|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, my noble friend is of course right. It is an excellent precedent. Alan Howarth, the Arts Minister, visited the Fitzwilliam Museum recently and confirmed that he would like to encourage an extension of that precedent. I must admit that the Fitzwilliam has the power to pick and choose the works of art which it wishes to show. It is likely that a large number of exempt works of art are not of sufficient quality under the previous definition for open exhibition in the Fitzwilliam Museum. However, we are certainly pursuing the extension and addition of the idea of access in public arts spaces and we shall continue with those efforts.
Lord Hamilton of Dalzell: My Lords, since this provision is part of a Finance Act, will the Minister tell us whether the Treasury has any estimate of the yield in terms of money which it is likely to produce, and how that corresponds with the amount of money which the Government hand back to people running the country's heritage who do not have enough money in terms of grants?
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, the estimate which we have and which I gave at the time of the debate is that the revenue forgone by the conditional exemption agreement is approximately £30 million net of any costs. That is the exact answer.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): My Lords, members of the Royal Military Police investigation branch serving with the British deployment in KFOR are taking the lead in the investigation. We shall do all we can to assist KFOR, UNMIK and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in their investigations.
We wholeheartedly condemn the massacre and strongly endorse the statement of 26th July by the president of the UN Security Council expressing shock and concern and calling for a speedy and thorough investigation to bring to justice those responsible.
I am sure all Members of this House share the dismay and horror at the massacre of the 14 Serb farmers last week and will want to associate themselves with the Minister's remarks about the statement made on 26th July. She will know that Bernard Kouchner, the head of the civil arm in Kosovo, said that the cycle of violence must be broken. Can she therefore respond to two questions? First, is it correct that the number of international police officers in Kosovo still amounts to only a couple of hundred against the original target of 3,000? Secondly, what steps, if any, are being taken to bring about the disarming of the KLA? That is an important factor in trying to re-establish civic peace in Kosovo.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, I join in the warm congratulations paid by the noble Baroness, Lady Williams of Crosby, on the promotion of my noble friend Lady Scotland. It is an excellent appointment.
Breaking the cycle of violence in Kosovo is a crucial factor in KFOR's deployment at the moment. The noble Baroness expressed concern about the rates of deployment of police in Kosovo; but it was always envisaged that KFOR would have to undertake such duties until the police force was established. According to the United Nations figures given at the Security Council briefing last week, 126 United Nations police officers were present in Kosovo to establish a headquarters and to do the essential initial liaison work with KFOR. A further 20 were due to arrive on or around 18th July and thereafter it is scheduled that 100 officers will be arriving every five days until 23rd August, at which point deployment will increase to 200 every five days until the full contingent of over 3,100 is in place. I hope that that gives the noble Baroness some specific figures on how we hope the police deployment will go.
The noble Baroness was also concerned about what is happening in relation to the KLA. The undertaking given by the KLA on 21st June is comprehensive. It provides for a ceasefire; it provides for disengagement from the zones of conflict and for subsequent demilitarisation and reintegration into civilian society. We understand that this is a difficult period, but full assessment of the level of compliance is in progress by NATO. It is watching the situation carefully. The general level of compliance is said to be satisfactory.
Lord Moynihan: My Lords, the House will be well aware how richly deserved is the promotion of the noble Baroness the Minister and how great a loss I shall feel at not being able to continue our constructive, if somewhat combative on occasions, dialogue on foreign affairs. I can only congratulate the wisdom of the Prime Minister on appointing the noble Baroness, Lady Scotland, who I am sure will match the noble Baroness, Lady Symons, in every respect.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lord, I thank the noble Lord for his kind congratulations. I am sure that he will enjoy a fruitful relationship with my noble friend, in the best possible sense of the word.
The noble Lord asked what is happening with refugees. A number of Serbs left Kosovo, as the House has discussed before. The figures are not entirely up to date; I am not sure whether the exact figures for this week are available. However, the last time I looked, the figures were in excess of 100,000.
A number of Serbs came to the United Kingdom before the end of the fighting because some Serbs who felt that they could not do Mr Milosevic's work in Kosovo came here as refugees. I am unable to distinguish between the Serbs and the ethnic Albanians who came to the United Kingdom as refugees because we offered refuge in this country to people who were displaced by the Milosevic regime without fear or favour with regard to their ethnic origins. I doubt therefore that I shall be able to give that specific breakdown. However, if more figures become available, I am sure that my noble friend will be able to supply them to the noble Lord.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, it has been made clear to the KLA. Your Lordships may have seen a number of press statements on what the KLA said in condemning this matter. I am unable to confirm those statements. I asked about the KLA's official position, but as yet I do not have official confirmation of what the KLA said; I have only the press reports which your Lordships will have been able to read as well.
Many different people are making up the police force in Kosovo. It will not be a proper police force. Would it not have been more sensible to ask just one country to run and recruit a proper police force so that the culture of that police force is homogenous and not heterogeneous?
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, uncharacteristically, the noble Earl asked a question based on a false premise. The fact is that there will be an homogenous police force because it will be under the control of the OSCE. The OSCE has been establishing a police training school. The United Nations and the OSCE together drew up the criteria for the selection of officers, and recruitment has begun. Therefore, the
Moved, That, for the purpose of hearing the references on the effect of the House of Lords Bill, the senior Lord of Appeal present be appointed Chairman of the Committee for Privileges; and that the Committee have leave to hear parties interested, by themselves, their counsel, agents, and witnesses so far as the Committee think fit.--(The Chairman of Committees.)
Perhaps I may explain the background to this Motion. The House will remember that in November 1996 the House agreed to a resolution providing for a sum of money to be set aside for each of the two main Opposition parties in your Lordships' House. That became known as the "Cranborne money". The Committee on Standards in Public Life, chaired by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Neill of Blaydon, in its fifth report on the funding of political parties, made recommendations concerned with the Cranborne money, along with a range of other matters which were covered in the Government's White Paper and draft Bill announced by my noble and learned friend Lord Williams of Mostyn on Tuesday.
The remaining paragraphs of the resolution before your Lordships today propose a new scheme under which the Convenor of the Cross-Bench Peers would, with effect from 1st October this year, have his own fund to assist him in carrying out parliamentary business on behalf of the Cross-Bench Peers. This scheme mirrors the Cranborne money scheme and is very much
Moved, That, in the opinion of this House, the provisions of this resolution should have effect in relation to the giving of financial assistance to opposition parties and to the Convenor of the Crossbench Peers in this House:
(1) The resolution of the House of 27th November 1996 shall have effect as if paragraph (2)(b) provided for £216,842 and £65,052 respectively to be the maximum amounts of financial assistance which may be given for the year beginning with 1st April 1999.
(b) for the year beginning with 1st April 2000, £20,000, but increased by the percentage (if any) by which the retail prices index for March 2000 has increased compared with the index for March 1999, and (if the resulting amount is not a whole number of pounds) rounded to the nearest pound; and
(c) for each subsequent year, the maximum amount for the previous year but increased by the percentage (if any) by which the retail prices index for the previous March has increased compared with the index for the March before that, and (if the resulting amount is not a whole number of pounds) rounded to the nearest pound.
(c) as soon as practicable after each 31st March following the passing of this resolution furnish that officer with the certificate of an independent professional auditor to the effect that all expenses in respect of which the financial assistance was claimed during the period ending with that day were incurred as mentioned in sub-paragraph (b) above.
|Next Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|