HL Deb 16 December 1982 vol 437 cc738-76

4.40 p.m.

The Earl of Avon

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

Moved, That the House do now again resolve itself into Committee.—(The Earl of Avon.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The LORD DERWENT in the Chair.]

Clause 7.

[Amendment No. 39 not moved.]

Clause 7 agreed to.

Clause 8 agreed to.

Schedule 1: Part II [Science Museum]:

Lord Montagu of Beaulieu moved Amendment No. 40: Page 23, line 9, at end insert— ("( ) In selecting persons for appointment to the Board the Prime Minister shall have regard to the desirability of the person's having knowledge or experience of one or more of the following, namely, the fields of research in science and technology covered by the museum collections, design, non-national museums, tourism, commerce and finance.").

The noble Lord said: In moving this amendment I would remind your Lordships that at the Committee stage the other day the noble Earl gave an assurance that arrangements would be made for the Victoria and Albert Museum along the lines of this amendment. In view of that assurance, I would wish to withdraw this amendment.

The Earl of Avon

I assure my noble friend that the Government are prepared to accept the underlying principle and will offer our own amendment in substitution at the next stage.

Lord Montagu of Beaulieu

I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 41 to 43 not moved.]

Lord Montagu of Beaulieu had given notice of his intention to move Amendment No. 44: Page 23, line 25, leave out ("general exercise of the Board's functions") and insert ("care of all property in its possession and for the general administration of the Museum.").

The noble Lord said: Again, this was discussed at some length on the previous occasion, and therefore I feel that it is not necessary to have any further discussion, unless any noble Lord wishes to speak.

[Amendment No. 44 not moved.]

[Amendments Nos. 45 to 49 not moved.]

Clause 9 [The Board's general functions]:

[Amendments Nos. 50 and 51 not moved.]

Lord Montagu of Beaulieu moved Amendment No. 52: Page 6, leave out line 4.

The noble Lord said: At the Second Reading debate I did point out that, for some extraordinary reason, whereas the word "enjoyment" was used for one of the objects of the Victoria and Albert and the Armouries, that word was left out when dealing with the Science Museum. I hope my amendment will right that position. I feel very strongly that items of interest in the Science Museum should be equally enjoyed. Perhaps there was a grammatical reason for leaving that out of this clause; I hope my grammar in this amendment will be sufficient. There is no doubt that scientific objects can be enjoyed, and there should be no differentiation between the Science Museum and other museums. I beg to move.

The Earl of Avon

I think the noble Lord, the Deputy Chairman of Committees, put Amendment No. 52, and I believe my noble friend is speaking to Amendment No. 53. I believe Amendment No. 52 was covered on the earlier occasion.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Derwent)

Is Amendment No. 52 moved or not?

Lord Montagu of Beaulieu

That amendment is to leave out the word "and" in order to achieve the next amendment, which follows on grammatically. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Montagu of Beaulieu moved Amendment No. 53: Page 6, line 5, after ("public's") insert ("enjoyment of and")

The noble Lord said: I have just spoken to this amendment. I beg to move.

Baroness Birk

May I ask the noble Lord the Deputy Chairman what happened to Amendment No. 39? Was it not moved?

I should like to support my noble friend Lord Montagu on this amendment, to which I have added my name, especially as I speak as someone who has little bent for science at all yet has found enjoyment in the Science Museum; I have also seen people with their children finding the Science Museum an absolute delight. That applies to many of the exhibitions and also to what takes place in the museum. I did have the pleasure of having quite a lot to do with it when I was a Minister at the Department of the Environment. If this was a deliberate omission—no doubt the noble Earl will tell us the reason—I find it strange, because it is following a sort of tradition that science has to be dour, grave, unamusing and unenjoyable whereas the other museums concerned with pictures, costume, music or the arts in some form or other, one can enjoy. I think this amendment is important; it is not just a trivial matter for laughter, though it is in one way, and it does seem to expose an attitude which I think we should be doing our best to undermine in this Bill.

Lord Geoffrey-Lloyd

As the first Minister of Education to have had a scientific education, I support this. I hope that the noble Earl will have good news for us.

The Earl of Avon

The Government do, of course, accept that enjoyment should be clearly reflected in the words used, and we do accept the principle of the amendment. I would say to the noble Baroness that in no way was this omission deliberate in the sense she mentioned. It was partly a point of grammatical style. What we shall have is "public's enjoyment of … the development of science and technology", and I should prefer to have another look at where to put the word "enjoyment" rather than "enjoyment of development", though if the Committee would like the word "enjoyment" in at that point, I shall be happy to accept that. May I leave it to my noble friend either to accept "public's enjoyment … of the development", or let me try to put it in at another place between now and Report stage?

Lord Montagu of Beaulieu

I should be very happy to bow to the superior drafting of the noble Earl's experts, and I am glad to withdraw the amendment on the understanding that "enjoyment" will be introduced in a Government amendment at Report stage.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Montagu of Beaulieu had given notice of his intention to move Amendment No. 54: Page 6, line 9, at end insert—

The noble Lord said: An amendment similar to this was moved on Tuesday with regard to the Victoria and Albert Museum. The noble Earl gave a satisfactory reply and said he would look at it. Unless any other noble Lord wishes to speak to this amendment, I shall be happy not to move it.

[Amendment No. 54 not moved.)

[Amendment Nos. 55 and 56 not moved.]

Lord Strabolgi had given notice of his intention to move Amendment No. 57: Page 6, line 18, leave out from ("things") to ("as").

The noble Lord said: I apologise to the Committee; the proceedings went a bit faster than I expected. I do not propose to move this amendment because this is on the same question about admission charges which we discussed on Tuesday, but relating this time to the Science Museum. We had a full debate on it. Therefore, with your Lordships' permission, unless any noble Lord wishes to speak, I propose not to move the amendment.

[Amendment No. 57 not moved.]

[Amendment No. 58 not moved.]

Clause 9 agreed to.

Clauses 10 and 11 agreed to.

Clause 12 [Acquisition and disposal of objects]:

Lord Strabolgi had given notice of his intention to move Amendment No. 59: Page 8, line 9, leave out subsection (3).

The noble Lord said: This is also a duplicate of a previous amendment relating to the Science Museum and unless any noble Lord wishes to speak I propose not to move it.

[Amendment No. 59 not moved.]

Clause 12 agreed to.

Schedule 1: Part III [Armouries]:

4.51 p.m.

Lord Montagu of Beaulieu moved Amendment No. 60: Page 25, line 5, leave out ("Secretary of State") and insert ("Prime Minister, who shall have due regard to the desirability of the person's having knowledge or experience of one or more of the following, namely, arms and armour, military history, museums, design, commerce, industry and finance.")

The noble Lord said: Here again, this is an attempt to define the sort of persons required to be trustees in the new Armouries Museum; but again, in view of the understanding which I have with regard to the desire of the Government to have a similar description for the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert, I shall be happy to leave this to the Government to bring forward an amendment at the right stage. I beg to move.

Baroness Birk

I speak only to support the noble Lord's amendment because it will, as he said, bring consistency into the Bill with the other museums.

Lord Jenkins of Putney

I find myself in favour of this proposal and at this stage I need not interrupt the noble Earl, but we shall see what he has to say about it first.

The Earl of Avon

I was only pausing for a moment to see whether there were any further suggestions for amendments to the terminology. So far as the Government are concerned, we share my noble friend's feelings and are happy to accept the principle of the amendment. However, it is not clear that all the areas listed in the amendment are relevant to the responsibilities of the Armouries trustees. I am thinking in particular of "commerce" and "industry". We should like to consider this carefully with a view to bringing forward an amendment at a later stage. We would, of course, take into account what was discussed on Amendment No. 4. If your Lordships have any other suggestions regarding deletions or additions, I shall be happy to hear them.

Lord Montagu of Beaulieu

I thank my noble friend. In view of that satisfactory statement we look forward to the Government amendment. I am therefore happy to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Montagu of Beaulieu moved Amendment No. 61: Page 25, line 5, leave out ("Secretary of State") and insert ("Prime Minister").

The noble Lord said: This amendment is designed to remove inconsistencies in the arrangements for the appointment of trustees in the various museums cited in the Bill. There seems no good reason why all the museums cited in the Bill should not have trustees appointed in the same way. Those national museums which at present enjoy trustee status have their trustees appointed by the Prime Minister. The Bill seeks to extend this method of appointing trustees to cover the V and A and the Science Museum.

It is puzzling that a different arrangement is made for the appointment of trustees for the Armouries; namely, that they should be appointed by the Secretary of State for the Environment. There is nothing personal in this, as I am sure his appointments will be very good; but on the other hand, in some way it demotes the Armouries' status compared with the other museums. I do not think that it can be argued that the different method of appointing trustees is because of the small size of the Armouries. After all, the trustees of the Wallace Collection are appointed by the Prime Minister. My main point, therefore, is that the museums cited in the Bill should be treated in the same way. The trustees should be appointed by the Prime Minister, which has proved so successful for the other national museums. I beg to move.

Lord Jenkins of Putney

I think it might perhaps be appropriate on this amendment to say a word about the question of appointments.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees

May I interrupt the noble Lord because I am completely out of order? I apologise to the Committee. After Clause 12 stand part I should have put to the Committee that Clauses 13 to 15 stand part of the Bill. Therefore, I shall do so now.

Clauses 13 to 15 agreed to.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees

I again apologise. We can now continue with Amendment No. 61.

Lord Jenkins of Putney

I was referring to the question of appointments and whether they should be made by the Secretary of State or by the Prime Minister. I expressed myself in favour of Amendment No. 60. In doing so. I was talking about the general sense of the amendment—that is. the appointment of a person having knowledge and experience of arms, armour, military history, and so on. It is generally-agreed that that would be a sensible thing to do. In that I did not mean to express approval of the proposal, which is part of that amendment, to substitute the Prime Minister for the Secretary of State.

This raises the whole question of appointments in this country. We are a much over-appointed country and a much under-elected country compared with the United States of America. It may be thought that the Americans go rather too far electing, as they do sometimes by pulling a handle, almost everybody down to the town hall janitor. It seems to me that we do not go far enough. We have established in this country a general proposition of lists of the great and the good from whom leading civil servants draw persons to fill all the positions of influence in the state. This general proposition seems to me to be fallacious, and I do not think it is cured by making the Prime Minister responsible for everything. The procedure which actually goes on, whether the person who technically makes the appointment is the Prime Minister or the Secretary of State, is somewhat similar. As everyone knows there is a sort of trawl. Names are put up at various stages, sifted out and arise, in this case, for the Minister of the Arts. He looks through them and passes on to his own Secretary of State a reduced list, which finally goes on to the Prime Minister who makes the choice. Of course, he or she can choose not to have any of the people and appoint someone else instead.

The whole procedure which goes on throughout the whole appointment business is one about which many of us have grave doubts. I am not sure that it is appropriate on this Bill to raise this general question, but it seems to be a question which ought to be dealt with because the notion that practically everyone in the country holding this type of position over the whole range of appointments is ultimately appointed by the Prime Minister is a thoroughly bad one. The difficulty is that once one gets into the habit of believ- ing that prime ministerial appointment is the only really important thing, then everyone wants to have prime ministerial appointment or they feel rather under-graded. Therefore, if the Bill stipulates the Secretary of State, some people will say, "No, no, others are appointed by the Prime Minister, so this appointment must also be by the Prime Minister". So the whole thing turns on the Prime Minister who, in the vast majority of cases can, in fact, know very little about the people whom he or she technically appoints. The whole system is undesirable and should be changed. I am equally sure that this Bill is not the appropriate occasion to change it. although it is possibly the appropriate occasion on which to air it.

Having said that, my view is that we ought to go a little further down the scale. If I were to amend an amendment—a process which I am not much in favour of—I would substitute the words "Minister for the Arts" for "Secretary of State" in this case. He is the chap who will do the initial solving of lists, and I should prefer that he had not only the actual duty of looking through the names, but was actually responsible for making the appointment rather than pushing everything up to the top stage. Having aired the problem, I do not propose to vote against the amendment.

Lord Geoffrey-Lloyd

I support my noble friend Lord Montagu. The arrangement in the Bill does seem, probably unintentionally, to discriminate against this fine museum and I feel that the Committee would like to avoid that if possible. Can the noble Earl tell us whether he can do anything to meet these views?

The Earl of Avon

I should just like to put the Government's point of view and to say why we have done this, and then I should like to listen to the views of the Committee. Let me say right at the outset that it is not our intention in any way to demote the Armouries or to say that they are of lesser importance than anything else. I repeat: that is not the intention.

The Secretary of State for the Environment is now responsible for the Armouries as an integral part of the work of his department—this is the next point—as he is for the Tower within which the Armouries are and will be largely located. He will, therefore, be well placed to appoint the members of the board of trustees and to approve their choice of Master of the Armouries. Perhaps that does to a certain extent answer the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Jenkins of Putney, when he suggested the Minister for the Arts. The reason why we are suggesting the Secretary of State for the Environment is that he has had control over the Armouries and he is the Minister responsible for the Tower.

The precedents on this are slightly diverse but the position of the Victoria and Albert and the Science Museums have been quoted, and they are somewhat different, not least because the Prime Minister herself expressed the wish to be involved in the appointment of their trustees. As they are large institutions with wide-ranging interests, it is considered absolutely appropriate to follow the practice in respect of, for example, the British Museum. The Government put forward their proposal because they did not think that the Armouries fell into the same category. However, if the Committee wishes to support my noble friend then of course we would be totally willing to consider the matter.

Baroness Birk

I see a great deal of merit in, and have considerable sympathy for, what my noble friend Lord Jenkins of Putney has said. Indeed, I had the same feeling when we dealt with the National Heritage Memorial Fund, although we did not seem to get very far and in the end, because in that case two Ministers were involved, we all felt that we would only go forward if there were a prime ministerial appointment. I also feel that there are a great many advantages in having a Secretary of State involved especially if he is interested in the particular subject, museum or gallery.

However, we are in a difficult position as regards this matter. The Master of the Armouries and his staff feel that theirs will be a rather second-class museum in this context if it is not followed through so that, at the same time as the other museums are being devolved, they also are being devolved. As the Minister seems to be open-minded about this matter; as those people feel very strongly about it and will feel extremely aggrieved; and as they are covered in the same Bill, I think it would be better if they came under the same type of selection appointment umbrella.

Lord Craigton

Having listened to the arguments, I am satisfied with the Bill as it is.

Baroness Phillips

I should only like to enter the general argument, but not unfortunately to support my noble friend. There has constantly been propagated the great virtue of election as opposed to appointment. That comes rather oddly from a House whose Members are, by nature, either appointed or are there by the hereditary principle. My noble friend says that it should be elected; at the moment it is not elected. I can only say that, like many other people, I have been elected and I have been appointed and I know which is the better position. If you are appointed you are your own man—you are able to say exactly what you feel without any kind of intimidation or threat. If you are elected there is always the implied idea by the people who have elected you that, if you do not follow their ideas, they will not elect you again.

Our great institutions have always been run very satisfactorily by people who are appointed because of their knowledge or because of their feeling for the particular group to which they have been appointed. It would be rather unfortunate to go into the whole realm of everybody being elected whether it be boards of governors or appointees to boards of trustees, because in the end we shall get somebody for a transitory period, perhaps three years, and not someone who will be there for a lifetime and dedicated to the subject.

Lord Reigate

I should like strongly to support my noble friend Lord Montagu. It seemed to me at first that the argument for having the same status as the others was unanswerable. The noble Baroness, Lady Birk, mentioned the National Heritage Memorial Fund, in which I took some interest. She will remember that the real reason was not that we had two Ministers who might squabble about everything, but simply and solely to raise the status of the National Heritage Memorial Fund. I do not think that the extent of the patronage in this field is such to overburden the Prime Minister. It is extremely important that we should keep the same kind of status for all these authorities.

There is in my view another argument. Frankly, I find armour a very boring subject, but I should have thought that it had much more to do with the Office of Arts and Libraries than it has to do with the Department of the Environment, and on that ground alone I am sure that the Prime Minister is the right person to make the appointment.

Lord Beloff

I should like to support my noble friend's amendment on two grounds. The noble Lord, Lord Jenkins of Putney, spoke about appointment and election. I should have thought that the only bodies of importance in the United States which are not elected are the trustees of the great museums—and the museums are the best run institutions in the United States. As far as appointment-by-whom? is concerned, 50 years ago there was no Secretary of State for the Environment and I would not, as a student of the machinery of government, be certain that in 50 years' time there will be a Secretary of State for the Environment. We may want to alter the situation in that department long before then. We are told that we are legislating for the future. There will, I think, be a Prime Minister, and therefore I support the amendment.

Lord Mowbray and Stourton

I should like to support the Government's view on this matter having twice been in the Department of the Environment, the machinery of which the noble Baroness, Lady Birk, knows so well. The interest shown in the Tower and the Armouries by the Department of the Environment is enormous. There is no question or doubt in my mind that the Secretary of State for the Environment has far more intimate knowledge. If the Prime Minister had to be involved in this matter she, or he, as the case may be, would only have to go to the Secretary of State for the Department of the Environment to get the information concerned. Why not leave it as it is, with the Prime Minister in the end getting advice? The Secretary of State is actually, day to day, responsible for all the functions of that wonderful place, the Tower of London, through the various offices involved. I do not think that one need be worried about this point. I have twice been in the Department of the Environment in a very junior, bottle-washer capacity, but I have seen that it works and I would strongly suggest that we leave it as the Government have put it.

Viscount Eccles

Is there an amendment to bring the Tower of London within the purview of the commission? I do not think that there is, but I thought that some people wanted it. In that case, I support the Government because the department's knowledge of the Tower is tremendous and if it is to remain with the department then we must remember that the Armouries are part of it. It seems rather difficult to say to the Secretary of State, "You are responsible for the whole of the fabric of all these buildings but not for appointing the museum trustees". I do not feel very strongly about this. As regards all the appointments with which I have been concerned, which were finally in the gift of the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister consulted me as the junior Minister. I have some very interesting examples. I appointed someone as the director of one of our national museums and the Prime Minister of the day, who was the noble Earl's father, sent for me and said, "You cannot have that man". I said, "Prime Minister why not?" He said, "I do not think that you should do so". I told him, "He is an old Etonian". He said, "You can have him".

Lord Geoffrey-Lloyd

I hate to disagree even in the slightest extent with my noble friend Lord Eccles, but he has based his argument largely on the idea that the Tower was not going to be moved to the commission. Maybe the Tower will not be moved to the commission, but many of us feel that as regards the tourist management of the Tower, it would be much better if the commission took over that side of the work. Indeed, I think that the Government in their consultation paper suggested that that might be possible, in which case I suggest that the argument of my noble friend rather falls to the ground.

Baroness Birk

Before any decision is taken and in answer to what the noble Viscount, Lord Eccles, said, the fact remains that, though part of the collection is still in the Tower of London—and later on we have an amendment to keep the greater part of the collection in the Tower—nevertheless under the Bill the Armouries have been devolved as a museum on their own. Therefore, as they are a museum, the fact that they are located in the Tower of London and have a connection with it I would suggest, with respect, is irrelevant to the point that we are now discussing as to who should make the appointment. I believe that the method should be consistent with the way in which appointments are made to the other devolved museums.

As regards the Tower itself, as it is a Royal Palace nothing is said in the Bill about it. There are some amendments down to make an enabling clause for Royal Palaces, but I honestly do not think that that is quite relevant to the discussion which we are now having.

Lord Montagu of Beaulieu

We have had quite an interesting discussion on this point. I moved this amendment in order to bring consistency into the whole matter. Regardless of what the Department of the Environment thinks, I know that the staff of the Armouries feel very strongly that they would like the trustees to be appointed by the Prime Minister. They believe—they may wrongly believe—that they are in some way being slighted and demoted as a result. I hope that the Government will be able to accept this amendment, but, if not, one could perhaps think of a compromise at the Report stage whereby the chairman is appointed by the Prime Minister and the other trustees are appointed by the Secretary of State. I just make that suggestion, which might appeal to the Government. I think that there is considerable support in the Committee for this point, and I hope that my noble friend may be able to meet me on it.

The Earl of Avon

We have not so far had a Division and, as this is a non-controversial matter, I think we ought to see which way the Committee wants to vote on it. By going backwards and forwards I find it hard to make a decision myself. I could consult and come back next time, but why do we not make up our minds now?

5.12 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 61) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships Divided: Contents, 69; Not-Contents, 83.

Adeane, L. Jacques, L.
Airey of Abingdon, B. Jeger, B.
Ampthill, l. John-Mackie, L.
Annan, L. Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, B.
Ardwiek, L. Loudoun, C.
Beloff, L. McCarthy, L.
Birk, B. Mishcon, L.
Bishopston, L. Montagu of Beaulieu, L. [Teller.]
Boston of Faversham, L.
Briginshaw, L. Oram, L.
Brockway, L. Peart, L.
Caccia, L. Perth, E.
Chelwood, L. Phillips, B.
Collison, L. Rea, L.
Congleton, L. Reigate, L. [Teller.]
Cooper of Stockton Heath, L. Richardson, L.
Cork and Orrery, L. Rugby, L.
Cottesloe, L. St. Davids, V.
Craigavon, V. Scanlon, L.
Crathorne, L. Shackleton, L.
Dacre of Glanton, L. Shinwell, L.
David, B. Simon of Glaisdale, L.
Davies of Leek, L. Somers, L.
Derwent, L. Stewart of Alvechurch, B.
Elwyn-Jones, L. Stewart of Fulham, L.
Fisher of Rednal, B. Stone, L.
Geoffrey-Lloyd, L. Strabolgi, L.
George-Brown, L. Strathcarron, L.
Gormley, L. Strathcona and Mount Royal, L.
Gregson, L.
Hatch of Lusby, L. Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Hertford, M. Terrington, L.
Houghton of Sowerby, L. Underhill, L.
Ilchester, E. Vickers, B.
Irving of Dartford, L. Wallace of Coslany, L.
Jacobson, L.
Abinger, L. Grimston of Westbury, L.
Avon, E. Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L.
Aylestone, L.
Balfour of Inchrye, L. Hanworth, V.
Bessborough, E. Harris of Greenwich, L.
Cathcart, E. Henley, L.
Constantine of Stanmore, L. Hives, L.
Craigmyle, L. Home of the Hirsel, L.
Craigton, L. Hunt, L.
Cullen of Ashbourne, L. Hylton-Foster, B.
Daventry, V. Ironside, L.
Denham, L. [Teller.] Kilmany, L.
Drumalbyn, L. Lane-Fox, B.
Eccles, V. Long, V.
Elton, L. Luke, L.
Ferrers, E. Lyell, L.
Fortescue, E. McGregor of Durris, L.
Gain ford, L. Macleod of Borve, B.
Gardner of Parkes, B. Margadale, L.
Gibson, L. Marley, L.
Gisborough, L. Masham of Ilton, B.
Glanusk, L. Massereene and Ferrard, V.
Glenarthur, L. Merrivale, L.
Greenway, L. Morris, L.
Gridley, L. Mottistone, L.
Mountevans, L. Selkirk, E.
Mowbray and Stourton, L. Shaughnessy, L.
Moyne, L. Skelmersdale, L.
Newall, L. Soames, L.
Northchurch, B. Stanley of Alderley, L.
Nugent of Guildford, L. Swansea, L.
Orkney, E. Swinfen, L.
Orr-Ewing, L. Swinton, E. [Teller]
Portland, D. Thorneycroft, L.
Renton, L. Trefgarne, L.
Ridley, V. Trumpington, B.
Rochdale, V. Vaux of Harrowden, L.
St. Aldwyn, E. Vivian, L.
St. Just, L. Wakefield of Kendal, L.
Saint Oswald, L. Westbury, L.
Sandford, L. Wynford, L.
Savile, L. Young, B.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

[Amendments Nos. 62 to 71 not moved.]

5.22 p.m.

Baroness Birk moved Amendment No. 72: Page 27, line 2, leave out ("9") and insert ("10").

The noble Baroness said: As I have my name to it, may I move Amendment No. 72, which goes with 71 and also with 75?

The Deputy Chairman of Committees

Is the noble Baroness going to move Amendment No. 71?

Baroness Birk

May I move Amendment No. 71?

The Deputy Chairman of Committees

No, not really. The noble Lord, Lord Montagu has not moved it. Amendment No. 72 may be moved.

The Earl of Avon

May I intervene? I should be perfectly happy to have the arguments on Amendment No. 72, if it is the will of the Committee.

Baroness Birk

I am grateful to the Minister. This is again a question of inconsistency so far as the Armouries Museum is concerned. These amendments are concerned with bringing its funding into line with the funding of the other museums. Amendments Nos. 71 and 72 are paving amendments to No. 75. There does not seem to be any good reason why all the museums cited in this Bill should not be given the same financial provisions. Those national museums which at present enjoy trustee status are funded directly by money provided by Parliament. This method of funding has always worked well with these museums.

The present Bill seeks to extend this method of funding to cover the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Science Museum, but it provides a different financial arrangement for the Armouries and for the armed forces museums; namely, that they may be funded from money provided by their respective Secretaries of State. There may be a good reason for this arrangement so far as the armed forces museums are concerned. That I am not sure about. If not, that could be amended in the same way. But it cannot be argued that the reason for this different method of funding is because of the small size of the Armouries and the armed forces museums, when none is smaller than the Wallace Collection, which is funded directly by money provided by Parliament.

Therefore, I feel that there is no reason why all the museums cited in this Bill should not be treated in the same way. It surely makes sense to give them all the same financial provisions as have proved to be the basis for the present structure and running of our other national museums. If this were done, all the museums cited in the Bill would be required to present their reports in the same way to their respective Secretaries of State, who should be required in turn to present a copy of each report to each House of Parliament. For those reasons, unless the Minister has something that we have overlooked, I cannot see that there is any reason why these amendments should not be accepted. I beg to move.

Lord Montagu of Beaulieu

I must apologise for not having moved the amendment which was consequential on this amendment, but I should like to support the noble Baroness, Lady Birk, and say again that I think that the inconsistency is unfortunate. It would be much better if the Armouries were funded directly from Parliament and not from the Secretary of State.

The Earl of Avon

Of course I appreciate the reasoning behind these amendments which the noble Baroness has explained. They are designed to give the Armouries the same Vote status as is proposed for the V and A and the Science Museum. The provision of a different régime for the Armouries and a grant in aid paid by the Secretary of State rather than supply granted directly by Parliament, I hope your Lordships will not in any way think of as belittling the status of the Armouries. That is far from our intention. The inclusion of the Armouries in this Bill is indication enough of the Government's view of their status.

The proposed finance régime does not reflect on that. However, there are differences between the Armouries and, for example, the V and A. The latter is considerably larger and wider ranging than the Armouries and thus has much greater administrative requirements and resources. The Armouries also have a rather different background in the sense that they are currently part of, and will be sponsored in the future by, the Department of the Environment. In providing vote status for the V and A and the Science Museum we are simply following the precedent set by existing trustee bodies such as the British Museum.

The DoE of course has a large number of sponsored bodies, including the Nature Conservancy Council. All of these bodies, without exception, are funded by way of a grant in aid from the Secretary of State. I doubt whether that is to be held as a reflection on their status or importance. Thus the Department of the Environment's experience is of grant in aid bodies, and given that, and the size and the specialised nature of the Armouries, it is considered entirely appropriate that such a system should be applied.

This is an area in which again there is no right or wrong. It is a question of what is most appropriate in all the circumstances. With this close relationship with the Department of the Environment, and the fact that their experience is grant in aid, I hope that the Committee might feel able to accept what we have. However, I shall listen to the rest of the debate with interest.

Baroness Birk

There does not seem to be any expression of opinion about this matter. In these circumstances—and I take it that the noble Lord, Lord Montagu, takes the same view, otherwise he would have spoken—we ought to withdraw the amendment at this stage, read carefully what the Minister has said—because I should like to read it as well as having listened intently to it—and then see how we feel about it and, if necessary, come back on Report.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 16 [The Board's general functions]:

5.28 p.m.

Lord Montagu of Beaulieu moved Amendment No. 73: Page 9, line 43, at end insert—

The noble Lord said: The noble Viscount, Lord Eccles, has already mentioned the close association of the Armouries with the Tower of London. The Armouries is by far the oldest museum in Great Britain, and indeed one of the oldest in the world. Its history and development are inextricably linked with the history and development of the Tower. The Armouries is today a modern comparative museum, which is regarded as the national museum of arms and armour, and which enjoys considerable and increasing international reputation.

However, much of the interest and uniqueness stems from the fact that the basis of its collection is its large holding of arms, armour and related objects, which have for many centuries been stored, preserved, and exhibited in the Tower of London. Some of them were even made within the walls of the Tower of London. Possibly no other collection in the world still preserves such a long and close connection with an historic building. It is surely sensible to ensure that this collection is preserved. The Armouries certainly would be poorer if it was ever entirely divorced from the Tower of London. Indeed, the Tower would be much poorer if it were to lose the Armouries.

These collections are preserved as a very important part of our history, as much so as the Crown Jewels, the yeomen Warders and the ravens, none of which we wish to see leave the Tower. The amendment seeks to ensure, by a provision in the Bill, that the historic connection between the Tower and its Armouries are preserved for future generations to enjoy, while allowing the trustees considerable flexibility to exhibit part of the collections outside the Tower of London should they so wish. I beg to move.

Baroness Birk

I support the amendment, to which I have put my name. It was probably considered implicit in the Bill that what is proposed would happen, but I suggest it is necessary to include a provision of this type because, as we have said on many occasions when debating the Bill, we are talking not just about now or the near future but the very long-term future. We are anxious to enshrine in the Bill the connection between the Tower and the Armouries, because they are so intertwined, and to ensure that the major part of the collection remains there. The amendment would leave sufficient flexibility for other exhibitions to take place and, therefore, for part of the collection not always to be in the Tower.

Lord Simon of Glaisdale

I have a question, of which I gave the noble Earl notice, that I have been seeking to ask about the Armouries, and this seems the least inappropriate amendment on which to ask it. What is to be the relationship between the Armoury in the Tower of London and the collection at the Wallace Collection? At one time the director of the Wallace Collection was the Keeper of the Armoury of the Tower. It may be that was because he was the preeminent expert in the field in this country. It meant that acquisitions and bequests were co-related. I should be grateful if the Minister would help me on that, and excuse me if I have asked it at the wrong time.

Lord Jenkins of Putney

I hope the Government will accept the sense of the amendment, although they may not wish to accept the actual words. They may have to make some qualification: in the event of war occurring, they must have special arrangements—especially in the event of nuclear war—for art objects to be removed from London into a bunker in Wales. I suspect—perhaps the Minister will tell us—that the Crown Jewels are among those objects. Although the population itself is not to be evacuated, art objects are. What sort of judgment one makes of that is a matter for the Government—I think it is the case—and the question is whether the Crown Jewels are among those objects. If they are, then, in accepting the amendment, the Government would have to include words to provide for the eventuality of their movement to Wales in the event of war.

Lord Cottesloe

The Committee was at pains in earlier discussions of the National Heritage Fund to ensure that it was possible—and your Lordships considered it very desirable—that objects of special importance to the heritage, when accepted for the nation, are enabled to remain in the houses to which they belong and in which they have been accumulated. Surely the same applies, in much greater degree, to the objects in the Armouries of the Tower of London.

The Earl of Perth

I hope the Government will find it possible to accept the amendment because, in a sense, the Armouries have had two blows this afternoon. One was on the question of who should appoint the trustees and the other was on the source of funds. Many of your Lordships know that this is a matter about which they are anxious, not immediately but in the future, and that being so, and because I feel one should pay attention to the views of those directly concerned, I hope the Government will accept the amendment.

Viscount Massereene and Ferrard

I support the amendment. Historically and visually one could not have a better place than the Tower of London in which to deposit the finest Armouries in the country.

The Earl of Avon

I say at once to the noble Earl, Lord Perth, that these are not intended as blows. As I have been at pains to say throughout our debates on these amendments, the Government fully appreciate the Armouries for the excellent collections they are: it is purely a question of administration so far as we are concerned. The noble Baroness was right to say that it is our intention to keep the Armouries where they are; there is absolutely no question about that.

However admirable and understandable the amendment is, there are difficulties, as several noble Lords have said, about including such a requirement in the Bill. For instance, if it were accepted, it would be necessary to provide the trustees with some means of fulfilling the obligation it would impose in them. There would have to be in the Bill the express right for them to occupy accommodation in the Tower. That, obviously, they will do, but at present it is not, as it were, enshrined in the Bill.

I would, however, assure noble Lords that it is our full intention to enter into an administrative agreement for the trustees to occupy part of the Tower, and we fully expect the trustees to observe the tradition of displaying the greater part of their collection there. While the amendment is not acceptable as it is, I now know, having listened to the debate, the aim of my noble friend Lord Montagu, and I will go back to see whether it is possible for the draftsman to incorporate the spirit of what he wants in the Bill.

The noble and learned Lord, Lord Simon of Glaisdale, raised the point of the relationship between the Wallace Collection and the Armouries. I understand that the Master of the Armouries at present unofficially acts as adviser to the Wallace Collection on the care of the Wallace Armoury Collection. There is nothing formal to put into the Bill, and one hopes that the same sort of relationship, which is really a personalities one, will continue. The noble Lord, Lord Jenkins, mentioned the collection of jewels and asked whether they would be transported. I have no knowledge of that and I have a slight suspicion that if I had, I should not be allowed to tell him, though I may be wrong. In any event, I shall look into that point as well. I agree with my noble friend on the spirit of the amendment, as the Committee obviously does, and I hope it will be possible to incorporate in the Bill something along the lines proposed in it.

Baroness Birk

I thank the Minister for those remarks. There is one matter on which I should like to feel clear; perhaps I have misunderstood the position. He referred to the trustees having to ccupy a part of the Tower. The amendment simply says that the major part of the collection should be within the Tower of London. Does the noble Earl mean that the words "within the Armouries" should be added? In that case, I would understand what he was saying, but surely one need not say that the trustees must occupy, say, a part of the Victoria and Albert or part of the Science Museum. I am probably being rather obtuse, but I am not clear on the point.

The Earl of Avon

The difficulty is that the Tower of London remains a Royal Palace in which the Armouries are, so there must be an arrangement with the Tower for the occupation, as it were, of the Armouries, and incorporated with that would be something very much on the lines about which we have been talking. I said that we would see if we could get something in the Bill along the lines of the amendment.

Lord Montagu of Beaulieu

In view of that very satisfactory reply by the noble Earl, I am very happy to beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

5.40 p.m.

Lord Reigate moved Amendment No. 74: Page 10, line 36, leave out from ("them") to end of line 37.

The noble Lord said: This is a probing amendment, but the need to probe into the matter has to some extent been answered by the discussion that we had on the last amendment but one. There is an anomaly in the Bill in that the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Science Museum are given power to levy admission charges. That power is not given to the Armouries, for the obvious reason that one already has to pay a great deal of money to get into the Tower in the first place, and then one has to pay even more to see the Crown Jewels. But having got inside, one does not have to pay anything to see the Armouries.

I felt that if the Armouries were to be deprived of the kind of income that would go to the other institutions if they were allowed to charge for admission, there should be some recognition that the Armouries should have their fair share of what I might describe as the "lolly" of the entrance money to spend on their own objects and to satisfy their own needs, so to speak. I should like to ask my noble friend whether he can say what provision there is for the Armouries to have their fair share of the admission monies. I beg to move.

The Earl of Avon

My noble friend is quite right, because it would be going around in circles if there were to be a power for the Armouries to charge for admission within the Tower. If we leave the financial arrangements as they are at the moment, the grant in aid will come from the Department of the Environment, which will of course be collecting the money outside the Tower. So if one were to take a separate kitty for the Armouries within the Tower, that would be taken into account in regard to any grant in aid. So, as my noble friend was anticipating, it would be going around in circles if there were such a power.

My noble friend might be comforted by one thing that I should like to say. I understand that the Armouries can charge for any activities in which they are involved outside; such as if they loan objects, or do anything of that kind. They are enabled to charge on those occasions. I hope that that is the assurance that my noble friend was seeking.

Lord Reigate

I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

On Question, Whether Clause 16 shall stand part of the Bill?

Baroness Lane-Fox

I should like to ask my noble friend that consideration be given to the inclusion in each report of a statement of action taken by the board to promote the use of such places by disabled people, as well as to a similar provision in other appropriate parts of the Bill.

The Earl of Avon

I fully appreciate my noble friend's point. I shall look into it and see exactly what should be done.

Clause 16 agreed to.

Clauses 17 to 19 agreed to.

Clause 20 [Finance]:

Lord Montagu of Beaulieu had given notice of his intention to move Amendment No. 75: Page 12, line 38, leave out subsection (1) and insert— ("(1) Any expenditure incurred by the Board shall, except so far as defrayed out of other sources, be defrayed out of money provided by Parliament.")

The noble Lord said: I think that we have had a full discussion on this point, and therefore I do not believe that it is necessary to move the amendment.

[Amendment No. 75 not moved.]

[Amendment No. 76 not moved.]

Clause 20 agreed to.

Clause 21 [Establishment of Board of Trustees]:

Lord Strabolgi moved Amendment No. 77: Page 13, line 3, at end insert (", Kew").

The noble Lord said: I beg to move Amendment No. 77, and with your Lordships' permission, I should like to speak also to Amendment No. 125, which seeks to amend the Long Title in a similar way. As drafted, the Bill seems to me to imply that the Royal Botanic Gardens are the only botanic gardens in the United Kingdom. I believe that some concern has been shown in Scotland about this point because, as your Lordships are aware, there are Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh. I submit that an amendment is necessary to make clear that the Bill refers to Kew, and also perhaps to Wakehurst Place, if that is necessary—and here I should be glad to have the advice of the Government.

Of course, I realise that the Bill does not extend to Scotland, except in very minor provisions; and that is made clear in Clause 35. Nevertheless, I submit that the correct description should be given. I have not proposed inserting the word "Kew" throughout the Bill, but that could certainly be done by way of drafting amendments at the Report stage, if the amendments now before the Committee were acceptable. I beg to move.

Lord Craigton

The botanic gardens are world known. There has never been any confusion, but I think that confusion would be created by the addition of the word "Kew", as though it referred to something new, I cannot agree with the noble Lord.

The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Earl Ferrers)

I am bound to say that my feelings go along with those of my noble friend Lord Craigton. The noble Lord, Lord Strabolgi, made a perfectly good and reasoned case for inserting the word "Kew", but the Government feel that the right title of the institution is "Royal Botanic Gardens", as stated in the Bill, and we do not see any need to include as well the address, as it were. Indeed, confusion could flow from that because of the fact that the institution is already present at another location—the noble Lord, Lord Strabolgi, mentioned Wakehurst Place, in Sussex—and it may in the future take on further locations; it certainly has powers to do that. If the formal title became "Royal Botanic Gardens. Kew", it would be a little difficult to explain to the uninitiated why an institution that is stated by Parliament to reside at one location was also present at one or more other locations.

If I may put it another way, I would say that by the Bill we are creating a legal entity that in the future may operate at a number of different locations, only two of which, Kew and Wakehurst Place, are at present known. It is not necessary, and indeed it could be confusing, to include the name of one of the locations in the formal title of this legal entity. I hope that in view of what I have said, the noble Lord, Lord Strabolgi, will consider withdrawing the amendment.

The Earl of Perth

I have understood what the noble Earl has said in reply to the noble Lord, Lord Strabolgi, but would it not perhaps be better if it were made clear that what we are talking about are the Royal Botanic Gardens of England? After all, I am not sure whether the Royal Botanic Gardens of Scotland—in Edinburgh—did not come first. If they did not come first, they are certainly equally eminent. I think that it would be a great pity if there arose a situation in which, when one was talking about the "Royal Botanic Gardens", everyone thought that somehow Edinburgh did not count. So if the Government cannot accept the amendment as it is written, I hope that they will think about changing the title to the extent of adding, "of England". Then it would be possible to go anywhere in England to set up a new location, whether it be at Wakehurst Place, or anywhere else that is suitable.

Lord Jenkins of Putney

I, too, rather hope that the Government will find a way of avoiding unnecessarily offending the Scots. The Scots are fairly easily offended, and to go out of our way possibly to offend them on this occasion would perhaps be misguided. Therefore, whether or not my noble friend presses his amendment, it is my hope that the Government will be able to say a few words indicating that they take the sense of what he is seeking to express in the amendment.

While I am talking about Kew, I should like also to express the hope that nothing will be done to change the policy under which the gardens are at present conducted. That policy is admirable in every respect, not only in the way that the gardens are run but in every conceivable way; but also through the fact that it only costs 10 pence to go in. That price has been held at that level for a very long time and I think it would be a very sad thing if the consequence of what we are doing this evening were to be that that price, which has resisted inflation all along, were to take off with everything else. Let us hope that the Government will be able perhaps to give us an assurance on that as well.

Lord Cottesloe

May I suggest that the Government might consider another variant and describe the Royal Botanic Gardens as the "Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew"? The words "at Kew" would be exlanatory and not part of their title—to which some exception might be taken.

Earl Ferrers

With regard to the latter point, I think we should still be in the same confusion if the title was to be the "Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew" which would be the legal entity, whereas in fact the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew would also be operating in Wakehurst Place. I think that to avoid confusion the title would have to be kept as it is. I understand the predicament of the noble Earl, Lord Perth, when he reminds us that there is a Scottish Royal Botanic Garden—a very eminent one, too. Following the noble Lord, Lord Jenkins of Putney, I would not wish to do anything to offend Scotland. I am sure that nothing in this Bill would do that; because one must remember that the Bill makes it clear that its provisions do not extend to Scotland or to Northern Ireland and the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh are the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Scotland. At present there is no reason to think that there should be any change in that respect.

When the noble Lord, Lord Jenkins, says that he hopes the policy will continue to be the same, I think that we shall probably come to this a little later on, for, of course, the policy inevitably will become the responsibility of the trustees. There is no particular reason to think that it will change. Clearly one cannot give an overriding assurance that it will never change, but it will be the responsibility of the trustees.

The Earl of Perth

I am not entirely happy about this. Do I understand it now that there are two Royal Botanic Gardens of equal status? Or is the noble Earl saying that the Royal Botanic Gardens in Scotland is not really a Royal Botanic Gardens or that we have got to qualify it in some way? This is a Bill which is dealing with England. Why cannot we make it the "Royal Botanic Gardens of England"?

Earl Ferrers

I certainly do not hold any overridingly strong views on it. All that I was trying to explain is that the Bill makes it perfectly clear that it refers only to England and that the Royal Botanic Garden at Edinburgh will still remain the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Scotland. Certainly I will look at the point which the noble Earl has put forward. If there are overriding reasons to alter it, we shall certainly take the point into account.

Lord Strabolgi

I am grateful to the noble Earl, Lord Perth, and to my noble friend Lord Jenkins for their support. I think that the suggestions that have been made by the noble Earl merit consideration by the Government. The Government should get this right because it is causing concern in Scotland, and I think they ought to be sensitive about it and not assume, as the noble Earl has said, that these are the only Royal Botanic Gardens in the United Kingdom. Therefore, I hope that the noble Earl will consult with his right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and see whether something to define that these gardens are in England should be put in the Bill. I am glad to note the noble Earl's undertaking and beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 21 agreed to.

Schedule 1: Part IV [Royal Botanic Gardens]:

5.55 p.m.

Lord Craigton moved Amendment No. 78: Page 27, line 31, at end insert— (" . In appointing any member the Secretary of State shall have regard to the desirability of the person's having knowledge or experience of one or more of the responsibilities of the Royal Botanic Gardens.")

The noble Lord said: The Committee have already agreed to the principle of prior consultation before appointment and knowledge of itemised subjects that are covered by the institution concerned. In my amendment I have used exactly the same words to begin with: In appointing any member the Secretary of State shall have regard to the desirability of the person's having knowledge or experience"—

but I have not itemised anything. I have simply said: of one or more of the responsibilities of the Royal Botanic Gardens".

The reason for that is really quite simple. Kew covers the whole worldwide field of a very vital world resource: food for man, animals, fuel, oil, insecticides, poisons, chemicals, plants, buildings, furniture—the list of what comes from plants is endless. The items in it become important or less important, and new ones are added as each day passes.

Clause 22 of the Bill, which lays down the board's general functions, some of which I have listed, covers even more. There are functions such as education, quarantine, caring for live plants and relevant libraries and museums, the keeping and using of collections (which include 5 million actual specimens) and, last but by no means least, catering for the enjoyment and education of the public. Such a long list cannot, and should not, be itemised in legislation, as in years to come it might prevent the appointment of an expert in some botanical science, the importance of which or even the existence of which we are not now aware of. So long as there is a changeable list, it is asking too much to expect those in his Ministry who advise the Minister to take on themselves, and to put the Minister in the position of, making appointments without any qualification. I have therefore added this very minor and imprecise statutory obligation which will be not only a protection for the Minister himself but an added assurance over those technical and conservation interests in the furtherance of whose concern Kew plays such an important part. I beg to move.

Earl Ferrers

The concern which my noble friend Lord Craigton has reflected is a very proper one. It is that those appointed as trustees should be fully equipped with the knowledge and experience to participate in the running of the Royal Botanic Gardens. He said that the phraseology of his amendment was deliberately imprecise. In fact, it may be a little too precise. I would tell him that I would be prepared to accept this amendment in principle, but that I should like to have an opportunity to reflect on the exact wording of the amendment to ensure that it is technically correct and that it is drafted so as to cover all the types of knowledge and experience which we shall need, and at the same time is not inadvertently restrictive.

I think that the reference will need to be to the Minister of Agriculture and not to the Secretary of State. I am also a trifle worried about the word "responsibilities"; because if this is taken to refer back only to the list of functions which are at Clause 22(1) it could be too curtailing. For example, experience in finance or management or in industrial relations could all be very useful attributes in trustees and any amendment which is put into the Bill, I would suggest, should not imply an exclusion. It may be that the Minister should have regard to the desirability of the person having knowledge or experience which is relevant to the functions and management of the Royal Botanic Gardens. I think the wording needs to be carefully considered. If my noble friend Lord Craigton would be prepared to withdraw his amendment, I will give this matter more thought and come up with an appropriate Government amendment at a later stage.

Lord Craigton

The Minister has rehearsed all the arguments and difficulties that I had in preparing this amendment. In view of what he has said, I have much pleasure in asking the Committee to allow me to withdraw it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Jenkins of Putney had given notice of his intention to move Amendments Nos. 79 to 83: Page 28, line 12, leave out ("as the Board may determine") and insert ("on such other terms and conditions as the Board may determine provided that the remuneration and allowances, terms and conditions are taken as a whole not less favourable than those applying to the Civil Service.")

("( ) It shall be the duty of the Board, except so far as it is satisfied that adequate machinery exists for achieving the purpose of this paragraph to seek consultation with the recognised trade unions representing the staff with a view to the conclusion between the Board and those organisations such agreements as appear to the parties to be desirable with respect to the establishment and maintenance of machinery for—
  1. (a) the settlement by negotiation of terms and conditions of employment of employees of the Board with provision for reference to arbitration in default of such a settlement in such cases as may be determined by or under the agreements;
  2. (b) the promotion and encouragement of measures affecting the safety, health and welfare of employees of the Board and the discussion of other matters of mutual interest to the Board and its employees including efficiency in the performance of the Board's functions.")
    • leave out lines 32 to 36.
Page 29, line 5, leave out ("industrial tribunal") and insert ("arbitration machinery' agreed with the recognised trade unions").

The noble Lord said: My noble friend Lady Birk has asked me in her temporary absence to say that, as the subject of these amendments was fully discussed on a previous occasion, and as the Government gave a number of undertakings in relation to that, the assumption that we make is that it is unnecessary to move these amendments or, alternatively, if it is preferable that they should be moved, one will have the intention of withdrawing them. I am therefore in the hands of the Committee as to whether I should move them and then withdraw them or simply not move them.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Baroness Wootton of Abinger)

Is it the noble Lord's intention that Amendments Nos. 79 to 83 should not be moved?

Lord Jenkins of Putney

That is right.

[Amendments Nos. 79 to 83 not moved.]

Lord Craigton moved Amendment No. 84: Page 29, line 8, after ("functions") insert ("and the current world situation related to them").

The noble Lord said: I have just described some of the functions of the Royal Botanic Gardens. In this amendment—which I believe is, from the world's point of view, a very important one—I want to ensure that this statutory report is wider than a report on the exercise of the board's functions, wide and varied though they are. I want the report to include for the benefit of the whole world what Kew knows and forecasts about the world situation in relation to its functions. There is good reason for this. There is no single authority that knows better than Kew at any time what exactly the world situation is. The IUCN's Threatened Plants Committee is located at Kew with a Wang computer already recording in great detail a quarter of a million plants, 10 per cent. of which are in danger of extinction. At Kew is prepared the red data book which lists endangered species. At Kew is the secretariat of the co-ordinating body of the world's botanic gardens. At Kew is produced the Threatened Plants Committee Newsletter which links the gardens and some 500 world corresponding botanists.

Everything is centralised in Kew Gardens, so it is really the centre of world botanical affairs. If any place has its finger on the pulse, it is Kew. Warnings, encouragement and information coming from Kew carry far more weight than from any other source in the rest of the world. Therefore Kew has, to my mind, an obligation and a duty to mankind that it can fulfil better than anyone else. This amendment will ensure that this obligation, this duty, is discharged. I beg to move.

Earl Ferrers

My noble friend is quite right when he says that Kew has its finger on the pulse of what is happening throughout the world. He stressed during his speech on Second Reading the international importance of the gardens in the study of the world plant situation. I would certainly accept that this international role is an important facet of the activities, and must remain so. I remind the Committee that the Bill states in Clause 22(1)—in some detail—the functions of the gardens, and that Schedule 1, paragraph 29, as it stands obliges the board to report regularly on the exercise of these functions. This will inevitably require information on the situation on plants in other parts of the world. I am sure the board will be fully aware of the need to make its account of these matters in the report as comprehensive as it can.

If my noble friend's amendment was adopted, the report would need to go further than this. The board would be obliged to give comprehensive statements of the world's situation in relation to any function which it might have carried out. That in turn might involve them in considerable extra work in assessing and reporting on the world situation. I do not think that that is the intention which my noble friend has in mind, but that would be the result.

The trustees under the Bill as it is at the moment would not be excluded from describing the world situation where they consider it appropriate; but it would be imprudent to place on them a statutory imposition to do this in each of their reports. I hope that my noble friend will think that, in view of what I have said, the Bill would be best left as it is with the obligation not placed upon them to do this in every report but leaving it to the judgment of the trustees whose knowledge and conscientiousness I have no doubt will enable them to do this at every moment where they think it appropriate.

Lord Jenkins of Putney

I think that I find myself on the side of the Government in this matter. It appears to me that the purpose of the subsection is to make sure that any question of increasing the fees charged would be subject to very careful attention. I should have thought that, if this subsection were left out, it would leave the trustees a freer hand in the matter. This is one point on which I feel they should not have that free hand. If that is the purpose of the amendment, I would be on the Government's side rather than on that of the amendment.

Lord Craigton

I do not think the noble Lord, Lord Jenkins, was speaking to this amendment. However, I am afraid that I am not entirely satisfied with my noble friend's answer. I know that what is said on the Front Bench is going to be done. If it is all done—and so many of us have heard this so often—that is fine and grand. But if at the gardens anybody with a narrow, restricted view were to read exactly what the Bill as drafted now says, then I really believe that he could restrict that information which is so vital to the rest of the world. We are not talking about Britain; we are talking about world functions. We are talking about the destruction of the forests, and all sorts of things which may not be a function of Kew Gardens but are a function of the connections that they have with Kew Gardens, and it is up to them. They are better able than anyone else to report to the world how things are going on, what is the tendency, what are the trends. I am not satisfied with this situation.

I should like the Minister to take this away and to draft this amendment in a way which makes it absolutely certain that, within reason, the exercise of their functions is in a world context and not in the context of Britain. The way that the Bill is now drafted, that is how it could be read by somebody who wanted to read it that way.

Lord Jenkins of Putney

The noble Lord is quite right. What I said earlier related to the next amendment and not to this one. Therefore may I withdraw what I said and regard it as being said next time?

Earl Ferrers

I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Jenkins, for explaining his difficulty. I hope that it will not prevent him from saying what he said again, otherwise I may forget what he said. My noble friend Lord Craigton is always persuasive. Of course, I shall take this amendment back and look at it to see whether there are any ways in which we can meet what he wishes. However, I remind him of this fact: if we put this imposition on the trustees in making their report, the amendment means that the Bill will read: The Board shall make to the Minister a report on the exercise of their functions and the current world situation related to them". If we put that imposition on the trustees, they may well find themselves obliged to go to considerable extra work and expense in order to find out what the world situation is when they come to report on something which they have done which may have an impact or a part to play in the world situation. I would have the fear that my noble friend's words, if put into the Bill, would actually impose something on the trustees which they may not wish and which may prove to be considerably expensive. I should have thought that at present it would be better not to have those words in, but I will certainly consider what my noble friend has said.

Lord Craigton

If my noble friend is talking about extra expense, I must remind him that what we are talking about is saving the world. Man is destroying many of the living things of the world, and, if preventing that involves extra work and extra expense, of course we should be prepared to pay for it. But, in view of what he has said, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Schedule 1 agreed to

Clause 22 [The Board's general functions]:

[Amendment No. 85 not moved.]

On Question, whether Clause 22 shall stand part of the Bill?

6.11 p.m.

Lord Simon of Glaisdale

In view of the fact that the noble Lord has not moved his amendment and the noble Lord, Lord Jenkins, has already spoken to it although it has not been moved, perhaps I could raise a drafting query on this clause relating to subsection (8).

Under subsection (1)(f), the board is under a duty to afford for members of the public opportunities to enter. Under subsection (2)(c) the board may, subject to the provisions of this Act, require payment for certain things which do not include entry.

If one compares a similar provision for Clause 2, which is Section 3, one sees there that the board is given a specific power to charge for entry, and the change in terminology would certainly seem to have some legal significance; but when one turns to subsection (8) it says that the Board shall not set without the Minister's consent and the Treasury's approval, the fees charged for such entry.

The noble Earl will tell me if I am wrong, but presumably that entry is the entry referred to in subsection (1)(f) and it presupposes that fees may be charged although, significantly, this clause, unlike similar earlier clauses, does not give power to charge for entry. I wonder whether the noble Earl could help me on that?

Earl Ferrers

I will do my best to help the noble and learned Lord, although if he finds a statute or a Bill difficult to comprehend I am sure I would find it more so. The object of Clause 22 is to permit fees to be charged for entry to any property which is occupied or managed by the board. In this instance, one might readily think of Kew Gardens, where an entry fee is at present charged. On the other hand, under subsection (8) the board cannot fix a fee either for entry into Kew Gardens or possibly into any additional place there. They cannot alter that fee, or make that fee. without having the permission of the Minister, in concert with the Treasury. This means that the Minister is directly answerable to Parliament for any particular alteration in fees that there might be.

One reason for this is that, particularly in the case of Kew, it is considered to be a public park to which the public should have access. If any fees were to be charged which might be so outrageous, if subsection (8) were not included, the board of trustees would have the power to fix those fees at any level they thought right, which would be very damaging to local interests. That is the reason for that subsection, and I hope I have answered the noble and learned Lord's point.

Lord Simon of Glaisdale

It was really a drafting point, and I wonder whether the noble Earl would consider what I have said when he sees it in print to see whether the drafting ought to be adjusted?

Earl Ferrers

I shall be pleased to do that.

Viscount Simon

I wonder whether the noble and learned Lord has overlooked the last part of subsection (2)(c), which does authorise payment for entry.

Lord Simon of Glaisdale

Perhaps I have overlooked a crucial provision in that case. Which one is that?

Lord Reigate

As there appears to be an interval during which the noble and learned Lord, Lord Simon, will consider the point that has been made, perhaps I may raise the point as to whether subsection (7) and, to a certain extent, subsection (8) are really necessary. First of all, you bring forward a tremendous Bill to devolve powers to the boards. Can they really not be trusted to decide what shall be the hours of opening? Is it really something which the board of trustees are going to have to discuss with the Minister if they wish to close half an hour earlier? They are hardly likely to close the place for a whole day or anything like that. The Minister has sufficient powers not to renew their appointment, to put it mildly, if they did anything so foolish as that.

Also, regarding the hours of admission, is there not a differentiation with the other bodies we were discussing at an earlier stage, such as the Victoria and Albert and the Science Museum? The Prime Minister now has the power to appoint the trustees of the Victoria and Albert. I do not know what her views are of the closing of the museum on Friday instead of what would have been a more acceptable day to most people, such as Monday. I am really protesting, in a way. against the limitation of the trust placed in the trustees.

Lord Jenkins of Putney

It might be appropriate at this point if I were to repeat for the benefit of the Minister and to follow up what I said just now in an out-of-order way. The reason I think it necessary that subsection (8) should remain in the Bill is that, as I said just now, under the present control, the ministerial control, the entrance fee to Kew has remained for a very long time at 10 pence. I think that is still the case. That must have very considerable financial consequences, and if you lift the responsibility from the Minister and place it on the trustees the financial consequences of holding the level at 10 pence will fall upon the trustees. Therefore, since this is a ministerial action, and since it is one of the very few actions of the Minister which I approve of, I should be very sorry to see this beneficent ministerial action removed from the Minister—not through lack of confidence in the trustees, but since the financial consequences of holding the price down must necessarily fall upon the person who insists on such a holding down. It seems to me appropriate, therefore, that the power should remain in the hands of the Minister, and that one should not saddle the trustees with the consequences of a policy which one hopes they would carry out but which they may not have the financial means to carry out if the burden were shifted from the Minister and on to them.

Earl Ferrers

Perhaps I may make a few observations. I am so grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Jenkins, for having repeated what he said earlier. I was so surprised to hear him in agreement with the Government that I wanted to give him an opportunity of repeating it, because that is a great rarity. My noble friend Lord Reigate said that he objected to this because it indicated the Government's lack of trust in the trustees. I do not think he should take that view at all. Kew Gardens, in particular, is a place which local residents and other Londoners value greatly. To them, Kew is a place of rest and recreation which is second to none, and they are deeply concerned that they should continue to be able to gain access to these lovely gardens at a reasonable price. It is not a question of not having confidence in the trustees.

My noble friend may have forgotten a fact which I am quite certain my noble friend Lord Eccles has not forgotten, that when admission charges were placed on museums there was a most unholy row, and there was an unholy row in Parliament. The reason why there was an unholy row in Parliament was that Parliament had a right to make a row. If the trustees raise unduly the entrance fee on these botanic gardens, if this provision remains in the Bill, it will give the noble Lord, Lord Strabolgi, who was one of those who made the row over the museums, an opportunity of making another row over the increased charges to Kew Gardens. I am quite certain that the noble Lord, Lord Strabolgi, would be glad of the opportunity of doing that, should that misfortune come about. But that is the reason why we think it is correct to have that provision in the Bill. Therefore, I hope my noble friend Lord Reigate will agree that, on balance, it is a good thing.

Lord Strabolgi

As the noble Earl was trailing his coat, I must respond. As he said, I was very much against entrance charges to museums, but I am not against entrance charges at Kew and never have been. I think that they are essential for various reasons, because, although Kew Gardens is a public park, it is also a museum with very important and rare plants. It is also a place which has to be protected from carelessness and vandalism, and the charges are fully justified there. I also agree with my noble friend Lord Jenkins that it is better for these to be approved by the Minister, so that a balance can be held between the recreational aspect and the other side of Kew, which is so important.

Earl Ferrers

I thought that the noble Lord, Lord Strabolgi, kicked the ball into his own goal, because he said that he was against charges for museums, but he quite agrees with charges for Kew, because it is a museum. It is an interesting breadth of view.

Viscount Eccles

I cannot understand why the Minister has this faith in the Minister of Agriculture. I ask your Lordships to look at what happened to the charges at the Tower. There is no museum in the whole country where the charges have been increased more often and to a larger extent. The Labour Party increased them far more than the Conservative Government. I beg your Lordships: Put no faith in Ministers where charges are concerned.

Clause 22 agreed to.

Clauses 23 to 26 agreed to.

Clause 27 [Grants by Secretary of State]:

6.25 p.m.

Viscount Ridley moved Amendment No. 86: Page 16, line 19, at end insert ("including the Reserve Forces")

The noble Viscount said: In this part of the Bill, the Government are taking powers to grant-aid armed forces museums. I know that this is bringing such museums into line with the rest of the Bill, and such matters as the conditions of service of Civil Service employees are dealt with in Schedule 2 and so on. But I suggest that the opportunity should be taken at this point to include all armed forces museums; not only those which happen to employ civil servants, but also those which are staffed by alternative, local authority employees. That is what Amendment No. 87 seeks to do and I hope it is convenient to my noble friend if we take that with No. 86, as they hang together.

There are in Great Britain over 140 army museums, regimental or corps museums, of varying sizes, and they attract between them some 4½ million visitors in any one year. We do not need to be reminded of their value, both in the field of tourism and in maintaining the long and important magnificent military traditions of our country. About half of these museums are staffed by civil servants. No problem arises there, as they will be covered by the terms of this Bill, and the Secretary of State will have power to give them a grant if he wants to do so.

But about half of the remainder are not staffed by civil servants. They are staffed by local authority employees and are in the hands of the civic authority. I should explain that, for some time, the Ministry of Defence has given a great deal of encouragement to such museums to become part of the county council or district council museum service; to join forces and, as it were, to become part of the local authority or county museum. This is a very good thing. But, because there is no Civil Service involvement, they will, as the Bill stands today, be excluded from any possible grant from the Government.

About a quarter of the total are also to be found in territorial army centres. These are often staffed by retired officers, who, in some cases, are known to their friends as "retreads". Therefore, I am particularly anxious that the reserve forces should be written into the Bill, without any question of doubt, so that if there is to be grant aid it will not be possible to say: "We cannot make a grant to this museum, because it applies only to the armed forces." That is the purpose of Amendment No. 86. Knowing the noble Earl's distinguished Territorial Army past, I hope that he will at least feel able to support it.

Many of these museums are very small. They do not have many funds and the régiments which they commemorate may no longer exist. While they may not need immediate aid or grant for their collections, it is important that if, on some future occasion, a grant may be necessary, those museums should then be able to make an approach to the Government. This amendment would have the effect of allowing the Government to designate them and make the necessary arrangements.

It should be stressed that this is only an enabling provision. No duty of any kind will be placed on the Secretary of State to produce money. But it seems wrong that the important work which these museums do in preserving our past, particularly in regard to the material belongings of the armed forces, can be supported only if the museum employs civil servants.

I am not suggesting that the Government should start giving subsidies all over the place, but we heard the other night from the noble Lord, Lord Raglan, about the Duke of Wellington's cloak being attacked by moths. The Government should take powers to help in a matter of that kind. Therefore, I hope that the Government will look sympathetically at this problem. There is no effect on the financial provisions of the Bill. If I have spoken only about the army, it is because I know that a very distinguished ex-sailor is about to speak and, beyond him, we have amendments to deal with the air force. I beg to move.

6.29 p.m.

Lord Sandford

I rise to support my noble friend, who has spoken from a background in the army and in county councils, and to stress that the need for this amendment is every bit as great in respect of the senior service and the district councils. One has only to visualise the kind of arrangements and the flexibility which have to be provided for in respect of the navy—the County of Devon, the City of Plymouth and Devonporr. Hampshire and the City of Portsmouth; Kent, Chatham and the Medway towns—to see that the kind of flexibility which my noble friend is urging is necessary. I am very glad to see that my noble friend Lord Montagu has amendments down which cater for the Royal Air Force.

Lord Margadale

I should also like to support the amendment moved by the noble Viscount. Lord Ridley. In many cases the small museums are a great source of pride to the régiments and greatly help in recruiting for the Territorial Army. The noble Earl, Lord Avon, who is to reply knows a great deal about this, for he is a distinguished London Territorial. I hope he will give it a sympathetic hearing.

The Earl of Avon

Having left my uniforms and various other items to régimental museums, I hope that they will be looked after in the way that noble Lords say. Equally, I should like to add my tribute to all the work they do in the various régimental headquarters. To deal with Amendment No. 86 which has been moved by the noble Viscount, Lord Ridley, the term "armed forces" includes—and I emphasise this—the reserve forces. There is therefore no need to make separate mention of them. Should we do so we would have to think of mentioning all the other forces, such as the auxiliaries and the women's side of the services. By inference, incidentally, if one mentioned one force within the armed forces one would have to mention, as my noble friend will appreciate, others. May I therefore reiterate that "armed forces" does indeed include the reserve forces.

Turning to Amendment No. 87, the second amendment to which my noble friend has spoken, Clause 28 seeks to safeguard the position of the staff of armed forces museums who may transfer to direct employment with boards of trustees under the greater management autonomy envisaged in the Bill. In particular it is concerned with the position of those people working in the museums who are civil servants, of whom central Government are currently the employer and whose future position the Government, in their capacity as employer, naturally wish to protect. However, the Government have no such responsibility, and it would not be appropriate for them to assume such responsibility, for local authority employees. The Government therefore do not think it would be appropriate to include museums employing local authority staff in the ambit of this particular clause.

I have listened to what my noble friend Lord Ridley said and also to endorsement from the Navy side by my noble friend Lord Sandford. I should like to have a look at this point in order to see whether there is a solution, in the terms which my noble friend has suggested. However, I do not think that it is appropriate to this clause. I shall be in touch with the noble Lords who have spoken about this point.

Viscount Ridley

I am grateful to the noble Earl, Lord Avon, for his ecnouraging answer and for saying that he will look at the matter. I hope he has taken the points which I made. I beg leave to withdraw Amendment No. 86.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 27 agreed to.

[Amendment No. 87 not moved.]

Clause 28 agreed to.

6.34 p.m.

Lord Montagu of Beaulieu moved Amendment No. 87A: After Clause 28, insert the following new clause:

("Royal Air Force Museums.

.—(1) There shall be a body known as the Board of Trustees of the Royal Air Force Museums comprising the Museums presently known as The Royal Air Force Museum. The Cosford Aerospace Museum. The Battle of Britain Museum and The Bomber Command Museum. (2) Part II of Schedule 1 to this Act shall (with appropriate modifications) have effect with respect to the Board as it applies to the Board of Trustees of the Science Museum.").

The noble Lord said: I beg to move Amendment No. 87A and, with permission, to speak to Amendment No. 87B. These amendments are intended to probe the Government's intentions on the future of the Royal Air Force Museums now within the responsibility of the Ministry of Defence. With the rationalisation of the trustee status of the Victoria and Albert and Science Museums, it is hoped that a similar status can be evolved for the Royal Air Force Museums at Hendon. But it is not only Hendon; one also has the Cosford Aerospace Museum. In many ways, this now constitutes our National Museum of Aerospace, just as Greenwich is the National Maritime Museum.

May I remind noble Lords how these museums came into being? All the capital was raised from outside. There was no cost whatsoever to the Government. They stood free of debt when they were raised. The understanding was that they became a possession of the nation, to be run as a national museum, enjoying all the privileges and ranking pari passu with all the London-based national museums and galleries. But I have a feeling that this bargain has not been totally observed.

After the Royal Air Force Museum opened, an exhibition hall was opened with money raised from outside, and an admission charge was made. Then came the Battle of Britain Museum. Again money was raised from outside and an admission charge was made. Now a truly vast new Bomber Command Museum is rushing towards completion at Hendon. Again there will be an admission charge. So we are faced with the stupidity of having the vast main museum open free, any exhibition put on in the first extension open to the public being on a paying basis, with the income going to the Ministry, the Battle of Britain Museum charging and the Bomber Command Museum charging, all on the same site. One can imagine the legal, fiscal and administrative problems involved in having three charitable deeds of trust and three sets of trustees. It is tremendously time-wasting, to put it mildly. Some kind of devolution and rationalisation surely must be sensible.

I realise that the amendment is defective since it makes the Bill hybrid. Obviously, therefore, one cannot proceed with it. Nevertheless, I hope that thought will be given to the matter. I know that all the trustees of the Royal Air Force Museum would like to be devolved to a trustee status, perhaps under the Department of Education and Science. Having lost their two museums recently, perhaps the Department of Education and Science would be prepared to accept a new one. It might be some compensation for them. Since we are introducing legislation on museums, I feel that we ought not to waste the opportunity to rationalise this very great museum. It is high time that the present extremely unsatisfactory situation was sorted out. I beg to move.

The Earl of Avon

I appreciate that in tabling these amendments my noble friend has at heart the best interests of the Royal Air Force Museum and the other museums which he mentioned. May I stress, first, that unlike the Science Museum which the noble Lord cited, the Royal Air Force museum, for which this Bill seeks to provide, already have their own boards. The Royal Air Force Museum already has a properly constituted board of trustees. Similarly the Battle of Britain and the Bomber Command Museums have their own boards of trustees. Only the Aerospace Museum at Cosford does not currently have its own board but is run by the board of trustees of the Royal Air Force Museum under a management agreement between the Secretary of State for Defence and the trustees. Although linked to the Royal Air Force Museum by this agreement, the Aerospace Museum is therefore separate. Thus, there are distinct differences in the identities, status and constitution of the four museums which it is proposed should be governed by a new board of trustees.

There are also differences in the way these museums are funded and the extent to which public money is committed to them. The staff of the Royal Air Force Museum are civil servants. I am sure that the Committee will remember that at Second Reading I said that this was one of the museums we were thinking of designating. These civil servants are employed by the Ministry of Defence, and under the provisions contained in the Bill were transferred to direct employment by the board of trustees. Additionally the museum receives a grant in aid from the Ministry of Defence for the purchase and upkeep of the exhibits. The Battle of Britain and Bomber Command Museums, on the other hand, are private trustee bodies and receive, as far as I know, no support from the Ministry of Defence.

Given the different nature of the museums in question and having regard to the fact that three of them have existing boards of trustees responsible for their operation, the Government believe that it would not be appropriate for this Bill to seek to impose upon them the amalgamation of their museums under a single board. I would suggest that it is up to the trustees themselves to negotiate these amalgams and to seek the approval of, probably, the Charity Commissioners.

My noble friend also mentioned the idea of the Department of Education and Science taking over the museum. The correct path would be for the trustees of the Royal Air Force Museum to approach the Ministry of Defence and then to see their way forward from there. I understand that in principle we can see no particular difficulty about it. With that reassurance, I hope my noble friend will feel able to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Montagu of Beaulieu

The noble Earl's statement was very interesting and useful. I am sure that the trustees will read his remarks with great interest. However, the complication which he has described is a very good reason for doing something about it. Having heard what has been said, perhaps the trustees will now take some action to resolve the matter. There can be no doubt that it is a complicated and unsatisfactory situation for one of our really important museums. Otherwise, I withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 87B not moved.]

Schedule 2 [Armed forces museums]:

Baroness Birk moved Amendment No. 88: Page 29, line 37, at end insert—


.—(1) There shall be a Director of each designated institution who shall be appointed by the governing body of that designated institution with the approval of the Prime Minister. (2) The Director shall be responsible to the governing body for the general exercise of the governing body's functions. (3) The governing body may appoint such other employees as the governing body think fit. (4) The governing body shall pay to their employees such remuneration and allowances on such other terms and conditions as the governing body may determine provided that the remuneration and allowances, terms and conditions are taken as a whole not less favourable than those applying to the Civil Service. (5) A determination under sub-paragraph (4) is ineffective unless made with the approval of the Minister given with the Treasury's consent. (6) Employment with the governing body of a designated institution will be included among the kinds of employment to which a scheme under section 1 of the Superannuation Act 1972 can apply, and accordingly Schedule 1 to that Act (in which those kinds of employment are listed) will be construed as if it included a reference to a designated institution. (7) It shall be the duty of the governing body, except so far as it is satisfied that adequate machinery exists for achieving the purpose of this paragraph to seek consultation with the recognised trade unions representing the staff with a view to the conclusion between the governing body and those organisations such agreements as appear to the parties to be desirable with respect to the establishment and maintenance of machinery for—

  1. (a) the settlement by negotiation of terms and conditions of employment of employees of the governing body with provision for reference to arbitration in default of such a settlement in such cases as may be determined by or under the agreements;
  2. (b) the promotion and encouragement of measures affecting the safety, health and welfare of employees of the governing body and the discussion of other matters of mutual interest to the governing body and its employees including efficiency in the performance of the governing body's functions.")

The noble Baroness said: This is a long amendment but the explanation is very short. The Bill does not make the same provisions for armed forces museums as for the V and A under Schedule 1, Part I, 4. We feel that there is no reason for a different approach and, consequently, this amendment seeks to bring the provisions into line with those of other museums. I beg to move.

The Earl of Avon

As I said before, there is an essential difference between the armed forces museums which are likely to be affected by this Bill and the other museums to which it applies, in that the armed forces museums are already governed by properly constituted boards of trustees. It is necessary to consider to what extent the Bill should impose conditions on the way in which the trustees carry out their functions. Schedule 2 as it stands is intended to set out the safeguards which, quite rightly, should be provided for the staff of museums who are currently Ministry of Defence civil servants and who may in due course become employees of their respective boards of trustees. It is intended thereby to ensure that their position, particularly with regard to their pension arrangements, is not worsened by such a transfer.

Having said this, the Government realise that the staffs of museums are naturally concerned about the circumstances of their possible future employment. That is why discussions have begun between the Ministry of Defence and the appropriate Civil Service trade unions. It is hoped that these discussions will reasssure staff on these and other matters.

Perhaps I may now comment on specific parts of this amendment. Sub-paragraphs (1) and (2) of the amendment provide for the appointment of a director of the designated armed forces museums. It is the Government's view that this is a matter for the boards of trustees to decide according to the management needs of their particular institution and is not one that it would be appropriate to impose on trustees. With regard to sub-paragraph (3) the boards of trustees already have the power to employ or appoint staff. Sub-paragraphs (4) and (5) are also contained in amendments to earlier clauses which we have already discussed. Having regard to the fact that there are established boards of trustees, the Government consider that it would not be appropriate to impose such conditions on the terms of employment of their staff. I have pointed already to the safeguards which the Bill provides for existing staff during transition to direct employment by the museums.

Sub-paragraph (6) is already written into the Bill in paragraph 3 of Schedule 2. Sub-paragraph (7) is similar to provisions which the noble Baroness has proposed for the other museums and, as I have already indicated, discussions are being held with the appropriate trade unions on aspects of direct employment. Ultimately, it is for the board of trustees to determine how such matters should operate. I have given the noble Baroness a very full reply so that there will be on record the various points we have to make. With those assurances, I hope that the noble Baroness will feel able to withdraw her amendment.

Baroness Birk

I would like to thank the noble Earl for that very full reply, which will be of great interest to me when I read it again and also to the civil servants involved. I am delighted to hear that consultations are continuing, and hope that something will be sorted out before Report stage. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 89 and 90 not moved.]

Schedule 2 agreed to.

Clause 29 [Establishment of Commission]:

6.45 p.m.

Lord Craigton moved Amendment No. 91: Page 17, line 3, leave out ("Commission for Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings for England") and insert ("Heritage Conservancy Council").

The noble Lord said: The CFAMAHBFE is really too long and it does not flow easily from the tongue. For notice boards, literature and cheques, el cetera, it would be a disaster. What is wanted is a statement to the public in which the commission's concern and interest in the heritage of Britain is conveyed as clearly as possible. If it is right to combine the old-established Ancient Monuments Board established in 1913 and the post-war Historic Buildings Council—established, I believe, in 1952—it is right to give the body a new name. I cannot believe that anyone wants to perpetuate the CFAMAHBFE.

I am attracted to the amendment of the noble Baroness, Lady Birk, as my suggested title does not include the word "England". To that extent I prefer the suggestion of the noble Baroness for the "Heritage Commission for England"—the HCE. That is very good indeed. However, I do not like the active wording of her amendment, because it includes the words, "also known as". This means that in official documents, notices, et cetera, one may still find the CFAMAHBFE, to which would be added, "also known as". I hope that your Lordships will agree to call the body "The Heritage Commission for England" without qualification, and have done with it. If the noble Baroness will agree to that, I should have much pleasure in withdrawing my amendment.

Baroness Birk

I thank the noble Lord, Lord Craigton, for the opening he has given me for my amendment. The reason I did not entirely like his amendment was because it seemed to give a different nuance to the word "conservancy", and also we have the Nature Conservancy Council. I very much take his point about the clumsiness of the nomenclature at the moment, but it seemed to me that it did explain the nature of the Commission for Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings for England—that it is, in fact, the merging together of these two bodies. I felt that ought to be extant for the time being—what happens in the future, I do not know.

It seemed correct to use that as the Long Title or official title, and then to insert wording to the effect that it may also be known as the Heritage Commission for England. I assumed that it would be immediately referred to as the HCE but, nevertheless, one would have on official documents, in the statute and in any explanatory notes and guidelines (and I believe we will need a great many of those before we get to the end of Schedule 4), a title that would make it clear of what the commission comprises. It does cover these two commissions. I did not assume that the Long Title would be used in conversation or as a term of reference; but gradually, as the "Heritage Commission for England"—and I hope that will be acceptable to the Government as well—becomes known as the accepted title, the other title will become obsolete or lose its use.

Lord Craigton

Before the noble Baroness comes to a decision, does she realise that she will be retaining the longer name which we do not like—and that all documents, cheques and notices will not be legal unless they use the long name?

Baroness Birk

Perhaps someone could give some assistance in the drafting here so that we may find an alternative to the words "also known as". I consider that we should not at this stage wipe out the "Commission for Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings for England", because it is in the Bill and is what the Bill is all about. Incidentally, in choosing the HCE, I was trying to find something that did not conflict with the National Memorial Trust, which is very important as well. I am sure other noble Lords, or perhaps the noble Earl, can come forward with other ideas which may solve this point.

Lord Montagu of Beaulieu

There is no doubt that the present name in the Bill is a terrible mouthful, and I am sure something simpler is essential. It is unfortunate in some ways that we are using that rather overworked word "heritage", but I am afraid it is very difficult to find anything else and the public at large does begin to know what it means. I very much hope that the Government will consider some shorter title, and if the drafting is wrong perhaps it can be put right at Report stage. I do hope something simpler will be found than the title in the Bill at the moment.

Lord Reigate

My sympathy is entirely with my noble friend Lord Craigton on this. I have never seen or heard of such an appalling mouthful as originally proposed in the Bill. Think of a telephone operator answering the telephone. It is an appalling thought; the number would be permanently engaged. Nevertheless, I cannot say that I like either his solution or the noble Baroness's solution, which I think is slightly better than his. I do so agree with the noble Lord, Lord Montagu, that the word "heritage" has not been part of our vocabulary for very long. I think one day someone will write a very learned thesis for a doctorate on the origin of the word "heritage" and when it first came into use. I think I am right in saying that it first came into some use at the time of Mentmore, which was five years ago; up till then it had been used merely as an abstract metaphor, so to speak.

When I introduced a Bill to hand over the National Land Fund to trustees the word "heritage" was used in debate, but there was no question of putting it into the Bill. A year later, after the Select Committee in the Commons had reported in favour of it, and had introduced the term "Heritage Fund", it came into common currency. I feel it is extraordinary that the brains of the whole of your Lordships' House, let alone the public outside, cannot think of a name which is simple and yet does not repeat the cliche and cause the confusion that the title of the noble Baroness, Lady Birk, might cause.

Viscount Simon

I entirely agree that this very awkward name should be got rid of, but I have doubts about either of the other two names suggested. As the noble Lord, Lord Reigate, said, the heritage is a comparatively new idea; it certainly includes many things besides ancient monuments and historic buildings; it includes pictures and things which belong to the state or are associated with the state. I would have thought "heritage" is really too wide a term to use in the description of this body which is being set up.

The Earl of Avon

I am glad that the noble Viscount, Lord Simon, has finally underlined the difficulties of choosing a new name for this body. It is not an easy thing to decide and it always will give rise to a good deal of debate.

As noble Lords will be aware, the decision document on the proposed new agency specifically asked for ideas for a title. The number of suggestions was less than we expected and quite often it seemed easier to criticise new ideas than to think of ideas oneself. I think the noble Baroness, Lady Birk, has really underlined the difficulty, which is the need to keep most of these words there; as you cross them off you get into problems. It is a tricky business, especially when there are other bodies to take into account. Noble Lords have mentioned the National Heritage Memorial Fund. The latter is perhaps difficult, especially as this Bill also testifies that "heritage" covers a rather wider field than the new commission. It is for that reason that the Government have sought to avoid it, while recognising its merits as a well known short word which is descriptive of the field.

While the Government are not rigidly tied to the title of the commission as given in the Bill, they do not consider, with all due respect to my noble friend, and I believe the Council for British Archaeology, whom I seem to recall from his speech on Second Reading supported this title, that the alternative put forward in his amendment is all that much of an improvement. I feel that giving it the shorthand title the Heritage Commission for England is probably more helpful. I have listened with great attention to the ideas and points that have arisen in debate and I will take them back for consideration. Perhaps we can have another look at this at Report stage, along with other suggestions, when we see which way the Committee is feeling.

Baroness Birk

Before we withdraw our amendments, may I ask the Minister this question. This does not solve the problem of finding a different title. Could Clause 29(1) be along the lines: "There shall be a body comprising the Ancient Monuments Board and the Historic Buildings Council for England, known as …" then either the Heritage Commission for England or something different? I think we should all think about this, and perhaps the noble Earl would get the brains of his department to look at it again.

I must say in answer to the noble Viscount, Lord Simon, that if we are going to be particular to that extent, particularly over the word "heritage", we are never going to find a shorter title. The noble Lord, Lord Reigate, is absolutely right in saying that you cannot really answer the 'phone with those initials. What will happen is that some bowdlerised shortening will arise and come to be used instead of something which we think fits. I do not think anything we decide will be perfect, but we have to find the best solution we can.

Lord Denham

It is always difficult to work out exactly the right place to stop. I think possibly we might stop here for the dinner adjournment rather than going on to the next amendment.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees

Is the amendment withdrawn?

Lord Craigton

I withdrew my amendment, but I will withdraw it again.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 91A not moved.]

Lord Denham

I was out of order and I do apologise to the Committee. As it is nearly seven o'clock, I think this is probably a suitable moment to take the dinner adjournment. Before I move that the House be resumed perhaps I might intimate to your Lordships that we will come back to the Committee stage of this Bill, if the intervening business is over, at 8 o'clock.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees

The Question is. That the House be now resumed?

Moved, That the House be now resumed.—[Lord Denham.]

Lord Houghton of Sowerby

I am advised that it is in order for me to make a comment and a suggestion on this Motion. I do so because immediately after this Motion two items of business will be taken during the break for supper, and I raise particularly a matter on the first of those two, which is the Commonwealth Development Corporation Bill. It has been the practice in this House ever since I came here, and long before that, for non-contentious business to be taken as desired during the supper breaks in a long Committee stage of a Bill. But I think care has to be taken, if I may say so respectfully, not to include items to be taken under these conditions upon which noble Lords would otherwise wish to have a modest time for debate.

The Commonwealth Development Corporation Bill occupied another place for quite some time and although it deals mostly with finance and giving additional borrowing powers to the corporation, matters can be raised relating to the work of the corporation and the use of the moneys to be permitted to it. So there has been a little difficulty this evening about this Bill. I myself desired to take part in the debate upon it and other noble Lords wished to do so, but when we were reminded that the Bill would be taken, along with another item, during the supper break, naturally constraints weighed heavily upon us. I, at least, have not felt free to develop matters that I would otherwise have done.

May I plead with the noble Lord the Chief Whip to take special care to include only non-contentious business, really matters which the usual channels will usually agree on as of minimal importance, and not include in this procedure matters upon which some noble Lords may feel rather strongly. I hope I may be permitted to make that suggestion and so avoid this particular difficulty in future.

Lord Denham

I should hate to be a constraint lying heavily on the noble Lord, Lord Houghton of Sowerby, but business is, of course, arranged through the usual channels, and the way it is done agreed. It has been a fairly longstanding custom during the Committee stage of a long Bill such as this to take business which is broadly non-contentious during the dinner hour. The fact that it has become a custom does not necessarily mean that we should always do it. Obviously we must look at our procedure from time to time and see whether we have it right.

I suggest this is a matter which ought to be discussed through the usual channels, and I will certainly discuss the suggestion of the noble Lord, Lord Houghton, through those channels; and if he has a word with his Whip's office, and any other noble Lord who may feel strongly has a word with theirs, we can discuss the best way to proceed.

I hope that with the assurance that we will look at this question, but without commitment, the noble Lord will feel that he has made his point.

Baroness David

I am very glad that the Chief Whip has spoken in this way and that he is willing to look at this question again, because we have a certain sympathy with my noble friend Lord Houghton of Sowerby. Obviously we shall leave the subject now, but it can be discussed further on another occasion.

On Question. Motion agreed to. and House resumed accordingly.