HL Deb 27 February 1984 vol 448 cc1111-43

Consideration of amendments on Report resumed.

Clause 10 [Programmes other than advertisements]:

Lord Aylestone moved Amendment No. 23:

Page 9, line 26, leave out paragraph (b) and insert— ("(b) after consultation with the BBC and IBA the rules to be observed in regard to the inclusion in programmes of appeals for donations for charitable and benevolent purposes;").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, Clause 10 requires the Cable Authority to draw up a code on rules concerning appeals for donations—presumably, benevolent and charitable donations. The BBC and IBA each year receive many hundreds, if not thousands, of similar requests for time to make charitable and benevolent appeals. But time is limited and they have found through joint experience that it is better to set up some form of machinery to deal with such requests rather than endeavour to deal with them in piecemeal fashion.

Some of the appeals are quite local, some are national, and some may be regarded as national emergencies—such as if there is an earthquake abroad somewhere for which there is a general appeal in this country. The latter are the least difficult to deal with. But, for the hundreds of requests that are received each year, the BBC and IBA have felt it wise to set up a joint appeals advisory committee, which receives applications for air time, considers them, keeps records of applications in case the same people appeal too frequently, and generally does the work of deciding which of the appeals may be made and on what dates they can be broadcast.

The joint advisory committee therefore vets the appeals. It reads them through and examines them to decide which are the more important—although no doubt they are all important. The joint advisory committee also keeps the important records so that it may advise the broadcasting authorities which appeals may be used—in fact, it allocates the appeals.

My amendment simply suggests that, after consultation with the BBC and IBA, the rules to be observed in regard to the inclusion in programmes should be the rules set down by the BBC and the IBA. I beg to move.

Lord Ardwick

My Lords, I had not the swiftness of foot to get here until a moment after the House resumed, but I have great confidence in the wisdom and experience of the noble Lord, Lord Aylestone, and wish to support him in this amendment.

Lord Elton

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Aylestone, for drawing our attention to a provision which was not, I believe, discussed at Committee stage. The noble Lord's amendment seeks to preserve the substance of what is now in the Bill but to add two qualifications. Before I come to what he proposes, it may be helpful if I briefly explain why we included Clause 10(1)(b) in the Bill in the first place.

In general, it has been the Government's aim to impose as few restrictions as possible on cable programmes but Clauses 9 and 10 deal with those matters on which, in the interests of the viewer, it seemed necessary to us to have some minimum safeguards. So far as appeals for donations were concerned, we were guided by two considerations. Whereas, under Section 4(5) of the Broadcasting Act, the IBA have to give prior approval for any publicity to the needs or objects of an organisation conducted -for charitable and benevolent purposes" (words which the noble Lord has used in his amendment) we did not think it was appropriate to impose a similar requirement for cable. At the same time we were aware of the way in which cable is used in the United States to solicit money from viewers for various purposes. There is a self-evident need for a measure of consumer protection in this area so that people do not find themselves duped or manipulated by unscrupulous groups.

As a result, we have deliberately cast Clause 10(1)(b) rather wide so that the authority can deal with any problems that might arise. I am sure that the authority will want to keep itself informed generally about the way in which the BBC and IBA carry out their responsibilities in the areas covered by Clauses 9 and 10, but I do not believe that the amendment is right to suggest that the issue of donations needs to be singled out as the only one for which there needs to be a specific obligation for consultation. With public service broadcasting, one of the main problems is of rationing out the very limited time available among a large number of intrinsically worthy causes. In the case of cable the difficulties may well be rather different. Many channels will probably carry no appeals. On access channels it is possible to imagine that there would be little other than appeals unless the authority drew up some guidelines. We do not believe therefore that a formal consultation requirement is entirely appropriate.

The noble Lord's amendment would also restrict the appeals which will be covered in the rules to those for charitable and benevolent purposes. In practice, many appeals would no doubt fall into that category but, again to refer to the United States, it appears that there, all sorts of people try to raise money over cable—including some who merely wish to be able to continue making local programmes and rely on gifts for their support. It seems to us that consumer protection problems might arise just as easily where the appeals are not for charitable or benevolent purposes. Then again, we can probably all think of pseudo-religious groups which are not registered as charities and whose purpose, on any objective basis, is far from benevolent. Our view, therefore, is that the clause as it is will give the Cable Authority more power to deal with real abuses, and on that basis I hope that the noble Lord will on reflection feel that we are providing more appropriate and wider protection than he proposes.

Lord Aylestone

My Lords. I am satisfied that the Cable Authority may if they so wish consult the BBC and IBA joint panel and be guided by its views. As far as the other matters outside the charitable and benevolent areas are concerned, they are beyond the purview of the BBC or the IBA. Upon reflection, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Mishcon moved Amendment No. 24: After Clause 10, insert the following new clause:

("Prizes and gifts.

.—(1) The Authority shall do all that they can to secure that nothing is included in any programme included in a licensed diffusion service, whether in an advertisement or not, which offers any prize of significant value (whether competed for or not) or any gift of significant value, being a prize or gift which is available only to persons subscribing to the service which includes that programme or in relation to which any advantage is given to such persons.

(2) Without prejudice to subsection (1) above the Authority shall do all that they can to secure that a programme (other than an advertisement) included in a licensed diffusion service—

  1. (a) shall not include anything which offers any prize of significant value (whether competed for or not) or any gift of significant value unless—
    1. (i) the value of the prize or gift does not exceed an amount previously approved by the Authority for that prize or gill in relation to that programme, and
    2. (ii) the aggregate value of all such prizes and gifts offered in the programme does not exceed an amount previously approved by the Authority for that programme; and
  2. (b) shall not include anything which offers any prize or gift of significant value in connection with a game, competition or test of any kind unless the rules governing the conduct of the game, competition or test have been previously approved by the Authority.

(3) Subsections (1) and (2) above shall not be taken to apply to a programme by reason only that in it there is broadcast a sporting or other event or competition not organised for the purposes of the programme.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I wonder whether the House will recollect the very short debate on what was then Amendment No. 47 at Committee stage. It does seem rather thoughtless of me to repeat all the arguments that I then advanced. I think I may summarise them by saying that independent television is subject to this condition in regard to advertising and it was thought only proper that precisely the same provision should be there in regard to advertising on cable.

The noble Lord, Lord Mottistone, intervened in that debate, I remember so well, to say that he felt there need not be precisely the same standards laid down for independent television and cable. There appeared to be no strong objection from the Government side to coincide with that. Indeed, I should have thought from the reply given by the noble Lord, Lord Elton, on that occasion that the Government were apprised of the problem in regard to the unfairness of advertising which included these prizes and of programmes which included these prizes. In Committee he ended by saying: Nonetheless, the issue raised by the noble Lord in this amendment is still of interest, still important, and still of concern to the Government. When the Government came to draft the Bill this was in fact a specific issue that came under careful consideration. The conclusion they came to as a result of their consideration was rather different from that of the noble Lord moving this amendment". I then made an observation which I am not quite sure I would wish to be interpreted in the way that it might be. My reply was: That gives me confidence."—[Official Report, 26/1/84; col. 384]. I believe that I was trying to say not that the fact the Government had come to an opposite conclusion to mine gave me confidence but that the Government had this matter under consideration and were continuing to do so. What was then said was that the proposal in this amendment would be left where the discussion had taken it in Committee. The way in which the Minister was left was that he in his kindness would consider the matters that had been discussed in Committee and see where he could assist with his advice when we came to Report. I feel that this is a very sensible and proper clause to be in the Bill. I hope that the Minister will on consideration find it possible to agree to the amendment. I beg to move.

8.12 p.m.

Lord Airedale

My Lords, the amendment says: whether in an advertisement or not". Surely the trouble with quiz programmes with prizes is that the questions have to be very elementary for the benefit of the contestants, but the prizes have to be very large to interest the audience. Therefore, one gets someone being asked, "Who is the Prime Minister?" but they look quite blank and are told, "We will give you a clue. It is someone whose name begins with T". The contestant says, "Of course!" and finds he has won a grand piano. Anything that gets rid of programmes of that degree of absurdity must be good.

Lord Elton

My Lords, as the noble Lord, Lord Mishcon, said, we are returning here to a point which we discussed in Committee when considering an identical amendment based on Section 4(4) and (7) of the Broadcasting Act 1981. The noble Lord's argument then and now—if I can summarise it fairly—is that if Parliament thought that it was right to impose these restrictions on independent broadcasting then it must also be right to do the same for cable, otherwise there might not he fair and proper competition between the two media. We accept that in a very limited number of cases it is desirable to impose certain restrictions on cable, not because they are intrinsically necessary but in order to ensure fair treatment as between the broadcasters and the cable companies. That is why we think that some limitation is needed, though only in the case of certain channels, on the amount of advertising that cable can take. It is also part of the argument for restricting the use of pay per view.

But—and here I begin to nibble at the confidence which the noble Lord sprang to in Committee—if we were to go too far down this road we should soon find that cable was subject to exactly the same rules as the broadcasters in all respects. It would become simply another branch of public service broadcasting. That however is not what the Government are trying to achieve. We had to ask ourselves why the existing restrictions appeared in the Broadcasting Act and it seemed to us that there were two main reasons. As regards offering prizes or gifts to the viewer in programmes or advertisements the main reason seemed to be to prevent unfair competition with the BBC and we came to the conclusion that although that was a reasonable consideration as between the two parts of public service broadcasting, it was not really relevant as between cable and the broadcasters. We have already provided safeguards on certain key points but this did not seem to qualify as one of them.

As regards prizes to contestants or participants in the programmes—here we have the somewhat vacuous face on the person conjured up for us by the noble Lord, Lord Airedale, illuminated with a flash of inspiration after heavy hinting; the kind of hinting which I never seem to get in an emergency in your Lordships' House—the argument seemed to be more about the quality of the service and the risk that too many quiz shows would mean lower standards. Unlike public service broadcasting, however, cable will not be subject to positive obligations to secure particular standards, provided of course it does not show what is unacceptable.

Our conclusion, therefore—and I am afraid that the noble Lord has not led me away from it—was that these provisions were unnecessary. The one area where safeguards might be needed would be where the offering of gifts or prizes involved some dishonest or misleading practice. In that case the consumer ought to be protected and the Cable Authority's code of guidance on programme standards under Clause 10(1) and its separate code of advertising under Clause 11 are the obvious place for including the necessary safeguards. What needs to be done can be done and what the noble Lord's amendment would do in addition seems to be unnecessary and therefore not desirable.

Lord Mishcon

My Lords, I cannot pretend to be elated by the reply from the noble Lord the Minister. One of the anxieties that most of us have is that by unfair means the people who are supplying the cable programmes will be able to obtain an unfair advantage over independent television. Independent television is subjected to this very clause in spite of the fact that there is a code on advertising which has been agreed between the various parties. Advertisers will know that if they go to independent television they will be unable to do what they want to do by way of proffering prizes in order to induce people to buy goods. So the chances are that they will go to cable instead of to independent television. I look immediately at the noble Lord, Lord Hill of Luton, if he will forgive a glance from the Dispatch Box, and I am immediately reminded of his warning that if we are not very careful we will not just be depreciating standards in cable television but depreciating standards in the two great existing BBC and independent television authorities. Therefore, independent television, through lack of money, may either have inferior programmes as a result or may have to resort to other methods of inducing viewers and advertising back.

I was disappointed. If the Minister had said, "Well, we have considered this and we are going to see without any doubt at all that this provision will be in the advertising code" I could have understood that reply. But there is no such undertaking and no such assurance. Instead, advertisers will be tempted, presumably, to advertising on cable instead of independent television, with the worry that the noble Lord. Lord Hill of Luton, said was very much in everyone's mind.

Turning to what the noble Lord, Lord Airedale, said, again one has the completely unfair competition that may exist as a result of people being induced to watch cable television and participate in it by virtue of the glamorous prizes that are offered to very non-glamorous people whose intellects are similarly non-glamorous. The instance that the noble Lord gave was very affecting. It was of somebody being given hints as to who at this moment the Prime Minister was. Anybody who did not know that must be mentally backward in view of the extreme amount of publicity which I understand she has had since she took office.

The serious point is the one that I tried to make—the basis of unfair competition. Can the noble Lord at least give an assurance that in any advertisement code that is drawn up there will be a recommendation from the Government that this provision should appear? If they merely said that they would give that recommendation, I should withdraw the amendment. The Minister's recommendation to anyone drawing up that code would have the weight that it deserves to have. Without that assurance, we should be very discontented.

Lord Elton

My Lords, having encouraged the noble Lord to be confident to no purpose, I only wish that I could encourage him to be contented. But in fact the Government do not draw up the code and it is not for me in this House to dictate what should be in it. I am afraid that the noble Lord asks me for something which I am not able to give him—even after dinner when, as he recognises, I am usually in a benign mood.

Lord Mishcon

My Lords, in those circumstances, and looking at the number in your Lordships' House, it would be quite wrong for me to attempt to divide the House in order to test an opinion. I reserve my right to deal with the matter at a later stage of the Bill, however much I regret having to carry amendments over to Third Reading. But, in the circumstances, I must ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 11 [Advertisements]:

8.21 p.m.

Lord Mottistone moved Amendment No. 25: Page 10, line 15, after ("IBA") insert ("and such other persons and bodies as in the opinion of the Authority have relevant experience in the regulation of advertising standards").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in the Committee stage at this point in the Bill, in order to make the consultation rather wider, we sought to remove the IBA as a specific body that had to be consulted. The Government argued that the IBA was a body with statutory duty to draw up a code, and, because common advertising standards should apply, it had to be there. However, there are other advertising features which will appear. In particular there is classified advertising, which will not be relevant to the IBA.

I believe that it is important that the Cable Authority should consult widely with other interested bodies: for example, non-statutory self-regulating bodies with interests in advertising, such as the Advertising Standards Authority, trade associations with the advertising industry, such as the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising and the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers, the Institute of Marketing, and, I have no doubt, many other relevant bodies, depending on the nature of the advertisement. Although the Cable Authority is not precluded by the Bill from such additional consultation, I believe that it is important that these non-statutory self-regulating bodies should within the Bill be given notification, as it were: hence the reason for the amendment.

There is another factor. I am told that at present in independent television it is certainly true that the IBA makes the overall rules but the actual administration of the advertising control system, and therefore a great deal of the power, is in the hands of the Independent Television Companies Association, which of course is a commercial organization, in that it is responsive to commercial companies and is of the same nature as the other bodies I have referred to. When the IBA makes its contribution in this area, it will be advised by that body. Therefore, it would seem reasonable that an amendment on the lines of this one should be included to make sure that the consultation goes wider than just the IBA, and that it is positive and not just permissive that it should go wider. I beg to move.

Lord Campbell of Alloway

My Lords, may I take this opportunity to thank my noble friend Lady Trumpington for her courteous and most informative reply, which was received on 20th February, in answer to my request for clarification on certain aspects of Clause 11 which relate to this amendment?

For the sake of the record, may I ask my noble friend the Minister to clarify four points as to the intentions of Her Majesty's Government? The first is the nature and extent of consultation envisaged in the drawing up of this code. The second is the nature and extent of the proposals envisaged as regards vetting. The third is the nature and extent of the proposals envisaged as regards self-regulation, having particular regard, first, to classified advertisements and static slides; secondly, to sales information and magazine programmes; and, thirdly, to sponsorship. Lastly, may I ask my noble friend the extent to which the sales arrangement will be competitive and free from ITV monopolies?

The Duke of Portland

My Lords, it seems to me that it would be a mistake not to give encouragement to the IBA to seek opinions from those in the advertising trade. If those who are the principal sources of money for the cable companies are not consulted, there will be considerable friction. They will feel left out and rancorous. Our amendment would encourage—and not much more than encourage—the IBA to seek the opinions of the advertising trade, and it would be a mistake not to do that. I venture strongly to support this amendment.

Lord Elton

My Lords, I am obliged to my noble friends for the courteous and patient way in which they have explained their amendment. May I perhaps start by responding to my noble friend Lord Campbell of Alloway. How nice it is from time to time to hear a good letter acknowledged. I am grateful to him for that. His first question was about the nature and extent of the consultation envisaged before drawing up the advertising code. We expect the authority to consult a number of bodies involved with standards in advertising before it draws up the code. The reasons why Clause 11(1) singles out the IBA—and there is a matching duty on the IBA to consult the Cable Authority on the IBA's code in future by virtue of paragraph 38 of Schedule 3—are, first, that we expect that the two codes will share a common core, because we think it right that there should be similar standards for advertisements appearing on the same screen, except where differences are clearly justifiable because of the intrinsic differences between cable and broadcasting. My noble friend Lord Campbell of Alloway may recognise a certain familiarity in some of these phrases.

Clause 11(5) of the Bill provides for the IBA's existing statutory advisory committee to advise the Cable Authority in future, and I shall return to that in a moment. Like the Act, the Bill does not set out a recommendation for copy clearance of advertisements. Given that the two codes are to share a common core, it would be desirable for there to be some degree of co-operation in the area of copy clearance, but it will be for the Cable Authority to set out the rules once it is in existence. In other words, there I have to tell my noble friend that I cannot as yet be precise.

Under the existing IBA machinery, advertisements intended for general reception are pre-vetted centrally by the ITCA, acting for the IBA, while local advertisements are largely cleared locally by the individual television or radio company, referring to the ITCA or the IBA in case of doubt. Some system of advance copy clearance is in everyone's interest because it is much easier to make any necessary adjustments before companies have gone to the expense of recording an advertisement which then has to be changed.

We envisaged in the White Paper that the IBA system of copy control would be extended to embrace cable and that central pre-vetting would be required for advertisements intended for distribution on a number of cable systems, while local advertisements would be cleared locally. But it is clearly for the new authority to decide on the details of the copy clearance procedures which it wishes to be followed for cable.

The Cable Authority's control over advertisements will extend only to those included in licensed services. This means that advertisements included in services which do not require to be licensed, such as cable text services—that is to say, cable services which are analogous to printed publications rather than to broadcasting—will not be controlled by the authority.

The Government have taken the view that in the case of services which are not licensable it should be for the relevant interest to decide what self-regulatory arrangements might apply; in particular, whether there might be a role for the Advertising Standards Authority. All advertisements included in licensed services will, however, fall to be controlled by the authority's code, including magazine programmes and sales information where this is presented in the form of moving pictures rather than text. Clause 11(1) specifically requires the authority to include in its code guidance on the sponsoring of programmes, and this is certainly not an area where we should think it right for self-regulation to apply, given the sensitive issues involved, such as the separation of advertisements from editorial matter. We entirely accept, however, that cable will open up possibilities for some new forms of advertising and of sponsorship which have not been appropriate for independent broadcasting.

The sales arrangements for advertisements on cable will be entitrely for the cable companies, or for programme providers if they are providing advertising finance services, to determine. There is no question of ITV having any vested rights in relation to the sale of advertising time on cable.

We covered much of this ground in Committee and I hope that at that stage I made clear two points. The Government had two reasons for singling out the IBA as the body with which the Cable Authority would be bound to consult among any others that it might consult by choice. The first of the reasons relates to the intention to maintain a common core between the IBA and the authority's codes, and I have already touched on that in answer to my noble friend. I am sure that my other noble friend will not forget the point that I made in Committee that there is no other body than the IBA which is actually required by statute to draw up an advertising code. So I think that I made those points clear. It would be absurd to apply different standards to the purveyors of advertisements over these closely similar media—sometimes appearing on the same screen—and, equally, it would obviously not be absurd to apply the requirement to this unique pair of authorities which alone share the duty that they shall consult one another.

The noble Lords who have moved the amendment would now like to place upon the Cable Authority a duty to consult not only the IBA, but also persons or bodies unspecified who are concerned in some way with advertising standards. There is of course a difficulty in a requirement to consult certain bodies when those bodies are not formally named, but I should not want to make much of that point.

There is also an odd element of asymmetry in what my noble friends propose, because the duty of the authority to consult the IBA is a reciprocal one. It is matched by a duty upon the IBA under paragraph 37(2) of Schedule 3 to consult the authority when reviewing its own code, as I have said. Under the amendment, the Cable Authority would have to consult both the IBA and the unspecified bodies, but the IBA would not be under a like requirement.

If my noble friends' anxiety is to ensure that those who regulate advertising on these forms of mass media shall be aware of the pressures and interests in the market, that would be a little odd—if indeed that is their purpose. In any case I still hold to the view that a statutory consultation process of the breadth that my noble friend proposes is not necessary to the Bill; I underline the word "statutory". It has been suggested that what lies behind the amendment is a fear not that the Cable Authority will be in danger out of ignorance, but that that ignorance may lead it to being misled, seduced, or bamboozled by the IBA into adopting a code that would place the cable companies at a commercial disadvantage in relation to the companies operating over television broadcasting. That would be a strange way for the authority to behave, since its interest is in enabling cable to prosper and not in imposing unnecessary restrictions.

But let us for a moment accept my noble friend's belief—if that is what it is—that whether for that or other purposes it is necessary to secure a flow of advice from other bodies to the Cable Authority. May I then remind him that under the Bill as drafted the Cable Authority is perfectly free to consult any other bodies concerned with standards in advertising—indeed to consult all of them—before drawing up its own code. Not only that; I must also remind my noble friend that the Bill already provides a direct link between the Cable Authority and the kinds of body from which my noble friends wish it to take advice. Moreover, that link is set up specifically in order that they shall receive that advice. I fear that I may not have made that clear in Committee, and, if so, I apologise.

My noble friend may be aware—if not, he will be if he turns to Clause 11(5)—that the IBA's existing advertising committee will in future, by virtue of that clause, advise the Cable Authority as well. On that committee today are representatives of the Advertising Association, the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, and the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers Limited. They are I believe precisely the bodies which my noble friends wish to get involved in the advisory process. If that is the case, I wonder whether the fear of my noble friends about the possibility that in some way the authority may not want a proper or safe level of advice from these sources may not begin to become a little less serious. I wonder, too, whether I have not reassured my noble friends.

Earl De La Warr

My Lords, I should like to make one point to my noble friend. It seems to me that he got himself on to rather delicate ground when he told us that there are certain forms of advertising which go out over the cable systems—systems which produce ordinary television-type programmes. These are the advertisements that go out in the form of classified or shopping advertisements, or even sponsored advertisements. Particularly in relation to the first two, if one form of advertising going out over cable needs to be watched, it seems to me very odd that the Government should not feel that classified advertisements need the same treatment. I fear that this is one of the manifestations of the dual control which we seem to be struggling with all the time. A way cannot be found within the delicate balance between the two authorities for the Cable Authority to do the whole of its duty, because surely its duty should be to look at all advertising. There is absolutely no logic in saying that some forms of advertising do not need monitoring. I should be grateful if my noble friend could help me on that point because I have jumped to my conclusion and may be it is wrong, but my conclusion is that this is just one of the weaknesses of the whole structure. Can my noble friend please help on that point?

Lord Elton

My Lords, my principal difficulty is that this is not the Committee stage and I ought not to reply to my noble friend. However, with your Lordships' permission, I shall endeavour to do so. I am not certain that I have followed what is my noble friend's concern. We are now concerned with consultation. My noble friend is talking about control, is he not? The amendment talks about consultation. My noble friend adduced a particular concern because of a particular sort of advertisement. It is the sort of advertisement that does not appear on television. My noble friend does not give me a nod as yet. I understand, however, that he is concerned with advertisements of a specific type, such as classified advertisements that do not appear on television. My noble friend looks very puzzled.

Earl De La Warr

My Lords, I am only puzzled because I thought I had made myself clear.

Lord Elton

My Lords, so far as I am concerned, my noble friend has not.

Earl De La Warr

My Lords, with the leave of the House, I shall try again. Classified type advertisements of course appear on those television screens which are attached to the cable. One can thus switch from programme A, which is BBC1, to programme F, the feature film programme, or to programme J, which is the classified ads programme. They all appear on the screen. Yet the classified ads are not subject to any monitoring, whereas the others are. I admit that I am taking up my noble friend on a point that he made in reply to my noble friend Lord Mottistone. I apologise if I have gone wide of the point made by my noble friend Lord Mottistone but I was so surprised to hear that there was this curious gap in the control of advertising.

Lord Elton

My Lords, my noble friend has made himself entirely clear but he has gone wide of the amendment, although the point was raised on it. I can tell him that services that do not consist of sounds or moving pictures will not be subject to the Cable Authority's licensing powers. That is the point that my noble friend has picked up. As a result, classified advertisements in a service that consisted of nothing other than still pictures would not be subject to the authority's code. For them, self-regulation would apply as for print advertising. At this point, one is in the area of electronic publishing. It is much more like newspapers than television.

I think that I should address myself—if I can recall the point I had reached—to replying to my noble friend Lord Mottistone. I have sought to reassure him, so far as consultation is concerned, that the reason we have singled out the IBA as the solitary beneficiary or sufferer, according to how you look at it, for consultation with the Cable Authority, is because they are the only two animals of this kind required to carry out this statutory duty. There is an absolute power at large for the Cable Authority to consult with anyone it wishes before drawing up its code of advertising. Clause 11 provides that it shall also have advice from the committee that already advises the IBA and that is made up, certainly, of three of the four names that I heard my noble friend mention. I hope that this goes far enough for my noble friend. No doubt, he will tell me whether it does.

Lord Mottistone

My Lords, I am deeply grateful to my noble friend the Minister for taking so much trouble to try and clarify this area. I do not think that my amendment would do it. I think that my noble friend Lord De La Warr has uncovered some hole that is not quite met. My noble friend will perhaps think about it when he has a chance to examine what everyone has said.

On the specific point of the amendment, the only difference is that whereas I was seeking to have these self-regulatory non-statutory bodies consulted, they will under subsection (5) advise the authority. I am sure that there is a subtlety here that means that they are not paid quite the same respect as if they were consulted. I shall not press the amendment further but I believe that some lack of self-regulation within the system has been unveiled by the debate. That is not, however, the particular relevance of my amendment, which I beg leave to withdraw.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Aylestone moved Amendment No. 26: Page 10, line 15, after ("IBA") insert ("and previewing all new advertisements").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, my amendment is concerned with new advertisements. I had better explain what is meant by new advertisements. They are advertisements that have not yet been shown on any television screen or, for that matter, been heard on radio. As already stated, the IBA has statutory control over all advertisements to make sure that they are accurate so far as this can be ascertained and that the content is something that should be seen on the screen. The committee has always to bear in mind that it has to be more careful over advertisements than with a normal programme. The advertisement appears time and time again whereas the programme appears perhaps once.

A new advertisement is one of the 10,000 a year that have to be vetted and previewed by the Independent Television Companies Association or the IBA. Each and every one of them is approved and vetted. Of the 10,000, you may be interested to know that something like 18 per cent. are returned for amendment and adjustment in any one year. You may be glad to know that, finally, only 2 per cent. are rejected as unsuitable for broadcasting.

My concern with new advertisements is that, careful as the IBA has to be under the terms of the Act with advertisements, there is the possibility, with the Cable Authority, that something may slip through without it having the opportunity to preview the programme and vet it before it appears. That is a strong possibility. I would be happy if I felt that it would consult with the IBA on those advertisements of which the IBA has knowledge, that is to say, those that the IBA has vetted, previewed and approved and for those with which the IBA has not been concerned that the Cable Authority itself would be sure, before transmission, that they were within the same standard. I beg to move.

Lord Elton

My Lords, the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Aylestone addresses itself to the question of how the Cable Authority will ensure compliance with its advertising code. May I assure him for a start that as well as being under a duty to draw up an advertising code the authority will be under a duty to see that the code is complied with. We do not think that it is necessary to set out in the Bill how the authority should set about securing compliance with its code. It is right that the Cable Authority itself should decide what mechanisms it wishes to adopt. In this we have followed the same approach as that adopted in the Broadcasting Act that does not set out a mechanism for copy clearance of advertising on ITV and ILR either.

The method that operates is that adopted by the IBA in pursuance of its own statutory duties to secure compliance with certain rules and its own code on advertising. Under the existing IBA mechanism, advertisements intended for general reception are pre-vetted centrally by ITCA, as the noble Lord said, acting on behalf of the IBA, while local advertisements are largely cleared locally by the individual television or radio company who refer to ITCA or the IBA in case of doubt only.

We envisaged in the cable White Paper that the IBA system of copy control might be extended to embrace spot advertising on cable and that central pre-vetting of the scripts would be required for advertisements intended for distribution on a number of cable systems altogether while local advertisements would be cleared locally. That still seems to us a sensible arrangement given that the two codes will share a common core. It is in the interests of the advertising industry itself to know that a particular script will be acceptable before money is committed to the actual filming. It will, however, be for the cable authority to decide just how it wishes to ensure that its code is complied with.

So we have taken the view that the small print, as it were, is not a matter for the Bill. There is, I should add, one category of advertisements for which the Bill is rather more restrictive, and on this point we have again followed the provisions in the Broadcasting Act. In the case of medical products, the IBA is required to refer any advertisement to its medical advisory panel before the first occasion on which it is shown, and by virtue of Clause 11(5)(d) the Cable Authority is placed under a similar duty.

In our view, the approach set out in the Broadcasting Act, and of which I think the noble Lord approves, has worked well and we do not think it necessary to depart from it. For the Cable Authority to be required to read every script or preview of the advertisement itself would place on them an enormous burden which they could not bear easily, if at all, and which in the light of experience we believe to be unnecessary in order to achieve a proper and decent set of standards in advertising which are achieved through their code. In view of the reassuring precedents set by the Broadcasting Act, and the great difficulty of implementing the requirement he suggests, I hope that the noble Lord will agree not to press his amendment.

The Lord Bishop of Norwich

My Lords, I wonder whether the noble Lord the Minister can give an assurance on a matter which relates directly to the amendment. This is probably the best place to raise it. It is on line 16 of clause 11, page 10, the code governing standards, Your Lordships may know that during this week the General Synod is meeting. I have just come from Question Time during which we had a slightly anxious question which I think it might be right to share with your Lordships. It was about the phrase "for Christ's sake" used in a projected advertisement. I should just like to ask the noble Lord the Minister for an assurance that in the general view he takes of the work committed, particularly the advertising authorities, he would watch for matters of this sort which appear to be on the edge of the blasphemy area.

Lord Elton

My Lords, the right reverend Prelate asks for my own view. My own view coincides very closely with his. But I think what he wants is the Government's view. The Government's view is that the advertising code deals with matters of good taste and decency, and I cannot actually see something which will be seen by large proportions of viewers—or perhaps not as large a proprtion as we would hope, but a notable proportion of viewers—as being blasphemous would be in any way acceptable.

Lord Aylestone

My Lords, I am rather astounded to hear what has appeared in the advertisement. It must have been approved or vetted by someone at some time; but if in fact it has happened, then the IBA are at fault and they ought to be told so because they are responsible for vetting of an advertisement which appears on television. I take it from the right reverend Prelate that that is where it would appear.

The Lord Bishop of Norwich

My Lords, if I may intervene, "projected" was the word used in the question but I will write to the noble Lord about the question and put him in the picture.

Lord Aylestone

My Lords, I have one further point which is on approving advertisements. This obviously is not very clear. It has been suggested that ITCA view them all and that the IBA are responsible overall. In fact, what happens is ITCA do a lot of the pre-vetting and that every morning of every week other than Saturdays or Sundays the advertising department of the IBA see on closed circuit television the new programmes which are being transmitted, and those in doubt—the 18 per cent. I mentioned earlier—are dealt with accordingly.

I am quite happy with what the noble Lord has said in reply to my amendment; but I hope that the Cable Authority will not do what the Americans do and let anything get through as a television advertisement. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

8.55 p.m.

Lord Mishcon moved Amendment No. 27: Page 10, line 39, at end insert ("and the Authority shall further do all that they can to secure that there is a proper and fair presentation of advertising rate cards.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, with great rapidity I rise to deal with this amendment. It obviously deals with the question of fairness to advertisers and fairness indeed as between Independent Television and the cable programme sellers: that there should be quite clearly disclosed what the advertisement rates are. On the last occasion, if the Minister will allow me to paraphrase him—if I do it incorrectly he will reprimand me and correct it—the essence of his reply was that the Cable Authority was not the authority which could enforce upon other parties a requirement of this kind. He also argued that one must not clearly relate the two authorities in regard to matters of this kind. I think that is a fair summary of what the noble Lord said.

He also said at the end of his remarks that I should reflect upon what he had said, he would reflect upon what I had said and maybe both of us might find ourselves in the position at this stage to know whether we were withdrawing from our previous situations, or not. I do not withdraw from the previous situation that I adopted for only this reason: that this is not a mandatory obligation upon the authority; it is merely to do what they can in order to secure that this be done, and that would obviously be a request from the authority or would be put down as one of the conditions. In those circumstances, I hope that the noble Lord the Minister could revise the view he took at Committee stage.

Lord Elton

My Lords, I hope the noble Lord, Lord Mishcon, will not think me churlish. We did have a short debate in Committee on this amendment and I agreed to consider carefully what the noble Lord said. Having done so, and listened to his points again today, I fear that I still have to come to the conclusion that it would not be wise to extend the duties of the Cable Authority in this way. As I explained in Committee, advertising time on cable will be sold in a number of different ways for the different channels. With a local channel, the operator may sell the advertising time; with a national channel, it may be the national programme provider. Some channels will be a mixture of both local and national advertising. The Cable Authority's direct control is only over its licensees, and as I pointed out last time, it could not influence transactions between very numerous third parties: for example, the programme provider and the advertiser. I take the noble Lord's point that this amendment does not introduce an absolute duty; but it is nevertheless a duty for all that, and a duty that in many instances the authority would not be able to carry out, and on those grounds I think it would be an undesirable extension of its role. As I said, I hope the noble Lord does not think me churlish but I am unable to be more friendly to him on this occasion.

Lord Mishcon

My Lords, may the noble Lord the Minister take from this Report stage today the definite and confident belief that I shall never consider him churlish; that is the last thing in the world I would do. What I do say, however, is this: that having put the point of view I have on two occasions, it seems to be churlish of me to push the matter further than I have done. The noble Lord, the Minister, has considered the point and he has answered, and I do not think this is a matter where one ought to divide the House. I therefore ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 12 [Inclusion of certain broadcasts]:

Lord Hill of Luton moved Amendment No. 28: Page 11, line 35, leave out from ("shall") to ("secure")

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this is the first of two probing amendments that I have put down. I can deal with the first very briefly. Clause 12 requires the licensed diffusion body, subject to any exceptions laid down by the Secretary of State, to transmit the programmes of the other broadcasting services. That is excellent but why does it begin with the words: That the Authority shall do all that they can to secure that subject"? Why not: That the Authority shall secure"? Any exceptions will be laid down by the Secretary of State. It is very important to the other services being transmitted by the cable company; it is very disturbing for there to be no more than a requirement that the authority shall do all they can. They can do this. I do not understand why the longer phraseology is employed. The effect of my amendment would mean that the authority "shall secure" rather than that they "shall do all that they can to secure". I beg to move.

Lord Elton

My Lords, I shall try to be as brief as the noble Lord in his admirably lucid remarks. The duties which the Bill places upon the Cable Authority are of two main kinds. The first is where the objective is within the direct power of the authority to achieve and deliver. For example, we can directly require them to draw up codes about programme standards and advertising because they have that in their gift. The second is where the objective is not within the direct power of the Cable Authority because the authority do not have direct physical control over cable transmissions. They cannot be under an absolute duty to regulate what happens in cable programme services if they are not actually themselves providing those services. As the noble Lord is well aware, the IBA is in a different position in this respect, because it actually transmits ITV and ILR programmes.

Accordingly, in this second category of duties, of which the duty to secure compliance with the "must carry" rule is but one, the Bill requires the authority to do all that they can to secure the objective in question. That is a very strong duty indeed, and, as I said on an earlier occasion to the noble Lady, Lady Saltoun, the words "do all that they can" in this context have rather more significance than they do in everyday language. The authority must literally do all that they can. They must insert conditions in licences, and if those conditions are breached they must invoke the appropriate sanctions. But if they are breached, of course, during the breach they will not have secured what the Bill requires them to secure, but that will not be through any dereliction on their part and that is why the Bill is phrased in that way.

Lord Hill of Luton

My Lords, I should like to ask the noble Lord one question. If the authority have no unqualified power to secure that a licensed diffusion service broadcasts the services of others, who has the power? Where can it be secured that this thing is done?—for this thing is of the greatest importance to the existing services.

Lord Elton

My Lords, with the leave of the House, the person who has the absolute power is the person standing at the cable head with the apparatus; in other words, the person who has the cable franchise. He has the franchise by virtue of the licence.

Perhaps I may draw a weak but I think fairly illuminating analogy. The noble Lord is almost suggesting that the central vehicle licensing authority should be held directly responsible for ensuring that no one breaks the speed limit. It is perhaps not a happy example, but I am trying to show that the power to put conditions into a licence and to enforce them does not have the automatic effect that those conditions are never breached. I am not a lawyer, so I receive advice from my lawyer, and his advice is that under those circumstances one should not lay upon the licensing authority the absolute duty to see that nothing happens that should not happen within the terms of the licence. They must do all that they can, and if there is a breach they have the remedy. But they are not culpable if they include conditions in the licence; and the moment the licence conditions are breached they then have recourse to the sanctions provided for that. They are doing all that Parliament wants and all that they are able to do. The person who is in breach is the person who is in breach of the conditions in the licence.

Lord Hill of Luton

My Lords, unconvinced but weary, I beg leave to withdraw this amendment in the hope—

Lord Airedale

My Lords, before the noble Lord withdraws the amendment, I said a long time ago now—and I still hold this view—that where there is a clause which says that a mischief shall not occur, instead of saying that the authority shall do their best to ensure that the mischief does not occur, with respect to the noble Lord's legal advisers it is much clearer to say in the clause "this mischief shall not take place". Then you have a clause which says, "if it does take place, the authority shall or may adopt the sanctions appropriate to this mischief". But it is a very odd way of legislating to say that someone shall do what he can to see that somebody else does not misbehave.

Lord Elton

My Lords, is it your Lordships' wish that I respond yet again to this charge, which I think I dealt with three times in Committee and at least once on Second Reading? It is difficult for me to be clearer than I have been, and I accept that that is a limitation on my part; but I must tell the noble Lord, Lord Airedale, that there is nothing odd at all in legislating in this way when we are dealing with the terms of licences. The control over the cable operators is by way of their licence. The licensing authority is the Cable Authority. The Cable Authority says, "Thou mayest do this and thou mayest not do that". So long as those commandments are obeyed, the operators are not in peril. They are the commandments of the licensing authority which are handed down to the licensing authority on tablets of stone from the Government. The licensing authority is a bad analogy as the punishment lies in the hands of the licensing authority, because it is the conditions in its licence which have been breached. If the Government were overseeing, we should make it a crime; but it is in fact the licensing authority.

The noble Lord, Lord Hill, has said that he is weary of this. I do not blame him at all. I tend to go on; I do not accept that I have failed to explain things to people, and I return unwearied to the charge (uncorrected by the bitter experience of many years) expecting to succeed the next time. I have done my best. If the noble Lord will read Hansard and then perhaps tackle me face to face in the corridor, I shall have one more try.

Lord Hill of Luton

My Lords, in the hope that the Hansard reporter will enable me to understand the noble Lord's reply, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

9.7 p.m.

Baroness Trumpington moved Amendment No. 29: Page 11, line 37, after ("Authority") insert ("and both broadcasting authorities").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, when we were discussing an amendment to Clause 12 moved in Committee by the noble Lord, Lord Howard of Henderskelfe, my noble friend accepted in principle that the Secretary of State ought not to be able to make an exceptions order relating to the "must carry" rule without first consulting the broadcasting authorities.

Clause 12(1) already requires the Home Secretary, before making an order, to consult the Cable Authority. The Government entirely accept the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Howard of Henderskelfe, in Committee, that the broadcasters also have a legitimate interest in any waivers which might be made to the "must carry" rule. The amendment accordingly requires the Home Secretary to consult the BBC and the IBA as well as the Cable Authority before he makes an exceptions order. I beg to move.

Lord Howard of Henderskelfe

My Lords, I should like to thank the Government for being so responsive to what I had hoped were my persuasive arguments.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Hill of Luton moved Amendment No. 30: Page 11, line 42, at end insert (", such retransmitted programmes to be of a high technical and visual standard").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this is another probing amendment. It is not unreasonable that where the programmes of the BBC and the IBA are transmitted by another party the requirement should be that they are of a high technical quality. But my reason for putting this amendment down is to raise what is happening today. I do not know whether the noble Lord knows that in the southern part of England, to take but one example, because of the physical features of the area, broadcasting in the present way leads to poor reception. To meet that Rediffusion, as a company selling and renting sets, have built a cable system which has been working satisfactorily for some years in the area. Now they have stopped it, and handed out aerials in its place.

The first sign of cable development for many people in the south of England is that their programmes, made clear by cable, have now returned to the unsatisfactory state from which cable rescued them. Can the noble Lord say why this has happened? I understand, of course, that the existing cable is a four-channel cable, that the new circumstances will require a many-channelled cable, and that change will have to be made. But why now? I just do not understand why the promise of cable has led to a poorer picture for so many people. I am told (although I cannot confirm this) that countrywide the number of people affected is some 4 million. I realise that this is springing it on the Minister without notice, but I should be grateful if he would have this position explored. I do not know whether it is because Rediffusion, having, as it were, the holes in the ground, expect to get the contract for a service based on new cables with many channels. I just do not know. I have no explanation. I have tried to get an explanation and cannot get it.

Here, as elsewhere, the passage of this Bill has been preceded by a return to had conditions of viewability in an area which was saved by cable. I do not expect the Minister to reply to this immediately, but I should like him to promise that this matter will be looked into in order that it should be understood why the development of this great new cable system should be preceded by a reduction in the picture quality for a large number of people who for some time hitherto were saved by cable. Now they have to return to the old conditions of poor reception for no reason that I can see. I hope that the noble Lord will undertake to look into that matter, even though he is perhaps not able to reply today.

Lord Elton

My Lords, I have seen some inswingers bowled in my day, but I have never seen a ball turn so far off the expected line as this one. There is a little help coming in from the slips. The noble Lord's amendment addresses an issue which in fact I had thought I had an answer to, but the noble Lord has addressed himself to an allied issue on which I can only do my best. The waiver of the "must carry" rule is being allowed by the Government in order to allow new services to be supplied by cable only provided that satisfactory alternative means of reception are provided. The Government have no power to require that cable companies continue to provide a service if a cable system is not economic.

I am not certain of the exact position in the area to which the noble Lord, Lord Hill of Luton, has referred. Therefore, I can only speculate and inquire and write to him, but the two salient facts in any case must be the two facts I have just mentioned.

Lord Hill of Luton

My Lords, I realise that the noble Lord's briefing has been as swift as it has been incomplete, and I gladly accept his suggestion that he will look into this matter. It is a matter of real concern with a large number of people today. Their areas may never get cable. They may live in so remote a part of the country that the cable people are not interested, and they may never get it. It is a poor, poor thing. Now, with this great enthusiasm for this great new development of information technology, the one result that has been seen by a large number of people is that their picture has become well nigh unrecognisable.

Lord Howard of Henderskelfe

My Lords, I was trying to say "Before the noble Lord sits down", but he almost succeeded in sitting down before I rose to my feet. The salient words here are "satisfactory alternative". Surely the responsible Minister must be satisfied before he dispenses with the "must carry" rule on existing cable that a satisfactory system is being supplied. Clearly if it is not, he must not waive the "must carry" rule.

All of us who were concerned with this, knew from the start that a large number of cables on a four- channel basis could not carry any additional services to those which were available over the air. Therefore, to finance multi-channel cable, it was essential that the companies concerned should be able to provide their customers with aerials so that they could comply with the "must carry" rule on the air, with the unsatisfactory results we have heard about, and provide other services down the cable from which they could make money. I urge the Minister to look into this with great urgency, because it is something on which some of us had some inkling of it happening.

Lord Elton

My Lords, with the leave of the House, I should add that the Government have been getting assurances of picture quality where these waivers have been allowed. Of course I shall look into the matter which concens the noble Lords and refer it also to my right honourable friend, whose responsibility it is.

Lord Hill of Luton

My Lords, I beg to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

9.16 p.m.

Lord Mottistone moved Amendment No. 31: Page 12, line 5, leave out from ("as") to end of line and insert ("may be agreed between the broadcasting authority and the Authority or, in default of agreement, determined by the Secretary of State").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this is the problem of where there is a choice of two or more broadcast programmes available simultaneously in an area. It was raised under a different heading at Committee stage on which I got somewhat impassioned. Your Lordships may be assured that I am calmer now and perhaps accordingly the noble Lord, Lord Mishcon, will think I am more convincing.

There is this problem and the Government rejected my proposal last time, which was that the cable operator should be the person who makes the choice between two alternative channels for good reasons. But we are left with the fact that without further amendment on the lines that I am proposing, the choice is left entirely to the broadcaster. The broadcaster may, for very good reasons in a particular area, elect to allocate a particular broadcast which may not be popular in the area for whatever reasons. The cable operator, to satisfy his customers, will have to put two on: one because he is told to and one because the locals want it. This seems thoroughly unreasonable and could be costly to the cable operator because he may be using up all his channels and is deprived of one. One can see all sorts of events occurring in due course.

To overcome the problem, I am suggesting in my amendment that, rather than it being all left to the broadcaster, there should be discussion between the broadcaster and the cable authority on behalf of the cable operator. In the event that they do not agree, the Secretary of State could arbitrate. It seems to me to be thoroughly reasonable and meets the points that the Government made before. I beg to move.

Lord Howard of Henderskelfe

My Lords, I must oppose this amendment. It would create a two-stage procedure of a negotiation followed by a ministerial determination. The points I made in Committee, and which I am sure I need not repeat now, against an amendment permitting the cable operator to decide, are equally applicable and pertinent here. Further I do not think the procedure would lend itself to quick or flexible decision-making, about which there has been much talk during the Bill, and would be likely to be extremely cumbersome in practice. I therefore strongly urge your Lordships to reject this amendment.

Lord Mishcon

My Lords, I shall add only a sentence or two, if I may, to tell the noble Lord, Lord Mottistone, that he is very much more convincing with the moderate speech that he made today and that smile which gladdens the heart of every Member of the House whenever he graces us by wearing it.

My second point is that it becomes more than unreal to expect the Secretary of State to explain to a rather busy other place that the reason he cannot be with them to address them on a certain occasion is because he is viewing a programme in order to decide between the broadcasting authority and the Cable Authority as to which programme out of two should be issued. I should have thought that that was a task that none of us would want to place with the other burdens upon the shoulders of the Secretary of State. It is quite impracticable.

Earl De La Warr

My Lords, I very much doubt whether this is going to happen often enough for it to be right to regard it as a duty on the Secretrary of State which is burdensome. There will not be many occasions when there is an overlap area. Let us be quite clear about this. It was said in Committee, I think by the noble Lord, Lord Howard of Henderskelfe, that the broadcaster was a public service operator and he therefore had a right to take the decision. I pointed out at the time (as I am pointing out now) that, whatever the broadcaster is in terms of public service, he is in this for money and he has a marketing area. To him, his broadcast area is the area in which he markets his investment. Therefore, it seems to me that it is quite wrong that, in the ultimate, the decision as to which programme should be broadcast should be in the hands of one of the two commercial bodies concerned. I fear that this is where the poor Secretary of State very often has to come in and do his job to see fair play among two people who are hell bent on making money.

Lord Airedale

My Lords, in practical terms, I can see the difficulty here. Supposing that the cable company have arranged to show boxing and they also have an obligation to show one of two alternative programmes emanating from (shall we say?) the BBC, and one of those two is also boxing. The BBC is allowed to say, "You must show our boxing programme and not our other one". Cable surely are entitled to say, "This is very unfair on us because we shall not get a fair share of the people watching the boxing that we are providing on our sets. They will be watching the free BBC boxing".

Lord Elton

My Lords, I should like to start by acknowledging that, in his present amendment, my noble friend has moved somewhat towards the Government's position. In Committee he wished the decision as to which of two available public service broadcasting services a cable operator should carry to be left to the cable operator himself. In his present amendment my noble friend asks, not that the cable operator should decide in isolation but that he should seek to agree which programme he should carry with the cable authority and the broadcasting authority concerned: and, if agreement is not possible, that he should abide by the arbitral decision of the Secretary of State, who I hope will not have to retire from the House of Commons in order to give it.

That makes it appropriate for us to consider what will be in the mind of the Secretary of State when he examines this question. The Secretary of State, in this case the Home Secretary, is the Minister responsible for broadcasting matters generally in this country. He will be bound therefore to consider both the interests of public service broadcasting and those of cable. He will look therefore not only at the structure of the cable authority's empire and those who operate in it; he will look also at the structure of the broadcaster's empires and those who operate in them. It goes without saying that he will have constantly in mind the interests of the viewing, and the potentially viewing, public as well.

The interests of the viewing public I take to be simply to have the widest choice of the best quality programmes available. Where two services overlap, therefore—it might be Harlech and Central—then if other things are equal, what would suit the public best would be presumably a chance to watch either of the available services at choice. The interest of the cable operator, whose cause my noble friend so eloquently and reasonably espouses, is to provide what they believe their viewers most want to see. In that context, I ought to remind my noble friend that if they are in a position to show both programmes, there is nothing whatever in the Bill to stop them doing so. What is more, any service intended for their area will be entirely free of copyright negotiations. He will be getting something for nothing, and that is not to be sneezed at. It is only when the cable operator is not in a position, for one reason or another, to show both programmes that he will get into a difficulty. That difficulty, I think, is a diminishing one because I believe it arises from the limited number of channels that most existing cables can carry. But modern cables can carry many more channels. Wide-band can carry 30 or so, and in due course I doubt whether many operators will wish to do other than to carry as many public service programmes as they can get if they have a market for them and can get them free of charge.

But let me come back to the reluctant purveyor over cable of a public service intended for his area over air. He is determined that he does not want to take the public service that overflows but he does want to take the public service that overflows, as it were, from the area next door and he is determined not to give up another channel for the public service area aimed at his receiver: he wants it for something else. That is his position when my noble friend wants him to take his case to the Home Secretary, and we must look again into the mind of the Home Secretary to see what is in it. I have explained his likely views on the custom. We also know that he will wish to enable the Cable Authority to encourage the growth of cable and also that he will wish them to promote that growth without acting to the detriment of public service broadcasting. That is not to rule out competition but it must influence him to protect the basic principles upon which the commercial side of public service broadcasting rests.

The structure on which it rests is the allocation of particular transmitters and thus particular potential audiences to companies, as my noble friend Lord De La Warr has said. The potential value of a television franchise depends on the size of the audience it can reach and it is fundamental to the Bill that the advent of cable is not to be allowed to hack lumps off that audience and appropriate them to itself. That is one of the reasons why we have the "must carry" rule. Cable companies may end up being wired into perhaps several hundred thousand homes—homes which have no need to take anything off air themselves for ever. Give a cable company the right to acquire an audience like that in one TV area and remove from them their local service and syphon into their homes the service provided for a neighbouring area, and what you are actually doing is changing the map on which the TV franchises were drawn and the sizes of the audiences on which the advertising rates of each are based. You are also affecting the programming which people can receive in a particular way, because in awarding franchises the IBA require their contractors to take account of the particular needs of their area by, for example, providing coverage of local news and events. What my right honourable friend would decide in such a case I obviously cannot say, because I cannot commit him. The question actually being asked of him would be: may we please remove X thousand viewers from the company serving TV Area A and present them on a platter to the company serving TV Area B?

I am as much wedded to the principle of competition as are my party and my noble friend; but the implications of that question go far wider than simple competition and I hope that my noble friend begins to see why it is that I do not exactly leap on the compromise he offers with open arms and a delighted cry. It is not a question that we particularly want to be asked of the Home Secretary because in effect it would be asking him to alter the map on which the TV franchises were based by all the contracting parties in good faith—the IBA and the ITV companies—while the contracts are still running.

I do not at present see quite how what my noble friend wants can be reconciled with that consideration. My noble friend's difficulty and my own is not that a cable company cannot carry the TV programmes of the overlap service, because they can; it is only that they may not refuse to carry the programmes appropriate to their area. I wonder whether he would care to consider this further before he asks your Lordships to accept an amendment which I regret to say I would have to advise your Lordships not to agree to. If I have spoken at some length, it is out of the recognition that I understand that my noble friend feels very strongly on this matter and perhaps the reticence with which he has spoken on this occasion does not measure the strength of his feelings.

Lord Mottistone

My Lords, I thank my noble friend very much for taking the trouble to give me such a full answer. I think the real problem is that in some parts of the country the local citizenry do not approve of the allocations of areas that have been made by the high panjandrums sitting in Whitehall. It is as simple as that, and the cable operator will be the person in between who may be able to redress what people have been grumbling about for a long time. That is a different picture; but I quite see that my noble friend has produced a very comprehensive answer. I will not say that I am entirely satisfied, but it is certainly not worth fighting, so I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

9.31 p.m.

Lord Elton moved Amendment No. 32: Page 12, line 6, leave out from ("service") to second ("as") in line 8 and insert ("provided by a broadcasting authority fall to be included in a licensed diffusion service provided by any person, they shall be so included on such terms as to—

  1. (a) the recovery by that person on behalf of the authority or, as the case may require, the DBS programme contractors of any charges made by them for the reception of the programmes;
  2. (b) any payments to be made by one party to another; and
  3. (c) any other matter for which provision requires to be made,").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, when we discussed Clause 12 in Committee the noble Lord, Lord Howard of Henderskelfe, raised a number of points about the procedure in Clause 12(3) for agreement (or, in default of agreement, determination) of the terms on which a DBS service is included in a diffusion service under the "must carry" rule. One of the noble Lord's concerns was that the price of the DBS service to the customer should be the same whether the service is received direct "off-air" or by cable. I made it clear on that occasion that the procedures in Clause 12(3) were designed to deal with the proportions in which the customer's subscriptions were shared out between the broadcaster and the cable company, not with the amount of that subscription. I did, however, undertake to look again at the drafting to make sure that the correct result was achieved.

Having done so, we have come to the conclusion that there is some advantage in setting the matter out clearly. Accordingly, the first of these two amendments makes clear what matters are to be dealt with in the negotiations over the inclusion of a DBS service in a diffusion service. First, the negotiations may deal with the recovery by the cable company on behalf of the broadcaster of the broadcaster's subscription fee; in other words, the cable operator cannot charge the customer more for the service than the broadcaster's own subscription. Secondly, the negotiations may cover the payments to be made either by the broadcaster to the cable company or, if appropriate, from the cable operator to the broadcaster. Finally, the negotiations may cover any other matters for which provision is necessary.

The second amendment has a definition which is made necessary by the first. The second amendment in this case is amendment No. 34, which I should like your Lordships to consider with this one.

Amendment No. 34: Page 12, line 15, after ("section") insert— (" "DBS programme contractor" has the meaning given by section 35(3) below;")

The amendments are intended to clarify what we already believe the position is under the Bill. My Lords, I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Elton moved Amendment No. 33: Page 12, line 11, leave out ("payable to") and insert ("charged by")

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this is a brief clarifying amendment arising from a discussion which we had in Committee. The question arose in connection with an amendment moved by my noble friend Lord Mottistone, with whom I have since been in correspondence. The question was: first, who sets the fee paid to a person appointed by the Home Secretary under Clause 12(3) for a determination as to the terms of the relay by cable of a DBS service; and, secondly, who apportions the fee between the parties to the determination? The answer in both cases is that it is the person appointed by the Home Secretary. He will both set the fee and determine the proportions in which it is paid by the cable company and the provider of the DBS service.

It is always our intention that this should be the case, and the amendment puts it beyond doubt. Your Lordships may think that this puts the person in question in an enviably strong position. Indeed, that thought had occurred to me. But the fact is that the person appointed by the Home Secretary will be in a position exactly analogous to that of an arbitrator, and what we have done is to put him in an exactly analogous position in regard to fees. My Lords, I beg to move.

Lord Mottistone

My Lords, I merely wish to say briefly that I am most grateful to my noble friend for clarifying this issue, because it makes it much more sensible.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Howard of Henderskelfe moved Amendment No. 33A:

Page 12, line 14, after ("determine") insert— ("Provided that where the person so appointed determines that the programmes shall be so included upon terms that any payments shall be made by the authority or, as the case may require, the contractor to the person by whom the licensed diffusion service is provided and the authority or, as the case may require, the contractor, within 30 days after the making of the determination, gives notice in writing to that person to the effect that it does not wish the programme to be so included, subsection (1) above shall thereupon cease to apply to that diffusion service in relation to those programmes.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, first I must apologise to your Lordships for the fact that the amendment has arrived in this form. It did not arrive here quite so quickly as we had hoped. I am not quite sure what happened in between it leaving me and it arriving here, but these things do happen. However, it takes into account the amendments we have just passed to this clause. I do not wish to refer to those amendments, complicated though they are and rather curiously expressed in some ways, but it does take into account these amendments and it proposes that the broadcaster should have the option to choose not to have his DBS service carried in a way exactly opposite to the "must carry" rule if the terms fixed by the person appointed by the Secretary of State are unsatisfactory.

The thinking behind it is as follows. Clause 12(3) deals with DBS television services. The "must carry" rule under Clause 12(1) would apply to those services in the same way as it applies to terrestrial services, but "appropriate financial arrangements", to use the words of the White Paper at paragraph 129, will have to be worked out between the broadcaster and the cable operator. If they cannot work these out by agreement, we have this person appointed by the Secretary of State who is, in the amendment just agreed to, to fix his own remuneration, with which I do not quarrel at all. It is likely to be fairly difficult for the parties to reach agreement as to what the financial arrangements should be.

There are no guidelines or criteria of any kind laid down in the Bill. There is no market to provide a comparison—not, at any rate, at present. If they cannot reach agreement, the person appointed will fix the terms, but he, too, will have nothing much to guide him. No doubt he will act impartially and reasonably, and all the other phrases so beloved of our legislature, but at the end of the day he will tell the broadcaster what it has to pay. Unless my amendment is accepted there will be no escape from the obligation to pay, whatever amount he may alight upon.

There is no escape for the cable operator, either, from the "must carry" rule, but at least he knows that the extent of the burden that he will have to carry is to reserve a channel on his system for the service. He will also have some minor expenses in administrating the collection of subscriptions, and that can readily be budgeted for.

The position is quite different for the broadcaster. It must subsidise the cable operator to an extent that it cannot predict. It will be bound to make the payments to the cable operator in any event. In other words, there is a corollary to the "must carry" rule which might perhaps be characterised as the "must pay" or the "must subsidise" rule. Because there are no guidelines or criteria, the amount of the payment or the subsidy cannot be stated, even be guessed at, but the payments will be inescapable and there is no appeal.

It is surely a most unusual state of affairs under English law that legislation should oblige a person to pay whatever amount may be prescribed by an administrator or arbitrator for the rendering of a service without any opportunity to withdraw if the price of the service is too much. My amendment is designed to provide a reasonable solution to this difficulty. The broadcaster would be entitled, within 30 days after determination by the person appointed by the Secretary of State, to tell the cable operator that it does not wish him to carry the services, whereupon the "must carry" rule would cease to operate. The cable operator would be free either to devote the channel to other purposes or to reach some more appropriate and economic bargain with the broadcaster. Alternatively, the broadcaster could seek some other more viable means of exploiting the subscription market in the cable operator's area.

I can think of two situations which would give rise to commercial difficulties and where a safeguard of this kind might be required. The person appointed by the Secretary of State might specify as the whole of or as a component of the payment to be made to the cable operator a flat fee as a reward for reserving a channel in the service for DBS. If there were no subscribers, or very few of them, the subscription income would be less than the fee payable so that there would be a net outflow of funds from the broadcaster to the operator. Alternatively, there might be plenty of subscribers but the programme acquisition costs—which, generally speaking, are calculated on a subscriber variable basis—may approach or exceed the proportion of subscription left to the broadcaster after the cable operator had taken his share.

The broadcaster would at the very least be squeezed between the programme supplier on the one hand and the cable operator on the other, and their combined shares could well exceed the subscription income. It seems right that there should be safeguards of some kind to enable the broadcaster to escape from a situation of that kind.

I must apologise to your Lordships for speaking at such length on what may seem to be a very technical point—but it could destroy for the broadcaster the whole value of DBS, especially if DBS is to be extensively carried by a highly successful cable system. I beg to move.

9.42 p.m.

Lord Elton

My Lords, I listened with particular care to what the noble Lord said in his interesting speech about a large and fairly new subject. He will forgive me if I give a fairly brief reply but I was unable to see this amendment on paper until midday today. The noble Lord has of couse apologised for that fact, and I am grateful to him for his recognition of the difficulty in which that situation has placed us.

The noble Lord is suggesting that after the DBS broadcaster and the cable company have tried to negotiate a deal and failed, and after the wise man has heard both sides and reached his determination, the broadcaster should be able to pull out of the whole arrangement because it does not suit him—thus rendering the whole arbitral proceedings null and void on the motion of only one of the parties.

The Government accept entirely that the financial arrangements to be determined under Clause 12(3) will be extremely important for both parties and that, in the case of a dispute, the person appointed to resolve it will bear a very heavy responsibility. The noble Lord was interested in the criteria which will be applied. That is something on which the parties will each have their own views. It is difficult to set out criteria in the abstract, but in each case it will be open to the opposing interests to argue for what ought to be taken into account in the final equation. What the amendment overlooks is that the decision will be of great significance to both sides, for there is nothing in the noble Lord's amendment about the cable operator being able to change his mind if he does not like the terms.

It seems to the Goverment that Clause 12(3) is a sensible way of proceeding and that it would be wrong to provide some sort of let-out clause for one party or other.

Lord Howard of Henderskelfe

My Lords, particularly because of the delay in the noble Lord, the Minister seeing the amendment, I do not wish to press this matter tonight. I would ask, however, that the Government at least look again very carefully at the position which could arise if—particularly under a subscriber variable system—the DBS operator is put in the situation where, whatever he does (and perhaps the more subscribers he gets) the more money he loses. There must be some form of escape clause, perhaps equally devised for the cable operator himself.

We cannot have the position arising where the operation of the "must carry" rule results in one or other party inevitably and inescapably losing money. I therefore ask the noble Lord to look at this question very carefully before we reach the next stage of the Bill. In doing so, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Elton moved Amendment No. 34:

[Printed earlier: col. 1134.]

The noble Lord said: I spoke to this amendment with Amendment No. 32. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Howard of Henderskelfe moved Amendment No. 35: Page 12, line 17, at end insert ("and such other television or sound broadcasting service (whether provided by that or any other means) as the Secretary of State may by order specify. ( ) An order under this section shall be made by statutory instrument which shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, if I may start at the end and work backwards, we had a long discussion in Committee about whether statutory instruments should use the negative or positive procedure, and I suspect it is a discussion which goes on over many Bills in this House. Your Lordships will see that I have reluctantly accepted that the negative procedure is the one which should be adopted in this case.

I moved amendments which proposed that the procedure for determining the financial arrangements between broadcasters and cable operators should not be restricted to DBS television services, whether sound or television and whether terrestrial or celestial, where the service was a pay service, an advertising financed or sponsored DBS service. That did not find very much favour with the noble Lord because he did not think the legislation could cope with technological developments which could not readily be foreseen. I do not remember his exact words; I am not sure whether he said that he did not like crystal balls, but it was something of that nature.

It is hard to understand the noble Lord's difficulty because the amendment did not deal with the technology used in the delivery of the signal but with the means of paying for it. Further, the amendment did not, as the noble Lord, Lord Elton, evidently thought it did, affect the scope of the "must carry" rule but only the circumstances in which the procedure in clause 12(3) could be invoked. Subsection (4) effectively specifies when that procedure may be invoked. At present it may be invoked only in relation to DBS television services. That seems unnecessarily restrictive and inflexible.

My amendment would enable the procedure to be applied by order made by statutory instrument to other services as and when the need arises. It does not affect the "must carry" rule, but there may be occasions in the future, either for the BBC or the IBA for a joint company formed by them both or for other broadcasters, to provide pay services which will not necessarily be delivered from a DBS satellite. There are various alternative methods of delivery which do not involve gazing into a crystal ball and which are present here and now in the United States. I beg to move.

Lord Elton

My Lords, the Government entirely accept that so far as is possible this Bill ought to cater for future developments within a flexible framework, but there are limits. In particular, I think that we come up against those limits when there is a point of principle which can only properly be considered in the light of a specific proposition rather than a hypothetical example. The noble Lord is thinking about pay television services which the BBC and IBA provide otherwise than by DBS; for example, from their existing terrestrial transmitters. That is an entirely hypothetical proposition. The Government have received no proposals for any sort of terrestrial pay TV services of that kind. If we were to be presented with such an idea no doubt we would consider it carefully to see, among other things, whether it was an appropriate activity for the BBC or IBA to undertake, for a start. Only if we thought that it was would we need to come to the secondary question of whether the "must carry" rule should apply to that service or those services.

All that I would say at this stage is that it is far from self-evident that "must carry" arrangements would necessarily apply to any such pay television service. The noble Lord may recall that the inquiry chaired by the noble Lord, Lord Hunt of Tanworth, recommended that the "must carry" obligation should apply only to the existing terrestrial services and to any DBS services which were freely available—in other words, to the non-pay services. The Government thought it right to go further and ensure that all DBS channels would be available to all cable customers, but whether similar considerations would apply to other pay services is another matter which cannot be determined in the abstract.

For those reasons, I regret that I cannot support the noble Lord's amendment.

Lord Howard of Henderskelfe

My Lords, I suspect that the future will be with us rather sooner than the noble Lord accepts. Maybe then the Government will sit down, think again and say that perhaps these methods of delivery should not be subjected to the "must carry" rule, despite the fact that by then quite obviously the multi-watt channel wide band cable will be with us and will have ample accommodation for such services. Nevertheless, I do not at this hour of the night want to divide the House. However, to say the least, I think that this is extremely short sighted.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 13 [Restrictions of inclusion of certain events]:

9.51 p.m.

Lord Elton moved Amendment No. 36: Page 12, line 20, leave out ("protected") and insert ("listed").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, with your Lordships' leave, with this amendment I should like also to speak to Amendments Nos. 39, 43, 44 and 45.

Amendment No. 39: Page 12, line 26, leave out from second ("that") to end of line 31 and insert—

  1. ("(a) no licensed diffusion service includes on pay-per-view terms; and
  2. (b) no licensed restricted service includes,
a programme which consists of or includes a protected event.").

Amendment No. 43: Page 12, leave out lines 33 to 45 and insert— (" "listed event" means a sporting or other event of national interest which is for the time being included in a list maintained by the Secretary of State for the purposes of this section and published by him in such manner as he considers appropriate for bringing it to the attention of the Authority and of persons providing licensed services; national interest" includes interest within England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland; protected event" means a sporting or other event which, in the opinion of the Authority, is one of a series of similar events which it is the practice of a broadcasting authority to broadcast. (3A) For the purposes of this section a programme is included in a licensed diffusion service on pay-per-view terms if any payments falling to be made by subscribers to that service will or may vary according as that programme is or is not actually received by them.").

Amendment No. 44: Line 2, leave out ("is") and insert ("being").

Amendment No. 45: Line 3, after ("events") insert ("is itself an event").

At the close of our discussion of Clause 13 in Committee, I promised that we would look again at the structure and content of the clause in the light of what noble Lords had said. These amendments, together with the two we have just considered, represent the fruits of our reconsideration.

Perhaps I may start by establishing terms of reference. Your Lordships will recall that Clause 13(1) deals with events for which the broadcasters must have been able to bid on comparable terms before they are sold to someone to go out over cable. Clause 13(2) deals with events which may not under any circumstances be included on a pay-per-view or a restricted service. To the first of these categories of event we gave the label "protected event" and I am afraid that to the second category we neglected to give a name. That is something which I must now seek to remedy. A chief feature of the events in the first category, which is dealt with by the first subsection, is that they are defined under Clause 13(3) as: being included in a list maintained by the Secretary of State".

We therefore propose to remove from it the label which it at present bears and replace it with the much more appropriate label: "listed event". It is more appropriate because it is an event that is named in a list. That will leave us with the equally descriptive but less appropriate label "protected event" to tie to events of the second category of event dealt with in the second subsection of the clause.

My note of guidance at this point rather charmingly and optimistically says: These changes may prove slightly confusing at first but are logical and should prove useful once the old terminology is forgotten". I hope that by dwelling a little on the subject I have helped to reduce the confusion and illuminate the logic, because we now have handy and appropriate labels for those events listed—"listed events"—which a broadcaster must be allowed to bid for and those other events—"protected events"—which are not to go out by pay-per-view or on a restricted service. Feelings are quite strong on these events, and it is as well that we should have these labels so that we may describe them accurately.

The third amendment represents the substance of what we are proposing. It does two things that are new, First, it provides that the "national interest" referred to in the definition of "listed events", as they are now to be termed, includes interests within the four parts of the United Kingdom. This takes care of the point so helpfully raised by the noble Lord, Lord Howard of Henderskelfe, in Committee and on which I promised to bring forward a new draft. He will read in Hansard how glad I am to acknowledge his authorship. The amendment ensures, for example, that the Scottish Cup Final will receive protection North of the Border equal to that afforded to the Football Association Cup Final in the South.

Secondly, the third amendment provides a new definition of what we are now to call "protected events"; that is, the events which under subsection (2) cannot be offered on pay-per-view. Your Lordships complained in Committee that the definition of these events to be found in subsection (2) as at present drafted went far too wide. There was particular criticism of the phrase "of a class or description", which it was thought would embrace too many events; which might, indeed, cover even whole categories of sport, such as all cricket or all football. I then suggested that some of those fears might be overstated and that the Cable Authority was unlikely to interpret the restriction as widely as that. But we have given further thought to what might be done in order to achieve in Clause 13 a more faithful translation of the spirit of the White Paper. The new definition that we now propose is the result of that consideration. It speaks of an event which in the opinion of the Authority, is one of a series of similar events which it is the practice of a broadcasting authority to broadcast".

As we all recognised at Committee stage, this is a very difficult area in which to legislate; but I think that the new formulation effectively narrows the previous definition, and I hope that noble Lords will regard it as an improvement that goes most of the way to meeting their fears. It will of course be for the authority to apply the definition in practice to protect those events that are regularly broadcast. What the new wording makes clear though is that to qualify for protection an event must in some way he a continuation of something which the broadcasters have previously shown. To take the example which I used last time the Cable Authority could quite properly say that rugby matches in the home intenational championship were protected events because they constituted a series of matches over the years which have customarily been shown on broadcast television. That would not preclude cable from showing them, but they could not be offered on pay-per-view. What the Cable Authority could clearly not now say—and this was the fear of some noble Lords about the previous formulation—is that, because the rugby internationals have always been shown, cable cannot offer any kind of rugby match on pay-per-view. The noble Lord, Lord Airedale, has tabled an amendment to this amendment on the question of what constitutes an event; but I think that I had better come to that point after he has spoken.

Lastly, the third amendment also produces a definition of "listed event" which reproduces that of the old "protected event"now in subsection (3), and finally provides in subsection 3(A) a fresh definition of "pay-per-view", which is merely a technical recasting of that now contained in subsection (3). I think that we have carried out fairly radical surgery upon the body of Clause 13—not all of it entirely cosmetic—and I hope that your Lordships will think that it is healthy as a result. I beg to move.

Earl De La Warr

My Lords, I believe that my noble friend the Chief Whip is going to suggest that we do not continue for much longer. My amendment which follows this series and a number of other amendments all cover the same subject and I expect that noble Lords will agree that the main debate should take place on the amendments of my noble friend. If that is the case, I am perfectly prepared to defer my remarks until another time, if that would suit my noble friend, and I could then speak to my amendment while answering him on his amendment. If, as I understand, that is what my noble friend wants, it can be done.

Lord Mishcon

My Lords, may I be allowed to intervene at this stage to say merely that that would certainly suit my noble friends and myself for the following reason. The noble Lord the Minister is always clear, but of necessity he had to make a fairly rapid speech in explanation of his amendments. We do not have Notes on Clauses when it comes to dealing with Government amendments, and personally I should like to consider what the noble Lord has said in order that, together with my noble friends, I may intelligently contribute, I hope, to a discussion on what the noble Lord the Minister has explained. It really needs reading and studying.

Lord Howard of Henderskelfe

My Lords, if I may join in the discussion, I would say that being able to read what the noble Lord the Minister has said would repay us. I understand that what has been suggested is that at this stage we should wind up, as it were, and come back to it all with fresh minds on Thursday. If that is the proposition that the Chief Whip is putting to the House, I for one would warmly support it.

Lord Airedale

My Lords, the Minister having opened discussion dealing with most of the amendments to Clause 13, I cannot help thinking that we shall be some little time discussion the clause.

Lord Denham

My Lords, I think that I must take a lot of the blame on myself for this. I was told by some noble Lords that it would be possible to find a convenient breaking point in the middle of these amendments and by others that it would not. It is obvious that the latter were more correct. I think that I am right in saying that it is possible, as this is Report stage, to break in the middle of the debate like this. As my noble friend has the right to speak more than once with the leave of the House, and as other noble Lords who have intervened have done so before my noble friend sits down, I think that a break at this point would be quite in order. Your Lordships would also have the advantage of being able to read what my noble friend has said. Leaving Amendment No. 36 that we were discussing in mid-air, so to speak, which I understand is quite in order, I beg to move that consideration on Report be now adjourned.

Moved accodingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

House adjourned at two minutes past ten o'clock.