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It is the responsibility of the local planning authority, whether that is the Mayor or the borough, to distribute any sums due under an obligation in accordance with the terms of the agreement. Therefore, if the obligation requires a financial contribution towards the provision of an open space, to be provided by the borough, clearly the borough must receive the funds and carry out the work, irrespective of whether the money initially went to the Mayor as the local planning authority. Consequently, if the obligation requires funds to be made available to carry out improvements to the strategic road network under the control of TfL, the relevant funds would be passed to TfL, as that is the body that carries out the works. Nothing is to be gained by requiring the Mayor to pass all sums due under a planning obligation to the borough, irrespective of whom the sums are due to under the terms of the planning obligation. The amendment would simply add delay while money is moved from the Mayor to the borough before being passed to another party.
I suspect that the noble Baroness was actually asking a slightly different and slightly more detailed question, so, with her leave, I will read what she said about her amendment and will certainly write to her with further detail and clarification if I can.
Baroness Hamwee: My Lords, given that commuted payments are important, I may well retable the amendment so that the letter can be read into the record at the next stage of the Bill. With that, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
(5) Where in consequence of payments made by the Greater London Authority under subsection (2), the Assembly exercise their power under section 61 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999 (power to require attendance at Assembly meetings) in respect of the Board of Governors of the Museum of London, the Director of the Museum or its officers, the exercise of that power shall be subject to a like power exercisable by the Corporation.
The noble Lord said: Amendment No. 91 takes forward, in a slightly different form, the amendment that was tabled by my noble friend Lord Jenkin in Committee and to which my noble friend Lady Hanham spoke so ably from the Front Bench in his unavoidable absence. I will not repeat in detail today what my noble friend so lucidly told the Committee then. As I said when I spoke to Amendment No. 79, I am speaking today in his unavoidable absence.
The nub of the issue is the parity of scrutiny arrangements between the City and the GLA once the half-share of funding currently met by the Government is met instead by the GLA. The City will continue to meet the other half, as it does now. That issue, as I will explain in a moment, also ultimately bears on the independence of the board of governors of the museum. The position under the Bill is that, under the new arrangements, the board of governors and its officers, including officers of the City of London Corporation, will be subject to the London Assembly scrutiny powers in Section 61 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999. The effect of this was ably explained by the Minister in Committee, when she said:
This means that the Assembly may require the governors or staff of the Museum of London to attend proceedings and give evidence, or produce documents in their possession or control, which is relevantI stress, relevantto the funding relationship which the museum will have with the GLA. The Assemblys scrutiny will, of course, focus chiefly on the Mayors exercise of his functions relating to the museum. It may also look at the museums use of those funds that it receives from the authority and the museums financial health as a whole, including the levels of funding from other sources, such as the City Corporation, and the use it makes of those funds.[Official Report, 14/5/07; col. GC 25.]
Unlike for a charity or other deserving cause that receives a grant, the funding relationship of the museum to the GLA is intended to be permanent, so the GLA will acquire a continuous oversight role in respect of the museum. The board of governors and its officers will be in the same position as the board and officers of the functional bodies of the GLA, such as Transport for London, whose scrutiny arrangements are also governed by Section 61 of the 1999 Act.
However, the museum is not a GLA body. The board of governors is, as the Minister emphasised in earlier exchanges on this subject, independent. It is intended that this status should remain. I do not make any sort of case against scrutiny, but, as proposed, the powers to call the board and its officers to account, under substantial criminal sanction if they do notSection 64 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999 provides for a term of imprisonment of up to three monthswithout giving a counterbalancing power to the other half of the funding relationship, namely the City, could result in the relationship between the museum and the GLA becoming skewed.
She preceded that comment by reference to the Citys ability to agree with the museum its scrutiny arrangements as a condition of the Citys financial support. That, however, presupposes the power to set such conditions. The only power dealing with scrutiny that I have been able to find in the current legislation is in Section 5 of the Museum of London Act 1965I differentiate that from the 1986 Actwhich requires reports to Parliament. But that provision of scrutiny is being repealed by the current Bill. The other provisions in existing legislation dealing with financial support by the City make no reference to the Citys ability to subject that support to conditions relating to scrutiny. Given that the function has until now been provided through Parliament, that absence is unsurprising.
In these circumstances, I should be most grateful if the Minister could confirm that a power to require collaborative scrutiny arrangements with the GLA is available to the City. If it is not, the Minister will understand why I will contend that further provision to facilitate the arrangement that the noble Baroness anticipated in Committee is needed. I beg to move.
Baroness Morgan of Drefelin: My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, for moving his noble friends amendment and making this short debate possible. As we have heard, the amendment was tabled in Committee. While the Government will continue to resist the amendment, it provides us with a further opportunity to allay some of the concerns about the scrutiny arrangements to which he refers.
As I stated in Committee, when the GLA Bill comes into force, the museum will be subject to the scrutiny of the Assembly under the powers set out in Section 61 of the GLA Act 1999. As the noble Lord said, the Assembly will have the power to summon the governors or staff of the Museum of London to attend proceedings and to give evidence, or to produce documents in their possession or control, relating to the GLAs sponsorship of the museum. The Assemblys use of these powers naturally will centre, as the noble Lord rightly said, on scrutinising
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As we have heard, there has been some concern that the powers of scrutiny that the Assembly will have in respect of the museum might tip the balance too far towards the GLA to the detriment of the City of London Corporations role. We do not believe that this will be the case. The powers that the GLA and the Assembly will gain as a result of this Bill will not lessen the role that the corporation plays in the life of the Museum of London. The corporation was a founder of the museum, owns the premises in which the museum operates, co-funds the museum and appoints half the membership of its board of governors. The corporations powers and responsibilities in relation to the museum are enshrined in statute in the Museum of London Acts of 1965 and 1986. This Bill does not change that fact.
The importance of the corporations role has not been diminished by the museums present status as a non-departmental public body sponsored by central government. There is no reason for us to believe that it will be diminished when the GLA takes over the Governments role in respect of the museum. I should like to take this opportunity to reiterate the point that we expect the City of London Corporation and the GLA to work together effectively as co-sponsors of the museum and that the corporation will continue to play as full and active a role in the future as it does at present. However, as I made clear in Committee, there is no need to change the corporations powers of scrutiny to do this. I can agree that the corporation has the powers that it needs in order to scrutinise jointly with the Assembly.
As I stated in Committee, the corporation is, and always has been, able to agree with the museum, as a condition of its financial support, how it will scrutinise its operations. Such an agreement would not require any change to this Bill or to any other existing legislation. There is nothing to prevent the corporation and the Assembly from reaching an agreement whereby they could scrutinise the museum jointly should they wish to do so. Whether they choose to take that route or not, we would positively encourage the corporation and the Assembly to work together as partners in establishing a robust scrutiny regime for the museum.
Finally, I reiterate a point that I made in Committee. There is a clear distinction between the Museum of London and the City of London Corporation. The Assemblys legitimate, rightful scrutiny of the museum, which I described earlier, should not extend to detailed scrutiny of the corporation. The Assemblys powers to summon apply to the corporation only in respect of any specific contractual relationships between it and the GLA or any grant given by the GLA directly to the corporation.
I hope that I have been able to provide reassurance to the noble Lord and to his noble friend Lord Jenkin when he has time to reflect on what has been put into the record today. With that in mind, I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Brooke, will be able to withdraw his amendment.
Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville: My Lords, I thank the Minister for her reply. I fear that I will disappoint her in the hope that she expressed in her final sentence. There is a paradox between the Government emphasising in Committee and today how strongly they wish to resist amendments moved in this context and their desire to see the City and the GLA reach an amicable agreement.
The Minister says that the Bill does not alter the powers of scrutiny of the Corporation of London in terms of the museum. In my speech, I sought to indicate that there will be no powers relating to scrutiny on the statute book if the Government persist in repealing the one clause in the Museum of London Act 1965, to which the Minister made reference; since that is to be repealed by the Bill, there will be no provision in statute for the corporation to insist on scrutiny of the museums officers and board of governors. The Minister said that the situation has not been altered, but I believeand she will be able to read what I saidthat by that repeal it has been. If the Greater London Authority is to have unique powers and sanctions, the museum will always look over its shoulder to the GLA rather than to the City of London Corporation. To borrow from Dr Johnson, to whom another excellent museum within the City of London is dedicated, the prospect of three months imprisonment can concentrate a mans mind wonderfully.
There is, of course, nothing to prevent the two bodies from reaching an amicable conclusion. However, the London Assembly will have greater powers of persuasion, because of how the Act is constructedI refer to Section 61. If it does not wish to develop a system of joint scrutiny, there is no way in which the City of London Corporation can persuade it to do so, as the balance of advantage in powers of scrutiny is different.
I will make a constructive suggestion, if I may, as I obviously wish to resolve this matter, although we will not do so tonight. The London Assembly has the power, which it has used, to set up a panel on, for instance, the governance of London. It has been able to invite people to come and give evidence to it; that has worked extremely well. Some people on that panel were not part of the Assembly itself but independent contributors from outside. If that sort of example can be followed, from which the condition about three months imprisonment is removed, the City of London Corporation would be contributing to such a panel as an equal, rather than as, frankly, an unequal. Of course, all of us would wish that some agreement might be reached but, as I said in my peroration, unless we have confidence that such an agreement will be reached between the Assembly and the City of
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Finally, although I totally understand what the Minister said about the intended object of this exercise not being to let the London Assembly pursue the corporation or its officers, the wordingas currently structuredis that officers of the corporation will be capable of being summoned in the context of the Bill. For that reason, I regret that I do not want to withdraw this amendment save to provide an opportunity for reflection. At the moment, I do not believe that there is a meeting of minds between us; therefore, we will have to return to it at a later stage. For now, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
The noble Baroness said: My Lords, Amendment No. 93, which has been withdrawn from the Marshalled List, had a similar aim. That was debated with a similar group of amendments last week, regarding a limit on the number of terms that a Mayor or an Assembly Member can serve. Your Lordships will be aware that the amendment in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Hanham, was agreed to on that occasion. I refer to Assembly Members, although I am a little unclear on whether the amendment agreed would have the effect of limiting the number of terms that an Assembly Member could serve, which was the aim of the amendment in the name of my noble friend Lord Tope and myself that was also debated.
We had proposed the predecessor to this amendment for a reason that we were at pains to explain; that the limitation on the number of terms that a Mayor might serve was not a personal attack on the current Mayor. As I said then, had my noble friend been the Mayor, I would have been moving exactly the same amendment. Nor did we feel it appropriate, so close to the May 2008 elections, to change the rules of the game. This amendment, then, is designed to allow for commencement of the limitation on the number of terms at a later date; so, it could be postponed until after the next elections.
The Government should accept this amendment, because it is a proper consequence of the debate that we had last week. I am not naive enough to expect the Commons not to throw out the amendment that your Lordships agreed; nevertheless, that is a part of the Bill as it currently standsand as it will go back, in due course, to the Commons. I want to emphasise
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Lord Graham of Edmonton: We have been here before, my Lords; it is still the same issue. While I appreciate the nuance, the noble Baroness is saying Let the next election take place, and if the Mayor is re-elected for a second time, then that should in fact be the end of his attempts. Well, we had the argument before, which is that rather than by legislative device, as this is, we would remove the opportunity for the people of London to elect their Mayor. They would not have the opportunity to do that. So, if the Liberal Democrat Benches are suggesting that there ought to be limits on the extent of powers, where do we start and finish?
We may certainly consider something along the lines of No party shall be elected as the Government more than twice. In recent years, and in the memory of most people here, that would have seriously affected the will of the people to elect a Conservative Government in the 1980s and 1990s. It would certainly have affected the ability of the people of this country to elect Labour, or to re-elect and re-elect it again. I honestly am puzzled about why this device should be taken.
When I spoke on this matter last week, I mentioned that the Conservatives did not hesitate when they were bothered by the activity of the GLC in the early 1980s. By diktat, they simply passed into their manifesto an amendment that extinguished the GLC at the drop of a hat. That was wrong, because the people of London had no opportunity; it took more than 10 years and a change of government to Labour to realise that London needed a government. So, I do not fall out on the issue, which is one of principle, and I appreciate that the noble Baroness said that this will allow the Mayor, if the people of London wish it, to be elected a third time. But if they want to do that for the fourth timeand he has a record upon which to stand, and the support in LondonI see no reason why he ought not to be re-elected, provided he is a candidate. This amendment should be resisted.
Baroness Hanham: My Lords, an amendment was passed in this House last week. This amendment would clarify the position on what we believed we were passing; it would make it more rational for the other place in discussing this further. There need to be parameters in which the principle is discussed. All we have been discussing so far is the principle of whether the Mayor should have a limited term. I am happy to support the noble Baroness but hope that it will not be necessary to press the amendment to a Division.
Lord Harris of Haringey: My Lords, when this was discussed in Committee, I thought that the arguments of the noble Baronesses, Lady Hamwee and Lady Hanham, were comprehensively destroyed. I gather that in my absence last week, your Lordships passed an amendment. We are now being asked to tidy up that amendment because those who tabled it did not get it right the first time. The noble Lord, Lord Tope,
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