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Lord Higgins: My Lords, we on this side of the House most certainly support these regulations. As the Minister pointed out, there was very broad agreement--indeed, I believe, total unanimity--in another place when the primary legislation went through. I believe that that was also the case with the regulations when they were debated in the other place--at least, that was virtually so. Everyone seemed to be on the same side, though, if that had really happened, there would not have been a debate. Nevertheless, the debate was helpful.
The proposals now before us are especially important to chambers of trade. I was rather glad to see that the scope of the wording includes chambers of trade and of commerce and industry, which are forms that many of these organisations adopt. I shall not provoke the noble Lord into pronouncing the various Welsh words. I never agreed with the remarks made by the late Lord Hill, who used to say of the Welsh and English traffic signs in Wales that they were in Welsh for national prestige and in English so that people knew where they were going. When I have had the pleasure of visiting Wales, I have been greatly impressed with the extent to which Welsh is a living language. However, I am a little doubtful about the proposals in this context as Wales has gained so much from inward investment--not least from Japanese electronic and other companies. I am not sure that having the chamber of trade named in Welsh, unless it were placed side by side with the English name, would be very helpful.
I have but one question for the Minister. These organisations are normally limited by guarantee; in other words, they are not profit-making organisations. It would seem that the intention is to protect the position of non-profit organisations. Can the noble
Lord Goodhart: My Lords, I have nothing to add to what has been said both by the Minister and by the noble Lord, Lord Higgins. That is probably just as well because I rather take the view that, if I did have any comments to make, I ought to make them in English and Welsh. Unfortunately, I do not speak Welsh, so that is another reason for my saying nothing.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, the normal practice in Wales would be for such signs to be in both English and Welsh. I can tell the noble Lord, Lord Higgins, that none of the chambers about which we are talking is a for-profit organisation; we are talking about companies limited by guarantee. But the protection provided by the regulations also covers companies limited by shares; in other words, companies for profit. I commend the regulations to the House.
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