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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): My Lords, during the recent crisis we did not request military participation from EU partners. The majority of EU states supported the UK position. In addition, some either contributed directly to the military presence in the Gulf or offered logistical support. The details are as follows: Belgium agreed to send a frigate; the Netherlands agreed to send a frigate; Denmark agreed to send one C130 Hercules transport aircraft; Germany agreed to make air bases available; Portugal agreed to the use of available air bases and Spain agreed to make air bases available. In addition, Finland, Italy, Austria and Sweden acknowledged that military action would be necessary if diplomacy failed.

Lord Hardy of Wath: My Lords, I thank my noble friend for that Answer, which is a little disappointing since our partner states would share in the rejoicing if the effort so far proceeding resulted in the removal or destruction of Iraq's quite horrid weaponry. Is it not the case, however, that those countries which are not making particularly significant contributions are among those most fervently calling for the establishment of a European defence pillar, and that one cannot be sure that they would contribute very much towards it?

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, my noble friend says that he finds the Answer a little disappointing. In view of the fact that so many at the time claimed that the United Kingdom and the United States were isolated in their stance on Iraq, I disagree with my noble friend's assessment. Noble Lords may be interested to learn that in addition a number of other countries either offered direct contributions to the military presence in the Gulf or made available logistic support. Those countries included Australia, Canada, Poland, Norway, Romania, New Zealand and Argentina. I believe that the alliance that was established was quite wide ranging.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: My Lords, can the Minister assure the House that the Government consulted their European Union partners as fully as possible in the run-up to the Iraq crisis? The United Kingdom has the presidency of the Union. It appeared a little odd that we did not convene a special meeting to discuss this question, given that the Treaty of Amsterdam contains a special clause which provides that permanent members of the Security Council shall inform and consult EU partners. How much was done?

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, that question has been raised in your Lordships' House in the past. I reiterate that Iraq was discussed regularly at all levels in the EU. During February alone the Iraqi crisis was discussed at five different high-level EU meetings, including twice by EU Foreign Ministers. The crisis arose due to Iraq's non-compliance with the UN's Security Council resolutions, and therefore it was logical that the UN should take the lead in the crisis. The noble Lord may like to know, however, that the WEU

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contributed to the international action in the build-up to the Gulf War by co-ordinating the European naval contribution to the blockade of Iraq.

Lord Burnham: My Lords, I note that the countries cited by the noble Baroness in her first Answer were all western European. In her second answer the countries to which she referred were also "white", if that is not an improper term, and included countries in eastern Europe. What approaches were made to Middle Eastern and Arab states and what was their response?

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for his question. I felt that my previous answers were becoming too long and perhaps testing your Lordships' patience. However, as the noble Lord asks the question, the countries were Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar as well as the Czech Republic and Hungary, who also offered practical support during the recent crisis.

Lord Avebury: My Lords, what help has the European Union been asked to give in resuscitating the Iraqi National Congress which, after all, affords a much better long-term prospect for changing the system of government in Iraq and replacing Saddam with a democratic system? Is it right that the Americans have given 38 million dollars to the promotion of a more vigorous policy by the INC, and how much will the Europeans give to supplement that?

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, as I understand the noble Lord, he asks about the establishment of an effective opposition within Iraq. We support and encourage, as do our European Union colleagues, the formation of a united representative opposition to Saddam's regime.

Lord Ewing of Kirkford: My Lords, now that the crisis is over, as one of my noble friend's Back Benchers who gave her some awkward moments, at the great risk of damaging her career, perhaps I may place on record my deep and sincere appreciation of the way in which she has mastered this very, very difficult brief. I shall be in the Bishops' Bar in half an hour's time.

Business

3.3 p.m.

Lord Carter: My Lords, at a convenient moment after 3.30 p.m. my noble friend Lady Farrington of Ribbleton will, with the leave of the House, repeat in the form of a Statement an answer to a Private Notice Question in another place on the situation in the Maze Prison.

Consolidated Fund (No. 2) Bill

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, I beg to move that the Bill be now read a second time.

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Moved, That the Bill be now read a second time.--(Lord McIntosh of Haringey.)

On Question, Bill read a second time; Committee negatived.

Then, Standing Order No. 44 having been suspended (pursuant to Resolution of 11th March), Bill read a third time, and passed.

National Lottery Bill [H.L.]

3.5 p.m.

Read a third time.

Clause 5 [The new good cause and the re-allocation of lottery money]:

Lord Skidelsky moved the amendment:


Page 8, line 12, leave out subsection (9).

The noble Lord said: My Lords, as this is my last appearance before your Lordships' House on this matter I take the opportunity afforded by this amendment to sum up our main objections to the Bill. They are four in number. I shall do this as quickly as I can because I do not want to delay the House unduly. The first objection concerns the character of the new good cause. It is very different from the others. It is an integral part of the Government's social programmes, not a desirable extra. As such, it has two consequences. First, the new opportunities fund will be much more directed as to what it should do than the other distributors. The much greater powers that the Secretary of State has taken under the Bill are a direct consequence of the new good cause. The second consequence is that the new good cause is voracious. The Government have already announced three initiatives. There are sure to be others added. That is why we expect that over time the new opportunities fund will take a larger and larger share of the total of national lottery money available for distribution. That is our first objection to the Bill.

Our second criticism arises from the Government's refusal to entrench the shares of lottery moneys going to the arts, sport, the national heritage and charities. Together with the Liberal Democrats, we have repeatedly asked for such entrenchment and the Minister has always refused. It is hard to resist the conclusion that the Government regard the flow of money to these causes as residual--the amounts of money left over after their prior commitments to the new opportunities fund and NESTA have been met. I have read carefully what the Minister said at Report. He promised that,


    "barring the extremely unlikely circumstance in which lottery income for good causes is less than £10 billion in total"--

that is, over the existing seven-year contract period--


    "we shall ensure that each of the existing good causes receives by 2001 the £1.8 billion expected when the lottery started".--[Official Report, 9/3/98; col. 21.]

They have already received £1 billion each under the legislation of the previous government. Of the remaining expected total of £5 billion, the National Millennium Commission will get £1 billion and the new opportunities fund another £1 billion, leaving £800 million each for the remaining good causes; that

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is, for the arts, national heritage, sport and charities. Therefore, they will lose £200 million each under the new legislation. Admittedly, this is a loss in relation to the expected £10 billion rather than the originally estimated £9 billion. Therefore, the Minister was able to argue that their original expectation had been left undisturbed. But this is a feeble argument, as my noble friend Lord Crickhowell pointed out at Report. The original expectations were not for a sum of money but for a percentage. No one knew in 1993 that the money would be £9 billion, just as no one today can say for certain that over the next three-and-a-half years the lottery will have £5 billion, £4 billion or even £3 billion to distribute. Suppose that the economy goes into recession. Stranger things have happened, even under Labour governments.

Does the Minister claim that in such circumstances people will go on spending the same on the lottery as they now do? He would be very incautious if he were to do so. That is why percentages are at the heart of the matter. The Minister cannot guarantee money but he can guarantee percentages. That he has always refused to do.

Let me rephrase the questions I asked on Report. Will the Minister assure us that in the event of the total for distribution over the next three-and-a-half years falling below what is expected he will protect the £1.8 billion that he has promised for the four good causes? Will he give an undertaking that in the event of the total for distribution exceeding the £10 billion he will ensure that a fair share of that surplus goes to those good causes?

Our third criticism concerns the commercial aspects of NESTA--the new endowment set up to help science, technology and the arts. We do not believe that it should become a business angel. It is not set up to second-guess the market, and it should not be trying to do so. I have put that argument repeatedly during the Bill's passage, but it has been water off a duck's back so far as concerns the Government. They will have to live with the consequences.

Finally, I come to the subject of the amendment. I have just one thing to add to what I said on Report. It arises directly from the Minister's remark:


    "Carrying the re-allocation of funding back to October 1997 does not affect the total money re-allocated from the existing good causes to the NOF and NESTA".--[Official Report, 9/3/98; col. 31.]

I am glad that we have at last a candid admission that the Government have been re-allocating money from last October. There is no fiction about those shadow accounts in that statement.

The Minister said that had that re-allocation not started, the new opportunities fund's share would have had to be set higher and the existing distributors' share lower than is now the case to make up for lost time. He asked what was improper about that. What is improper about it is that the national opportunities fund was not entitled to receive a penny of the money before the Bill became law. Had the Government wanted the new opportunities fund to have the £1 billion that they imprudently promised in their manifesto they should have put a higher percentage in the Bill with a lower

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percentage for the existing distributors. That would have been the honest thing to do. It would also have made transparent the extent of their raid on the four good causes. I understand why they preferred to do it the way that they did but it is underhand and sets a thoroughly bad precedent. I beg to move.


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