HL Deb 10 March 1986 vol 472 cc402-14

3.10 p.m.

Report received.

Clause 1 [Composition of Board of Governors]:

Baroness Birk moved Amendment No. 1: Page 1, line 15, leave out ("first").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 1 it may be for the convenience of the House if I speak also to Amendments Nos. 2 to 11 because they all deal with the same point. Noble Lords who were present during the Committee stage will be aware that on that occasion we had a discussion on an amendment which I moved in order that representatives from outer London should have the opportunity of serving on the board. With the demise of the GLC there will be six vacant places: three to be nominated by the City of London, as the Bill stands at present, and three to be nominated by the Prime Minister.

Since the Committee stage I have taken into consideration the criticism of the amendment which was put forward at that time. I accepted at that time that it was not satisfactory in that it was very complicated, and that it was not clear enough, as the subsequent debate illustrated. However, the objective of having representatives from Greater London on the board of governors still stands and it is to deal with that point that I have now brought forward a much simpler amendment which says: (2A) In appointing additional appointees, the Prime Minister and the Corporation of the City of London shall consider such persons as are suggested to them by London borough councils. (2B) No council of a London borough shall suggest more than one person for the purposes of subsection (2A) in any one year".

That means that instead of the Prime Minister or the City having to seek out and consult different organisations and groups for advice on who to select in order to achieve Londonwide representation—which I should say appears to be the common wish of everyone concerned in this matter, including the Government—the amendment provides them with a list from which to choose. The amendment will not place unreasonable restrictions upon either of the funding bodies, because as funding bodies they have a right to select whoever seems most appropriate to them. The only obligation will be to consider suggestions made by the boroughs. However, the amendment does not place any duty on either of those bodies to appoint as a result of such suggestions. If no suggestions are made, it leaves them just as free to appoint any other persons who may have been suggested to them through other channels.

There are 32 boroughs. However, as was pointed out by the noble Lord, Lord Donaldson, during the previous debate on this point—and he has told me that he is very sorry that he is unable to be present today—when he spoke in support of the amendment, at col. 14: Unless the Minister has an unanswerable argument against the amendment, I think we"— and he was then referring to himself and his noble friends— shall be obliged to support the noble Baroness".—[Official Report, 3/3/86; col. 140.] Later when the point was raised about the number of boroughs—namely, 32—he spoke from his experience as a former Minister for the Arts (as did my noble friend Lord Jenkins) and he made the point that the fact that there were 32 certainly did not mean that every borough would probably nominate, and even if they did so it would not be very difficult to sift the names and to decide at that stage what type of speciality the museum wanted.

Since then I have had the opportunity to visit the museum again and I have discussed the matter with the chairman and with the director, both of whom are very anxious not only that there should be representation from outer London but also that it should be on the face of the Bill. In addition, I discussed the whole matter with a number of members of the City corporation individually, and they too have the same feeling. They are anxious that there should be representation from outer London. They also feel, from the City's point of view, that it should be seen to be there and not just be implicit in the Bill itself.

In Committee, the Minister, when replying to some of the points which were raised, said: I assure your Lordships' Committee that if borough councils wish to put forward nominations either to my right honourable friend or to the City authorities, those nominations will be given serious consideration and will be taken into account when the board members are chosen".—[Official Report, 3/3/86; col. 15.] Once again that very nicely expressed wish is printed in Hansard, but as the Minister will be aware it has no validity legislatively unless it is contained in the Bill itself.

The Minister went on to say at col. 17, in answer to some other points: Clauses 2 and 4 make explicit that when the Bill refers to London it is talking about all of Greater London and the surrounding region". With respect, that is not quite so because Clause 4 is sidelined with the words: Funding of Greater London archeological service", and in subsection (3) it says: In this section 'London' includes all Greater London and the surrounding region". So in fact that does not apply.

The other points which the Minister made as regards the substance of Clause 2 referred to the function of the board of governors but not to the composition of the board, to which I was referring at the time. In my view there does not seem to be any reason to reject this amendment now that it is much clearer and more simple, and there could not possibly be any misunderstanding that the City and/or the Prime Minister are being told who to appoint. We are seeking that the boroughs should have the opportunity to put forward names, and to do it in the way suggested is much fairer and also involves probably less work than any other way. It would also be helpful to the two funding bodies in providing them with a list of names from which to select, and it preserves the importance of the Londonwide function of the museum within the Bill without interfering with the nomination rights enjoyed by the Prime Minister and the City before the abolition of the GLC. I beg to move.

Lord Simon of Glaisdale

My Lords, I presume to share the objectives of the noble Baroness. We all want to see the Museum of London reflect, in its interest, the whole of London including Greater London. I personally would also like to see representatives of outer London—Greater London—among the trustees. My only misgiving is as to the mode of legislation. If I may say so, I do not take the extreme view that nothing should go into an Act of Parliament which is not enforceable through the courts. However, there should at any rate be some tendency against it, and it is undesirable that one should clutter up an Act of Parliament with mere adjuration, which is what this does.

There is no duty even on the outer boroughs, or on any of the boroughs, to nominate to the Prime Minister. There is also nothing in any event which would prevent their doing so; and if they do so one would expect the Prime Minister and the Corporation of London to consider the nominations. If they do not, there is nothing in this Act of Parliament to make them do it. It does, it is true, say that the Prime Minister and the corporation shall consider such persons; but if they did not, against all probability, there is no means of making them do so.

As for (2B), it only indirectly says that a council shall nominate. It is in a negative form: No council … shall suggest more than one person". I should have thought that that was in any case unduly restrictive. I cannot see, for example, why a council of Greater London which has an artistic and an archeological interest should not make two nominations to represent each of those interests.

My main objection, as I am sure the noble Baroness expected, is to this mode of legislation by mere adjuration of something desirable but which is not in the least enforceable. It is a mere expression of a good intention on the face of a statute which is much better left to common sense and normal, ordinary administrative practice.

Lord Jenkins of Putney

My Lords, may I intervene on a point of fact? The noble and learned Lord will be aware that it is not unusual for legislation to contain recommendations that bodies shall consult this, that or the other body before deciding what they do. It is a practice which seems to me to have many advantages. It at least gives those bodies the assurance that what they put forward is likely to be considered.

We are not in the position—and it never has been the case, so far as I know—that every paragraph in every Bill has to be capable of being interpreted at law. I suppose it is conceivable that one might drum up some sort of legal basis even for this, but the only point I want to make is that what my noble friend proposes here is quite customary.

It is something which is often done and which, on the whole, is a valuable part of our procedure. It enables bodies, before they make their decisions, to consult people or bodies put forward by other bodies which have an interest. On the whole it is a good thing, and I hope that the noble Lord who is to reply to the matter will accept my noble friend's suggestion.

Lord Hutchinson of Lullington

My Lords, I support this amendment. In referring to the noble and learned Lord's objection, is it not on all fours with the words "having regard to" in the statutes? I would support this amendment because I suggest that, more and more in regard to appointments by the Prime Minister to trustee bodies, there will be objection raised on the basis of these bodies not being accountable. It is an objection that one constantly hears. An amendment of this sort goes a little way to throw more light on the basis on which the Prime Minister will make appointments.

Although it is only an adjuration, as it were, to good behaviour and good ideas, it seems to me that it opens up the area which is to be considered by the Prime Minister when making these appointments. I would support it on that ground.

The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Belstead)

My Lords, in moving the amendment the noble Baroness referred to the exchanges we had in Committee. I think it is fair to say that the Government, the noble Baroness, and the noble Lords who have spoken in support of the amendments, are not very far apart. We all believe that the Museum of London is, and should continue to be, a musuem for all of London. We believe that those whose task it is to make these additional appointments to the board should bear this fact fully in mind.

Indeed, my right honourable friend the Prime Minister and the Corporation of the City of London would not be properly discharging their duties under this Bill if they failed to bear in mind that the Museum of London was a museum for all London. If the noble Baroness would glance at Clause 2 and not at Clause 4, she will see clearly on page 3 that in this clause London shall include, all Greater London and the surrounding region. Of course it is Clause 2 which sets out the responsibilities of the governors of the board of the museum.

So far I think we are all at one. We are all at one also in that if the boroughs have helpful suggestions to make in the context of appointments, they should be able to make them. I gave a clear assurance during our debate in Committee that if the London borough councils wished to put forward nominations, either to the Prime Minister or to the city authorities, those nominations will be given very serious consideration and will be taken into account when the board members are chosen.

I understand when the noble Baroness says that that is not the same as putting something on the face of the Bill. But I think it is fair for me to say that it is at this point that the Government differ from the attempts of the noble Baroness to put this on the face of the Bill because we think that in this case it would not be very helpful. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Simon of Glaisdale, at the previous stage of the Bill advised the Committee against cumbersome and unnecessary additions to legislation. The noble and learned Lord has repeated that advice to the House again today in much more forceful terms.

It is not as if the boroughs somehow need a statutory power in law to make suggestions to the two appointing authorities. They can of course readily do so without the law telling them that they can. The trouble here is that the noble Baroness, as the noble and learned Lord pointed out, is trying to say that the law will say that the boroughs can make only one suggestion a year, and after that they would not be allowed to make any more. Someone as generously spirited as the noble Baroness could not really intend that that should be so. But if we were to write this amendment into the Bill that is what we should be doing.

I would ask the noble Baroness to consider the assurance that I gave at a previous stage of the Bill, and which I am repeating today. In essence, on behalf of the Government, I gave an open invitation to the London boroughs to make recommendations if they felt that it was right to do so. Once we start putting that sort of assurance on the face of the Bill, we start getting into trouble. I certainly think we shall be getting into trouble on this amendment if we accept it. With regret, I must again resist.

Baroness Birk

My Lords, I listened carefully to what everybody said about this. With great respect to the Minister, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Simon of Glaisdale, I thought was much more firmly against the amendment last time, as indeed he should have been because this is a much better and clearer amendment. It was in order to bring it in line with some of his criticisms that this new amendment was drafted.

He has said that "shall suggest" would not fit into the Bill. I think that the noble Lord, Lord Hutchinson, dealt with some of these points extremely well. We are back to the point that, despite what the Minister said, nowhere at all in the Bill is there any reference to the boroughs having the right to nominate, to suggest, or to insist.

Lord Simon of Glaisdale

My Lords, even on the amendment of the noble Baroness surely there is nothing in the Bill giving the boroughs the right to nominate.

Baroness Birk

My Lords, if the noble and learned Lord would let me finish my comments, as I was dealing with his point, he will see my meaning. Amendment No. 11 states: the Prime Minister and the Corporation of the City of London shall consider such persons as are suggested to them by London borough councils". For the first time we would have a reference to a duty to consider such persons and also that the London borough councils have the right to suggest such persons.

The noble and learned Lord then went on to take up the point about no London borough suggesting more than one person. Sometimes on these matters the House is more difficult to please than a very difficult husband. Last time round all I heard were references to 32 boroughs and the fact that they would all be inundating everybody with their nominations. Therefore I dealt with that by saying that each should have a go. If that is accepted, that no council of the London boroughs shall nominate more than one person in a year, the point made by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Simon of Glaisdale, could still operate, because if there are so many outstanding people in any one borough they can still be appointed by the City or by the Prime Minister direct, so this point is not affected.

The argument seems to be that it is not now in the Bill, so therefore we do not want to put it in. That is the way it comes over. I am convinced that the City is concerned about this. I hope, though I do not know, that the Prime Minister will take the same view. This will be in the immediate aftermath of the abolition of the GLC, about whom everybody has said that the members nominated by it have all been extremely useful. As time goes by this fact will all be forgotten and we shall be left with an Act of Parliament which makes no reference to the boroughs or outer London making nominations or suggestions. This is all in the functions which the Minister quoted at some length in Committee, but not the composition of the board.

I feel that the Government are making very heavy weather over something which will certainly not wreck the Bill but would be of great advantage to it. Therefore I should like to test the feeling of the House.

3.33 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 1) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 67; Not-Contents, 107.

Amherst, E. Kilmarnock, L.
Ardwick, L. Leatherland, L.
Aylestone, L. Listowel, E.
Birk, B. Lockwood, B.
Brockway, L. McCarthy, L.
Burton of Coventry, B. McIntosh of Haringey, L.
Caradon, L. McNair, L.
Carmichael of Kelvingrove, L. Mar, C.
Cledwyn of Penrhos, L. Mayhew, L.
Collison, L. Mishcon, L.
David, B. [Teller.] Nicol, B.
Davies of Penrhys, L. Oram, L.
Dean of Beswick, L. Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L. [Teller.]
Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L.
Elwyn-Jones, L. Ritchie of Dundee, L.
Ennals, L. Roberthall, L.
Fisher of Rednal, B. Ross of Marnock, L.
Fitt, L. Russell of Liverpool, L.
Gallacher, L. Seear, B.
Galpern, L. Serota, B.
Gormley, L. Shackleton, L.
Grey, E. Shepherd, L.
Grimond, L. Stallard, L.
Hampton, L. Stedman, B.
Hanworth, V. Stewart of Fulham, L.
Harris of Greenwich, L. Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Hooson, L. Strabolgi, L.
Houghton of Sowerby, L. Strauss, L.
Hunt, L. Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Hutchinson of Lullington, L. Taylor of Mansfield, L.
Irving of Dartford, L. Tordoff, L.
Jeger, B. Underhill, L.
Jenkins of Putney, L. Wedderburn of Charlton, L.
Kennet, L. Winstanley, L.
Alexander of Tunis, E. Campbell of Croy, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V. Carnegy of Lour, B.
Ampthill, L. Cawley, L.
Auckland, L. Chelwood, L.
Bauer, L. Coleraine, L.
Beaverbrook, L. Cottesloe, L.
Belhaven and Stenton, L. Cox, B.
Beloff, L. Cullen of Ashbourne, L.
Belstead, L. Davidson, V.
Birmingham, Bp. De Freyne, L.
Boyd-Carpenter, L. Denham, L. [Teller.]
Brabazon of Tara, L. Denning, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L. Dilhorne, V.
Caithness, E. Drumalbyn, L.
Cameron of Lochbroom, L. Dudley, B.
Campbell of Alloway, L. Dundee, E.
Ebbisham, L. Marley, L.
Effingham, E. Masham of Ilton, B.
Ellenborough, L. Maybray-King, L.
Elton, L. Merrivale, L.
Faithfull, B. Mersey, V.
Ferrers, E. Montagu of Beaulieu, L.
Fortescue, E. Morris, L.
Fraser of Kilmorack, L. Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Gainford, L. Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Glanusk, L. Newall, L.
Glenarthur, L. Nugent of Guildford, L.
Granville of Eye, L. Orkney, E.
Gray of Contin, L. Pender, L.
Gridley, L. Plummer of St Marylebone, L.
Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L. Porritt, L.
Halsbury, E. Portland, D.
Hanson, L. Rochester, Bp.
Hemphill, L. St. Davids, V.
Home of the Hirsel, L. Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Hood, V. Savile, L.
Hooper, B. Shaughnessy, L.
Hylton-Foster, B. Simon of Glaisdale, L.
Killearn, L. Skelmersdale, L.
Kimball, L. Somers, L.
Kinloss, Ly. Strathcona and Mount Royal, L.
Kinnaird, L.
Kinnoull, E. Strathspey, L.
Lane-Fox, B. Sudeley, L.
Lauderdale, E. Swinton, E. [Teller.]
Layton, L. Teviot, L.
Lloyd of Hampstead, L. Trefgarne, L.
Long, V. Trumpington, B.
Lonsdale, E. Vaux of Harrowden, L.
Lucas of Chilworth, L. Vivian, L.
Luke, L. Waldegrave, E.
Macleod of Borve, B. Ward of Witley, V.
Mancroft, L. Young, B.
Manton, L. Young of Graffham, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

3.41 p.m.

[Amendments Nos. 2 to 11 not moved.]

Clause 4 [Funding of Greater London archaeological service]:

Baroness Birk moved Amendment No. 12. Page 4, line 9, leave out ("another body or person") and insert ("other bodies or persons including the Passmore-Edwards Museum").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, this amendment is to do with the Passmore-Edwards Museum, about which we had a discussion at Committee stage. The object of the amendment that we brought forward then, which was dealing with the financial side of it (because it comes in Clause 4), was to get the Passmore-Edwards Museum, with its important archaeological role to play, on the face of the Bill. I appreciate—as I think was explained by the noble Lord, Lord Montagu, at the time—that solving the problem by doing it by means of a financial breakdown of 25 per cent. of the money to go to the Passmore-Edwards Museum and 75 per cent. to the Museum of London would not work out. I am satisfied that that would not have been a viable alternative.

The last amendment was faulty in referring to those figures and I accept also that there may have been some problems with relevance. This has been one of the difficulties in bringing in this museum. The advice has been that, because the Bill is very closely circumscribed by the Museum of London, to extend it to the Passmore-Edwards Museum created a problem. But it sometimes seems as though, when the Bill was drafted, the people concerned were unaware of the special arrangements for rescue archaeology east of the River Lea. The reason for the individual status of the Passmore-Edwards Museum goes back a long way, to the end of the last century. It goes back to members of Essex Field Club, Essex County Council and the parish council of West Ham which sought to improve its status by setting up a museum. They made an agreement with the museum set up with funds provided by John Passmore-Edwards which would be the centre for the artefacts collected by the Essex Field Club as well as the other activities in that area.

I am digressing a little into the history, which may not appear relevant to the Museum of London Bill 1986, but indeed it is because all the legislation in this century, including local government reorganisation which changed boundaries, has not changed the status or the responsibilities of the Passmore-Edwards Museum. The archaeology service run by the museum is affected in this Bill because of its involvement in the Greater London Archaeology Service; and the rubric of Clause 4 reads: Funding of Greater London archaeological service". It was formerly funded by the GLC. However, the archaeology service is funded from a variety of sources; and the Passmore-Edwards Museum having to go through the Museum of London for part of its funding would, I believe, raise administrative difficulties for the running of the whole archaeology service in that area.

It is nearly a century ago that the Passmore-Edwards Museum was set up and the Bill, which is supposed to deal with the Museum of London, will change what previous legislation never affected at all. Moreover, it has not been changed by deliberate and carefully-worded clauses in the legislation but by omission. If I may say so, even the Government seem to be in a slight state of confusion at this point because in Committee, on 3rd March, the Minister said (at col. 29): for the first time the Bill will provide for a single, co-ordinated, London-wide archaeological service with one focal point". However, later in the same speech (at col. 330) the Minister said: The Passmore-Edwards Museum will not be required under the terms of this Bill to go through the Museum of London. So far as this Bill is concerned, they can go direct to the HBMC, who will then decide the funds to go to the Passmore-Edwards Museum". If that is the case and the Bill provides for it, then it is good news; but the point needs to be clarified.

The amendment, I agree, is a quite slight one. All that it stipulates is that Clause 4, instead of saying, information by another body or persons should read: other bodies or persons including the Passmore-Edwards Museum who get the money from the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission. I accept that that is not a very strong amendment, but the alternative would be for the Government to draft something which would deal with this point, even if it means altering the Long Title of the Bill, because only the Government have the resources to be able to draft an amendment which would meet this situation. I think it is something that should be cleared up because there is quite a lot of feeling about it.

Once again, I must make the point that while the Museum of London itself is quite happy about this because it will in fact be in charge of the archaeology, the Passmore-Edwards Museum will not have the separate identity that it has had up to now. The conditions that can be laid down, according to the Bill, by English Heritage also do not necessarily cover the point; because although the noble Lord, Lord Montagu, the chairman of English Heritage, has been extremely helpful in putting forward the view that the Passmore-Edwards Museum certainly has a role that should be fulfilled and that it should be recognised in that way, the same applies as applied on the previous amendment; that is, that things and people do not necessarily stand still. Therefore, when one is legislating one has to look to the future when the type of organisation may change and when the people concerned also may have moved on to other jobs and pastures new.

This may seem a small point but it is a knotty problem. We are left with the Government either accepting (which they may well do) this very mild amendment, or saying, "Yes. We see that there is a point there but it is not possible to do it in view of the way the Bill is drafted at the moment. We should be quite happy to take it back and bring in something on Third Reading". I assure them that I do not think that they will find any resistance from this side of the House.

Lord Montagu of Beaulieu

My Lords, I agree with the noble Baroness, Lady Birk, that there have been misapprehensions and some confusion on the part of the Museum of London and the Passmore-Edwards Museum about Clause 4 of this Bill. As chairman of English Heritage, which will be responsible for the funding of archaeology in London in the future, I should like to take this final opportunity to end any misunderstanding that may exist.

For the record, as the noble Baroness, Lady Birk, says, historically there have been two components of the Greater London Archaeology Service—the Museum of London and the longer-established Passmore-Edwards Museum, with which the GLC dealt on equal terms. In line with our commitment to secure the continuity of the GLC's functions in relation to London archaeology, we intend to continue to negotiate direct with both museums in relation to the services they provide in their respective areas and also in relation to the projects they adopt. Payment of grant to the Passmore-Edwards Museum will be through the Museum of London, but it will be on terms stipulated by the commission.

More importantly, this Bill is a welcome advance for London in that it provides a specific power for the first time for the grant-aiding of archaeological services in the Greater London area. It also gives us a power which we would not otherwise have had to pay for some of the services supported by the GLC. It cannot and does not, as has been suggested in some quarters, transfer to the Museum of London the co-ordinating role for the Greater London Archaeology Service which is now exercised by the GLC. As the main funder of those services, whether direct to the Museum of London or, through that museum, to the Passmore-Edwards Museum, the commission has no intention of abnegating its responsibility for assessing the overall requirement for archaeological services in London or for shedding its responsibility for deciding in detail to whom and how payments are to be made.

We very much hope that the effective liaison arrangements with both museums which have existed heretofore for discussing the distribution of resources for archaeology in London will continue. We indeed look forward with enthusiasm to bringing together to even better purpose the very substantial contributions which both the commission and the GLC have been making to archaeology in London over the past decade or so. It is certainly not our intention to throw away this opportunity for better co-ordination by shedding our responsibility for the Greater London Archaeology Service or, indeed, the specific undertakings we have given to the Passmore-Edwards Museum to have their requirements separately assessed and negotiated.

Lord Belstead

My Lords, the noble Baroness, Lady Birk, in moving this amendment, referred back to the Committee stage and quoted what I had said on behalf of the Government about the objective in this part of the Bill being for the first time to provide a single co-ordinated London-wide archaeological service with one focal point. That is something which, if I may say so, we see as being a great advance, because for the first time the service will be put on a statutory basis. I recognise the important role that has been undertaken by the Passmore-Edwards Museum for many years and the special place it has been given since it joined in with the provision of what is generally known as the Greater London Archaeology Service. I hope that what has been said in the brief exchange on this amendment has now given the noble Baroness the assurances she would wish to have in respect of this important institution.

Just to add to what has been helpfully said, let us be quite clear that the Passmore-Edwards Museum will still be able to negotiate direct with the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission and funds will be provided on the basis of a programme agreed with them. The Museum of London will not have any power of veto either over proposals from the Passmore-Edwards Museum or over the amount of money paid by to them by the HBMC. Do not let us forget that the chairmen of both boards of governors are now members of the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission's ancient monuments advisory committee, thus ensuring a direct link with the commission and with the two museums.

All those things are extremely valuable. By contrast, this is an amendment which would simply make a passing reference to the Passmore-Edwards Museum and to that extent, with respect to the noble Baroness, I do not think it would really achieve anything as an amendment. However, what she has achieved by moving the amendment is to have on the record some very important assurances so far as the continuing arrangements for the Passmore-Edwards Museum are concerned. I hope that on those grounds the noble Baroness may feel that this amendment has had a valuable effect and that there is no need to press it.

Baroness Birk

My Lords, I have no intention of pressing this amendment. What I should like to feel, though, is that either the Minister or the chairman of English Heritage could make this clear by some means or other. It is not just the Passmore-Edwards Museum or the Museum of London, but a number of archaeologists are very concerned about this, including the Association of Rescue Archaeology. Rather than having to look up the relevant reference in Hansard, I think a clear explanation might be given. It is not a very easy subject in which to see what is envisaged, and I hope that people's fears can be put at rest. Otherwise, in any case a number of rumours are put about and people get very worried and concerned. I should like to feel that somehow, somewhere, there is something that is easily accessible so that people can get hold of it and read it, and something which expresses the situation in a simple way.

It is a very great change to a body which has been in existence for over 100 years suddenly to find itself in regard to a Bill of this sort without any mention at all. One can understand that it feels rather aggrieved and worried about this. I do not know whether anything could be said by either the Minister or the chairman of English Heritage, with the leave of the House (because it is not going to take very long), in regard to a commitment to this. I do not know whether it is possible for the Minister to get together with the chairman of English Heritage to see what could be done. I think that might meet the point.

Lord Belstead

My Lords, if the House will give me leave, I should like to say that I quite understand the noble Baroness's desire that the right message should get to all the various organisations which will be beneficiaries under Clause 4. I think the first thing I would say is that one of the great difficulties over this amendment would have been that the amendment mentions only the Passmore-Edwards Museum and not all the other various organisations which are also involved in Clause 4.

The second thing is that I was a little surprised when the noble Baroness said that the Passmore-Edwards Museum might find itself in some way in this Bill and yet not specifically mentioned. I have always thought, and have said many times on behalf of the Government during the various stages of this Bill, that the great advantage of Clause 4 was that for the first time in statutory form the London Archaeology Service was put on the face of a statute. Previously, as I understood it, the source of the funds for various organisations, including Passmore-Edwards, was not to be found on the face of a statute. I would have thought that we now have an advance.

Finally, I should like to repeat that I would hope the assurances that have been given have been of value. Certainly I should like to look at the record and see whether my right honourable friend, to whose attention of course I will draw this debate, would feel that there is anything we ought to do outside the statute in order to make sure that those who benefit from Clause 4 understand the benefits of it.

Baroness Birk

My Lords, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

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