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Lord Pilkington of Oxenford: My Lords, has the Minister considered the fact that large resources are being given to buying those pictures? When Italy was in a low economic state, England bought all those pictures. Should they not be allowed to circulate around the world to whoever can pay for them? Why should the British taxpayer or the lottery pay to keep Italian paintings in England?

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, the noble Lord will recognise that we take pride in a whole range of artistic objects that we greatly value in this country. We are proud of the range of collections of our museums and galleries. The noble Lord is right in the obvious sense that the market in art is a free market. The issue crops up when the commodity of the arts is not in public ownership in the galleries but in private ownership, which prompts the question whether galleries should bid for it. That is where the rub is. As the noble Lord indicated, a free market operates in the world of art.

Viscount Falkland: My Lords, does the noble Lord agree that apart from the measures he enumerated for funding purchases of works of art, one further source which has rather fallen into abeyance—if you will excuse the rather old hereditary peerage expression—

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is Treasury grants? Does he visualise any circumstances when, a prime work of art having failed to secure funding under the current arrangements, a Treasury grant may become appropriate?

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, the noble Viscount is right. The concept of the Treasury grant still exists, although it has not been employed since 1980—a reflection, I suppose, of successive Chancellors of the Exchequer being wary of such supplementary grants, particularly as the number of grants required increased so substantially. It is therefore one potential avenue; however, I leave the House to judge whether, in the case of such very highly priced items, the department would be successful in its bid to the Treasury.

Lord Harrison: My Lords, given that 90 per cent of the holdings of Britain's art galleries and museums are hidden from public view due to lack of exhibition space and funds to show them, would it not be better to spend public money on providing the opportunity to get these works of art out of the cellars rather than competing with rich galleries around the world such as the John Paul Getty?

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, my noble friend is absolutely right. The value of these works of art to the nation is measured by how readily they can be appreciated and viewed by the general public. That is why we have seen fit to concentrate our resources not on specific purchases and grants in aid from the Treasury and all of that, but on giving resources to the museums so that they can pursue extended policies of ensuring that the artefacts they have are put on public display.

Lord Renton of Mount Harry: My Lords, one of the key objectives of this council was, I believe, to see that specific British works of art were kept in this country, particularly when there were gaps in the collections of the Tate or the National Gallery. Does the Minister agree that the committee chairman was being perhaps a little pessimistic about what he has achieved? In my judgment, the committee has been very successful in seeing that certain works of art which were needed particularly to fill gaps have been kept here. Because of the time it required should elapse before an export licence was granted, there was the opportunity for the Tate, the National Gallery or the Fitzwilliam to organise a fundraising campaign that enabled the work of art to stay in this country.

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, I agree with the noble Lord that the committee is perhaps selling itself short by saying that it has totally failed. After all, it has preserved 50 per cent of the artefacts that it has been concerned to preserve. Those would otherwise have gone abroad. That is not a bad record.

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Terrorism Insurance

2.53 p.m.

Lord Lloyd of Berwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are satisfied with the working of the Reinsurance (Acts of Terrorism) Act 1993.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, the Reinsurance (Acts of Terrorism) Act 1993 has successfully underpinned government involvement in the Pool Re scheme to enable insurers to offer terrorism insurance for commercial property damage and business interruption. Following 11th September 2001, a government and industry working group was set up to examine changes needed to Pool Re, and the remit of the Pool Re scheme has been extended to enable insurers to offer terrorism insurance against a wider range of risks. This has been widely welcomed as an example of partnership between government, the insurance industry and property owners and occupiers.

Lord Lloyd of Berwick: My Lords, I thank the Minister for that reply. However, is he aware that there is still concern in the City about a gap in the terrorism reinsurance cover provided by the Pool Re arrangements because of the fact that the definition in the 1993 Act is a good deal narrower than the definition in the Terrorism Act 2000? In those circumstances, can he perhaps reassure the House that serious damage to property caused by bodies such as the animal rights movement is covered by Pool Re? Can he give the same assurance in respect of terrorist acts committed by persons not known to be acting on behalf of any known organisation?

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, I shall, if I may, answer the general question and then the two specific questions that the noble and learned Lord, Lord Lloyd, asks. Yes, of course there is a gap between the definitions. However, we take the view that it is a very small set of circumstances and it does not justify primary legislation. That view was upheld by all the parties in the recent agreement to extend Pool Re.

On the specific point, of course, I cannot make a judgment about particular cases. However, if we talk about the animal rights movement, I think that, in general, it would be accepted that it is seeking to influence government by violence to change the law on animal rights. But, of course, any individual case would have to be judged on its merits. Ultimately, these are questions for the Treasury to determine in accordance with the Pool Re arrangements, with a right of appeal to an impartial tribunal.

As for the question of acting on behalf of an organisation, the definition is explicit in saying that the act must be on behalf of or in connection with the organisation. That is a little wider and may give some comfort to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Lloyd.

Lord Newby: My Lords, does the Minister have any sympathy with the argument that the scope of the acts

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might be expanded to provide public liability cover? Does he agree that if there were a terrorist attack, for example, at a football match, the club would be covered for the physical damage to the ground and the loss of future revenue, but not for claims in respect of spectators killed or injured by the attack? Do the Government believe that that is an acceptable situation?

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, there are many, many ways—an infinity of ways—in which the protection and the government underpinning could be extended. For example, it could be extended to domestic properties, although it has not been. I think that a line has to be drawn somewhere, both in terms of the definition of terrorism and the degree to which the Government should be underpinning what is fundamentally a contract between insurers and insured.

Lord Saatchi: My Lords, is it not undesirable in principle for there to be two Acts of Parliament on the statute book with two different definitions of terrorism? Will the Minister say a little more about the Government's reluctance to bring the definition in the 1993 Act into line with the definition in the Terrorism Act 2000, which includes references to religious and ideological causes, threats and intimidation, risks to health and safety and disruption of electronic systems—all modern forms of terrorism about which the 1993 Act is understandably silent?

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, yes, there are differences between the 1993 Act and the Terrorism Act 2000, but our view is that the differences in practice are likely to be very small. However, particular circumstances could give rise to an act of property damage not being covered. In so far as differences of definition are significant, it is generally the Terrorism Act 2000—the more recent Act—that will prevail.

Asylum Seekers: Induction Centres

2.58 p.m.

Lord Dixon-Smith asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What consultation is taking place with local communities before country houses and hotels receive asylum seekers.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Filkin): My Lords, the policy in such cases is to consult the relevant local authority, and, subject to necessary considerations of commercial confidentiality at the time, to take views also from those affected in the local community. We recognise that such decisions are of intense interest to the local

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community. In future, NASS will consult with the local authority throughout the procurement process leading up to contract.


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