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Lord Selkirk of Douglas: I thank the Minister for accepting the principle of my amendment. In those circumstances I shall not press the matter. But I respectfully suggest that the issue be looked at before the next stage of the Bill in case it is necessary to make a suitable provision concerning the arrangements now being worked up with regard to a joint ministerial committee, bearing in mind that the Northern Irish legislation sets out specifically such arrangements. With that thought, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 257A to 257C not moved.]

Clause 48 agreed to.

Clause 49 agreed to.

The Earl of Balfour moved Amendment No. 258:

After Clause 49, insert the following new clause--

Equality of opportunity

(" .--(1) The Scottish Executive shall make appropriate arrangements with a view to securing that its functions are exercised with due regard to the principle that there should be equality of opportunity for all people.

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(2) After each financial year of the Parliament, the Scottish Executive shall publish a report containing--
(a) a statement of the arrangements made in pursuance of subsection (1) which had effect during that financial year, and
(b) an assessment of how effective those arrangements were in promoting equality of opportunity.").

The noble Earl said: The amendment seeks to provide equality of opportunity. This appears to be a very good measure in the Government of Wales Bill. I tabled the amendment to see how such a provision would apply in this Bill. I believe that the intention of the amendment is clear and I shall not say any more. I beg to move.

Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale: The new clause reflects a concern to support equal opportunities which I wholly share. I have already spoken to this in Committee. Equality of opportunity will be fundamental to the Scottish parliament both in the way it conducts its business and the policies it adopts through legislation. Our White Paper made this clear. The matter of equal opportunities, as noble Lords will recall from an earlier debate, is generally reserved: it is right that there should be common standards across the Border. However, the Scottish parliament will be able to encourage equal opportunities generally. The exceptions to the reservation are designed to ensure that the parliament can exercise a role in respect of equal opportunities such as by supporting advertising campaigns and developing non-discriminatory policies in all devolved areas. The parliament will also be able to improve duties on certain public bodies to make arrangements to secure that their functions are carried out with due regard to the requirements of equal opportunities law.

The new clause would impose new duties on the Scottish executive to observe equal opportunities in the exercise of its functions and would require an annual report. It seems to me that it should be for the Scottish parliament, not the Bill, to impose such duties on the Scottish executive. This is one of the reasons for which provision is made in Section 2, Head 11, in Schedule 5 for the Scottish parliament to impose duties on certain public bodies to make arrangements with a view to securing that its Scottish functions are carried out with due regard to the need to meet the requirements of equal opportunities law.

Amendments Nos. 222B to 222E which we debated yesterday clarified what the Scottish parliament would be able to do in this respect. It will be able to impose this duty on any member of the Scottish executive, so the Scottish parliament will have the power to impose duties on the Scottish executive to make arrangements with a view to securing that its functions are carried out with due regard to the need to meet the requirements of equal opportunities law.

We believe that this is an area in which the Scottish parliament can be expected to take the lead. I hope that I have said enough to convince the noble Earl that the amendment is unnecessary and that he should seek leave to withdraw it.

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The Earl of Balfour: I am surprised it is regarded as necessary that an annual report should be made on the matter. I had not intended to take the matter that far. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 50 [Devolved competence]:

Lord Sewel moved Amendment No. 259:

Page 23, line 6, leave out second ("so") and insert ("in such a way").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 259A not moved.]

Clause 50, as amended, agreed to.

12.45 a.m.

Clause 51 [Functions exercisable with agreement]:

Lord Sewel moved Amendment No. 259AA:

Page 23, line 8, after ("provision") insert (", or any provision not contained in an enactment,").

The noble Lord said: Amendment No. 259AA would extend the scope of Clause 51(1) so that it would disapply non-statutory as well as statutory requirements for functions transferred to the Scottish ministers under Clause 49 to be exercised after consultation with, or with the consent, of another minister.

At present the clause disapplies only statutory requirements. However, the case for disapplication applies as strongly for non-statutory requirements. For example the Royal Charters of Scottish Sports and Arts Councils provide for the form of annual statements of account to be determined by the Secretary of State with the approval of the Treasury. After devolution the function of determining the form of accounts will be exercisable by the Scottish ministers, as would the function of approving their own determination. That clearly makes no sense, and so Clause 51 as amended will remove the unnecessary approval requirement.

The Scottish ministers can be expected to develop their own internal mechanisms for financial control and, as they will be accountable to the Scottish parliament, it would generally not be appropriate for the requirement for the Treasury's consent to be retained, except in a few special cases which we have provided for in the Bill.

I trust that with these explanations the Committee will agree that this amendment is necessary, and I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish moved Amendment No. 259B:

Page 23, line 13, leave out from ("enactment") to end of line 15.

The noble Lord said: This is a serious amendment, and will take some time. I shall probably withdraw it and return to it at Report, but there we are. This was labelled the "Margaret Beckett amendment" when it was in the House of Commons. It has now of course changed to become the "Peter Mandelson amendment" and that, as far as the Scottish parliament and Scottish economy are concerned, is much, much more serious.

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As it stands, Clause 51(2) of the Bill excludes two paragraphs of Schedule 32 to the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980 from subsection (1), which states that,

    "a Minister of the Crown to exercise a function with the agreement of, or after consultation with, any other Minister of the Crown shall not apply to the exercise of the function by a member of the Scottish Executive by virtue of section 49".

We are into industrial and economic policy. The Local Government, Planning and Land Act which is being excluded by this clause designates enterprise zones. Paragraph 5 designates enterprise zones and begins:

    "If a body adopts a scheme under this Schedule, the Secretary of State may (if he thinks it expedient to do so) by order designate the area to which the scheme relates as an enterprise zone".

It goes on to say:

    "No order may be made until ... the expiry of the period of six weeks commencing with the first publication (whether in the London or Edinburgh Gazette...)",

and that should please the noble Earl, Lord Mar and Kellie, who I believe has an amendment relating to the Edinburgh Gazette somewhere else in the Bill,

    "under paragraph 3(7) above, or ... if an application in relation to the scheme is made under paragraph 4(1) above, the time at which any proceedings arising out of the application are disposed of. The power to make the order shall be exercisable by statutory instrument subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament, and"--


    "only with the Treasury's consent".

If the noble and learned Lord, Lord Simon of Glaisdale, were with us at this time of night he would probably draw the Committee's attention to the fact that those words are unnecessary.

Paragraph 15 of Schedule 32 to the Act deals with modification orders by the Secretary of State. It states:

    "Subject to sub-paragraph (3) below, the Secretary of State may (if he thinks it expedient to do so) by order modify any order made under paragraph 5 above".

Paragraph 15(2) states that an order under this paragraph,

    "may extend the period for which the zone is to remain an enterprise zone; and may provide...if the enterprise zone is in Scotland, that the enterprise zone authority shall be the planning authority exercising district planning functions...for the zone for different purposes of the 1972 Act, or in relation to different kinds of development".

The power conferred here does not include,

    "Power to alter the boundaries of an enterprise zone; power to designate a different enterprise zone authority for the zone; or power to reduce the period for which the zone is to remain an enterprise zone".

I have read out those parts of the Act to emphasise how important these powers are with regard to enterprise zones.

Enterprise zones are an important part of the way we attract industry and commerce to areas of Britain where unemployment is high and employment prospects are poor. There are some criticisms of the enterprise zones. Those criticisms can come from other parts of the kingdom where it is felt that the special provisions of an enterprise zone can poach a company from one place to another. If my recollection serves me aright, an issue was raised in this House recently about a company that

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left, I think, Berwick and moved to an enterprise zone. It was said by those worried about Berwick's position, understandably in the light of subsequent closures by Dawson, to be unfair. I have some sympathy when enterprise zones are used like that.

When my noble and learned friend Lord Fraser of Carmyllie was MP for East Angus, he had a similar problem, although I believe that he was the recipient of the move from one area of Scotland to an assisted area. It can cause difficulties. But those difficulties are as nothing compared with the advantages an enterprise zone can confer on an area when inward investment is sought.

What worries us about this clause is that it is clear to us--it is why we have nicknamed it the "Margaret Beckett amendment"--that the Government are planning to end Scottish control over inward investment matters by centralising those powers in the DTI. This clause centralises those powers in the DTI. Indeed, Mr. Ian McCartney, a DTI Minister (I am not sure whether he is still a DTI Minister; I suspect that he is) confirmed last November that the department had plans to strengthen Whitehall's control over Scottish aid packages aimed at wooing major job creation projects by multinational companies. That was reported in the Scottish newspapers too.

I have already raised this matter in relation to other issues. But it is related to assisted area status which is very important indeed. Locate in Scotland, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise have been successful in bringing new jobs into Scotland, in particular into assisted areas, and in safeguarding jobs there. In 1995-96, the number of new or safeguarded jobs associated with inward investment was at a higher level than at any time since Locate in Scotland was set up in 1981. Indeed, 10,136 of 12,500 jobs were new jobs; and that was the highest figure ever. It was an increase of 1,000 on the corresponding figure for 1994-95. These jobs are important. Over the five years to March 1996 there were 400 inward investment projects with an investment total of £3.4 billion and 50,000 jobs associated with them. We are talking about something that is of huge importance to the Scottish economy. Everyone in Scotland knows how successful we have been in attracting US investment, and the United Kingdom as a whole has been very successful in attracting Japanese investment. This is particularly important in Europe's semi-conductor industry. In Scotland, what is called Silicon Glen now produces 13 per cent of Europe's semi-conductors.

I have indicated, as briefly as I can in view of the serious nature of the subject, the importance we attach to aspects such as assisted area status and how suspicious we are of the Department of Trade and Industry. That suspicion is increased by the arrival of Mr. Peter Mandelson at that department. I refer to the proposal in Clause 51.

My honourable and right honourable friends in another place and my noble friends here are extremely suspicious that this power will be taken away from the Scottish parliament and placed here where the defender of Scotland's interests will be a Secretary of State for

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Scotland who, frankly, will not have nearly as much clout as the Secretary of State has had to date, for reasons we have touched upon today.

If the Minister tells me that I need not worry because Mr. Brian Wilson has been sent to join Mr. Peter Mandelson, I have to tell him that my worries merely increase because, after the incident of the student fees at Scottish universities, I would not depend on Brian Wilson to defend any Scottish interest at all, and against Mr. Peter Mandelson I suspect he would not even be in the game; if he could not defend Scotland's interests against the noble Baroness, Lady Blackstone, what chance would he have against Peter Mandelson?

Even if he were to be successful in the short term, he is not always going to be the Minister at the Department of Trade and Industry, nor will there always be a Scottish Member at the Department of Trade and Industry. I just feel that this is a very difficult position for the Scottish minister, some of the Scottish executive and the Scottish parliament. Here is a power that is important to Scotland: it relates to the designation of assisted areas, the changing of assisted areas, increasing the time during which the assisted areas can operate, yet the Scottish parliament will not have anything to do with it. I find that situation very worrying. I hope that the Minister, even at this late hour can give me an answer which relieves a worry of mine and of some of my noble friends, who, had they been here this evening, would have gone into this matter in greater detail. I beg to move.

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