HL Deb 18 June 1981 vol 421 cc795-806

5.36 p.m.

The Earl of Gowrie

My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now resolve itself into Committee on this Bill.

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Comittee.—(The Earl of Gowrie.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[THE LORD SEGAL in the Chair.]

Clause 1 [Modification of Corporation's functions]:

Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede moved Amendment No. 1: Page 1, line 8, leave out from ("section") to end of line 10.

The noble Lord said: With Amendment No. 1 I should like also to speak to Amendment No. 2. This Bill is about the reconstruction of British Steel's finances, with which we are basically in agreement, as I indicated at Second Reading. However, the Government have tacked on to this Bill a bit of political ideology which we believe is irrelevant to the future of British Steel. Section 2 of the Iron and Steel Act 1975 imposes a general duty on the Corporation and subsection (2) of this clause removes that general duty.

During his speech on Second Reading in another place the Secretary of State said that the Bill has two main purposes: first, by removing the British Steel Corporation's duties to supply iron and steel products it removes any limitations which may exist to the privatisation of BSC's activities. This provision, the removal of the duty to supply iron and steel products, will also enable BSC to withdraw from activities on which a profit cannot be made if that should prove to be necessary. Later on he said: The British Steel Corporation's prime aim as set out in the plan is to become internationally competitive. It aims to regain its pre-strike domestic market of 54 per cent.". Those latter remarks of the Secretary of State seem to be in conflict with a removal of the duties of the corporation and of the purported rundown of its activities. It will indeed be difficult for the corporation to achieve its aim if some of its assets are to be disposed of.

By including the threat of privatisation in this Bill, the Government are adding yet again to the great instability felt in the steel industry by those who work in it and their families, because the industry, as your Lordships will know, has undergone a great deal of difficulty in recent times. One wonders whether it is really necessary to include this subsection in the Bill. One would have thought that it would be much more practical for the Government to do something about the problems which British Steel faces, such as, for example, about import penetration. That would have a far greater impact on the future of our steel industry than any change of ownership is likely to have.

Mr. MacGregor was appointed to revitalise the corporation. Everything he has done, although we do not necessarily agree with all of it, has been aimed at re-establishing the industrial virility of the corporation. These provisions will enable the Government piece by piece to dismantle the corporation and will leave an umbrella organisation with nothing under it. The provisions of Section 2 of the Iron and Steel Act 1975 are not inconsiderable in respect of the corporation's duties. Section 2(1)(a) refers to the corporation's duty, to promote the efficient and economical supply by the Corporation and the publicly-owned companies of iron and steel products". The duty referred to in paragraph (b) is, "to secure that neither the Corporation nor a publicly-owned company shall show undue preference to, or exercise unfair discrimination against, any such person, or any class of such persons, in the supply and price of iron and steel products". The duty imposed in paragraph (c) is "to take such steps as appear to the Corporation to be practicable and desirable for the promotion of the export of iron and steel products." Paragraph (d) says they are "to take such steps, in accordance with a general programme settled from time to time with the approval of the Secretary of State, as appear to the Corporation to be practicable and desirable for the promotion of research" and "the doing of work as is requisite to enable the results of research" to be turned to account. We believe that these obligations should remain in the 1975 Iron and Steel Act. I beg to move this amendment, which will have the effect of retaining those provisions.

Lord Rochester

I am afraid that we cannot support these amendments. We take an entirely contrary view to that of the noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby, in feeling that the extensive changes in the duties and powers of the corporation are calculated to make the corporation more competitive internationally, by enabling them to withdraw from activities on which a profit cannot be made, by removing the limits on the extent to which the corporation can place its assets in private hands or take part in joint ventures.

I suggest that BSC should never have been nationalised. It is true that it is not a monopoly, but it has received vast subsidies from the State and is a huge organisation. For my part I welcome the prospect of private firms now getting a look in. They have certainly had a rough time. I recall 18 months ago, when the ill-conceived steel strike was at its height, some private firms fighting very hard to survive. Some have since failed, to the great disadvantage of the nation. Now there seems to be a chance of more and fairer competition, and this can only be for the benefit of the community as a whole.

The Earl of Gowrie

I am glad that for the duration of this amendment there is a Conservative-Liberal pact, so to say. I congratulate the noble Lord on the ingenuity of his amendment. It cuts right across the primary policy of the Bill, which is—and again I apologise to your Lordships for using the word—about privatisation. One of us will come up with a better word one of these days—denationalisation—I do not know. The policy is also about removing the burden of the corporation from the taxpayer if there is no prospect of viability. There is, of course, no compulsion for the activities of the corporation to be made private in this way, and the Bill as it stands allows for a variety of possibilities, one of which is that the corporation might need to dispose of its iron and steel assets, whether or not to private sector interests. Therefore, the policy is to achieve the maximum flexibility.

The point could be reached that, in pursuing a programme of making private or in reducing activities to bring about a more viable steel industry, so many disposals had in fact been made that further disposals would be unreasonable and therefore ultra vires. I cannot speculate as to whether this precise point might be reached, or when, but it is clear that it could be notionally, and it is to guard against the possibility that the corporation would thus be frustrated in their efforts to go private in their activities, or to withdraw from activities where a profit is literally incapable of being made, that we have sought to remove the statutory duty in the corporation to supply iron and steel products. The amendment would insist that that duty remains. It would be incompatible with the policy for the Corporation or indeed the Bill as it stands, and I hope the Committee will resist it.

Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede

I did not expect for one minute that the amendment would be successful, because, as the noble Earl, Lord Gowrie, says, it strikes at the very heart of the Bill, and we, as noble Lords will know, do not agree with the ideology of privatisation. I was surprised that the noble Lord, Lord Rochester, said that he would never have nationalised the steel industry in the first place. I always felt that, despite any ideological arguments there might have been about the nationalisation of the steel industry in the 1960s, there was very good industrial logic for it to take place at that time, because the areas of operation of individual steel companies were far too small to make industrial sense. I do not think any noble Lord has maintained that if you had kept the steel industry in private hands it would have done any better than British Steel has done. That argument is not an argument which I have heard used. I do not intend to withdraw this amendment but on the other hand I do not intend to press it to a Division.

On Question, amendment negatived.

[Amendment No. 2 not moved.]

The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Segal)

The next amendment is Amendment No. 3. I must point out to the Committee that if Amendment No. 3 is agreed to, I cannot call Amendment No. 4.

5.50 p.m.

Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede moved Amendment No. 3: Page 1, line 15, leave out subsection (3).

The noble Lord said: I beg to move Amendment No. 3 and I shall speak at the same time to Amendment No. 4. Amendment No. 3 deletes subsection (3) which specifically relates to the powers for carrying out specific functions rather than there actually being carried out. This amendment to the 1975 Act will enable joint ventures to be carried out. It will obviously be difficult to determine in advance what responsibility and control each party contributing to a joint venture will bear. But inevitably, of course, such joint ventures in which there is heavy involvement by BSC are matters of major public interest and there will be a major public interest involved and one would want to know what are likely to be the terms of apportionment of control between the public and private sectors for such joint ventures.

We do not see that subsection (3), which the amendment proposes to delete, is in any way necessary for the operations which the Government carry out at present. Surely there is no question of the corporation abandoning the supply of iron and steel products. It seems to us that this is threatening the total liquidation of the corporation. The 1975 Act already gives the corporation adequate powers to do certain things with the approval of the Secretary of State. This subsection is a part of the dismantling process of the corporation and, in short, it gives the Secretary of State power to force the corporation to wind itself up—and that we are opposed to. I beg to move.

The Earl of Gowrie

As the noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby, has made very clear, his amendments would remove the proposed modifications to the corporation's powers contained in the Bill. Our view is that the modifications of the powers will be important in meeting the objectives of securing the transfer of the British Steel Corporation's owned businesses to the private sector. These new powers which must, of course, be considered in conjunction with the matters which we discussed on the previous amendment, with the removal of the duty to supply iron and steel products, will allow the corporation to form companies, to carry on iron and steel and non-iron and steel activities or to hold shares in companies carrying on those activities in conjunction with Clause 1(2). They will permit the corporation lawfully to carry on no activities themselves, but merely to promote other companies in which they hold shares to carry on such activities and also, as the noble Lord reminded us, will permit the corporation to reduce their own undertakings to minimal proportions.

We have considered it appropriate to retain the requirement on the corporation to seek the Secretary of State's consent or his general authority before they can form or take part in forming these companies. That obligation is contained in Section 3(3) of the 1975 Act and it is therefore proper to retain it. Without retaining it, it would be possible for the corporation to develop in ways which might not be in the best interests of the public as judged by the Secretary of State responsible to Parliament. But nothing in the Bill affects the rights of the corporation, without Ministerial consent, to hold shares in companies which vested in the corporation in 1967, and to acquire shares in a company consequent upon a rights issue. In all other cases the Secretary of State's consent or general authority is required.

Again—though less openly a wrecking amendment than the previous amendment—the noble Lord's amendment is incompatible with the policy behind and contained in the Bill and I hope, therefore, that the Committee will resist it.

Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede

I should like to thank the noble Earl for his response to this particular amendment. Once again I was not in any way surprised by anything that he said. Our view is that the present section of the 1975 Act should stand as it is, unamended. We feel that these specific amendments to the Act have been tabled for ideological reasons and we object to them. I do not intend to withdraw the amendment.

On Question, amendment negatived.

[Amendment No. 4 not moved.]

Clause 1 agreed to.

Clause 2 [Organisation of the Corporation's activities]:

The Earl of Gowrie moved Amendments Nos. 5 to 11:

Page 3, line 15, leave out from ("may") to end of line 18 and insert (", after consultation with the Corporation, by order, give to the Corporation directions—")

Page 3, line 19, leave out ("a direction to the Corporation")

Page 3, line 23, leave out ("a direction to the Corporation")

Page 3, line 28, leave out from ("company") to end of line 34 and insert ("and the Corporation shall give effect to any directions so given")

Page 3, line 38, leave out subsection (6).

Page 3, line 42, after ("dispose") insert ("or secure the disposal")

Page 4, leave out lines 23 to 27.

The noble Earl said: With the leave of the Committee, I beg to move Amendments Nos. 5 to 11 en bloc. These are all Government amendments which remove the power of the Secretary of State to give directions direct to a publicly-owned company to dispose of its property rights, liabilities and obligations. The passage in the Bill was designed to facilitate the imposition of restrictions in Section 4A(7)(b) which Clause 2(1) of the Bill inserts into the Iron and Steel Act 1975. Those restrictions enable the Secretary of State to maintain control of the nature and assets of the company which is formed as the result of his direction. But the basis of the relationship between Ministers and the chairman and board of BSC is that control of the corporation's subsidiaries should be in the hands of the corporation themselves. It would be inconsistent with this view for the Secretary of State to take powers to give a direction to the subsidiaries which was not, in fact, channelled through the corporation and that is an over-riding consideration. The amendments also have the advantage that they considerably shorten the Clause and I, therefore, commend them to the Committee. I beg to move.

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Lord Rochester moved Amendment No. 12: Page 5, line 4, leave out paragraph (a).

The noble Lord said: I beg to move Amendment No. 12. I should like to remind the Committee that one of the purposes of Clause 2 of the Bill is to remove the power of the Secretary of State to give directions as regards the way in which the corporation should organise itself. The clause removes, among other things, any obligation on the corporation to carry out a formal review of the way in which its activities are organised or to report the conclusions of that review to the Secretary of State. In consequence Section 5(2) of the 1975 Act is also removed—that is the subsection which obliges the corporation, in a review of its organisation, to consult with employee representatives.

I regret that this requirement has been removed and would suggest to the Committee that when an industry, such as the steel industry, is being reorganised and reduced in size to the extent that this one is, the maximum amount of understanding on the part of employees and of consultation on the part of the employer is needed. Sir Ray Pennock, President of the Confederation of British Industry, is constantly saying that employers should do more by way of seeking to enable their employees to participate more fully in influencing decisions that are taken that affect them. Surely the run-down of the steel industry—necessary as it is, in my view—affects the employees of the corporation very severely.

The corporation is not, of course, a private firm, but I suggest to the noble Earl that there is a certain additional onus on the Government to give a lead in the case of an organisation like this, a nationalised undertaking. It is not as though we are starting with a green field and suggesting to the Government that some clause should be inserted into the Bill making it a requirement that there should be consultation. It is the case that a requirement for consultation is being omitted from the Bill.

On Second Reading the noble Earl indicated that he had some sympathy—if I have not misread his remarks, for I was not able to be present myself—with this view. At any rate he said, if I may remind him, that he was keen on this issue of participation. But he also said that he felt that it would be inconsistent for the Government, when they are urging participation on firms of a voluntary kind, to leave a statutory requirement on the books in this instance. However, he did say that he would look at the point again, which was an indication of his sincere interest in the matter, and he also suggested that it was a point to which we might return at later stages in the Bill.

The easiest way of enabling the noble Earl to give us the benefit of the reconsideration that I am sure he has given to this matter seemed to us to be simply to table this amendment to leave out altogether Clause 2(3)(a). This would have the effect of reintroducing Section 5, subsections (I) and (2) of the Iron and Steel Act 1975; in other words, bringing back a situation where the corporation would have to review and, after consultation, report on organisation. I am not suggesting that this is necessarily the best means of achieving the end that we desire, but it is the principle with which we are concerned. As I say, I wanted to give the noble Earl an opportunity to state his current view on the matter, and I very much hope that he will find it possible to say something at least which will help us in this matter.

The Earl of Gowrie

The noble Lord, Lord Rochester, could go a little further and put even more forcefully the fact that I have sympathy with the position that he has taken. The Government are passionately keen on consultation and participation within industry between managers and employees. We believe that that is the only real way forward to improved industrial relations in this country. We also recognise that where the run-down or de-manning of a major industry is involved, the Government have their own duty to consult, to participate and to hold meetings. I am glad to be able to tell the Committee that my honourable friend the Minister of State for Industry met the TUC Steel Committee only last week for a general discussion of a very wide range of matters affecting the corporation's future, and that the meeting was friendly and constructive, and opened channels of communication for further such meetings.

We think that that kind of activity is essential and we believe that it is essential that there should be effective consultation between the corporation's management and its work force. I have an eloquent three or four-page speech about the necessities of participation, but I have made it so often here and outside that I shall not repeat it this evening. The only difference between us is two-fold. We are sceptical about the role of statute in these issues and generally, and we have a specific objection in this case in that consultation would be retained by statute in respect of a public corporation, and one particular public corporation, which did not exist for other public corporations and, indeed, for private corporations generally.

Therefore, if we were to accept the amendment which the noble Lord has put forward, even though we may agree very much with him and share his interests and concerns in this matter and try to pursue them ourselves, we believe that we would be putting the statute book into an anomalous muddle. We do not think that that would help either the statute book or the corporation. That, rather than the Second Reading spirit of the matter, so to speak, which the noble Lord has just outlined and which was outlined very forcefully again by his noble friend Lady Scear on Second Reading, and rather than any sentiments, is behind our request that the Committee resist the amendment.

Lord Rochester

I take this opportunity, incidentally, to apologise for the absence of my noble friend Lady Seear, who has had to go to Brussels. I am disappointed because in this matter on these Benches we have been consistent; that is, I recall in the Industry Bill before the last one that I tabled an amendment to a somewhat similar effect in relation to the National Enterprise Board and, on that occasion, was told that if something of this kind was inserted into that Bill, the National Enterprise Board would be an exception. Now I am told that it is the British Steel Corporation which will be the exception to the general rule. Of course, I realise that it is a statutory undertaking for which I am asking.

What I fear—and the noble Earl is in the best position to know this for himself—is that we shall be pressed by directives emanating from Europe to introduce into our statute laws relating to consultation which are considerably more demanding on managers, and likely to be much less popular than the very limited law that I have proposed. I am thinking of something like the Fifth Directive and another directive, of which the noble Earl will be aware, relating to trans-national and other organisations of a complex nature. I am disappointed but I am not going to press the matter to a Division at this stage in the proceedings. However, I think I should indicate that I would like to consult further with my noble friends and reserve my position for a later stage in the Bill. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

The Earl of Gowrie moved Amendment No. 13: Page 5, line 7, leave Out paragraph (b).

The noble Earl said: When speaking earlier to Amendments Nos. 5 to 11, I should have pointed out that I was also speaking to Amendment No. 13. In fact I have already spoken to Amendment No. 13 and I now beg to move the amendment.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

On Question, Whether Clause 2, as amended, shall stand part of the Bill?

6.13 p.m.

Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede

My Lords, I should like to comment briefly on why we believe that Clause 2 should not stand part of the Bill. I have no desire to weary your Lordships with old arguments, but there are two reasons in particular why we hold the opinion that Clause 2 should not be included. The first of these is that we find it very odd that this clause should be introduced at Report stage in the other place—after the Bill has been debated on Second Reading and after it has been considered at length in Committee. It is perhaps not unusual for new clauses to be introduced at Report stage, but it is rather unusual that this particular clause should have been introduced, because its length is almost as great as the total length of all the other clauses in the Bill. Clause 2 is 95 lines long, compared with 134 lines for all the other clauses in the Bill. One has the situation in which almost a whole new Act was inserted at Report stage in the other place and was not dealt with in Committee there.

The second reason why we feel this clause should not be included is that it allows the Secretary of State to intervene in the management of the corporation in a very detailed way. We find this very odd. We find it very odd that Mr. MacGregor and the corporation are willing to acept this. It was our understanding that the Government's philosophy was to cut down the amount of Government interference in industry and to let industry get on with making the decisions which it thinks are the right ones in order to flourish. I am sure that is the intention of both Mr. MacGregor and the corporation. This clause means that the Government are taking a major step backwards in respect of involvement in the day-to-day running of the steel industry. We think that is wrong. As I said, we do not wish to go over old ground because, when discussing many Bills in recent months, the question of Government involvement and privatisation have been major themes in those debates. I beg to move.

The Earl of Gowrie

Once more I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede, on his ingenuity. In effect he has said that there is a lot of talk about "going private" and all the rest of it but that in fact the new clause, shoved in at a late stage, involves more interference by the Government rather than less. The short answer is that it is not the Government's fault or the Government's choice that British Steel has grown into so large a figure in the industrial landscape as it has. We introduced the powers complained of by the noble Lord opposite simply to ensure that competition between British Steel and private sector companies could be seen to be fair, because this was a matter of great concern to private sector companies. We received representations from private sector companies—and that is part of the reason for taking a Bill through Parliament; it gives time for people to make their representations. That is why we inserted Clause 2.

These powers are necessary because a serious situation developed in areas where the British Steel Corporation was competing with the private sector. It was not a serious situation that went unrecognised by the British Steel Corporation or by Mr. MacGregor —whom, I may say, we highly esteem. The corporation itself recognised the gravity of the situation and it has given certain assurances and has taken positive action, by transferring two of its businesses to two separate companies.

The powers I am discussing are, it is hoped, to be reserve powers only, but in our view they are necessary even if it transpires that their sole function is to serve as guidelines for the way in which we believe the corporation should manage those of its businesses which are in direct competition with the private sector. The powers are a mark of our determination to improve matters in this difficult area of overlap. It seems to us to be most important that the private sector should be able to see that the corporation is competing on equal terms. I do not believe that the noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede, would disagree with me when I say that the representations made by the private sector were reasonable and that the Government behaved very reasonably in introducing Clause 2, albeit at a slightly later stage in the progress of the Bill. I hope therefore that the noble Lord will not press for these powers to be withdrawn.

Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede

I thank the noble Earl for his reply, which again does not surprise me. It is not my intention to press this particular matter to a Division.

Clause 2, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 3 to 5 agreed to.

6.20 p.m.

The Earl of Gowrie moved Amendment No. 14: After Clause 5, insert the following new clause:

("Corporation's members' terms of appointment, etc.: no need for statements to be laid before Parliament.

. The following provisions of the 1975 Act shall cease to have eflect:—

  1. (a) in section 1, subsection (6) (after appointing member of Corporation, Secretary of State to lay before Parliament a statement of term of appointment); and
  2. (b) In Schedule 1, paragraph 8 (Secretary of State to lay before Parliament a statement of certain determinations about remuneration etc. of Corporation's members).").

The noble Earl said: This is an amendment to insert a new clause after Clause 5. These amendments take the opportunity afforded by the Bill to remove from the Secretary of State the duty to lay before Parliament certain statements about members of the corporation. Section 1(6) of the Iron and Steel Act 1975 requires that as soon as possible after appointing a person to be a member of the corporation the Secretary of State shall lay before each House of Parliament a statement of the period for which he has been appointed. Schedule 1, paragraph 8, of that Act provides that the Secretary of State shall also lay before each House of Parliament a statement of the remuneration and allowances as well as of the pensions of board members, whenever there is a change in the amount being paid.

It is considered that these provisions are no longer necessary. Information on these matters concerning board members will still be available to the House since the corporation publish similar details in their annual report and in the accounts which are laid before Parliament. If the corporation should take it on itself to discontinue this practice it would of course be open to the Secretary of State under Section 24(1) of the 1975 Act to direct the corporation to resume it. Amendment No. 14 as well as the amendments in my name to Schedule 2 and in the Title—I should have said that these are all amendments that I wish to speak to together—follow the precedent set in respect of the remuneration of the pensions of board members of the other nationalised industries which are sponsored by the Department of Industry. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 6 agreed to.

Schedule 1 [Related and consequential amendments]:

The Earl of Gowrie moved Amendment No. 15: Page 9, line 1, leave out ("and section 19(1)(a)").

The noble Earl said: The purpose of the amendment is to remove the change in what constitutes the British Steel Corporation's statutory borrowing limit which Schedule 1, paragraph 6(2), of the Bill brings about. The Bill, by paragraphs 6(1) and (2) of Schedule 1, provides for a number of alterations to the 1975 Act to reflect the likelihood that a number of the corporation's activities may be carried on through subsidiaries in which there is a minority private sector stake.

To take account of this the Bill provides for the words "publicly-owned company" defined as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the corporation to be changed to the word "subsidiary" in certain places in the Iron and Steel Act 1975. One of the places where this change has been made was in Section 19 of the 1975 Act which sets the statutory borrowing limit. The position as it now stands under the Bill therefore is that the limit would embrace all BSC subsidiaries including those in which its stake is less than 100 per cent., and also it would cover overseas as well as United Kingdom companies.

The effect of this would clearly be to act as a disincentive to any private sector company which sought to take a minority stake in a BSC subsidiary, since the subsidiary's borrowing powers would be curtailed if the borrowing limit which relates to the corporation had been reached. This is again some of the territory we went over as a matter of general principle in the debate on the British Telecom Report stage recently. The desire of the Government is that we should not materially inhibit the corporation's prospects of recruiting minority partners for joint ventures. That would be contrary to our general policy, and the amendment I am proposing therefore restores the situation to where it stood under the 1975 Act, in that it does not place statutory controls on the extent of borrowing by non-wholly-owned subsidiaries of the British Steel Corporation. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

The Earl of Gowrie moved Amendment No. 16: Page 9, line 4, leave out from ("theirs") to the end of line 8.

The noble Earl said: This amendment is consequential upon the previous amendment. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Schedule 1, as amended, agreed to.

Schedule 2 [Enactments repealed]:

The Earl of Gowrie moved Amendment No. 17:

Page 10, line 4, column 3, at beginning insert— ("In section 1, subsection (6).").

The noble Earl said: I spoke to this amendment on Amendment No. 14. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 18 not moved.]

The Earl of Gowrie moved Amendments Nos. 19 and 20:

Page 10, line 19, column 3, at end insert—

("In Schedule 1, paragraph 8.").

Page 10, line 23, column 3, leave out ("in section 3, paragraph (b)").

The noble Earl said: I spoke to Amendments Nos. 19 and 20 when dealing with Amendment No. 14. I beg to move Amendments Nos. 19 and 20 inclusive.

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Schedule 2, as amended, agreed to.

In the Title:

The Earl of Gowrie moved Amendment No. 21: Line 4, after ("companies") insert ("to remove from the Secretary of State the duty to lay before Parliament certain statements about members of the Corporation").

The noble Earl said: Again, this amendment is consequential on Amendment No. 14, and I spoke to it then. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

The Title, as amended, agreed to.

House resumed: House reported with the amendments.