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Lord Lea of Crondall: I am getting on with it. My question stands. I remind noble Lords that I am David Cameron at the moment and I shall continue with my speech.

“It is healthy to ask why we are in the EU. To be geographically precise, are we in Europe as seen from Peking? Of course we are. Are we in Europe as seen from Washington? Of course we are. If we were not, would Washington still look at a place called Europe as a great power in the world? Of course it would. The only thing is that we would not be there and we would be diminished. Therefore, this is the right place to be, but we have not been doing a very good job in answering that question recently, with the honourable exception of the speech given a month ago by Ed Miliband.

“People have suggested recently that Europe was somehow part of the cause of the financial crisis in 2008. That crisis has certainly spread around the world, including throughout Europe. It started off with Lehman Brothers in New York and London, but it is not the reason for the current crisis. We want the eurozone to succeed. If it does not, the penalties for Britain will be very heavy. We want to ensure that there is greater accountability in relation to EU spending, although I have to point out that the UK economy as a whole is a net beneficiary.

“I take this opportunity to remind some of my young Turks in smart City suits who have rural seats that I do not hear much talk of repatriating the common agricultural policy; nor do I hear much talk about which of the 10 measures under the Social Chapter are going to be candidates for repeal, because I now realise that they are there to stay. One of the central reasons for this and other questions is based on the proposition that we cannot cherry-pick the acquis. This is the fallacy of many of the speeches that people have attempted to put into the Conservative newspapers to keep some sort of coherence in Conservative policy when coherence there is none.

“Why has Angela Merkel put so much political capital into the euro? She has done so because it is in Germany’s national interest but it is also in Europe’s interest. None of the existential doubt in Britain”—and I take the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Hannay, about the two overlapping existential doubts—“is based on anything other than two different types of mirage. If we are not careful, we will be back to the economic nationalism of the 1930s. We have, today, a worse recession than we had in the 1930s if one looks at the statistics”—my noble friend Lord Eatwell pointed this out in this House only a few days ago. “Speaking of the 1930s, I ask where exactly we want to see German military strength fitting into the European picture over the next 30 to 50 years. The answer is, surely, what one might call Foreign Office rule number 1 as applies to the EU: ‘If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em’; or, to use the vernacular, ‘It’s better to be inside the tent looking out than outside the tent looking in’.

“Nevertheless, to read the Telegraph, the Express, the Daily Mail and the Murdoch press, anyone would think that we had more influence in the world and played a more leading economic role outside than we do. However, these are simply the dying flailings of the

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dinosaur’s tail of the insular world of the British press, which simply thinks that those beyond Calais cannot speak English and are therefore not for consideration.

“This leads to my final point about the problem of public opinion. Public opinion must be reached by intermediation—the media is short for intermediation. The media are 100% Anglo-American, English-speaking-only publishers. They do not have commercial interest in the success of the continent, and they do not want Europe to succeed. They are vitriolic towards Europe and want to keep the special relationship with the United States. However, if they think that, in the case of a Europe of a successful 28 without Britain in it, the United States would have a special relationship with Britain, all I can say is, ‘Your name must be Rip Van Winkle’. That, I say to my fellow friends in the Conservative Party, is the truth, and I ask you to reflect upon it.”

8.52 pm

Lord Alderdice: My Lords, in addressing the terms of the Motion to take note of recent developments in the European Union, the noble Lord, Lord Hannay, rightly pointed out that the difficulties on this question are not confined to the United Kingdom. Throughout Europe there are anxieties and concerns, and very substantial economic, social and political difficulties. Therefore, some of the difficulties that we have on this question are our own, and some we share with others throughout the European Union and beyond.

My noble friend Lord Maclennan of Roggart referred to Derick Heathcoat-Amory’s quotation about the European Union—or in those days the EEC—being a political decision with economic consequences. The noble Lord, Lord Judd, went a bit further, in a sense. He pointed out that, symbolically, the European Coal and Steel Community developed from France, Germany and others taking coal and steel—the very things that we had used to make weapons with which we destroyed each other’s lives—and turning them from a basis for conflict into an instrument of co-operation. Put more crudely, after two wars in a relatively short period, the European project was an attempt to address the German problem, not just from the point of view of France but from that of many German people who were themselves concerned about what would happen if there was another awful conflagration in Europe.

For a subsequent generation of people—my generation—the European project was a great inspiration. For a young, liberally minded man growing up in Northern Ireland and seeing the results of narrow and dangerous nationalisms on both sides of my community, there was the possibility of a new vision. Instead of arguing about a United Kingdom against a united Ireland, we could see ourselves in a united Europe—a Europe of the regions where we could work together. Essentially, this was to be a Europe where regional diversity and difference was recognised, valued and appreciated—and democratised by holding the Council and Commission to account through a directly elected European Parliament.

However, nationalism is a tough old bird. Monnet and Schuman knew that from the start. That is why, in the construction of the High Authority and subsequently

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the European Commission, they created a kind of civil service with vastly more power than any civil service would have in a nation state. They perceived, probably accurately, that under the pressure of populist nationalism that had so defaced Europe, it was likely that the European project would not get very far because each country would fight for its own national interest rather than for shared requirements. This may have been extremely important in the development of the European project—the Community and subsequently the European Union—but it tended to move us away from a Europe of the regions with all its diversity and co-operation across boundaries.

The Europe that developed tended to be a much more socialist than liberal, with a lot more centralisation and harmonisation, with currency union, cohesion and solidarity funds. These are perfectly good and proper things, but they began to be seen by many of our people as something that was centralising and distant from them. Even the establishment of a directly elected European Parliament did not address the perceived democratic deficit. Apart from in Northern Ireland, where the three MEPs are particularly well known largely because of their non-European Parliament activities, MEPs in the United Kingdom do not have the kind of profile that enables local constituents to feel that they can identify with their Member. Those of us who are pro-European have to acknowledge that we have failed to develop a European identity that is powerful enough to inspire people and draw them away from narrow nationalism.

There were other reasons. Our Civil Service here in Westminster tends to gold-plate everything. Everything has to be done with a particular enthusiasm and vigour. If we turn away from our old friends—as we foolishly did—we do so with an alacrity and completeness that does not characterise the French in their dealings with their old friends: quite the contrary. This was not a European requirement but the way we tended to do things. I mentioned this to a friend who said, “You are talking about having your cake and eating it”. I said, “What’s wrong with that?”. I am coming at this from an Irish perspective. As the noble Lord, Lord Empey, will recall, we often used to remark that when our friends from England came over, they seemed to play by the rules of cricket. Nobody in our part of the world does that; they are more likely to play Gaelic. I might add that not many people play cricket in the rest of Europe, either. Perhaps there was an unwiseness about the way some of the directives and approaches were carried through.

It is clear, too, that there was a strong decision against a Europe of the regions and in favour of a Europe of nation states. As if to emphasise that, when it came to the appointment of the President and High Representative for Foreign Affairs—two delightful people, Mr Van Rompuy and the noble Baroness, Lady Ashton—there was a general perception that the Heads of Government in Europe did not want to appoint people who would be too powerful or striking, or who would take away to Europe the platform that they believed they were creating globally, as politicians who had only a national mandate, often from relatively small states.

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These arguments for the European Union have not necessarily struck a chord with European citizens—our fellow citizens. The war now seems a long time ago to people of my generation and those much younger than me, as distinct from many noble Lords in this House. They do not fear a war. They should, but they do not; it is the way of human nature, that when things go into the past they are forgotten about. The wish for Europe to rival China and the United States, to take its place in the world and so on is absolutely an ambition of politicians at a senior level, but it is not something that ordinary people, particularly people of this generation, are very interested in. They see a much more networked world, and not one where they particularly approve of that kind of power-broking.

Of course, Europe as an economic matter is very much appreciated. That is why many other countries want to join. They do not want to join to prevent a war in Europe, or for the reasons that the noble Lord, Lord Owen, stated, although he is absolutely right that this would be a way of copper-fastening peace in the Balkans, as elsewhere. However, many of the people themselves see this as an opportunity to do well economically out of Europe, particularly with the Germans paying for it. I am not sure that that is necessarily something that inspires, builds and develops a European identity.

Tragically, the debate has become polarised. We see it here today, where those who are for Europe speak as though everything in Europe must be adopted and moved ahead with more and more enthusiasm, whether or not the people want it. Those who are against are fervently against, without an appreciation that the nationalism that they are beginning to espouse was exactly the thing that took Europe into a terrible place for which many British soldiers, men and women, died in the previous century, in order to escape from it.

I was a little warmed by hearing the noble Lords, Lord Owen, Lord Tugendhat and Lord Howell of Guildford, talking about moving forward into Europe with enthusiasm. They are not for making some of the mistakes of the past, and certainly not with the rigidities of the past. Neither do they wish to pull back from it, but to develop a European Union with the kind of constitutional creativity, flexibility and imagination that has characterised this country. It has taken people from four separate jurisdictions and brought them into a United Kingdom where they work together. We have something to contribute from that British experience, and we should not be frightened by taking the opportunity to do so positively in Europe.

9.02 pm

Lord Stoddart of Swindon: My Lords, this was supposed to be one debate, but of course it is three debates in one; three important debates, which should have been held separately. I will deal with each one of them seriatim.

First, I will say a few words about the accession of Croatia. I have nothing against Croatia at all. I am sure that, as has been described by a number of noble Lords, it is an excellent country. However, I do not want any further expansion of the European Union,

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and therefore Croatia is not welcome in the European Union. I say that because it is not clear where we are going.

Let us look at the list of countries, which I do not believe is exhaustive. How many more are to come in? In the line to come in—at some time or other—are Turkey, Ukraine, Serbia, Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro and Bosnia. Some of them have very high populations. The French, of course, are never satisfied. They want north African countries to come in as well.

Lord Anderson of Swansea: No.

Lord Stoddart of Swindon: The noble Lord shakes his head, but the former President of France specifically said that he would like to see north African countries in the European Union. France, therefore, would like these countries to join the European Union.

If you have all these countries in the Union, what does it mean? If you take Turkey and Ukraine together, by the time they come in, that is about 140 million extra people. By the time we have finished with all of them there will be 700 million people. If experience is anything to go by, the larger the EU becomes, the more centralised and authoritarian it becomes. For those reasons, I am opposed to any further expansion.

Every entrant into the EU reduces the existing countries’ influence, including of course our own. We must also remember that the rules of the European Union mean that sometime or other after these countries join the European Union they have the right of entry into this country to work and settle. So there are difficult problems about building ever more countries into the European Union. I used to talk about a country called Europe. Now we seem to be talking about an empire called Europe. In the end, it will not do Europe any good.

The second point is about the Commission membership. I can hardly oppose what is proposed. When we were debating the Lisbon treaty, some of us, including the noble Lords, Lord Pearson and Lord Willoughby de Broke, said that it was right that every country should have its own Commissioner. But we were told that as Europe got larger, they could not have each have a Commissioner because it would be too difficult to run the whole thing with so many Commissioners. I can hardly be against that. I welcome the fact that the Irish are to have their own Commissioner and other countries as well.

Then we come to developments in the EU, which is the third part of this debate. Of course, there have been so many developments in the European Union since we last had a debate that it is difficult to sort them out. I have done my best. I start with the eurozone. It is still in acute financial trouble, as we have already heard. There are problems in most of the countries of the eurozone. We have heard that unemployment in Spain and Greece is more than 25%. There has been rioting in the streets. Teargas has been hurled at demonstrators and some of them have been injured by police violence. There is hatred among some of the countries, particularly between Greece and Germany. That is not supposed to happen in the European Union. We are all supposed to be jolly friends together. But what has happened in the eurozone is pushing the

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European Union apart. According to Eurostat on 3 December, 24.5% of EU citizens are at risk of poverty or social exclusion and that figure is increasing. What do those people who are in favour of expanding this organisation and keeping it going make of that?

When we went into the Common Market, we were promised that this was a great leap forward and that this was the organisation to be in. Britain would thrive and prosper inside it and so would every other country. Instead of that, the reverse is happening. Those of those who warned against ditching the pound and not adopting the euro were insulted by those, like Mr Blair, who led the campaign to ditch the pound. Mr Blair now thinks that people like myself are a virus because we happen to take a different point of view from him about the future of this country. He is the man who said before the 1997 election that he was a British patriot and then went on to sign the Lisbon treaty, got rid of many of our freedoms, and sacrificed part of our rebate. I had to say that because I resent having been insulted in that way by that particular person.

Then we have Frau Merkel telling us that outside Europe Union the United Kingdom will be alone. How insensitive can you get? I am of an age when I can remember being alone in 1940 and Frau Merkel seems to have forgotten about that. She also seems to have forgotten that there is a Commonwealth and Britain is part of that Commonwealth and one of its leaders. She was backed in all of that by Herr Schäuble, the German finance minister, who also believes that Britain could not exist outside the European Union.

Nearer to home, our own Prime Minister says he wishes to remain in the EU and once again he cites Norway to make his point. The United Kingdom has a population of 62 million. Norway has a population of 5 million. There is no comparison at all. Let us have a look at Norway. I mentioned some of Norway’s benefits in a previous debate. Let us look at Norway in other ways. It has the second highest GDP per capita in the world—in the world, not in the EU. It is the second wealthiest country in the world in monetary value and has the largest capital reserve per capita in the world.

Lord Lea of Crondall: I thank the noble Lord, Lord Stoddart, for giving way as I gave way a couple of times to him. Is he not aware, as it has been pointed out to him on more than one occasion, that oil and gas represent 22% of Norwegian GDP and 67% of Norwegian exports and that is the heart of the reason why Norway is so successful. Does he not accept that?

Lord Stoddart of Swindon: I understand all that. When I was a member of the Energy Select Committee in the House of Commons, we recommended that the then Government should do exactly the same as Norway. It is a pity they did not, because we would be very much better off now. That is the answer to the noble Lord. I understand all of these things. I have been around a long time.

The fact of the matter is that the Prime Minister says that Norway trades with the single market but has no say in the making of the rules and regulations.

Lord Anderson of Swansea: He is absolutely right.

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Lord Stoddart of Swindon: I am not at all sure that that is right. I had an Answer to a Question on 14 December, which is not long ago. The Question I asked was:

“To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Statement by Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint on 6 December (WS 76-7) on the European Union Foreign Affairs Council, whether the outcome of the negotiations with Japan, Canada, Singapore and Morocco will require those countries to adopt all the legislation and regulations that apply to countries in the single market”.

This is the Answer:

“It is not the case that as a result of these trade negotiations the countries concerned will have to adopt all the legislation and regulations that apply to EU member states.

The aim of these negotiations is to eliminate, as far as possible, duties applied to trade in goods and to address non-tariff barriers that affect trade in goods in services—ie rules, regulations and practices that affect market access”.—[Official Report, 14/12/12; col. WA 263]

Lord Anderson of Swansea: What about Norway?

Lord Stoddart of Swindon: The noble Lord asks about Norway. I am talking about that country. If Norway accepts the regulations that it is up it. The point I am making—

Lord Anderson of Swansea: It has to.

Lord Stoddart of Swindon: No, that is exactly the point I am making. The Answer says that countries that trade with the single market do not have to accept all its regulations. It is here in black and white.

Lord Anderson of Swansea: With respect, that is not what the Answer says. Certain countries reached a certain deal with the European Union. By contrast, Norway has a very different arrangement and if the noble Lord were to look at the recent report by the professor who gave an audit of the Norwegian relationship with the European Union, he would see that the conclusion is very firmly that it is integration into the European Union without any form of representation.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: My Lords, this speech is just approaching 15 minutes, which is considerably longer even than the opening speech. It is rather late and I would ask the noble Lord to be brief.

Lord Stoddart of Swindon: I will just answer the question that was put. Of course I accept what the noble Lord says about Norway. However, that was something for Norway. I am saying that, if you do not want to and do not make an agreement, you do not have to accept every regulation and dictate of the European Union to trade with it. I will finish on that point because I got my 15 minutes.

9.18 pm

Baroness Quin: My Lords, in following the noble Lord I pay tribute to his persistence and consistency, even though my remarks will not agree with the line that he has taken. It is difficult speaking at the end of a debate such as this as those arguments that I foolishly hoped would be most telling in my own contribution have already been made very effectively. A little like my noble friend Lord Davies of Stamford, I shall try

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to pick up some of the points that have been made during the debate rather than make the speech that I had originally intended.

I would like, as the vast majority of Members have done, to welcome the accession of Croatia. I applaud the arrangements that have been put in place to reinforce the progress that has been made in Croatia and the transitional arrangements that the Minister explained from the outset. I noted that in the debate in the other place some fairly well known Eurosceptic voices spoke against Croatia’s accession. I think only the noble Lord, Lord Stoddart, has done so in this House. I certainly remember those same people speaking against previous enlargements in previous debates. For example, when I was European spokesperson for the Opposition in the 1990s, rather to my surprise, they expressed scepticism about enlargement to Sweden, Finland and Austria. I think the nub of it was that they disliked the EU so much that they simply could not understand anyone wanting to join, despite the fact that a large number of countries have in fact joined.

We should trumpet the fact that enlargement has been a resounding success in many ways. People have pointed to the underpinning and the entrenching of democracy, which the process has involved in these countries, and that is very important. However, it is not just a question of having free and fair elections. It is also about respecting human rights and minority rights, and that has been an important success story in the countries that have joined the EU, as has the economic performance of many of the countries that have joined in recent years. Poland, in particular, has had a lot of economic success. All those countries now see their future very firmly within the EU, not because they want to be dictated to by Brussels but because they have entered into it freely and they believe that it is very much in their interests.

In this debate much reference has been made to the Government’s policy on Europe. I am still somewhat confused about their intentions regarding a referendum. Different Ministers seem to have said different things, and certainly there are different views on this within the parties that form the coalition. I do not like referendums at all. I certainly do not like the way in which they have been introduced into our system without much thought about the long-term consequences of what they mean for our constitution. However, if we are to have a referendum, I hope that the terms of the debate will be much more informed than they have been up to the present time.

I would like to look briefly at three myths that I think are very unhelpful in terms of the current debate. The first myth, which one or two Members touched on, is that it is widely claimed these days on television, on radio and in the newspapers that we simply joined a free trade area back in the 1970s. This, of course, is not true. We were already members of a free trade association—EFTA—and it was very clear from the debates at the time, particularly when you looked at what was in the Treaty of Rome, that we were talking about a very different animal when we talked about joining the then EEC. The fact that this argument is still being put forward is very misleading. Indeed, I have heard it so often lately that I thought perhaps my

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memory was playing tricks on me. As I am a bit of a glutton for punishment, I looked at some of the debates held around the time of our entry, particularly in October 1971. I reread a speech by the noble Lord, Lord Stoddart of Swindon, at that time, when he was a Member of the other place. The arguments were full of references to sovereignty and the integrationist aims that were in some of the treaties at that time. So we should not rewrite history in this way.

The second myth concerns social policy. The current Government seem to see social policy as some sort of new add-on that is not really part of Britain in the European project, yet social policy was part even of the European Coal and Steel Community treaty. Measures were there to help redundant coal and steel workers to retrain. There were also social measures to help in those particular areas of the EU. I very much endorse what my noble friends Lord Liddle and Lord Monks said about social policy.

The third myth, which is very prevalent in the press, is seeing the EU simply as a battleground all the time, mostly with Britain on one side and everybody else on the other. Indeed, in the run-up to this particular summit, which seems to have been a fairly constructive one, newspapers were saying, “This is going to be a bruising bust-up”, and “If you think the EU is about hot air and rows, you ain’t seen nothing yet”. As so often happens, these predictions turned out to be false. Those of us who have attended European Council of Ministers’ meetings on various subjects know that votes are rarely taken and normally consensus is reached without much difficulty, even in an EU of 27 countries.

I listened with great interest to the speeches of the noble Lords, Lord Tugendhat, Lord Owen, and Lord Howell of Guildford. They seemed to be proposing a new way forward. However, what they said begged a number of questions. They talked very firmly about the internal market, and I agree with them about the importance of that. However, big question marks remained about whether we were still going to be part of EU environmental policy, which has had many successes; and what we would do about all the different aspects of social policy and the benefits, actual and potential, of justice and home affairs co-operation, which were referred to in a speech with which I very much agreed and which can be a real gain for all of us in the EU. I was not really clear about what the way forward was on that.

Last week, I attended a conference in the north-east of England looking at the effects of the financial crisis on the real economy and on the regions. I was struck by how many business interests there, including small businesses, were worried that a referendum on Europe, at a time of economic difficulty, would simply create further uncertainty for them in the day-to-day work of trying to grow their businesses and access European and world markets. I urge the Government to consult them rather than be distracted by short-term, probably short-lived, political considerations.

9.26 pm

Baroness Warsi: My Lords, I am grateful to all those who have spoken in this debate and have applied their learning and expertise to the issues that have been discussed. I thank the noble Lord, Lord Liddle,

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for his indication that the Front Bench opposite do not intend to table amendments in Committee or on Report.

We have heard today a wide range of views on the European Union and the UK’s place in it. Perhaps I may briefly remind the House of the matters that we are here to debate. Two Bills have been put before the House for its consideration. First, the European Union (Croatian Accession and Irish Protocol) Bill will pave the way for the UK to approve Croatia’s accession and to apply transitional migration controls to protect the UK labour market once Croatia joins the EU. The Bill also provides for parliamentary approval of a protocol on the concerns of the Irish people in relation to the Lisbon treaty. The second Bill, the European Union (Approvals) Bill, gives parliamentary approval for the Government to agree to three draft decisions which I outlined in my opening statements.

Noble Lords have also had the opportunity to debate the wider EU context in which these Bills are presented to the House. In my opening speech, I briefly set out the Government’s views on Europe. We are keen to make the best of those benefits that membership of the EU brings, but we also take a pragmatic approach to our relationship with the EU, focusing on what works best for the UK. It is clear from the contributions made to the debate today that there are many different views of what would work best for the UK.

The UK’s isolation and/or its inability to renegotiate were raised by the noble Lords, Lord Maclennan, Lord Judd, Lord Kerr, Lord Anderson, Lord Hannay and Lord Owen. We remain an active participant in many EU negotiations. We are central to the debate on competitiveness, the single market and trade. We lead on taking tough action on foreign policy issues such as Syria and have formed lasting alliances on the EU budget. Of course we are not central to the debate on the eurozone, but we will play a role to ensure that the interests of the UK rather than just those of euro countries are represented.

My noble friend Lord Renton made a very positive Conservative contribution, for which I thank him, as did my noble friend Lord Jopling. Fifty-five years ago may have been the first time that the Conservatives talked about Europe at party conference, but I think that he will agree that we have certainly made up for it since.

The noble Lord, Lord Monks, asked what we were opting out of. It is a question that requires detailed consideration and it is why we are having the balance of competences review. That review is high-level and will look at the impact of nearly 40 years of EU membership on people in the UK. It will finish in 2014 and is currently on schedule. The calls for evidence for Semester 1 reports have been published and will be open for 12 weeks. The review will look at the scope of the EU’s competences as they affect the UK, how they are used and what that means for Britain and our national interest. I hear the concerns expressed by the noble Earl, Lord Sandwich, but the aim is to deepen public understanding of the nature of our EU membership and provide a constructive contribution to the wider European debate about modernising, reforming and

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improving the EU, a point made by my noble friend Lord Maclennan. It is not a consultation about in or out. There is no question of the UK disengaging or withdrawing from the EU as a result of this exercise, nor will it cover alternative models, like the Swiss model.

I welcome the strong support for Croatian accession from the noble Lord, Lord Grenfell, my noble friend Lord Risby and many other noble Lords. I agree about the importance of some of the issues that they raised. On war crimes, for example, the Commission’s report notes that during the monitoring period 87 war crimes cases were transferred to the specialist tribunals, and the strategy for addressing impunity has started. A new list of national and regional priorities in prosecuting war crimes was adopted by the Croatian Government in September. However I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Grenfell, and the Commission that an intensified effort is needed.

I thank the noble Lord, Lord Williamson of Horton, for reminding us of the long list of practical, everyday good that the EU brings to the UK and that it is about more than businesses, bankers and summit meetings. The noble Lord, Lord Empey, raised the important issue of transitional arrangements and immigration. This Government are clear and confident in addressing, planning, preparing and responding to the challenges that uncontrolled immigration can present. I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Grenfell, for injecting a reality check into the potential immigration impact of Croatia’s accession. The noble Lord, Lord Davies, asked how long the transitional immigration controls would be applied for. The maximum is seven years. After the first two years, member states can extend transitional arrangements for a further five. After that, member states can extend for a further two years if there is a threat to the labour market. After seven years, there are no longer any legal powers to maintain transitional arrangements. We intend to apply for the first five years, then review for a further two if appropriate.

My noble friend Lord Roper raised important points about the future format of the EU, as did my noble friend Lord Tugendhat, whose helpful contribution I appreciate. We support a multifaceted EU where member states with a range of different interests and needs can work together in informal groupings, such as the Like Minded Group or a more formal group—for example, the Schengen countries. My noble friend Lady Falkner outlined this approach and, quite rightly, warned of unworkable options. Multiple forms of EU membership already exist and different parts of Europe co-operate in different ways. It is in both EU and UK interests that the EU has the flexibility of a network, not the rigidity of a bloc. The EU is not, and should not, become a matter of everything or nothing. My noble friend Lord Howell of Guildford made that point eloquently when he spoke about Europe’s single core increasingly not working and how a detailed differentiation can work and will ultimately give it more legitimacy. I thank him for his contribution.

The noble Lord, Lord Liddle, spoke passionately about a number of issues. He asked about the Government’s plan on the JHA opt-out, as did my noble friend Lord Taverne. The Government have

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committed to a vote in both Houses before we make a decision on the opt-out. We are currently consulting the relevant committees about arranging these votes. Today’s debate will inform that debate. The principle of an opt-out was negotiated by the previous Government. We must decide by 31 May 2014 whether to accept the European Court of Justice jurisdiction over those EU measures in this area adopted before 1 December 2009. As I said earlier, there will be a vote in both Houses before a formal decision is made. I sense from his passionate contribution that the noble Lord, Lord Liddle, was making a case for joining the euro, more European bureaucracy and not acting in the best interests of the UK. I disagree with all three of those points.

The noble Lord, Lord Giddens, made a strong case in relation to the UK economy and that of the eurozone countries. Unfortunately, I cannot trade statistics with the noble Lord, but the Government do not underestimate the economic challenges that we currently face. We inherited an economic situation that no one would envy, but we are on the right path with low and falling unemployment levels and low interest rates. However, it is in our interests that the eurozone resolves its difficulties, and this will be a factor in our future growth. That is probably the kind of answer that the noble Lord did not want, but if I find the necessary statistics to trade with him then I will write to him.

The noble Lord, Lord Jopling, warned about the fast-tracking of the accession of Serbia, Kosovo and Bosnia. I agree with the emphasis on the rigorous implementation of conditionality and on the importance of the process of EU accession negotiations as a key factor in promoting stability and putting the bloodshed of the 1990s behind us. The UK will remain a strong supporter of enlargement but also of a strict conditions-based approach. The Foreign Secretary’s visit to Bosnia, Serbia and Kosovo in October gave a strong push to the political progress that is needed in all of those countries both on domestic reform and, crucially, on the key outstanding disputes between them. EU enlargement to those countries will not be quick but, as has been the case for Croatia, the rigour of the process should lead to fundamental changes.

I thank the noble Earl, Lord Sandwich, who was complimentary about the UK’s position in Croatian accession negotiations. The UK will remain one of enlargement’s strongest and most vocal supporters in both Brussels and the individual countries. The Government therefore disagree with the position taken by the noble Lord, Lord Stoddart, on Croatia.

The noble Lord, Lord McConnell, raised the need for a streamlined European Commission. The Government agree that we must continue to push for a more streamlined European Commission; we believe that efficiency savings can be made. However, in this case, it is important to meet commitments made to Ireland at the time of the Lisbon treaty and maintain one Commissioner per member state. This will also ensure that we maintain our seat at the table during negotiations about the next Commission.

The noble Lord, Lord Pearson, has always presented an alternative view—one that neither I nor most of the speakers in the debate could agree with. He wrote to

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me about a meeting but suggested that other people should attend it. I understand that my office has written back and offered an officials’ meeting with the people whom he suggested, but I am open to a one-to-one meeting with him. The noble Lord also spoke about the eurozone and whether putting an end to the euro would solve our current economic woes. We have been clear that uncertainty in the eurozone is damaging the global economy. The UK is not in the euro and this Government have no intention of joining. As such, we have been clear that it is up to the eurozone leaders to take the necessary steps. We will, however, fight to defend the single market and support eurozone members in their efforts.

The noble Lord, Lord Anderson, spoke about UK nationals being underrepresented in EU institutions. I understand the longstanding issue of the need for more UK nationals in key positions in these institutions. We are working to address this, looking both at preparing UK nationals for the application process and at raising awareness of the career opportunities of working for those institutions.

My noble friend Lord Dobbs made an important point about the growing democratic deficit. I agree with him to this extent: the EU must reform to be relevant to the lives of ordinary people in the European Union. I welcome the contribution of the noble Baroness, Lady Quin, especially in relation to accurate communication of the issues and debate. I know that she comes to this matter with great expertise.

The Government’s position is clear, and we will continue to adopt an active approach to working with other EU countries in the national interest. The time is right for us to look closely at the relationship that we have with the EU. Work is under way to do just that. In the mean time, the two Bills before this House will help to shape the future of the EU, each in its small way. Neither will have a significant impact on the UK but it is right that we debate them in this House, and they will deliver UK objectives and benefits to some of our allies in the EU. That is why the House should support the Bills. I beg to move.

Motion agreed.

European Union (Croatian Accession and Irish Protocol) Bill

Second Reading

9.38 pm

Moved by Baroness Warsi

That the Bill be read a second time.

Relevant documents: 10th Report from the Delegated Powers Committee.

Bill read a second time and committed to a Grand Committee.

European Union (Approvals) Bill [HL]

Second Reading


Moved By Baroness Warsi

That the Bill be read a second time.

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The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): My Lords, on behalf of my noble friend, Lord McNally, I beg to move that this Bill be read a second time and committed to a Grand Committee.

Bill read a second time and committed to Grand Committee.

Health: Active Lifestyles

Question for Short Debate

9.40 pm

Asked By Baroness Heyhoe Flint

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to highlight the impact on health and well-being of an active lifestyle.

Baroness Heyhoe Flint: My Lords, I feel a little like a night watchman in the middle of a timeless test. However, as a former PE teacher, sports journalist, ancient retired sportswoman and with both my parents being PE teachers, I know what a positive impact physical activity can have on our well-being.

The UK faces serious health challenges. Rising levels of sedentary behaviour put huge pressure on the NHS; obesity alone is estimated to cost the economy £8 billion a year. This is as much a problem of society, but with a co-ordinated effort by all government departments we can help to inspire a generation. Where have I heard that before?

Worryingly, the NHS 2011 national child measurement programme showed that one-fifth of children have obesity problems when they enter primary school and one-third are overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school. Levels of physical activity are steadily falling. Only one in 20 adults currently meets the Government’s recommendations of 150 minutes a week for adults and 60 minutes a day for children, according to the Chief Medical Officer’s report in 2011, Start Active, Stay Active. Sixty minutes a day for children is the health professional’s recommendation. Yet the Department for Education last year removed the statutory requirement of a minimum two hours a week of PE in schools, to be replaced by a voluntary statement; it expects schools to want to maintain two hours per week, which sounds a bit like a backward step to me.

The Sport and Recreation Alliance’s Game of Lifereport calculated that in just 10 seconds, the NHS in England spends more than £10,000 tackling life-threatening conditions—cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes—all of which, through regular physical activity, are largely preventable. An active lifestyle can also improve mental health. An individual who is regularly active is much less likely to develop dementia in old age, and dementia is estimated to cost the economy £23 billion every year.

The same SRA report shows that exercise can be as effective as anti-depressants for mild clinical depression and anxiety. There is a connection between depression and isolation, but taking up a recreational activity offers considerable social interactive benefits for the lonely. The Ramblers’ Association’s “Get Walking Keep

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Walking” scheme encourages non-active people to get together and take regular walks. After 12 weeks, 75% of participants reported that they felt far more active and wanted to continue being active.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence wants councils, schools and businesses to encourage more walking and cycling to improve the nation’s health. The average Briton is walking 80 miles less a year than a decade ago, states Nanette Mutrie, professor of sports psychology at Edinburgh University. Britain is facing a glut of inactivity.

From next April, local councils will be responsible for public health initiatives to ensure that they give walking and cycling a high priority. Physical activity for work forces can do wonders for productivity. The Cornish food company, Ginsters, may not be the first brand name we associate with a healthy lifestyle—and I promise not to mention the word “pasty” more than once—but it installed a fitness suite in its factory and employed a full-time co-ordinator to organise weekly activity sessions for staff with sports clubs and local authorities. The project led to a reduction in sickness, stress-related illness and accidents at work, and to a fall in staff turnover.

The Department of Health’s Start Active, Stay Active scheme, aimed at the NHS, local authorities, and voluntary organisations, is designed to promote physical activity. Can the Minister indicate whether the Start Active, Stay Active programme has been embraced and implemented by the targeted professionals?

I welcome Sport England’s recent announcement of £10.2 million funding for 44 new projects to help disabled people take up sport, as part of the inclusive sport fund. Of this grant, £731,000 will assist Age UK to create a programme of sports for older disabled adults. The 2012 Paralympics showcased wonderfully that sport is a must for people with disabilities, therefore all national governing bodies must strive to integrate able-bodied athletes with those with disabilities. The “Active Kids for All” scheme, funded by Sainsbury’s Paralympics legacy project, will invest £1 million to enable schoolteachers to integrate disabled children into mainstream PE and sport. Can the Minister assure us that the Government’s support for the inclusive sport provision is secure for the long term, and not just a one-off?

In announcing its youth sport strategy in January 2012, the DCMS laid down plans to help young people establish a sporting habit for life. Within this strategy, we urge the Government that primary schools as well as secondary schools must be included in the promotion of sport and physical activity. Logically, therefore, I suggest that the Department for Education should engage with the DCMS to implement the youth sport strategy. Primary school physical activity is not just team games. At my state junior school—last century—we played netball, rounders and football but also did badminton, swimming, tennis, and dancing, all from the age of six. I was also the self-styled captain of the conkers team.

Given the important role that schools play in introducing young people to sport, I welcome the Government’s commitment to maintaining physical education in the national curriculum yet, concerningly,

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PE is not included as one of the five core subjects in the new baccalaureate. The Amateur Swimming Association states that one in three children are leaving primary schools unable to swim and that four in 10 children get no swimming lessons at all, despite it being a compulsory part of the curriculum at key stage 2. Swimming provides good physical activity, helps to control weight and provides a gateway to other activities such as canoeing and sailing. Can the Minister therefore tell me what plans are in place to ensure that every primary schoolteacher receives adequate training in PE and aquatics? Will the Government urge Ofsted to include swimming and sports provision as part of school inspections?

The Government, recognising that there is a dramatic drop-off from sporting activities by school-leavers, have urged establishing closer links between secondary schools and sports clubs. This linkage is to be planned by DCMS and Sport England, with each national governing body signing up to deliver a school-to-club link. In an exemplary case study, the Cricket Foundation’s “Chance to Shine” project has, since 2005, linked 6,000-plus primary and secondary schools to more than 1,000 cricket clubs. Importantly, 52,500 schoolchildren have moved on to local cricket clubs. Is the Minister able to give an assurance that government plans for all 4,000 England secondary schools to link with a local sports club are making good progress?

Active ageing was vividly highlighted by last Friday’s excellent debate in this Chamber. Evidence tells us that elderly people with low activity levels have more than twice the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. The sport and recreation sector is working hard to engage with those of senior years. To give some examples, the British Masters Athletic Federation delivers opportunities for older people to compete in disciplines such as cross-country running, race walking and sprinting. The oldest participant to date in the seniors master games is 92 years of age, so there is hope for us all yet. The movement and dance organisation Extend specialises in providing recreational exercise to music for the over-60s; participants benefit from increased mobility, strength and co-ordination. It is a sort of “Strictly Come Dancing” for seniors, by the sound of it.

In other examples, Sport England funds the Bowls Development Alliance to drive participation for the over-65s and Age UK created the “Fit as a Fiddle” programme, which is backed by the Big Lottery Fund and highlights healthy eating, physical activity and mental well-being for the elderly.The Lawn Tennis Association’s foundation encourages adults to play tennis. It offers affordable fun, including cardio tennis, based on a fitness workout to music. Cardio tennis can burn more than 700 calories an hour, which sounds quite exhausting to me.

A structured, active lifestyle plan demands a national sports strategy, backed by the Government. The DCMS and the Department of Health already take the lead, then count in the Treasury to fund the strategy; the Department for Education to drive up the active hours of school PE and to ensure that teacher training includes a strong emphasis on physical education; the Department for Communities and Local Government to free up sports facilities under the local authority

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jurisdiction; and Defra to make available more recreational spaces. I could go on but the timeless test is running out.

Recently my noble friend Lord Moynihan, told members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Sport that we need to work hard to get better access, better teaching and better links so that every government department realises the importance of sport in offering lifestyle opportunities. I was disturbed to hear that the Cabinet sub-committee on public health has been disbanded. This disappointment is shared by the Faculty of Public Health and the British Medical Association. Can the Minister tell me what will replace it so that all government departments accept a responsibility to get the nation moving towards an active lifestyle?

With my noble friend Lord Coe named as the Government’s legacy ambassador, and on a day when Sport England announced the funding of £493 million over four years to boost participation for all, I feel the Cabinet Office is taking sport seriously. I am incredibly confident that, with my noble friend Lord Coe at the helm, something is bound to happen. I hope it is another of his made-in-Britain triumphs. However, we need the political will of all government departments to inspire a generation.

I wish noble Lords a very healthy Christmas and an extra-active new year.

9.51 pm

Baroness Massey of Darwen: My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Heyhoe-Flint, for securing this debate and for supporting it with such eloquence and commitment. I would much rather face her across the civilised Chamber of the House of Lords than across a cricket pitch. She is a splendid supporter of active lifestyles and was an outstanding president of the Lady Taverners, of whom I am also one. The Lady Taverners raises funds to provide equipment to encourage young disabled people to play cricket, basketball and many other sports—very much part of an active lifestyle.

Active lifestyles should begin at a young age and carry on into old age. I had the pleasure last week of hearing much of the debate in your Lordships’ House on older people. They were magnificent and inspirational speeches. I want to mention wise words from just two of the speakers. The most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury spoke of the importance of older people being participants in society, not passengers. My noble friend Lord Griffiths of Burry Port, in a very moving speech, spoke of maintaining a sense of selfhood in old age. There is good evidence that an active lifestyle can help to maintain dignity, a sense of self and participation in society. Active means active in all senses—physical and mental. It is a preventive measure; a protective factor in health.

There is popular book called 100 Simple Things You Can Do To Prevent Alzheimers by Jean Carper, an American. In chapter 15 the author advises us to “Be a busy body”. The more you move, the better you think. It is also true that the more you move, the better you move. I am not sure how conkers features here.

Thinking is part of an active, healthy lifestyle. Brains must be active too. I am very impressed by the University of the Third Age. It is wonderfully and proudly local and easy to get to in many communities.

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It offers a tremendous variety of activity including languages, history, flower arranging, craft and literature, as well as sport. I was somewhat surprised when my husband embarked on a study of


in a group. For older people to tackle one of the most difficult novels in the English language is surely designed to develop brain power to the extreme. I found it challenging at the age of 20.

The U3A provides an example of how to engage people in activity. It is promoted well, with enormous variety on offer, and is easily accessible by local communities. A three-year study reported recently in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry states that an active social life is important in maintaining physical and mental health. Exercise, good nutrition and not smoking are cited as having a beneficial impact on health in older people. These examples emphasise that not just physical health but mental and emotional health can be improved. Keeping the mind active, as well as the body, is important. Maintaining health and well-being is primarily of benefit to individuals but would also save millions, possibly even billions, when we consider the costs of care and drugs, particularly for older people. Sport England estimates that increasing physical activity could save about £3 billion a year in healthcare costs.

We are not, I think, surprised by such evidence. Reports from the four home countries’ Chief Medical Officers, the BMA and the Royal College of Physicians all point to the importance of the benefits of physical activity. Activity not only increases mobility, but can have an impact on a range of medical problems such as osteoporosis and diabetes.

I have some figures from the Sport England Active People survey. This indicates that there has been a growth in people doing sport at least once a week: 15.5 million; 750,000 more than a year ago. There has, not surprisingly, been an increase since the London 2012 Olympic Games. Participation by disabled people has also risen steadily since 2005, but still lags behind that for people who are not disabled. Sport England has announced a £10.2 million National Lottery initiative to encourage disabled people to take part in sport.

Sport England also wants to increase the number of young people between the ages of 16 and 25 taking part in physical activity. Progress has been made, but not enough. Surely getting children and young people to participate is the key to encouraging active lifestyles for life. Like the noble Baroness, Lady Heyhoe Flint, I worry about government policy for schools, not just for sport but for leisure activities such as music and drama. All this is relevant to being active. We all know many people who have, at school, discovered talents and interests in all kinds of creative arts and sport. I wonder, together with many others outside this Chamber, whether changes to the school curriculum, such as the EBacc, will remove opportunities for young people to develop their potential in being creative and engaging in physical activity, something that could influence and enhance their lifestyles for ever. That would be short-sighted. I look for reassurance from the Minister.

The Women’s Sports Network has concerns about the place of women in sport. I have just received an e-mail asking me to help encourage more coverage of

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women’s sport on TV. There is a terrible deficit here. At a recent meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Women’s Sport and Fitness, Clare Balding and Kathy Grainger issued a rallying call for more coverage of women’s sport in the media. Our sporting heroines, who will inspire more girls and young women to take part in sport than possibly anything else, are, in contrast to some of the men, poorly paid, and lacking sponsorship.

There is good news. National governing bodies of sport seem to be aware of the problem and are encouraging greater coverage for women. Apparently, 53.6% of adults say they would like to take part in more sport. So why do they not? I repeat my point that beginning to take part in sport and exercise at an early age is a good predictor of maintaining an interest in exercise. In particular, exercise such as Pilates, yoga and dance may encourage girls, women and older people to participate.

On the example of the University of the Third Age, the offering of activity must be local, cheap or free, and attractive. We need two things. First, there must be a national strategy—mentioned by the noble Baroness, Lady Heyhoe Flint—to encourage people from a very young age to a very old age to participate in physical and mental activity. The benefits are proven, the research is there. Secondly, people also need local policies and strategies which target their populations from an early age with campaigns, joining up opportunities for sporting activity in clubs and schools with the chance to participate in social and mental activities in groups. A readily accessible visible continuum of possibilities is needed. This would encourage active lifestyles, which would result in physical, mental, emotional and social benefits to society.

10 pm

Lord Addington: My Lords, this is one of those subjects where, whichever department answered for the Government, it would be the wrong one in regard to half of the points made. The Department of Health probably stands the best chance. Indeed, I would be in favour of the Department of Health covering sport. I say that because it is one of those subjects that touches every aspect of our lives. Whenever we talk about it, we always go round a little circuit. We talk about the DCMS because it is in charge of sport and the Department for Education because sport education should start early in schools. However, in my opinion schools are not that great at it. To be perfectly honest, I could have a nice 20-minute rant about how dreadful many of the examples of school sport are, but I will not do so tonight.

Let us take, for example, the football match from “Kes”. I am afraid this House is one of the few places that will understand the predicament of pupils who are frozen to death and disinterested, watching four or five players kicking each other and the ball in a small circle with the goalkeeper doing tricks as the ball sails past him. This is what most people experience at school. My sport, Rugby Union, has a worse reputation with those who are not interested. “Let’s cower and freeze to death on the wing while the big boys roll around in the mud”, is how someone described the experience to me.

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What do we do about this? No one department can deal with it. If the Department of Health takes a lead, it must decide whether it is encouraging a lifestyle or using sport as a treatment. Which is the driver? Encouraging it as a lifestyle would probably have far greater results. If we look at what has improved health quality in our society, medical treatments come nowhere near clean water, clean air and a decent diet. Doctors and medicines cannot touch those things when it comes to life expectancy and the quality of life. That is the way it is. Everyone must be encouraged from an early age. We must ensure that those who are enthusiastic and creative have better access.

When it comes to policy on sport for young people, all Governments try hard and all get it half-right and then stop until something else is tried. The current idea of bringing clubs into school sport is a good one. It builds on some of the better ideas of the previous Government. There is a continuation of policy there that I do not think either side wants to admit to, but it is late at night and nobody is paying any attention, so let us admit that now.

Schools do not have the breadth of talent or forward thinking in their sports to encourage people to adopt a sport so that it becomes a creative process. It should not be about status. Competitive sport is not about saying, “We have played eight games and won so many”. Competitiveness in sport makes it enjoyable and fun. It comes, for example, from learning how to move a ball into a space to allow someone else to carry on and run with it. The competitive nature comes when someone tries to stop you. That is the essence of it. Whether you record it as a competitive match for the school or say, “They had a kick about and learnt new skills”, it is still a competitive experience.

One of the problems with our coaching and youth in sport has often been that we put far more emphasis on whether results have been recorded than on how well the pupils played and how their skills can be developed in later life. All the major sports develop short games that are more accessible to people in their clubs and schools. What I call prep-school culture has a lot to answer for. Are we going to encourage people to make pitches available? Then, for instance, there are places such as parks where these skills can be used casually. An informal kick-about every week is infinitely better than one organised game once a month. Is the Department of Health going to encourage all the tiers throughout government to make sure that that kind of thing is available? This is a big ask and it will not happen overnight. It will not happen within one Parliament; it will take many Parliaments, and there will have to be a process of building it up to get it into the culture. The will is there but whether we have the drive and the focus to make sure that it continues is a question that all of us involved in politics and public life have to deal with.

I turn to the idea of using sport and activity as a treatment. It would appear that exercise is the wonder drug. I have recently heard it described as aspirin and cannabis, but there is always a wonder drug and activity seems to be it. As has been said before, if you are active, it is better for you, even if you suffer from things such as arthritis. Nobody ever thought of that.

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We all know about cardiovascular problems and the need to control one’s weight at a healthy level. I am glad to see in the briefing that people are now referring to a “healthy weight”, as opposed to body mass index based on an inactive person in the 1950s. I declare my interest as an old rugby player. Using physical activity would seem to be a very useful, cheap and self-regulating treatment, but can it be done without education, or access to a version of it, possibly being taken up in later life? It will be difficult, as you do not willingly do something that is boring and unpleasant. This has to be tackled in a creative way. Indeed, the Royal College of Physicians says, “Well, doctors aren’t used to this, especially those who were trained a long time ago, or even a few years ago. They don’t know who to refer to, what pathways to use or who they should trust to do it”. That is the culture.

I have bored noble Lords with the idea of somebody who is physically active dealing with a lack of trust or the serious need for physiotherapy to be given at an early stage. I think that at some time all sportsmen of my generation and those who are a bit younger have said, “I’ve hurt myself, doctor”, and have been told to rest. When they say, “Won’t that mean that the muscles get weaker and the tendons shorter?”, the answer is, “Well, rest a bit more then”, which means that the doctors do not know what they are talking about. Getting doctors to admit that and to refer patients to somebody who does know what they are talking about would be a huge step forward. It is happening more often and it is very important to make sure that that culture is maintained.

I could go on for much longer but there are only so many minutes available. Effectively, unless we promote activity wisely and well, we will waste a huge opportunity to save everything from money to a little bit of personal misery for people. Social interaction can be encouraged through activities, and mostly group activities. Unless we do this and unless the Government give us an idea of how they intend to drive this forward across government, we will miss our targets. Indeed, if all political parties can come up with a coherent answer and if we can achieve something that the Olympics taught us—that sport does not have to be very political—we can probably go forward. However, it will not happen quickly and we will not do it if we have three different camps shouting at each other.

10.08 pm

Baroness Byford: My Lords, I am delighted to be able to speak in this debate, and I thank my noble friend Lady Heyhoe Flint for bringing the subject to our attention. I have to start by making an admission. Last night, I was very inactive. I was glued to the television, first, because of “Strictly Come Dancing” and, secondly, because of “BBC Sports Personality of the Year”. The interesting thing was that one of the people lost from “Strictly Come Dancing” was a jolly competitor. I think that she proved to everybody that you do not need to be slim and slight to be a good dancer and to have fun. Knowing that we were going to have this debate today, I said to myself what a good message it sent out. Sadly, that person did not make the final but it really was quite amazing.

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The second thing that really struck home last night was the recognition of the wonderful contributions made at the Olympics this summer not only by the Olympians but particularly by the Paralympians, too. They said to the world, “Look, we might have disadvantages but we are here, we can do the best we can, and achieve”. I thought that some of the presentations and reflections on this summer were very moving. The winner was Bradley Wiggins, followed by Jessica Ennis and Andy Murray. They come from three very different sports and three different regimes.

I want to pick up on two things from the awards. The first is Martine Wright, who won the Helen Rollason Award for achieving the gold medal in the sitting volleyball competition, having lost her legs tragically in the bombing of 7/7. The second comes much closer to home: the award for unsung heroes. The winners came from Desford, not exactly my home village but it is close to me in Leicestershire. Sue and Jim Houghton were given the award for their commitment to community activity. They formed a sports centre aimed at young people, but which takes on both the young and the young at heart. I thought that this was very moving.

I move on to a recent report by the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee. The report, published earlier this year, questioned how robust the research and evidence base is for improving the performance of elite and non-elite athletes, and how this knowledge can be translated into treatments and preventive interventions to improve the nation’s health. The Government responded in many ways; I have picked up on two things in particular on which the Minister might like to comment. First, the Government have said that they wish to target investment to support the translation of biomedical research. Secondly, they have provided some £30 million of funding to develop the country’s first National Centre of Excellence for Sport and Exercise Medicine. These are indeed welcome commitments. However, I wish in my time to enlarge upon two other areas identified by the committee. The first was to increase grass-roots participation in sport, particularly by young people; the second was to increase community engagement to bring people together over a national event.

I am also grateful to the BMA and Bupa for the briefs which they sent, I suspect, to everybody taking part in the debate. They picked up particularly on walking, which was briefly mentioned earlier. It is a key thing that any of us can do very easily. It costs virtually no money—sole leather, maybe—and it gets people out and about in the air, giving them the chance to keep physically fit. When driving the other day, I came up behind a car in the window of which was written, “Dogs are for life, not just for Christmas”. I thought below that should have been added, “Walking is for life, not just for now”. Clearly, walking is one of the very good ways in which one can keep fit. The BMA’s study paper this year considered healthy transport, healthy living and active travel. It particularly looked at walking and cycling. Several local authorities have become aware of the need to create more cycle routes for people, and we have done so in Leicestershire too.

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In 2012, Bupa produced a report titled Get Walking and Keep Walking which stated that,

“just 15 minutes a day of brisk walking can have significant health benefits, adding up to three years to life expectancy”.

Walking need not be boring; it can be fun. I suspect many of us in this Chamber have taken part in walks or runs—I do not run these days, but I do walk—to raise money for charity. The amount of money raised for charities reflects on people’s ability to get fit—one need only think of the London marathon. When I came across a walking group just this weekend when I was out walking the dog, I stopped and said hello to one man I had not met before. He said that he had just moved to the village from another area, and that it was a wonderful way to get to know people. As I found to my great interest, it is a double bonus.

I turn to the particular area of expertise of the Minister to take a few minutes to talk about the NHS. In many ways it gets a very rough passage, but many of us—including me and, recently, my husband—have reason to be very grateful for the wonderful service it provides. I will concentrate on one aspect. After a major operation, one comes out with uncertainty and a lack of confidence about what one should do and how one should do it. I give great credit to the recent work of the physiotherapists who were an enormous help to my husband after his stay in hospital. When one is very weak, the first thing they want to do is to get one up. That is quite right; up one should be. Then one starts to move around, leaning on a walking frame. For somebody who is very tall, this is not easy because their core balance is going in the wrong direction. Very quickly, they prescribed for my husband some elbow crutches. They made a huge difference. Instead of leaning forward with his weight going in the wrong direction, he was balanced on his core and able to recover much more quickly. He went from zimmer frame to elbow crutches. When he came home he was more confident; he went out and about, starting with short walks and then taking longer ones.

Often when one mentions exercise, people think of pounding away in a gym. For a lot of people, exercise is just that. They enjoy going to the gym, and I go occasionally. However, there are much simpler ways of keeping fit. When a cat or dog sits up after relaxing, it stretches. I was sorry not to be able to speak in the debate on Friday. Often as one gets older, one loses the ability to move around physically in the same way as one did when one was young. However, moving neck muscles and using very basic movements can be a help to people who are not able to get out and walk as much as they were able to in the past.

Unfortunately, we are becoming a country of very sedentary people. The young sit fascinated and do not get out and about. I totally agree with other noble Lords that the more we can do in our schools—and by linking schools to clubs, because that is where it all happens—the better. My introduction to cricket was when I attended a school in Scotland where playing cricket was the norm. I was lucky enough to be introduced to it. I never went very far with it and never became very good, but it was interesting to play another sport.

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Perhaps I should have declared that for 10 years I taught tennis in schools and clubs. I am not a professional—I was what they called an associate—and I totally agree with my noble friend Lord Addington that one of the joys of sport is when a child connects. Somebody asked me if my best result was when somebody reached something. I said no, it was when they could physically connect with a ball and track its bounce and rise. There are many ways of engaging young people in activity but the most important thing for the young—or young at heart—is that it must be fun and that people must be able to enjoy it. I am very grateful to my noble friend for securing this debate and look forward to what the Minister has to say.

10.18 pm

Baroness Billingham: My Lords, as we look ahead to the consequences of an inactive lifestyle, it is to the medical profession that we should look first. Before I do that, I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Heyhoe Flint, for introducing this debate and for her contribution, so much of which I completely agreed with. I was delighted to hear another participant in our regular sporting debates—and such an excellent one, too. All the other speakers brought different facets to the debate, and all spoke from personal expertise and experience. I only wish that there were more people here to hear it tonight. I hope very much that we will encourage our colleagues to read these debates in Hansard; they have been truly excellent.

Having said that we will look at the medical profession in order to examine the impact on health and well-being, I will study the excellent briefing from the BMA, which others have alluded to, and reflect on its findings. Secondly, I will comment on the existing health regime and reflect on the comparison with previous provision. Thirdly, I will give my views on what must be done if future generations are to avoid catastrophic illness in old age.

I will begin with the advice of the doctors. I woke up a few days ago to the “Today” programme. One of the first items, which I am sure many of your Lordships heard, was the dreadful news that one in three of our primary school children are obese. When the BMA briefing came, therefore, I studied it very carefully. It made devastating reading, listing a wide range of damaging medical conditions, all of which could be traced back to obesity and an inactive lifestyle. The prognosis on individual health is a matter of great concern, and the financial implication for the National Health Service is equally worrying.

The Government tell us that by 2050 the cost of overweight-related illnesses will be £49.9 billion, with a direct cost to the NHS of £9.7 billion. This is a staggering sum and cost to society. Let us not forget that we are in the middle of one of the most dreadful recessions, which will blight national expenditure for many years to come. We have to change our lifestyles if the costs to the nation are not to be catastrophic.

Various critical conditions are linked to an inactive lifestyle. The BMA lists them very clearly. Type 2 diabetes, such a threatening condition, is clearly attributable to obesity. Cardiovascular diseases have a similar cause, and the BMA claims that dementia

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could be reduced by 12.9% if a more active lifestyle were adopted. Depression also manifests itself with a lack of physical activity.

I have not done the cost-cutting analysis from the BMA figures, but it is clearly horrific and undeniably capable of significant reduction by changing our form of lifestyle. The report provides us with sensible suggestions: more walking and cycling and more active travel patterns. All those suggestions should be heeded. The suggestion of combined responsibility, which has already been mentioned by other speakers, does not rely solely on the medical profession; it combines major government departments, such as health, education and local government. It is not a new notion; I remember arguing for such a collaborative approach more than 30 years ago. Sadly, it has never happened.

That, then, is the medical diagnosis. I will now turn to other practical solutions. My second media shock came not on the “Today” programme but in the national press some days later. Many in this Chamber tonight will know of my constant criticism, which may be described as my rant, of the Lawn Tennis Association, an association that is stunningly wealthy and ineffective. We have tried for years to find proper answers to a number of vital questions, all with scant responses. One question that I and, for that matter, every sports journalist in the country has wanted to know is: how much is Roger Draper, the chief executive, paid? Rumours flowed for years but now, as a result of government legislation, we know: his take-home pay is £640,000, which is four times that of the Prime Minister. As a national paper said last year, the LTA spends £250 million and has absolutely nothing to show for it. Just in case noble Lords think that British tennis is on the up, think again—Andy Murray, Laura Robson and Heather Watson all came as products of their families and had nothing to do with LTA training. They all had to do it for themselves.

I am concerned by these facts because for years the LTA has ignored the best and most successful way of getting people involved in tennis. It has totally ignored the fact that grass-roots sports of any kind, as has already been said by many noble Lords, are an essential basis for lifelong involvement. It is also worth reflecting that 94% of our primary school children—that is all the children in state schools—are where the money must be spent, but the LTA has almost totally ignored them.

Sport England has already been mentioned tonight. I bring noble Lords a stop press: Sport England announced this afternoon that, for the second year in succession, it is cutting funding to the Lawn Tennis Association because of its belief that the LTA’s business plans and projects are not proving successful. Last year there was the same cut in funding, which many noble Lords know, because the figures that the LTA suggested were going to be involved in the game were nothing like that.

What a wonderful inspirational evening last night was. I was delighted to see Seb Coe—the noble Lord, Lord Coe—saying so rightly in print that the failure to have sport in primary schools is his gravest and greatest concern. I have identified the LTA for its failures in one important way, and the Government fund the

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LTA with a £28 million grant of taxpayers’ money. We have a right and a duty to dictate how that money is spent. I ask the Minister to take this message back to the Government and ensure that the role of the LTA and its funding is well known.

Talking about being known, Michael Gove is now known as the anti-sports personality following his decision to rip sport out of state primary schools and wreck all the good work that was done by previous Administrations, such as school sport partnerships and the ring-fencing of PE funding. The decision to completely remove PE from the Gove curriculum in primary schools was only partially changed following an outcry from the general public, professionals and education and medical experts who lobbied relentlessly. As a result, part of the old funding—a very small part—has been restored, but I remind noble Lords that that is only until the end of the academic year.

All this destructive negativity is from the Government, who have funded and overseen the most successful 2012 Olympic Games, which inspired a whole nation to warm to the role of sport in society. We will never be the same again—the Olympics, Paralympics, volunteers and families. This is the time, and we cannot miss this unique opportunity. We have wonderful role models including the Duchess of Cambridge and our athletes.

The Government must also address the lack of women and girls in sport. I look back 30 years when I was working with people such as Billie Jean King on Title IX, which I know that many noble Lords will be aware of. It transformed female participation. We need to look at this as a specific gender problem. It is worth reminding ourselves that children born to women who are involved in sport are 80% more likely to be sporting too.

We all share responsibility. The medical profession gives warnings and the governing bodies of sport receive government funding. Most importantly, those responsible for PE opportunities in primary schools must be called to action. Money spent on encouraging and promoting active lifestyles will be more than rewarded in the years to come. Let the coalition put this issue at the head of its objectives. A good, happy and healthy life is surely worth working for, and we owe it to all our citizens. I very much hope that the Minister will take some of these messages back to his colleagues

10.30 pm

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): My Lords, I congratulate my noble friend on securing this debate, which though brief has been of a very high quality. I found myself agreeing with noble Lords from all sides of the House in many of the things that they were saying so powerfully. We are all aware of the distinguished contribution that my noble friend has made to English sport and helping to raise the profile of women’s participation. That wisdom and experience were amply demonstrated in her opening speech. The timing of the debate, as a number of noble Lords have said, is very appropriate following our extraordinary summer of sport.

Many of us would agree with the noble Baroness, Lady Massey, that we should be moving more as part of a healthy lifestyle—indeed, many noble Lords have

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spoken eloquently about the benefits of regular exercise—and commentators have started to argue that as a nation we are suffering from a physical activity deficit. Regular physical activity helps to prevent and manage over 20 chronic conditions. The noble Baroness, Lady Massey, was right to remind us of that as did the noble Baroness, Lady Billingham. Conditions include coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, cancer, obesity, mental health problems and muscular-skeletal conditions. The strength of the relationship between physical activity and health outcomes persists across the life course and highlights the potential health gains that could be achieved if individuals can be supported to become more active. Inactivity, on the other hand, is associated with coronary heart disease, breast and colon cancer, and diabetes. It is been estimated to lead to 9% of early deaths globally. It is a silent killer. Less well understood are the risks of sedentary behaviour—sitting for long periods and excessive screen time—which would appear to be independent of how much exercise we do.

My noble friend Lord Addington asked whether the Government were intent on making exercise and sport part of a lifestyle. In July of last year the chief medical officers of the four home countries published Start Active, Stay Active, setting out new guidelines for physical activity. For adults, the new recommendation for at least 150 minutes of physical activity spread across the week replaces the old “five times thirty minutes” message. Importantly, the guidelines address the whole life course from early years to older people and include advice on avoiding sedentary behaviour. Providing expert-led advice to individuals in this way to inform their own lifestyle choices lies at the heart of this Government’s approach to health promotion, one that provides information and enables choice without nannying or hectoring.

As I will set out in a moment, much is being done to encourage people to play sport and exercise more. However, the sad fact is that most of us are insufficiently active. In England, six out of 10 men and seven out of 10 women do less than the CMO guidelines. For children, the guidelines recommend at least 60 minutes of activity daily, but again participation levels are low, with less than a third of youngsters getting enough exercise. In the face of these statistics, we have established a national ambition for physical activity for a year on year increase in the number of adults doing 150 minutes of exercise per week and a similar reduction in those who are “inactive”. This represents what could be achieved if all sectors work together, supported by the new delivery system for public health. The ambition is reflected in the public health outcomes framework indicator for physical activity.

The London Olympic and Paralympics Games this summer have provided us with a once in a lifetime opportunity to address the “activity deficit”. Much has been put in place in the run up to the games to deliver a sport and physical activity legacy. For example, Sport England is investing £150 million into grassroots sport through the “Places, People, Play” programme. Following on from the Games we are determined to raise the proportion of young people playing sport at least once a week through the youth and community sport strategy. Indeed,

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increasing access to and participation in sport is one of the key themes of the Government’s ongoing legacy plans.

The focus of this debate is about raising awareness of the importance of an active lifestyle. During the summer, the Department of Health ran a highly successful Games4Life campaign, which built on the success of the 2011 really big summer adventure campaign and targeted children, their families and adults. The central theme of Games4Life was for families to get up off the couch and join in the summer of sport. A quarter of a million people received personalised activity plans as a result of the campaign and 88,000 signed up to receive Games4Life follow up e-mails. Alongside Change4Life, NHS Choices offers a great deal of extra information for those who want to learn more about activity. A cornerstone of Change4Life is partnership. The public health responsibility deal physical activity network also takes a partnership approach to engage a range of organisations in the promotion of physical activity to employees, consumers and communities.

My noble friend Lord Addington spoke powerfully about the need to encourage the young into sport. Change4Life recognises that healthy behaviours are forged in the young and we make no apologies for placing children and young people at the centre of our plans for driving up sports participation. The School Games represent a major legacy commitment, creating the opportunity for every school and every child to play competitive sport all year round. Over 15,000 schools have registered to be part of the games, with a reach of around 4 million pupils. We are also working with the Youth Sport Trust to deliver Change4Life sports clubs in schools. These are targeted towards children and young people who are at risk of dropping out of sport and have already seen a 166% increase in participation by those youngsters. All this should of course be seen in the context of our support for PE and school sport and the wider youth sport strategy.

My noble friend prompts me to mention that central to our ambition and commitment to have a lasting legacy from the Olympics is our determination to put competitive sport firmly on the agenda in all schools. Competitive team and individual sports will be at the heart of the programme of study. In addition, through the School Games, we will make sure that a range of competitive sporting opportunities are in place for all schools that sign up to be a part of the Olympic aspiration to “inspire a generation”. My own department remains committed to this agenda for all youngsters, irrespective of ability.

The noble Baroness, Lady Massey, indicated that changes to the school curriculum might remove opportunities for young people. We are aware that some pupils would prefer to take part in non-competitive activities such as dance. We are supportive of that wish. However, our aim is that all pupils, regardless of ability, should have the opportunity to experience both individual and team-based competitive sports. The Change4Life sports clubs in schools are targeted at the least active children, and the independent evaluation has shown that they are particularly effective at engaging girls, which is very positive.

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Incidentally, the noble Baroness, Lady Billingham, mentioned my right honourable friend Mr Gove’s policies, in particular what she described as his decision to scrap two hours of compulsory PE. This issue has been subject to frequent misunderstanding. The previous Government’s targets for physical education were wholly aspirational and could not be enforced. The law specifically prevents the Secretary of State for Education dictating to schools how much time they should devote to PE or, indeed, to any other national curriculum subject. That is for schools to decide. PE will remain a compulsory subject at all four key stages following the review of the national curriculum. I believe that is positive.

The Government’s youth sport strategy is intended to encourage everyone, but particularly young people, to take up sport and develop a sporting habit for life. This will deliver at least 6,000 partnerships between schools and local sports clubs, an additional £160 million on new and upgraded sports facilities and £250 million for communities, including our work with county sports partnerships and local authorities.

I have spoken a great deal about sport, but my noble friend Lady Byford has reminded me to mention that the Department for Transport and my own department are working across government to give a strong boost to walking and cycling for travel purposes. Most recently, the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement included an additional £42 million investment in the sustainable transport fund for cycling infrastructure, including cycling safety.

Healthcare professionals are in a unique position to encourage their patients to exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle. As early as 2006, NICE advised that brief advice in primary care was a cost-effective way of promoting physical activity. “Let’s Get Moving” is one way for GPs to build on this guidance.

My noble friend Lady Byford invited me to say a little about the Government’s investment of £30 million to develop the new National Centre of Excellence for Sport and Exercise Medicine. The national centre will build on research into sport science and current expertise to translate this knowledge into benefits for patients and to enable more people to be more active. The primary role of the centre is to provide the best possible evidence base for sport and exercise health for our elite athletes, but also for the general population, particularly those with chronic, long-term conditions, which can be improved by exercise, safely supervised. The £30 million funding that we have made available will allow researchers to work alongside clinicians to quickly translate research into clinical practice. I hope that that will be music to the ears of my noble friend Lord Addington as well.

I am receiving strong messages that my time is nearly up. I have, however, one minute left and I would like to turn to some of the excellent questions posed by my noble friend Lady Heyhoe Flint. In response to her comments on Start Active, Stay Active, I think it is fair to say that there remains a disappointing lack of awareness of the UK physical activity guidelines among health professionals. We are committed to the dissemination of the messages contained in Start Active, Stay Active, both to the public and to doctors. For example, this summer’s Games4Life campaign included

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summaries of the guidelines in personal activity plans provided to families. My noble friends referred to specific funding streams to help disabled people take up sport. These are only part of the bigger, long-term approach being taken by Sport England in its youth and community sports strategy. Forty national governing bodies of sport have presented plans to make sport a practical choice for disabled people as part of the wider whole-sport plan investment programme, which is funded and overseen by Sport England.

I turn to the teaching of PE and swimming in primary schools. Initial teacher training should prepare newly qualified primary teachers to teach the full range of curriculum subjects to the required standard. This would include the national curriculum for PE, which currently requires all pupils to be capable of swimming 25 metres unaided by the end of key stage 2. Ofsted will inspect swimming, as well as PE and sport, if it is one of the lessons encountered during the inspection.

With the leave of the House, I will continue for another minute or so, as there is theoretically time in hand. With regard to the Government’s plans for 4,000 secondary schools to host a link with a community sports club, which I have already mentioned, I can confirm that progress in this huge undertaking has been very promising. There are currently 380 satellite clubs already up and running, and this will increase to

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700 by March 2013. We are monitoring delivery very closely to ensure that we maintain progress throughout the lifetime of the strategy.

My noble friend asked what would replace the Cabinet sub-committee on public health. Public health issues will now be brought into the broader domestic policy committees rather than sitting with a separate sub-committee. This will allow public health issues to be discussed and decisions to be taken by a wider group of senior Ministers across government.

The noble Baroness, Lady Massey, asked me about women in sport. Sport England continues to fund the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation, which campaigns to make physical activity an everyday part of life for every woman and girl.

The noble Baroness, Lady Billingham, rightly drew attention to the public health problem of obesity. She will, I am sure, recall that our call to action on obesity in England, published in October last year, sets out how obesity will be tackled in the new public health and NHS system. Clear ambitions are set out in that strategy, which bear on much of the debate this evening.

I have tried to demonstrate how we are using the London Games as a springboard to raise everyone’s awareness of the importance of exercise for health—in short, how we can turn a winning summer into an active future.

House adjourned at 10.45 pm.