Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill

Nigel Evans Excerpts
Consideration of Lords amendments & Ping Pong & Ping Pong: House of Commons
Thursday 25th June 2020

(4 years ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 View all Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 Debates Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts Amendment Paper: HL Bill 114-I Marshalled list for Report - (18 Jun 2020)
Nigel Evans Portrait Mr Deputy Speaker (Mr Nigel Evans)
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With this we may take Lords amendments 2 to 116.

Paul Scully Portrait Paul Scully
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The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill has been a demonstration of what can be achieved in the best interests of businesses, jobs and the country’s economic future when there is collaborative work across both sides of the House. I am grateful to hon. and right hon. Members for the constructive way in which the Opposition have engaged with the Bill, both in this House and the other place.

Over the past three months, this country has faced the unprecedented hardship of needing to adhere to stringent social distancing measures due to the covid-19 pandemic, where Government had no choice but to order businesses to close their doors to safeguard the nation’s health. We recognise the huge sacrifices that has entailed, and my right hon. Friend the Chancellor has provided unprecedented economic support to businesses and workers across the country to help them make it through this challenging time.

Some UK businesses have been hit hard, with many unable to trade or facing a significant short-term reduction in demand for goods and services. As a result, many otherwise viable companies face the threat of insolvency.

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Paul Scully Portrait Paul Scully
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I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman. Clearly, these are all things that we will continue to look at.

The hon. Gentleman talked about the hospitality sector. Let me reassure him that the Government recognise that this sector is particularly hard hit by closure. I have regular conversations with representatives of the hospitality sector, including, most recently, only yesterday. They were very pleased and optimistic about the fact that we have now been able to change the rules within England and start giving them the certainty that they need to reopen. I look forward to successful reopening in England and, in time, in Scotland as well. It is so important that we work with the hospitality sector. The three winters issue that he described has been raised with me and I do appreciate it.

This shows the interlinking of the economy. I also hold the position of Minister for London. The hon. Member for Richmond Park (Sarah Olney) talked about culture. With regard to the hotel sector in London, people do not tend to go to a hotel just to sleep in another bed—they come, they sleep and they go because of the theatres, the restaurants and the culture around the area. It is therefore important that we get each of these sectors up and running. That is why we have these frequent discussions and work as collaboratively as we can. That also gives us the understanding we need in order to inform our support. A range of hospitality bodies and companies were consulted on the safer workplaces guidance, for example.

The hon. Member for Richmond Park talked of striking a balance, which is what we have tried to do in this Bill. I am grateful to her colleagues for making the point so clearly that measures are needed for longer. I hope she will agree that the Government have taken on board those concerns. She also spoke about the theatre sector. I know the Orange Tree. I tend to know the Orange Tree pub next door a little bit better than I do the theatre, but I know the great work that it does in the community. I will take her concerns back to colleagues.

Let me take this opportunity to thank the House of Commons Public Bill Office and the House Clerks for ensuring that this vital piece of legislation could be expedited through the House and consequently come into force as a matter of urgency. The support they have provided has been invaluable. I thank the officials who have brought this legislation into existence: my Bill team of Andy Ormerod-Clarke, Muneera Lula, Jess Bradbury, James Roddy and Alice Roycroft. All those in the teams in BEIS and the Insolvency Service—there are too many mention—have worked tirelessly, across weekends and in the evenings, to make sure that we could bring this to bear as quickly as possible. I want to mention the lawyers who have worked day and night, some of them with very young children, to draft this legislation: in particular, Jo Ashida, Denise Fawcett, Samihah El-Gindy, David Anderson, and our lead parliamentary counsel, Diggory Bailey.

I pay tribute to the policy leads, some of whom have worked in this area for many years, and who have worked with outside experts to make sure that we had the measures right: Steve Chown, Simon Whiting, Laura Bardsley, Rob Mak and many, many more. Colleagues from HMT, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the DWP have also been invaluable. I pay tribute to all the organisations and representatives of businesses, consumers, workers, shareholders, investors and insolvency experts who have engaged with us in developing these proposals.

I conclude by mentioning those for whom this Bill is intended: the millions of business owners up and down our country who are keeping Britain moving. I say to them: please keep it up. Let us keep moving and let us bounce back our economy as and when the limitations and the restrictions are lifted.

Lords amendment 1 agreed to.

Lords amendments 2 to 116 agreed to.

Nigel Evans Portrait Mr Deputy Speaker (Mr Nigel Evans)
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I am sure we all wish baby Cameron Hendry the very best of health and luck for the future.

I suspend the House for three minutes.