Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page


Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendments Nos. 34 to 40:



    Page 253, line 5, leave out from beginning to "appointment" in line 6 and insert "body's finances are adequate, throughout the period of its"


    Page 253, line 9, leave out "such"


    Page 253, line 9, at end insert—


"(3A) The conditions imposed under this section must include the conditions that OFCOM consider appropriate for securing that arrangements maintained between—
(a) the holders of regional Channel 3 licences, and
(b) the body which is the appointed the news provider,
ensure that that body is subject to an obligation, enforceable by OFCOM, to provide OFCOM with all such information as they may require for the purpose of carrying out their functions." Page 253, line 12, leave out "person who" and insert "body which"


    Page 253, line 36, after "(d)" insert "or (3A)"


    Page 253, line 37, at end insert—


"( ) Section 32 of the 1990 Act (nomination of bodies eligible for appointment as news providers) shall cease to have effect."

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 41:


    After Clause 278, insert the following new clause—


"DISQUALIFICATION FROM APPOINTMENT AS NEWS PROVIDER
(1) The regulatory regime for every regional Channel 3 service includes the conditions that OFCOM consider appropriate for securing—
(a) that a body is not appointed as the appointed news provider if it falls within subsection (2); and

8 Jul 2003 : Column 223


(b) that the appointment of a body as the appointed news provider ceases to have effect if it becomes a body falling within that subsection.
(2) A body falls within this subsection if—
(a) it is a disqualified person under Part 2 of Schedule 2 to the 1990 Act in relation to a Channel 3 licence; or
(b) there would be a contravention of Part 1 of Schedule 14 to this Act (whether by that body or by another person) if that body held a licence to provide a Channel 3 service, or held a licence to provide such a service for a particular area for which such a service is provided."

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 279 [Power to repeal Channel 3 news provider provisions]:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 42:


    Page 253, line 40, leave out from "repeal" to end of line and insert "or otherwise modify any of the provisions of section 278 or (Disqualification from appointment as news provider)"

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 280 [News providers for Channel 5]:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendments Nos. 43 to 45:


    Page 254, line 11, leave out from "278" to end of line 12 and insert "or (Disqualification from appointment as news provider)"


    Page 254, line 14, leave out from "278" to end and insert "or (Disqualification from appointment as news provider)"


    Page 254, line 19, leave out "person" and insert "body"

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 283 [Regional programme-making for Channels 3 and 5]:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 46:


    Page 257, line 22, at end insert—


"( ) A proportion is not to be regarded by OFCOM as suitable for the purposes of a provision of this section if it constitutes less than a significant proportion of the programmes or expenditure in question."

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in the previous stages, we had a debate which I thought was rather theological at times on the words "suitable and sufficient". My noble friend Lord Puttnam accused me of missing a slam dunk opportunity—whatever that means—to make a meaningful concession. We are not missing the slam dunk opportunity now. We felt that the words then proposed were too loose and might not provide Ofcom with the tools necessary to ensure that levels of regional production and programming are sustained in the future. However, we recognised the strength of feeling and we undertook to do what we could to address the concerns expressed. This could be by incorporating the word "significant" along with a qualification—which we believe is immensely important—to ensure that Ofcom retains the flexibility it needs to treat different services differently.

We undertook to come back with suggestions on Third Reading, which is what we have done. Amendment No. 46 provides that in determining what is a suitable proportion for the purpose of Clause 283, Ofcom must not regard a proportion as suitable if it constitutes less than a significant proportion of the

8 Jul 2003 : Column 224

programmes or expenditure in question. The suitable proportions in question are the proportion of Channel 3 or Channel 4 programmes to be made in the United Kingdom outside the M25 area. We also detail the proportion of expenditure by the providers of Channel 3 services or the Channel 5 service on programme production at different production centres outside the M25 area.

Amendment No. 48 makes similar provision to Clause 285, which deals with Channel 4. Although the amendments tabled on Report did not cover Channel 4, we think that equivalent changes should be made in the interests of consistency.

Amendment No. 47 provides that in determining what is a suitable proportion for the purpose of Clause 284, Ofcom must not regard a proportion as suitable if it constitutes less than a significant proportion of the programmes in question. The suitable programmes in question here are the proportion of regional local programmes to be made in the area for which the service is provided and the proportion of regional programmes, other than news, to be shown at or adjacent to peak time.

We believe that these amendments deal with the points of concern expressed in this House while preserving the essential flexibility for Ofcom and avoiding undue interference in broadcasters' commissioning and scheduling decisions. I beg to move.

Baroness Buscombe: My Lords, we support Amendments Nos. 46, 47 and 48. The noble Lord, Lord Puttnam, said on Report that it is important that we get this matter right so that the production of television programmes in the regions is nurtured and sustained. But as the Minister pointed out, it is also important that Ofcom retains sufficient flexibility. It must be able to take account of the differences between smaller ITV licensees such as Border Television and the larger areas such as Granada, as well as the differences between Channels 3, 4, and 5. My noble friend Lord Crickhowell requested on Report that the Government meet the proponents of this cause half way. The noble Lord, Lord Puttnam, said that he would,


    "settle comfortably on the word 'significant'".—[Official Report, 1/7/03; col. 837.]

rather than "substantial". These amendments do precisely that and I therefore support the Minister.

Lord McNally: My Lords, if the Minister does not think it frivolous or light-hearted, I wish to say that these are slam-dunk amendments.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 284 [Regional programmes on Channel 3]:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 47:


    Page 259, line 18, at end insert—


"( ) A proportion is not to be regarded by OFCOM as suitable for the purposes of a provision of this section if it constitutes less than a significant proportion of the programmes in question."

8 Jul 2003 : Column 225

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 285 [Regional programme-making for Channel 4]:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 48:


    Page 260, line 15, at end insert—


"( ) A proportion is not to be regarded by OFCOM as suitable for the purposes of a provision of this section if it constitutes less than a significant proportion of the programmes or expenditure in question."

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 300 [Code relating to provision for the deaf and visually impaired]:

Lord McNally moved Amendment No. 49:


    Page 268, line 26, at end insert "and


(iii) persons with a dual sensory impairment."

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 50 not moved.]

Clause 306 [Code of practice for electronic programme guides]:

Lord Davies of Oldham moved Amendments No. 51 and 52:


    Page 273, line 9, leave out from second "promotion" to end of line 11 and insert ", for members of its intended audience, of the programmes included in each public service channel; and


(b) the facilities, in the case of each such channel, for members of its intended audience to select or access the programmes included in it." Page 273, line 34, at end insert—


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page