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Column 705Question accordingly negatived.
Question, That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said amendment, put and agreed to.
Lords amendment accordingly disagreed to.
Amendment (a) in lieu of Lords amendment No. 1 agreed to. Lords amendment : No. 2, after clause 22, to insert new clause-- Designated mining museums
". The Secretary of State shall lay before each House of Parliament a report on the administration of the financial assistance provided by him for coal mining museums during the period of three years following the restructuring date, within six months of the end of that period."
. As soon as reasonably practicable after the end of the period of three years beginning with the restructuring date, the Secretary of State shall prepare and lay before Parliament a report setting out particulars of
(a) the financial assistance provided during that period to coal-mining museums, so far as it has involved the making of payments for that purpose to any person by the Secretary of State ; (b) the manner in which the provision of that financial assistance has been administered ; and
(c) the use to which that financial assistance has been put by the coal- mining museums which have received it.'.
Mr. Eggar : Although the Lords amendment reflects an agreement that had been reached regarding its objective, we stated in the other place that we would come forward with our own wording. That is the reason for the amendment in the name of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State.
A number of hon. Members present will remember the debate on mining museums some months ago. There were discussions following that debate, and on 9 June my noble Friend the Minister of State told the other place that we would make available transitional funding of some £900, 000 over three years, and that that funding would be made available to the Yorkshire and Scottish mining museums and the Big Pit mining museum in south Wales. That will replace help in kind currently provided by British Coal.
It is fair to say that the announcement by my noble Friend has been widely welcomed, as has the gist of the amendment in the name of my right hon. Friend. On that basis, I hope that the amendment will be acceptable to the House.
Mr. Martin O'Neill (Clackmannan) : The Government amendment represents an attempt by the Government to correct what they considered to be shortcomings in the amendment voted on in the other place ; our misgivings derive essentially from its caution. Although the three-year commitment is far too short, we recognise the distance that the Government have moved since we originally debated the issue in Committee. At that time, the Government were in large measure indifferent to the plight of the museums and did not properly appreciate the scale of the contribution made to them by British Coal. They have moved a considerable distance since then, although probably not far enough.
Column 706The Government have identified the three main museums--the one in Yorkshire, the one in Scotland and the Big Pit in south Wales. There may well be others which deserve assistance but which the Government have not seen fit to support on this occasion.
Ms Walley : One museum not so far included in the list is Chatterley Whitfield museum in my constituency, which, as the House knows, has already closed. Urgent discussions are taking place with a view to establishing whether there is any way in which Chatterley Whitfield could reopen and whether part of the national coal collection could come back to Chatterley Whitfield as part of the operations that the Charity Commission is considering. It is important that Chatterley Whitfield should not be excluded from any discussions because it may be in a position to reopen at some stage in the near future.
Mr. O'Neill : The whole House knows the concern that my hon. Friend has expressed on a number of occasions over the Chatterley Whitfield mine. It is perhaps significant that, although the Minister referred to three mining museums, the amendment makes no mention of a number. I hope that that leaves the door open for some discussion. We have one misgiving in particular about the formula that the Government have reached. The role of local authorities will be quite central to the future success of the mining museums, but this is a time of great uncertainty for local authorities ; we do not know what the boundaries will be or what responsibilities local authorities will have after the Government's programme of changes and reform. We recognise that the Government are probably making the best of a bad job, but the amendment none the less marks a sizeable achievement on the part of the people, the organisations and, in particular, the local authorities that have campaigned to secure a future for the museums.
Coal mining museums represent a substantial repository of the industrial and cultural heritage of our mining communities. We want them to continue. We believe that, at the end of the three-year period, their success will be such that the Government will be well advised to provide the necessary support to enable them to thrive and expand.
We give the amendment grudging and limited support. We do not say that with any malign intent, but had the Government been forthcoming earlier, we might have been spared a great deal of the anxiety that has been expressed on these matters by Members of both Houses. We pay tribute to those in the other place who were able to secure a majority for a proposition that did not receive majority support in this House, and we recognise that the assurances given by the Government have in large measure been met by the amendment. The proposal does not go as far as we would like, but we are pleased that we have achieved some concessions. We shall wait with interest to see what form the report will take, because in three years' time it will be delivered to a Labour Government who will be more sympathetic to the plight of the museums and more likely to encourage their future success when the opportunity arises. For those reasons, we are happy to give the amendment our backing.
Mr. David Hinchliffe (Wakefield) : One or two hon. Members will recall that I tabled a new clause on Report dealing with the issue of mining museums. I have a particular interest because the Yorkshire mining museum is in my constituency. There was great concern that no
Column 707consideration had been given to the future assistance for that and other mining museums on the back of what had previously been provided by British Coal. I welcome the fact that successful efforts were made in the other place to change the Government's mind. I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Clackmannan (Mr. O'Neill) that it is a welcome move.
I want briefly to pay tribute to those in the other place, from all parties and from none, who were very much involved in lobbying the Government. I want also to pay tribute to those from Yorkshire who worked very hard to bring about the Government's change of mind. I must also mention Dr. Margaret Faull and her staff at the Yorkshire mining museum. They have kept everyone effectively briefed on the predicament faced by that and other museums. They worked long and hard and they will have gained some crumb of comfort from the success in the other place.
I should be glad if the Minister would deal with the distribution of the funding. The proposal is for £100,000 per year for each of the three museums. That distribution is a little unfair as two of the three museums include an underground element that adds to their costs. I hope that the Minister will discuss the matter with the Under-Secretary of State for National Heritage, who has just walked into the Chamber ; he has been very supportive.
I echo the concern expressed by my hon. Friend the Member for Clackmannan about what happens after the three-year period has elapsed. We want a guarantee that the museums will not face a death sentence and that attempts will be made to secure funding, from whatever source, so that they can continue to play a valuable role. As I said, we welcome the Government's change of mind. We are not entirely satisfied but at least the amendment represents a move forward on an issue of great concern in my constituency and elsewhere.
Mr. Hardy : I do not have a museum in my constituency, but I have long been interested in the history of the mining industry. For the greater part of the period from 1850 to 1950, about 1 million men were engaged in the industry. Before 1850, hundreds of thousands were. The impact of the industry on the social and economic history of our country--especially in the numerous coalfields that existed, some of which still exist--is such that the historic importance and relevance of the industry and its legacies must be retained. For the Government to turn their back on the museums in three years' time would be an act of crass philistinism.
I ask the Minister to assure my hon. Friends who have museums in their areas that the museums' maintenance will be encouraged because of the historic and educational importance of that inheritance.
Mr. John Gunnell (Morley and Leeds, South) : I, too, welcome the fact that funding is being made available to ensure that the three mining museums maintain their present role. I pay tribute to those who have visited the Yorkshire mining museum at Caphorse colliery. The Under- Secretary of State for National Heritage and several noble Lords who spoke on the matter in the other place visited the underground mine and appreciated its great educational benefits. I am sure that it is one reason for their support.
Column 7085.15 pm
However, some significant limitations must be dealt with. There should be some relationship between the distribution of the grant and the help in kind that the museums received from British Coal. My hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Hinchliffe) has my support in his contention that, although the even distribution may represent parity as between Scotland, Wales and England, it does not represent parity in expense. I hope that that part of the proposed report referred to in Government amendment (a)(c)
" the use to which financial assistance has been put"
will relate to the help in kind given by British Coal to the museums. The grant should replace that help.
The original proposal was for the report to be delivered six months before the end of the three-year period. The amendment changes that to
"As soon as reasonably practicable after the end of the period of three years".
I hope that that will not cut out any extension of the grant should that be necessary. I am sure that each of the museums will work hard to attract sponsorship to provide the money that they need. If the distribution of grant is even, the Yorkshire mining museum will have to find an additional £70,000 from year one because previously it received help in kind from British Coal of £170,000 a year. This is an important issue. My hon. Friend the Member for Clackmannan (Mr. O'Neill) referred to what a future Labour Government would do. I am a member of the board of trustees of the Yorkshire mining museum--a non-pecuniary interest--and I shall ensure that the other members are made aware of my hon. Friend's comments. The Caphorse colliery began in 1791. It existed at the time when Mozart died. The grant will help to ensure that it continues to exist. However, that must amount to more than three additional years of life.
Mr. Eggar : I am sure that the trustees of the Yorkshire mining museum will want to hear what the hon. Member for Clackmannan (Mr. O'Neill) said, but the hon. Member for Dunfermline, East (Mr. Brown) might have a view on such spending commitments should the unthinkable happen.
I do not wish to mislead the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, North (Ms Walley), so I must tell her that I cannot hold out any realistic hope of assistance for Chatterley Whitfield.
On the points about the division of funds between the three museums, quite frankly whatever way we had decided to divide up the available money would have attracted criticism. Arguments were put on behalf of each museum, but we felt that the best practice would be to allocate the same to each of them. I am sorry that some museums feel hard done by, but I feel that that is the best way to do it.
Question put and agreed to .
Lords amendment accordingly disagreed to .
Amendment in lieu of Lords amendment No. 2 agreed to .
Lords amendment No. 3 agreed to .
Subsequent Lords amendments agreed to [one with Special Entry] .
Lords amendment : No. 17, in page 102, line 29, after ("by") insert
("or in accordance with the directions of")
Mr. Eggar : This series of technical amendments relates to pensions provision. Let me record my thanks to all who have been involved in discussions about the pensions issue--the trustees of the many schemes and all who have worked to assist them. I also thank the Opposition formally for the co-operative way in which they have approached the debate.
I think that there was always a genuine worry, shared by hon. Members on both sides of the House, that a technical but emotive issue would enter the political arena in a way that would upset many elderly pensioners for no good reason. The mining industry as a whole--unions and trustees--and hon. Members on both sides of the House have co-operated to bring about an outcome that is satisfactory from all points of view, without upsetting pensioners.
Column 710consultation on the nature of the changes. When they went to Ministers, those Ministers had to heed what was being said, because pensioners, beneficiaries, trustees and others had a strong case to make. Ministers recognised that, and the necessary changes have been made--to the general appreciation, although not necessarily the overwhelming satisfaction, of most people.
Some 97 per cent. of members of the scheme are now beneficiaries, and a very small number are still contributors. It is therefore essential that proper provision be made for the long term. As I have said, it is to the trustees' credit that consensus was established : the arrangements were sold to the Government in a constructive way, and our constituents who are beneficiaries can now look forward to the future with far more certainty than they could when the Bill first appeared.
The Opposition pay tribute to all who played a substantial part in trying to make this section of the Bill benefit people who have made a great contribution to a once great industry, and to the economic well-being of the country.
Question put and agreed to.
Lords amendment : No. 23, in page 102, line 50, leave out sub-paragraph (4) and insert--
Column 709("(3A) The modifications of an existing scheme that may be made byregulations under this paragraph shall include modifications making suchprovision as the Secretary of State considers appropriate for cases whereeither--
(a there are assets of the scheme representing a relevant surplus, or (b the assets of the scheme are insufficient for meeting pensionobligations under the scheme. (3B) The modifications mentioned in sub-paragraph (3A) above maycontain--
(a provision for a relevant surplus, and the assets representing it, tobe apportioned between-- (i the part (if any) of the surplus which is to be retained ina reserve ("an investment reserve") as an asset of the scheme,and (ii the remainder ("the distributable part") of the surplus ; (b provision for the management of assets representing aninvestment reserve and for the manner in which any such assetsare to be applied ; (c provision for income accruing in respect of assets representing aninvestment reserve to be added to the reserve ; (d provision for the manner in which assets representing thedistributable part of a relevant surplus are to be applied ; and (e provision, for the purposes of any provision under paragraphs(a) to (d) above, for modifying any decisions as to the way inwhich relevant surpluses determined as at times before therestructuring date, and the assets representing any suchsurpluses, are to be treated. (3C) The provision as to the apportionment of any surplus or assetsto an investment reserve that may be contained in modification made byvirtue of sub- paragraph (3A) above shall not include any provisionauthorising the allocation to such a reserve of any part of a surplusdetermined as at a time after 31st March 1994, or of any assetsrepresenting any part of such a surplus, except where the allocation ismade for making good amounts that would have been comprised in thevalue of the reserve if assets representing any part of it had not beenapplied from the reserve in meeting a deficiency that arose as at any timeby reason of the other assets of the scheme having been insufficient as atthat time for meeting pension obligations under the scheme.
Column 711(3D) The provision as to the application of assets representing aninvestment reserve that may be contained in modifications made by virtueof sub-paragraph (3A) above shall include provision for the Secretary ofState to become entitled where--
(a any such arrangements as are mentioned in sub-paragraph (5)below have been entered into in relation to pension
obligationsunder the scheme in question, and (b the value of the assets representing the reserve exceeds theaggregate amount required for the purposes for which thereserve has been retained,
to assets of the scheme representing the amount of the excess or, wherethose purposes have ceased, the value of the reserve. (3E) The provision as to the application of assets representing thedistributable part of a relevant surplus that may be contained inmodifications made by virtue of sub-paragraph (3A) above shall includeprovision for the Secretary of State to become entitled where--
(a the surplus is one determined as at a time on or after 31st March1994, and (b any such arrangements as are mentioned in sub-paragraph (5)below have been entered into in relation to pension obligationsunder the scheme in question,
to assets of the scheme representing no more than one half of the distributable part of that surplus.")
Amendment made to Lords amendment : In line 7 of proposed sub-paragraph (3C), leave out that' and insert which' (apart from any entitlement for which provision is made by virtue of sub-paragraph (3D) below)'.
Lords amendment, as amended, agreed to [ Special Entry ]. Subsequent Lords amendments agreed to [some with Special Entry].
Lords amendment : No. 37, in page 117, line 29, at end insert ("Terms on which orders to be exercised
.--(1) The owner of the interest against whom the compulsory rights order (in this paragraph referred to as "the owner") has been made shall be entitled to
(a) payment on the basis of either
(i) the open market value of the rights granted as would have been fair and reasonable if the agreement had been made between a willing grantor and a willing grantee, or
(ii) the compensation for the losses caused to him assessed in accordance with sections 17 to 23 of this Act,
whichever is the higher, and
(b) secure such terms, guarantees and other security from the person entitled to occupy the land in respect of which the compulsory rights order is conferred (in this paragraph referred to as "the operator") as are necessary to protect the owner from any loss, damage, claims or other costs related to the exercise of the compulsory rights order.
(2) For the purposes of sub-paragraph (a)(i) of this paragraph, the assessment of the open market value shall take into account (a) the basis on which the operator has entered into agreements with the owners of other interests to permit the working of the same coal deposit, and
(b) the basis on which the owners of other interests have entered into agreements with the operator or other mining companies for the extraction of coal on comparable sites.
Column 712(3) For the purposes of sub-paragraph (a)(i) of this paragraph, the fact that the operator is in or to be in, a special position by reason of his having secured the licence under Part II of this Act to the exclusion of others shall be ignored.")
(a) at the beginning there shall be inserted the words Subject to subsection (3A) of this section," ; and
Government amendment (b) in lieu of the Lords amendment, in page 126, line 17, at end insert
(5) After that subsection there shall be inserted the following subsections
(a) any compensation is payable for any year by virtue of this section in respect of any holding, and
(b) the amount of that compensation falls to be calculated in accordance with section 18 of this Act by reference to the market value of rights which, if the compulsory rights order were not in force, could not be conferred for that year or any part of it except by or with the consent of one or more persons who are included in the persons directly concerned but do not fall within subsection (3) of this section,
the entitlement to that compensation shall be apportioned, according to the extent to which those rights could not be conferred for that year or part of a year without their participation or consent, between those persons and any person falling within that subsection.
(3B) Subject to subsection (3C) of this section, the persons entitled under subsection (3A) of this section to a share of any compensation shall include persons whose participation in or consent to the conferring of any right would be required if the right were conferred at some time after the beginning of the year or part of a year in question ; and any apportionment under subsection (3A) of this section shall take account of the length of the period for which any person is, during that year or part of a year, a person without whose participation or consent any right could not be conferred.
Column 713(3C) No person shall be entitled under subsection (3A) of this section to any share of any compensation in respect of any such easement or right as might give rise to an entitlement to compensation under section 31 of this Act."
(6) Subsection (4) of that section shall cease to have effect. (7) Sub- paragraphs (5) and (6) above shall not apply in relation to any compulsory rights order confirmed before the restructuring date.
Calculation of compensation
15A. In relation to any compulsory rights order confirmed on or after the restructuring date the following section shall be substituted for section 18, that is to say
"Calculation of compensation under section 17
18.--(1) The compensation payable for any year in respect of a holding to which section 17 of this Act applies shall be a sum equal to the annual borrowing cost for that year of the market value of the rights conferred by the compulsory rights order in relation to the holding.
(2) For the purposes of this section the market value of any rights conferred by a compulsory rights order shall be equal to the amount which, as at the date of entry, would (apart from the order) represent the fair market price, as between willing and independent parties, for the grant of those rights by a person entitled to grant them and for the period for which the order is to have effect. (3) In calculating for the purposes of this section the fair market price for the grant of any rights, due allowance shall be made for any entitlement to compensation which may arise, otherwise than by virtue of section 17, under any of the provisions of this Act. (4) For the purposes of this section the annual borrowing cost for any year of any amount ( the market price') is the aggregate sum which would fall to be paid in that year by way of payments of interest and re- payments of capital if the market price had been borrowed on the date of entry on terms which
(a) required interest to be paid and capital to be repaid by way of the relevant number of equal annual instalments ; and
(b) provided for interest on outstanding capital to become due immediately before the time for the payment of each instalment, at an annual rate equal, as at the entry date, to the rate prescribed under section 35(8) of this Act ;
and in this subsection the relevant number' means the number of years for which, when it was confirmed, the compulsory rights order was to have effect.
(5) Nothing in section 17 of this Act or this section shall confer any entitlement to compensation in respect of the annual borrowing cost of
(a) any amount representing the value of any person's interest in coal, or
(b) any amount representing the value of any opportunity arising by virtue of an interest or right in or in relation to any land to obtain or make use of any rights to win, work or get any coal. (6) Where the period for which a compulsory rights order is to have effect is extended under this Act, section 17 of this Act and this section shall have effect in relation to the additional period as if the rights conferred for that period had been conferred by a new compulsory rights order."
15B. Sections 19 and 20 (additional annual compensation and special compensation for cost of removal) shall not have effect in relation to any compulsory rights order confirmed on or after the restructuring date.'.
Amendment to Government amendment (b) in lieu, leave out new section 15A and insert
Calculation of compensation
15A. In relation to any compulsory rights order confirmed on or after the restructuring date the following section shall be substituted for section 18, that is to say
Calculation of compensation under section 17
18.--(1) The compensation payable for any year in respect of a holding to which section 17 of this Act applies