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Lord Bernstein of Craigweil: I also support the amendment. In doing so I have to declare an interest as I have a pension from Granada Television and hold shares in that company. I am driven to speak because I have great pleasure that "Brideshead Revisited" was quoted as one of the great television dramas. It occurred when I was chairman of the Granada Group, and under the aegis of my colleague Sir Dennis Foreman, who was chairman of Granada Television. Drama is indeed expensive and difficult. It is difficult also to make it relevant to what is going on in society today. It can do no harm to include such provision in the Bill to emphasise its importance.

Baroness Blackstone: It goes without saying that drama programmes should be a core aspect of the public service remit. None the less it does not seem to us that this amendment is necessary. The importance of drama in public service broadcasting is already clearly demonstrated by the fact that the list of specified programme types already refers to drama as one aspect of the UK's cultural activity. To add a further specific reference to drama would not in our view strengthen the Bill.

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I should also point out that drama, along with all the other items mentioned in the list of programme types in subsection (6) of Clause 260, is encompassed within the overarching provisions of subsection (4), which specify the "purposes" of public service broadcasting. Those purposes include explicit references both to programmes dealing with a wide range of subject matter and to programmes which embody high general standards with respect to content and quality. In short, therefore, quality of programming and diversity of subject matter are requirements that run across the whole of the third tier regime, each one applying to drama as much as to any other programme type. So we can see no case for the additional requirement proposed by my noble friend.

Amendment No. 182B would require each individual public service broadcaster to provide a suitable quantity of high-quality and original programmes for children and young people. As I said in my response to Amendments Nos. 180, 181 and 182, the third tier provisions will constitute a self-regulatory framework under which Ofcom will exercise a lighter touch than under the first and second tier requirements. We therefore think that Ofcom's review and reporting functions should be directed at the public service broadcasting sector as a whole rather than the contribution of each broadcaster individually. That principle holds for children's and young people's programming as much as for any aspect of the public service remit. Moreover, that approach ensures that the contribution of each broadcaster to fulfilling the remit will reflect the spectrum of obligations across the public service sector, ranging from the BBC at one end to Channel 5 at the other.

I have considered the arguments put forward on Amendment No. 184B. I am extremely supportive of the intention of the amendment to strengthen safeguards on the range of television for children and young people. The Government are therefore willing to take this amendment away, to consider it and to come back on Report with a suitable government amendment. I therefore hope that the noble Lord will withdraw his earlier amendment.

Lord Lea of Crondall: I refer to a matter on which we should like more information before Report stage. Am I in the right, or is the Minister in the right in saying that the measure we are discussing is not necessary? Overseas evidence suggests that the form of words in the Bill is precisely the form of words that allows a coach and horses to be driven through the provision of drama. I refer to the provision of drama by Granada that has been mentioned. At this stage I shall withdraw the amendment but there is every likelihood that—

Lord Puttnam: I thank my noble friend for giving way. Our proceedings are about to finish and I seek to help the Government. We are about to embark on a recess which gives the Government the opportunity to rethink some clauses. When we return, big battles will commence on certain very important clauses. As my

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noble friend Lord Lea said, those battles will concern evidence-based objections to non-evidence-based assertions.

I bring to the attention of my noble friend the Minister a PIU document of January 2000 which was described by a former Cabinet Secretary as a seminal document. The document concerns evidence-based policy making and has been read by all Ministers. It states that Ministers should routinely demand rigorous analysis to support decisions on all policies and programmes and that senior civil servants should see as a key aspect of their job ensuring a reliable supply of such analysis.

The document refers to a culture in Whitehall that rewards Ministers and senior officials for good analysis and holds them to account when policies are not evidence-based. It further states that Ministers should publish details of the models used by government and the data that support them. There is a requirement to publish a regulatory impact assessment with all new legislation setting out the impacts on business. The RIA must also be produced by departments as a condition of Cabinet endorsement of any policy. These mechanisms stimulate demand for analysis of the impact of policy options. Their force derives in part from the simple requirement that such analysis is carried out and in part from the requirement to make public the results of the analysis.

The next two weeks will be typified by an enormous volume of analysis being brought forward to argue against many of the Government's intentions on cross-media ownership and media ownership generally. I very much hope that the Government will refer to the above mentioned document and, in rebutting or dealing with the arguments that are put forward, will come back continually with their own evidence base, their own impact assessment and the evidence that they have really thought through these very important policy objectives and are not merely relying on a wing and a prayer and assertions.

Lord Lea of Crondall: I am grateful to my noble friend Lord Puttnam for his remarks. I am also grateful for the support of the noble Lord, Lord Bragg.

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I am sorry that I have given the Philistines a bad press. If the Minister's only problem is that the measure we are discussing is not necessary, as opposed to its being positively incompatible with the Bill, I have every hope that we shall make progress. The measure constitutes an important guarantee in terms of the provision of high-quality drama on British television in the future. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

The Lord Bishop of Manchester had given notice of his intention to move Amendment No. 182B:

    Page 231, line 18, at end insert—

"( ) that religious and spiritual activity in the United Kingdom, and their diversity, are reflected, supported and stimulated by their representation in those services (taken together);"

The right reverend Prelate said: I thank the Minister for her remarks. I also thank Members of the Committee for their support. I look forward to hearing further from the Government. I shall not move the amendment.

[Amendment No. 182B not moved.]

[Amendments Nos. 183 and 183A not moved.]

Baroness Whitaker had given notice of her intention to move Amendment No. 184:

    Page 231, line 31, after "religion" insert "or belief"

The noble Baroness said: I thank my noble friend for her very constructive response. I have common cause with the right reverend Prelate and the noble Lord, Lord Phillips, and I shall not move my amendment.

[Amendment No. 184 not moved.]

[Amendments Nos. 184A to 188 not moved.]

Clause 260 agreed to.

Lord Evans of Temple Guiting: I beg to move that the House do now resume.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

House resumed.

        House adjourned at fourteen minutes before six o'clock to Monday 2nd June at half-past two o' clock.

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