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Lord Barnett: My Lords, while I agree with much that the noble Baroness, Lady O'Cathain, and the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, said, I have even greater anxiety for the public sector generally. I declare an interest as a trustee of the Victoria and Albert Museum. There the funding has been frozen for some three years. That is causing enormous anxiety and will almost certainly result in the redundancy of some crucial staff. That factor applies equally in organisations such as the citizens advice bureaux, for which the grant has been much reduced. I have an interest to declare there. My daughter is a senior executive.

I hope that the noble Viscount the Leader of the House will recognise that the issue involves more than Ministers. I believe that he referred to realism as regards what is happening in the public sector generally. The issue involves more than realism. In many parts of the public sector there is literally no choice: bodies have to accept the government grant. In that context, the net result is that it involves major consequences for the public sector staff. I hope that the noble Viscount will deal with that issue.

Viscount Cranborne: My Lords, having listened with great interest to your Lordships' exchange of remarks, I am pulled emotionally in more than one direction. On the one hand, there is what I hope is a Gladstonian respect for economy in public finances; and on the other a perhaps unworthy desire to enlist my noble friend Lord Boyd-Carpenter, and the noble Lord, Lord Stoddart, in particular, as my personal shop stewards. However, with your Lordships' permission, I shall resist the temptation to go down that path.

I recognise—it is a remark that I have made before in your Lordships' House—that taking a long perspective, let alone the somewhat shorter viewpoint that my noble friend Lord Boyd-Carpenter took, ministerial salaries have fallen way out of line with other salaries, and not only in the private sector. We are all aware that Lord Palmerston was able to live in what I believe is now the In and Out Club purely because of his ministerial salary as Foreign Secretary of £5,000 a year—in the days when £5,000 a year was £5,000 a year. I suspect that on a rather larger ministerial salary in nominal terms, my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs would be hard pressed to live in the same state in Piccadilly today.

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Nevertheless, no matter how admirable the concern for adequate rewards may be—it is an anxiety which has been articulated today in all sections of your Lordships' House—the formula, whether or not it has shortcomings, has one enormous benefit: at least for the moment it takes the difficult and sensitive question of ministerial pay out of the immediate cockpit of adversarial politics. I believe that that is a prize well worth striving for and achieving. Perhaps the good natured character of the remarks in your Lordships' House today are evidence to that.

I could be tempted down many paths as a result of the coats that your Lordships trailed before me. I hope that noble Lords will forgive me if I resist that temptation. I merely remark to the noble Lord, Lord Barnett, that the public sector generally can pay more if it makes sure that the gains made in productivity and efficiency justify that. We are all aware that museums find that a somewhat more difficult factor than other areas. I am the first to accept that. I also congratulate the noble Lord on the splendid hereditary principle which clearly obtains in the Barnett family: not only is the noble Lord an ornament to the public service, his daughter clearly is too.

I hope that your Lordships will feel that noble Lords on these Front Benches in particular, and indeed noble Lords in receipt of public salaries on the Front Benches opposite, provide remarkably good value for money—except in my case, where I note that the press has made some unhelpful remarks about the size of my pay increase. I merely point out that despite that, a Cabinet Minister in the House of Lords is still a great deal better value, in money terms if not in terms of actual performance, than a Cabinet Minister in another place. Perhaps we can take pride in that.

Setting aside party political controversy, it is worth noting—I hope that I spare the blushes of my noble friends on the Front Bench—that your Lordships have a dedicated Front Bench team who are worth more than every penny of their ministerial salaries.

Lord Dean of Beswick: My Lords, before the Leader of the House sits down, perhaps I may point out that other sums of money are drawn by Ministers and those on the payroll in the form of expenses. The noble Viscount the Leader of the House may recall—perhaps it arose just before he took office—that in your Lordships' House I raised the matter of the ridiculous overnight allowance paid to Members of your Lordships' House. It is not a salary. I believe that I received the general support of Members of your Lordships' House. While I do not think that a firm undertaking was given, there was an understanding that the matter would be kept under review. Nothing has occurred since then apart from what I class as a pitiful allowances increase. If one travels to London on government allowances in any capacity other than as a Member of your Lordships' House, one receives a much larger overnight allowance. When will the Government consider some of the problems regarding Back-Benchers? Why are they restricting the increase

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only to those on the Front Bench? In any political party, not only those on the Front Bench but many Back-Benchers do a great deal of work.

Viscount Cranborne: My Lords, with your Lordships' permission, I do not believe that noble Lords will disagree in any way with the latter part of the noble Lord's sentiments. Everyone knows the dedication with which regular attenders of your Lordships' House contribute to the work of Parliament.

However, I refer the noble Lord to a recent discussion which took place, as I am sure he knows, in the Finance and Staff Sub-Committee—the noble Lord shakes his head; the proceedings of that Committee are available to your Lordships—in which the issue was thoroughly investigated.

I believe that the matter goes a little wider than the terms of the order. If the noble Lord wishes to discuss the matter further on the Floor of the House, channels are available to him to do so.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Queen Mary and Westfield College Bill

3.9 p.m.

Read a third time.

Clause 7 [Construction of bequests, etc. and powers of trustees.]

Lord Howie of Troon moved Amendment No. 1:

Page 4, line 7, after ("(1)") insert ("Subject to subsection (1A) below,").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in raising the matter I shall repeat one or two remarks that I made in July last when the Bill was read a second time.

First, I should make it absolutely clear that the Bill has nothing whatever to do with the wider question of the closure of St. Bartholomew's Hospital. We are not talking about that but about a much narrower matter.

As noble Lords will remember, I spoke on the matter last July at the request of my old friend and colleague, Ron Brown, the former Member of Parliament for Shoreditch and Finsbury. The noble Lord, Lord Jenkin, will remember him well. Mr. Brown's concern was with the St. Bartholomew hospital trust, with which we are dealing in the amendments.

I wish to speak to both amendments together as one is consequential upon the other. I am merely interested in the effect of Clause 7 of the Bill and am not opposed to the merger with which the Bill deals as a whole. I wish to make absolutely certain, beyond peradventure or doubt, that the intentions of the hospital trust are continued after the merger in the same way as they were and in the manner in which the trust was originally intended to function.

The problem is that as a result of the provisions of Clause 7(1), the objectives of the charitable trust are likely to be prejudiced. At present the trustees are authorised to seek the promotion and advancement of all aspects of education at the medical college and hold the trust's assets for those purposes. Under the terms of

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the Bill, however, the assets of the trust will be held on different terms, as Queen Mary and Westfield College will replace the medical college as the holder of the assets. That would mean that the assets held by the trustees after the amalgamation would be applied towards the promotion and advancement of education at the amalgamated body, which will clearly not be confined to medicine and surgery, as they are at present. The crux of the matter is to ensure that the assets of the trust are devoted to medical education and not to education in general.

The Bill as it stands will permit the new body to spend its funds over a much wider range of educational functions and that would be quite wrong. The medical college building at Charterhouse Square was purchased in 1932 for the benefit of medical research with funds raised by public subscription. I believe that it is important to maintain the property for the purpose of the medical college, thereby respecting the wishes of those whose generosity originally funded the purpose.

We had a considerable debate on the matter last July and considered whether the new trustees would carry on in the same manner as at present or whether they would be tempted to change their attitude. In the course of the debate there was an interesting contribution by the noble Lord, Lord Annan, which is to be found in Hansard for 19th July 1995 at col. 351. He drew attention to the fact that the university authorities cannot always be trusted to do what they are asked. He put it in the following words:

    "I have seen a number of dubious transactions in universities. I have seen chairs in accounting converted to the study of the more esoteric crevices of economics. I have seen bequests to teach drama used to fund lectureships in English literature. And who can forget the dismay of Lord Nuffield at seeing a college which he hoped would teach practical engineering and train industrialists converted into a temple for the social studies by that wily operator Lord Lindsay of Birker?"

That was amusingly put, but it points to the fears which some people have that, as the noble Lord, Lord Jenkin, said at Second Reading, although a form of words might be agreed between the merging groups which would protect the purposes of the trust, nevertheless the changes to which the noble Lord, Lord Annan, so amusingly drew our attention last July indicate how the best laid schemes of mice and men "gang aft a-gley".

Although a form of words was hoped for and promised, I do not believe that any such form has been agreed. If I am mistaken, perhaps the noble Lord, Lord Jenkin, will tell me. It had been suggested that the Charity Commissioners might permit changes in the trust deed in order to deal with the matter and to protect the original purpose of the trust. However, the other day I was told that the Charity Commissioners have not agreed to that course of action. Thus we are left with a situation where the form of words has not been agreed and the Charity Commissioners have not undertaken to permit the trust deed to be changed, as was hoped. That leaves us with the only possible course of action to protect the objectives of the trust: to amend the Bill in

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the manner which I suggest. I do not wish to meddle with the Bill, but that is the only way to ring-fence the intentions and purposes of the trustees. I beg to move.

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