Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: My Lords, I have already explained why we have brought forward our own amendment to Clause 365. The key to this issue is that the function and role of the mayor is a strategic role. The noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, has raised the very important issue of the ability to work in partnership. We expect that to occur, but we believe that it is very important to avoid duplication of responsibility in the Bill. That is a point that the noble Baroness has recognised.

If we were to accept further amendments, we would be in a position where the only exclusion from the mayor's strategy would be noise at work by virtue of the Health and Safety at Work Act. Following the principle of subsidiarity and not creating the problem of duplication of direct responsibility, we do not think it is appropriate that the mayor should have power to intervene directly because the action should properly be taken by local authorities. However, I strongly emphasise the point raised by the noble Baroness, that

1 Nov 1999 : Column 662

this is part of what we all, I am sure, hope will be an ongoing and developing partnership to enable the mayor to fulfil the strategic purpose.

Baroness Hamwee: My Lords, with respect to the noble Baroness, I am not entirely convinced by that reply. For example, it would become a matter of concern if people's lives in London are affected by the way construction is dealt with. That is only one example.

I will simply take comfort in the general point that has been made during the debates, that although the mayor may have particular responsibility, the fact that other responsibilities are not spelt out may not preclude the mayor from taking account of them. The noble Baroness has nodded in agreement. To allow the mayor to include consideration of this type of noise within a strategy would not be duplication; it would merely be a sensible way of ensuring that the matter is covered. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment No.76, as an amendment to Amendment No. 75, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 77 to 79, as amendments to Amendment No.75, not moved.]

On Question, Amendment No.75 agreed to.

9 p.m.

Clause 372 [Financial Assistance by the Mayor for museums, galleries, etc.]:

Baroness Hamwee moved Amendment No.80.

Page 223, line 15, leave out ("financial").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, I speak also to Amendments Nos. 81 to 83. This follows a point that I queried at the last stage of the Bill when the Government moved an amendment to allow assistance in kind as well as by way of grant, in the circumstances referred to in these clauses, to museums, galleries, and so on. I asked why a similar amendment had not been made to the provisions allowing conditions to be imposed at the time when assistance is given. The amendments would allow conditions to be attached to any type of assistance given by the authority. I beg to move.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness for moving the amendments. When she raised the issue at Report stage, I promised to write to her.

It is desirable that the provisions for giving assistance to cultural institutions in Amendments Nos.80 and 81 should be the same as those for tourism in Amendments Nos.82 and 83. I agree that her amendments, which would allow conditions to be applied to non-financial assistance as well as to grants, are an improvement. There may be occasions when it would be a good idea for the mayor to impose such conditions, for example if a member of staff were to be seconded to provide assistance in kind.

We are happy to accept the amendments. I hope that the noble Baroness will release me from the obligation to write to her about them.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

1 Nov 1999 : Column 663

Baroness Hamwee moved Amendment No. 81:

Page 223, line 21, leave out second ("the").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 373 [Duty of the Authority to promote tourism]:

Baroness Hamwee moved Amendments Nos. 82 and 83:

Page 224, line 17, leave out ("financial").
Page 224, line 23, leave out second ("the").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 84:

After Clause 374, insert the following new clause--


(" .--(1) Any function exercisable on behalf of the Authority by the Mayor under or by virtue of this Part shall also be exercisable on behalf of the Authority by any of the bodies or persons specified in subsection (2) below, if or to the extent that the Mayor so authorises, whether generally or specially, and subject to any conditions imposed by the Mayor.
(2) Those bodies and persons are--
(a) the Deputy Mayor;
(b) any member of staff of the Authority;
(c) the Cultural Strategy Group for London;
(d) the London Development Agency;
(e) the Common Council;
(f) any local authority.
(3) In the case of the Common Council or a local authority, an authorisation under this section--
(a) may only be granted or varied with its written consent; and
(b) shall cease to have effect if notice of the withdrawal of that consent is given to the Mayor.
(4) Where, by virtue of an authorisation under subsection (1) above, a duty is exercisable by any of the bodies or persons specified in subsection (2) above, that body or person shall discharge the duty in accordance with the authorisation and any conditions imposed by the Mayor under subsection (1) above.
(5) Subsection (4) above is without prejudice to the exercise by the body or person concerned of any power to arrange for the discharge of functions by--
(a) a committee or sub-committee, or a member, officer or employee, of the body or person, or
(b) a joint committee on which the person or body is represented,
except to the extent that the terms of the authorisation or any conditions imposed by the Mayor under subsection (1) above otherwise provide.
(6) Subsection (1) above does not apply--
(a) in relation to functions under this section; or
(b) in relation to any function of making by-laws under section 379(1) below.
(7) An authorisation under subsection (1) above which relates to--
(a) any function under section 371 above; or
(b) the exercise of any function under or by virtue of section 377(1) or 378(3) below to the extent that it involves a determination as to whether to permit a public demonstration to take place in Trafalgar Square or Parliament Square Garden;
may only be given to the Deputy Mayor or a member of staff of the Authority.

1 Nov 1999 : Column 664

(8) An authorisation under subsection (1) above which relates to any function of enforcing any by-laws made under section 379(1) below may only be given--
(a) to the Deputy Mayor,
(b) to any member of staff of the Authority,
(c) to the Common Council,
(d) to any local authority.
(9) Each of the following bodies, namely--
(a) the Cultural Strategy Group for London,
(b) the London Development Agency,
(c) the Common Council,
(d) any local authority,
shall have power to exercise functions on behalf of the Authority in accordance with this section, whether or not they would have power to do so apart from this subsection and irrespective of the nature of the function.
(10) Subsections (3) and (4) of section 101 of the Local Government Act 1972 (delegation of functions to committees, officers etc, and continued exercise by local authority concerned) shall apply in relation to any authorisation under subsection (1) above given by the Mayor--
(a) to a local authority,
(b) to the Cultural Strategy Group for London, or
(c) to the London Development Agency,
as they apply to arrangements under that section between one local authority and another.
(11) An authorisation under this section may be varied or revoked at any time by the Mayor.
(12) Any authorisation under this section, and any variation or revocation of such an authorisation, must be in writing.
(13) In this section--
"Trafalgar Square" has the same meaning as in the Trafalgar Square Act 1844;
"Parliament Square Garden" means the central garden of Parliament Square, within the meaning of section 378 below.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 84, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 88 to 92. This is a complex group of amendments but it is easier to take together the clauses on delegation in Part X and the amendments affecting Trafalgar and Parliament Squares because the two are interwoven.

Perhaps I may say right away that these amendments meet commitments I gave last week on Report. First, I promised a technical amendment to allow the mayor to delegate to the Cultural Strategy Group for London. That commitment is met by Amendment No. 84-- I acknowledge straight away that it has become a lot more complicated than I thought it would be--but in the event it proved more effective to combine this with other provisions about the mayor's powers of delegation in respect of culture under Part X. I shall return to that subject later.

Secondly, I promised amendments to complete the provisions for the transfer of day-to-day responsibility for Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square from the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to the GLA. Last week we agreed amendments that give the mayor responsibility for the care and management of both squares together with the power to make by-laws in respect of their management (Clauses 377 to 379). I gave notice at that time of further amendments that would elaborate on the general power, filling in the

1 Nov 1999 : Column 665

detail--indeed, there was some discussion of our intentions. I am therefore pleased to have tabled the remaining amendments, Amendments Nos. 88 to 92, to fulfil that commitment.

As I said then, the mayor will be responsible for the repair and maintenance of the fabric of the squares--that is to say, cleaning, lighting and repairs to statues--and for controlling and licensing use; for example, giving permission for rallies and events, advertising and filming on Trafalgar Square.

Amendment No. 91 provides the missing enforcement power for the mayor to control street trading. The House agreed last week that it is essential that the mayor should have this power to protect us against the rogue traders to whom the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, referred. Experience shows that the only effective deterrent is a power of seizure which may lead to forfeiture by a court order. Without these powers traders simply return with their apparatus and continue trading, factoring the cost of the fines into their operating costs. We see that happen in the Royal Parks.

By providing an explicit statutory reference, Amendment No. 91 will give the mayor a power that the Government do not have and will allow the mayor to exercise powers in line with those exercised by Westminster City Council in the surrounding streets. I am sure to be teased about the fact that I said last week that the level of fine would be level 1 under the by-laws. That is the same as under the departmental regulations. I have since been advised that this is lower than the level fixed under Westminster City Council's legislation. That would be a worse anomaly than having them different from department regulations and we therefore intend to increase the level to level 3 in relation to trading offences. I trust that noble Lords will agree that that is a sensible and justifiable change.

Amendment No. 89 is a purely technical amendment correcting a grammatical error.

Amendment No. 92 concerns our intention to provide guidelines that will pass on the accumulated wisdom of the DCMS in relation to the management of the squares, including, of course, policy with regard to public demonstrations in Trafalgar Square. The mayor must have regard to such guidelines, but he or she will remain the ultimate arbiter. We do not expect the mayor to carry out the majority of those functions in person, so I come back to Amendment No. 84 which provides the detailed provisions that will allow the mayor to delegate functions within carefully considered limits.

Earlier today I moved the amendment to Clause 38 which allows Amendment No. 84 to substitute for the general power of delegation in respect of Part X. The new clause makes Part X largely self-contained in this respect. The mayor will be able to delegate his functions under Part X to the deputy mayor and GLA staff, to another local authority including the City Corporation, and to the Cultural Strategy Group for London or the London Development Agency. The London Development Agency is included because of the tourism functions.

1 Nov 1999 : Column 666

However, in relation to the making of by-laws, the mayor's decisions on the cultural strategy and the holding of public demonstrations in Trafalgar or Parliament Squares are reserved for the GLA itself, and delegation of the policing of the squares is restricted. That is to make sure that the important function of allowing demonstrations, against the Government if necessary, should be a political decision and not a decision for officialdom. The mayor cannot, of course, delegate the power to delegate.

This is a long clause. It includes special provisions that require delegation to be in writing and, in the case of a local authority, with its written consent. There are various other technical subsections which I can explain if necessary. It is fundamental that we regard the mayor as the appropriate person to take responsibility for Trafalgar and Parliament Squares, which are of national importance.

It was suggested last week that some of these powers should be given direct to Westminster City Council, but to divide the function between the mayor and Westminster could be confusing. It is more important to leave it to the mayor to decide exactly how much should be delegated or put out to contract and to set the context within which the functions are carried out. That is consistent with the rest of the Bill. The GLA is a strategic authority and the mayor will no doubt want to minimise the amount of day-to-day management retained. He will certainly want to make arrangements with Westminster City Council to carry out some of these functions.

I know that I have spoken for long enough, but I must take this opportunity to apologise for inadvertently misleading the House when I said that the mayor will have to retain control of the statues. In fact, he will be able to delegate responsibilities for the care and maintenance of the existing statues in both squares. I have in mind the Public Statues (Metropolis) Act 1854, which relates to the erection of new statues. The mayor could promote proposals for new statues, but it is the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport who cannot delegate his responsibilities under that Act.

The GLA will also retain responsibility for decisions about the cultural strategy and the making of by-laws. The mayor will not have the power to engage private persons or organisations, such as private security firms, to undertake policing functions. Westminster City Council, or any other local authority can act as delegates for the enforcement of the by-laws, including the new trading by-laws.

I apologise again for these amendments being put forward in two bites. However, with the explanation that I have given, I hope that noble Lords will agree that, in the end, this is a coherent group of amendments. I beg to move.

9.15 p.m.

Lord Luke: My Lords, as the Minister said, Amendment No. 84 refers to the delegation of the functions of the authority. I am relieved to see this amendment in the list; indeed, it was promised at Committee stage in July and we have had a long wait for its arrival.

1 Nov 1999 : Column 667

I turn to the remainder of the amendments in this group. The Government gave notice on Report on 25th October that they would bring in further amendments regarding the transfer of the management of Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square. My noble friend Lady Anelay did not oppose that but asked several questions about the impact of the transfer--a significant step which deserved more time for reflection before a verdict was given.

My noble friend expressed her dismay at that time (cols. 129 and 133 of Hansard) with regard to the late tabling of the amendments and the fact that they had been tabled in a half-finished form. She asked the Minister to withdraw the amendments and bring them back on Third Reading, so that they could be seen in their complete form. The Minister declined to do so and stated that the amendments were not in themselves defective. He said that he would press the amendments on the basis that they were themselves complete and perfect. However, we now find that the Government were mistaken: the amendments were not all complete and perfect and the Government now ask the House to amend them. We have received a most generous apology from the Minster, which we certainly accept on these Benches.

In particular, I should like to mention Amendment No. 90, which changes the level of fine for breach of by-laws,

    "if the byelaw is a trading byelaw,

to level 3 from level 1. I understand that the maximum fine at level 1 is £200 and that at level 3 the maximum is £1,000. We are delighted to hear that that is now accepted. We are told that the amendment is required to bring the fine into line with the trading offences legislation operated by Westminster City Council and thereby avoid an anomaly. Perhaps I may make it clear that we on these Benches support measures intended to protect consumers from unlicensed vendors of food in the squares. Indeed, my noble friend Lady Anelay made that support clear on Report. It is the one aspect of the transfer of the management of the squares to which we felt then, as now, able to give our complete support.

On Report my noble friend queried the level of fine in the amendment then before the House. As we know, the Minister replied by saying that it seemed sensible to change to level 3 because that would act as a proper deterrent to people abusing the use of the squares. However, can we be quite sure that the Government's amendments are now correct? I am sure that they are, but I shall leave that to the Minister.

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page