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Lord Howell moved Amendment No. 4:


Before Clause 1, insert the following new clause--

Advisory Committee for Broadcasting and Sport

(".--(1) The Secretary of State shall establish a committee to be known as the Advisory Committee for Broadcasting and Sport.
(2) The Committee shall consist of--
(a) a Chairman appointed by the Secretary of State, and
(b) fourteen members appointed by the Secretary of State representative of the interests of--
(i) broadcasters,
(ii) sporting bodies, and
(iii) viewers of and listeners to broadcast services.
(3) The Committee shall--
(a) review such matters relating to the broadcasting of sport as it considers appropriate, and
(b) consider any matter referred to it by the Secretary of State,
and shall from time to time report and make recommendations to the Secretary of State.
(4) Any report or recommendations made under subsection (3) shall be laid before Parliament.").

The noble Lord said: Amendment No. 4 seeks to help the Government. Under the 1990 Act the way in which listed events are decided is that the Secretary of State must consult and then he can sit down and make an order. The matter does not even have to come back before Parliament. That cannot be satisfactory.

I assume that, from time to time, especially when digital television is in full flow, Ministers will want to make orders. For example, as I said at an earlier stage today, if the new chairman of the BBC thinks it right to go down a pay-as-you-view road with one of the new digital channels, and provided the cost is reasonable to all those whose interests are protected and who cannot afford Sky, then it would be sensible for us to consider the issue again. However, there is no machinery for the Secretary of State so to do and I have just had a cockshy in trying to provide some with the amendment.

Again, I shall understand if the Minister says that I have left out a lot of interests. I hope he does not say that. I have included,


    "broadcasters ... sporting bodies, and ... viewers of and listeners to broadcast services".
That seems to cover everybody, and if everybody can be properly consulted so that the Secretary of State can reach a conclusion and bring the matter before Parliament, that would seem to be an eminently satisfactory way to proceed. I hope, therefore, that the Minister will be as conciliatory towards Amendment No. 4 as he and I have been towards each other in the past few minutes. I beg to move.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter: It seems to me, as a small verbal point, that the first paragraph under which the advisory committee is named, is wrong. It would not be an advisory committee for broadcasting and sport; it would not be an advisory committee for vast areas of sport; it would be an advisory committee for broadcasting sporting events.

Lord Inglewood: I am grateful to my noble friend Lord Boyd-Carpenter for his intervention and to the noble Lord, Lord Howell, for explaining his proposals. I recognise the spirit in which the amendment is moved.

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I must admit that I remain to be convinced of the overriding need for an advisory committee and have doubts about the remit and added value that it may have, not forgetting the problems of cost and bureaucracy. However, we are prepared to consider the issue further. On that basis I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Howell, will feel able to withdraw the amendment.

Lord Howell: What an extremely helpful intervention. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Viscount Astor moved Amendment No. 5:


Before Clause 1, insert the following new clause--

Certain events not to be shown on pay-per-view terms

(".--(1) Section 182 of the 1990 Act is amended as follows--
(2) In subsection (1) after the words "Part I of this Act" there shall be inserted the words "or in any such service which requires payment to receive or view that service".
(3) In subsection (2) after the words "or the Welsh Authority" there shall be inserted the words "or in any such service which requires payment to receive or view that service".
(4) In subsection (3) after the words "national interest" there shall be inserted the words "and importance".
(5) In subsection (4) for the word "subsection" there is substituted the word "section" and after words "national interest" there shall be inserted "and importance".
(6) After subsection (7) there is inserted--
"( ) In drawing up or revising such a list as is mentioned in subsection (3) the Secretary of State shall have due regard to the representations made to him by those he has consulted, in particular--
(a) in relation to a particular event, the representations of the person from whom the rights to televise the event may be acquired as to the financial consequences of being included in, or omitted from, the list; and
(b) whether, in the event the relevant event is included in the list, the whole of the relevant event will be included in any television broadcasting service referred to in subsection (1) or (2)".").

The noble Viscount said: I tabled Amendment No. 5 in an attempt to allow the Committee to consider what events should or should not be on the list. We have had debates already in regard to protecting the list from subscription as well as pay-to-view television and on highlights. However, we have not looked at what should make up the list.

In that regard we are faced with two conflicting problems. I believe that, fundamentally, the Government should not interfere with intellectual property rights, whether they are sporting rights, broadcasting rights, book rights, music rights or any other kind of rights. I do not believe either that the public have some sort of divine right to watch sport on television. It is not a right; it is a service. Having said that, it is true that the service has become an accepted custom; but it is not a right any more than that one has the right to march into a football stadium and watch a match for free.

The Government made the right decision when they established the list under the 1990 Act. There are some events which the public should be able to see on free-to-air television. They are national events in which the nation has a stake. The difficulty is how to define what is a national event. What is it in which the nation has a stake?

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Those events should involve a national team--for example, Test matches and football World Cup finals. That does not necessarily mean that any sport involving a national team should be on the list. There are also national events like the Derby and the Grand National that are currently on the list and have nothing to do with the nation competing. The public enjoy watching them. We must consider whether or not they should be included on the list. Fundamentally, it should be up to the racing organisations to decide.

It is important that, where events are to be included on the list, proper safeguards are installed to protect sporting interests. At the very least the Secretary of State should consult the sporting bodies concerned and take account of any possible loss of revenue that may occur as a result of being on the list. Also, an event should not be included on the list unless the whole event cannot be broadcast live. We had discussions earlier today in relation to the Ryder Cup. It seems to me to be distinctly pointless to add such an event to the list because, when it was on the BBC, one saw only a tiny proportion of it. When it was on subscription television we were able to watch the whole match in its entirety. In such a case, it should not be included on the list. However, the BBC should have the opportunity to show the highlights and those problems are then solved.

We have had a good deal of debate about the broadcasters, but I sometimes wonder whether we are picking up the wrong end of the stick. Should we be regulating the sporting bodies and not the broadcasters? After all, it is they who own the rights and they sell the rights. They operate in the best interests of the sporting bodies but that does not mean to say that they necessarily get the right deals. They all have different needs. Not all of them want to sell to the highest bidder. Wimbledon and the Olympic Games are good examples of where the organisations concerned made sure that the event was sold so that it could be seen on free-to-air terrestrial television. Football had a different view and it has done very well out of it. Ten years ago football was getting just over £6 million for its rights. Now it is getting 10 times that amount. However, we must get the balance right.

My amendment attempts to look at how we should define what is on the list. It is purely a probing amendment. I am grateful to my noble friend for publishing the consultation document, which will allow us to consider all these issues in some detail. I move the amendment in order to give my noble friend a chance to reply if he has anything to say to it. I beg to move.

6 p.m.

Baroness Trumpington: For clarification, perhaps I may ask my noble friend whether he was also speaking to Amendments Nos. 230 and 233, with which his amendment is grouped.


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