HL Deb 26 February 1985 vol 460 cc909-28

House again in Committee.

Lord Taylor of Gryfe moved Amendment No. 42:

Before Clause 19 insert the following new clause:

Amendment of Historic Building and Ancient Monuments Act 1953.

(" .—(1) The Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Act 1953 ("the 1953 Act") shall have effect with the amendments specified in Schedule (Amendments of Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Act 1953) to this Act.

(2) Nothing in the amendments of the 1953 Act referred to in subsection (I) shall impose any charge on the people or on public funds, or vary the amount or incidence of or otherwise alter any such charge in any manner, or affect the assessment, levying administration or application of any money raised by any such charge.")

The noble Lord said: This is a somewhat complex amendment which is related to a number of subsequent amendments which have the same purpose, which I am sure will be clear to the Minister, if not to all Members of the Committee. I move the amendment with the support and understanding of the National Trust for Scotland. I am sure that the Minister will accept that no body of any kind in Scotland has done more to preserve and conserve the national heritage than has the National Trust for Scotland, based on individual effort, and including the not so recent acquisition and support of the former Secretary of State for Scotland who is in his place tonight. The National Trust for Scotland has been seriously concerned about the objectives of the Bill and has practised its concern.

The purpose of this amendment is related to a number of amendments. The National Trust for Scotland advises me, and its parliamentary advisers tell me, that the purpose of this series of amendments is to confer on the Secretary of State for Scotland new powers similar to some of those given to the Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Commission for England by the National Heritage Act 1983. Like the 1983 Act, certain of the amendments would alter the text of the Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Act 1953 and while this approach may have the effect of making the amendments somewhat hard to follow, it is considered appropriate to adopt this course so as to achieve consistency with the changes in the law in England made by the Act of 1983.

The National Heritage Act 1983, which created the Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Commission, gave that commission certain powers in England which the National Trust for Scotland wished at that time to be made available in legislation for Scotland. The 1983 legislation was completed just before the General Election and the attempts of the National Trust for Scotland at that time to obtain parity of treatment for Scotland met with no success. These amendments which I shall move are designed to rectify that situation.

The fact that there is no similar commission in Scotland does not prevent the power provided in the 1983 legislation being made available and implemented by the Secretary of State through an obviously different infrastructure. There is, for example, a division within the Scottish Office dealing with matters similar to the commission in England. So the series of amendments which appear in my name have the effect of harmonising the Scottish law with the English law that is incorporated in the Act of 1983.

Amendment No. 42, which I am now moving, would give effect to the new schedule in which the amendments to the 1953 Act are set out and certain of these would involve public expenditure. Subsection (2), for example, of the new clause is included to avoid any infringement of the privilege of the House of Commons in matters of taxation and expenditure. If the new clause is accepted, it will be amended by the procedural device of the Commons disagreeing with subsection (2), which accordingly will be deleted. I feel in the name of the National Trust for Scotland that these amendments—and I simply move No. 42 at the moment—are desirable. I beg to move.

The Earl of Caithness

I am not quite clear as to the position and perhaps the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, can advise the Committee to which amendments he is referring. As I understood it, he was going to refer to Amendments No. 42 and No. 69. Do I take it from what he is saying that he is also referring to Amendments Nos. 44 and 48?

Lord Taylor of Gryfe

I have moved Amendment No. 42 and I wish to speak also to Amendment No. 69.

Amendment No. 69: After Schedule 1 insert the following new schedule—

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