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Lord Dean of Beswick: My Lords, we welcome the Minister's resume of what has happened in Manchester. Those of us who know the city knew that that was how it would respond. However, will the Minister cover the main point of the Question? Will the Government urgently consider applying the Northern Ireland criteria for compensation for damage from terrorist bombing activities across the board? Will they now extend those criteria to Manchester in order that people may get on with the job with the same confidence as people in Northern Ireland in those circumstances in the knowledge that what is blown up will be replaced by government money and not their own money? That is all we ask for, equal treatment with Northern Ireland. It is the same country, the same people. Why is there a difference?
If the Government do not answer that Question, when the people whose property was blown up in Manchester start to pay their taxes, they will be paying compensation to people in Northern Ireland. How can that be right in the one nation that the Prime Minister talks about?
Lord Lucas: My Lords, I shall come to that point shortly. Perhaps I may continue with answering the questions in the pile raised by the noble Lord. It is not yet clear what the clear-up will cost. There is much yet to be surveyed and most costs will be met by insurance companies. The Government have already provided an extra £21 million and will consider bids when costs are known. At the moment we do not know enough to tell what is required and what is missing.
The noble Lord, Lord Dean, is concerned about the Northern Ireland scheme. In the UK, insurance is generally available to cover for terrorist risks, and it is not that expensive. That is not the case in Northern Ireland. That is why separate arrangements are required in Northern Ireland which are not required on the mainland of Great Britain.
The noble Lord, Lord Dean, raises the question of the amount which we in the rest of the United Kingdom pay towards Northern Ireland. Indeed, we do pay a lot of money to Northern Ireland--as we do to Wales, Scotland and doubtless other parts of the United Kingdom. That is what being part of the United Kingdom is about. There are large transfers between one part of the kingdom and another. We should not in any way begrudge them. It is part of being one nation. It does not help to become envious of help that is given to other parts of the United Kingdom. Given the state Northern Ireland is in, it needs considerably more than the rest of the country.
Lord Dean of Beswick: My Lords, I thank the Minister for giving way. I do not want to open a debate on Northern Ireland; I merely quoted figures. Is the Minister aware that last year Northern Ireland was in receipt of £5 billion from central government and its net contribution to central government was £2 billion? Is he further aware that that is totally different from the position in relation to England, Scotland and Wales? It does not bear comparison. If it were one nation, the amount would be a lot less. I do not want that. All we are asking for is equal treatment in this particular situation in Manchester, based on the Northern Ireland criteria. It is not a lot to ask. It is a matter of justice. I am not a lawyer, but I question whether the case would stand examination in the European Court.
Lord Lucas: My Lords, I am sure that it would. Manchester, thank goodness, is not yet in the state that Northern Ireland is in, and I pray God that it never will be. Northern Ireland needs and deserves the help that we give it. One can start playing these games as to which parts of the United Kingdom pay money net and which parts of the United Kingdom receive money net. It is not helpful. We are one United Kingdom, and we look after our own.
We will examine other requests for funding as Manchester puts them to us. The noble Lord, Lord Graham, quite clearly understands that money is tight. We will be as sympathetic to Manchester's case as we can be. In the meantime, the sums of money I mentioned show that we are supporting Manchester in its efforts.
I am aware that Mr. Tony Blair has also visited Manchester. He said, as I understand it, that he would do what we are doing. I do not understand what he has said to promise anything more than we have done and said we will do. And that does not surprise me. We share a determination in this country to make sure that Manchester can flourish as it should.
Lord Monkswell: My Lords, I thank the Minister for giving way. Can I take it from his remarks that the Government would consider the needs of Manchester as they develop and as investigations go on? Are we to take it that they would not be bound by the so-called Bellwin formula in providing for the needs of Manchester, and that some other, presumably more sensible, criterion would be adopted by central government to meet the needs of Manchester?
Lord Lucas: My Lords, the Bellwin formula only covers the first week or so of activity. That is a small and separate discussion with which I do not want to weary the House this evening. We are talking about much larger sums that Manchester will need to rebuild and revitalise itself. As I said, we remain committed to listening to Manchester City Council, which has done a wonderful job so far, when it tells us what it needs, and what for, and to being as constructive as we can.
Lord Graham of Edmonton: My Lords, perhaps the Minister will allow me just one intervention. I am very heartened by his remarks about the Government's intention to work with Manchester to help rebuild its city. That is the "macro" aspect of the situation. We are all concerned. I am sure that the people of Manchester and those who spoke for them will accept that is about as far as we can go: to wait for the true cost, and wait to see what can be offset against it by insurance, etc.
However, we are also concerned about little people, some of whom are, sadly, not insured. The Minister might say that is a great pity but others are insured and their insurance companies have paid out; they have paid the premiums and they are entitled to compensation. But let us look at the reality. These are little people. We might be prudent; we might have taken out insurance, but the sad fact is that these people have been dealt a body blow. They have to get their stock replaced; they have to find premises; and they have to get ready now for the Christmas trade.
Lord Lucas: My Lords, we clearly cannot have a policy of compensating people who are not insured, otherwise the whole insurance market would collapse and no one would pay premiums. It is important that a fund like the Lord Mayor's fund exists so that local people can take local decisions to look after individuals and small businesses that have been caught up in the destruction. Those have to be local decisions. As I said earlier, this is a part of the operation which appears at the moment to be going well, and the response appears to be adequate and, in general, proportionate. Of course, I will admit to not knowing nearly as much of the detail as noble Lords who have spoken this evening.
I raised the issue of the Lord Mayor's emergency fund, which covers the people we are talking about now, to which £1 million has been pledged. I gather from people in Manchester who are members of that wide-ranging committee that they estimate that they will need twice that amount. They need just £1 million, which is not a lot of money, in order to ease the burden of these small businesses, many of which were not insured, not because they did not try, but because they could not obtain insurance. I refer to the lady in the flower kiosk.
In looking constructively at the case which Manchester puts to us for further funding, we are continuing the close links between Government and the City of Manchester which have been established over the last decade. We may have our differences politically with the council, but as the redevelopment of Hulme and Castlefields, and our support for Manchester's City Pride initiative show, we want Manchester to succeed as much as local people do.
The noble Lord, Lord McNally, asked questions on the stadium and the second runway at the airport. Concerning the stadium, we understand that Manchester is well placed in the current consideration of options for the stadium, but that is a matter for the Sports Council, and I cannot offer him any commitment on that. So far as the runway is concerned, there was clearly a major planning inquiry and the report has not yet been received from the inspector. That, as the noble Lord will understand, is something on which we have to pass judgement, and again, therefore, there is nothing further that I can say on that this evening.
We would say the same to any other of our great cities as we are saying to Manchester, for if they are not successful the country as a whole will not be successful. Manchester is a proud city. We have seen much of its resilience and fighting spirit in recent weeks. The noble Baroness, Lady Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, called it courage, which is a pretty good summing up. That is plain for all to see as Manchester and the Mancunians recover from the devastation and forge a city for the next century.
The noble Baroness, Lady Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, was worried lest we forget Manchester. I consider that to be inconceivable for this Government, and inconceivable for me personally as every time I enter my son's bedroom I see Manchester all over the walls. With such sons and daughters, adopted or otherwise, of which we have spoken this evening, forgetting Manchester is totally out of the question.
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