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Lord McCarthy: My Lords, does the Minister agree that the real problem is that there was once a system of

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standing arbitration affecting the greater part of public industry, including air transport? In the years between 1980 and 1995, with privatisation, the great majority of the system was abolished by the employers, with the encouragement of the then government. That is why we are where we are now.

Lord Clinton-Davis: My Lords, my noble friend is absolutely right. That was done frequently in connection with privatisation and it has not been a successful operation. It gives the lie to the suggestion that there was any wisdom on the part of the previous government in the way they handled such matters.

Lord Campbell of Alloway: My Lords, will the House accept that the object of this Question was not, as suggested by the noble Lord, to criticise the trade unions in any way? It was to seek, irrespective of the merits, to get some sense into industrial relations.

Lord Clinton-Davis: Well, my Lords, you could have foxed me.

Lord Renton: My Lords, would not it be very helpful if the leaders of trade unions were invited to draw the attention of their members to the consequences of strikes?

Lord Clinton-Davis: My Lords, I find that an extraordinary question, too. From my knowledge of trade unions and employers--which is not inconsiderable, to cite a phrase from a previous Prime Minister--they all tell their members what will be the consequences of certain actions. That goes without saying.

Camelot: Directors' Bonuses

3.31 p.m.

Lord Inglewood asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why they have condemned the performance-related bonuses paid by Camelot to its directors while they have approved a scheme of performance-related payments contained in Millennium Central's contract with the International Management Group.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, the Government believe that pay levels should be closely related to performance. International Management Group will be paid a commercial fee for raising funds from private sector companies. If they raise nothing, they will receive nothing. The Government expressed the public's concern over the scale of Camelot directors' bonuses. Subsequently, Camelot agreed to pay the interest on undistributed prize money, worth around £24 million over four years, to the good causes and the directors will pay some of their future bonuses to charity.

Lord Inglewood: My Lords, I am most grateful to the Minister for his reply. Can he confirm that the

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Government will place pressure on IMG similar to that placed on the Camelot directors to give at least some of its performance related payments to charity?

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, all the IMG receipts will be performance related. There is a legal contract with IMG, originally drawn up by the Millennium Commission under the previous government, and that contract will be adhered to.

Lord Dean of Beswick: My Lords, will the Minister confirm that at the time of the agreement with Camelot, Mr. Richard Branson described it as "a licence to print money"? Is it not the case that that has yet to be proved by the people who are to carry out the Millennium project? Is it not right that the Government should review the agreement in view of the money that is floating about in Camelot?

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, my noble friend is correct to say that the Camelot agreement is subject to review. We shall publish a White Paper later this month about the National Lottery and legislation will be introduced later this year. Camelot's contract will expire in due course. In our manifesto we expressed the view that the National Lottery should be conducted on a not-for-profit basis.

Lord Burnham: My Lords, have the Government any intention, in the light of what the Minister has just said, of initiating legislation which will enable them to interfere with contracts freely entered into?

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, I have explained the kind of legislation that is to be introduced. It will be concerned with the direction of funds for the National Lottery. In due course, the contract of Camelot will come up for renewal and will be reconsidered at that time. We have no other legislative intention.

Lord Boardman: My Lords, by his reply does the noble Lord mean that only profit related bonuses which are first approved by the Government will not be attacked by them?

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: No, my Lords, I did not say that and I did not imply it in any of my answers.

Baroness Rawlings: My Lords, the Government state that when Camelot's franchise expires they will replace it with a non-profit lottery operator. Will they forbid it from paying performance related bonuses?

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, the purpose of a not-for-profit contract will be to provide the highest possible quality service and to receive a reasonable management fee. The details of that and how it will be paid have not yet been worked out; nor could they be. I am very familiar with the difference between a not-for-profit and a for-profit organisation, having run a for-profit company for 30 years--not that we always made a profit.

Lord Inglewood: My Lords, we are told that new Labour's policy is influenced by a series of great gurus.

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Can the Minister confirm that in this area of policy its guru is Pontius Pilate, who was flaccid, populist and inconsistent?

Lord Monson: My Lords, can the noble Lord say whether individuals are under any legal obligation to go to see Ministers of the Crown if those Ministers request their attendance?

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I do not suppose they are, my Lords. But the directors of Camelot are directors of a company which benefits from an agreement with the Government and are collecting money from the people of this country. It seems to me the very minimum of courtesy that they should respond to a request by the Government who wish to put to them concerns which have been publicly expressed.

Lord Sefton of Garston: My Lords, now that the Government have addressed the iniquities of low pay, will they look at the obscenities of high pay, as featured in the financial pages every day?

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, the specific Question relates to the pay of the directors of Camelot. As I said in my first Answer, we are pleased to recognise that, in response to pressure from the Government following public concern, the directors of Camelot agreed, first, to allocate £24 million more to good causes and, secondly, to give some part of their future bonuses to charities. That seems to me a thoroughly satisfactory outcome in this particular case.

Southampton International Boat Show Bill

3.36 p.m.

Read a third time, and passed.

National Health Service (Private Finance) Bill [H.L.]

3.38 p.m.

Read a third time.

Clause 1 [Powers of NHS trusts to enter into agreements]

Lord Brightman moved the amendment:

Page 1, line 26, leave out subsection (6) and insert--
("(6) The fact that an agreement made by a National Health Service trust has not been certified under this section does not affect its validity.").

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, this amendment worded in plain English is designed to replace the original, wholly obscure, wording of subsection (6) of Clause 1.

Subsection (6) was described by my noble and learned friend Lord Simon of Glaisdale as "incomprehensible". The noble Lord, Lord Hooson, a

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Queen's Counsel of many years' standing, as your Lordships will know, told your Lordships that he could not understand it. Happily, the problem is now behind us, thanks to the helpfulness of the noble Baroness the Minister. I should like to express my grateful thanks to her and also to parliamentary counsel for drafting the amendment.

The amendment reads:

    "The fact that an agreement made by a National Health Service trust has not been certified under this section does not affect its validity".
With your Lordships' approval, I should like just to add a word for the future. I came to this Bill at the Committee stage with one main purpose: to plead that subsection (6) should be written in plain English. It read:

    "Nothing in this section affects the validity of any agreement made by a National Health Service trust if the agreement--

    (a) has not been certified under this section; but

    (b) would have been an externally financed development agreement for the purposes of this section if it had been so certified".

I tendered three alternative versions of subsection (6) for the consideration of the Government. I was supported in my crusade for plain English by my noble and learned friend Lord Simon of Glaisdale, who, at Report stage, spoke these memorable words:

    "We have simply no right to legislate in a manner that is incomprehensible to the people to whom the legislation is addressed ... It is extremely important because the legislation is a vital part of the process whereby democratic society frames rules ... If the rules are incomprehensible, then the process of democratic legislation has broken down".--[Official Report, 26/6/97; col. 1649.]
The same sentiment was expressed by the noble Lord, Lord Renton, when he said,

    "we have a duty to make our laws easily understood",--[col. 1649.]
and added that we should be vigilant in performing that duty.

I should like to say to all parliamentary draftsmen, with the greatest respect to their profession, please draft our Bills in plain English. I beg to move.

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