§ 4.50 p.m.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Earl Ferrers)
I beg to move that the House do now again resolve itself into Committee on this Bill.
§ Moved, That the House do now again resolve itself into Committee.—(Earl Ferrers.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.
§ House in Committee accordingly.
§ [The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES (Lord Brougham and Vaux) in the Chair.]
§ Clause 20 [Apportionment of money in Distribution Fund]:
Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 50A:
Page 9, line 17, at end insert:
("( ) The Secretary of State shall allocate the balance in accordance with subsections (3) and (4) below.").
§ The noble Lord said: In moving Amendment No. 50A I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 51 A, 52, 54, 57, 58, 60, 64, 92 and 93, and, in order to make sure that they are clearly in the same group, to the notice which has been given that we wish to oppose the Motion that Clauses 27, 37 to 40 and Schedule 6 should stand part of the Bill. That sounds complicated but it is not.1534
§ The amendments have the same effect: to take out a quite unnecessary piece of vainglory which has been put into the Bill—I do not know at whose suggestion. No one has confessed to having had the bright idea of the Millennium Commission. It is patently a nonsense. The provision ought never to have been in the Bill. As it is set up, the Millennium Commission is not only an additional and quite unnecessary quango; it is also quite conspicuously and deliberately a political quango. It has 10 members of whom two are Ministers of the Crown, and one is to be appointed by the Leader of the Opposition. I note that Members of the Committee from the Liberal Democrat Benches have an amendment to extend the nonsensical nature of the quango. However, I hope that they will not feel that their attempt to spread the gravy around a little more widely is in conflict with the amendments which follow Amendment No. 50A, which stands in my name.
§ When is the millennium? Apart from anything else, no one can decide in exactly which year it arises. Is the millennium at the end of the year 2000, or 2001? Alternatively, is it at the beginning of the year 2000? People are booking the River Room at the Savoy and rooms in the Ritz on different assumptions about when the millennium takes place. Let us forget the idea that there is any such thing historically as a millennium. Far more objectionable is the idea that at this time, and presumably after mature consideration, we should be setting up something in competition with President Mitterrand's grand projet. If I know this country well, the grand projet—a second Eiffel Tower, a cone of glass such as is situated in the front yard of the Louvre, an Opera Bastille, or whatever the projects are—will be established in seats which the Conservative Party believes that it might otherwise lose at the most appropriate general election, if indeed there were to be a Conservative Government at that time.
§ I rather fear that there are people in all parties who would be subject to the same temptation. I include not only my own party, but the Liberal Democrat party too. Such an organisation is bound to be staffed, deliberately to some extent, by politicians. Its members are bound to include people whose political affinities are well known. It is bound to take political decisions about what will best commemorate their own names rather than the 2000th anniversary of the Birth of Jesus Christ.
§ We have perfectly good provision in the Bill for the arts, sport, national heritage and charities. One of our amendments provides that the money going to those four real purposes—as opposed to factitious purposes —should be devoted to some project which could indeed commemorate a millennium. But the idea of setting up a Millennium Commission and giving it space in the Bill and extra money is a nonsense. I beg to move.
§ Lord Holme of Cheltenham
Later in the proceedings in Committee, from these Benches we shall move an amendment that if there is to be a Millennium Commission it would be wrong not to have the Liberal Democrats represented on it. However, I agree with the noble Lord that the Millennium Commission and Millenium Fund are a 1535 nonsense. I shall argue later that they are a nonsense of which we wish to be part, but my contention is that they are a nonsense.
I support the intention of the group of amendments to abolish the Millennium Fund and to redistribute its one-fifth share among arts, sports, heritage and charities. I do not do so as a spoilsport. I hope that at the appropriate date—there is some confusion about it as the noble Lord said—we shall have a multitude of celebrations to mark the end of one millennium and the beginning of the next. I hope that there will be street parties, fireworks and festivals. I hope that by then we might even have something to celebrate: a string of test victories would come in quite handy, or even a successful economy.
There is something about the Millennium Fund substantially in the hands of any Secretary of State which makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. Just listen to the grandiose language of the Explanatory and Financial Memorandum which states:to mark the year 2000 and the beginning of the third millennium".There is a ring of monumentalism about it. It sounds a little like potential politically inspired monuments rising on the British landscape. Of course, if one looks around the world there is no shortage of political monuments. There is President Ceausescu's palace called the House of the People. There was that huge statue of Felix Dzerzhinski, the first head of OGPU. It was gratifying to see the Muscovite population pulling down the statue in 1991. Anyone who has had the privilege of going to North Korea will see the numerous statues of Kim-II-Sung. Then there are always the great golden crossed swords on the main highway to Baghdad.
I have no doubt that the Government will tell us that they disclaim any such monumental Ozymandias ambitions. They probably have more modest projects in mind. I wonder what they are; a John Selwyn Gummer garden of rest in Marsham Street; the Redwood Chair of Welsh Language and Literature at the University of Aberystwyth? I put forward those suggestions in jest. It will be interesting to hear from the Government exactly what projects they have in mind for the Millennium Fund.
What sort of projects will they be? It will assist the Committee if the noble Viscount can give the Committee some examples so that the Government can justify to the whole nation that there should be a Millennium Fund. The sum of money involved is potentially very great. On a £2 billion turnover for the lottery, the sum would be of the order of £100 million a year, rolling up. That is enough over five years to create the ultimate discretionary political slush fund: half a billion pounds to be spent on national "feel good" projects. I do not believe that that is sensible. How much better it would be to put the money where there is a good mechanism for decision and where it can do some good: into heritage, sports, art and charities. It is for that reason that we support the group of amendments.
§ 5 p.m.
§ Lord Allen of Abbeydale
It has not been easy to arrange the grouping for the amendments. I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, for slipping in a paving amendment which enables him to take his proposal before what I believe is a rather better proposal in Amendment No. 51, to which we shall come later.
I am not absolutely sure that, given a free choice, I should have chosen this as the best way of celebrating my birthday today. However, if I am to be here, perhaps it is not inappropriate that we should be talking about some kind of celebration. The trouble is that, as has been pointed out, we do not quite know what we are celebrating, nor do we know what form of celebrations there might be.
On the first point, the Government have already agreed that the end of the second millennium is not until the end of the year 2000, but obviously people will regard the arrival of that year as something special. The phrase used in the explanatory memorandum of the Bill that,the year 2000 and the beginning of the third millennium", nicely captures that initial ambiguity.On the second point, we have been told remarkably little—and we are well advanced with the Bill—about what kind of celebrations the Government have in mind for the quite considerable sums of money that might be in prospect. The Government have said that that should be left to the Millennium Commission, but I think that we are entitled to know more than that. It was in the manifesto of the Conservative Party. I have taken the trouble to look at what was promised about the use of the Millennium Fund. It makes quite good reading. The first item is:To restore the fabric of our nation".What could we have better than that?
The next is to help Manchester with its sporting facilities for the Olympics. I do not wish to be defeatist, but it is just conceivable that Manchester will not hold the Olympics. I hope that the bid which has been put in on its behalf does not rely on a contribution from the national lottery to make it viable.
There is a proposal to nominate some other major city to hold an international trade fair. That is a little unlike the good causes provided for in the Bill, which I find puzzling. Then there is a proposal to provide millennium bursaries for young people and newly retired people—not those who have been retired for some time—who offer their energy to,schemes designed to change the face of the United Kingdom by the year 2000".Some schemes!
I read some of the proceedings of the House of Commons to see whether any addition is to be made. I found one: the Minister concerned said that it might be a good idea to spend money on getting the clocks in the villages and towns of this country to work again. As he quoted Rupert Brooke, it seemed to me that he had in mind particularly Grantchester. One can imagine that it would be a remarkable indication of the arrival of the third millennium that the clock 1537 there should be made to go and commend itself to the distinguished residents of that village, some of whom are known to us.
One absence from the Bill, so far as I can see, is any provision for an endowment reserve for the buildings which will be looked after through Millennium Fund finances. It may be said that that is the intention, but there is nothing in the Bill. I believe, however, that an amendment has been put down. So, although it may be said that a nice new concert hall is to be put up in Wigan alongside the site of the pier, it is not clear who will be responsible for its future upkeep.
I go along with the views expressed about the worth of the Millennium Commission. I have some reservations about the proposal to do away with it altogether. For one thing, for what it is worth, it is a manifesto commitment. For another, it would be quite difficult to police the 5 per cent. deduction from the other four good causes which have been proposed by the noble Lord in putting forward the amendment. I do not think it would he easy for the good causes to identify projects which are suitable to mark the millennium when the Government themselves seem to have little idea of what those projects should be. Speaking, perhaps especially, for charities, I believe that there may be practical difficulties in allocating their 5 per cent.
I still believe that too much money is involved for millennium purposes. So far as one can calculate, in the next few years, something like £400 million would be devoted to that purpose, making certain assumptions. It seems to me that that is far too much. It is a point which I shall argue in more detail when we come to Amendment No. 51.
To summarise, although I sympathise with the general approach of the amendment, I am not entirely happy with it. All I can say is that it is rather better than what is in the Bill at present.
§ Lord Renton
I am sure that Members of the Committee would wish me to congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Allen of Abbeydale, on his birthday and on a most excellent speech. I was interested by it and I agreed with most of it. I very much hope that we shall be able to celebrate his birthday in the year 2000.
There are three strong reasons for celebrating the millennium. The first is to celebrate 2,000 years of Christianity and to encourage us and many of our fellow mortals to carry on for another 1,000 years. That is the first and perhaps the strongest reason. Then, for the great mass of people, whether or not they are Christians, whether or not they are churchgoers, whether or not they are intellectuals, reaching the year 2000 is a great moment in the passage of time. That in itself is worth marking and celebrating.
The third reason, which some Members of the Committee may think the strongest of all, is that it is an excuse for a damned good party. I believe that the Government are right to have decided that there should be some special way of celebrating and that there is no better way of raising the money than by means of a lottery.
As to how much is to be spent on each of the items mentioned in Clause 20(3), we are simply into the 1538 numbers game. As many as there are people, so there will be opinions. Speaking for myself, I am rather glad that the Government have simplified the matter by giving 20 per cent. to each of the five good causes. It saves a great deal of argument to give each the same amount. Speaking for myself, I hope that the Government will stick to it.
§ Lord Annan
I hope that the Committee will go along with the noble Lord, Lord Renton, on the amendment. Like him, I support the Government on it. When I spoke on Second Reading, I said that this was a Bill which would bring a great deal of joy, excitement and vivacity to people's lives. That is precisely what I think the millennium proposal will do. Someone will pay for the celebrations for the millennium. It is no good thinking that there will not be any. They will be enormous. Who will pay? The taxpayer? Here is a marvellous way in which we avoid the cost falling on the Exchequer and. it seems to me, on local councils and local villages which at that time can perhaps ill afford to celebrate the event as they would like.
I believe that we are bound to set up a fund of this kind. People say that it is too big a fund. But surely this is a chance for something imaginative to be done in the country, in the North of England and in Scotland, each region perhaps having some major project which has long been wished for by the population. Now at last it will be able to be realised. It is well worth doing for that reason. It will bring joy and amusement to people's lives. If one has a project of this kind, who is to say what the money is to be spent on? I am delighted that the Government have not come forward with precise proposals. What they will clearly do—which they have not always done in the past few years—is to consult the population. There will be a marvellous selection of batty, mad, ingenious ideas put forward, some of which will be really worth while following. I hope that the Government will stick to their proposal and reject the amendment.
§ Lord Birkett
I wonder whether this is not rather a mean-spirited set of amendments. After all, not all monuments are monuments to vanity. When we had a Festival of Britain in 1951, we built the Royal Festival Hall. Thank goodness we did. To celebrate the millennium we do not have to build a National Theatre or a British Library. But they have been built only in the nick of time. I am sure that plenty of other projects will need to be built; and if they celebrate the millennium, so much the better.
I am very much looking forward to the "millennium party" of the noble Lord, Lord Renton. But I hope that not too much of the money will be spent on that. It should be spent on things which are permanent. Paris does it all the time. Whether or not Paris does it out of vanity, I do not care. That city has the Beaubourg. Whether it is called the Pompidou Centre or not, I care not. It has done an amazing amount for the library service in France, which was never as privileged as our own library service, and indeed for the arts. What it has done for the Louvre is wonderful, and the Opera House in the Bastille is a magnificent structure. Monuments can be of 1539 enormous advantage to the nation, and, as the noble Lord, Lord Annan, said, enormous fun. I hope that the Committee will not consider these amendments too carefully. They are a little mean-spirited.
§ Lord Boyd-Carpenter
I should be very grateful if in responding to these amendments my noble friend the Minister would deal with two points. I am generally inclined to the feeling that we should have some celebration of the millennium. But I wonder whether, as the millennium commemorates the two-thousandth anniversary of the birth of Christ, the Churches are being involved. I am sorry to see that there are no right reverend Prelates here this afternoon. I would have hoped, in view of the fact that the very basis of the celebration, the 2000 years, has a religious background and origin, that the Government were consulting with all the major Churches; and obviously with the established Church. As a member of that body I naturally hope that it will be consulted as well as the other major Churches. I very much hope that we shall be told that the Churches will be involved.
I have a little unease about the Millennium Commission. One sets up these bodies with the highest principles and ideals and with the highest approach. But they are apt to grow. It would be a great pity if the Millennium Commission grew into a large, bureaucratic body. I should like therefore to hear from my noble friend the Minister that it is proposed to limit, strictly and firmly, the number of people whom the Millennium Commission will employ. It is of itself a good purpose, but that purpose could be somewhat discredited if it grew into an inflated bureaucracy.
§ 5.15 p.m.
§ Viscount Brentford
As my name is down to Amendment No. 58 I should like to speak to that; and, with the leave of the Committee, to save time I should also like to speak to Amendment No. 60A, which is in my name but in the next grouping. As in my view these two amendments go together, perhaps I may address them at the same time. The impact of the amendments is to switch 5 per cent. of the total from the Millennium Fund to charities. Here I am picking up a point put forcefully by the noble Lord, Lord Allen of Abbeydale; namely, was it right to have as much for the Millennium Fund as for the others?
I should also like to remind the Committee of all that has been said in this debate about the shortage of funds which otherwise would be likely to accrue to charities because of the amounts going into the national lottery. It is in order to help recoup those losses for charities that I suggest in Amendment No. 58 that there should be an increase from 20 per cent. to 25 per cent., correspondingly making the Millennium Fund suffer a decrease of 5 per cent. by Amendment No. 60A.
I am well aware that some Members of the Committee consider that charities should not be tarnished by any involvement with the national lottery. But that is not my view. My feeling is that, if we are to have the national lottery, charities should be substantial beneficiaries. I suspect that there will be 1540 substantial losers. I entirely agree with the noble Lord, Lord Donoughue, that we should not wait for the millennium before we produce a string of test victories; nor for that matter a national football team which can win its matches—and also perhaps some Wimbledon winners. I hope that some of the sports funds will go towards improving all of these activities nationally, as well as at the local level, from where the national winners will come. I should like to commend to the Committee the amendment to increase by 5 per cent. the amount going to charities. I am normally very much taken with the argument of simplicity, which I support in general; but I believe that this case should be one of the exceptions. I hope that we shall agree to improve the amount being attributed to charities.
§ Lord Houghton of Sowerby
I do not wish to throw a wet blanket over the joyous news of the noble Lord, Lord Annan, about the celebrations at the turn of the century. But I must remind the Committee that within 18 months of the turn of the present century we were in deep trouble in the war in South Africa. Perhaps I may also remind the Committee that three years before the turn of this next century we shall be in trouble in Hong Kong. In a situation when six years is a long time to anticipate history, I do not want to be too gloomy. I am bound to confess that I am closer to the year 2000 than some Members of the Committee. I am beginning to wonder whether I shall be able to join in the celebrations.
§ Lord Redesdale
I am thoroughly looking forward to the year 2000 when, I hope, we can celebrate with a £½ billion party, which perhaps seems a little excessive. I do not think it is necessarily mean-spirited to be against the Millennium Fund. We could be left, way beyond the millennium, with monuments that we regret ever having built in the first place. To give just one indication of the dangers of what could be thrown up in the next few years on a whim because so much money is available, we have only to look at the Albert Memorial, which many people wish had gone down in the great hurricane.
§ Lord Redesdale
I am sorry; that is a personal view. It now seems as if it will be very difficult to find the money to carry out restoration. One of the problems with the Millennium Fund is that, because the views behind it are so wide, we could end up with monuments that we did not especially want in the first place.
§ Baroness O'Cathain
I hope that the Committee will reject the amendment. We are being mean spirited and there is no suggestion that the £400 million or £500 million should be spent on a gigantic party. One of the more sensible suggestions is that there should be projects throughout the United Kingdom, one in each of the regions.
It may be said that £400 million to £500 million is a lot of money. But when one divides that amount four ways, on my calculations we are left with £100 million or £125 million. That will not build us a 1541 monumental project on a huge scale —the cost of building opera houses or some of the grands projets of Mitterrand in Paris are well in excess of £100 million or £125 million. But that should not stop us.
We must have imagination. We are falling into the trap of being extremely petty minded and insular. Other countries throughout the world have grand projects. Look at what Sydney Opera House achieved for the Australians. Some people may not like it. But that was funded out of lottery money. It is a grand project; it is a project of which the people of Sydney, and in fact of all Australia, are immensely proud. We should do something like that.
What do we have? As I said at Second Reading, we have a handful of grand projects; the last one was in 1951, the Royal Festival Hall. We must look back to what the Victorians did in South Kensington with the science museums, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Royal Albert Hall. Over the past 50 years we have done very little of which future generations will be proud. We ought to stand up and say "We are a big country. We are an important country. We are letting our heritage go into decline". But that will be matched by the National Heritage Memorial Fund from the lottery. Let us not blur the edges between national heritage, the arts, charities and sport. They will obtain a similar sum of money over a period of four years. They will be able to produce great tennis players and the means to ensure that our heritage in terms of our cathedrals, museums and indeed the memorial to Prince Albert will be looked after.
This is something different. We must keep it different. Let us have the money ring-fenced to ensure that we can hand something on to future generations of which they will be proud, as the Australians are proud of Sydney Opera House.
§ Lord Cavendish of Furness
I am delighted to find such an enormous weight of opinion in your Lordships' Chamber opposing the amendment. I wish to make two points. The first, in reflection of the speeches of my noble friends Lord Boyd-Carpenter and Lord Renton, concerns the Christian dimension. It is arguable that the only thing that is lacking in western democracies is the utter failure of our spiritual lives in the current century with the advances in medicine and technology. It is hard otherwise to understand how people have failed so singularly to deal with human nature emotions such as self-pity, guilt and so forth. They are all concerned with the spiritual health of the nation. I echo the view that it is deeply saddening that no right reverend Prelates are present to take part in the debate.
My second point is that one of the problems in this country is the shattered confidence that we seem to have. I believe that the symbolism of the millennium, apart from the important Christian significance, is that we must, as the noble Lord, Lord Allen, said, recognise an important moment in time and reflect on where we are going. We must try to rekindle, in a spirit of nationhood, where we might go forward and rekindle our national confidence.
I too welcome the Millennium Fund. To my mind it is the key beneficiary of the whole lottery and with imagination, courage and independence it will do great things.
The noble Lord, Lord Holme, is troubled by thoughts of,Two vast and trunkless legs of stone".But pride of that kind is no bad thing. I am grateful for the pride of the Pharaohs which has left us the pyramids and not left us grubbing around in the remains of their rubbish tips with toothbrushes.
The thought of grubbing around in the remains of a rubbish tip with toothbrushes left me for a moment thinking and I was slow to rise to my feet. However, I should point out to the Committee that the proposal for a Millennium Fund was stated clearly in the Conservative Party manifesto before the last election. It was on the basis of that manifesto that this Government were elected. I am delighted that the noble Lord, Lord Allen of Abbeydale, read our manifesto with such care, even though he had to read it on his birthday. It shows his interest in the Millennium Fund.
We believe that these amendments seek to remove something which lies at the very heart of the Bill—the Millennium Commission. The amendments tabled variously seek to remove all provision for the commission from the Bill, or to ensure that the money which would have gone to the commission goes instead to the other distributors,for use on Millennium projects".One of the key features of the Bill is the proposal to create a powerful new foundation which will fund far-sighted works to stand as monument to the civilisation and achievements of the second millennium for the enjoyment of future generations. There are precedents for this great Millennium Commission—the great exhibition of 1851 and the Festival of Britain in 1951—where the foresight of previous generations left us with two great legacies—the South Kensington museums and the South Bank.
I remind the Committee that in 1851 the Liberal Party was in power. The Kensington museums are here today and are doing very well. I remind the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, that in 1951 the Labour Party was in power, and the South Bank is also thriving today.
I hope that the Committee sees the opportunity given to us by the national lottery to match the foresight and achievement of previous generations. I do not believe that your Lordships would want to ignore this opportunity to do something really important; to set in motion a series of projects which will benefit future generations and perhaps even earn their gratitude. Do we really want to miss this chance? Do we really want to miss the opportunity that the millennium offers? I think not. We should all realise that it is our historic duty to seize the moment and to look ahead, and to seize this opportunity offered to us.
In order to carry out its work, it is important that the Millennium Commission is allowed to operate as a body with a clear purpose, independent of government. After all, it will have nine members, only two of which will be Ministers. One will he nominated 1543 by the Leader of the Opposition in another place; the remaining six will be appointed by Her Majesty the Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister. It should be independent of the interests of the arts, sport or the heritage. We are looking for projects which are out of the ordinary and which will, we hope, have importance far beyond the confines of a specific interest or group. Those projects could be on a scale similar to those of which I reminded your Lordships earlier—developments like the museum complex in South Kensington. A national body is needed to mastermind the process, while of course taking as much advice as is available, and in particular from the expert bodies.
The Millennium Commission will not be stuffed with politicians, as the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, said. I pointed out that they will be in the minority. It will not be a political slush fund to help whichever political party may be in power.
We recognise that there are two views on when the millennium occurs. The Bill accommodates both of those views by stressing that the Millennium Commission should fund projects for the year 2000 and the beginning of the third millennium. I understand that there is some argument that the millennium may not start until the end of the year 2000. If we think that nobody will celebrate the new year at the beginning of the year 2000, we are mistaken.
I was asked what kind of projects will be appropriate for funding. Again, the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, cannot have it both ways. At one point he said that it would be a political slush fund and then I am asked what it will fund. It will be independent. If I said what it would fund, that would put a political slant on it, and we have no desire to do that. The commission will decide what is appropriate. The Bill affords the opportunity for the commission to be independent of government.
§ 5.30 p.m.
§ Lord Holme of Cheltenham
I am grateful to the noble Viscount for giving way. If it is so important for the Government that there should be no political input—the very point that he is making in not specifying the kind of things that might be funded—why then is it important to have two Ministers on the commission?
It is important to have some political input. The point I was making is that the political input is a minority. Perhaps I may give the noble Lord some examples that he might find helpful. The commission will be looking to fund a smaller number of big projects as well as a larger number of small local projects and possibly bursaries for individuals. It may be that it will consider an application for a large sports complex of national importance. It may be that it will consider an application for a multi-media arts centre, or indeed a new building for an important charitable enterprise. The commission will be able to choose.
1544 My noble friend Lord Boyd-Carpenter asked about the numbers. The board is small. That is important. The number of staff of the Millennium Commission must be approved by the Secretary of State. He will need the Treasury's consent. That gives a strong indication of the level of control which will be exercised in this matter. And of course there is no reason why the Churches should not be consulted. It is extremely important that they will be consulted. The point made by my noble friend Lord Boyd-Carpenter is an extremely important one.
I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Annan, when he says that the Millennium Commission will provide joy and excitement. Indeed it will; I am sure that it will. It will also produce something more important than that. It will provide a legacy for the future of which we shall all be proud. It will provide things from which future generations will benefit. They will look back and say that they saw the initiative, they acted and they did something about it. I think that that is very important and I therefore urge the Committee to reject these amendments.
§ Lord McIntosh of Haringey
If I had any doubt that these amendments were right I would have been cured of that doubt by the bombast which has been evoked in the Committee by the suggestion that it might be better to have the money coming from the national lottery allocated by those in the arts and sport, in national heritage and in the charities who know what they are doing rather than there being either direct political appointments or other appointments by the Prime Minister. I must remind the Committee that in terms of the Bill this is a zero sum gain. Any money that goes to the Millennium Fund comes directly from the share that is available for the other four purposes. It does not mean that there is any less money spent on worthwhile long-term projects if the Millennium Fund is to be abolished. It simply means that the money is to be spent by those who know what they are doing rather than by a bunch of people who were put there in order to celebrate the greater glory of government. That is the difference between our amendments and the rest of the proposals.
I look forward to celebrating the millennium. I should like to celebrate the millennium but I shall do so with proper enjoyment only if my noble friend Lord Houghton of Sowerby is there to celebrate it with me—
§ Lord McIntosh of Haringey
—and indeed the noble Lord, Lord Allen of Abbeydale, who enters his 82nd year with a very distinguished contribution.
Some of the suggestions being put forward seem to ignore the fact that this is a proposal for a distribution of the funds from a national lottery. On the idea of street parties—I do not disagree with the noble Lord, Lord Annan, about the value of celebrations through street parties. But state funded street parties? How will the allocation be made? Will the local government finance department division of the Department of the Environment be invited to construct a multiple regression analysis for the allocation of funds for 1545 street parties so that one gets so much per head of population, so much more for young people under the age of 11, so much more for deprivation, and so much more or less according to the average cost of a pint of beer in a particular locality? It is nonsense to suggest that street parties should be state funded in the way that the noble Lord, Lord Annan, wishes them to be. Street parties, if they are going to be any good, will be spontaneous. They will be contributed to willingly and joyfully by the people in the areas.
I accept the Government's argument that they ought not to specify too much in advance what the Millennium Commission should do. The Minister is right to resist, although he did not quite resist, the suggestion of making political input to the Millennium Commission. But the concept of a Millennium Commission as something dedicated only to the millennium, a warring band of people with different regional interests, different cultural interests, different social interests and different artistic interests, does not make sense. It would be wise for the Committee—and the Committee would not be blamed for it in the year 2000—if it accepted these amendments and rejected this unnecessary proposal in the Bill. I commend the amendment to the Committee.
§ 5.36 p.m.
§ On Question, Whether the said amendment (No.50A) shall be agreed to?
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 55; Not-Contents, 117.
|Division No. 1|
|Addington, L.||Kilbracken, L.|
|Airedale, L.||Kirkwood, L.|
|Allen of Abbeydale, L.||Listowel, E.|
|Aylestone, L.||Macaulay of Bragar, L.|
|Birk. B.||McIntosh of Haringey, L.|
|Bonham-Carter, L.||Mackie of Benshie, L.|
|Bridges, L.||Merlyn-Rees, L.|
|Campbell of Eskan, L.||Monkswell, L.|
|Carmichael of Kelvingrove, L.||Morris of Castle Morris, L.|
|Clinton-Davis, L.||Mulley, L.|
|Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.||Pitt of Hampstead, L.|
|David, B.||Plant of Highfield, L.|
|Dean of Beswick, L.||Prys-Davies, L.|
|Dortmand of Easington, L.||Rea, L.|
|Eatwell, L.||Redesdale, L.[Teller.]|
|Falkland, V.||Robson of Kiddington, B.|
|Galpern, L.||Russell, E.|
|Geraint, L.||Seear, B.|
|Hampton, L.||Serota, B.|
|Hamwee, B.||Shepherd, L.|
|Hanworth, V.||Stoddart of Swindon, L.|
|Harris of Greenwich, L.||Strabolgi, L.|
|Hilton of Eggardon, B.||Thomson of Monifieth, L.|
|Hollis of Heigham, B.||Tordoff, L.|
|Holme of Cheltenham, L.||Turner of Camden, B.|
|Hughes, L.||White, B.|
|Jay of Paddington, B.[Teller.]||Williams of Elvel, L.|
|Jenkins of Hillhead, L.|
|Aberdare, L.||Auckland, L.|
|Aldington, L.||Belhaven and Stenton,L.|
|Alexander of Tunis, E.||Belstead, L.|
|Allenby of Megiddo, V.||Bessborough, E.|
|Annaly, L.||Birkett, L.|
|Annan, L.||Blatch, B.|
|Arran, E.||Boyd-Carpenter, L.|
|Astor, V.||Brabazon of Tara, L.|
|Astor of Hever, L.||Braine of Wheatley, L.|
|Brentford, V.||Lindsey and Abingdon, E.|
|Brookeborough, V.||Long, V.|
|Brougham and Vaux, L.||Lucas,L.|
|Butterworth, L.||Lyell, L.|
|Caithness, E.||Mackay of Ardbrecknish, L.|
|Campbell of Alloway, L.||Mackay of Clashfern, L. [Lord Chancellor.]|
|Campbell of Croy, L.|
|Carnegy of Lour, B.||Malmesbury, E.|
|Carnock, L.||Mancroft, L.|
|Cavendish of Furness, L.||Marlesford, L.|
|Charteris of Amisfield, L.||Merrivale, L.|
|Clark of Kempston, L||Mersey, V.|
|Colnbrook, L.||Milverton, L.|
|Craigavon, V.||Mountevans, L.|
|Cranborne, V.||Mowbray and Stourton, L.|
|Cranworth, L.||Munster, E.|
|Cumberlege, B.||Murton of Lindisfarne, L.|
|Davidson, V.||Nelson, E.|
|Dudley, E.||Newall, L.|
|Dundonald, E.||O'Cathain, B.|
|Elles, B.||Orkney, E.|
|Elliott of Morpeth, L.||Pym, L.|
|Elton, L.||Rankeillour, L.|
|Erroll, E.||Reay, L.|
|Ferrers, E.||Rees, L.|
|Flather, B.||Renton, L.|
|Foley, L.||Renwick, L|
|Fraser of Carmyllie, L.||Rodger of Earlsferry, L.|
|Gibson, L.||St. Davids, V.|
|Gisborough, L.||Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.|
|Goschen, V.||Seccombe, B.|
|Granard, E.||Simon of Glaisdale, L.|
|Gray of Contin, L.||Stewartby, L.|
|Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L.||Strange, B.|
|Halsbury, E.||Strathmore and Kinghorne, E. [Teller.]|
|Harrowby, E.||Sudeley, L.|
|Hastings, L.||Swansea, L.|
|Hayhoe, L.||Tebbit, L.|
|Hayter, L.||Teviot, L.|
|Henley, L.||Thomas of Gwydir, L.|
|Hesketh, L. [Teller.]||Thurlow, L.|
|HolmPatrick, L.||Trumpington, B.|
|Hothfield, L.||Vaux of Harrowden, L.|
|Howe, E.||Wade of Chorlton, L.|
|Hylton-Foster, B.||Wakeham, L. [Lord Privy Seal.]|
|Jenkin of Roding, L.|
|Killearn, L.||Wharton, B.|
|Kimball, L.||Willoughby de Broke, L.|
|Lauderdale, E.||Young, B.|
§ Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.
§ 5.44 p.m.
§ The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Strabolgi)
Before calling Amendment No 51 I have to inform the Committee that if that amendment is agreed to, I cannot call Amendments Nos. 51A to 60A inclusive.
§ Lord Allen of Abbeydale moved Amendment No.. 51:
Page 9, line 18, leave out subsection (3) and insert:
("(3) Of the balance—
§ The noble Lord said: In introducing this amendment I shall try not to duplicate the discussion which we had on the previous amendment and I shall be brief. All along I preferred this amendment to the one on which we have just voted. I believe that this amendment stands very much on its own merits. Having listened carefully to the discussion which has taken place, I still remain unpersuaded that the Millennium Fund should properly get the same allocation as the four good causes for which the Bill provides. As I explained in my earlier speech, I accept that there is a manifesto commitment and that there are things which can be celebrated at the millennium, whenever that may be. I certainly do not want to give the impression that we are a mean lot.
§ I still cannot persuade myself that the provision in the Bill is quite right. I listened with care to what the noble Viscount said about the possible uses of the Millennium Fund and found it interesting that all the examples that he gave fell within the four categories covered in the remainder of the Bill. If he is right, there is an extraordinary risk that the commission will be for ever duplicating the work of the other bodies charged under the Bill with distributing the lottery proceeds and on which they are the great experts. I cannot think that that makes a great deal of sense.
§ We are talking about quite a lot of money. I do not want again to go over the calculations which were touched on earlier, but for debating purposes we can assume that there might be something of the order of £400 million available for this short-term scheme. We have also heard and been given assurances that there will be no very large staff. There will be a considerable risk of that staff being overwhelmed by the number of applications of varying kinds which come in, with the risk that it will not be possible to give a proper degree of scrutiny to the individual projects and one will end up by spending a great deal of money in too short a time. It is rather like a local authority which discovers near the end of the financial year that it has a certain amount of money to spend which it will lose if it does not spend it. The local authority spends it on totally unnecessary projects. I speak with feeling as we are currently suffering from that situation in my area.
§ The question of ensuring that millennium projects are grounded on a sure foundation concerns me greatly. Any of the grand designs of which we heard so much so eloquently earlier in the evening will come under intense scrutiny both from real experts and from those who regard themselves as experts. One has only to think of the current argument taking place about the new Queen Elizabeth Gates in Hyde Park on which widely differing views have been expressed. There is quite a risk of controversies of that kind evolving on a considerable scale.
§ I should be very much happier if the commission had a more limited and more closely specified remit, matched with a more limited budget. So it may take time to ensure that, as far as humanly possible, the projects and programmes are worthy of the celebratory purposes which the Government have in mind. There is a risk that the commission could find itself being asked to fund anything and everything. I 1548 am not suggesting that the fund should be cut out altogether, as the last amendment proposed, but £20 million a year for five years seems to be a reasonably adequate sum for the purposes in mind. I beg to move.
§ Lord Swinfen
I should like to support everything that the noble Lord, Lord Allen of Abbeydale, said in moving this amendment. I would have voted Not-Content on the previous amendment if the Government had not had a manifesto commitment at the last election—a manifesto commitment which was not a commitment made by other parties—so that people had an opportunity of voting against it. I feel that the Millennium Fund should be limited in size and used for one or two specific projects only, of which I hope that education will form a part so that students will be able to travel for the benefit of the country as they go through life. We should spend the money on something that will be useful for the nation as a whole rather than on bricks and mortar.
I am sure that the arts, sport, national heritage and charitable institutions will all be undertaking various projects to celebrate the start of the third millennium. I should have thought that they would use the money that they can obtain from this source towards that end because it will be over and above their normal income. At the. same time, we should bear in mind that charities could well lose income as a result of the national lottery. I should have thought, therefore, that it would be sensible to limit the Millennium Fund to 5 per cent. and to increase the share of the other four organisations. They know what is required. They—rather than a body stuck somewhere in the centre of the country and without the opportunity of seeing what is happening around the country—know what is best.
§ Baroness O'Cathain
It is with great sorrow that I have to argue with my noble friend Lord Allen of Abbeydale, particularly on his birthday. It is not a very nice thing to do. However, the reality is that if the Millennium Fund were limited to 5 per cent., as my noble friend suggests, it would probably mean that there would be about £100 million or £125 million for the whole country to mark the millennium with a grand project or projects. Already it has been suggested that there should be regional projects, so we are talking about £25 million for each such project. I am afraid that the sort of projects that can be funded for £25 million would hardly be noticed. The reality of large project funding has probably not sunk home to most Members of the Committee, but the organisation which I head, the Barbican, is in the books for £500 million. I advise the Committee that £100 million would not build anything significant and if that sum were to be divided by four between the four regions, it would be ridiculous.
It is quite wrong to talk about putting more money into the other four categories. They will have plenty of money through the lottery fund. I see the Millennium Fund as being, in effect, capital expenditure as against revenue expenditure for the other four categories. I am talking about ongoing expenditure for which the Government are unable to make up the difference between what they would like to give the arts, sport, 1549 national heritage and charities and what they are actually able to give the arts, sport, national heritage and charities. We should leave the Millennium Fund for something that will be there for generations to come. Although we said all that on the first group of amendments, I feel that chipping away at that sum of money will leave us in the worst of all possible worlds. We shall have something of which we cannot be proud and which will not really mark the millennium or anything else.
§ Lord Allen of Abbeydale
Perhaps I may ask my noble friend a question. I am always happy to engage in discussion with her in private or in public on my birthday or at other times. She will recall that on an earlier occasion she said that the money ought to be ring-fenced for millennium purposes, whereas the Minister said, in effect, that, on the contrary, it should be spent on precisely the projects for which the other four good causes were set up. I wonder whether my noble friend could comment on that.
§ Baroness O'Cathain
Perhaps I did not explain myself correctly. What I meant was that that money should, indeed, be ring-fenced and be quite separate. As I have just said, the Millennium Fund could deal, in effect, with capital expenditure, whereas the revenue expenditure—the ongoing expenditure—could be used to keep our existing national heritage monuments up to scratch. We could use it to maintain our cathedrals instead of always having to go cap in hand to the Church of England or whoever, saying, "This roof is falling down. This spire needs attention. These bells need rehanging". Such expenditure could come out of the part of the national lottery fund that is allocated under the heading "National Heritage", whereas the Millennium Fund should be something quite different and new and should be used to mark the celebratory occasion.
§ Lord Renton
In spite of the interest which the noble Lord, Lord Allen of Abbeydale, and I have shared over many years with regard to one particular national charity, and having given a good deal of thought to this matter, I am sorry to say that I cannot agree with him on this amendment. It could have a derisory effect if only 5 per cent. of the total—and we do not know what the total will be—were devoted to projects to mark the third millennium.
We need to bear two things in mind in relation to charities. First, in any event, charities are raising money successfully (and have been doing so for many years) in various other ways, such as through covenants which obtain tax exemptions and now through GiftAid above £250. They also raise money through small lotteries. That is the first factor to bear in mind. The other factor is that even if the amendment were accepted, the effect upon charities as a whole would be marginal. It would mean that they would get 3.75 per cent. more of the total than is planned under the Bill. We are into the numbers game, let us face it. As I said on the previous amendment, I think that the Government are right to make the five 1550 categories subject to equal distribution. I hope, therefore, that my noble friend Lord Astor will resist the amendment.
§ Lord Boyd-Carpenter
I hate to differ from the noble Lord, Lord Allen of Abbeydale, on his birthday but I am afraid that I do because I think that to reduce so heavily the amount of money made available for the Millennium Fund would destroy the greater part of its purpose. The 2000 millennium is a tremendous occasion, and if we are to celebrate it at all—and there is an argument for paying no attention to it and for not celebrating it—surely we must be prepared to do so in a fairly spectacular manner.
One or two Members of the Committee suggested on the previous amendment that, as a result of these funds being available, one or two important new buildings should be erected as happened in 1951 and in 1851. Therefore, I think we should resist the amendment. Although one fully understands the reasons and the justification for this proposal in the noble Lord's mind, if we are to celebrate the millennium, we must do it properly—and if we are to do it properly, I am afraid that the amount must be 20 per cent.
§ Lord Swinfen
Before my noble friend sits down, wonder whether his memory is the same as mine. On one of the earlier days when we were discussing the Bill, I believe that my noble friend the Minister said that a proportion of the money for the Millennium Fund would be used on the other four categories. So would it not be better, rather than travelling around two sides of a triangle, for the money just to travel the shorter and more efficient course along one side?
§ Lord Boyd-Carpenter
My noble friend's argument, if he thinks it out, seems to point the other way. It is of course for my noble friend the Minister to explain what he meant. I would not presume to act as his interpreter. It may well be that some of the money allocated to the Millennium Fund will overflow into one of the other four categories provided for in the Bill. That would be sensible in the circumstances. But my noble friend Lord Swinfen must understand that that would be only if the ordinary, accepted purposes of the Millennium Fund had first been met. The proposals contained in the amendment would reverse that procedure.
§ Lord McIntosh of Haringey
The Committee did not care for the previous group of amendments. So be it. However I wish now that I had drawn the attention of the noble Lord, Lord Renton, to the fact that, apart from the other benefits, we would have removed five clauses and one schedule from the Bill. I should have thought that that might have appealed to him.
The debate on this group of amendments, especially from those Members of the Committee opposed to the amendments, is based upon a number of misunderstandings. First, there is the whole issue of grands projets and previous examples. Well, the Festival Hall., the Beaubourg, Crystal Palace and the 1.851 Exhibition did not obtain their money from lotteries. 1551 The money came from the taxpayer or on occasions from public subscription. Secondly, even if they did obtain some of their money from lotteries, there is no reason now why the amount of money going towards the celebration of the millennium should come only from the Millennium Fund.
Members of the Committee have argued that the amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Allen of Abbeydale, would lead to a derisory sum for the Millennium Fund. They seem to ignore the fact that such a sum could well be supplemented from the national Exchequer, local funds, public subscription and sources other than the national lottery. I should have thought that it was in accordance with the Government's view that we want additionality in public spending that other sources of funding would be explored for those projects which are considered by the Millennium Fund.
I find the objections to the amendments tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Allen, to be ill-founded. I hope that he will succeed in persuading the Government that the amendments are worth taking on board in the Bill.
§ Lord Redesdale
I should like to comment upon one or two points that have been raised in the debate. One raised by the noble Baroness, Lady O'Cathain, was that £500 million will not go far today in producing a large project. All the examples so far given are of individual projects. They relate to one project at a time in one place. Everyone in the country will be contributing towards the lottery. With the exception of charities, most of the money to be given to the arts, sport and the heritage will, it is hoped, be spent on capital projects. Instead of having one project which would benefit the capital, let us say, would it not be better to have smaller projects all over the country? Would it not be better if the money went directly to the arts, sport and the heritage for projects all over the country and that much less money was given for the exciting projects that could take place in the year 2000?
§ Baroness O'Cathain
Perhaps I may make one or two points following the noble Lord, Lord Redesdale. Arts funding in this country is difficult. We have all been told that the Arts Council, which handles government expenditure on the arts, will have to reduce its funding to the arts this year by some £5 million. That might not sound a great deal of money, but it means that some companies will go out of business. There is a black theatre company that is on the verge of going out of business; there is an orchestra which is struggling for its life. The arts world does not have a huge amount of money to spend. The money for the arts which will come from the national lottery will make up the deficit between what the arts community wants to enable it to continue and enhance the arts world in this country and what it will be able to do if the current level of government funding persists. It will make up the balance.
We cannot say that we will use the money that is going to the arts to build another opera house, to build this or to build that. I take up the point made by a 1552 previous speaker that the Millennium Fund could be spent in four different ways through the four regions. If we then divide the 5 per cent. by four again, it leaves a piteous sum which is hardly worth spending on a capital project.
The noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, said, "Oh well, the Kensington museums were not created out of a lottery". He asked whether there was an example of something that had been. There is a good example of what was created as a result of a national lottery. It is the British Museum. It was founded by a lottery. It has 6 million visitors a year. It does not charge for admission. Admission is free. That is a good example of the use of lottery funds.
It is important that in order to carry out its important work the Millennium Commission is allowed to operate as a body independent of government and not in the pocket of particular interests. As I have said earlier, we are looking for projects which are out of the ordinary and which will, we hope, have an importance far beyond the confines of a particular discipline, as suggested by my noble friend Lord Swinfen.
Amendment No. 51 would reduce the commission's share of the proceeds by three-quarters, to only 5 per cent. That is also the aim of Amendments Nos. 83, 84 and 85. The noble Lords, Lords Holme of Cheltenham and Lord Redesdale, and my noble friend Lord Swinfen, with Amendment No. 83, seek to remove the statutory protection from the Millennium Commission, which would otherwise prevent any alteration by the Secretary of State under Clause 25 from leaving the commission with less than 5 per cent. of the proceeds. Amendments Nos. 84 and 85 would make it impossible for there to be any change to the percentages to give the commission more than 5 per cent. of the proceeds.
The commission will receive its 20 per cent. share of the funds generated until the end of the year 2000 only. That is a short period of time when one compares it with the life of the national lottery when it is up and running. It is a short period of time if we compare it with how long we believe the national lottery will exist and flourish in this country. There is a power for that length of time to be extended in exceptional circumstances; for example, to prevent a building remaining half finished. It would be unrealistic to expect the commission to fund the several major and lasting projects which it is to be set up to do, and to furnish us with a new heritage to pass on to future generations, on perhaps six years' worth of only 5 per cent. of the proceeds.
No one knows how much the national lottery will raise for good causes. If, in the event, the Millennium Commission has more funds than it can wisely and sensibly use on high quality projects, it will be possible for Parliament to alter the balance at that stage. As my right honourable friend the Secretary of State has said, he intends to put the split of funds to Parliament once every Parliament.
The noble Lord, Lord Allen of Abbeydale, asked me about the four examples I gave. I knew that if I gave any examples I might fall into a trap. Needless to say, I did, and it was a point upon which the noble 1553 Lord, Lord Allen, pounced. The examples I gave were merely illustrative. I could have given an example of a new cathedral for the nation. The noble Lord, Lord Allen, must not read too much into those examples. The Millennium Commission and not the Government will choose the projects.
I hope that earlier I enthused Members of the Committee with the possibilities which the Millennium Commission can offer. I believe that the amendments are not desirable. The Millennium Commission is a new idea which is both worthwhile and exciting. Our debate today has enabled the Committee to discuss important issues about the Millennium Commission, has made them clearer and has addressed many of the anxieties. I hope that if pressed the amendments will be rejected.
§ Lord Allen of Abbeydale
I thought that the noble Viscount was treading on dangerous territory when he reminded us that the British Museum was in part funded by a lottery. He might have thrown in Westminster Bridge for good measure. I could have been tempted to expand on why it was decided to give up the funding by lotteries but that would not make comfortable hearing while we are discussing this Bill. I shall not yield to that temptation.
I was also interested to hear the Minister put great emphasis on the fact that there will be little time for this strange creation. That rubbed in my point that there will not be enough time for it properly to spend the considerable sums of money which will fall to its lot. I also point out that the proposal which lies behind—
I am sorry to interrupt the noble Lord. The point is not the period of time the Millennium Commission has to spend the money. If the commission has money left over at the end of the year 2000 it can carry on and spend that money. My point is the short period of time in which the commission will receive money from the distribution of the national lottery.
§ Lord Allen of Abbeydale
It comes as news to me that it is contemplated that the commission will remain in existence for a long time to come. I had thought that the whole concept was that it should reach its decisions during its comparatively brief existence before the end of the year 2000. I agree that if the commission embarks on major projects they will not be finished by that time. I commented earlier on the absence of provisions in the Bill which would cover the maintenance of the buildings which it had managed to erect. But that takes us down a different road.
Incidentally, the proposal involves increasing the allocation for arts as well as for the other good causes. I do not propose to divide the Committee again. I wish to read all the speeches that have been made and possibly return to the matter at a later stage. In the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ [Amendments Nos. 51A and 52 not moved.]1554
§ 6.15 p.m.
§ Lord Simon of Glaisdale moved Amendment No. 53:
Page 9, line 20, at end insert ("with preference, so far as practicable, to amateur practitioners of the arts").
§ The noble and learned Lord said: The amendment is grouped with Amendments No. 55, which stands in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Donoughue, and Amendment No. 56. I imagine that the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, will move Amendment No. 55. My Amendments Nos. 53 and 56 are aimed at influencing some of the new money in the direction of participatory activity in sports and the arts in contradistinction to spectator and audience activity.
I remind Members of the Committee of some lines of verse which express what I am trying to urge on the Committee:
I want to know a butcher paints, A baker rhymes for his pursuit, Candlestick-maker much acquaints His soul with song, or haply mute, Blows out his brains upon the flute".
Members of the Committee will want to know that the butcher's boy plays inside right for his town football team and that the baker's van driver opens the bowling for his village. At one time in our cultural history there was far wider participation in art and sport. One has only to think of music in Pepys's bourgeois circle or to consider what is suggested by the title of the Sheffield Wednesday team. There is also the English water-colour school, one of the glories of English art.
§ The amendments seek to encourage amateur craft, the amateur orchestra, the amateur dramatic society, the village cricket team, the town football team and so forth. I shall focus on sport. I am afraid that what I am about to say will inevitably sound like the chairman of the school governors at the school's sports prize-giving. Sport and art give entertainment, and rightly so. But that is not primarily why they are subsidised; there are other reasons. If suppose that the primary reason for subsidising sport is the moral qualities it engenders, generally expressed in participatory sport by a word such as "sportsmanship" or the idiom, "It isn't cricket". Undoubtedly the physical advance of the nation is a reason for subsidising sport—again participatory sport. I am glad to see that the noble Earl, Lord Ferrers, is again on the Treasury Bench. He has the enviable gift of acquiring a deep suntan while sitting hours on the Treasury Bench. Ordinary people have to go out into the open air to get theirs, and these amendments are designed to help them to do so.
§ I should like to add three short points. First, I am not wedded to the drafting of these amendments, although I see no reason why they should not pass muster among the people who must administer the law or, indeed, in a court of construction. Secondly, the amendments are entirely consistent with the amendment which will be moved by the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh. Indeed, they go very well together. By strengthening and widening the base of the pyramid., the apex, which will be professional, can be raised higher and will be stronger. I doubt whether the noble Lord's amendment is necessary as the Bill stands. 1555 However, if my amendments are carried the case for his amendment will be strengthened and therefore, I hope that he will be encouraged to support them.
§ The third point is that the amendments are automatically conducive to a wide regional spread in the benefits of the lottery. That was a matter which much occupied Members of the Committee when we last discussed this Bill. I believe that all Members of the Committee were satisfied that as regards England, Scotland and Wales, the noble Viscount's reply was entirely satisfactory. But it certainly did not obviate all the doubts of Members of the Committee as regards the spread throughout the English regions. Focusing on participatory art and sport automatically brings about that regional spread.
Finally, in commending the amendments, I remind the Committee of an advertisement which appeared in the Church Times:
High Church curate required. Slow left arm bowler preferred".
I beg to move.
§ Lord McIntosh of Haringey
It is indeed my duty to speak to Amendment No. 55 which is in the name of my noble friend Lord Donoughue. It is entirely inappropriate that I should do so since I have been successfully avoiding organised sport ever since I was in primary school. The noble and learned Lord has convinced me that his amendment, by giving preference to participatory rather than spectator sports and by giving preference to amateurs rather than professionals, is stronger than my noble friend's amendment and I support the noble and learned Lord's amendment.
§ Lord Renton
I support the amendment. I do so for a reason which has not yet been mentioned. In various professional sports which attract huge crowds, millions of pounds are paid to the professional players. I am not speaking of individuals, although some individuals build up huge fortunes; for example, in the spheres of tennis and golf. We find that one football club will pay as much as £1 million for the transfer of a player to it from another club. I do not see the point of having in the lottery money contributed by the people to swell those funds for professional sport. It is far more important that amateur sport should be encouraged wherever possible, especially for young people.
§ Lord Howell
I am most grateful to the noble Lord for giving way. While I have a great deal of sympathy for the point that he was making in relation to football, the noble Lord will appreciate that in a large number of professionally based sports, nothing like those kinds of fees are paid or are available to the participants and yet those sports are a very important part in the sporting life of the country.
§ Lord Renton
I am grateful for that intervention. The noble Lord is quite right. However, the point that I seek to make is that we must be careful to see that clubs, companies and people that already have huge funds to dispose of as a result of professional sport do not have their funds swollen still further. That is the 1556 only point that I make. One way to ensure that would be to see that the emphasis is on amateur sport, especially for young people. Most of our schools have playgrounds but they are not always sufficiently spacious for a football field. I am thinking of the local education authority schools. Most of the privately run schools—public schools—have plenty of good playgrounds.
For example, these days, instead of every village having a school, one large school is built for as many as half a dozen villages. I know from experience of my old constituency that not all those schools have their own playgrounds. The fund which we have in mind could help to rectify that matter.
§ Baroness O'Cathain
I believe that the point about encouraging amateurs and youngsters to play more sport and to become involved in the arts is covered in the Bill. Clause 21 provides that 83.3 per cent. will be for distribution by the Sports Council. I have worked with the Sports Council in the past and I know that it encourages amateur sport. It encourages it by giving money and equipment to schools to encourage participation by youngsters in sport. I was heartened to see that the point made by my noble and learned friend, and which also struck me, is covered in the Bill. I may have misread the Bill but perhaps the Minister will tell me whether I am right or wrong on that issue.
§ Lord Gibson
Earlier my noble friend Lady O'Cathain reminded the Committee of the dire need of the professional arts. I should be happy to support the amendment if it were not for the word "preference". Surely we can leave it to the distributing agencies to decide where the greatest need lies. If the sense of the words were—and I know that they would not be suitable for legislation—"not forgetting" the amateurs, I should wholeheartedly support the amendment. However, I believe that the words "to give preference" will tie the hands of the distributing agencies too greatly and the importance of the professional arts in their need for funds will be forgotten.
§ Lord Swinfen
When my noble friend replies, will he advise the Committee whether the types of club about which my noble friend Lord Renton was speaking would count as businesses and, therefore, not be eligible to receive funds under the Bill?
§ Lord Redesdale
I support the amendments. One can be both an amateur and a participant and in the case of the sport I play—rugby—one can go for a very long time without ever seeing a spectator. I support the idea behind amateur sports being given money in that way. Many rugby clubs are on greenfield sites which are already at risk from developers. Most amateur clubs in the country, especially rugby clubs, have financial problems.
§ Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish
These amendments send an important message to both the Sports Council and the Arts Council. The Sports Council point has been well made. I believe that the word "participation" rather than "professional" is the key to this matter. We should not only think of team sports but 1557 we should think also of sports like golf and tennis which people can play virtually throughout their lives. It is important that some of the money should go to help those sports and the people who play them.
The same is true as regards the Arts Council. The Arts Council is keen on a few major organisations on which it showers its largesse. For example, of the £7.89 million which the Scottish Arts Council disbursed to music associations last year, almost £7 million went to three large professional organisations. That meant that there was very little left to go to all the other amateur and professional musical organisations scattered throughout the length and breadth of Scotland. Therefore, this amendment gives us an opportunity to say to those two bodies that they should cast their largesse as wide as possible.
I too agree with these amendments and with what my noble friend has just said. Certainly my personal experience of trying to get money out of the Arts Council for an amateur organisation is that I would rather have applied to the Treasury.
The importance of the amateur culture which underpins both sports and the arts in the country cannot be underestimated. It receives very little support at the moment and this lottery, being a national and public subscription, would seem to be an entirely appropriate way of getting money to it.
§ Baroness O'Cathain
I should like to make one point about the Arts Council. I think, again, that there is probably some misunderstanding about what the council actually does. The Arts Council is very specific in awarding its grants, especially to the national companies—for example, the National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal Opera House—that part of the funding it gives should be spent on what it calls "education". The criteria are quite strong. Such organisations must try to visit schools and get them to participate in play readings, in the case of the Royal Shakespeare Company, in role taking, and so on. I believe that much such activity is undertaken by the Arts Council. I would not want Members of the Committee to think that the council only makes big gestures in putting on marvellous operas, or the plays of the Royal Shakespeare Company, for the fat cats of industry.
§ 6.30 p.m.
§ Lord Annan
I have great sympathy with the point made by my noble kinsman. I had some experience of the subject when I sat on the arts committee of the Gulbenkian Foundation which tried to distribute money to amateurs as well as to professional companies in its early days. It has gone rather further in that direction in recent years. That is why one must not blame the Arts Council for supporting mainly professional bodies and for promoting high standards in art. It is reasonable to leave it to other funding bodies to help amateur productions. I bow to the view of my noble friend Lord Gibson. Perhaps the matter is already covered in the Bill. Will the noble Viscount reply to that point?
§ Lord Mancroft
I had not originally intended to speak on the amendment. However, having listened to the debate and the noble and learned Lord who moved the amendment, I must say that I agree with the sentiments behind it. It must be better that the funds are distributed to amateurs or participants, whichever way you like to put it.
However, I have two reservations. First, there is the actual wording of the noble and learned Lord's amendment. And, secondly, I wonder whether it is actually necessary to write such a provision on the face of the Bill. I believe that the feeling of the Committee is clear: we would think it better that the funds should not be used to support professionalism in sport but that they should be used to support amateur participation in sport and in the arts.
I do not know quite what trumpet I am blowing. But there is one sport which possibly has not crossed the minds of many Members of the Committee. It is the ultimate community sport in the country, open to people of all ages, from small children to pensioners, to compete on an equal footing. It is marvellous in that it is, and always has been, a complete sport where the sexes can compete equally. I refer, of course, to our greatest national sport; foxhunting.
I understand the concern expressed by Members of the Committee not to exclude any category of sport, whether amateur or professional. from the possibility of benefiting from the national lottery. The sports councils will be free to consider applications from either type of organisation on merit. The noble Baroness, Lady O'Cathain, said that the charters of the sports councils already ensure that both amateur and professional sporting bodies may receive grants. The noble Baroness is absolutely right. Restating that in the National Lottery etc. Bill is not necessary, nor would it have any particular new force. I hope, with that reassurance, that the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, will withdraw the amendment that he moved on behalf of his noble friend Lord Donoughue.
The noble and learned Lord, Lord Simon, is keen for preference to be set in statute for the amateur artist. He has tabled an amendment to achieve that aim. I agree that the amateur artist has long been cherished in our country. Both the amateur and professional sectors of our artistic culture contribute enormously to everyone's quality of life.
However, the distinction between the professional artist and the amateur is not fixed, nor is it always clear. We can all judge that someone who, for example, makes a living from theatre direction is a professional practitioner of the theatrical art. But, in many other areas, artists who do not make a living from their artistic endeavour do sometimes make some money from them. Someone with fine art or dramatic training may live by plying a very different trade but is in no way disbarred from occasionally accepting money for acting, singing, painting or perhaps even giving an after-dinner speech. I am afraid that a statutory requirement such as that proposed by the noble and learned Lord might only mean legal wrangling which would distract the Arts Council from distributing lottery money where it would do most to help us all enjoy life a little more. 1559 The noble and learned Lord is also concerned that participatory sports should benefit to a greater extent than those which are considered spectator sports. I am sure that Members of the Committee will agree that those who receive the most benefit from sport are often those who play rather than merely watch. But many of us are purely spectators for a number of reasons. Some sports have very high fitness or skill requirements. Indeed, some of us including myself—and, of course, the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, as he said—cannot quite hope to meet such high standards; in fact, we may not wish to do so.
§ Lord McIntosh of Haringey
The noble Viscount must not assume that my lack of participation is because I cannot meet the standards; it is because I do not want to participate.
I accept what the noble Lord says. It may indeed be the case that he does not wish to participate. However, if the noble Lord had put his mind to it, I am sure that he could have been a great sporting champion in Haringey. Every sport is, by its nature, participatory for those who play it. Whether or not it is also a spectator sport will depend on its popularity and intrinsic interest. I hope therefore that the noble and learned Lord, Lord Simon, will accept that a definitive boundary of the sort he proposes would be neither possible nor desirable.
My noble friend Lord Renton was concerned that funds should not go to professional organisations. The aim of the national lottery is to provide funds for the public benefit rather than private profit. We are absolutely clear on that aim. However, as the noble Lord, Lord Howell, pointed out, there are some professional organisations which do not make a profit and which, because they provide a service for public benefit, should perhaps be eligible to receive funds.
The sports councils and the Arts Council have great experience. That is why we chose them to distribute lottery money. I believe that we must rely on their good judgment to ensure that funds are applied across the country in the way that benefits most people. I am sure that they will look closely at what has been said in the Chamber today.
The noble and learned Lord, Lord Simon, talked about suntans and my noble friend Lord Ferrers. I have to tell the noble and learned Lord that I do not think that sunbathing will ever be considered either as sport or as art; but, of course, it is certainly a pleasure. Finally, I suggest that the amendments are unnecessary. I hope, with the assurances that I have given, that the noble and learned Lord will feel able to withdraw his amendment.
§ Lord Simon of Glaisdale
The amendments were probing amendments. I was particularly anxious to hear the views of both noble Lords who have been so distinguished in ordering the funding in relation to the arts. I am extremely grateful to my noble friends Lord Annan and Lord Gibson. I am only sorry that my noble friend Lord Charteris was not galvanised into making a speech. However, we had the benefit of his advice at the conclusion of the first day of Committee. 1560 I was also glad that the noble Lord, Lord Renton, managed to get the noble Lord, Lord Howell, to his feet. Of course, the latter noble Lord has been a distinguished participant in sport.
The debate has sent out a clear message; it has served a useful purpose. I wish to read what has been said and, in the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ [Amendments Nos. 54 to 58 not moved.]
Lord Houghton of Sowerby moved Amendment No. 59:
Page 9, leave out line 25.
§ The noble Lord said: This amendment is a simple one. It would require a good deal of embellishment if it were to be carried into all parts of the Bill. It is, however, a peg upon which I wish to hang, for a few moments, my worries about the position of charities in this Bill.
§ At this hour in London Mr. Tony Blair, the principal spokesman on home affairs for the Opposition in another place, is delivering the Goodman lecture for 1993. I hope he will outline, from a Labour point of view, the role of charities in a post-Beveridge, post-Socialist and post-Thatcher epoch. The world is so changeable now in so many ways, socially and economically, that it is not easy for established organisations to find their way, especially when many of their purposes have been attained by other means. However, I speak for no one but myself. I form my own judgment from many contacts among charities and elsewhere.
§ The charities are the only one of the four main areas of distribution of the lottery who stand to lose from it. The charities have a lot to lose. For one thing, at the present time they are in receipt of state aid to a far greater extent than the other bodies this Bill seeks to help. I believe that charities now receive more than £6 billion a year in tax reliefs alone. It is the growth of charities and charity-giving, and the extension of the concessions which have been given over the years, which have led to this enormous drain on revenue in the present circumstances.
§ Corporate bodies are included in tax reliefs on charities. That used not to be the case. Concessions are now much more freely available to private charitable giving at a lower level than they used to be. What will happen when the charities are brought within the scope of this Bill? I do not know whether they have come into the scope of this Bill voluntarily or whether they have even been asked about it. Perhaps they have been press-ganged into it to give a varnish of respectability to the whole gambling enterprise. However, if they have been press-ganged into this Bill to make it more respectable from a moral point of view, their position should be reconsidered. One might also consider retaining the second of the charitable purposes described in Clause 41; that is, the non-registered charitable and philanthropic works and purposes, rather than concentrating on registered charities. However, I realise the distinction is difficult to make.1561
§ How will charities stand as regards this measure? What will their supporters want to happen? I believe some societies with subscribers and members will have to obtain a definition of their position under the Bill. I believe that in some charities those who are supplying the money and the influence in voluntary work and other areas will want to know where their charity will stand as regards the receipt of money from the national lottery. I believe this will be a tiresome process in certain cases.
§ We know how divisions can easily arise between traditional supporters and possibly the voting members of charities when moral issues arise. We should look, for example, at the National Trust and the moral issue of hunting. The membership of that body was extended from hundreds of thousands of members to several millions so that those who were not registered subscribers of the National Trust could enter that organisation to register their vote. The National Trust is only just emerging from a serious constitutional rift.
§ I hope the Minister can tell me what consultation has taken place between the Government and charities on matters relating to their position under this Bill. Has any assurance been given that a future Chancellor of the Exchequer will not regard benefits to charities under this Bill as a justification for reducing charitable concessions for tax purposes to the charitable world?
§ The Committee may remember that a few years ago Chancellor Lawson introduced into the Finance Bill a clause to restrict tax concessions to charities in the year of assessment to the amount spent on charitable work. That created such a rumpus among the charities and the Charities Aid Foundation, and other bodies, that he had to abandon the idea. Yet there is no doubt that some charities are receiving enormous benefit from investment income which is free of tax and which is being accumulated for capital purposes. I do not blame charities who have carried out their work for many years and who have substantial obligations to staff and officials for benefiting from concessions. They may have workers in the field. The RSPCA, for example, has a payroll of staff in the field of over 1,000 people. The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children also has an inspectorate. Therefore, one can understand that charities want to take the same precautions as anyone else who has responsibility for the security of employment and the life work of their staffs.
§ However, when one sees the capital appreciation that charities are realising at the present time, one is aware they are building up large funds. All of that money is tax free. Charities are in the same privileged position as the occupational pension schemes where tax relief is given on contributions and on interest on investments. Those schemes have similarly built up enormous capital reserves. Their reserves are so big that Maxwell laid his hands on some of them. This is an aspect of the whole matter of charities and taxation that is bound to come under review.
§ Those in the charitable field receive huge reliefs from taxation. We should also bear in mind local taxation and VAT The Inland Revenue alone paid out to charities £544 million in tax last year. That is 1562 big money. The question arises as to whether charities would be better off working through the regime which is so fully established and from which they receive substantial benefit. Some charities may decide to announce that as a matter of policy they do not desire to receive any money from a national lottery. The fact that the lottery is a gambling exercise will have some influence on that decision.
§ Personally, I object to the whole Bill, including its slovenly Title. It is entitled the National. Lottery etc. Bill. Is that what we have come to now in drafting Bills? Why not put "etc. etc." and cover everything? I would be more lenient towards the Bill if it had the title which I would give it—"The National Voluntary Levy (with Prizes) Bill". That would separate it from the moral issues. It would avoid much of what will be used against the Bill by those whose prejudices, like mine, go back a long way.
§ This is not the message to be giving to the people today. It will be still less the message to give to the people by the time it comes to be put into operation. If we are to get through the next winter after the November Budget in any political or economic shape it will be a miracle. I believe that the nation does. not realise how grave the position is with respect to our future. The debate on Maastricht is an indication of how bottled up we are about everything.
§ The only positive answer that I want from the Minister is that he will make sure that any shortcomings in consultations with the charities are repaired between now and later stages of the Bill. I know the difficulties in obtaining opinions from charities about anything. Many of them do not look. much further than the work which they have seen needs to be done, in which they are engaged and for which they receive support.. I do not blame them. If I were responsible for policy in the RSPCA I would be thinking of cruelty the whole time. I would want to be where there was cruelty. I would not expand the horizons of the charitable world. I would get more money to stop the cruelty. That is what a large number of people are doing in their respective fields of charitable endeavour.
§ I hope that the charities will be allowed to consider their special interests, which do not apply to the other areas covered by the Bill. They should not be put at a disadvantage. For them, charitable giving is traditional, well established and in many cases profitable. They do their work on the basis of voluntary subscriptions or legacies. The dead finance a great deal of our charitable work today. The interests of those who give to charities have to be safeguarded by those who are carrying on the work, probably in reduced circumstances today.
§ I plead for the charities to be taken fully into account and for consideration to be given to what can be done to safeguard them and remove their present worries. I beg to move.
§ Lord McIntosh of Haringey
We all know and respect the involvement of my noble friend Lord Houghton of Sowerby in these matters. However, having heard what was said from this Bench at Second 1563 Reading, he will not be surprised that we do not agree with him. We certainly do not agree with the amendment.
My noble friend is asking, I am sure rightly, that there should continue to be consultation with the charities about the effects of the Bill. There has been consultation, notably with the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, which does not exactly represent the charities but includes in its membership a large number of charities. Contrary to my noble friend's suggestion, its anxiety is not that many charities will resist the idea of receiving money from a national lottery. It is worried that charities will be net losers as a result of the existence of a national lottery. In other words, the amount which they receive from a national lottery may be less than they lose in other ways.
It so happens that the Minister has been good enough to write to me and to other noble Lords about this issue and the assurances which we sought that there would be proper continuing inquiry into the net effect of the Bill on charity income. I am grateful to the Minister. I know that the noble Lord, Lord Holme of Cheltenham, is also grateful to the noble Viscount for what he said. It may be that the amendment gives him an opportunity to say from the Government Dispatch Box what he said to us in his letter of today's date. In that case the amendment will have served a particularly useful purpose.
§ Lord Swinfen
The noble Lord, Lord Houghton, has raised an interesting point. The major worry of charities is that they will lose income because people will buy lottery tickets under the misapprehension that the major proportion of what they spend on the ticket will go to charities. We have been given an assurance that advertising and promotion of the lottery will not be allowed to be carried out in such a way that any reasonable person will continue to be under that misapprehension.
However, there are still worries for charities. They are afraid that they will lose because people will spend money on the national lottery that they might otherwise have given to charity. There is also the moral question as to whether it would be right and proper to accept money from a lottery. Some charities today do not accept money which they would consider to be tainted with gambling in any form. Those will probably not apply for funds under the Bill.
The noble Lord also raised the question of additionality and the possibility that funds given to charities as a result of the national lottery might be used to offset funds which they receive today from government or local authorities. On other occasions, and in relation to other subjects, we have been given assurances that that will not be the case and that the situation will be monitored. However, I should be grateful if my noble friend could reassure the Committee on that point when he responds to the amendment.
The noble Lord, Lord Houghton, devoted a great deal of his speech to the question of tax reclaimed by charities. A thought occurred to me while he was speaking. I am not a tax expert or a lawyer so I do not 1564 know the answer, and the thought may be mischievous. But will a charity which is given a grant from this source possibly be able to claim back the tax which the lottery promoters have paid on it? That is an intriguing thought. If that is not the intention of the Government, perhaps they should take a look at the Bill and make certain that some form of money clause is inserted.
§ Lord Birkett
The spectre of charities losing out as a result of the lottery persists in this Chamber. The Committee may be interested to know that I read today that the Institute of Charity Fundraising Managers revealed in a survey that only one in five of its conference delegates believed that the national lottery would have a significant effect upon their fund-raising efforts. That is very interesting.
In relation to the arts and sport, which are the main or original beneficiaries of the lottery, it is worth reflecting on where charity giving goes. The figures are for 1991, which is the latest year for which complete statistics are available. The amounts received under a list of nine general headings are: medicine and health, £476 million; general welfare, £350 million; international aid, £323 million; animal protection, £108 million; heritage and the environment, £85 million; religious missionary work, £75 million; youth, £15.5 million; arts and recreation, £15 million; and education, £2 million. Therefore, arts and recreation, the two other main beneficiaries, are second from the bottom of the list at £15 million compared with £476 million for medicine. I believe that the 20 per cent. already going to charities is a damage limitation that will be more than enough. I cite those figures to the Committee because I pray that the effect upon charities will be very much less than has been feared.
Perhaps I may begin by answering a number of the questions asked. My noble friend Lord Swinfen asked me about lottery money being additional. We had a fairly long debate on that at an earlier stage, when I gave assurances.
The noble Lord, Lord Houghton, asked about consultation. Between the publication of the White Paper in March 1992 and the publication of the Bill, and subsequently, Ministers and officials have had many discussions with charities, including the NCVO, and with grant-making organisations.
My noble friend Lord Swinfen also asked whether charities could get the tax back. The simple answer is no. It is a duty collected by Customs and Excise. It would not be possible, therefore, for charities to reclaim it.
The noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, referred to the letter that I wrote to Members of the Committee who spoke on charity issues earlier. I am happy to confirm the assurances I gave in that letter, for the benefit of all Members of the Committee.
During the earlier debate in Committee on amendments concerning the possible effect of the national lottery on charitable income and on the level of the horse-race betting levy, I promised to consider further what should be done in terms of an undertaking to report on those matters. While we do not accept that a statutory requirement to report is an 1565 appropriate or practical way forward, I have considered further what undertakings I can give in those areas. I am happy to give the undertaking that once the national lottery is established the Government will regularly monitor the situation in the area of charitable incomes and the level of the horse-race betting levy. We shall do that in the light of all the information available and in co-operation with all the interested parties. We shall also place a report containing any relevant information each year in the Libraries of both Houses and consider carefully any conclusions that might be drawn.
I hope that that assurance will put at rest the minds of a number of Members of the Committee.
The noble Lord, Lord Houghton, does not like the Bill. He does not like the idea of a national lottery. He even voices disquiet over the distribution of lottery money to charities. I believe that the noble Lord is in a small minority in this Chamber. There are many charities and voluntary groups with a different outlook on this initiative. They are keen to apply for funds from the lottery. The Government cannot accept an amendment that would rule them out. Those charities which do not wish to receive money from the lottery will choose not to apply—indeed, they do not have to apply—just as some charities choose not to accept money from certain sources on other grounds; perhaps because the activities of a would-be donor do not seem compatible with the stated aims or principles of the group.
Many charities will wish to apply. In their interests we should not decide for them on what some of us may think is a good idea. I hope, therefore, that the noble Lord, Lord Houghton, will agree to withdraw his amendment.
§ Lord Howell
I welcome the assurances that the noble Viscount has given following pressure from both sides of the Chamber continually to monitor the situation and provide information. I thank him for the assurance.
However, there was one omission in what he said. He did not include the Pool Promoters Association. He referred to the Horserace Betting Levy Board and other organisations. I hope that he will give similar information about the pools promoters. The real competition to the national lottery arises from the pools. In practice, we shall have two national lotteries running side by side. They must be equal in all respects. The pools promoters believe that the lottery will affect the pools. I do not share that view but it is important that we know the facts over a period of time so that if necessary we can return to the subject. Public information is vital. I hope, therefore, that the Minister will undertake to provide information to the Committee about the pools promoters' national lottery, and the effect of the national lottery upon the pools.
The noble Lord asks a valid question. It might be better dealt with when we discuss the amendments which concern the pools and, for example, roll-over, later on today.
§ Lord Houghton of Sowerby
I have expressed my worries. Other people can read them; and other people can then say what they wish to say to the appropriate quarter.
However, I wish to express with regret my lack of confidence in the Government's judgement on such matters. They have made such colossal errors in the past 15 years on various important matters that one wonders whether their judgment is really sound.
Who asked for the national lottery? It. was not the charities. I believe that commercial pressures and a belief of a change in public opinion has led the Government to decide that they will further a lottery. They have then sought to put forward purposes that are given as the objects of the lottery in order to enlist the support of the public. I believe that there is humbug in the situation too. I am obliged to Members of the Committee, and to the Minister for his reply. Time will tell. However, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ [Amendments Nos. 60 to 61 not moved.]
§ Clause 20 agreed to.
Viscount St. Davids
I beg to move that the House do now resume. In moving the Motion I suggest that the Committee stage on the Bill begin again at 7.55 p.m.
§ Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.
§ House resumed.