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Baroness Trumpington: My Lords, perhaps I might remind your Lordships that when the figure seven appears on the clock, we are in the eighth minute. So far we have had speeches lasting 22 minutes, nine minutes, eight minutes and eight minutes. We are falling behind.
I must declare an interest. As my noble friend Lord Gowrie pointed out, I am the chairman of an auction house. Just to refresh my noble friend's normally perfect memory, it is the old English house of Christie's. As such, I have frequent dealings with the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Heritage Lottery Fund and its chairman, my noble friend Lord Rothschild. It is to their work that I wish to address myself this afternoon.
My noble friend needs no introduction from me. His record speaks for itself. He did wonderful work as chairman of the Trustees of the National Gallery. He was responsible not only for approving great acquisitions but also for providing the framework for the superb addition to the gallery by the family of my noble friend Lord Sainsbury and Paul Getty's equally important gift of cash. No one could have come to the lottery with a better track record and better credentials.
But it would be foolish not to admit that the lottery has been subject to some criticism. There have been missed opportunities. That great masterpiece, "The Finding of Moses" painted for King Charles I by Gentileschi--after Holbein, Van Dyck and Rubens, the most important painter to work in Britain--should have been purchased. It is a masterpiece.
That is the nub of it. Lottery money should be spent not on good things but reserved for the very best--such as, for instance, the Churchill Papers. They should have been purchased. There should have been no argument about it. It does not matter where the money goes so long as what is bought with it is the best and the best is made available to the public. It would be perfect if great works of art and great buildings belonged only to the deserving. They do not. They never have and they never will. What is important is that, however feckless and irresponsible the sellers, the few masterpieces that they sell and the few buildings that they leave in ruins are acquired by the nation for its enrichment in perpetuity.
We must not get sentimental about the lottery money. I buy lottery tickets every week but I do not buy them because I am thinking of Gentileschi or even Covent Garden--again, my noble friend Lord Gowrie deserves a big pat on the back for that. I buy tickets because one day I am going to win, and I am no exception. Until I do so, I must slave away as an auctioneer. It is from that perspective and, incidentally, not one of profit but rather of loss that I want to make one specific point; namely, that the lottery money be made available for the purchase of works of art in situ. Surrender in lieu and surrender in lieu in situ, in the lean years before the lottery, with Hugh Dalton's gesture of the land fund the great exception, have been the means whereby the galleries of Great Britain have been able to enlarge their collections, notwithstanding the sadly low level of government support. That excellent system should now be extended into the realms of private sales in situ.
There are a few great pictures that should go to Trafalgar Square, Edinburgh and Cardiff. But, leaving works of art in situ appeals not just to the viewing public. It is a system that is inexpensive to administer--the house owner pays for the guides, the security and the fabric of the house. If an owner defaults on his obligations or closes his house, of course the works of art which belong to the nation must leave that house and be shown and enjoyed in a museum or other public place; but, where the owner of a great house is prepared to go on looking after works of art, which he does not own, for the public's benefit--as well as his own; I am not blind to self-interest--he should be encouraged.
In closing, I shall revert to the Heritage Lottery Fund and my noble friend Lord Rothschild, its chairman. I know that there have been mutterings that his powers should be curtailed and possibly handed over to other organisations. But, please, do not seek to curtail the noble Lord, Lord Rothschild; seek rather to give him more support. He and his team have been entrusted with a task that goes far beyond the built heritage. It encompasses the whole of the UK and covers everything from museum acquisitions to wetland marshes. They have been given resources reminiscent of the Medicis--or, indeed, the noble Lord's own ancestors. What he needs today for our nation to help him achieve the results that they achieved in the past are trustees. I fear that at the moment he has those who are worthy but possibly too politically correct. He needs men of vision like himself, who can recognise great works of art and take bold and immediate decisions to acquire them. If that happens, we shall all be the winners from the Lottery.
Lord Rothschild: My Lords, the whole of the House will want to join together in congratulating the noble Lord, Lord Hindlip, to whom I shall refer, if I may, as my noble friend, for not only have our families known one another for a very long time, but he and I have been friends, professionally and personally, over many years and we have never had a disagreement. My noble friend's speech was splendid, light-hearted and characteristically generous--incredibly generous--but with a most serious and professional content. Perhaps I may say that the more time he can spare from his new and distinguished duties as chairman of that great institution, Christie's, away from King Street and Villiers House, the happier and better off we shall be for his specialised knowledge of an area of deep interest to this House. He has always conveyed that deep knowledge with skill, verve and humour. I can assure him that his contribution will be welcomed by all. Let me, finally, renew my congratulations on behalf of the House, and perhaps also thank him personally for his most generous words of support.
I should also like to congratulate the noble Earl, Lord Gowrie, my fellow distributor at the Arts Council, for his initiative in calling this debate at a great moment in the very short history of the National Lottery. It was only this week that the landmark figure of £2 billion was raised for the good causes of arts, sports, heritage, charities and the millennium.
The Heritage Lottery Fund, which I have the good fortune to chair, has now awarded some £225 million to more than 330 projects across the United Kingdom, bringing great benefits to many communities. The grants range from £1,500 to help restore St. Mary's Church, Frome, in Somerset, to £23 million toward building the new Wellcome Wing at the Science Museum. Noble Lords may have seen yesterday's announcement about the spectacular, imaginative and generous gift by Mr. Arthur Gilbert of his great collection. That gift, together with a capital grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund of some £15.5 million, to be supplemented in the future by an endowment fund, will ensure at long last the opening up of that hidden architectural masterpiece of Sir William Chambers, Somerset House.
We need a vision for Somerset House, as we do in all things, and must capitalise on our good fortune to achieve it: by banishing the cars from the Great Quadrangle, which could become the greatest urban open space in London where concerts and music could be enjoyed by all; by opening up the Seamans Hall; and by welcoming the public on to the South Terrace. Indeed, I wonder how many noble Lords have ever walked there? Charles Weld in his History of the Royal Society wrote in 1848:
Somerset House will be a truly memorable national project made possible by lottery funds. But let us consider a very different example of our heritage which, with the benefit of lottery moneys, could change dramatically--urban parks, the Heritage Lottery Fund's first special theme for which £50 million has been set aside. Many of our public parks have been disgracefully neglected over the past two decades and yet more than 8 million people visit a park every day. At Tollcross Park, in the east end of Glasgow, we have just awarded a grant of £1.95 million to restore and rejuvenate it. When the works are complete it will once again be a place that the people living around that park can take delight in; they will be proud of living where they do and it will help them to feel, as nothing else can, part of a community.
The "Additionality" and its interpretation will be ever-increasingly important. The directions from DNH to the lottery distributors make it clear that lottery funding should be strictly "additional" to government funding. A year on and we are asked to interpret that instruction liberally. But while the lottery is and will remain a substantial addition to funding within the heritage sector, it must not be allowed to threaten or substitute for core funding. It will of course take time to smooth over the distortions between lottery and government funding. Noble Lords may ask: why favour the new rather than the old when many organisations are facing a backlog of essential repair and maintenance works? If we are to help with the "black holes" of our heritage, we should do so on a one-off basis and not accept responsibility for recurring maintenance.
We welcome the Government's green paper on the heritage and the proposals to amend the present restrictive clauses under our Act to give us the freedom which the Arts and Sports Councils already enjoy. That will enable us to broaden the definition of eligible projects and recipients; for example, funding projects to improve access through new technology and educational initiatives. We would like to be able to include private individuals as well as charitable and not-for-profit bodies where there is a clear public benefit.
The lottery distributors are not, nor were they ever intended to be, primarily social regeneration agencies, although many of the projects we fund happily combine restoration and repair works with broader social benefits. Repairing run-down or derelict buildings or open spaces while at the same time finding alternative uses such as providing facilities for local communities may result in a welcome "double dividend". But there are many government departments with far greater funds at their disposal set up to oversee those issues. For example, the Department of Social Security's annual expenditure is 300 times greater than ours. Our focus is, and should remain, the heritage.
We were proud, for example, to have funded Chetham's Library in Manchester, one of the oldest public libraries in the country. Built in 1421, it includes some of the finest examples of medieval collegiate architecture in the world. I will not pretend that thousands of people should go to visit that remarkable library--that would spoil it--to which we awarded £1.8 million; but occasionally we feel that something is of such outstanding quality, such a jewel in our heritage, that we should simply help it.
Equally, we are just as proud to have awarded £250,000 to help restore the River Skerne where it flows through Darlington and to open up the river banks to the public; £400,000 to help restore Polokshields Burgh Hall in central Glasgow for use by more than 20 local communities; and £91,000 to refurbish the galleries and improve disabled access at Brecknock Museum in Wales.
As I have said, the lottery offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change our national mood and raise the quality of life in this country. To achieve that we will sometimes need to take a deep breath, take risks and fund projects which will add to our pride in this country. It is indeed an odd situation that the arts and heritage should find themselves lottery rich and public expenditure poor. The responsibility of the lottery distributors therefore becomes all the greater to ensure that, with courage, we break the mould of mediocrity of the past decade and find ourselves in a new era to which we may proudly refer in the future as the "Lottery Age".
Baroness Young: My Lords, I too thank my noble friend Lord Gowrie for introducing this debate this afternoon and congratulate him on his speech. I congratulate also my noble friend Lord Hindlip on his maiden speech. I am sure that we all look forward to hearing from him on many occasions in the future.
It is an appropriate time--18 months after the start of the lottery--to debate this issue. Like all other speakers I should like to say that I believe that the lottery is a great success story. We have an extraordinary national habit, when something is successful, of finding opportunities to run it down. But in this case it is encouraging that all those who have taken part in the debate so far have pointed to its success.
First, I should declare an interest as I am a member of the council of the Royal Albert Hall, which received a substantial grant from the lottery. But that illustrates in a real way the value of the lottery. A national institution which we like to describe as "the nation's village hall" will be improved with vastly better facilities for those who go to concerts or other entertainments and not least for those who perform there. It is a magnificent building which will be preserved and enhanced, and all that at no cost to public funds. I believe that the original critics of the lottery have been confounded by its success.
I do not believe that anyone taking part in today's debate is unaware from personal experience of the large number of small projects which have been helped. We listened with great interest to what the noble Lord, Lord Rothschild, said regarding our enormously important national buildings being preserved and helped, which we all support. But the smaller organisations, perhaps with as little as £5,000 or £10,000 are also being helped and, as a result of that activity, being saved. They too are adding to the quality of life of people throughout the country. Indeed, research has shown that the majority of recipients of lottery money consider that the grant not only was essential to their organisation but also to its long-term viability.
As regards the lottery, it is extremely easy to lose one's way in a welter of statistics which have come out about it. I should like to make two points in particular. First, I should like to confirm that, like so many of your Lordships, I think it is remarkable that lottery funding has gone to some of our great national institutions which are not only enjoyed by people here but by people abroad. Sometimes the criticism indicates a very patronising attitude to these matters. After all, there are lots of people who may not go to the opera every week but also like to save up and go somewhat infrequently. If it does not survive, they will not be able to go at all. We have to recognise that our national institutions are there for everyone to use.
Secondly, I should like to turn to what has been done to help charities. We heard only yesterday that £159 million was distributed to 2,229 charities. Altogether--this is the second round of grants--some £320 million has been distributed to more than 4,800 organisations. That is only the beginning. We often talk in your Lordships' House about the need for social services and helping those who are the poorest in the community, but the aim of the first round of these grants was to help those disadvantaged by poverty, and the aim of the second was to support youth issues and those on low incomes. Two-thirds of the funds from the board have gone to meet the revenue costs of charities and community organisations, particularly for the salaries of those running them.
Anyone involved in charitable organisations knows that volunteers need to be underpinned by some professionals. Forty-eight per cent. of the funds have gone to organisations describing themselves as social welfare services, a high proportion to housing and a high proportion to charities involving children. Every part of the United Kingdom has benefited. As a result, the lottery funding has played an important economic role in helping to provide employment, training and education to a large number of people, and it is a benefit in addition to public expenditure.
Perhaps I may comment briefly on some of the points raised by the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Worcester. If we did not have the lottery money, the funds would have to come from general taxation. I do not believe that any political party is contemplating raising taxes to cover these kinds of sums of money and to go on covering them well past the Millennium. This expenditure has an enormous knock-on effect not only on employment but on, to use that indefinable term, the quality of life, which is difficult to measure though we know what we mean when we use it, and it goes to all parts of the country.
Have charities suffered? They are facing competition and all charities have to become more efficient. Everyone knows that money raising is very difficult. As I understand it, the Henderson Top 2000 shows that charitable donations were up last year, the first year of the National Lottery, by 6.6 per cent., an increase of £166 million over the previous year. The study of the Charities Aid Foundation showed that the total income from the 500 biggest fundraising charities rose to a record £3.5 billion. I am pleased that the Home Office is to monitor the effects of lottery giving on charity
My time has come to an end. I shall conclude by saying that the lottery has been a great success. If we had a similar debate in two years' time, we would all be saying the same thing, with ever more objectives of arts, the heritage and charity to support.
When I thought that I was going to make a long and relaxed speech, I headed down here to say that Oscar Wilde said, "Life follows art". As usual, they all laughed. But, equally as usual, after a while some of them began to think it might not be just a joke. Similarly, housey-housey was just a game which became bingo, and now we have the lottery which is due to become an essential method of wealth redistribution. People love it as much as they hate taxation.
I am not sure whether it was George V who praised the Order of the Garter because, as he said, "There's no damn merit about it". It is only when you introduce an element of merit into it, when you try to decide which of the many deserving causes shall benefit, and by how much, from the consequences, the fruits, of turning the nation into a vast collection of gamblers, that you run into trouble. For what you have to do is to graft rational decisions onto irrationality, to show the mass that they have not been entirely daft without some benefit coming to someone other than the lucky few new millionaires. They know gambling is wrong and they need to be reassured that some good is coming out of it.
As to what is good--here comes the trouble--for as we have seen here this afternoon, one man's good is another's bete noire. I would be hypocritical if I praised over-much the maiden speech we have just heard, though it is the tradition of the House from which I shall not shrink, a speech with which I found myself in very considerable disagreement. Nevertheless, I conform to the tradition and heartily praise the noble Lord.
I am told that the Prime Minister's more sentient friends wish he had not chosen to reveal the Pooterish side of his personality at the Dispatch Box. The P.M. might have reminded himself that Mr. Gladstone did not find helping women out of prostitution something to be condemned. Personally, what I found reprehensible was the other decision to pay a huge sum of money for papers which most of us thought were already state property. Here, once again, I find myself committing the offence of disagreeing with a maiden speech.
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