Neale Hanvey debates involving the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy during the 2019 Parliament

Net Zero Strategy and Heat and Buildings Strategy

Neale Hanvey Excerpts
Tuesday 19th October 2021

(6 days, 22 hours ago)

Commons Chamber

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Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Greg Hands Portrait Greg Hands
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I thank my hon. Friend, who is a tireless advocate for Ynys Môn, particularly on the economy and jobs. Of course, Ynys Môn, the whole of Wales and north Wales will benefit from the new green jobs that this net zero strategy will help to foster. The new money announced today for the future nuclear enabling fund is for optionality for the future, so that we can make future decisions based on good information on nuclear. Obviously, that includes potential for sites such as Wylfa.

Neale Hanvey Portrait Neale Hanvey (Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath) (Alba)
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The Minister talks, in effect, of crumbs for Scotland, the renewable energy capital of Europe, with a few jobs as technicians offshore, whereas my constituency is the fourth most impacted by the cuts to working tax credit and universal credit. We can couple that with the escalation of fuel prices, so I want to know: why do the UK Government insist on levying connection charges not to France or the Nordic countries, but uniquely to Scotland, driving away investment, jobs and ambitions for our green future and for an end to fuel poverty in Scotland?

Greg Hands Portrait Greg Hands
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I did not quite understand the hon. Gentleman’s point about connectivity, but what I will say to him is this: Scotland is vital for the UK’s energy needs, both currently and in the future. On oil and gas, 50% of the gas currently consumed in this country comes from the UK continental shelf, and Scotland is vital for that. It is also vital for our future offshore wind capabilities, and other low-carbon and renewable energies. That is exactly the technology, capability and capacity that I saw last week in Aberdeen. Perhaps he might get a little more optimistic about Scotland’s future when it comes to energy, because I certainly am.

UK Gas Market

Neale Hanvey Excerpts
Kwasi Kwarteng Portrait Kwasi Kwarteng
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It would be foolhardy of me to speculate at the Dispatch Box on what the gas price will be even tomorrow. If I were in a position to know what the prices would be at a later date, I would probably not be a politician; I would probably be a gas trader. That aside, however, I think we have to accept that the prices could be high for longer than people anticipate, just as they could fall very quickly. The marginal dynamics of these markets can shift extremely rapidly. Those of us who followed the oil price last year will have seen that we had an oil price of $20 a barrel, and that in the same year it reached nearly $80. There is a considerable amount of volatility in these markets, and it would be rash of me to predict their course.

As I said earlier, we are committed to nuclear, which is the third point in the 10-point plan, and that means not just large-scale nuclear, but small modular reactors as well.

Neale Hanvey Portrait Neale Hanvey (Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath) (Alba)
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It is beyond doubt that Scotland is an energy-rich nation, but a quarter of our people live in fuel poverty. If the Secretary of State is a free-marketeer and is not prepared to see taxpayer support go into the market, does he not think it is time for a publicly owned energy company to be brought into being to help us through such difficult times?

Kwasi Kwarteng Portrait Kwasi Kwarteng
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I do not really follow the hon. Gentleman’s question. On the one hand, he is saying that I am a free marketeer, but then he is asking me whether I think there should be a state-owned energy company. I think I would avoid the latter outcome, in so far as I can, but as I always say in these things, we are looking at all options. I think that there are market-based solutions. I think that the industry will come together and that, with the Government and Ofgem, we can plot a course through this.

Covid-19 Update

Neale Hanvey Excerpts
Nadhim Zahawi Portrait Nadhim Zahawi
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I am grateful to my hon. Friend for her excellent question and for the work that she does in her constituency to highlight the benefits of being vaccinated—and fully vaccinated. The work that has gone on in Hyndburn is tremendous. We are working with local government to ensure that the NHS has flexibility, whether that is to launch pop-up sites or to increase the hours of vaccination during this period of Eid celebration in order to encourage more of our Muslim fellow citizens to come forward and get vaccinated. Of course, we are ensuring that there is lots of messaging and that people are just pointed to information, including through hyper-local media as well as some of the media with which my hon. Friend’s generation will be more familiar than mine, such as TikTok, social media influencers and YouTubers. That is all happening at scale. It is great to see that the number of appointments booked under the national booking system has almost doubled in the last couple of days, but there are also the walk-in centres, where people can just walk in and get their jab without an appointment.

Neale Hanvey Portrait Neale Hanvey (Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath) (Alba)
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Mr Speaker, may I add my party’s thanks to you, to the House staff and to everyone across these islands who has worked so hard to save and preserve life during the pandemic?

I want to pick up on a vital component of vaccination that I believe the Government need to give great attention to. It will not have escaped the Minister’s attention, and anyone who has attended the regular briefings that we have had around the virus will have seen in Professor Van-Tam’s heat maps the distribution and upward spread of the virus, whereby it seeds in the younger population and exponentially grows up through the ages.

I really want to ask the Minister why he thinks the JCVI are being extremely cautious in extending vaccination to 12 to 17-year-olds, given that the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has now been vaccinating that population in the States—with some concerns, but, I think, manageable numbers of concerns—and why we are not progressing more vigorously to vaccinate that population and are limiting it to those with underlying health concerns or those related to people with underlying health concerns. There is a fundamental advantage to vaccinating this group, because it will increase their wellbeing and improve their access to schooling after their holidays, but, more importantly, it acts as—

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker
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Order. We have to be quicker if we can or nobody else is going to get in today; that is not fair to other Members. Questions in a statement have to be short. I hope that the hon. Gentleman is going to finish in a second.

Neale Hanvey Portrait Neale Hanvey
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I will finish now, Mr Speaker; I apologise.

Does the Minister not see the advantage of delivering those vaccines now, and what do we do if we decide that that needs to go live during the recess?

Nadhim Zahawi Portrait Nadhim Zahawi
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That is a very important question. The JCVI is constantly reviewing the data from other countries that are vaccinating all children of 12 to 15 years old. Its concern has been centred around vaccinating healthy children. There is a very rare signal of myocarditis on first dose. The JCVI is awaiting more data on second dose. It will continue to review that and will come back to us, and, of course, we will come back to the House.

Covid-19 Update

Neale Hanvey Excerpts
Monday 19th July 2021

(3 months, 1 week ago)

Commons Chamber

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Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Nadhim Zahawi Portrait Nadhim Zahawi
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I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his excellent question. As I mentioned in my statement, an impact statement has been published today, and a full impact assessment will be made. Just to bring it to life for him, to reassure him and the House, I can say that Barchester Healthcare, one of the providers, has about 16,000 employees, so it is quite a large sample to look at, and it has implemented this policy early. When it consulted its workforce on the duty of deployment, it managed successfully to get the workforce to be vaccinated —they were on a priority list in phase 1 of the vaccination programme—and only 78 out of the workforce of 16,000, or about 0.5%, actually chose not to and no longer work for Barchester Healthcare. I hope that gives him some reassurance that we look at this data very carefully.

Neale Hanvey Portrait Neale Hanvey (Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath) (Alba)
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I would like to pay tribute to the Minister for his work on probably the only functioning part of the Government’s response to covid, but all of that work is at risk because of the Prime Minister’s surrender strategy.

In my Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath constituency, I have one case—I will give it as an example—of a young girl who had eight negative lateral flow test results, but as she was symptomatic her parents insisted on a PCR test, and that was positive. A cluster has grown up around the young person and her family, and they are obviously in great distress not just because of her infection, but because of the consequences. So why do the Government, both here and in the devolved countries, persist in using discredited lateral flow devices that are not designed for use in asymptomatic subjects—they are designed for use in symptomatic subjects—and that are designed for use in the professional setting, not for self-administering that test? We have domestic tests that excel in both and that beat the current tests hands down, but they are not being contracted. Can the Minister please advise the House why the Government are blind to the domestic diagnostics industry?

Nadhim Zahawi Portrait Nadhim Zahawi
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I thank the hon. Member for his question. I would just respectfully say that, on the contrary, the Government work with the diagnostics industry. Indeed, we were able to scale up. When we entered this pandemic, we were only capable of doing about 2,000 tests a day, but we now have a PCR testing capacity of 600,000, as he will have heard earlier, and millions of lateral flow tests. I think it is the combination of both those things that works, but if there are other companies in his constituency or indeed elsewhere in the country that he thinks are worth looking at, I will certainly put them through to the relevant team in the Department.

Covid-19

Neale Hanvey Excerpts
Nadhim Zahawi Portrait Nadhim Zahawi
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I join my hon. Friend in thanking the local team for going above and beyond, and, as I said earlier, it is all about that spirit of Dunkirk and the coming together of the nation to deliver the vaccination programme. A couple of weeks ago, the Prime Minister announced the therapeutics taskforce, which is moving at pace to identify therapeutics and antivirals to help people who, for whatever reason, cannot be vaccinated and to give us a greater arsenal in our armoury against this pandemic.

Neale Hanvey Portrait Neale Hanvey (Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath) (Alba) [V]
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I get my second vaccine tomorrow, so I would also like to thank all of the NHS staff and other staff who have made this possible in such a quick turnaround. However, all of that cannot conceal the opacity of the UK Government’s position on accusations of cronyism and corruption, but, thanks to the Good Law Project, that is finally being challenged in the High Court this week. I have been attempting to get to the heart of the procurement of unlicensed lateral flow tests and been met with glib obfuscation from the Department. Can the Minister therefore tell me: when was the contract for these devices signed; was it known at the time that these tests were not licensed by the MHRA for asymptomatic testing; which Minister approved this contract; and if the Government really have nothing to hide, why do they just not come clean?

Nadhim Zahawi Portrait Nadhim Zahawi
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I just remind the hon. Member that, at this Dispatch Box, the Prime Minister announced a full inquiry that will take place in the spring of 2022, where we can learn all the lessons of the covid pandemic and the Government’s response to it. Suffice to say that all contracting is published in the appropriate way, and civil servants follow the exact rules around contracting.

Covid-19 Vaccine Update

Neale Hanvey Excerpts
Thursday 4th February 2021

(8 months, 3 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber

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Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Nadhim Zahawi Portrait Nadhim Zahawi
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I am grateful to the Chair of the Health and Social Care Committee for his question, and he is absolutely right. The manufacturers are already working on variants to their vaccine to take into account the mutation of the virus. Viruses will mutate to survive and this virus is no different. There are about 4,000 mutations now around the world, some more concerning than others. We have, in the United Kingdom, a genome sequencing industry that is a world leader—about 50%, or just under, of the sequencing has taken place in the United Kingdom. Not only are we working with the current manufacturers—Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca and Moderna —that have been approved, but we are also looking at how we can make sure that we make the most of the new messenger RNA technology, which allows the rapid development of vaccine variants that will then deal with the virus variants as rapidly as possible. When I spoke to the Science and Technology Committee a few weeks ago, I said that we were planning to have in place the ability to go from the moment that we can sequence a variant that we are really concerned about to the moment that we can have a vaccine ready in between 30 to 40 days, with then, of course, the manufacturing time.

We have invested in Oxfordshire, in the Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre, and in the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult Manufacturing Innovation Centre in Braintree—£127 million there and just shy of £100 million in Oxfordshire—to be ready to manufacture any vaccine that we would need. The Prime Minister, of course, also visited those making what I refer to as our seventh vaccine, the Valneva vaccine. That is a whole inactivated virus, so it does not just work on the spikes in the way that the two current vaccines that we are deploying work. It works on the whole of the virus, which is much more likely to capture any mutations from the spikes and therefore be incredibly effective. We have invested in that production facility in Scotland so that we can have that vaccine as a future-proofing of annual vaccination strategies or a booster in the autumn, if necessary.

Neale Hanvey Portrait Neale Hanvey (Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath) (SNP) [V]
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I thank the Minister for advance sight of his statement. I am glad to hear his recognition of the importance of adherence to the clinical categories of the JCVI, and I also give my thanks to vaccination teams in my Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath constituency, across Scotland and, indeed, these islands.

I urge the Minister, however, to think more lightly of himself and deeply of the world. Over recent weeks, the UK Government and their allies in Scotland have quite disgracefully been attempting to sow fear in the minds of our vulnerable communities that vaccine deployment is too slow. That narrative was completely debunked yesterday, yet the Prime Minister still claimed that we have today passed the milestone of 10 million vaccines in the United Kingdom, including almost 90% of those aged 75 and over in England, and every eligible person in a care home. Today, however, on “Good Morning Scotland”, the Minister was further pressed on how many vaccines had been given—not offered, but given to people in care homes in England. Even with 24 hours’ warning and following a detailed probing, he was not able to offer more than a vague 91% of those eligible in an ill-defined subset, before settling on “a very high number”, and suggesting that care home staff’s vaccination may not yet have begun in England. Can he tell us today what percentage of all care home residents and all care home staff have had their jab in England and, if not, why not?

To return to the JCVI clinical prioritisation, in a recent written parliamentary question to the Minister regarding the clinically extremely vulnerable, he chose to regurgitate JCVI guidance rather than answering the question. With the encouraging news that the Oxford vaccine and potentially others have a measurable impact on transmission, can he update the House on what steps he has taken to ask the JCVI to review current guidance for household members of the clinically extremely vulnerable, such as people with blood cancer or organ transplantation, and thus provide a vital layer of protection to those who may not be able to receive the vaccine themselves?

Nadhim Zahawi Portrait Nadhim Zahawi
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I am grateful for the hon. Member’s question, albeit, dare I say, I do not recognise his description of our collaboration. We have, over the past two weeks, been working solidly. The British Army—the armed forces—have been working to deliver 80 vaccination sites in Scotland and to hand them over to NHS Scotland within 28 days, and that work began a couple of weeks ago. So I hope he recognises the effort the United Kingdom is putting in not just in supplying the vaccines for Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England, but in the way we are trying to support the vaccine deployment in Scotland.

Of course, last weekend was our target to make sure that every eligible care home in England was visited, and over 10,000 care homes have actually been visited and received the vaccine. Only a handful of care homes, which were deemed to have an outbreak, were not visited. The NHS, quite rightly, celebrated achieving that target last weekend, so I am slightly saddened, in a way, that there is this politicking between ourselves about this issue.

We continue—as the shadow Minister, the hon. Member for Nottingham North (Alex Norris), asked me—to work very hard to make sure that staff in care homes are also offered the vaccine on those visits, and they also have an opportunity to be vaccinated in their primary care networks and, of course, in hospitals.

On the JCVI, those who are clinically extremely vulnerable are in category 4, and we will vaccinate them by mid-February.

Charity-funded Medical Research

Neale Hanvey Excerpts
Rachael Maskell Portrait Rachael Maskell
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I thank the hon. Gentleman for that intervention. The interdependence of the various sectors in coming together really puts the UK in a unique position in the way it advances so much medicine. Over recent months, in response to covid-19, we have also seen the incredible work of all the sectors, which have come together to try to beat this virus. Charities play that crucial role, and they are playing it today as they try to support individuals through this difficult time.

We know that a £310 million shortfall in funding will have significant consequences. Cuts always do. As we heard, it will take about four and a half years to recover from the downturn. Tragically, that will all be too late for some. This year alone, it is predicted that we will see a 41% decline in research spending. Many PhDs, fellowships and other opportunities will be denied, cutting vital skills in medical research. If postgraduate researchers do not have the opportunity to apply their skills and knowledge, we will be at risk of losing a generation of medical research. That is why significant investment is needed to save the sector.

With 34% of staff furloughed, clinical trials have been paused and delayed to protect research in the longer term. Without additional funding, there is little hope that those trials will restart. That means that families, such as that of a constituent who came to me, will never see the opportunity to extend their lives and to have a quality life for longer.

The sector is rightly calling for a life science charity partnership fund to fund the research part of its work. That would be built on a match funding principle and would start with a three-year programme of investment into research. The Medical Research Council is seeking a commitment of £310 million in its first year to match the funding it has lost this year due to the lack of funding resource. Not only will that research-driven approach help with economic recovery in the wider field and reduce unemployment, but it help us to continue to lead advances in medicine.

Like all charities, medical research charities have not been served well during this crisis. In fact, that has been a major oversight on the part of the Government. Medical research charities provide not just research but crucial support to their beneficiaries. Over the last six months, I have met many research charities, which have told me about the work they are undertaking, and that work has expanded during the pandemic.

Many organisations provide support services to the people and families who depend on them. The NHS is less accessible, so people have turned to the charities they know and trust for additional advice and support. Regular therapeutic interventions have often not been available on the NHS because of its focus on covid-19—we all understand that—and appointments have been cancelled. People have turned to the charities they know and the relationships they have to seek advice on issues such as where to get food, shielding, what protections they have for their health, and how to support relatives and family members at such a delicate time.

Other organisations, which would normally provide psychological support or respite support or perhaps fund parents to stay near their child as they receive treatment, have also been under great strain. Many of these organisations have described demand for their helpline more than doubling as people turn to them for support. However, they have not received additional support from the Government in response to covid.

Yes, the Government did provide £750 million to all charities, although we must remember that 168,000 charities have had to share that money. However, I must stress that that money was for additional support directly relating to covid-19. Of that money, £2 million went straight to the hospice movement, and rightly so, although that money is now spent, and more is needed. The rest is being divided between the larger charities, and there is a pot for smaller organisations. However, the majority of charities have not received anything over this time, and we have heard today that medical research charities certainly have not had their share.

This was all a direct response to covid, and we have seen more demands being placed on charities, as I have set out. That has also meant that more investment is needed by those organisations. Charities themselves may have direct funding for funded spend, but they are really struggling with their core costs. If their core costs are not met, the charities cannot deliver the specific outcomes we all know so much about from our constituents. It is vital, therefore, that the Government step up tomorrow with a package to address those core costs. Charities have already lost £10 billion in the last six months, and they predict they will lose 60,000 staff. Some 20% of charities will not be there if the Government do not make that investment. They say they value charities, but charities need valuing with resources, and without those resources, they will not continue.

We know that fundraising opportunities have all but dried up. We know that retail, which has been successful since its return, has now been locked down yet again, and therefore the income of organisations is in a perilous situation. That is why the Government need to step up at this point. Many charities did not qualify for the grants that were available, and of course have struggled and still have bills to pay. As the charity sector says itself, rightly and proudly, it has never been more needed, but I would add that it has never been more in need. That is why it is vital that, after today’s debate, the Minister goes back to the Treasury one more time to make the case for research charities and all charities, to make sure they have the research support, funding and investment they need.

Charities are not an optional extra. We know that because, as we have heard during today’s debate, the outcomes they deliver—in not only research but care support and civil society—transform people’s lives. Some 7 million people every year generously donate to medical research charities, often as the result of personal experience or the loss of a loved one. The paucity of the response compared with the public contribution needs to be addressed. Charities stretch their pound further than any other sector, and they provide the highest standards in research and care. They are essential, yet in just a few months’ time, they may no longer be there. We need a robust response from the Minister today, and we need a financial response from the Chancellor tomorrow.

Neale Hanvey Portrait Neale Hanvey (Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath) (SNP)
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24 Nov 2020, midnight

Thank you for chairing this debate, Ms McVey; it is a pleasure to speak in it. I thank the hon. Member for Vale of Clwyd (Dr Davies) for securing it and for his lucid and compelling presentation of his arguments.

For most of my career in the NHS, I was involved in the delivery and management of clinical trials, from surgical interventions, radiotherapy and chemotherapy to nursing and allied health professional research. This activity was conducted in the pursuit of improving cancer treatment and outcomes, but clinical trials are also essential in developing effective treatments for multiple sclerosis, myalgic encephalomyelitis, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, heart and lung disease, and many others. While we may all hope that we will not rely on this research at some point in the future, the progress that is so regularly made reassures us that we are often at the vanguard of effective treatments and care.

However, clinical trials do not appear out of thin air. They are underpinned by groundbreaking scientific discoveries that must translate from bench to bedside, where research initiated in the laboratory is safely developed for clinical use to provide direct benefits to patients. Such translational research evolves from basic experiments in the laboratory—at the bench—to pre-clinical research, before commencing study design, protocol development, and then starting the process of phased clinical trials.

I intend to focus my remarks on childhood cancer, but before I do, it is really important to me—I pay tribute to the words that have already been said on this topic—to mention other vital charities that have made enormous advances in care, but that have yet to receive any meaningful support during the pandemic. The worthiness of these charities—CLIC Sargent, Teenage Cancer Trust and of course Macmillan Cancer Support, to name but a few—is beyond question. Their specialised support is a lifeline to so many. Many other disease-specific charities are in a similar boat, so we must not forget them either.

Every single day across these islands, 12 families get the heartbreaking news that their child has cancer. Although I have participated in the breaking of such distressing news more times than I care to recall, as a parent I still cannot imagine how such news must feel. Despite the fact that much of my clinical and academic work focused on teenage cancer care, I still find the statistics shocking. About 4,500 children and young people are diagnosed with cancer each year, and although significant progress has been made in recent years in developing treatments—for leukaemia, for example—due to the often rare nature of cancer diagnoses at that age, it is still the most common cause of death in under-15s across the UK.

Covid-19 is having an unimaginable impact on charity fundraising—the lifeblood of the research process—and is putting vital treatment developments at risk. Medical research, development and innovation are an integral and vital part of the NHS and Scotland’s health strategy. Charities’ funding has been hit hard during the pandemic at a time when many of the causes they exist to support have come under additional pressures. It is therefore incumbent on the UK Government to ensure that the comprehensive spending review is not wasted on warfare but rewards the life sciences, which have been the only effective weapon in our armoury against covid. That must include supporting charity-funded medical research.

I recently spoke to Mark Brider, chief executive officer of Children with Cancer UK, an organisation that has raised more than £250 million since its creation in 1987 to support families and improve childhood cancer survival rates. The groundbreaking research it funds has led to the development of kinder, more effective treatments with fewer debilitating toxic effects. Childhood cancer survival rates for some cancers have subsequently increased from 64% in 1990 to 84% in 2017.

Children with Cancer UK has warned that it faces an income loss of about 40% as a result of the covid pandemic. It warns that, without additional support, much of its planned medical research will be cancelled, setting cancer research back by many years. It is not alone. A study this year revealed that charities in the UK are facing a £10 billion shortfall, and that as many as 10% face bankruptcy.

Members of the Association of Medical Research Charities are calling on the Government to commit to a life sciences charity partnership fund—a co-investment scheme that would provide a level of match funding from the Government for future research. AMRC charities play a vital and unique role in the UK’s research sector, funding 17,000 researchers’ salaries across universities, the NHS and other bodies. They invested £1.9 billion in medical research in the UK last year.

The covid-19 pandemic had an immediate impact of those charities, with a reported 38% loss in fundraising income, 34% of staff furloughed and 18% of spend on research in universities cut or cancelled as a result of the initial lockdown period. The long-term impact of covid-19 on AMRC charities looks to be just as devastating, with an estimated £310 million shortfall in UK medical research spend. It will take four and a half years to recover to pre-pandemic levels. Medical research charities did not benefit from the Government’s earlier package of support for charities, as medical research was considered outwith the remit of funding frontline services. It is vital that support for their work is included in the comprehensive spending review.

Charities have predicted that the shortfall could have a range of impacts, from preventing them from funding clinical trials and studies, to causing them to defer upcoming grant rounds and withdraw future funding. The British Heart Foundation has already announced that it has cut spending on new research awards by half this year, from £100 million to £50 million. Cancer Research UK has also reported cuts of £44 million in its research funding, and it says that 40% of charity-funded early-career scientists are considering leaving research as a result of funding concerns caused by covid. Without that support, CRUK could be forced to lose 1,500 researchers—more than a third of its research workforce. Already, 61% of charities have had to cut or cancel support for early-career researchers and skilled research roles.

Such a reduction in charity-funded research will have a major impact on the future skills pipeline of research and put early-career positions at serious risk. This means that the UK faces the creation of a lost generation of researchers and experts. Scotland and the other UK nations are world-renowned for research quality. Yet if medical research charities do not receive further financial help, the damage could be significant and, in concert with a hard Brexit, could cause irreparable damage to the sector.

Last month I wrote to the Treasury, supporting AMRC’s calls for the establishment of a life sciences charity partnership fund to support medical research charities. A total of 51 cross-party parliamentarians co-signed my letter, setting out the long-term consequences for the future of medical research and development without this urgent financial support.

We have called on the Government to provide at least £310 million in funding in the financial year 2021 to a life sciences charity partnership fund, to secure medical research for the next three years, thus preserving research charities’ vital and unique contribution to society and to the economy. That would be matched by funding from charities to secure the continuity of their research.

Establishing such a fund would not only safeguard medical research funding at this vital time, but ensure that the research institutions can continue to invest in talent and skills at a time when they are sorely needed. The fund would help contribute to a shared ambition to invest unprecedented levels in research and development across the four nations of the UK, and form a global hub for life sciences. Today’s medical research is tomorrow’s curative treatment. Collectively, medical research charities have saved millions of lives. Thanks to research, cancer survival in the UK has doubled since the 1970s, so that today two in four people survive their cancer.

In the pursuit of addressing the covid health crisis, we must be mindful that, in not delivering support in the form of the life sciences charity partnership fund, we inadvertently create a health crisis caused by stalling, or otherwise compromising, life-saving research from the bench to the bedside.

Lucy Powell Portrait Lucy Powell (Manchester Central) (Lab/Co-op)
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24 Nov 2020, 12:02 a.m.

It is, as always, a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Ms McVey. I congratulate the hon. Members for Vale of Clwyd (Dr Davies) and for Bolton West (Chris Green), my near neighbour, on securing this extremely important and well-timed debate. We have heard some good and compelling speeches from across the board, from my hon. Friends the Members for Blaydon (Liz Twist) and for York Central (Rachael Maskell), and the hon. Members for Bath (Wera Hobhouse) and for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath (Neale Hanvey). We are all making similar arguments.

By way of opening, we have heard many debates over recent weeks, both here and in the main Chamber, about the sectors and parts of our society that have been drastically hit by the consequences of the covid-19 crisis. I congratulate the hon. Member for Vale of Clwyd on bringing forward the debate because it is an area that has had a lot less attention than some others.

As others have said, as we are all making similar arguments, medical research charities carry out vital work that helps us to understand diseases and find new ways to treat, manage and prevent conditions. They provide that hope and support for many that would otherwise not be there. As the hon. Member for Vale of Clwyd clearly outlined, we have a world-class sector in the UK. From state-of-the-art brain imaging, which helps us learn more about the earlier stages in diseases such as Alzheimer’s, to the development of novel techniques to help revive and repair donor kidneys before transplantation, and to the study of data to help speed up cancer diagnosis, medical research is changing lives, especially with some of the rare diseases that we have discussed today.

During the covid crisis, charity funding has plummeted, which has had a stark and immediate knock-on impact on medical research, as we have heard. Charities are projecting that it will take more than four years for spend to return to pre-crisis levels. With a big chunk of around half of all medical research coming from charities, we must not underestimate the impact that will have and continue to have on the health and wellbeing of our country for many years to come.

The UK sector is facing an existential crisis, yet, like so many other sectors, it has unfortunately so far been excluded from specific Government support. Medical research charities predict a shortfall in spend over the next year of at least £310 million. Research by the IPPR reveals that medical research charities expect this year to lose 38% of fundraising income, and over 25% next year. The thinktank estimates that there will be a cumulative £7.8 billion shortfall in health research and development investment between now and 2027, or 10% of all UK health R&D.

What does that mean in practical terms? As we have heard in the debate, there is, first, the immediate impact on medical trials and research and on patients and all those affected by disease. Almost three quarters of clinical trials and studies funded by AMRC charities were either scrapped or mothballed during the first lockdown, and although some have been picked since, many have not. Medical studies to be cancelled or stalled include those tackling the UK’s biggest killers—dementia, coronary heart disease and cancer—which could have long-term consequences. The Stroke Association states that three quarters of its funded research projects have been suspended because of the pandemic.

In the long term, less money for medical research means fewer trials and studies and fewer patients able to participate in this life-changing work. Last year, 213,000 people took part in 1,200 clinical trials or studies funded by medical research charities. Medical research charities have played a key role in breakthroughs over the past century, and we heard about some of them today.

The second impact is on researchers and the skilled workforce. Medical research investment is used to fund PhD students, fellowships and other early career researchers. Last year, 17,000 researcher salaries were funded by AMRC charities. Less money simply means fewer of them; fewer of them means losing out on their skills and talents, and on the important scientific progress that they could make in the years ahead. It will also further accelerate the unemployment crisis we face. Sadly, a recent AMRC study found that four in 10 are considering leaving research altogether, owing to funding concerns. The same survey found that 61% of charities have had to cut or cancel support for early career researchers and the skilled research roles.

The third impact is on health R&D funding and the wider economy. Nosediving research and development will affect the whole economy. As we have heard, every £1 invested in medical research delivers a return equivalent to roughly an extra 25p on that investment.

Charity research funding stimulates investment from the private sector, as we have heard, and from universities, further boosting our economy and research sector. It is an ecosystem and it relies on all the system being able to play its part. As my hon. Friend the Member for Bolton West (Chris Green) said, it can and does play a key role in reducing some regional inequalities and, with more than half of medical research coming from charities outside London and the south-east, in the so-called levelling up agenda by contributing to regional economic growth. Charities have a better record in this respect than Government research funding, under which about 80% goes to the golden triangle. There is definitely an opportunity to switch that balance.

Despite the importance of medical research charities to scientific progress and to people’s lives, and despite the significant role they play in our economy, unfortunately the Government have not given them the support they needed during this difficult time. I understand that there are many pressures on the Government’s finances and many calls for help, but only 3% of the country’s medical research charities were eligible for the Government’s charity support package—just five out of the 152 medical research charities. More than 150 were ineligible, and that included those researching conditions such as motor neurone disease, Parkinson’s, breast cancer, hearing loss, bone cancer, liver disease, meningitis, Crohn’s, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and many more. This is a huge blow to patients who rely on breakthroughs in those treatments.

Fortunately, given the well-timed nature of this debate and where we are today, there is an opportunity tomorrow for the Government to rectify that. The Opposition hope that, in the spending review, the Government will consider the proposal for the life sciences charity partnership to help plug the funding gap. This is now critical and urgent, and in the week when the Oxford vaccine for coronavirus has made such brilliant progress, what better way to support the life sciences in this country and recognise their contribution than to support this partnership fund? It would be a partnership arrangement and there would be matched funding. In the grand scheme of things, £310 million would be an investment well made. It is not a huge amount of money.

Oral Answers to Questions

Neale Hanvey Excerpts
Paul Scully Portrait Paul Scully
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We have handed out £11 billion-worth of cash grants to businesses across the country. In terms of the underspend, the under-allocation varied by local authorities and how much money they could get to those businesses, which is why we need to have it in to reconcile. I work with the wedding sector. At the moment it is impossible to work through a system that makes it viable for those businesses to open beyond a certain number. However, they will be viable businesses in the future.

Neale Hanvey Portrait Neale Hanvey (Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath) (SNP)
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What recent discussions he has had with (a) Cabinet colleagues and (b) the Scottish Government on the economic effect on businesses of the UK Internal Market Bill. [906772]

Paul Scully Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Paul Scully)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Ministers have clearly set out the benefits to all UK businesses of ensuring that goods and services can flow freely across the UK. That is in Scotland’s interests, given that it exports more to the rest of the UK than to the EU. The hon. Gentleman will have noticed that I have spent about 12 hours on these Benches with the Minister of State, Cabinet Office, my hon. Friend the Member for Norwich North (Chloe Smith), having discussions and debating this issue.

Neale Hanvey Portrait Neale Hanvey [V]
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Businesses in my Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath constituency and across Scotland benefit from not only the most competitive business rates regime in the UK but vital schemes such as the transition training fund, the inward investment scheme and a half-billion pound infrastructure plan. With the internal market Bill allowing UK Ministers to spend in devolved areas, what guarantees can the Minister give that such expenditure will not result in a consequential reduction in essential Scottish Government funding, putting such schemes at risk?

Paul Scully Portrait Paul Scully
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Spending from the UK Government will be complementary to that coming from the Scottish Government. We want to add to that and to make sure that the UK economy can flourish. Scottish business will be at risk without the regulatory certainty of this Bill, so we want to prevent additional layers of complexity.

Public Interest Disclosure (Protection) Bill

(2nd reading)
Neale Hanvey Excerpts
Kevin Hollinrake Portrait Kevin Hollinrake
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The hon. Lady is absolutely right. As I said in my earlier intervention, it is not just about the relatively small issues that the whistleblowers highlight. It is about the wider cultural issue. It shows the mismatch of power between the whistleblower, these big, powerful organisations and their customers, which we know we need to tackle, but we would not know that without people like Sally Masterton. I commend the hon. Lady for bringing forward this legislation. I hope she is successful; she will be sooner or later.

Neale Hanvey Portrait Neale Hanvey (Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath) (SNP)
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It is truly an honour to speak in support of this private Member’s Bill, promoted by my hon. Friend the Member for Central Ayrshire (Dr Whitford). The Bill speaks to her unimpeachable ethics, her integrity and her humanity.

When I became a Member of this place, the thing that impressed me most was not the grandeur of the building, the pomp and ceremony of the proceedings or even the walls steeped in history. It was the independent complaints and grievance scheme, which struck me as exactly the way that staff everywhere should be supported and how those who have transgressed should be held to account. In the world of work beyond this place, that is a distant luxury that no worker currently enjoys, and that injustice must be addressed.

The Bill sets out a broad context of applicability, but I would like to focus on power and the abuse thereof. We all abhor violence and abuse in the home, where power relationships cause so much damage to victims and can restrict the life chances of children raised in such a toxic environment. When the power explicitly rests in the hands of superiors, abuse of that power can be every bit as damaging as the abuse and coercion that is ubiquitous in domestic violence. As a consequence, people have their professional career and sense of self destroyed. They carry a trauma and are forever changed. Some find the personal resilience to build a new life, whereas others take their own lives.

Organisations are able to muster the full might of their HR department and legal services to defend the indefensible. Executive colleagues can corral and cover for one another, forever silencing the victim of a non-disclosure agreement and thus locking them in a mental jail in perpetuity, with no recourse to true justice. That is nothing short of abuse, and in my view it should have equal criminal standing with domestic violence. The power that is handed to executives demands great responsibility, and it should never be possible for the resources of high office to be improperly used to cover up for the failings or abusive criminality of those in charge.

This Bill provides an avenue to hold power to account in a fair and balanced way. It is not loaded on one side or the other, but it sends a clear message to those who would abuse power to their own ends that they, like the right hon. and hon. Members of this place, are subject to principles of independent fairness.

That brings me back to my opening comments about my esteemed and hon. Friend the Member for Central Ayrshire and her personal qualities of unimpeachable ethics, integrity and humanity. Surely those are qualities that we all seek to embody and would wish this place to unequivocally stand for. In that spirit, I beg this Bill be supported at Second Reading.

Nigel Evans Portrait Mr Deputy Speaker (Mr Nigel Evans)
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It may be appropriate now to hear from both Front Benches and, should time permit, we will continue with the debate.

United Kingdom Internal Market Bill

Neale Hanvey Excerpts
Tuesday 15th September 2020

(1 year, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber

Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Richard Fuller Portrait Richard Fuller
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15 Sep 2020, 2:40 p.m.

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. “So get on with it”, would be my suggestion to him and his colleagues. I have heard several points of strong opposition to the Bill rather than engagement. A more constructive engagement with the UK Government would help everyone, because as he rightly says the internal market is a shared asset between the four component nations of the UK. So I urge him and his party to encourage that work with the UK Government.

On the specific clauses in the Bill, I have a general point to make. We are very keen as politicians to do the new things, set new regulations, but we spend very little time checking whether they work or whether the regulatory body is doing any good or indeed doing what it said it would do in the first place, so it is important to get a bit more precision from the Government in some of the words they use in the Bill.

Clause 29 talks about the reports—the Minister may be able to help—the Competition and Markets Authority must prepare or report on. Clause 29(5)(b) states:

“developments as to the effectiveness of the operation of that market.”

The word “effectiveness” can have lots of different meanings to lots of different people. What remit are we giving to the Office for the Internal Market on how it will judge the definition of an effective operation of the market? Does it, for example, include whether the operation of the market continues to have the consent of all constituent devolved Administrations of the United Kingdom? Does it mean that the country has an adequate spread of production across the country? Does it mean that each market is promoting competition? Does it mean that prices are going down? The word “effectiveness” covers a lot of issues.

That issue also relates to clause 29(8), which states:

“So far as a report under this section is concerned with the effective operation of the internal market in the United Kingdom, the report may consider (among other things)—…(i) competition, (ii) access to goods and services, (iii) volumes of trade”.

I would say that that is a partial list. There may be other aspects that we would wish the Office for the Internal Market to look into when it considers the operation of the internal market, some of which I have mentioned. For example, is the Minister considering, or would he consider, that that should include the impact of the internal market on consumer rights? Should it include regional disparities? Most importantly, should it include innovation and competition?

Clause 30(3)(a) talks about advising on proposed regulatory provisions on request. This is an important issue relating to the points raised by the hon. Member for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, which is not only on the decision authorities but the scope for devolved Administrations to raise issues with the Office for the Internal Market. Clause 30(3) states:

“The condition is that it appears to the requesting authority that—

(a) the regulatory provision to which the proposal relates would fall within the scope of this Part and be within relevant legislative competence, and

(b) the proposal should be further considered in the light of the significance of its potential effects on the operation of the internal market in the United Kingdom.”

It seems to me, particularly in light of the desire of devolved Administrations to have some potential for innovations in regulations such as minimum alcohol pricing, that that “and” might be better considered as an “or”. It would be feasible for devolved Administrations to raise issues which may be outside the scope of their current remit of responsibilities, but for which the devolved Administrations, elected by their local voters, wish to see as a potential regulatory change in the future. What is the harm that could be caused by enabling that to be considered by the Office for the Internal Market?

The hon. Member for North East Fife (Wendy Chamberlain) tabled amendment 21 to clause 35, which relates to participation in the Competition and Markets Authority. Obviously, she may wish to speak to her amendment directly, but I draw the attention of the Minister to the issue of participation in the CMA. It is a relevant question to ask who will be on those bodies. We put the so-called great and the good on such regulators, but we do not really know who they are. What oversight do we have of their performance? What oversight and decision rights do we have of appointments? Would it not be a consideration to spread that beyond this Parliament to include devolved Administrations? I urge my hon. Friend the Minister to look carefully at the amendment tabled by the hon. Lady, as well as her new clause 4.

I welcome the Bill. As the hon. Member for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr (Jonathan Edwards) mentioned, the internal market is a shared asset and we all want it to work effectively. The Bill is a very good start in making us move in the right direction, but we need some prudence in its implementation. I am very grateful to the Minister of State, Cabinet Office, my hon. Friend the Member for Norwich North (Chloe Smith) for her intervention to clarify some points on where we stand in relation to the common framework.

Neale Hanvey Portrait Neale Hanvey (Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath) (SNP)
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15 Sep 2020, midnight

Before I consider part 4, I wish briefly to set the context of the comments that I will make.

Yesterday, Scotland’s friends in the EU and the wider international community were concerned that a UK Prime Minister was prepared to sacrifice the rule of law in a vain attempt to save his own bacon. Of course, there is disbelief that this arrogance is voiced outside the Cummings bubble, but the deliberate trashing of the UK’s international standing is now endorsed by 340 parliamentarians so can no longer be regarded as the ravings of a few. They are all now complicit in this grand folly of legislation.

The Bill is a disgraceful piece of legislation led by a Prime Minister whose words mean nothing and a party that is lurching ever further to the right, breaking the rules, acting unlawfully and now rewriting its own laws, while rubbishing any moral authority the UK had to hold rogue states—

Rosie Winterton Portrait The First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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Order. The hon. Gentleman should resume his seat. I draw his attention to the fact that he needs to address the amendments before us. This is not a Second Reading speech all over again; it is important to address what is before the House today.

Neale Hanvey Portrait Neale Hanvey
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15 Sep 2020, 12:02 a.m.

Thank you, Dame Rosie. My preface to my comments was just to set the scene, which is what I am doing, but as I move on my comments will relate to the amendments.

The Prime Minister has presided over a summer of U-turns, U-turned on his own Brexit deal and turned away from the rule of law. The comments in terms of Scotland can be summed up by the Law Society of Scotland’s reflections on the Bill. It has stated that

“as a matter of principle”

the Bill should comply with the oldest principle of international law,

“pacta sunt servanda (agreements are to be kept)”.

Quite unfortunately, Scotland has a head start in knowing the hollowness of such a principle. [Interruption.] I’m sorry?

Rosie Winterton Portrait The First Deputy Chairman
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Order. The hon. Gentleman cannot have conversations across the Chamber. I would be grateful if he moved on to the amendments before us as quickly as possible. Thank you.

Neale Hanvey Portrait Neale Hanvey
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15 Sep 2020, 12:03 a.m.

This debate is focused on part 4, in which the authority of the Competition and Markets Authority and the wide-ranging and poorly specified powers of the UK Government’s man in Scotland are nothing short of a British nationalist inquisition. There are wide-ranging powers that cut to the very heart of the devolution settlement across every policy area—powers that the Government claim they will never use; they are there just in case. Well, Scotland is not buying it, and we are not having any of it. Devolution is the settled and robustly expressed will of the Scottish people, and it must be for the Scottish people alone to decide whether it should ever be restricted or changed in any way.

Part 4 of this wrecking-ball Bill takes decision-making powers away from Holyrood and hands them to the unelected body of the Office for the Internal Market. This office of inquisition will have the power to pass judgment on devolved laws and could quickly become the target of rich corporate lobbyists determined to see activities such as fracking go ahead against the will of the Scottish people.

Patrick Grady Portrait Patrick Grady
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Is not the power grab compounded by the fact that the Government clearly intend to push this legislation through without legislative consent to the Bill from any of the devolved Administrations? When they ask, “Where is the power grab? Give us an example,” that is it. They are refusing even to accept the fact that the devolved legislatures will not consent to the Bill and they will not engage in its detail. The power grab runs right the way through this process.

Neale Hanvey Portrait Neale Hanvey
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I thank my hon. Friend for his contribution—

Jane Hunt Portrait Jane Hunt (Loughborough) (Con)
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Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Neale Hanvey Portrait Neale Hanvey
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If I could just answer my hon. Friend, who is absolutely right. I will address the notion that there is a power surge of any shape or form shortly.

Jane Hunt Portrait Jane Hunt
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15 Sep 2020, 2:49 p.m.

Sorry, I was a bit keen. Do you agree that without the Bill—without the internal market structure—Scotland would be worse off? [Interruption.] Forgive me, but let me explain my point. I will not talk about whisky, because we always do that when we are talking about Scotland; I will talk about lenses for glasses, which are often made in Scotland. A large number of them are made in Scotland and go across the whole UK. If we did not have the internal market structure, then there could be tariffs—restrictions—on their being sold in, say, Wales or England. So why would you not want to accept this now?

Rosie Winterton Portrait The First Deputy Chairman
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15 Sep 2020, 2:50 p.m.

Order. May I just point out that it is very important not to use the word “you” to another Member? We speak to the Chair, so it is “the hon. Member” rather than “you”, just to clarify that.

Neale Hanvey Portrait Neale Hanvey
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15 Sep 2020, 2:52 p.m.

The hon. Lady raises a really interesting point. I wanted to get it into my remarks, and she has now given me a very clear avenue in which to do it. I cannot understand how she could come up with the suggestion that the UK would enforce its own internal tariffs, but with regard to Scottish competitiveness in this internal market, Scotland is already at a disadvantage. There is a company in my constituency that imports chassis from the EU but does not make its lorries here completely—like many of its EU competitors, it buys certain parts and puts them together. Those EU companies would be allowed to import a fully completed vehicle without any tariff, while that company would be subject to a high tariff on the importation of those chassis and therefore at a competitive disadvantage. That is because of Brexit. I am grateful to the hon. Lady for her point. I would also be grateful if the Minister took cognisance of my comments and gave me a detailed response about how the Government will protect companies such as that in my constituency from this type of disadvantage in the importation of completed vehicles.

Paul Bristow Portrait Paul Bristow
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15 Sep 2020, 2:52 p.m.

The internal market does not just guarantee costs and prices of things—it also guarantees standards. One of my favourite Scotland-to-England exports is BrewDog’s Punk IPA. How can the hon. Member, without the internal market, guarantee that my pint of Punk IPA in Peterborough is the same quality as in Aberdeen?

Neale Hanvey Portrait Neale Hanvey
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15 Sep 2020, 2:53 p.m.

I thank the hon. Member for raising yet another very helpful point. The problem is not whether the quality of Punk IPA will be consistently high in the north and the south, or even in Europe if it is still able to import it; the problem is that the quality at the lowest level will have to be accepted everywhere. It is not the highest level that is the issue; it is the lowest level. I will now try to make progress. I hope that it is now beginning to make sense, Dame Rosie, why I had that preamble.

As I said, devolution is the settled and robustly expressed will of the Scottish people, and it is for them alone to decide if it should ever be restricted or changed in any way. If this law had been in force during the past 20 years of devolution, it would have affected Scotland’s ability to prioritise important issues like free tuition for Scottish students or to set important health policies such as minimum unit pricing for alcohol and introducing the smoking ban before other nations. Those would all have been at risk and may not have happened. Looking forward, there are things like the procurement of changes to food standards that can be imposed on Scotland as devolution is reduced to the powers of compliance, complicity or subjugation. Can you imagine the howls from Government Members if the EU had proposed such legislation? Yet they are content to do this to Scotland, and then tell us that we should be grateful. What a charade!

Well, Scotland is not buying it and we are having none of it. This legislation strips powers of decision making away from our democratically elected representatives in Holyrood. In an email to MSPs on 14 September, the Royal Society of Edinburgh warned that, while final decision-making power ultimately would remain with the UK Government, the use of that authority by the CMA against the wishes of devolved Administrations

“would constitute a failure of intergovernmental relations”.

The reality is that part 4 grabs the powers of devolution and gives them to an unelected, barely accountable quango. The Bill grabs the powers of devolution, animal welfare, forestry, voting rights, food standards and energy—all currently the purview of the Scottish Parliament. The Government say that they are empowering Scotland; the truth is that they are robbing Scotland of democracy itself.

William Cash Portrait Sir William Cash
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How does the hon. Gentleman reconcile what he has just said with what the Scottish Retail Consortium has said, which is that protecting the UK internal market means that

“Scottish consumers”

will

“benefit enormously”?

It talks about the importance of the

“largely unfettered internal single market”.

In the consortium’s view, Scotland welcomes the measures to protect the UK internal market.

Neale Hanvey Portrait Neale Hanvey
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The way that I reconcile it is that I am talking about democracy and the hon. Member is talking about trade, and I would say that democracy is slightly more important than trade.

The Bill would make Scotland’s Parliament and our law meaningless and smash devolution. And what of the protestations of this Government’s man in Scotland and his self-congratulatory talk of a power surge? It is crystal clear now that the only power surging is to the CMA, to the Office for the Internal Market and to the Secretary of State in Scotland.

Kirsten Oswald Portrait Kirsten Oswald (East Renfrewshire) (SNP)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I wonder whether my hon. Friend agrees that the protestations that there is some kind of power surge are simply incompatible with the suggestion that the Office for the Internal Market will be set up in such a way as to enable it to lie above the powers of the Scottish Parliament.

Neale Hanvey Portrait Neale Hanvey
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I thank my hon. Friend for those comments, because they illustrate very well the sophistry with which the whole charade has been presented. We are told that it is a power surge, and a power surge it is; but it is a power surge in the wrong direction—it is a power surge away from the devolved Government of Scotland. To judge by past behaviour, those powers will be used to interfere, undermine and diminish not just the elected Government of Scotland but the very voice of the Scottish people.

Yesterday, I heard Members claim in this Chamber that the Bill would strengthen the Union, and in their mind that may be true, but the Union is not being strengthened by a shared vision, mutual respect or other honourable means. It is the strength of bondage, of subjugation and of the pomposity that only Unionist voices matter. I’ve got news for you: it does not strengthen the bonds of the Union; it exposes the bondage of the devolved nations and illustrates why Scotland must choose an independent future. “Lead Not Leave”; “broad shoulders of the Union”; “Vote No to stay in the EU”; “We Love You Scotland”—well, nothing epitomises our Union of equals like the Prime Minister bestowing the effective status of viceroy of Scotland on the right hon. Member for Dumfries and Galloway (Mr Jack), his very own Union Jack.

Today, the international community knows something that the Scottish people have known since 2014: believe not a word, not a promise, not even a vow. To this Government, agreements are always optional. The Bill does not strengthen the Union; it strengthens the case for Scottish independence.

Joy Morrissey Portrait Joy Morrissey (Beaconsfield) (Con)
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I want to look at the clauses. On clause 28, it is proposed that “Scotland” be left out. On clause 29, amendment 29 would insert that following a legislative appeal from all the devolved powers, we would have a consultation before any changes. On clause 35, it is proposed that prior to publishing any information, the CMA must consult all Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland Ministers and the devolved Administrations. All these amendments seem to have one thing in common: they are asking for all consultation on how we move our internal market forward to be done with the devolved powers in the United Kingdom. Many in the House have raised the issue of who will be holding the CMA to account. We here represent the entire United Kingdom. We are elected to represent all parts of the United Kingdom.