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Baroness Miller of Hendon: My Lords, I was interested to hear the Minister say that for licences of this kind, there is no delay. I am pleased to hear that. I find it extraordinary that, on our side, we are lobbied to do something about temporary licences because, we are told, there is a huge delay. I accept what the Minister said, and I am sure that he will look into the matter in view of my comments. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 7 [Guidance about the exercise of functions under control orders]:

Lord Redesdale moved Amendment No. 24:

(a) the description of thing being controlled is within one or more of the categories mentioned in the Schedule; or
(b) the activity being controlled could have one or more of the possible consequences that are of a kind mentioned in the Table in paragraph 3 of the Schedule,
the guidance required by subsection (3) must state that regard shall be had, when exercising such powers, to—"

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The noble Lord said: My Lords, the amendment was spoken to with Amendment No. 1. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Redesdale moved Amendment No. 25:

    Page 6, line 1, after "development" insert "including those pertaining to the study, conservation, protection, enjoyment and sustainable use of heritage resources of cultural interest"

The noble Lord said: The amendment is in my name and that of the noble Lord, Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn, who could not be present this evening.

I shall speak briefly on the issue; we spoke about it at length during the previous stage of the Bill. The purpose of the amendment is to include heritage as a resource, not under the title of sustainable development but as a subject in its own right. We do it because we saw the opportunity to do so; I can put it no more clearly than that. I suspect, however, that the Minister will come up with many reasons why heritage should not be included. I beg to move.

9.45 p.m.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: My Lords, I rise to express my support for this amendment. In Committee, I recall the noble Lord, Lord Sainsbury, rather teasingly saying that whenever the expression "weapons of mass destruction" was mentioned I suddenly thought of heritage and cultural objects. As the noble Lord, Lord Redesdale, said, one of our objectives throughout these proceedings has been to ensure that a Bill, which, in greater part, does deal with weapons of mass destruction but which, in its minor part, deals with relevant issues to the DCMS, should pay due respect and attention to such issues. That is especially so because when the legislation was introduced cultural organisations outwith Parliament were not perhaps fully aware of the impact of the Bill upon them, or of how a smaller part of the Bill affects culture. Such issues are important to the cultural world.

I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Redesdale, for returning to the matter. I rather suspect that we shall not move much further on the issue tonight. However, on behalf of my noble friend Lord Renfrew, I can say how much we have appreciated the conduct of the Government throughout the proceedings on the Bill. They have made efforts to recognise heritage in its proper place during our discussions, even if it did not quite receive the attention that it deserved both in the other place and in the Explanatory Notes before it came to this House.

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, I shall say straightaway that I welcome the opportunity to debate the amendment, even if I do not welcome its contents. After all, it has given us culture vultures the chance to play our part in the proceedings. As usual, the all-star cast is in action—apart, that is, from the noble Lord, Lord Renfrew, who, regrettably, as he indicated, was not able to participate in this crucial part of the debate.

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The noble Lord, Lord Redesdale, said that he did not expect to make too much progress with the amendment. He presented some attractive arguments but, in our view, not quite winning ones. It is not that we do not share with the noble Lord and the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, the objective to ensure that we protect the cultural heritage of this country, and various aspects of it that we know are under threat through the practice of illicit trade. However, we do not believe that this Bill is the way to achieve that aim, or that the amendment now before the House will advance the cause that we all share.

I should make it absolutely clear that the Bill provides for the export control of objects of cultural interest. It is not designed to solve the problem of illicit trade in cultural goods, which, as I am sure noble Lords will agree, is best addressed by international agreement. To this end, noble Lords will recall that I said in Committee on 4th March that we expected accession to the 1970 UNESCO convention to take place very soon. The noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, took my words at face value and, as we would expect, has been pursuing the issue through Written Questions.

I should tell noble Lords that on 20th March my noble friend Lady Blackstone stated in a Written Answer to the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay—Official Report; col. WA 157—that we expect to publish a Command Paper by the end of April, together with an explanatory memorandum, as is the custom before acceding to a treaty. I should remind noble Lords that, thereafter, it will lie for 21 sitting days before action is taken to bind the United Kingdom. For those reasons, the Government expect to achieve their aim to accede to the convention by July.

As I understand it—I shall be corrected if I am wrong—the intention behind the amendment is that the Government would apply additional criteria in exercising export controls so that a licence would not be granted for an object that has been looted from an archaeological site here, or overseas. We applaud those sentiments and recognise their strength. We are committed to fighting the very real problem of illicit trade. However, we are not convinced that the Bill is the appropriate mechanism to protect and conserve archaeological sites and their future sustainable use for study and enjoyment. As I said earlier, the way to tackle the issue is through international agreement. The effort that we are making to ensure that we accede to the 1970 UNESCO convention is the most obvious and tangible step forward, and one that we shall be taking shortly to achieve that end.

On that basis, I hope that the noble Lord will recognise that we subscribe to his intentions but that we do not believe that the amendment will advance the cause. However, we have in mind a way in which we will be tackling the issue thoroughly and I hope that therefore he will think in terms of withdrawing his amendment.

Lord Redesdale: My Lords, I thank the Minister for his reply. It is most welcome to hear of the progress of the UNESCO convention. His answer raised one

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particular issue, and one to which I am sure we will return; that is, ensuring that adequate staff are provided to police the export controls on objects of cultural interests, especially looted archaeological finds. However, taking the Minister's reply in the spirit in which it was given, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Redesdale moved Amendment No. 26:

    Page 6, line 10, leave out subsection (6) and insert—

"( ) Changes made to guidance—
(a) required by subsection (3) which includes guidance about the consideration to be given to—
(i) issues relating to sustainable development; or
(ii) issues relating to any possible consequences of the activity being controlled that are of a kind mentioned in the Table in paragraph 3 of the Schedule; or
(b) referred to the consolidated criteria relating to export control licensing decisions announced to Parliament by the Secretary of State on 26th October 2000
shall require a draft of that change to be laid before and be subject to a resolution of each House of Parliament.
( ) Changes to any guidance other than those described in the subsection above shall be laid before Parliament and published within 28 days."

The noble Lord said: My Lords, one of the main concerns of the Scott report was that existing government powers lack,

    "the provisions for Parliamentary supervision and control that would be expected and are requisite in a modern Parliamentary democracy".

In Clause 11, the Bill addresses that concern by setting out the role of Parliament in approving or refusing orders made under the authority of the Bill. Depending on the nature of the order, that may involve either the draft or delayed affirmative resolution procedure or the negative resolution procedure. However, that element of oversight is not extended to cover changes to the guidance. In such cases the Secretary of State is required only to inform Parliament after the event.

Where the nature of the amendment to guidance is purely administrative—for example, with regard to the procedures to be followed in submitting a licence application—that level of oversight is appropriate. Where guidance relates to changes to export licensing criteria, it is not sufficient.

The purpose of the amendment is to ensure that when changes to guidelines refer to export criteria, those will require prior approval by both Houses of Parliament by the affirmative resolution procedure. Where the guidelines refer to other matters—for example, licensing procedures—the Secretary of State will simply have to inform Parliament within 28 days. I beg to move.

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