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Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I am grateful to all Members of the Committee for the genuinely probing spirit in which these amendments have been tabled. Neither of the substantive amendments defines the word "responsibility". I shall attempt a simplified definition because to give a sensible answer I suggest that responsibility can take two forms: one is funding and the other is the role in management which consists of appointments to the trustees. I shall deal with each of those as I deal with each of the institutions that I mention.

The noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, was intrigued by the differences between the proposals in the White Paper affecting museums in London and those we are now considering. There are indeed differences but there are no sinister reasons for them; they simply reflect the more detailed consideration during the Comprehensive Spending Review which followed the publication of the White Paper. The White Paper itself made frequent reference to the fact that the review was under way and might affect the outcome, as indeed it did.

In a Written Answer on 24th March--I think this is the key--Nick Raynsford, the Minister responsible for London stated,

I believe that that is the basis of the answer that I want to give. The museums referred to are the Geffrye Museum, the Horniman Museum, the Museum of London, the Theatre Museum and the Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood, all of which are mentioned in the White Paper but all of which have different considerations which I have to cover.

Let me deal first with the most straightforward points concerning appointments. The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport has indicated his intention to transfer to the mayor some of the appointments for

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which he is responsible on the boards of the Geffrye and Horniman Museums. We have been advised that this does not require legislation and could not in fact be implemented by legislation without the risk of making the Bill hybrid. He proposes that the mayor should be involved in one of his three Geffrye appointments and two of his four Horniman appointments. I think that answers one of the questions of the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay.

The situation with regard to the Museum of London is more difficult. The board appointments to the Museum of London are shared between the Corporation of London and the Prime Minister. Although the Secretary of State and the Corporation of London have indicated that they are willing to transfer to the mayor responsibility for three of the corporation appointments and three of the Prime Minister's appointments, legislation is needed to give the mayor a role in appointments. However, we have been told that this would make the Bill hybrid. Therefore we shall have to consider separate legislation to achieve this change.

The position with regard to the Theatre Museum and the Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood is even more difficult. These are not separate institutions but branches of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Both have a national role which goes beyond the GLA's remit. This does not mean that we shall not consider the future of these two museums, but there would be practical and policy difficulties in trying to transfer these museums to the GLA as they are not separate entities.

All these museums are important to London and it is right to consider how the mayor might be involved in supporting the work they do. However, as our consideration during the Comprehensive Spending Review has shown, these amendments raise valid questions about the transfer of full responsibility, including funding, to the GLA. The Comprehensive Spending Review revealed potential problems in transferring responsibilities. In the White Paper we said that we would consider further the case for transfer of funding to the London, Geffrye and Horniman Museums. The review suggested difficulties in each case. It may be possible to meet these concerns, but it would be better to wait to decide on the scope for a transfer once the authority has been established. I believe that the noble Earl, Lord Clancarty, said that the GLA was a new institution.

The noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, asked about the Government's plans for the management of national museums. I do not think that I gave an unwise answer but I think that she misinterpreted me because we were certainly not talking about privatisation. At the request of the National Museums Directors' Conference, we have been looking at--and we are still looking at--how to give them greater financial and managerial autonomy. We are keen to see how this can be achieved within the current trustee and management arrangements and in the context of the modernising government initiative. Certainly that goes nowhere near the concept of privatisation. In the meantime I can assure the Committee that the Government value all these

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museums and we shall not take any hasty steps which could endanger the good work they do for London and the nation as a whole.

I was asked about the Sir John Soane Museum. There are no proposals to alter the current status of that museum. I hope that on that basis noble Lords will not feel it necessary to press these amendments.

Lord Freyberg: I wish to thank everyone who has spoken this evening. I apologise to the noble Baroness, Lady Gardner of Parkes, if I created a misunderstanding as regards the intention of my amendment. The Public Bill Office advised me on tabling a suitable probing amendment. I thank the Minister for his extremely full and helpful answer. I shall clearly want to mull over this matter. In the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 302 [Grants by the Mayor for museums, galleries etc.]:

[Amendment No. 454XA not moved.]

Lord Phillips of Sudbury moved Amendment No. 454YA:

Page 159, line 18, leave out ("pay grants") and insert ("grant such financial and other assistance as it thinks fit")

The noble Lord said: I speak to this amendment and to Amendment No. 454ZA. They both relate to a very important provision in the Bill which allows the authority to "pay grants"--that is the expression used--

    "for the purposes of any museum, gallery, library, archive or other cultural institution".

These two amendments are designed to widen the scope of that allowance.

Amendment No. 454YA goes beyond the mere payment of grants to allow the provision of,

    "such financial and other assistance as it thinks fit".

That would cover such things as loans, advice, guarantees and so on and gives the much wider possibility of meeting the needs of the cultural institution.

Amendment No. 454ZA seeks to make plain what is meant by "other cultural institutions", about which there is uncertainty at the moment. At present the only institutions mentioned are museums, galleries, libraries and archives--all non-performing institutions, if I can use that phrase. In legal interpretation there is a tendency to interpret according to the particular examples which are in a clause. The addition of theatres, cinemas, concert halls and opera houses is designed to make it absolutely clear that performing institutions are as much within the capacity of the authority to assist as the non-performing institutions.

Again, I draw the attention of the Committee to two uniquely experienced Members of the Committee--the noble Lords, Lord Bragg and Lord Puttnam--both of whom feel that this amendment is desirable and necessary. I beg to move.

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6.30 p.m.

Lord Freyberg: Can the Minister confirm whether the phrase "any museum" in Clause 302, with regard to the powers of the authority to pay grants, refers to independent museums as well as those funded through the DCMS?

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The answer to that point is yes.

I ask the noble Lord, Lord Phillips, to hold firmly on to his seat. I think he has a point. In Clause 303 we already use the phrase "other assistance" in relation to the power of the authority on tourism. That it should be extended to Clause 302 is an interesting suggestion. We shall have to consider the implications of the amendment, so I cannot accept it immediately, but I am grateful to the noble Lord for tabling it. I shall give it full consideration between now and Report stage.

I cannot be quite so friendly to Amendment No. 454ZA. That amendment would add to the list of purposes for which the authority may pay grant. The proposed additions--theatre, concert hall, and so on--are all worthy institutions and eminently suitable. They all relate to activities and institutions which have much to offer, and are highly valued by the Government. However, the argument is still that the list is illustrative and not exhaustive. The phrase in subsection (1),

    "or other cultural institution",

is a catch-all that makes the addition unnecessary. Such institutions are all already eligible for grant. I hope that the noble Lord will not press Amendment No. 454ZA.

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