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Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, no. There are issues still to be resolved and it would be unwise for me to guess the time it will take. We have recorded the noble Lord's concerns on this and other occasions.
The noble Lord asked that the list of fixed penalties given in the EXplanatory Notes be included on the face of the Bill. He gave the answer to that issue himself by suggesting that we would have to cover items such as rollerblades. If we were to put such items on the face of the Bill we would not be able to amend the list of offences by order at a later date. We have to retain some flexibility. But, on the whole, as I said, I detected considerable support for this part of the Bill.
The English Heritage section of the Bill is complicated. The first issue concerns the sites and monuments record which local authorities maintain and which the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, and the noble Lords, Lord Redesdale and Lord Freyberg, think should be made statutory. If we were to adopt the recommendations of the Power of Place report, that record would be extended to an historic environment record, which would be a considerable undertaking. The best thing to do under these circumstances is to give priority to obtaining comprehensive records, rather than giving a statutory basis to what has been acknowledged in debate as being a very variable, in quantity and quality, set of records in different local authorities. I of course agree that the links with culture online are entirely appropriate for these records.
There was general support for the extension of the powers to underwater archaeology from the noble Lords, Lord Redesdale, Lord Renfrew and Lord Roper. I have noted the views about the inadequacy of the Protection of Wrecks Act, with which I do not disagree. So far as concerns funding for underwater archaeology, £305,000 is in the current budget already. English Heritage will be expected to add £200,000 funding to the extra budget which is being given to it. I believe that that is a satisfactory answer. The timing is that it will be introduced two months after Royal Assent.
The noble and learned Lord, Lord Scott, expressed the concern that the exploitation of intellectual property rights could conflict with copyright or with privately owned rights. It is certainly not intended to do so. He has prompted me to say that I will look again at the wording of the Bill as drafted to make sure that that is the case.
The noble Lord, Lord Renfrew, asked me about the phrase "formal merger" in the EXplanatory Notes. He has a point. The Bill allows the existing merger to be completed. I do not think that that is properly reflected in the EXplanatory Notes. We do not reprint them in this House but I shall make sure that the correction is made when the Bill goes to the House of Commons.
A more general point was made that we have not incorporated some of the recommendations of the 1996 Green Paper, which I acknowledge--it was published under a different government and we do not have to agree with everything that they did--and that we have not incorporated some of the
As to the complex issue of devolution and the powers of English Heritage, the noble Lord, Lord Luke, asked me to persuade Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to join with English Heritage. Of course, we always seek to persuade, but it is the nature of devolution that we do not always succeed.
Turning now to culture online, I think I detected more puzzlement than either support or antagonism, although I think many noble Lords were willing to give culture online the benefit of the doubt. It is difficult to explain. I had great difficulty in explaining it to myself and in getting other people to explain it to me. I had that part of my first speech rewritten and I am still not satisfied that I have got it right. Maybe we should organise a seminar on the subject.
Fundamentally, the discussion about culture online was extremely constructive and helpful. I am very grateful for that. The noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, thought that the Government should not have the power to give directions to culture online. I emphasise that culture online is to be an independent body. This is only an enabling Bill. I certainly could not agree that we should have a definition at this stage of what is culture online.
Baroness Anelay of St Johns: My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for giving way. Obviously I was not as clear as I should have been. When I was talking about directions, I said that culture online should not direct people to particular sites at the behest of the Government. I was not in any sense intending to speak about directions being given by the Government to culture online.
But certainly the whole issue of what culture online should do and what it will cost--the noble Baroness, Lady Noakes, referred to this--is the subject of a study by independent consultants. There is a consultation process going on. The Bill can provide some goals for culture online. It is a matter of legitimate parliamentary concern how it will work out in practice--and we should find a way of reflecting that concern--but a Bill giving enabling powers should not seek to define all of the details.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, I am very much opposed to that view. I think that writing definitions into Bills in an area where we want the definition of culture to be as broad as possible, and where technology is changing all the time, would be damaging rather than helpful. I do not know what the definition would be and I am certainly not convinced that it would help the general public to understand.
I certainly agree with all noble Lords who said that access to art and culture through digital technology is no substitute for the real thing. Of course it is not. It was never intended that this should be an alternative to people going to museums and galleries, to reading books and looking at pictures, to being involved in all of the cultural activities which will be covered by culture online.
I strongly agree with the noble Baroness, Lady Rendell, about the danger of the exclusiveness of the Internet--the fact that some people are excluded, either financially or in terms of comprehension. That is why I said that, in addition, we shall be looking to other technologies and media. The Internet is merely a distribution channel for electronic data; however, it is presently the way to get hold of digitised images and text, and that is what culture online is about. I particularly welcomed the noble Baroness's emphasis on the role of libraries.
The noble Lord, Lord Baker, despite himself, made a rather helpful speech about culture online. I am sure, given his general tone, that the noble Lord did not mean to be at all helpful. I agree with much of what he said. I agree that we should concentrate on collections that are not already digitised--the noble Viscount, Lord Falkland, made the same point. I agree that we must be wary of possible overlap with the BBC national curriculum, which is an enormous advance. I am sure that Ministers in the Department for Education will quote the noble Lord on what he said. But what we are proposing, as the noble Baroness, Lady Crawley, recognised, are materials to enrich the curriculum. That is an important area in which our artistic and cultural institutions can help. I agree that we need more sophisticated search engines than some of those that are currently available commercially.
The noble Lord, Lord Freyberg, was worried about the effect on the funding of museums and galleries. Certainly I recognise that we must ensure that museums and galleries do not suffer from the establishment of culture online. In addition to the development funding that I quoted at the beginning, we are making application to the capital modernisation fund. That recognises the fact that for
As regards relationships with the museums and galleries, a matter which also concerned the noble Lord, Lord Freyberg, all of this will be collaborative. They will not be forced to take part against their will. However, I believe that the opportunity to make their collections and the expertise of their creators better known will be greatly welcomed by all of them. Having disagreed with the noble Lord, Lord Renton, about definitions, I agree entirely about history in schools. I believe that culture online will be a great help in that regard.
I turn now to the issue of trustees of museums and galleries. I had the suspicion that a number of noble Lords had possibly decided at the weekend what they intended to say before the announcements that we have been able to make in the past couple of days. I was accused of "shooting a fox". I am no more capable of shooting a fox than I am of hunting with hounds. I am as terrified of holding a gun as I am of getting on a horse. I really do think it would be desirable for us to concentrate on the Bill as it will be rather than as it was originally presented to the House. A number of noble Lords recognised that and I am grateful to them for doing so.
The noble Lord, Lord Baker, thought that Schedule 5 should be dropped altogether. The chairmen of the museums and galleries certainly do not agree. They want the flexibility that the Bill will provide. They want the power to appoint at least 25 per cent of the members of their boards and the power to vary the size of the boards. I assure those who are worried about this matter that there is no threat to specially nominated trustees, such as those appointed by Commonwealth countries, the MoD and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the Imperial War Museum. No changes will take place without the agreement of the boards. We do not need to mention Commonwealth or Ministry of Defence trustees in the Imperial War Museum because no change to their status is called for by the Bill. Perhaps I may say again to the noble Lord, Lord Bramall, that the new order will do exactly the same as Section 1(2) of the 1955 Act; therefore, again, no such reference is required.
It is legitimate for noble Lords to be suspicious about the amendments that we shall table. But I believe that we have done the best that we could have done in the circumstances. We set out our amendments in the memo to the Delegated Powers and Deregulation Committee on Tuesday of this week, and they have been made available to all noble Lords who have taken part in the debate. We sent the instructions to counsel on Tuesday at the same time and have not yet received a response, so I am unable to give the actual text. However, on the basis of what was presented to the chairmen of the museums and galleries on Monday, Neil MacGregor of the National Gallery, who has been by no means the most friendly critic of the Government on this issue, said:
I am puzzled by the debate on the issue of the Nolan procedures and political involvement. The noble Baroness, Lady Blatch, wanted to be sure that we were not letting in political involvement by the backdoor by using reserve powers. That was answered in part by the noble Lord, Lord Evans. Even so, there is a conflict here; there is a difficulty which is virtually impossible to resolve. Noble Lords say on the one hand that there is a problem finding people to fill vacancies; on the other hand, they say that it is important not to have political involvement--in other words, that we should involve the Nolan procedures. When we do that, we are criticised for the inflexibility of the Nolan procedures.
We cannot have it all ways. There have been some 539 appointments to public bodies by the Department for Culture since the election. Of those, 89.2 per cent have been non-political; there was no political activity. The proportion of women appointed has risen from 27 per cent to 36 per cent; the proportion of appointments from ethnic minorities has risen from 2.9 per cent to 6.6 per cent. I am looking at the noble Baronesses, Lady Flather and Lady Crawley, as I say this. We have a good record of transparent appointments, non-political appointments and appointments that reflect the diversity of this country. I really do not see that we have anything to apologise for.
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