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AMENDMENTS TO COMMONS AMENDMENT No. 185

185A

Leave out lines 4 to 7 and insert ("No one person may, at any time when his audience time in respect of the period of twelve months ending with the last day of the preceding calendar month exceeds 15 per cent of total audience time in respect of that period--").


185B

Line 27, leave out (", and subject to sub-paragraph (3)").


185C

Line 28, after ("time") insert ("at any time ("the relevant time")").


185D

Line 33, at end insert ("at the relevant time").


185E

Line 38, after ("is") insert ("at the relevant time").


185F

Line 41, at end insert ("at the relevant time").


185G

Line 42, leave out sub-paragraphs (3) and (4).

Lord Inglewood: My Lords, I have already spoken to Amendments Nos. 185A to 185G. I beg to move them en bloc.

Moved, That Amendments Nos. 185A to 185G, as amendments to Commons Amendment No. 185, be agreed to.--(Lord Inglewood.)

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On Question, amendments agreed to.

On Question, Commons Amendment No. 185, as amended, agreed to.

COMMONS AMENDMENTS

186

Schedule 2, page 95, line 37, at end insert--


'(7) If it appears to the Secretary of State that there has been a significant change in the audience measurement practices prevailing in the television industry, the Secretary of State may, after consulting the Commission, make such amendments of sub-paragraphs (1), (3) and (6) as he considers appropriate for the purpose of taking account of that change'.
187

Page 95, line 42, leave out from beginning to first 'a'.

Lord Inglewood: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 186 and 187. I spoke to these amendments in speaking to Amendment No. 185.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 186 and 187.--(Lord Inglewood.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

COMMONS AMENDMENT

188

Schedule 2, page 95, line 48, at beginning insert--


'(1A) For the purposes of sub-paragraph (1), a person who is a participant with more than a 20 per cent. interest in a body corporate which holds a licence to provide a television multiplex service but does not control that body shall be treated as holding the licence held by that body.
(1B) No one person may at any time, in relation to each of five or more licences to provide television multiplex services, be either the holder of the licence or a participant with more than a 10 per cent. interest in a body corporate which holds the licence.
(2) In relation to'.

Lord Inglewood: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 188. In speaking to this amendment I should like also to speak to Amendments Nos. 189, 190 to 195, 210, 211, 213 and 214. This group of amendments deals with the aggregation of interests in licences to provide digital terrestrial services. Amendments Nos. 188 and 189 provide limits of participation to prevent the accumulation of interests in licences to provide digital multiplex services for television. A person who controls or has an interest in more than 20 per cent. of three such licences is restricted to a 20 per cent. interest in another such licence and to interests of 10 per cent. in any such licences thereafter. Amendment No. 190 provides for these arrangements to be amended by order. It also provides that the Secretary of State may designate a television multiplex service as a regional television multiplex service if it covers less than half the population of the United Kingdom.

Amendments Nos. 210 and 211 provide similar restrictions to prevent the accumulation of interests in digital radio multiplex licences. Amendment No. 191 provides that the Secretary of State may impose limits on those providing digital programme services by means of a designated regional multiplex and the control of Channel 3 services and local analogue and digital radio

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provided for areas which are to a significant extent the same. This is prevent the development of local media monopolies.

Amendment No. 192 allows a digital programme service provider to provide any number of services on a single digital television multiplex without limitation under the television points system. But as soon as the licence holder provides services on two multiplexes, the points system would apply to him.

Amendment No. 193 makes a drafting correction to Part III of the schedule. Amendment No. 194 provides that only one point is attributable to those digital programme services provided by means of a designated regional multiplex. Amendment No. 195 clarifies the restriction in sub-paragraph (8) by providing that it applies to a participant with more than 20 per cent. interest who does not control that licence. Amendments Nos. 213 and 214 change the arrangements restricting the number of services which the holder of a local digital sound programme service licence may provide on a local radio multiplex.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 188.--(Lord Inglewood.)

Lord Renton: My Lords, this is something which one could have said at any stage in the consideration of these Commons amendments, but I give an undertaking to say it only once. We have here, as we have already had--and we shall have many more--a mass of somewhat technical amendments which mostly have not arisen from views expressed in your Lordships' House when the Bill was before us; nor do they arise for the most part from views expressed in another place. They are necessary amendments, but they are mostly very technical and they are amendments which I think could well have been brought into the Bill as originally published if, instead of taking about one year over the preparation of the Bill, two years or even three years had been allowed in order to do so.

The Prime Minister recently made a speech about the working of the constitution generally in which he talked of ideas on the improving of the handling of legislation in the years to come. One of those suggestions was that we should have an arrangement, when we have massive Bills and especially technical Bills, for having much longer time for their consideration. The suggestion was that draft Bills should be issued to all those who might be affected by them: public bodies and others. I mention this because here is an example which illustrates the need for the change which the Prime Minister has proposed. I hope that it may be regarded as a good example of what needs to be done in the years to come.

Lord Inglewood: My Lords, the point that my noble friend has made is a very good one. As he says, this is almost a textbook case of very technical legislation. If I may, I should like to make what one might describe as a couple of points in mitigation. The first is that many of the points we are considering arose out of commitments given by me in this House at an earlier stage. In addition, the vast majority of the others arise from commitments given and changes introduced in another place.

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The point made by my noble friend about the general technicality of the Bill is well taken, but there is one point which I have already mentioned on a number of occasions and perhaps in this context it is appropriate to repeat it. We accept that this was a difficult Bill and it was brought in in a hurry. There was one very good reason for that: it is a Bill asked for by the industry in order to enable digital terrestrial broadcasting to take place in this country. Digital satellite broadcasting and digital cable broadcasting can be done without any legislative change.

The industry requested the Government to bring in the necessary legal framework to give the possibility of digital terrestrial broadcasting a chance. It is the view of the industry--and one which we ought to take very seriously--that unless we got that legislative framework in place quickly, the economic consequences would be that there was every likelihood that digital terrestrial broadcasting would not take place in Britain at all. Because the points made by my noble friend are entirely well taken, I thought it important to explain why, in the particular circumstances of this Bill, the Government brought forward proposals which in ordinary circumstances they probably would not have done. There was, I believe, a very good underlying reason for so doing.

Lord Renton: My Lords, before my noble friend sits down, may I thank him for that explanation? However, I should like to say that I would still suggest that this indicates a need for plenty of time to be given in such cases.

Lord Inglewood: My Lords, my noble friend is absolutely right, but one of the extraordinary things which are happening in the world is that the technology in this area is moving forward fast. Indeed, what one might describe as the broadcasting landscape is very different now from what it was in November when the Bill was introduced. In economic terms it is almost a different world from what it was six months ago.

Lord Donoghue: My Lords, I agree entirely with what the noble Lord said and I sympathise with him. I am sure he will sympathise with us on this side if he considers that we, on this side, unpaid, and with no research back-up at all, have had to handle the technicalities of the Bill from day one. The people responsible might think about the necessity from the public interest point of view to provide a proper support structure for Her Majesty's Opposition in this House.

On Question, Motion agreed to.


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