end insert— (" ( ) Any direction given under this section shall be reported immediately to the House of Commons in terms agreed with the directors of the company seeking assistance.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I have tabled this Amendment, honouring my undertaking so to do at the last stage of this Bill. The arguments in favour of it have been adduced two or three times now, and I will not weary your Lordships with a recapitulation of them. I would remind your Lordships that Amendment No. 5 was greeted with some favour on all sides of your Lordships' House, and I detected a certain atmosphere of incipient semi-approval on the Benches opposite and from the Woolsack. The noble and learned Lord said that it might not be possible to pronounce upon this matter yet but that we should seek an opportunity for him to do so, if possible, now. I understand that if he is not able to do so it is because we are awaiting a judgment, as it were, on the larger Bill which is travelling on adjacent rails in the opposite direction from the other place. Many analogies about menus in restaurant cars on railways spring to mind. It is a confusing and not altogether satisfactory situation, but I think your Lordships will agree that we should bear with it and listen with interest to what the noble and learned Lord has to say. I beg to move.


My Lords, I indicated at both Committee and Report stages that the Government were giving sympathetic consideration to methods and timing of publication of directions and to the degree of detail. I also said that it might not prove possible to make a conclusive statement at the time of Third Reading, and, as the noble Lord has indicated, the reason is that we have to take account of comparable arrangements in respect of both the Scottish Agency and the National Enterprise Board. I regret that I cannot be more definite at this stage, but, as noble Lords on all sides of the House will recognise, this is an important issue and it may well take a little time to resolve it fully.

The basic task is to strike the right balance between the demands of commercial confidence and the proper demands of public accountability. Clearly, for example, it is not always desirable on commercial grounds to give immediate publicity to all the details of financial assistance which may have to be given. I concede that the situation which I am indicating is not wholly satisfactory, but I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Elton, will recognise how far we are showing willing on this. On the understanding that further consideration will undoubtedly be given in another place to the matter, I hope that, however reluctantly, he will agree to withdraw his Amendment.


My Lords, as I indicated at the outset, we do not want to embarrass or harass Her Majesty's Government on this matter. I do not want to fall into the opposite pitfall of appearing out of solicitude to allow the impression that we do not feel strongly on this point. We do feel strongly, but we recognise the procedural difficulties which beset the noble and learned Lord and his Party. The most that I can do at this stage, therefore, is to ask that he should transmit to his colleagues in another place who are considering the other and bigger Bill that there is an intensity of feeling which would be consonant with a longer and more impassioned speech than I intend to deliver this afternoon. Having registered the dissatisfaction which we feel with the situation in which we all are, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord ELTON moved Amendment No. 6:

Page 7, line 6, at end insert— (" (14) The giving of any direction under this section by the Secretary of State shall not affect his obligation under section 7 of the Industry Act 1972 to secure the consent of a company before acquiring shares or stock therein.")

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I could say almost exactly the same about this Amendment also. I assume that the noble and learned Lord is in the same position on this Amendment as on the last. He is as aware of the feelings there are on these and on other Benches on this matter. May I, therefore, in moving this Amendment, ask him to reveal to your Lordships what progress, if any, has been made in the last few days on this matter? I beg to move.


My Lords, on the last round I said that at the Report stage we might not be in a position to indicate today the way in which the Government propose to deal with this matter, and I am afraid that that forecast has proved accurate. I want to assure the noble Lord and the House that we have in no way gone back on the fact that we agree in principle with this Amendment. I therefore invite the noble Lord not to press his Amendment, bearing in mind the assurances that I have given previously and again today. Perhaps I may put the matter in this way: I invite him to do so on the clear understanding that when the Bill comes before the House again it will have been appropriately amended in another place. I have perhaps put the matter no more specifically than last time, but a similar intention applies to the previous Amendment as well.


My Lords, I am grateful to the noble and learned Lord for giving that undertaking and for giving it so clearly. Upon those grounds, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 20 [Powers of entry]:

4.41 p.m.

Lord LOVELL-DAVIS moved Amendment No. 7:

Page 12, leave out lines 12 to 18 and insert— (" (6A) It shall be the duty of a person exercising powers conferred by this section—

  1. (a) to take reasonable care to avoid injury to plant, machinery, equipment, livestock, crops or enclosures, and
  2. (b) on leaving any land, to secure it as effectively against unauthorised entry as he found it.

(6B) Any reference to land in the foregoing provisions of this section includes a reference to buildings or other structures on land.")

The noble Lord said: My Lords, we have looked again at subsection (6) in the light of the Amendments tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Elton, at Report stage. The noble Lord will recall that the Government accepted an Amendment which he had tabled to add at the end of subsection (6) the words: and while entering upon, surveying or leaving agricultural land or premises shall take reasonable care to avoid causing unnecessary harm or disturbance to livestock, crops or enclosures ". Furthermore, we accepted in principle another Amendment to insert the words "land or" before the first reference to "premises" in the subsection, but pointed out that a further two Amendments would be required to get the wording right. The Government undertook to table those Amendments. I should explain that Lord Elton's arguments caused us to look again at the subsection as a whole. We decided that there were further changes which ought to be made and this explains why we have not brought this Amendment forward in quite the form which might have been expected. I very much hope, however, that the noble Lord will agree that we have not only met his points but gone well beyond them.

I will now explain what we have done, and why. First, the opening words of the subsection: A person entering upon any land by virtue of this section may take with him such other persons as may be necessary ", are unchanged. Second, in order to meet the noble Lord's point that the provision should refer explicitly to land and to premises we have, in (6B) stated clearly that: Any reference to land in the foregoing provisions of this section includes a reference to buildings or other structures on land". Third, we have decided that it would be right to extend the range of items which reasonable care should be taken to avoid unnecessary harm or disturbance to. Thus we have added "plant, machinery and equipment" to "livestock, crops or enclosures ". Incidentally by not making specific reference to the words "agricultural land" we have extended substantially the land to which the subsection applies—industrial and commercial land for example. Fourth, we have used the term "injury" instead of "harm and disturbance ". I am assured by my legal advisers that it is a more accurate legal term to cover both harm and disturbance. Fifth, we realised that we ought to avoid the distinction between occupied and unoccupied premises. The previous draft imposed an obligation to leave premises secured against unauthorised entry only when they were unoccupied or when the occupier was temporarily absent. The fact that, for example, a farm is occupied should not exonerate those authorised to enter from shutting the gates. This we have sought to put right. I very much hope that what I have said will be found to be both helpful and acceptable to the House. I beg to move.


My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord for the work he has done in improving this subsection more effectively than my own Amendment would have done. We are grateful for this and acknowledge it. Very quickly, in passing, I should like an assurance on the numbering of the clause. I think that if the numbering is not correct it can be altered without Parliamentary procedure. We have two lines of the original subsection (6) standing, and it is not clear to me whether (6A) is a new subsection to be inserted after (6), or whether (6A) stands as a subsection of (6). I do not want to use up the time of your Lordships' House over this small matter if it can be put right outside the Chamber. On the other hand, if this is the last opportunity to avoid a damaging misprint I should like to draw it to your Lordships' attention. Certainly the intention of this Amendment is one which is welcome to us.


My Lords, I shall certainly look into this and ensure that it is made absolutely clear. As I understand, it is (6), (6A) and (6B), but I will make absolutely sure that this is stated in such a way that there can be no question of doubt as to its meaning.

Lord ELTON had given Notice of his intention to move Amendments No. 8, 9, and 10:

Page 12, line 12, after ("any") insert (" land or ")

Page 12, line 13, after (" unoccupied ") insert (" land or ")

Page 12, line 13, after (" or ") insert (" land or ")

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this ground has been covered and met by the previous Amendment, therefore I beg leave not to move Amendments Nos. 3, 9 and 10.


My Lords, I beg to move that the Privilege Amendment be agreed to.

Moved, That the Privilege Amendment be agreed to.—(The Lord Chancellor.)

4.47 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill do now pass. There are one or two matters agreed to.

On Question, Privilege Amendment

which have arisen during the progress of the Bill through this House about which my noble friend Lord Lovell-Davis and I undertook to make the position of the Government clear before the Bill left the House. At the Committee stage, on the Question that Clause 1 stand part, my noble friend Lord Lovell-Davis gave an undertaking to the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, that there would be a statement at Third Reading about the relationship between the Development Agencies and the National Enterprise Board. My noble friend Lord Hughes has today made a long and detailed statement about this matter in relation to the Scottish Agency and the National Enterprise Board, and I do not think in the circumstances that I need say more at this stage than that of course we will seek to follow the same broad principles in Wales. I hope that publicity that may be given in Wales to this statement of the broad principles will allay some of the fears, and, I think, misapprehensions, that have arisen with regard to this matter.

During the Committee stage the noble Lord, Lord Elton, raised the matter of exempting certain tenants from the certificate procedures referred to in Clause 9, which is a highly technical matter. Complicated matters of both substance and drafting are involved in any proposal to exempt certain tenants from the certificate procedure. Any changes proposed would need to be considered in relation to other comparable legislation. Nevertheless, we have agreed to review the clause, and I can give an assurance to the noble Lord that consideration will follow in another place. I hope that he will be content not to pursue that high technicality at this stage.

During the Report stage of the Bill last week, my noble friend Lady White moved an Amendment which would have had the effect of adding "local government to the areas of experience which should be taken into account by the Secretary of State in making his appointments to the Welsh Industrial Development Advisory Board. As your Lordships will know, I resisted the Amendment at that stage but promised to look at the proposal in more detail to consider its implications. This I have done, and it is with some regret that I have to say that I must continue to resist the suggestion that was made.

While the Government accept that the work of the Board has an impact on local government affairs, I emphasise that its work is the highly specialised work of financial appraisal. Experience has shown that people with the specified qualifications are the most valuable to the efficient working of the Board. My noble friend in making her plea said that local authorities in Wales realise that they have no absolute claim for a place on the Advisory Board, but that they wish that their membership should at least be considered when appointments are being made. I therefore take this opportunity to give the assurance that as the list of qualifications in subsection (3) is not exclusive, the Secretary of State can consider and appoint to the Board people from backgrounds other than those listed where of course he considers that their experience is relevant to its highly specialised working.

The noble Lord, Lord Elton, sought some clarification of how the Secretary of State stands vis-à-vis other Ministers of nationalised industries in relation to the transfer of publicly-owned property. He also commented that the consent of the Secretary of State to the transfer of such property to the Agency is not subject to Parliamentary supervision. There is no question whatever of the Secretary of State having a right to disregard the responsibilities of other Ministers concerned with any of the other nationalised industries, however big or small. All transfers of publicly-owned property will be subject to administrative arrangements between the Secretaries of State concerned and there will be the fullest consultations between them. It is the Government's view that the appropriate means of Parliamentary control over the public investment in any property transferred should be through the Select Committee on the Nationalised Industries and, where appropriate, the Public Accounts Committee. There is no reason why the Agency, when carrying out this function of managing publicly-owned property, should be in any way different from any of the nationalised industries. We are considering whether there should be an Amendment requiring Parliament to be informed of transfers of publicly-owned property; as a consequence of Parliament being informed, the Secretary of State would, of course, be subject to normal Parliamentary account- ability for his action and there could be a debate if it was seen to he a matter of importance.

I apologise for speaking at length at this stage, but before concluding I wish to express the gratitude of my right honourable and honourable friends for the help that has been given in the hastening of this valuable Bill for Wales through the House. In particular, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, and the noble Lord, Lord Elton, and also the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, from the Liberal Benches. I thank them for the valuable assistance that they, along with my noble friend Lady White, have given in the careful examination of this Bill. Clearly some of the Amendments that were passed were contrary to the views of the Government on them, and it may well be—I think I am putting it moderately if I put it in that way—that the Bill will return to the House from another place with what we regard as those errors suitably corrected. Having said that, I hope not too ungenerously, I readily recognise that a number of other Amendments have been agreed to on the initiative of noble Lords from each side of the Committee and we are grateful that the common purpose between us of doing what we regard as the best for Wales and the Welsh people has been furthered by our deliberations.

Moved, That the Bill do now pass.—(The Lord Chancellor.)


My Lords, we are grateful to the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack for having given us various assurances and statements in response to questions we raised at earlier stages, and we will read carefully in the Official Report the more detailed statements that were made by the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, at the end of our deliberations on the Scottish Development Agency Bill. I accept that we have had one or two major differences of policy, arising mainly out of the shadows or foreshadows of the Industry Bill; but I agree with the noble and learned Lord that we have made some valuable Amendments to the Bill, and I and my colleagues wish to express our gratitude to the noble and learned Lord and to the noble Lord, Lord Lovell-Davis, for the care and sympathy with which they have viewed many of our Amendments.

We have also seen the astonishing feat performed today by the Liberal Party of reinforcing their centrist views by voting against an Amendment on this occasion, on 24th June, when they supported it on 19th June. Both the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd of Kilgerran, and the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, whose views on Wales we usually respect, have now voted both ways, once on a Scottish Bill and once on the Welsh Bill, and I have found this an astonishing performance. Perhaps we could compare the Liberal Party to the mugwump, which sat on a fence for so long with its mug on one side and its wump on the other that the iron entered into its soul.


My Lords, that was said about the National Liberal Party, an associate of the Conservatives.


I am afraid that it has been inherited by the Liberal Party, my Lords. This was an astonishing achievement quite unique in my experience. However, I would not like to conclude on that note but on one of gratitude for the co-operation that has been shown in the course of the deliberations on this Bill.


My Lords, I wish to express gratitude on behalf of myself and noble Lords on the Liberal Benches to the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor, whose interest and sympathy for Wales are always very near his heart, and we would also thank the noble Lord, Lord Lovell-Davis, who I think has not appeared before in any Welsh debates. We are grateful to them and to the two noble Lords on the Conservative Benches who bore the heat and burden of the day, and I say that despite the remarks that were just made by the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare. The fact is, of course, that Liberals are always open to argument and conviction. They do not have closed minds nor closed mouths. Today, the Lord Chancellor persuaded us in the course of his argument that we had been wrong on the first occasion; that is why we altered our minds. I am sure that no noble Lord would want us to be so inflexible in mind that we could not react to a splendid entrée by the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack.

On Question, Bill passed, and sent to the Commons.