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Baroness Rawlings: My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness for that answer. I am most grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Chorley. I agree with him that NESTA should be far more confined and should not cover such grandiose schemes.

Unfortunately, the noble Baroness did not address my point about the charities. I believe that if the clause stands NESTA will have the potential to make charities suffer. At a time when it is difficult to raise money, we feel that it is wrong for a government body to compete with charities. Therefore, I must test the opinion of the House.

6.20 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 21) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 49; Not-Contents, 99.

Division No. 2


Astor of Hever, L.
Biddulph, L.
Bowness, L.
Bridgeman, V.
Brookeborough, V.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Caithness, E.
Carnock, L.
Chesham, L.
Chorley, L.
Courtown, E. [Teller.]
Cumberlege, B.
Dacre of Glanton, L.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Dilhorne, V.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Elton, L.
Erroll, E.
Fookes, B.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L.
Hayhoe, L.
Henley, L.
HolmPatrick, L.
Hooper, B.
Kitchener, E.
Lane of Horsell, L.
Lawrence, L.
Lyell, L.
Milverton, L.
Montgomery of Alamein, V.
Mountevans, L.
Noel-Buxton, L.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Pilkington of Oxenford, L.
Rawlings, B.
Rees, L.
Rowallan, L.
Selkirk of Douglas, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Skidelsky, L.
Strathclyde, L. [Teller.]
Strathcona and Mount Royal, L.
Sudeley, L.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Vivian, L.
Waddington, L.
Weatherill, L.
Wharton, B.
Wynford, L.


Acton, L.
Amos, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Berkeley, L.
Blackstone, B.
Blease, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Burlison, L.
Carlisle, E.
Carter, L. [Teller.]
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Desai, L.
Dholakia, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Ewing of Kirkford, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Falkland, V.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Gallacher, L.
Geraint, L.
Gilbert, L.
Goodhart, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Grenfell, L.
Grey, E.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. [Lord Chancellor.]
Islwyn, L.
Jay of Paddington, B.
Jeger, B.
Jenkins of Putney, L.
Kennedy of The Shaws, B.
Kennet, L.
Kilbracken, L.
Longford, E.
Lovell-Davis, L.
McCarthy, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
McNair, L.
McNally, L.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Mishcon, L.
Molloy, L.
Molyneaux of Killead, L.
Monkswell, L.
Montague of Oxford, L.
Murray of Epping Forest, L.
Nicol, B.
Pitkeathley, B.
Prys-Davies, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Rea, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Richard, L. [Lord Privy Seal.]
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Rogers of Riverside, L.
Sefton of Garston, L.
Serota, B.
Simon, V.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Southwell, Bp.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taverne, L.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomas of Macclesfield, L.
Tope, L.
Tordoff, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Walker of Doncaster, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Watson of Invergowrie, L.
Wedderburn of Charlton, L.
Whitty, L. [Teller.]
Williams of Crosby, B.
Winchilsea and Nottingham, E.
Winston, L.
Young of Old Scone, B.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

9 Mar 1998 : Column 62

9 Mar 1998 : Column 63

6.28 p.m.

Schedule 4 [The National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts]:

Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale moved Amendment No. 22:

Page 32, line 19, at end insert--

("Prior consultation

12. Any consultation undertaken before the commencement of this Schedule in connection with any appointments under paragraph 1 above shall be as effective, in relation to those appointments, as if this Schedule had been in force at the time the consultation was undertaken.").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, under paragraph 1(2) of Schedule 4, the Secretary of State is required to consult a wide range of bodies operating in the field of science, technology and the arts before he appoints NESTA's chair and trustees. We see that requirement as essential to ensure that the Secretary of State is able both to identify the highest calibre candidates from across the wide areas of activity with which NESTA will be concerned and to ensure that the scientific, technological and artistic communities have a real stake in NESTA and share our vision for it.

If NESTA is to be able to start work as soon as possible after Royal Assent, we need to identify very soon the chair and trustees who will direct it. Therefore, we have set in train the procedures for achieving that target. As part of that process, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has written on the Secretary of State's behalf to more than 250 bodies working in the fields of science, technology and the arts to seek suggestions of people who might serve as chair or trustees.

This amendment is designed to remove a potential technical hurdle. It provides that any consultation exercise undertaken before Royal Assent, such as that we have just completed, will be valid for the purposes of the consultation requirement in paragraph 1(2). Without that provision, we should technically run the risk of having to go through the consultation process again after Royal Assent. That would clearly be a waste of resources and would seriously delay the point at which we could appoint the chair and trustees and thus the point at which NESTA could begin its important work.

There has been general support for the concept of NESTA and I believe that the consultation requirement has also been widely welcomed. I trust that the House will see the sense of the amendment and will accept it.

6.30 p.m.

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie: My Lords, I regret that the snow and ice of Scotland made it impossible for me to arrive here for the beginning of the Report stage of the Bill. However, this amendment provides me with a convenient peg on which to hang the letter

9 Mar 1998 : Column 64

which the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, wrote to me dated 4th March inasmuch as in paragraph 21 of that letter he said that,

    "we propose that the Executive",

that is the executive of the Scottish parliament,

    "should be consulted over appointments",

to NESTA. I merely observe in passing that clearly in relation to the first lot of appointments, the Scottish executive will not be consulted. However, I recognise why that should be.

In Committee on the Bank of England Bill, the noble Lord referred to this Bill and described the letter which he had sent to me as a "dense" letter. It is indeed dense but I do not regard it as dense in any pejorative sense. It is certainly a letter which contains within it a mass of detail and a number of far-reaching proposals. However, I acknowledge immediately his courtesy in writing to me in such detail and I acknowledge it also as being extremely helpful.

In many respects, what the noble Lord has spelt out seems to me to go a long way to meeting our concerns; namely, that where National Lottery money was going to be spent on particular items in Scotland, there should be an involvement of the Scottish executive and the Scottish parliament. I am grateful for the acknowledgement that that was not as clearly spelt out as it might have been.

I am afraid that the letter did not reach me until after lunch-time on Thursday. I am not being critical; that is a matter of fact. Thereafter, as the noble Lord knows, I was engaged in our discussions on the Competition Bill and I am afraid that I did not have time to table any amendments. However, I doubt whether I should have done so. What the Minister explained repeatedly in his letter is that a number of mechanisms are being explored and a number of approaches have yet to be developed. That being so, I am more interested in ensuring that any changes meet the draftsman's distinctive style and approach to matters rather than tabling probing amendments, having secured those observations from the noble Lord.

However, there is one matter that I wish to mention because it seems to raise a point of principle not only in relation to this legislation but other legislation which may be going through Parliament. The noble Lord has been good enough to place a copy of this letter in the Library. At paragraph 23 he states:

    "As you know, various provisions of the Scotland Bill enable functions of Ministers of the Crown to be transferred to the Executive, or for functions to be exercised with the consent of or subject to consultation with the Executive, where appropriate, thus wherever possible avoiding laborious amendments to existing legislation".

I understand the value and purpose of such a power and I can see why the Government wish to have such a power where the matter in question is not the subject of any legislation passing through Parliament

9 Mar 1998 : Column 65

at that time. However, it seems to me to be extending it rather further than is truly legitimate by saying that, notwithstanding the fact that here is a Bill going through Parliament, where the 1993 Act might be amended--and it would clearly fall within this Bill--that is not to the approach to be adopted. Rather, the powers contained in the Scotland Bill will be used at some point in the future.

If that is what is being suggested, I question the legitimacy of that approach. It would be far more desirable, if the Government were to make changes, that those changes be contained within this Bill.

I recognise that this is one of the last amendments to be considered on Report and the noble Lord might wish to relax. I do not suggest that he should bring forward a raft of amendments to cover the various points which have been raised on Third Reading. But it does not detract from this matter that at some point before the Bill reaches the statute book the Government should, as best they can, seek to table those amendments which would put this matter clearly on the face of the Bill and would not simply be relying on a provision within the Scotland Bill.

I do not press the matter any further than that at present. I hope that the noble Lord will reflect on that. He has been kind enough to offer me the opportunity of a meeting, which I graciously accept.

We have repeatedly sought to examine legislation to see what would be the impact of that legislation after the establishment of the Scottish parliament; how the inter-play would work between this Parliament and the new Scottish parliament. I fear that other Ministers have thought that we were intent merely on being destructive or making mischief. We are not intent on doing that. I believe that the Minister's response reveals that he understands that we are not doing that; and we are not. We are trying to improve legislation as best we can to avoid the possibility of any conflict between this Parliament and the Scottish parliament. As other legislation goes through, there may be circumstances where, as here, we shall seek to extend the powers of the Scottish parliament where in other circumstances we might seek to restrict them. Mr. Tam Dalyell has said that he fears that the Scotland Bill is nothing more than part of a process. Our essential objective will be to ensure, as best we can, that it will be a proper constitutional settlement.

For that reason, we are testing and probing those issues in various Bills. I am grateful that the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, at least, alone in the Government, has recognised that that is our intention.

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