04/12/2015 Lords Questions


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my Lord side big-league to `sk the question on the order paper. My Lord


is the strength of our univdrsities rest on their tummy and govdrnment


has rightly discouraged by statute from direct intervention in their


affairs. The consolidation of the State of London metropolitan


university as set out in thdir one campus one community strategy is


entirely a matter for them. The Higher Education Funding Cotncil


expects any university to t`ke appropriate professional advice


winning gauging in any major sales of its estate. My Lord stows the


minister appreciate that with the intended move to a single c`mpus,


London at the same it cannot support this the loss of which would be a


loss for arts design and manufacturing. Will the Minhster


that excerpt that the car should remain in the East End wherd it


belongs as an independent cdntre of excellence, a solution that the


government could expedite as it now owns one of the three campus


buildings. This is a matter for the government. I am afraid my lords I


must reiterate, this is not a matter for government intervention, it is a


matter for the university and the decisions it is making. I c`n say


that the government supports arts and heritage which is why wd


announced ?1.6 billion worth of capital investment across otr


country in 2021 in the commdnts of spending review. In view of the


importance of the creative industries both nationally `nd


regionally that we should bd expanding and developing art and


design colleges, that this hs a total success, there is no necessity


for its move and its closurd is not in the long-term interests of East


London either? I thank you for your question and I am delighted to tell


you that in the car brands of spending review the governmdnt


indicated it would support the 100 million development of a new college


of arts campus in Battersea. We do agree that the creative indtstries


are important which is why we are helping to support that particular


project. Can you assure me that you will not lose the benefit of things


like the courses, my husband did silversmithing there at the same


time as a fellow Baroness's husband. Will those courses still continue


for other people, because they are extremely valuable? As I sahd in


answer to a couple of questhons I am afraid I cannot comment on this


particular case, it is a matter for the university, but I am happy to


talk about the fact that thd government provides around ?60


million worth of funding for specialist art and music colleges.


The foundation is one of thd most successful and highly regarded


education institutions in London, perhaps even in Britain. Part of its


success has always been attributed to its location in the East End


close to the city where it has thrived for over 250 years. It is


likely it will be forced to move to Holloway, due mostly to London


metropolitan university's fhnancial difficulties. Surely this is the


sole situation where the government should step in and help. I know my


noble Lords value universitx autonomy. I have said it is a matter


for the university, not for the government. Order! Does the minister


appreciate that with this move we will lose the only musical


instrument building course hn the country at a time when the transfer


has quite rightly and admir`bly focused on building up the `rts in


this country? This is the ndxt generation, how we going to train


people for the future? My lords as I have said, we provide over ?40


million worth of funding to specialist arts and music colleges


around the country. This government is committed to supporting the


creative industries in this country. Following on from question, could


you say what the government is doing to allay the very strong concerns of


the arts and creative industries that the introduction of Eibar with


it consultation on subjects as though the downgrading of Art and


design and without the facilities and courses at places like Cass


School the next-generation of creative talent is being dilinished?


I would like to reassure thd noble lady that since the introduction of


ebac the proportion of people in state funded schools taking at least


one GCSE in an art subject has increased and 2005 entries hn art


and design were 2% higher and four music was 3% higher. We belheve that


arts and culture are part of a well-balanced broad curriculum that


we support. Will my noble friend except that the government's


commitment to art and design is admirable, as is its commitlent to


the autonomy of universities? They have been quite hard so far, so


thank you for your question. As an innocent in these matters, will she


agree to at least say that the thing she has listened to would bd


transmitted to the university concerned, so that they would know


that turning out millions of figures of what is being spent means nothing


to those losing out? As I h`ve said, it is not a matter for government,


but I am sure that the univdrsity will be taking note of what has been


said this morning. Music te`ching in schools is a very important part of


building self confidence and improving self discipline and


cutting the provision of music in state schools, is a major step back


from precisely those state schools that need to build all of those


policies. I entirely agree with what you said about the value of music


and the enjoyment that people get, but as I have said in 2015, GCSE


entries for music were 3% hhgher. Can I turn your attention to the


other bit about the physical building in this ancient arda of


Aldgate beyond the medieval city walls, what steps can the government


take to preserve this one btilding alone -- alarm at the Whitechapel


Gallery? I am afraid, as I have said, this is not a matter for the


government. As I said in my original Ansa, the Higher Education Funding


Council expects any univershty to take appropriate profession`l advice


winning gauging in any major sales of its estate. I beg leave to ask


the question standing in my name on the order paper. Lord Strathclyde


has written to the members of both houses invited them to submht their


views. A number of peers from around the house have already made


submissions to his review or shared their views with him in person. I


have no doubt he will consider carefully all representations for


members of this house. I am grateful to the leader for that replx. Can


she assure me that when Lord Strathclyde has reported thdre will


be an opportunity for the house to debate the contents of this report


before the government comes to any conclusions? Could she also say in


view of the 1994 resolution of this house, that we have an unfettered


right to vote on secondary legislation which was confirmed by


the joint Select Committee? If Lord Strathclyde proposes reducing the


powers of this house, will she ensure that a further joint Select


Committee of both houses is established to consider the


consequences both for this house and the other place? I certainlx do not


want to pre-empt my noble friend's conclusions when he comes forward


with his response to the Prhme Minister, but it is worth md


reminding the house that he is looking into the constitutional


issues that were raised by the proceedings in this house in


October. They were unpreceddnted, they did raise serious questions,


they did my Lords, and he is looking at them in a way where he is


consulting very widely and he is consulting members of the other


place as well as here. In doing so, when he reaches his conclushons I


am confident that we will h`ve an opportunity to consider thel


carefully and decide the next steps at that time. Does my noble friend


except that have this house passed the secondary legislation on tax


credits, then it would have had the immediate force of law and prevented


the Chancellor of the Exchepuer from abandoning these proposals ht is


Autumn Statement? My noble friend raises an interesting point It is


interesting. It allows me to say two things. It allows me to to say that


it demonstrates what this house did, it withheld its approval from a


motion that had already been voted on three times and decided hn the


other house. It withheld its approval. The key thing abott the


review that my noble friend is doing is not in what where are thd views


of this has, but how will this has decided to express them and the


route that it chose to do so. Will the government heed the serhous


concerns expressed by the Constitution committee and the


delegated Powers committee of the Lordships house to the effect that


the threshold between primary and secondary legislation continues to


move upwards with second arda legislation being increasingly used


for matters of policy and principle, which should be the subject of


primary legislation and will the noble lady, the leader except that


these issues should be at the heart of the matters which Lord


Strathclyde is examining? Mx noble friend is examining how to secure


the decisive role of the eldcted house on matters associated very


much with secondary legislation and clearly what is important is that


all governments use the right vehicle in order to secure


Parliament 's decision on their business and that is what all


governments seek to do about is what we have been doing and conthnue to


do so. Can the noble lady, she has indicated that Lord Strathclyde will


take into account the views of members of the house. Would you take


this opportunity to commend the view of one noble Lord who said to the


Joint Committee on conventions, I think we can spend a great deal of


time picking about how we c`n improve this but I would not move


the power, the noble words of Lord Strathclyde. There was another noble


lord who gave evidence to that same Joint Committee, Lord Falk `nd and


he said this about secondarx legislation, he said the qudstion


was not is the power there to vote against it, the question is, is


there a convention that says constitutionally, we should not do


it? The answer to the questhon must be and is no. Surely the Minister


would agree that this was in no sense a constitutional crishs,


merely because the House of Lords did what it was supposed to do and


should do, which is to scrutinise and where appropriate, ask the


Commons to think again? That is what this house decided to do, not to


destroy this but to delay it to allow the Commons to think `gain and


once the comments have thought again, in the body of the Chancellor


of the Exchequer, the consthtutional crisis disappeared and we all got


the result that was welcomed. I am really sorry, I do disagree with the


way the noble lady represents what happened in October. This house


withheld its approval from that statutory assessment and issued a


set of demands. This house overruled the House of Commons, it did not ask


the House of Commons to think the House of Commons to think again it


overruled a decision that this - the other has had considered


undecided. I believe in addhtion to Lord Strathclyde's review their 12


other bodies bodies working on reform proposals for this house


including I believe one which the noble Baroness has some involvement


with. How are the other grotps intended to lie a is with Lord


Strathclyde's research? My noble friend Lord Strathclyde is focusing


only on what I have already described which is associatdd with


secondary legislation and I think the other groups that my noble


friend is referring to by looking at other matters and they are separate


to this one. Would the leaddr of the house recognise that followhng the


question put to her there, ht is all pray well to say that we should let


statutory instruments through without too much difficulty in this


house, but there is a quid pro quo for that and that is about latters


which should be considered hn primary legislation down at the


other end should not be dond by statutory instruments. If the result


of Lord Strathclyde's delibdrations are that the house loses thd right


to throw at statutory instrtments but the other side of that dquation


is that at the other end of the building they undertake the major


financial issues should not be done by statutory instrument but by


primary legislation? And wh`t happened in the case in October was


that the government used thd vehicle that was set out for it to tse in


the original act and that is what the government did and it w`s at


absolute liberty to do so. H beg leave to ask the question in my name


on the order paper. My Lord, the PKK is a prescribed


party. There are no provisions to classify a movement as a resistance


movement. When I put down this question I did not expect the


answer, yes, of course. But has the government fully considered that the


PKK no longer kills civilians, has offered many ceasefires particularly


since 1999, that it is asking not for independence but for devolution


and that it has the support of non-violent civil society in the


south-east and of many other minorities in Turkey? What they all


want is a new constitution. Will the government consider these points?


Their political aspirations are noble and these are the typds of


issues which will be addressed in peace talks which we want the PKK to


return to. But the PKK has been responsible for 140 deaths of


military police and just in the last few months. That is the reason why


they are described as a terrorist organisation and why they whll


remain so. The Turkish issud in Turkish, Syrian and Iraqi politics,


can the government at least the active in saying the governlent in


Turkey that we welcome the figures stations between the PKK and the


government but we think of the provision of better civil rhghts for


Kurdish minority in Turkey hs an important issue in the future of


Turkey and that the treatment of the AKP in Turkish politics has been


unfortunate. A number of those points were raised in the ET Turkey


summit which the Prime Minister attended. There is an absoltte need


for those talks and discusshons to go on but they must go throtgh a


diplomatic and political process, not to be decided by military


violence. Given that the PKK is also


prescribed as a terrorist organisation by several states and


organisations, does the govdrnment accept that any decision on this


issue would have to be done in consultation with our crew ,-


closest allies, especially our European partners? And the Prime


Minister referred to 70,000 opposition Syrian fighters on the


ground that do not belong to opposition groups. Can the noble


Lord say whether the claimed figure included the Turkish workers party


which is engaged in the war on the ground against the Syrian state and


appeared -- and if I ministdr peer to say his sympathies were with the


PKK. The PKK did not includd them. The Prime Minister's words were that


they were Peshmerga and othdrs. The point


We Cross the boundaries and we need to work with people to prevdnt the


flow of water coming into the seven. The maintenance activities on flood


defences, does you not understand that almost equally important is for


the Environment Agency to work with the agricultural industry to prevent


unnecessary flow of the land of mud and sailed that causes much of the


damage and for the local authorities and planning authorities to try and


ensure there is not unnecessary run-off from hard standing `nd


concreting and all the other things that are fundamental reason for much


of the flooding? I think my noble friend is absolutely right, with not


only need to protect property but we need to protect that agricultural


land, production of our food is safeguarded. That is why more than


90% of arable land is either protected by flood risk assdts and


there has been no risk of flooding in those areas. But my nobld friend


is absolutely right. We need to get our planning guidance right. That is


where there has been a revision or planning guidance so that wd avoid


the risk of flash flooding. We're working with the NFU and our joint


action plan on that is vital because the way in which we farm ne`r


watercourses, we need to reflect on that. And indeed, particularly in


relation to my noble friend to ask this question, we are working on


slowing the flow in Pickering because working with local farmers,


we have done great work in preventing flooding in Pickdring. As


the noble Minister has alre`dy said, the memory of the last


disastrous flooding of the winter of 2013-14 is still with us. Is the


minister confident that the flood defences offered for barbers? It was


my privilege to take that projects through the House. It is expected to


cover the one or two macro percent of households which are most in


risk. So that the people of those households can find affordable flood


insurance. That will be takhng place next spring and it will be ` great


advantage for people in those situations. Will my noble friend


update the House on the progress being made with partnership funding


which can enable schemes to progress which would not otherwise? Ly noble


friend is absolutely right. Partnership funding, which hs in


addition to the ?2.3 billion of government spending, capital


expenditure that we wish to have in our six year investment programme,


we think there are ?600 million of partnership funding from prhvate


sources, local enterprise partnerships and public bodhes and


local levies. This will be very portland. It will have a degree of


flexibility so that -- are very important. It will have a ddgree of


flexibility so that we can work in the areas where we can most help


people protect their properties I would like to declare an hnterest


because my own village was `ffected by flooding last year. Can the


Minister assure the House that the government has had discussions with


insurance companies to ensure that payments made are made promptly when


people are badly affected and have to leave their homes? The B`roness


because I have not had personally because I have not had personally


those discussions I would lhke to ask colleagues about that and I will


write to the noble Baroness. Clearly it is important and my insurance


company was very cooperativd when I have my house flooded. So I think it


is very important. I think what the noble Baroness said is about payment


of bills and when somebody has this dreadful position of having their


property flooded, we will nded to rally round and the insurance


companies need to pay.


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