HL Deb 26 February 1985 vol 460 cc862-904

4.40 p.m.

House again in Committee on Clause 1.

[Amendments Nos. 2 to 5 not moved.]

The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Nugent of Guildford)

Is Amendment No. 6 in the name of the noble Earl, Lord Perth, not moved?

The Earl of Perth

Did the noble Lord the Chairman call Amendment No. 6?

The Deputy Chairman

It has been debated.

The Earl of Perth moved Amendment No. 6:

[Printed earlier.]

The noble Earl said: I wish to make three points briefly. I am not clear what is the legal position in regard to the trustees being able to assume the name "trustees of a Museum of Scotland". I hope that this can be clarified, if not today then at Report stage. My second point is that advisory boards can be wrong. My third point is that I shall study most carefully what the noble Lord, Lord Gray, said about the fact that under the existing Bill other museums or institutions may become part of, or be associated with, the museums. In that respect, I assume the noble Lord means that a Museum of Industry could be set up by them.

Lord Home of the Hirsel

I should like to clarify matters in my own mind, if not in the mind of anyone else, on this amendment. The concept, if I may use the word, of a great many of us is that the Museums of Scotland, as they are now known, will gradually at some future time be turned into the Museum of Scotland. We have established, I believe, that this does not require legislation—in other words, that the trustees can do it. We have progressed so far. The question now perhaps arises that at some future stage of the Bill it might be possible to forecast that this should be done by using the phrase "Museum of Scotland" in the Bill. I am not sure that one can forecast in a Bill in that way. There are great difficulties in doing so. Nevertheless, I suggest that we wait until another stage for that.

Lord Gray of Contin

The noble Earl, Lord Perth, has asked one or two more questions. We have had such a prolonged exchange of views that I should really like to study Hansard carefully to see what both of us have said. I can perhaps in due course write to the noble Earl clarifying the final points that he has made.

The Earl of Perth

I would be happy with that solution. I hope that the noble Lord, in writing to me, will pay particular attention to what was said by the noble Lord, Lord Home. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 1 agreed to.

Clause 2 [The Board's general functions]:

Lord Carmichael of Kelvingrove moved Amendment No. 7; Page 2, line 9, after ("to") insert ("and interpreted for").

The noble Lord said: It will perhaps be convenient if your Lordships accept that Amendments Nos. 8, 9, 10 and 12 are taken together in a block.

Amendment No. 8: Page 2, line 14, after ("archaeological") insert ("architectural").

Amendment No. 9: Page 2, line 14, after ("environmental") insert ("historical").

Amendment No. 10: Page 2, line 15, after ("scientific") insert ("Scottish").

Amendment No. 12: Page 2, line 29, at end insert— ("( ) In regard to the foregoing functions the Board shall have special regard to all matters concerned with Scotland.").

The purpose of the amendments is to secure that objects are not merely exhibited but that there is sufficient back-up and expertise provided by the board to enable them to be interpreted for the population in whichever museum they are displayed. The whole question of the layout of the exhibition and the amount of information given to the public is important in order to ensure that the museum shall be a live museum permitting the knowledge within it to be readily absorbed by those who visit.

In respect of Amendment No. 8 the Under-Secretary of State, dealing with the Bill in Committee in another place, said that if he had thought of it himself he would have included "architectural" as well as "artistic" in the list in paragraph (d) of subsection (1). He added that it could be assumed that "architectural" would be subsumed—that was the word that he used—for the purposes of the Bill, into "artistic". Our purpose in this amendment is to insert the word "architectural" and not to leave it to be subsumed into the word "artistic".

It is frequently true that if too many things are detailed in a Bill or an Act, other things, which might have been included had they been thought of at the time, are excluded. As the law is interpreted, if too many things are included, everything else is considered to be excluded. It would be a pity if, at some future date, the courts, unaware of what had been stated in Committee in another place, failed to agree that architectural merit could be subsumed in artistic merit and decided that, as architecture was not included, they must assume it was excluded. This is a small amendment but it clarifies the situation and leaves the wording much better than it is at present. I beg to move.

Lord Kirkhill

I should like to support my noble friend Lord Carmichael of Kelvingrove in all that he says in respect of Amendment No. 7. I am an occasional visitor to the Tate Gallery as I pass along the Embankment to come here. I have become increasingly impressed by the considerable extension of interpretation, using modern aids, that is available to visitors. I concede that the trend is noticeable in galleries everywhere. However, it would be a positive virtue to firm up the Bill at this point.

Baroness Elliot of Harwood

I support the amendment strongly. It proposes what in fact happens in a great many museums and places of interest. There is often an interpretative brochure available or an explanation displayed on a wall giving a background history of the exhibit or what it means. The amendment simply brings matters up to date. It is being done continually. I support the amendment strongly.

Lord Gray of Contin

The noble Lord, Lord Carmichael of Kelvingrove, when introducing the amendment, emphasised the importance of interpreting items in museum collections to the public. This is now generally agreed to be an absolutely central part of the role of museums. It was especially highlighted in the Williams Committee report. The Bill, as it stands, in Clause 2(1)(d) requires that the board shall, generally promote the public's awareness, appreciation and understanding", of certain matters by means of, inter alia, its collections. The Bill also, in Clause 2(1)(e) requires that the board shall, provide education, instruction and advice". These seem to us sufficient safeguards to ensure that the need to interpret the collections is given due prominence. However, in the light of what the noble Lord has said, and in the light of the comments which have been made by the noble Lord opposite and by my noble friend, I think that, just as a token of good will towards the Committee, I would be prepared to accept this amendment.

The noble Lord spoke also to Amendments Nos. 8 to 10. First of all, I should make it clear that I do not think it is quite correct to say that any commitment was given in another place that the word "architectural" would be included in the list. My honourable friend who was dealing with the amendment in another place spent some time talking about the list, but I am quite certain that he did not give any commitment that that word would be included. There is a strong inter-relationship between all the amendments which have been put down to Clause 2(1)(d) and those which have been laid in regard to paragraph 3(3) in Part I of Schedule 1. The two lists—the one listing the matters on which the board will have a general function of improving the public's "awareness, appreciation and understanding", and the other noting the criteria, knowledge or experience of which will be among the desirable factors for the Secretary of State to consider when appointing trustees—are of course closely intermeshed.

I should like at the outset to make the point that these lists are not intended to be exhaustive. The list in Clause 2(1)(d) is intended to give a number of broad subject headings indicating the general areas in which we believe it would be appropriate for the board to direct its work. A number of detailed matters in which the existing museums are active are therefore subsumed under broad headings; for instance, natural history under "environmental" and to some degree under "scientific". The list in paragraph 3(3) of Part I of Schedule 1 mirrors that list, but it also notes, knowledge or experience of … management, industrial relations, or administration". as desirable criteria for consideration. These matters figured also in the similar lists which appeared in the Natural Heritage Act 1983 in respect of the Victoria and Albert and Science Museums. The relevant paragraph of Schedule 1 adds the rider, or of any other subject, knowledge or experience of which would be of use to the Board in exercising their functions". We have already, in another place, agreed to the inclusion of two extra words in both lists. One is, "artistic", which we were persuaded was necessary by the arguments of the party of the noble Lord, Lord Ross of Marnock, though we believed that the all-embracing word, "cultural", was sufficient. The other is, "archaeological", which we acknowledged to be an aspect which needed to be highlighted in the list, particularly in view of the long tradition of archaeological research associated with the Society of Antiquaries and the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland. During the debate we had on Second Reading it was strongly argued by, among others, my noble friend Lord Lauderdale, who has left us for the moment, that the word "historical" should also be included. I promised then that I would consider this point. It is dealt with in Amendment No. 9, and also in Amendment No. 58 which we shall discuss later. At the moment we are dealing with Amendment No. 9. Therefore I can advise your Lordships' Committee that I am happy to accept that amendment; that is, the amendment which appears in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Grimond.

The noble Lord, Lord Carmichael, referred to the possible inclusion of "architectural" in the lists. These amendments have now been laid; Amendment No. 8 has been laid to this effect. I have seriously considered this point as well, but I have to tell the noble Lord that I am not convinced the arguments here are quite as strong. There are other institutions which might be considered to be better suited to pursuing an expertise in architectural matters, and I therefore believe that it would be wrong to highlight it in these lists. However, this will not prevent the national museums from, for instance, putting on exhibitions on broadly architectural topics or involving in them an architectural element if they think it is right to do so, bearing in mind the generality of their functions. I am happy to have been able to give what I hope will be considered to be a helpful reply to these amendments. I hope that this will be to the satisfaction of your Lordships' Committee.

Lord Howie of Troon

I am greatly interested in the Minister's reply to my noble friend Lord Carmichael, especially on the matter of artistic, architectural and cultural things. I happen to be a member of the party of the noble Lord, Lord Ross of Marnock; I mean that in the very narrowest possible sense. I think that possibly the party was mistaken in preferring to dilute the word "cultural" for narrower things. In so far as these narrower matters alluded to artistic things, they were sound but they narrowed the field rather far.

My noble friend Lord Carmichael is right when he argues that things which are not in lists are often thought to be out; if they are not included, they are therefore thought to be excluded. That raises a great difficulty. It is an argument for having very short lists with a general addendum such as, "and other things", at the end. It may be that this list is not too short but is too long, and that a short list with an addendum of a general kind would be much better.

It would be a mistake to assume that architectural matters are necessarily subsumed in artistic ones, because although architectural people often have artistic talents and artistic qualities and often approach their work from the point of view of art, it is not always safe to assume that the works of architects are works of art and can be included as works of art under any heading. The Pompidou Centre in Paris is a building which I admire greatly. It is a very substantial, noble, prominent and important work of architecture, but it could scarcely be described as a work of art. It would be better described as a work of engineering. I speak as an engineer, and I think that is a noble kind of architecture. There would be a good deal to be said for the noble Lord the Minister perhaps reconsidering what he has said and either widening the scope of the list to include architecture specifically or narrowing it in such a way as to include architecture by inference.

The Earl of Kintore

Can my noble friend the Minister answer one question? Does the amendment which he has accepted include the provision of tapes in Common Market languages so that visitors, whom we try to attract, would, by pressing a button, have an explanation of an exhibit in their own language?

5 p.m.

Lord Gray of Contin

Perhaps I may first deal briefly with the point made by my noble friend Lord Kintore by saying that, yes, it would; I can give an assurance to that effect.

The noble Lord, Lord Howie, asked me if I would think again about "architectural". It is difficult always to get this absolutely right. We have given a good deal of thought to the list. I personally have the feeling, having accepted two out of three amendments in this particular grouping, that I have made a fair gesture towards the will of the Committee.

I have to reiterate what I said a little earlier; namely, that I am not convinced that the arguments which can be used for the inclusion of, for example, "historical" or the arguments which were used for the inclusion of "archaeological", could necessarily be used to support "architectural". I am not prepared to accept that at the moment. However, what I would say to the noble Lord is that this is a matter to which, between now and Report, I shall give further thought without any commitment whatever—and I must emphasise that point. However, I shall think further about the matter, and if I decide in the affirmative I shall bring something forward at a later stage, but I say that without any commitment.

Lord Ross of Marnock

The point made by the noble Lord, Lord Howie of Troon, is well made. If we are to have a long list, it is very difficult to turn things down. I am going to press "architectural" on the noble Lord. After all, all living—in the sense of abiding and residing—is dependent very much on the development of architecture, and we should view it as such. Moreover, we have something to be proud of in the way of architecture. If you go to the USSR and look at the Summer Palace you will find that it was designed by a Scotsman called Cameron, who is probably better known outside Scotland than within it. We have the Adams brothers—I nearly said the Adams family, but that might have been mistaken for something else. There are also Robert Lorimer, Playfair and Rennie Mackintosh. We have been very slow to recognise the value of our architects. There are some outstanding examples of architecture.

Moreover, architecture affects our lives. We might as well face up to the fact that it is a blot on the landscape when one can travel throughout Scotland and see a house and immediately say that it is a local authority house. I think the same architect designed the lot. It is part of our history, but not the proudest part. There was a lack of flexibility and a lack of imagination which was probably determined by finance.

I am glad that the Minister is going to have a look at the matter again. As regards interpretation, the noble Earl, Lord Kintore, raised a very valid point. It is no good having our institutions proudly displaying what we have to show and so on, if, when people wander around, they do not know at what they are looking.

We must have interpretation. Indeed, that was the first recommendation of the Williams Report. That report wanted education to be not just some adjunct to the institution, to the museum, but a special part of it. That matter has been pushed aside, and that is why that report mentioned interpretation as its first recommendation. When our arguments are so good and when everyone is so persuasive, please do not let us be told that we shall be given a quota as regards what is accepted by the Government. Do not let us be told that they will accept two out of the four. The best is yet to come. Remember what I told the noble Lord about the education department. Pay no attention to them. I hope the noble Lord will depend on his common sense.

Lord Stodart of Leaston

I should like to make a special plea to my noble friend—and it relates to something which the noble Lord, Lord Ross of Marnock, has just said. The noble Lord mentioned the name of Lorimer. Sir Robert Lorimer's middle name was "Stodart", and I make the special plea that a cousin of mine was a famous architect, and I therefore ask my noble friend to please think favourably about including the word "architectural".

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 8 not moved.]

Lord Grimond moved Amendment No. 9:

[Printed earlier: col. 863.]

The noble Lord said: I am in the happy position of having my amendment accepted before I have moved it. I am very much in favour of this procedure in your Lordships' House, and I have no intention of looking any gift horses in the mouth. I was taught during my brief career at the Bar that, once the judge had shown that he agreed with you, you should never go on talking. Therefore, I merely thank the noble Lord the Minister very much indeed.

I raised this matter on Second Reading. It is obvious that if museums are associated with anything, they are associated with history. There are one or two other points that I should like to make very briefly about this clause, but I think it more appropriate to make them during the debate on the clause stand part, and I understand that that would be in order. Therefore, with thanks to the Minister, I beg to move Amendment No. 9

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 10 not moved.]

Lord Ross of Marnock moved Amendment No. 11: Page 2, line 27, leave out from ("direct;") to end of line 29.

The noble Lord said: This amendment leaves out—

The Earl of Perth

I ask the noble Lord the Chairman of Committees whether we should not take Amendment No. 12 before Amendment No. 11. What happened was that, again, some gremlin found its way into the amendments that I tabled. My Amendment No. 12 should have read, "Page 2, line 20", not "line 29". Therefore, it comes before—

The Earl of Caithness

With due respect to the noble Earl, we shall be coming to Amendment No. 12. We are dealing with Amendment No. 11. We have to deal with the amendments in chronological order; I believe that that is the custom of the Committee.

Lord Ross of Marnock

I think that we really want them to be taken in chronological order. What the noble Earl, Lord Perth, is saying is that when he first put his amendment down, and when I first saw it, I understood it to read, "Page 2, line 19", and not "line 29". Therefore, we would be taking it in chronological order if we took it now, before I deal with my amendment, Amendment No. 11. However, it does not matter very much.

I beg to move Amendment No. 11, which arises at page 2, line 27, and leaves out from "direct" to the end of line 22. The Secretary of State, directing the board to exercise powers—

The Earl of Caithness

Will the noble Lord clarify a point? Did he say, "to the end of line 22"?

Lord Ross of Marnock

It is to the end of line 29.

The Earl of Caithness

You said, "to the end of line 22".

Lord Ross of Marnock

It is on the Marshalled List as, "to end of line 29", and I am not objecting to it. I beg to move the amendment on the Marshalled List. The noble Earl can read it for himself.

Lord Gray of Contin

May I interrupt the noble Lord for one moment? I should just like to be sure that we are both in the same game. I understand that Amendment No. 23 is being taken with this amendment. Is the noble Lord speaking to Amendment No. 23 as well?

Lord Ross of Marnock

I think it is exactly the same. When we come to Amendment No. 23, I shall move it or not move it. The arguments are exactly the same. Amendment No. 23: Page 7, line 26, leave out from ("direct;") to end of line 28. In subsection (2) the Secretary of State is given power to direct the board to exercise functions. But then it says: but nothing in this subsection authorises the Board to exercise a function of making regulations or other instruments of a legislative character". Nowhere in the Bill is the board given the power to do that. The only person who can direct the board to exercise any of his functions is the Secretary of State. So please do not let us take a stick and chastise the board and say that it must not exercise any functions: it is the Secretary of State who must refrain from asking the board to exercise any such functions.

In any case, I do not think the words are needed because I do not think that any Secretary of State would go to the point of asking the board to exercise what are legislative functions which only he can rightly exercise. If we have to include such a provision, it shows a very low regard for the qualities of the present Secretary of State. But if we are to do it, let us not blame the board. Let us say: but nothing in this subsection authorises the Secretary of State to allow the board to exercise a function of making regulations or other instruments of a legislative character".

I beg to move.

Lord Gray of Contin

The exclusion of the words contained in lines 27 to 29 of Clause 2, subsection (2), would have the effect that the National Museums Board could be empowered to make regulations or similar statutory orders on the Secretary of State's behalf. I am sure that the committee will recognise that this would not be an appropriate function for the new board. The inclusion of this subsection, which is in exactly the same terms as provisions relating to the Victoria and Albert and Science Museums in the National Heritage Act 1983, is to allow the national museums to continue to operate the local museums purchase funds on behalf of the Secretary of State. These funds, which are currently administered by the Director of the Royal Scottish Museum, give valuable help to local authority and independent museums in Scotland to enable them to purchase items for their collections. The proposed amendment to Clause 10 is equally inappropriate for the Royal Botanic Garden.

Lord Ross of Marnock

Yes, but the board can only exercise any powers, which are the Secretary of State's powers, if the Secretary of State directs it so to do. Therefore, if we must have this provision, it indicates a failure to trust the Secretary of State. He alone can give the board that power. The subsection begins: If the Secretary of State directs the Board to exercise functions", then we tell the board. If the Secretary of State asks it to exercise a function, it may say that it cannot do so because it would be making a regulation or other instrument of a legislative character. If we are to ban the board from doing so, then we should ban the power of the Secretary of State to ask the board to do it.

I hope the Minister of State appreciates this point. The board cannot do this, which is so terrible, unless the Secretary of State directs it to do it. But it is not the board which is making the mistake: it is the Secretary of State who is making the mistake by asking the board to exercise the function. If it is not included in the clause, I do not think it would take anything away from the powers of the Secretary of State. It would just mean that the Secretary of State will continue to be careful that he only asks the board to do what is lawful. The clause says: but nothing … authorises the Board to exercise a function". The only person who can authorise the board is the Secretary of State. Let us go after him if it is necessary, but I do not think it is necessary. I do not think that the words add anything at all.

No one wants to interfere with the desirable functions that the Royal Scottish Museum exercises in respect of making grants, which relates to a question that was asked earlier by a noble Lord opposite. But this comes about because we have made the change. The Secretary of State can do that at any time himself. In fact, he does it presently because the Royal Scottish Museum is a part of the Scottish Office; it is a part of the Department of Education. This is to be included simply because we have divorced it from the Scottish Office and have made it subject to a board of trustees, which of course will be appointed by the Secretary of State.

I hope that the noble Lord the Minister will have another look at this. I do not believe that it is necessary; and, if it is necessary, there should be a proviso to ensure that the Secretary of State does not try to delegate functions that he has no right to delegate.

Lord Gray of Contin

Perhaps I could point out to the noble Lord something of which I am quite sure he is aware anyway, but which there is no harm in going over again. A number of situations might require the use of this power in the future. For example, the Secretary of State may wish the board to include under its management an area of land gifted to him and suitable for the purpose; or to participate in certain aspects of public education. This is a power normally placed in legislation founding new fringe bodies which depend on Exchequer funding. For example, it is also applicable in respect of the Royal Botanic Garden at Kew. That is just one example where the Secretary of State might require this power. I think it is as well to remember that. I would not agree with the noble Lord that it is not necessary. I think that it is necessary to have it in the Bill.

5.15 p.m.

Lord Ross of Marnock

If the Minister is now arguing that the board can do this although it is legislative, he had better take this out of the Bill because there is a complete bar on the board. It says: nothing in this subsection authorises the Board to exercise a function of making regulations or other instruments of a legislative character". That is a blanket prohibition. Now the noble Lord says that we should include it. I do not know why he wants to include it when it bars the board from doing something that he now says it might want to do. I think that the Minister should take this back and read it and have a talk with his advisers about it. In the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

The Earl of Perth moved Amendment No. 12:

[Printed earlier: col. 863.]

The noble Earl said: I am sorry to have spoken out of turn on this amendment but, as I said, it was a matter of lines ahead of the previous amendment. I am impressed by all the functions which the board is to fulfil. We have had them enlarged upon today, and they were enlarged upon in another place. But in any of these functions there is no hint that they are specially to do with Scotland. That would not matter if the functions of the museum were concerned purely with Scotland, but they are not. The Royal Scottish Museum has a large collection of works which has nothing at all to do with Scotland. Therefore, it seems to me that we should have an amendment in the terms that I have tabled here to indicate to one and all that all these aspects—whether they concern agriculture, the environment, the sciences or other matters—should have a special connection with Scotland. It is on that basis that I beg to move this amendment.

Lord Carmichael of Kelvingrove

I should like to say how much I agree with the noble Earl, Lord Perth, on this point. It may seem strange to insert in a Scottish Bill a provision relating to the importance of Scottish material being included in the national museum but there is sometimes a tendency for museum keepers to follow particular trends rather than a particular locality. I believe that Scotland has sufficient culture, even in the scientific, environmental, industrial and military fields, to ensure that plenty of purely Scottish material is included. This does not mean that the museum would be filled with Scottish things only, but there should be an emphasis on Scottish material, or at least a powerful mention of Scottish material, in any Scottish museum.

One would expect visitors coming from abroad and the people at home to be able to find anything worthy of going into a museum and created in Scotland, or pertaining to Scotland, in a Scottish museum. This is another inclusion which should be put in the list in subsection (1)(d). Although I accept the difficulty of a long list, I think in a Scottish Bill we ought to include the word "Scotland", and I support the amendment.

Lord Kirkhill

So far Amendment No. 12 is concerned, no Scottish Office Minister of State could ever justify refusal of this insertion; he might try but he could not do so satisfactorily. When the board is beginning to dither, which is an almost inevitable occurrence given the numbers proposed to constitute the board, the then secretary will be able to direct their attention to what will be by then part of the relevant Act. I predict that it will lead to an immediate concentration of mind which can only be of benefit to Scottish arts on the whole.

Baroness Elliot of Harwood

I should like to support this amendment. It would seem strange in a Scottish Bill that you should have to put in these words, but the point of the whole thing is that we want to have as much as possible of our Scottish heritage preserved, and we need as much help as we can get and we need to give as much publicity to it as we can; and it is important that these words should be put into the Bill. I support the amendment.

Lord Gray of Contin

The noble Earl, Lord Perth, supported by the noble Lord, Lord Carmichael, and the noble Lord, Lord Kirkhill, and my noble friend Lady Elliot have appealed strongly on behalf of this amendment. I appreciate the feeling which the noble Earl expressed that the needs of these collections are especially strong at the present time. The Williams Report, not for the first time, highlighted the extent to which the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland's collections have suffered from successive disappointments in the search for new accommodation. They now form a powerful resource which, except for the displays in the Queen Street Museum and occasional special exhibitions, are little known to the general public, and in some cases are inaccessible even to scholars without a great deal of difficulty.

We have promised that the accommodation needs of those collections will be given priority in the allocation of capital resources from the overall museums and galleries programme. Equally I have already explained that my right honourable friend is giving priority to the development of the Museum of Scotland concept, and this will clearly be a major concern of the new board of trustees. The National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland's collections, and indeed the purely Scottish aspects of those of the Royal Scottish Museum, are of great importance, and we all want to see them given more prominence. But of equal importance in many ways are some of the international collections of the Royal Scottish Museum. The amendment suggested by noble Lords would tend to work to the detriment of those collections.

I find myself in a little difficulty so far as this amendment is concerned for the simple reason that I know that those of your Lordships who have spoken in support of this amendment feel that they want to see the very best for Scotland so far as this Bill is concerned. I, too, want to achieve that objective, but I do not want in any way to make this into an argument that we must turn aside from everything else which is in the possession of our Scottish museums. Nevertheless, I have listened carefully to what has been said and I am prepared to take this away and give it further thought. Again, as is usual on such occasions, I shall take this away without commitment and give it further thought, and we can deal with this at a later stage.

The Earl of Perth

I am grateful for the support I have received from all quarters on this amendment. I am also grateful that the noble Lord, Lord Gray of Contin, is going to have another look at it. I was careful not to exclude other objects. I know well that the Royal Scottish Museum and other museums have very fine things from all over the world, and that is as it should be, but there is nothing in this Bill, or in this list, which shows that we should pay special attention, have special regard, to things Scottish.

The only purpose of this amendment is to say that. It is not ruling out something else. I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Gray, noting the support I have had, and having listened to what I have just now said, will in the end come out, if not with this amendment then with something to the same effect, in which case I shall be happy. With that, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

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

Lord Grimond

As I indicated earlier I wish to say a word or two on this clause, particularly on sub-section (1)(d). We have had a rather important statement from the Minister. He has said—and he will correct me if I am wrong—that the list set out in Clause 2(1)(d) is not exclusive. I think his phrase was that they were broad subject headings under which other things could be subsumed. I am not sure that this is a sound principle of legislation. No doubt the lawyers would look at this. I understood that if you listed things in a Bill, then you excluded what was not listed. We need to be certain about this.

The noble Lord also mentioned in particular—and this seemed somewhat contradictory—that some things were not put in because it was so well known that, for instance, the Museum of Antiquities had a large collection of them, while other things, such as archaeology, were put in because it was so well known that the Museum of Antiquities had a large collection of them. I am not sure whether things are left out because it is well known that a museum has them, or whether they are put in because a museum has them. That is my first point.

Secondly, the noble Lord mentioned particularly natural history. I am not certain that natural history would be included in this list. I am quite certain that architecture, which has been mentioned, would not. There is also the question of services. Industry is mentioned but there is no mention of services. However, the most striking omission is fishing. The noble Lord may argue that fishing is an industry. One sometimes talks of the fishing industry. However, we talk of the agricultural industry; but agriculture is specifically mentioned. I had thought until today that the reason fishing was not mentioned was that there is already a fishing museum, and that it was to exclude these two museums with which we are concerned from dealing with fishing matters that it had been left out of the list, because the Government were going to build up the fishing museum. Is that so?

May I have the Minister's attention because I should like an answer to this question. Is it the intention of the Government that anything to do with fishing which is worthy of being maintained in a museum should be sent to the fishing museum, and that the two museums with which this Bill deals should exclude anything to do with fishing from their collections?

5.30 p.m.

Lord Howie of Troon

I should like to return to the question of this list in Clause 2(1)(d). I think the list should be rethought almost entirely. I do not think that it fulfils its function. The Long Title mentions "cultural and scientific purposes" and in Clause 2(1)(d) "cultural and scientific purposes" have become more numerous. They have become more numerous in a rather odd way. There is a strange mixture of specific and general items. I think that is an error. There are general items such as cultural and social matters which are to be promoted and there are other more specific items which are: matters agricultural, archaeological, artistic, cultural, environmental, industrial"— and so on.

The weakness is that if the general merely had been left the specific might have been included in the general. But when the specific are itemised one by one we must necessarily conclude that only those items in the Bill are those which matter and those which are excluded should not count. We have already discussed architecture and have noted the substantial contribution to Scottish culture made by architects, particularly Lorimer, though more particularly by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, as noble Lords will probably agree.

I should like to draw attention to yet another quite startling omission, when we consider that this is the National Heritage (Scotland) Bill: that is the Scottish heritage in engineering. We have enumerated a number of architects but I need merely mention Thomas Telford; at least three Rennies; William Fairbairn; James Watt; seven or eight Stevensons, who were mainly cousins, fathers, uncles and grandfathers of Robert Louis Stephenson, the novelist who himself took a degree in civil engineering at Edinburgh University, though he did not put it to use. I might add that even noted Englishmen like Robert Stephenson, son of George Stephenson, and George Bidder studied civil engineering at Edinburgh University in the 1820s. It is extraordinary that the engineering heritage should be omitted from a list of this nature.

It might be argued that the mechanical engineering bit is subsumed under the general heading of "industrial", or that the civil engineering bit is included under "environmental" or that all of engineering is included generally under "scientific". But engineering is not the same as "scientific". Engineering has to do with science, but it has to do with the application of science in the same way as "industrial" has.

I think that this list is almost entirely useless, for the best possible reason. It is intended to be an educational guide of some kind. It has fallen into the trap of mentioning those matters which are of interest to the draftsman who drew up the Bill. Such matters as engineering and architecture, of which he has never heard, have been left out.

I think that this part of the Bill should be completely rewritten and should be reduced to something quite small, such as "cultural, social and industrial". It should be almost left at that, but it would probably be wise to put in some saving phrase such as, and such other matters as might be deemed relevant"— or however the draftsman would phrase such a thought. As it stands it will not do.

I sincerely hope that the Minister will have a close look at it, think it over with his normal care and courtesy, and bring back something a good deal more relevant at Report stage.

Lord Wilson of Langside

As something of a silent observer of and listener to the debate so far on this Bill, I rise only to say that I do not know whether the arguments of the noble Lord, Lord Grimond, and the noble Lord, Lord Howie of Troon, have impressed the noble Lord, Lord Gray, but they certainly impressed me. I hope that the Minister will take a careful look at this matter with his lawyers and others.

Lord Ross of Marnock

I rise to ask one simple point. The clause provides: the Secretary of State directs the Board to exercise functions [which are] exercisable by him". Can the Minister of State list the functions that are likely to be exercised by the board delegated thereto by the Secretary of State? Is this the only way that the local museums, the private museums and others receive finances? If they are to receive finance or gifts in future through this new board, how will they be differentiated, in respect of the general monies going to this board, for their own particular museum purposes so that Parliament will know exactly what is being spent on each purpose?

Lord Kirkhill

I make one brief intervention to remind the Minister that the point which the noble Lord, my good friend Lord Ross of Marnock, made is the point that I tried to emphasise at Second reading. Although I know the noble Lord the Minister gave me a reply, upon reading Hansard subsequently I could not say that I was satisfied with what he said to me.

Lord Gray of Contin

The interesting, if short, debate which we have had on Clause 2 stand part highlights just what a productive afternoon we have had in discussing the amendments which related to the first two clauses.

I should like to try to deal with some of the points made on Clause 2 stand part, particularly those by the noble Lords, Lord Grimond and Lord Howie, regarding the list. It is thought that any legitimate area of concern from museums would be covered by the broad subject in the list: for example, natural history would be covered by "scientific"; "environmental" could cover various other particular areas; "architectural" would be covered by "cultural"; "industrial" could cover certain aspects of fishing, about which the noble Lord, Lord Grimond, was concerned. While mentioning fishing it is felt that the presence of the Scottish Fisheries Museum at Anstruther, which is an independent museum, is vitally important to the subject. We do not necessarily exclude some focus on fishery matters in the national museums.

These would be matters principally for the board to decide, but some concern has been expressed about the list particularly by Lord Howie. If the Committee is concerned about the matters left out of the list, it would perhaps be better to take out "artistic" and "architectural" than to put in more. It is a matter which is debatable one way or the other. We believe that to take them out would be a mistake. The list—as we have compiled it with the additions which we have agreed to include—covers most areas and ultimately, we hope, all areas of concern to museums.

Lord Ross of Marnock

The Minister says that he is not going to take out "architectural". Does that mean he is going to put it in?

Lord Gray of Contin

I think I made the position clear to the House. This is an area to which we will give some further consideration bearing in mind what others have said.

The noble Lords, Lord Ross and Lord Kirkhill, albeit at Second Reading, asked me one or two questions. To the noble Lord, Lord Ross, I would say that most local museums have some local sources of finance for purchases. These may be topped up by the local museum purchase funds, which will be operated by the board under Clause 2(2). Another source of finance is the Scottish Museums Council, which, of course, is grant-aided.

The points which have been raised have mostly centred round the question of the list, and I think that the indication which I have given is that we shall look further at the list before the next stage. However, I doubt whether we shall go down the road suggested by the noble Lord, Lord Howie of Troon. As the noble Lord, Lord Ross, pointed out in a earlier intervention, when you have a large number of subjects included in your list it makes it difficult to refuse others. I think that what Lord Howie is suggesting is that we slash the list and have it very narrow indeed. I think that that perhaps would be a mistake; but we shall certainly be looking at the whole question of the list before the next stage of the Bill.

Lord Howie of Troon

I do not want to slash the list and make it very narrow: I want to slash the list and make it very broad. By that, I mean that we should leave out the fairly large number of specific items, which could be lengthened, page after page, to include them all. That would be a mistake. I think that we should slash the list by including only the general items, which could then be thought of as subsuming (the word which Lord Grimond used) the specific items. If that were done I think the Committee would be satisfied, and certainly the people to whom these specific items were of interest would be satisfied as well.

Clause 2, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 3 [General powers of Board]:

5.45 p.m.

Lord Carmichael of Kelvingrove moved Amendment No. 13: Page 2, line 31, after ("admission") insert ("to special exhibitions").

The noble Lord said: Noble Lords will recall that at Second Reading we had a considerable debate on the principle behind this particular amendment. The principle behind it is that no charges shall be made for admission to the national museums of Scotland, or whatever name we ultimately decide upon. No admission charges will be made, and they will not be permitted except when there is a special exhibition, apart from the normal display of the museum. This is a point that was raised during Second Reading here and repeatedly in another place on Second Reading and in Committee, and it is a point that we take very seriously indeed. We think that it is one of great concern. We are very concerned that the Government make the decision by putting it into the Bill that the only charges that will be permissible will be those for special exhibitions, and that it will not be left to the board of the museum.

The Committee may recall that on the last occasion on which we discussed this I quoted figures showing the differences between attendances when charges were made and after they were taken away. I gave two examples—and there are many of them. I gave the examples of Lady Stairs House and the Cannongate Toll Booth. In both cases the numbers of people who visited the exhibitions when there was no charge went up by a factor approaching four. I am sure that in the interval the Government will be able to find other examples, but I shall be very surprised if they find any examples to contradict the general trend that I have suggested, which is a factor of a 2–1, 3–1 and perhaps 4–1 rise in attendances when admission charges are removed.

I was sorry, on re-reading the Second Reading debate, to be reminded that the noble Lords, Lord Grimond and Lord Taylor of Gryfe, both felt that it was not terribly important, that it was not something that they thought was of great consequence, and that they had (I think these were the words they used) an open mind about whether charges should be made. I hope that they have been approached since by the various museum authorities and people concerned about museums and about art, history and culture generally, and are not now just open-minded but have realised that it is too serious a subject to be completely open-minded about.

I think it is a subject where one must be stubbornly opposed to any charges for examining and partaking of our culture. I know that there are arguments about continental museums, but they have quite different beginnings from ours. Their genesis is quite different from ours, and they have different cultural backgrounds. Although I have visited very many of them, I wonder whether (particularly in the smaller museums) the money does more than cover the salaries of those collecting the money. If that is all the payment can bring in, I do not think it is enough to warrant creating an impediment to knowledge and understanding, and to an improvement in the quality of life of people.

The noble Earl, Lord Perth, mentioned that he had been in America and that he had been round the Smithsonian. I was taken to the Smithsonian by my host when I was in America, but I cannot remember whether they had a charge there. I do not recall that there was any payment to get in to the Smithsonian in America. I hope that there never will be, and I hope that our museums will also remain free. Our museums were started by liberal philanthropists and some very forward-looking local authorities. They were considered (and, I hope, still are considered) a general part of the Scottish attitude and reverence for education. There was, of course, the big start that was given by another Scottish philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie, by setting up libraries and giving very large sums of money to set up libraries all over Scotland.

One of the points that was made about charging, and which is always made, is that if you allow exemptions and are careful about the exemptions, that will take away most of the problem. The exemptions would obviously need to be for (I do not know) children, unemployed and pensioners. This is pushing more and more people with poor earning power into the role of second-class citizens. This is a very important point in itself. It is also important when you realise that there is still a large group of people who would perhaps not qualify in this way: the young people, the young boys and girls in their teens and pre-teens, who probably make at least as much use of the museums and art galleries as any other group.

I, myself, at pre-teen age, spent a lot of time in a children's museum, a sort of elementary natural history museum, at Tollcross Park, which was near me. I visited the People's Palace often. I agree that in many cases it was just a place to go because there was very little money about and one went to these places. But had the admission charge been as low as three pence it would have been quite impossible for me to go there. I and many of my friends, by going to these museums, picked up a lot; and in many cases particular interests were kindled in people who perhaps had no original idea of being particularly concerned, involved or engrossed in the contents of the museum. But they went there, they went back, they went more and more, and many of them became very involved in the whole question of the heritage, which gave them a new light on history and, particularly in terms of art galleries, a new outlook on art.

I firmly believe that a very vital principle is involved in the amendment and we still do not know what are the Government's real intentions. Can the Minister give any assurance that there will be no pressure from the Government to make the new board charge entrance fees, directly or indirectly? By "directly" I mean by the Government ordering them to do it in the new climate that we are told about. By "indirectly" I mean that perhaps the grant will be cut and the members of the board may be told to make it up; they may be told that it is up to them, but if they wish to make up the grant, they would need to charge. I should like to know whether the Minister has any specific ideas as to whether this is likely to happen or whether it is part of the Government's thinking.

We believe that it would be the thin end of the wedge. If national museums, which up to now have been freely available, were to start charging fees, it could ultimately lead to the assumption that local museums and art galleries could do the same. I think this is one of the most serious parts of the Bill. It may seem rather a small part of it, but it is absolutely fundamental to the whole attitude that the people of Scotland will have towards their museums. I hope that the Government will give it very serious thought and be willing to agree to the amendment. I beg to move.

Lord Kirkhill

I should like to lend my support to that which has just been said by my noble friend Lord Carmichael of Kelvingrove. The use of the phrase "special exhibitions" perhaps does slightly beg the question, if you assume (as I do) that it is at least open to debate as to what would or would not constitute a special exhibition. But in my view such a phrase, or a similar one, yet to be devised, should be inserted in the Bill at this point. It is wrong in principle to leave the board an absolute discretion over the requirement of payment for admission. Considerable restrictions should be placed on the board, in this regard, I believe, and my noble friend Lord Carmichael has enunciated these points with great clarity.

Baroness Elliot of Harwood

I, too, should like to support this point very strongly indeed. If I remember correctly, some years ago the then Chancellor of the Exchequer suggested that there should be charges for museums in England. That had to be withdrawn because it was so very much opposed, though I cannot remember the details. I think it would be a big mistake to charge for ordinary admission to a museum, though I am strongly in favour of charging for special exhibitions. That practice is going on the whole time; there is at this moment in one of the galleries the Renoir exhibition and one has to pay to go into it. I am sure special exhibitions should be charged for. But we want the public to use museums; we are doing all this because we want the museums to be more attractive and we want more people to go to them, and so they should be free. Special exhibitions should be charged for.

Lord Taylor of Gryfe

During an earlier stage the noble Lord, Lord Grimond, and I said that we had an open mind on this subject. However, I must say that despite the persuasive speeches of the noble Lord, Lord Carmichael of Kelvingrove, and the noble Baroness, Lady Elliot, I am not convinced that there should be a prohibition on the trustees of the museums charging for entry to museums, galleries and what-have-you. I say this for a number of reasons. I know that there is a tradition in Scotland that these places should be free, and these traditions die hard. But we are seeing changing times, changing experience and changing standards, and the mere fact that people are prepared to pay more than £1 for a packet of 20 cigarettes is indicative of the kind of change that is taking place.

I want to see these museums succeed and I want them to have access to revenues not only from Government sources but also from people who want to pay for them and, indeed, are prepared to pay for them. I go to the National Gallery in London and I pay to get in to see the Chagall exhibition and the Renoir exhibition—the Chagall, I think is at the Hayward Gallery; but to have to pay to go into the gallery does not discourage me; in fact. I enjoy it all the more, and I get my money's worth. I recall from previous experience during the war when I did relief work that if you let people pay for something it was not a bad thing for them. They felt rather proud of the fact that they were able to contribute something. I suggest that we want to be proud of these museums, and the local people might wish to pay.

The Burrell collection is quoted as a great example; there have been large attendances at that wonderful exhibition. It is free, but it is being maintained by the local authority, Glasgow District Council. Glasgow District Council has to make very harsh decisions in its day-to-day management as to whether to spend less on social services, on home helps and so on; and I do not think it is a bad thing if the local authority decides that if people want to visit the Burrell collection, they should pay. People travel up specially from London to see that collection, and it is quite wrong to say that they would be discouraged if they had to pay.

I would certainly make an exemption for people who were unable to pay; I would make an exemption for students, old age pensioners—a reduction of that kind—but I would not restrict the powers of the authority to charge for access. We must remember that on the Continent it is common practice to pay to get into museums and galleries. That is not a bad thing. There is the realisation that these things cost money to keep them going. Heating has to be paid for and wages have to be paid to people, and you cannot always just throw that cost on to the Government, to the local authority or the new trustees. Therefore, having thought a great deal about this question and having realised that it is in conflict with the great traditions of free galleries and museums in Scotland, I think that the changing times justify some freedom being given to the authorities to ask for a payment for entry.

Baroness Carnegy of Lour

I, too, should like to oppose the amendment. Most of the points I was going to make have been made very much better than I could have made them by the noble Lord, Lord Taylor of Gryfe. I think the most important point of all is the experience on the Continent, where it is completely accepted practice in most places to pay. Indeed, one actually sees students—not only visiting students, but students of the country concerned—paying. One sees schoolchildren paying; and to suggest that by asking people to pay to see it, we in Scotland would love our culture less than would people in Italy, France, Germany or wherever, seems to me utterly ludicrous.

I would say to the noble Lord, Lord Carmichael, that in fact all the signs are that people pay really a surprisingly high sum in the European museums to look at their precious possessions, and they understand that they are doing it in order that those possessions should be well looked after. They are actually playing a part in caring for the things that they treasure so much. But, quite apart from that, the vast numbers of tourists who now go through our museums in Scotland are absolutely astonished to learn that in effect we pay for them to see them. They find it completely extraordinary; and although the Bill is not saying that charges must be made but only that charges may be made, I think that to rule out charges would be the very greatest mistake.

6 p.m.

The Earl of Perth

I think that the noble Lord, Lord Gray, is in luck. He now has three people who are going to oppose the amendment. Despite the eloquence of the noble Lord, Lord Carmichael, I believe that it is reasonable to have the power to charge for admission. He asked me a question about the Smithsonian. The Smithsonian is free, as are all the museums under it. The great Metropolitan Museum in New York has what it calls voluntary contributions. However, if you try to enter and do not put anything into the pot, as it were—it ought to be as much as four dollars so you must put in at least one or two dollars, which is now 1 or £2—you will find it most unpleasant. So that method of being voluntary does not work because it is only voluntary in inverted commas. If there are to be admission charges—forget the special categories—it is essential that it is known that on at least one day in the week admission is free for one and all.

The noble Baroness, Lady Elliot, referred to the debate of long ago in this House. I remember it well because at that time I also spoke in favour of charges and found myself in great trouble with many of your Lordships. I have not changed my mind so I think that the Government are right to make this aspect permissive. That does not mean that they must do it at once, and if a charge is made then care should be taken to ensure that those who cannot afford to pay are able on some occasions to enter free of charge.

The Earl of Kintore

I want to make it clear that I agree that the power of making a charge must be left in this Bill. There is no reason why there should not be one or two free days during the week. However, those who do not want to have quite such a scrum and want to be able to see exhibits by paying, should be able to reserve the opportunity and also add to the funds of the museum by so doing.

Lord Howie of Troon

I should like to support my noble friend Lord Carmichael of Kelvingrove because he does something quite sensible here; that is he distinguishes between special exhibitions and permanent collections. The two things are quite distinct. None of us objects at all to paying for special exhibitions because we know that they have had to be gathered together at special cost, with travelling expenses, and so on, being incurred.

All that has to be paid for. We understand that, and we make these payments without too much cavil. The permanent collection is slightly different.

I should like to dissent a little from the noble Earl, Lord Perth. He quite rightly drew attention to the fact that in many of the galleries in the United States—and he specifically mentioned the Metropolitan Museum—there is a voluntary arrangement. That is more admirable than he suggests. It has not been my experience that the custodians of the pay boxes are unpleasant if I demur at paying four dollars; but then I have a slight advantage over many people, in that when I demur I merely show my National Union of Journalists' card and get in for nothing, which is very enjoyable. However, there is no reason why a voluntary system should be accompanied by a form of arm twisting or even of genteel coercion. A voluntary system with the voluntary rate pitched low would meet the objections of my noble friend Lord Carmichael to statutory charges and would also deal with the underlying problem of providing sufficient funds to maintain these collections, of which we are all aware. My noble friend Lord Carmichael ought to be supported in this matter; but at the same time we should have in mind some system such as that used in the United States in terms of voluntary subscriptions at the turnstile.

Lord Gray of Contin

We have had a very useful debate on this subject. It was debated at some length in another place, and the amendments which have been put down in this House, presumably drafted by the noble Lord, Lord Ross of Marnock, show an improvement at least on those which were put down in another place. That is hardly surprising with his experience of drafting amendments. But the sentiment behind the amendments shows an improvement as well because (at least in the amendments which we are studying tonight) the noble Lords, Lord Ross of Marnock and Lord Carmichael of Kelvingrove, recognise the important fact that national institutions should be able to charge for entry to the special exhibitions which from time to time they mount—very often at considerable cost. At least they recognise that those exhibitions should to some extent be expected to contribute to their costs. That view was very forcefully expressed by the noble Lord, Lord Taylor of Gryfe, by the noble Earl, Lord Perth, and by my noble friends Lady Carnegy of Lour and Lord Kintore.

Nevertheless, what these amendments fail to do is to recognise that the powers for institutions to levy admission charges are contained in the Museums and Galleries Admission Charges Act 1972. The reference here, to which the noble Lords have taken such exception, is merely included for clarification of the board's powers. We should note that the powers in the 1972 Act, to which the Labour Party appears to take such exception, remained unamended on the statute book throughout the whole period of the last Labour Government, during part of which time the noble Lord, Lord Ross of Marnock, was a member of the Cabinet. Clearly, he and his colleagues saw no objection to these powers then, and it is therefore hard to see why they have now performed such a volte face, so far as the subject is concerned.

In case there is any doubt in the minds of any of your Lordships about what the Government have in mind, perhaps I could repeat the assurances which my honourable friend gave in another place. There is no question of the Government forcing institutions to impose admission charges for entry to their collections. As has already been pointed out, many do institute such charges for special exhibitions. None of the Scottish national institutions has, as yet, suggested the institution of such charges for entry to the permanent collections, nor am I aware of any proposals for such a thing in the future. But we believe—and this point was made by many speakers in the debate—that it is right that these matters should be left to the judgment of individual boards. They will be in the best position to determine what is right for their institution, taking account of all the relevant circumstances which exist in the different locations.

We would of course expect them to discuss with us, as part of the discussions which take place on a regular basis, the way in which receipts from any charges might be put to use; but other than that we believe this to be a matter for the discretion of the boards under the general powers available to them in the 1972 Act. I felt during the debate that most of those who spoke highlighted the necessity to have this included in the Bill, so that the boards can decide for themselves what is best in each set of circumstances. Therefore, I cannot accept this amendment, and in view of the opinions which have been expressed during the debate, I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Carmichael, will consider withdrawing his amendment.

Lord Carmichael of Kelvingrove

I am grateful for the statement that the Minister made and for the assurance he gave that nothing of which he is aware is likely to make the Government force the board to charge for admissions. Of course, as with the 1972 Act, as he will find—he probably did find—and as with many Acts passed by Governments, promises are made to repeal but because of the struggle with the parliamentary timetable legislation is not repealed. But there is another consideration. I think the noble Lord will agree that the climate has changed in a great many ways since the days of 1972. The noble Baroness, Lady Elliot, made reference to the earlier attempts to impose charging. I think the Minister will remember that various senior Ministers had their wrists severely slapped by the public at large for even daring to think of charging.

I am disappointed at the general acceptance that it is not a bad thing to charge for the ordinary museums. At Second Reading I gave the example of the Picasso-Matisse exhibition in Glasgow and many others, and said that no one objected in those cases. The exhibition had been brought at considerable expense and it was a great opportunity to see something. No one objected to that, but the idea that there should be a charge to see the general standard of material in museums, probably paid for by the people of Scotland or gifted to the people of Scotland, is certainly wrong.

Perhaps I may say this to the noble Lord, Lord Taylor of Gryfe, and to the argument that people enjoy things better if they pay for them. I first heard that when I was very young. I was reading some of Freud—probably long before I should have. Psychiatrists said that you did not get the benefit of a good psychoanalysis unless the fee was enough to hurt your pocket. Psychiatrists became very rich on that nice piece of philosophy. This was certainly done. I also remember reading that Bernard Shaw always maintained that you should never give anyone a book. They would not read it if you gave it to them, so you should make them buy it. But Bernard Shaw did not suggest that we should close down libraries or that we should start charging people to go to libraries. This is where I find great disappointment in the statement of the noble Lord, Lord Taylor of Gryfe.

I object in principle, except for very special categories, to the business of exemptions. I think there are certain areas in which you can make exemptions. Transport is a good example of where certain people can be given inducements to travel at certain times or to use facilities at certain times because they happen to have the leisure time for it. That is the only exemption I really like; otherwise I think that where possible people should have enough money to be able to stand up with the rest of society and do more or less the same things as the rest of society.

I do not believe that one would have anything like 1.1 million visitors to Burrell if one was dependent on foreign tourists. It is local people, Scottish people, who are going time and again to see Burrell. I think it would be a factor if they had to start paying £4 as the noble Earl, Lord Perth, suggested. I think one would be very far short of 1.1 million visitors if one charged anything even approaching that and I think the numbers would go down greatly.

It is quite true that the continental museums—I tried to deal with this—do charge because their experience is quite different. Many of the German museums do not charge; whether there is a greater affinity there I do not know. The noble Baroness, Lady Carnegy, suggested that tourists were astounded at being able to get into our museums cheaply or for nothing. I think it is nice to astound tourists occasionally and from all the stories I hear they are also sometimes astounded at the rest of our tourism, although it is improving greatly. There are ways to recover money from them other than by charging.

6.15 p.m.

I am disappointed that we are not taking a harder line in this. I think it is something about which we have to be very careful. We should not get meshed into the sort of society where everything is paid for on the spot. I think that society, in order to educate people and in order to increase their standard of living and their quality of living, must be willing to pay in a general way so that people can benefit if and when they want these opportunities. One of the great things about Scotland is that, because of some of our heritage, people have benefited. Many people from very lowly beginnings have been able to be entranced, inspired and excited by some of our museums and galleries, and particularly by our libraries. I think that that is a heritage which we ought not to let go easily. However, because of the points that the Minister made and the part assurance he gave me, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

The Earl of Perth

Before the noble Lord withdraws his amendment, may I just have the record straight? I did not suggest that we should charge £4. I said that the charge in the Metropolitan voluntary contribution is indicated at four dollars, which is virtually £4.

Lord Carmichael of Kelvingrove

I did not intend to suggest that, but whatever figure was charged, I think £4 would obviously be impossibly high. I am sorry if I have misled the Committee on that point. I certainly did not intend to.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Grimond moved Amendment No. 14: Page 2, line 34, leave out from beginning to ("for") in line 39.

The noble Lord said: The amendment concerns Clause 3 which defines the general powers of the board. Under Clause 3(1)(c) the board are given exceptionally wide powers. In fact the board can do anything which they think is necessary or expedient, for the purpose of discharging their functions". The only point of my amendment is that that seems to me to cover subsection (1)(a) and (b), which is a list of specific things that they can do. Those paragraphs seem to be unnecessary because it would all be covered by subsection (1)(c). I beg to move.

Lord Gray of Contin

The noble Lord sought an explanation for the necessity of including the words contained in Clause 3(1)(a) to (c). These words define the general scope of the board's powers and as such are necessary to prevent the board from carrying out actions which are not related to the functions which Clause 2 sets out for it. The powers are in any case drawn in very wide terms so that there is no danger that the board will be under unnecessary restrictions. But it is important that the board's powers should not be entirely unfettered.

Lord Grimond

I am grateful to the Minister but I am not sure that he has understood my amendment. Perhaps I have drafted it wrongly. My amendment, I hope, leaves in subsection (1)(c) which, as the noble Lord says, gives the board very wide powers, but it does limit them to powers necessary for the discharge of their functions. The whole purpose of my amendment is that that seems perfectly adequate. I am not in favour of leaving out subsection (1)(c) but of leaving out subsection (1)(a) and (b). I wonder whether the noble Lord could deal with that point.

Lord Gray of Contin

I thought I explained when I answered the noble Lord, but perhaps I could go over it again in case I missed anything. Subsection (2) sets out for the purpose of clarity some of the specific powers which the board will have. These are all encompassed under subsection (1) as drafted but they would not be sufficient on their own to define the extent of the board's powers which must be related directly to its functions set out in Clause 2. This clause as a whole is modelled on the provisions contained in Section 2(3) of the National Heritage Act 1983. There has been no suggestion that the directly parallel definitions which that Act contains were unduly restrictive or unsatisfactory. I hope it will be agreed that we ought not to make an amendment that implies otherwise.

Lord Grimond

In the light of that further explanation—which I still found rather unsatisfactory—I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Grimond moved Amendment No. 15: Page 3, line 12, after ("land") insert ("or buildings")

The noble Lord said: This amendment need delay us for an even shorter length of time. I want to know why buildings arc not included together with land. I take it that the answer is that in law land includes buildings. I just want to make sure that that is the case. I am rather puzzled if it does, because in Scottish law one can still feu land separately from buildings. I should just like to have the Minister's explanation as to why buildings are omitted from subsection (1) and whether they are covered by the word land.

The Earl of Caithness

The noble Lord, Lord Grimond, is correct. In law, a reference to land is taken to encompass also any buildings on that land.

Lord Grimond

I am totally convinced by that argument and beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 16 not moved.]

Clause 3 agreed to.

Clauses 4 and 5 agreed to.

Clause 6 [Certain gifts vesting on or after vesting day]:

[Amendment No. 17 not moved.]

Clause 6 agreed to.

Clause 7 [Acquisition and disposal of objects]:

The Earl of Perth moved Amendment No. 18: Page 5, line 17, after ("opinion") insert (", having notified the Secretary of State,").

The noble Earl said: Let me first make clear that I am speaking in a personal capacity. I make that point because I am a trustee of the National Library of Scotland and what I shall say does not necessarily represent the views of that institution. I would ask that Amendments Nos. 28 and 32, which cover exactly the same point, be considered together with this amendment:

Amendment No. 28: Clause 15, page 12, line 38, after ("opinion") insert (", having notified the Secretary of State").

Amendment No. 32: Clause 17, page 18, line 15, after ("Board") insert ("and after notifying the Secretary of State").

My concern is that subsection (3) states: The Board may not dispose of an object the property in which is vested in them and then specifies certain conditions. The board are allowed to sell items if they think it wise to do so, subject to certain conditions. I am worried by that provision. We can all recall what happened in the case of the Tate Gallery, for example, many years ago. They thought it wise to dispose of some of the works of the French Impressionists, and did a swap to acquire something else. Ever since, they have wished that they had not done that.

I am therefore seeking to find what one might call a second line of defence, although not barring totally the idea of any goods being sold. I propose the words having notified the Secretary of State". Perhaps those words do not go quite far enough. I do not intend to press this amendment to a Division tonight, but at Report stage I may well prefer to use the words, after the approval of the Secretary of State or, with the approval of the Secretary of State". My only purpose is to ensure that items are not lightly disposed of. I know that trustees are very responsible people, but sometimes they can be wrong—even the best of trustees. If there could be a second line of defence—namely, the consent of the Secretary of State—I would feel that much happier. I beg to move.

Lord Gray of Contin

I can clearly see that the noble Earl has in mind further safeguards. I appreciate his concern on this matter, but we believe that it is unjustified. Clause 7(3)(b) for the national museums, and the parallel power for the national galleries in Clause 15, gives the board powers along the lines of those which have been provided for other national institutions in earlier statutes; for instance, for the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Science Museum in the National Heritage Act 1983.

The powers will enable them to dispose of objects from their collections by sale, exchange or gift where, in their opinion, the objects are, unsuitable for retention in their collections and can be disposed of without detriment to the interests of students or other members of the public". Those are fairly restrictive conditions and I anticipate that there will be few instances in which the boards will wish to use them.

It is right that the boards should be free to exercise their own judgment in these matters—advised by the experienced, specialist staff who will be helping them. A need for notification to relevant Ministers has not been found necessary in the case of other national institutions, and it does not seem appropriate to make an exception in this case. In the case of the National Library, we are replacing a provision in the 1925 Act which requires the library to seek the Secretary of State's approval before disposing of books or articles which are not duplicates.

That amendment has the approval of the library's board and its staff, which have found the present requirement unnecessarily restrictive. It seems right to us that here too the board's freedom of action should be consistent with that of its counterparts. I am satisfied that the restrictions built into the statutes on disposals generally are sufficiently strong to ensure that the boards will not exercise their powers in a way which may harm the national collections in their care, and that further requirements to notify the Secretary of State are not necessary in these instances. I hope that in view of the explanation I have given the noble Earl is prepared to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Ross of Marnock

The noble Lord the Minister is making rather heavy weather of this. We are not asking for the Secretary of State's views or for his approval, but that he should be notified and informed of what the board are doing. It may be said that this is far too light a burden to place on the Secretary of State in respect of the disposal in this way—by the sale, exchange or gift—of an object by the board. Many people may think that this amendment does not go far enough. Subsection (1), referring to the board, uses the words in their opinion". That is placing a lot of responsibility on the board. I believe that this is a reasonable amendment. It is only seeking that the Secretary of State be notified, and then it will be up to him to take any action he sees fit—however, it may be a long-stop position in that respect.

Certain situations have arisen in the case of some museums and galleries in respect of the disposal of items which they probably thought were not very suitable or very valuable—but which later turned out to be otherwise than that. I view this amendment with some measure of support, but do not know how the noble Earl feels about the Minister's reply.

The Earl of Perth

I am grateful for the explanation which has been provided by the noble Lord, Lord Gray, but I am even more grateful for the support of the noble Lord, Lord Ross of Marnock. As the noble Lord, Lord Gray, said, my purpose is to introduce one more safeguard. I note his opinion that the existing provision is adequate. I can only say, in withdrawing the amendment at this stage, that I hope the noble Lord is right.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

6.30 p.m.

Lord Ross of Marnock moved Amendment No. 19: Page 5, line 24, leave out paragraph (d).

The noble Lord said: Here we have another one. Subsection (3)(d) states that. the disposal is made with the approval of the Secretary of State when the object goes to an institution that is not a national institution such as the National Gallery or the Tate Gallery. If it goes outside those institutions listed, the Secretary of State has to give his approval. That is the importance of it. However, I do not think that the power should be there at all. As I understand it, the trustees will have the power to give items on loan, and "loan" means virtually permanent loan. However, if you dispose of something, there is no doubt that the people to whom you have disposed of it can themselves dispose of it without anyone else's approval. I think the Government should look at this. Do the Government want to burden the Secretary of State with this power of approving a disposal, bearing in mind what that disposal may lead to?

It is a dangerous power and it would be far better to remove it so that if the trustees want to give an item to another institution, they give it on loan and, therefore, retain the ultimate sanction of saying "No" if that institution wants to dispose of it. Indeed, the trustees could end the loan and bring back the item. I do not know whether this disposal power in the Bill is in the English Act. That has been quoted at us once or twice, but I doubt very much whether it is in it. In fact, it is much more firm on the point that there should not be disposal to outside institutions. I beg to move.

Lord Gray of Contin

The amendment draws attention to a power which did not appear among the generally parallel provisions made for the Victoria and Albert and science museums in the National Heritage Act 1983. Clause 7(3) gives the national museums' board powers to dispose of an item in its collections under certain clear conditions. Either the item must be an exact duplicate of an item already in the collections; or it must be one which the board considers, for whatever reason, to be unsuitable for retention in its collections and which can be disposed of without detriment to the interests of any of its users; or it must be one which because of damage or deterioration has become useless for the board's collections. A further alternative is that the item is to be disposed of to one of the national institutions listed in Schedule 1 to the National Gallery and Tate Gallery Act 1954. Here subsection (3)(d) introduces a further power enabling the board similarly to make a disposal to any other institution, subject to the specific consent of the Secretary of State. A parallel power has been included in the case of the National Galleries of Scotland under Clause 15.

As was explained when this subsection was debated in another place, we wish to provide for the possibility of items which have at one time entered the national collections being transferred to collections in local museums. This is something to which the noble Lord, Lord Grimond, also made reference in his speech at Second Reading, giving as an example the St. Ninian's treasure. The national museums have, of course, been able to make such transfers on long-term loan in the past. But I know that there are strong views in some quarters that in certain exceptional cases the national museums should consider returning items from their collections permanently to institutions in the areas particularly associated with them. That is what this additional power provides. Of course, such transfers could be made only if the national museums board was thoroughly satisfied that all the circumstances at the potential recipient institution were suitable; that would involve, no doubt, consideration of environmental and security conditions and of the long-term future of the institution concerned. Because this is a new power—which is not, of course, the case with the other powers in Clause 7(3)—we felt it right that the boards should seek the Secretary of State's approval before effecting any disposal under it.

The Earl of Perth

This all seems rather complicated to me. I see that in subsection (3)(b) the board can dispose, if it wishes; so why do we have to take it any further? If we are not going to make the board require the Secretary of State's approval in the one case, why ask for it now? The noble Lord, Lord Ross of Marnock, made a very good point when he said we should have a long-term loan and asked why was it not covered in subsection (3)(b). I do not see the point of subsection (3)(d) at all.

Lord Gray of Contin

The noble Lord, Lord Ross of Marnock, raised a further point which I did not answer. He asked whether the recipient institutions could dispose of items. Suitable conditions could be applied to any disposal under this subsection. That is one reason why here there is a need for the Secretary of State's approval. That would be another reason which the noble Earl, Lord Perth, might accept as the necessity for this. As I explained earlier, this is a new power, and that is one of the principal reasons why we feel that the approval of the Secretary of State should be sought.

Lord Ross of Marnock

Yes, it is a new power, and so we have to be careful about it. The Bill does not say that it is with the approval of the Secretary of State, with or without conditions. If that was included, there might be less suspicion on our part that we are doing something unwise.

I can see the point of returning items to a local area; items which they would like to have. We have done that on loan and have probably done it on permanent loan. Perhaps the noble Lord remembers the arguments about the St. Ninian's treasure. I am sure that the noble Lord, Lord Grimond, remembers that. I think it finished up with a replica of that treasure being sent north. This was, of course, an important matter—the question not of replacement or its intrinsic worth, but of its historic value and, following from that, the security offered in the local museum and the question of whether one could allow something so invaluable to Scotland to be left in places that would be less secure. I think the fact that one can make long-term or virtually permanent loans avoids the need to make an ultimate disposal.

There is no guarantee about approval and there is nothing said about conditions. If the Minister wants to accept this, he should come along at a later stage with an amendment concerning conditions. But I think that we do not need this, even to do what the Government say they want to do. One could send an item back to a place, be it Ayr or anywhere else, on permanent loan and it would remain there. People would not worry about that. However, if the Government are not going to move, I shall certainly withdraw the amendment, but I inform the Government that I shall put down an amendment on Report dealing with the question of conditions—

Lord Gray of Contin

With the leave of the Committee, before the noble Lord sits down, may I say this? The noble Lord talks of conditions. As an example, if the board did not put in suitable conditions, the Secretary of State would not approve the proposal. We do not need to spell out the matter completely. It is covered by that point.

Lord Ross of Marnock

It is not.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 20 not moved.]

Lord Grimond moved Amendment No. 21: Page 5, line 42, at end insert ("or for improving or extending the display of the collection.").

The noble Lord said: This is a simple amendment. Under Clause 7(6), Money accruing to the Board by virtue of a disposal", can apparently be used only for, the acquisition of objects to be added to their collections". Many of these museums have far more objects than they can display. We know in particular that the Museum of Antiquities has an enormous collection which has never seen daylight. I have no objection where it is necessary to add the money to their buying funds, but I think that museums should also be allowed to improve their premises, and so on, so that they can display their collections better. I do not see why they should not expend this money on improving or extending the display of their existing collections. I beg to move.

Lord Gray of Contin

The noble Lord has suggested that the national museums should have greater flexibility in the use of any sums that they raise as a result of the decision to sell any of the items in their collections, as provided under Clause 7(3). In particular, he has made reference to property and to spending money on improvement of properties where the exhibits are displayed.

First, let me say that we expect the instances of such disposals to be very rare. We believe that it is right that under the circumstances listed in Clause 7(3) the board should have a right to decide such matters for itself. Indeed, with the exception of Clause 7(3)(d)—to which we shall come in due course—the Bill provides powers for the new board parallel to those which have been provided for other national museums and galleries. But—and past experience has confirmed this—these are powers which the board is likely to want to use only in exceptional circumstances. For that reason, among others, I am concerned at the implications which seem to underlie the noble Lord's amendment.

If the amendment were accepted, the board would have powers which it could use specifically to improve its accommodation or displays at the expense of particular items of value which might have formed part of its collections for many years. It might in turn feel tempted in certain circumstances to sell off notable treasures in order to finance accommodation costs. Although such a sale could take place only as provided for in Clause 7(3), I am sure that your Lordships' Committee will agree that that would not be a desirable development and that the board should not be in a position where it was even tempted to take such action.

For those reasons I am afraid that I cannot accept the amendment, and I hope that the noble Lord might consider withdrawing it.

Lord Grimond

I am rather surprised at the suspicious nature which the Minister of State has shown. The idea that the board will flog expensive items so that it can improve its accommodation shows, I think, a rather suspicious view of the board. In any case, its powers are hedged about, as we know, under this clause. So I do not really think that the Minister's fears are justified. But it is a matter of opinion, and I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 7 agreed to.

Clause 8 [Lending and borrowing of objects]:

Lord Grimond moved Amendment No. 22: Page 6, line 18, leave out from ("condition") to end of line 28 and insert ("only with the approval of the Secretary of State.").

The noble Lord said: As I understand it, this clause deals with lending and borrowing. The point at issue is that, as I understand the clause, the board may lend in contravention of the conditions upon which objects have been left to it, subject to certain conditions. I only wanted to add to those conditions that it must have the approval of the Secretary of State. My semi-Presbyterian conscience is slightly alarmed by the prospect of the board, even in the case of loans, breaking express undertakings. If it does not like the undertakings, it perhaps should not accept the object. I do not think that this is a matter of great importance, but I thought that an extra safeguard would not come amiss in the circumstances. I beg to move

6.45 p.m.

Lord Gray of Contin

The noble Lord has expressed his concern and his desire to have an additional safeguard here. He therefore proposes that in all such cases the board should seek the specific approval of the Secretary of State before making the loan. We believe that this would be unnecessarily restrictive. The conditions which Clause 8(3) applies are on exactly the same lines as those which have been applied in the legislation governing other national institutions; for instance, the National Gallery and Tate Gallery Act 1954, the Imperial War Museum Act 1955, and the National Heritage Act 1983. I am not aware of any instance where there has been a complaint from a donor or his representatives that the statutes thus provide too great a power for the institutions' boards to override their wishes. Here we are talking about loans, not about outright disposals, and it is surely right that after a certain length of time—25 years is the period which has been accepted as reasonable—the board should be able to exercise its own untramelled judgment over what constitutes a suitable loan. I trust with that explanation that the noble Lord might be prepared to withdraw the amendment.

Lord Grimond

I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 8 agreed to.

Clause 9 agreed to.

Clause 10 [The Board's general functions]:

[Amendment No. 23 not moved.]

Clause 10 agreed to.

Clause 11 agreed to.

Clause 12 [Limitations on Board's powers]:

Lord Carmichael of Kelvingrove moved Amendment No. 24: Page 8, line 26, leave out subsection (2).

The noble said: This is partly a probing amendment, and I think that I almost know the answer—because we are talking about a Royal park, the Secretary of State must have some control over it. However noted and however special the park is, it is still a public park, and so it seems rather strange that we have to go all the way to get the Secretary of State to decide when it shall open and close. In regard to other parts of the Bill the Minister has been only too pleased to leave much greater powers, I should have thought, to the board members, and so I should like an explanation of this from him.

I think that it would also be convenient to take with this amendment Amendment No. 25. Amendment No. 25: Page 8, line 29, leave out from ("not") to ("fix") in line 30. This amendment takes us back to the old question of charges. Here the Secretary of State is again brought in, although in this case it is a park, not a museum. Presumably people can look from the outside through the gates or railings to see in, but if they want to go in, there must be the consent of the Secretary of State before a charge can be made. Of course the Secretary of State is not even mentioned in the question of possibly charging for museum entry.

The amendment would omit certain words, so that the subsection would read: The board shall not fix … any fees chargeable to members of the public for such entry". Many of the arguments that I have used earlier apply here. The only park that I know for which there was a charge was Kew Gardens and in the old days of turnstiles that charge was very low. I have not been there for some time now and I am sure that the turnstiles have gone long ago. It cost something like a penny or tuppence to get in. It is not worth the candle, if that is the kind of amount which the Minister is thinking of charging. The cost of organising such a charge for entrance to a public park would be so great that it would be quite extraordinary.

These are probing amendments. I should like the Minister to give the Committee some explanation of why, in this case, because it is a public park—a Royal park, perhaps, but public nevertheless—the Secretary of State is brought in so frequently and with so much power. I beg to move.

Lord Gray of Contin

I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Carmichael, for so succinctly setting out his concerns over the amendments. I am glad to explain our thinking behind the provisions. I am unable to accept the amendments both because they would contradict the policy objectives of establishing trustee boards and because they do not reflect the proper role of the Secretary of State. Without subsection (2), which Amendment No. 24 seeks to remove, the trustees would be able to reduce the opening hours at Inverleith Gardens for reasons which may be eminently sensible from an operational point of view but which may act against the public interest. The Secretary of State's involvement is therefore appropriate to bring a wider perspective in this regard.

The amendments proposed for subsection (3) are not surprising in view of the Opposition's attempts during this Bill to force a non-charging policy on all the boards concerned. We have already explained that nothing in the Bill encourages the boards to introduce or increase charges. I would have expected noble Lords to welcome the Secretary of State's consent as a safeguard against unreasonable proposals, particularly when we consider that the power to charge at Inverleith has existed under the Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1972 for some 15 years without repeal by the Opposition when in Government.

However, we are legislating for the long-term, and it would be wrong for those of us here today to determine the merits or otherwise of any admission charge at Inverleith without the facts before us. The Bill, as drafted, allows the trustees to consider the matter in the first instance, and if they see fit to recommend an entry charge for the Inverleith Gardens, the Secretary of State will take a decision having regard to the wider public interest. That is consistent with the establishment and functions of the board under this Bill and I urge the Committee to support subsection (3) as drafted. Perhaps, in view of that explanation, the noble Lord will consider withdrawing his amendment.

Lord Carmichael of Kelvingrove

I have no intention of forcing a vote and I shall withdraw the amendment. I wonder, however, whether the noble Lord the Minister can help. Can he give an example—I am genuinely seeking information here—of why the wider perspective in the public interest is served by the Secretary of State deciding the opening hours as though there was a likelihood of the authorities wanting to open at ridiculous times? I have the feeling that if I was reading the noble Lord's speech in Hansard, as I always do, I would be saying, "Dash it. I should have asked for a fuller explanation of this".

Lord Gray of Contin

Yes, I can answer the question that the noble Lord has raised. It is because this is a public park given under strict conditions of public access that the Secretary of State's approval to admission charges is required.

Lord Carmichael of Kelvingrove

The question about which I was concerned related to opening hours.

Lord Gray of Contin

The same would apply. Certain hours are laid down for the opening of the park. The Secretary of State's approval would be required if they were restricted.

Lord Ross of Marnock

Have they at any time been restricted? Have the public been refused access? I recall the Commonwealth Games. If my memory is correct, a garden party was held there. I was not there. In fact, I was not even Secretary of State, believe it or not. I missed it by a month. Having arranged the Commonwealth Games, I was not even asked to go to them. However, these are the things that happen in political life.

I am interested in the matter. I am sorry that we have to have subsection (3). I do not think that there has ever been any question of any Secretary of State, when he had direct control, charging for a public park. Even the good people of Edinburgh would be horrified to think that the Government are putting this into the Bill from the long-term point of view. No doubt the noble Lord, Lord Taylor of Gryfe, is dying to pay for these facilities. I wonder how he would have reacted, when a member of Glasgow Town Council—a very Left-wing member, if I may say so—to any thought of charging for entry to any park of Glasgow. I should like some assurance about this in relation to the variation and the alteration of the hours.

The board contains the people who have to act. The Secretary of State cannot. He can only stop them from doing something. What happens if the Secretary of State wants to alter the hours and the board says, "No. Mind your own business. This is entirely within our powers to initiate"? What will happen then? There may be the occasion when you want to alter the hours or to retain a part of the park for a specific purpose. Is that covered in this legislation?

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 25 to 26 not moved.]

Clause 12 agreed to.

Clauses 13 and 14 agreed to.

Clause 15 [Purposes of Board of National Galleries]:

[Amendments Nos. 27 to 29 not moved.]

Clause 15 agreed to.

Clause 16 [Further provision as to Board of National Galleries]:

[Amendment No. 30 not moved.]

Lord Ross of Marnock moved Amendment No. 31: Page 17, line 25, after ("in") insert ("and the effect or).

The noble Lord said: This is not exactly the same point as admission fees. The amendment relates to a report that has to be made. The Bill says: The Board shall make to the Secretary of State a report on the exercise of their functions". It says: Each report shall include a statement of the total amount received by the Board by way of admission charges in the period covered by the report, and shall include information (in such detail as the Board think fit) about rates of, exemptions from and reductions in admission charges".

I want the board to make an assessment of the effect of the charges; in other words, whether there has been a reduction in the number of visitors as a result of the introduction of charges. I beg to move.

Lord Gray of Contin

The noble Lord has in mind the intention that the board should be obliged to report the consequent effects in the reports that they make to the Secretary of State and to Parliament. I do not for a moment think that the amendment is necessary to achieve that.

The Bill already requires that, in such reports, the board shall, include a statement of the total amount received … by way of admission charges together with, information … about rates of, exemptions from and reductions in admission charges made by the Board". The board is hardly likely to produce such figures without any commentary if points of significance arise. But if the noble Lord's interest lies, as I suspect, in the extent to which total visitor numbers may increase or decrease as a result of admission charges it will be perfectly possible to infer these "effects" from the information which the galleries regularly publish. Nevertheless, I believe that the noble Lord has a point here. I am prepared to show that I would never dream of discriminating against the noble Lord when giving an amendment to his noble friend. I am therefore prepared to accept the noble Lord's amendment. I am sure he is very surprised to hear that.

7 p.m.

Lord Ross of Marnock

No, I am not surprised. You see, I was counting the quota—what we had already received. I had already made up my mind how many more we were to get. Even though, on this occasion, I had not the help of the noble Baroness, Lady Elliot, all the same, I am grateful to her because she was looking daggers at the Minister in case he did not accept this one.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 16, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 17 [Provisions as to National Library of Scotland]:

[Amendment No. 32 not moved.]

The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Alport)

In calling Amendment No. 33, I have to inform your Lordships that if it is agreed to I shall not be able to call Amendment Nos. 34 to 41.

Lord Ross of Marnock moved Amendment No. 33: Page 18, line 34, leave out subsection (5).

The noble Lord said: I do not think there is very much fear of that happening, bearing in mind what happened on the last amendment. This is a rather important amendment, because here we are trying to bring things up to date with a new Bill and a clean sweep of things. This clause deals with the board of the National Library of Scotland. We have been told that the whole of the museum structure in Edinburgh can be dealt with by a relatively small board, but what have we got for the National Library of Scotland? Subsection (5) says: The Board shall consist of thirty-two members, of whom eleven shall be ex-officio members, sixteen shall be appointed as hereinafter provided, and five being persons of eminence in literature or public life"— I suppose that leaves us all out— not otherwise members of the Board, shall be co-opted by the Trustees". So the trustees have a power of co-option.

Then we have a wonderful list of the ex-officio members of the National Library of Scotland. It starts with the Lord President of the Court of Session, and he is followed by the Lord Advocate. Where is he? I know he is around somewhere. He is probably away studying the whole business of the National Library, getting ready for the next meeting. I doubt if he has ever been there! Next comes the Secretary of State. Now we know what has been taking up the time of the Secretary of State for Scotland: it is his membership of the board of the National Library of Scotland! I was Secretary of State for eight years. I never once received an invitation, or was told about this important duty that I had. Do we need this? How often has Mr. Younger been to this library?

I appreciate the weakness of my amendment. If this amendment is approved, then the present state of affairs remains. But this is not the final stage of the Bill. What I want to get is the feeling of this crowded Committee as to how modern and how right is this way of dealing with the National Library of Scotland. After the Secretary of State we have the Dean of the Faculty of Advocates. I know that the basis of the National Library is probably the advocates' library. Mind you, they sold it. It was bought, and presented to the nation. Later on there is provision for five persons appointed by the faculty. The legal men look after themselves and retain their interest in this bit of the establishment of Scotland.

Let us hasten on. Another of the ex-officio members is to be the Minister of the High Kirk (St. Giles), Edinburgh. What is he doing there? He should be away preparing his sermons, unless of course he visits the National Library in order to get a few ideas—some new ideas, or, rather, some old ideas—about what he should be putting forward. Then there is the Member of Parliament for Edinburgh Central. Edinburgh Central used to be Edinburgh Central, but Edinburgh Central now goes out as far as Murrayfield, though it probably still takes in the site of the National Library of Scotland.

Other ex-officio members are to be the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, the Lord Provost of Glasgow, the Lord Provost of Dundee and the Lord Provost of Aberdeen. There used to be the Lord Provost of Perth. In fact, if we wipe out this subsection by accepting my amendment, the Lord Provost of Perth will be in. It might be a loss if they did not have the Lord Provost of Perth. I understand that the noble Earl, Lord Perth, is one of the present members. I am safeguarding his position, because he will remain a member and he will have the company of the Lord Provost of Perth if we can get rid of this subsection. I wonder how often the Lord Provosts of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Aberdeen and Perth have ever been to this library. Why should it be necessary or desirable to have this provision?

The next person to be appointed is the Queen's and Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer. I started to make my list of the people who should be there, and of those who should not be there. He is the one person I thought should be there, because he is the man in charge of treasure trove and the man to whom, if a person dies intestate and no heirs can be traced, all the belongings ultimately go; so he might be a good man to have there, bearing in mind that he might have it in mind to gift many things to the National Library.

There are also to be on the board five members appointed by Her Majesty on the recommendation of the Secretary of State, and at least one of these is to be a representative of organised labour. That provision is already there, and has been working for the past 50 years. I am surprised that the noble Lord, Lord Grimond, wishes to wipe this out. I wonder whether the noble Lord appreciates exactly what happened in the drawing up of this Bill, which is going to affect considerably the lives and the rights of many of the people employed in, say, the Royal Scottish Museum. They are presently civil servants, but after the passing of the Act they will not be civil servants. That is the reason why we are going to reduce the number of civil servants by about 320. It is not a mark of great efficiency by the Government, but simply the administration of this measure. The Government really should have been compelled themselves to have representatives of organised labour. It would have saved them from having to put in some clauses at the Report stage in the Commons and from the mistakes they made in respect of the rights of organised labour.

There are also to be five persons appointed by the faculty, and four persons appointed jointly by the Scottish universities. There will be no great improvement there, because we have two new universities. We have more than two; we have three new universities: we have Strathclyde, we have Heriot-Watt, and of course Dundee as well. They all used to be mentioned by name, but in this Bill we are getting to the point of shorthand.

Two of the ex-officio members are to be appointed by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities. Of course, one who is left out is Sir Alexander Grant. I believe he was made a baronet about 1924 or 1925. He was the man who purchased and gave to the nation the advocates' library, and also a sum of money in respect of the building of the extensions for the National Library. He or his nominee were members for life. He is dead, and I do not know whether or not there are any heirs. I think that, if he had heirs, some of them would have as much right to be there as the Secretary of State, the Lord Advocate or the Lord Provost. We welcome the Lord Advocate to the Committee. It is a pity he was not present earlier. I was convinced he was away studying the agenda for the next meeting of the National Library, which he attends so faithfully!

This subsection is rather a nonsense when we are trying to bring matters up to date. It is over 50 years since the National Libraries Act 1925. I should have thought that we could have had something a little better than this and disposed of the long list of 32 members. If we can run all the National Museums of Scotland with this new board, which is dealt with in Schedule 1, then we do not need a quarter of those people to run the National Library. I beg to move.

Lord Gray of Contin

Perhaps it would be helpful if I explain again why we have taken the attitude that we have towards the reconstitution of the library board. Following local government reorganisation it was recognised that some amendment would be required to the 1925 Act which provided for representation by the old local government organisations, which have been superseded by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities. It was also desirable to amend the Act in respect of the university representation, since only the older Scottish universities had a right to make appointments—although in practice they have consulted the four younger universities before making such appointments. The question of a wider review of the constitution arose and in 1980 we consulted all those who appeared to have an interest in the workings of the library to establish what support there might be for change.

The replies we received reflected very many different points of view, but there was no consensus in favour of major change. In addition, it was very evident that the vast majority of those who responded were satisfied that the library operated very well and satisfied their interests. We therefore considered carefully whether there was a case for interfering in more than a very marginal way with a structure which, although on the face of it apparently rather cumbersome, had served, and appeared to be continuing to serve, the library well. We took account here too of what the board itself told us about how it operates. The board itself acts as something more akin to a university senate—or indeed to the governing body of the National Library and National Museum of Wales, about which the noble Baroness. Lady White, spoke so eloquently in our Second Reading debate. It meets only once a year as a full body, and the main executive business of the library is carried out by a more compact group of trustees who meet on a more regular basis. The ex-officio trustees (to which the noble Lord, Lord Ross of Marnock, has taken such exception) are therefore not in general expected to play any part in the day-to-day running of the library, but are regarded as persons whose influence and involvement may be called upon in particular cases of need.

The amendments which have been laid by the noble Lords opposite are therefore not acceptable to us. The amendment by the noble Lord, Lord Ross of Marnock, would do no more than return the constitution to that provided under the 1925 Act, with its representation for the local government organisations and the universities unaltered, and with the reference to the defunct position of the Lord Provostship of Perth unamended. I am sure that your Lordships will agree that this would not be satisfactory.

The amendments which the noble Lord, Lord Grimond, has tabled are considerably more thoughtful and would produce a very different type of board from that which the library currently has. The library's trustees would presumably have to adapt to a rather different role from that which a good many of them currently play. That might be considered in some circles to be not a bad thing, but I have to say that we have seen no evidence to suggest that such a change is strongly desired. Lord Grimond's amendments could in any case not be adopted as they stand, because they take no account of the consequential need there would be to alter the preamble to Paragraph 1 of the schedule which states the number of trustees (which would be reduced from 32 to 24). However, for the reasons that I have outlined I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Ross of Marnock, may be prepared to withdraw his amendment.

7.15 p.m.

Lord Fraser of Tullybelton

I should like to make a few comments on this matter in relation to the position of the Faculty of Advocates. It was rather suggested by the noble Lord, Lord Ross, that five members from the faculty were too many. He seemed to object to the presence of the Lord President, the Lord Advocate and the Dean as members of the board. Your Lordships will know that the National Library of Scotland comprised the main part of the Advocates' Library until 1925. The noble Lord, Lord Ross of Marnock, said that it was purchased in that year. That may have been technically so, but it was purchased for a very low figure in relation to the real value of the library. It is hardly unfair to say that it was made over by the Faculty of Advocates to the public and there it has remained ever since.

Therefore, because of the historical origins of the library, I submit that it is right and proper that the faculty should be largely represented in the governing body of the library. It does in fact take considerable interest in the library. The National Library is housed in what could be described as an appendix to the Parliament House where the Faculty of Advocates functions. Members go in there quite often and use it freely. Those who were members of the faculty in 1925 and who are still alive—of whom the noble and learned Lord the Lord Advocate must know at least one, but there are a few others—still have borrowing rights from the National Library. Unfortunately the noble and learned Lord the Lord Advocate and I were too late in coming; we do not have those rights. However, the links between the faculty and the National Library are historically very close and still remain very close in feeling. It would be a very great pity if anything were done to sever those links.

I am not sure whether what I have said leads me to support the amendment or to oppose it. Either way, so far as I can see the effect would be that the Faculty of Advocates would have the same representation as it has at the moment; it would not make any difference. The only thing that would really make a difference would be if later on the noble Lord, Lord Grimond, moved one of his amendments. When the time comes I hope that I shall be here to oppose it, if necessary. For the moment I would, on the whole, be inclined to suggest that the amendment should not be accepted because it is really aimed at substantially cutting down the board of the National Library.

The Earl of Perth

I am not sure whether I should go into this matter because I am a member of the board of the National Library. I certainly do not want any change which means that I cannot continue as such. I do not think that that is envisaged. What I would say is that, although it is in many ways archaic, in my view it works extremely well. In particular, the Lord President and others of the advocates play a really important part in the work of the library. I point out to the noble Lord, Lord Grimond, that it would be a great pity if the Lord President, who is also a member of the executive committee and functions frequently and valuably, were not a part of it.

So let us for once carry on in large degree with tradition. All right, the Minister of the High Kirk may not come or the Member of Parliament may not come, but it does not matter. What matters is that the board functions, and functions well.

The Lord Bishop of Norwich

I hope that it will not be inappropriate for an English bishop to enter into this largely Scottish debate. However, as we are the Parliament of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, I think it not inappropriate to bring a small ecumenical shaft of light into the discussion and to say that, if it is of any help to Her Majesty's Government, I am willing to vote for them if we become impassioned about this amendment and if the Opposition Front Bench move it. I am opposed to the noble Lord, Lord Ross—

Lord Ross of Marnock

I moved the amendment. In fact, we could not talk about it unless I had moved it.

The Lord Bishop of Norwich

If it is inappropriate I shall not go further. However, in order to save the Committee time, I point out that I should have liked to have made reference to the matter when Amendment No. 36 is moved. I could put both my two fairly lengthy speeches into one if it would help in moving forward in this Committee stage. I shall wait upon the Committee's pleasure; but I just put down the marker that I hope to speak on Amendment No. 36.

Lord Ross of Marnock

The point has been made that the Faculty of Advocates merits what it got because 50 years ago it sold its library. It was bought by Sir Alexander Grant. That is why he was specifically mentioned in this statute of 1925. Of course, he did more than that; he also gave a sum of money in respect of new building that was necessary. I am very glad that the noble and learned Lord, Lord Fraser of Tullybelton, made the remark that he did because he reminded me that it was not just the five members from the faculty. There are eight, and eight out of 32 is not too bad. The lawyers can look after themselves; but the lawyers did not look after the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, who are the people who created the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland. They were not even mentioned when it came to taking over the whole of that museum and including it in the National Museums of Scotland, which is referred to in Clause 1.

That is why lawyers tend to be blinkered. They look at matters that concern their own profession. To my mind this is a far more valid case. They handed this over to the nation and for a long time they actually ran the museum. They also provided periodicals worth several thousands of pounds for years and years, and still do so. But they were completely ignored by the Government when it came to being included on the board of trustees, which would encompass the museum that meant so much to them.

Therefore I make no apology for this. We have already been told that all these ex-officio members might be influential and might be asked on the board. No one ever asked me. As Secretary of State, I suppose that I was not influential. Of course, I was influential enough to have the right to appoint five members to this body. It really is a nonsense that in bringing something up to date with a much smaller body we could not have the historical rights of the advocates still included—and the same applies to the universities and to local government—without this rigmarole of ex-officio members.

When I moved the amendment I said that if it was accepted, it would still take us back to an unsatisfactory position, but I wanted to hear just exactly what noble Lords had to say because I shall return to this matter at the next stage. That being so, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Grimond moved Amendment No. 34: Page 19, leave out line 3.

The noble Lord said: Very often I find myself in the curious position of having had my amendments replied to before they have been moved. I do not want to weary the Committee by going over some of the arguments that have already been advanced, but I want to put forward some concrete suggestions. I wish to reassure the Faculty of Advocates that no one admires them more deeply than I do. The only question at issue is how many advocates we have. I believe that we must bear in mind that this is now a National Library—it is not a law library—and therefore I propose to cut down the number of advocates.

I do not intend to go through Amendments Nos. 34 to 41 one by one.

Amendment No. 35: Page 19, leave out line 5.

Amendment No. 36: Page 19, leave out line 7.

Amendment No. 37: Page 19, leave out line 8.

Amendment No. 38: Page 19, leave out line 13.

Amendment No. 39: Page 19, line 17, leave out from ("State") to end of line 18.

Amendment No. 40: Page 19, leave out lines 19 and 20.

Amendment No. 41: Page 19, line 24, at end insert— ("One shall be appointed by the Royal Society of Edinburgh, One shall be appointed by An Comunn Gaidhealach." "). If I may, I shall speak in general about the amendments.

I propose a reduction in the number of lawyers; and then I want to look at the rest of the board from the point of view of the National Library. I do not think that the Minister of the High Kirk (St. Giles) is the appropriate clergyman. If we are to have a clergyman, we might have the Moderator. Excellent though he is, I do not think that the Member of Parliament for Edinburgh Central is a suitable trustee. I remain unconvinced that organised labour should be represented ex-officio on a library.

Therefore, I look at this from the point of view of the nation, and I think that the time has come to prune out this excellent body. Until quite recently the right reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury was a member of the Board of Trade. No doubt he did no particular harm, but neither did he do any particular good, and he was eventually removed without much loss to the nation. Therefore, these valuable old boards could be kept going for a certain time, but I think occasionally should be looked at again.

I do not think that there is a case for having the Secretary of State on the board. Considering that one of the purposes of this Act is to put these institutions at arm's length from the Government, it would seem quite contrary to the Government's own policy to put the Secretary of State in charge of the National Library. At the end of my list of amendments I suggest, in all seriousness, that it might be a good thing to have a Gaelic expert. The Gaelic speakers are rather worried about this Bill and it seems to me that it might be a good move to appoint one of them as a trustee of the library. I also put in a word for the Royal Society of Edinburgh, which is a national body of the sort which should be represented as in charge of the National Library.

Therefore, please do not think that I am unaware of the importance of this library to the advocates; nor that I want to remove the advocates entirely from it. But I am sure that, as fair a minded man as a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary will agree, at the moment they are rather heavily represented, that it might be that their numbers should be reduced, and that in place of them we might have people who represent national interests which are at present not represented on the board. I beg to move.

The Lord Bishop of Norwich

I should just like to speak to Amendment No. 36 on the Marshalled List, and because I want to oppose it, at least to agree fully with the noble Lord, Lord Grimond, about the Gaelic representative. Over our home we still have: "Cáed mile fáilte" to welcome everybody in, and I have enough blood in my veins to feel that that is a right and good suggestion.

However, I should like to stand up firmly for the Minister of the High Kirk (St. Giles) Edinburgh. As we do not have moderators in your Lordships' House, I think that it is suitable that an English bishop should take upon himself this task in an ecumenical and magnanimous way. Obviously we cannot have the Moderator because unfortunately the Established Church in Scotland has not yet come round to accepting bishops on a permanent basis, but only moderators on an annual basis. Therefore, he would only just read himself in to this task when he was read out again. Therefore, I do not think that it should be the Moderator.

However, I want to stand up for the Minister of the High Kirk because surely among years gone by, among all these illustrious names here, he was probably—and it is the Scottish libraries that we are talking about—the only person who actually could read in those earlier days. Therefore, to keep that tradition of learned reading going is good.

I am reminded of that famous Minister, Tom Allen—

Lord Ross of Marnock

He only started in 1925.

The Lord Bishop of Norwich

Yes, but the quotation with which I hope to sway your Lordships goes back three years earlier; the quotation goes back to the great statement by the then Rector of St. Andrews, J. M. Barrie, who said: You come of a race of men, the very wind of whose name has swept the ultimate seas". Men who can say those sort of things with such beauty and men of his ilk and like—I think the Committee will agree that the Minister of the High Kirk (St. Giles) is of that timbre and of that tradition—should not be axed by this rather bureaucratic amendment which has been moved by the noble Lord, Lord Grimond. Therefore, I wish to oppose the noble Lord.

Lord Gray of Contin

I sympathise with the noble Lord, Lord Grimond. The grouping of the amendments were such that on two occasions today we dealt with his amendment before he had had an opportunity to move it. Therefore, I am sure that he would not wish me to weary the Committee by going over once again the reply which I gave. However, I would just reiterate that the noble Lord's amendments could not in any case be adopted as they now stand because they take no account of the consequential need that there would be to alter the preamble to paragraph 1 of the schedule.

However, I should like to deal very quickly with the point which the noble Lord makes about the possibility of a Gael being a member. The National Library recognises its responsibilities towards the written heritage of Gaelic, as indeed it does towards all aspects of Scotland's literary heritage. It is perfectly possible for the library to ensure specific representation of Gaelic interests among the co-opted trusteeships for which the present constitution makes allowance, or for this to be a factor in the appointment of Crown trustees.

Indeed, one of the present trustees is a Gaelic speaker. However, I am not convinced that a specific right of representation for any particular Gaelic organisation would be helpful and common. If, for example, An Comunn Gaidhealach and Comunn Na Gaidhlig were to merge at some stage—a possibility which the Government would wish to encourage—a further amendment would be needed. For that reason I think the situation is already adequately catered for.

I am delighted that the right reverend Prelate should take part in a Scottish debate. We welcome him very much. I shall not be led down the path of commenting on the benefits of having bishops or otherwise. In the Church of Scotland we do not have bishops, and I am sure that if they were all like the right reverend Prelate in the Church of England a great deal of relief would be expressed; but that is not a matter into which I feel I should be drawn. It is good of him to make comment about ecclesiastical representation in Scotland. Of course, there is no reason why that could not be achieved, and no doubt his words will be noted. With those comments I would invite the noble Lord to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Grimond

I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 35 to 41 not moved.]

Clause 17 agreed to.

Clause 18 agreed to.

The Earl of Caithness

I think this is a good time to move that the House do now resume. I would confirm that we shall not come back to our deliberations on this Bill until half-past eight.

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

House resumed.