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Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede: I was quite happy with my noble friend's response as regards educational outreach activities. I am sorry that the noble Lord, Lord Phillips of Sudbury, is not happy, but I believe that the Minister has made one man in the arts very happy tonight--that is, the noble Lord, Lord Teviot. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

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[Amendments Nos. 452K to 453C not moved.]

[Amendment No. 453D had been withdrawn from the Marshalled List.]

[Amendments Nos. 453E to 453G not moved.]

Lord Phillips of Sudbury moved Amendment No. 453H:

Page 159, line 17, at end insert--
("(9) In this section, reference to the arts shall include all performing arts, applied arts, fine arts, and other visual, aural and plastic arts, and the policies that may be contained in the culture strategy may extend to the commercial, subsidised and voluntary sectors.")

The noble Lord said: I am afraid that we are back to the age-old subject of lists. I feel slightly more reinforced in pressing the amendment, given the backing of my noble friend Viscount Falkland, and the noble Lords, Lord Puttnam, and Lord Bragg, who know what they are talking about. The idea of adding subsection (9) to Clause 301 is, in a way, to sweep up a great many of the reservations and unhappiness which many Members have expressed both here and in the other place as to the wording of Clause 301, in particular that of subsection (5).

I put it to the Government that it cannot be right to rest on the two words "the arts" the huge corpus of activity which they say is or may be embraced within it with no attempt at clarification--not even open-ended clarification which this amendment would provide. The amendment does not pretend to be exhaustive; it simply says that arts in this section "shall include." I urge the Government to examine the matter with great care; otherwise some of the examples of arts specifically referred to in Amendment No. 453H will be the subject of doubt on the part of the cultural strategy group as to whether or not it is empowered to make policies with regard to them.

My other point is that the amendment expressly makes clear that which is not clear at the moment; that is, that the policies which the cultural strategy group may develop may extend,

    "to the commercial, subsidised and voluntary sectors".

The importance of that, for which the noble Lords, Lord Puttnam and Lord Bragg, if they were here, would vouch, is that it is essential that the policies to be developed should be able to embrace the whole of the London arts scene, from whichever part of the spectrum it comes. The fact that it may devote most of its attention to the subsidised theatre, for example, or in another part of the arts spectrum, the voluntary sector, is neither here nor there. We on these Benches feel that it should be plain that the group has the power to look right across the arts board and develop policies it feels are in the interests of London and Londoners covering all parts of that spectrum.

Despite what has been said, therefore, about specific additions to subsection (5) thus far, this is a slightly different approach to the unease expressed by many Members of the Committee. I hope therefore that the Government will accept the amendment. I beg to move.

6 p.m.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I am not going to accept this amendment, but I love it. It is so much in line with the

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way in which we have been talking about the arts for the past two years; with the way in which Chris Smith, Mark Fisher and Alan Howarth have been talking about the arts. I do not want it in legislation, but I want to acknowledge the wisdom of the thinking behind it.

I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Phillips, that this case is rather different from the ordinary "list adding" argument we have heard in the past, because the arts are already explicitly listed in the Bill. Amendment No. 453H expands that simple one-word reference to provide a fascinating definition of the arts but one which it is not necessary to include in the proposed legislation. It would cover all performing arts, applied arts, fine arts, other visual, audio, oral and plastic arts. It would spell out the policies that may extend to the commercial, subsidised and voluntary sectors.

Chris Smith, the Secretary of State, made a keynote address recently to the Royal Society of Arts in which he re-emphasised his own passion for the arts in the widest sense. They matter for their own and our sakes because they help to shape and characterise society. As he said, they are a civilising influence. It is of the greatest importance that they should be accessible to all. Of course, that implies that we should be covering the commercial, subsidised and voluntary sectors.

The fundamental purpose behind this Government's arts policy is to make the best things in life available to the greatest number. Our approach is therefore one of passionate commitment to the arts with a determination to ensure that they are well managed. I am sure that the mayor will want to seize these opportunities. That is what the Bill provides for him. The arts will provide the opportunity to celebrate the cultural diversity of the City in many ways. But we should not be getting into a lengthy debate over the relative merits of the categories of art defined in this amendment--I am not accusing the noble Lord of making a lengthy speech.

There is also a danger that by trying to introduce so specific a definition, some art forms might be excluded. It is the old problem. In my judgment we have gone almost too far in our lists and have run the risk of the criticism that if we include something like "treasure", why do we not have a wider definition of "the arts?" Why do we not have a wider definition of "tourism?" Why do we not have a wider definition of "sport?" Why do we not go into more and more detail? But we cannot rival the Oxford English Dictionary. In expressing my enthusiasm for the widest possible definition of the arts, let me plead with the noble Lord not to try and put it on the face of the Bill.

Lord Phillips of Sudbury: I am not assuaged by the eloquent defence of the policy of the Government on this matter. I wonder why the Government will not put certain matters beyond doubt. If they were on the face of the Bill, they would be beyond doubt. Since the clause is couched in non-exclusive language, I do not accept his argument. But follow it I must, and therefore I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 301 agreed to.

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Lord Freyberg moved Amendment No. 454:

After Clause 301, insert the following new clause--


(" . The Secretary of State shall by order transfer to the Authority his responsibility for London museums and historic properties in the Authority's area.")

The noble Lord said: Amendment No. 454 is a probing amendment and is only intended as a means of asking the Government about their plans for London museums under the new GLA.

In the White Paper of March 1998 the Government proposed,

    "a more radical approach with regard to the Mayor's relationships with other bodies and organisations".

Since then there has been no further indication of any rearrangement envisaged by the Government with regard to the capital's museums and galleries, nor of what powers the mayor will have over them. Perhaps the Minister can give us an update and tell us along what lines his department has been thinking.

In particular, I shall be grateful if the Minister can let us know what has become of the proposal to transfer responsibility for museums such as the Geffrye Museum, the Horniman Museum and the Museum of London from the DCMS to the GLA. The Geffrye and the Horniman, though both formerly under GLC control, have adapted extremely well to being part of a wider museum umbrella under the DCMS with all the back-up and resources that that involves. There have been rumours that there are proposals for the mayor to have the powers to nominate two trustees for those museums. Is that true? If so, can the Minister give us more details? What will the benefits be?

Furthermore, are there any other plans which might affect the funding of those museums? There will inevitably be serious anxieties if any core funding were to be split between the DCMS and the GLA. Can the Minister reassure us that the museums' funding will be secure, if necessary by some form of ring-fencing within the GLA budget, and will not be gradually whittled away by other demands? The DCMS has all the mechanism and experience necessary to run important national resources. Is it wise to contemplate handing any of its powers over to a body whose composition is as yet unknown and which has no proven track record? Why change a structure and a system that works well for an unknown quantity just for the sake of it? There must be a greater benefit than merely providing the mayor with some museum as part of his or her responsibility. It seems essential that the cultural sector of the GLA should complement rather than duplicate the grant-giving powers of the current cultural funding agencies. In such circumstances it would be of real value.

Can the Minister also inform the Committee as to whether or not there are any plans with regard to the Theatre Museum, the Museum of Childhood, the Sir John Soanes Museum or any other museum? If in the end a small number of museums come under the GLA's aegis, will the Minister be able to put in place a mechanism to ensure that the GLA will not be able to manipulate them, either through funding or direct

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intervention by trustees, in order to make political points? Also touched on in the White Paper was the possible transfer to the GLA of historic properties now managed by English Heritage. Could the Minister comment on whether this suggestion is still being considered? I beg to move.

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