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Race Relations Bill

Volume 374: debated on Tuesday 5 October 1976

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7.35 p.m.

My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now again resolve itself into Committee on this Bill.

Moved, that the House do again resolve itself into Committee.—( Lord Harris of Greenwich.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The LORD ALPORT in the Chair.]

Before we come to the first Amendment, may I ask the noble Lord, Lord Harris of Greenwich, whether, in so far as it lies within his power, he can arrange for the Report stage of this very important and controversial Bill, affecting as it does the liberty of the subject in so many ways, to be held at a more civilised time of day, on whatever day or days it is decided to take it?

I cannot give any undertaking. I take note of what the noble Lord has just said, and I am quite sure that it will be noted by the usual channels. If by any chance it is not noted, I will ensure that it is.

I rather agree with the noble Lord, Lord Monson. One has to take one's Parliamentary duties seriously and one rather wonders whether a discussion of these matters in the early hours of the morning, time after time, really inures to the increase of respect in which Parliament is held. I am not holding the noble Lord personally responsible, but I really do wonder whether we are doing ourselves any good, although we are wearing ourselves out.

Clause 71 [ Local authorities: general statutory duty]:

moved Amendment number 82D.

Page 46, line 32, after ("to") insert ("a").

The noble Lord said: This Amendment and the one following deal with the vast and complex subject of disadvantage and it would have been a great pity if we had had to tackle this subject at the hour of ten minutes to three in the morning when the noble Lord the Minister was good enough to say that the House might be resumed so that we might take this Amendment first this evening. But it reinforces the points which have been made by the noble Lord, Lord Monson, and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, that we are forced to deal with extremely important matters affecting all the subjects of the country at an hour when very few people are there to listen to what we are saying, when hardly anything is reported in the newspapers and when, if I may say so, your Lordships are not best equipped intellectually to address your minds to the argument.

So far as this Amendment, No. 82D, is concerned, at least we are dealing with it at a reasonable hour and I hope it will receive the serious consideration that it deserves. In the Government White Paper published a year ago, in September 1975, it was said, first in paragraph 11, that a fuller strategy to deal with racial disadvantage will have to be deployed than has been attempted so far; and then again in paragraph 26 of that White Paper:

"the Government recognises that what is here proposed for a further attack on discrimination"

that is to say the Bill which is now before your Lordships—

"will need to be supplemented by a more comprehensive strategy for dealing with the related and at least equally important problem of disadvantage".

Yet when the noble Lord, Lord Wells-Pestell, was asked, in an Amendment which we discussed late yesterday evening, whether he was yet in a position to make a statement to the House concerning the Government's comprehensive strategy for dealing with this disadvantage, he had to confess that no progress at all has been made in the last year. Of course, we do not hold that against the noble Lord, Lord Wells-Pestell, but it is a remarkable indictment of the Government that, having set out quite plainly in their own White Paper the importance of the subject which they say is at least equal to that of discrimination, after 12 months not one single word have they divulged as to what has been going on behind the scenes in the Home Office and the other Government Departments—such as the Department of Employment and the Department of

Education and Science—which are so vitally concerned with this problem. I just wonder whether this may not be the result of some disagreement within the Government, when you consider that it is well known that the main areas of conflict between Mr. Alex Lyon and his former colleagues was his insistence that disadvantage should be tackled with a much greater sense of urgency than was apparent in the Home Office at the time. Indeed, he said he thought the question of disadvantage should have come before that of reorganisation of race relations administration, with which we are now concerned.

It is not only within the Labour Party that a greater relative importance is being attached now to the attack on disadvantage compared with the attack on discrimination. We have had a very striking recent speech by Mr. Peter Walker on the problems of the inner city and the constructive approach which I think he has been attempting to develop, and to educate not only Members of the Conservative Party but the community at large in the sort of methods which will have to be adopted for tackling the problem.

It is seen widely that not only in this country but also in the United States of America the problems facing ethnic minorities are not entirely due to discrimination, and what we face is not entirely a matter of an individual or organisation motivated by ill will discriminating against someone because of his racial, ethnic or national origin, but much more the question of systems and procedures which operate to the disadvantage of people in minority groups. We can see from the most cursory examination of the statistics how this works in our own country.

We see that black people are disproportionately concentrated in the deprived inner city areas, and that many of them live in grossly overcrowded conditions. We see they are overrepresented in the privately rented sector. We see that young black people suffer from an exceptionally high degree of unemployment. The other day I was looking at the sheet issued by the Community Relations Commission on this subject, showing striking figures relating to the unemployment of black people. The figures show, for instance, that between November 1973 and May 1975, while the total number of unemployed people rose by 65 per cent., the number of unemployed black workers rose by 156 per cent.

If the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, is not interested in the unemployment of black people, perhaps he would kindly moderate the tones in which he is carrying on his conversation with his noble friend, so at least other people can listen to the figures. In May 1976, unemployed black workers amounted to 4·1 per cent. of the total unemployed, compared with 2·6 per cent. in May 1973. Those figures are from the Department of Employment Gazette for September 1975 and July 1976. With regard to young black people, we find 16·2 per cent. of unemployed black workers were aged 16 years to 17 years in February 1976, and no less than 29 per cent. of them were aged between 18 years and 24 years. The number of black male workers aged 16 to 17 years unemployed in January 1976 had actually doubled since February 1975, and increased by nearly 4 times since February 1974. Those are the dimensions of the appalling problem of unemployment that we find in this country so far as black people are concerned, and particularly young black people.

We find also that West Indian mothers with dependant children tend to be working full time because they need the money, and also longer hours than would be the case in the corresponding white families. We find these people do low paid and low status jobs, particularly for the first generation. Low pay and low status, generally speaking, go with poor housing conditions, with overcrowding and with depressed environment. Therefore it feeds on to the next generation. I think it is quite obvious that if job opportunities, educational facilities, housing and environmental conditions are poor, the next generation will grow up even worse equipped to make its way in society. It is also obvious that the dimensions of this problem are far more vast than the dimensions even of the appalling evil of discrimination.

We have tried to tackle this problem through the urban programme and through the Local Government Act 1966. The urban programme was designed to deal with pockets of severe social deprivtion in a number of cities and towns. It was not expressly designed to assist people in the ethnic minorities. It may well have been of equal value to poor white people in the deprived inner city areas, and is none the worse for that. Obviously it would be quite wrong if the urban programme had been entirely concentrated on the black people of the inner cities, leaving some of the most deprived of the white people in those areas to fend for themselves.

On the other hand, Section 11 is particularly for people who are members of ethnic minorities. I suggest that what we need to do ultimately is to review the effectiveness both of Section 11 and of the urban programme, and perhaps to draft new terms of reference which would bring the two of them together in a new attack on deprivation, a new attack that would fit in with this comprehensive strategy we speak about in the White Paper, which would result in a much more coherent approach based on the experience derived from these programmes so far.

I must say that the criticisms levelled at both Section 11 and the urban programme are very severe indeed. It is claimed by some voluntary organisations, for instance, that local authorities have used this money to finance projects which they ought to have been undertaking anyway. The voluntary organisations dislike the vetting role of the local authorities, which they claim is used frequently to turn down radical projects which compete with their own schemes. Secondly, it is claimed that in some instances the opposite has happened. Critics have said that the insistence of the Government that local authorities should not use these grants to finance work already being undertaken has sometimes led to a desperate last-minute scraping round to find projects which will fit in with the criteria.

Then, we have a more fundamental criticism, that the urban programme has not been the result of any general strategy, but is an ad hoc and immediate response to external events and therefore can only nibble at this problem of urban deprivation. Mr. Michael Meacher took that line in his Fabian pamphlet, Positive Discrimination and Inequality, published in 1974. Another result of this patchwork policy is that areas which do not benefit from the special

projects often arc jealous of those which do, because in their eyes the problems which they face are just as bad as those of their neighbours.

The Department of the Environment's indicators of urban deprivation showed that although there is some concentration of deprived people living in particular census areas there are many more who live outside and that it is not possible to undertake a programme to benefit individual deprived people by concentrating entirely on certain geographical localities which happen to contain a high concentration of such people. There will always be a large number of them outside any enumeration districts that are identified in this way.

Then there is the criticism that there are altogether too many programmes all directed at this question of urban deprivation, that they overlap, that frequently there is confusion between one and another and that very often the Government do not appear to take much notice of the results of one project before going on to set up the next.

Finally, there are fears which have been articulated by many people—and I mentioned this on Second Reading—that the current economic difficulties which we face in this country are going to threaten the amount of resources which the Government are devoting to urban deprivation and to Section 11. The noble Lord, Lord Wells-Pestell, was good enough to reply to a particular point which I put to him on the amount of funds in 1975–76 and 1976–77 respectively which were being allocated to the Section 11 programme. He said that I would be reassured to hear that it is expected that a total of over £16 million will be paid in grants under Section 11 in 1976–77 compared with a total of £13·8 million in 1975–76. Well, I was not reassured at all because when I came to work out the percentage increase as between the two years it was almost dead on 16 per cent., and I wonder therefore whether this does not represent a decline in the real resources being devoted to Section 11.

I should be very interested also to be able to undertake, although perhaps not on this occasion, a more detailed examination of the amounts being spent under the urban programme as well, which are much more difficult to ascertain. So far as I can make out, the total of capital and current expenditure under the urban programme for 1975–76 was £20·7 million. For 1976–77 it is £24·6 million, which sounds as though it is a reasonable percentage increase compared with Section 11. But you Lordships will notice that if you add these two figures together it is really an absolutely minute, infinitesimal amount in relation to the size of the problem we face in our inner city areas. Therefore I earnestly beg the Government not to contemplate any reduction in these programmes. In fact, I think it would be not only a false economy but utter madness to reduce the funds which are allocated to deprivation.

The amount which I have proposed is an extremely modest one in relation to the size as I have described it. What I am suggesting is that there are ways in which we can get better value for the money we spend, and I suggest two things in these Amendments. The first is, that before any money at all is spent the local authorities should undertake a general survey of the needs of ethnic minorities within their areas. It is astonishing to me that this was not required before ever we embarked on a programmes of tackling urban deprivation. If we do not have a local strategy in which to fit individual items of expenditure, how can we ever expect to build up from it to a national strategy such as is mentioned in the White Paper?

The second thing I have suggested, and I should have thought that this was almost too obvious to need stating at all, is that there should be a statutory responsibility on local authorities in formulating the applications for grants under either Section 11 or the urban programme, to consult such local organisations as they think fit, and particularly such local organisations representing ethnic minorities as are appropriate. Obviously they ought to consult the local CRC, and there is a point of some importance here on which we have touched in earlier Amendments to the Bill, that because we do not wish to fetter the discretion of the Community Relations Executive in deciding how to conduct their relationships with local bodies, they feel at the moment out on a limb and are wondering exactly what their future is and whether there is a role for local voluntary effort at all.

I believe that it would be a tragedy if so much that has been built up under the previous Acts had to be scrapped, and I think that the CRCs have a particular role in being consulted before any money is asked for by local authorities from central Government. If that were written into the Bill—and many local authorities would do it anyway, of course—then it would give them a status which they would not otherwise possess.

It may be thought inappropriate that we should have had a discussion of disadvantage in a Bill which is concerned with discrimination, but it would have been a mistake if we had left this Bill without at least recognising, if we do no more than that, that without the sort of strategy that is mentioned in the White Paper, without the sort of local effort that I have tried to sketch out in this Amendment, any Bill to deal with discrimination is bound to fail. I beg to move.

7.56 p.m.

Certainly neither I nor any Member of the Government, nor, I suspect, any Member of your Lordships' House, would in any way under-estimate the problem highlighted in the speech to which we have just listened, the problem of disadvantage, which is particularly acute in the inner city areas. The noble Lord touched on the various pieces of machinery which exist to deal with this problem. He referred to Section 11 of the Local Government Act 1966, and of course to the urban programme.

So far as the urban programme is concerned I think I should certainly say this at least, that local expenditure on the programme in England and Wales attracting grant—which, as the noble Lord is aware, is at the rate of 75 per cent.—has increased in real terms from the figure of £3·8 million in 1969–70 to an estimated £21·6 million in 1975–76. I would not in any way suggest that these figures indicate that the problem is about to he satisfactorily resolved but, given what the noble Lord has just said, I think it at least appropriate to indicate the seriousness with which the Government recognise this problem and the steps which are being taken to deal with it.

But the noble Lord, as he frankly indicated in his speech, is concerned with the narrower issue of this Bill, and what he is seeking to do is to impose upon local authorities two additional duties on top of that which is specified in Clause 71 as at present drafted. In a moment we shall be coming to the question of Clause 71, but I must make it quite clear that the Government have fairly significant reservations so far as Clause 71 is concerned. As the noble Lord will be aware, the Government were defeated on this matter in another place and the clause as it at present stands is not at all satisfactory. However, I will come to the issue of Clause 71 when the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, speaks to his Amendment at a later stage in our debate.

I now come, therefore, to the narrower issue of the Amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Avebury. The first duty which is incorporated in the noble Lord's Amendment is of course in paragraph (b), which would require local authorities to carry out a general survey of the needs of minorities in their areas. Of course, the Government recognise the importance of local authorities making their decisions on the basis of adequate information. Indeed, the Government take the view that it is already part of the local authorities' overall responsibility in providing the services for which they are responsible to take account of the circumstances of all the communities within their area and to be sensitive to the differences between them.

The Government recognise that the role of the local authorities is extremely important, and certainly I have no doubt that the overwhelming majority of local authorities share this awareness. But they cannot take responsibility for all aspects of the racial situation within their area. Their responsibilities are not unlimited. The formulation of the proposed survey suggests that it should fall to local authorities to provide comprehensive information about all aspects of the situation of the minorities in their area. It would extend, for example, to the important matter—and I would not in any way seek to minimise the importance of this issue—of employment needs, in which the local authorities' role is inevitably extremely limited.

The Government do not believe it would be right to place a new burden of considerable proportions on local authorities, especially at a time like the present. I am bound to say this, and I say it in no chiding spirit to the noble Lord, Lord Avebury—as he knows, our views on this matter tend to be fairly similar—but at a time like the present to impose a new statutory duty on local authorities seems to me wholly inappropriate. I must make it clear that, so far as the Government are concerned, it would be quite wrong to impose new duties on local authorities at a time when Ministers, and everybody else in public life, are exhorting members of local authorities to limit their calls so far as public expenditure is concerned. There would be quite significant implications on local authorities, were this Amendment to be written into the Bill. Therefore, although I well understand the reasons which have motivated the noble Lord in putting down this Amendment, I am afraid it would not be acceptable, so far as the Government are concerned.

I will, if I may, deal rather more briefly with the second leg of this Amendment, which is the proposed paragraph (c). As I understand the intention here, it is to require local authorities to undertake certain consultations before requesting two of the grants administered by the Home Office. The requirement seems, however, to be made rather diffuse and uncertain by virtue of being a requirement to consult, "such organisations as they think fit", although the Amendment mentions "particularly organisations representing ethnic minorities". Grants under the urban programme are paid on a very wide range of projects dealing with a wide range of forms of social need, by no means exclusively related to the special needs of ethnic minorities.

Therefore, whatever the merits of a statutory requirement to consult may be, it does not appear that the requirement in respect of the urban programme could appropriately be related particularly to organisations representing ethnic minorities. The Government have expressed to local authorities in urban programme circulars the hope that voluntary organisations should be encouraged to participate in the urban programme within the context of available resources. We would not wish to seek to impose a statutory requirement to consult since we do not believe that any genuinely practical benefit would result from binding the local authorities in this way.

I have set out the reasons why, so far as both legs of this Amendment are concerned, we have great doubts about the wisdom of the Amendment. We do not believe the Bill would be improved by the insertion of this Amendment. Whatever one might argue in wholly different economic circumstances, addressing myself exclusively to this narrow but extremely important issue, I do not think that at the moment we can contemplate adding to the statutory responsibilities of local authorities when we are faced with such a dangerous economic situation as we are at the moment.

I would agree with the noble Lord, Lord Harris, that this Amendment would tend to make a bad clause even worse, though I would very much agree with the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, in his strictures on the dilitariness of the Home Office and the relative ineffectiveness of all this money which is going into the urban programme. But I think there are other reasons besides those given by the noble Lord, Lord Harris, why it would be both unreasonable and inappropriate to lay down the open-ended duty that is already prescribed in Clause 71, let alone what would be prescribed if it was amended as Lord Avebury proposes.

Those reasons are these; it would be quite unreasonable to ask local authorities to discharge these duties, with no indication of the Government's own policy and strategy, no indication yet of the way in which the Government would like to see race relations administered at local level, no guidelines or indications of guidelines either for the Commission or the local authorities, no indication of the resources which are going to be available to operate this legislation either at central or local government level, and no idea yet of how the various approaches required of the Departments in Whitehall are to be co-ordinated. It is for those five additional reasons that we are more concerned to remove rather than amend this clause, as the Committee will hear in a few moments from my noble and learned friend.

I am quite prepared to accept the noble Lord's suggestion that it would be impossible for the local authorities to do the things that are required of them under my Amendment unless they have some idea of what the Government strategy is; that is one of the reasons why I was so insistent that we should have, if possible, some news of the Government's thinking before we take leave of this Bill. As was said yesterday, when we tried to extract some information from the noble Lord, Lord Wells-Pestell, without success, I was assuming that by the time the clause got on to the Statute Book and the local authorities were required to implement it the Government would have told us what is going to be the more comprehensive strategy which they said was needed in the White Paper.

As for the criticisms of the noble Lord the Minister, I entirely accept what he says about the width of paragraph (b) and the inappropriateness of asking the local authorities to go beyond their own duties and look at the needs of ethnic minorities, for instance, in relation to employment, a matter over which they would have no control. I would be perfectly happy, if the local authorities are to have statutory duties laid on them, to come back at Report Stage with another Amendment of a more limited nature, requiring them only to carry out a general survey in relation to their own functions. I still think that such a survey is needed, because one must recognise the need for adequate information, and if local authorities have not conducted this survey, at least within the area of their own responsibility, how on earth are they supposed to decide where to put the effort and whether to make applications for grants under either Section 11 or the urban programme?

So far as paragraph (c) is concerned, again I am prepared, being reasonable as I always am, to accept the criticisms of the noble Lord the Minister, and I am not wedded to the phraseology of the paragraph as it stands. What I do think is that something has to be written into the Bill requiring, both consultations with the CRC, for the reasons I have given, and consultations with ethnic minorities in areas which are appropriate.

If the noble Lord wants to exclude such applications for grant under the urban programme as are not designed to benefit ethnic minorities from the consultations with ethnic minorities, again I am quite happy to try to think up some words which will take care of that. But the Amendment is bound to be a far more complex one than it is in its present form. I should have much preferred the Minister to say that he accepted the principle of consultation by local authorities both with community relations councils and with the ethnic minorities. In fact, I am sure he does accept that principle, and the only argument between us is whether we should write it into the Bill. Having said that, I do not wish to delay the proceedings. I will have another go at the wording and I will try to bring something back at Report stage. With that, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

8.12 p.m.

Page 46, line 34, at end insert—

("(2) In carrying out their obligation under this section, local authorities should work in close co-operation with the Commission for Racial Equality.")

The noble Lord said: I do not intend to delay the Committee very long. My intention in this Amendment, which I regard as very innocuous, is to tie up a loose end. As drafted, the Bill has imposed on local authorities certain responsibilities which it has also imposed on the Commission. It struck me that that being so the two bodies ought to be invited to co-operate with each other. There is an additional reason in my case. As your Lordships know, I am chairman of the Field Work Committee of the Community Relations Commission and I have been doing that job for the last eight years. I therefore know what the problem is in terms of the community relations councils and their establishment and functions. We have always endeavoured to ensure that community relations councils represent three important elements: the central Government through the Commission; the local authority, and the voluntary organisations. The response from local authorities varies considerably, and that is one of the reasons why I am glad that I spoke to Clause 71; and I am sorry to hear from the noble Lord, Lord Sandford, and was sorry when I saw from the Amendment of the noble and learned Lord that there will be an attempt to remove that particular clause. My view is that placing very firmly on local authorities the obligation to see that racial discrimination in their areas is dealt with, and in co-operating with other local authorities nearby in combating it, is a very good thing. I am sorry to hear that there is any suggestion that it should not remain in the Bill.

Once in the Bill we are asking two organisations, the local authorities and the CRC, to do the job. I do not think that there is anything wrong with that, except that if they are going to do it they must do it together. Therefore, my Amendment is merely intended to suggest to local authorities that in carrying out this function which has been laid down in the Act they should co-operate closely with the CRC. It will have a lot of consequences, all to the good. For one thing, until now the CRC has had to go to local authorities and try to persuade them that they have a particular role to play. It has not always been easy. The fact that I think we now have 89 community relations councillors is proof of the success we have had in persuading them to come round. But it is worth noting that there are local authorities who contribute as much as £20,000 to this work, and local authorities that give as low as £156 to this work. Therefore, the response has been considerably varied.

The value of the clause is that it will in fact impose the statutory responsibility on them, and if at the same time they are invited to co-operate closely with the CRC I think we are in fact making it possible for the two bodies, using the voluntary elements in that particular locality, to do something really worth while and effective. That is all I need to say. I hope that the Government will accept this Amendment.

My noble friend's Amendment draws attention to one feature on which the Government spokesman commented when this new clause was first moved in another place. That is, of course, the rather essential one that the clause sets local authorities precisely the same duties as those which Clause 43 sets out as the principal duties of the new Commission. My noble friend, who has substantial experience in local government, is attempting to resolve this duplication by calling on local authorities to work in close consultation with the new Commission. It is clearly highly desirable that they should do so. The Government hope that they will, but I am not sure that co-operation will be significantly increased by a general provision like that set out in this Amendment.

This leads to the wider question of whether a general race relations duty on local authorities has a place in this Bill at all, which we shall be coming to in a moment. As my honourable friend pointed out in another place, this is something on which, as he indicated on that occasion, we have our doubts. Not, of course, that there is any disagreement at all about the important part which local authorities have to play in the context of race relations. There is no disagreement on that. The question is whether a general duty like this clause helps them to fulfil their role, and this is a fundamental question of principle upon which noble Lords will wish to express their views when we come to debate the Amendment in the name of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hailsham. Therefore, perhaps I might say no more than that the Government do not believe that if the principle is accepted Clause 71, as it stands at the moment, is satisfactory, and we believe that it would require more fundamental amendment than my noble friend's Amendment would achieve.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

On Question, Whether Clause 71 shall stand part of the Bill?

8.17 p.m.

In my role as a dry as dust lawyer, which I have sought to maintain throughout this series of debates, I confess that Clause 71 was not a clause which immediately intruded itself on my consciousness since my knowledge of local government law is, although adequate for the purposes that I have needed it, not one of my specialities. But, after some prodding by one of the local government associations which asked me to seek its elimination from the Bill, it occurred to me that I really could not see what the good of this little clause was. It seems to me to be a sort of cosmetic thing, like a lipstick placed on the Bill without any kind of functional purpose whatever.

I suppose that anybody who is responsible for anything in this country ought to work towards the elimination of bad relations between the races. We do not put it in the terms of reference of the British Rail, for instance, or the National Health Service, or other bodies in which race relations obviously play a part. Why do we want to put it here? The fact that the local authorities with whom I have been in some contact do not want it—I do not pretend that that is a universal view, but that is the view they have expressed to me—leads me to think that it ought not to be there at all.

What do we add to the state of the law as it would be without the clause?—I think nothing. The earlier words are:
"Without prejudice to its obligation to comply with any other provision of this Act,…"
That obviously adds nothing. We have now a series of obligations which, in so far as they are relevant to local authority activities, are obviously binding on local authorities. It goes on to specify that the duty of every local authority is to work—exactly what is meant by that verb in this sentence, I do not know—towards the elimination of discrimination and to promote equality of opportunity and good relations between persons of different racial groups.

I gather that no money is forthcoming for this work, or promotion. I imagine that in the fields in which they already carry on activity, and they are very diverse, local authorities are already bound to do just that. I am wondering what additional good is thought to be brought about by a clause of this kind. I have already been approached by one local authority association to remove it. Rumours have reached me, not altogether unconfirmed by the remarks which the noble Lord let drop in the last two debates, that Government Departments are not all in favour of the clause. I venture to suggest to this Committee that the old rule which the medaeval philosopher Occam applied to philosophical concepts is best applied also to legislation. He said:
"Entia non sunt multiplicanda practerpecessitatem."
This clause is an entity. What good does it do? If it is unnecessary, let us take it out, but I call upon the Government to say what good it does. I hope that the noble Viscount, Lord Amory, who is an expert on local government will be able to add more warmth and colour to the rather jèjeune remarks with which I have now moved this Amendment.

I am afraid I have no colour to add to the discussion, but I would support what my noble and learned friend has said. It is not a question of whether this clause is a good idea or not, but of whether it is necessary, whether there is any point at all. It is no secret that this clause was not initiated by the Home Office. In another place, the Home Office spokesman resisted it. It seems to me that it is a weak clause, vague and unspecific. It outlines the responsibility quite unnecessarily, I think, because that responsibility is well understood already, but with no guidance as to how it shall be carried out. It simply reminds the local authorities of what they are already fully aware. It is typical of the rather weak features which get into so much of our rather badly drafted legislation nowadays. In this case there was no consultation beforehand with the local authority associations. That was understandable in the circumstances in which this clause came into being. Nor have they, since its inclusion in the Bill, been able to find out very much from the Home Office about what, under this clause, would be expected of local authorities.

Local authorities today are having to cut their existing responsibilities, for financial reasons, and they are in no position to accept added ones without knowing what they mean and how they are going to be paid for. Everybody today is complaining of the cost of local government. Elected members and officials are finding themselves enormously stretched with the difficulties of finding the time to carry out efficiently their ever-growing responsibilities, and it is a pity when Parliament lays on them extremely vague additional instructions or exhortations all of which actually in effect push up expenditure still further.

The noble Lord, Lord Avebury, asked for a general survey. It is a most attractive thing to ask for a survey of some kind, obviously a sensible procedure, but I have known so many general surveys that, when they have been carried out, have not led to more effective action. Local authorities are sensible bodies and they do not rush into action without making surveys of whatever type appears appropriate in the particular case; but if in an Act there is a mandatory duty to carry out a general survey, then there is a danger of a general survey being carried out in a time-consuming and expensive way for the sake of fulfilling the requirements of the Act.

I hope the Committee will decide to eliminate this clause, not because there is anything wrong with it in intention but simply because I think it is an unnecessary and a bumbling clause. I wish to support the noble and learned Lord in everything he has said and in the action he proposes to take.

8.26 p.m.

Before coming to the speech of the noble and learned Lord and the noble Viscount who has just sat down, I should say to the noble Lord, Lord Sandford, that I am sure he will realise that I am not replying to his description of the policy of the Home Office in relation to the urban programme, which I thought was a slightly overdrawn account, if he will forgive me for saying so, where he spoke harshly about our record. I could take up the time of the Committee in involving ourselves in one of these rather routine exchanges of Party rudenesses, but I think it is more appropriate to get involved in the actual detail of this particular piece of legislation.

So far as Clause 71 is concerned, I do not think there is any disagreement about the underlying objectives. I do not think there is any disagreement about that between any noble Lords in any part of the Committee. Certainly, the Government are clear that local authorities have an extremely responsible part to play in promoting racially just and harmonious society. Noble Lords, however, will know, as I indicated on a previous Amendment, that the Government have considerable reservations about this clause. It was inserted into the Bill in another place against Government advice, by what I might describe as a bi-partisan group on the Standing Committee.

Clause 71 would impose on local authorities a very general duty. It would indeed be identical, as I pointed out on the last Amendment, to the duties which Clause 43 sets out as the task of the new Commission. The implications for local authorities are quite uncertain. Whereas the Bill sets out in some detail the powers and procedures through which the new Commission should work towards its objectives, Clause 71 is not complemented by similar provisions. The elimination of discrimination and the promotion of racial equality are matters for which a special approach with specific powers is needed. It is hardly something which local authorities could undertake as a product of their general responsibilities. The local authorities have wide-ranging responsibilities for the people in their area. They must take account, as I pointed out earlier, of the nature of the communities for which they are responsible. Where these include racial minorities the local authorities need to be sensitive to the special needs which these minorities experience and, of course, that is precisely what the overwhelming majority of local authorities do. I doubt very much whether they need to be reminded of what is a very obvious duty.

It has been said in another place that it would encourage local authorities, but, frankly, new powers are not needed for any such purpose, and I do not know that we achieve a very great deal by writing provisions of this sort into a piece of legislation of this sort. If, on the other hand, the duty set out here is no more than declaratory, it is not likely to help a great deal and it might turn out—and I think the Committee must face this—to carry unexpected drawbacks with it, in terms of unexpected cost implications or ligitation. They are concerned about the open-ended and uncertain implications of the provision and would prefer to see it omitted.

There is here an issue of principle to be decided. The Standing Committee in another place took the view that it was desirable in principle to include in the Bill a general duty on local authorities. The noble Lord's opposition to the clause implies the opposite view. I have suggested reasons why the Government do not believe that the clause should remain in its present form. We must consider carefully the views that have been expressed in this debate and if your Lordships' conclusion is that the clause should be deleted, so be it. If, however, your Lordships take the view that it is desirable that a general race relations duty should be imposed on local authorities, then we would propose to bring forward an Amendment on Report to correct what we see as deficiencies in the present drafting of the clause.

Before I resume my seat, I should perhaps say that all of us in this House have basically free votes, but if a Division takes place on this particular clause the members of the Government will abstain in the Division.

I am sorry to note the attitude of the Government on this clause. As I said when moving my Amendment, the insertion of the clause in the Bill is an advance. I know something about local authorities and I know something about race relations, about the Community Relations Commission and the local community relations councils because, as I said earlier, I have been involved with this matter for the last eight years. The truth of the matter is, and everybody knows it, that local authorities vary considerably in the way in which they see their responsibilities and duties. There are now local authorities which one could never fault in their approach to this subject and the contribution they make towards eliminating discrimination in their areas. But there are many local authorities which begin by saying that they have no problem and, when it is demonstrated to them that they have a tremendous problem, they still drag their feet and the consequence is that over the country as a whole we have a mixed bag of provisions. We shall go on having that mixed bag so long as we say that we are not prepared to lay any duty on local authorities. When such a duty is laid on them, those authorities now dragging their feet will have to stop dragging their feet and try to contribute, and that is basically what this is all about.

I regret that the Government continue not to see this important point because they know the problems that the Race Relations Commission has had over the years in trying to get local authorities to play their part. It is no use saying that local authorities are willing and are doing this or that. It is true of some but it is not true of many and what we want is a universal application over the country as a whole because racial discrimination must be combated. We need racial equality throughout the country and local authorities are the people best placed to make sure that that happens.

Of course, we have the Race Relations Commission and it can bring the central Government element into it, but most of the work, if we are to eliminate discrimination and create the sort of community we want, must be done locally and local authorities must therefore play a central part. I regret that the Minister said that the Government do not regard this as something which should be included in the Bill and that they are neutral on the subject.

I wish to add only a brief comment in support of what my noble friend Lord Pitt of Hampstead said. It is not true that many local authorities are opposed to the clause and I could name local authorities in the London area which would welcome it, and I speak of authorities in areas where the problems of ethnic minorities are very great indeed. I will give only two examples. One is Camden Borough Council, which has a very large ethnic minority community. The other is Haringey, again with a large ethnic minority community. Both those councils are, in very difficult circumstances, doing their utmost to secure the harmonisation of race relations in their areas. They will be deeply disappointed by the attitude of the Government as expressed tonight because they would hope not merely that they would be endorsed in the actions which they take but that their actions might be encouraged in the case of other local authorities. I join Lord Pitt in regretting very much that the Government should have taken the attitude they have taken tonight.

I am grateful to all noble Lords who have taken part in this debate. I am bound to say that the Minister's attitude reinforces the opinion I had to begin with and I am happy that on this, which I think is the second occasion in a matter which has proved controversial, he and I should be on the same side. I am sorry that the noble Lord, Lord Pitt, feels so strongly about this, but I would say to him that those local authorities which want to carry out the duty which I have fully accepted and which the Government have accepted will not be discouraged from carrying it out because they will have seen that both the Government and I think that they are doing part of their duty; and those who are not believers in the same sense as the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, and his noble friend Lord Pitt, will not be encouraged the other way because there is absolutely no means of forcing them to do so. My consistent view throughout has been that the unenforceable should be eliminated, and this view absolutely coincides with that.

In one respect I deeply disagree with what Lord Pitt said. He has had, as he rightly said, wide experience of local government, but I think it is mainly confined to London. London is not the only locality in this country. There are parts of the country where racial problems are either non-existent or quite different from those in London, and to suggest—as he did in words, though on reflection he may think that he went too far—that, say, the Isle of Skye should adopt the same measures as the GLC or the boroughs of Camden or Haringey is to carry enthusiasm to the point of absurdity. I therefore adhere to the view that the clause should be eliminated.

Before the Question is put, may I assure the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, that my knowledge of local authorities is not confined to London—

although it is only in a London local authority that I have served. But as chairman of the field work committee of the Race Relations Commission I have had to deal with all local authorities in this country for the last eight years and I assure the noble and learned Lord that I know what I am talking about. I know the nonsense that is talked by several big and important cities about there not being any problems in their areas but where, in fact, there arc obvious problems. I know that the Government's attitude on this will encourage them to go on saying that they have no problems. I am giving an example which is a good one because they have changed.

Our friends in Liverpool began by telling us that they had no problems. They know they have plenty because over the years they have learnt. I choose Liverpool because it is doing its stuff in this field and therefore I can use Liverpool as an example. But they began by telling us that they had no problems, and there are many other local authorities which take that attitude. The value of the clause is that it lays a statutory duty on them to deal with the matter and, if my Amendment had been accepted, they would have been required also to cooperate with the Commission in dealing


Avebury, L.Mackie of Benshie, L.Ritchie-Calder, L.
Banks, L.Maelor, L.Seear, B.
Blyton, L.Milner of Leeds, L.Snow, L.
Brockway, L. [Teller.]Northfield, L.Stone, L.
Davies of Leek, L.Parry, L.Taylor of Mansfield, L.
Davies of Penrhys, L.Pitt of Hampstead, L. [Teller.]Wade, L.
Jacobson, L.Popplewell, L.Wynne-Jones, L.


Amory, V.Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L.Platt. L.
Auckland, L.Redesdale, L.
Balerno, L.Hives, L.Ruthven of Freeland, Ly.
Belstead, L.Hood, V.Sandford, L.
Berkeley, B.Hornsby-Smith, B.Sandys, L.
Cathcart, E.Hylton-Foster, B.Savile, L.
Clifford of Chudleigh, L.Inglewood, L.Somers, L.
Colville of Culross, V.Killearn, L.Strathclyde, L.
Cullen of Ashbourne, L.Lucas of Chilworth, L.Strathcone and Mount Royal, L.
De La Warr, E.Lyell, L.Tranmire, L.
Denham, L. [Teller.]Masham of Ilton, B.Tweedsmuir, L.
Elles, B.Monk Bretton, L.Vernon, L.
Ferrers, E.Monson, L.Vickers, B.
Gisborough, L.Morris, L.Vivian, L.
Gray, L.Mottistone, L.Wardington, L.
Greenway, L.Newall, L. [Teller.]Windlesham, L.
Onslow, E.Wise, L.

Resolved in the negative, and Clause 71 disagreed to accordingly.

Clause 72 [ Validity and revision of contracts]:

On Question, Whether Clause 72 shall stand part of the Bill?

8.49 p.m.

This is a point on which I hope I shall have the assistance of the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor whom I saw sitting near us in the earlier debate when he was discreetly silent; but we now have not got him. I really put down this Amendment to find out what Clause 72 with the matter. That, to me, is sensible.

I did not mean any offence to the noble Lord, whose knowledge of the problems of race relations is not disputed, but I assure him that there are parts of the country where racial problems do not exist. I cited the Island of Skye. That is perhaps an extreme example but it is not the only example.

On Question, Whether Clause 71 shall stand part of the Bill?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 21; Not-Contents, 49.

means. It is not exactly obvious to me and, equally, it is not obvious to me what effect the omission of this clause would have. The reason can be stated simply, although if I were to deliver a dissertation on it I probably would take till midnight. But the truth is that anyone recognises that a contract which contains a term which is illegal is something which cannot be enforced. There are various ways in which it cannot be enforced. I am not now talking about the language of the clause.

In the first place, you can drop the term and enforce the rest of the contract. That you can only do if the term is severable from the rest of the contract. If the contract is inherently illegal, the whole of the contract falls as what is called an illegal contract. There are contracts which are illegal, contracts which are void and contracts which are voidable; and the whole of the common law has arrived at a rather subtle and sophisticated but (by commercial lawyers in particular and by most common law lawyers) a well understood code of practice as to how to deal with terms which conflict with the law. As I read this clause I am quite unable to understand, either, one, how it improves upon the common law or, in some respects at least, how it differs from common law. I should like to hear from someone who is competent to expound—and the noble Lord, Lord Harris, has got both the knowledge and the ability to expound it; although I should have hoped that it would come from the even more venerable lips of the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor—exactly what the Government think they are about by introducing a new way of dealing with unlawful contracts other than that which the law already provides. How does it differ from the law and why is it superior?

I wonder whether the noble Lord before replying could deal with the point about "void" which the noble and learned Lord has just mentioned. In this Bill, is "void" used in the sense in which it is normally used in common law or is there some particular meaning attached to the word "void" in this Bill? If so, is there anywhere in the definition clause in which we can find anything to throw light on the word "void".

It may be helpful if I were to begin by explaining the problem with which Clause 72 is designed to deal and, indeed, Section 23 of the 1968 Act has a direct bearing on this matter, too.

The situation is that without a contracts clause, the position of discriminatory terms in contracts would be that they would be void for illegality and unenforceable by either party to the contract. In some cases, where the discriminatory term was not "severable", the contract as a whole would be void and unenforceable. This is of no special consequence in the case of terms which embody an agreement between the parties to discriminate against a third party. We might for convenience describe these as "externally discriminatory terms": such terms ought to be left to be dealt with according to the existing law of contracts. They should be void and unenforceable by either party. By contrast, it would be patently undesirable to render void and unenforceable terms in contracts which involve discrimination against one of the parties to the contract. For the purpose of the debate I shall call these "internally discriminatory terms"—where "A" agrees with "B" to provide "B" with some benefit or other in a way which amounts to unlawful discrimination by "A" against "B".

In insurance, for example, a black person might find that after paying premiums for a number of years he could not, because the contract contained a discriminatory term, recover anything if his house burnt down. However, it would be unsatisfactory wholly to preserve "internally discriminatory terms" because, on the one hand, compliance with them could give rise to proceedings for unlawful discrimination while, on the other, non-compliance might give rise to an action for breach of contract.

This, then, is the problem. I might mention that it was the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hailsham, when he was a member of the Standing Committee in another place, who drew attention to this and identified the issue of discriminatory contracts. Section 23 of the 1968 Act was subsequently introduced in your Lordships' House by the then Lord Chancellor in an attempt to deal with it. Clause 72 is a modified version of Section 23.

It is a wise father who recognises his own child, but on this occasion I must say that my offspring was not immediately recognised by its putative father.

This is why I was worried when I got the message that my presence would be welcomed. I thought that the father would hail this with acclamation.

I am delighted that my message has produced the welcome presence of the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor to see my confusion on this occasion but, as the noble Lord, Lord Harris, has rightly divined, I have always been interested in this problem of illegal terms and contracts and it is a matter of extreme practical difficulty. I was interested to hear what the noble Lord, Lord Harris, had to say and it did shed a certain amount of light on the dark places of my mind. I am not going to divide the Committee on this issue. My only regret is that, having regard to the exchange which took place the other night at some late hour between the noble and learned Lord, Lord Simon of Glaisdale, and the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor, no court will be able to react what the noble Lord, Lord Harris, has said except when they go to bed at night.

Clause 72 agreed to.

moved Amendment No. 82A:

After Clause 72 insert the following new clause:

Obligation to observe equality of opportunity in certain contracts.

A term shall be expressly included in writing in every contract entered into by—

  • (a) a Minister of the Crown or Government Department, or
  • (b) a statutory body or a person holding a statutory office,
  • whereby the contractual parties undertake to observe equality of opportunity.

    The noble Lord said: I am moving an Amendment which would require the Government or a statutory body to include in their contracts and undertakings to observe equality of opportunity. This is an enormous Bill. It runs to 64 pages. It has been discussed for hours in another place and in this Chamber with late sittings. I believe, despite the mutilations it has suffered in this Committee—which I am sure will be corrected in another place—that this Bill is tremendously important. But I want to say this. I believe action by the Government themselves will have more effect on race relations than all the clauses in this measure. It will depend upon the Government, their will and their application of determination against racial discrimination as to what the response will be in the country.

    The need is for the Government themselves to lead in their executive capacity to promote equality of opportunity. The steps which the Government could take were pointed out by Sir Geoffrey Wilson, the chairman of the Race Relations Board, in his speech in April last year to the annual conference of the United Kingdom Immigration Advisory Service, of which the noble Lord, Lord Foot, is the chairman. He asked that the Secretary of State for Employment should make it clear that the Department stands four square behind the new Commission and its objectives; that the Department will support the Commission in the vigorous use of its powers and will accept the Commission as the Government's instrument of the promotion of equality of opportunity. He asked specifically that the Government should use their control in the vast areas of national life where it has influence and power.

    Three years ago the Civil Service gave a good precedent in this matter. But there are other wide areas of overt action where the Government could act. Why could not the Government, as proposed in my Amendment, insist by making it a condition of Government contracts, that equality of opportunity should be observed? There are the nationalised industries. There is the wide scope of the National Enterprise Board and of the Royal Ordnance Factories owned by the Government. The Government themselves can practise against racial discrimination over a very large part of the life of our nation. These are all areas where equality of opportunity could be directly enforced. I beg to move the adoption of the new clause to make sure legislatively that this will be done by the Government and their will and sincerity against racial discrimination proved.

    9.4 p.m.

    I am afraid I am going to upset the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, and possibly even the noble Lord, Lord Pitt of Hampstead, again. So hold on to your seats; I am not quite as bad as I sound! But I wonder whether they really mean what they say. Every human being in this country—and I think every Government Department is already bound, broadly speaking by the terms of this Bill not to break its provisions—and equally every business transaction I know of involves a contract. If, for instance, I walk into the shop run by Her Majesty's Stationery Office (which used to be in Kingsway) and buy the excellent book issued by the Stationery Office on edible fungii (which I have done before now) then I am entering into a contract with the Stationery Office. The noble Lord is now providing that when I buy my book on edible fungii, "a term shall be expressly included in writing" which will bind both the Stationery Office and me to observe equality of opportunity. This is really what it means.

    If I go into a railway station and buy an old man's railway ticket (which I did the other day) that is a contract. Indeed, if you look at the ticket closely you will see: "For conditions, see various regulations of the company". This means that instead of buying my old man's railway ticket, I have to put in an express clause in writing that I shall observe racial equality and that the railway board shall do the same. If I pay my electricity bill, get my home connected with the water supply, or if I sell my old Hansards to the Law Commission—which I once did—then inserted into the contract, both by the Law Commission and by me, has to be the clause that I observe racial equality. Exactly where are we getting?

    I apologise for interrupting but the noble and learned Lord refers to "racial equality". The words in this Amendment, as I understand them—and I am not expressing an opinion on the Amendment—refer to "equality of opportunity ".

    I am very much obliged to the noble Lord, Lord Wade, for the correction, because that makes it even more absurd. That means that I am under an obligation not only to observe the terms of this Bill, but any other Act or any other rule of law which might tend towards equal opportunity. We all of us say on the platform—and we say with every appearance of sincerity—that we believe in equal opportunity. Sometimes Conservatives contrast it with equality of reward or equality of something else which we say the other Party wants to observe. In all the circumstances which I have enumerated, there is a contract and therefore presumably, in every set of circumstances where either a statutory body or a Minister is concerned, there has to be a written clause to say that we shall observe equality of opportunity. I am very much obliged to the noble Lord, Lord Wade, for making my point even stronger and for correcting what was really an unpardonable error.

    I am always amused by the speeches of the noble and learned Lord, but I have never heard from him a sillier speech than the one he has just delivered. It is perfectly clear in this Amendment that we are thinking of contracts between the Government and those who are fulfilling obligations to them, that there should be a clause which would prevent discrimination by those companies which are fulfilling that contract. He wants to dismiss this obvious and clear proposal by the pettifogging argument that when he goes to buy a ticket he has to have a contract. Did ever silliness from a noble and learned Member of this Chamber go further?

    I told the noble Lord that he would get upset. Unfortunately, what I said is the literal truth. I cannot tell what the noble Lord is thinking about but I can tell what he said, and I know that what the courts would have to go by is what he said and not what he thinks is so obvious, that he thinks about it without saying it.

    Government contractors are, of course, subject to the 1968 Act, and will be subject to this Bill when it becomes law, much as are other traders. The Government feel they should go somewhat further and take steps to eliminate discrimination in employment for which they have direct responsibility. The Government amended the standard conditions of Government contracts to require contractors to conform to the employment provisions of the Act following the 1968 Act. The Government intend on this occasion to go somewhat further, and I will quote from the White Paper:

    "It would be the intention of the Government, when new legislation about racial discrimination is enacted, to require a similar undertaking to comply with its conditions as a standard condition of Government contracts."
    The White Paper went on:
    "The Government cannot assume that a form of condition in a contract is all that is required."
    It further went on to say this:
    "It would be a standard condition of Government contracts that the contractor will provide on request specific information about its employment policies and practices".
    The Government will be discussing with the TUC, the CBI and other interested bodies how the White Paper proposals can best be implemented. Detailed proposals such as the redrafting of the nondiscriminatory contractual clause must wait until the Bill has been passed. In the meantime, I should advise the Committee that it is the Government's intention to set up a standing advisory council under the chairmanship of my right honourable friend the Home Secretary. Its purpose will be to advise on the development and implementation of race relations policies. Consultation on the membership of the Council is now in progress. Although these discussions are not yet completed, it is envisaged that the members will be drawn from other Government Departments, the CBI, the TUC, local authority organisations, the chairmen of the Race Relations Board and the Community Relations Commission and the newly appointed chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality and members of ethnic minority communities.

    Discussions in the Council and the work of the Commission for Racial Equality will give practical guidance as to how the spirit as well as the letter of the law can be applied. I believe these discussions, rather than statutory provisions, will be the best way of achieving the goal which we share. I hope the noble Lord will see that we agree on ends and that the only difference is on means.

    Before the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, replies, I wonder whether the noble Lord, Lord Jacques, could explain what this new body he has mentioned is meant to do. Is it meant to help the Government to work out their comprehensive strategy for combating racial disadvantage or discrimination? If it is not, what is it to do? If it is, why was it not mentioned during various debates we have had when trying to find out what the comprehensive strategy was? I may have missed what the noble Lord, Lord Jacques, has said. Therefore, could he perhaps repeat now what the new advisory body is meant to do?

    As I stated, this advisory body, is to advise on the development and implementation of race relations policies.

    Is that to do with the Government's comprehensive strategy? If not, who is to deal with the comprehensive strategy?

    This, of course, touches upon the Government's overall strategy, but this is simply an advisory council whose advice the Government will take into account.

    I am delighted by the very important statement which has been made from the Government Front Bench in such contrast with the flippant attitude of the spokesman for the Opposition. I ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

    I wonder whether we can be clear before the noble Lord does that. The statement would be very important if it was announcing something new in the sense that we did not know about it before, but the words which the noble Lord used were exactly the same as are in the White Paper. This is the council which was announced over a year ago and of which we have heard no more since. Is that not so?

    We shall have to wait until the Bill is passed before we can proceed with the council.

    Can the noble Lord kindly explain the composition of the council, because I thought he said that the chairmen of the Race Relations Board and of the Community Relations Commission would be on it. I understood that the purpose of this Bill was to abolish those two bodies and make a new one.

    I can only say that what I said originally was my advice, which was that the chairmen of each of the three commissions would be represented. I imagine that the chairmen of the older commissions will be invited in their personal capacities.

    May I help the Minister? The point is that it was envisaged—I do not know whether it will happen now—that this advisory council would be functioning before the new Commission for Racial Equality. In that case, there would be a chairman of the Community Relations Commission and a chairman of the Race Relations Board in existence, and therefore they would have to be members of it.

    All this bears out the fact that we really must try to make some progress from the proposals set out in the White Paper. There was talk about strategies and a co-ordinated programme. The Minister's advice would have been correct if he had been speaking a year ago, but, as the noble Lord, Lord Pitt, has said, views have changed since then and we are still left very much in the dark as to how the Government will organise and administer all these arrangements.

    I think that the noble Lord is picking the wrong clause on which to raise this issue. This is an entirely new proposed clause to deal with contracts, and I raised the question of the advisory council because I felt that it could be helpful in the field of contracts.

    I wonder whether I may put this to the Minister. Paragraph 21 of the White Paper on Racial Discrimination refers to the standing advisory council to which the noble Lord has referred. It states:

    "Membership would include Ministers of the other Government Departments concerned, the Chairmen of the Community Relations Commission and the Race Relations Board (and subsequently the Chairman of the proposed Race Relations Commission)."
    I want to know whether it will be the individuals who are the present chairmen of the two existing bodies, who will sit in their personal capacities. I do not want an immediate answer and perhaps I can have a letter from the noble Lord. But if there is to be this body advising the Minister on policy, it is very important to know who will be on it.

    I will certainly write to the noble Baroness on that point, but I was not dealing with the standing advisory council. I was simply citing it in relation to contracts.

    I just want to say that, of course, I have read the anticipations which were in the White Paper. I regard the statement made from the Front Bench this evening to be so important, because it is definitive and gives the outline of the action which will be taken by the Government. It is because of that that I beg leave to withdraw my Amendment.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    Clause 73 [ Power to amend certain provisions of Act]:

    9.18 p.m.

    The noble Lord said: It may be to the convenience of the Committee if 1 speak at the same time to my Amendment No. 84. Clause 73 is a very important and potentially very dangerous clause. It gives the Secretary of State powers, subject only to the Affirmative Resolution procedure, to decree, for instance, that the employment of domestic servants, au pair girls et cetera shall come within the scope of the Act; that restaurants, whatever their special ambience, style or setting, can no longer choose staff of suitable appearance; that theatrical producers can be forced to employ black Hamlets or white Othellos; that small boarding houses, perhaps with as few as two rooms, shall be brought within the scope of the Act; likewise foster parents, clubs like the London Welsh Club, and other clubs with perhaps as few as five members, partnerships, with perhaps as few as two partners, and so on.

    So that all the limitations which we and the other place have fought so hard to maintain by way of safeguard, and which were surely intended to reconcile public opinion to the coercive features of this Bill, can be swept away at a stroke. Given the perennially crowded Parliamentary timetable, and reflecting upon the times of day and night when we have been obliged to consider the Bill, one can just imagine the kind of occasion when we might be asked to scrutinise such an order, such as late on a Friday night, perhaps, or on the last Sitting day before the Christmas Recess when very few noble Lords can be present to give proper attention to such an order. I have done nothing about moving an Amendment to delete paragraph ( b) of subsection (1) which deals with shipping

    because I do not know very much about the subject. To be consistent, perhaps I should have included it.

    I have deliberately not tabled an Amendment to delete paragraph ( c) because it is permissive, not restrictive; it is a liberalising paragraph and I am only too delighted that it should be left in the clause. However, I believe that if paragraphs ( a) and ( d) were left in the Bill Parliament would be breaking faith with the public who are already being asked to swallow a great deal so far as this Bill is concerned. In this connection I am very pleased to see that the Asian delegates at the Conservative Party Conference who spoke this afternoon in the immigration debate appeared to be critical of excessive race relations legislation.

    It may be that the Committee would prefer the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, to deal with the question of whether Clause 73 shall stand part. If that appears to be the general will of the Committee, I shall gladly withdraw my Amendments—but not otherwise. In the meantime, I beg to move Amendment No. 83.


    I think that the real question here arises rather conveniently on whether Clause 73 shall stand part. I was always in two minds as to whether or not to divide upon it at this stage because we are making slow progress. I was not at all sure whether the right course was to raise the points I wanted to raise and to reflect upon the Minister's answer before we reached the Report stage. I do not think that this is absolutely so easy as some of the matters we have tackled. On the other hand, I believe that a very substantial constitutional question has arisen in relation to the clause and I should like to deploy it now rather than later so that I may hear the Minister's reply.

    Laws are made by Acts of Parliament. So long ago as the end of the 17th century it was considered unconstitutional for Ministers of the Crown, or the Crown itself, to dispense people from an Act of Parliament or to legislate itself so as to alter the laws of this country. Of course, with the complication, mass and range of the legislation which we now have a practice has grown up whereby one could probably find dozens of precedents where, in complicated legislation, Ministers have been given the power either to repeal portions of an Act if it becomes spent or obsolete or to amend it if it proves in some degrees to be unenforceable, ineffective or for some reason bad. That is something which Parliament has allowed and, I suppose, will continue to allow with a good deal of hesitation and sometimes with a certain amount of grumbling, which I am now doing. But there must come a limit to this in some kind of way and I am wondering whether or not this clause exceeds that limit.

    The right of a Minister, even with the affirmative procedure, to repeal bits of an Act of Parliament has definite limitations and disadvantages, some of which were mentioned a moment ago by the noble Lord, Lord Monson. First, you get the inability to amend the Minister's draft. You have either to take it or leave it, and usually both alternatives are unattractive. You cannot amend the Minister's draft. Secondly, there is the problem about time which we can probably get over. Thirdly, the total effect of Ministerial amendments may be completely to alter the character of a piece of legislation.

    I am not in the least suggesting either that this Minister or any other Minister we are likely to have would think of deliberately frustrating the will of Parliament, but there cannot be any doubt, whatever view one takes about this particular Bill, that here is a clause which would entitle the Minister, with two or three amending orders—and perhaps with only one—completely to remodel the Act which the Commons spent an enormous time on amending in detail in Committee and we have spent a certain amount of time on amending in Committee.

    The noble Lord gave a number of instances, more or less amusing, but under Section 4(3) he could take away the exception which has been deliberately inserted by Parliament, providing an exception to employment in the private household. That is in the employment field. In Section 5 he can get rid of all the exceptional qualifications, as the noble Lord said, such as the Italian waiter and the Chinese cook and the other people we have spoken about in these Bills for a very long time. In Section 6 he can get rid of the training section. In Section 22 he can get rid of the exception for small dwellings so that a person would be bound to accept people unacceptable to him or her into his or her own household as tenants or lodgers. In Section 23(2) we are dealing with further exceptions, this time for family, children and elderly persons or persons requiring a special degree of care and attention as counting as parts of the household. In Section 24(2) we are dealing with the meaning of "small premises" for the purposes of that section, on assignment and underletting. In Section 26 we are dealing with the exception to the clubs provision, which in the end we passed.

    In Section 29(2) we are altering the advertisement section, and so with Section 29(3). In Sections 34 to 39 we are dealing with charities, which is a very highly complicated piece of law which we have not discussed in any great degree of detail. They can amend Section 10 so as to alter the number of partners, presumably either up or down, and we remember how controversial that proved a few nights ago; and Section 25(1)(a) alters the ceiling or limits in clubs, either up or down.

    At the end of the day there is no doubt at all that under this clause, by one or more unamendable Orders in Council, subject to the Affirmative Resolution procedure which has the limitations, we could be faced with an Act of Parliament which is totally different from that which we will have passed when this one actually receives the Royal Assent. I am really wondering whether the Minister is happy that his Secretary of State proposes to take powers. We have spent hours and hours in this House and, so far as I can gather (because I could not wade through the mass of Hansards of that Standing Committee and Report stage) the House of Commons must have taken four or five times as long as we have, probably more, discussing the details of this Bill, and now we are told that at a stroke of the pen and subject to the Affirmative Resolution procedure the whole thing goes for nothing if the Secretary of State so wills. I do not feel that that is constitutionally desirable.

    As I say, this is too important to deal with at Committee stage at the end of a long and tiring experience. I want the Minister just to think about it, tell us what his thoughts are and perhaps on Report stage either he or we can put in a much less constitutionally offensive provision giving the Minister the powers he really needs, but not powers to substitute what is virtually a new Bill for that which we have passed after so much labour.

    9.31 p.m.

    The noble and learned Lord, Lord Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, has referred to some precedents and will not be astonished to learn that one of them relates to the Sex Discrimination Act. But I would certainly agree with the noble and learned Lord that the Bill before us represents a considerable extension of the scope of the law, partly because of the inclusion of nationality in the definition of discrimination, but mainly because of the extension to cover indirect discrimination.

    There are two reasons why we think that the power to amend certain, but only certain, provisions is necessary. First, it is possible that experience will show that we have drawn some exceptions too widely or, indeed, for that matter, too narrowly. With a Bill as wide-ranging as this, it is not impossible that we have omitted to except something which we ought to have excepted and, obviously, for that reason, I cannot give any precise examples at present. Secondly, as time passes, some of the exceptions which are exceptable may cease to he exceptable. As an example of this, I would cite the shipping provision. Indeed, my noble friend Lord Jacques has already explained that it is our intention to move the exception in Clause 9 in due course. Leaving aside the sexual discrimination precedent, where it would be right to say in passing that the power to amend was even more necessary because it was the first time we legislated against discrimination on the grounds of sex and marriage, I entirely accept that Clause 73 is a novel provision, in that it covers most of the substantive provisions of the Bill; but I would not accept that this is not a justifiable innovation.

    In discussing Clause 73, I think it right to use this particular opportunity to draw attention to the various important limitations which it contains. In the first place, Clause 73 is far from being a blanket power to amend. Subsection (1)(a) enables only certain exceptions to be amended; for example, the fostering exception in Clause 23(2), the special needs exception in Clause 35, and the sport exception in Clause 39. As I have already indicated, there is also the shipping exception.

    Subsection (1)(c) contains the other wide-ranging power to permit amendment only in the direction of making lawful something which would otherwise be unlawful, and the power to amend is, indeed, rather more limited than once or twice during the speech of the noble and learned Lord may have appeared to be the case.

    The second limitation to which I would draw attention is that in order to amend the Bill, such proposals cannot be presented to Parliament unless the Commission has first been consulted about its contents. Almost certainly, therefore, there would be a very substantial debate on the proposals of the Government, which brings me to the last point which, if the noble Lord, Lord Monson, will forgive me saying so, is the conspiracy theory, that is, that these major Amendments to the law would be slipped through late on a Friday afternoon, or something of that sort. With great respect, I do not believe that to be a well-justified fear. I think that the procedures which would be necessary in order to bring this before Parliament would be of a fairly significant character. Parliamentary business in both Houses is arranged by agreement between the usual channels. I do not believe that the fear which the noble Lord, Lord Monson, expressed is well justified. But I certainly welcome what the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hailsham, said about his attitude to this clause, not in terms of the grave doubts he expressed about it, but he indicated he would like to reflect on the matter.

    I repeat that I think that some substantial additional powers are conferred in this Bill. I would in no way seek to minimise that. I think that, as the noble and learned Lord has said, it is perfectly right for the Committee to consider this clause carefully, and if he would like to come back to it on Report we would, of course, be glad to consider any suggestions he might wish then to make. But in our view the clause, as drafted, is reasonable.

    9.36 p.m.

    I wonder whether, before the noble Lord, Lord Monson, declares what he will do, I could comment on that. I give the noble Lord the seamen, of course. This has long been a contentious matter, but the Government have declared that it is their intention to taper this exception away, and I do not consider it unreasonable on the lines of what modern legislation does that they should obtain the right to amend the Bill, possibly by stages or possibly in one gulp.

    I also give them the permissive clause which entitles them to enlarge exceptions made by the Bill, because that is in the direction of liberty. But in almost all the other cases what is being removed from the Bill in theory is safeguards. They are safeguards which will have been hammered out after a long and painful process of Committee and Report stages in both Houses of Parliament. I have never adopted the conspiracy theory in all this. I think that isolated cases of conspiracy do occur, particularly in another place, and that Governments of both persuasions have been occasionally guilty of them—either of doing things in the middle of the Long Vacation which they know would cause a row in Parliament if they were done when the House of Commons was sitting, although we are always too polite to make a row, or by slipping them through at dead of night.

    I am not quite so starry-eyed as the noble Lord, Lord Harris, was about it in his reply because et ego in Arcadia vixi—I am feeling very Latinate today. I have been in the House of Commons, but I forget whether he has.

    Indeed I have not, but I was endeavouring to point out to the Committee that the Affirmative Resolution procedure is a little different from carefully timed Recess announcements, to which, I am well aware, as the noble and learned Lord is, Governments periodically resort. I was trying to point out that I think that the fears which the noble Lord set out in his speech so far as the Affirmative Resolution procedure is concerned were rather farfetched.

    I am not altogether accepting this. Having been in the House of Commons I recognise that the noble Lord, not having been there, is almost devoid of original sin. If one has spent half or a quarter of one's public life in the House of Commons, original sin is very well developed in one, and one does not believe the assurances of Ministers, possibly because one has given so many oneself—always, of course, in the best of faith. In fact, when you are giving those assurances you believe them; then sooner or later some wicked colleague slips through a Government Committee something which is directly contrary to them, and you feel very shamefaced when somebody points this out. So I do not think what the noble Lord, Lord Monson, was saying was altogether far-fetched.

    What I was really coming to was that it is the unamendability of the Order in Council that I am more afraid of because although, as I have said, I have reservations about rejecting the conspiracy theory, I do not think it is as important as some people sometimes make out in Parliamentary debate or outside Parliament, because on the whole Governments are honest, on the whole Ministers are honest, on the whole Oppositions are honest and on the whole Whips are pretty efficient. But there is no doubt about it that subordinate legislation cannot be amended whichever procedure you adopt, and it is a terrrible business to throw out a whole Order in Council because you do not like one paragraph in it. It is always misrepresented and it sometimes causes chaos if you try to do it. So, at the end of the day, I do not like this model clause at all and, as I told the Committee on more than one occasion, I am increasingly irritated by references to the Sex Discrimination Act.

    I was at that time sitting judicially fairly extensively, but I now begin to think that I ought to have been in charge of that measure from this side, and I can assure the Government that they would have had a much rougher ride than they did have. I would think that perhaps we had better resume this debate on Report. I do not know that it is much good dividing on it now.

    Not having been in the House of Commons, I can assure the noble Lord, Lord Harris of Greenwich, that I was not imputing ignoble motives to the Government (justifiably or otherwise) but merely suggesting that pressure of business might force a situation where such an Affirmative Resolution was dealt with late in the evening, and being realistic about your Lordships' commitments, and commitments of honourable Members in another place. We are all very busy people and do not tend to turn up for orders as we do for Bills. I feel that siren voices are tempting me to withdraw. I am sure there will be many Amendments put down at Report stage, and there is no guarantee that on Report stage we shall reach Clause 73 as early as twenty minutes to ten; it may well be a good deal later, and there may well be pressure at that stage to skip through it quickly. I am, therefore, tempted to test the opinion of the Committee now.

    On Question, Amendment negatived.

    On Question, Whether Clause 73 shall stand part of the Bill?

    9.42 p.m.

    I am not going to say anything extra about this, except to say that we shall meet this problem again on Report.

    Clause 73 agreed to.

    Clauses 74 to 77 agreed to.

    Clause 78 [ General interpretation provisions.]:

    moved Amendment No. 86:

    Page 51, line 8, leave out ("Commission for Racial Equality") and insert ("Community Relations Commission")

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    Clause 78 agreed to.

    Clause 79 agreed to.

    Clause 80 [ Short title and extent.]:

    9.44 p.m.

    moved Amendment No. 87B:

    Page 54, line 24, leave out ("Race") and insert ("Community")

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    Clause 80, as amended, agreed to.

    Schedule 1 [ The Commission for Racial Equality.]:

    moved Amendment No. 89:


    The noble Baroness said: I beg to move. It is consolidation.

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    moved Amendment No. 90:

    Page 55, line 7, leave out ("with perpetual succession and a common seal")

    The noble Lord said: This is a drafting Amendment. I beg to move.

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    9.46 p.m.

    moved Amendment No. 90A:

    Page 56, line 9, at end insert ("except that he shall pay, or make payments towards the provision of, remuneration, pensions, allowances or gratuities to or in respect of the chairman and each deputy chairman equal to those that he may determine under paragraph 5 of Schedule 3 of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 in respect of the chairman and each deputy chairman of the Equal Opportunities Commission.")

    The noble Baroness said: ft gives me enormous pleasure on this side of the Committee to draw attention to the fact that I should like something put in which really equates this Bill with the Sex Discrimination Act. I can do it slightly more easily because my noble and learned friend has retired. The salary of the chairman of the Equal Opportunities Commission is £10,600 a year full time, and when I saw the announcement of the new chairman of the Race Relations Commission it was £12,500 a year. That seemed to me as clear an example of sex discrimination as anybody would wish to see.

    Perhaps I should declare that I have known the new chairman of the Race Relations Commission very well for many years and I have no wish to have any effect on the little money he will take home at the end of the day. I also happen to know extremely well the deputy chairman of the Equal Opportunities Commission, so perhaps I should declare these acquaintances, but I do not happen to know the chairman of the Equal Opportunities Commission.

    In view of the kind of work that she has to do, and that she has to deal with at least 9 million women in employment, and, as I understand it, there are not 9 million members of the ethnic minorities in this country, I should have thought that if you do it on a per capita basis she should get more rather than less. It is not for me, with the policy of our Party, to encourage any increase in public expenditure, so perhaps the Minister would like to give me some satisfactory solution as to the salaries of the chairmen of these two bodies.

    I apologise to the noble Baroness for not having been here when she got up. I think I can honestly say that I heard the substance of her observations. If I understood her correctly, she argued that the salaries of the chairmen of the two commissions dealing with discrimination should be linked on the basis that their responsibilities and functions are closely comparable.

    I think her Amendment would place a statutory obligation on the Secretary of State to ensure that the salaries in fact were the same. We feel that this would be wrong, and I hope I can satisfy her that it is wrong. There are differences now in the responsibilities of the two organisations, mainly in that the Commission for Racial Equality will be responsible for field work in addition to the enforcement and promotional work similar to that of the Equal Opportunities Commission. We do not feel that there is a comparable responsibility falling on the Equal Opportunities Commission. It has seemed right to recognise that there is this difference in setting the salaries of the two bodies. But like other salaries they can always be reviewed in the light of changed circumstances, subject of course to whatever economic and incomes policies might be in force at the time.

    As it stands, the Bill allows the Secretary of State flexibility to take into account the circumstances of each case at any particular time and to make wider comparisons than the Amendment envisages if this seems appropriate. Such flexibility is, in the Government view, essential and, as I said, we do not think that the two, the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Commission for Racial Equality, can be compared as like with like; there is a difference in their function and scope and the Government feel that the Commission for Racial Equality is such that it justifies this difference in the salary.

    I must support what was said by the noble Baroness, Lady Elles, and protest against the Minister's blatant piece of special pleading if ever there was one. In terms of the Equal Pay Act which was passed by the previous Labour Government, if these two jobs are not the same, then they are emphatically broadly similar. Indeed, I cannot think of any two jobs which could be more accurately described as "broadly similar". If there is a bias in any direction, I support Lady Elles in saying that it is in favour of the Equal Opportunities Commission under the Sex Discrimination Act and the Equal Pay Act. The Equal Opportunities Board has the complexity of the Equal Pay Act to deal with and that involves some of the most intricate questions which have to be argued out with industry, embracing a range of decisions and a scope which does not appear in this Bill, which will present other problems.

    The complexity, scale and scope covered by the work of the Equal Opportunities Commission in the area of pay and opportunity are surely in every sense as weighty as anything that will be done under this Bill. I am bound to say that if it had not been that the Equal Opportunities Commission was dealing with problems of women, it would never have entered the heads of noble Lords opposite that there should be no discrimination in the pay of these two jobs.

    I am grateful for that intervention by the noble Baroness, Lady Seear, and I can only suggest that the Minister's answer provides the reason why so few cases ever seem to succeed at the industrial tribunal. He gave all the answers that only a man could give when women are asking for equality, justice and fairness. The salary of the chairman of the Community Relations Commission at £10,600 a year and the salary of the chairman of the Race Relations Board, also at £10,600 a year, are precisely the same as for the chairman of the Equal Opportunities Commission, so I do not see how the noble Lord's argument holds water.

    As Lady Seear pointed out, not only is the scope very similar to that of the new Commission that is being set up, but the chairman of the Equal Opportunities Commission is directly responsible for the absorption into industry of 9 million women on an equal and fair basis; itdoes not apply only to equal pay but to the whole range of opportunities which should be equal—training, apprenticeships and everything else. I feel that the Government are doing a gross injustice by not giving these two important figureheads equality and justice in our community. It is regrettable that from the beginning they should not have the same pay. It will be a real political disgrace if the Government cannot put this matter right.

    I am sorry that the two noble Baronesses feel that the Government are deliberately embarking on a spot of discrimination.

    We are not personally accusing the noble Lord, Lord Wells-Pestell of being what is vulgarly called a male chauvinist pig.

    I am glad that I shall have that in writing or in print in Hansard tomorrow and I am eternally grateful to the noble Baroness for saying that. I know that I shall not be able to convince the noble Baronesses but this really is not a question of discrimination. It is a question of judgment and the Government may well be wrong in their judgment. However, the judgment is that the task of the chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality is more onerous. That is not a very good word but it is the only one I can think of. It is on that basis that we get this difference in salary. Having said that, I would remind your Lordships that it is a very flexible matter. I suppose that representations can be made in the appropriate quarter with regard to this matter, but I ask the noble Baroness to accept that this is the perfectly genuine view of the Government without any question of discrimination.

    I am very grateful to the noble Lord for his explanation and I, of course, join with the noble Baroness, Lady Seear, in reassuring the noble Lord, Lord Wells-Pestell, that outside this Chamber we shall, I hope, always remain the greatest of friends. Nevertheless, I believe that the Government are making a very bad decision. I should like to know—and possibly the noble Lord can tell me—to what body the chairman of the Equal Opportunities Commission should apply if she feels she is being discriminated against on grounds of salary? I feel that she would be justified in bringing a complaint. Before I withdraw the Amendment I should like to know to whom she should apply so that we may at least have an answer from the Government.

    While the noble Lord is thinking about that, can he find out from his colleagues why whenever during this Bill the Government have not wanted to say anything at all he has been given the job of saying nothing? He is so charming, kind, friendly and patient that we know as soon as he gets up that the answer will be nothing, or nothing squared or nothing to the power of three. Perhaps in order to save the effort which I know he puts into preparing what he says, he could produce a banner that says "No" on it and wave it every time he gets up.

    I am sure that the noble Lord means that very kindly, but I think that I may be being damned not with faint praise but with none at all. In answer to the noble Baroness, I suppose that the chairman of the Equal Opportunities Commission could refer the matter to the chairman of the Equal Opportunities Commission.

    I think that the noble Lord's answer has shown how very unsatisfactory the position is. When the noble Lord referred to the onerous task of the chairman of the Racial Equality Commission being heavier than that of the chairman of the Equal Opportunities Commission he bore out what every woman has felt over the past 20 years; that is, if you were black and a member of an ethnic minority, you were given special treatment and helped along but if, regardless of race or colour, you were just an ordinary woman you were invariably discriminated against. I think we have had the proof of that here tonight. I am very sorry that the Government should take this line and I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Wells-Pestell, will try to convince his colleagues that they are completely wrong on this and will try to see that these salaries are made equal. On that basis, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    moved Amendment No. 92:

    Page 57, line 10, leave out (""Commission for Racial Equality"") and insert (""Community Relations Commission"").

    Question, Amendment agreed to.

    moved Amendment No. 95:

    Page 58, line 30, leave out ("Commission for Racial Equality" and insert ("Community Relations Commission").

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    moved Amendment No. 97:

    Page 58, line 34, leave out ("Commission for Racial Equality") and insert ("Community Relations Commission").

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    Schedule 1, as amended, agreed to.

    Schedule 2 [ Transitional provisions.]:

    10 p.m.

    moved Amendment No. 98:

    Page 60, line 48, leave out from ("Commission") to ("by") in line 49 and insert ("established by section 25 of the Race Relations Act 1968 shall vest in the Community Relations Commission")

    If this Amendment is agreed to, I cannot call Amendment No. 99.

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    moved Amendment No. 101:

    Page 61, line 4, leave out ("Commission for Racial Equality") and insert ("Community Relations Commission")

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    moved Amendment No. 102:

    Page 61, line 11, at end insert ("established by section 25 of the Race Relations Act 1968")

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    moved Amendment No. 103:

    Page 61, line 18, leave out ("did not accept") and insert ("unreasonably refused")

    The noble Lord said: Amendments Nos. 103 and 109 improve the arrangements made in Schedule 2 to safeguard the position of staff of the Race Relations Board and the Community Relations Commission. I beg to move.

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    moved Amendment No.104:

    Page 61, line 24, after ("Commission") insert ("established by section 25 of the Race Relations Act 1968")

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    moved Amendment No.105:

    Page 61, line 35, after ("Commission") insert ("established by section 25 01 the Race Relations Act 1968")

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    moved Amendment No. 106:

    Page 61, line 40, at end insert ("established by section 25 of the Race Relations Act, 1968")

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    moved Amendment No. 108:

    Page 61, line 41, leave out ("Commission for Racial Equality") and insert ("Community Relations Commission")

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    moved Amendment No. 109:

    Page 62, leave out lines 2 to 6 and insert—
  • ("(a) the terms of employment offered to a person are, taken as a whole, less favourable than those on which he was employed at the time when an offer of employment with the Commission was made to him; or
  • (b) a person's refusal of an offer of employment with the Commission was unreasonable,
  • shall be referred to and determined by an industrial tribunal.").

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    Schedule 2, as amended, agreed to.

    Schedule 3 agreed to.

    Schedule 4 [ Amendments of Sex Discrimination Act 1975.]:

    Page 63, line 13, at end insert—

    "1. After section 56 insert the cross heading "Codes of Practice" and, below it, insert as section 56A a section in terms identical with those of section 47 of this Act except for the following adaptations, namely—
  • (a) in subsection (1), for "persons of different racial groups" substitute "men and women";
  • (b) in subsection (7), for "section 74(3)" substitute "section 81(4)" ."
  • The noble Lord said: Amendment No. 110 is concerned with codes of practice. It is the Government's intention, expressed in the White Paper on Racial Discrimination, that, except for good reasons, the Race Relations Bill and Sex Discrimination Act and the proceedings for their administration and enforcement should be framed in similar terms. As introduced, the administration and enforcement provisions of the Bill were as similar as they could be to those in the Act, but Amendments to the Bill which were agreed in another place have resulted in three differences, and consequently the Government have put forward three Amendments. This is the first of those.

    In another place, there were long discussions on the desirability of a code of practice. Eventually, there was an Amendment to the Bill that there should be a code of practice. That Amendment is Clause 47 of the Bill. At the time it was made clear that if this Amendment was adopted in the other place, then it was the Government's intention that there would be a corresponding Amendment to the Sex Discrimination Act so that the two Acts were kept in line. By this Amendment, which I am now moving, provision is made for a code of conduct in relation to sex discrimination in much the same way as Clause 47 in the Bill provides for a code of conduct in relation to racial discrimination. I beg to move.

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    Page 63, line 27, at end insert—

    (" 2. In section 65(3)(a), after "may" insert "(subject to the limit in subsection (2))".")

    The noble Lord said: This Amendment would bring Section 65(3) of the Sex Discrimination Act into line with Clause 56(4) of this Bill. That clause was amended by Government Amendment in Committee in another place. To make it clear that, as was always the intention, the limit on the amount of compensation which can be awarded by an industrial tribunal—currently £5,200—may not be exceeded when the tribunal increases an award on account of non-compliance with a recommendation it has made. This Amendment brings the Bill into line with the Act.

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    10.8 p.m.

    Page 63, line 29, at end insert—

    " (2) After section 66(5) insert:
    " (5A) In Scotland, when any proceedings are brought under this section, in addition to the service on the defender of a copy of the summons or initial writ initiating the action a copy thereof shall be sent as soon as practicable to the Commission in a manner to be prescribed by Act of Sederunt."."

    The noble Lord said: Under Amendment No. 70 I moved on behalf of my noble friend Lord Harris the condition required by the Act of Sederunt. This also applies to Amendment No. 112. I have already been into this matter and as Amendment No. 70 was accepted I therefore formally move Amendment No. 112.

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    Page 63, line 31, at end insert—

    (" In section 75(2), after paragraph (d) insert—
    "(e) any other form of assistance which the Commission may consider appropriate,".")

    The noble Lord said: Clause 66(2) of the Bill was amended in Committee in another place so as to make it clear that the list it contained of the kinds of assistance it is to be open to the Commission to give is not an exhaustive but merely an illustrative list. Despite the words "may include" at the beginning of Clause 66(2), it was felt that the clause might be interpreted too narrowly. The corresponding provisions, which was contained in Clause 75 of the Sex Discrimination Act, will also be amended.

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    Schedule 4, as amended, agreed to.

    Schedule 5 agreed to.

    House resumed: Bill reported, with the Amendments.

    10.11 p.m.