All 1 Baroness Watkins of Tavistock contributions to the European Union (Future Relationship) Act 2020

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Wed 30th Dec 2020
European Union (Future Relationship) Bill
Lords Chamber

3rd reading & 2nd reading (Hansard) & Committee negatived (Hansard) & 3rd reading (Hansard) & 2nd reading (Hansard) & 2nd reading (Hansard): House of Lords & 3rd reading (Hansard) & 3rd reading (Hansard): House of Lords & Committee negatived (Hansard) & Committee negatived (Hansard): House of Lords & 2nd reading & Committee negatived

European Union (Future Relationship) Bill Debate

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Department: Cabinet Office

European Union (Future Relationship) Bill

Baroness Watkins of Tavistock Excerpts
3rd reading & 2nd reading & Committee negatived & 2nd reading (Hansard) & 2nd reading (Hansard): House of Lords & 3rd reading (Hansard) & 3rd reading (Hansard): House of Lords & Committee negatived (Hansard) & Committee negatived (Hansard): House of Lords
Wednesday 30th December 2020

(3 years, 5 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate European Union (Future Relationship) Act 2020 Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts Amendment Paper: Committee of the whole House Amendments as at 30 December 2020 - (30 Dec 2020)
Baroness Watkins of Tavistock Portrait Baroness Watkins of Tavistock (CB)
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I am delighted that this agreement is before us and I will vote in support of it. Like many others, I voted to remain in the referendum, but I have always respected the outcome. I had real concerns that leaving on WTO terms would result in severe consequences for many in the UK and I therefore believe the framework agreement before us is very appealing in comparison.

I live on Dartmoor and have many farming friends in the West Country. I know the anxiety they have been experiencing with the fear of no-deal Brexit. What would they do with the lambs due next spring if massive tariffs were placed on exports to the EU? This deal enables ongoing no-tariff exports—an enormous gain in comparison to no-deal. My nearest city, Plymouth, rests on engineering and fishing. Both industries gain from the deal before us. The increase in fish available to UK fishermen to catch may be smaller and take longer to achieve than initially desired, but now our fishing industry will be able to continue exporting its catch to the EU. A no-deal scenario may have enabled a bigger gain in catch, but the potential tariffs could have resulted in a false victory if we could not sell it at higher prices to the EU. I am convinced that so many fishing communities and farmers voted for Brexit because they really believed that it will benefit rural communities. The engineering opportunities in, for example shipbuilding in Devon, are expected to increase as a result of no longer being required to follow EU tendering rules for English and UK requirements.

As a previous deputy vice-chancellor of the University of Plymouth, I am disappointed that the Government have chosen to withdraw from the Erasmus scheme. I will say no more, as so many people have explained the reasons for this.

Finally, I ask the Minister how the Government plan to ensure that there are sufficient health and care staff to provide high-quality care, given that the agreement does not include mutual recognition of professional qualifications and care workers’ salaries do not meet the salaries set for those wishing to come from abroad? Will consideration be given to adding care work to the shortage occupation lists in relation to immigration?

I join with others in congratulating the noble Lord, Lord Frost, and his team on negotiating the agreement and the Prime Minster on his tenacity in the final stages of its development. The newspapers report that his multilingual ability was of particular value at this point. I hope that we can ensure that the next generation get the opportunity to gain experience and linguistic abilities through Erasmus or the Turing scheme if we can design it in a similar way.