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Lord Goodhart: My Lords, is it not more difficult for the Lord Chancellor to object to someone publicly rather than to discuss the appointment in a group of which he is a member? Does that not mean, therefore, that if the Minister tries to remove the person, he will do so only if there is very strong evidence to show that it is an unsatisfactory appointment, whereas if he is part of a group, the other members of the group might be more likely to go along with what the Minister says at that point?

Lord McNally: I have to say that if I was a member of a body charged with selecting a Lord Chief Justice or a president of the Supreme Court, no Lord Chancellor, however strong willed, would make me change my views unless his arguments were extremely persuasive; and I would expect the same respect for my views. We are not talking about a group of pussycats; we are talking about some very senior figures with great experience. I can see that those who have attended this Committee do not agree, but the simple fact is that we consider that our proposals strike the right balance in providing both the legitimate accountability for the executive in these roles and an independent and transparent process. They take away a political veto and put in its place a transparent involvement in a selection. I have set that out very clearly for the Committee.

Baroness Neuberger: I am sorry to ask the Minister this, but surely the presence of the Lord Chancellor on a committee of selection is a political statement in itself. It is worrying that the Minister should say that it removes a political presence. It just moves the position from what is a very public veto if, at the end of an independent process, the Lord Chancellor decides that he does not wish to go along with a recommendation to something that is less public but just as political. I find that really worrying, and I know that I am on record as saying that it is a constitutional disgrace.

6 pm

Lord McNally: That is the noble Baroness’s opinion, but, again, she is suggesting words that I never used. I did not say a “political presence”. What I said was that, to me, the political veto was the intrusion into the process. It has been acknowledged by a number of contributors that if the Lord Chancellor is not in this narrow world where the decision and the selections are made, he will be the elephant in the room. This process gives the Lord Chancellor the chance to have an input in a selection but, as opposed to what the noble Baroness, Lady Neuberger, suggested, he will not have a veto. When the panel makes its decision, there will be no political veto. I should have thought that that would be welcomed by this Committee.

Lord Martin of Springburn: Perhaps I may ask the Minister about one point on which I would like clarification. It has been fascinating to listen to both sides of the argument. The Minister mentioned a lay chairman or chairwoman. From what walk of life would a lay chairman or chairwoman come?

Lord McNally: I shall have to take advice on that. I should have thought that he or she would come from the court of cardinals. I am not sure, but it would

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undoubtedly be a chairman or chairwoman of distinction and merit who had experience in these matters.

Lord Woolf: Might I suggest the former chairman of the commission, who is present here today.

Lord McNally: I saw her shifting slightly and thought she was going to volunteer to come back to the job.

Baroness Prashar: I thank the Minister for giving way. I now want to turn to another point on which I and the noble Baroness, Lady Jay, asked a question. The provision states that the Lord Chancellor “may” sit on the panel. If that is the case, on what basis will he decide to sit on the panel? If he decides to do so, will that not send a different signal? Will it not suggest that there is a reason why he wants to sit on the panel or a reason why he decides not to do so? I think that that will create an unhelpful perception.

Baroness Jay of Paddington: The noble Baroness, Lady Prashar, mentioned that I also raised a point on this matter. If the Lord Chancellor decides not to sit on one of these panels, does he not retain the right of veto, and that therefore the disappearance of the veto, on which the Minister has been relying so greatly, is not in fact universal?

Lord McNally: No. I am very grateful to the noble Baroness because I should have clarified this point. The Bill says that the Lord Chancellor “may” be a member, but we intend to bring forward regulations setting out that the Lord Chancellor “will” be a member of the panel. This will not be able to be changed other than by a new regulation, which will be subject to affirmative procedures and agreement and to the agreement of the Lord Chief Justice and the president of the Supreme Court.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: I would be rather averse, as would this House, to the constitution being changed in this way by regulations.

Lord McNally: I take note of what the noble and learned Lord says. I am merely saying what the intention is. Clearly—

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: I say that it is a deceptive question for the reasons that underlay the question of my noble friend Lady Jay. We thought that sometimes you would and sometimes you would not, but apparently you are always going to be a member of the panel.

Lord McNally: There is no deception; I have nothing up my sleeve.

Baroness Butler-Sloss: I am sorry—this is only my second intervention but it is my last one. Something as important as this should not be put in a regulation. Why can there not be a government amendment on Report so that we know where the Government stand?

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Lord McNally: I shall take that question back. In the mean time, the Government’s case has been set out. The trouble with the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, is that he listens only to himself and is then convinced by all the arguments that he hears. I have listened to others in the Committee. We are in the debt of the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, for stimulating such a debate. However, if he wants to divide the Committee, I am reasonably confident that he will lose.

Noble Lords: Oh!

Lord McNally: Try me. I think that the issues that have been raised are such that it would be better to have another run at them on Report.

Lord Thomas of Gresford: My Lords, before the Committee sat I informed the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, that I was fairly relaxed and neutral about his amendment. However, the more I have listened to the argument, the more I have come down on the Government’s side. I recall the very unseemly row when the former Lord Chancellor’s veto was exercised in relation to an appointment, and I believe that I put down a Parliamentary Question. I think that he reversed his decision before I got the Answer, but I certainly tabled a Question about it. There was a furore at the Bar and I was approached by many people to do what I could to defend the reputation of a person who was considered to be the best judge in a particular division. It was extremely unseemly and the Lord Chancellor backed down. What did that say? He had given his veto and then he withdrew it and the appointment went ahead. All these matters should have been sorted out but not in such a public way as to damage the reputation of the person concerned and damage the reputation of the Lord Chancellor, if it needed to be damaged any further. It did not resolve the situation.

I have heard the debate and, as I understand it, the Lord Chancellor does have discussions behind the scenes with the Appointments Commission. That is what was said in terms by the noble Baroness, Lady Prashar. I do not think that that is right. I think we should have an open system. She said that it was open and transparent. It was not—I did not know about it, although I was sufficiently involved to put down a Parliamentary Question about the matter in issue.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: How would the discussions between the Lord Chancellor and the other members of the committee that the noble Lord envisages be transparent?

Lord Thomas of Gresford: The fact that it is happening is transparent. That is where the argument can be held and not in public, which damages people’s reputations. The noble Lord said that the Lord Chancellor will always have his way. What sort of a pushover does he think these people in the commission are that they will simply bow down to a political figure? I do not believe that the chairs of the Judicial Appointments Commission in Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales are going to follow a political lead because the Lord Chancellor does not like someone on political grounds.

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He may have some knowledge that does not involve the politics of the matter and that would persuade the other members of the commission, but I do not think that he would persuade them on political grounds, which is what the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, said. He nods. Perhaps he was a very persuasive Lord Chancellor in private.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: Under the new system, I would have the power. That is the point.

Lord Thomas of Gresford: He had the veto, although I do not think that he ever exercised it.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: I never exercised the veto, although my successor considered it and everything was open.

Lord Thomas of Gresford: Why did he exercise it? We do not know. Did he say so at the time? He did not say, “For political reasons I do not want that person as the head of the division”. He did not give us his reasons. It was not discussed with anybody. He just vetoed that appointment and it was unfairly damaging to the person concerned.

Lord Pannick: I am grateful to the Minister, who says that he has been listening. I am sure that he has been, and I have listened to what he has said. I will certainly want to reflect, as I am sure the House will, on what the Minister described as a very important debate—and he is right. This goes to the heart of the relationship between the Executive and the judiciary. The Minister said that it is important to keep the Lord Chancellor in the process because the Lord Chancellor is responsible to Parliament and these are appointments at the very apex of the system. The Minister is right and no one disputes that the Lord Chancellor must have a role. The question is whether that role is best fulfilled as a member of the appointments commission.

The Minister and the noble Baroness, Lady Falkner of Margravine, emphasised that the veto is a nuclear option. There are two points to make about the Lord Chancellor’s existing powers. First, the fact that the veto is so difficult to exercise in political terms is highly material to the influence that the Lord Chancellor currently has. We need to be very careful about expanding the political role of the Lord Chancellor, or at least the political potential for involvement, through an appointments commission process. The second point, which has been made very forcefully by noble Lords who know how the system works, is that the Lord Chancellor at present does not just have a veto which is difficult to exercise. He can and does make his views known to the appointments commission during the process of consideration for appointment to these posts. There is nothing improper or secret about that. It is not a question of nudges and winks. It is called consultation. Plainly, the Lord Chancellor is entitled to be consulted by the special appointments commission that is going to appoint to these highly important posts. If the current system has defects, the alternative proposed by the Government is far worse, for all the reasons that have been pointed out, and no more transparent.

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I will certainly reflect on this debate and I am sure the whole House will want to reflect on the matter and return to it on Report. I hope that the Government will reconsider this question over the summer and I am sure that if, as we have been told today for the first time, it is the Government’s intention that the Lord Chancellor will sit on the appointments commission, it is highly desirable that the Bill expressly makes that clear so that we all know what the Government intend on this matter of fundamental constitutional concern. For the moment, I beg leave to withdraw this amendment.

Amendment 117 withdrawn.

Amendment 118 not moved.

6.15 pm

Amendment 119

Moved by Lord McNally

119: Schedule 12, page 169, line 26, leave out “Prime Minister or”

Lord McNally: My Lords, I can be relatively brief with this group of amendments as they are essentially technical in nature. Amendment 123 modifies amendments to paragraph 11 of Schedule 12 to the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, which concerns the appointment of the vice-chairman of the Judicial Appointments Commission. As drafted, paragraph 19 of Schedule 12 to the Bill amends the 2005 Act to provide that the Lord Chancellor may, with the agreement of the Lord Chief Justice, make regulations to provide for the appointment of the vice-chairman. On reflection, while we continue to believe that greater flexibility is needed for determining the composition of the Judicial Appointments Commission, provisions about the chairman and vice-chairman are matters which ought to appear in the Constitutional Reform Act 2005. This amendment restores the requirement that the vice-chairman must be a judicial member. As now, the vice-chairman will continue to be the most senior judicial member of the commission. Determining which judge is the most senior will be done by reference to regulations made by the Lord Chancellor with the agreement of the Lord Chief Justice.

Amendment 123 also retains the current restriction that the vice-chairman cannot deputise for the chairman in relation to his or her role on selection panels relating to appointments to the most senior judicial offices. This is because in these instances the role necessitates a lay rather than judicial member. Additionally, the vice-chairman will be unable to exercise the functions of chairman where the function is one specified in regulations to be made by the Lord Chancellor with the agreement of the Lord Chief Justice.

Amendment 124 amends paragraph 27 of Schedule 12 to the Bill so as to add to the list of judicial appointments below the High Court for which responsibility for making a decision on a selection by the Judicial Appointments Commission is to be transferred from the Lord Chancellor to the Lord Chief Justice. The appointments in question are those for a senior district

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judge or chief magistrate and a deputy senior district judge or chief magistrate. The other amendments in this group, namely Amendments 119, 122, 125 to 130 and 133, make minor and technical changes to the provisions in Schedule 12. I can provide further details of these amendments if needed. I beg to move.

Amendment 119 agreed.

Amendment 119A

Moved by Lord Pannick

119A: Schedule 12, page 172, line 26, at end insert—

“8A Section 35(3) of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 is repealed.

8B A judge of the Supreme Court shall vacate that office on the day on which he attains the age of 75.”

Lord Pannick: My Lords, this amendment is in my name and the names of the noble Baroness, Lady Jay of Paddington, and two former Lord Chancellors, the noble and learned Lords, Lord Irvine of Lairg and Lord Mackay of Clashfern. It concerns the retirement age for judges of the Supreme Court. The Judicial Pensions and Retirement Act 1993 lowered the retirement age for the judiciary from 75 to 70, with an exception for those first appointed to judicial office before 31 March 1995. There is a strong case for raising the retirement age back to 75 for Supreme Court judges.

Judges are joining the Bench at a later age than their predecessors. It then takes time for them to rise up the career ladder to reach the Supreme Court, typically in their early to mid-60s. Since those appointed to the Supreme Court are, by definition, the very best of our judges, it is particularly unfortunate that we are disposing of such valuable resources after they have served a short time in office. This argument is specific to the Supreme Court. It is not the case that if the retirement age for Justices of the Supreme Court was to be raised to 75, the same must follow for the magistracy and for all levels of the judiciary in-between. The fact of the matter is that judicial wisdom and experience at the highest level is being lost to our courts, although not to the field of arbitration where retired judges from the Supreme Court are very much in demand for much higher fees than the Lord Chancellor’s department is prepared to pay.

There is no basis for concern that judges tend to lose their mental and physical powers after the age of 70 and up to the age of 75. It is important to recall that these judges are not hearing exhausting witness trials but considering stimulating points of law. Nor is there any basis for concern that a retirement age of 75 in the Supreme Court would result in a court that is less attuned to modern society. Experience is to the contrary. The Appellate Committee of this House and now the Supreme Court are far more innovative than the Court of Appeal, where the average age of the judges tends to be a decade younger.

Nor is there any basis for concern that a retirement age of 75 would hinder the promotion of diversity, an important value that we discussed last Monday. Despite most of the members of the Supreme Court retiring at 75 in recent years—the same was true of the Appellate

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Committee—there has been a steady flow of vacancies. The appointment of only one woman to the Appellate Committee and to the Supreme Court and of no one from the ethnic minorities, regrettable though that is, has been caused by the perceived lack of suitable candidates and not by any lack of vacancies. Indeed, increasing the age limit to 75 may well enhance the prospects for appointing more women, as so many female judges and lawyers have taken many years out of their careers for family care reasons and may find it more difficult than men to rise to the top by their early 60s.

In our report in March, your Lordships’ Constitution Committee recommended that the retirement age be increased to 75 for Supreme Court judges and for Court of Appeal judges. We advised increasing the retirement age because,

“proven judicial quality and experience are at a premium in the development of the law”.

This amendment focuses only on the Supreme Court because the arguments are especially strong at that level. I look forward to hearing from the Minister the Government’s view on this important topic. I beg to move.

Lord Hart of Chilton: I support the amendment for the reasons given by the noble Lord, Lord Pannick. I must declare two interests. First, I was a member of the Constitution Committee and heard the evidence and, secondly, some of my best friends are between the ages of 70 and 75. The evidence showed that there was a real risk that we were losing substantial talent from the Supreme Court. There was one particular example of losing someone just at his prime. It would be wrong for the Supreme Court to lose people of enormous proven energy and ability when they have just got into the driving seat of their full power, and to lose talent of that sort when people have risen to that point with only a limited time available to them in the Supreme Court itself.

Lord Gilbert: I hope that the Minister will explain why there should be any compulsory retirement age for Justices of the Supreme Court. I see no justification for it.

Baroness Jay of Paddington: My Lords, I do not accept my noble friend’s comments. As the noble Lords, Lord Hart of Chilton and Lord Pannick, said, we went into this in some detail in the Constitution Committee. For all the reasons advanced very eloquently by the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, I support the amendment, particularly because of the potential for increasing diversity both in the Supreme Court and, indeed, further down. Both noble Lords have expressed the potential for opening up more opportunities for people who have come through what is described as the non-conventional career path to reach the top of the profession. I—and many members of the Committee —have a personal interest in the concept that 70 is the new 50, so 75 should be the new 55.

Baroness Butler-Sloss: My Lords, if 70 had been the retirement age for Supreme Court judges, particularly the judges in the House of Lords, we would have lost Lord Bingham before he even got to the House of

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Lords. We would have lost the noble and learned Lord, Lord Phillips, the present president of the Supreme Court, who goes at 75. He is almost the last of those who are entitled to stay until 75. The first solicitor to get to the Supreme Court, who was of enormous value to it, left after 18 months because he was caught by being aged 70. He was as valuable as the noble and learned Lord, Lord Phillips, but he went at 70.

The Supreme Court is losing people who cannot even get there, or who get there for 18 months if, as has already been said, we allow time for people to get through the High Court and the Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court. I think only two judges have gone straight through and one judge came straight from the Bar. Normal process means that we are losing people who are extremely valuable. This has been brought up in Question Time on a number of occasions and the Government really should be looking at it. The previous Government were asked to look at it but, if I may say so, they pushed it to one side. It would be very good if this Government would take it up.

Baroness Bottomley of Nettlestone: This has been a most exhilarating debate. I hope that the Minister will be able to use this experience to talk to other colleagues in government about why, for example, a non-executive director on a board has to have annual re-election once over 70. Recently, an Oxbridge college appointed a principal who is 72 and the articles of association had to be changed. I declare an interest because the late Lord Bingham’s son is the best person who works for me in my professional activity so I am, of course, brainwashed in this regard. I never thought of the Lords as pioneers of radical equality measures but I feel that this debate has great potential for professional groups across the economy and society, and certainly across government.

Lord Thomas of Gresford: My Lords, I support the amendment for all the reasons that the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, gave. However, I would suggest an alternative. If we are not going to go to 75, the alternative is to appoint judges to the Supreme Court who have not gone through the processes of the High Court, the Court of Appeal and so on. We have the power now, apparently, to appoint people to the Supreme Court who have not been in the Court of Appeal. It was interesting that, on Monday, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Lloyd of Berwick, said, “Of course, members of the Supreme Court will have come from the Court of Appeal”. I do not think that that is necessary. I think that the pool should be broadened. There are people in academic life and lawyers at the Bar who would be appropriate as members of the Supreme Court. The age of 70 is ridiculously low. If it is to stay at that, people should be appointed in their 50s—early 50s perhaps—to the Supreme Court without having to go through the cursus honorum required at present.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: My Lords, I strongly support the amendment for the reasons given by the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, the noble and learned Baroness, Lady Butler-Sloss, the noble Baroness, Lady Jay, and the noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford. It is an important amendment on a matter that is already

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causing difficulty. The loss of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Collins, from the Supreme Court was a direct result of the reduction in the retiring age. The Government now have an opportunity to do something about that, because this is a legislative opportunity.

Lord McNally: My Lords, this is probably the last Chamber on earth where Ministers should be defending a retirement age of 70. I have listened very carefully to what has been said. I understand and sympathise with some of the frustrations. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, just referred to the case where someone comes to senior judicial office for a very short term. I also acknowledge that, in many cases, those judges would be able to continue beyond the age of 70 in terms of their intellectual sharpness. In such cases, they can be a costly loss to the judiciary. I am not sure that I go as far as the noble Lord, Lord Gilbert, in advocating no retirement age at all—I have always been a strong supporter of a retirement age for this House. However, that goes into a different issue. I see that the noble Lord is about to come up for air.

6.30 pm

Lord Gilbert: I am much obliged to the Minister for making reference to my remarks. All I can say is that I have listened to the debate with great care and I have not heard a single reason put forward for a retirement age for judges. Everyone says 70, 75, 80, 85—just picking figures out of the air. It is a nonsense. I am not a candidate for a position in the Supreme Court, but I see no reason at all why there should be any statutory limit for a candidate aged over 85 like me. Could we have a reason?

Lord McNally: As I said, this is hardly the audience for arguing or expecting support for retirement at 70. Indeed, sometimes when the noble and learned Lord, Lord Woolf, tells me about his itinerary for the following week, I realise that his idea of retirement is something quite different from that of most normal people. I am well aware that people can make a contribution.

The amendment is astute in singling out the Supreme Court, as it is in this court—which may be the pinnacle of a long career—where taking up office is more likely to occur when a judge is in his or her 60s. This can give rise to particularly unfortunate individual cases where a judge’s term of office may be rather shorter than we would have liked to see. I understand the arguments and the case that has been made. However, these individual cases need to be balanced against the bigger picture and the advantages of a uniform retirement age of 70 across the whole of the judiciary.

Mandatory retirement ages for judicial office-holders have played an important role in ensuring that the judiciary is, and is seen to be, independent. Quite rightly, once appointed to a salaried position, it is difficult to remove a judge from office before retirement. This, of course, is constitutionally correct and removes any risk of unwarranted interference from the Executive. While many judges may be able to continue to work, and to contribute as fully as ever, beyond the age of 70, that will not always be the case. Without the

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mandatory retirement age, if a judge beyond 70 insisted on continuing, there would be no way of removing him even where his colleagues considered that he was no longer quite as sharp as he used to be. Therefore, a standard retirement age, set at the right level, is needed. I do not think that anybody disagrees with that principle.

The Government consider that 70 is the right level. Indeed, this is at the higher end of international comparisons. It is also important in this context to consider the impact on public confidence in the justice system. The age of 70 strikes a balance between the desire of judges wishing to serve and the public interest in sustaining a judiciary that is fully effective in discharging its responsibilities. The amendment seeks to make a special case for the Supreme Court, so that the mandatory retirement age should be increased to 75. However, the reasoning for the age of 70 applies to judges of the Supreme Court as it does to other judges. People are people, whichever court they are sitting in. The age of 70 is, in our view, the right one—notwithstanding that it may seem premature in individual cases.

The retirement age also contributes to the need to bring in newer judges. Turnover in the senior judiciary is not significant as many judges remain in post until retirement. Given the statutory limit on the numbers of judges who can sit in senior courts, in particular the Supreme Court which is limited to just 12 judges, the opportunity to promote talented members of the judiciary from the lower courts is limited. Extending the retirement age to 75 in the Supreme Court would further limit movement from the Court of Appeal, which would, in turn, reduce opportunities for promotion to the Court of Appeal and have a trickle-down effect through the courts. This would also have the effect of delaying some of the positive impact on diversity, which that we would otherwise see through promotions from the lower courts.

Furthermore, it would be very difficult in practice to sustain a different retirement age just for the Supreme Court. Court of Appeal judges would be very likely also to make the case for extended retirement. A Court of Appeal judge who considers himself or herself a good candidate for appointment to the Supreme Court may find it difficult to accept that he or she had to retire at 70 if the Supreme Court were made up of judges who would automatically go on for another five years. If the age of retirement for the Court of Appeal were also extended, then why not the High Court and so on? If there is a clear business need, it is still possible for judges to continue to serve over the age of 70. Following retirement, members of the Supreme Court may go on to the supplementary panel. As a member of that panel, they might be asked to act as a judge of the Supreme Court. This enables the court to continue to make use of their experience and knowledge —but on a short-term basis.

I have listened to the contributions of the noble Lords and to the plea of my noble friend Lady Bottomley against ageism. Although the Government will keep this under review, we consider, for the reasons outlined, that the current mandatory retirement age of 70, together with the arrangements for sitting ad hoc after retirement, provide a careful balance between using experience, ensuring that the quality of the judiciary is maintained

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at all levels and ensuring the advancement of fresh talent. I also consider that differential retirement ages of different courts may be very difficult to sustain. We will keep this under review but, in the mean time, I ask the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Pannick: My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for saying that he will keep this matter under review. I hope that that means that it will be actively looked at before we return to the matter, as I am sure that we will, at Report. My answer to the question asked by the noble Lord, Lord Gilbert, about why we should have retirement age at all, is to point out the considerable difficulty of saying that someone is past it—particularly if they have tenure in the post. That is an extremely difficult task to perform in relation to individuals sitting on the Bench. That is why we have a mandatory retirement age. I have no difficulty with that. As I indicated, I am concerned that the retirement age of 70 is too high. However, I would say to the noble Lord, Lord Gilbert, that if he looks at the New York Times of 16 September 2010, he will see that Judge Wesley E Brown was sitting in the United States district court at the age of 103. The article describes how a tube under his nose feeds him oxygen during hearings. Sadly, Judge Brown has since died, but he did continue to an age much greater even than 75.

I do not accept the argument that the retirement age needs to be mandatory across the judiciary. I would hope that we could move to recognising the special position of the Supreme Court for all the reasons given by myself and other noble Lords. I certainly do not accept the argument that public confidence in the judiciary would somehow be undermined were judges to continue to the age of 75. I am not aware of any recent example of the public lacking confidence in our judges on the Appellate Committee—now in the Supreme Court—because they were between the ages of 70 and 75. It has already been indicated that some of the best and most valuable work of those senior judges, led by the late and much lamented Lord Bingham of Cornhill, was done between the ages of 70 and 75. That work would be lost.

Nor do I accept that there is any problem about new talent coming through because there are many vacancies for positions in the Supreme Court. However, the central point is that we are losing the best of our judges at too early an age. I hope that the Minister and the Lord Chancellor will reflect on this matter over the summer, but in the mean time, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 119A withdrawn.

Amendment 120 not moved.

Amendment 121

Moved by Lord Pannick

121: Schedule 12, page 172, line 41, at end insert—

“In section 64(1) (encouragement of diversity) after “under this Part,” insert “and the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice in performing their functions,”.”

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Lord Pannick: My Lords, Amendment 121 is another amendment arising out of the report of the Constitution Committee. It has been tabled in my name and those of my noble friend Lady Prashar, the noble Baroness, Lady Jay of Paddington, and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Woolf. As your Lordships know from our debates on Monday, under Section 64 of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, the Judicial Appointments Commission has a duty to,

“have regard to the need to encourage diversity in the range of persons available for selection for appointments”

to the Bench. As those debates indicated, this is an important provision because it rightly recognises that the high reputation that our judiciary deservedly enjoys may be damaged if we do not do something about the paucity of women and members of the ethnic minorities being appointed to judicial office. The task, as Section 64 recognises, is to identify ways of bringing to the fore the many highly skilled women and members of the ethnic minorities in the legal profession so that they can be considered for appointment on their merits. The point of this amendment is that that vital task should not just be imposed on and performed by the Judicial Appointments Commission.

As your Lordships’ Constitution Committee explained in its report, the Lord Chief Justice and the Lord Chancellor have leadership roles, the former as the head of the judiciary and the latter as the Minister responsible to Parliament for the appointments process. They should each have a statutory duty to promote diversity. This is no criticism of the real efforts made by the current Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice, both of whom take this responsibility seriously. However, they will not always be in post. We are legislating for the future, so it is vital that the legislation should identify the importance of promoting diversity and that all those in leadership roles should have a statutory duty in this respect.

The noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer of Thoroton, and the noble Lord, Lord Beecham, have tabled Amendment 121AA. The noble and learned Lord will speak to his amendment, but as I understand it, the amendment has a similar purpose and effect. It is more detailed, and of course I will give it my support.

Amendment 121A, tabled in my name and that of my noble friend Lady Prashar, is simply a probing amendment. It arises out of a concern that on the proper interpretation of Sections 63 and 64 of the Constitutional Reform Act covering appointment on merit and “Encouragement of diversity”, those provisions might apply to the appointment of all other judges, but not to judges of the Supreme Court. The drafting concern is simply that Part 3 of the 2005 Act deals separately with the Supreme Court while Sections 63 and 64 are in Part 4. I would ask someone to give some thought to whether there is any substance in my concern. There may not be and this is only a probing amendment. I am not asking the Minister to deal with this today, so perhaps he may prefer to write to me. I beg to move.

6.45 pm

Baroness Prashar: My Lords, I support the amendment and that tabled by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, and the noble Lord, Lord Beecham, because

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this duty should be extended to the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice. I will say at the outset that I strongly refute the comments I have heard elsewhere that this will be perceived as gesture politics. I do not think that it will be, because it is a joint endeavour. Promoting diversity is a matter for the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice as well as the JAC. They have a part to play and they need to take meaningful action, so this duty should be extended to both of them.

What has been the result of this disparity? My experience as the chairman of the JAC was that one heard a lot of warm words, but they were not often followed by purposeful action. Moreover, all the criticism about slow progress was directed at the JAC, which became a convenient fig leaf for senior politicians and interest groups. Too much attention was paid to the selection process. There was an almost forensic examination of each stage of the process, whereas the barriers which were outwith the responsibility of the JAC received very little attention. That left the JAC exposed and some of the structural obstructions were not dealt with as speedily as they should have been. There were endless debates about the JAC’s processes and a disproportionate amount of time was spent on making minor changes to the selection process, which in the long run may not have had a major impact. However, they detracted attention from the other substantial changes for which, as I keep saying, the responsibility lies elsewhere.

If the JAC drew attention to the changes that were needed in order to widen the pool and improve diversity, in my view they were not often given the consideration they deserved. If there was a duty on the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice, they would have been much more focused on them. Perhaps I may give two examples. There is the issue of non-statutory eligibility criteria in vacancy requests. An analysis made by the JAC as early as 2008—I hasten to add that this was done after the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, had left—found that a key factor in limiting the ability of the JAC to make a significant contribution towards improving diversity was the usual requirement for the Lord Chancellor to stipulate in vacancy requests to the JAC that candidates for salaried judicial posts should have had previous fee-paid experience. This was a real barrier to a large number of potential candidates, such as members of the employed Bar and, of course, solicitors. The JAC argued for this factor to be made “desirable” rather than “normally required”. However, there was a reluctance to change. These concerns were formally raised by the JAC in response to the consultation on the Green Paper The Governance of Britain, in 2008, after two years’ experience of working with these requirements, by which time the commission was able to analyse their impact. I give that as an example of something that obstructed progress towards diversity.

Let me give another example. In 2008 an agreement was reached that every post in the circuit Bench selection exercise which the JAC was due to run should be open to part-time working, but potential candidates said that while the commitment was welcome in principle, it was not sufficient to encourage them to apply without

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an indication of an acceptable part-time working pattern. That is quite important. After considerable discussion, it was agreed that each circuit would make two posts available for part-time working. It took an enormous amount of time to arrive at this arrangement. These were seen as concessions to the JAC, and not a joint effort to promote diversity. The JAC always felt that it was a tiresome body which was constantly asking for concessions. It should have been a joint endeavour. If everyone had been involved and had had the same responsibilities, they would have given closer consideration to the JAC.

Other changes that the JAC proposed were rejected on the grounds of so-called business needs. Business needs always trumped diversity considerations, and the lack of purposeful engagement was frustrating. It was compounded by the fact that all the criticism about the slow process, both by the interest groups and the politicians alike, was directed at the JAC. I could go on because I feel very strongly about the amendment, and totally reject any assertion that this is gesture politics. I very much hope that the Government will consider the amendment.

Lord Deben: My Lords, I would like to continue the effort that I have tried to make over past days to ensure that these decisions are not made merely by the legal world itself. I find this debate very peculiar indeed. I cannot think of a business which is worth its salt that does not insist that the chief executive has a responsibility for these matters. I sit as chairman of a number of companies, and in every case I have a personal responsibility for health and safety. I think it is important and I think that I have to take that responsibility. The direct responsibility is for the chief executive.

I know that it hurts many of a traditional kind in the legal profession for me to make comparisons between the Lord Chief Justice or the Lord Chancellor and such mundane people as chairmen and managing directors. However, it seems to me not an unreasonable parallel, and therefore I find this whole debate—as I found a debate in an earlier Session—to be really peculiar indeed. It should be the other way round: one should start off by saying that there are responsibilities of this kind lying on the shoulders of those who direct the whole shebang. One should not go half way down it—I am being rude now—and say, “It does not arrive up here, it comes down somewhere here”. One can repeat it, of course. It is perfectly reasonable to say, “It is also to be done here”, particularly if one has some suspicion that it is not being done lower down quite as well as one would like. However, one really cannot in any reasonable way exclude those who set the tone from issues which are the tone.

I very much accept the noble Baroness’s comment about this not being gesture politics. It is not gesture politics, because we are saying that we need to get rid of the fundamental view that merit is an easily definable thing and that it is terribly easy to say that somebody has got half a point better than somebody else. That is not what happens in business. We all know that when one looks at a number of people, one sees that they have differing contributions to make. One can say, “Yes, I have two people here who, on balance, both have

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the same contribution to make, as people”. The next question is: what are they making a contribution to? One says, “Let me make an assessment of what they are contributing to”. If, in most cases, they are making a contribution to what I would call a community, a panel or a group, then I might say that they are equal, but that this particular person makes less of a contribution to the whole than the other person, who would do more for the whole. That is the argument behind these elements of the Bill.

This is not a matter of tokenism, but a matter of reality, and it should be seen as such. If it is a matter of reality, it cannot be restricted to people lower down the pecking order. It must start with people at the top. I therefore beg the Government not to come back with the usual civil servant explanation to the effect that, “These people do this anyway, they are of a very high standing. We could not imagine them thinking in any other manner and, my goodness, why could you?”. I would reply that the present Lord Chancellor is an old friend of mine and a man of impeccable standards in this way. However, he still ought to be under the law; it still ought to be part of the way we present it.

It is really important simply to say that this is not a minor matter to be applied to people lower down, but a central matter to be applied from the top, because it is too important to be particularised. The only way not to particularise it is by saying that the chaps or girls in charge must take this responsibility. I very much hope that on this occasion the Government will see that this is a very reasonable amendment, that it could be taken without any difficulty at all, and that it could in fact be seen to be valuable step.

Lord Woolf: My Lords, just for the sake of the record and having put my name on this amendment, I make it clear that I support it for the reasons so admirably given by those who have spoken, including the noble Lord, Lord Deben. If I may say so, he showed remarkable acuity as somebody who is not a lawyer in contributing to this debate.

Baroness Neuberger: My Lords, perhaps I may add to the debate as another non-lawyer. Indeed, I totally agree with the noble Lord, Lord Deben, and I very much hope that the Government will take this on board. I know that the Minister has himself been involved in the judicial diversity task force, of which the Lord Chief Justice and the Lord Chancellor are in fact members. One of the criticisms that the Advisory Panel on Judicial Diversity has made since it reported two years ago is that progress by that task force has in fact been remarkably slow. Although it has met, not a great deal has happened. I know that the Minister feels much the same. It therefore seems to me all the more important that there be a statutory duty on the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice, as well as on the Judicial Appointments Commission, to promote diversity. I really hope that the Government will take that on board.

Baroness Butler-Sloss: As a former judge I very strongly support the amendment by the noble Lord, Lord Pannick. I would particularly like to endorse what the noble Lord, Lord Deben, said, with which I

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entirely agree. It is a very good thing when we get some non-lawyers reminding us, but he can be assured that former senior judges support him on this.

Baroness Jay of Paddington: My Lords, like the noble and learned Lord, Lord Woolf, I rise really for the sake of the record and because my name is on this amendment. As the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, said in introducing the amendment, this was one of the very strong recommendations that the Constitution Committee made in its report on judicial appointments. The Minister has referred to his kindness in coming once again to speak to the Constitution Committee between Second Reading and Committee. He gave a very strong indication —and I do not think I say anything inappropriate—that he was favourably disposed to matters which we suggested counted as leadership matters in the question of diversity. He will remember the remarks he made on Monday when we spoke again about gesture politics in relation to another amendment, where he said that this was not about gesture politics, but about leadership and political leadership. I hope he will be consistent in his reply on this amendment.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: My Lords, in 1997 I had the privilege of becoming the Solicitor-General. The first speech I made outside Parliament was in Nottingham, and the person who preceded me on that occasion was Mr John Selwyn Gummer, now Lord Deben. He said in his speech, “We are so lucky to have Charlie Falconer here. He is going to make a speech, it’ll have been written by his officials. It’ll be inspirational, but not so inspirational that you would want either legislative change or any additional expenditure of money”. It was exactly the same point as the noble Lord, Lord Deben, made just now: there is an important point in these amendments, and there needs to be an active and continuing role for the head of the government-end of the story, the Lord Chancellor, and the head of the judicial-end, the Lord Chief Justice, as well as the head of the appointments commission, in looking at the detail of issues and actually taking active steps to ensure the ability to promote diversity.

I am very grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Prashar, for giving practical examples of what the Lord Chancellor can do. The Lord Chief Justice is able, for example, to make arrangements for working conditions which will promote diversity. The Judicial Appointments Commission will be actively seeking to promote diversity, all the more so now that the tie-break provision is likely to be in the Bill. The effect of our proposals is that everybody is in it together in promoting diversity. I very much adopt the approach of the noble Lord, Lord Deben: it is a basic requirement for the head of an organisation that is appointing people, whether they be judges or any other group. I hope that the Minister will feel able to embrace the basis of those proposals.

7 pm

I agree with what the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, said in respect of his Amendment 121A. One hopes that it would apply to Supreme Court judges as well. I do not know what the position is, so I would like to hear what the Minister says in response.

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Whereas the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, seeks in his amendment to promote increasing the size of the pool, my amendment states “promote diversity”. I have drafted it in wider terms simply because I think that, in addition to pool issues, there will be issues about individuals. If, for example, one relaxed the requirements or if one were faced with a tie-break situation, one would be promoting diversity in relation to that individual without in any way trying to increase the pool. I am more than happy to hear what the Minister has to say on that.

I have also included in the amendment a requirement for a report to Parliament so that there is transparency about what is going on. I have also stated that the duties should be renewed every five years. I have done so in the hope that diversity will not be the ongoing issue that it is now. Again, however, that is a probing proposal rather than a definite position.

Lord McNally: My Lords, Amendment 121, in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, would extend the duty in Section 64 of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005. The duty requires the Judicial Appointments Commission to have regard to the need to encourage diversity in the range of persons available for selection for appointments. The amendment would extend this duty so that it applied also to the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice.

Similarly, Amendment 121AA, tabled by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, introduces a new duty on the commission, the Lord Chief Justice and the Lord Chancellor, albeit in slightly different terms. Rather than a duty to encourage diversity in the range of persons available for appointment, the amendment sets out a duty to promote diversity in the judiciary. In addition, it sets out a requirement for an annual report on performance of the duty.

The Government have given a firm commitment to improve diversity within the judiciary. We consider that a diverse judiciary, reflecting modern society, will enhance confidence in the judicial system. However, we do not consider that the extension of the duty to promote diversity in Section 64 of the Constitutional Reform Act, or the new duty suggested by Amendment 121AA, would make any difference in practice.

I understood what the noble Baroness, Lady Prashar, meant when she said that these matters should not be turned into gesture politics. Since becoming a Minister, I have made it a personal commitment to attend every meeting of the judicial diversity task force in the hope that my presence will put a little speed into the process that we are trying to carry through.

The Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice, when exercising their public functions—other than those relating to judicial decision-making in the case of the Lord Chief Justice—are already subject to the public sector equality duty under the Equality Act 2010. This means that when either is exercising public functions in relation to the judiciary, the public sector equality duty applies.

I followed the intervention of the noble Lord, Lord Deben, and for a time thought that he was on my side in arguing that, where responsibilities already exist,

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it is not necessary to rewrite them. The duty of the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice is set out in Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 and provides that a person exercising functions of a public nature must have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited by the Act; advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not; and foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not.

It is true that the Equality Act duties are not in the same terms as the duty in Section 64 of the 2005 Act or the proposed new duty in Amendment 121AA. Parts of Section 149 of the 2010 Act refer to persons with protected characteristics. This does not have any bearing on what steps, for example, we should take to encourage more solicitors to apply for judicial office. However, it is also clear that this duty contains the key elements of advancing equality of opportunity that we are normally concerned with when discussing diversity; that is, issues of gender, race, disability and sexuality.

The duty of course applies to the Lord Chancellor not just in relation to judicial diversity but in any functions of a public nature that he exercises. We consider this general duty to be a better approach than attempting to multiply separate legislative duties on the Lord Chancellor in different areas. This debate has already given an indication of that with the various duties proposed by different amendments.

We are often told by this House that we overlegislate, but there is also a tendency to want to put every specific duty in every Bill. We endorse the Constitution Committee’s comments on the importance of leadership and understand the reasoning behind the amendments, but we believe that the existing duties in the Equality Act 2010 are sufficient to keep us up to the mark in this context. Extending the existing duties to include both the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice would add nothing of practical value in increasing the diversity of the judiciary. Nor would it add anything to a commitment clearly made and embedded in the Bill.

Lord Deben: If it is necessary to state these things in particular for some parts of the system and it is not thought to be otiose, why is it not necessary to do it at the top of the system and thought to be otiose in those circumstances? Either you leave it entirely and rely on the general demand or you apply it to both cases.

Lord McNally: I will ponder on that, but I also ask the Committee to ponder on the Pannick amendment. The noble Lord’s proposal to write specific responsibilities into the Bill makes a regular appearance when we are legislating—I think that it is the second time that he has done it anyway and that makes it regular. The argument is usually the same; it is a please-stop-beating-your-wife amendment. These duties are embedded in the Bill and in the roles of both the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The Minister is making some serious points. I am surprised by the proposition that the Equality Act would already require the Lord

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Chancellor or the Lord Chief Justice, for example, to promote among young people and black and minority-ethnic groups a greater willingness to apply to be lawyers, because that is partly what trying to increase the pool involves. Is the Minister really saying that that obligation, to get more people to apply at a much younger age to learn to be lawyers, is already covered by the Equality Act?

Lord McNally: The Equality Act invites the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice to apply the principles of the Equality Act to the job that they are doing, which is the point that I thought that the noble Lord, Lord Deben, was making: that if one is doing a job that is covered by the Equality Act, one should be carrying out the responsibilities in which those duties are embedded. I think that is true.

Amendment 121A also relates to the duty in Section 64 and to Supreme Court appointments. It would ensure that the Section 64 duty to encourage diversity in the range of persons available for selection applied to those appointments. The amendment would also provide that Section 63 of the Constitutional Reform Act should apply to Supreme Court appointments. This would have the effect that those appointments would be solely on merit, that the person should not be selected unless he or she is of good character and that where two persons are of equal merit, one can be selected over the other for the purpose of increasing diversity.

Before turning to the detail of the amendment, I should first say that diversity is, of course, important at all levels of the judiciary, up to and including the Supreme Court. In fact, it is particularly important at the higher levels, as female judges or judges from an ethnic minority can act as powerful role models for those at a more junior level in the judiciary. Indeed, due to their higher public profile, they may also act as a role model for younger people considering a legal or judicial career and may be a powerful symbol to the public at large with regard to the perception of the judiciary reflecting our society. We are supporting diversity at this level in the measures that we are taking in the Bill to enable flexible working arrangements at the highest level, including the Supreme Court.

Turning now to the detail of the amendment, and starting with the application of Section 63, the objective here is to apply the tipping-point provision in these cases. Section 159 of the Equality Act 2010 contains a provision to allow a person to be preferred to another on the basis of a protected characteristic, such as gender or race, when they are equally qualified to be appointed. In relation to judicial appointments in England and Wales, our view is that it is not clear that the tipping-point provision in the Equality Act can apply, because Section 63(2) specifies that selection must be solely on merit. This use of “solely” may be seen as precluding the use of the Equality Act test. That is why the Bill brings forward the new tipping-point provision in Section 63(4) so that it can apply to judicial appointments, selection for which is within the remit of the Judicial Appointments Commission, notwithstanding the use of “solely”.

In relation to appointments to the UK Supreme Court, however, there is no provision that appointment must be “solely” on merit. Section 27(5) of the

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Constitutional Reform Act specifies that appointment must be on merit. However, other considerations apply, in particular Section 25(8), which specifies that in making a selection the selection panel must ensure that the candidate has knowledge and experience of practice in the law of each part of the United Kingdom. As there is no reference to “solely”, we consider that there is no bar to the Equality Act tipping point applying to Supreme Court appointments without the need for further legislative change.

In relation to the application of Section 64 to the UK Supreme Court, I have already set out the commitment to encouraging diversity in the Supreme Court, but for the reason that I have already outlined in relation to Amendment 74, I do not consider that a statutory duty would add anything to this. In addition, in this case any statutory duty would also need to reflect the UK nature of the Supreme Court, so the current amendment, by placing this duty on the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales and the Judicial Appointments Commission, would not be appropriate.

I understand where the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, and other noble Lords are coming from. We have a summer to consider these things, but I also hope that noble Lords who have been involved in legislation will know that these declaratory commitments that overlay existing commitments are not always as helpful as has been suggested. I hope to assuage the concern of the noble Baroness, Lady Prashar, by saying that we will look at the case that has been made this evening. As I say, at the moment we are not minded to accept the amendments, but with the promise that this debate will be among my summer reading I invite the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, to withdraw his amendment.

7.15 pm

Lord Pannick: My Lords, that is a very disappointing response. Promoting diversity is one of the greatest challenges facing the legal system and it is quite unacceptable that when a statutory duty to promote diversity is already imposed upon the Judicial Appointments Commission, that same duty should not be imposed, as the noble Lord, Lord Deben, puts it, on those who have leadership roles in the legal profession. I am not persuaded at all that there are other statutory duties under the Equality Act, which do not seem to me to cover the same ground. Indeed, if they did it is incomprehensible why there is a specific statutory duty on the JAC under Section 64.

Lord McNally: I hear the disappointment in the noble Lord’s voice. I would hate this debate to end with any idea that I personally, and the Government, am not committed absolutely to furthering diversity in the legal profession and the judiciary. I have said that I will take the debate away—I may even take it to the individual noble Lords concerned—and consider what we do when we come back.

Lord Pannick: I am grateful to the Minister. I was about to say that I do not doubt for a moment the Minister’s personal commitment to diversity. I have heard him speak about it on a number of occasions, and he feels as passionate about it as others. The question

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is whether the Government’s position can move. I hope, for all the reasons that have been expressed in this debate around the House, that the Lord Chancellor and the Minister will look at this again over the summer and that progress can be made. I have no doubt that if there is no progress, no movement from the Government, the House will return to the matter on Report, but for now I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 121 withdrawn.

Amendments 121A and 121AA not moved.

Amendment 121AB

Moved by Lord Falconer of Thoroton

121AB: Schedule 12, page 173, line 32, at end insert—

“Judicial appointments

13A After section 65 of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 insert—

“65A Additional guidance

The Lord Chancellor, after consultation with the Lord Chief Justice, the Treasury Solicitor and the chairman of the Judicial Appointments Commission, shall issue guidance as to the circumstances in which those employed by the Government Legal Service, the Crown Prosecution Service or any other government legal office may apply for any of the judicial office or tribunal posts, which are in the remit of the Judicial Appointments Commission.””

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: My Lords, this amendment seeks to probe the Government’s attitude to the appointment of judges from the Government Legal Service, the Crown Prosecution Service and any other prosecution body in effect employed by the Government. We suggest in the amendment that the Lord Chancellor issue guidance as to the circumstances in which members of any government legal office may apply for either a judicial office or a tribunal post; those judicial offices and tribunal posts being ones that are covered by, or within the remit of, the Judicial Appointments Commission.

We have in mind two particular thoughts. First, members of the Crown Prosecution Service are limited from applying for judicial office because they cannot sit as recorders because they deal with crime—they cannot sit as recorders anywhere, as we understand it. Are we being deprived, as a result of that perhaps unnecessary limitation? Since members of the Bar and solicitors who practise in the criminal area are well able to sit as recorders, why should the same situation not apply to those employed by the Crown Prosecution Service?

Secondly, I cannot find what, if any, the limitations are that apply to people in the Government Legal Service applying either for part-time or full-time office as a judge. People in the Government Legal Service are a very diverse—in the sense that we have used that word in this debate—group of people of very great talent who make up a pool from whom very good judges could be selected. I would be grateful if the Minister would indicate the Government’s attitude towards appointments to the judiciary from prosecution services and the Government Legal Service and whether they intend to issue new guidance to make the position clear.

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Lord Pannick: My Lords, I strongly support the amendment. If we are serious about promoting diversity on the Bench, this is an area where there is real potential to make substantial progress. That is because there is a pool of highly talented female lawyers and ethnic minority lawyers in government legal service. The Constitution Committee gave the figures at paragraph 126. The figures are striking. In the Treasury Solicitor’s Department, more than 50% of senior civil servants are women and 15% of those at senior Civil Service pay band 1 are from ethnic minorities. In the CPS, women form 75.9% of Crown prosecutors and 63.9% of senior Crown prosecutors. Ethnic minority lawyers form 21.7% of Crown prosecutors and 18.3% of senior Crown prosecutors.

No doubt there are social and economic reasons why so many talented female lawyers and ethnic minority lawyers work not at the independent Bar, although many of them do, but in government legal service. I very much hope that the Government will accept the amendment so that consideration can be given as to how the legal system takes advantage of that pool of talent and ensures that the regrettable statistics of the limited number of women and ethnic minority lawyers on the Bench can be transformed.

Baroness Prashar: I, too, support the amendment. The JAC wrote to the then Lord Chancellor about this in 2008. If we are committed to promoting diversity, it is vital that some movement takes place. There has been no progress on this over the past few years. If the responsibility was taken seriously by the Lord Chancellor, there would have been some movement.

Baroness Butler-Sloss: My Lords, I, too, support the amendment. There is an overlooked pool of potential future judges—or of what used to be called chairmen of tribunals, who are now judges. It is time that that group in government service of one form or another was seen as a potential. The point made by the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, about the numbers of both women and ethnic minorities is significant. I support the amendment.

Lord McNally: My Lords, I am very grateful for the amendment, because it allows me to clarify an important area: those who work in government legal services, the Crown Prosecution Service and other government legal offices. The intervention of the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, is extremely helpful, because it puts on record what a rich seam there is to be mined in those public appointments, and counterpoints the point that I have made several times from this Dispatch Box: that the public service has managed to make far more progress in promoting diversity over the past decades than has the private. We may learn lessons from that.

The Government are keen that members of the employed legal professions should take up judicial roles for which they are eligible, as like noble Lords, we are of the view that this could be a useful route to increasing diversity as well as ensuring that the Government can attract the best lawyers.

However, it has been the policy of successive Lord Chancellors that Crown Prosecution Service and other government lawyers when holding judicial office do

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not sit on cases involving their department. For CPS lawyers, this means that they cannot sit as recorders in the criminal courts, as the overwhelming majority of cases are prosecuted by the CPS.

Under the previous Administration, in 2003 the restrictions on applications by government lawyers were relaxed partially, and CPS lawyers became eligible for appointment as deputy district judges in magistrates’ courts. However, this was still on the basis that they did not sit on CPS-prosecuted cases, and therefore few roles are available.

The policy is based on the need to comply with Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which provides that litigants are entitled to be heard in front of an independent and impartial tribunal. Given those constraints, we need to think more creatively around the concept of a judicial career and how experience in one area can support subsequent appointment to judicial office in another area.

Opportunities are available for government lawyers to apply for judicial office. The published Judicial Appointments Commission programme for 2012-13 includes more than 300 vacancies for fee-paid office, which would be open to government lawyers to apply for. It is therefore important to communicate those opportunities available to government lawyers and to encourage them to take up judicial roles for which they are eligible—not least as this could be another useful route to increase diversity in the judiciary.

I am personally committed to playing a part in raising awareness of these opportunities. I recently met the Treasury Solicitor to discuss the best way to communicate them. I am also happy to consider any suggestions for changes to the current restrictions that apply to government lawyers to see whether we can go any further than the current practice—without, of course, infringing the rights to an independent and fair trial. When I met the Treasury Solicitor, I said that I was willing to write articles, go to seminars, or whatever, to raise the profile and awareness of those opportunities. As this is a probing amendment, I hope that the noble and learned Lord will believe that we are responding in this area and withdraw it.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: I will certainly carefully consider what the Minister said. At the moment, he has given no reason why not to publish guidance that Parliament can consider. I invite him to consider whether guidance could be published regularly so that the issue is looked at with much more of a searchlight than at the moment. I will consider what the Minister said, in exchange for him agreeing—he is nodding—to consider what I said. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 121AB withdrawn.

Amendment 121AC

Moved by Lord Falconer of Thoroton

121AC: Schedule 12, page 174, line 11, leave out “not be greater” and insert “be less”

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: My Lords, this is a short point about the Judicial Appointments Commission. Schedule 12 allows for equality between judicial members

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of the Judicial Appointments Commission and everyone else. I want to change that to make it clear that the judicial members will always be in the minority. As noble Lords will know, no one holds the judges in more admiration than me. One thing that is clear in the current process is that the judges’ views on appointing judges are very well expressed. Part of the reason for having the Judicial Appointments Commission was to bring in other people to the appointments process. I would like there to be judges on the Judicial Appointments Commission, but I would not want them to be, as it were, a blocking equality. I would be perfectly happy if they were in the most substantial minority. That is what I wish to reflect in the amendment.

Lord McNally: My Lords, if I could short-circuit debate on this, this is a very interesting proposal. I would like to take it away, consider it and bring it back on Report.

Amendment 121AC withdrawn.

Amendments 122 and 123

Moved by Lord McNally

122: Schedule 12, page 174, line 35, after “3B(2)(a)” insert “, 11”

123: Schedule 12, page 175, line 12, leave out paragraph 19 and insert—

“19 (1) Paragraph 11 (vice-chairman) is amended as follows.

(2) In sub-paragraph (1) (most senior judicial member is vice-chairman) for “Commissioner who is the most senior of the persons appointed as judicial members” substitute “most senior of the holders of judicial office who are Commissioners”.

(3) In sub-paragraph (2) (meaning of seniority for the purposes of sub-paragraph (1)) for the words after “sub-paragraph (1)” substitute “seniority is to be determined in accordance with regulations made by the Lord Chancellor with the agreement of the Lord Chief Justice.”

(4) In sub-paragraph (3) (exercise by vice-chairman of functions of chairman) for the words from “other” to the end substitute “other than—

(a) any functions as a member of a commission convened under section 26(5) or (5A) or of a panel appointed under section 70(1), 75B(1) or 79(1) (including functions of chairing such a commission or panel), and

(b) any functions specified in regulations made by the Lord Chancellor with the agreement of the Lord Chief Justice.””

Amendments 122 and 123 agreed.

Amendment 123A not moved.

Amendment 124

Moved by Lord McNally

124: Schedule 12, page 177, line 21, at end insert—

“Senior District Judge (Chief Magistrate) designated under section 23 of that Act

Deputy Senior District Judge (Chief Magistrate) designated under that section

(3A) In Table 1 of Part 1 omit the entries for the following former offices—

Senior District Judge (Chief Magistrate) designated under subsection (2) of section 10A of the Justices of the Peace Act 1997

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Deputy Senior District Judge (Chief Magistrate) designated under that subsection”

Amendment 124 agreed.

Amendment 124A not moved.

7.30 pm

Amendments 125 and 126

Moved by Lord McNally

125: Schedule 12, page 178, leave out lines 14 to 18 and insert—

“(b) in paragraph (c) for “(3)(c)” substitute “(3)(d)”.”

126: Schedule 12, page 184, line 29, at end insert—

“(6) In Table 1 of Part 2 omit the entry for the following former office—

Justice of the Peace appointed under section 5 of the Justices of the Peace Act 1997”

Amendments 125 and 126 agreed.

Amendment 126A not moved.

Amendments 127 to 130

Moved by Lord McNally

127: Schedule 12, page 184, leave out line 40

128: Schedule 12, page 184, leave out line 43

129: Schedule 12, page 186, line 13, at end insert—

“(2A) In paragraph 3(1) (removal from office) before the “or” at the end of paragraph (b) insert—

“(ba) a person who is a deputy judge of the Upper Tribunal (whether by appointment under paragraph 7(1) or as a result of provision under section 31(2)),”.”

130: Schedule 12, page 187, line 15, leave out from “Chancellor” to “and” in line 16 and insert “(and in accordance with paragraph 3),”

Amendments 127 to 130 agreed.

Amendments 131 and 132 not moved.

Amendment 133

Moved by Lord McNally

133: Schedule 12, page 195, line 14, leave out “(4) (subsection (3)” and insert “(5) (subsection (4)”

Amendment 133 agreed.

Schedule 12, as amended, agreed.

Clause 19 : Deployment of the judiciary

Amendment 134

Moved by Lord McNally

134: Clause 19, page 17, line 17, after “tribunals” insert “, and updates references to chairmen of employment tribunals following their being renamed as Employment Judges”

Amendment 134 agreed.

Clause 19, as amended, agreed.

House resumed.

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Arrangement of Business


7.32 pm

Baroness Northover: My Lords, because the Question for Short Debate of the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, will now be taken as last business the time limit for the debate can become 90 minutes rather than 60 minutes. Speeches can therefore be limited to nine minutes except for the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, and the Minister’s speech, which will remain limited to 10 and 12 minutes respectively.


Question for Short Debate

7.32 pm

Asked by Lord Mawson

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have plans for a co-ordinated approach towards regeneration, in particular in the new metropolitan districts emerging in north-west England and east London and, if so, what they are.

Lord Mawson: My Lords, I am conscious that a number of people who will be speaking in this debate have not yet arrived because there has been a change of time. I hope that they will arrive during the speech that I am about to make so that we can proceed as on the Order Paper.

When I first arrived in east London 30 years ago the Isle of Dogs was a waste land. At that time the financial centre of Canary Wharf did not exist. The culture of the public and voluntary sectors was anti-business. A dependency culture was rife and the councils running the surrounding boroughs of Newham, Tower Hamlets and Hackney were, I think it is fair to say, basket cases. Over the past 30 years, major changes have taken place and east London has been transformed. Because of the focused leadership of the noble Lord, Lord Heseltine, and others taking part in this debate, a phoenix is now rising from the ashes and east London is once again becoming a global destination and a centre of enterprise, innovation, finance and business. It is increasingly being recognised as a powerful engine of the British economy as it had been, before the demise of the docks, for several hundred years previously.

It was a privilege to take the Commercial Secretary, the noble Lord, Lord Sassoon, and the noble Lord, Lord Jones of Birmingham, by boat last week down some of the 6.5 miles of waterways across the Lower Lea Valley. My colleagues and I showed them all that has been achieved in a relatively short period of time and the potential that still exists if we continue to focus our attention and commitment. This trip is one of a number of water tours that I have been hosting over the past few years as chairman of the all-party group exploring regeneration, sport and culture, showing Members of your Lordships’ House and the other place the scale of development and investment opportunity in east London. Many of your Lordships who have made the journey east by boat with me have been

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surprised to see the rate of development, the scale of land and the potential for further investment in east London.

While chairing the APPG I was fortunate to make a voyage of discovery myself when the group’s secretary, the right honourable Hazel Blears MP, invited me to spend a day in Media City, Salford. What I saw there mirrored the developments in east London. I was shown pictures of former derelict docks and waterways that since the 1960s had been deserted. I learnt about a shared industrial history built around waterways. I also saw a modern experience of enterprise and regeneration in the midst of our poorest communities. I will let others who know far more about the north-west talk about what is happening 200 miles north. Suffice to say that these two areas of significant economic, cultural and social growth provide this country with important financial and business opportunities in a time when growth is ignored at great peril.

The purpose in raising this debate today is to make sure that these two important areas of growth are placed firmly on the map of the UK. They present the nation with development nodes that are nationally and internationally significant, now and in the years ahead. They require a sustained, co-ordinated and thoughtful response from the Government if they are to fulfil their true potential.

With only a few weeks to go until the Olympics begin, I will now focus my remarks on east London. For those of us who live and work in east London we know that the Olympics are actually not the biggest show in town, but a fantastic catalyst helping us join the dots of development nodes down the Lower Lea Valley. These are well advanced in Greenwich and the O2 in the south, at the expanding City Airport and the growing international conference centre at Excel—of which I am sure the noble Lord, Lord King, will say more—in the global business district at Canary Wharf, in Canning Town with £3.7 billion of investment, and further north in Poplar with a £1 billion housing and regeneration scheme with which I and my colleagues are involved. Here I must declare an interest.

At the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford across the River Lea we witnessed 1 million shoppers in the first week of opening. Stratford now has a new international station with a Eurostar platform. The Tech City concept at Old Street enhances east London as a rapidly developing science and technology hub. Sitting in the middle of all this activity is the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park that will hold five new villages and a commercial district. Again, I must declare an interest as a director of what is now called the London Legacy Development Corporation. This is a new city, a metropolitan district arising in the east of London that has profound implications for the capital. These development nodes are connected by the 6.5 miles of waterways. It was the late Reg Ward, the life force behind the Canary Wharf development, who many years ago described the Lower Lea Valley as a water city. If you fly into City Airport and look down you will see exactly what he meant.

As we prepare for the Olympic Games in east London we are 25 years into what is a 50-year regeneration journey. The opportunity to present to the world the

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investment opportunity is great, but the task is not complete. Continued focus and leadership in both central and London government beyond the Olympics are crucial if we are to ensure that the momentum created by the Games is not dissipated afterwards.

Underlying the regeneration and investment priorities in east London is the ambitious overarching objective of convergence, or narrowing the gap. The agenda aims to tackle inequalities by closing the socio-economic gap between east London and the rest of the capital within 20 years. This is an aspiration that unites all six Olympic host boroughs and has support from the Mayor of London and national government. In Newham, along with this desire for convergence with the rest of London, goes the desire to be financially sustainable and become a net contributor to the UK economy. Ideas about convergence alone will not bring investment. The area needs a unique London identity like Wembley, Kew or Westminster if we are to attract international investors. Hence the “water city” vision for what are the historic docklands.

The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games have helped to kick-start this sustainable objective. For example, Westfield shopping centre estimates that the Games brought forward its investment in Stratford City around five to seven years earlier than would otherwise have occurred. This added between £1.1 billion and £2.2 billion to the London economy. Oxford Economics found that with a skills mix matching the London average, growth in east London could generate an additional GDP of £7.3 billion a year by 2030 and improve the public finances by about £5 billion a year.

I would like to take this moment to refocus our attention on east London and alert the House to the bigger growth picture there that has significant implications nationally. The London Borough of Newham and University College London are currently exploring the establishment of a new campus for UCL. In terms of urban regeneration, the Olympic legacy and the future competitiveness of the UK, this development is of immense local, national and international importance. Of equal significance is the Royal Docks Enterprise Zone, for which the Mayor of London, the London Enterprise Partnership and the London Borough of Newham have high ambitions. The Royal Docks will be a world-class business destination for the knowledge economy through the creation of a science and technology hub within a high quality environment in which to live and work. This hub would complement the Prime Minister’s “tech city” vision. If this is successful, Britain has the opportunity to be a world leader in science and technology.

What threatens this future vision of east London? We all know that world-class infrastructure is crucial to maximising UK growth potential yet, despite over £1 billion of public investment, Stratford International station currently has no international services. There is support from East Anglia, the Midlands and beyond for the station to play a role for both HS1 and HS2, to increase business between the UK and the Continent. Disappointingly, the Government have not as yet confirmed Stratford’s role in the UK’s high-speed rail network, and so risk the benefits that this could bring to the UK.

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Another area of concern is insufficient capacity on existing river crossings to meet current demand. Without this issue being comprehensively addressed, the Olympic host boroughs warn that it will be a significant barrier to achieving convergence. The major missing element in the Mayor of London’s crossing package is the absence of a firm commitment to a fixed-link crossing at Gallions. The Silvertown tunnel could provide necessary resilience to the Blackwall Tunnel, but this will do little for the regeneration of key sites, such as in the eastern Royals, Beckton, Woolwich and Thamesmead. For this, the Silvertown tunnel needs to be complemented by a river crossing at Gallions, a catalyst for economic development.

The fundamental danger, of course, is that when the Games are over the uninitiated will feel that they have now done east London and it is time to move on, yet that is precisely the time when the opportunity is at its greatest. To ensure that the vision for a fully regenerated east London is realised, that our national focus is maintained and that the microdetails of infrastructure are addressed, my first question to the Minister is: who is the person in Government today with responsibility for driving these changes through to the end after the Olympics have finished? Who is going to work through until Sunday evening and get out of bed on Monday morning to develop this national regeneration project with international implications? My next question to the Minister is: how will the Government ensure a co-ordinated response from across government departments to the new opportunities that I have outlined, linking this with other emerging growth areas nationally? This matter is bigger than the interests served by London government alone.

It is my view that by fully regenerating areas of potential growth, like the Lower Lea Valley, we will be making a significant contribution towards our immediate and future national economy. I realise that some noble Lords may have heard me reference these issues at the Second Reading of the Financial Services Bill last week but I see no harm in reiterating the point. Now is the time to co-ordinate all our efforts and ensure that east London is fully regenerated. We need to end on a full stop, not a comma.

7.44 pm

Baroness Hughes of Stretford: My Lords, I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, on securing this important debate and thank him for his references to my home area of Greater Manchester. I welcome the opportunity to contribute and do so not only as a trustee of the Lowry Theatre, for which I declare an interest, but from a longstanding involvement, as a former local authority leader and Member of Parliament, in the regeneration of the dockland area of the Manchester Ship Canal that is now Salford and Trafford Quays.

The story of the regeneration of this area could not been told without the vision, doggedness and commitment of many people, too numerous to name but to whom I pay tribute. It is a pleasure to see my honourable friend at the Bar today because she was certainly one of them. However, it is a story that has not yet ended. While the area has been transformed physically from

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derelict dockland to exciting and gleaming media city, there is much yet to do to realise the potential for local people in skills, jobs and opportunities, matching the outstanding physical regeneration with the social regeneration that will transform people’s lives. In this, the chief executive Julia Fawcett and her excellent team at the Lowry are leading the way.

The Lowry was in fact one of the first regeneration projects on Salford Quays and has undoubtedly been the seed around which one of the most vibrant cultural and media destinations in the world is now crystallising. The £160 million capital investment from lottery funds has not only produced this world-class arts facility but catalysed phenomenal further regeneration, predominantly from the private sector, to the tune of £650 million in the MediaCityUK development. With the Lowry at its heart, the media city is now also home to the Imperial War Museum North, BBC North, the University of Salford and over 60 diverse production, service and ancillary companies. With ITV Granada currently constructing its production facility on Trafford Wharf, this constitutes an altogether impressive and dynamic constellation of media and digital entrepreneurship. This is testimony to the development, not only on the quays but throughout the north-west, of expertise and innovation in the creative and digital industries which has the potential to rival the best in the world, provided that it is nurtured and supported. Of that, I will say more in a moment.

From the outset, the Lowry has had three equally important core objectives and is matching commitment to outstanding theatre and visual arts content to the commitment to using its assets to create opportunities for local people, especially young people, with a constant focus on reaching those groups who are more disadvantaged or who would not normally gravitate to an arts environment. This distinctly Lowry approach is one that I believe many organisations should emulate.

I shall give noble Lords some examples of what this means in practice. Walkabout is the Lowry’s flagship community engagement programme, which has so far engaged around 8,500 residents. Inspired to Aspire is an initiative that uses the inspirational environment and people of the Lowry and the wider quays to encourage and nurture aspiration with disengaged young people and provide formal and informal entry routes into employment. Working with a network of referral agencies, including schools and colleges, the Lowry provides significant numbers of young people who are NEET or at risk with opportunities in volunteering, short-term placements and, where possible, apprenticeships and full-time employment. The young carers project provides creative experience for young carers to promote positive changes in their health and well-being, as well as a platform to raise awareness about their roles and the issues that affect them.

A recent development in partnership with others is the successful bid for a university technical college at MediaCityUK. The UTC will focus on digital and creative industries and performing arts alongside entrepreneurship, and will contribute to the massive growth potential of these industries in our region. It will ensure that local young people can access the opportunities that this growing sector brings, linking new industrial demand

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to its local community. This is of crucial importance, as I am sure noble Lords will appreciate, in an area that is significantly challenged by deprivation, unemployment and social problems. All this activity is on a financial model that raises £7 through its own activities for every £1 of public subsidy. I hope to invite noble Lords to an event here later this year to hear more about the Lowry’s social regeneration work.

I want to mention another project, this time on the east of Manchester, which is similarly pioneering innovation in the creative and digital sectors and is equally committed to using its capacity and assets to develop the talents and opportunities for local people. The Sharp Project is home to over 70 digital entrepreneurs and production companies that make, manipulate or move around the world digital content. The £16.5 million development, partly funded by Manchester City Council and ably directed by Sue Woodward, is fantastic and I encourage Members to see it if they can. It is based in a 200,000 square foot warehouse and offers exciting, flexible and affordable space for offices, production and event space for companies, thereby helping to grow the creative digital sector in our region. Over the past year the Sharp Project has produced award-winning TV output and accommodated over 400 people in employment, either directly or as freelancers. Set up to run alongside the project is SharpFutures, an independent social enterprise supported by Manchester City Council to ensure there is a social return on investment, and SharpFutures exists to nurture and grow talent and capacity in the digital and creative sectors by opening up and building capacity, particularly in deprived communities.

I do not have time to do more than mention the cultural hub at the other end of the ship canal which is Liverpool, former capital of culture, but no doubt the noble Lord, Lord Storey, will do so. However, all of this together testifies to the critical mass of expertise in our region in this exciting new sector, and the tremendous potential for Greater Manchester and the north-west to become a global hub for creative and digital entrepreneurship. However, this has not happened by accident. Nor will this potential be fully realised without drive and support. Local partners, public and private, have already demonstrated their commitment and ability not only to achieve regeneration and new economic activity but to harness those benefits for local people. Others, including the Government, must now rise to the challenge.

Will the Minister address three issues? First, reflecting the comments of the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, and particularly now that the regional development agencies have been abolished, where will the oversight, drive and momentum be coming from in Government to identify these opportunities for growth, and to remove the barriers to progress?

Secondly, the creative and digital industries depend crucially on connectivity. The noble Lord, Lord Mawson, asked about High Speed 2, and I share his concern. Equally important is superfast broadband. What commitment do the Government have to enable these areas to have priority access to superfast broadband? Will the Government support Salford’s bid for the

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Urban Broadband Fund? Will it also support the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s bid for ERDF in support of the Greater Manchester broadband plan?

Finally, I have stressed the leading examples of the Lowry and Sharp in contributing not only to the growth of this new economic sector, and thereby to the UK economy, but to narrowing the socio-economic gap in our region. Not all of our participants are as committed as this. For example, the record of the BBC in MediaCityUK so far is poor, with only 26 of the 680 new jobs created by the move north going to local people. This is not good enough. There is no reason why all organisations, especially those funded with public money, should not have the explicit objective of investing in the skill, development and training that will enable local people to compete successfully for new jobs. This needs a strong lead from government. I would be very grateful to hear from the Minister what commitment the Government have to promoting and monitoring this kind of social regeneration, which can transform people’s lives.

7.53 pm

Lord King of Bridgwater: I join the noble Baroness in paying tribute to the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, for introducing this debate, and for the enthusiasm and energy with which he chairs the all-party group on this hugely important subject. As the noble Lord rightly said, I am going to concentrate on east London, where I am mainly involved, but I could not help reflecting while the noble Baroness was speaking that when he asked, “Who is the Minister who goes to bed on Sunday night and gets up early on Monday morning ready to concentrate?”, I used to be that Minister. One of my responsibilities was to decide what to do about Manchester Exchange railway station, which was crumbling away. The pillars were rusting, so were we going to put a lot of money in—£250,000—without having any idea of what we were going to do with the station? I know it is now a very successful exhibition and conference centre, and I am very pleased that the extravagant decision which I took then has worked out so well.

I also feel I know quite a bit about MediaCityUK, because I served on the Communications Committee of this House under the noble Lord, Lord Fowler, in which we reviewed the charter of the BBC. The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Manchester showed his total partiality at all times when interviewing BBC people to ensure that they were going to move to Manchester and Salford, where MediaCityUK now is. I feel as though I have been there before.

However, I want to speak about east London, because I have had a strange involvement with it. I worked with Michael Heseltine as a Minister when we first came into Government—he is now my noble friend Lord Heseltine, of course—and his energy and enthusiasm was considerable. The first thing we did when he became Secretary of State was to get in a helicopter and fly over the whole of that dockland area. There were 5,000 derelict acres within a mile and a half of some of the most expensive real estate in the world, which was the City of London. After our helicopter flight, we came down and got into a bus with some of

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the most militant left Labour leaders of the various boroughs that existed in that area who were absolutely determined that nothing interfered with their own sovereignty over those areas. From that came: the Local Government, Planning and Land Act; the creation of the London Docklands Development Corporation; the creation of two most remarkable chairmen and deputy chairmen in the shape of the late Sir Nigel Broackes and the late Lord Mellish, who many of your Lordships will remember as the deputy chairman. He took on the hard left at some pain to himself, and with real difficulty, because he saw the benefit it was going to bring, and the life that he could bring to an area that was so totally derelict at that time.

It did take considerable investment. Having set up the development corporation and given it the planning powers for the area of the Docklands that had previously derived from five different councils that could never agree on what should happen, one figure sticks in my mind. The investment required in one particular area meant we were spending £500,000 per acre—a lot of money on those days—to deal with the contaminated land problem, before you could even start thinking about any construction. Subsequently there was Canary Wharf and the various other wonderful developments that exist there. I remember also on the housing side that we lined up five different volume house builders and gave them each land to build 500 houses. I do not want to dwell on Labour but they were all Labour boroughs at that time, of a complexion that I hope the Labour Party has now well left behind in its present creation. They said to us, “People do not want to own their own houses. They like being council tenants and we look after them.” That, of course, was the source of the power of much of the leadership of those councils. When the opportunity arose to buy 2,500 houses for sale and with preference given to the people living in those London dockland boroughs, the queue down the road on show day was a mile long, formed of people who were determined to have the chance they had never had before of owning their own homes.

Subsequently, when I came out of government, because of my previous involvement in the Docklands area I was approached to look at the possibilities of 100 derelict acres on the Royal Victoria Dock. I did not really know the Royal Docks very well at that time. They were one of the wonders of the world in Victorian and later times with a 1,000-acre estate and 250 acres of enclosed water—the largest enclosed water space in the world—where 150,000 people worked in their time. This was hallowed land for all those people who had worked in the docks for generations in east London. It was also derelict. When I first went to the 100-acre site on the north of the Royal Victoria Dock, the only living things I saw were two foxes. Now, after much pain and struggle, if you go there now you will find a million square feet of exhibition space, a 5,000 seat convention centre, six hotels and three DLR stations. At this very minute, the Crossrail line is starting to be dug that will come right through and surface at the Royal Victoria site.

It is rather appropriate that we are having this debate. Tomorrow the Emirates Air Line, which is the cable car that runs from the O2 to the ExCel centre,

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will open. It owes a great deal to the enthusiasm of the mayor, who managed to persuade the Emirates airline that it was a wonderful thing to have its name on it and to put up the money to help to build it. That will be another asset to the site.

It is interesting to see the challenge. Picking up on the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, having gradually got that critical mass together, east London is where it is all now happening. When we started out on this venture, and I talked about the possibility of an exhibition centre and we talked about the Royal Docks, there was a tremendous west London bias in this great city of ours and people said, “Nobody will ever go there”. A lot of people said, “Where is it?”. They thought that it was somewhere near Southend. There was quite extraordinary ignorance. Even now, you will find quite a lot of people in London who have never been to Canary Wharf, and hardly know that it is there. It is now the great growth area, as the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, said. That whole area, with the Olympics, other developments, London City Airport, the university and with Tech City, brings a critical mass together.

I was delighted to see, because I obviously have to declare an interest with my involvement in ExCel, that while when we started on the convention centre London was 19th in the world for its share of international convention business, in our third year we had already gone from 19th to ninth. We are now seventh in the world; that is competing with Atlanta, Munich, Barcelona, Paris and the major cities of the world. This is a great opportunity. It will grow because the other merits of London mean that it must be in the top three. Now that we have a major convention centre, I hope that we shall see not only business for the convention centre but the added value—the multiplier—and benefit that it brings in, perhaps by bringing in a medical convention with 20,000 or 30,000 consultants and their families.

The particular pleasure that we all have is that it is taking place in the most deprived London borough, Newham, with the co-operation of a very energetic Labour Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, who has done an outstanding job for his borough. Yet there is so much else to do. Standing on the balcony of ExCel, for the past 20 years I have looked out at the other side of the dock. There is a site with nearly 100 acres that have lain derelict. They were owned by the LDDC, then by English Partnerships, then by the LDA, then the GLA. This is a failure to get the drive together. Now we see the opportunities.

My concern, shared by practically every noble Lord in this House, is how we are going to earn our living in the world in the future. One of the things that we have to do where we see opportunities for growth is to make them work. It is not a question of which Minister will be responsible for this, because we have got a mayor. Where you have a mayor, you have an extra dimension. Cities which fail to choose to have a mayor are missing out in a big way because that is where the opportunities will come. I hope that we shall see the sort of leadership that the mayor has shown to be possible in east London reflected across the other cities of our country, which we know need that growth so badly at present.

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8.03 pm

Lord Storey: I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, for initiating this debate. We are talking about new metropolitan districts. I come from a very old metropolitan district or, as we now call it, the Liverpool City Region. Liverpool itself celebrated its 800th birthday in 2007. As the noble Baroness, Lady Hughes, reminded us, the following year it became the European Capital of Culture.

Liverpool at one stage was regarded as the second city of the then British Empire. It lost its way very much in the 1970s and 1980s. The 1980s were a very difficult time for Liverpool. There were huge job losses: Tate and Lyle, Dunlop and Triumph Motors. Thousands of people were losing their jobs. That impacted, of course, on the social fabric of the city. It also impacted on the political fabric of the city.

Liverpool suffered other problems. There were the so-called Toxteth riots. There was the portrayal of Liverpudlians; they became the butt-end of humour and jokes. Liverpool went through a very difficult time. As the noble Lord, Lord King, reminds us, I remember Michael Heseltine coming to the city. He got a helicopter and flew over Merseyside to look at it. He got the civic leaders together. He got the business leaders together. I was a young councillor, the chair of education, at the time. You could actually see the way Michael Heseltine changed his views on these great northern cities.

I was elected leader of the city council in 1998. I was lucky in my first year to go to New York and Dublin, two cities which also turned themselves around. I remember talking to the civic leaders and asking, “How have you turned yourself around and regenerated your cities?”. The answer was the same in New York as it was in Dublin. It was one word: “confidence”. You have to create confidence in your city. Governments and councils do not create regeneration or jobs. They create the conditions for businesses to flourish, to create the wealth, to create the jobs. They said, “You will know that you have been successful when you can count the cranes on the skyline”. I became obsessed by this. I would drive into the city centre, counting the cranes to see whether we were changing the city around.

The next thing I realised was that you had to look at the things that were unique to that city and make it work. We worked closely with Manchester—I worked with Richard Leese—looking at the areas with which we could be compatible and the areas that were distinctive to our cities. We looked at Liverpool and thought, “Gosh, here is a city which at one stage was in the top four retail destinations in the UK”. It had slumped out to the bottom 20. Thanks to a £1 billion private investment from the Duke of Westminster, we created Liverpool ONE, which was at the time Europe’s largest retail and leisure development: 1 million square feet. We are now back in the top five retail destinations.

We looked at our universities and thought, “Gosh, these are top, world-class universities with real talent and expertise. How do we bring them into the regeneration of the city?”. We did that. We worked with them. For example, we worked with the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, a world leader, to link with the pharmacy industries in the city. Thanks to Bill Gates,

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who gave huge amounts of money to develop serums for third-world countries, we used their expertise. With the other two universities, we created a science park which has gone from strength to strength.

We then looked at other things that were special. Liverpool has a river. You did not see any cruise liners coming along the river. Yet the cruise liner industry was prospering throughout the UK. So we used European Objective 1 money to create—we have to be careful what we call this—a cruise liner facility. We could not call it a terminal, because it might upset Southampton. That worked. The present council is looking at a cruise liner terminal: a turnaround facility. To make that happen we have had to pay back to the Government £7.6 million. That £7.6 million was European Objective 1 and Northwest Regional Development Agency money, so I ask the Minister whether she will look at that money coming back to Liverpool for other regeneration projects, as that was what it was originally for.

We looked at music and the conference business. Liverpool has a culture of music. At one stage it was classed the “capital of pop”. Why the capital of pop? We had more number one chart-toppers than any other city in the world. I bet there has never been a quiz in the House of Lords. Do any noble Lords know what the first number one was? It was “(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window?” by Lita Roza. Paul McCartney came to the city and we had to create an outside concert arena. We built a conference and arena centre and that has gone from strength to strength. So I think that regeneration is about creating the conditions for businesses to succeed; creating, if you like, as Michael Heseltine did in the 1980s, a vision and a plan of where the city should go.

I should also like to pay tribute, at the opposite end, to the noble Lord, Lord Prescott. He established the first regeneration company in Liverpool, which brought together local authority and business. It was strange sitting next to Terry Leahy, for example, who was one of the directors of Liverpool Vision. Again, they put together a plan of how the city could create the conditions for regeneration.

There are lessons for the new metropolitan districts to learn. Those lessons are very simple indeed. It is not about Governments saying, “One size fits all”; it is not about Governments telling us what should be done. We have done that in the past, where Governments say, “This is what you must do: inner city partnerships or urban aid”. Cities are unique; they have unique conditions, unique problems and unique solutions. Nor is it about the sort of government which was the fad of the previous Government and which seems to be happening now, where you bid for everything, and it is a bit like a beauty parade. The noble Lord, Lord Greaves, reminded us of this earlier. Now the beauty parade often involves celebrities, so that Mary Portas comes and looks at our high streets. It should not be like that; it should be about what can work for that city and those people.

The other thing I want to say is that it is not just about the physical environment of the city. It has to be about the people themselves. Cities have to “skill up” their young people. If one talks to any business,

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the message that comes out loud and clear is that young people need skills. I have been talking to two different businesses. Cammell Laird shipbuilders has suddenly blossomed again. It was a world-class shipbuilder, which collapsed and closed down. A group of senior staff started a small ship-repairing business, which has grown and grown and now has a turnover of £400 million. It is now looking to become even bigger than that. When one asks the company, “What is holding you back?” it says, “We need the skills. We have our own apprenticeship course. We take on 20 apprentices per year. It is a four-year course and we pay for it ourselves, But we still need more people with those skills”.

Last week in Manchester I talked to people in the textile industry. Manchester University has the only textile manufacturing degree course left in the country. Everybody who goes on that course can get a job. Yet the textile industry would like to expand that course and develop the industry. When one talks to companies they say, “We need the skills”.

I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Heseltine, when he said in this Chamber that he was,

“very critical of the past 100 years of government responsibility for education. Our industry depends on world-class results if it is to create and sustain first-class jobs”.—[

Official Report

, 22/3/12; col. 1052.]

How right that is. Equally, however, Governments have been responsible for chopping and changing education. So—I am going to shut up.

8.13 pm

The Lord Bishop of Birmingham: My Lords, I stand in place of the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Liverpool, who is unavoidably detained and cannot attend your Lordships’ House tonight. I hope that I will be an adequate substitute, having been the bishop of Birkenhead, where I had an excellent view of Liverpool for six years of the first part of this century. I was also chair of the Wirrall local strategic partnership, which wrestled with some of these issues, and I now chair the Birmingham social cohesion process under a new government in Birmingham which is trying to look mayoral—and we will see how it goes.

I am delighted that the noble Lord has tabled this Motion, not least because he himself has pioneered models of regeneration that have transformed neighbourhoods into communities. We have heard a lot tonight about these large, multibillion investments, which as a former businessman I fully appreciate and think are absolutely vital. At the same time, however, our experience over the past few years in the north of single regeneration bids, which were largely business-led, and the new deals for communities, which were largely community-led, has been that both produce results. They both produce some of the things that we have been talking about in terms of skills and new investment. However, it is our conviction that they have to be held together—that the regeneration must be twin-engined, if you like, with leadership from both the business world and the community. We have touched on this in some of the speeches tonight. Of course business is vital to creating jobs and to sustaining the welfare of families and communities, but community also is vital—for

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unless local people are involved, there will be no ownership, no pride, no transformation and perhaps, echoing the noble Lord’s statement, not even any confidence.

I am delighted to hear that Cammell Laird is now back in business. This will be an enormous attraction to the local people living in the river streets of Birkenhead, who found it so difficult to move anywhere further afield when that shipyard closed years ago.

We have not yet mentioned—perhaps I dare to mention—local enterprise partnerships. I understand that in the Liverpool city region, the LEP is advancing rapidly, with strategies for low-carbon economy and sustainable action plans. This perhaps broadens the picture but also takes us into that sense of wider responsibility as we try to achieve growth today. The north-west is the most renewable energy-rich region in the country and is capitalising this asset. Of course we also have the knowledge economy—some of these things have already been referred to—tourism and the motor industry, all being promoted vigorously by the Liverpool city region LEP.

If we go further back—I think that these have already been mentioned—the regional development agency in the north-west recognised the importance of engaging the local community as well as business in the regeneration of the region. I hope that the Minister might comment on whether the engine of renewal that brings both community and business together might be reignited by the LEP. I give as examples investment in the Florence Institute for the regeneration of Toxteth; investment in Mersey Forest to transform blighted urban areas which might not quite benefit from even as wonderful an investment as Liverpool ONE through the Grosvenor Estate; and investment in Faiths4Change, which engages faith communities in transforming local environments. These and other such initiatives enable areas to be even more attractive, not just for local residents but for businesses.

There is an inextricable link between economic and community regeneration. I trust and expect that this will be reflected in the boards of our LEPs and their strategies for growth and regeneration.

8.18 pm

Lord Greaves: My Lords, I too would like to thank the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, not least for adding the critical words “north-west” into his Question, which allows some of us to make a bigger debate than it might otherwise have been. I am grateful for that. I will declare a slightly extended interest—and I will explain why, because my interest leads me into what I am going to say. Many people have been bragging about what has been going on in their areas. I can brag for Pendle until the day I die. I am not going to do that; I am going to set out some of our difficulties at the moment. Nevertheless, I declare my interest as an elected member of Pendle council, which is a small district council in east Lancashire, so it is not a metropolitan area. It is an area of 19th century cotton towns; they are no longer cotton towns, there is very little left, but that is what the area is, surrounded by our wonderful Pennine countryside. Towns in the area, such as Accrington, Burnley, Nelson and Colne, have the problems

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of metropolitan councils and inner cities but the resources of small districts. That is a serious problem that areas like ours around England have.

Regeneration tends to be focused on the big cities and metropolitan areas. The concept of city regions was not invented by the coalition Government; it became the vogue quite a few years ago. But from our perspective, it is a concept which has flaws as a universal model. I am not in any way denigrating the vital role that big cities play throughout England, which is where we are talking about, or in Wales and Scotland. The major regional centres, after London and the south-east, have been the great success story of England in the past couple of decades. For all the problems that they still have, places such as Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds and Norwich have gained status and economic importance. For example, Leeds’ financial importance is far greater than it used to be. I am in no way saying that that is a bad thing. In particular, these cities are a counterbalance to the tendency otherwise of London and the south-east to suck in resources, growth and development. Again, I totally recognise all the problems that there are in the East End and other parts of London.

There are two problems with regarding the city region concept as applicable to everywhere else in the country. There are areas where it does not sensibly work. Areas need to be looked at in a different way. For example, you could say that Cornwall and Devon are perhaps part of the Plymouth city region. However, that is not a sensible way of looking at the economy, the communities and the way that the Cornubian peninsular works.

To regard a huge swathe of places around Greater London, the south-east and further on simply as part of the London city region, which they clearly are, is not enough. It is not enough to say to Hastings or Brighton that their problems can be solved and their needs tackled by considering them as part of the coastal area of the London city region. Their problems are much greater than that and are more complicated. Of course, if we are not careful, there is a problem in city regions that the big city centre can suck in all the growth and resources as well as a large proportion of the people. There is a natural tendency for that to happen.

In my view, one of the jobs of the Government is to act as a countervailing force against that. There are also areas which, with the best will in the world, do not fit into city regions. Which city region do West Cumbria, Whitehaven, Workington and Barrow belong in? City regions do not make sense when you are considering the future of those areas. East Lancashire—or Pennine Lancashire, if that is how you like to call where I live—is on the fringe of perhaps the Manchester city region or the Leeds and Bradford city region. But it does not make a great deal of sense to look at our future simply by considering our relationship to those big cities—welcome as it is to have the news from the Government that the Todmorden Curve will be built and Burnley can have a regular railway service into Manchester.

My noble friend Lord Storey used the words “government fads”. One of the problems is that Governments have fads. When there is a change of the Government, the old fads are thrown out. Housing

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market renewal brought huge resources. It was flawed but people were getting a grip on it and it was nothing like as bad as the press that it got. In my area, it brought in £10 million a year to each district local authority area, which certainly in Burnley and Pendle we were using in sensible ways. That suddenly stopped and it has caused chaos. There are huge problems of schemes being half finished and a need to look around for resources to finish them. It causes problems for people who were promised things but who now find that they will not happen.

That does not only happen when a new Government are elected; it also happens when the Secretary of State changes and so on. They bring in new fads. One of the latest fads, which my noble friend mentioned, is the Mary Portas scheme. The work that she has been doing is excellent and helpful, and it helps people to think. But the competition for pilots leaves a great deal to be desired. There were 371 bids and 12 pilots have been approved, one of which was in Nelson, Pendle. We are quite good at such things, and we are very pleased to have that money and to have those resources. But 371 places have put in the time, effort and cost of making the bids, but only 12 have been approved, with another 15 to come.

Empty housing is a huge problem in areas like ours. All the ways in which we were trying to deal with this under the previous Government have been largely pushed aside. We now have the empty homes fund—for which Pennine Lancashire and East Lancashire generally bid—and we have won some of that as well. In Pendle, it will result perhaps in £3 million or £4 million-worth of new investment in different ways, working in partnership with landlords and housing associations, to tackle the problems of empty housing in our area. A lot of it will be in the ward that I represent on the council, so I am not totally against this kind of thing.

The things for which you can bid for money and the ways in which you can get resources change with the Government and the Secretary of State. That is not an efficient way to do things. The old way is stopped, with all the inefficiencies that are involved in doing that, and then you have to start again with the new way. Bidding takes an enormous amount of resources. There are some pros, including getting people to think, and good ideas are spread around. Sometimes when schemes are worked out, people find that they can do them anyway. A large amount of waste is involved in these schemes.

We have to get back to an acceptance that regeneration is not just about cities and city regions. It is also about smaller places, such as the Barrows, the Workingtons, the Whitehavens, the Great Yarmouths, the Hastings, the Accringtons, the Burnleys and the Nelsons and Colnes of this world. I am a great believer that the purpose of government resources is to provide a basis for getting funding from the private sector and other areas, and for providing a way in which the local economy can work. In simply doing it all, the multiplier effect is huge. We have to get back to the principle that government resources are handed out and provided objectively on the basis of need and not on the basis of slightly bogus competitions according to the latest fads of Ministers.

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8.17 pm

Baroness Howe of Idlicote: My Lords, it has been fascinating to listen to the personal experiences of noble Lords who have been involved in the development and creations in their areas over recent years. Of course, I particularly want to congratulate my noble friend Lord Mawson on tabling the debate. It is important to hear how the Government see their plans for the future, especially as to how the legacy aspect of these operations is developing now that we are so close to the start of the 2012 Games. In this House, we are very lucky to have noble Lords who have been involved in competitive sport and now are very active in the entrepreneurial side of this whole area of development.

I will confine my comments to the east London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics site and its proposed legacy, although, of course, the major relocation of the BBC to the Salford area will have an effect on the reporting of the Olympics. In addition, the major reconstruction already achieved in that metropolitan district, which includes the University of Salford and other areas that have been mentioned, is already providing new jobs and attracting considerable business investment interest.

However, East London is the area that I know best. We have always had a London home south of the river and currently live just off the Old Kent Road, which is very close to the Peckham Settlement, which my old school supports and of which I have been president for nearly 40 years. The East End—particularly Poplar, which contains areas of considerable deprivation—is where I have made most of my more active volunteering efforts, especially governing and managing many schools in that area as well as doing juvenile court work.

Some 30 years ago I was invited to visit an exciting new project in Poplar, in an area where most of the inhabitants were recent immigrants. The East End of London has always seen a flow of immigrants in that particular place, but certainly in this area the inhabitants were pretty recent. It turned out to be a completely different concept, pioneered by a new vicar, who, on arrival, found that his church congregation consisted of two old ladies, with water dripping through the light bulb. Within a very short time he had turned the church into a very different, active community centre, albeit retaining a religious centre for worship purposes.

Somehow this vicar had raised money to build small, friendly houses with gardens to complement the area’s endless blocks of council flats. He improved considerably all the open spaces and, most importantly of all, raised money to build a medical centre, which meant that the local people, not the local authority, could choose the doctors and nurses who worked there. Workshops, too, were set up where skills were learnt and, indeed, passed on to immigrants, who had brought different skills into the country. Setting up new small and medium-sized businesses was encouraged. It was clearly an innovative and very successful regeneration model that has subsequently been followed in many other parts of the country. Unfortunately, I did not meet this remarkable vicar at that time, but it was no surprise when, in 2007, he joined us in your Lordships’ House as my noble friend Lord Mawson, of Bromley-by-Bow.

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To return to the 2010 London site, some of your Lordships may have been on the exhilarating trip that we were offered by British Waterways some six months ago to go and inspect progress. We set off from Westminster Pier, bouncing along at high speed in three or four rubber boats. We reached the Isle of Dogs in record time and turned left into the canal network. The canals were far from clean; there was even a rumour that they should be covered up and hidden during the Olympic Games. True or false, the far more sensible, and clearly money-making, approach was under way: that they should be cleaned up and used for transport and organised tours. Certainly our tour showed the remarkable progress that had already been made, with many of the buildings to house competitors already up, as well as the main stadium and the Olympic swimming pool. In addition, the river banks and other open spaces, recently planted, were beginning to show the green grass coming through. I imagine that the massive amount of rain that we have had during our so-called summer has had a great effect on improving that still further.

By now the scene is very far advanced. That is why it is right to concentrate on the east London legacy prospects. It is sad, of course, that the recent financial horrors meant that practically no private investment was originally available for investment in that basic Olympic site. However, there is already increasing interest from overseas businesses wishing to be part of this considerable future growth potential, although, as we have heard, there is clearly a need for the Government to ensure that our own business entrepreneurs are equally aware and do not miss out on what are quite clear opportunities.

Canary Wharf already contains an example of a modern enterprise zone, and there are plans for building a new metropolitan district close by. When you think that the architect Piano has just completed the brilliantly inspired, iconic sky-scraper building known as the Shard, you will begin to see the potential for inspiration for other designs. There is also, as we have heard, the planned expansion of City Airport.

It is clear that overseas business entrepreneurs are seeing the site’s exciting possibilities. Above all, we must ensure that the local people, particularly the children and the schools in this part of London, inherit and really benefit from a significant part of the promised legacy. There will be a continued demand for premises for athletic events, but much more than that can be passed on. There is great potential for this area. It is a vital part of London that is close to Europe and the global world that we now live and compete in, as others have mentioned, so it is very important that we move in this direction. If that is the plan and that is how the Government are thinking of promoting all these areas and doing their vital best for the people who live in that area, I hope that we will hear about it, not just this evening but well into the future.

8.35 pm

Lord McKenzie of Luton: My Lords, I, too, am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, for initiating this short debate. I might have been even more grateful had he included Luton, and possibly Pendle, on his list

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of places, because it would have enabled some of us to join in the passion, advocacy and knowledge that has been displayed this evening by people in respect of the areas that they know best and that they have been involved in for many years.

The noble Baroness, Lady Howe, talked about east London and the Old Kent Road, and the involvement of faith communities in regeneration. She also touched on issues of diversity, which is something that we know quite a lot about in Luton but that perhaps has not featured as prominently as one would have thought, since it is a common feature to pretty much all the areas that we have talked about this evening. I think the noble Lord, Lord Greaves, is right to say that regeneration is not just about cities. I well recognise the problems that might be inner-city problems of resources that are not necessarily at a city level. As the noble Lord would not consider Brighton to be part of Greater London, neither would we consider Luton to be part of Greater London. However, he did touch on the issue that has been an integral part of regeneration for some time: the need to bid for resources. When there are, I believe, 371 bids for support for Mary Portas’s project but only 12 approved, that cannot be a particularly efficient way of proceeding.

The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Birmingham —substituting in part, I think, for the right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Liverpool—took us back to SRB programmes and the New Deal for Communities. I remember the New Deal for Communities in Luton; it created a furore because it could be focused only on an area of some 4,000 households. We had pockets of deprivation, and trying to work out which one got it was really quite difficult and traumatic. Nevertheless, the right reverend Prelate rightly focused on the twin engine of business and community for growth. I am pleased that the leap that he is aware of is proceeding rapidly. It has been a mixed picture across the country, as I understand it. Perhaps the noble Baroness might update us on that.

The noble Lord, Lord Storey, talked with passion and knowledge about Liverpool and the difficulties of shaking off a sometimes negative image. People will remember the riots—we had riots in Luton—which is somehow the image that is carried forward, whatever good work and regeneration are otherwise going on. Like him, we used to look at cranes in the sky as a measure of how well we were doing.

The noble Lord, Lord King, reminded us about east London and Canary Wharf, which is a fantastic development. In part it mirrors what happened in Manhattan. All the action was at Wall Street and no one thought of developing the centre until the Rockefeller Center was created, which has been hugely successful. The noble Lord made an interesting point about housing and home ownership. I partly recognise the point that he made, but I wonder whether people would be in exactly the same position now. A lot of houses have been swallowed up and have not been replaced, and young people in particular are finding it very difficult to get a house even to rent. I think that the noble Lord was right: this is about vision. That seems to be the common feature, whatever the story regarding regeneration. That featured in the contribution of my

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noble friend Lady Hughes, particularly in relation to Salford Quays, which was a driver for significant private sector investment in Salford. I think that the strap-line was “aspire to inspire”. A quite strong statistic is £7 of investment for every £1 of public subsidy.

The noble Lord, Lord Mawson, talked about the major change that he had seen in east London. A phoenix rising from the ashes was the expression that he used, with six and a half miles of waterway. Sadly, in Luton the River Lea stays mostly underground, but perhaps we can work on that. The noble Lord is right to say that east London has been put firmly on the map of the UK. Obviously what happens post the Olympics is going to be very important.

During the remainder of the time that I have, I should like to concentrate on the Government’s role in and approach to regeneration generally, not necessarily specifically in the areas that have been touched upon. As to what regeneration actually means, I would adopt the Select Committee’s definition of it being,

“a long term, comprehensive process which aims to tackle social, economic, physical and environmental issues in places”,

of deprivation,

“where the market has failed”.

Of course, it encompasses, but is not limited to, growing the local economy. The question posed by the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, is whether the Government have plans for a co-ordinated approach that would encompass the north-west as well as east London. As I understand it, the position is that the Government have no plans to publish a national regeneration strategy of any sort and therefore do not necessarily approach these matters in a national strategic way.

I do not propose to comment further on the detail of the specific challenges, progress, successes and disappointments of the regeneration of either east London or the north-west, because we have heard from others fantastic testimony to what has been achieved.

It is understood that the Government set their face against a national strategy because they consider that regeneration should be a matter for determination at the local level, and their role is to provide the means for local communities to do this. From what the noble Lord, Lord Storey, said, I think he would agree with that approach. We support a true localist agenda, but it does not have to be inconsistent with a national strategy. We can support many of the individual tools, flexibilities, options and powers that are being provided to local communities, although some of them are as yet untested. We will be spending time over the next few weeks examining whether the business rate retention scheme, as proposed, is an effective incentive for local authorities to promote growth. Tax increment finance is something that we have supported, although the Treasury looks to be restricting local freedoms in this regard for TIF 2. We have supported enterprise zones.

As we have heard, local leadership is vital, although the Government seem to have misread the mood in major cities in equating this with directly elected mayors. I do not think that that is a point that the noble Lord, Lord King, would necessarily agree with; he would see it as a missed opportunity.

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The general power of competence for councils and the prospect of a transfer of public functions to major cities is also something that we have supported through the Localism Act. We have a shared aim of encouraging powerful and innovative cities to lead their areas. It is early days for the new planning system. Whatever the challenges, at least the regional spatial strategies provided a strategic setting. It remains very difficult to see that the duty to co-operate is a sufficiently robust alternative when it comes to those sensitive but sometimes vital planning decisions.

Anyone who has got close to regeneration projects will know of—we have heard about it this evening—the importance of community support and engagement, and the need for capacity-building. Therefore, we support the Government in continuing to seek to put the community and community groups at the heart of regeneration. This is nothing new. However, the ability of communities to respond is clearly being hampered by cuts to regeneration funding and the savage cuts to local authority budgets. The Select Committee report mentions that many of the community groups most closely involved in regeneration are uncertain about their future.

Funding will always be difficult, but it has been the speed of withdrawal that has created special problems. We have seen the demise of RDAs and the termination of the working neighbourhoods fund and the local enterprise growth initiative. It is acknowledged that there are new funding streams, but the Select Committee suggests that these—the new homes bonus, the regional growth fund and the investment in rail—are perhaps not focused primarily on regeneration.

There is concern that, by concentrating on growth and the provision of levers to facilitate this, the Government are skewing the regeneration effort and not doing enough to tackle the broader and multifaceted issues that comprise deprivation—issues that affect the north-west, east London and, indeed, all parts of the UK. Notwithstanding their commitment to localism, they should produce a national regeneration strategy that encompasses the broader issues of health inequalities, skills gaps, the prevalence of crime, worklessness and poor housing: a strategy that shares the benefits of community engagement, partnership working, local leadership and working with the private sector—indeed, a proper strategy for regeneration.

8.47 pm

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): My Lords, I expected this to be a well informed and interesting debate. If I may say so, it is an unusual debate for this House, and it is one that perhaps we ought to repeat more frequently. I thank the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, for having generated it. I acknowledge immediately, as many others have done, that it is his own role, particularly in the East End of London, and his own experience that make him such a powerful voice in these areas. I also thank all other noble Lords who have taken part in the debate.

Although the speeches have concentrated mainly, as one would expect, on the north-west of England and on east London, the question was: what are the

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Government going to do about the co-ordination of regeneration? The question of the national strategy crops up immediately. The reason why we are not interested in a national strategy is that it imposes a one-size-fits-all concept. What we need to do is make sure that the levers and mechanisms are in place to ensure that a strategy can be localised. I want to spend a few minutes saying what the Government have done over the past few years to lay the groundwork for regeneration and to provide the catalysts.

Twenty-four planned enterprise zones have been set up and they are already engaged in supporting business growth and creating jobs. Noble Lords have mentioned the importance of skills and training and that will be part of enterprise zones. I totally agree that skills and training are vital to the future of commerce and local areas. The enterprise zones employ special business rates. Local enterprise partnerships, mentioned by the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Birmingham and the noble Lord, Lord McKenzie, are beginning to work very well. As always with new things, some will do better than others, but many enterprise partnerships are now fully engaged with local authorities, businesses and civic leaders across the country and they are involving their local communities. I want to emphasise this all the time. Regeneration is about local and local people, communities, businesses and authorities need to be taking the initiative in what has to be done while having the background to be able to do it.

We are supporting small businesses by cutting bureaucracy and addressing their challenges. We are supporting housing regeneration with a commitment to bringing empty homes back into productive use. We are still investing over £6.5 billion in housing, including over £2 billion to make existing social homes decent, and we are continuing with the programme of investment through the European regional development fund. More than 45,000 jobs have been created or safeguarded and nearly 10,000 businesses have been created already. So there is plenty for people to build on and I want to reassure noble Lords that the Government are fully committed to regeneration and see it as essential, both in city areas and, as the noble Lord, Lord Greaves, said, in rural areas, which in many ways often need as much help as the city areas.

However, the Government do not believe that they should dictate to local authorities. One of the things that has gone wrong in the past is that it is all being done on top of them. We want to make certain that local authorities and local enterprise partnerships know what their community wants and needs and then that they have the tools to deal with it. We do not want to plan and prescribe but we do want to help local people to get things done. It would be fair to say that in the north-west and in east London there has been and is really strong leadership. I have had the pleasure of going up to the north-west to Manchester, Sheffield and Liverpool within the past year or so and I am astounded at the progress that has been made there and the changes that have come about. Some of that has been to do with European funds, some has been to do with government funds and a whole lot has been to do with the leadership that has made sure that those local areas are put to rights, replacing the industries that have gone and starting to look to the future.

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There is an extraordinary scale of regeneration taking place, particularly in the north-west and the Olympic area. In both the areas being discussed today a large part of what has happened has been based on sport. Manchester hosted the Commonwealth Games 10 years ago and east London, of course, is doing the Olympics now. In east London the Government have made significant long-term investment and are supporting a transport infrastructure as well as the developments delivered by the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation and all the other developments. My noble friend Lord King rightly drew attention to the fact that all this started with the noble Lord, Lord Heseltine, and the noble Lord, Lord King, himself. They were great visionaries determined to see things change. That again was the catalyst.

The Olympic host borough unit is a good example of how joint working between boroughs and agencies can bring about change. It is developing a concerted plan to tackle the long-standing deprivation in the boroughs affected, especially raising the skills and education of local people, and the long-term worklessness that has blighted families for too long. I think that proper attention was given to the mayor of Newham who has been very instrumental in what is going on.

The challenge on convergence and the idea that within 20 years communities that host the 2012 Olympic Games will have the same social and economic chances as their neighbours across London is embedded within the strategic regeneration framework. There is a clear action plan to achieve this. It distils an existing set of strategies created by local agencies and the Government into a coherent common agenda to get local residents into jobs and to extend their life expectancy. It is not an ethereal concept as working towards convergence has brought about tangible success stories—not just the schools, health centre and multi-million pound retail centre within the park but the regeneration of Stratford High Street, to which the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, referred, the improvements to the public realm, and the development at Strand East. Convergence is demanding but not easy to achieve.

The handing over of the Olympic park is another example of how the Government have helped facilitate an alliance between the mayor and the Olympic host boroughs, enabling him to set up the London Legacy Development Corporation. That will be the carry on after the Olympics and it is really important that the legacy of the LLDC does its job. We will all have to ensure that it does—as I am sure it will. It is under the eye of the mayor now and it will be very much in his interests that it is satisfactorily completed.

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Turning to the comments of the noble Baroness, Lady Hughes, about the north-west, I think that I said how impressed I was by what has been going on there. She asked a couple of specific questions, one of which was about broadband. I am fumbling around with too many bits of paper here. I cannot give the exact position on broadband but the European regional development fund has recently been opened up and the north-west is one of the areas that will benefit in terms of broadband. I am not certain when it will start but I will let the noble Baroness know. Money is available for that and it should come round in the not too distant future. There is not only Manchester; there is the Sheffield enterprise zone. The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Birmingham referred to Liverpool and other places and the regional development areas there. The noble Lord, Lord Storey, painted a brilliant picture of Liverpool and what has happened to it. It has one of the finest marine areas which is becoming such a success story. I am not in the least pessimistic about what is going on. In fact, I am enormously encouraged because not only is regeneration being galvanised but it will carry on because local people will want to ensure that their particular areas are improved.

I have about a minute and a half so I shall quickly deal with issues raised. The noble Lord, Lord Mawson, asked who is responsible when the Games end. Of course, that is the Mayor of London. It will be entirely within his remit and the new London Legacy Development Corporation particularly. On the issue of international trains not stopping at Stratford, we know there is an aspiration that they should, but a decision to do so is clearly a business case. If that is made out, I hope that one or two will stop there. There are lots of aspirations for Thames crossings and I am sure we will all be sitting on the cable car to make sure that we can get from one place to another.