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Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, I am grateful to both noble Lords for their reception of this order. It is fiendishly complicated and took me through several official drafts before I was satisfied that I understood them, let alone was capable of putting forward any coherent explanation to your Lordships.

The noble Baroness is right that the Radio Authority supports the amendments. It would have gone a bit further but accepts that this is a realistic compromise. In relation to the response to the question of the noble Viscount, the timescale it will be slower than original anticipated. The equipment is still quite expensive. I have never heard digital radio so I have no idea about the improved quality which it is supposed to offer. It will be a considerable time before digital radio is widespread, but we hope the order will at least remove some possible obstacles to that process.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

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New Opportunities Fund (Specification of Initiatives) Order 1999

1 a.m.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey rose to move, That the draft order laid before the House on 11th March be approved [12th Report from the Joint Committee].

The noble Lord said: The purpose of the order is to specify the three initiatives that will be funded by the National Lottery though the New Opportunities Fund. We published our proposals last November in the consultation document New Links for the Lottery and we received 328 responses. I am grateful to all who responded, the vast majority of whom welcomed our ideas.

Not knowing who else was to take part in this debate, I sent the draft directions to the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay of St. Johns, and the noble Viscount, Lord Falkland, last Thursday. They set out the framework for the new initiatives, which have been developed with the benefit of the many useful comments made. I included a summary of the responses to consultation.

We listened to the many respondents who were keen that we should not try to do too much with too little. I am pleased to inform the House that we have been able to increase the funding available to NOF for the initiatives from £400 million to £500 million. The extra money anticipates income that will accrue to NOF after the end of the current licence period.

The cancer prevention, detection, treatment and care programme will build on local fundraising to address local needs. That initiative will help to support the Government's aim of providing high-quality cancer services for all. It will strengthen health promotion by developing innovative techniques for giving information about cancer prevention and detection, and it will develop partnerships to promote healthy living. The initiative will improve access and awareness in communities of the benefits of screening and ensure that all programmes have modern screening and diagnostic equipment. It will reduce waiting times for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer by investment in replacement or additional high tech equipment that would not have been made otherwise.

That new lottery spending will be in addition to the settlement for health services agreed within the comprehensive spending review--additional to, not substituting for, Exchequer funding. The initiative demonstrates our commitment to seeing that the benefits of the lottery are more widely spread. The lottery's long-term success depends on retaining and reinforcing public confidence in its power to address issues that most concern people. That is what this and the other initiatives will do.

Some £150 million will be available to fund the initiative, which will build on the tradition of voluntary support and the £140 million a year already provided by charitable and voluntary groups.

The green spaces and sustainable communities initiative will help urban and rural communities across the UK to understand, improve and care for their natural

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living environment and improve the overall quality of their surroundings. The initiative will have two main strands: first, creating, preserving, improving and promoting access to green spaces of educational, recreational or environmental value to the community--including by the acquisition of land; secondly, encouraging small, community-based projects that engage local people in improving and caring for their environment and promoting sustainable development. The sum of £125 million will be available for that initiative, with 75 per cent. of that directed at the green spaces strand.

A theme throughout the initiative is meeting community needs. Communities attach high priority to the quality of their environment but that will mean different things to different communities. In a rural community, for example, access to open land may be an issue. For urban communities, providing safe routes to schools might be a higher priority. The initiative will address the dearth of playing fields that resulted from the policy to sell them off. It will help communities such as the Isle of Eigg in Scotland to acquire and care for land. It will help reclaim derelict parts of our country and to knit communities together as part of our agenda to bring about social inclusion. It is NOF's first environmental initiative and shows our determination to ensure that lottery funds make a real difference to everyone wherever they live in the UK.

The aims of the community access to lifelong learning initiative are to engage more adults in learning at community level and increase community access to information and communications technology. It will do that by supporting the development of a nationwide network of learning centres with ICT access to information and learning. Some £200 million will be available to support the development of community grids for learning and the equipping and networking of public libraries to provide learning centres for everyone wherever they live. Funding for community grids for learning will provide central ICT websites for "joining up" services--education, libraries, leisure, health, transport and the environment--at local level. The grids will provide community information for local people.

Community grids will link into the national grid for learning, the public library network and the university for industry so that local good practice and information can be shared nationally and in a variety of learning contexts. The public library network is a programme for equipping and networking public libraries to join them to the national grid for learning and the university for industry. This support for libraries will complement the equipping of schools under the national grid for learning. This initiative will unlock the potential of public libraries which are ideally placed to bring the learning age to every community. It builds on NOF's existing initiative to train teachers and librarians and digitise content to support lifelong learning and it will complement the learning centre programme launched by Gordon Brown and David Blunkett providing an extra £470 million of taxpayers' money to raise standards and increase learning opportunities.

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In our consultation paper we also proposed an expansion to the existing NOF out-of-school hours initiative to fund 250,000 new summer school places. Some £25 million will be set aside to achieve this as an expansion of NOF's existing out-of-school hours activities initiative. Summer schools include study support programmes run by individual schools and groups of schools and children's universities run by local education authorities and others. Activities may be subject-related or aimed at enhancing pupils' motivation and self-confidence to raise their levels of expectation and attainment. The long summer break can hinder pupils' progress, particularly for pupils from lower socio-economic groups whose reading ability can decline over the summer. Lottery funding will enable many more schools and others to offer exciting and effective learning opportunities to complement other summer provision. The Department for Education and Employment is to launch a summer school pilot this summer. The pilot will inform NOF's summer school initiative.

The order gives effect to policies announced last September. The National Lottery has been more successful than anyone imagined. We want the lottery to provide something for everyone and make sure that the extra money goes where people most want it and where it is most needed. We have created NOF to ensure that lottery money benefits even more people. The health, education and environment projects which will be eligible for grants under these new plans could not happen without lottery money. These initiatives will be additional to government spending and not a substitute for it. NOF will be able to start inviting applications under the new initiatives before the end of this year. I commend the order to the House. I beg to move.

Moved, That the draft order laid before the House on 11th March be approved [12th Report from the Joint Committee].--(Lord McIntosh of Haringey.)

Baroness Anelay of St. Johns: My Lords, again I thank the Minister for explaining the order to us tonight, and also on this occasion for sending copies of the directions to me. They were most helpful and I made efforts to ensure that some other of my colleagues were able to see them before the debate tonight.

We had the opportunity to examine the arguments surrounding the additionality principle on Thursday 4th February when the Minister laid a National Lottery order, and I do not propose to revisit the argument of principle in detail tonight, or rather this morning as it now is. This order diverts moneys which otherwise would have gone to the arts, sports and good causes, as originally agreed in Parliament. However, I confirm my hope that all the projects which will benefit from these diverted moneys will be of value to society in some way, and confirm my belief that some of them will indeed be invaluable to us all. I have merely argued in the past--and do now--that we should take care that we do not fund projects, services or the provision of equipment from lottery money which the public may have a right to expect to be funded on a permanent, reliable basis from taxation.

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Section 3(1) refers to the allocation of NO funds to cancer care. I prefer to refer to this as NO rather than NOF, which, as the Minister will remember from the previous debate, sounds somewhat akin to a rude direction. Noble Lords had an opportunity for debate when a Statement was made to this House last Monday. I listened then with interest to the points made from around the House on the issue of providing lottery funding for the prevention, detection and treatment of cancer. The Minister, repeating the Statement made in another place, posed the rhetorical question:

    "What better use could there be for lottery money".--[Official Report, 15/3/99; col. 534.]
I was saddened by that use of rhetoric. It challenged us to dare to make invidious comparisons between the sufferers of different conditions and different diseases. I certainly would not contemplate making such comparisons tonight.

Responding to the Statement my noble friend Lord Howe gave a warm welcome to the prospect of more spending on cancer care but rightly sought assurances from the Government on the basis that he was always worried by the appearance of lottery money in this context. He sought reassurances that none of the proposed expenditure would represent what would normally be regarded as core NHS spending. All of us will have friends, family or colleagues who have been touched by cancer. We would not deny them help. We would do all we can to prevent others being touched by it. At the same time we recognise that the medical profession has to make difficult decisions day by day about who receives treatment and what treatment, and who does not.

The order imposes a responsibility on the managers of the NO Fund to make decisions about the disbursement of funds for cancer care. They will have to determine which organisations receive the funds and how they will be geographically distributed within the general guidelines of the legislation of 77.5 per cent. for England, 11.5 per cent. for Scotland, 6.5 per cent. for Wales and 4.5 per cent. for Northern Ireland. They have an extraordinarily difficult task. I note that the noble Baroness, Lady Pitkeathley, chairs the NO Fund--she is in her place--and I wish her and her colleagues well in the decisions they make. As I am aware that the written record cannot take account of inflexions of voice, perhaps I may say that there is no irony in that statement. I recognise the difficult task they face and I appreciate very much the efforts they will put into those decisions.

I have read both the order and the directions very carefully. Article 3(2) appears to take us into new territory. It grants powers to the NO Fund to allocate moneys for,

    "the promotion and management of access to the countryside or to other land which is (or is to be) open to the public".
This suggests that the order gives the NO Fund the power to allocate moneys to help to pay for some of the consequences of the statutory right to roam which the Government announced in a Statement on 8th March. The noble Lord, Lord Murray of Epping Forest,

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tried to obtain some enlightenment on that occasion about how lottery funds might be used to provide more access for disabled people and more facilities for them at points of access. The noble Lord, Lord Whitty--who is in his place tonight--pointed out that,

    "the terms of National Lottery grants are, I fear, beyond the scope of this Statement".--[Official Report, 8/3/99; col. 49.]
That is the precisely the problem. How can we scrutinise such proposals effectively and at what stage in the parliamentary process?

I intended that the main question I asked the Minister would refer to the Government's intention behind the order. I gave advance notice to the Minister's office that I would seek an assurance that the Government do not intend by this order to seek powers to use lottery funds in conjunction with the consequences of the statutory right to roam. I felt that if the Government were to seek to use the moneys allocated under this order in such a way before they had even presented a Bill to Parliament and given Parliament a chance to scrutinise the matter, then that would be a clear contempt of parliamentary scrutiny, a clear case of putting the cart before the horse.

I was prepared to give the Government the benefit of the doubt on this matter. I was reassured when I read an article in this week's Sunday Telegraph. The department was quoted as denying that the order would influence any future legislation. The quote in the newspaper was from an unidentified spokesman on behalf of the department. It read:

    "The idea that this is helping to fund any right-to-roam activities ... is wrong".
The new scheme, said a spokesman, would allow lottery funding for schemes designed to help communities,

    "understand, improve and care for their environment".
That is what the department said yesterday. Today is a very different story. Today I attended the debate on this order in another place. Today I heard my honourable friend James Gray ask the Secretary of State whether the order would be used to fund some of the right-to-roam provisions. Today I heard the Secretary of State say that it would and say that he was proud of this prospective legislation. The official record printed tomorrow will show just that.

So my question has already been answered by the Secretary of State. The Government have already disregarded the value of parliamentary scrutiny in this one respect. What else do we face in the future? I still do hold that scrutiny in high regard and I will continue to put some questions to the noble Lord the Minister. I note that the DETR's paper, The Government's Framework for Action, refers in paragraph 26 to lottery funding in the most general and speculative manner. It states that,

    "the Government is keen to see Lottery funds being made more widely available to complement the statutory responsibilities set out in legislation".
What legislation? Is this referring in particular to rights of way, or the right-to-roam, or what? Paragraph 26 goes on to state:

    "The Department for Culture, Media and Sport will be asking Lottery distributors to see how their funding can contribute further in helping people from all walks of life to take advantage of the new opportunities for open air recreation in the countryside".

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How and what kind of recreation?

The order refers to the use of lottery moneys for the acquisition of land. That is an interesting aspect of the order. On what basis--as car parking or land to link areas which will be subject to the right-to-roam? What kind of land are we really talking about? Will it be for playing fields or will it be more directly linked to access matters under the right-to-roam? The order also refers to using money to promote access to the countryside. Is this a reference to advertising how to get access or signposting or way marking? What is involved? Which organisations will benefit from such moneys: the Ramblers' Association, the CLA, the National Trust, the RSPB or the Countryside Agency? What do the Government anticipate?

The final section of the order refers to the diversion of lottery moneys to the use of IT in education for those aged 16 and over and also to the out-of-school matters to which the Minister referred. Naturally, I support the promotion of initiatives that encourage more adults to take part in learning at a community level and increase community access to information and communication technology. That is a most welcome move. But hardware is notoriously short-lived in the IT world. After the Government have used up the lottery funds to set up new services, how do they expect those services to continue when the original hardware is obsolete? In addition, as software develops, the training that is provided has to be changed as well. It is notorious that people who provide IT training have to be continually subject to retraining themselves. Who will pay for that?

Overall, the order tacks together several important initiatives, some parts of which might well be expected to form part of core government funding and not be subject to the vagaries--the lottery--of lottery funding. It is the convention in this House that the Opposition Front Bench does not oppose the making of orders. On that basis alone, I would not oppose the making of the order. In addition, however, there is another imperative. I would not consider opposing this order because I would not oppose the grant of funds to such causes as cancer care. However, I remain deeply concerned about the manner in which this order is presented to the House and the statements made today by the Secretary of State in another place.

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