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Lady Saltoun of Abernethy: My Lords, would the noble Lord give way? I think I suggested that the Crown would only give a re-grant, with a destination as the Peer wished, if all other claimants were in agreement or had died out.
Lord Kilmarnock: My Lords, I appreciate that, but I think it still would impose a burden on the Crown. There would be constant petitions going to the Crown. That is one of the reasons, if I recall correctly, why your Lordships were not very happy with a Bill of the noble Lord, Lord Diamond, which required these constant approaches to the Crown. I thought it was an interesting suggestion, but obviously it would be an entirely different Bill from this one if the noble Lady felt inclined to introduce it. If she did, however, I am sure we would discuss it with great interest. Obviously I am grateful for the support of the noble Lord, Lord Teviot, with his great genealogical knowledge, and also to the noble Lord, Lord Rea, from the Labour Front Bench, for the stress that he placed on discrimination against those who are legitimated.
I am also extremely grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Trumpington, for having replied on behalf of the Government and set out a neutral position. Very properly, I thought, she set out various concerns which, in my submission, could or should be properly addressed in Committee. The noble Baroness herself made a number of suggestions and in effect produced a "menu" of possible amendments. I, as promoter and mover of this Bill, would be very happy to consider any or all of those when we come to the Committee stage. It seems to me that the Government are completely correct and proper in the matter of this Bill and I hope that we will follow what I take to be her suggestion; that we should be able to proceed and to discuss these various ideas, and if necessary change the Bill.
On the point made by the noble Baroness about reviving the claim of a legitimated person previously passed over, I think she was not quite correct. In fact, the Bill provides against that and, as I said to the noble Lady, Lady Saltoun, it would not affect the ruling of Lord Keith in the Dunbar of Kilconzie case. I believe the Bill has been well enough and tightly enough drafted to avoid the eventuality mentioned by the noble Baroness.
For all these reasonsand we have had an interesting debateI feel it would be in accordance with the normal procedure and traditions of this House that a Bill, albeit a modest Bill, that has aroused a considerable amount of interestin fact, rather more interest than I thought it mightshould be allowed to proceed to the Committee stage. I would therefore say to the noble Lord, Lord Morris, before he decides what he is going to do, that I very much hope that he will not press his dilatory amendment and that he will agree that the Bill should go forward so that we are able to discuss some or all of these matterssome of which are very detailed and quite technicalin the proper setting of a Committee. I hope that he will take up that suggestion in the perfectly friendly manner in which it is proffered to him. I look forward to hearing his concluding remarks.
Lord Morris: My Lords, critically in his first speech the noble Lord, Lord Kilmarnock, prayed in aid organisations outside Parliament concerned with family law reform which he had consulted. They happened to be the Family Law Bar Association, the Family Law Committee of the Law Society and the Solicitors' Family Law Association. My God, they would support the Bill, would they not, because of the chaos that it will cause. They will have God knows how many briefs winging in their direction. I pray in aid a much higher authority than that.
Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.
This is one in a series of financial orders covering Northern Ireland departments which come before the House each year. The draft order before us today authorises expenditure of £198.2 million for Northern ireland departments for the current financial year. That is in addition to the £5,824 million voted by the House last June. The order also authorises the vote-on-account
Before turning to the details of the estimates, I should like to set them in the context of the recent performance of the Northern Ireland economy. The local economy as a whole continues to perform well. That is reflected in the figures for those in employment and those out of work. The number of employees in employment in Northern Ireland now stands at 553,850an all-time high for the region. Seasonally adjusted unemployment has fallen in 10 of the past 12 months and, at 12.4 per cent. of the workforce, is now at its lowest level for 13 years.
That is encouraging, as is the marked upturn in business confidence, exports, output and investment intentions revealed in recent surveys of Northern Ireland business. Those also indicate that Northern Ireland industry is beginning to benefit from the cessation of violence by the paramilitaries. While those are welcome developments, none of us can afford to be complacent. Government will continue to assist local industry to improve its competitiveness and to maximise the opportunities offered by the economic recovery now under way.
With your Lordships' permission, I now turn to the main items in the estimates, starting with the Department of Agriculture. In Vote 1, a token increase of £1,000 is required to reflect various changes in the vote. Some £2 million is required for additional uptake under the Farm and Conservation Grant Scheme. That is offset by savings in other areas.
In Vote 2, covering local support measures, some £25.2 million is sought; £26.5 million is for the Agricultural Development Operational Programme, where claims were higher than anticipated; £0.7 million is for the disease eradication programme; and some £1.3 million is carry forward of capital and running costs from 1993-94 to 1994-95. Those increases are partially offset by reduced requirements elsewhere within the vote.
Turning to the Department of Economic Development, a net increase of some £19 million is sought in Vote 1. That includes £4.7 million for the Industrial Development Board for the provision of land and buildings which is to meet expenditure on factory buildings for recent inward investment projects and reflects the continuing success of the board in attracting competitive companies to Northern Ireland; and £17.7 million is for selective assistance to industry, mainly for existing inward investment projects and for local, very competitive companies. Also in this vote, £6.5 million is required for Shorts recapitalisation programme. Those increases are offset by increased receipts totalling £8.5 million from the sale of IDB factories and lands.
In Vote 2, a token increase of £1,000 is sought. Some £0.6 million is for the Northern Ireland Tourist Board. That will enable the board to promote and market Northern Ireland as a tourist destination. The increase is offset by increased receipts elsewhere in the vote.
Vote 4 makes substantive provision for expenses incurred in the privatisation of the electricity supply industry in Northern Ireland. Those costs have been met from the second instalment payments received in respect of the Northern Ireland electricity share issue.
I now turn to the Department of the Environment. A net increase of some £5.4 million is sought in Vote 1, including some £4.3 million for the road network. Some £0.8 million is for the Driver and Vehicle Testing Agency. Those increases are partially offset by increased receipts, including those for car parking and ferry services. Also in the vote, over £47 million is appropriated in respect of the sale of Northern Ireland Airports Limited.
In Vote 2, covering housing, token provision of £1,000 is sought. Additional grant to the Northern Ireland Housing Executive of some £4.7 million includes increased resources for maintenance and to offset a fall in rental income from lower than anticipated house sales. Gross housing expenditure in Northern Ireland this year is expected to be about £564 million, some £5 million more than 1993-94. Much has already been achieved in improving housing standards in Northern Ireland and that will enable further progress to be made.
In Vote 4, covering environmental and other services, a net increase of some £3 million is sought. That includes £1.3 million for comprehensive development schemes and various adjustments between programmes. Increased expenditure is partially offset by additional receipts of £2.5 million.
I now turn to the Department of Education, where a net increase of £2.7 million is sought in Vote 1. That includes some £4.1 million for grants to education and library boards, mainly for maintenance, minor works and equipment. £1.7 million is for voluntary schools, mainly for health and safety and equipment. Those increases are offset by savings elsewhere in the vote.
In Vote 2, an additional £5.4 million is sought. Some £3 million is for mandatory awards and student loans, reflecting increased demands. £1.2 million is for universities, mainly for essential equipment. Some £0.4 million is for arts and museums, including the adaptation of premises to improve access and facilities for disabled people. Increases are also required for departmental administration, youth services and the Armagh observatory and planetarium.
I now turn to the Department of Health and Social Services, where a net increase of £12.9 million is sought in Vote 1. That includes £9 million for hospital, community health and personal social services and £6.5 million for capital expenditure. It also includes £1 million to provide additional help for people disabled by violence. That will help improve facilities at the regional development centre at Musgrave Park Hospital and provide better wheelchairs. Those increases are offset by increased receipts and a reduction of £3.4 million in loans provision to trusts.
I move now to Vote 3, where additional net provision of £2.1 million is required. That includes some £7 million for administration costs and capital expenditure. Those increases are offset by reductions elsewhere and by a net increases in receipts of some £4.9 million.
Finally, in Vote 4 which covers social security, £80.5 million is sought. That is due mainly to a greater than anticipated demand for income support and disability benefits, in particular, attendance and disability living allowances. That is offset by a decrease in family credit. I hope that your Lordships have found the summary of the main components of the order helpful. I commend the order to the House.