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Lord Eatwell: My Lords, before my noble friend sits down, will he answer the point that in London the Government have already agreed that there can be a minimum of two owners of radio stations, ensuring plurality, yet he wants there to be three multiplex owners? How does the fact that there are three transmission systems add to the plurality when you can have two owners of programmes?

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, it looks as though my noble friend is no more enthusiastic about the argument I have presented on this occasion than he was in Committee. I therefore unreservedly acknowledge the fact that we have some issues to discuss and I should be pleased to hold that meeting with him before Third Reading.

Lord Eatwell: My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend for his reply. It is not quite what I hoped for. I hoped that the irrefutable logic of my arguments would penetrate the Government's carapace of defence. However, we will have a meeting about the issue when I hope that his attempt to defend the

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indefensible will be effectively exposed and the Government will realise that they have made a bit of a mess of this issue.

In the meantime, looking forward to that meeting, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 202 not moved.]

Clause 343 [Restrictions relating to nominated news providers]:

[Amendments Nos. 203 and 204 not moved.]

Clause 348 [Variation of local licence following change of control]:

[Amendment No. 205 not moved.]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 205A:

    Page 305, line 9, at end insert—

"( ) The matters to which OFCOM must have regard in determining for the purposes of this section the character of a local sound broadcasting service, include, in particular, the selection of spoken material and music in programmes included in the service."

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 206 and 207 not moved.]

Clause 350 [Meaning of "control"]:

Lord Davies of Oldham moved Amendment No. 207A:

    Page 306, line 37, leave out subsections (2) and (3).

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 207A I refer also to the other amendments in this group. We had a substantive debate on these issues in Committee. I beg to move.

Lord Gordon of Strathblane: My Lords, having moved an amendment in Committee, I very much welcome the fact that the Government have withdrawn these two subsections which were, for me at least, the ones which were causing a problem. Therefore, I am grateful to the Government.

Lord Eatwell: My Lords, I repeat the declaration of interest I gave earlier. Noble Lords have no idea what pleasure it gives me to say how pleased I am to support this government amendment. I am grateful that the Government have removed the burdensome subsections which previously existed in Clause 350.

Perhaps I may raise one issue with the Minister. All the weight now falls on subsection (4), which states that Ofcom is required to,

    "publish guidance setting out their intentions concerning the inclusion of particular matters in the matters that they will take into account when determining whether a person has control of a body".

Given that we do not know what Ofcom may settle on as matters that it will take into account, can the Minister confirm that it is the Government's intention that the onerous conditions previously contained in

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subsections (2) and (3), which the Government rightly want to delete, could not be reinstated by Ofcom in the form of its guidance in future?

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, Ofcom will have due regard to our deliberations at various stages during the passage of the Bill. It is also the case that it will recognise that statements and concessions made in the Chamber are there to govern the nature of the code which they must develop. Earlier today I desperately sought, unsuccessfully, to avoid an amendment to the Bill on the very grounds that Ofcom would have regard to the nature of the code which it would draw up, and that also applies in this case.

I am grateful for the support of my noble friends and for the re-establishment of old relationships in the passage of the Bill.

The Deputy Speaker (The Countess of Mar): My Lords, I must apologise to the House. I should have informed the House that if Amendment No. 207A is agreed to, I cannot call Amendments Nos. 208 and 209.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 208 and 209 not moved.]

7.45 p.m.

Clause 351 [Annual factual and statistical report]:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 209A:

    Page 307, line 37, at end insert—

"( ) the extent to which any guidance given by OFCOM under section 307 has been followed during that period;"

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 352 [Grants to access radio providers]:

Viscount Falkland moved Amendment No. 210:

    Leave out Clause 352 and insert the following new Clause—

(1) OFCOM shall make such payments as they consider appropriate to a fund established under this section, to be known as the Community Media Fund.
(2) The Fund shall be under the management of a body established for the purposes of this section, which shall be called the Community Media Foundation.
(3) The Community Media Foundation shall consist of—
(a) a chairman appointed by OFCOM, and
(b) such number of other members appointed by OFCOM, not being less than four nor more than eight, as they may from time to time determine.
(4) The Fund may be applied by the Foundation in the making of grants for—
(a) the establishment and development of community media,
(b) the making of programmes to be carried by community media,
(c) the training of persons connected with community media,
(d) the provision of support services to community media,
(e) other related purposes.
(5) When making any grant out of the Fund in pursuance of subsection (4) the Foundation may impose such conditions as they think fit, including conditions requiring the grant to be repaid in certain circumstances.

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(6) The Foundation shall perform their functions under this section with respect to the making of grants out of the Fund in such manner as they consider will secure a range and diversity of community media throughout the United Kingdom, taking account of the greater needs of areas and localities which are economically disadvantaged.
(7) OFCOM shall so exercise their power under subsection (3) to appoint the members of the Foundation as to secure that a majority of the members are persons who appear to them to represent a broad range of knowledge and experience of community media.
(8) In this section— "community media" means communications services provided primarily for the benefit of members of the public in a defined geographical locality or in a particular community and not operated by the BBC or for commercial purposes.
(9) In subsection (8)— "communications services" includes—
(a) radio and television broadcasting;
(b) electronic communications networks and services; and
(c) content services carried by services falling within paragraphs (a) or (b)."

The noble Viscount said: My Lords, Amendment No. 210 deals with community media services and the funding thereof and sets out a new clause to put the community media fund into the Bill as a primary legislative provision. That would give the fund a similar status to that of the Gaelic media service.

As noble Lords will realise, an important principle of any funding of community media should be at arm's length from Government and from the regulator in order to maintain editorial independence. That is necessary to avoid any funding mechanism becoming an additional tool of regulatory intervention. The arrangements in the amendment are the same as for the Gaelic media service. It proposes five purposes to which the fund should or could be applied:

    "(a) the establishment and development of community media,

    (b) the making of programmes to be carried by community media,

    (c) the training of persons connected with community media,

    (d) the provision of support services to community media,

    (e) for other related purposes.

There is considerable experience now in various countries of funds of this kind, which play a vital role in sustaining and developing community media services without being the sole source of finance. Community media in those cases benefit from funding from a variety of sources which include local business, groups of listeners and public sources. These approaches have been shown to be successful in many of the regulatory environments in the world, which include Canada, the United States, Australia and so forth.

The advice that we are given is that the fund would contribute to up to 40 per cent of the cost, depending upon the need and size of the operation. The fund will be available for development costs, which include capital costs, and perhaps operating costs at a later stage as we see the emergence of various media services. When they begin to settle down one will see a shift from development costs to operating costs.

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One of the challenges of a cross-media community fund is to strike the right balance of support between the different kinds of media service. Conventional wisdom at present is that television costs for community purposes are about three or four times higher than for radio. However, this whole area of communication involving electronics moves very quickly, as many noble Lords who may have invested in such areas will know, either to their benefit or their cost.

Evidence is now before us that developments recently in community television have brought the costs down to a level comparable to that of community radio. Indeed, I received a letter from a director of a community radio organisation who stated that 2.4 GHz technology is being used in universities and various small communities because the range is limited in that particular part of the spectrum. They have provided work experience for many people, in particular graduates, who as a result have moved on to employment in the broader industry. They have devised the means to communicate effectively in television as cheaply as radio.

This is an important amendment which deals not just with the situation as it exists now but takes account of the changes which are taking place and are likely to take place. I beg to move.

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