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Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, I think not. When we came into office the resource in terms of CCTV generally was about 1 million cameras. As your Lordships remember, we have now increased that to 150 million. From my experience of going to control rooms and watching, it is a helpful tool, not only in the prevention of crime but also in the identification of criminals. Often there is the useful consequence that when the video is shown to the defendant and his lawyers, pleas of guilty tend to follow rather more often than when CCTV is not available. It is an important tool. That is why ever since the election the Home Secretary has stressed its usefulness and has been pumping resources into the schemes.

Lord Burnham: My Lords, last night there was considerable trouble at Stonehenge. Although it was not on the scale of last Friday's, I understand that the police are warning that there may be a good deal worse trouble tonight. Can the Minister assure us that the fullest steps are being taken and that sufficient police will be in attendance to prevent any trouble tonight?

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, I am being as careful as I can in saying that I have no doubt at all that the Chief Constable of Wiltshire has those matters very much in mind. These are operational decisions which we rightly leave to individual chief constables. There had been problems earlier. If the problems recur this evening, one must trust the professional judgment of the chief constable and the professional expertise of her officers.

Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe: My Lords, I wish to pick up the point about technological developments and difficulties we have in introducing legislation to stay ahead of the game. CCTV has made remarkable steps forward in certain areas, but there is an element missing. The missing element is the requirement for the introduction of identity cards with photographs.

All governments hitherto have been loath to move in that direction. But in the light of a whole range of changes taking place, I wonder whether this is the time when the Government, reviewing the lessons of what happened last week, should start moving slowly to explore more positively the prospects of going in that direction.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, not for the first time my noble friend makes an important point. From memory I believe the cost of the introduction of such a scheme is significant. It is of the order of

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£450 million. I repeat what I said earlier, as an accurate reflection of the views of some chief constables: not all chief constables feel that that is the best use of such a significant resource. There are civil liberties questions which must be balanced in the scales which my noble friend describes. It is one of those questions which one needs to keep carefully under review: is the investment justified? Are the outcomes those which we wish?

Lord Harmsworth: My Lords, does the Minister join me in congratulating the noble Lord, Lord Levene, on getting matters up and running so fast after the event? When the NatWest building was bombed, I was talking to one of his predecessors. I remember saying that in a perverse way how lucky it was that this happened in the City of London because no other local authority in the land would have responded so fast and effectively to the incident.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, I am happy to make a positive response to the noble Lord's point. The noble Lords, Lord Cope and Lord Harris, and I paid ready tribute to the response not only of the City of London police and those who live and work there but of the noble Lord, Lord Levene. If a mark of leadership is to lead from the front, he led rather well.

Viscount Massereene and Ferrard: My Lords, I have heard that there will be another riot in a month's time. I do not know whether it is a rumour or whether there is positive evidence.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, in paragraph 11 of the Statement the Home Secretary said:

    "At the moment, I have no firm information to suggest that a recurrence ... is likely in the foreseeable future". However, it is an important point in the context of the noble Lord's question that the Home Secretary then said:

    "I intend to hold further consultations with the Commissioner and the police service, to ensure that everything possible is done to protect the safety of the public and the businesses in the City ... [in] London".

Lord Simon of Glaisdale: My Lords, is there evidence that there is a potent folk memory in certain political circles of the success of an extremist group in taking over a demonstration and assaulting and bringing down the Winter Palace? It launched a most momentous revolution with terrible consequences. Should we not bear that in mind when there is discussion about the responsibility for the metropolitan police in London?

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, I would not have as gloomy a view of 20th century history as that identified by the noble and learned Lord. The attack on the Winter Palace is wholly distinct: it was in the middle of a war, the whole of Russian society was collapsing and some aspects of daily life might have been objectionable. None of those obtains here. There is no reason for any violent protest in the City of London or any part of London. Those who indulged in violence were simply indulging in mindless, thuggish behaviour,

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to try to interrupt the decent conduct of decent people's lives. Though I normally agree with the noble and learned Lord, I do not believe I can on this occasion.

Greater London Authority Bill

6.7 p.m.

House again in Committee on Clause 25.

Lord Harris of Haringey moved Amendment No. 74:

Page 14, line 25, at end insert ("; and
(d) promoting the elimination of unjustifiable discrimination with regard to gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, age and religion in Greater London")

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I wish to speak in support of Amendment No. 74. Perhaps I may say at the outset how grateful I am to those among my noble friends who have indicated their support for the proposal contained in the amendment: the noble Lords, Lord Archer of Weston-Super-Mare and Lord Dholakia and the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, for adding their names in support.

This galaxy of support is an example of the cross-party consensus-building that I believe must be at the heart of London's new politics once we have the mayor and the new authority in place.

I am also grateful to those external organisations, including the Commission for Racial Equality, the Equal Opportunities Commission, the Stonewall Trust, Operation Black Vote, Rights Now, Greater London Action on Disability and the National Black Alliance who have also indicated their support for the amendment.

The election next year of a mayor and assembly for London provides a unique opportunity to address some of the institutional inequalities identified by the Macpherson inquiry into the murder of Stephen Lawrence. The GLA is a new type of city government and I want to make sure that from the start Londoners--all Londoners--have confidence in the new authority.

I therefore believe that London's mayor, supported by the assembly, must give a lead in eradicating discrimination from the outset. The work of the authority must be centred on the objective of developing a genuinely inclusive society and of offering opportunities to all the people of London, black and white, women and men, old and young, whatever their religion, whether or not they have disabilities and whatever their sexual orientation.

The mayor must see it as central to his or her work that we restore pride in our city, bring people together and celebrate the richness and diversity of modern London. To do this effectively we must make sure that no Londoner faces unjustifiable discrimination, as that would undermine confidence in himself or herself and the city. The GLA should be a model not only of modern local government but in outlawing unjustifiable discrimination.

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Perhaps I should also point out--I appreciate that this may not particularly excite those noble Lords who are not members of the Labour Party--that the phrase in the amendment,

    "elimination of unjustifiable discrimination", is a direct quote from the manifesto on which the Labour Party fought the last general election. The promise was to,

    "seek to end unjustifiable discrimination wherever it exists". For those noble Lords who want to check it, that can be found on page 35.

Clause 310 of the Bill explicitly brings the GLA, the Metropolitan Police Authority and the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority within the scope of the local government provisions of the Race Relations Act. I am also aware that in another place my honourable friend Nick Raynsford, Minister for London, said that the provisions of the Sex Discrimination Act and the Disability Discrimination Act would apply to the GLA. That is the minimum that should be done. It would be rather surprising if we were asked to create an authority to which this trio of legislation did not apply. Simply to apply the existing legislation is hardly sufficient to ensure that the Minister's aspiration of an authority that will be,

    "exemplary in the pursuit of equal opportunities", is achieved.

In any event, two of these Acts date back more than 20 years and are widely seen as needing reform, or at the very least updating. These Acts are designed to address discrimination after it has happened but do nothing to prevent it happening. Moreover, the Race Relations Act is silent on the question of discrimination on the grounds of religion and no existing legislation tackles unjustifiable discrimination against lesbians and gay men or on the ground of age.

There are recent precedents for addressing these questions in the establishment of new government structures. The Government of Wales Act places a duty on the Welsh Assembly to,

    "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". That is an extremely helpful requirement, and it is reinforced by a requirement that each year the Assembly must publish a report on what it has done to meet the requirement and assess how effective that has been in promoting equal opportunities. The Northern Ireland Act places a statutory duty on all public authorities in Northern Ireland to,

    "have due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity ... between persons of different religious belief, political opinion, racial group, age, marital status or sexual orientation ... between men and women generally ... between persons with a disability and persons without; and ... between persons with dependants and persons without". What is more, the same Act places a duty on public authorities in Northern Ireland to promote good relations,

    "between persons of different religious belief, political opinion or racial group".

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    If it is good enough for Northern Ireland and Wales it must be good enough for London.

I have heard the argument put that these Acts relate to national assemblies and that here we are talking about a mere local authority. But this is London and it is a unique authority, as we are constantly told. How can we not have a provision such as this in a Bill about London's government? By the year 2001, 36 per cent of Londoners are expected to be from an ethnic minority community. We know that many of those minorities suffer discrimination and, disproportionately, unemploy- ment and they have low incomes and poor health. We also know that London is a melting pot and brings together an extraordinary number of cultural strands. We all want London to work, and it is in everybody's interests that there are good and harmonious community relations and we celebrate that diversity. To do so is good for Londoners and for London's businesses and visitors; and that must be good for the rest of the country.

The Prime Minister has said:

    "There is no harm in reminding ourselves how much negative discrimination there is in British society. [Britain] cannot be a beacon to the world unless the talents of all our people shine through". With this Bill we have the opportunity to make sure that the new mayor meets the needs and aspirations of all Londoners. We also have the opportunity to make sure that the mayor and the assembly give a clear lead in celebrating diversity, tackling unjustifiable discrimination and providing an example--"a beacon" in the words of the Prime Minister--to the rest of public administration in this country. I beg to move.

6.15 p.m.

Lord Dholakia: I have added my name to this amendment. We on this side warmly welcome the sentiments expressed by the noble Lord, Lord Harris of Haringey. Not only does this amendment have our support, including that of my noble friend Lady Hamwee, but the support of the noble Lord, Lord Archer.

At Second Reading I said that the minority population was fairly unevenly divided, but that is not so for London. Effectively, nearly half the population of London comes from ethnic minority communities. Therefore, it should come as no surprise to the Minister that if we wish to build a strong and effective partnership with the local community we must ensure that ethnic minorities are part of that process. More importantly, there should not be any obstacles put in the way of progress, particularly discrimination on the ground of race.

Therefore, it is important as a first step to ensure that one of the principal purposes of the authority should be to work towards the elimination of discrimination on the grounds of gender, race, age, sexual orientation and religion. This amendment has the backing of the Commission for Racial Equality, as explained by the noble Lord, Lord Harris. That body was set up by government to eliminate racial discrimination and promote equality of opportunity and good relations. It has a particular interest in ensuring that the

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arrangements for the governance of London meet the needs and aspirations of all Londoners, including ethnic minority communities. Because it is a body set up by government I hope that the Government will take careful note of the commission's concern in this matter.

The primary aim of the amendment is to focus on equality issues and to ensure that the mayor and assembly have regard to such matters in everything that they do. Is that not what the clause is all about? The assembly has power to do anything in carrying out its principal purposes: the promotion of economic development and wealth creation; social development; and improvement of the environment. But where is the provision that deals with the elimination of discrimination? Surely, a legal obligation written into the statute will give an unequivocal message that we are against discrimination of any kind and will take steps to eliminate it.

It is expected that the population of the city comprising ethnic minority groups will grow from slightly more than 23 per cent in 1996 to just under 27 per cent by 2006. However, bearing in mind the comment of the noble Lord, Lord Harris, if one includes white minority groups, for example the Irish, those from ethnic minority communities make up almost one third of the population of London.

The clause as drafted sounds hollow. All that it seeks to deliver misses out one major component: the elimination of unjustifiable discrimination. Perhaps I may go back to the Government's words at the time of the Green Paper. They recognised that London's ethnic diversity was one of its strengths that contributed to the capital's vitality and prosperity. The Green Paper also acknowledged that people from different ethnic minorities were evident among the most socially excluded in the capital, with unemployment rates double those for white Londoners and with a higher level of exclusions, overcrowding and illness. The Bill is an opportunity to demonstrate the Government's commitment by laying down in legislation the appropriate framework within which the authority will be required to develop and implement all its policies regarding the objective set out in the amendment.

When I worked at the Commission for Racial Equality, it was evident that some local authorities in London discriminated against minorities in the provisions of their services. There are a good many examples, but I shall resist the temptation to cite them. It was only after formal investigations identified such practices and the threat of a legally enforceable notice not to discriminate that many local authorities followed the provisions of the existing Race Relations Act.

I welcome the statement in another place during debate on the Bill when the Minister said that he wanted the authority to be exemplary in the pursuit of equal opportunities. Unfortunately, we do not have that provision in the Bill before us.

Under Clause 310 of the Bill, the authority, the Metropolitan Police Authority and the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority should be treated as local authorities for the purpose of Section 71 of the Race Relations Act 1976. However, as I pointed out

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earlier, that section imposes a general statutory duty on local authorities to secure that their various functions are carried out with due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination. If one examines what has happened so far, it is clear that that duty has been ineffective because there are no enforcement powers relating to that part of the provisions.

It is no good saying the Bill provides that the MPA, GLA, and so on, will come within the jurisdiction of Section 71 of the Race Relations Act 1976. It is hardly the way to ensure that the GLA is exemplary in pursuit of equal opportunities. Nor is it in line with what was described as a radical model of government set out throughout the Bill. We cannot agree with the Minister's assertion that amendments in this area are unnecessary.

I wish to make one further point--it has been ably explained by the noble Lord, Lord Harris--as regards the provision in relation to the Welsh Assembly and Northern Ireland. If such a provision is good for those assemblies, why is it not good for London? We must have a strong commitment to equality of opportunity. The Greater London Authority Bill gives us the opportunity to provide that now. I plead with the Minister to ensure that such a provision is incorporated. I hope also that the Opposition Front Bench will support the amendment.

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