Debates between Lord Watts and Lord Callanan during the 2019 Parliament

Tue 14th May 2024
Mon 11th Dec 2023
Tue 17th Oct 2023
Wed 17th May 2023
Wed 22nd Feb 2023
Wed 12th Oct 2022
Wed 7th Sep 2022
Tue 19th Jul 2022
Wed 15th Jun 2022
Wed 9th Mar 2022

Electricity: Cost-competitiveness

Debate between Lord Watts and Lord Callanan
Thursday 16th May 2024

(1 month, 1 week ago)

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Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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I certainly agree that the Opposition’s policy is fantasy politics. However, I will give the noble Lord the costs in the latest published analysis, which show that electricity from offshore wind is 60% cheaper to build and operate than gas-fired power. The levelised costs are £44 per megawatt hour for offshore wind, versus £114 per megawatt hour for closed-cycle gas turbines. The other key point is energy security. As the noble Lord is well aware, the amount of gas coming from the North Sea is declining year on year, and therefore we have to import increasing amounts of gas. It makes no sense to make us dependent on imported gas for the years to come. We can see the effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on gas prices. With the current turmoil in the Middle East, it makes even less sense.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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My Lords, is it not the case that the only way we will address this is by building new nuclear plants? The last Labour Government identified sites and were developing a planning system that would have pushed them through. Over nearly 14 years, what have the Government been doing to create opportunities for more nuclear power?

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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The noble Lord is right and wrong at the same time. Of course, it makes absolute sense to build more nuclear power, and we are doing that. However, his reference to the last Labour Government gives me the opportunity to state that, when they came to power in 1997, they cancelled all our new nuclear generation.

Prepayment Meters

Debate between Lord Watts and Lord Callanan
Tuesday 14th May 2024

(1 month, 1 week ago)

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Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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My Lords, energy suppliers are not marking their own homework. Ofgem very closely monitors them. Not all suppliers have been given permission to restart involuntary installations. They have to put in place a strict code of conduct and make at least 10 attempts to contact the relevant customer. They have to put in place relevant prepayment plans and credit payment plans, if necessary, taking into account the customer’s ability to pay, and some prepayment forcible installs are banned completely in the case of vulnerable customers.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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My Lords, all the regulators seem to be failing the public. Is it because the Government do not want them to do the job properly, or are all our regulators incompetent?

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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I think that is a bit of broad generalisation, if the noble Lord will forgive me for that. The principle of independent regulators was established a number of years ago throughout many Governments. I think all of us will have our opinions on how good or bad independent regulators are—they sometimes absolve the political system from some blame; that is my personal criticism—but we put in place through legislation the system of independent regulators, and of course we need to keep an eye on how they are doing their job.

Surplus Carbon Emissions

Debate between Lord Watts and Lord Callanan
Wednesday 27th March 2024

(2 months, 3 weeks ago)

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Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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My noble friend is relentless in his pursuit of tidal. He is right; it is an important component. It is not yet at scale; it is at a relatively small scale of development, but we supported it under the previous CfD round, and I am sure that tidal has a bright future ahead of it as part of our wide energy mix.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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My Lords, does the Minister agree that we are missing a trick with wind power on land? Does he think the Government should change their policy on that? If so, does he think they should change the planning process to make it quicker to get those schemes up and running?

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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The noble Lord makes a good point. We are considering that at the moment. It is important that if we roll out wind power on land, we do it with the consent of local communities. We want to make sure that we take people who live next to the turbines with us. We are consulting on an appropriate way of doing that.

Hydrogen Heating

Debate between Lord Watts and Lord Callanan
Monday 11th December 2023

(6 months, 2 weeks ago)

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Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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Well, I did not say that we necessarily welcomed the NIC’s report; I said that we were studying it, and of course it will provide a useful backdrop to and illustration of the decisions that we will make. To go back to the point of the noble Baroness, Lady Sheehan, we will announce a decision on the trial in Redcar very shortly. I think the noble Lord makes a good point; where does all the extra electricity come from? Of course, there is detailed scenario mapping done on that; we have very exciting and ambitious plans for lots more offshore wind, lots of solar development and lots of nuclear development—so there will be ample supplies of electricity available.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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Does the Minister agree that it is pointless improving heating systems if many houses are badly insulated? What will the Government do to step up the programme to make sure that people can live in decent homes?

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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I agree with the noble Lord that energy efficiency and insulation are extremely important. That is why we are spending £6.5 billion over this Parliament on insulation, energy efficiency and clean heat measures; but, of course, there is always a lot more to do and we will have more to say on that shortly.

Climate Financing

Debate between Lord Watts and Lord Callanan
Tuesday 17th October 2023

(8 months, 1 week ago)

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Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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I know that my noble friend is a powerful advocate for women and girls, both in this House and in the work she did in government. She is of course absolutely right. The FCDO’s international women and girls strategy sets out our commitment to increase the proportion of our international climate finance that will be gender-marked and to integrate gender and social inclusion objectives into our climate finance programmes and strategies.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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My Lords, all these measures will come to nothing unless we control the population of the world. What are the Government doing to help achieve that aim? Will they publish figures on their successes or failures?

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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The noble Lord asks a good question, which is slightly beyond the remit of the original Question. I point him to the answer that I just gave to my noble friend: empowering women and girls, giving them more control over their own reproductive rights, is very important in this area.

SMEs: Net-zero Targets

Debate between Lord Watts and Lord Callanan
Wednesday 7th June 2023

(1 year ago)

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Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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I agree. Carbon leakage is an important problem, and one of the reasons why a number of the larger industries are subject to international competition, as the noble Lord mentioned. We give them free permit allocations under the emissions trading system.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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My Lords, are the Government looking at the efficiency of heat pumps? Have they monitored them, and will they produce a report on their cost and effectiveness?

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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Indeed, we have already done so. There have been a number of reports on the efficiency of heat pumps. Efficiency varies depending on the quality of the installation. We must ensure that they are installed properly in the appropriate properties with the right number of emitters. I am happy to send copies of the reports that we have done to the noble Lord.

COP 28

Debate between Lord Watts and Lord Callanan
Wednesday 17th May 2023

(1 year, 1 month ago)

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Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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I am not going to get into the debate about Minister Stuart. He does an excellent job and is well respected across the international community for his work, building on the work that we did at COP 26. We are committed to the Powering Past Coal Alliance. I think the noble Lord is being slightly disingenuous; he knows that the coal mine in Cumbria is nothing to do with power generation.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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Do noble Lords share my concern that the Minister has just said that what France is doing does not concern him? Does he not understand that, if we are to deal with climate change, we all need to work together?

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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I think I said that what negotiations go on between France and the EU are not our concern any more because we are not a member of the EU. Of course we work collaboratively with many countries across the world, not just in the EU. This is a worldwide problem and we need to negotiate on a worldwide basis, which of course we do. Carbon emissions do not respect international borders.

Climate Change: Net Zero Strategy

Debate between Lord Watts and Lord Callanan
Wednesday 3rd May 2023

(1 year, 1 month ago)

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Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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Again, I am afraid I do not agree with the noble Baroness. There are some exciting prospects and we are supporting early-stage tidal projects. It depends whether she means wave-powered projects or the various barrage schemes, which are extremely expensive and have a lot of environmental implications. The approach that we take through the CfD system is to pick the most effective, cheapest means of decarbonisation, because of course it all feeds back into consumer bills. If we adopted the approach she is suggesting, these technologies are relatively unproven and would add to consumer bills.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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My Lords, the Minister claims that we are making more progress than other European countries, but is it not because we started at such a low point? Let me give an example: we have the worst-insulated homes in Europe. Is it not the case that it is a very low level of improvement?

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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No, it is not. The figures I quoted started from a baseline of 1990, so it actually includes some of the progress made under previous Labour Governments. There is no question that of course we have a challenge: we have the oldest housing stock in Europe, a consequence of the Industrial Revolution. Six million homes were built before the First World War, so it is a challenge, but the figures still stand: we are making faster progress than any other G7 country.

Green Investment

Debate between Lord Watts and Lord Callanan
Tuesday 7th March 2023

(1 year, 3 months ago)

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Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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I am afraid I do not have that information to hand. I will need to write to my noble friend.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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My Lords, is it not the case that the American policy is being driven by the fact that living standards in America—and in Europe and here—have been dropping? The gap between rich and poor is getting wider, and Governments have so far failed to address that problem.

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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I do not agree with the noble Lord. There are reasons why the US adopted its policy —investment, which we welcome, into green renewable energy, et cetera. Of course, the US is starting from an awfully long way behind the UK. One of the reasons it has to put in such large subsidies is that it has not provided the long-term legislative certainty that we have.

Methane Emissions

Debate between Lord Watts and Lord Callanan
Wednesday 22nd February 2023

(1 year, 4 months ago)

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Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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I am sure that my noble friend has heard the noble Baroness’s point, and she makes a very salient contribution. It is vital that we implement food waste collection as fast as possible, and I am particularly keen to do that because we have a whole series of anaerobic digestors being rolled out across the country, generating clean green gas that can feed directly into the gas mains. We have a subsidy policy in place for that; it is an excellent scheme, and we want to expand it.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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My Lords, as well as failing in most areas of public policy, the Government are failing in the insulation of homes. Would not it be good for them to actually do something about this, as it would reduce pollution and help people with their energy bills?

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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It would indeed be good for the Government to do something about it—and, indeed, we are. We have an excellent insulation programme; we are spending something like £6.6 billion over this Parliament on insulation schemes. If the noble Lord would have a little patience, we will announce new schemes shortly. The Chancellor has already committed another £6 billion from 2025 for those schemes. Of course, there is always more that we can do—we have one of the biggest problems in Europe in terms of having the oldest housing stock, as many of our homes were built before the First World War. There is a lot to do, and we are doing a lot—and in essence the noble Lord is right, in that we can of course always do more on insulation, but let us not pretend that we are not doing anything at all.

Employment Rights Legislation

Debate between Lord Watts and Lord Callanan
Wednesday 1st February 2023

(1 year, 4 months ago)

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Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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I say to my noble friend that we have made it clear that we have no intention of weakening workers’ rights. I know this is a common refrain from the Opposition but let me repeat: UK standards did not depend on EU law. Let me give noble Lords an example. UK workers are entitled to 5.6 weeks of annual leave, compared with the EU requirement of four weeks. We provide a year of maternity leave, with the option to convert parental leave to enable parents to share care. The EU minimum maternity leave is 14 weeks. Our standards are far in excess of those provided by the EU.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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The Minister is quite wrong: some protections are better than the European average, but lots more are not. The Government are very fond of rolling over trade deals; why can they not roll over the protections British workers have now, so that they will not worry about their future conditions?

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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Perhaps the noble Lord could write and tell me what parts of British law have worse standards than are provided by the EU, because as far as I am concerned the vast majority of our standards are in excess of those offered by the EU. We will take the opportunity of reviewing retained EU law to update and modernise it to make it fit for the UK economy.

Vulnerable Households: Energy Costs

Debate between Lord Watts and Lord Callanan
Tuesday 31st January 2023

(1 year, 4 months ago)

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Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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There were a lot of questions there. The issue around social tariffs is that the warm home discount was introduced in the first place to replace various social tariffs on offer because this was considered to be a better way of supporting vulnerable households, but we always keep these things under review. I did not quite understand my noble friend’s point about excess profits. If she was talking about suppliers, many suppliers have actually gone bankrupt; they are not making excess profits. If she was talking about generators, we have already imposed an excess profit levy on generators.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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My Lords, will the Minister explain why energy bills in the UK are double what they are in the rest of Europe? Can he explain that to the customers?

REUL Bill: Trade Unions and Workers’ Rights

Debate between Lord Watts and Lord Callanan
Monday 23rd January 2023

(1 year, 5 months ago)

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Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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That criterion is imbedded in all choices. The whole idea of the REUL Bill is that we can have a proper look at EU retained law, change its status, see what is appropriate for the UK and what is not, and what can be removed and improved. That is the fundamental purpose of the Bill, but I am sure we are going to have all these discussions as the legislation proceeds.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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My Lords, why are the Government so obsessed with making workers’ rights worse than they are now? Will he answer the question asked by my noble friend Lord Woodley? Why will he not give a guarantee that no workers’ rights will be diminished by this legislation?

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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I thought I had answered the noble Lord, Lord Woodley, but let me repeat the point for the noble Lord, Lord Watts, who obviously was not listening closely. UK employment rights do not depend on the European Union. Let me give him some more examples of how our rights are better than in the EU. The right to flexible working for all employees was introduced in the UK in the early 2000s; the EU agreed such rules only recently. The UK introduced two weeks of paid paternity leave in 2003, but the EU has got around to that only recently.

Prime Minister: Trade Unions

Debate between Lord Watts and Lord Callanan
Monday 19th December 2022

(1 year, 6 months ago)

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Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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I am not familiar with the details of the negotiations. I can tell the noble and learned Lord only that the Government have accepted in full the recommendations of the pay review body. I assume that, when it reports again next year, it will take account of the inflation that has taken place this year.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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My Lords, do the Government understand that this pay review body made its award when there was low inflation? Inflation is now at 10% or higher. Is it not time that we asked it to look at this again and give a fair offer? It might not be above inflation, but it would be a lot fairer than the one being offered.

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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No matter how many times Opposition Members ask the same question, they will get the same answer. We have accepted the recommendation from the pay review body. The next step is that another pay review body will presumably look at the issue again next year and take account of the impact of inflation and workforce patterns on availability and recruitment, et cetera, for this year. That is the appropriate time to do it.

Employment Policies

Debate between Lord Watts and Lord Callanan
Tuesday 6th December 2022

(1 year, 6 months ago)

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Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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Of course, the UK is proud of its membership of the Council of Europe, but we have left the European Union.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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My Lords, the Minister blames train unions for the dispute. Would it not be more effective if he and the Government stopped interfering in those negotiations and allowed a fair settlement, then we could get back to normal business on our transport and our rail systems?

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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I agree with the noble Lord: I do blame the train unions for the strike, because they are the ones who are taking strike action and depriving people of the right to go and see their relatives and loved ones at Christmas.

Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland: Energy Supply Shortfalls

Debate between Lord Watts and Lord Callanan
Monday 21st November 2022

(1 year, 7 months ago)

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Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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I refer the noble Lord back to the Answer that I gave to the noble Baroness, Lady Ritchie. We are of course extremely concerned about the upcoming winter. Many emergency drills have been held and we are in close contact with operators both in Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland. I am pleased to say that co-operation is very good.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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My Lords, is it not a failure of the Government not to make sure that there is sufficient supply for energy, both in the UK and in Ireland? Is this not a failure of government policy?

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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I do not agree with the noble Lord: it is not a failure of policy. The whole world has been hit by a massive supply shock due to Putin’s war in Ukraine. If the noble Lord were correct and it was a failure of this Government’s policy, why is there a failure in France, Germany and the Netherlands? These countries are on the continent as well and are also suffering from a lack of gas supplies. In fact, the UK has been helping them out by using our LNG terminals to offload gas, piping it through the interconnectors and helping our European friends to rebuild their supplies.

Energy Supplies

Debate between Lord Watts and Lord Callanan
Wednesday 12th October 2022

(1 year, 8 months ago)

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Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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I agree with the first part of the question from the noble Baroness, but we do have a windfall tax on oil and gas producers: the energy price profits levy was announced earlier in the year. We do not propose a windfall tax on renewables. I welcome her support for increased supplies of wind energy.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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My Lords, does the Minister’s previous answer mean that the suggestion that the local people will have a say is meaningless, because the Government will overrule them?

Prepayment Meters: Pricing

Debate between Lord Watts and Lord Callanan
Tuesday 11th October 2022

(1 year, 8 months ago)

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Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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We certainly encourage them to do so. We are looking at the upcoming legislation, which the House will consider shortly, to ensure that not just people in situations such as houses of multiple occupation but also those on heat networks, those in temporary accommodation, et cetera, get the reduction passed on to them.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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My Lords, is it not the case that once again the regulators are failing the public? Is it not about time that the regulator in this case looked at standing charges again and did something about them?

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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I assume the noble Lord is referring to Ofgem. I can assure him that it looks very closely at the balance between standing charges and individual units, but the network has to bear certain standing costs, which are independent of individual units of gas and electricity. We talked earlier in this Question about the expansion of renewables. Of course, the expansion of renewables involves enormous changes to the structure and operation of the grid to make sure that that power can be transmitted around the country, and that has to be paid for.

North Sea Gas

Debate between Lord Watts and Lord Callanan
Wednesday 7th September 2022

(1 year, 9 months ago)

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Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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I do not know the answer to that question.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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My Lords, is it not the case that it is not up to a private energy company to decide whether it provides a facility to safeguard British gas to the customers? It is the Government’s responsibility, and it is the Government who have failed to make sure that there is sufficient gas in case of an emergency.

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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We have not failed to make sure there is sufficient gas in case of emergency. As I just said, we get 45% of our supplies from our domestic sources; we have extensive LNG terminals; we have a good relationship with Norway, which has another part of the North Sea and supplies gas to the UK. We are much better served than the rest of the European Union in these matters.

Employment Rights

Debate between Lord Watts and Lord Callanan
Tuesday 19th July 2022

(1 year, 11 months ago)

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Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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I am afraid that those figures are not available to me, but I am very happy to write to the noble Lord.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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My Lords, it will come as a great shock to many workers that the Government believe that their legislation gives workers the best protection in Europe. Would the Minister like to take the opportunity to spell out some of those measures, because I do not think many Members on this side understand what he is talking about?

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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As I said, the best right that workers can have is the right to a secure and well-paid job, which is what we are providing. I have also outlined during previous debates that we have employment rights in this country far in excess of most of the EU standards and which were retained under the Brexit withdrawal Bills. We have an excellent record of workers’ rights, and we should be proud of it.

Strikes: Cover by Agency Workers

Debate between Lord Watts and Lord Callanan
Tuesday 5th July 2022

(1 year, 11 months ago)

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Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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My Lords, why do the Government need the most restrictive measures in Europe? Why can they not follow the German model of working with working groups and trade unions to resolve disputes before they happen? What has changed between now and the P&O dispute, when the Government took a very hard line? They seem to be now doing exactly the same as P&O.

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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We are always happy to work with organisations that want to work with us. The P&O situation is entirely different; it seems clear that P&O acted unlawfully, although that is being investigated at the moment. We have a commitment to bring in legislation for minimum wage protection for seafarers.

Fire and Rehire

Debate between Lord Watts and Lord Callanan
Wednesday 15th June 2022

(2 years ago)

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Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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I am grateful to the noble Lord for accepting the point that I am making: it is a complicated area and an outright ban would not be appropriate. Therefore, I assume that he will not support the Bill from his noble friend. However, we are prepared to regulate in this sector, which is why we are talking about introducing a code. That code will have a positive effect and will be able to be taken into account in any industrial tribunal proceedings, potentially resulting in an increase in compensation awarded.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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My Lords, the Government take credit for the high employment in the UK and compare it with our neighbours in Europe, but if we compare poverty wages in the UK with the EU we find a different situation. Are the Government going to do anything about the poverty wages that exist in this country but are not allowed in other countries in Europe?

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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I am absolutely taking credit, on behalf of the Government, for the record low levels of unemployment. I assume the noble Lord would be arguing something different if the opposite were the case. The minimum wage in the UK was increased by 6.6% to £9.50 an hour earlier this year. We also now have one of the highest minimum wages in western Europe, something else I thought the Labour Party would recognise.

Vaccine Manufacturing and Innovation Centre

Debate between Lord Watts and Lord Callanan
Monday 25th April 2022

(2 years, 1 month ago)

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Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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I assure the noble Baroness that this is indeed not the case. Her question is fundamentally misconstrued. The centre was originally set up a number of years ago to look at the development of vaccines for Ebola; it was a private company then and remains a private company now. It was grant-aided during the pandemic as a precautionary measure in case we needed additional facilities. All the facilities which delivered vaccines were also all delivered by private companies. I am not sure where the Opposition are going with this question. Of course, the facility remains in the UK. It will expand its production and another £120 million will be invested in the facility; it will be able to contribute to vaccine production in the future if we need it.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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My Lords, if the Government do this, can the Minister guarantee, first, that if there is a need for a mass vaccination programme, we will have the ability to do it? Secondly, can he guarantee that it will be in the same cost frame as we have seen recently? When compared with the Americans, it seems a very cost-effective way of delivering things.

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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As I said, there are a number of other sites in the UK which also manufacture vaccines. If the Government need to procure vaccines for a future pandemic, I am sure that we will want to procure from this site, in addition to all the other sites which exist in the UK—all of which, I might add, are in private hands.

Behaviour Change for Net Zero

Debate between Lord Watts and Lord Callanan
Thursday 31st March 2022

(2 years, 2 months ago)

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Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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The noble Lord makes a very good point. There are a number of schemes in operation already, and a number of research programmes that we fund to help tidal power. There are a number of different schemes, of course, including proposals for lagoon tidal power, which has proved to be quite expensive at the moment, but we continue to keep these matters under review. We have a constant, ongoing round of contracts for difference, which is our main mechanism of support, and we will, I am sure, look forward to supporting such schemes in the future.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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My Lords, do the Government have any plans to insulate homes to a decent standard? We have some of the worst-insulated properties in Europe. When will the Government invest in that, to reduce our need for fuels of any sort?

Horizon Europe

Debate between Lord Watts and Lord Callanan
Wednesday 9th March 2022

(2 years, 3 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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I am afraid it is indeed the EU’s fault, and no amount of spinning from the Liberal Democrats will get away from that. We want to associate with the programme, we stand ready to do so and the money is available. If it proves to be not possible, we will spend equivalent sums on supporting UK science.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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My Lords, when the Government negotiated, did they make an “in principle” decision agreement or a cast-iron agreement? It is hard to believe that something that the European Commission agreed to as cast iron is now being rejected by it.

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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I am sorry that the noble Lord cannot believe that the European Commission could do anything wrong, but this is actually part of the trade and co-operation agreement that the EU and the UK signed up to. We want to see all parts of that agreement implemented.

North Sea Oil and Gas

Debate between Lord Watts and Lord Callanan
Thursday 10th February 2022

(2 years, 4 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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No, we are not reviewing our position, is the short answer to my noble friend’s question. Let me explain this issue: there is currently a moratorium on fracking because of the tremendous seismological damage that it caused. We remain open to reviewing this if it can be demonstrated that fracking can go ahead in a safe and responsible manner, but nobody should run away with the idea that this could be a solution to our problems. The quantities produced would be relatively small and they would not impact on the current high prices and it would be many years, perhaps even decades, before significant quantities could come on stream, even if we overcame all of the environmental problems and gave the go-ahead tomorrow.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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My Lords, a previous question was about why we are exporting something that we desperately need in the UK. People cannot understand why we are still exporting, when there is a shortage and we are having difficulties getting supplies in the UK. Can the Minister explain it?

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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Yes, I realise that it is counterintuitive but supplies are required in different parts of the country. We are importing and exporting. The corollary to the noble Lord’s question would be to say that we seal the borders, disconnect all our interconnection pipelines and import no further LNG—and we would not have enough supplies to satisfy our domestic demand in such circumstances. We import and we export, but the point remains that we are a net importer of both oil and gas supplies.

National Living Wage

Debate between Lord Watts and Lord Callanan
Monday 17th January 2022

(2 years, 5 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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Obviously I was not in government at the time but, looking back at the debate, a lot of independent economists were concerned about the possible impact. As I indicated in previous answers, nobody wants to see rises in unemployment. At the end of the day, low pay is better than no pay at all. But I am delighted to say that with the increases in the national minimum wage—and our record on this is second to none—we have seen the national living wage outpace the rate of inflation by over 20 percentage points since we have been in power. That is a good thing: it has not resulted in a rise in unemployment, and I think that is something we should all welcome.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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My Lords, the Minister takes credit for the increases the Government have introduced. Given the cost of energy and foodstuffs to low-income families, does he think the increase that he is taking credit for will compensate those families for the increases they now face?

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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We take credit because the Government accepted the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission, which, as I have indicated, was set up to consider all these matters. But I agree with the noble Lord: it is going to be difficult—the cost of living is going to increase substantially, probably, over the next few months, with food and energy prices. It comes back to the points made by some of my noble friends earlier: it is important that we get a grip on inflation because that is something that affects the lowest paid the most.

Small Business Commissioner: Late Payments

Debate between Lord Watts and Lord Callanan
Tuesday 7th December 2021

(2 years, 6 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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My noble friend is tempting me to get into dictionary definitions and semantics. As he well knows, I cannot give a precise timescale for the processes of government, but we are working on the issues and we will respond as soon as we can.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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My Lords, it seems that, if the Government do not want to do something, they set up a review body and then forget about it for a year or two. Would it not be a good idea to set a timescale for any review, so that we can have some accountability in this House?

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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We do not just set up a review body; we have a consultation, as we are obliged to for all legislative proposals. It is important to get responses from all concerned. I have had many debates in this House where people have criticised us for lack of, or inappropriate lengths of, consultation, so I make no apologies for going through the consultation process. It is important to gain a range of views on this subject. We need to take the time to respond to it properly and correctly, and we will do so.

Artistic Content: Copyright Protection

Debate between Lord Watts and Lord Callanan
Monday 2nd March 2020

(4 years, 3 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan
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As the noble Lord will be aware, the UK has now left the EU and the transition period will end on 31 December. This means that the UK is not required to implement the copyright directive, but the UK has one of the strongest copyright protection frameworks in the world. Many of these are subject to international treaties, which we will continue to be members of. We will continue to value the creative sector; of course its work should be recognised.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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My Lords, the creative industries will face major problems when we finally leave Europe. Is the Minister working with the industry to do something about visas, which are a particular problem for travelling artists?

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan
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The visa system will be the subject of negotiation. The UK is about to implement a new immigration system, but we will, of course, want to continue to co-operate closely with our friends in the EU on these matters. Artists will continue to want to transfer backwards and forwards for their work.