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Lord Phillips of Sudbury: I am grateful to the Minister for those replies. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 454ZA and 454A not moved.]

Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede moved Amendment No. 455:

Page 159, line 19, at end insert--
("( ) The power in subsection (1) shall be exercised so as to support the provision of central facilities to be approved by the Authority for the study and performance of music by young people with musical talent from schools in the London area.")

The noble Lord said: The purpose of Amendment No. 455 is to reinstate the core funding for the Centre for Young Musicians. Both the relevant Green Paper and the White Paper recommended that the Centre for Young Musicians should be a recipient of GLA funding.

The amendment is specifically worded to try to avoid any complications with hybridity. I am particularly grateful for the support I have received on this amendment, especially from the noble Lord, Lord Armstrong of Ilminster, who I know has an interest in that institution.

The Centre for Young Musicians is a pan-London training provision for over 2,400 young Londoners aged between seven and 19, recruited principally from the

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state schools. They attend the centre regardless of their ability to pay fees. There is a 1:3 hardship factor and a 1:4 minority community representation.

The Centre for Young Musicians also produces London's youth orchestra, the London Schools' Symphony Orchestra. I shall now blow my own trumpet. Over 20 years ago, I played the trumpet in the London Schools' Symphony Orchestra for three years. With a great deal of prejudice, I can say that it is one of the finest youth orchestras in the world. It is an ambassador for London. This year it will travel to Argentina to strengthen further links between the United Kingdom and Argentina. I believe I am right to say that it is a world-renowned youth orchestra, and to have played in that orchestra is certainly my greatest ever achievement.

The Bill represents an opportunity for the centre to return to London, having been divorced from its single London authority by the abolition of the ILEA in 1990. Currently, the Government fund, through the DfEE, less than 16 per cent of the moneys raised by the centre's supporting foundation towards central organising costs. That is less than 5 per cent of the overall budget. After nine years, the foundation is experiencing genuine difficulty in finding the centre's central organising costs because of donor fatigue.

Under the White Paper, the DfEE had been recommended to transfer its role and responsibility in that regard to the GLA and we want to see that provision on the face of the Bill. I understand that it is the Government's belief that the LSSO and the CYM should be treated separately and differently from any other youth orchestra or centre for young musicians in any other metropolitan centre or county youth orchestra in Britain. It is the only youth orchestra that has to obtain its finance from the private sector. That situation is unhealthy. It is in the interests of London and the GLA that core funding, which is the most difficult funding to obtain, should be provided by the GLA.

I do not know which of my noble friends will respond, but I argue that the CYM and the LSSO are special. Some form of words needs to be found to make sure that their core funding is a direct responsibility of the GLA as that institution plays such a visible and important role in promoting London to young people, within London and abroad. I beg to move.

Baroness Hamwee: Amendment No. 454A also stands in the name of my noble friend Lord Newby. He is very sorry not to be present to support the noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby. In the briefing that was circulated, I was struck by the comment, put even more bluntly than the noble Lord has put it in talking about the core funding, that benefactors are reluctant to finance unglamorous administrative costs previously met by government. That seems to be precisely to the point. We support the amendment.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: I rise briefly to support the amendment, which also stands in my name. I believe that the noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby, has set out the case for it superbly.

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I simply add a reference to a Written Answer in another place on 24th March, the day before the Committee stage in another place, that cast a little light on the gloom. There is reference in that Written Answer to,

    "Specific provision is not required in the GLA Bill to achieve any transfer".--[Official Report, Commons, 24/3/99; col. 252.]

Therefore, I merely endorse questions as to when the transfer is to take place and what are the legal grounds on which the transfer may take place outwith the remit of the Bill.

Lord Armstrong of Ilminster: I support the amendment. In doing so, I must declare an interest as one of the trustees of the Foundation for Young Musicians, which raises finance for the Centre for Young Musicians and for the London Schools Symphony Orchestra. We have been greatly assisted over the nine years of our existence, since the Inner London Education Authority was disbanded, by successive grants from the Department for Education and Employment and its predecessor, particularly towards the central core costs.

It is increasingly difficult to find private sponsors who are willing to support those kinds of costs. They are happy to support activities carried out by the centre and the orchestra, such as the visit to Argentina to which the noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby, referred. However, it is much more difficult to find people who are willing, year after year, to support the central core costs. The foundation of which I am a trustee is very glad to go on raising funds for the activities, but badly needs support towards those core costs. The amendment is designed to ensure that it receives that support.

The activities of the centre and the London Schools Symphony Orchestra are deeply worth encouraging, as the noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby, has said. It would gladden your Lordships' hearts to go into Morley College on a Saturday and see young schoolchildren from all over London coming together to learn and practise their instruments and to play chamber music together. Some noble Lords may already have heard the London Schools Symphony Orchestra. It is one of the best youth orchestras, if not the finest, in this country and indeed the whole of Europe. Its activity is well worth supporting.

It is also well worth supporting institutions which channel the talents and energies of young teenagers into this kind of social activity. The young people make music together and learn not only to perform to the best of their ability, but to do so in a social context. That in itself is an objective well worth supporting. I am happy to support the noble Lord's amendment.

Lord Harris of Haringey: I, too, support the amendment moved by my noble friend. I have no interest to declare other than the fact that I have attended a number of performances by the London Schools Symphony Orchestra. I have heard the assurances that have been given in another place and have discussed the matter with a number of people. I am told that the funding arrangements may continue.

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Nevertheless, the amendment proposed by my noble friend would provide considerable reassurance. Not only would it ensure the possibility of the mayor and the authority providing the necessary support to continue the excellent work that is done by the Centre for Young Musicians, but it would also provide encouragement for any similar initiatives that might be undertaken in the future.

6.45 p.m.

Lord Whitty: I do not wish to take anything away from the positive comments on the Centre for Young Musicians and the orchestra; however, I find the amendment problematic. It effectively seeks to constrain the mayor's discretion to pay grants for the purposes of any museum, gallery, library, archive or any other cultural institution in the arts world in London by requiring specifically that grant is paid to support the provision of central facilities,

    "for the study and performance of music by young people with musical talent from schools in the London area".

It is true that my honourable friend, the Minister for Transport in London, explained in another place that, despite the commitment given in the White Paper, it had become increasingly clear as the legislation was developed that it would be wrong, as well as legally difficult, to single out the Centre for Young Musicians as the only voluntary organisation that the GLA would be required to fund.

The amendment attempts to arrive at the same end by introducing a category of people; namely, young people in London who study and perform music. But once again, it requires that they must, under the grant giving provision, be provided with central facilities by the GLA.

The arguments against requiring the singular provision of funding for that category of people are exactly the same as those against requiring the funding of a single organisation. It is difficult to explain why that should be the only category of people that is designated on the face of the Bill. If young musicians must be funded, then why not young actors, young sportsmen, young painters, young sculptors, young architects, or indeed young carers or young gardeners? Indeed, to declare a negative interest, why should such a requirement be limited to the young?

It is difficult in a general grant giving power to specify one particular category. There are many London voluntary organisations, covering every conceivable category of human interest, which provide encouragement, inspiration and training for a range of people and interests in London which, broadly speaking, could be regarded as cultural. There is no proposition that the GLA should be required to fund any of them, although many would merit funding and there are many that the GLA would wish to fund. Many are of parallel merit to the organisations that promote the interests of young musicians.

The GLA will of course be able to co-operate with the responsible statutory authorities and other bodies in the co-ordination and facilitation of specialist services. We expect organisations such as the Centre for Young

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Musicians to fall into precisely the category of organisation that the GLA will choose to help. It is our view that that could be done either under the general powers or under the provisions of Clause 302(1) as it now stands. However, by specifying a particular group, that group is singled out and at the same time provided with a degree of preference over a whole range of other potential organisations which might legitimately have equal call.

That is not to say that we are unsympathetic to the cause of the Centre for Young Musicians. It does a very good job. We are keen to encourage a close association between the centre and the GLA. As regards its funding, as my noble friend Lord Harris hinted, I am pleased to confirm that my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Education and Employment has recently agreed to extend his department's grant to the CYM until the year 2002. He will in due course make regulations to permit him to pay grant-in-aid to the GLA, on the condition that it must be used by the GLA to provide a discretionary grant to the CYM covering the period April 2000 to April 2002. The grant will be in the region of £50,000 per annum.

In continuing that assistance to the Centre for Young Musicians, our assumptions are that, by 2002, the GLA will have worked with the centre to find alternative sources of funding--some of which may come from the GLA direct in the form of a grant. That indicates our respect and the desire for continuing support that the Government wish to provide for the Centre for Young Musicians. I hope that my noble friend will not pursue the amendment. It is essential that the mayor retains a discretion to decide which categories of interest will be supported through grants. It would be wrong to place a requirement on the face of the Bill for him or her to favour any particular interests.

I hope that my noble friend will accept that, where the mayor does choose to exercise his or her discretion in that way, he or she will have sufficient powers to do so under this clause and other provisions in the Bill. Therefore, the amendment is not necessary to achieve my noble friend's aim. In the meantime, I hope that the confirmation of the good news relating to the grant from the DfEE will give some comfort to those who support the Centre for Young Musicians and to noble Lords who have spoken on its behalf in this debate.

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