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8 Feb 2010 : Column 477

Lord Adonis: My Lords, we are in discussions with the European Commission on this very point and I am confident that we will reach a satisfactory position. In respect of nitrogen dioxide, combined aircraft and road-vehicle nitrogen dioxide emissions around Heathrow are expected to halve by 2030 compared with 2002, even with a fully utilised third runway.

Lord Bradshaw: The Minister must have contact with a number of companies and organisations concerned with Heathrow. Are those organisations planning for everything to stop if his party loses the election, or do they think to themselves that the present expedient decision of the Conservative Party to vote against the third runway will be reversed once the election comes?

Lord Adonis: My Lords, I have had no discussions with organisations about the possibility of us losing the general election, so remote a possibility that is.

Lord Grocott: Given my noble friend's commendable enthusiasm for a high-speed rail network, has he made any estimate of what effect a fully developed high-speed rail network would have on demand at Heathrow? Although I admit in advance that this is slightly on the margin of the original Question, can he give any indication as to when he is going to make his announcement on the high-speed rail network?

Lord Adonis: My Lords, I anticipate that we will publish a White Paper on high-speed rail in March. In respect of the potential for high-speed rail to substitute for a third runway, only a very small proportion of Heathrow traffic goes to domestic destinations that would be served by high-speed rail. The great growth of demand at Heathrow is for long-haul flights and therefore the best interests of this country are served by having both high-speed rail and a third runway. In life one does not always have to choose between desirable objectives.

Lord Clinton-Davis: I declare my interest as president of BALPA. Would not British aviation be dealt a mortal blow if we were unable to proceed with a third runway at Heathrow? Is there any possibility that Birmingham Airport can provide a viable alternative? My own view is that it cannot. Is it not apparent, also, that the next generation of aircraft will have to take climate change very seriously into account, whatever decision is reached with regard to airports?

Lord Adonis: My Lords, I agree with all the points which my noble friend has made. When the Government took their decision in respect of the third runway, they asked the Committee on Climate Change, chaired by the noble Lord, Lord Turner, to look at the capacity of aviation to reduce its emissions in 2050 below those pertaining in 2005 and the policies that would be needed to meet that objective. The committee reported recently as follows:

"The Report finds that there is potential for aviation demand to increase while still meeting the Government's target-in the most likely scenario, a 60% increase in demand is allowed. Higher increases might be possible if technological progress and the development of sustainable biofuels were more rapid than currently envisaged".

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It is perfectly possible for us to increase aviation in this country while, over the medium to long term, reducing carbon emissions.

Social Tourism


2.59 pm

Asked By Baroness Rendell of Babergh

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Davies of Oldham): My Lords, the Government understand the value of access to leisure and tourism activities for all. By providing support for those who need it most, we are committed to a society where everyone can engage in leisure activities, including holidays, if they wish. A good example is our policy of free admission to many national museums and galleries, resulting in an increase of 124 per cent in the number of visits to museums offering free access.

Baroness Rendell of Babergh: My Lords, I thank my noble friend for his Answer. Is he aware that France, Spain and Italy have integrated social tourism into their social welfare policy, providing holidays for people on low income who do not have a holiday? Could not the United Kingdom do something similar?

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, we have taken rather a different view on the question of improving life for the less well off in our society to that taken by France, Italy and Spain. We prefer to ensure that increased resources are available for families to make their choices. We are conscious of the fact that France, in particular, puts a very great emphasis on holidays, even regarding them as a human right.

Baroness Gardner of Parkes: My Lords, could the Minister define social tourism for us? We have a little feeling of it from his replies, but it would be good to know exactly what is meant.

Lord Davies of Oldham: The concept behind social tourism is to ensure that those in society who are less well off get the opportunity to go on holiday. There are one or two organisations that provide very inexpensive holidays for the less well off. That is the concept of social tourism, and the Government are of course sympathetic to it. They even give £10 million in grants to an organisation concerned with holidays for the disabled. That is the concept.

Lord Lee of Trafford: Would the Minister consider encouraging the Government to set up a mechanism so that those who do not need or want the winter fuel allowance can divert that money to a charity of their choice, such as the Family Holiday Association, which provides holidays for the disadvantaged, to which the noble Baroness referred?

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, the Family Holiday Association is certainly a deserving institution in these terms. Of course, people are encouraged to

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give support to a charity with that intent, but it would destroy the concept of charitable giving if the Government made it mandatory.

Baroness Massey of Darwen: My Lords, my noble friend will be aware that a Child Poverty Bill is going through your Lordships' House at the moment. Is there any evidence that providing breaks to families who live in poverty helps to boost their morale, so that they are enabled to climb out of poverty?

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, there is some evidence of that. Of course, the French put a greater emphasis on the advantages of holidays. There is no doubt that a break does boost morale. I apologise to the House, because I said that the grant to Tourism for All, which gives holidays to the disabled, was £10 million. I meant £10,000. We want to encourage this. We have no doubt at all that it is advantageous to families who are less well off, and there is evidence that people benefit from holidays.

Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville: My Lords, is the Minister aware, in the unexpected absence of the noble Lord, Lord Pearson of Rannoch, that the European Parliament is considering amending the scheme under which almost 100 of its highest paid officials have their children taken on holiday at half price, so that it goes to low-paid officials instead?

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, I never thought that the House would miss the noble Lord, Lord Pearson of Rannoch. The noble Lord has stepped into the breach. We can all draw some satisfaction from the point that he makes, but I am talking here about a benign concept of holidays for the less well off and the disabled, rather than holidays for those who may be regarded as somewhat overprivileged.

Lord Judd: In a highly interdependent global community, does my noble friend agree that just as foreign languages are imperative in preparing our young to meet the challenges of that international community, it is essential to give all possible support to youngsters during their education to take opportunities to travel abroad? Can we ensure that this does not become a prerogative of the more affluent members of society?

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, my noble friend has a good point-that is why we are pleased that in the education system schools are concerned with these opportunities for holidays abroad. However, this Question focuses upon families who are less well off: the concept behind it is that family holidays should be supported and provided for. I indicate how sympathetic the Government are to that concept, without having an excessive contribution of public funds towards it.

Baroness Howarth of Breckland: My Lords, does the Minister agree that under the Every Child Matters agenda the Government are looking to give equal opportunity to all children? A recent report, put together by the children and families courts service, has found that one of the greatest worries for children on the separation of their parents is finance. It is not only a

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question of the emotional issues-finance leads to emotional issues. One of the other issues is the consequence of poor finance, which means children lose all the benefits they have known as a family. Holidays are particularly important when you are a young person going back to school after the summer holidays and sharing with others what you have experienced.

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, I am grateful for that point from the noble Baroness. The Government's drive to reduce the number of children in poverty-reduced by 500,000 over a number of years-reflects our concern that these children should not suffer too great a disadvantage. The noble Baroness is absolutely right: children who live in families where the home is broken and the parents have separated are often to be found in that category.

Arrangement of Business


3.07 pm

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, at a convenient point after 4.30 pm, my noble friend the Leader of the House will, with the leave of the House, repeat a Statement entitled "Devolution in Northern Ireland".

Infrastructure Planning (Decisions) Regulations 2010

Link to the Grand Committee Debate

Motion to Approve

3.07 pm

Moved By Lord McKenzie of Luton

Motion agreed.

Cluster Munitions (Prohibitions) Bill [HL]

Bill Main Page
Copy of the Bill
Explanatory Notes

Third Reading

3.07 pm

A privilege amendment was made.


Moved by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead

Baroness Northover: My Lords, we on these Benches are absolutely delighted that this Bill has now been agreed in this House; we hope that it will speed its way through the other place. A number of noble Lords in this House have played a key role in getting to this point-not least the noble Lords, Lord Dubs and Lord Elton, and also my late lamented friend Lord Garden.

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Cluster bombs are an appalling danger to civilians. They have no place in modern warfare and should be put beyond use. I am very glad that we have been able to play our part in ensuring that the UK can take a leading role in this regard.

Lord Howell of Guildford: My Lords, from this side I endorse the remarks already made. We think this is an excellent Bill, and we are glad that it is about to pass.

Lord Dubs: My Lords, I am delighted that we have got this far with the Bill. I hope the Commons will get a move on and pass it into law. There are children and people the world over who will be safer now as a result of this ban. It is a good news day for all of us.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): My Lords, I thank noble Lords for their comments. As the noble Lord, Lord Dubs, has said, we hope very much that this cluster munitions legislation will move swiftly through the Commons and that we will see the results it will bring for the many thousands of people across the world who will be safer because of it.

Bill passed and sent to the Commons.

Bribery Bill [HL]

Bill Main Page
Copy of the Bill
Explanatory Notes

Third Reading

3.10 pm

Moved by Lord Bach

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon): My Lords, before the House begins the Third Reading of the Bribery Bill, it may be helpful for me to say a few words about Third Reading amendments. The House has agreed a procedure for addressing amendments which, in the view of the Public Bill Office, fall outside the guidance in the Companion and the rules set by the Procedure Committee. In line with that procedure, the Public Bill Office advised the usual channels on Friday that some of the amendments on the Marshalled List for Third Reading today fall outside that guidance. On the basis of that advice, the usual channels have agreed to recommend to the House that Amendments 1, 2 and 5, in the names of the noble Lords, Lord Thomas of Gresford and Lord Goodhart, should not be moved. As ever, this is ultimately a matter for the House as a whole to decide.

Clause 1 : Offences of bribing another person

Amendments 1 and 2 not moved.

Clause 10 : Consent to prosecution

Amendment 3

Moved by Lord Pannick

3: Clause 10, page 7, line 2, at end insert-

"(6) Consent may not be given for the institution of proceedings under subsection (1) or (2) in respect of conduct which was specifically authorised in advance under the hand of-

8 Feb 2010 : Column 482

(a) the Secretary of State, or

(b) a senior official, but only if the Secretary of State has expressly and personally authorised the giving of the authorisation and considers the case to be urgent, and a statement of those facts is endorsed on the authorisation.

(7) An authorisation shall not be given for the purposes of subsection (6) unless the Secretary of State is satisfied that the conduct is necessary for one of the functions stated in section 13(1).

(8) An authorisation for the purposes of subsection (6) ceases to have effect-

(a) at the end of the period of 6 months starting with the day on which it was given, if it was given under the hand of the Secretary of State, and

(b) at the end of one week after the day on which it was given, if it was given under the hand of a senior official.

(9) Subsection (8) does not apply if the authorisation is renewed under subsection (10) before the day on which it would otherwise cease to have effect.

(10) The Secretary of State may renew an authorisation for a period of 6 months starting on the day on which it would otherwise cease to have effect if, at any time before that day, the Secretary of State considers it necessary for the authorisation to continue to have effect for the purpose for which it was given.

(11) Subsection (10) may apply more than once.

(12) A renewal under subsection (10) must be made under the hand of the Secretary of State.

(13) The Secretary of State must cancel an authorisation if he is satisfied that an act or omission authorised by virtue of it is no longer necessary for the purpose for which it was given.

(14) For the purposes of this section, "senior official" has the meaning given by section 81 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000."

Lord Pannick: My Lords, with the agreement of the House and of the noble Lord, Lord Goodlad, perhaps I may move Amendment 3.

Each of the amendments in this group seeks to improve on the wording of Clause 13, the better to implement the objectives-which I believe are shared across the House-of ensuring that acts of bribery are carried out on behalf of the state only when necessary, and that officers of state are given as much assistance as possible in advance in order to know when it is permissible to carry out such an act. Clause 13 is deficient in relying on a criminal prosecution after the event, with the onus of proof on the defendant as sufficient protection of the public interest.

I continue to hold the view that I expressed in more detail on Report, which is that it is important for there to be an authorisation procedure for acts of bribery by the state. That is essential to ensure that if acts of bribery are to be carried out by the state, it is done only when truly necessary and to ensure that officers carrying out such acts have proper protection from prosecution. Indeed, without an authorisation procedure, I would be surprised if officers would be willing to conduct acts of bribery and to take the risk of later prosecution. Amendment 3 does not require prior authorisation; it simply recognises that where the Secretary of State gives prior authorisation, a prosecution should not take place thereafter.

I add that I have put my name to Amendment 6, tabled by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Woolf. I look forward to hearing from the Minister why the Government object to the modest requirement in

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Amendment 6 to issue guidance simply to ensure that proper records are kept of acts of bribery by the state, or why the Government object to reporting to Parliament in that context, particularly when Amendment 6 expressly recognises the operational needs of the services. The guidance would only require records to be kept,

and so far as it does not impede "the proper exercise" of intelligence and Army functions. I therefore hope that, even at this late stage, there will be some movement on this important matter. I beg to move.

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