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I am not going to try to second-guess things, because in some ways the order allows for arrangements between tenants and farmers. I have been asked questions about the notice arrangements; I cannot possibly answer those. The order allows, by agreement, changes between the tenants and the landlord to a more flexible degree than in the past. Let us suck it and see. I cannot say what is good or bad in terms of length, because it depends on the individual circumstances. The fact is that they are not now constrained by the previous legislation, so it is up to individual business people, as it were, to make their decisions.
I also accept without any qualification that if you are a young person wanting to get on the land and get into farming and you do not have £3 million or thereabouts, you need to get a tenancy. That is the route in; I fully accept that. I understand that there has been a bit of a comeback in rented holdings. The figure for England is approximately 25,000 to 26,000 wholly rented holdings. There are about 40,000 mixed-tenure holdings and 120,000 wholly owned holdings. There is no doubt that the way in is through getting a tenancy, and I fully accept that.
I have not asked why the order did not cover this, but I am not surprised to find out that it did not. Facilitating the retirement of farmers is almost a contradiction in terms for some people. It is probably outside the scope of regulatory reform. There are other ways in which Defra is trying to assist with that.
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The order will be an aid to diversification. I always create a rod for my own back in saying this, but sometimes it pushes the policy along: the biggest barrier to diversification at the moment is planning law at the local district council level. I am not saying that I want to get rid of planning law; far from it. But planning law at that level must take into account changes in farm practices. It is something that I am trying to address. It is a cross-government issue; we are not working in a silo. I have been on enough farms and seen enough examples in the past few months of really barmy barriers to diversification. We are trying to address that, because it is probably the next issue.
It will be fully accepted by Members that although we are bringing the order in late, it cannot be retrospective. That is one of the issues that we cannot deal with. On the key issue of compensation that the noble Baroness asked me about, the change in the order will ensure more certainty in compensation payments and will ensure that the compensation payable is known in advance where the parties have agreed. I reaffirm the commitments given by my noble friend Lord Whitty. I do not think that his name was mentioned in my speaking notes and, as my officials would have found out as they listened to me, I added a paragraph in at the end of the speech in which I was happy to repeat my noble friends commitment. What I cannot say thoughand I admit this with some difficultyis exactly how we will do the monitoring. I am trying to cut down the number of surveys on farmers. I have balked at some of them since I have been here. Nevertheless, we have to have some mechanism in place to carry out our commitment to monitor the arrangements. We will do that through our close links with industry, which are important.
I completely take the point raised by the noble Baroness. Yes, we will monitor any CAP reform measures that impact not only on single farm payments, but on other areas, and we will bring forward the necessary changes if required. I am sure that the CAP needs simplifying and we do not need to leave that until the last minute in 2013, but there are constant, ongoing discussions about this and ideas are floating around on reform and simplification. When, as a result of the 2003 changes coming into force, factors emerge that were not able to be taken into account in this order, I give a commitment that we will keep them under review and bring forward the necessary changes.
Lord Livsey of Talgarth: My Lords, what the Minister has said is extremely important, but we must remember that there is long-standing EU legislation for the retirement of farmers. Perhaps the Minister would investigate whether that could be applied in the UK in specific circumstances, if he can get around his friends in the Treasury.
Lord Rooker: My Lords, I am happy to go back and take advice on that and I will write to the noble Lord. Although I am speaking from memory, I understand that when this matter was looked at, it was not seen asI shall not say value for moneyfit for purpose and another route was taken
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Farm blocking is an issue here. We want young people on the land and they are queuing up to get on the land, as I discovered on a recent visit to Harper Adams. I spent several hours there, including a couple of hours in a lecture theatre full of 150 or so young people who were itching to become farmersnot all of them from a farming background. I always ask when I go to colleges, or to shows where I see a college stand, whether there are people wanting to come in who have no background in farming. There is not a massive number, but they are there and that is fantastic, and we should do what we can to facilitate them. Farm blocking by farmers who do not understand the word retirement is a difficulty, but I shall provide a separate note on that.
The noble Lord said: My Lords, I have already inadvertently spoken to this amendment. I hope that your Lordships will spare me the blushes of having to repeat what I said and that you will simply enable me to move the amendment. I beg to move.
Baroness Anelay of St Johns: My Lords, I cannot resist the temptation of inviting the Minister to say a little something. When I looked at the amendments in this group, I had no objection to them. The questions that I have simply flow from the practical consequences of the police being involved in searches in schools in such a manner.
During debate on previous amendments, noble Lords talked about the police being called in in circumstances where the staff had been carrying out searches for knives and it had got to the stage where the police might be involved. We have no difficulty with that; we simply wish to ensure that both the staff and the pupils are protected as much as possible throughout any such searches. However, perhaps I may ask a what if question.
Where a search has been carried out and a knife has been found or there is a suspicion that a knife will
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That occurred to me only when I saw the government amendments. I do not know whether the Minister has been briefed on such matters. This is a new area of more comprehensive searches which should be for the protection of all but which may have some consequences that we need to know will be dealt with properly. At the moment, for example, if a young person is in possession of cannabis, it is often thought more appropriate that he or she is given counselling and medical help rather than being prosecuted immediately. Whether that is right or wrong, one has to consider whether that would be superseded by the imposition of a fixed penalty fine or other matters if the police were brought in to a search at an early stage. I wonder whether that is something that the Government have considered when tabling these amendments.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, obviously some thought has been given to these issues, not just in relation to this set of amendments. It is clearly something that schools already have to think about. I am sure that from time to time police officers are called into schools. Even in my dayperhaps slightly more innocent dayspolice officers sometimes appeared on the premises. Some of my colleagues were not always the best behaved. I could regale the House with one or two stories.
The situation depends on the circumstances and on what other materials are found; it also depends on how the police and the school together decide to deal with the matter. I do not like to hide behind clichés, but it becomes an operational issue. In any event, the police tend to take care in such situations and deal with matters as sensitively as they can, having regard to the fact that schools are primarily places of learning and places where we try to make good use of our time.
Yes, it is something that is thought about; no doubt it is something that will be considered when guidance on the issue is put together. I know that there is LEA guidance going back to 1997, entitled School Security: Dealing with Troublemakers, although I have not read it recently. No doubt this is something that was thought about then. Much advice is given to teachers and headmasters on how to deal with these issues. We take such matters seriously. We are considering the situation and no doubt it is something that schools have to consider in any event. I am sorry
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Baroness Anelay of St Johns: My Lords, in the light of Clause 15 and the fact that a statutory instrument will extend the fixed penalties for possession of cannabis, perhaps I may invite the Minister to give a stronger commitment. Will the Government consider, as a matter of urgency, consulting teaching staff before fixed penalties are extended to the possession of cannabis in schools?
While I am on my feetit may be thought to be the reason why I rose in the first placeI indicate that to assist business tonight I will not move my next amendment, which is on what is familiarly called happy slapping.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I will agree to send the noble Baroness and other noble Lords who have contributed to our debates a notice of what practice and guidance is currently offered. I take the point about Clause 15 and the extension of fixed penalty notices, and I have no doubt that that is already under active consideration. I will ensure that her comments are drawn to the attention of the appropriate Ministers and I will endeavour to return to her with more details.
(1) Any person who without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, the proof whereof shall lie on him or her, shall at any public assembly, public procession, public rally or public meeting or any sporting event or entertainment-
(3) A balaclava, helmet, ski mask or similar item of clothing or motor cycle helmet shall be deemed to be a mask or disguise for the purposes of subsection (1)(a) and (b) if the court (or jury) is satisfied that it was intended to be used as such.
(4) The wearing or carrying in the course of his duties of any item of protective clothing by any police officer or member of the security or emergency services shall be deemed to be with lawful authority.
The noble Baroness said: My Lords, about a fortnight ago, I was telephoned by my noble friend Lady Miller of Hendon who described to me in great detail the content of this amendment. She also told me that there was a problem in her family and that she might not be able to speak to it. Sadly, her mother died last Thursday night, so she is in a period of mourning and has asked me to move this amendment, which I gladly do. I know that I will not be able to move it in as good a manner as my noble friend Lady Miller, but I shall do my best.
The purpose of this amendment is to make it an offence to wear or carry a mask at any public assembly, procession, rally or meeting, with certain defined exceptions. Before I explain the simple but detailed provisions of this amendment, I would like to remind your Lordships of the historical background. In the distant past, even when a public protest degenerated and violence occurred, the precipitators, including the leaders, did not hide their faces. I remember seeing reruns of the newsreels of the anti-fascist riots in the East End of London in the late 1930s in which every face was clearly visible. If we fast-forward 50 years to the 1980s, the Grunwick dispute generated a fair amount of intimidating behaviour, but the faces in the newsreels were clearly visible. During the coalminers strike, which was particularly violent, the faces of the leaders and the men involved were clearly visible. Indeed, Arthur Scargill, the miners leader, complained that the police singled him out and hit him over the head with a riot shield.
However, in the 1980s, there was a significant change of behaviour at protests. I think it goes back to the poll tax protests. I have a recollection of a picture of a masked protestor heaving a scaffold pole through the window of a parked car. At riots in the north of England in the early 2000s, masked rioters were a feature. We have now seen them at anti-war demonstrations, animal rights protests, including the violent campaign against Huntingdon Life Sciences, anti-globalisation demonstrations, anti-hunting and pro-hunting protests and at protests about the Danish cartoons and the Popes recent comments about Islam.
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