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Lord Haskel: My Lords, if I want to see that report would I have to read it in a secure environment, as we were discussing this afternoon?

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie: No, my Lords, I can promise the noble Lord it will be environmentally friendly. Overarching all the work that JEMU undertakes is the efforts we are making to help and encourage the industry to overcome the major problem of fragmentation. I cannot stress that too much. The industry comprises a high proportion of small companies. It is served by a multitude of trade associations and other bodies, many of which are unrepresentative, under-resourced and unable or unwilling to provide their members with the range of services which competitive industry demands. Prime responsibility for overcoming this lack of cohesion must inevitably rest with the industry itself; with the companies within it and its trade representatives.

I believe there are now some encouraging signs of industry tackling the problem. As I have stressed, we are anxious to facilitate the process. We recently published model trade association guidelines. We are also exploring with industry the development of a commercially based co-ordination group to strengthen the United Kingdom's ability to respond to demands for integrated packages by customers in the world markets.

The noble Lord, Lord Butterfield, asked about a national R&D centre. This is one of the issues that we are discussing in the context of our work with the industry on an industry-led co-ordinating mechanism. These have been JEMU's priorities thus far; but we remain, as I have indicated with the example I have just used, in dialogue with the industry to explore what can be done to address the broad range of factors that influence competitiveness.

I appreciate that I have a limited time in which to respond to the debate and I regret if I omit some of the points that have been raised. However, the noble Lord, Lord Beaumont of Whitley, asked me specifically about tax allowances to aid technology diffusion. We already give 100 per cent. tax allowances to the environmental industry for the costs of research and development of new technology. However, capital allowances to the industrial purchasers of certain environmental equipment--which I think he might urge--would be contrary to our policy of maintaining a neutral tax regime with low rates of tax and special reliefs.

This has been an important debate. I hope that I have been able to respond to it in the time available to me as fully as your Lordships would wish. I stress in conclusion that as regards the DTI, it is not that we have a strategy to have no strategy; we believe it is for the industry to develop it itself. I wish to see carried forward a positive and constructive dialogue between the industry and the unit. I believe that there is considerable credit to be given to the industry thus far, not only in a

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domestic but also in an international context. We are more than willing to work with the industry. It offers to us all a real opportunity not only in terms of commerce and exports around the world but also as a positive contribution to the cleaning up of the world when for too long too much has been despoiled.

Lord Chesham: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now adjourn during pleasure until no earlier than five minutes before nine o'clock.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

[The sitting was suspended from 8.48 to 8.55 p.m.]

Broadcasting Bill [H.L.]

House again in Committee on Clause 63.

Lord Kirkhill moved Amendment No. 163:

Page 56, line 7, leave out ("a significant reduction in").

The noble Lord said: I spoke earlier to Amendment No. 163, which I linked with Amendments Nos. 164 and 165. I have nothing further to add to what I said earlier. I beg to move.

Lord Prys-Davies: In view of the procedure before the dinner break, I shall concentrate on one question.

I hope very much that the word "significant", or words "significant reduction", will be removed from the clause. If the word "significant" is to remain in the Bill I invite the Minister to identify the meaning which it is intended the word should have in the context of the Bill. It has many shades of meaning, and I should have thought that, if not tonight at least at Report stage, a definition would be useful both to the commission and to the broadcasters.

Lord Crickhowell: I do not wish to get involved in a debate about the exact meaning of the word "significant". I listened to what the noble Lord, Lord Hooson, with all his legal expertise, had to say on the subject earlier. It would be interesting at some point to have some clarification.

I wish merely to observe that, unless I entirely misread the clause as it stands, the drafting of my amendment seems to be preferable to that of Amendment No. 163, which seems to make nonsense of the clause. If one takes out the words "a significant reduction in", and does nothing further, I am not sure that the provision makes sense. However, one can remove the word "significant" and the provision then has a real meaning.

Lord Inglewood: In the context of the amendment, we feel that the key point in the group of introductory words in subsection (4) is whether or not the regional character of the service is likely to be prejudiced. It seems to us that that should be the focus of the aspirations that we have as legislators. What we are not convinced of is the extra hurdle that the degree of reduction in any particular measured aspect of the service should itself be significant. It may fail to address

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the core point. We are concerned about a reduction in regionality. We feel that it is important that we focus on it.

As I said in respect of the earlier amendments, we wish to consider all of them as a group in order to refine them. We are all trying to achieve the same end in the group.

Lord Kirkhill: In the light of the Minister's remarks and the points which he made earlier, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 163A not moved.]

Lord Kirkhill moved Amendment No. 164:

Page 56, line 15, leave out ("or").

The noble Lord said: Again I wish merely to move the amendment formally.

Lord Crickhowell: We should not pass quite so quickly over this amendment. When we started the debate I indicated that in my view it is the most crucial and it would have been much better to have had a debate on it. I have some sympathy with what the Minister said about not trying to impose a set of definitions that are too restrictive or to tie the hands of the commission too far. However, we are not doing that. Clause 63(3) draws attention to three aspects of the provision which should concern the commission: the quality or range of regional programming; the quality or range of other programmes which contribute to the regional character of the service; and the quality or range of the programmes included in the nationwide system of services. In a sense, the amendment is an attempt to give definition to what we are talking about in regional programming.

Amendment No. 164B, in my name, refers to the degree of editorial control and the extent to which the service is managed by persons with sufficient knowledge of the area. That is fundamental. As has been observed during the debates we have had, knowledge of the area and production of programmes within the area are a fundamental factor in successful regional programming.

I understand that my noble friend will wish to go away and consider the amendments and that I shall not receive an answer from him tonight. However, I ask him to consider the amendment with special care. I believe that nothing is more important for the defence of the regional principle than that we protect the position of the people who produce programmes who have real regional knowledge and involvement. The noble Lord, Lord Thomson, suggested that one can produce a programme by getting into a helicopter and flying a crew up from London to produce a programme which purports to be regional. However, it will not be regional in the real sense of the word unless it is produced by people who have knowledge of, sympathy with and understanding of the part of the country that they are portraying. That is what we must defend.

Lord Prys-Davies: I support Amendment No. 164B which also happens to be in my name and is grouped

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with Amendment No. 164. We believe that it is important that editorial control of the regional programmes is located in the region. There are at least two reasons why we consider it to be important. First, there is the duty in subsection (4) to have:

    "offices or studios situated within the area for which the service is provided".
That phrase is not as reassuring as it purports to be, unless the editorial control is also within the region. Secondly, if the regional broadcasting is not to be put at risk it seems to me that the editors and heads of programmes should be located at the point of contact with the people of the region. They should therefore be regarded as part of the local scene.

Amendment No. 164B can be distinguished from Amendment No. 164A because the former refers specifically to editorial control. If the Government are minded not to accept the amendment, then I should have thought that today or at Report stage we should be enlightened as to where editorial control will be located in the absence of a reference to any duty in the clause. Are we to assume that it is therefore to be left to the discretion of the new owner who may, by choice or otherwise, become intolerant of genuine diversity?

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