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Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 553A:

Page 183, line 38, leave out ("Part") and insert ("Chapter").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 553B:

After Clause 334, insert the following new clause--


(" .--(1) The functions of the Secretary of State under section 2 of the Trafalgar Square Act 1844 (care, control, management and regulation of the Square and its ornaments etc) are transferred by this subsection to the Authority.
(2) In that section, the words from "by and out of such Monies" to "by Authority of Parliament" shall cease to have effect.
(3) The functions transferred to the Authority by subsection (1) above shall be functions of the Authority which are exercisable by the Mayor acting on behalf of the Authority.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving this amendment I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 553C, 553D and 576NA. These amendments make provision for the transfer of day-to-day responsibility for Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square from the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to the GLA. Both squares will remain Crown land. The mayor will be responsible for the repair and maintenance of the fabric of the squares--that is to say, cleaning, lighting and structural repairs to statues--and for controlling and licensing use; for example, giving permission for rallies and events, advertising and filming on Trafalgar Square.

Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square are public places of great historical and cultural importance to London. They both have a role in the life of the whole nation. It is appropriate that the mayor should have responsibility for them. The transfer of the squares is considered essential to the implementation of the "World Squares for All" master plan project, on which the mayor will take the lead. This is a flagship project, which demonstrates how, through careful traffic management and some pedestrianisation, we can redress the balance between vehicles and pedestrians, improve the historic environment and give these great squares back to Londoners and visitors to enjoy.

I should like to take this opportunity to reaffirm the Government's strong commitment to the World Squares project and to seeing the proposals developed and implemented as soon as possible. Perhaps I may also add a personal note. As chairman of the GLC central area planning and transport board in the mid-1970s, when the "Three Squares" project was started--comprising Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square--I was able to see through the Leicester Square part but was frustrated as regards the other two squares. Therefore, I have a particular personal interest in seeing that this project goes through.

Given management responsibility for Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square, together with the responsibility for strategic routes including Whitehall, the mayor will be able to champion the World Squares scheme and ensure that a consistent management regime can be established through the project area.

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The Bill gives the GLA the power to make by-laws applicable to the two squares, for which the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport will be the confirming authority. These will replace the existing parks and other open places regulations. The funding currently provided by the Culture Secretary for the care and maintenance of Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square will be transferred to the GLA. The mayor will be able to seek the expert advice and assistance of English Heritage and other bodies in making arrangements for the specialised maintenance of the squares and the monuments in them.

It is intended to lay further amendments on Third Reading to give the mayor new enforcement powers (which the Culture Secretary does not have) equivalent to those of Westminster City Council, the neighbouring local authority, to control illegal trading in the squares. This will enable the mayor to deal effectively with the longstanding and ever-increasing nuisance caused by illegal traders in Trafalgar Square and to prevent such problems arising in Parliament Square. However, anyone looking at the square in its current state will realise that there is not much scope for illegal vendors, or anything else.

The intended further amendments will also give the Culture Secretary the power to issue guidelines to ensure the effective care, control, management and regulation of the squares. The intention is to issue guidelines initially to reflect current policy for managing in particular Parliament Square. This approach recognises the national significance of the squares and provides a policy steer without constraining the mayor's discretion to carry out his or her new responsibilities. The mayor, and any other person or body exercising the mayor's functions, will be required to take the guidelines into account when exercising any duties or powers with respect to the squares.

It is envisaged that the mayor will make contracts and arrangements with other organisations in respect of most of these functions. For example, Metropolitan Police constables and officers of Westminster City Council could undertake policing functions in the squares, the latter specifically in relation to unlicensed traders. It is intended to lay a further amendment to ensure that it will be beyond the scope of the mayor's powers to engage private persons or organisations such as private security firms to undertake policing functions.

However, any decisions on whether a particular march, rally, assembly or demonstration should take place in the squares are to be taken by the mayor--consulting others such as the Home Office--and not delegated to one of the other organisations I have just mentioned. The Government believe it is right to ensure that decisions affecting the longstanding tradition of public access to Trafalgar Square for demonstrations and rallies should be taken by a democratically elected authority. We intend to lay a further amendment at Third Reading to give effect to this requirement.

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The House authorities have confirmed that the inclusion of Parliament Square will not render the Bill hybrid because the transfer of responsibility relates only to Crown land and no private interest is involved. I beg to move.

Baroness Anelay of St. Johns: My Lords, these are significant new clauses transferring the management responsibility for Trafalgar and Parliament squares from the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to the Greater London Authority. As the Minister has remarked tonight, both Parliament and Trafalgar squares are of national importance, part of our national heritage and part of our being. When visitors from the rest of the UK come to London for the first time, they make a beeline for the squares and carry away with them memories and perhaps photographs that last for ever.

The importance of Trafalgar Square was very much in our minds last week because of Trafalgar Day. Yet despite the importance of this amendment I am rather dismayed that the Government are asking the House to pass it today in its half-finished form. As the Minister said, further amendments will be laid next week at Third Reading. These amendments were laid by the Government only on Friday. I had some slight prior knowledge of the amendments thanks to the courtesy of civil servants whom I telephoned last week to find out what on earth had happened to one or two amendments that the Government had flagged up in Committee but which seemed to have died in the wings somewhere along the line between Committee in July and Report in October. I was informed that one of the two amendments might not appear today and would probably appear at Third Reading but that other amendments were waiting in the wings that were far more significant than those I was inquiring about on the telephone. The civil servants said nothing improper at all; everything was absolutely within the rules. I was relieved that the regional policy branch was up to date in its work but I was dismayed that the House was not to be made aware of everything that was going on until such a late stage.

Last week the Minister gave me his word--which he has kept in full--that he would give a proper explanation today. Therefore I shall not discuss each and every aspect of the amendments that he is to propose next week. I shall refer to one aspect of those and to some aspects of the amendment that he has laid today. I welcome what the Minister said with regard to changes to the law which will hit those unscrupulous people who are "ripping off" tourists--there is no other way to put it--by selling hot dogs, burgers, you name it, from unlicensed trolleys that they wheel around. Suspect food is certainly being sold to unsuspecting tourists. I am sure that we on this side of the House would welcome any moves to try to prevent that continuing. Such rogue traders only give the licensed tradespeople a bad name. After all, restaurants, cafes and fast food outlets all have to follow serious regulatory regimes on hygiene issued by environment departments. These rogue traders can do pretty much

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as they like and "hoof off"--I beg noble Lords' pardon; that is unparliamentary language. I should say that they make a quick exit.

I am aware of a court case earlier this year which makes it very difficult to apprehend people selling such food on Crown land. As I understand it, the court decided that it is only the owner of the trolley--I cannot think of another word for it--who can be prosecuted, not the person selling the food. It is of course very difficult to find out who the owner is.

Turning from what is in the amendment to what seems to be missing from it, the Minister has assured us that there will be a transfer of resources. Will that be each year, year on year, with the normal increase in spending awards, or will it be a one off payment?

The Minister referred to demonstrations and that the responsibility for saying yea or nay as to whether a demonstration may be held will be transferred to the authority, to the mayor. Have the Government carried out any assessment of what the impact will be of this transfer of power from central government to, in effect, the GLA? He mentioned policing and other matters. Will there be any change in the way in which demonstrations are allowed, or will the rules remain the same as those which currently pertain, bearing in mind that it is always very difficult to ensure that these rules are enforced?

In Amendment No. 553D, subsection (2) relates to penalties for contravening by-laws. Will the penalties be at the same level as is currently the case? At present, one is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 1 on the standard scale. Will the current level of penalty continue?

Have the Government taken into account how long it takes to introduce by-laws? I have received a very helpful note from Westminster City Council on the matter. It suggests that a more effective approach would be for the Bill to provide that the management of the squares should become subject to the powers and duties of the London local authorities legislation. That would immediately and effectively solve the problem and also ensure quick action to tackle some of the current difficulties.

These are significant amendments. I am disappointed that they have reached us at such a late stage. I look forward to seeing the amendments at Third Reading. I hope that they will make imperfect amendments slightly better.

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