All 19 Parliamentary debates in the Lords on 4th Jul 2023

Tue 4th Jul 2023
Tue 4th Jul 2023
Tue 4th Jul 2023
Powers of Attorney Bill
Lords Chamber

Order of Commitment discharged
Tue 4th Jul 2023
Tue 4th Jul 2023
Tue 4th Jul 2023
Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill
Lords Chamber

Consideration of Commons amendments
Tue 4th Jul 2023
National Security Bill
Lords Chamber

Consideration of Commons amendments
Tue 4th Jul 2023
Finance (No. 2) Bill
Lords Chamber

Committee negatived & 3rd reading

House of Lords

Tuesday 4th July 2023

(10 months, 2 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
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Tuesday 4 July 2023
14:30
Prayers—read by the Lord Bishop of Exeter.

Blood Donation

Tuesday 4th July 2023

(10 months, 2 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
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Question
14:37
Asked by
Lord Roberts of Llandudno Portrait Lord Roberts of Llandudno
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To ask His Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of current numbers of voluntary blood donation, and whether they intend to take steps to encourage new donors.

Lord Evans of Rainow Portrait Lord Evans of Rainow (Con)
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My Lords, the Department of Health and NHS Blood and Transplant have regular discussions about how to promote donation in England, including with ethnic-minority communities. This includes a range of media marketing activity, partnerships and engagement with and investment in ethnic-minority and faith organisations. To encourage new donors, NHS Blood and Transplant conducts regular campaigns across the year, such as in National Blood Week and Black History Month in October.

Lord Roberts of Llandudno Portrait Lord Roberts of Llandudno (LD)
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On the 75th anniversary week of the National Health Service, I seek an assurance that, with the changing nature of society, the blood transfusion service, which is so essential for so many of us, has sufficient supplies to meet any foreseeable needs. What arrangements are in place between the four nations of the United Kingdom and other countries worldwide, with so many different needs? What is our contribution to be? How are we attracting new donors?

Lord Evans of Rainow Portrait Lord Evans of Rainow (Con)
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My Lords, the Welsh Blood Service is responsible for blood collection across Wales. The WBS hosts around 1,200 donation sessions a year, using around 185 venues across Wales and collecting 85,000 units of blood to support 19 hospitals in Wales. The WBS has an active national donor recruitment and retention programme. The system is slowly returning to its pre-pandemic model of collection. The WBS recognises a critical challenge in the recruitment of new donors and is about to launch a five-year strategy, which realises the importance of building and sustaining the blood supply chain for Wales. The four nations of the United Kingdom have very good blood donor services and work closely together, but blood donor services are devolved to Wales and Scotland.

Baroness Manzoor Portrait Baroness Manzoor (Con)
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My Lords, I wish the NHS a happy 75th anniversary. My noble friend the Minister will be aware that there is a new drug to treat sickle cell anaemia in a crisis, which is proving to be very effective. Can we ensure that people of African and Caribbean descent are not confused and know that they still need to give blood because, although this drug is very effective, there is a significant gap in the blood supplies from those communities within the NHS?

Lord Evans of Rainow Portrait Lord Evans of Rainow (Con)
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My noble friend raises a very important point. We welcome the approval and introduction of crizanlizumab to help treat sickle cell patients, and we hope that this promising advance will have a major impact on the reduction of painful episodes and improve the quality of life for patients suffering from sickle cell disorders. Although this is a positive step, it is vital that people living with sickle cell disorders continue to get regular blood transfusions and red cell exchanges. This does not change the increasing need to have patients with ethnically matched blood, so my noble friend raises a good point.

She asked what we are doing. There is a range of techniques to increase awareness of the need to donate. NHSBT continues to invest and to prioritise the diversification of its donor base, and increasing the supply of Ro Kell-negative blood is one of its priorities. It is being supported through increased investment in marketing and the engagement of donors of black Caribbean and black African ethnicity, who are more likely to have this blood type.

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath Portrait Lord Hunt of Kings Heath (Lab)
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My Lords, I understand that the authority has a community grants programme designed to encourage more donations from black and minority-ethnic people. Can the Minister say a little more about how successful that has been and whether the Government intend to put more resources into it in future?

Lord Evans of Rainow Portrait Lord Evans of Rainow (Con)
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The number of regular donors of black heritage reached an all-time high of almost 20,000 in the year to April 2023. In addition, 7,427 people of black heritage gave blood for the first time between April 2022 and 2023. This year, the NHS needs 12,000 new black heritage donors, and we are working to that. The latest plan launched in National Blood Week focused on black heritage recruitment. We are making extremely good progress in England, but there is still a lot to do.

Lord Allan of Hallam Portrait Lord Allan of Hallam (LD)
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My Lords, is the Minister concerned that people may find it difficult to navigate the complex criteria for deciding whether they are eligible to give blood? Are the Government taking any steps to improve the information flow so that no one who can safely give blood is put off because they find the sign-up flow to be a barrier?

Lord Evans of Rainow Portrait Lord Evans of Rainow (Con)
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The noble Lord raises an important point. The barrier is not just to the black community but to us all as a nation. For example, there is a myth that, if you have an ear piercing or a tattoo, you can never give blood again. I remember that, when I came back from jet-setting around the world on business, I was asked where I had been, and Canada and certain states in America were not accepted for some reason. The noble Lord is absolutely right about those barriers. If you have a piercing or a tattoo you can still give blood, albeit after a few months.

Lord Berkeley of Knighton Portrait Lord Berkeley of Knighton (CB)
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My Lords, has any assessment been made of the reasons for ruling potential donors out on medical grounds? For example, several years ago I offered to give blood, but I had to be turned down because I had contracted hepatitis in Russia—that was not a political decision. I wonder whether the rules have perhaps changed and whether that might allow more people to come forward.

Lord Evans of Rainow Portrait Lord Evans of Rainow (Con)
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The noble Lord raises a good point, as he always does, but I am not a healthcare professional. You have to look at each individual on a case-by-case basis. If the noble Lord is up front with the blood and transplant service and tells it his story—albeit that it was in Russia—I do not see that as a reason not to give it another try; I cannot guarantee the outcome.

Baroness Davidson of Lundin Links Portrait Baroness Davidson of Lundin Links (Con)
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My Lords, one way of expanding the donor pool is to look at the criteria of those currently excluded. There have been five cases in history of variant CJD being transmitted in the UK by blood transfusion. Because of those five cases, the blood transfusion service stopped accepting donations from people who had received blood since 1980. As someone who received large quantities of blood as a five year-old child in 1984 following a car accident, I successfully gave blood for a time in my late teens before that ban was brought in and it stopped the practice. I know from direct experience that those whose lives have been saved by donations can have the strongest desire to contribute to the system and potentially save others. Hundreds of thousands of people are ready and willing to donate but are stopped by this rule, so do the Government expect to review this rule any time soon?

Lord Evans of Rainow Portrait Lord Evans of Rainow (Con)
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I am grateful to my noble friend for her question and for describing her particular circumstances; I thank her for her donations. I will take her specific case back to the department and respond in writing.

Baroness Merron Portrait Baroness Merron (Lab)
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My Lords, last October included the first ever amber alert on blood stock shortages. More than 325,000 people registered to give blood; however, only one in four of those has attended an appointment since, and only one in five has donated blood since. Have the Government investigated why the numbers registering have not translated into blood donations? What steps are being taken to ensure that people not only register but follow through to make a donation?

Lord Evans of Rainow Portrait Lord Evans of Rainow (Con)
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I am grateful to the noble Baroness, who raises a very good point. Yes, there was an amber alert in 2022, when blood stocks fell below two days. That is not the case any more; stocks are currently at the target levels of six days. As the noble Baroness said in her very good question, some people register but either do not attend or attend for the first time only. The department is looking at the reasons for that, but that is why it has a thorough marketing campaign to write to people using social media. In my own case, I remember being telephoned on several occasions to go to donate. It is not easy and straightforward; I cannot say to the noble Baroness that there is a magic wand to prevent people registering but not turning up. This is a case of constantly keeping social media and marketing campaigns going to make sure that we get new donors. We need a new generation of donors; the average donor is, like me, over 45.

Baroness Hayman Portrait Baroness Hayman (CB)
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My Lords, on that point, does the Minister accept that, while we need new young donors, you can continue donating blood well into your 70s? I declare an interest as someone powering towards their 50th donation. Might it be an idea for the National Blood Service to resurrect the mobile donation services in your Lordships’ House, because many here, and in Parliament generally, are eligible to donate?

Lord Evans of Rainow Portrait Lord Evans of Rainow (Con)
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I am most grateful to the noble Baroness; she looks nowhere near 70. I took the liberty of asking that exact question before I came to the Dispatch Box, so that I could say to all noble Lords that they will be able to queue to give blood in the Palace of Westminster. I used to do it when I was a Member of Parliament. I have arranged for leaflets to go into the Library, so that all noble Lords can see where their local blood donor service is. There are a few in Westminster, but it would be good if noble Lords could do it at home in their communities.

European Union: Trade Barriers

Tuesday 4th July 2023

(10 months, 2 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
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Question
14:48
Tabled by
Lord Howarth of Newport Portrait Lord Howarth of Newport
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To ask His Majesty’s Government what plans they have, if any, to reduce trade barriers to food imports from the European Union.

Lord Whitty Portrait Lord Whitty (Lab)
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My Lords, on behalf of my noble friend Lord Howarth and with his permission, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in his name on the Order Paper.

Lord Benyon Portrait The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Benyon) (Con)
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My Lords, the trade and co-operation agreement maintains zero tariffs and zero quotas on the trade in goods between the UK and the EU, and it includes a commitment to avoid unnecessary barriers to trade. The border target operating model will provide a proportionate and streamlined regime to support businesses to trade, while maintaining high levels of biosecurity. The UK and the EU are rolling out electronic certification, which will facilitate trade through reducing delays and business administration.

Lord Whitty Portrait Lord Whitty (Lab)
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My Lords, I thank the Minister for that response, but it is largely based on hope. The fact is that food imports from the EU have decreased by over 1% and our exports to the EU have decreased by nearly 6%, so consumers miss out on European products and our farmers miss out because of EU rules, regulations and bureaucracy. My noble friend Lord Howarth and I disagree on the outcome of Brexit, but we agree that the present arrangements are inadequate. When will the Government renegotiate the trade agreement with the EU?

Lord Benyon Portrait Lord Benyon (Con)
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I hate to disagree with the noble Lord but the total value of imports of food, feed and drink from the EU in the three months to April 2023 was £10.6 billion, 11% higher than the three months to April 2022 and 34% higher than the three months to April 2018. Over that period, exports increased from £3.5 billion and were 4% higher than last year and 6% higher than the year before that. We are trying to introduce a system that is fair to importers and exporters and that protects our very important biosecurity.

Baroness McIntosh of Pickering Portrait Baroness McIntosh of Pickering (Con)
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Will my noble friend update the House on progress towards a sound and sustainable SPS system?

Lord Benyon Portrait Lord Benyon (Con)
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We are making great progress. I can assure my noble friend that we are on the point of publishing more details on a system being brought in from October this year whereby products of animal origin will require an export health certificate. From January, they will be checked at border control points we have constructed. We are minimising the burden on business through risk categorisation, a trusted trader system and simplifying and digitising our network.

Lord Purvis of Tweed Portrait Lord Purvis of Tweed (LD)
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My Lords, the operating model the Minister referred to stated that we will have the world’s best border by 2025 but it will not be fully operational until 2027—so good luck with that. Since 2017, we have seen a net decline and we have the biggest agrifood trade deficit with the EU we have ever had. At the same time, we have seen an enormous rise in imports of agrifood from China as part of an astonishing £42 billion trade deficit with China. Why is it government policy to make it harder to trade with Europe and easier to import from China? It makes no sense whatever.

Lord Benyon Portrait Lord Benyon (Con)
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You have to slice and dice the different products that are exported to China. We had a very good pork meat export, which was stopped because of issues relating to Hong Kong. We want a system that is focused not just on imports and exports from our closest neighbours, vital though that market is. We want to make sure we are trading fairly with the rest of the world, which is why we will have a sanitary and phytosanitary border system in place that is understood right across the world and that facilitates safe trade.

Lord Hannay of Chiswick Portrait Lord Hannay of Chiswick (CB)
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My Lords, will the Minister explain why the Government are so firmly determined not to have an SPS agreement with the European Union, despite the fact that other third countries—for example, Switzerland and New Zealand—have such agreements? In what respect does the agreement reached in Brussels yesterday, by the Foreign Secretary and the vice-president of the Commission, on agrifood trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland differ from an SPS arrangement?

Lord Benyon Portrait Lord Benyon (Con)
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Our SPS arrangements with the EU are vital. When we were in the European Union, we had a system of trading at home and abroad which was controlled; now, we can have a bespoke system that suits our circumstances. To those who sometimes criticise the Government for doing this, the cost of getting it wrong is really quite horrific. If we had African swine fever, currently rampant in parts of Europe, or Xylella, which affects trees, the cost would be in the multimillions or even billions of pounds. I want to have Ministers facilitating trade, not sitting in COBRA trying to deal with a disaster.

Lord Wigley Portrait Lord Wigley (PC)
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My Lords, is the Minister aware of the devastating effect of the Brexit changes on the Welsh mussel industry? Those products need to go from north-west Wales to the restaurants in Paris, for example, within 14 hours. Is he optimistic that the changes he is hoping to work for will relieve the problem and re-establish that industry?

Lord Benyon Portrait Lord Benyon (Con)
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For trades like that to be successful, it takes two to tango and we want to make sure that our continuing conversations with our partners in Europe are facilitating precisely that sort of trade. There will not be a delay from this side of the border.

Lord Bellingham Portrait Lord Bellingham (Con)
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My Lords, I declare my interests as set out in the register. The Minister will be aware that France is 100% self-sufficient in food, whereas we import 48% of our needs. Obviously, some products we are going to have to import, but surely we could do more to be self-sufficient in dairy products, beef and potatoes. Does the Minister agree that one of the key lessons of Covid and the Ukraine war is the need for more food security?

Lord Benyon Portrait Lord Benyon (Con)
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We are 74% self-sufficient in products we can grow in this country and 62% self-sufficient in all food items. We are setting in train a whole range of policies through which we are trying to assist farmers to diversify their businesses, to find new markets and to find them locally. I absolutely agree with my noble friend that we want to be as self-sufficient in other products as we are in eggs and some dairy products, for example.

Lord Bishop of Exeter Portrait The Lord Bishop of Exeter
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My Lords, I wonder what account His Majesty’s Government have taken of the impact of ending their direct payments to English farmers, and whether it has put them at a competitive disadvantage compared to their European counterparts.

Lord Benyon Portrait Lord Benyon (Con)
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I do not see how that can happen; 55% of the direct payments went to the 10% who constitute the largest farmers—a deeply unfair system. We are focusing on payments with environmental benefits, encouraging farmers to achieve the standards required by their buyers. For example, ARLA is demanding that farmers do not pollute and have good animal welfare systems in place, and we, through our environmental land management schemes, are supporting farmers to do that.

Baroness Anderson of Stoke-on-Trent Portrait Baroness Anderson of Stoke-on-Trent (Lab)
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My Lords, the operations manager at Felixstowe port, Hannah Panting, told the BBC that Defra has informed it that the health authority will have to check between 1% and 30% of EU food exports. She rightly pointed out that the unknown is very difficult to work with, and that it is nice to have a plan and know what your targets are. I think the House would agree. Can the Minister assist Hannah?

Lord Benyon Portrait Lord Benyon (Con)
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We work very closely with Hannah and other port managers—for example, on the common user charge, which is a way of alleviating very high costs on some and very low costs on others, which we think is fair—but we also work with local authorities. The local health authority is also facing a cost-recovery arrangement. We are making sure that we have a risk profile that minimises the number of stops for low-risk items, but we are absolutely focused on the problem. We will continue to work with ports and all other authorities to make sure that the impact is minimised as much as possible.

Lord Krebs Portrait Lord Krebs (CB)
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My Lords, the Minister has referred on several occasions to a risk-based system for checking food imports: the border target operating model. Of course, we are moving into unknown territory here—we have not used it before—so does the Minister agree that it would be sensible for the Government to ask the Food Standards Agency to produce an objective assessment every so often of the impact of the changes in import controls on consumer food safety?

Lord Benyon Portrait Lord Benyon (Con)
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The noble Lord makes a very good point. Obviously, we work with the Food Standards Agency—although it is not covered by my department—daily to make sure we have got this right in all areas of food safety. At the moment the highest-risk items are products of animal origin, for obvious reasons, and certain plants that can bring in diseases such as Xylella, which I mentioned earlier. None of the work we are doing with the Food Standards Agency is secret, so there is no problem with making it public.

Income Tax Threshold

Tuesday 4th July 2023

(10 months, 2 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
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Question
14:59
Asked by
Lord Balfe Portrait Lord Balfe
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To ask His Majesty’s Government what plans they have, if any, to adjust the threshold for the higher rate income tax of 40 per cent to account for inflation.

Baroness Penn Portrait The Parliamentary Secretary, HM Treasury (Baroness Penn) (Con)
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The income tax higher rate threshold is still high enough to protect the vast majority of people from paying the higher rate of income tax. Around 80% of all income tax payers pay at the basic rate. The Government must ensure that the tax system supports strong public finances, and it is right that those who earn more contribute more.

Lord Balfe Portrait Lord Balfe (Con)
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I thank the Minister for her reply, but I remind her that paying tax at 40% used to be a sign of achievement in this world and the middle classes—the middle earners on whom the prosperity of this country depends—are getting gradually poorer, with 1 million more of them paying higher rate tax in the last two years. With the withdrawal of child benefit, the effective rate of tax between £50,000 and £60,000 is around 61%. I know the Labour Party is not standing for lower taxes either, but does the Minister really believe that the country is going to be incentivised to perform well if it is crippled by this level of taxation?

Baroness Penn Portrait Baroness Penn (Con)
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My Lords, of course, the Government want to bring taxes down. It is worth reminding noble Lords that since 2010 we have nearly doubled the personal allowance and, this year, around 30% of those with income are projected to pay no income tax at all. In our current circumstances, we need to be fiscally responsible, and the best tax cut we can give people is to cut inflation.

Lord Sikka Portrait Lord Sikka (Lab)
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My Lords, the income tax threshold and personal allowances are frozen at the April 2021 level until 2027-28. At that time, the real value of the personal allowance—to which the Minister just referred—will be less than it was in 2013. As a result of government policies, an additional 4.2 million people are expected to pay the basic rate of income tax this year; that is, 20% plus national insurance of 12%. Can the Minister explain the rationale for extra taxes on the poorest, already hit hard with negative wage rises and rising bills? How does the Government’s hiking of the taxes of the poorest reconcile with their levelling-up, or is it squashing-down, agenda?

Baroness Penn Portrait Baroness Penn (Con)
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My Lords, I could not disagree more with the noble Lord. On the personal allowance, the increases we have seen under this Government since 2010, even with the freeze in thresholds, will be more than if it had been raised in line with inflation. We have put in place unprecedented support for people after the two major shocks of Covid and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. We need to consolidate our public finances in the face of that and it is right that everyone contributes. We have looked to change corporation tax rates while protecting the smallest businesses, and we have frozen tax thresholds. We brought down the additional rate threshold at the Autumn Statement 2022, which is a sign of those with the broadest shoulders bearing the biggest burden.

Lord Macpherson of Earl's Court Portrait Lord Macpherson of Earl’s Court (CB)
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My Lords, does the Minister agree that the impact of inflation on taxpayers is corrosive, and therefore the sooner the Bank of England gets inflation back to target, the better? Does she further agree that the amendment introduced by the noble Lord, Lord Rooker, along with Audrey Wise back in 1977 is perhaps the most important principle informing our tax system?

Baroness Penn Portrait Baroness Penn (Con)
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On the first point, I absolutely agree with the noble Lord. As I said in answer to my noble friend, bringing inflation under control is the most effective tax cut we can give to families across the country. On the second point, I will have to check the record; it was at least a decade before I was born.

Baroness Kramer Portrait Baroness Kramer (LD)
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My Lords, I do not suggest cuts in the tax take in our current financial condition, but I question the distribution of the tax burden. Can the Government explain why they have chosen to use the threshold rather than the tax rate? By using the tax rate, they could certainly target the higher level of tax against those with the broadest shoulders most able to carry it. By using and freezing the threshold, they have dragged into the higher tax rate many people on very middling incomes, who are now experiencing the highest increase in taxes, according to the IFS, since 1979. Those are the people who, as the noble Lord, Lord Balfe, said, drive our economy, but they are also the group suffering severely from the cost of living increases.

Baroness Penn Portrait Baroness Penn (Con)
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I reassure the noble Baroness that the income tax system is still highly progressive: the top 5% are projected to pay nearly half of all income tax in 2023-24 and the top 1% are projected to pay more than 28% of all income tax. The noble Baroness is right that those on middle incomes are feeling the squeeze; that is why we are absolutely focused on supporting the Bank of England in its mandate to get inflation down.

Lord Leigh of Hurley Portrait Lord Leigh of Hurley (Con)
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Does my noble friend agree that the one tax that goes up because of inflation is receipts from inheritance tax? The latest figures show that inheritance tax receipts grew by 14% last year. As the noble Baroness, Lady Kramer, has pointed out, people are dragged into the fiscal net who were never intended to pay inheritance tax on their estates—which are essentially quite modest family homes. Is there not an urgent need to address the threshold rates for inheritance tax?

Baroness Penn Portrait Baroness Penn (Con)
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Since 2010, we have introduced additional allowances for people in certain circumstances to pass on up to £1 million to their direct descendants. Inheritance tax makes an important contribution to our public finances, so any changes in that area would need to be properly funded.

Baroness Chapman of Darlington Portrait Baroness Chapman of Darlington (Lab)
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My Lords, the former Chancellor and current Prime Minister says that he wants to cut people’s taxes, yet under his watch the tax burden has reached a 70-year high. As other noble Lords have observed, more people are paying more income tax, wiping out the benefits of previous changes to the personal allowance. Can the Minister understand the frustration of those who work hard and pay their taxes only to see non-doms and those with £2 million pension pots given preferential treatment by this Government?

Baroness Penn Portrait Baroness Penn (Con)
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My Lords, we have worked hard to put tax cuts in place for working people, which is why we have raised the personal allowance. The increase to the starting threshold for paying national insurance was raised last year by the largest single amount, helping people who are currently facing challenges with the cost of living. The noble Baroness mentioned the changes we have made to pensions tax. That is to try to keep experienced professionals in our public sector workforce, from doctors to head teachers and members of the military. Those changes were made for the right reasons and will have the right effect.

Lord Kirkhope of Harrogate Portrait Lord Kirkhope of Harrogate (Con)
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My noble friend is quite right about the need to tackle inflation above all else. In the same way as the Government are discouraging excessive wage demands because they are inflationary, is it not correct that any attempt to change the tax system to chase inflation would be equally dangerous for the economy?

Baroness Penn Portrait Baroness Penn (Con)
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My noble friend is absolutely right. That is why, when we have looked at what support we can put in place for people, our number one aim is not to make the problem of inflation worse. We were able to do that through announcing the mortgage charter, which will provide important relief to people struggling with higher interest rates while not making the problem worse.

Lord Foulkes of Cumnock Portrait Lord Foulkes of Cumnock (Lab Co-op)
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My Lords, is the Minister aware that the noble Lord, Lord Balfe, and others are lucky that they do not live in Scotland, where middle-income taxpayers pay even more tax, which the Scottish Government then use in areas where they have no responsibility—such as a Minister for Independence, serviced by 20 UK civil servants and paid for by our taxes? It is about time the Treasury did something about that. When will the Government do it?

Baroness Penn Portrait Baroness Penn (Con)
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I absolutely agree with the noble Lord that the UK income tax system is more competitive than the Scottish system and that we deliver better value for money.

Lord Brownlow of Shurlock Row Portrait Lord Brownlow of Shurlock Row (Con)
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My Lords, yesterday the Competition and Markets Authority showed that consumers were charged 6p a litre more than wholesale prices justified. Obviously, those excess profits will be taxed. Do the Government think they should be taxed at more than the current rate?

Baroness Penn Portrait Baroness Penn (Con)
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My Lords, we have been clear that we will take the findings of the CMA very seriously and put in place a system to ensure that we do not see future excess profits in a similar way.

Homelessness: Homewards Initiative

Tuesday 4th July 2023

(10 months, 2 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
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Question
15:09
Asked by
Lord Bishop of Sheffield Portrait The Lord Bishop of Sheffield
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To ask His Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to tackle homelessness following the launch of the Prince of Wales’s Homewards initiative.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (Baroness Scott of Bybrook) (Con)
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We welcome the Prince of Wales’s Homewards initiative and his interest and support in tackling homelessness. The Government have made the unprecedented commitment to end rough sleeping. In September 2022 we published our cross-government strategy, setting out how we were investing £2 billion over three years to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping.

Lord Bishop of Sheffield Portrait The Lord Bishop of Sheffield
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I thank the Minister for that helpful response. Sheffield is one of six places where the Homewards initiative is being piloted, and in South Yorkshire it seems to us that two things make this new venture distinctive and highly promising. The first is that funding is secure over the medium term, and the second is a partnership approach which encourages local agencies to co-produce solutions with built-in flexibility to allow for ongoing learning. Does the Minister think that this longer-term and partnership approach is one from which the Government might learn in their own support for homeless people?

Baroness Scott of Bybrook Portrait Baroness Scott of Bybrook (Con)
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The right reverend Prelate is right; Sheffield City Council has been allocated over £4 million through the rough sleeping initiatives, which will run from 2022 to 2025, to help end rough sleeping in the city. It has also been allocated £2.4 million through the rough sleeping accommodation programme, again until 2025. So these are not annual nor short-term amounts of money. The right reverend Prelate is right; these things cannot be done by government alone. We know that individual local authority areas have specific problems and that is why we are asking them to deal with these issues. I will also say that the third sector, in particular churches and community groups, are absolutely necessary in a city such as Sheffield.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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During Covid, there was a massive reduction in the number of homeless people on the streets. Why does the Minister think that this has been reversed?

Baroness Scott of Bybrook Portrait Baroness Scott of Bybrook (Con)
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I think that over Covid, the issue was that people were frightened, scared and did not want to stay out. Since Covid, we have gone into a further economic downturn, particularly because of the dreadful war in Ukraine—

None Portrait Noble Lords
- Hansard -

Oh!

Baroness Scott of Bybrook Portrait Baroness Scott of Bybrook (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

No; it has affected the economic stability of the whole world. We are working continually to try to get back to those Covid levels.

Lord Young of Cookham Portrait Lord Young of Cookham (Con)
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My Lords, like the right reverend Prelate, I very much welcome the commitment of the Prince of Wales to help end homelessness, particularly as the numbers of those sleeping rough are beginning to creep up again, having been reduced to near zero during Covid. I particularly welcome the commitment to make Duchy of Cornwall land available for affordable homes. Is this not an example that could be followed by government departments and other public bodies that have surplus land available?

Baroness Scott of Bybrook Portrait Baroness Scott of Bybrook (Con)
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My noble friend is absolutely right, and I welcome the Prince of Wales’s initiative. Maybe other larger landowners across this country could also look at those initiatives, as well as government. We have been working to release public land for new houses through the Public Land for Housing programme which ran from 2011 to 2020. By March 2020 over 60,000 homes had been brought on to the market on surplus government land. In October 2022 the Cabinet Office published the Government Property Strategy, which intends to drive efficiency in departments’ estates to look at surplus land that can be used for housing, particularly affordable housing.

Baroness Taylor of Stevenage Portrait Baroness Taylor of Stevenage (Lab)
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My Lords, it is great that the Prince of Wales has turned the spotlight on this very important issue. Pilots are all well and good but is it not a damning indictment of this Government’s failure to tackle the housing crisis that between July and October last year, 1,210 homeless families spent longer than the six-week legal limit in hotels and bed and breakfast accommodation—the highest figure in six years? How will the Government respond to this growing crisis across the country and the impact it is having on children’s development?

Baroness Scott of Bybrook Portrait Baroness Scott of Bybrook (Con)
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We are responding by offering support through initiatives such as spending £500 million on rough sleeping initiatives between now and 2025. Under the ending rough sleeping for good initiatives, £2 billion is going to local authorities over three years to look at their issues. Your Lordships need to understand that the increasing numbers are only in 5% of local authorities in this country. We need to target and help those local authorities, both with support and with money, which is what we are doing.

Baroness Thornhill Portrait Baroness Thornhill (LD)
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My Lords, last year, 129,000 young people facing homelessness, aged between 16 and 24, tipped up at their local council asking for support—which is undoubtedly an underestimate. Currently, universal credit levels for young people living independently are more than a quarter lower than for those aged over 25. Can the Minister say by what logic we financially penalise young people, whose bills, including rent and essentials, cost exactly the same regardless of their age, and does she agree that this shortfall will make them even more susceptible to eviction and homelessness?

Baroness Scott of Bybrook Portrait Baroness Scott of Bybrook (Con)
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The noble Baroness is right, which is why, in the Government’s strategy Ending Rough Sleeping for Good, which was backed by £2 billion last year, we recognise the particular challenges facing young people with regard to homelessness. We have a single homelessness accommodation programme, which will have delivered nearly 2,500 homes by March 2025. There is also the £2.4 million for rough sleeping initiatives going towards youth services in local areas that have an issue with youth homelessness.

Baroness Whitaker Portrait Baroness Whitaker (Lab)
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My Lords, there is a very high proportion of hidden homelessness—hidden but none the less very real—among Gypsies and Travellers, who do not have enough authorised sites to camp on. What are the Government doing about encouraging local authorities to fulfil their obligations to assess the lack of sites and to act on that to provide enough?

Baroness Scott of Bybrook Portrait Baroness Scott of Bybrook (Con)
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I thank the noble Baroness for that—I know her passion for that particularly vulnerable community. Local authorities do have a responsibility to find those sites; we will continue to ensure that they do so. However, I will look at the latest figures and let the noble Baroness have them, and will let her know what we are doing extra to make sure that they are being delivered.

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon Portrait Baroness Royall of Blaisdon (Lab)
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My Lords, in April, 8,000 Afghans were still living in hotels, 18 months after they were evacuated from Afghanistan. They have now been told that they have to leave that hotel accommodation and find private rented accommodation. If they are unable to find rented accommodation, will they be homeless, and if so, what are the Government going to do about them?

Baroness Scott of Bybrook Portrait Baroness Scott of Bybrook (Con)
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We have announced £35 million of new funding to enable local authorities to provide an increased amount of support for Afghan households and to move them from hotels into settled accommodation. At the same time, we have announced a local authority housing fund of £750 million, which will provide capital funding to councils in England to allow them to look at creative ways of getting more housing stock in, which will help the Ukrainian and Afghan arrivals. Together, therefore, we hope that we can get Afghanis into proper suitable accommodation as soon as we possibly can.

Lord Berkeley Portrait Lord Berkeley (Lab)
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My Lords, this is a welcome initiative. Has the Minister suggested to the Prince of Wales that he should allocate some of his extensive landholding to help this initiative, and possibly a little of his £24 million-a-year income?

Baroness Scott of Bybrook Portrait Baroness Scott of Bybrook (Con)
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My Lords, I can assure the noble Lord that the Prince of Wales announced at the same time that he would undertake to make some of the Duchy of Cornwall land available for affordable housing.

Online Safety Bill

Tuesday 4th July 2023

(10 months, 2 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Order of Consideration Motion
15:19
Moved by
Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
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That the amendments for the Report stage be marshalled and considered in the following order:

Clause 1, Clauses 162 to 172, Schedule 14, Clauses 2 and 3, Schedules 1 and 2, Clauses 4 to 31, Schedule 3, Clauses 32 to 37, Schedule 4, Clauses 38 to 53, Schedules 5 to 7, Clauses 54 to 68, Schedule 8, Clauses 69 to 71, Schedule 9, Clauses 72 and 73, Clauses 150 to 161, Clauses 173 to 177, Schedule 15, Clauses 178 to 189, Schedule 16, Clauses 190 and 191, Schedule 17, Clauses 192 to 201, Clauses 74 to 80, Schedule 10, Clauses 81 to 85, Schedule 11, Clauses 86 to 97, Schedule 12, Clauses 98 to 132, Schedule 13, Clauses 133 to 149, Clauses 202 to 216, Title.

Motion agreed.

Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill

Tuesday 4th July 2023

(10 months, 2 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Order of Consideration Motion
15:19
Moved by
Baroness Scott of Bybrook Portrait Baroness Scott of Bybrook
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

That the amendments for the Report stage be marshalled and considered in the following order:

Clauses 1 to 13, Schedule 1, Clauses 14 to 25, Schedule 2, Clauses 26 to 31, Schedule 3, Clauses 32 to 54, Schedule 4, Clauses 55 to 78, Schedule 5, Clause 129, Schedule 12, Clauses 130 to 157, Clauses 161 to 163, Schedule 14, Clauses 164 to 167, Schedule 15, Clauses 168 to 173, Schedule 16, Clause 174, Schedule 17, Clauses 175 to 191, Schedule 18, Clauses 192 to 196, Schedule 19, Clauses 197 to 217, Clauses 79 to 87, Schedule 6, Clauses 88 to 91, Schedule 7, Clauses 92 to 95, Schedule 8, Clauses 96 to 100, Schedule 9, Clauses 101 to 103, Schedule 10, Clauses 104 to 106, Schedule 11, Clauses 107 to 128, Clauses 158 and 159, Schedule 13, Clause 160, Clauses 218 and 219, Schedule 20, Clauses 220 to 235, Title.

Motion agreed.

Powers of Attorney Bill

Order of Commitment discharged
Tuesday 4th July 2023

(10 months, 2 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
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Order of Commitment
Scottish legislative consent granted.
15:19
Moved by
Viscount Stansgate Portrait Viscount Stansgate
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That the order of commitment be discharged.

Viscount Stansgate Portrait Viscount Stansgate (Lab)
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My Lords, I understand that no amendments have been set down to this Bill and that no noble Lord has indicated a wish to move a manuscript amendment or to speak in Committee. Unless, therefore, any noble Lord objects, I hope that the House will discharge the Committee, and I beg to move to that effect.

Motion agreed.

Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Bill

Order of Commitment discharged
Tuesday 4th July 2023

(10 months, 2 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023 View all Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023 Debates Read Hansard Text
Order of Commitment
15:20
Moved by
Baroness Anderson of Stoke-on-Trent Portrait Baroness Anderson of Stoke-on-Trent
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That the order of commitment be discharged.

Baroness Anderson of Stoke-on-Trent Portrait Baroness Anderson of Stoke-on-Trent (Lab)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I understand that no amendments have been set down to this Bill and that no noble Lord has indicated a wish to move a manuscript amendment or to speak in Committee. Unless, therefore, any noble Lord objects, I beg to move that the order of commitment be discharged.

Motion agreed.

Protection from Sex-based Harassment in Public Bill

Order of Commitment
15:20
Moved by
Baroness Hussein-Ece Portrait Baroness Hussein-Ece
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That the order of commitment be discharged.

Baroness Hussein-Ece Portrait Baroness Hussein-Ece (LD)
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My Lords, I understand that no amendments have been set down to this Bill and that no noble Lord has indicated a wish to move a manuscript amendment or to speak in Committee. Unless, therefore, any noble Lord objects, on behalf of the noble Lord, Lord Wolfson of Tredegar, I beg to move that the order of commitment be discharged.

Motion agreed.
Commons Reasons
Correspondence from the Senedd published.
15:21
Motion A
Moved by
Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan
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That this House do not insist on its Amendment 2B to which the Commons have disagreed for their Reason 2C.

2C: Because the Bill already contains adequate provision for consultation and parliamentary control of regulations made under it.
Lord Callanan Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (Lord Callanan) (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, in moving Motion A, with the leave of the House, I will speak also to Motions B and C.

The Bill returns to us once again from the other place. That House has been consistently very clear, for the second time now, that it is firm in its position on the remaining three amendments. When we were last here, this House asked the Commons to reconsider its position and, unsurprisingly, it has reached exactly the same conclusion as it did previously. Indeed, it has done so by greater majorities than before and, in some cases, by the greatest majority that we have so far seen on the Bill. Therefore, I propose Motions to accept the Commons position on the Bill and give way to the elected House.

We have discussed these amendments in detail throughout the Bill’s passage. The Government’s position remains that they cannot accept amendments which would delay the implementation of this much-needed legislation or, indeed, render it entirely inoperable. The Government have been clear in both Houses that they are willing to consider providing clarity on the nature of the “reasonable steps” which unions are expected to take to fulfil their obligations under the Bill. This is a significant issue, which I know a number of Members of this House have raised throughout the Bill’s passage. However, as yet, we have not had any indication that this would be widely supported.

Amendment 2D significantly expands on previous versions of Lords Amendment 2 in a way that will not, I believe, add to the effectiveness of the regulations. The Government have already undertaken public consultations on their intentions to bring forward minimum service levels for passenger rail services, ambulance services and fire and rescue services. We will bring forward regulations for approval in Parliament in due course. This is an entirely reasonable legislative approach enabling the Government to consider all relevant factors, including our international obligations, while at the same time ensuring that minimum service levels are introduced in good time.

I remind the House that, as the Government have made clear through the passage of the Bill, employees will lose their automatic unfair dismissal protection for going on strike in contravention of a work notice only if they receive notification from the employer that they are required to work under a work notice and notification of the work that they must carry out. Finally, impact assessments will be published alongside the final regulations.

I am sure that the noble Lord, Lord Collins, will acknowledge that the effect of his amendment would be to delay significantly the implementation of minimum service levels, given the additional and lengthy consultation and parliamentary requirements; I heavily suspect that that is probably its purpose. On behalf of the Government, I must therefore resist it today. I hope that the noble Lord will not feel the need to put it to a vote.

This amendment remains unnecessary and would delay the implementation of this vital legislation, which is designed to protect the public from the disproportionate impacts of the ongoing strike action. I therefore ask noble Lords to support the Government’s Motions on the Order Paper today. I beg to move.

Motion A1 (as an amendment to Motion A)

Moved by
Lord Collins of Highbury Portrait Lord Collins of Highbury
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At end insert “and do propose Amendment 2D in lieu—

2D: Page 3, line 31, at end insert—
“(5) Minimum service regulations may only be made if—
(a) the Secretary of State has published draft regulations;
(b) the Secretary of State has consulted the International Labour Organisation and given due consideration to such advice as it has proffered;
(c) the Secretary of State has conducted an impact assessment of the effect of the draft regulations on the services to which the draft regulations relate, addressing, in particular, the effect—
(i) on the general public;
(ii) on the conduct of these services;
(iii) on the conduct and effectiveness of the exercise of the right to strike in those services;
(d) the Secretary of State has conducted a consultation with the representatives of trade unions, employers and any other interested party on the draft regulations and on the matters to be addressed by the impact assessment and, in particular, on whether the draft regulations should or do sufficiently provide, so far as possible under section 234F(2)(a), for protection of workers who do not receive a work notice or fail to comply with it, and for the identification of the “reasonable steps” which a union must not fail to take under section 234E and those which it is reasonable for it not to take;
(e) the Secretary of State has laid before Parliament a report on any advice proffered under paragraph (b) and the consultation under paragraph (d);
(f) the Secretary of State has placed before a Joint Committee of both Houses of Parliament, convened for the purpose of reviewing them, the impact assessment under paragraph (c) and the report under paragraph (e) and the Joint Committee’s review has been published in a report to Parliament.””
Lord Collins of Highbury Portrait Lord Collins of Highbury (Lab)
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My Lords, I am proposing an unusual but reasonable step in relation to this Bill. As noble Lords have heard in previous debates on the Bill, Labour is committed to repealing what we believe to be a very bad piece of legislation. Employers, unions, the devolved nations and service users have expressed opinions against the Bill. However, my argument today will focus on the consequences of this piece of legislation, which have not, I believe, been thought through or properly addressed either by the Government or in the impact assessments.

The consequence of exercising the human right to withdraw labour is now, as the Minister confirmed, the removal of protection against unfair dismissal. The consequence for a union complying with rigorous balloting requirements for an official dispute is now to lose its protection against action in tort. We sort of knew that this was coming because the Joint Committee on Human Rights concluded that the penalties for employees and unions who do not meet the Bill’s requirements are severe. It stated that they

“amount to a disproportionate interference with Article 11”

rights of the ECHR on assembly and association. Of course, as the committee said, the Minister responded on those human rights by saying that the Government rejected the committee’s findings and recommendations. They felt that this piece of legislation was compliant.

Since noble Lords considered this piece of legislation, last month, the ILO’s Conference Committee on the Application of Standards called on the United Kingdom Government to

“ensure that existing and prospective legislation is in conformity with the Convention”—

that is, Convention No. 87, which governs freedom of association and protection of the right to organise.

15:30
The committee has also issued a rare instruction for Ministers to seek technical assistance from ILO staff and report back on progress in September, in addition to seeking more consultation from unions and employers. This is precisely why I am arguing that your Lordships should consider sending this back. We want more and proper consultation. This is not simply about delaying the legislation, no matter what the Minister says; this is about having due regard to people’s human rights. The last time that the ILO intervened in this way was in 1995, when the committee called on the Government to improve consultation with social partners on legislation relevant to them.
My noble friend Lady O’Grady recently asked a Written Question on the steps that the Government intend to take following the ILO statement. The Answer stated:
“The Government believes that our trade union law complies with international conventions, including those of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
Workers in the UK have the right to join a union and organise, this is rightly protected by law. They also have the ability to strike should they wish to. The Government believes however that taking strike action has to be balanced with the rights of others, including employers and members of the public.
We will consider the findings of the ILO report carefully and respond in due course”.
We have heard that term plenty of times in this Chamber. They should properly consult and engage with social partners in this country before putting in place a law full of unintended consequences.
Despite the repeated assurances that the Minister makes, this Bill is at variance with the experts, government employers and workers appointed in accordance with the ILO constitution to assess compliance with its conventions—a body which this Government are represented on, experts whom this Government supported the appointment of. That is why it is essential that the Government and the other place think again.
This amendment requires Ministers to do exactly what the ILO is requesting—undertake consultation when considering introducing regulations to implement minimum service levels. It sets conditions before minimum service level regulations can be considered. This includes an impact assessment, something that we all should expect, which will consider the impact on the public, the conduct of those services and the right to strike. It would require consultation with social partners, including on the protection of workers named in work notices. Today, the Minister confirmed that if someone does not comply with a notice, they will lose their protection and be sacked. This is a charter for dismissing people who take that legitimate right to take strike action. The amendment would require the relevant Secretary of State to consult with the ILO—the statement that I referred to earlier—and for a Joint Committee to consider the impact assessment and the report on consultation with social partners.
As I have heard said before in this Chamber, these steps should have been taken before this Bill was presented to Parliament. We had no looking through the consequences and developing a policy. Instead, it was, “Let’s have a skeleton Bill that people don’t understand the consequences of. Let’s put the legislation in place and consult afterwards”. We have not even had the results of the consultations on the sectors referred to in the Bill, and we are unlikely to have them until the autumn. We should not give this Government a blank cheque on such a fundamental human right which needs to be protected. I beg to move.
Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb Portrait Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb (GP)
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My Lords, the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Collins, is absolutely perfect for this situation. The hubris and arrogance of this Government are breathtaking. I do not understand how they can bring a Bill that does three massive things—the noble Lord, Lord Collins, was very generous to the Government because he talked about “unintended consequences”, but I do not think that these consequences are unintended at all.

The first is that it gives Ministers more power. Over the past couple of years, we have seen the Government constantly trying to give more power to Ministers and less with Parliament—less scrutiny and democracy. That needs to be challenged. Secondly, this new law undermines workers’ rights and could even punish workers who are genuinely off sick or in hospital. Thirdly, it forces the trade unions to act on behalf of employers to make workers go to work on strike days, with severe legal consequences if they do not.

I hope the Government see the common sense in this amendment, take a step back and think about the ramifications of what they are trying to do.

Lord Pannick Portrait Lord Pannick (CB)
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My Lords, I support Motion A1 for different reasons. The proposal by the noble Lord, Lord Collins, makes it much more likely that, if implemented, the Bill will comply with the United Kingdom’s obligations under the ILO convention and, therefore, under the European Convention on Human Rights. The Minister expressed concerns about delay in implementing the Bill. There is no point in having a Bill that is speedily implemented if it does not comply with our obligations under the ILO convention and the European Convention on Human Rights. I hope that the Government see the good sense in this Motion and recognise that it is in their interests to have a Bill that is effective and lawful.

Lord Balfe Portrait Lord Balfe (Con)
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My Lords, I will start with three words of the Minister: “much-needed legislation”. I have not had a single email asking me to support this Bill or a single letter. No Conservative trade unionist has come to me and said, “This is a really necessary piece of legislation”. Actually, it is a nonsense of a Bill. It will not work. I support what was said by the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, which is about the only way of ever getting it to work, but then we have to ask whether it should work. The fact is it should not, because it goes too near people’s rights in industrial relations.

I quote from the former Business Secretary, who is not someone I normally quote. Jacob Rees-Mogg said:

“This Bill is almost so skeletal that we wonder if bits of the bones were stolen away by wild animals and taken and buried somewhere, as happens with cartoon characters”.—[Official Report, Commons, 30/1/23; col. 89.]


It is a disgrace of a Bill.

I will not delay the House for long. I am dubious about whether we should send it back yet again, because of the doctrine of the primacy of the lower House, rather than because I disagree with the amendment. But I ask the Government to stop passing legislation like this, which is a nonsense. I seldom welcome what the Labour Party says, but it will certainly be held to that word “repeal”. If it gets into government—and, you never know, it might one day—my first Written Question will be, “When will you bring forward a Bill to repeal this?”

Lord Fox Portrait Lord Fox (LD)
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My Lords, it is a pleasure to support the amendment, as set out so thoroughly and excellently by the noble Lord, Lord Collins. I have very little to say; I will make just three points.

First, noble Lords who have been observing will remember that on a number of occasions I have proposed amendments that try to give Parliament more say on what is going on. Having got to where we are, I am happy to subsume that objective within the amendment that the noble Lord, Lord Collins, has set forward, but it remains an important and missing element in the Bill. We should not forget that.

The noble Lord also set a lot of store by the recent ILO announcement. He is right to do so, but this amendment is necessary with or without it. The announcement makes it clear to us on these Benches that the Commons should be given another chance to reassess the Bill in the light of the details coming in from the ILO.

Finally, the Minister talks about delay. The first iteration of this Bill was drafted and laid before Parliament about a year ago. If the Government really are that breathless about getting this on the statute book, they could have moved a little quicker. This is about politics, not actually doing anything real out there. The noble Lord, Lord Balfe, is right in that concern. Because of that, we will certainly support the noble Lord, Lord Collins, if he chooses to put this to a vote.

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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My Lords, as I said in my opening remarks, we have had a very similar debate a number of times, so I can keep my response brief. I have responded to these points previously, but I will make one point on the ILO report in response to the noble Lords, Lord Collins, Lord Pannick and Lord Fox.

The ILO did not say that this legislation did not comply with the convention; it simply said that it should and that we should ensure that it does. In my view it does, as our response to the Parliamentary Question rightly said. I have made the point many times in this House that the ILO has been clear over many years that minimum service levels can be appropriate in public services of fundamental public importance. That is why many other countries in Europe and around the world that are signatories to the ILO have had minimum service levels in place for many years. The Liberal Democrats and the noble Lord, Lord Fox, normally urge us to go the way of Europe and follow what EU countries are doing. In this case, we are doing precisely that.

I therefore hope, although without a great deal of optimism, that noble Lords will cede to the wishes of the elected House and agree to the Government’s Motions, which would then bring this Bill’s passage to a close.

Lord Collins of Highbury Portrait Lord Collins of Highbury (Lab)
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My Lords, I will take the unusual but reasonable step of pressing this, for one good reason. The Minister talks about the ILO not saying that the Bill is non-compliant. Part of the problem is that no one knows what this law means. Trade unions do not know what reasonable steps they need to take to protect the right to strike. We heard the Minister confirm that workers who receive a work notice will lose protection from dismissal.

The Minister talks about the ILO and minimum service levels in Europe. Nobody is against minimum service levels. They are essential, but in every European country they work because they are agreed by voluntary agreement and because people consent. As soon as you remove that consent, you are in trouble. That is why employers are so against what the Government are arguing.

I know that it might feel a bit repetitive, but the ILO report is new and the Commons needs to consider it. I plead with all noble Lords: please support my Motion. I wish to test the opinion of the House.

15:45

Division 1

Ayes: 223

Noes: 204

15:55
Motion B
Moved by
Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

That this House do not insist on its Amendment 4B to which the Commons have disagreed for their Reason 4C.

4C: Because in order for the legislation to be effective, it is necessary for there to be consequences for an employee who fails to comply with a work notice.
Motion C
Moved by
Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

That this House do not insist on its Amendments 5B, 5C and 5D to which the Commons have disagreed for their Reason 5E.

5E: Because amendment 5B would remove the requirement for a union to take reasonable steps to ensure that members comply with a work notice in order for strike action to be protected, and this would reduce the impact of the legislation, and amendments 5C and 5D are consequential on amendment 5B.
Motions agreed.
Commons Reason and Amendment
15:56
Motion A
Moved by
Lord Sharpe of Epsom Portrait Lord Sharpe of Epsom
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

That this House do not insist on its Amendment 22B, to which the Commons have disagreed for their Reason 22C.

22C: Because the law already makes sufficient provision in relation to donations to political parties.
Lord Sharpe of Epsom Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Sharpe of Epsom) (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, with the leave of the House I will also speak to Motion B and ask that this House do not insist on its Amendment 122B and do agree with Commons Amendment 122C in lieu.

I thank the noble Lord, Lord Carlile, for meeting once again with me and speaking with the Security Minister. During the previous debate on the Bill in this place, I talked about the importance of the Bill finishing, and continued engagement is the way to achieve that. I thank him and all in this House again for their valued scrutiny of this Bill.

I will start with the amendment tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Carlile. I understand the intention behind it. The Government are very much alive to the risk presented by foreign interference, as evidenced by the various ways we are seeking to tackle it through this Bill. However, as I said during previous debates on this matter:

“Political parties are already required by law to take all reasonable steps to verify the identity of a donor and whether they are permissible”.—[Official Report, 21/6/23; col. 227.]


The introduction of an independent review to consider the matter is not an approach the Government would support. The scope of the review the noble Lord proposes implicitly suggests that the duty should be on political parties to prevent foreign interference, not the relevant enforcement bodies with the appropriate tools and knowledge. The Government submit that this is not the way to approach concerns about the risk of foreign donations entering our political system, although we agree that work is needed in this area.

As such, I offer an alternative to today’s amendment in lieu. If noble Lords agree with the Government that the amendment before the House is not the right approach, the Government will commit to consult on enhancing information sharing between relevant agencies or public bodies to help identify and mitigate the risks of foreign interference in political donations that are regulated by electoral law. The relevant public bodies in scope of the consultation would include Companies House and the Electoral Commission, among others. This consultation would take place within a year of the Bill coming into force. It would seek views on how relevant agencies and bodies can obtain and share information relating to the provenance of a donation, which might not be available to the recipient of a donation. We consider that greater information sharing may well help in the prevention and identification of breaches of the law in relation to impermissible donations from foreign powers.

The Government also commit to tabling a report in the House at the end of this consultation which will set out conclusions and next steps. I want to be clear that the Government’s intention is not for any changes made as a result of this consultation to become a tool to be wielded against political parties where they could not have reasonably known the provenance of a donation. As I have noted before, political parties do not have the investigative capabilities of banks to trace layers of financial transactions. Rather, this consultation would look at ways in which information sharing between the relevant agencies and public bodies that do have those capabilities could support parties in mitigating the risk of foreign donations.

The rules on political donations are clear: donations from foreign powers, whether made directly or indirectly, are illegal. This consultation will allow us to consider how best to strengthen the information-sharing and enforcement system that supports those existing rules. This goes a considerable way towards addressing the noble Lord’s concerns, and in a way that will deliver real benefit. I am committing the Government to undertake this work in good faith, and I ask the noble Lord, Lord Carlile, to withdraw his amendment on this matter, in favour of our suggested approach.

16:00
Before moving on, I impress upon your Lordships the importance of agreement on this issue. The Government have agreed that there is more work to be done here, but we should not let a debate about the exact terms of that work stand in the way of the Bill. The National Security Bill is a foundational piece of legislation and, if this amendment is approved today, there is a real risk of significant delays to implementation due to late Royal Assent.
I turn to the amendment tabled in lieu by the Government, relating to the ISC memorandum of understanding. The Government carefully considered the arguments for such a review and, although there is provision for review within the Justice and Security Act, the strength of feeling in both this House and the other place means that the Government were willing to respond to this issue with their own amendment. The difference between the Government amendment and the amendment in lieu tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Coaker, ahead of the last debate is relatively minor. It removes the requirement for the review of the MoU to be completed within six months of the measure coming into force, to give more adequate time to conduct that review alongside the work to implement the Bill. While we have built in more flexibility in the end date of the review, I hope that noble Lords will recognise that this amendment delivers the effect sought in the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Coaker.
Finally, I will address the amendment tabled by the noble Lord, Lord West, which looks to remove subsection (2) of the Government’s amendment in lieu. This would remove the six-month time limit from the amendment, and the Government do not support this approach. The six-month limit is an important part of showing that the Government take seriously the fact that consideration of whether the MoU needs amending should commence in a timely manner. Removing the time limit would suggest that the Government could delay consideration beyond six months, which I do not think this House would support. So I encourage the noble Lord not to move his amendment, and I beg to move.
Lord Carlile of Berriew Portrait Lord Carlile of Berriew (CB)
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My Lords, I now have the opportunity to speak to Amendment 22D. I thank the Minister and the others involved in the discussions we have had. I give particular thanks for the involvement of the Security Minister, whom he mentioned, in the creation of what the Minister offered today.

In my reamendment, I offered an independent review, which is quite a physical way—to use a metaphor—of examining the law in this area. We have been offered a much more neurological review, to use another metaphor, because it involves going to every place where knowledge is held within government of the possibilities by which foreign powers may contribute to political parties.

I am particularly grateful to the Minister because the Government are offering something that not only places a clear moral obligation on political parties by which their honesty will be judged, but which goes further. It means that there will be standards by which their honesty will be judged, which has potential implications for political parties that they had better pay regard to. Compared with the no-action approach when we last discussed this matter, what was decided today is a generous response by the Government.

I will close with another metaphor. The right reverend Prelate, who read Psalm 24 in Prayers this afternoon, spoke of a “pure heart” and “clean hands”. I doubt very much whether these measures will purify the hearts of political parties, but it will certainly make their hands much cleaner. I therefore announce my intention not to move Motion A1.

Lord West of Spithead Portrait Lord West of Spithead (Lab)
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My Lords, I will speak to Motion B1, an amendment to government Motion B. I am very pleased that the Government have finally proposed an alternative amendment, recognising that only the ISC can undertake effective scrutiny of intelligence and security work undertaken by the Government.

The ISC supports the government Motion on the basis that my Motion is also accepted. It removes the requirement for consideration of whether the ISC’s MoU needs to be updated to commence within six months. We are concerned that such a time restriction may have unintended consequences; it might inadvertently affect the ability of the ISC to oversee security or intelligence activity related to the Bill. For example, if the Government commence new security or intelligence activity as part of the Bill outside the ISC’s remit—beyond the six-month period—the Government could attempt to argue that they will not consider any commensurate update to the ISC’s MoU as considerations are required to start within six months of the Bill coming into force.

Because of the Government’s long-standing refusal to update the ISC’s MoU, and their continued arguments to justify their refusal to accept independent oversight of the committee, the committee is of the view that it will be much safer for us to remove this time limitation to avoid any possible confusion in the future. Although that sounds like a lawyer’s argument, this is a lawyer’s issue; it is something we have to be quite careful about.

While the government Motion will not remedy the significant gap in ISC oversight that already exists in relation to intelligence and security matters, it at least seeks to stop the oversight gap becoming even bigger. I hope that this reflects a turning point and the beginning of a shift in the Government’s position, including their acceptance of the need for robust, independent and democratic oversight of secret intelligence matters.

However, the House should not forget the wider problem, and we should continue to insist on a remedy. With my ISC colleagues in the other place, I have already explained repeatedly why the ISC’s MoU needs to be updated more broadly. I will not repeat those arguments now, other than to say that currently there is insufficient parliamentary oversight of the Government’s intelligence and security activities.

Intelligence and security matters are too important for there not to be comprehensive parliamentary oversight. There can be no activity by the Executive which escapes democratic oversight. The Motion is the first indication from the Government that they have begun to grasp this fundamental principle and the importance attached to it by those in this House. Despite the Motion’s significant limitations, I support it being added to the Bill, with my own Motion, to ensure that there are no unintended consequences which may negatively affect the ability of the ISC to oversee the entirety of this regime. I encourage the Government to use this as a foundation for constructive engagement on the rest of the ISC’s MoU, which, as I have explained, urgently needs updating.

Lord Leigh of Hurley Portrait Lord Leigh of Hurley (Con)
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My Lords, I will speak to this closing part of the Bill. I declare my interest as the senior treasurer of the Conservative Party. It is not on the register of interests, because the registrar does not accept it as a declarable interest; I do not know why, but I bring it to your Lordships’ attention now.

I wish to speak because, as this debate concludes, it would be unfortunate if the reader of this debate and previous debates was left with the conclusion that political parties are in any way seeking to obtain donations from foreign parties or do not take considerable steps to ensure that foreign parties or intermediaries do not make donations to political parties. In the previous debate, the noble Lord, Lord West, commented that

“it is perfectly possible for companies to make significant donations to political parties despite clearly not making operating profits and therefore with limited explanations of how they can afford such donations and where the money comes from”.—[Official Report, 21/6/23; col. 237.]

However, many companies can of course raise substantial sums of money and not make operating profits— I have personal experience of that. That is not the issue; the issue is that regulated donees have to be UK-registered companies incorporated in the UK which carry on business in the UK. I know from my experience that considerable lengths are taken to ensure that those companies are companies that carry on business, by any definition, in the UK. That is a requirement of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000.

The companies must also be registered with Companies House. Later this afternoon, we will finalise our debates on the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill, in which I have had a large involvement. From that, it is clear that Companies House will have substantially greater access to information on companies’ accounts digitally to assess who the persons of significant control are.

Accepting or funnelling unlawful donations is already illegal. Every donation over £7,500 is declared and you can take my word for it that any donation that one might think is, shall we say, unusual leads to lots of inquiries from the press, which is perfectly reasonable, and others such as political opponents. The Electoral Commission has 233 staff. It has resources this year of £25.5 million. It is responsible for looking after political parties, not much more than that.

It is not particularly obvious to me what more political parties could do. They are not banks; they are not HMRC. It would be inappropriate to create a very false impression. Donors do not control parties. They do not influence or determine policy. They typically give modest sums of money because they believe in supporting a party and wish it to succeed. We do not wish to slip into state funding, which would be a very dangerous route. In fact, donors to all political parties should be thanked and recognised for their contribution to civil society.

Lord Carlile of Berriew Portrait Lord Carlile of Berriew (CB)
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I slightly despair listening to the noble Lord. Can we just ask for a little humility from treasurers of all political parties? I am afraid there is plenty of evidence that the garden is not as perfect as the noble Lord, Lord Leigh, is saying.

Lord Leigh of Hurley Portrait Lord Leigh of Hurley (Con)
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I beg to disagree and am happy to offer humility. I note that recently the Labour Party returned a donation from a Mr Ian Rosenblatt which it decided was inappropriate. All credit to it. It happens regularly. This is not a political issue; this a cross-political matter. As I say, every donation is listed, so there is 100% transparency. I welcome my noble friend the Minister’s proposals, which I think are extremely sensible and helpful to this argument.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire Portrait Lord Wallace of Saltaire (LD)
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We on these Benches very much welcome the concessions that the Government have made. I disagree with the rather overoptimistic interpretation of where we are from the noble Lord, Lord Leigh. In the last exchanges, the Minister said that the National Security Bill was about national security and not about donations to political parties, but donations to political parties from foreign powers are a matter of national security.

Indeed, in the last Commons debate on this, a number of rather distinguished Conservatives intervened to say how strongly they supported the amendment as put forward by the noble Lord, Lord Carlile, on the last occasion. I recall Sir Jeremy Wright saying that he found it “very difficult to disagree” with anything in the amendment. He is currently on the ISC and was previously a member of the Committee on Standards in Public Life when it was writing its report on public finance.

I have just read a paper on political finance that the Institute for Government has just published. That stresses how rapidly the context is moving and how the law needs to adjust to cope with that. It particularly stresses the extension of overseas voting rights to British citizens who have been resident abroad for a very long time, many of them dual nationals. Checking on where the ultimate source is for those things is going to be extremely difficult and probably impossible, but political parties should be on their guard against undue influence and the suggestions the Government are now making perhaps will help political parties to take further moves in that direction

I was also struck by the speech that David Davis made in the Commons last week about a donor to the Conservative Party who had given £750,000—not a modest donor, even by the terms of the noble Lord, Lord Leigh—who had spoken openly about buying influence and “access capitalism” as part of what he expected. This was a dual national whose fortune appears to have come largely from contracts within a number of post-Soviet states.

There is a problem there, and it requires investigation, and I welcome the Government’s acceptance that there is a problem and that it needs further investigation, and we look forward to reading the text of the amendment that the Government will move in the Commons and to the further work that they will do then—we hope in co-operation with other parties—to last beyond the next election. This is an area where we need to have electoral rules that are agreed by all the participants.

16:15
Lord Purvis of Tweed Portrait Lord Purvis of Tweed (LD)
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To follow my noble friend to conclude from these Benches on this part of the Bill, I wish to commend the Minister for listening and taking back to the department a very strong view from this House that more needed to be done in this area. I also commend the noble Lord, Lord Carlile, for his persistence on this area. I respectfully disagree with the noble Lord, Lord Leigh of Hurley. Of course, we all know that there is a distinction between the small donors—those who give small sums of money either as a member or as a supporter of a political party: in my case, in my former constituency, there were all too small numbers of small donors, regrettably, but there were those who would bake a cake for a raffle—and individuals who give really quite enormous sums to political parties. On the one hand, I understand the argument that there should not be a distinction between the two groups, if someone is of wealth and means and they believe in the same thing as someone without wealth and means. However, as my noble friend indicated, with regret I share more the view of the noble Lord, Lord Carlile, in this regard.

We would not be where we are in pursuing and being persistent with this issue if we did not know that the Electoral Commission was in effect asking us to do it. I have met the Electoral Commission frequently, and I do not think that it is relevant to highlight its resources when it has been very clear to us in saying that it does not have the powers to carry out what, ultimately, I believe it should be able to carry out—to ask political parties for due diligence as to the source of large donations. I hope that the government review will take us on that journey and provide an evidence base, on which I believe there will be a degree of consensus.

I thank the Government for their response and look forward to the review taking place, especially as it will start with the competent authorities that will have the information available to them. The Government are taking through the economic crime Bill, reforming and updating the mechanisms through unexplained wealth orders. It strikes me that that is a very good opportunity to look at some of the processes around UWOs, which are designed to be streamlined and not burdensome on authorities, to see whether they can be the model by which we would look at the requirements on political parties. On this issue, I have previously talked about the jarring position that, if a politically exposed person who is open to unexplained wealth order mechanisms, instead of giving to a political party used that money to buy a property, the relevant competent authorities would have to go through a process of due diligence for that property. However, as my noble friend said, on the concern about buying influence rather than buying a property, there is no mechanism that is open. I hope that that loophole will be closed. The Government have been clear in their guidance on the duties on the public and competent authorities to access data for unexplained wealth orders, so we should be in a better position.

Finally, as I said in the previous debate, this is likely to be the most expensive year coming up in British politics. I hope that we will have cleaner hands, but they will not be empty. Therefore, it is how we ensure that with the source of that money going into British politics, especially in the lead-up to election campaigns, the transparency is not just around the donor but around where that money is from for substantial donations. I hope very much that we have started the process of rectifying this deficiency in the British system, and I thank the Minister for starting it.

Lord Coaker Portrait Lord Coaker (Lab)
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My Lords, I begin by saying how much we support the amendments of the noble Lord, Lord Carlile. I am glad that the Government have listened and come to an amicable agreement with the noble Lord which takes us forward. I thank the Minister for the way he has done that and for the concession that the Government have made on the updating of the memorandum of understanding, although clearly issues remain between the ISC and the Government, hence Motion B1 tabled by my noble friend Lord West, which we support. Aside from the Motion itself, it will allow continuing discussions, and indeed perhaps negotiations, around how the memorandum of understanding can be revised or replaced, including by negotiation, hence its importance.

I think it is really significant that still, even at this late stage of the Bill, my noble friend Lord West, speaking on behalf of the Intelligence and Security Committee, which gives parliamentary oversight of the activities of the security services, is not happy with where we have arrived at. I think it is incumbent on the Government to reach an agreement with the ISC. Clearly, as we have heard from my noble friend Lord West this afternoon, we are not in a situation where that has occurred. There are all sorts of issues that remain between the Government and the ISC, as has been evidenced by various things that have happened today, and the Government need to respond to those.

I will add just a couple of other points. One is that the Government gave a commitment during the passage of the Justice and Security Act 2013 and the Minister gave assurances to Parliament that the memorandum of understanding was a live document that would be regularly reviewed and updated. Are the Government of today completely ignoring that commitment that was made to Parliament? If so, we are in a really difficult situation, because it means that parliamentary oversight is undermined by the fact that Ministers making pledges to Parliament can just be ignored in the future by the Government. I say—we often say, all of us say—that we will not press an amendment, on the basis that the Minister, speaking from the Dispatch Box, makes commitments that are read into the record. That is an important part of parliamentary scrutiny. Ministers are asked to do that and Members of Parliament in the other place and noble Lords withdraw amendments. But here we have an example of where the Intelligence and Security Committee is saying that pledges and commitments were made to Parliament that the memorandum of understanding would be regularly updated and the Government have not done that or are still not in agreement with the ISC. I think that is a really important point.

For the avoidance of doubt, I remind your Lordships again that I do not seek to compel the Prime Minister to go to the Intelligence and Security Committee. I shall just say what I believe, and your Lordships will have to make up their own minds. Given that the Intelligence and Security Committee is the oversight body for this Parliament, I would have thought that if the ISC were regularly asking the Prime Minister to attend, the Prime Minister would go—not because he is compelled to go but because it is an important part of that parliamentary oversight and the Prime Minister of our country negotiating and liaising personally with the Intelligence and Security Committee is of real importance. So I say to noble Lords, as others have heard me say before, that all of us would be surprised by the fact that no Prime Minister has been since 2014; nearly 10 years. It has been nine years, in case I am quoted as not being accurate, since a Prime Minister has been. So I gently say that, while I do not seek to compel the Prime Minister, I politely ask the noble Lord, Lord Sharpe, whether the Home Office has suggested to the Prime Minister that, in his diary, he might consider going to see the Intelligence and Security Committee when he can.

My noble friend Lord West’s amendment raises several important issues, but the most significant is that we need to send a message through supporting it that the ISC is still not at one with the Government. That is a serious issue and needs somehow to be resolved. I believe that supporting my noble friend’s amendment will continue to put pressure on the Government to ensure that they come to an arrangement with the ISC in the end, such is its importance. If my noble friend chooses to test the opinion of the House, we will be happy to support his Motion B1.

Lord Sharpe of Epsom Portrait Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Con)
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My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Carlile, very much for his words and his engagement on a number of matters throughout the Bill, and for not pressing his Motion. I also thank other noble Lords who have participated in this very short debate, including my noble friend Lord Leigh of Hurley, who brought a very useful perspective on the current state of play with regard to political party donations. I gently remind the noble Lord, Lord Wallace, that donations from foreign powers are already illegal and suggest that the word “consult” means that all political parties will be consulted.

On Motion B, the noble Lord, Lord Coaker, said that he does not seek to compel the Prime Minister to come to the ISC. That is certainly not the tone of the remarks he has made in a number of debates in this House. It seems to me that he does seek to compel the Prime Minister to attend the ISC. He will know that I have answered before the question as to whether the Home Office and No. 10 Downing Street have had discussions on this subject. I will not answer it again. I have nothing else to say on Motion B, as I have already spoken to it. I ask this House not to insist on its Amendment 122B and to agree with the House of Commons in its Amendment 122C.

Motion A1 not moved.
Motion A agreed.
Motion B
Lord Sharpe of Epsom Portrait Lord Sharpe of Epsom
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Moved by

That this House do not insist on its Amendment 122B and do agree with the Commons in their Amendment 122C in lieu.

122C: Page 62, line 13, at end insert the following new Clause— “Intelligence and Security Committee: memorandum of understanding (1) The Prime Minister and the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament must consider whether the memorandum of understanding under section 2 of the Justice and Security Act 2013 should be altered (or replaced) to reflect any changes arising out of this Act.
(2) Consideration under subsection (1) must begin before the end of the period of six months beginning with the day on which this section comes into force.”
Motion B1 (as an amendment to Motion B)
Lord West of Spithead Portrait Lord West of Spithead
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Moved by

At end insert “, and do propose Amendment 122D as an amendment to Amendment 122C—

122D: Leave out subsection (2).”
Lord West of Spithead Portrait Lord West of Spithead (Lab)
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My Lords, my noble friend Lord Coaker has put it far better than I have. I am afraid that there has been a breakdown in trust between the ISC and the Government, although the Minister on the Front Bench has been very helpful in this area. This is such an important issue, and we cannot get our minds around what has gone wrong. Therefore, I would like to test the opinion of the House.

16:28

Division 2

Ayes: 201

Noes: 210

16:38
Motion B agreed.

Road Fuel Prices

Tuesday 4th July 2023

(10 months, 2 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Commons Urgent Question
The following Answer to an Urgent Question was given in the House of Commons on Monday 3 July.
“From rural hamlets to coastal communities, it is a properly functioning market that ensures fair prices for motorists, but for that market to function customers need transparent data to find the best price. On that basis, when we saw fuel prices rising last summer we asked the Competition and Markets Authority to investigate whether the market was working for customers as it should. Today, the CMA published its final market study report and I am shocked by its findings: rising fuel retail margins, and clear evidence of a rocket upwards and a feather downwards in the pricing pattern for diesel.
It is completely unacceptable that consumers have been paying more. The financial impact of the 6p per litre increase, just in the fuel margin, from 2019 to 2022, cost customers of the four supermarket fuel retailers £900 million last year alone. Asda’s fuel margin target was three times higher for this year than in 2019 and Morrisons’ doubled over the same period. It is wrong that in a cost of living crisis drivers do not get a fair deal on fuel and end up being overcharged.
Motorists should not be used as cash cows by the fuel industry. The Government will not stand for it and I know this House will not stand for it. Therefore, we accept the CMA’s recommendations in full. We will create a statutory open data scheme for retail fuel prices and an ongoing road fuel prices monitoring function for the UK market. We will consult on the design of the open data scheme and monitoring function as soon as possible this autumn, but that is not enough. I have asked the CMA to have a voluntary scheme up and running by next month and I fully expect fuel retailers to share accurate, up-to-date road fuel prices. The CMA will also continue to monitor fuel prices.
I demand that fuel retail bosses stop ripping off consumers, by making prices available so that the market can operate as it should. Transparency is vital for competition and to keep prices down.”
16:39
Baroness Blake of Leeds Portrait Baroness Blake of Leeds (Lab)
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My Lords, cost of living pressures are affecting people right across Britain. In that context, we welcome the Government commissioning the Competition and Markets Authority to investigate soaring fuel prices last July. The CMA has finally recommended measures to improve fuel price transparency and stop inflated fuel prices being passed on to hard-hit consumers. The fuel finder open data scheme is welcome, but given that retailers have been inflating the prices, how do the Government expect the CMA’s voluntary scheme to work? When will the Government end the painful wait for consumers and bring forward the legislation that is needed to enforce it?

Baroness Kramer Portrait Baroness Kramer (LD)
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My Lords, the Government have stood for this gouging behaviour by the supermarkets over the past year. In rural areas such as Somerton and Frome, and Mid Bedfordshire, people find themselves facing the highest prices and the least competition, and will benefit the least from the comparison scheme. I have two questions for the Minister. Is it fair that supermarket bosses will get bonuses based on gouged profits, and will the Minister review the rural fuel duty relief scheme, which gives a 5p-per-litre reduction, to see whether it can be extended to rural areas not presently covered?

Lord Callanan Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (Lord Callanan) (Con)
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My Lords, let me thank both noble Baronesses for their support for the report and the Government’s action. First, in response to the noble Baroness, Lady Blake, putting the open data scheme and monitoring function on a statutory footing will require parliamentary time, but the Government will work as quickly as possible to do so. I note that she welcomed the fact that in the meantime we have asked the CMA to create an interim voluntary scheme encouraging fuel retailers to share accurate, up-to-date prices. Of course, we expect all fuel retailers to co-operate with the CMA by providing that information fully and promptly. We will legislate as soon as parliamentary time allows, but we need the primary legislation to be passed by both Houses first. We will consult on the secondary legislation in advance of primary legislation being approved in the digital services Bill. The noble Baroness will know that taxation and fuel duty are matters for the Treasury and the Chancellor, and I would not want to predict what he might do on that.

Baroness Quin Portrait Baroness Quin (Lab)
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My Lords, I want to follow up on a question asked in the other place yesterday. It follows a visit I made recently to Northern Ireland, where I was struck by how much lower fuel prices were. I understand that is largely because of the fuel price checker. The Minister in the other place was asked yesterday why the Government had taken so long to introduce something similar in the rest of the UK; can the Minister here today answer that point?

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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As I just said to the noble Baroness, Lady Blake, we will legislate as soon as we can. We will consult on the secondary regulations in the autumn, but we cannot implement them until we have the primary legislation through. There are of course a number of existing fuel price checkers, but the problem is that they are not updated frequently enough and are not compulsory, so not all retailers have to take part in them. When we have the powers, there will be a compulsory scheme and all retailers will be expected to comply.

Baroness McIntosh of Pickering Portrait Baroness McIntosh of Pickering (Con)
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Does my noble friend agree that the excessive prices that have been charged have had a disproportionate impact on rural motorists and have added to the cost of deliveries of foodstuffs and other items? Is that something that the Government will keep a watchful eye on?

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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My noble friend makes a good point. For many rural areas, where filling stations perhaps do not get the throughput of customers, prices tend to be higher anyway. It is certainly something we want to keep an eye on to make sure that rural customers are not disadvantaged.

Lord Vaux of Harrowden Portrait Lord Vaux of Harrowden (CB)
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My Lords, the supermarket premium is apparently about 6p per litre, but that is nothing compared to the prices charged in motorway service stations, where it is often a further 18p to 20p above that. The noble Baroness, Lady Kramer, referred to the 6p as gouging. If that is gouging, what is the situation with motorway service stations and what are the Government going to do to fix it?

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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The noble Lord makes a very good point. Those of us who use motorway service stations are often baffled as to why fuel is so expensive in them. This is something that we will want to keep a close eye on; again, price transparency—that is, motorists having the ability to check what fuel might be available just by taking an exit and going to a service station that is relatively close to a motorway—would be much more beneficial.

Lord Foulkes of Cumnock Portrait Lord Foulkes of Cumnock (Lab Co-op)
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My Lords, Ministers, particularly the Prime Minister, do not seem to understand the problems of ordinary people. As far as fuel is concerned, whenever fuel costs go up for industry, prices go shooting up. When fuel costs go down, prices are very slow to come down. Now, we have the banks putting up interest rates for borrowers but not offering high-interest returns for savers. There are so many examples of where ordinary people are suffering. The regulators seem to do nothing about it; they seem more interested in the interests of the industries than in those of consumers. Is it not about time that we had some kind of directive for the regulators to look after consumers’ interests?

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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I understand the point that the noble Lord makes, but I think that he is being a little unfair. The CMA is a regulator, of course; this particular regulator very much had the interests of the consumer at its heart when it produced this report, which has widespread support and backing from all parts of the House. The Government will act on its recommendations, so that is a case of a regulator acting in consumers’ interests. The CMA is designed to produce competition, which is the best thing that can operate for the consumer.

The other example mentioned by the noble Lord is slightly off topic, but much more attractive interest rates are offered by a number of smaller financial institutions. It really is a question of the consumer shopping around, but plenty of information and online resources are available for someone to find the best return on their money. No doubt the noble Lord has lots that he wants to invest; if he looks at the various websites, he will be able to invest it well. Obviously, he is a well-known Scottish Member so is bound to have plenty of funds to invest.

Baroness Kramer Portrait Baroness Kramer (LD)
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My Lords, picking up the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Vaux, about motorway services, a number of continental countries have signs along the motorway telling drivers what the price of petrol will be at the first, second, third and fourth service stations along their route. That provides a competitive element and is supposed to have been very successful in managing prices. Are the UK Government looking at such a scheme?

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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The noble Baroness makes a good suggestion. I am not aware of that being contemplated or what powers we would need to implement it, but I will certainly ask officials to have a look at it.

Third Reading
Scottish legislative consent withheld, Northern Ireland legislative consent sought.
16:48
Motion
Moved by
Lord Caine Portrait Lord Caine
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That the Bill be now read a third time.

Lord Caine Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Northern Ireland Office (Lord Caine) (Con)
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My Lords, before we begin Third Reading, I will make a statement on legislative consent.

The Government remain committed to delivering better outcomes for those most affected by the Troubles by providing more information in a more timely manner to more people than is possible under current mechanisms. We have, however, been unable to secure legislative consent from the Northern Ireland Assembly, which is of course not sitting currently. It is important to note that the Government are working tirelessly to see the return of effective, locally elected and accountable devolved government, which is the best way for Northern Ireland to be governed. However, I also acknowledge the possibility —if I can put it that way—that, even if an Assembly were sitting, it may have chosen not to provide legislative consent in this case.

The Government have also not secured legislative consent from the Scottish Government. We are therefore, regrettably, proceeding without consent, as this legislation requires a UK-wide approach. As the Government, we must make difficult and realistic decisions about how we can best deliver for families in Northern Ireland. I reassure noble Lords across the House that the Government will continue to engage with all Northern Ireland parties and the Scottish Government on this matter.

Clause 42: Tort, delict and fatal accident actions

Amendment 1

Moved by
1: Clause 42, page 36, line 4, at end insert—
“(8A) This section does not apply to a relevant Troubles-related civil action if, or to the extent that, section (Interim custody orders: prohibition of proceedings and compensation)(1) applies to the action (prohibition of civil claims alleging invalidity of interim custody orders).”Member’s explanatory statement
This provides that Clause 42 does not apply to proceedings to which subsection (1) of Clause (Interim custody orders: prohibition of proceedings and compensation) applies.
Lord Caine Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Northern Ireland Office (Lord Caine) (Con)
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My Lords, I committed to tabling an amendment at Third Reading in response to widespread concerns raised by the House over the 2020 Supreme Court ruling concerning the validity of interim custody orders made under Troubles-era internment legislation. We debated these issues at length during the amending stages, and I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Faulks, and my noble friend Lord Godson for raising these matters and for the constructive manner in which they engaged on the amendments that I tabled late last week.

To be clear, it has always been the Government’s understanding that interim custody orders, made by Ministers of the Crown under powers conferred on the Secretary of State, were perfectly valid. To restore clarity around the legal position and ensure that no one is inappropriately advantaged by a different interpretation of the law on a technicality, I have tabled amendments that retrospectively validate all interim custody orders made under Article 4 of the Detention of Terrorists (Northern Ireland) Order 1972, as well as paragraph 11 of Schedule 1 to the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1973. This has the effect of confirming that a person’s detention under an interim custody order was not unlawful simply because it had been made by a junior Minister rather than by the Secretary of State personally, as was always the understanding of successive Governments.

The amendments would also prohibit certain types of legal proceedings, including civil cases, applications for compensation as a result of miscarriages of justice, and appeals against conviction which rely on the 2020 ruling from being brought or continued. To align with other prohibitions in the Bill, the continuation of pending claims and appeals in scope would be prohibited immediately from commencement.

There is a specific exemption in the Bill for certain types of ongoing criminal appeals, where leave to appeal has already been granted or where there has been a referral by the Criminal Cases Review Commission by the time of the Bill’s commencement. Importantly, this exception would not allow for the payment of compensation flowing from the reversal of such convictions. I make it clear that this amendment would not lead to convictions already reversed being reinstated. I hope the House will join me in welcoming the legal clarity that these amendments bring. I beg to move.

Lord Faulks Portrait Lord Faulks (Non-Afl)
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My Lords, I thank the Minister for tabling these amendments in response to amendments tabled by me and the noble Lord, Lord Godson, which were supported by the noble Baroness, Lady Hoey. I thank the Minister and his officials very much for the constructive way in which they engaged with us to produce this complex amendment in response to our simpler but plainly inadequate amendment. I also thank the noble Lord, Lord Butler, who is not in his place. He supported the amendment on the basis of the well-understood Carltona doctrine.

I have also been asked to mention the noble Lord, Lord Howell, who is in the interesting position of being the only living Minister who was in Northern Ireland at the time and directly involved with this and a number of other ICOs. I thank him and many other noble Lords for their help with these amendments. They will do a great deal to restore the Carltona principle to its proper place and it will put right a decision of the Supreme Court which was no doubt reached in good faith but which was, in retrospect, wrongly decided.

I have a couple of questions for the Minister, of which I have given him notice. The first is in relation to the commencement date for the two new clauses. They are described as coming into force two months after Royal Assent. I understand what he says about those extant criminal appeals. It seems that delaying this for two months risks there being some further appeals which will go forward on the rather unfortunate premise that the relevant ICOs were unlawfully entered into. Can he clarify that?

Secondly, the second proposed new clause contains an order-making power, for regulations under Section 55(2), which is consequential on the section and allows a Minister to amend this Act. They are subject to the affirmative procedure, but I am concerned, as the House always is, by powers of this scale. I seek an assurance from the Minister: although I know that the current Secretary of State will not be amending the Act to, in any way, take away with the left hand what it has given with the right, it would be useful to have on record the assurance that the Bill does not intend to amend its provisions in any substantial way, particularly those that are the subject of these amendments.

I welcome these amendments and thank the Government very much for their co-operation.

Lord Pannick Portrait Lord Pannick (CB)
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My Lords, I support the amendments, but mention has been made of the Supreme Court judgment in R v Adams [2020] UKSC 19, which caused the difficulties that these amendments are designed to address.

On 26 June, on Report, my noble friend Lord Faulks referred to Policy Exchange as having

“consistently and cogently argued that the decision flew in the face of the well-established Carltona doctrine”.

That has been explained as the doctrine that the powers of the Secretary of State may be exercised on their behalf by junior Ministers or officials. My noble friend Lord Butler of Brockwell expressed concern that the Carltona judgment

“has been thrown into doubt by this judgment”,

which he described as “this very extraordinary ruling”. The noble Lord, Lord Howell of Guildford, said that he was

“astonished, frankly, that such a legal error could have been made”.—[Official Report, 26/6/23; cols. 502-6.]

The judgment of the five judges of the Supreme Court was given by the late Lord Kerr of Tonaghmore, a distinguished and much-respected jurist. In his judgment, Lord Kerr recognised the role and importance of the Carltona principle. His reasoning was that the principle did not apply in the Gerry Adams case, because of the specific wording of the relevant statutory provision, which expressly distinguished between the making of the detention order and the signing of the order. The statutory provision said that the order could be signed by the Secretary of State, a Minister of State or an Under-Secretary of State. Lord Kerr’s conclusion was that the distinction expressly drawn in the statutory provision between the making and the signing of the order necessarily meant that only the Secretary of State could make the order.

My point is that it is simply wrong to accuse Lord Kerr of ignoring the Carltona principle or throwing it into doubt. The judgment, whether or not you agree with it—different views are, of course, permissible—was based on an analysis of the express terms of the relevant statutory provision. I am concerned that this House should not unfairly impugn the reputation—the well-deserved, high reputation—of the late Lord Kerr.

If I understood the Minister’s opening remarks correctly, he said that the amendment restores the legal position, as it had been widely understood by Ministers, prior to the Supreme Court judgment. With respect, that is not quite right, because Lord Kerr’s judgment refers to the legal advice that was given to the Attorney-General in July 1974 by JBE Hutton QC, later Lord Hutton of Bresagh. Mr Hutton, as he then was, advised Ministers through the Attorney-General. I quote from paragraph 6 of the judgment of Lord Kerr that

“a court would probably hold that it would be a condition precedent to the making of an ICO that the Secretary of State should have considered the matter personally”.

I repeat: I support the amendment, but I hope it is appropriate to put those matters on record.

17:00
Lord Godson Portrait Lord Godson (Con)
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My Lords, I join the noble Lord, Lord Faulks, in welcoming the amendment put forward by my noble friend the Minister that reverses the effects of R v Adams, thus restoring the Carltona principle and stopping compensation wrongly being paid for what was an entirely lawful action by my noble friend Lord Howell of Guildford. I also join in the tributes paid earlier to Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood, who retired from this House a fortnight ago and was one of the most formidable critics of the Supreme Court’s judgment in that case, thus showing his own remarkable independence of mind, which was characteristic of his career here and on the Bench.

There has been much objection in this House to the Bill’s immunity provisions, as if they were somehow unique and unprecedented. However, immunity has already been widely granted to terrorists, such as the early release for prisoners, which was a key element of the Belfast/Good Friday agreement, implemented by the Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998. There were also 187 comfort letters issued to those on-the-runs between 2000 and 2014. The issuing of these letters was further pressed on Tony Blair as Prime Minister by Bertie Ahern as Taoiseach in December 1999, along with the cessation of extradition requests.

There has also been widespread use of royal pardons: 418 were issued in Northern Ireland between 1979 and 2002, including many for convicted terrorists. The Northern Ireland (Offences) Bill of November 2005 further sought to fulfil commitments made by the British and Irish Governments in 2003, with its offer of judicially based immunity for offences committed before 10 April 1998—that is, the Belfast/Good Friday agreement.

These are all extraordinary departures from the normal rules of law. Privately, Tony Blair admitted to Members of this House that they had ripped up the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland. This was not just for terrorists but for security force personnel as well, which is why the investigation into Bloody Sunday was an inquiry led by a judge, not a criminal investigation led by the police.

This Bill seeks to implement a legacy programme that is even-handed and counters the relentless tide of anti-state revisionists and revisionism. That is why I believe it deserves our support.

Lord Dodds of Duncairn Portrait Lord Dodds of Duncairn (DUP)
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My Lords, I welcome the Minister’s amendments and I will confine my remarks to them. First, I observe that this shows how quickly the Government can move when they decide to legislate in respect of Northern Ireland to remedy an obvious injustice. Therefore, I hope that, on future occasions when we raise issues of concern that have support in Northern Ireland, the Government will be loath to use the argument that parliamentary time does not permit.

Secondly, people from right across all communities and all parties in Northern Ireland—except Sinn Féin, of course—will breathe a sigh of relief at the prospect that the godfather of terrorism over many decades, Gerry Adams, will not, on a technicality, be able to benefit from the largesse of the British taxpayer, when so many widows and the thousands of families that he and his organisation caused such suffering to, have struggled with very little compensation or recompense for many years. That injustice will be put right in this House and this Parliament. That will be warmly welcomed by those who really believe in true justice.

Baroness O'Loan Portrait Baroness O’Loan (CB)
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My Lords, Clause 42, to which this amendment applies, deprives those who suffered loss or damage as a consequence of the Troubles of the ability to bring or continue any civil action after 17 May 2022—some 14 months ago. A relatively small group of UK citizens from every part of these islands is to be deprived of their rights not only to bring a civil action but to inquests and to full human rights-compliant criminal investigations by virtue of the restrictions still placed on the investigative powers of the ICRIR by this Bill.

The long title of the Bill is amended by one of the amendments. It describes the purposes of the Bill as being to

“promote reconciliation by establishing an Independent Commission for Reconciliation and Information Recovery, limiting criminal investigations, legal proceedings, inquests and police complaints”.

The purpose of the Bill is clearly stated, but at no stage has the Minister explained how it is expected that limiting criminal investigations, legal proceedings, inquests and the investigation of police complaints will promote reconciliation. I am unaware of anyone who thinks it will.

The real purpose of the Bill is to protect the Government from having to pay damages for those occasions on which investigation reveals that the state acted in breach of its duties to protect life. At its simplest, if somebody was murdered, and the state had prior knowledge and did not intervene or prevented proper investigation—and we know that these things happened right across our communities—a cause of action is disclosed. Now, in addition to the provisions of these amendments, there will be no right of action for bereaved and grieving families. That is the first purpose: to stop civil actions. The second purpose is to control access to information so that some people will never be able to prove what happened in cases involving state actors. The third purpose is to protect those veterans—they are few—both police and military, who may have committed the greatest crime, that of murder, from being subjected to due process. This Bill, as everyone has said, has been roundly and consistently condemned in the UK, by the Council of Europe, by the European High Commissioner for Human Rights, by the UN and by many others. It is a terrible breach of our international legal obligations.

Internment without trial was introduced on 9 August 1971 and continued until 5 December 1975. About 340 people were detained initially, often just scooped up by the Army because of their age and where they lived. About 100 were released within 48 hours; 17 people died in the rioting which followed and an estimated 7,000 Catholics had to flee their homes when they were attacked by loyalists. Initially, internment was carried out under regulations made under the special powers Act. All those detained were from the Catholic community. The interpretation of the Detention of Terrorists (Northern Ireland) Order 1972—introduced that November—by the Supreme Court is the subject of today’s government amendment. Overall, 1,981 people were detained without trial, 1,874 from the Catholic/nationalist/republican community and 107 from the Protestant/unionist/loyalist community. That began in 1973. It is generally accepted that internment without trial was a major recruiting agent for the IRA, and the Government said decades ago that they would never introduce it again.

It is also generally accepted in Northern Ireland and elsewhere that Gerry Adams was in the IRA and that he served on the IRA army council. As one who, as a young woman, lost my baby when I was caught in an IRA bomb explosion, I fully understand the revulsion at the idea that he and others who were involved in violence might now be able to recover even more money as a consequence of the Supreme Court decision in this case. A briefing on the Supreme Court judgment by Richard Ekins KC and Sir Stephen Laws is helpful in defining the justification for and the parameters of the amendment. Ekins and Laws describe how the process worked. Detention began with the making of an interim custody order, which was an exercise of a power conferred by the 1972 order on the Secretary of State. The order specified that only the Secretary of State, a Minister of State or an Under-Secretary of State could sign an interim custody order.

They went on to say that

“detention under the 1972 Order only began with the making of an interim custody order. Detention was only able to continue for more than 28 days when the Chief Constable had referred the matter to the Commissioner (a former judge or senior lawyer) who would consider the matter afresh. If the Commissioner was satisfied that the person in question was involved in terrorism, the Commissioner would make a detention order. When Mr Adams escaped from custody, his continuing detention, beyond the period of the interim custody order, had been authorised by a Commissioner who had made a fresh decision”.

This amendment seeks only to address the consequences of the Supreme Court’s decision. It is not about the merits of detention without trial. It is about whether the Carltona principles should have applied to prevent the Secretary of State having to consider each application personally. It is also about stopping the significant number of civil actions lodged after the Supreme Court judgment.

Internment without trial should never have happened, but this amendment is not about that. For that reason, while I will not oppose these amendments, I look forward to the Minister giving the assurance sought by the noble Lord, Lord Faulks, as to the extent of the exercise of powers anticipated to make secondary legislation under the powers conferred by the Bill.

Baroness Suttie Portrait Baroness Suttie (LD)
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My Lords, I broadly welcome these government amendments. This is a complex matter, as the interventions this afternoon have illustrated, but I am glad that the Minister has managed to find a solution that is, broadly speaking, acceptable to all, subject to the comments made for the record by the noble Lord, Lord Pannick.

I have only one question for the Minister regarding these Third Reading amendments. I assume that the Northern Ireland Department of Justice was also consulted and that it is happy with these proposals. Could the Minister perhaps confirm that that is the case?

Lord Murphy of Torfaen Portrait Lord Murphy of Torfaen (Lab)
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My Lords, this is the third occasion on which your Lordships have had the opportunity to discuss what has become an increasingly complex issue. I am delighted that it is probably the last as, should there be any more, it would get even more complicated.

I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, that Lord Kerr was a very eminent judge. Many of us remember him and the great work that he did. However, there has clearly been a problem with this particular judgment, and the principle of junior Ministers signing orders on behalf of the Secretary of State, even if it applied all those years ago, must be sustained. So I very much look forward to what the Minister has to say in response to this short debate. We will not be opposing this amendment.

Lord Caine Portrait Lord Caine (Con)
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My Lords, I am as always very grateful to those who have contributed. In direct response to the noble Baroness, Lady Suttie, I can assure her that the DoJ in Northern Ireland was consulted on these amendments.

I am grateful again to the noble Lord, Lord Faulks, for the very constructive way in which he has engaged on these matters. With respect to commencement, it is the Government’s intention that this should commence at the same time as the Clause 42 prohibition in the Bill relating to the ending of civil proceedings: that is, two months after Royal Assent, which is the normal commencement date. We believe that a consistent approach is important, particularly when bringing forward an amendment that is about ensuring legal clarity.

The Government believe that there is little or no prospect of compensation claims being hurried through in the two months between Royal Assent and commencement. To give an illustrative example of the pace of such claims, there has to date, to our knowledge, been no payment of compensation to anyone bringing a claim as a direct result of the Supreme Court judgment in 2020; nor are the Government aware of any of these cases being close to awarding compensation. This includes the significant cohort of civil claims in this area, which remain at a relatively early stage.

On the issue of consequential powers raised by the noble Lord and by the noble Baroness, Lady O’Loan, in her remarks, the power exists for the new provisions. I assure the House that this is solely for the purpose of consequential amendments and not to be used to alter fundamentally the policy intent of the provisions within the amendments, or their scope in bringing relevant proceedings to an end. It is intended to be very limited indeed.

17:15
I am very grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, for his contribution. He raised a number of points but did not direct any questions. I am quite relieved at that, given his great legal experience and expertise, whereas I am a humble history graduate standing at the Dispatch Box. His comments brought out that there is a need for greater clarity in the law in this area, and that is indeed what the Government are seeking to provide with these amendments.
Finally, I should say that we are undertaking a full analysis, which will inform the Government’s view of the defensibility of the new provisions in the event of any legal challenge on convention rights grounds. However, the Government believe that the clauses created by these amendments are consistent with convention rights and that any interference with the rights of those involved can be justified.
Amendment 1 agreed.
Amendments 2 and 3
Moved by
2: After Clause 44, insert the following new Clause—
“Interim custody orders: validity
(1) This section applies in relation to the functions conferred by—(a) Article 4(1) of the 1972 Order, and (b) paragraph 11(1) of Schedule 1 to the 1973 Act,(which enabled interim custody orders to be made, and which are referred to in this section as the “order-making functions”).(2) The order-making functions are to be treated as having always been exercisable by authorised Ministers of the Crown (as well as by the Secretary of State).(3) An interim custody order is not to be regarded as having ever been unlawful just because an authorised Minister of the Crown exercised any of the order-making functions in relation to the order.(4) The detention of a person under the authority of an interim custody order is not to be regarded as having ever been unlawful just because an authorised Minister of the Crown exercised any of the order-making functions in relation to the order.(5) Subsections (3) and (4) do not limit the effect of subsection (2).(6) This section and section (Interim custody orders: prohibition of proceedings and compensation) apply only in relation to an exercise of any of the order-making functions which was conduct forming part of the Troubles (see, in particular, section 1(2)); and for this purpose any exercise of any of the order-making functions must be assumed to have been conduct forming part of the Troubles unless the contrary is shown.(7) In this section and section (Interim custody orders: prohibition of proceedings and compensation)—“1972 Order” means the Detention of Terrorists (Northern Ireland) Order 1972 (S.I. 1972/1632 (N.I. 15));“1973 Act” means the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1973;“authorised Minister of the Crown” means a Minister of the Crown authorised to sign interim custody orders—(a) by Article 4(2) of the 1972 Order (in the case of such orders under that Article), or(b) by paragraph 11(2) of Schedule 1 to the 1973 Act (in the case of such orders under that paragraph);“interim custody order” means an interim custody order under—(a) Article 4 of the 1972 Order, or(b) paragraph 11 of Schedule 1 to the 1973 Act;“order-making functions” has the meaning given in subsection (1).”Member’s explanatory statement
This provides for Article 4 of the Detention of Terrorists (Northern Ireland) Order 1972 and the corresponding provision in the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1973 to be read as having allowed junior Ministers to make interim custody orders (which was understood to be their effect at the time when the powers were in force).
3: After Clause 44, insert the following new Clause—
“Interim custody orders: prohibition of proceedings and compensation
(1) On or after the commencement day, a civil action may not be continued or brought if, or to the extent that, the claim that is to be determined in the action involves an allegation that—(a) the person bringing the action, or another person, was detained under the authority of an interim custody order, and(b) that interim custody order was unlawful because an authorised Minister of the Crown exercised any of the order-making functions in relation to the order.(2) On or after the commencement day, criminal proceedings relating to the quashing of a conviction may not be continued or brought if, or to the extent that, the grounds for seeking to have the conviction quashed involve an allegation that— (a) the person bringing the proceedings, or another person, was detained under the authority of an interim custody order, and(b) that interim custody order was unlawful because an authorised Minister of the Crown exercised any of the order-making functions in relation to the order.(3) If criminal proceedings relating to the quashing of a conviction are pre-commencement proceedings—(a) subsection (2) does not apply to the criminal proceedings;(b) section (Interim custody orders: validity) does not prevent the court from quashing the conviction on the ground that an interim custody order was unlawful because an authorised Minister of the Crown exercised any of the order-making functions.(4) On or after the commencement day, no compensation for a miscarriage of justice is to be paid in respect of a conviction that has been reversed solely on the ground that an interim custody order was unlawful because an authorised Minister of the Crown exercised any of the order-making functions.(5) Regulations under section 55(2) which make provision that is consequential on section (Interim custody orders: validity) or this section—(a) may amend this Act (including this section);(b) (whether or not they make such amendments) are subject to made affirmative procedure, unless they are instead made in accordance with section 55(5) (the affirmative procedure) or 55(6) (the negative procedure).(6) In this section—“commencement day” means the day on which this section comes into force;“compensation for a miscarriage of justice” means compensation under section 133 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988;“pre-commencement proceedings” means proceedings—(a) for which leave was given before the commencement day, or(b) which follow from a referral made by the Criminal Cases Review Commission before the commencement day.”Member’s explanatory statement
This prohibits civil and criminal proceedings and payment of compensation for miscarriages of justice which are based on interim custody orders made by junior Ministers having been unlawful.
Amendments 2 and 3 agreed.
Clause 56: Regulations
Amendment 4
Moved by
4: Clause 56, page 48, line 16, at end insert—
“(4A) Where regulations under this Act are subject to made affirmative procedure, the statutory instrument containing them must be laid before Parliament after being made.(4B) Regulations contained in a statutory instrument laid before Parliament under subsection (4A) cease to have effect at the end of the period of 28 days beginning with the day on which the instrument is made unless, during that period, the instrument is approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.(4C) In calculating the period of 28 days, no account is to be taken of any whole days that fall within a period during which—(a) Parliament is dissolved or prorogued, or(b) either House of Parliament is adjourned for more than four days.(4D) If regulations cease to have effect as a result of subsection (4B), that does not— (a) affect the validity of anything previously done under the regulations, or(b) prevent the making of new regulations.”Member’s explanatory statement
This sets out the made affirmative procedure for Parliamentary scrutiny of regulations under Clause 55 which make provision in consequence of Clause (Interim custody orders: validity) or (Interim custody orders: prohibition of proceedings and compensation).
Amendment 4 agreed.
Clause 59: Extent
Amendment 5
Moved by
5: Clause 59, page 53, line 25, at end insert—
“(3A) Sections (Interim custody orders: validity) and (Interim custody orders: prohibition of proceedings and compensation) extend to Northern Ireland only.”Member’s explanatory statement
This provides for the two new Clauses in Lord Caine’s name to extend only to Northern Ireland (like the 1972 Order and 1973 Act, to which the new Clauses relate).
Amendment 5 agreed.
Clause 60: Commencement
Amendments 6 to 8
Moved by
6: Clause 60, page 53, line 31, at end insert—
“(aa) section (Interim custody orders: prohibition of proceedings and compensation)(5);”Member’s explanatory statement
This provides for subsection (5) of Clause (Interim custody orders: prohibition of proceedings and compensation) to come into force on royal assent (as it relates to the power to make consequential provision which comes into force then).
7: Clause 60, page 53, line 35, after “42” insert “, (Interim custody orders: validity) and (Interim custody orders: prohibition of proceedings and compensation)(except for subsection (5))”
Member’s explanatory statement
This provides for the two new Clauses in Lord Caine’s name to come into force two months after royal assent (except for subsection (5) of Clause (Interim custody orders: prohibition of proceedings and compensation) which is dealt with by the amendment of Clause 60(1) in Lord Caine’s name).
8: Clause 60, page 54, line 1, after “42” insert “, (Interim custody orders: validity) and (Interim custody orders: prohibition of proceedings and compensation)”
Member’s explanatory statement
This is consequential on the other amendments of Clause 60 in Lord Caine’s name.
Amendments 6 to 8 agreed.
In the Title
Amendment 9
Moved by
9: In the Title, line 6, at end insert “, and to provide for the validity of interim custody orders.”
Member’s explanatory statement
This is consequential on Clauses (Interim custody orders: validity) and (Interim custody orders: prohibition of proceedings and compensation).
Amendment 9 agreed.
17:17
Motion
Moved by
Lord Caine Portrait Lord Caine
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That the Bill do now pass.

Bill passed.
Third Reading
Scottish and Welsh legislative consent granted, Northern Ireland legislative consent sought.
17:17
Motion
Moved by
Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston
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That the Bill now be read a third time.

Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait The Minister of State, Department for Business and Trade (Lord Johnson of Lainston) (Con)
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My Lords, following the expedited passage of the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022, my noble friend Lord Callanan assured the devolved Governments that they would be closely engaged throughout the passage of this second Bill. Our officials have been sure to keep their counterparts in the devolved Administrations informed and we have met a number of times at ministerial level to discuss key issues.

As noble Lords will be aware, the Northern Ireland Civil Service is facing a number of challenges in the absence of the Northern Ireland Assembly and the subsequent lack of an Executive, one of which being that it is not possible to engage the legislative consent process for this or any other Bill. Given the importance of this Bill, the official level of support for its provisions and the desire to ensure a united response against economic crime, we will proceed to legislate for the whole of the UK without the formal legislative consent of the Northern Ireland Assembly. We have written to the Northern Ireland Permanent Secretaries to keep them informed.

However, I am pleased to confirm that on 20 June the Welsh Senedd voted to grant legislative consent to the Bill. Last week, on the Scottish Parliament’s last sitting day before the Summer Recess, the Scottish Parliament also voted to grant legislative consent to the Bill. I thank colleagues and officials in all three Administrations for the constructive way in which they have worked during the development and passage of this Bill to design measures that will be as effective as possible in tackling economic crime across all parts of the United Kingdom.

Amendment 1

Moved by
1: After Clause 61, insert the following new Clause—
“Duty to deliver information about exemption from Part 21A
In section 853H of the Companies Act 2006 (duty to deliver information about exemption from Part 21A), after subsection (2) insert—“(2A) The statement under subsection (2) must specify— (a) whether the company falls within the description specified in section 790B(1)(a) or a description specified in regulations under section 790B(1)(b), and(b) if it falls within a description specified in regulations under section 790B(1)(b), what that description is.””Member’s explanatory statement
A company that is exempt from Part 21A of the Companies Act 2006 (information about persons with significant control) has to confirm that it is exempt in each confirmation statement. This new clause would require it to explain why. See the Minister's undertaking at report stage (20 June, col. 149)
Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
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My Lords, I will now speak briefly to the government amendments, which deliver on the undertakings I made on Report, first in response to concerns raised about the robustness of the people with significant control—PSC—framework and secondly to close a gap in the register of overseas entities information requirements. I thank the noble Lord, Lord Vaux of Harrowden, in particular, for raising these issues. I also welcome the contributions of my noble friend Lord Agnew of Oulton and of the noble Lords, Lord Fox, Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede, Lord Cromwell and Lord Clement-Jones.

The majority of the amendments fall into the former category of the PSC framework. I reassure noble Lords that, although the number of amendments is higher than we might have liked to table at Third Reading, the majority are minor consequential or tidying-up amendments, and a lot of the new material is in fact a refashioning of existing rules to make them work in the new context of a central register, rather than locally held PSC registers. These amendments improve this by requiring companies to collect additional and more useful information, and by improving the mechanisms through which companies collect the information and report it to Companies House.

Currently, companies must record various “additional matters” in the PSC register. The Bill as drafted removed the regulation-making power through which these additional matters are prescribed. Amendments 26 and 32 preserve those requirements in the context of a centrally held PSC register. Amendment 26 means that a company will notify the registrar if the company knows, or has cause to believe, that a person has become a PSC but the company has not yet had confirmation from them. Amendment 32 means that a company must give notice to the registrar if it knows or has cause to believe that the company has no PSC. This will provide a hook for the registrar to query the statement that a company has no PSC, if she has intelligence to suggest otherwise.

The Bill as drafted removed an important measure to ensure that personal information is protected appropriately. Amendments 14, 17, 20, 22 and 25 ensure that protection mechanisms remain in place, otherwise a person who is at serious risk of violence or intimidation could be reported as a PSC without ever knowing, meaning that they may not have had the opportunity to apply for their personal information not to be displayed publicly.

To improve accuracy and transparency, and to make it easier to monitor and prosecute non-compliance, Amendment 1 requires a company that is exempt from the PSC requirements to explain why it is exempt in each confirmation statement. Amendment 15 improves existing provisions of the Companies Act 2006 which require companies to investigate and obtain information about their PSCs.

Amendments 33 and 34 widen the scope of a regulation- making power in the Bill so that the power can amend relevant parts of the Companies Act 2006 and to make consequential amendments to other parts of the Act. This is to ensure that the legislation is coherent, by avoiding having similar provisions spread across primary and secondary legislation.

Amendment 39 creates a reasonable excuse defence relating to the offence of failing to comply with information notices. This aligns the drafting of the offences with other similar offences.

All other amendments are consequential. I hope that noble Lords will support these amendments.

I turn to Amendment 9. On Report, the noble Lord, Lord Vaux of Harrowden, tabled an amendment seeking to close a gap in the register of overseas entities’ information requirements relating to overseas entities acting as nominees. The Government agreed that this gap exists, and I thank the noble Lord and Transparency International for bringing it to our attention. The amendment tabled by the noble Lord was not quite right, but I hope that this amendment addresses his concerns. It amends Schedule 1 to the Economic Crime Transparency and Enforcement Act 2022 to ensure that, where there is a nominee relationship, this is declared. It then inserts a new definition of beneficial ownership into Schedule 2 to the 2022 Act: “registrable beneficial owners”. I hope that noble Lords will welcome this amendment and agree that it closes the gap that we discussed on Report. I beg to move.

Lord Vaux of Harrowden Portrait Lord Vaux of Harrowden (CB)
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My Lords, I thank the Minister for these amendments. As he said, I described at Report the loophole in the register of overseas entities that allows people to hide the true ownership of UK properties through nominee arrangements. As the Minister described, he tabled Amendment 9, as he undertook to do, which effectively closes that loophole. I am not sure what conclusion to take from the fact that my original 11-line amendment has turned into one that runs to three pages—it presumably says something about my amendment drafting skills—but I am most grateful.

The other amendments that the Minister tabled relate to the register of persons with significant control. These new amendments tighten the rules and will improve the ability to identify PSCs. In particular, I welcome the requirement for the information to be filed on a centrally held register, rather than locally held registers managed by the companies themselves. The requirement to explain why a company is exempt from the PSC requirements is also an important improvement.

I was slightly confused as to what happens if a company has become aware that it has a PSC but the PSC has not yet confirmed their status or information. Amendment 20 appears to deal with that situation; it requires the company to notify the registrar if it knows, or has cause to believe, that a person has become a registrable person but has not yet had confirmation. However, that seems to conflict with the explanatory statement to Amendment 17:

“This means that a company will only need to notify the registrar of a person with significant control if the person has confirmed their status and information about them”.


Amendment 20 says that the registrar must be notified of an unconfirmed PSC but Amendment 17, or at least the explanatory statement to it, seems to say exactly the opposite. Can the Minister please explain which is right and how the two work together? More importantly, can he reassure me that a PSC will not be able to avoid being notified to the registrar simply by failing to confirm their status or information.

I put on record that, while I welcome and support the amendments, I do not believe that they deal with the problem of nominee shareholders not having to declare themselves as such. The new amendments are not an alternative to the amendment that the House passed on Report that required shareholders to state whether or not they are acting as a nominee, and if so who for. I hope that the Government will continue to consider that amendment and look at it favourably in the other place, or at the very least meet with me and others to see whether we can find a workable compromise. It should not be possible for bad actors to hide behind nominees, and there should be consequences for those who act as nominees to conceal such bad actors.

I am extremely grateful to the Minister and his officials for their helpful and constructive engagement throughout this process; they have been extremely generous with their time. In particular, I thank them for having addressed a number of issues, including the one we have just talked about, throughout the progress of the Bill. The level of engagement from all Ministers involved has been exemplary—if only all Bills were managed so constructively. I also thank all noble Lords who have been so generous in their support of the various amendments that I have proposed. When the Bill started in this House, it was generally seen to be a good Bill, and I think that it emerges from this House in even better shape.

Lord Fox Portrait Lord Fox (LD)
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My Lords, there are times when your Lordships’ House is confronted with so many Third Reading amendments that it can be somewhat irksome, but this is not one of those occasions. This is a useful and helpful response from the Minister and his team to the debate we had on Report, and for that I thank them.

I reinforce the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Vaux, that these amendments do not replace those that we passed on Report, which I similarly hope the Minister and his team will continue to consider as we go forward.

Transparency of ownership and the registration of overseas entities are important to this. The point we have made on a number of occasions about keeping the whole Bill under review and looking at how it works once it becomes an Act will be vital. It is clear that we cannot second-guess all the reactions we will get out there, so having the fluidity and agility to deal with that will be important.

Although it is slightly confusing, I will offer my thanks and congratulations at this point, so that I do not do so twice. First, I congratulate the Ministers on getting legislative consent so smoothly. For many of the Bills that I have been working on of late, legislative consent never seems to come. However, unlike many of those Bills, this is one where all the House agreed on its objectives, so all we were discussing were the ways in which we could achieve those objectives. In that regard, I thank the Ministers for the great amount of time and effort they have devoted to listening to, and having meetings with, Members across your Lordships’ House and for seeking ways of accommodating our helpful suggestions. Particular thanks are due to the noble Lords, Lord Johnson and Lord Sharpe, and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Bellamy, as well as the noble Lord, Lord Goldsmith, and the noble Earl, Lord Minto, who made appearances in Grand Committee.

Similarly, the whole Bill team, and organisations such as Companies House, have given up a lot of their time to speak with us, so thanks should be given to them. There have been many contributions from the Cross Benches and the Benches opposite. I will not single out anyone for praise, except to say that it has been a great pleasure working with everyone on the Bill; I felt that we were all pulling in the same direction.

I also thank the noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby, and the noble Baroness, Lady Blake, for their camaraderie on the Bill. I thank my noble friends Lady Bowles, Lady Kramer, Lord Clement-Jones, Lord Wallace of Saltaire, Lord Thomas of Gresford and Lord Oates on our Benches. Finally, thanks go to Sarah Pughe in our Whips Office, who has kept us all in order.

17:30
I hope the Commons and the Bill team take what we have left them with and, notwithstanding the probable need for some tidying up, maintain the spirit of the amendments your Lordships have made to the Bill. Undoubtedly, they will help the Bill bear down on what we all want to do, which is to rid this country of the disgraceful scourge of economic crime. I hope we have been able to contribute to that process.
Baroness Blake of Leeds Portrait Baroness Blake of Leeds (Lab)
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My Lords, I thank the Minister for his letter on the amendments tabled at Third Reading; it was very much appreciated. All of us involved fully understand the importance of transparency of ownership in Companies House and the register of overseas entities, issues we have revisited many times throughout consideration of the Bill.

Ensuring that complex, opaque structures cannot be built to hide economic wrongdoing is central to what we need this Bill to do. I appreciate the approaches taken in working with colleagues across the House to make sure that this important and complex Bill is as effective as possible at preventing economic crime and enforcing consequences for those who commit or facilitate it. However, as we have heard, other areas of the Bill need to be changed, as this House has agreed and as the noble Lord, Lord Vaux, noted, particularly through his own amendments. I hope that Ministers will also hear those points as the Bill heads back to our colleagues in the other place.

I thank all the officials, whose diligence, work, unfailing response and willingness to talk to us throughout has been exemplary. I thank the Ministers for their patience and commitment to working with all parties across the House, in particular the noble Lords, Lord Johnson and Lord Sharpe, and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Bellamy. We are very grateful for that commitment. I give special thanks to Clare Scally, who works in our office. Her tireless support and endless patience working through the various amendments is to be commended. She has kept us on the straight and narrow going through the various changes, which have been welcomed, in the main. I particularly thank my noble friends who have engaged in the debate, especially my noble friends Lord Ponsonby and Lord Coaker, who have given so much of their insight and expertise to help us move forward.

As we have heard today, there is no doubt that this Bill is in a better place than when we started. However, all of us, hand on heart, know that there is still much more to do, particularly in tackling the sheer scale of economic crime in this country. Many people who were not aware of that now are, and I believe that the demand for action will grow. I hope that our improvements to the Bill will have a swift impact on its legislative journey and really help the many victims who must remain at the heart of our considerations.

Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
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My Lords, before I conclude, I would just like to cover the comments made by the noble Lord, Lord Vaux. If my memory is correct, Amendment 17 prevents the publication of a PSC whose identity has not been verified, so there is no conflict between the two. It is only right that people whose identity has not been verified is published. What is important about these additional amendments is that they ensure that you have to ascertain that you have no PSCs, or if the PSC has not been identified then the registrar is able to make further inquiries. They are not inconsistent and make a sound change to the Bill very much along the lines the noble Lord was recommending in the first place.

I thank the Opposition Front-Benchers, in particular the noble Lords, Lord Coaker and Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede, the noble Baroness, Lady Blake of Leeds—a formidable Front Bench, if I may say—and the noble Lord, Lord Fox. I thank them for their engagement and constructive scrutiny of the Bill, as well as the enormous amount of time they dedicated to the various meetings ahead of each set of debates. It was a very valuable collaboration and I believe together in this House, we have formed a significant piece of legislation that all the peoples of the United Kingdom will benefit from.

I thank some of the other key contributors to this Bill. Many other noble Lords have been instrumental in the improvements made during its passage through this House, including the noble Lords, Lord Vaux of Harrowden and Lord Alton of Liverpool. The noble Lord, Lord Vaux, and I spent many hours working through this Bill, and if ever asked to point to the value of this great Chamber, it is exactly those constructive debates that I would point to. I am extremely grateful for his input and strong sense of collaboration.

Thanks must also go to my noble friends Lady Stowell of Beeston, Lady Morgan of Coates, Lord Leigh of Hurley—I have rightly described him as a “guru of finance”— Lord Sandhurst, and others for their input and constructive challenge. I also thank my noble friend Lord Agnew of Oulton, who has also engaged extremely constructively with me during this process, and my noble and learned friend Lord Garnier. Over recent months, we have had robust discussions and debates and I genuinely thank them for their engagement.

I must also thank the Whip, my noble friend Lord Evans of Rainow; the formidable team of Whips and officials; and my ministerial colleagues—my noble friends Lord Sharpe of Epsom and Lord Minto, and my noble and learned friend Lord Bellamy—who have all done an excellent job when representing this Bill in the House in all debates over the last few months. The Bill is significant both in size and scope, spanning several departments.

This brings me to all the officials working across multiple departments behind the scenes supporting the ministerial team as we engaged and debated with noble Lords on the detail of the Bill; I extend true personal thanks and the thanks of my noble friend Lord Sharpe. I thank Louise Smyth, the registrar of Companies House, who will be taking many of the actions we are passing through this House in order to make Companies House function more effectively. She and her entire team have engaged consistently throughout this process, and we wish her the greatest of success in implementing this dramatic programme.

I thank the analysis, company law and corporate transparency team in my own Department for Business and Trade, headed especially ably by the deputy director, Matt Ray, and his head of policy, Steve Webster. I thank the criminal finances and asset recovery unit in the Home Office, excellently led by Maria Hannan. I thank Paul Rowlands, Lucy Chisholm, the hard-working legal teams in both departments—I can certainly attest to that—and the expert drafters from the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel, particularly Diggory Bailey and Camilla Grundy. I thank my private office team, in particular, Emily Tranter and Simon Moore, who have supported me so much over these last few months. Finally, I thank the Bill team: Tom Ball, the Bill manager, and his fantastic team of Nicola Wallace, Anna Gray, Corrie Monaghan, Tim Holland, Sophie Curry, Monique Sidhu, Michael Tam and Carolin Grassmann. Everyone involved has demonstrated impressive levels of expertise, and I think I can speak for all Ministers when I say that we felt in safe hands. I am grateful for their proactive, patient and professional support throughout.

Finally, I thank the House authorities for managing the large number of amendments made in this House, and the parliamentary staff, the doorkeepers and clerks for their professionalism and continued support to the Bill and to your Lordships’ House.

To conclude, this Bill is a milestone piece of legislation, which will deliver major reforms to the framework for corporate criminal liability, improving the ability to hold corporations liable in their own right for economic crimes; the first serious reform of limited partnership law since 1907; the most significant changes to our system for setting up and maintaining companies since the 1850s; the first national legislation from any Government to take action against SLAPPs; and the legislative underpinning to tackle the new threats facing us in 21st century through action on crypto assets and improved data-sharing.

Economic crime affects every single one of us in different ways and at different scales. This Government are determined to tackle economic crime and drive out dirty money, protecting British citizens. We are ensuring that public agencies, law enforcement and the private sector have the tools needed to deliver greater protections for members of the public and businesses. As I have said on multiple occasions, the Government have been determined throughout that the Bill strikes the right balance in all areas between tackling criminality and avoiding undue burdens on the law-abiding majority. I remain keener than ever to get this important legislation on the statute books, and look forward to implementing the reforms that it contains when we reach Royal Assent. I beg to move.

Amendment 1 agreed.
Clause 63: Identity verification of persons with significant control
Amendments 2 to 4
Moved by
2: Clause 63, page 52, line 23, leave out “790LD” and insert “790LDA”
Member’s explanatory statement
This is consequential on my amendment to Schedule 2, page 222, line 31. See the Minister's undertaking at report stage (20 June, col. 149).
3: Clause 63, page 56, line 8, leave out “790LA” and insert “790LCB”
Member’s explanatory statement
This is consequential on my amendment to Schedule 2, page 225, line 17 inserting a new section 790LCB into the Companies Act 2006. See the Minister's undertaking at report stage (20 June, col. 149).
4: Clause 63, page 57, line 2, leave out “790LA” and insert “790LCB”
Member’s explanatory statement
This is consequential on my amendment to Schedule 2, page 225, line 17 inserting a new section 790LCB into the Companies Act 2006. See the Minister's undertaking at report stage (20 June, col. 149).
Amendments 2 to 4 agreed.
Clause 68: Identity verification: material unavailable for public inspection
Amendments 5 and 6
Moved by
5: Clause 68, page 67, line 7, after “statement” insert “or other document”
Member’s explanatory statement
Clauses 68, 136 and 166 ensure that certain documents are withheld from public inspection. My amendments to those Clauses protect similar documents delivered under regulations under section 1067A(5)(a) and (6) of the CA 2006. My amendments are therefore consequential on those regulation-making powers, which were added at earlier stages.
6: Clause 68, page 67, line 16, leave out “(1) or (2)”
Member’s explanatory statement
See the explanatory statement to my first amendment to Clause 68.
Amendments 5 and 6 agreed.
Clause 136: Material not available for public inspection
Amendments 7 and 8
Moved by
7: Clause 136, page 135, line 5, after “statement” insert “or other document”
Member’s explanatory statement
See the explanatory statement to my first amendment to Clause 68.
8: Clause 136, page 135, line 6, leave out “(1) or (2)”
Member’s explanatory statement
See the explanatory statement to my first amendment to Clause 68.
Amendments 7 and 8 agreed.
Amendment 9
Moved by
9: After Clause 160, insert the following new Clause—
“Registrable beneficial owners: nominees
(1) The Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022 is amended as follows.(2) In Schedule 1 (required information)—(a) in paragraph 3(1), for paragraphs (e) and (f) substitute—“(e) whether the individual is a registrable beneficial owner by virtue of paragraph 2(1) of Schedule 2 or paragraph 2(2) of that Schedule;(f) if the individual is a registrable beneficial owner by virtue of paragraph 2(1) of Schedule 2—(i) a statement as to which of the conditions in paragraph 6 of that Schedule is met and why, and(ii) a statement as to whether that condition is met by virtue of the individual being a trustee;(fa) if the individual is a registrable beneficial owner by virtue of paragraph 2(2) of Schedule 2, a statement as to which of the conditions in paragraph 6A of that Schedule is met and why;”;(b) in paragraph 4, for sub-paragraph (f) substitute—“(f) whether the government or public authority is a registrable beneficial owner by virtue of paragraph 4(1) of Schedule 2 or paragraph 4(2) of that Schedule;(fa) if the government or public authority is a registrable beneficial owner by virtue of paragraph 4(1) of Schedule 2, a statement as to which of the conditions in paragraph 6 of that Schedule is met and why;(fb) if the government or public authority is a registrable beneficial owner by virtue of paragraph 4(2) of Schedule 2, a statement as to which of the conditions in paragraph 6A of that Schedule is met and why;”;(c) in paragraph 5(1), for paragraphs (g) and (h) substitute—“(g) whether the entity is a registrable beneficial owner by virtue of paragraph 3(1) of Schedule 2 or paragraph 3(2) of that Schedule;(h) if the entity is a registrable beneficial owner by virtue of paragraph 3(1) of Schedule 2—(i) a statement as to which of the conditions in paragraph 6 of that Schedule is met and why, and(ii) a statement as to whether that condition is met by virtue of the entity being a trustee;(ha) if the entity is a registrable beneficial owner by virtue of paragraph 3(2) of Schedule 2, a statement as to which of the conditions in paragraph 6A of that Schedule is met and why;”. (3) In Schedule 2 (registrable beneficial owners)—(a) in paragraph 2—(i) the existing text becomes sub-paragraph (1);(ii) in paragraph (a) of that sub-paragraph, for “(see Part 2)” substitute “by virtue of paragraph 6”;(iii) after that sub-paragraph insert—“(2) An individual is also a “registrable beneficial owner” in relation to an overseas entity if the individual is treated as a beneficial owner of the overseas entity by virtue of paragraph 6A.”;(b) in paragraph 3—(i) the existing text becomes sub-paragraph (1);(ii) in paragraph (a) of that sub-paragraph, for “(see Part 2)” substitute “by virtue of paragraph 6”;(iii) after that sub-paragraph insert—“(2) A legal entity other than a government or public authority is also a “registrable beneficial owner” in relation to an overseas entity if it is treated as a beneficial owner of the overseas entity by virtue of paragraph 6A.”;(c) in paragraph 4—(i) the existing text becomes sub-paragraph (1);(ii) in that sub-paragraph, for “(see Part 2)” substitute “by virtue of paragraph 6”;(iii) after that sub-paragraph insert—“(2) A government or public authority is also a “registrable beneficial owner” in relation to an overseas entity if it is treated as a beneficial owner of the overseas entity by virtue of paragraph 6A.”;(d) after paragraph 6 insert—“Persons treated as beneficial owners where entity holds land as nominee6A_ A person (“X”) is to be treated as a beneficial owner of an overseas entity (“Y”) if one or more of the following conditions are met.Y holds land in England or Wales as nominee for XCondition 1 is that Y—(a) is registered in the register of title kept under the Land Registration Act 2002 as the proprietor of a qualifying estate within the meaning of Schedule 4A to that Act,(b) became so registered in pursuance of an application made on or after 1 January 1999, and(c) holds the qualifying estate as nominee for—(i) X, or(ii) an entity of which X is a beneficial owner by virtue of paragraph 6.Y holds land in Scotland as nominee for XCondition 2 is that—(a) Y—(i) holds an interest in land by virtue of being entered, on or after 8 December 2014, as proprietor in the proprietorship section of the title sheet for a plot of land that is registered in the Land Register of Scotland,(ii) is, in relation to a lease that was recorded in the General Register of Sasines or registered in the Land Register of Scotland before that date, by virtue of an assignation of the lease registered in the Land Register of Scotland on or after that date, the tenant under the lease, or(iii) is the tenant under a lease that was registered in the Land Register of Scotland on or after that date, and(b) Y holds the interest in land referred to in paragraph (a)(i), (ii) or (iii) as nominee for— (i) X, or(ii) an entity of which X is a beneficial owner by virtue of paragraph 6.Y holds land in Northern Ireland as nominee for XCondition 3 is that Y—(a) is registered in the register kept under the Land Registration Act (Northern Ireland) 1970 (c. 18 (N.I.)) as the owner of a qualifying estate within the meaning of Schedule 8A to that Act,(b) became so registered on or after the day on which that Schedule came into force, and(c) holds the qualifying estate as nominee for—(i) X, or(ii) an entity of which X is a beneficial owner by virtue of paragraph 6.”;(e) in paragraph 8, for “paragraphs 2(b) and 3(c)” substitute “paragraphs 2(1)(b) and 3(1)(c)”.”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment means that where an overseas entity holds certain interests in land as a nominee for another person that person is treated as a beneficial owner for the purposes of the register of overseas entity. It also deals with less direct relationships. See the Minister's undertaking at report stage (20 June, col. 187).
Amendment 9 agreed.
Clause 166: Material unavailable for public inspection
Amendments 10 and 11
Moved by
10: Clause 166, page 159, line 42, after “statement” insert “or other document”
Member’s explanatory statement
See the explanatory statement to my first amendment to Clause 68.
11: Clause 166, page 159, line 43, leave out “(1) or (2)”
Member’s explanatory statement
See the explanatory statement to my first amendment to Clause 68.
Amendments 10 and 11 agreed.
Clause 184: Money laundering: information orders
Amendment 12
Moved by
12: Clause 184, page 178, line 4, leave out “337ZL(5)” and insert “339ZL(5)”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment corrects a cross-reference.
Amendment 12 agreed.
Schedule 2: Abolition of certain local registers
Amendments 13 to 40
Moved by
13: Schedule 2, page 222, line 9, leave out paragraph 9 and insert—
“9_ In section 790C (key terms), omit subsection (10).”Member’s explanatory statement
This is consequential on my other amendments to Schedule 2 and leaves out a definition that is no longer used. See the Minister's undertaking at report stage (20 June, col. 149).
14: Schedule 2, page 222, line 30, at end insert—
“9A_ After section 790C insert—“790CA References to “confirmation” etc of informationFor the purposes of this Part a company has had confirmation of—(a) a person’s status as a registrable person or a registrable relevant legal entity in relation to the company,(b) the required particulars of a person (see section 790K),(c) any other information about a person,if the person has supplied that information to the company whether or not in pursuance of any duty imposed by this Part (and references to a company obtaining confirmation of information are to be read accordingly).””Member’s explanatory statement
This defines what is meant by “confirmation” for the purposes of my other amendments to Schedule 2, which mean that a company which knows of a person with significant control etc only has to notify the registrar if it has had confirmation from the person. See the Minister's undertaking at report stage (20 June, col. 149).
15: Schedule 2, page 222, line 31, leave out paragraphs 10 to 13 and insert—
“10_ For sections 790D and 790E substitute—“790CB Duty to find out about persons with significant controlA company to which this Part applies must take reasonable steps to find out if there is anyone who is a registrable person or a registrable relevant legal entity in relation to the company and, if so, to identify them.790D Company’s duty to give notices to persons with significant control(1) A company to which this Part applies must give a notice to a person under this section if—(a) the company knows or has cause to believe that the person is a registrable person or a registrable relevant legal entity in relation to the company, but(b) the company has not had confirmation of the person’s status as a registrable person or registrable relevant legal entity or has not had confirmation of all of the required particulars of the person (see section 790K).(2) The notice must require the person—(a) to inform the company whether the person is a registrable person or a registrable relevant legal entity in relation to the company, and(b) if they are, to give the company all of the required particulars of the person (see section 790K).(3) The notice must require the person to whom it is given to comply with the notice by no later than the end of the period of one month beginning with the day on which it is given.(4) The company must give the notice—(a) as soon as reasonably practicable after the company becomes subject to the duty to give a notice under this section, and(b) in any event before the end of the period of 14 days beginning with the day on which the company becomes so subject.(5) A company is not required to give a notice under this section to a person if— (a) the application for the registration of the company contained a statement of initial significant control naming the person as someone who would, on the company’s incorporation, become a registrable person or a registrable relevant legal entity in relation to the company, and(b) the company has no cause to believe that at any time since its incorporation the person has ceased to be a registrable person or a registrable relevant legal entity in relation to the company.(6) The Secretary of State may by regulations make further provision about the giving of notices under this section, including provision about their form and content and the manner in which they must be given.(7) Regulations under subsection (6) are subject to negative resolution procedure.790DA Obtaining information from third parties(1) A company to which this Part applies may give a notice to a person under this section if it knows or has cause to believe that the person—(a) knows the identity of someone who falls within subsection (2), or(b) knows the identity of someone likely to have that knowledge.(2) The persons who fall within this subsection are—(a) a registrable person in relation to the company;(b) a relevant legal entity in relation to the company;(c) an entity which would be a relevant legal entity in relation to the company but for the fact that section 790C(6)(b) does not apply in respect of it.(3) A company must give a notice under subsection (1) to a person (“a third party”) if the company—(a) knows or has cause to believe that a person is a registrable person or a registrable relevant legal entity in relation to the company (“a suspected PSC”),(b) is under a duty to give the suspected PSC a notice under section 790D but does not have the information that it needs in order to contact them, and(c) knows or has cause to believe that the third party—(i) knows the identity of the suspected PSC, or(ii) knows the identity of someone likely to have that knowledge.(4) A notice under subsection (1) must require the person to whom it is given (“the recipient”)—(a) to inform the company whether the recipient knows the identity of any person who—(i) falls within subsection (2), or(ii) is likely to know the identity of anyone who falls within subsection (2), and(b) if the recipient does, to give the company any information within the recipient’s knowledge that would allow the company to contact each such person.(5) The notice must require the person to whom it is given to comply with the notice by no later than the end of the period of one month beginning with the day on which it is given.(6) A person to whom a notice under subsection (1) is given is not required by that notice to disclose any information in respect of which a claim to legal professional privilege (in Scotland, to confidentiality of communications) could be maintained in legal proceedings.(7) The Secretary of State may by regulations make further provision about the giving of notices under this section, including provision about their form and content and the manner in which they must be given. (8) Regulations under subsection (7) are subject to negative resolution procedure.(9) In this section a reference to knowing the identity of a person includes knowing information from which that person can be identified.790E Company’s duty to find out about changes in PSC information(1) This section applies if a company—(a) knows or has cause to believe that there has been a change in the required particulars of a registrable person or a registrable relevant legal entity in relation to the company (see section 790K), but(b) has not had confirmation that the change has occurred or has not had confirmation of all of the information that the company would need to include in a notice of the change under section 790LC(1) or 790LCA(1).(2) The company must give the person a notice requiring the person—(a) to inform the company whether the change has occurred, and(b) if it has, to give the company the information that the company would need to include in a notice of the change under section 790LC(1) or 790LCA (1).(3) The notice must require the person to whom it is given to comply with the notice by no later than the end of the period of one month beginning with the day on which it is given.(4) The company must give the notice—(a) as soon as reasonably practicable after the company becomes subject to the duty to give a notice under subsection (2), and(b) in any event before the end of the period of 14 days beginning with the day on which the company becomes so subject.(5) The Secretary of State may by regulations make further provision about the giving of notices under this section, including provision about their form and content and the manner in which they must be given.(6) Regulations under subsection (5) are subject to negative resolution procedure.790EA Company’s duty to find out about persons ceasing to be PSCs(1) This section applies if a company—(a) knows or has cause to believe that a person has ceased to be a registrable person or a registrable relevant legal entity in relation to the company, but(b) has not had confirmation that the person has ceased to be a registrable person or a registrable relevant legal entity in relation to the company or has not had confirmation of the date on which the person so ceased.(2) The company must give the person a notice requiring the person—(a) to inform the company whether the person has ceased to be a registrable person or a registrable relevant legal entity in relation to the company, and(b) if the person has, to inform the company of the date on which the person so ceased.(3) The notice must require the person to whom it is given to comply with the notice by no later than the end of the period of one month beginning with the day on which it is given.(4) The company must give the notice—(a) as soon as reasonably practicable after the company becomes subject to the duty under subsection (2), and (b) in any event before the end of the period of 14 days beginning with the day on which the company becomes so subject.(5) The Secretary of State may by regulations make further provision about the giving of notices under this section, including provision about their form and content and the manner in which they must be given.(6) Regulations under subsection (5) are subject to negative resolution procedure.790EB Company’s duty to notify failure to comply with notices(1) A company must notify the registrar if a person fails to comply with a notice given by the company under section 790D, 790DA, 790E or 790EA within the period specified in it.(2) The notice must be given within the period of 14 days beginning with end of the period specified in the notice under section 790D, 790DA, 790E or 790EA .790EC Company’s duty to notify of late compliance with notices(1) A company must notify the registrar if a person who has failed to comply with a notice given by the company under section 790D, 790DA, 790E or 790EA within the period specified in it subsequently complies.(2) The notice must be given within the period of 14 days beginning with the day on which the person complied with the notice under section 790D, 790DA, 790E or 790EA .”11_ In section 790F (failure by company to comply with information duties), for subsection (1) substitute—“(1) If a company fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with a duty under section 790CB, 790D, 790DA(3), 790E, 790EA, 790EB or 790EC to take steps or give a notice, an offence is committed by—(a) the company, and(b) every officer of the company who is in default.”12_ For sections 790G and 790H substitute—“790G Duty to notify company on becoming PSC(1) This section applies to a person if—(a) the person knows that they are a registrable person or a registrable relevant legal entity in relation to a company,(b) the material in the register that is available for public inspection does not indicate the person’s status as a registrable person or registrable relevant legal entity in relation to the company, and(c) the person—(i) has not informed the company of the person’s status as a registrable person or registrable relevant legal entity in relation to the company, or(ii) has not given the company all of the required particulars of the person (see section 790K).(2) The person must—(a) inform the company of the person’s status as a registrable person or registrable relevant legal entity in relation to the company, and(b) give the company the required particulars (see section 790K).(3) The person must comply with the duty in subsection (2) before the end of the period of one month beginning with the day on which the conditions in subsection (1) are met.790H Duty to notify company of changes in PSC information(1) This section applies to a person if— (a) the person knows that they are a registrable person or a registrable relevant legal entity in relation to a company,(b) there has been a change in the required particulars of the person (see section 790K) and the person knows that to be the case, and(c) the person has not informed the company of the change or has not given the company all of the information that the company would need to include in a notice of the change under section 790LC(1) or 790LCA(1).(2) The person must—(a) inform the company of the change, and(b) give the company the information that the company would need to include in a notice of the change under section 790LC(1) or 790LCA(1).(3) The person must comply with the duty in subsection (2) before the end of the period of one month beginning with the day on which the conditions in subsection (1) are met.790HA Duty to notify company of ceasing to be a PSC(1) This section applies to a person if—(a) the person knows that they have ceased to be a registrable person or a registrable relevant legal entity in relation to a company,(b) the material in the register that is available for public inspection does not indicate the person as having ceased to be a registrable person or a registrable relevant legal entity in relation to a company, and(c) the person has not informed the company of having ceased to be a registrable person or a registrable relevant legal entity in relation to the company or has not informed the company of the date on which the person so ceased.(2) The person must inform the company—(a) that the person has ceased to be a registrable person or a registrable relevant legal entity in relation to the company, and(b) of the date on which the person so ceased.(3) The person must comply with the duty in subsection (2) before the end of the period of one month beginning with the day on which the conditions in subsection (1) are met.”12A_ In section 790I (enforcement of disclosure requirements), for the words from “a notice” to the end substitute “—(a) a notice under section 790D, 790DA, 790E or 790EA, or(b) a duty under section 790G, 790H or 790HA.”13_ In section 790J (power to make exemptions)—(a) in subsection (2)(a), for “790D(2) or 790E” substitute “ 790D, 790E or 790EA”;(b) in subsection (2)(c), for “790D(5)” substitute “790DA”;(c) in subsection (2)(d), for “and 790H” substitute “, 790H and 790HA”;(d) in subsection (2)(e) for “section 790M” substitute “any of sections 12A, 790LA, 790LBA, 790LC, 790LCA, 790LCB, 790LD, 790LDA”.”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment changes provisions in Part 21A of the Companies Act 2006 that are aimed at ensuring that a company has information about persons with significant control. It is connected with the other amendments to that Part made by or proposed to be made by the Bill. See the Minister's undertaking at report stage (20 June, col. 149).
16: Schedule 2, page 224, line 5, at end insert “of persons with significant control”
Member’s explanatory statement
This adjusts a heading in the material inserted into the Companies Act 2006, in consequence of my other amendments to Schedule 2. See the Minister's undertaking at report stage (20 June, col. 149).
17: Schedule 2, page 224, leave out lines 6 to 27 and insert—
“790LA Duty to notify registrar of confirmed persons with significant control(1) A company must give a notice to the registrar if it has had confirmation of—(a) a person’s status as a registrable person or a registrable relevant legal entity in relation to the company, and(b) the required particulars of the person (see section 790K).(2) A notice under subsection (1) must contain a statement of the required particulars.(3) A notice under subsection (1) must be given within the period of 14 days beginning with the day on which the company had confirmation as mentioned in that subsection.(4) A company is not required to give a notice under this section in relation to a person if—(a) the application for the registration of the company contained a statement of initial significant control naming the person as someone who would, on the company’s incorporation, become a registrable person or a registrable relevant legal entity in relation to the company, and(b) the company has no cause to believe that at any time since its incorporation the person has ceased to be a registrable person or a registrable relevant legal entity in relation to the company.(5) Nothing in section 126 (notice of trusts not receivable by registrar) affects the duty to give a notice under this section (or the receipt of that notice by the registrar).”Member’s explanatory statement
This means that a company will only need to notify the registrar of a person with significant control if the person has confirmed their status and information about them. See the Minister's undertaking at report stage (20 June, col. 149).
18: Schedule 2, page 224, line 29, leave out “(a)”
Member’s explanatory statement
This is consequential on my amendment to Schedule 2, page 224, lines 6 to 27. See the Minister's undertaking at report stage (20 June, col. 149).
19: Schedule 2, page 224, line 32, leave out “(a)”
Member’s explanatory statement
This is consequential on my amendment to Schedule 2, page 224, lines 6 to 27. See the Minister's undertaking at report stage (20 June, col. 149).
20: Schedule 2, page 225, line 2, at end insert—
“790LBA Duty to notify registrar of unconfirmed persons with significant control(1) A company must give a notice to the registrar if—(a) it knows or has cause to believe that a person has become a registrable person or a registrable relevant legal entity in relation to the company, but(b) it has not yet had confirmation as mentioned in section 790LA (1).(2) The notice must state that fact.(3) A notice under subsection (1) must be given within the period of 14 days beginning with the day on which the company first knows or has cause to believe that the person has become a registrable person or a registrable relevant legal entity in relation to the company. (4) Nothing in this section requires a company, on its incorporation, to give a notice in relation to a person included in the statement of initial significant control under section 12A.”Member’s explanatory statement
This requires a company to notify the registrar if it knows or has cause to believe that someone has become a person with significant control but that fact, or the person’s required particulars, have not been confirmed. See the Minister's undertaking at report stage (20 June, col. 149).
21: Schedule 2, page 225, line 2, at end insert—
“Duty to notify registrar of changes in required particulars”Member’s explanatory statement
This adds a new heading in the run of sections inserted into the Companies Act 2006, in consequence of my other amendments to Schedule 2. See the Minister's undertaking at report stage (20 June, col. 149).
22: Schedule 2, page 225, line 4, leave out from “if” to end of line 7 and insert “it—
(a) has had confirmation that there has been a change in the required particulars of a registrable person, or a registrable relevant legal entity, in relation to the company (see section 790K), and(a) has had confirmation of how the required particulars have changed and the date on which they changed.”Member’s explanatory statement
This means that a company only has to notify the registrar of a change in the required particulars of a person with significant control if the person has confirmed details of the change to the company. See the Minister's undertaking at report stage (20 June, col. 149).
23: Schedule 2, page 225, leave out lines 11 to 14 and insert—
“(3) A notice under subsection (1) must be given within the period of 14 days beginning with the day on which the company had confirmation as mentioned in that subsection.”Member’s explanatory statement
This is consequential on my amendment to Schedule 2, page 225, line 4. See the Minister's undertaking at report stage (20 June, col. 149).
24: Schedule 2, page 225, line 17, at end insert—
“Duty to notify registrar of person ceasing to be person with significant control etc”Member’s explanatory statement
This adds a new heading in the run of sections inserted into the Companies Act 2006, in consequence of my other amendments to Schedule 2. See the Minister's undertaking at report stage (20 June, col. 149).
25: Schedule 2, page 225, line 17, at end insert—
“790LCA Duty to notify of pre-incorporation changes in required particulars(1) A company must give a notice to the registrar if it—(a) has had confirmation that there was a pre-incorporation change in the required particulars of a proposed PSC (see section 790K), and(b) has had confirmation of how the required particulars have changed and the date on which they changed.(2) But a company is not required to give a notice under subsection (1) in respect of a person if it has given a notice under section 790LD in respect of the person.(3) A notice under subsection (1) must state—(a) the change in the required particulars, and(b) the date on which the change occurred. (4) A notice under subsection (1) must be given within the period of 14 days beginning with the day on which the company had confirmation as mentioned in that subsection.(5) In this section—“pre-incorporation change” means a change that occurred—(a) after the application for the registration of the company was delivered to the registrar, but(b) before the company was incorporated;“proposed PSC”, in relation to a company, means a person who was named in a statement under section 12A(1)(a) as a person who would, on the company’s incorporation, become a registrable person or registrable relevant legal entity in relation to the company.”Member’s explanatory statement
This moves material currently in new section 790LD of the Companies Act 2006 and means that a company will only need to notify the registrar of pre-incorporation changes in the particulars of a person with significant control if the changes have been confirmed by the person. See the Minister's undertaking at report stage (20 June, col. 149).
26: Schedule 2, page 225, line 17, at end insert—
“790LCB Duty to notify registrar when person ceases to have significant control(1) A company must give a notice to the registrar if it—(a) has had confirmation that a person has ceased to be a registrable person or a registrable relevant legal entity in relation to it, and(b) has had confirmation of the date on which the person so ceased.(2) A notice under subsection (1) must state—(a) the person’s name and service address, and(b) the date on which the person ceased to be a registrable person or a registrable relevant legal entity in relation to the company.(3) A notice under subsection (1) must be given within the period of 14 days beginning with the day on which the company had confirmation as mentioned in that subsection.”Member’s explanatory statement
This is consequential on my amendment to Schedule 2, page 224, lines 6 to 27. See the Minister's undertaking at report stage (20 June, col. 149).
27: Schedule 2, page 225, line 18, leave out “changes occurring before company is incorporated” and insert “someone not becoming person with significant control on incorporation”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is consequential on my amendment to Schedule 2, page 225, line 17 inserting a new 790LCA into the Companies Act 2006. See the Minister's undertaking at report stage (20 June, col. 149).
28: Schedule 2, page 225, line 19, leave out “becomes aware” and insert “knows”
Member’s explanatory statement
This changes the language of new section 790LD(1) of the Companies Act 2006 to conform with the language of the other notification duties in relation to persons with significant control (as amended). See the Minister's undertaking at report stage (20 June, col. 149).
29: Schedule 2, page 225, leave out lines 23 to 34
Member’s explanatory statement
This is consequential on my amendment to Schedule 2, page 225, line 17 inserting a new 790LCA into the Companies Act 2006. See the Minister's undertaking at report stage (20 June, col. 149).
30: Schedule 2, page 225, line 36, leave out “becomes aware as” and insert “has the knowledge”
Member’s explanatory statement
This is consequential on my amendment to Schedule 2, page 225, line 19. See the Minister's undertaking at report stage (20 June, col. 149).
31: Schedule 2, page 225, leave out lines 38 to 41
Member’s explanatory statement
This is consequential on my amendment to Schedule 2, page 225, line 17 inserting a new 790LCA into the Companies Act 2006. See the Minister's undertaking at report stage (20 June, col. 149).
32: Schedule 2, page 225, line 41, at end insert—
“790LDA Duty to notify registrar if company ceases to have persons with significant control(1) A company must give a notice to the registrar if it knows or has cause to believe that—(a) there has at some time been a person who is a registrable person or registrable relevant legal entity in relation to the company, and(b) there has ceased to be anyone who is a registrable person or registrable relevant legal entity in relation to the company.(2) A notice under subsection (1) must —(a) state that the company has that knowledge or cause to believe, and(b) specify the date on which the company first had that knowledge or cause to believe.(3) A notice under subsection (1) must be given within the period of 14 days beginning with the day on which the company first had the knowledge or cause to believe mentioned in that subsection.”Member’s explanatory statement
This imposes a duty on a company to notify the registrar if there ceases to be any persons with significant control in relation to the company. See the Minister's undertaking at report stage (20 June, col. 149).
33: Schedule 2, page 226, line 2, at end insert “(including information about whether it has any);
(b) compliance with Chapter 2 by the company or any person to whom the company has given a notice under that Chapter (including provision requiring a company to provide the registrar with a copy of any such notice, whether on request or otherwise).”Member’s explanatory statement
This expands the regulation-making power to require a company to provide further information in relation to persons with significant control. See the Minister's undertaking at report stage (20 June, col. 149).
34: Schedule 2, page 226, line 2, at end insert—
“(1A) The provision that may be made by regulations under subsection (1) includes provision amending this Part.(1B) The consequential provision that may be made by regulations under subsection (1) by virtue of section 1292(1) also includes provision amending any other provision of this Act.”Member’s explanatory statement
This would allow regulations under new section 790LE of the Companies Act 2006 (power to create further duties to notify information about persons with significant control) to amend the relevant Part of the Act and make consequential amendments to other parts of the Act. See the Minister's undertaking at report stage (20 June, col. 149).
35: Schedule 2, page 226, line 7, after “790LA” insert “, 790LBA”
Member’s explanatory statement
This is consequential on my amendment to Schedule 2, page 225, line 2 inserting a new section 790LBA into the Companies Act 2006. See the Minister's undertaking at report stage (20 June, col. 149).
36: Schedule 2, page 226, line 7, leave out “or 790LD” and insert “, 790LCA, 790LCB, 790LD or 790LDA”
Member’s explanatory statement
This is consequential on my amendments to Schedule 2, page 225, lines 17 and 41. See the Minister's undertaking at report stage (20 June, col. 149).
37: Schedule 2, page 226, line 18, after “790LA” insert “, 790LBA”
Member’s explanatory statement
This is consequential on my amendment to Schedule 2, page 225, line 2 inserting a new section 790LBA into the Companies Act 2006. See the Minister's undertaking at report stage (20 June, col. 149).
38: Schedule 2, page 226, line 19, leave out “or 790LD” and insert “, 790LCA, 790LCB, 790LD or 790LDA”
Member’s explanatory statement
This is consequential on my amendments to Schedule 2, page 225, lines 17 and 41. See the Minister's undertaking at report stage (20 June, col. 149).
39: Schedule 2, page 227, line 14, at end insert—
“17A_(1) Schedule 1B (enforcement of disclosure requirements in relation to persons with significant control) is amended as follows.(2) In each of the following provisions, for “or 790E” substitute “, 790DA, 790E or 790EA”—(a) paragraph 1(1)(a) and (3)(a);(b) paragraph 8(3)(a);(c) paragraph 11(a) and (b);(d) paragraph 12(2)(b).(3) For paragraphs 13 and 14 substitute—“Offence of failing to comply with notices13_(1) A person to whom a notice under section 790D, 790DA, 790E or 790EA is addressed commits an offence if the person fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with the notice.(2) Where the person is a legal entity, the offence is also committed by every officer of the entity who is in default.(3) A person guilty of an offence under this paragraph is liable—(a) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or a fine (or both);(b) on summary conviction—(i) in England and Wales, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding the general limit in a magistrates’ court or a fine (or both);(ii) in Scotland, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum (or both);(iii) in Northern Ireland, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum (or both).Offence of failing to provide information14_(1) A person commits an offence if the person fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with a duty under section 790G, 790H or 790HA.(2) Where the person is a legal entity, the offence is also committed by every officer of the entity who is in default.(3) A person guilty of an offence under this paragraph is liable—(a) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or a fine (or both);(b) on summary conviction— (i) in England and Wales, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding the general limit in a magistrates’ court or a fine (or both);(ii) in Scotland, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum (or both);(iii) in Northern Ireland, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum (or both).False statements: basic offence14A_(1) A person commits an offence if, in purported compliance with a notice under section 790D, 790DA, 790E or 790EA or in purported compliance with a duty imposed by section 790G, 790H or 790HA , and without reasonable excuse, the person makes a statement that is misleading, false or deceptive in a material particular.(2) Where the person is a legal entity, the offence is also committed by every officer of the entity who is in default.(3) A person guilty of an offence under this paragraph is liable on summary conviction—(a) in England and Wales, to a fine;(b) in Scotland, to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale;(c) in Northern Ireland, to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.False statements: aggravated offence14B_(1) A person commits an offence if, in purported compliance with a notice under section 790D, 790DA, 790E or 790EA or in purported compliance with a duty imposed by section 790G, 790H or 790HA, the person makes a statement that the person knows is misleading, false or deceptive in a material particular.(2) Where the person is a legal entity, the offence is also committed by every officer of the entity who is in default.(3) A person guilty of an offence under this paragraph is liable—(a) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or a fine (or both);(b) on summary conviction—(i) in England and Wales, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding the general limit in a magistrates’ court or to a fine (or both);(ii) in Scotland, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding twelve months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum (or both);(iii) in Northern Ireland, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum (or both).””Member’s explanatory statement
This introduces a reasonable excuse defence for offences relating to a failure to comply with duties relating to persons with significant control. It also replaces the offences relating to false or misleading information with a strict liability offence (not dependent on knowledge) and an aggravated offence (where there is knowledge). See the Minister's undertaking at report stage (20 June, col. 149).
40: Schedule 2, page 228, line 27, leave out “or 790LC” and insert “, 790LBA, 790LC, 790LCA, 790LCB, 790LD or 790LDA”
Member’s explanatory statement
This is consequential on my amendments to Schedule 2, page 225, lines 2, 17 and 41. See the Minister's undertaking at report stage (20 June, col. 149).
Amendments 13 to 40 agreed.
Bill passed and returned to the Commons with amendments.

NHS Long-term Workforce Plan

Tuesday 4th July 2023

(10 months, 2 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
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Statement
The following Statement was made in the House of Commons on Monday 3 July.
“With permission, Mr Speaker, I wish to make a Statement on our long-term workforce plan for the NHS.
This week marks the 75th birthday of the NHS. We should celebrate its achievements, its founding principles and its people. From doctors and dentists to pharmacists and physios, NHS staff devote their lives to caring for others. I am sure the whole House would agree that the NHS holds a special place in our country due to the care offered by the people who work for it.
It is said that, in 1948, the NHS had fewer than 150,000 staff and a budget of around £11 billion. Today, the NHS employs closer to 1.4 million people with a budget of more than £160 billion. The transformation of the care offered by the NHS through advances in medicine is reflected in the fact that people now live 13 years longer than on average in 1948. Today, alongside the increase in the number of staff, the range of treatments and the improved patient outcomes, demand on the NHS has also increased. People live longer, they live with more complex medical conditions, and we are also dealing with the challenges left behind by a once-in-a-generation pandemic.
One in four adults live with two or more health conditions. Although our population is forecast to grow by around 4% over the next 15 years, the number of those over 85 is forecast to grow by more than 50%. In addressing the challenges both of today and of the longer term, it is right that we have a recovery plan focused on the immediate steps as we rebuild from the pandemic, and longer-term plans to ensure that the NHS is sustainable for the future. This will ensure that the NHS is there for future generations in the way that it has been for us and our families over the past 75 years.
We have already set out detailed recovery plans to reduce long waits for operations, improve access to urgent and emergency care and make it easier to see GPs and specialists in primary care. On electives, we have virtually eliminated the two-year wait, which we did this summer, and cleared more than 90% of 80-week waits from their peak at the end of March—in marked contrast to the much longer waits we see in Wales, where the NHS is run by Labour.
On urgent and emergency care, we are investing £1 billion in 5,000 additional permanent beds, alongside expanding virtual wards to improve discharge from hospital and investing in community services to prevent admissions, especially for the frail and elderly. On primary care, we are investing more than £600 million, including in improving technology to address the 8 am rush. We have already exceeded our manifesto target by 3,000, with 29,000 additional roles in primary care to enable patients to access specialists more quickly, and we are reducing burdens on GP surgeries through the development of the NHS app and improving the range of services offered through Pharmacy First, enabling pharmacists to prescribe drug treatments for seven minor illnesses.
Alongside the recovery plans, we are taking action to improve prevention through early diagnosis of conditions, whether through the 108 community diagnostic centres that are already open or the 43 new and expanded surgical hubs planned for this year. Our national rollout of our lung cancer screening programme has helped to transform patient outcomes, turning on its head the previous position where 80% of lung cancers in our most deprived communities were detected late, with 76% now being detected early.
Alongside the immediate measures we are taking to deal with demand in the NHS, as we celebrate the 75th anniversary we are also investing in the NHS to make sure it is sustainable for the future. Last month, I announced to the House the largest-ever investment in the NHS estate, with more than £20 billion committed to our new hospitals programme.
Today I can confirm to the House that, for the first time in the NHS’s history, the Government have committed to publishing a long-term workforce plan, setting out the largest-ever workforce training expansion in the NHS’s history, backed by £2.4 billion of new funding. The plan responds to requests from NHS leaders and has been developed by NHS England. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Amanda Pritchard, the chief executive of NHS England, and her team, Gavin Larner and colleagues within the Department of Health and Social Care, and the more than 60 NHS organisations that have engaged closely in the plan’s development, including many of our royal colleges.
The plan sets out three priorities: to train more staff, to retain and develop the staff already working for the NHS and to reform how training is delivered, taking on board the best of international practice. Let me deal with each in turn. We will double the number of medical school places, increase the availability of GPs being trained by 50%, train 24,000 more nurses and midwives and increase the number of dentists by 40%.
When it comes to improving retention, we recognise the importance of flexible working opportunities, especially for those approaching retirement. The plan will build on proposals in the NHS People Plan and build on steps already taken by the Chancellor at the Spring Budget on pension tax reform.
In respect of reform, the plan sets out policies to expand the number of associate roles, which provide greater career progression for existing staff and in turn reduce the workload of senior clinicians, allowing them to focus on the work that only they can do. Both measures will improve productivity by enabling more staff to operate at the top of their licence. A constant theme across the long-term workforce plan is our focus on apprenticeships and vocational training, including a commitment to increasing the number of staff coming through apprenticeships from 7% today to 22% by 2031-32. That reflects the strong commitment of the Secretary of State for Education and myself to facilitate greater career progression through apprenticeships. It will also help to recruit and retain staff in parts of the country that often find it harder to recruit.
In the week in which we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the NHS, today’s announcement confirms the Government’s commitment to the first ever comprehensive NHS long-term workforce plan. The plan sets out detailed proposals to train more staff, offers greater flexibility and opportunity to existing staff, and embraces innovation by reforming how education and training are delivered across the NHS. The plan will be iterative; we will return to it every couple of years to enable progress to reflect advances in technology such as artificial intelligence so that the numbers trained can be best aligned with patient services. It also reflects a growing need for more general skills in the NHS, as patients with more than one condition require a more holistic approach.
The NHS long-term plan, backed by £2.4 billion of new funding, comes in addition to our record investment in the NHS estate. It ensures that we put in place the funding required for a sustainable future for the NHS, alongside the steps that we are taking in the immediate term to reduce waiting lists and ensure that the NHS is there for patients. As the chief executive of NHS England has said herself, the long-term workforce plan is a truly historic moment for the NHS. As such, I commend this Statement to the House.”
17:42
Baroness Merron Portrait Baroness Merron (Lab)
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My Lords, I am absolutely sure that the Minister is as relieved as anyone to see this Statement on the NHS workforce plan before your Lordships’ House today, after many years of waiting and promises of it being published shortly, imminently, or at some time in a very extended spring.

The plan promises much, but it is the delivery that will count and the difference it will make to the health and well-being of the nation. But at the heart of it, its effectiveness will stand or fall on how successfully it joins up with other key aspects of the NHS and social care. It is not just about delivery: the commitment to updating the plan every two years is essential in the hope that it will be a lasting way out of the continuing workforce shortages that have blighted the NHS for many years. Ministers have a lot at stake and are investing a lot of hope in this workforce plan, not least because the lurch from crisis to crisis has to come to an end, with proper consideration of the long-term challenges ahead.

This long overdue plan started and continues its life against a backdrop of chronic NHS understaffing. It is long overdue. If it had been launched eight years ago, it would have been enough to fill the NHS vacancy levels—yet we have had to wait. Instead, the NHS is short of 150,000 staff, and this announcement will take years to have an impact, while patients continue to wait longer than ever before for operations, in A&E, or for an ambulance. While the plan is a positive step, it is only the first step. Much more detail is needed on how the plan will be implemented and what measures will be used to judge its success. What attention is being given to training staff and key leaders in what quality management looks like?

Retention is key, and the plan has little to say about that. The overall staff leaving rate increased from 9.6% in 2020 to 12.5% in 2022. The plan acknowledges the importance of retaining workers, offering more flexibility and improving the culture in the NHS, but it is light on detail about how it might do that. We know that more NHS strikes are planned—and that work culture, bullying and harassment continue to be a real issue, and nearly one in 10 staff experience discrimination. When will there be details on retention, pay and working conditions, such that they can add some detail on how retention might be improved in the NHS?

It is a missed opportunity that there is no social care workforce plan, especially as the NHS workforce plan identifies the impact that delayed discharge due to difficulties securing a social care package is having on patients and staff alike. Without such a plan, it will not be possible to enhance the quality of care and support provided by the NHS—they are inextricably linked. There are currently 165,000 vacancies in social care, an increase of 52% and the highest rate on record. Average vacancy rates across the sector are at nearly 11%, which is twice the national average. What assessment has the Minister made of the impact that having an NHS-only plan will have on the social care workforce? Social care workers already seek jobs in the NHS, where pay and conditions are better. Does the Minister share my concern that an NHS-only plan is likely to exacerbate this situation and the number of vacancies in the social care workforce? Does the Minister consider that this will undermine the ambitions of the NHS plan?

As the King’s Fund rightly observed, the projections are likely to be based on ambitious assumptions. Yet there needs to be realism about the investment in buildings, technology and equipment that is needed to realise productivity gains. Can the Minister say whether and when we can expect plans relating to the various and absolutely crucial aspects of investment? Page 121 of the plan sets out a labour productivity rate of 1.5% to 2% per year. That was never achieved by the NHS or any other comparable health system, so what assumptions are being made in relation to achieving that?

The focus of the plan is crucial. It appears on reading to have been seen through a rather hospital-focused lens, so will the Minister ensure that the lens includes healthcare in the community? At the centre of this plan has to be the patient in all their different facets. In the consultations that took place in the lead-up to the development of this plan, could the Minister advise your Lordships’ House on how patient organisations were involved and which ones were consulted?

It appears that the plan seeks to look to the longer term. As happened in 2000, when the Labour Government of the time produced a 10-year plan of investment and reform which included seeking frequent staff increases, we will look to this workforce plan to make a difference to patients and care and the health and well-being of the nation in the same way as we saw come out of the plan in the year 2000. I look forward to the Minister’s response.

Lord Allan of Hallam Portrait Lord Allan of Hallam (LD)
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My Lords, I shall try not to be too grudging, as we have been calling for this plan for so long. I start by recognising the enormous amount of work that has gone into this from people working in the NHS and the department over a very long period, but the reality is that the plan is too late for those who are waiting for treatment today and are unable to get it, because the investment was not made in the workforce years ago for it to be available now on the front line. However, the plan certainly is substantive and there is much to welcome in it, looking forward. There are several areas where I hope the Minister can explain the Government’s thinking further.

First and perhaps most importantly, we need a similar, sister plan for the social care workforce. As we have discussed many times across these Benches, health and care work in symbiosis and both have seen too little supply to meet demand in recent years. Can the Minister confirm that the Government have no plans to further reduce capacity in social care by acceding to some of the requests from his political colleagues to limit visas being made available for essential social care staff? Can he say when the Government intend to release a sister plan to the NHS plan dealing with the social care workforce?

The plan also depends on ambitious productivity gains, and these will require certain things to be put in place. First, we need technology that will make life easier rather than more difficult for staff. Will the Minister explain what work is being done to understand how front-line staff in the NHS actually experience the technology they are being provided with, to ensure that we are not setting them back? Technology, when implemented well, leads to productivity increases, but technology poorly implemented can simply add to the frustrations of staff and make their jobs more difficult.

Another key factor in productivity is good management. This is a much less fashionable area to comment on than additional doctors and nurses, but the evidence seems to suggest that the National Health Service is actually quite lean in terms of its management. Will the Minister comment on what is in the plan to boost management capacity so that we can make savings on that other kind of consultant, the management consultant? Far too much is still being spent on externalising management expertise rather than building capacity within the service.

The final area I want to comment on is retention. The plan has hard numbers and new targets for getting new people into training but is much less precise on how we can improve staff retention over the long term. This is of course, quite importantly, a matter of pay and working conditions across all grades of staff. I invite the Minister to comment on some of the press stories we have seen saying that there seems to be some reluctance on the part of the Prime Minister to implement pay review body recommendations in full, something that he himself has said we should rely on to resolve issues particularly around junior doctors. Certainly, understanding that pay is important and that review body recommendations are going to be respected is critical for retention.

We can see that the Government have looked very closely at the specific factors that discourage senior doctors, in particular, from staying on as they approach retirement age. I suggest to the Minister that similarly detailed work needs to be done to understand the precise factors that are leading more junior staff at earlier stages in their career to leave the profession. Similar attention must be paid to resolving those specific issues if we are to address the retention problem.

One way we can motivate staff to stay on is through continuous professional development and retraining into more highly skilled roles, yet training opportunities can be constrained by the capacity of those delivering it. Can the Minister assure us that training opportunities will be provided for existing staff as well as new staff, so that we do not end up holding back Peter in order to train Paul? It will be net negative if we lose staff from the existing workforce through missed training opportunities as we bring in new staff. More generally, is there an understanding of how we are going to build up that capacity for training existing and new staff?

When I was younger, I had a teacher who would often write on my essays, “Okay as far as it goes”. This would annoy me, but with the benefit of wisdom and age I have to concede that it was often fair and accurate. Today, we might say that this plan, into which I know a huge amount of work has gone, is okay as far as it goes. We can be confident that it will really make a difference only if it is delivered in full, and in particular if there is a sister plan for the social care workforce and a real effort made on staff retention. I hope the Minister will comment on some of those aspects.

Lord Markham Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health and Social Care (Lord Markham) (Con)
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I thank noble Lords. Before I answer their points, and while I shall not repeat the Statement, it would be remiss of me not to repeat one thing, which is about Lord Kerslake’s passing. Lord Kerslake inducted me into government many years ago when I was a non-exec director at the Ministry of Housing, as it was then, and I always found him a very wise head and a very kind man. I am sure that condolences go from all of us, and particularly from me.

I welcome the constructive responses from the opposite Benches. As we have said, a huge amount of work has gone into this plan from some 60 organisations, including royal colleges, and it is an NHS document. I must admit that while I will take the description from the noble Lord, Lord Allan, of “Okay as far as it goes”, I prefer the description of Amanda Prichard:

“This is a truly historic day for the NHS”.


On a personal note, I am very glad not to have to answer about how quickly it is coming any longer.

On the detailed comments, the noble Baroness, Lady Merron, said that this is a living document, with the two-year update, and that is a critical part. I agree with her that this is going to be effective only if it is a live document that we continue to review, amend and improve as time goes on. On the quality management of staff, this comes to the point about retention. There is no silver bullet, as we know. I liken it to the approach we see in the cycling, in the Tour de France, with Team Sky: there are lots of little things that you have to do and it is the collective effect of putting those things together which really makes the difference.

Clearly, pay is an important element of that; the point of view of the pay review body is clearly going to be very important; clearly, pensions are a big move; clearly, professional development is a big part of it, not just for new staff but absolutely for existing staff as well. It is also about the conditions that people work in; it is not just the culture and leadership but the place they work in as well. That is why I am pleased that the capital parts of this are seen as very important in driving the right culture and environment that people want to work in: these are key to retention and driving productivity. The new hospital programme is a very important part of that, and so is the capital programme generally.

Equally, technology is a key part of this, as mentioned before, and that includes front-line staff. Just on Friday, I was at Chelsea and Westminster, where they showed me at first hand how they found the databases they were using really helpful, with basic patient tracking, making sure they were following them through the whole care pathway and managing their whole journey, so to speak. They were using it and enjoying it, if that is the right word, and that was key.

The point about NHS management and leadership is very important; this plan looks at the medical side, but we all know that leadership is so important for the effectiveness of hospitals and a key part of this.

The noble Baroness mentioned the focus on hospitals. Clearly, hospitals are a very important part of this, but underlying that is a key shift towards primary care and prevention. If you delve into the details of the numbers, you will see that the level of people who need to be trained for primary care is going up and that they are becoming a bigger proportion of the workforce. I think we all agree that that should be the direction of travel. To deliver that, we will need to look at the capital estate behind this and make sure that we have the GP surgeries and everything else in the right places.

I turn to social care. The increase in medically trained people can only be a good thing for social care and the sector as a whole. However, social care is not included here. It is difficult. We can make an NHS plan because we are the employer behind the NHS; whereas there are hundreds, if not thousands, of different employers in social care so it is not for us to make that plan. However, it is for us to make sure that we increase the supply of medically trained people, as set out in this plan. We know how important international workers are to that; we recognise that and the importance of visas. Notwithstanding that, the value of this plan is that, eventually, it will reduce our dependence on the need to recruit internationally. We will see it go from about 25% of recruitment, as currently, to about 10% because we are increasing the supply base and the pool of people who can do that, rather than making a change on the visa front.

As ever, I have tried to cover most of the points raised in the time available. I will follow up in writing on the rest, but I conclude by welcoming this report.

18:02
Lord Young of Cookham Portrait Lord Young of Cookham (Con)
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My Lords, in welcoming the report, I press my noble friend on a very interesting suggestion on page 79, where the Government propose a “tie-in period” to

“encourage dentists to spend a minimum proportion of their time delivering NHS care”.

There are a number of professions trained at public expense that are in short supply, including police, doctors and teachers. Why have dentists been selected? Is it proposed to broaden this policy to other areas trained at public expense that are in short supply?

Lord Markham Portrait Lord Markham (Con)
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I thank my noble friend. Dentists were pointed out in particular because so many of them go on to work not in the NHS but in private care settings. It is out for consultation, but I think that was the thinking behind it. For instance, even after five years, 93% of doctors are still registered and working in the health service; that is a lot lower in the dentist space. We are putting investment into that group and it is clearly perfectly reasonable to expect a return on that by a certain time.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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My Lords, the Minister has set out the aims and objectives of the plan, which we all welcome, but does he understand that, unless we fix the care system at the same time, this plan is bound to fail? It could make it even worse, with staff moving from the NHS and away from care services. How will joined-up government address the problem of under- recruitment and low morale in the care service, which will make this plan either succeed or fail?

Lord Markham Portrait Lord Markham (Con)
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I would like to think, as I mentioned before, that increasing the supply and training of the whole medical profession would help the whole sector. This is quite close to my heart; as I have mentioned before, my mum became a nurse later on in life and went through an apprentice-type route, for want of a better phrase. Having different entry points is a very positive thing. I sincerely hope that people going into a social care environment will see that as a building block to onward career progression and that it will set them up to take further qualifications later on in life, if they wish, in the nursing profession. We are looking to expand the whole sector, and the general belief is that that will benefit both social care and the NHS.

Baroness McIntosh of Hudnall Portrait The Deputy Speaker (Baroness McIntosh of Hudnall) (Lab)
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My Lords, the noble Baroness, Lady Brinton, is contributing remotely.

Baroness Brinton Portrait Baroness Brinton (LD) [V]
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My Lords, while this NHS plan is welcome, can the Minister say whether this Government will undertake to commit to the plan and, crucially, to its funding and not change the number of education and training places, as happened last year and in too many previous years, causing chaos in planning for doctors, nurses and allied healthcare professionals? On hospital training places for junior doctors after they have finished their medical school courses, last year 790 medical graduates could not begin their junior doctor in-hospital training because the NHS did not have enough placements. Given that university medical school places are already capped and highly competitive, this is a complete waste of newly qualified medical graduates.

Lord Markham Portrait Lord Markham (Con)
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It is absolutely a pipeline; some people might say, “Why are you not doing more earlier in this plan?”, but, as the noble Baroness says, there is no point training a lot of people at the university end if you do not have junior doctor places later in the system. That is why we are trying to get a sensible ramp-up so that we can build capacity into those places, recognising the point that the noble Baroness makes. On the numbers in the plan, we have set down £2.4 billion for the first five years of training and development, but the point about it being a live plan is that we will update it every two years. Given the data—this is an NHS document, not a Department of Health one—I would expect those numbers to change, as I would be amazed if we got it spot on first time. The whole point about making this an NHS living document that we can use and which updates is that we can all stick to the plan.

Lord Bishop of Exeter Portrait The Lord Bishop of Exeter
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My Lords, we on these Benches very much welcome this workforce plan, in particular the expansion of places for training with a range of clinicians and the shift of gaze towards community care and prevention. Our anxiety very much mirrors that of the noble Baroness, Lady Merron, and the noble Lord, Lord Allan of Hallam. We notice that page 23 of the report says:

“This Plan is predicated on access to social care services remaining broadly in line with current levels or improving”.


That is a jolly big assumption given that the Care Quality Commission report tells us that there are vacancies of 10.7% in adult social care and of 13.2% in the home care services. Without an equivalent plan for social care, in our view this admirable workforce plan is unsustainable, so will His Majesty’s Government publish an equivalent plan for social care?

Lord Markham Portrait Lord Markham (Con)
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As I mentioned previously, the NHS plan is something that we or the NHS can publish, being the employer. With there being hundreds, if not thousands, of employers in social care, it is clearly a different situation. What we can do is make sure that we put the investment into the sector, so that there is pull through in the number of places. Over the next few years, we are looking at an increase of up to £7 billion, which is about 20%. We know that, of that £7 billion, around 65% to 70% flows through to staffing and wages. We are seeing a massive investment on our side, which we are looking to lots of employers to fulfil. By increasing the number of medically trained people, we will be increasing the supply base to fulfil that demand.

Baroness Harding of Winscombe Portrait Baroness Harding of Winscombe (Con)
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My Lords, I too thank and commend my noble friend the Minister, the Secretary of State and the leadership of the NHS for producing an extremely good plan. It is historic, not because it is the first time such a plan has been written but because it is the first time in 20 years such a plan has been published. The Minister has commented a couple of times that this is a living plan—one that will be updated at least every two years. Could he confirm that those updates will be published every two years, and that this House will be able to debate and discuss them?

Lord Markham Portrait Lord Markham (Con)
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That is absolutely my understanding. For it to be a living document, people clearly need to have input and to be able to debate it in exactly the way we are doing here today.

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath Portrait Lord Hunt of Kings Heath (Lab)
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My Lords, I remind the House of my membership of the GMC Council. The GMC has warmly welcomed the plan and its role in the expansion of medical education, the development of physician and anaesthesia associates, and the apprenticeship programme. I want to follow on from the point made by the noble Baroness, Lady Brinton. The key point the GMC has made is that it is absolutely essential that there are sufficient clinical and educational supervisors, particularly for the F1 grade—newly qualified doctors going into postgraduate training. NHS trusts will have to release more of their doctors to provide this. Is the department in touch with and talking to the chief executives of NHS trusts to ensure that, as the pipeline develops, there will be sufficient clinical supervision? This is essential in order to get the quality of doctors that we need.