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Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, that was a rather complicated speech rather than a question, or even two questions, which I am obliged to answer. I did not say that there had to be a minimum of 30,000 terminals; I said that it was up to the commission to require the successful applicant to commit to a minimum number of terminals. Clearly, the more terminals there are, the more likely it is that a successful applicant will achieve the best financial return to the good causes, which is the ultimate criterion for deciding who is to be the successful applicant. As to the changeover, as the noble Lord well knows, there are two applicants before the
Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe: My Lords, I am a lottery player. Will the Minister ensure that the Government impress on the successful applicant the need for more transparency and clarity on the social classes that play the lottery and the amount that they contribute? It is very difficult to get those figures out of Camelot, but it is manifestly obvious that it is basically the working class who play the lottery and the good causes benefit from them. That should be borne in mind in future distributions.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, as a non-lottery player, I express my sympathy with my noble friend and my gratitude to him and all lottery players for their contributions to good causes. The social class of those who contribute to the lottery and those who benefit from it is a proper subject for social survey work. As the existing operator, Camelot could undertake such work if it wished to. It is not for the Government to do so.
Baroness Gardner of Parkes: My Lords, I was pleased to see the Sydney Opera House built with lottery funds. I have long been a supporter of lottery funds and believe that they are preferable to higher taxation. However, can the Minister explain why even Camelot, by whom we were all invited approximately a year ago to see a presentation, would have to install totally new terminals if its bid were successful? I understand that whoever wins the bid will have to start with new equipment, and Camelot said that it could sell off its old equipment. Was that condition applied simply in order to create a level playing field for new contenders?
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, I love the Sydney Opera House, too. To that extent, I agree with the noble Baroness, Lady Gardner. It is true that, in order to ensure a level playing field, Camelot has been told that it will have to install new equipment. However, as its equipment is already at least six years old, I understand that a phased introduction of new equipment would in any event have to be carried out in order to keep up with new technology.
Lord Pilkington of Oxenford: My Lords, are the Government worried about the fact that failure of technology associated with Sir Richard Branson, which has resulted in his company failing in its promises, has already led to fines of approximately £2 million in the United States? Does that concern the Government?
Baroness Anelay of St Johns: My Lords, my noble friends are right to point to some of the chaos that has ensued this year while a new operator has been sought. Can the Minister assure the House today that the Government, as well as the commission, are confident that there will be no hiatus between the end of the operation of this licence and the effective running of the new licence for the lottery? Secondly, with regard to the date that the Minister mentioned in relation to a decision being made, can he assure the House that any decision on the lottery successor will take place while the House is in session and that the House will have the opportunity to comment on it?
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, I can certainly confirm that the National Lottery Commission intends that a decision will be taken while the House is sitting. As to whether there will be an opportunity for a Statement, that is of course a matter for the usual channels and not for the Government. With regard to the issue of the extension of Camelot's contract, to which I believe the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, referred, and the issue of there being no interruption in the service, for their part the Government have given a clear remit to the National Lottery Commission. We understand that the commission is confident that there will be no hiatus.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): My Lords, Section 182 of the Licensing Act 1964 exempts licensed premises from the need to obtain a public entertainment licence where the entertainment provided consists of music and singing by not more than two performers. Whether members of the public
The Lord Bishop of Oxford: My Lords, I thank the Minister for his interesting reply and particularly for his last point about doing away with the section. However, does he agree that currently it is very strange that if a couple of pianists or a pianist and a singer are in a pub and a member of the audience gets up to sing along with them, they are liable to prosecution with quite heavy fines? Indeed, some local authorities have already threatened the owners of pubs with prosecution if they allow that to happen on their premises.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, the Government have decided to reform the Licensing Act 1964 for the very reason to which the right reverend Prelate referred. Clearly we need more sensible, modernised laws in this field. I do not know of any authorities which have acted in the peculiar and perverse way to which the right reverend Prelate referred. I am sure that most local licensing authorities act quite reasonably. Of course, if the right reverend Prelate or other Members of your Lordships' House have knowledge of any particular difficulties or complaints, I shall be more than happy to pursue them and to ensure that fair and reasonable enforcement takes place in this field.
Lord Roberts of Conwy: My Lords, the Minister's Answer worries me. Is he saying that if a Welsh male voice choir which has performed of an evening in the local hall or chapel then goes into a pub and, after a suitable intake, believes in venting its good spirits in hymns or other songs, it is breaking the law in so doing?
Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, my noble and learned friend the Attorney-General says that they should not go to the pub, having been to the chapel. I am grateful for that very good joke. I suspect that the issue also depends on whether one considers it to be entertainment. However, that is a rather more complex and vexed question. I would not expect any reasonable licensing authority to act in the manner to which the noble Lord referred.
Baroness Williams of Crosby: My Lords, is this not a perfect example of what, had it been put forward by the European Commission, would have been described as "Europe bans popular singers"? Therefore, will the Minister ask the Home Office to consider the matter carefully and invite the local authorities not to behave in such a silly manner?
Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, the noble Baroness is quite right, and we are ahead of the game. We worked with the Local Government Association earlier this year and jointly published guidance to local authorities on how to act on these matters. We are working very closely with local authorities to ensure that fair enforcement is carried out.
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