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Lord Monson: My main interest in this Bill is to ensure that the English do not lose out. If we are going to all the expense and trouble of having devolution we might as well do the job properly. Matters such as videos and cinemas, food safety, consumer protection, telecommunications, gas, and so on, should be a matter for the Scottish parliament. I am very happy to support this amendment, for what it is worth.

Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale: We are not in favour of accepting the amendment which would devolve legislative competence for entertainment matters reserved under Head 2 of Schedule 5.

It has been said previously in Committee that we are not prepared to listen to arguments for widening the powers of the Scottish parliament. As the noble Lord, Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish, has pointed out, we have already shown, in this very area, that is not the case. We listened in another place to a case for giving the Scottish parliament legislative responsibility for hypnotism and theatre licensing and agreed that such matters should be devolved, and that has now been done. However, we do not consider it is appropriate for the remaining entertainment matters in Schedule 5.

As my honourable friend the Scottish Office Minister for Home Affairs made clear during consideration of this Bill in another place, the need to reserve the regulation of films and videos is based on the vital, and non-statutory, role of the British Board of Film Classification.

The board has been responsible for classification of films for public exhibition since 1912. It operates on a voluntary basis. It is important that it maintains the confidence of the industry, the public and the local authorities, who exercise a final control on what is shown in cinemas through their licensing powers under the Cinemas Act 1985, as the noble Lord, Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish, has pointed out. Local authorities have a right to impose their own restrictions on what is shown, but in practice they rarely disagree with the board's recommendations.

Within the UK there is, in effect, a single market and it is entirely sensible that the board operates on a UK basis. Cinema goers on both sides of the Border share standards of what is or is not acceptable for different age groups. If we had separate arrangements there could

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be duplication of the decisions taken by different bodies throughout the UK, or film producers would find themselves in the position of having to tailor their films to meet the differing requirements of the various boards and risk decisions that films that might be shown on one side of the Border could not be shown in that form on the other side. This would open up an undesirable and unnecessary area for controversy.

The control of exhibitions of films under the Cinemas Act 1985 is a matter for local authorities, and that will not change. Indeed, we are seeking to preserve this valuable local component of the system of control of film exhibitions--a system which works very well. We are not in the business of change for change's sake. Therefore, since no evidence has been presented to support a contrary view, we do not intend to overturn an efficient and effective system for no good reason.

The classification of videos is dealt with separately, under the Video Recordings Act 1984. The arguments for reservation of classification of videos are similar to those for classification of film. There are additional important differences which reinforce the argument that the classification of videos should be reserved. Videos are easily transported and most are used for home viewing. Classification is designed to regulate the sale of videos rather than to regulate public exhibition. Any difference in the regulation of videos on different sides of the Border would mean that one jurisdiction would risk undermining, or being undermined by, the other. In order to avoid compromising the protection which the legislation gives the public, it is necessary to continue with the common approach which the UK statute provides.

I hope that that reply gives the noble Lord, Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish, the information that he was seeking. I hope that it satisfies him, and that he will withdraw the amendment.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: I am grateful to the noble Baroness for that explanation. I understand the point that it would seem to be unnecessary duplication to set up a Scottish board of film classification, or a Scottish classification body for videos, because it would be somehow wrong if films were treated differently on one side of the Border from the other. I understand the argument, but it does not accord with the great principle of devolution. In other parts of the Bill, and most of the schedule, the Government are admitting that on much more important issues than this there could well be different laws on different sides of the Border.

It seems a little hard, when we have swallowed many more important things that should be devolved, with the potential that they would be different on both sides of the Border, that we choke over film and video classification. However, all these classifications are rapidly becoming out of date with the advent of satellite television. Any classification that anyone wishes to make of anything on television or in the cinema in the UK is subverted by satellite television. So, on the basis that the modern world will overtake all this censorship, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

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[Amendment No. 188 not moved.]

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish moved Amendment No. 189:

Page 68, leave out lines 1 to 3.

The noble Lord said: The amendment takes out of reservation the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. Again, this is a probing amendment to discover why the Scottish parliament is not to be given the responsibility for the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act and scientific procedures on animals. After all, health is devolved to the Scottish parliament and I make no complaint about that. That is logical. Agriculture is devolved. The Committee will be aware that I am not happy about that, not because I do not believe that the Scottish parliament will act responsibly but because of the links with the EU, when it is in my view very much a UK matter. Other parts of agriculture relating to animal welfare and the like are devolved, so why is that Act not devolved?

In Scotland we have a major university community and major research establishments. The universities are funded by the Scottish Office. They will be funded by the Scottish parliament. There is no real reason why the issue of scientific procedures on animals should not also be devolved.

While I am on live animals, we had a Question yesterday about rabies. I appreciate that the Government may not be able to answer this point, but perhaps they could write to me. I wondered about the legislation on rabies and the legislation under which the import of animals into this country is banned unless they have been quarantined for the necessary time to ensure that rabies does not come into this country. It is a policy which, it has to be said, has been extremely successful in keeping this country and our neighbours on the island of Ireland free of that problem. I wonder what legislation that comes under and whether that is being devolved, because if it is, we would have an odd circumstance. I appreciate that it is a little outside the issue before us, but I would be grateful if someone could write to me about that. I beg to move.

Baroness Carnegy of Lour: I am afraid that I cannot agree with my noble friend on this point. It is an important part of the Bill that research in our universities is funded centrally and left as a UK matter. He is right that some research in universities will be funded out of their own resources, but the funding of the main body of research is a UK matter. The Scottish universities feel that that is important. They made representations to the Government who accepted them. When he reflects upon this matter my noble friend will probably think that the cost of the procedures and the use of animals in research can vary greatly according to what the procedures may be. I believe that it should stay as a reserved matter.

6.15 p.m.

Lord Sewel: It is a joy and a delight to find myself in agreement with the noble Baroness, Lady Carnegy of Lour. We both recognise that there are real dangers in

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fragmenting arrangements relating to vivisection between Scotland and the rest of the UK, to a large extent because the law impacts so significantly on the scientific community where there is a strong case for having a common policy.

Professionals in this field have to operate within a common ethical framework, given the inter-related nature of scientific research. There is a high degree of mobility of experimental activity and personnel in the research field. Major problems would arise if the regulatory regime were different on both sides of the Border in terms of the type of work that could be done and the type of controls. That would impact inevitably on the cost, capability, and ability of different research institutes being able to conduct scientific research as a result of a different regulatory regime on one side of the Border as opposed to the other.

There are strong practical reasons for this. We should always be guided by good commonsense considerations, and not, in all cases, by an appeal to some lofty principle. In this case there is a strong, commonsense, down-to-earth reason. I hope on that basis that the noble Lord will feel able to withdraw the amendment.

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