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Lord Inglewood: My Lords, as my noble friend Lord Colwyn explained, the amendments seek to require the Radio Authority to reserve digital capacity for independent local radio services as well as for the BBC's local services.

Independent local radio companies have petitioned for some time to be given a guaranteed place on a digital multiplex, arguing that this would give them parity both with BBC local services and the national independent radio services. However, there are important differences which lead us to believe that the case for guaranteeing capacity for independent local radio cannot be sustained.

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Let us first consider the position of the BBC. The BBC has been assigned a full multiplex for its UK-wide services, and indeed began broadcasting those services in digital form last September. However, at the local level the BBC's local radio stations must be broadcast on frequencies allocated to the Radio Authority for independent local radio. It is therefore necessary, on the face of the Bill, to provide for the BBC's local services in that context.

Under our proposals, the BBC will negotiate capacity for its local services with the authority. This does not amount to a guarantee that every BBC local and regional service available in an area will automatically gain a place on a digital multiplex. Rather, it allows the authority to look at the coverage of each digital multiplex and agree with the BBC a suitable allocation. If the BBC and the Radio Authority cannot agree, the Bill provides for referral to the Secretary of State for her to determine the matter.

This arrangement is quite proper, given that the BBC has certain duties and obligations placed upon it to ensure that if fulfils its public service broadcasting remit--something which is not the case for local independent radio.

Independent national radio has also been allocated guaranteed slots on a multiplex; but here again there are important differences with the situation for local radio. Independent national radio is subject to a different licensing regime, and competitive tender against formats determined by Parliament. That is not the case for local radio. At the national level, there are important spectrum gains to be made--guaranteeing INR capacity on digital opens up the possibility of eventually reclaiming their analogue frequencies. At the local level, we envisage that digital and analogue services will continue to be broadcast alongside each other for the foreseeable future. On the national multiplex, the guaranteed slots will occupy just half of the capacity available. Guaranteeing local radio services capacity might, in some areas, completely fill a multiplex and prevent new entrants to the market. In many areas, however, where there are only two or three local services, they will probably find little problem in going digital if that is what they want to do.

Local multiplexes do not have to put forward proposals for promoting or assisting the acquisition of receivers, nor will they be required, at any stage, to pay a percentage of multiplex revenue. I also remind noble Lords that we intend to provide greater security for independent local radio licence holders going digital by allowing them to renew for a further eight-year term, their analogue licences.

Extension to analogue licences, as I explained, linked taking up the digital audio broadcasting place. We shall consider the point that my noble friend raised, although we can see difficulties in giving open-ended guarantees of the kind that he asked for.

I believe that the regime we propose recognises both the needs of the BBC and the differences between national and local independent radio. It provides ILR licence holders with the incentive to invest in DAB and

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the security to ensure that they can benefit from that investment. For these reasons, and in the light of my remarks, I hope that the noble Lord will be reassured.

Lord Colwyn: My Lords, I thank my noble friend the Minister for that long and complex answer, and I think a hint of encouragement.

BBC local radio is very well cushioned. It does not have to bid for its licence or pay part of its revenue. However, I feel that it should perhaps have a guaranteed place on the multiplex. If there is not enough space, then perhaps places should definitely be made available to existing broadcasters. However, I have listened, and I look forward to reading my noble friend's remarks. At this stage, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 59 not moved.]

Lord Inglewood moved Amendments Nos. 60 and 61:

Page 40, line 31, leave out ("national").
Page 40, line 34, leave out from ("period") to (""the") in line 35 and insert--
("(a) in the case of a local radio multiplex licence, a financial penalty of £50,000, or
(b) in the case of a national radio multiplex licence, a financial penalty of whichever is the greater of--
(i) £50,000, or
(ii) the prescribed amount.
(6) In subsection (5)(b)(ii)").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I have spoken to Amendments Nos. 60 to 80 with Amendments Nos. 22, 24, 27 and 35. In those circumstances, with the leave of the House I beg to move Amendments Nos. 60 and 61.

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Clause 48 [Conditions attached to national or local radio multiplex licence]:

Lord Inglewood moved Amendment No. 62:

Page 41, line 47, leave out subsection (3) and insert--
("(3) No order under subsection (2) shall be made unless a draft of the order has been laid before and approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 51 [Attribution of multiplex revenue to licence holder and others]:

Lord Inglewood moved Amendments Nos. 63 and 64:

Page 45, line 35, leave out (" 53(2)") and insert (" 53(2A)").
Page 46, line 1, leave out (" 56(2) or section 60(2)") and insert (" 56(2A) or section 60(2A)").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 52 [Duration and renewal of national or local radio multiplex licences]:

Lord Inglewood moved Amendments Nos. 65 to 68:

Page 46, line 36, leave out subsection (4) and insert--
("(4) At any time before determining the application, the Authority may--
(a) require the applicant to furnish--

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(i) a technical plan which supplements that submitted by the licence holder under section 40(4)(b) or 44(4)(b), and
(ii) in the case of a national radio multiplex licence, proposals which supplement that submitted by the licence holder under section 40(4)(f), and
(b) notify the applicant of requirements which must be met by that supplementary technical plan or those supplementary proposals and relate to the matters referred to in section 40(4)(b)(i) and (ii) or 44(4)(b)(i) and (ii).
(4A) The consent of the Secretary of State shall be required for any exercise by the Authority of their powers under subsection (4) and for any decision by the Authority not to exercise those powers.").
Page 47, line 4, leave out from beginning to ("or") in line 8 and insert--
("(b) any supplementary technical plan or supplementary proposals submitted under subsection (4)(a) fail to meet requirements notified to the applicant under subsection (4)(b),").
Page 47, leave out lines 12 to 14 and insert--
("(7) Subject to subsection (7A), on the grant of any such application the Authority may with the consent of the Secretary of State, and shall if so required by him--").
Page 47, line 23, at end insert--
("(7A) Where an order under section 49(2) is in force on the relevant date, no percentage of multiplex revenue shall be payable as mentioned in subsection (7)(a) during the period for which the licence is to be renewed.").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 53 [Enforcement of national or local radio multiplex licences]:

Lord Inglewood moved Amendments Nos. 69 to 71:

Page 48, line 9, leave out from beginning to ("3") in line 11 and insert ("shall not exceed whichever is the greater of--
(a) £50,000, or
(b) the amount determined under subsection (2A).
(2A) The amount referred to in subsection (2)(b) is--
(a) in a case where a penalty under this section has not previously been imposed on the holder of the radio multiplex licence during any period for which his licence has been in force ("the relevant period"),").
Page 48, line 14, leave out ("shall, in any other case, not exceed") and insert ("in any other case").
Page 48, line 16, at end insert--
("and in relation to a person whose first complete accounting period falling within the relevant period has not yet ended, paragraphs (a) and (b) above shall be construed as referring to 3, or (as the case may be) 5, per cent. of the amount which the Authority estimate to be the share of multiplex revenue attributable to him for that accounting period (as so determined).").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 56 [Enforcement of digital sound programme licences]:

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