HL Deb 29 July 1999 vol 604 cc1684-759

4 p.m.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

My Lords, 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.—(Lord McIntosh of Haringey.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES (Lord Lyell) in the Chair.]

Clause 300 [The Cultural Strategy Group for London]:

Baroness Anelay of St Johns had given notice of her intention to move Amendment No. 452ZAB:

Page 158, line 18, leave out subsection (3)

The noble Baroness said: This is a paving amendment for a later debate on Schedule 25 stand part of the Bill. It may be convenient for the Committee if I do not move the amendment at this stage.

[Amendment No. 452ZAB not moved.]

Clause 300 agreed to.

Schedule 25 [The Cultural Strategy Group for London]:

Baroness Anelay of St Johns moved Amendment No. 452A:

Page 316, line 16, leave out from ("or) to end of line 18 and insert ("an even number of members numbering between 12 and 18. () Half plus one of the members shall be appointed by bodies concerned with such relevant matters as the Mayor and Assembly, acting together, consider appropriate. () The remaining members shall be appointed by the Mayor.")

The noble Baroness said: I cannot promise to be quite so brief in speaking to this amendment. I apologise for not moving the previous amendment, but I took advice on the matter from the Clerk beforehand and I warned the Front Benches that I would be following that procedure.

In moving Amendment No. 452A, and with the leave of the Committee, I shall also speak to Amendments Nos. 452B, 452C, 452D, 452E, 452F and 452G, which stand in my name, and to Amendments Nos. 452DB, 452DC, 452DD, 452DE and 453BA, 453G and 455QJA, all in the name of my noble friend Lady Miller of Hendon. She has expressly asked me to speak to them for her.

In the light of that list, it is no wonder that a rumour went round Hansard that I was to speak for 60 minutes. I promise I shall not. If I had done so, before I had finished I am sure noble Lords would have thrown me in the Thames, a fate that I would have deserved.

I have tabled these amendments, relating to the composition and function of the cultural strategy group, in order to probe the Government's intentions behind the creation of that body. I want to find out their expectations of its role and of its relationship with the mayor and the authority. As the Bill stands, it is so vague about such matters that one feels as though one is looking at the Cheshire Cat and that the Government are smiling with satisfaction at leaving us in the dark, with nothing of substance to see.

Amendment No. 452A provides that, while the strategy group should still be under the mayor's guidance—as the Bill provides—the mayor should give at least half of the places plus one to bodies that he or she considers it relevant to consult, and for them to make the appointments. I say "he or she" as there is at least one female candidate and there may be more. In that way the person whom the relevant body—rather than the mayor—considers appropriate will be a member of the group.

The mayor will still be left with the freedom to appoint almost half the members by personal choice alone. That surely should be sufficient for anybody. It is important that the expert bodies should have the opportunity to make appointments of those whom they know to be the right people to advise the mayor and that such experts should be in the majority.

Turning to the other amendments standing in my name, Amendment No. 452B makes it a requirement that the membership of the cultural strategy group shall include those who represent relevant tourism bodies, including the London Tourist Board. Can the Minister reassure me that tourism bodies must be represented on the group, and that, at the very least, the London Tourist Board should have a representative on it?

I make no allegations about any of the candidates currently willing to stand for election, but we do not know what they will be like when in office. They could be completely "off-the-wall". There may be an undeclared candidate whom we have not yet seen who is a most extraordinary person. There may be a peculiar clash of personalities. I make no comment about anybody who has so far declared his or her candidacy. I am sure that they are all extremely worthy people, but there may be someone who has not yet declared his or her intention to stand who may have some extraordinary ideas.

What would happen if such a person with extraordinary ideas had a clash of personalities with those running the London Tourist Board, and he or she decided not to include a representative from this admirable organisation on the group? That would be damaging for London. I am sure that all those candidates who have declared their intention to stand would support the London Tourist Board.

Amendment No. 452C is tabled because I believe that it would be appropriate for the group to choose the chairman, rather than the mayor making the appointment as a personal choice. Amendment No. 452D is consequential to Amendment No. 452C.

Amendment No. 452E restricts the length of time that anybody can serve on the group to a maximum of eight years. I have no special attachment to the period of eight years. I simply plucked the figure out of the air. The objective of the amendment is simply to raise the problems which can arise when one person with unfettered powers to appoint can choose to keep his or her preferred person on the group for too long.

Such a situation may not be a case of cronyism at all, but another scenario altogether. A person who joined the group, fresh from the area in which he or she had expertise, may be left in place because of a genuine belief that he or she is an expert. Sometimes, when a person has been a member of a body for some time, he can become out of touch with the world for which he speaks, however good he is. In those circumstances, that person should be replaced, but the mayor has not done so.

Amendment No. 452F is a drafting amendment. Schedule 25 states that the mayor may pay the members of the cultural strategy group allowances in respect of travel or other expenses properly incurred by them. But they could quite properly incur expenses which have absolutely nothing to do with their work as a member of the group. There is no definition in the Bill, as far as I can see, which links the word "properly" to the function of the group. Therefore, my amendment makes it clear that the moneys that could be claimed would be, in respect of travel or other expenses properly incurred by them in connection with their duties as members of the Cultural Strategy Group".

Amendment No. 452G requires that the mayor shall provide the cultural strategy group with the money towards defraying its expenses. Can the Minister say why the Bill gives the mayor only the option, and not the duty, to pay expenses? Does the Government expect the group's work to be funded by volunteers, individual donations or corporate funding? We need to probe that matter.

I now turn to the amendments that stand in the name of my noble friend Lady Miller. The first group comprises Amendments Nos. 452DB, 452DC, 452DD and 452DE. That group probes the existence or lack of constitutional checks on the cultural strategy group. Amendment No. 452DC proposes that the terms of office of members of the group should be limited to a term specified on the face of the Bill. My noble friend approaches the matter from a different angle from myself. I was concerned about people having membership for ever and ever and not performing their duties properly. My noble friend is concerned that people who are appointed should be aware of the terms of their appointment in a clear manner.

Amendment No. 452DD proposes that the mayor should have a discretionary power to intervene if any member of the strategy group is unable or unfit for any reason to discharge his or her functions.

Without these amendments, it might appear that the mayor may appoint the members for a capriciously chosen period. It is also important that any terms of appointment should be such that a member who is unable to continue with his or her work should be discharged from membership. Amendments Nos. 452DB and 452DE are consequential. This beginning to sound like a list of licence plates on cars—and it will become rather worse as we discuss later amendments.

Amendment No. 452BA relates to subsection (6) by which the mayor may give the cultural strategy group directions to formulate a strategy and a date by which the group should complete its work. This amendment inserts the word "reasonable" into the time-scale, so that when the mayor gives his or her directions to the group, the group must be given a reasonable time in which to complete its work.

Amendment No. 453G refers to the provision which sets out the manner in which the mayor may revise the cultural strategy at a time when he or she has not been asked to do so by the cultural strategy group. The amendment gives the group the power to publish any objections to the revision of the strategy if two-thirds of the group are agreed in their objections to the revision taking place. That would provide a check on the ability of the mayor to take unilateral action in altering a strategy. At least the case against his or her actions would be made public.

Finally, Amendment No. 453QJA gives the authority the power to transfer to the cultural strategy group its own functions with regard to making grants to museums, libraries, and so on, as listed in Clause 302. Again, this is a probing amendment to seek clarification about the role which the Government expect the mayor and authority to play with regard to the cultural strategy group.

Having managed to spend nine rather than 60 minutes explaining the amendments, I beg to move Amendment No. 452A.

Baroness Hamwee

We have a number of amendments in this group. We made an attempt about 10 days ago to have the grouping split. Something rather odd seems to have happened to it: a few amendments have been removed, but the group remains almost the same length. I am sorry if some Members of the Committee are confused, having been warned that the group would be broken down into smaller and more easily handled groups. I shall speak to Amendments Nos. 452AA, 452YC, 452ZC and 452ZD. My noble friend Lord Phillips of Sudbury will speak to Amendment No. 452DA, and to Amendments Nos. 452UJ, 452VJ, 452WJ, 452XJ, 452YJ and 453B.

Perhaps I may say in response to a comment made by the noble Baroness that she is obviously as nice a person as I always thought that she was, not having yet seen any characteristics in any of the mayoral candidates that might at some future point lead Londoners to wonder whether, if that candidate were to be elected—and I speak of no particular candidate—the right person was in place. I am also trying to choose words that have no gender designation. The noble Baroness is right. Qualities may emerge, either from candidates whom we know or from those whom we do not yet know, which could be a problem.

The first of our amendments on the general area of the constitution of the group proposes that the group is selected from the bodies designated by the mayor. The schedule requires the members to be representatives of those bodies. We are not clear whether that means that they must be serving members of those bodies in order to fulfil the description "representatives". The word has an "s" on the end, which means that it is slightly different from what might be indicated by "representative of".

Amendment No. 452YC would require the mayor to consult the assembly before the appointment. We make the point here, and indeed as a general point in the various amendments towards the end of the grouping, that the assembly should have a role. There is a particular point in the area of the cultural strategy. This part of the Bill reads very much as though culture is a matter for London as a capital city. As I read it, it fails to place any emphasis on the importance of culture, leisure and so on, for people who live and work in London. Both the Conservatives and these Benches have tabled specific amendments on the matter in relation to later parts of the Bill. We believe that the assembly will be well placed to ensure that the diverse nature of London and Londoners and the sheer size of the place are not overlooked. The members of the assembly will be well placed to assist in the appointment procedure and to ensure that those who think about London do not merely think about culture within the few miles in the centre. A similar point is made in Amendment No. 452ZC.

Amendment No. 452ZD describes the bodies that should be among those to be consulted in connection with the appointments. We do not seek to be exclusive in listing those groups. However, we do want to point up the major areas of experience and interest. One might alternatively refer to bodies with the knowledge and experience of the areas listed in Clause 301(5) relating to the subject matter to be dealt with by the group. In response to a similar amendment, the Minister in another place said that the mayor should not be constrained in promoting and co-ordinating culture. That is not what we seek at all. We want to make sure that the entire process is not exclusive of London's very rich experience. Subsequent amendments deal, again, with the position of the assembly in this area, as there is a particular concern.

4.15 p.m.

Lord Phillips of Sudbury

I shall speak to Amendments Nos. 452DA, 452UJ, 452VJ, 452WJ, 452XJ and 452YJ. It is not as formidable as it sounds, thank goodness. They are rather short points.

Amendment No. 452DA relates to Schedule 25. It simply provides that, as regards the chair of the cultural strategy group—an important position—the most apt group to appoint or elect the chair should be the group itself, not the mayor. That is not to cast any doubt on the bona fides of the mayor; it merely follows ancient practice as regards group dynamics; namely, that the best person to lead a group is a member of the group itself, as it may select. The other amendments all relate to the balance of power and responsibility as between the mayor and the assembly under Clause 301.

This is a probing amendment. It seems to these Benches that, as regards the draft strategy, and the final strategy for culture, media and sport in the capital city, a better balance would be to make the mayor and the assembly jointly responsible. Thus, all the amendments require the cultural strategy group to deal equally with the mayor and the assembly.

Baroness Carnegy of Lour

I must congratulate my noble friend Lady Anelay on the extremely succinct and clear way in which she spoke to this large and rather complicated group of amendments. She made her points very clearly, and I was impressed by that.

I turn to Amendments Nos. 452A and 452B. I believe that it would be sensible if the experts on the body were in the majority. If that was known to be the case, it would be more convincing to all concerned. I would have thought that the London Tourist Board had a particular part to play here, and it would be wise to ensure that that body was on the face of the Bill.

It should not be possible for the mayor to inflict on the group for a long time a chairman who was unacceptable to it. I do not know how that is to be achieved or whether my noble friend's suggestions are sensible, but there could be trouble if the mayor selected a crony (for lack of a better word) that the group did not like and left him or her there. I believe that the question whether that should be impossible is worthy of consideration. It is also probably wise to clarify whether the members of the group can stay for an unlimited time. I should not have thought that that need be left to the mayor. When setting up such a group in this Chamber we usually prescribe terms of office, and that may be helpful in this case. However, perhaps the situation is so different that the Government are justified in leaving it to the mayor. I just wonder whether in this respect too much is being placed on the mayor which may spell trouble.

I refer next to the amendments to which the noble Lord, Lord Phillips, has just spoken. He has done so succinctly, for which I am sure the Committee is grateful. But it seems to me that a great many of the amendments moved by the Liberal Democrats in the passage of this Bill say the same thing; namely, that the assembly and mayor should frequently act together, that the mayor should at least consult the assembly, or that the assembly should have much more power than the Government have anticipated. The Government could have introduced a Bill in which the relationship between the mayor and assembly was something like that envisaged by the Liberal Democrats but they did not. The Liberal Democrats have disagreed, but noble Lords on those Benches could have clarified the point in two or three amendments at the beginning of Committee stage and not repeated it over and over again. Today, we have before us Amendments Nos. 452ZC, 452UJ, 452VJ, 452WJ, 452YJ and several other amendments that are to be moved separately. All of them repeat the same point.

Speaking for myself, I believe that there has been an uneconomic use of parliamentary time in debating this point over and over again in different amendments. I do not criticise the fact that noble Lords have taken advantage of our freedom in this Chamber to talk as much as we like. We do not like our freedom to be curtailed, but we owe it to ourselves and the public not to use parliamentary time unwisely. Nor do I criticise noble Lords for what they are doing today. Clearly, the message has got through since this amendment was moved very briefly, but I believe that this is a simple point which has been clarified by the Government. I hope that when we get to Report stage we have only one or two amendments to test the point and do not repeat it over and over again.

I hope that noble Lords will not take exception to my remarks, but as a Back-Bencher—no one has put me up to this—I feel strongly that the passage of this Bill, which has taken nine days in Committee, has been unduly long. There are a number of matters that I would have liked to discuss in that parliamentary time other than this Bill. However, I support the points that my noble friend has made in speaking to these amendments.

Lord Annan

Perhaps I may intervene briefly to deal with the question of the appointment of the chairman. I fully take the point that we do not want the appointment of cronies. On the other hand, this gives rise to difficulties. In the case of the National Gallery, the chairman is appointed by the trustees from among the trustees; in the case of the British Museum, it is a Crown appointment. There is no single method that is always acceptable and followed by government. Perhaps one can get round the difficulty by saying that if it is for the mayor to appoint the chairman it can be done only through formal consultation with the members of the committee.

Baroness Hamwee

For the record, if for nothing else, perhaps I may explain to the Committee, in response to the observations of the noble Baroness, Lady Carnegy, that not only were we concerned about the substantive issue of the role of the assembly but we were also well aware that we would be accused of inconsistency if we did not pick up the point. The issue is slightly different at different points throughout the Bill. Had the noble Baroness been with the Committee two days ago she would have witnessed the extraordinary pace that it managed to keep up in going through the amendments that day. That has been fairly characteristic of the contributions to the debates on a Bill which contains, I believe, 320 clauses—perhaps it is now 330 clauses—and 27 schedules. That is in considerable contradistinction to the consideration of the House of Lords Bill, which contains five clauses and has taken up a very great deal of time. I shall not take up further time in defending what I regard as a position which needs no excuse.

Baroness Carnegy of Lour

For the record, I do not believe that I left the Chamber until 10.35 p.m.

4.30 p.m.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

The noble Baroness in her opening speech—we are grateful for the 51 minutes that she saved—invited me to respond not only to the amendments in the group but to say a word about the cultural strategy in the framework within which this schedule is placed. Before that, for the record I understand, and in some ways admire, the persistence of the Liberal Democrat Party in discovering every occasion on which the relationship between the mayor and assembly may be questioned and pursuing it. They have done so again today. Therefore, it means that I must repeat the words of the Minister for London in Committee in another place: The mayor will exercise the majority of the authority's functions, including the power to promote the authority's general purpose. The assembly will hold the mayor to account for the decisions that he or she takes. That is a model for good, accountable administration".—[Official Report, Commons; Standing Committee A, 2/2/99; col. 220.] In other words, the distinction between executive power and scrutiny is fundamental. I am afraid that wherever amendments go against that we must oppose them, as we have opposed them in earlier parts of the Bill.

As far as concerns the cultural strategy, we are certainly apprised of the importance to London, the country and the world of Part X of the Bill. We look to the mayor to inspire and lead London, to ensure that all Londoners—I take the point raised by the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, about the diversity of London's population—benefit from an enhanced quality of life and—this is not in contradistinction—that the city enters the next century as the place that others most admire and wish to visit. The mayor's role in championing the cultural sectors is one that appeals widely to the public. The cultural strategy group for London will be the principal advisory tool to help achieve the mayor's vision for London. Therefore, let there be no doubt about the importance of Part X to the Government in the framing of this legislation.

I turn to the amendments. These amendments would modify Schedule 25, which defines the role and composition of the cultural strategy group for London. We consider that we have achieved the right balance between allowing proper discretion to the mayor and a framework of statutory controls.

The overall purpose of these amendments seems to be to limit the power of the mayor to determine the nature and size of the body and the terms of appointment to it. In this, as I have made clear, they run counter to the intentions of the Bill. In particular, a number of the amendments would couple the assembly with the mayor. That, as I have said, is entirely at variance with the structure of the Greater London Authority.

Others of these amendments are reasonable in themselves. However, it is our policy, embodied in the Bill, to give the mayor reasonable discretion in relation to his advisory body. We have set limits for the size of the cultural strategy group for London within which the mayor can determine its size. To limit the scope further would be to trespass on the mayor's ability to choose his or her own advisory body; that is Amendment No. 452A. It is also for the mayor to appoint somebody to chair the body from among its members. Amendment No. 452D seeks to delete that provision, while Amendments Nos. 452C and 452DA would require the body to elect its own chairman.

I listened, of course, to the noble Lord, Lord Phillips of Sudbury, and I take his point about group dynamics. However, we have here a body of people that is representative of a wide range of fields of culture. It could be as large as 25 people. How are they going to get together to appoint their own chairman at their first meeting, when they probably do not know each other very well because they are in different fields? The power that the mayor has in making the appointment of a chairman is to appoint somebody who has authority and experience over as wide a range of cultural fields as possible.

It is also for the mayor to determine the terms on which members are appointed. Amendment No. 452E would cap the total time that a member could serve at eight years. Amendments Nos. 452DB and 452DC would provide a detailed statutory control on the terms of appointment. The mayor may indeed choose to adopt the terms suggested in the amendment; that would be entirely proper. However, there is no reason for us to fix such terms in statute. The Bill is long enough and detailed enough as it stands.

Above all, it is for the mayor to determine which matters are relevant to the culture strategy. That is a matter which the candidates for mayor will put to the people, and the people of London will judge whether the candidate for mayor is making the right proposals. He has to determine which matters are relevant. He has to select the members, because it then becomes his responsibility to answer for his selection.

Amendment No. 452AA would have the effect of narrowing the range of bodies. I was asked whether the representatives need to be members of the bodies which they represent. The answer is that in the Bill they do not, but under Amendment No. 452AA they would be obliged to be members of the bodies. Those bodies may wish to have representatives who are not currently members of the bodies concerned.

Amendment No. 452B would make specific reference to the London Tourist Board. Tourism is, of course, a very important topic. We shall be discussing that topic later. The mayor may well wish to include somebody from the London Tourist Board. I repeat the tributes that have been paid in another place to the work of the board. We would welcome such an appointment. However, it is already possible for the mayor to make such an appointment within the terms of the Bill as it stands.

I should not single out tourism and the London Tourist Board alone. Amendment No. 452ZD seeks to define the types of bodies that the mayor will consult in considering appointments to the cultural strategy group. It lists a number of sectors, including arts, museums, and libraries. Of course, this list contains good things. However, it does not appear to include archives. I note this for the benefit of the noble Viscount, Lord Falkland, who makes the point about archives later on. I am sure that the mayor will want to work closely with organisations dealing with all these subjects. They are already represented on the informal London heritage forum, from whose good work the mayor will benefit.

My problem is that this list, like that other one to which we will return, runs the risk of being thought exclusive. This again is a theme which has been present throughout the consideration of this Bill. We have lists in parts of the Bill, but they are intended to be illustrative rather than inclusive. If we did not have them at all, we would be accused of failing to be explicit enough in legislation. If we go on adding to them, we run the risk of, by definition, excluding those who have no champions in this House or in another place. I therefore commend the principle that allows the mayor full discretion to determine those matters and those bodies which should be considered in appointments to the cultural strategy group and to select the most appropriate representatives.

Other amendments seek to nail down the constitution of the strategy group. Amendment No. 452G requires the mayor to make payments to the group in respect of its proper expenses. We wish to be less dictatorial. We are confident that the group, as constituted by Schedule 25, will be able to fulfil its role in advising the mayor on the culture strategy, properly and accountably.

Some amendments are simply unnecessary. Amendment No. 453BA requires the mayor to give a reasonable length of time when directing the group to draw up and present a cultural strategy. The mayor must act reasonably in all legislation. I therefore cannot see that such a provision serves any purpose.

Amendments Nos. 452DD and 452DE are also unnecessary. The mayor can already define the circumstances in which he may terminate the appointment of a member who is unable or unfit to act. The deletion of the word "But" at the beginning of subsection (3) would do little either to add to or diminish from the mayor's powers. I found it a little odd. It is unusual to find the word "But" at the beginning of a sentence in legislation. I admire the grammatical sense of those who question it, but it does not actually make any difference.

Amendment No. 452F relates to the payment of expenses. I am advised that these will be payable only in relation to duties "properly incurred" as members of the group. The proposed additional phrase is therefore unnecessary.

Amendment No. 453G is at least partly unnecessary. It is, in any case, inappropriate. It would give the group the power to publish any objections to any revisions to the mayor's strategy, but only if there is a two-thirds majority. The group can already publish its findings; that is the unnecessary part. Following on from that, to require a two-thirds majority before publication is actually a restriction on the group's freedom; that is the inappropriate part.

However, I am glad of the opportunity to record that the Government propose to table a technical amendment at Report stage to provide an explicit power for the mayor to publish a revised cultural strategy. This will bring the mayor's powers for culture in line with the powers in relation to all the other strategies.

Finally, I come to Amendment No. 455QJA. This seeks to provide an explicit power for the group to act on behalf of the authority in respect of its grant powers. I can confirm that we also intend to lay an amendment on Report that will provide a much wider power for the group to act for the authority in respect of all its functions under Part X of the Bill.

I am sorry to have taken up so much time. This is a very large group of amendments. I therefore felt that I had to respond to each amendment individually. They are all interesting and serious amendments. I hope that, on the basis of what I have said, the respective noble Baronesses and noble Lords will feel able to withdraw them.

Baroness Anelay of St. Johns

I thank all members of the Committee who have taken part in this fairly lengthy debate on this group of amendments. I suspect that it may be our longest debate on any group today. Perhaps I will be proved wrong by noble Lords.

I am particularly grateful for the support that I have received from my noble friend Lady Carnegy of Lour. I was interested in the view put forward by the noble Lord, Lord Annan, with regard to the method of choosing the chairman of the group. I found it intriguing. I will certainly consider it before Report.

I am particularly grateful to the Minister for putting on record the Government's views. I believe that they are expressed more clearly than they were in another place. I believe that it has been advanced slightly. The Government talk about "soon", "shortly" and "sometime". This is "slightly" and "perhaps you may have more on another occasion". We shall certainly pursue the matter.

I am interested to learn that there will be two technical amendments at Report stage from the Government. I look forward to the opportunity of looking at those. In the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Lord Phillips of Sudbury

Before the noble Baroness withdraws her amendment, I should like to thank the Minister for the way he has expressed his views on the matter. I shall have to accept with good grace the fact that the Government do not agree with the views we hold on these Benches vis-à-vis the balance between the different components.

I should be grateful if the Minister could consider one point, and perhaps write to me on it. Amendment No. 452AA refers to Schedule 25 which talks about the representatives of bodies; that is, the members of the cultural strategy group shall be individuals who are representatives of such bodies concerned with relevant matters, as the mayor considers appropriate. The amendment was tabled in an attempt to de-intensify the relationship between individuals selected by the different members of the key groups within the London art world so that when they came to the cultural strategy group they would not be there as representatives of their different bodies—albeit that they were selected by those bodies. It is to be hoped, therefore, that their prime allegiance would be to the group, even though they came from different sectors of the arts community. That is not an unimportant issue to consider. Perhaps the Minister will comment on that.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

I am grateful to the noble Lord for explaining his intentions. However, it is in conflict with the amendment before us. The amendment says that they would have to be members.

Lord Phillips of Sudbury

They should be "selected from" rather than "selected by".

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

In that case, the noble Lord may need to think about what he wishes to do at a later stage. However, I should not invite that.

The Government's position is that the selection shall be made by the mayor, and not by the bodies, from such persons as he considers to be representative. Having said that, it has been left as open as possible. For example, if someone is representative of dance, one can imagine the number of different bodies who would claim to represent a part of the dance community: classical dance, modern dance and so forth. The mayor must choose someone who is as representative as possible. For that reason, we have tried to make the provision open rather than restrictive.

Baroness Anelay of St. Johns

I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 452AA to 452G not moved.]

Lord Phillips of Sudbury moved Amendment: No. 452GA:

Page 317, line 9, leave out ("towards defraying") and insert ("to defray")

The noble Lord said: This is a drafting amendment, but it is not unimportant. It deals with arrangements set out in Schedule 25 for defraying the expenses of the cultural strategy group. Paragraph 7 of the schedule gives discretion to the mayor on the extent to which he may defray the expenses properly incurred by the group. It states: The Mayor may provide the Cultural Strategy Group for London with sums of money towards defraying expenses properly incurred". The two words "towards defraying" clearly imply that he does not need to defray all of the expenses. Paranoia may be creeping in on these Benches, but we would like to see it stated beyond doubt. The proposed amendment will do just that. I beg to move.

Baroness Carnegy of Lour

I do not read this as a simple drafting amendment. I thought the wording in the schedule meant that the group could raise a great deal of money itself. The mayor would have the discretion to allocate as much money as seemed appropriate. Will the Minister clarify the issue?

The Bill states that the group may own property. Would it be able to charge rent on a part of that property and use the proceeds for its own purposes? Would it be able to make charges? I thought those matters were implied in this part of the Bill, but perhaps the Minister will explain the situation more clearly.

4.45 p.m.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

I do not see this amendment as a drafting amendment. It is a requirement for the mayor to pay the properly incurred expenses of the group in full, without leaving him or her any discretion to determine how far it is right to defray the group's expenses. There is no question of propriety here and I am not casting aspersions on future members of the group. The schedule makes it clear that in both cases the group's expenses must be properly incurred. However, the group will be free in what it can do. It may decide to undertake certain duties that properly incur expenses but are not considered by the mayor as appropriate matters for support. That is for the mayor to decide.

The group will be a body established to advise and support the mayor, and it will be for the mayor to determine how far—in part, in full or if at all— it will be appropriate to fund the cultural strategy group, which is primarily an advisory body. Clearly, a sensible relationship between the mayor and the group will ensure that there is discussion as to what the group will do and that the mayor agrees that what it does is justified. Under those circumstances there is no reason why the mayor should not defray all the expenses. However, we do not wish to put into statute that that must always be the case.

In response to the noble Baroness, Lady Carnegy, I did not take it that the alternative would be for the group to raise its own money. It is an advisory body, and while it is theoretically conceivable that it might make a profit from owning property, that is not its function. The group should be funded by the mayor to carry out those activities the mayor wants it to undertake.

Baroness Carnegy of Lour

Is it not possible for the group to charge rent? When you own property you may use two-thirds or three-quarters of it, and rent out the rest. Could not the group take on the duty of collecting rent, or would the mayor need do that? I believe that the Bill should be clear on the position.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

As I said, it is theoretically possible that the group might do so to cover some of its expenses. However, that is not the object of the exercise.

Lord Phillips of Sudbury

I presume from what the Minister said that in effect the cultural strategy group will need to enter into a contract with the mayor before it incurs any expenditure in order to be sure of being reimbursed.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

I think we are being too formal here.

Lord Phillips of Sudbury

I do not think that this is a formality.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

The group and the mayor would be well advised to talk to each other. Subject to that, we shall leave the relationship—including the financial relationship—as open as we can. On that basis, I ask the noble Lord not to press the amendment.

Lord Phillips of Sudbury

I thank the Minister. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 452H had been withdrawn from the Marshalled List.]

[Amendment No. 452HA not moved.]

Lord Phillips of Sudbury moved Amendment No. 452HB:

Page 317, line 19, at end insert— ("(3) The Cultural Strategy Group for London may establish such committee or committees comprised of such persons for such purposes and on such terms as it may determine.")

The noble Lord said: This amendment gives the cultural strategy group a clear right to establish committees, comprised of such persons for such purposes and on such terms as it may determine". That is a useful and practical empowerment for which the group will be grateful. I was one of the initial appointees to the National Lottery Charities Board under not dissimilar scheduled powers. I remember that we spent a great deal of time agonising over just what we could and could not do and, on being asked for advice, there was a huge amount of humming and hawing, thumb-sucking and reference to lawyers because it was not made clear on the face of the Bill what powers we had. The group should be given this essential practical power. I beg to move.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

I hope I can give the noble Lord the assurance that he seeks in order that there may be no humming and hawing and legal advice. I am advised that there is no legal barrier to the cultural strategy group setting up committees, including committees of co-opted non-members. I do not resist the amendment in any spirit of opposition. It is entirely appropriate that the members should be able to draw in others relevant to their work and discuss it with them in committees. It is simply that the amendment is not needed.

Lord Phillips of Sudbury

With that assurance, I am happy to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

On Question, Whether Schedule 25 shall be agreed to?

Baroness Anelay of St. Johns

I gave notice that I would oppose the Question that Schedule 25 be agreed to in order to ask the Government how they would expect the cultural strategy group to relate to other similar groups which, we are told, will be established throughout the regions and how they might relate also to the Secretary of State. In effect, the cultural strategy group is the first of the regional cultural consortiums to be created. It is the outcome of the passage through the House last year of the Regional Development Agencies Bill. In a sense we have been told to expect that RCCs will be set up around the country. How will they relate to each other and how will they relate individually to the overall authority of the Secretary of State? Can the Minister explain how the creation of the cultural strategy group, which encompasses tourism within its remit, will then relate to RCCs and regional tourist boards nationally?

In another place, the Minister's colleague, the Minister for London, Mr Raynsford, sought to answer such questions by referring vaguely to the Government's aim to establish a network of organisations. These organisations are not equal and equivalent to each other. At the moment, of course, only this one is to be created. We have no view of how the others may be constituted or indeed whether there may be other cultural strategy groups for large metropolitan areas as opposed to RDAs. How will these organisations be networked? At the moment, as I have mentioned privately to the Minister, rather than there being a net, I can see the holes but I certainly cannot see the strings holding it all together. I hope that since the Bill left another place the Minister and the Government have had an opportunity to consider this matter further and can give the Committee greater guidance today or, if they cannot, then before the passage of the Bill through the House.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

The answer I have to give to the noble Baroness builds on what she said a few minutes ago about the regional cultural consortia, the regional tourist hoards and others not being equal and equivalent. Indeed, they are not. They are developing. They are developing as regional development agencies develop. The relationship between them and the cultural strategy group for London is one which in turn will, and must, develop. I see the noble Baroness's point about the need for a network. What I do not see is why and how it could possibly be a statutory network.

Baroness Anelay of St. Johns

I am not alone in saying that there needs to be a network, which is a fruitful way to function. I pointed out that the Minister's colleague in another place said that there would be a network.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

I am sure that there will be, but it will not be established by statute. That is the point I want to make. It is so clearly in the interests of the regional cultural consortia and the cultural strategy group for London to talk to each other, to co-ordinate with each other and to ensure that they are not missing things or overlapping that they will do that out of self-interest. What I cannot imagine is how we would amend Schedule 25, which is what we are debating, in order to ensure that that is the case. Perhaps I may give as an example the existing regional arts councils. There is no formal statutory network, but they meet from time to time. Indeed, until recently, their chairmen were members of the Arts Council. But when they ceased to be members of the Arts Council, they still met together. They do it because they need to do it and because they want to do it, not because we impose it by statute.

Schedule 25 agreed to.

Clause 301 [The Mayor's culture strategy]:

[Amendments Nos. 452TJ to 452YJ not moved.]

Baroness Hamwee moved Amendment No. 452ZJ:

Page 158, line 33, after ("tourism") insert ("(including visits for conferences)")

The noble Baroness said: This amendment is grouped with Amendment No. 455WA in this afternoon's alphabet soup. In the amendment we propose to include a specific reference to conferences after the reference to tourism, which is within the culture strategy group's remit. During the proceedings on the Bill and outside the Chamber we have talked about the mayor's role including that of being a voice for London to promote London. That is for many purposes, some of them economic. We suggest reference to London's role as a conference centre because we believe that tourism does not necessarily cover this method of attracting people to our capital city.

I have tabled the amendment in order to seek the Minister's assurance that the point is covered here or that it will come within the remit of the London Development Agency. It is not necessarily an activity that falls within the LDA's remit, which is to do with economic regeneration, so I think that the issue should be covered somewhere. I should be grateful for the Minister's comments. I beg to move.

Baroness Anelay of St. Johns

With the permission of the Committee, I shall speak to Amendment No. 455A, which is grouped with Amendment No. 452ZJ.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

Amendment No. 455WA.

Baroness Anelay of St. Johns

I am grateful for the Minister's help.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

It is all part of the service.

Baroness Anelay of St. Johns

I am glad to hear that it is all part of the Government's service. We may call upon that even more later on.

Like the amendment of the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, my amendment addresses the issue of the conference industry. In fact, 1 would take it rather further. My amendment seeks to raise questions about the Government's intentions towards the meetings and incentives industry. The industry contributes significantly to the United Kingdom economy yet politicians in both Houses pay it relatively little attention. In Clause 306(1)(b) there is a fleeting reference to business travel. That defines "tourist amenities and facilities" to include those used by people travelling in London on business. But it is a very general use of the term "business travel", and, like the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, I seek reassurance from the Government. After all, it could simply mean a resident of London who is a sales person travelling within London in the course of his or her normal daily work.

I am advised that the convention and incentives industry is worth about 200 billion dollars worldwide, and in Europe about half that. Its impact on communications and its role in every aspect of daily life—financial, cultural, political and social—are enormous.

Here I can declare something of an interest, which I always try to do when I manage to enjoy one. In May this year the British Tourist Authority was kind enough to nominate me and my Whip, my noble friend Lord Luke, to attend the meetings and incentives annual exhibition in Geneva—at the Palexpo—so that I could learn more about the industry. I was pleased to see the Liberal Democrats also represented. Regrettably, none of the Government's party happened to be there, on the day that I was there, nor, I am informed, later in the week. They missed an interesting and informative occasion.

Europe still has more international congresses than any other continent, but the European market share is being whittled down by other areas, by between 2 per cent and 3 per cent a year. It is the industry's view that this can be stopped only by careful, planned promotion of the industry in all EU countries, aimed particularly, of course, at the North American market.

The industry is well established in London, but it needs to work hard to stay ahead. I am sure that other noble Lords will join me in congratulating the London Tourist Board and the Convention Bureau, which are working hard to do just that. But more needs to be done.

The British Hospitality Association very recently produced a helpful leaflet, Convincing Arguments for the UK Hospitality Industry, in which it argues: As one of the world's leading capital cities, London lacks a world-class congress centre which is able to attract the largest international conferences. Such a centre is regarded as a fundamental element in the UK's business tourism strategy and represents a key initiative in developing the industry's full job- and wealth-creating potential. Government support is required to help plan, locate and pump-prime this essential development for the 21st century. Do the Government agree with that analysis? If so, what measures do they believe should be taken by them and the GLA—the mayor and the authority combined—to create a world-class congress centre in London?

Indeed, what action do the Government expect the GLA to take to develop facilities for the meetings and incentives industry generally? What discussions will they hold at the EU level to ensure that there is EU co-operation on this issue?

Finally, can the Minister reassure us that the Government expect that the Dome site could have long-term use for the meetings and incentives industry after the Dome itself has been hired out very profitably for corporate hospitality uses next year? I am aware that bids are in the pipeline. It would be helpful if the noble Lord could indicate whether there are one or more bids that include the conference industry. I support the amendment.

5 p.m.

Lord Archer of Weston-Super-Mare

I wish to support my noble friend Lady Anelay of St Johns and to tell the Minister something that I am sure he is aware of, but which is worth placing on the record.

With regard to the need for a convention centre in London, Munich has a convention centre that holds between 15,000 and 20,000 people, and it is booked up until 2006. Without being rude to the entire German race, I think more people would prefer to have a convention in London than they might in Munich. We now have three or four convention centres in London, ranging in size from 1,500 to—pushing one's luck—7,000.

It is remarkable that in arguably the greatest city on earth we do not have a world-class convention centre. When the Minister responds and says, "I understand the wording clearly to mean that the mayor will have such powers", I hope there will be no doubt that there will be the opportunity for London to have, as quickly as possible, a world-class convention centre, because the important point about Munich, which will please the Minister and anyone who is privileged to hold the post of mayor, is that it makes a profit every single year. If one is booked until 2006, one obviously has a real chance of making a profit.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

I am sorry that I was not in Geneva. I assume that the Deputy Chief Whip might have stopped me going. The same may be true of Janet Anderson in the Commons.

I am afraid that these are two of those amendments to which I shall have to give the generic answer given throughout the passage of the Bill, that lists in the Bill are exemplary, illustrative and not exclusive. We must have them sometimes in order not to be accused of being too imprecise, but we certainly do not want them to cover everything that can be thought of, for fear that something that had not been thought of during the passage of the Bill should thereby be excluded.

Having got that off my chest, let me turn to the very important subject matter of the amendments, to which we shall return in more detail when we consider Clauses 303 and 304. Tourism makes a unique contribution to the success of London. It is a very important topic, for which the mayor will naturally have important responsibilities, which are set out in those clauses and which we shall be debating later.

In this case, Amendment No. 452ZJ amplifies the reference to tourism to include visits for conferences. Of course, we agree that business tourism makes a significant contribution to the success of tourism in London, and naturally the mayor will take that into account. But there is no need to single it out in this way, because it would give the inference that other aspects of tourism are less important thereby throwing doubt on its illustrative nature.

Amendment No. 455WA proposes to insert a reference in Clause 303, which deals with the mayor's powers and duties in relation to tourism. The amendment would create an additional specific duty on the mayor to promote Greater London as a centre for the meetings and incentives industry. The mayor has a general duty to encourage people to visit Greater London. It is not limited by reference to the purpose of the visit. It will be a matter for the mayor to decide how to prioritise time and resources for the encouragement of different types of visitor. Of course, he will take into account the contribution the business sector makes to the success of tourism, and the powers given in Clause 303 are wide enough to encompass all tourism sectors.

I am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, for giving notice of her specific questions. My response is that we recognise that the meetings and incentives industry is a vital part of our highly successful business tourism industry. Together, they are estimated to contribute some £4,700 million to the UK economy. We believe that the GLA will have a significant role in promoting business tourism—for example, by encouraging commercial investors to support proposals for a new international convention centre.

The point made by the noble Lord, Lord Archer, about a larger convention centre is well taken. I do not think that he will wish to say in future that this is arguably the greatest city on earth. When he is a candidate, his spin doctors will tell him to take out the word "arguably", which comes from advertising rather than from politics.

Lord Archer of Weston-Super-Mare

Perhaps I may say with the greatest respect to the noble Lord that in our party we do not have spin doctors.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

I am tempted! The noble Lord does not need a spin doctor; he is the most expert spin doctor I have ever encountered in my political career.

The noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, asked about the future use of the Dome. Indeed, this is relevant to a very large convention centre. As she said, the site was the subject of a competition launched by the Government in March this year. There have been a range of interesting and imaginative suggestions. The selection of the winning bid will be a matter for Ministers, who hope to make an announcement in spring 2000. Certainly, a major convention centre must be one of the candidates for the future use of the Dome.

The noble Baroness asked me whether the mayor will have the powers to promote business tourism at the European level and to take part in any European co-operation. The answer is that certainly he has those powers. I am sure that he will wish to take advantage of any opportunities at the European level as well as at the national level.

I hope that the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, will feel able to withdraw her amendment

Baroness Carnegy of Lour

I note the noble Lord's reluctance to acid to the list in Clause 301. Would it not be wise to add conferences to that list? The Minister might well consider that before turning down the idea. Tourism does not necessarily bring to mind the large conference industry which we have discussed. What has been said is extremely important for London.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

I assure the noble Baroness that tourism embraces conferences. All definitions of tourism that we use, both for national and local government, include the conference business; and very important it is, too.

Baroness Hamwee

I understood the Minister to give the confirmation that I sought: that tourism included conferences. I believe he said that we sought to amplify the term. That satisfies us entirely.

This is not a list like some other lists. Clause 301(5) contains all the matters which may be included in the culture strategy. It does not have a general provision, for instance, for subjects which the culture strategy group the mayor or the assembly consider should be included. That is why the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, and I have been concerned to ensure that the terms are precise.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

Clause 301(5) states: The policies that may be contained in the culture strategy include policies with respect to each of the following matters". In other words, they do not exclude others.

Baroness Hamwee

I am glad to know that. References to some lists have made clear that there would be a distinct frown on the face of central government if other items were included. I am grateful for the Minister's explanations. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

5.15 p.m.

Baroness Anelay of St. Johns moved Amendment No. 452J:

Page 158, line 33, at end insert— ("() open space and outdoor recreation;")

The noble Baroness said: We return to the subject of lists, but a somewhat different list. In moving the amendment, I speak also to Amendment No. 454A.

The purpose of the amendments is to probe the role of the Greater London Authority with regard to recreation—walking, riding, cycling and the use of open spaces for recreation in general—for innocent purposes, and recreation for everyone, whatever their individual needs may be. We may use a wheelchair; we may have difficulties with sight or hearing; but we all have need of recreation and open spaces.

I thank the Open Spaces Society and the National Playing Fields Association for their briefing. I declare a non-pecuniary interest as honorary appeal patron of the National Playing Fields Association's Millennium Appeal, called "Every child deserves a place to play"—a view with which I think no one would quarrel.

Clause 301(5) sets out certain policies to be contained in the mayor's culture strategy. In another place my honourable friend Sir Sydney Chapman asked questions on this issue. As did the Minister today, the Minister spoke of the list not intending to be perfect, full or comprehensive, but illustrative. However, it is important that we probe today the intentions of the Government with regard to the inclusion of the use of open spaces within the work of the group and the authority.

I believe that no doubt should be left by the Bill that open spaces and outdoor recreation are an important aspect of our London culture. It is vital that one notes that there is a London branch of the CPRE. When noble Lords debated the Regional Development Agencies Bill last year—the noble Baroness, Lady Farrington, nods her head—we had some interesting exchanges on the role of open spaces and agriculture. The London branch of the CPRE is alive and well. It has written to several noble Lords to give information about its work. It is primarily concerned with the environmental welfare of London and its people, with the aim of making the metropolis a more agreeable place in which to live and work. It points out that the proper and sympathetic management of London's great wealth of public parks and commons is vital to achieve its objective.

The Open Spaces Society points out that there is a crisis in the management of London parks. It directed my attention to evidence by the Institute of Leisure and Amenity Management to the DETR Select Committee which recently started an inquiry into local authority town and country parks. Paragraph 24 of the evidence to that inquiry states: ILAM's greatest concern is the lack of support from Government itself. In the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport there are two Govemment Departments who appear to believe, perhaps because public parks have both an environmental and cultural dimension, that parks should be the province of neither Department rather than both". It seems that they fall through the middle. Paragraph 28 states: The DCMS does not appear to recognise any responsibility for public parks, either as leisure, culture, heritage or as a tourist attraction, all of which are the remit of the Department…In providing guidance to Local Authorities for 'Local Cultural Strategies' the Department has conceded that public parks and countryside should be included but gives no specific advice".

What is the Government's intention with regard to parks and open places? Do they continue to have objections to the scope of this clause being made plainer; and, if so, why?

The Open Spaces Society points out that the cultural strategy group's outdoor interests should not be confined to parks or other recognised public open spaces. It points out that it is important that the group should also be concerned to protect and enhance all outdoor recreation and enjoyment, whether related to the River Thames, or any of London's other waterways and reservoirs—all of which add to the character of London life and recreation.

On Amendment No. 454A, Clause 302 enables grants to be paid by the GLA for cultural institutions. But outdoor recreational facilities may also need financial help and this should not be excluded by the Bill. Indeed, as the London Forum has pointed out in its briefing to noble Lords, outdoor recreational activities must mean sports plus other recreational activities in the widest sense, which include walking and peaceful enjoyment of the open space. We were reminded recently that inner city parks do not have to be urban wastelands or threatening places. The Urban Task Force reported earlier this month on Barcelona where parks have been a key element in bringing the city back to life. I am sure that that is a good example for all to follow. I beg to move.

Viscount Falkland

Amendment No. 452K refers to parks, landscapes and gardens which we on these Benches would like to see referred to on the face of the Bill as part of the cultural strategy.

It may have been in the minds of the draftsmen that in some way ancient monuments and sites covered some of the points. I shall mention them briefly with some apprehension, bearing in mind the earlier strictures of the noble Baroness, Lady Carnegy of Lour. Landscapes, parks and gardens in London are one of the main attractions. They are unique in any capital city. They are more than just places where one walks one's dog, jogs or rollerblades. In London, they have a cultural and historic importance, probably unparalleled in most other cities of Europe. It may well be the wish and the intention of the mayor and his assembly to make certain provisions in the strategy for the future planning of these parks and gardens. Many of the historical parks, most notably Vauxhall Gardens and Ranelagh Gardens, played a very important part in 18th century history. I am not quite sure when Vauxhall Gardens, which had a somewhat louche reputation, disappeared and I am not quite sure what kind of activities take place there today. Again, that may be something which the mayor and the assembly might like to consider. This reinforces my point that surely these places ought to be on the list of important areas within the scope of the cultural strategy. I and my colleagues would like to see this added to the list.

Lord Phillips of Sudbury

I should like to say briefly that London is justly famed for its parks, commons, gardens and heaths—over 250 of them—and as things stand many of them cross London borough boundaries and get short shrift from the boroughs which may feel not wholly responsible for them. Also, many of them are in complex forms of ownership and they need explicit inclusion in the work to be done by the group.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty)

The issue of open spaces, rights of way and so on covered by these amendments would modify Clauses 301 and 302. I recognise that the existence of parks, open spaces and other recreational areas in London is a very important part of London life. These places are essential to our urban landscapes and to some extent they define London itself, as well as providing historically, and possibly occasionally today, a broadening of experience and taste, to which the noble Viscount referred in relation to Vauxhall Gardens. I think we are all aware of the history and the current value of these open spaces.

Regarding rights of way, the Government will be bringing forward legislation for London and the rest of the country. We strongly recognise the value of rural open space and access to it. That will certainly be a matter of concern to the mayor also. However, the amendments themselves are unnecessary, in my submission, mainly for the same reasons to which my noble friend Lord McIntosh referred just now. Once or twice on earlier occasions I have indicated that the lists in this Bill in most cases are exemplary and not exhaustive. The more comprehensive and exemplary the list becomes, the greater the danger it runs of being regarded as exhaustive. We want to have a certain amount of freedom for the mayor and this group as they develop the cultural strategy.

On Amendments Nos. 452J and 452K, they would add further activities to the list of open spaces, outdoor recreation parks, landscapes and gardens. I am completely sympathetic to the intention behind the amendments, but the mayor must be able to develop policy for the development of open space in important aspects, not only in regard to the cultural strategy but also for the spatial development strategy. That does not mean it should be set in this list of the cultural strategy as such. It may well be appropriate to do so, but the mayor does not require this amendment to achieve that.

In addition, the spatial development strategy provides a context for the mayor to develop policy for the promotion of access to open spaces and other similar facilities. That is already covered in the Bill. Amendment No. 454 would enable the authority to pay grants or to provide improved public access to open space, the Thames and other waterways and rights of way in or adjacent to London. Again that amendment is unnecessary. Your Lordships will recall from our earlier debates on Clause 25 that the authority, acting through the mayor, will have a general power to do anything which it considers would further one or more of the authority's principal purposes, including the promotion of social development and promotion of the improvement of the environment in Greater London. Both of these are of direct relevance to the provision of open spaces and therefore to the provision of grants for open spaces. Therefore, if the authority judges that expenditure would meet one of those purposes, it could already act.

There is a caveat here. We have made it clear that the general power is not to be used to duplicate the role of the London borough councils or other public bodies. The noble Lord, Lord Phillips, is correct in saying that some of the open spaces are in complex ownership. The vast majority are run either by London boroughs, the City of London or the Royal Parks Agency. The sponsoring departments are different, but they have those as well. The role of the London boroughs and other public bodies which have responsibility for parks and open spaces should be respected, and the GLA would not act in those areas. However, where the GLA can usefully act is on the co-ordination of joint initiatives by agreement with other local authorities and public bodies. Without this amendment, it will certainly be able to do so.

Another point concerning Amendment No. 454A is that it refers to areas adjacent to Greater London. As I have said, the power of local authorities is exercisable only in relation to the promotion of their principal purposes, specifically to Greater London itself. The authority would therefore have to demonstrate that any action outside Greater London was intended to further its principal purposes. In practice, it could do so only with the agreement of adjacent areas, and that is something which is not covered by this clause.

Nevertheless, I recognise the importance of open spaces. I believe that all the powers these amendments would convey are already in the Bill, as is the ability to cover these aspects in the cultural strategy, which is clearly there. I hope that these amendments will not be pressed.

Baroness Hamwee

I should like to ask just one question, but I cannot help reflecting aloud on the vision which is conjured up, following my noble friend Lord Falkland having said what he did about Vauxhall Gardens, that the mayor might also have some responsibility for Soho, since Vauxhall Gardens does not fulfil its original function. He also talked about open spaces being places where roller-blading is done. I think he meant that in a general sense and I am sure that he did not mean to talk about your Lordships roller-blading. But it does conjure up a nice picture.

I should like to ask about the Royal parks, which the Minister has just mentioned. Their management is a separate matter because they are under a distinct ownership, but I am conscious of the work which is done by groups of friends in respect of the different parks. I do not recall the full title, but there is a federation of the groups of friends. Are they a matter to which the cultural strategy group would have regard" I appreciate that there will be no power of direction either on their part or on that of the mayor with regard to their management, but I am unclear as to how they fit into the general scheme of things.

Lord Whitty

The Royal parks are administered by the Royal Parks Agency, which is an agency of the DCMS. That is where the powers arise: they are basically the agency's powers. There are different situations, in so far as London boroughs own many open spaces. In other cases open spaces are owned by trusts or the Corporation of London, but so far as Royal parks specifically are concerned, they are run by the agency.

Baroness Anelay of St. Johns

I am grateful to all noble Lords who have taken part in this small debate about open spaces and recreation. I note the comments of the Minister that the Government do not believe these amendments are necessary because, hey presto, it will all be done anyway since there is some provision somewhere which allows the mayor and the authority to do in effect more or less anything they like. But there is concern on these Benches that one needs to be able to probe more carefully into what powers they will actually have, how they will be carried out and what activities may be covered.

I believe that there are some activities which are so important to the future of London that they will need to be included on the face of the Bill. But I am pleased to have the reassurances given by the Minister with regard to these amendments. One will need to read carefully in Hansard what has been said and consider other matters between now and Report. In the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw Amendment No. 452J.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

5.30 p.m.

Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede moved Amendment No. 452JA:

Page 158, line 33, at end insert— ("() education as it relates to the promotion of artistic creativity;")

The noble Lord said: The amendment is grouped with Amendments Nos. 453, 453ZA and 453A. In anticipation of my noble friend's reply, I "got the message" from the previous debates that lists are exemplary, illustrative but not exclusive. I understand the point.

The purpose of moving the amendment is to draw attention to the importance of educational outreach activities; that is, bringing arts into local communities and institutions, including schools in particular. It is recognised that in recent years the arts have made a substantial contribution to the health and creativity of the capital through the involvement of professional artists within the community at all levels and in a wide variety of environments. One example in the City of London is the outreach activities undertaken by the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. They involve both staff and students in projects in local communities of east London as well as in more than 30 schools.

As regards broader community projects, it is worth recording that outreach activities extend to community centres, hospitals, hospices and even to prisons. Recognising the importance of such activities and the anticipated co-ordinating role of the cultural strategy group, it seems to me to be appropriate that reference is made to such activities and that they would fall into the responsibility of the cultural strategy group. I beg to move.

Lord Teviot

I want to speak to Amendment No. 453, which deals with a different subject from that addressed by the noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede. It relates to the subject of archives. I must declare an interest in that I have been involved in archives for about 30 years.

The purpose of this short and simple amendment is to ensure that archive services have a firm place in the mayor's cultural strategy. As presently constituted, Clause 301 recognises library and museum services as an essential part of the mayor's cultural strategy, but says nothing about archives. We are all aware of the great importance of libraries and museums, but the value of the library book and the museum exhibit depends firmly on the research which is possible only through a ready access to original historical records. Archives are less visible and obvious to the wider public than libraries or museums, but that belies their fundamental importance to well based historical research.

Indeed, at this very time the national curriculum is placing considerable emphasis on the hands-on use by school students of primary source material. Yet the availability of material at local level across the London boroughs varies from the well resourced and well managed, through the under-resourced but reasonably well managed, to the absolutely pitiful and virtually non-existent.

The situation in London is that there is one very good overall London archive repository, the equivalent of the county record office, in the London Metropolitan Archives, formerly known as the Greater London Record Office. It has been run by the Corporation of London since 1986 and provides a good service as well as original archives in the Guildhall Library. The London Metropolitan Archives perform the important function of looking after the records of London-wide government bodies such as the London County Council and the Greater London Council as well as manorial and ecclesiastical records and the records of important London institutions and sometimes private companies.

However, it is totally impossible for the London Metropolitan Archives to meet all of London's archive needs, especially at local level. It is not resourced to do so and would not regard it as being within its remit. The preservation and accessibility of local records is the responsibility of the London boroughs. Under the Local Government Act 1972, each London borough is statutorily responsible for its own records, but these duties are expressed in very general terms and in effect allow the extent of the duty to be defined by the authority concerned. In addition, under the Local Government (Records) Act 1962, all London authorities are empowered to make provision for archives and create local history collections, but the legislation is only permissive.

The inadequacy of the statutory provision is one of the main reasons why standards vary so much over the London boroughs. Of the 33 London local authorities, more than one-third have no professional archivist. That fact in itself speaks volumes. Some boroughs do not even make provision for access to the archives created by the local authority itself, much less make provision to take in and make accessible the records of local institutions, businesses and individuals. Organisations creating historic records of local significance experience considerable difficulty in seeking to deposit records in London, as some boroughs are unable to receive collections of important archive material.

In those authorities which choose to take an active role both in the care of their own archives and the provision of centres for local studies, these facilities are much used and appreciated by local people. Even then, they are frequently under-resourced and even those authorities which provide a relatively good service are closed on some days of the week.

What London needs is an even standard provision of archive services across the metropolis. To meet the standards laid down by the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts for the storage and custody of records, access to them and reasonable opening hours does not entail any great expense.

The mayor, in publishing and implementing his or her strategy, will be uniquely well placed to take the lead in stimulating and encouraging those boroughs which are responding to the challenge of providing a suitable archive service, co-ordinating borough services, encouraging the development of centres of excellence and naming and shaming those who lag behind the rest. The proposed short amendment will mean that archives cannot be swept under the strategy carpet, and its general terms means that the mayor's strategy could take account of archives in the private as well as the local government sector.

Some 19 years ago, I proposed an amendment in your Lordships' House to the then National Heritage Bill to add "record repositories" to museums and galleries as eligible recipients for grants. I was told by the spokesman for the government of the day, who was none other than my noble friend Lord Mowbray and Stourton, that archives and record offices were covered by the phrase "other similar institutions" and that it was unnecessary and undesirable to add further to the list of institutions specifically mentioned.

It was therefore with some amusement that I noted the response of a Minister of the present Government, Mr Nick Raynsford, to an amendment similar to the one I am proposing today, which was moved during the Committee stage of the present Bill in the other place by my right honourable friend Mr Peter Brooke who, as your Lordships will know is the Member for the City of London and Westminster and who made a most interesting and comprehensive speech which I recommend to those who wish to extend their knowledge of the subject. In rejecting the amendment, the Minister cautioned about adding to a list which, he said, was in any case meant to be illustrative. He said: Once we go beyond an illustrative list and start adding other items, there will be no limit on how many others can legitimately claim to he included.". In other words, the floodgates will be opened. Quite how the addition of archives will open the floodgates when museums and galleries, library services and even treasure and antiquities of a movable nature are specifically mentioned seems to be curious, to say the least.

I was even more amused to notice that immediately after the exchange over this amendment in Committee, another Minister, Miss Glenda Jackson, moved, as an addition to the Bill, the present Clause 302 which states that the new authority may pay grants for the purposes of any museum, gallery, library, archive or other cultural institution. I cannot understand why it should be necessary to single out archives in this clause but not in the previous clause.

However, I ask the Minister to consider that by accepting the amendment he would be advancing the Government's policy as recently announced in A New Cultural Framework issued by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. That publication recognises the importance of archives alongside the libraries and museums in the decision to create the museums, libraries and archives council in the planned regional consortia.

The Earl of Clancarty

I wish to speak to Amendment No. 453 concerning archives, which I very much support, although I have sympathy with the other amendments in the group.

The Minister said that lists are intended to be illustrative and not inclusive. However., I have to say that I find that rather ingenuous. Any list will inevitably highlight what is listed and will do so at the expense of what is not.

The London Archive Users Forum states: despite improvements in recent years …there is widespread neglect of archives at borough level". So, as well as the question of profile, there are real practical problems which a cultural strategy group should be addressing.

A point worth mentioning concerns specialist archives such as film archives. There are significant film archives at Southwark and Bermondsey. One of the functions which the National Film Archive at the BFI has taken on is to help place archives within the regions, as regions have become more conscious of and interested in their own history. I do not think that archives in general fit into the list in subsection (5). One certainly would not automatically think of film archives. One might if archives were separately listed. Many perceive cine film as representing the most significant documentation of the 20th century.

My other point concerns access. If the Government are serious about access to museums, they should also think in terms of raising the profile of activities which have traditionally been considered "backroom activities", such as archival research, whether carried out by museum staff or members of the public. The British Museum, for example, has an important archive department.

The Minister may well point out that archives such as those are covered by museums, but that is the point. They are covered; that is, hidden. The question of relationship between access and profile is an important one which in itself justifies the separate listing of archives.

5.45 p.m.

Baroness Carnegy of Lour

From what has been said by the Government Front Bench so far, it will be difficult for the mayor to exceed his powers as the Bill is so widely drawn with so little detail in that respect. On the other hand, there are some areas where it is important to be more precise. The House, when it meets on Report, might well want to add to Clause 301(5) because that is necessary.

As regards archives, I suggest that they are not like any other contents of museums. Many archives are carefully kept in special places under special conditions. Any vagueness as to where they are may mean that they will disappear, or disappear from view. It is crucial that the Bill should be clear about what the mayor can do in that respect and, if necessary, what he cannot do about archives which are elsewhere within the city.

Lord Phillips of Sudbury

I should like to speak to the two other amendments in this group, Amendments Nos. 453ZA and 453A. Amendment No. 453A, to some extent, reflects the amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby, on which I shall comment shortly.

Amendment No. 453ZA would seek to add music to the list of those cultural activities in respect of which the cultural strategy group is empowered to develop policies. Like other noble Lords, I have listened several times to the Government's approach to any "tampering", as they appear to see it, with the magnificent list of arts and cultural activities in Clause 301(5). As a lawyer, I am deeply unimpressed. In modern psychological jargon, there is a degree of "anal retentiveness" on the part of the Government about their wording.

As the noble Lord, Lord Teviot, demonstrated, to exclude archives but allow treasure and antiquities seems unnecessary. One could select other bizarre items listed in subsection (5). However, to exclude music, of which there is no mention, and to refer only to arts seems also to be unnecessary. One has to ask why the Government are being so extraordinarily unmoving about this.

In the view of these Benches, music is naturally put alongside broadcasting and film in subsection (g). It is one of the principal activities of the arts community in London. Forty per cent of all musicians in the British Isles reside in London. London is the music capital of the world for disks, tapes and videos. It is an extraordinarily vibrant, diverse industry. We simply ask, therefore, as regards Amendment No. 435ZA, that music should be admitted to subsection (g).

Amendment No. 453A would specifically empower the cultural strategy group to have education as one of its principal areas of concern in policy development. I am sure that we all agree that the vibrant state of London arts is dependent in the long term upon educating the public to appreciate the full range of those artistic endeavours. Some parts of the London arts scene are not too healthy at present and could do with imaginative, public artistic education. On those grounds, we hope that the Government will smile sympathetically on both the amendments.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns

I should like to speak in support of Amendment No. 453, to which I put my name. I am grateful to my noble friend Lord Teviot for speaking to it so expertly. It was grouped with other amendments, so it was the proper place to speak to it. I know that he was trying to save the time of the House in obliging them with this grouping. I appreciate, therefore, that the Minister has had to get his mind round rather a large number of subjects on the little list that we want to make a little less little.

I do not think I can add to the arguments so forcefully and expertly put forward by my noble friend. I should simply like to add my own personal feeling about archives and their importance from the point of view of somebody who at one time taught history and perhaps did not quite appreciate the value of local archives as effectively as I should, though I had access to national ones at the time.

I should like to thank my own county archivist, David Robinson, for having my mind opened. He gave up a couple of hours of his time to show me both behind and in front of the scenes in my own local archive centre. In the public mind, archives are a dusty collection of old papers. Old they may be; sometimes they are papers, but dusty they are not because of the great care taken to preserve them. I believe that the use of such archives can unlock for the readers of tomorrow the history of today and yesterday. They are certainly vital to our culture. My noble friend pointed out that at the moment there is a great disparity in the provision of services throughout London. I believe that his amendment—should we return to it at a later stage, if not today—is indeed vital for the face of the Bill.

Lord Whitty

I am afraid that we are on lists again and our view is that the lists are reasonably succinct and adequately illustrative. The noble Lord, Lord Phillips, accused us of being "anally retentive". When the Bill first came out and people saw the size of it, we were accused of a rather different and opposite medical condition.

Lord Phillips of Sudbury

I must say that that is not typical of the rest of the Bill.

Lord Whitty

I shall not repeat the arguments about exemplary and exhaustive lists. In relation to the noble Lord's amendment concerning music, clearly any definition of the arts which is listed cannot possibly exclude music. That probably also applies to a number of the other amendments. Amendment No. 452JA, which deals with education promotion in so far as it leads to the promotion of artistic creativity, and Amendment No. 453A, which deals with educating the public in the matters listed in the cultural strategy, raise slightly different issues. They stray in part into areas which are the responsibility of other public authorities.

Nevertheless, it is clear that the cultural strategy must and can include both the sort of outreach activities referred to by my noble friend Lord Ponsonby and the rather broader term of public education in the arts referred to here. It is clear that those are already covered by the mayor's ability to draw up the strategy and to make it deliverable.

The position in relation to archives is slightly different. They are arguably part of museums, which are referred to, but they raise rather different issues. I agree in part with the noble Lord, Lord Teviot. The Government are actively engaged in raising the profile of archives through the forthcoming establishment of the museums, libraries and archives council. It is clear that that means archives of all forms—film and electronic as well as paper archives. In London there are many valuable archive collections of all sorts. The GLA and the functional bodies are also responsible for preserving their own archives. Many other public bodies also have that responsibility.

As the noble Lord, Lord Teviot, himself pointed out, the support for archives is referred to in Clause 302 with an explicit reference to the powers of the authorities to give grants in relation to archives. I recognise the strength of noble Lords' views on archives. I believe that it is slightly different from the attempt to draw up a totally exhaustive list which mentions each of the arts in some detail. If the Committee will permit, I shall look again at the question of whether we have said enough about archives on the face of the Bill, taking into account what the noble Lord said in speaking to his amendment. I should argue again that the other amendments should not be pressed. We are again in an area where an exhaustive list could constrain, rather than enhance, the creativity of the cultural strategy.

Lord Phillips of Sudbury

I thank the Minister for his comments. He made the point that there was no necessity to refer to film, because it was covered by the word "arts". Yet paragraph (g) refers to film. It refers to broadcasting and film. My proposal was to add "music" to those two live, electronic—as they largely are—arts. The linkage seems entirely natural. Will the Minister explain why he sees no relevance to the amendment?

Lord Whitty

I did not say that I saw no relevance. I did not specifically refer to film. I referred to music, which is clearly subsumed within the term "arts". The reference to film production is of course slightly different—

Lord Phillips of Sudbury

I am sorry to interrupt the Minister, but he quite specifically referred to film. If he looks at the record tomorrow, he will see that he did so.

Lord Whitty

We shall no doubt both check Hansard tomorrow on that point. I believe that we are all agreed that music, and indeed, film, are subsumed under "arts". Some of the other aspects have been referred to because there is an industry in terms of film production, which is slightly separate from music. I suppose that we could argue frequently on the head of a pin as to where one definition ends and another begins. Nevertheless, it is quite clear that it is possible for the mayor to engage with all the issues raised in this debate and it is almost inevitable that the cultural group would engage in drawing up the strategy.

As I have said, archives are in a slightly different category, but there is no inhibition against the strategy covering a major substrategy relating to archives. I shall take away that particular matter. However, whether or not Hansard makes it absolutely clear, I hope that noble Lords will accept that the list includes all their anxieties.

Lord Phillips of Sudbury

I am terribly sorry to tax the Committee's patience, but I should like to ask one more question. The Minister said that film production was one thing, but music production another. I do not see the distinction. That is to say, music production is a distinct and hugely important part of London arts. Why should film production be specifically mentioned and not music production?

Lord Whitty

Film production is a whole and total industry. Music is a much wider entity than the industry. Music can be individual music, produced music, electronic music. Film production is a rather specific and economically quite significant industry. Music subsumes the music industry in the sense to which the noble Lord refers, but it is also a much wider artistic endeavour. Nevertheless, it is subsumed under the general title, "arts". That will have to do for now.

Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede

I was quite happy with my noble friend's response as regards educational outreach activities. I am sorry that the noble Lord, Lord Phillips of Sudbury, is not happy, but I believe that the Minister has made one man in the arts very happy tonight—that is, the noble Lord, Lord Teviot. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 452K to 453C not moved.]

[Amendment No. 453D had been withdrawn from the Marshalled List.]

[Amendments Nos. 453E to 453G not moved.]

Lord Phillips of Sudbury moved Amendment No. 453H:

Page 159, line 17, at end insert— ("(9) In this section, reference to the arts shall include all performing arts, applied arts, fine arts, and other visual, aural and plastic arts, and the policies that may be contained in the culture strategy may extend to the commercial, subsidised and voluntary sectors.")

The noble Lord said: I am afraid that we are back to the age-old subject of lists. I feel slightly more reinforced in pressing the amendment, given the backing of my noble friend Viscount Falkland, and the noble Lords, Lord Puttnam, and Lord Bragg, who know what they are talking about. The idea of adding subsection (9) to Clause 301 is, in a way, to sweep up a great many of the reservations and unhappiness which many Members have expressed both here and in the other place as to the wording of Clause 301, in particular that of subsection (5).

I put it to the Government that it cannot be right to rest on the two words "the arts" the huge corpus of activity which they say is or may be embraced within it with no attempt at clarification—not even open-ended clarification which this amendment would provide. The amendment does not pretend to be exhaustive; it simply says that arts in this section "shall include." I urge the Government to examine the matter with great care; otherwise some of the examples of arts specifically referred to in Amendment No. 453H will be the subject of doubt on the part of the cultural strategy group as to whether or not it is empowered to make policies with regard to them.

My other point is that the amendment expressly makes clear that which is not clear at the moment; that is, that the policies which the cultural strategy group may develop may extend, to the commercial, subsidised and voluntary sectors". The importance of that, for which the noble Lords, Lord Puttnam and Lord Bragg, if they were here, would vouch, is that it is essential that the policies to he developed should be able to embrace the whole of the London arts scene, from whichever part of the spectrum it comes. The fact that it may devote most of its attention to the subsidised theatre, for example, or in another part of the arts spectrum, the voluntary sector, is neither here nor there. We on these Benches feel that it should be plain that the group has the power to look right across the arts board and develop policies it feels are in the interests of London and Londoners covering; all parts of that spectrum.

Despite what has been said, therefore, about specific additions to subsection (5) thus far, this is a slightly different approach to the unease expressed by many Members of the Committee. I hope therefore that the Government will accept the amendment. I beg to move.

6 p.m.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

I am not going to accept this amendment, but I love it. It is so much in line with the way in which we have been talking about the arts for the past two years; with the way in which Chris Smith, Mark Fisher and Alan Howarth have been talking about the arts. I do not want it in legislation, but I want to acknowledge the wisdom of the thinking behind it.

I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Phillips, that this case is rather different from the ordinary "list adding" argument we have heard in the past, because the arts are already explicitly listed in the Bill. Amendment No. 453H expands that simple one-word reference to provide a fascinating definition of the arts but one which it is not necessary to include in the proposed legislation. It would cover all performing arts, applied arts, fine arts, other visual, audio, oral and plastic arts. It would spell out the policies that may extend to the commercial, subsidised and voluntary sectors.

Chris Smith, the Secretary of State, made a keynote address recently to the Royal Society of Arts in which he re-emphasised his own passion for the arts in the widest sense. They matter for their own and our sakes because they help to shape and characterise society. As he said, they are a civilising influence. It is of the greatest importance that they should be accessible to all. Of course, that implies that we should be covering the commercial, subsidised and voluntary sectors.

The fundamental purpose behind this Government's arts policy is to make the best things in life available to the greatest number. Our approach is therefore one of passionate commitment to the arts with a determination to ensure that they are well managed. I am sure that the mayor will want to seize these opportunities. That is what the Bill provides for him. The arts will provide the opportunity to celebrate the cultural diversity of the City in many ways. But we should not be getting into a lengthy debate over the relative merits of the categories of art defined in this amendment—I am not accusing the noble Lord of making a lengthy speech.

There is also a danger that by trying to introduce so specific a definition, some art forms might be excluded. It is the old problem. In my judgment we have gone almost too far in our lists and have run the risk of the criticism that if we include something like "treasure", why do we not have a wider definition of "the arts?" Why do we not have a wider definition of "tourism?" Why do we not have a wider definition of "sport?" Why do we not go into more and more detail? But we cannot rival the Oxford English Dictionary. In expressing my enthusiasm for the widest possible definition of the arts, let me plead with the noble Lord not to try and put it on the face of the Bill.

Lord Phillips of Sudbury

I am not assuaged by the eloquent defence of the policy of the Government on this matter. I wonder why the Government will not put certain matters beyond doubt. If they were on the face of the Bill, they would be beyond doubt. Since the clause is couched in non-exclusive language, I do not accept his argument. But follow it I must, and therefore I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 301 agreed to.

Lord Freyberg moved Amendment No. 454:

After Clause 301, insert the following new clause—

  2. cc1740-1
  4. cc1741-5
  6. cc1745-6
  8. cc1746-7
  10. c1747
  12. cc1747-59