Creative and Cultural Industries: Impact of Visa and Immigration Policies

Lord McNally Excerpts
Tuesday 25th July 2023

(11 months, 3 weeks ago)

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Lord McNally Portrait Lord McNally (LD)
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My Lords, I am sorry not to give way to the noble Lord.

The Minister’s assurances roll over the Dispatch Box like treacle. Is he not aware that organisations as diverse as BECTU, the technicians’ trade union, and Barbican, the arts centre, are making exactly the same complaints as his noble friend just made? Is not the root cause of this that Brexit, far from being oven-ready, is half-baked and has left our creative industries in particular bereft of support?

Electronic Travel Authorisation

Lord McNally Excerpts
Monday 17th July 2023

(12 months ago)

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Lord Murray of Blidworth Portrait Lord Murray of Blidworth (Con)
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I thank my noble friend for that question. I must say, however, that the cost of an electronic travel application in the UK is only £10. It will be €7 for an ETIAS, whereas among our comparators overseas—in the US, for example—the equivalent ESTA costs $21, which is £16 in today’s prices. In Australia, it is 20 Australian dollars and in New Zealand, it is 23 New Zealand dollars if completed online and 17 dollars if completed on a mobile app. By any measure, the price to be charged for a UK ETA is very reasonable.

Lord McNally Portrait Lord McNally (LD)
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My Lords, the Minister has been extremely well briefed, to missing the point. Is he not aware that the tourism agencies in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland have expressed grave concern at the catastrophic impact this will have on tourism across the island of Ireland, which is very important to both? Can we have some sense of action this day from him, rather than a few more meaningless statistics?

Lord Murray of Blidworth Portrait Lord Murray of Blidworth (Con)
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I am afraid that I do not agree with the noble Lord that the views of the tourist authorities across the island of Ireland have not been taken into account. Engagement has been deep and thorough, and it is for that reason that an agreement has been made that particular circumstances will apply in Northern Ireland. I simply do not agree with him that the impact of the introduction of ETAs will devastate the Irish tourism industry.

Daniel Morgan Independent Panel Report

Lord McNally Excerpts
Tuesday 22nd June 2021

(3 years ago)

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Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
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My Lords, I repeat, as the noble Lord said, that the panel is clear that it found no evidence that freemasonry had any effect on the investigations, and I refer noble Lords to the code of ethics. It might help the noble Lord to know that HMICFRS is currently undertaking a follow-up inspection of all forces’ counter-corruption and vetting capabilities. The Home Secretary has asked HMICFRS to ensure an urgent focus on the Metropolitan Police.

Lord McNally Portrait Lord McNally (LD)
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My Lords, surely the people who should be most angry and outraged by this report are the vast majority of police officers, to whom the noble Lord, Lord Davies, referred, because they have been betrayed by these institutional failings. This is not a historic report; it is a current report. I understand that the College of Policing has drawn up a number of key action points for police forces to counter corruption. Will the Home Secretary inquire of chief constables and police and crime commissioners what action they have taken in response to those suggestions from the College of Policing? Does she share the report’s sense of urgency that something must be done very quickly?

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
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I agree with everything that the noble Lord said. The Home Secretary definitely shares that urgency, seeing as she will be coming back to report HMICFRS’s findings towards the end of the year. It is worth pointing out now the work that national policing has done to tackle corruption, and that forces are periodically inspected on anti-corruption capabilities by HMICFRS—including this year. That does not take away from the report itself, which clearly shows that certain individuals are sadly lacking in that area.

Police National Computer

Lord McNally Excerpts
Tuesday 19th January 2021

(3 years, 5 months ago)

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Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
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My Lords, I do not know whether I am speaking as a Minister or not, but on a personal level I totally agree with my noble friend. A whole-of-government approach would be so much better in so many areas, but each department is very protective of the money it seeks from the Treasury. Perhaps in future we will begin to have much more of a common approach on technology and procurement.

Lord McNally Portrait Lord McNally (LD) [V]
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My Lords, I think the Minister has just pleaded guilty. Of course, it was human error—she must have repeated that 20 times. But what else has emerged in this questioning, to use the old phrase of the noble Lord, Lord Reid, is that the department is not fit for purpose, certainly not for the purpose of making a major data investment. I repeat and emphasise the request of the noble Lord, Lord Rosser. I do not think that an internal inquiry will not work for this. We must have a proper external inquiry with a report to Parliament, which Parliament can then study and debate. From her last reply, I suspect the Minister will agree.

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
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My Lords, I have said that it was human error—probably fewer than 20 times, actually—because it was human error. I also repeat that there will be a full lessons learned review. I am not undermining the seriousness of this at all, because it is a very serious matter.

Law Enforcement: Brexit Impacts

Lord McNally Excerpts
Wednesday 6th January 2021

(3 years, 6 months ago)

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Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
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The noble Lord is right that we have not retained everything. We have not got everything we wanted, which was always going to happen in a negotiation. But we believe that we have a set of agreements that protect our citizens and keep people safe.

Lord McNally Portrait Lord McNally (LD) [V]
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My Lords, is the Minister aware that the longest-serving Home Secretary of recent times, Theresa May, gave only qualified support for these arrangements, when she spoke in the House of Commons on 30 December? She expressed particular concern about the timeliness of access to databases of European criminal records, modern slavery and child abduction. Is it not time for the Government to come clean and say that we are weaker now with these protections and to come up with specific policies to plug the knowledge gaps identified by Mrs May?

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
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My right honourable friend Theresa May was probably right to give it qualified support. We have not seen how it will work yet. I am confident it will work well and I am sure that this House will scrutinise any deficiencies in the new arrangements. We have a very good package for the safety and security of the citizens of this country.

Reading Terrorist Attack

Lord McNally Excerpts
Tuesday 23rd June 2020

(4 years ago)

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Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford
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The noble Lord is right to ask that question. He will have heard my right honourable friend the Home Secretary talking about the events of Sunday. I cannot tell him in exact minutes, but the response was extremely quick. Some of the officers were student officers and ran towards the danger to help those in need.

I think the noble Lord is trying to come back. I cannot hear him; I think he has been muted. This is the beauty of Virtual Proceedings. I cannot speak about the armed response but it does appear that, on Sunday, the response was very quick, very brave and mitigated what could have been a far worse event.

Lord McNally Portrait Lord McNally (LD) [V]
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My Lords, on 3 May in the other place, Theresa May, an ex-Prime Minister and ex-Home Secretary, expressed concern about the quantity and quality of data that will be available to our security and counterterrorism services from 1 January 2021, when we will have left Europe. She raised specific concerns about the Prüm arrangements covering fingerprints, DNA and car registration, the European criminal record system, the Schengen Information System and data accuracy, yet the response from the Prime Minister was, “It’ll be all right on the night”, or some such words. Are our security services advising on what will happen on 1 January, and how much assurance can the Minister give that these matters are being treated seriously?

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford
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My Lords, the noble Lord points to a crucial issue: those datasets for law enforcement purposes and national security need to be in place after our departure from the European Union. We have EU and other structures to use, depending on whether a negotiated outcome is agreed or not.

Public Order

Lord McNally Excerpts
Tuesday 9th June 2020

(4 years, 1 month ago)

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Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford
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My noble friend brings me two pieces of good news this morning. I am very pleased to note those statistics from the Bar of England and Wales. We do see improvements across the piece—in the police, in Parliament and in government departments—but there is a way to go. I am delighted that the organiser of the peaceful protest in Glasgow Green made sure not just that social distancing took place but that everything went off peacefully. That individual is to be commended.

Lord McNally Portrait Lord McNally (LD) [V]
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My Lords, we are not the first society that has had to face uncomfortable truths about its past history or present injustices. Some have addressed them by inquiries of peace and reconciliation, which have allowed those societies to face up to those problems. Could the Minister consider developing the idea put forward by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Woolf, of a royal commission that could look at these matters, with a duty of peace and reconciliation? I suggest there is a chairman readily available with the retirement of the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu. He would give confidence to both sides, while such an inquiry took place.

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford
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My Lords, one of the points made in the Commons yesterday was that deeds and actions will speak to issues like this the most loudly. A royal commission is one idea, but I think that across every stratum of society—from our democracy in local and national government to the institutions that serve government to the private and public sectors in our country—it is the collective effort that will make the real difference.

Children and the Police

Lord McNally Excerpts
Monday 24th November 2014

(9 years, 7 months ago)

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Lord Bates Portrait Lord Bates
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We understand that police budgets are under pressure, and there is a reason why we have had to take that action. However, the number of police on the front line is increasing as a proportion. Safer school partnerships are an excellent idea but it is for governors and heads to make the decision to employ them. I should also add that there are encouraging statistics on the growth in the numbers of police cadets—up 24% in the first six months of this year. We anticipate that they will increase further. That level of engagement through police cadets in schools could be very powerful indeed.

Lord McNally Portrait Lord McNally (LD)
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My Lords, I declare my interest as chairman of the Youth Justice Board. Following up the point made by my noble friend Lady Walmsley about looked-after children, both the Youth Justice Board and the police warmly welcomed the recommendations in this report, but it seems that the blockage is at the Home Office, with an overcommitment to statistics. Could the Minister use his influence with the Home Office so that the talks that he will have with the authors of the report can unblock the system and allow the police, the Youth Justice Board and secure children’s homes to approach this matter in a sensible way?

Lord Bates Portrait Lord Bates
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I will, and I pay tribute to the work that my noble friend does as chairman of the Youth Justice Board. It is an important partner in making sure that we move forward on this. I was not aware that there is a particular issue relating to statistics; this report very much feeds into the wider work that the Home Secretary is doing in reforming the way our police work, particularly in regard to their sensitivity toward children, who are more often the victims of crime by other children than the perpetrators.

Hillsborough

Lord McNally Excerpts
Wednesday 12th February 2014

(10 years, 5 months ago)

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Lord Taylor of Holbeach Portrait Lord Taylor of Holbeach
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The noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, makes a good point on this area of public confidence in the police, in particular. This is a policy area within the Home Office currently which we are taking very seriously. Noble Lords will know that the College of Policing has been set up. A code of ethics is part and parcel of its immediate mission statement. It is very much in the interests of a country that is dependent upon policing by consent that that consent can be given in confidence that the police are acting genuinely in the interests of the public, not of themselves. I could not agree more with what the noble Lord said.

Lord McNally Portrait Lord McNally (LD)
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My Lords, the tributes to Bishop James Jones are well deserved but the statement by him rather ties in with what my noble friend has just said—that the bereaved families are “encouraged” but not “persuaded”. That is an indication of how far we have to go in winning not only their confidence but that of the general public in our public authorities and the capacity to investigate them when things go wrong. I seek just one clarification. My noble friend said that the inquest will start on 31 March. This ties in with the question about information from other bodies. How do you prevent cross-pollution from one investigation to another if the inquest is being held in public? Will remarks made there impact on the Stoddart inquiry or revelations from the IPCC? Will they be fed into the inquest? How are these three parallel inquiries to be co-ordinated or kept separate?

Lord Taylor of Holbeach Portrait Lord Taylor of Holbeach
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You can rely on your noble friends, particularly your former colleague as the Minister of Justice, to tackle you on this subject. I am not a lawyer but I assume that the Queen’s court—the coroner’s court—has the power to seek all evidence. Its needs are the most important aspect of the inquiry while the coroner’s investigations continue. Clearly, information will be made available to the coroner’s court or discovered through the coroner’s inquiry that will inform investigations by other bodies. I would hope that that would be the case because the whole point of the inquest is to establish the truth about those 96 deaths, as well as to help clear the obfuscation that has long surrounded this issue.

Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill

Lord McNally Excerpts
Wednesday 11th December 2013

(10 years, 7 months ago)

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Lord Beecham Portrait Lord Beecham (Lab)
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My Lords, I rise to move the amendment in the name of my noble friend Lord Ponsonby, who cannot be in his place tonight. I shall be uncharacteristically brief. My noble friend draws the attention of the Committee, and indeed mine, to an anomaly in the present situation on victim surcharge orders. The payment may be ordered to be made by the parents of a young offender who are themselves the victims of a crime. That situation cannot possibly have been envisaged originally, but it appears to be the case and there seems to be no court discretion to avoid imposing what many of your Lordships would feel is a ridiculous outcome. The noble Lord may not be able to accept the amendment tonight, but I hope that he will look at it, as it seems to be anomalous and ought to be corrected.

Lord McNally Portrait The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally) (LD)
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My Lords, let me confirm at once that the noble Lord, Lord Beecham, has been uncharacteristically brief. I am sorry that the noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby, was unable to move his amendment because I know of his deep and continuing concern on these matters.

The Government are determined to provide the best support for victims of crime, which must be properly funded, but increasingly by offenders rather than taxpayers. In 2010-11, offenders contributed less than £1 in every £6 of funding that supports victims’ services. We intend to raise up to an additional £50 million from offenders to pay for services to support victims of crime. That is why we brought forward reforms to the victim surcharge last year, following public consultation, to ensure that all offenders bear a greater proportion of the cost of victims’ services. Proceeds from the surcharge are ring-fenced to fund support services for victims and witnesses. From October 2012, the victim surcharge for adult offenders was increased when ordered with a fine and extended to a wider range of in-court disposals such as conditional discharges, community sentences and custodial sentences. Similar provision was made for juvenile offenders who even before the changes made in 2012 were required to pay the surcharge when sentenced to a fine.

A key point of the victim surcharge is that all offenders, including juveniles, take responsibility for their offending behaviour and make a contribution towards funding victims’ services. Juveniles have therefore always been within its scope and I do not believe that it would be right to introduce discretion to exempt them. Having said that, I recognise the concerns of the noble Lord about the practicalities. When the offender is a juvenile, Section 137 of the Power of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 provides that the parent or guardian might become liable to pay a financial order made by the court. There may, therefore, be circumstances where the parent or guardian of a juvenile becomes liable to pay the victim surcharge when they have been the victim of the offence. We recognise the issue that such cases raise.

Let me reassure the noble Lord that the court does have the discretion not to order the parent or guardian to pay the surcharge if, having regard to the circumstances of the case, it considers that it would be unreasonable to do so. While the court would still need to order the surcharge in respect of the juvenile, there are a number of options open to it when it comes to payment. In this vein, the Justices’ Clerks’ Society issued a circular to its members in June this year outlining some of these approaches. These could include inquiring as to any income the offender may be receiving, particularly if they are older juveniles, in which case responsibility for paying the surcharge would fall directly to the young person. Additionally, in exceptional circumstances, the court has the power to defer payment of the surcharge until such time as it considers the offender would be able to pay it, again making responsibility for paying the surcharge the offender’s rather than that of his or her parents.

We believe that it is right that all offenders, including those aged under 18, should take responsibility and make greater reparation towards the cost of victim support services as a result of their actions. It is therefore appropriate that the surcharge should continue to be ordered when a court deals with an individual, whether as an adult or a juvenile. I hope that I have been able to reassure the noble Lord on the points he raised and that he will be content to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Beecham Portrait Lord Beecham
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My Lords, I am grateful for what I might best describe as an uncharacteristically helpful and informative response from the noble Lord, which I undertake to convey to my noble friend. We are, of course, entirely with the noble Lord and the Government in wanting to ensure that victims are compensated, especially by those who wrong them. He has adequately explained the situation and my noble friend’s fears seem to be unfounded. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

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Lord Beecham Portrait Lord Beecham
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My Lords, I shall also speak to Amendments 95AB, 95BA and 95D in relation to the issue of court and tribunal fees. At Second Reading I described the Bill as not so much a curate’s egg as a curate’s omelette, comprising as it does so many ingredients, both good and bad, mixed up together. It is perhaps fitting that the Committee should end with a debate on a clause which impels me to produce another culinary analogy, for this clause and the process which has informed it can best be described as half-baked.

It is perfectly reasonable to update the fees for proceedings in courts and tribunals to keep pace with inflation and, in appropriate cases, to seek full-cost recovery, provided there is a reasonable and effective scheme for the remission of fees, in whole or in part, for those of modest means or less. Equally, I have few qualms about fees in cases such as those in the commercial court which the Government are anxious to promote internationally as a forum of choice, but the approach of the Government to this clause has been cavalier in the extreme.

On 4 December the Minister wrote to me to say that the Government had launched a consultation on the provisions of Clause 155, as announced the previous day, that is to say four working days before the clause comes to be considered by this House. Had progress been quicker on earlier clauses, we would have reached this clause on the very day that the Minister’s letter reached me. The consultation, incidentally, is to last seven weeks, including the Christmas and new year period. It will end on 21 January, by which time we will presumably have reached Report, if not concluded it, and there will be little or probably no time at all for the Government to give their response before the Bill’s final stage is reached.

That is not all. Impact assessments for these proposals published on 2 December say next to nothing about the impact on claimants applying to tribunals or to the courts, as opposed to the amounts the Government hope to rake in from increased fees. The Government’s attitude to consultation is underlined by paragraph 20 of the current consultation paper which refers to an earlier consultation, CP15/2011, Fees in the High Court and Court of Appeal Civil Division, to which, the consultation paper records,

“the Government has not yet responded”

after some two years, and which are, the consultation paper says, “superseded”—without, I may say, any explanation—by the current proposals.

The saga does not end there—perhaps I should say does not start there—for the Government launched yet another consultation last April, this time on fee remissions for courts and tribunals, with a four-week period for responses, and published their response, conveniently, no doubt, for them on 9 September, when Parliament was in recess. Interestingly, that document introduced a disposable capital test and airily dismissed concerns that this might have a deterrent effect on claimants. There is, incidentally, currently concern about an apparently significant drop in employment tribunal claims following the hotly contested introduction of fees, which were widely regarded as too high. Perhaps the Minister would save me the trouble of tabling a Question by agreeing to write to me in the new year with details of the number of claims before and after the imposition of charges. It is, after all, an analogous situation to that which this clause deals with.

The Government’s latest consultation paper refers to interviews and research, both of which are said to have been the subject of a full report published alongside the consultation, but for which no references are given. Painting, as ever, with a broad brush, the Government say that they believe,

“that all those who issue a court case benefit equally from the existence of the civil justice system as a whole and should share in contributing towards its indirect costs”,

and, therefore, they divide the indirect costs of the system between all cases that are issued. It is not clear to me whether the apportionment applies equally to all cases, or whether it is in some way proportionate to the amount claimed. On the face of it, this looks very like the application of the principle of the poll tax to the cost of making a claim to a court or tribunal.

Paragraph 60 of the consultation proposes to combine the fees for issue and allocation to a track—the small claims track, fast track or multi-track—without any clear explanation of the rationale. Paragraph 63 acknowledges that the hearing fees for the higher track cases are higher than the average cost of such, but it does not propose to adjust them, thereby importing the concept of more than full-cost recovery by the back door. In divorce cases, while the Government say, at paragraph 71, that they will maintain the issue fee at £410, already above the actual cost price of £270, they will impose an extra charge of £300 to cover the cost of the remainder of the proceedings. Given that, in many cases these will be a mere formality, this looks suspiciously like another example of more than full-cost recovery, though not, of course, for the complex cases where there are major issues as to income and property, where such charges might be thought to be not unreasonable.

Ominously, the Government propose changes to the fees in money claims, including, no doubt at the behest, yet again, of their friends in the insurance industry, in personal injury cases. They go so far as to say that their proposals, if applied in their entirety, would lead to reduced fees on claims of around £10,000 or less but, typically, they will not be changing those fees.

The Committee will understand that there are many questions about these proposals, but there is an overriding question about the abuse of the legislative process which, not for the first time, is being perpetrated by this Government. I acknowledge and welcome the concessions made in the Government’s amendments as far as they go. They will ensure that any increase in fees other than inflation-related increases will have to be approved by affirmative resolution, and that is a welcome improvement. But will the Government consider the amendments I have tabled, which seek to ensure that access to justice is a prime consideration before setting the size of the fee increases, and that the remission arrangements are properly scrutinised and agreed? Will they revise the existing remission arrangements in the light of the proposed major changes, and will they review the proposals to take disposable capital into account?

Given the shambles of the process thus far, I have to say that on Report the Opposition may well press for a sunrise clause along the lines of Amendment 95D to ensure that there is proper parliamentary scrutiny of the complete package when its final contents are developed. As I say, that is unlikely to be the case before this Bill receives its Third Reading.

In addition, in the mean time it will be helpful to know whether, in the indefinite age of austerity that the Chancellor has decreed for public services, the principle of full-cost recovery, and especially of more than full-cost recovery, will be extended to other services such as further and higher education, prescription charges or other parts of the health service. By what logic, one wonders, would the Government differentiate between some of the proposals they are making in this Bill, incorporating more than full-cost recovery for access to justice, and those or other public services? I beg to move.

Lord McNally Portrait Lord McNally
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My Lords, I shall not try to follow the noble Lord, Lord Beecham, down his culinary route. One of the pleasures of responding to the noble Lord is that it is almost like doing a school exam. So many questions are fired at you in quick succession. If I do not cover them all in this reply, I will carefully read what he has said, note the question marks that Hansard inserts and try to send suitable replies, including on the point he made in opening about the figures for claims at employment tribunals after the introduction of charges.

Perhaps I may deal first with the two government amendments in the group, namely, Amendments 95B and 95C. These give effect to the recommendation made by the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee relating to the power to charge enhanced court fees. Clause 155 currently provides that, when the power to set a fee or fees at an enhanced level is used for the first time, the relevant statutory instrument should be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure, with any subsequent changes to the fee or fees being subject to the negative procedure. The Government’s intention was that the principle of charging an enhanced fee should be subject to a full debate in Parliament, after which the negative procedure would provide the necessary level of parliamentary oversight for any subsequent changes to the fee.

However, the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee was concerned that this would provide the Lord Chancellor with a very wide discretion to set the level of fees. Although the legislation requires the Lord Chancellor to have regard to the financial position of the courts and tribunals and to the competitiveness of the legal services market when setting fees, the committee felt it was possible that, in future, very different considerations might apply and that these should be taken into account. The committee therefore recommended that the power to set an enhanced fee should be subject to the affirmative procedure unless the amendment is being made solely to reflect the change in the value of money. The Government agree that this change would be appropriate and, accordingly, Amendments 95B and 95C will implement this recommendation.

I turn now to the amendments in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Beecham. Amendments 95AA and 95AB seek to require the Lord Chancellor to have regard to the principle of “access to justice” when setting fees. I can wholeheartedly agree with the noble Lord that this is an important consideration. However, the Lord Chancellor is already under a duty to do exactly this when setting fees under Section 92 of the Courts Act 2003. Subsection (3) of that section provides that the Lord Chancellor,

“must have regard to the principle that access to the courts must not be denied”.

Amendment 95BA seeks to make the remission scheme subject to the affirmative resolution procedure. As noble Lords will be aware, there is already a remission scheme in place. Indeed, the scheme has been in place for a number of years, but was updated and revised as recently as 7 October 2013 when the Courts and Tribunals Fee Remissions Order 2013 came into force. It is the Government’s intention that the existing remission scheme will continue to apply in all cases where enhanced fees would be introduced.

The current scheme provides for certain court and tribunal fees to be remitted in whole or in part where litigants meet certain criteria based on their disposable capital and gross monthly income. The existing scheme is made under the same order-making powers as apply to the setting of fees, for example, Section 92 of the Courts Act 2003, which relates to fees payable in respect of proceedings in the senior courts, county courts and magistrates’ courts. As the remission scheme relies on the same order-making powers as the statutory instruments prescribing court and tribunal fees, they are subject to the same level of parliamentary procedure—namely, the negative procedure. In its seventh report of Session 2002-03, the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee welcomed a government amendment to make the order-making power in what is now Section 92 of the Courts Act 2003 subject to the negative procedure. Given that previous endorsement by the committee, and the fact that the current arrangements have been in place for some years, I see no good reason why we should now alter the level of parliamentary scrutiny.

Finally, Amendment 95D would require the Lord Chancellor to report to Parliament on the outcome of the public consultation on these proposals and to obtain approval for its response. As the noble Lord indicated, the Government on 3 December set out their detailed proposals for using the power to set enhanced fees in the consultation paper, Court Fees: Proposals for reform. This seeks views on a series of proposals for charging enhanced fees, including for money claims, in commercial proceedings and for divorce, alongside proposals for reducing the current deficit of £100 million in the cost of running the Courts and Tribunals Service. The consultation closes on 21 January. In the normal way, we will publish a response to that consultation in due course and Parliament will have an opportunity to consider it when we lay a draft order under Clause 155. I therefore take Amendment 95D as a probing amendment rather than an attempt to enshrine in statute the normal process of reporting on the outcome of a consultation.