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Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, I hope the House will accept that we are very sympathetic to the intention behind this group of amendments. It is proper that the needs of disabled people should be considered and taken into account in relation to culture. Of course, the mayor can and, if I dare say so, should take account of the needs of disabled people in that way. The Government are particularly keen that disabled people should not be excluded from facilities and amenities that are accessible to others, nor from the enjoyment of culture which is fundamental to the quality of life of all of us.

The noble Baroness, in moving the amendment, referred to the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and I am grateful to her for quoting the parts of that Act which came into force at the beginning of this month. The point is that it applies to the whole of the United Kingdom, including Greater London. The cultural strategy group for London and the mayor will be able to make further specific provision for the disabled through the cultural strategy, to which the noble Baroness referred and which is referred to in Amendment No. 548, as part of the overall vision for cultural development in London.

Noble Lords will recall that throughout the Bill there has been discussion about national policies and about their role in the policies of the Greater London Authority. In developing and carrying out his duties, in this respect as in all others, the mayor must also have regard to policies at the national level. As regards tourism duties, the point clearly made by the noble Baroness about the need for restaurants to be suitable for the deaf and other disabled people. The mayor will need to refer to the tourism strategy, Tomorrow's Tourism, which we published in February and which has been debated in this House on several occasions. The noble Baroness will recall that widening access to tourism opportunities is a key priority in the strategy.

It is important that all aspects of the tourism experience are made accessible to everyone. In line with the Disability Discrimination Act, the strategy informs the industry of its duty as service provider to make "reasonable adjustments" for disabled people. The noble Baroness quoted the same part of the Act. For that reason, we believe that Amendment No. 552 is unnecessary.

I turn to Amendment No. 546. I can confirm that bodies with knowledge and experience of the needs of disabled people are, under the existing terms of the Bill, ones from which the mayor may choose to appoint representatives to the cultural strategy group for London. It is precisely because we are reluctant to prescribe the content of the draft culture strategy that we want to leave the possibility that such issues may be included in the strategy. That reply refers to Amendment No. 548. As we have said on a number of occasions, attempts to cover everything in legislation are more likely to lead to important topics being excluded. This is the problem of lists, to which we shall return soon.

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It is not our policy to prescribe all the good things we can expect the mayor to do. It is fundamental that we must leave it to the mayor's discretion. I hope that the noble Baroness will feel able to withdraw her amendments.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: My Lords, I am grateful for the Government's response because the Minister dared to comment on what the mayor should do. I appreciate that, throughout, the Government have assiduously avoided being prescriptive; so much so that when we on this side of the House have tried to punch the punch-bag of the Bill it has seemed to be full of nothing. However, on this occasion I welcome the Minister's comments that the cultural strategy put forward by the group to the mayor should give proper regard to the requirements of people with special needs and that the mayor, as the Minister dared to say, should have regard to such matters. On that basis, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Baroness Anelay of St. Johns moved Amendment No. 547:


Page 342, line 31, at beginning insert ("After formal consultation with the members of the Cultural Strategy Group,").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, paragraph 3 of Schedule 25 provides that the mayor shall appoint one of the members of the cultural strategy group to chair it. In Committee, I probed the procedure for appointing the chairman. At present, it is left to the mayor's personal preference. In debate, the noble Lord, Lord Annan, came up with what I thought was a rather practical and helpful suggestion to avoid the cronyism about which the House was concerned. Certainly, his suggestion is the basis of the amendment before the House this evening.

Amendment No. 547 would leave the appointment with the mayor but would ensure that, before that appointment was made, he would first have to consult formally with the members of the cultural strategy group. That would make the process all the more transparent and give more credibility to the chairman, when appointed. I beg to move.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, the noble Baroness has certainly reported the terms of the Bill correctly. The Bill provides that the mayor should appoint one of the members of the cultural strategy group to chair the group. Amendment No. 547 would require the mayor to consult the members of the group before making the appointment. I too recall the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Annan, describing with some passion things that had gone wrong in the British Museum some time ago.

I recognise that the noble Baroness is compromising on the previous proposal that the group should make its own appointment. But we are talking about a new body--at least in the first instance. It seems to me most likely that the mayor will want to appoint the chair first and then to consult with the chair to appoint the cultural strategy group for London. In other words, the process will take place the other way round, and

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not in the way suggested by this amendment. That is the approach normally adopted when setting up new bodies, at least in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. It seems to work well. It does not seem to smack too much of cronyism, and it seems to provide chairs who have something significant to contribute and groups with which they can work. If the amendment were passed, the procedures would be reversed. The mayor would have to make the appointments first so that he could consult the members.

However, it may be that the mayor will wish to take soundings from the members already appointed, and it will be open to the mayor to do so. As I said before, we are giving the mayor the power to appoint somebody who has authority and experience over a wide range of cultural fields. It should be for the mayor to decide how he makes that appointment and whether to consult the group, but there will be no obstacle to that happening.

I hope that the noble Baroness will agree that our proposals are more flexible and would provide the safeguards she seeks.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: My Lords, I thank the Minister for his response. The Government's flexibility could be abused, though not indeed, of course, if my noble friend Lord Archer were elected as the mayor to implement this proposal. There is always the worry that future candidates might act in a different manner. However, I take to heart the Minister's remarks about perhaps putting the cart before the horse, and on that basis I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 329 [The Mayor's culture strategy]:

[Amendment No. 548 not moved.]

Baroness Anelay of St Johns moved Amendment No. 549:


Page 181, line 3, at beginning insert ("Without prejudice to the generality of the duty imposed by subsection (1) above,").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, in moving the amendment, with the leave of the House, I shall speak briefly also to Amendment No. 550 to which I have added my name but which will be spoken to far more expertly by my noble friend Lord Teviot. Both amendments refer to Clause 329(5).

In Committee, we considered several amendments which tackled what your Lordships considered to be the deficiencies of subsection (5). That subsection describes the policies that may be contained within the culture strategy. Concern was expressed from all sides of the House that the list omitted some vital policy issues. The Government were, however, keen to keep the list in its current form. At that stage, the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, held out some hope that the addition of only one policy issue might be accepted by the Government--that of archives. That was at col. 1716 of Hansard. I took careful note of what the

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Minister said. My noble friends and I have taken great care subsequently to table only those amendments to Clause 329 which might meet his requirements.

Amendment No. 549 was suggested to me by the Open Spaces Society as a practical and rather pragmatic way forward. I thank it for its assistance. The society has expressed its thanks to the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, for his assurances in Committee that the GLA will have adequate powers to deal with the matters of open spaces and recreation. Those matters are of concern to the society as well as to the public at large.

In a letter to the Minister it pointed out that it is extremely important that the eventual Act, together with the accompanying explanatory notes, should be reasonably clear to intelligent people who wish or need to understand the work of the authority and its possible effect on their own interests without the need to take specialist advice.

The society still believes that the categories set out in Clause 329(5) cannot be considered to be a truly balanced list. However, it accepts and understands the Government's dislike of adding several further items. Therefore, the society offers a solution. It points out that another formula has been used in similar circumstances in previous legislation. That formula is the basis of this amendment. It is an amendment which I believe would make the coverage of subsection (5) more intelligible.

I also refer briefly to Amendment No. 550 in the name of my noble friend. In Committee I argued strongly in support of the text of the amendment--an admirably short text of just one word. Therefore, I shall not abuse Report stage procedure by simply repeating those arguments in full. However, I believe that my noble friend's amendment has great merit. I am aware that the Government are sympathetic to Amendment No. 550. I hope that they will be able to give my noble friend good news today. I beg to move Amendment No. 549.

9.30 p.m.

Lord Teviot: My Lords, in following my noble friend, I add only that there has been an extra piece of news between Committee stage and now. In Committee I spoke at length on the amendment. I received a good response from the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, and appreciated every word that he said. In a recently published report, Archive to the Millennium, by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, this amendment was specifically included and warmly supported.


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