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Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, the House welcomes all sinners that repenteth. We can remember the noble Lord's Administration and its devastating effect on manufacturing industry in the 1980s. I emphasise that we should not underestimate the significance of the manufacturing sector to the economy. In 2007, it was responsible for 13 per cent of the gross value added, a figure that puts us alongside the United States and France. I emphasise to the noble Lord that

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we take manufacturing industry very seriously indeed and are prepared to put our money where our arguments are.

Lord Peston: My Lords, my heart goes out to my noble friend for attempting to answer this Question since there is no agreement in economics about what is meant by a balanced economy. It certainly does not mean a balanced balance of payments or a balanced government budget; it certainly does not tell us what the relative sizes of the manufacturing and other sectors should be or what the relative sizes of the public and private sectors should be-that is the 10 out of 10 answer, I might add. Does my noble friend agree that what really matters is that the Government should continue with their current policy stance of bringing the economy back to full employment and maximum growth in the short term and, as he said, in the sustainable long term?

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, my noble friend has given me the marks I deserve for my initial Answer and I respect that point, not for the first time. On our overall policy, we entirely accept the case that my noble friend is putting forward; namely, that it is of the greatest importance that we have investment in our economy and quantitative easing that extends demand in circumstances where otherwise unemployment levels would increase hugely and our manufacturing industry and our exports would suffer accordingly.

Lord Newby: My Lords, does the Minister accept that if unemployment is to be tackled effectively, small and medium-sized companies in manufacturing and elsewhere need access to finance? Does he further accept that the banks that the Government effectively control have agreed targets with them for providing such finance but are not meeting those targets? What does he plan to do about it?

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, the noble Lord will know how active the finance Minister, my noble friend Lord Myners, is in pursuing these issues with the banks. The noble Lord is right to press on this issue. It is essential that the banks re-establish their balance sheets and get out of the mess-the crisis-that we have been in over the past two years. However, the role of the banks is to provide the necessary credit for the restoration of the economy, and the noble Lord is right to emphasise how necessary credit is to small and medium-sized businesses. The Government are pressing the banks on this issue as strongly as we can.

Baroness Noakes:My Lords, can the Minister confirm that the Government's £5 billion trade credit insurance scheme has thus far delivered only £13 million of support for British businesses and that not a single penny has been paid out from the £2.3 billion automotive assistance programme? Precisely how are the Government going to assist our economy?

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, the role of the Government is to make resources available, so far as we are able, and to insist that the banks make credit available to those who need it. The take-up of the

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credit depends upon confidence being restored in the economy, and that is a reflection of the extent to which the world economy picks up. I think the noble Baroness will recognise that we are talking about a situation two years through the greatest depression that we have had since the 1930s. Far from it being a British-generated depression, which we had in the 1980s under a previous Administration, this is a worldwide depression, which is why the challenge is so very great.

Lord Rotherwick: My Lords, in 1997 we were told that we were the fourth largest economy. Just this week we have been told that our economy has slipped way down the tables, below even Italy. Are we really doing so well?

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, no one is suggesting that the economy is doing well during this crisis; far from it. We all know that our fellow citizens are paying the price of an economy that is in great difficulty-a difficulty that is a product of the enormous onslaught that has been sustained against Britain's financial sector, and of the great reduction in investment over the past 18 months. That is why the Government are intent on generating the necessary investment and ensuring that the economy recovers. That is absolutely critical. The noble Lord will recognise that the strategy that we are pursuing is being pursued by all enlightened Administrations in the world.

Families: Bullying


3 pm

Asked By Lord Neill of Bladen

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): My Lords, this was a horrendous case that demonstrated the devastating effects of anti-social behaviour. Thankfully, such cases are rare. We have announced increased support for victims, tougher action on ASBO breaches, locally set minimum standards, and improved support to targeted partnerships. The policing pledge ensures that the police help the victims, and this work will be strengthened in the White Paper.

Lord Neill of Bladen: My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for that reply. He is aware, I believe, that the Home Secretary has said that we have slipped behind on this and that the Government took their eye off the ball. Can they now get their eye back on to the ball and think a little more about the victims? I have a specific question. We have acceptable behaviour contracts, which can be entered into in writing, and anti-social behaviour orders, which can be obtained from the courts. However, no one seems to pay any attention whatever to what happens at the house of the victim

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on the night. Mrs Pilkington appealed 33 times over a decade for help and assistance, but the local authority took almost no interest in her. She told social workers that she had suicidal tendencies, but they ignored that information. There should be a system-will the Minister undertake to look at this?-whereby the police and local authorities know which homes are being targeted by bullying and some sort of force, obviously the police, can be deployed to the house on the night. Some of these attacks last for about eight hours.

Lord West of Spithead: My Lords, the noble Lord makes a very good point about the victims. We have extended the victim support service to victims and witnesses, and have put up funding for 85 new victims' champions in pioneer areas and in areas with anti-social behaviour perceptions of more than 25 per cent. There is also a national training campaign for co-ordinators to improve their victim work, but I will take away that point and get back to the noble Lord in writing about what happened on that evening.

Baroness Sharples: My Lords, is the Minister satisfied that ASBOs are working?

Lord West of Spithead: My Lords, interestingly there have been three independent looks at this: by a House of Commons Select Committee; in a PAC report; and in an NAO report. All of them congratulated the Government on the successful introduction of robust and effective tools and powers that work against anti-social behaviour and support the law-abiding majority. Those tools and powers clearly have to be applied within local regions and used properly. There is no doubt that we are taking this seriously, but there is equally no doubt that, in the appalling Pilkington case, as the coroner found, there was a police failure to join up the incidents, the local borough council failed to record and monitor its anti-social behaviour incidents, and the county council failed in a number of areas. Overall, things were not joined up. There were failings and failures, but this Government have put in place things that can be used. They were not used in this case, and they need to be used properly because this is a blight on our society. I know that the Home Secretary feels that this is very important and wants even more concentration on it.

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer: My Lords, the fact is that ASBOs were not in place before this tragic incident. That suggests, does it not, that, as the Minister said, the 33 calls to the police were not linked up, so there was no request for an ASBO. What guidance has the Home Office since issued to the police to ensure that 33 calls from one victim are linked up?

Lord West of Spithead: My Lords, we have come out with a raft of new announcements saying how these tools and powers should be used and how the crime and disorder reduction partnerships, set up in 1998, should be involved. We are stepping up action on breach of ASBOs and we are putting on pressure to ensure effective links behind neighbourhood policing and neighbourhood management teams to resolve these issues. But in the end these things have to be

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done at the local level. Perhaps I did not answer the first Question of the noble Lord as well as I might have done. We have contacted the 338 crime and disorder reduction partners to ask whether there are any other cases in their areas that are anything like the dreadful Pilkington case, and to date we have not heard there are any. I have real concerns because there is no doubt that this sort of thing is a blight, and I am aware of the situation in the particular street, partly because one of my relatives went there for another reason and was quite appalled by it. However, the police are taking this seriously and these efforts need to be joined up.

Baroness Howells of St Davids: My Lords, so far the authorities have failed-

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): My Lords, I wonder whether we could hear from my noble friend Lord Ashley, who has been trying to get in from the start.

Lord Ashley of Stoke: My Lords, does my noble friend agree that despite all our laws, rules and regulations, bullying is still going on on a very large scale indeed, especially against disabled people? The reason for it is that many politicians, policemen and head teachers simply do not take bullying seriously enough, but they should do so. Can my noble friend say whether the Government are prepared to launch a major investigation into bullying as soon as possible?

Lord West of Spithead: My Lords, there are some people who do not recognise bullying for what it is, which is totally objectionable. Bullies are normally cowards and need to be confronted.

Welsh Ministers (Transfer of Functions) (No. 2) Order 2009

Government of Wales Act 2006 (Consequential Modifications, Transitional Provisions and Saving) Order 2009

Groundwater (England and Wales) Regulations 2009

14 Report Joint Committee Statutory Instruments

Motion to Approve

3.07 pm

Moved By Lord Davies of Oldham

Motion agreed.

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Coroners and Justice Bill

Main Bill Page
Copy of the Bill
Explanatory notes

Report (2nd Day)

3.08 pm

Amendment 37

Moved by Lord Redesdale

37: After Clause 27, insert the following new Clause-

"Amendment of Treasure Act 1996

After section 8 of the Treasure Act 1996 (c. 24) (duty of finder to notify coroner) insert-

"8A Duty to notify coroner of acquisition of certain objects

(1) A person who-

(a) acquires property in an object, and

(b) believes or has reasonable grounds for believing-

(i) that the object is treasure, and

(ii) that notification in respect of the object has not been given under section 8(1) of this subsection,

must notify the Coroner for Treasure before the end of the notice period.

(2) The notice period is fourteen days beginning with-

(a) the day after he acquires property in the object; or

(b) if later, the day on which he first believes or has reason to believe-

(i) that the object is treasure; and

(ii) that notification in respect of the object has not been given under section 8(1) or subsection (1) of this section.

(3) Any person who fails to comply with subsection (1) is guilty of an offence if-

(a) notification in respect of the object has not been given under section 8(1) or subsection (1) of this section; and

(b) there has been no investigation in relation to the object.

(4) Any person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to-

(a) imprisonment for a term not exceeding the relevant maximum;

(b) a fine or an amount not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale; or

(c) both.

(5) In proceedings for an offence under this section, it is a defence for the defendant to show he had, and has continued to have, a reasonable excuse for failing to notify the Coroner for Treasure.

(6) If the office of Coroner for Treasure is vacant, notification under subsection (1) must be given to the Chief Coroner.

(7) In determining for the purposes of this section whether a person has acquired property in an object, section 4 is to be disregarded.

(8) In this section "investigation" means an investigation under section (Investigations concerning treasure) of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009.""

Lord Redesdale: I shall confine my remarks to Amendments 37, 52 and 53. I believe that the noble Lord, Lord Renfrew, will speak to Amendment 69 in this group, so rather than steal his thunder I shall say only that I support the amendment.

The amendments that we propose deal with a major problem that has existed for a considerable period for archaeologists and others dealing with cultural objects. The Treasure Act 1996 was meant to sort out many of these difficulties, but it is still the case that objects that we believe to have been illegally excavated are available

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in the market or are being sold without proper provenance. Of course, the real value of these objects is knowing where they came from in the first place; it is not the beauty of these objects or the fact that they are artworks, although some are extremely beautiful and have value-they are often displayed as works of art in salesrooms and shops. What gives them their real value is their provenance; what matters is where they come from and what they can tell us about archaeological sites.

There is a real issue in this country about nighthawking. I say for those who do not know that this is the practice of going out at night with metal detectors in order to dig up objects from sites where there is no legal justification for doing so. A particularly good paper on the subject has recently been produced by English Heritage. Indeed, some of our historic monuments have been defiled by people digging up coins or metal objects for their monetary value, which completely destroys the historical value of the site.

Amendment 37 seeks to deal with this problem. When I brought forward the Dealing in Cultural Objects (Offences) Act-it started as a Private Member's Bill in another place-its purpose was to deal with the flood of objects coming in from Mesopotamia and the illegal excavations that took place after the Iraq war. We have the same problem in this country and in Europe, with a large number of objects being taken from the ground. Other countries within Europe have dealt with this issue and I hope that the Minister will have some positive words to say about how it is being dealt with here.

In the consultation on the amendment, there was some difficulty over human rights. However, there is a real issue about the human rights of those people who buy or find themselves in possession of objects that turn out to have no provenance and are therefore of questionable value. There is also cultural significance in the fact that the human rights of everyone in the country are being lowered by the destruction of our historical heritage.

There is a great deal of benefit in the amendment. I shall not go into it in great detail, but I am particularly concerned about one area. While we are concentrating on those people selling objects, there is a real issue about the internet creating a new marketplace. Objects are being dug up, put on display and sold to those interested not only in a local shop down the road but in a global market. This is causing real problems.

Amendments 52 and 53 are important, because a slight problem has been caused by the helpful changes to the Bill. There is an issue about how the legislation has been drawn up to create a duty to inform the coroner. Many people who do metal detecting take their objects to finds liaison officers. I commend the Government's work in establishing and supporting the Portable Antiquities Scheme based at the British Museum. Any noble Lord wishing to study the value of this scheme should read the fine Treasure reports, the next one of which is just about to be launched. However, if a metal detectorist takes advice on an object from the portable antiquities officer and the portable antiquities officer forgets for some reason-often they are overworked-to declare this to the coroner, the finder

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of the object becomes liable under the legislation, not the finds liaison officer, and could find themselves in difficulty.

This kind of issue may never come to light. However, as we have found, some objects may have a particular value not only in their metal content but in their historical value and cultural interest. If such an object was later found to be of great value, a dispute could be brought before the coroner and the offence spotted. Of course, it is not only the metal detectorists who have a fiscal interest in the object found; the landowner also does. I hope that the Government will agree that this small amendment could solve a potentially unfortunate consequence of good legislation. I beg to move.

3.15 pm

Lord Howarth of Newport: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Redesdale, for tabling the amendments, to which I have added my name. I am also grateful to the Government for the progress that we have so far been able to make in strengthening the provisions of the Bill that relate to treasure: agreeing after all that there should be a coroner for treasure; allowing time beyond six months for prosecutions for non-reporting of treasure; and giving the coroner power to require finders actually to deliver treasure. I am grateful also to Ministers for meeting some of us not just once but twice.

In Committee, the Government did not accept that the duty to report a find of treasure should be widened to anyone who comes into possession of it and has reason to believe that it has not previously been reported. This is an important matter, which is why we have tabled it again as Amendment 37. It was in the Government's own draft Bill in 2006.

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