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Page 69, leave out lines 32 to 35.

3 Nov 1998 : Column 186

The noble Lord said: My Lords, those who quite rightly are somewhat eagle-eyed when we come to discuss amendments will have noticed that this is the second time I have brought this amendment before the House. There is no mystery about that. It is simply that, despite speaking at great length about the package of technical amendments of which this was one, when it came to its place on the Marshalled List it was not actually moved. I apologise to the House for that and hope at this stage that the House will accept the amendment.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Hardie moved Amendment No. 208C:

Page 71, line 11, after ("1") insert ("to 3 and 5").

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, this amendment amends the provisions of the reservation of entertainment under Section 5, Head 2 of Schedule 5. It provides that Section 4 of the Cinemas Act 1985 is not covered by the reservation. The reason for the amendment is simple. The reservation is intended to cover the licensing of premises for use for film exhibitions and classification of films and videos. It is not intended to cover matters relating to public safety such as fire safety or building standards. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 208D had been withdrawn from the Marshalled List.]

Lord Hardie moved Amendment No. 208DA:

Page 71, leave out lines 27 to 29 and insert--
("The interception of communications; but not the subject-matter of Part III of the Police Act 1997 (authorisation to interfere with property etc.) or surveillance not involving interference with property.").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Sewel moved Amendment No. 208E:

Page 71, leave out lines 30 and 31.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish moved Amendment No. 209:

Page 72, line 3, at end insert--
("Exception from reservation
The distribution in Scotland of the New Opportunities Fund raised by the National Lottery.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, when we discussed this matter in Committee I wanted to move the whole of the expenditure of National Lottery money to the control of the new Scottish executive. However, in the light of that debate, I have decided to come back with an amendment which is very much more tightly drawn and refers only to the New Opportunities Fund. Your Lordships will know that there is an arts fund, a sports fund, a heritage fund, a charities fund and now there is the New Opportunities Fund.

In answering the debate in Committee on 23rd July the Minister was very helpful. He said that there would be mechanisms for Scottish Ministers to exercise appropriate powers of direction over the New Opportunities Fund's activities in Scotland while

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keeping control at the UK level. The problem is this. The arts fund money and the sports fund money will be distributed by Scottish bodies which will be appointed by the Scottish executive. When we come to the heritage fund and the charities fund, those are cross-border bodies and I am content with the arrangements that are in hand for Scottish nominees to be on the bodies and for the ability of the Scottish executive, and therefore the Scottish parliament, to make suggestions to the two bodies. However, the New Opportunities Fund is different in this regard. It will pay out money for health and education.

I said in Committee that when I sat on the Back Benches during the passage of the National Lottery Bill I heard a great deal from the Labour Party about the need to make sure that the Government did not use National Lottery money as a substitute for money that should be paid out from general taxation. The Government at that time gave assurances that that would not happen and they kept their word until the election. We are now in a position where National Lottery money is to be used for health, education and childcare.

I am not arguing whether or not that is right. I happen to believe that it is not because it is a breach of the undertakings given by the then government and sought by the present government when the National Lottery Bill was being considered that money would not be used to fund matters that should be paid for by general taxation. I accept that that is water under the bridge. My concern is that education, health and childcare are devolved entirely to the Scottish parliament; they are matters entirely for the Scottish parliament and the Scottish executive. It seems odd that money can be spent in those areas by the New Opportunities Fund in Scotland without the Scottish executive having the same control over the expenditure of that money as the UK Government. I should like to see the New Opportunities Fund treated more akin to arts and sport and bodies appointed by the Scottish executive in Scotland specifically to spend the new opportunities money on Scottish education, health and childcare, taking account of Scottish priorities and the different Scottish stance on those three issues. It would be much more satisfactory to go down that route and have Scottish bodies concerned with arts and sport than to have cross-border bodies despite all of the assurances given to me by the Minister. He told me that there would be internal structures and that the New Opportunities Fund would be sensitive to the Scottish interest. I accept all of that in good faith. However, we should treat the New Opportunities Fund in the same way as we treat arts and sport and set up a free-spending body in Scotland to spend the money in that fund in Scotland according to the priorities of Scottish education, health and childcare.

I would quite understand the position of the Government if these issues had not been devolved. However, because they have been devolved the New Opportunities Fund should follow. I believe this to be a fairly straightforward arrangement. No doubt I shall receive further assurances from the Minister. But I remain puzzled as to why this important new fund is not to be treated in the same way as the arts and sports

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funds and Scottish bodies are not to be set up to spend the money in Scotland along the lines of the very different Scottish education, health and childcare systems. I believe that that would make common sense. I hope that I shall make some progress on this matter with the Minister. I beg to move.

6 p.m.

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie: My Lords, I support my noble friend in this amendment. When the National Lottery Bill came before your Lordships' House at Committee stage in particular I raised this very point with the Minister. I should place on record his letter dated 4th March this year in which he provided me with a great deal of additional detail and spelt out the arrangements for a degree of involvement by the Scottish executive in the way in which National Lottery funds would be disbursed in Scotland. However, grateful as I am to him for that information, he did not and could not answer the central question. He was able to say:

    "The allocation of resources will follow an approach appropriate to each initiative, which may include Barnett where that is the right approach".
To that extent some reassurance is proffered by the Minister. However, the central point remains unanswered. Health, education and environment are at the very centre of the responsibilities to be given to the Scottish parliament, but only the Secretary of State, a Member of the Westminster Parliament, will be in a position to give directions. I understood that the central justification for devolution was that, while this Parliament and the Secretary of State within it might wish to promote initiatives and to give directions or propose a particular policy approach, for their own good reasons the Scottish parliament and the Scottish executive might prefer to re-order those priorities. They might prefer children's education to health. The policy point is not important but they might wish to re-order those priorities.

As I understand the answer given to me, there will be a degree of involvement by the Scottish executive and if an initiative is to be pursued it will be for the Scottish executive, for example, to prefer charity A to charity B as the body to take forward the initiative but the setting of the initiative is for the Secretary of State within the Westminster Parliament. That seems to me to be one of the most extraordinary anomalies that has arisen over this legislation. One might better understand it if this had been a provision in the original National Lottery legislation, but the Bill that came before Parliament set up a scheme of arrangements in advance of which this Bill had already been published. It is quite astonishing that this matter has not yet been properly dealt with. I support my noble friend in suggesting that this is a matter to be left to the Scottish parliament.

Lord Monro of Langholm: My Lords, I join my noble friend Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish and my noble and learned friend Lord Fraser of Carmyllie in protesting about the position of the National Lottery relative to Scotland. Noble Lords are aware that there were originally five good causes and a sixth good cause

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was added. Like my noble and learned friend Lord Fraser, I protested about that in Committee. The position is now worse in that following the millennium all moneys in the Millennium Fund will go into the New Opportunities Fund.

Noble Lords on this side of the House maintained throughout the passage of the National Lottery legislation introduced by the previous government--with tremendous success for so many voluntary organisations throughout the United Kingdom--the arm's length principle so that there was no direct government involvement. Organisations were set up to disburse the money and the Government did not have a direct say in the distribution of it.

Now the New Opportunities Fund will be administered by civil servants and will be subject to the direct control of Ministers. I believe that that is unfortunate and absolutely wrong, particularly when the Government have said that the New Opportunities Fund will be to provide direct support for a range of education, environment and public health projects. All of those issues should be dealt with by direct taxation, not by milking the lottery, which was set up for voluntary good causes: charities, heritage, sport and the arts. All of that is working very well. I am disappointed that the Government have introduced a sixth fund by which they avoid spending government money on those matters which should be the responsibility of government. They are taking money from the lottery to save the taxpayer having to pay directly for matters for which they should be directly responsible.

Having indicated my displeasure at the introduction of a sixth fund, my noble friend is absolutely right that this matter should be administered in Scotland. I was somewhat concerned to read in the press that the Secretary of State for Scotland would consider allowing communities in Scotland to buy land in order to set up local land trusts. I believe that that is pretty far removed from the original objectives and principles of the National Lottery Act.

One hopes that the Secretary of State will think again about his use of the sixth fund. But it is right that it should be administered in Scotland where at least it will be much more obvious where the money is coming from and going to than it would be if it was administered by skeleton staff in the Secretary of State's office in Whitehall. I believe that what my noble friend has suggested is the right way forward and I hope that the Minister will agree.

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