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Commons Amendment

Volume 591: debated on Monday 22 June 1998

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10 Schedule 2, page 26, line 37, at end insert—

("Application to Scotland

11. Paragraphs 7 and 8 do not extend to Scotland.").

My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 10. In moving this amendment, I should like to speak also to Amendment No. 11. These are purely technical amendments to the provisions in Schedules 2 and 4 which deal with the execution of documents on behalf of the New Opportunities Fund and the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts. Paragraphs (7) and (8) of both schedules stipulate how documents should be executed on behalf of both of those bodies. In Scotland there is no need to make it an express provision because this matter is already dealt with by the Requirements of Writing (Scotland) Act 1995, which is intended to govern execution of documents in all circumstances.

The 1995 Act provides for documents to be executed on behalf of bodies corporate if signed by a member, the secretary or an authorised signatory and if signed either by one witness or sealed with the common seal of the body. I commend the amendment to the House.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 10.—(Lord McIntosh of Haringey.)

My Lords, as the noble Lord says, these are technical amendments and we have no special observations to make about them. However, as we are being so very expeditious this afternoon, I should like to take the opportunity, first, to thank the noble Lord for his good humour in piloting the Bill through the House—

My Lords, here is the sting. I only wish that the noble Lord's convictions or instructions—I do not know which have been more important—had not prevented him from accepting the very reasonable suggestions that we put forward which, in our view, would have produced a better, fairer and constitutionally more sound piece of legislation.

The Government have rejected all amendments which would have enshrined in the Bill the principle of additionality. Although there was no danger that the additionality principle would be breached under the 1993 Act, it is clear that the main purpose of the Bill is to use lottery money to help finance the Government's own social programmes. The Government have refused all the amendments designed to protect the money going to the existing good causes—the arts, heritage, sport and charities—from capture by the New Opportunities Fund. The Government have rejected amendments which would have limited the power under the 1993 Act for the Secretary of State to reduce the share of each of the original good causes to below 13⅓ per cent.

In the other place, the Government rejected amendments to hold them to their manifesto commitment not to set up the New Opportunities Fund until after the Millennium Commission was wound up. They rejected amendments before your Lordships' Committee which were designed to remove from the Bill the retrospective provision which backdated the apportionment of National Lottery money to 14th October, and which has cost the original good causes £141 million. We have tallied it up over the past six months. The Government rejected our attempts to prevent NESTA becoming a venture capital or new development agency. Finally, they rejected amendments which were designed to ensure that the arm's-length principle applied to the New Opportunities Fund.

We believe that the Bill passes into law with weaknesses, injustices and broken promises which could have been avoided and which will cause problems in the years ahead.

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord for those kind personal comments. However, he will not be surprised if I resist the opportunity to treat this as another debate on Bill do now pass and if I defend, silently but not without conviction, the Bill against the strictures which the noble Lord has just made. I commend the amendment to the House.

On Question, Motion agreed to.