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House of Commons Hansard
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Commons Chamber
06 October 2020
Volume 681

House of Commons

Tuesday 6 October 2020

The House met at half-past Eleven o’clock

Prayers

[Mr Speaker in the Chair]

Virtual participation in proceedings commenced (Order, 4 June).

[NB: [V] denotes a Member participating virtually.]

Oral Answers to Questions

Health and Social Care

The Secretary of State was asked—

Cancer Outcomes

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What steps he is taking to improve cancer outcomes. [907099]

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What steps he is taking to improve cancer outcomes. [907102]

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What steps he is taking to improve cancer outcomes. [907114]

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What steps he is taking to improve cancer outcomes. [907121]

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What steps he is taking to improve cancer outcomes. [907123]

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The NHS’s recovery approach is restoring urgent cancer referrals and treatment to at least pre-pandemic levels and building capacity for the future. Latest data from July suggests that urgent two-week-wait GP referrals are back to over 80% of pre-pandemic levels.

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I thank my right hon. Friend for that answer, but does he agree that if we are to deliver better outcomes in cancer and all areas of care, our clinicians need the best possible infrastructure? Is not that why it is so important that the Prime Minister confirmed last week that we will deliver our manifesto pledge of 40 new hospitals? Does my right hon. Friend share my delight at seeing on that list a new rebuild for West Suffolk Hospital, to deliver even better outcomes for our constituents?

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Yes, I do. I share my hon. Friend and neighbour’s enthusiasm for the rebuild of the West Suffolk Hospital. For treating both patients with cancer and patients with all other conditions, the West Suffolk is a brilliant local hospital that is much loved in the community; however, its infrastructure is getting very old and it needs to be replaced. I am delighted, along with the Minister for primary care, my hon. Friend the Member for Bury St Edmunds (Jo Churchill), in whose constituency the hospital is and will be rebuilt, that we are able to make the funding commitment and get this project going.

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I understand that we continue to requisition private hospitals. Given that there are patients who are nervous about attending hospitals, could those be used as covid-secure environments for cancer analysis and treatment?

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Yes, absolutely. The private hospitals of this country have played a very important role in responding to covid, and we have a contract with them to be able to continue to deliver much needed services, including cancer services. Because by their nature they rarely have the pressures of emergency attendance, we can ensure that they are part of the green part of the health service—that they are as free as is feasibly possible from coronavirus—and therefore safe to carry out all sorts of cancer treatments. They are an important part of the recovery plan.

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In my constituency of Stoke-on-Trent Central, patients being treated for cancer at the Royal Stoke University Hospital were relocated to Nuffield Health in Newcastle-under-Lyme. That is an example of practical measures that hospital trusts across the UK have taken to limit the spread of coronavirus since the outbreak in March. As we approach the winter pressures on the NHS, will my right hon. Friend outline the precautions the Government are taking to ensure that cancer patients’ treatments and appointments are not put to the back of the queue and do not suffer from undue delays?

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My hon. Friend makes an important point. The Royal Stoke Hospital has performed brilliantly during coronavirus, and I thank everybody who works there for the efforts that they have gone to. It is critical for everybody to understand that the best way to keep cancer services running is to suppress the disease; the more the disease is under control, the more we can both recover and continue with cancer treatments. I believe that it behoves us all to make the case that controlling this virus not only reduces the number of deaths directly from coronavirus, but enables us as much as possible to recover the treatment that we need to for cancer and other killer diseases.

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Following an online meeting with the manufacturer, I am excited to visit the Royal Surrey County Hospital on Friday to see up close the robotics that are used in many soft tissue cancer operations. Does my right hon. Friend agree that these clever robots, operated by talented surgeons, help to reduce the size of the incision site and therefore trauma, meaning a swift discharge and recovery for cancer patients, and that they are crucial to ongoing success in hospitals such as the Royal Surrey, which is a world leader in cancer treatments?

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I know the Royal Surrey and I enjoyed visiting it, albeit in the rain, in December last year with my hon. Friend. The Royal Surrey is carrying out some of the most cutting-edge treatments for cancer. We have put extra funding in—a more than £200 million fund—for the use of advanced technology for treating diseases such as cancer, and she will have seen that I announced to the House yesterday that we are engaging with the best regulators around the world as we leave the European Union to ensure that we get cancer treatments to the frontline as fast as is safely possible.

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York Hospital, like a lot of others, experienced a fall in cancer referrals at the height of the pandemic as a result of residents having stopped going to consult their GP. There is real concern among health professionals in York about the knock-on consequences of that and the rise in the backlog of cancer referrals locally. What steps can the Secretary of State bring forward to assist NHS trusts such as York’s to ensure that the backlog does not lead to late diagnosis of cases, worsening cancer outcomes?

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My hon. Friend raises a very important point. As I mentioned in response to the first question, we now have referrals back up to over 80% of pre-pandemic levels, but we need to get that up further, because we all know that early diagnosis saves lives. I am also very glad to be able to report that in July, on the latest data, over 90% of patients saw a cancer specialist within two weeks of a referral from a GP, and 95% of patients receive treatment within 31 days of a decision to treat, so those referrals are leading to the action that is necessary. It is very important that the message goes out that the NHS is open, and anybody with a concern over cancer should come forward and they can get the treatment in a safe way that can help to save their lives.

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In June’s departmental questions, I pressed Ministers on the cancer backlog that has grown so greatly under covid, so it was alarming that despite those ministerial assurances, between August and September, with infection rates being much lower than they are today, the waiting list to see a specialist grew by 16%. Things will only get harder now that infection rates are rising and with the NHS facing winter pressures, so will the Secretary of State give us a categorical assurance that he has a cancer recovery plan, and that it will drive down the waiting lists each month for the rest of the year?

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Yes, absolutely. I think we agree right across the House on the importance of this agenda. The first and most important part of it is to bear down on the long waits, because the longer that people wait, the more dangerous cancer can become. That is happening, and we also have to make sure we bring the referrals forward, because we do not want to have fewer people referred for the diagnostics. At the same time, we are expanding the diagnostics that are available, both in hospitals and increasingly in community hubs, which are safer from a covid point of view and, for the long term, will mean that diagnostic centres for things such as cancer can perhaps be on a high street or in the places where people live, so that they do not necessarily have to go to a big, acute hospital to get the diagnostics part of the pathway done.

Non-covid Treatments

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What steps he is taking to ensure that patients with illnesses other than covid-19 can access the treatments and procedures that their diagnosis requires. [907100]

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It is vital that non-covid treatments are restored as quickly and safely as possible. That is what the NHS is doing. It is working to have them restored, by October, to around 90% of last year’s levels.

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Thankfully, children are relatively robust in the face of coronavirus. However, children’s services, like other hospital services, were understandably reduced during the pandemic. What is my hon. Friend doing to ensure that paediatric services are now 100% up and running and will not be affected by a future wave of the pandemic? What is he doing to support NHS trusts in dealing with the backlog of appointments delayed by the coronavirus?

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I pay tribute to my hon. Friend for her service to her constituents both as their MP and as a paediatric clinician. She is right to raise this important issue. Restoration guidance has already been published by NHS England and NHS Improvement, setting out a framework to fully restore services in this area, which I agree is vital. I would be very happy to meet her to discuss this further.

Mental Health Support in Schools

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What recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Education on allocating additional resources for mental health support in schools. [907101]

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We are working closely with the Department for Education to support children and young people’s mental health, and we remain committed to implementing the proposals in the children and young people’s mental health Green Paper putting mental health support teams in schools and colleges, otherwise known as trailblazer schemes.

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Schoolchildren have had their education interrupted. They have been separated from their friends and face continual threats to their daily lives. The Government knew schools were to return. Why did they not put adequate measures to provide mental health provision in schools for students and teachers?

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I am afraid I have to say that, actually, the opposite is the case. We have just completed the wellbeing for education return “train the trainer” scheme. The trainers have been trained by the Anna Freud Centre and are ready to go out into schools across the country. It was always the position that schools should be open and the best place for children to receive help and support, for exactly the reasons that the hon. Member described: separation from their routine and their friends, and school being a place of safety.

Train the trainer has now completed. The Under-Secretary of State for Education, my hon. Friend the Member for Chelmsford (Vicky Ford), and I worked hard on that over the summer to ensure that the £8 million was there and the training was in place, ready to provide mental health and wellbeing support to children when they return to school. I am pleased to say that the last “train the trainer” scheme happened last week, and those involved are now ready to move into schools across the country.

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It has been six months of uncertainty for our country’s children and their parents, with schooling cancelled, the exam results fiasco and now students trapped in uncertainty in their university accommodation. Despite the Education Secretary recognising that there was a serious impact on young people’s mental health, yet again it seems that the Government have no plan. Children and young people are being failed. When will the Minister finally address the pending mental health crisis in our schools, colleges and universities?

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I just do not recognise the picture that the hon. Lady has presented. We are investing at least £2.3 billion in mental health support and mental health provision. That investment translates to 345,000 children and young people who will be able to access mental health support via NHS-funded health services and school-based mental health support teams. Spending on children and young people’s mental health services is growing faster than the overall spend on mental health, which itself is growing faster than the overall NHS budget. Children and young people’s mental health is our priority, and we are showing that by investing in it. The picture that she paints is, I am afraid, completely not the case.

NHS Test and Trace

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What recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the NHS Test and Trace service. [907103]

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What recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the NHS Test and Trace service. [907105]

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What recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the NHS Test and Trace service. [907110]

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What recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the NHS Test and Trace service. [907113]

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NHS Test and Trace launched in May. Four months later, more than 150,000 people who have tested positive for covid-19 have been contacted, and 450,000 of their contacts have been reached so that they can self-isolate. We have tested more than 7 million people at least once and many, such as care home workers, more than once. Rapid expansion brings with it challenges. Working with local authorities, we will continue to improve test and trace, as it is an important part of our armoury to defeat this virus.

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As a co-chair of the all-party parliamentary group on adult social care, I meet weekly with a working group drawn from across the care sector. Providers on that group report that they are still experiencing delays in receiving weekly test results, still have no routine access to weekly testing for domiciliary care workers or staff working in supported living environments and urgently need regular testing for family members to alleviate the terrible isolation of care home residents from their loved ones. When will the care sector have all the access to testing that it needs on a reliable basis to stop the second wave of coronavirus delivering the utter tragedy and devastation of the first to the care sector?

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I thank the hon. Member for her question and for the work that she does with the APPG, which I joined recently for a very valuable conversation. Supporting care homes through the pandemic and in the months ahead is absolutely our, and my, priority. One part of that is ensuring that they have the testing that they need. We are getting regular repeat testing to care homes. I acknowledge that the turnaround times have not been what we would have liked them to be, but those turnaround times are coming down and we are seeing a rapid improvement in performance.

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This week, the president of the Association of Directors of Public Health said that the funding is just not there for local authorities to effectively run local contact tracing. Where it has been done, at a cost to the local authority, evidence shows that local teams were more likely to be successful in contacting people compared with the national tiers 2 and 3. Can the Minister tell me why the Government keep insisting that the current track and trace system is working when public health professionals are telling them the opposite?

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I thank the hon. Member for her question. I am sure she will know that local authorities received £400 million to support them with local outbreak management. It is really important to have this coming together of the national system and the local system, where local authorities are indeed playing an important part, using their local knowledge to follow up with contact tracing, particularly for some of the contacts that are proving harder to reach.

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Schools in my constituency are having to close, disrupting children’s education and the work of their parents. Serco’s test and trace has been an unmitigated disaster. It is more than an extraordinary waste of public money; it is a public health crisis. To make matters worse, Ministers signed off on a wholly inappropriate Excel spreadsheet, blowing billions and leaving thousands of contacts untraced. When I asked the Secretary of State last week when he was going to take personal responsibility, he simply boasted that the system was working brilliantly. When does the Minister think her boss, the Secretary of State, will begin to take personal responsibility for this fiasco?

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There was quite a lot in that question. One thing I will say on schools is that enabling our children to continue to go to school is very much part of the whole strategy that we are using to tackle and suppress coronavirus, because education is so important. On the specific test and trace system to which the hon. Member refers, the Secretary of State spent an hour and a half in the Chamber yesterday answering colleagues’ questions about the performance of that system.

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In the light of the fact that infection levels in York have risen from 63.1 cases per 100,000 to 143.9 cases per 100,000 in just the past seven days, the local public health team is working with the university and local labs, and together they have put together a programme where they can test, process the testing and do contact tracing. This is a testing service that works for York, with test results the next day and tracers who understand local population flows. Will the Minister put the necessary resources in place to enable them to do their work and allow this to happen, because this is surely the game changer we need to beat this virus?

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Well, it is very good to hear of the set-up in York that the hon. Member describes, and what I can do is take away from here and follow up to ensure that there is joint working, which we know is a really effective way to bring together national resources with the local resources, expertise and knowledge that are so important in tackling this virus.

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With covid, speed is of the essence, but people are struggling to get a test due to limited capacity at the Lighthouse labs. New labs were due to open in Newport in August and in Loughborough last month, but both are delayed. As NHS labs are having to take on more testing, can the Minister say what additional funding will be provided specifically to increase NHS lab capacity?

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The context is the huge increase in the testing capacity of our system that we have already seen, going from in the order of 2,000 tests a day back in March to well over 200,000 tests a day now and building up to 500,000 tests by the end of this month. I recognise also that there is both the Lighthouse labs—what is known as pillar 2 testing system—and the important part that NHS testing facilities play in the pandemic. And of course the hon. Member will know that a huge amount of money has been and is going into the NHS to support its response to covid.

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Scotland’s public health-based tracing service has reached over 95% of contacts, yet four months on, the Serco system in England has still only reached 61%. As finding contacts and getting them to isolate is critical to reducing covid spread, should not tracing in England now be based more on local public health teams?

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It may be helpful to say that, since the NHS Test and Trace system started, it has contacted 78.5% of those who have tested positive, and then 77% of their contacts have been reached. There is an important part of the system where the national contact tracers are handing over to local authority contact tracers who are able to access the same system and are supported in contact tracing but, critically, are also using their local knowledge of the local area to increase the success rate. It is really important that people are reached wherever possible and advised to self-isolate.

May I also say how much I appreciate and thank all those who are doing the right thing by self-isolating, both those with symptoms and those who have been contacted by contact tracers?

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I am not going to ask about the current problems with test and trace, because it is clear from what we have heard already that the Government have no answers on that. Instead, I will ask about the so-called moonshot tests and Dido Harding’s comments that some people will have to pay for them. When the Prime Minister was given a chance in the Chamber, a fortnight ago, to deny that was on the table, he did not take it. We have real concerns about creating a two-tier system for tests where some people have to pay. It undermines a fundamental principle of the NHS and will do nothing to stop the spread of the virus. Will the Minister give us a definitive answer today? Are some people going to have to pay to access the moonshot tests, yes or no?

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I do not recognise the hon. Gentleman’s suggestion that there could be a two-tier system. What we have in place is a universal system where everybody who has symptoms is able to access a test. As he well knows, where we know there are particular risks, such as for those in care home settings, there are also tests for those who do not have symptoms so that we can pick up outbreaks early. A huge amount of resource and investment is going into developing new technologies for testing—easier testing, quicker tests and tests that can be done at greater scale—because this is all part of building up our testing capacity, so we can suppress this horrid virus.

Education, Health and Care Plans

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What discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Education on ensuring that education, health and care plans are linked effectively with the healthcare system. [907104]

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Education, health and care plans identify the support needs of children and young people across those three areas. Local authorities and health bodies are required to jointly commission the services. The Government are currently undertaking a review of the special educational needs and disability system, and I am working on this with my ministerial counterpart in the Department for Education.

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I thank the Secretary of State and Ministers for their focus on Dorset County Hospital in the recent investment announcements, but in my West Dorset constituency, I have totally unacceptable waiting times of up to two years for EHCPs for children and their parents. That is totally unacceptable. They face the most difficult of situations and, I am afraid, are losing hope. Will the Minister help me in supporting these desperate children and parents who need to get their EHCPs done?

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My hon. Friend makes an important point about how we need to see children and young people getting in place, as soon as possible, the support that can help them and about how there are waiting times for these plans. There are two things I can say in response. First, in the context of covid, NHS England has made it clear to NHS organisations that they must restart and restore services that support children and young people with EHC plans and in the assessments for those plans. Secondly, in the review of the SEND system, we are indeed looking at how we can address some of the problems in the system and achieve better integration across health, care and education.

Breast Screening

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What steps he has taken to ensure the continuation of breast screening during the covid-19 outbreak. [907106]

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Women at greatest risk of breast cancer continue to be prioritised for screening. The NHS has worked hard and has significantly reduced the backlog of delayed breast screening appointments from over 468,000 in June to under 52,000 in September. All services have now been restarted and, in Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the message is clear: when you get a screening invite, please attend; if you are worried about anything, contact your general practitioner.

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Breast screening appointments were paused during the height of the pandemic. Breast Cancer Now has estimated that 986,000 women across the UK missed their mammograms, and it estimates that, as a result, there could be 8,600 women living with undetected breast cancer. With this being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, what steps is the Secretary of State taking to address the gaps in specialist breast cancer nurses recently highlighted by Macmillan Cancer Support?

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I thank the hon. Lady for her question. Cancer nurse specialists are a particular interest of mine, and the long-term plan identifies that everybody deserves to have personalised care from a cancer nurse specialist. We did see the rate decline from 91% in 2018 to about 89% in 2019, and we are focused on making sure that everybody has a cancer nurse specialist. We promised it in the long-term plan and it is our ambition to deliver that personalised care to every woman. As I have outlined, the backlog of breast cancer screening has gone down but, again, I urge women who are called for screening to come forward. It is safe and, as with me, it could make all the difference.

Local Restrictions: Reducing Covid-19 Transmission

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What assessment he has made of the effectiveness of local restrictions on reducing the rate of transmission of covid-19. [907107]

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What assessment he has made of the effectiveness of lockdown restrictions on limiting the second wave of covid-19. [907108]

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What assessment he has made of the effectiveness of local restrictions on reducing the transmission of covid-19. [907115]

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I chair the Government’s local action gold committee, which considers the latest data and advice from experts, including epidemiologists and the chief medical officer, and the Joint Biosecurity Centre. Through this process, we consult local leaders and directors of public health. We have seen local actions in some parts of the country bring the case rate right down and we need to make sure that we are constantly vigilant to what needs to happen to suppress this virus.

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Yesterday, the Health Secretary told me:

“we have been putting the extra money into…councils”—[Official Report, 5 October 2020; Vol. 681, c. 637.]

What money is that? He announced £7 million, split between nine councils, as compared with £12 billion for Serco. That is not putting the extra money into councils, is it? So may I ask him to show respect for Members of this House and, more importantly, for our constituents, and answer the question: when is he going to stop relying on the outsourcing giants and to support local public health teams with the funds they need, because that is how he and this country are going to fix test, trace and isolate?

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We are, as the hon. Gentleman said in his question, putting money into local councils in areas where local action needs to be taken. We have an open dialogue with councils and local mayors about what needs to be done. But I urge him, on behalf of all of his constituents in Sefton, that it is better to support the whole effort to control this virus, not just part of it.

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The Mayor of London has warned that the virus is now spreading widely again across London, although vital knowledge is being hampered by the problems with test and trace. Are the Government now looking at introducing wider restrictions across London? As a matter of interest for this House, will the Cabinet Secretary, as a part of that, commit to reintroducing a hybrid Parliament in such a situation?

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I discuss these matters with the Cabinet Secretary and other colleagues across government all the time, and I also speak regularly to the Mayor of London. We maintain vigilance over the transmission of the virus right across the country.

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Can the Secretary of State answer a very simple question: what rate of infection means that a local authority needs to go into local restrictions and what rate means that it can leave them? Of course I accept that there will sometimes be very specific circumstances, such as workplace outbreaks, that would need to be considered, but surely it is not beyond his level of competence to do both, because my constituents deserve to know when they can see their families.

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Of course the hon. Member’s constituents and all those who are under local action restrictions yearn to see their families. We all yearn to be able to get back to the normal socialising that makes life worth living, but I am afraid that the answer to her question is in the question: because of specific local circumstances, such as outbreaks in a workplace or a halls of residence, it is not possible to put a specific number on the point at which a judgment is made to put in place local restrictions, which we do in consultation with the council, or to take an area out of them.

Student Lockdown: Access to Care

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What steps he is taking with the Secretary of State for Education to ensure that university students with (a) cystic fibrosis and (b) other long-term health conditions who are required to self-isolate on campus as a result of the covid-19 outbreak have access to essential (i) medication, (ii) dietary provision and (iii) medical care. [907109]

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Universities have a duty of care to support students who are required to self-isolate. The Department for Education is working with universities to make sure that where an outbreak occurs, support is in place. That includes ensuring that students with cystic fibrosis and other long-term health conditions who are self-isolating have access to the food, medicine and medical care they may need.

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Self-isolating students throughout the country, and their understandably worried parents, are reporting problems with accessing food, drinks, exercise and other support. That is completely unacceptable for any student, but for those with cystic fibrosis, who often need high calorie requirements to stay well, access to regular food supplies is absolutely essential for their health. What is the Minister doing to ensure that students with CF who are required to self-isolate at university and have previously shielded are able to access priority supermarket delivery slots? Many will have relied on their parents’ accounts when they were at home. What other action is she taking, in partnership with universities and the Department for Education, to ensure that every student with CF who finds themselves in lockdown is supported on their healthcare needs?

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The hon. Lady asks a really important question. Clearly, it is a difficult time for students starting university now, but particularly for those with long-term health conditions such as cystic fibrosis. Overall, as she knows, the context is that we are prioritising education. We do not want students to put their life on hold, but we do want them to be supported by their university, particularly if it is harder for them to self-isolate because of health conditions. I am in regular contact with the Minister for Universities and will take up with her the specific questions about support for students with cystic fibrosis and access to supermarket deliveries. If the hon. Lady would like to raise any specific case with me, she should let me know and I will take that up with the Minister for Universities to address the specific issues.

Covid-19 Laboratory Testing Capacity

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What steps his Department is taking to increase covid-19 laboratory testing capacity. [907111]

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As part of the drive towards the capacity target of 500,000 tests a day by the end of October, we have announced additional Lighthouse labs as part of the national lab network, and work is ongoing to expand the UK’s lab capacity inside the NHS.

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The Lighthouse labs do not appear to be delivering sufficient test results. Schools and care homes in my constituency are still having to wait an unacceptably long time for covid-19 test results, and the delays are making it difficult for them to operate properly. What is my right hon. Friend doing to make better use of the many life science companies in Kent, including those at Discovery Park in Sandwich and at the Kent Science Park in my constituency of Sittingbourne and Sheppey? Those companies have laboratories in which some of the tests taken in Kent could be analysed.

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We are increasingly contracting with labs like the ones my hon. Friend mentions—as well as the Lighthouse labs, which have huge capacity—to make sure that we can both increase capacity and reduce the turnaround time. I am glad to say that the latest figures for the past week showed that the turnaround time is coming down, which is important in Kent and right throughout the country.

Mental Health Service Provision

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What steps he is taking to equalise the provision of resources allocated to mental health services for (a) children and (b) young adults. [907112]

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As I said in an answer to the hon. Member for Tooting (Dr Allin-Khan), we are committed to spending on children and young people’s mental health services, which is growing faster than the overall spend on mental health, and the overall spending itself is growing faster than the NHS budget.

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See, Hear, Respond, a new service managed by Barnardo’s in response to covid-19, to provide early intervention support for families and children in crisis, has received more than 11,000 referrals since June. The majority of children and young people referred need support for their mental health and wellbeing. What early intervention measures have been introduced? Are they enough? Does the Minister agree that early intervention measures are key to tackling the increase in children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing needs?

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I could not agree with the hon. Gentleman more. The Government’s £8 million Wellbeing for Education Return programme, which is to support staff to respond to the emotional, mental health and wellbeing pressures that some children have experienced during the pandemic, is in place. As I have said, the last train the trainer session took place last week and those trainers are ready to go into primary schools to assist both teachers and parents to recognise when children display early signs of emotional distress or mental health issues as a result of the pandemic. I have been working closely with the Under-Secretary of State for Education, my hon. Friend the Member for Chelmsford (Vicky Ford), to ensure that this programme is in place to address exactly the needs that he has highlighted.

Long Covid

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What steps he is taking to support people with long covid. [907116]

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I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman would welcome yesterday’s announcement that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network will work with the Royal College of General Practitioners to develop guidelines to support patients and practitioners in the treatment of and recovery from the disease. This follows on from the NHS launch in July of the Your COVID Recovery service, which provides personalised support for individuals. In addition, we are funding research into covid-19, including a study of 10,000 patients who were admitted to hospital with covid, building our understanding of the long-term effects and helping direct those improved treatments that are needed.

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I thank the Minister for that helpful and comprehensive answer. If she has not already read it, may I commend to her the most recent edition of The Doctor, the British Medical Association magazine, which outlines several compelling case studies of GPs who are still suffering, some up to six months, after they first contracted covid? There is a growing body of evidence that a number of people continue to suffer with this months after it has been contracted, in a quite debilitating way. Will she build on the work that she is already doing and make the case to the Treasury and the Department for Work and Pensions in particular to ensure that all those who suffer from long covid get the support that is necessary for them?

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I thank the right hon. Gentleman for that statement and I will read the document that he mentions with interest. It is a new disease on which we are still gathering evidence and data, so that we know how we can best support the individual in their recovery and, arguably, in their new covid-tinged life. I assure him that that is precisely what I shall be doing—looking at the evidence base and making sure we work with the colleges and general practitioners to ensure that we get the right answers.

Adult Care: Covid-19

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What steps his Department is taking to support the adult care sector during the covid-19 outbreak. [907117]

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What steps his Department is taking to support the adult care sector during the covid-19 outbreak. [907119]

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What steps his Department is taking to support the adult care sector during the covid-19 outbreak. [907120]

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What steps his Department is taking to support the adult care sector during the covid-19 outbreak. [907127]

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We have sweated blood and tears to support the sector through this pandemic. Last month, we launched the adult social care winter plan, with regular testing for care home staff and residents, free personal protective equipment and mandatory infection prevention and control measures for care providers, supported by £546 million of Government funding. I am enormously grateful to all those on the frontline in social care. I recognise the challenges that they have faced and how many feel daunted by the winter ahead. I say to care workers: “I cannot thank you enough for what you do and I am with you every step of the way.”

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I have been contacted by Ann Penrose, who is 91, in good health and in a care home in Ashbourne, Derbyshire Dales. She asked her family to contact Boris, but sadly she got me. Does the Minister agree that the time has come to look very carefully at what is happening in care homes to review the existing measures, routines and guidelines, bearing in mind that we are testing so much now? We need to have a bit more humanity. We are in danger of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. These people need their families, yes, in a safe environment, but they do need to have access to families and, at times, to their pets.

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My hon. Friend makes an important point about the importance of visiting both to the individuals living in care homes, and to their family and friends. Achieving the balance between protecting care home residents from the risk that covid might be brought into the care home, where it is so hard to control, and giving them access to visitors, has been one of the hardest areas to get right over the past few months. That is why in the summer we issued guidance on safe visiting and gave more freedom on the decisions about visiting to local authorities, with directors of public health working with care homes. I want us to continue to support and enable safe visiting for care homes.

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Order. We have to get through this grouped set of questions, and it is going to take us well into topicals time; the Minister really does need to speed up on the answers.

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I thank the Minister for the social care winter plan announced two weeks ago. Can she tell me when this half a billion pound infection control fund will be released to councils covering constituencies such as mine in Congleton, in order to help protect residents and staff over the winter?

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The infection control fund is being distributed in two equal instalments, the first of which has already been paid to local authorities. My hon. Friend’s local authority, Cheshire East Council, will be receiving £4.7 million in total, so it should already have received £2.35 million to go towards the extra costs for care providers and others in infection prevention and control.

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As always, I commend the Department and the Secretary of State on their work during the pandemic. Although not every part of the response has been perfect—and we never expected that it would be—I am convinced that the Department has done its utmost to protect the public. I do have some concerns, however, about the transmission between care homes. What measures has the Department taken to prevent cross-contamination of covid between care homes, particularly from staff who work in multiple locations?

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I thank my hon. Friend for his comments, but most of the credit should go to those working in social care, who have been looking after some of the most vulnerable people in our society in such difficult circumstances. He is right that it is really important that we ensure that there is no transmission between one care home and another, which is why we are requiring care homes to make sure that their staff work in only one setting and are providing additional funding to enable them to do this.

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Care homes are rightly the focus of our attention at the current time, but I know that the Minister is reviewing the future of social care. Does she agree that our focus in that regard should be on more community-based services, not solely on residential provision? Will she also set my mind at ease by ruling out the creation of a new national care service run from Whitehall?

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First, may I congratulate my hon. Friend on his recent report on levelling up our communities? As he said, care homes have indeed been the focus of our social care response to the pandemic, but I would not want anyone to think that that was the limit of our support for social care during the pandemic; the winter plan also includes support for domiciliary care, supported living and others. I agree with him that as we look to the future, we should support the aspiration that most people have to live independently, with their own front door, well into their old age. There are no plans to create a national care service run from Whitehall.

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Families with loved ones in care homes are desperate to start visiting again, but are banned from doing so in swathes of the country with extra restrictions. The Government’s own carers advisory group says that visits are essential for residents’ health, and that, to make them safe, relatives should be treated like key workers—with regular testing. Will the Minister now please put that testing in place and lift the blanket ban on care home visits in lockdown areas, so that we can help to bring all families back together again?

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The hon. Member makes an important point, as did my hon. Friend the Member for Derbyshire Dales (Miss Dines) a moment ago, about the importance of visiting for those in care homes, and for their relatives and loved ones. We are striking the difficult balance between protecting those in care homes and ensuring that they have visits wherever possible, but these visits must be done safely. I have heard from the sector about the aspiration for some family members to be treated as care workers—for instance, if they visit the care home regularly. As we expand testing, I very much intend that we should test some visitors—and am making the case for doing so—but it is all part of how we expand and use our testing resources.

Topical Questions

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If he will make a statement on his departmental responsibilities. [907159]

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On Friday we confirmed the 40 hospitals we will build by 2030 as part of a package worth £3.7 billion, with a further eight new schemes also invited to bid, all to ensure that we protect the NHS long into the future.

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All I want from the Secretary of State today is a simple yes or no answer. It has come to light that the Northern Ireland authorities have taken unprecedented action and committed to pay for private prescriptions for medical cannabis for severely ill children. Will he do the right thing and follow the example set in Northern Ireland in supporting other children with intractable epilepsy by paying for their private prescriptions—yes or no?

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The hon. Lady has long been a campaigner on this subject. We have made significant progress in terms of expanding access where it is clinically safe to do so. On this, as on so many things, I will make sure that I constantly follow the clinical evidence.

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My right hon. Friend knows that for every person who tragically dies from coronavirus, at least one other person has long-term symptoms lasting more than three months, meaning that they have breathlessness and chronic fatigue and often cannot go back to work normally. In his letter to me of 14 September, he said that clinics were going to be set up so that they could get mental health support, face-to-face counselling and rehabilitation. Have those clinics been commissioned, and when will those long covid sufferers be able to access them throughout the country?

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My right hon. Friend makes an incredibly important point. I know very well the impact of long covid; it is something that I understand deeply. We are in the process of setting up those clinics and there will be further information on this very shortly.

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Given that the Office for National Statistics has said today that deaths have increased three weeks in a row, and given the rising prevalence of the virus, can the Secretary of State understand the upset and the anger over the Excel spreadsheet blunder? Can he tell us today what he could not tell us yesterday: how many of the 48,000 contacts—not the index cases, the contacts—have been traced and how many are now isolating?

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We have obviously been continuing to contact both the index cases and the contacts. The total number of contacts depends on how many contacts each index case has. That information will of course be made available in the normal way when it has been completed. However, we cannot know in advance how many contacts there are because the interviews with the index cases have to be done first.

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So essentially thousands of people who have been exposed to the virus could be wandering around not knowing they have been exposed and infecting people, and the Secretary of State cannot even tell us if they have been traced.

Let me move on to something else. I listened carefully to what the Secretary of State said about a vaccine yesterday in light of the news that the Government are aiming to vaccinate about 30 million people—just under 50% of the population. There has been an expectation that the whole of the population would be vaccinated, not least because he said at the Downing Street press conference that he “would hope, given the scale of the crisis, we would have the vaccine and everyone would be given the vaccine.” Those are his words. We accept the clinical guidance. However, can he tell us how long it will take, for the 50% of people who will not be vaccinated, for life to return to normal for them?

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As the hon. Gentleman well knows, decisions on the distribution of any vaccine have not been taken. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation is the body that advises the Government on the appropriate clinical prioritisation of vaccines. It has published an interim guide, which he well knows about and we have discussed. That sets out the order of priority as an interim measure, but we await the data from the clinical trials of the vaccine before we will come to a clinically validated full roll-out plan. We are putting in place the logistical plans now, but on the decisions as to the clinical order of priority, we will take the evidence from the Joint Committee.

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Can I just say to those on both Front Benches that these are meant to be short and punchy topical questions, not full debates?

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With many GPs surgeries adapting to coronavirus guidelines by holding surgeries outside, often in car parks, one of my constituents was left feeling embarrassed and upset by having to discuss a sensitive and personal health issue within earshot of other patients waiting in line. Does my right hon. Friend agree that in times when alternative methods are replacing the usual privacy of face-to-face appointments behind closed doors, GPs surgeries must be sensitive to the whereabouts and comfort of their patients to ensure that others do not have the same experience as my constituent? [907160]

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Yes, I wholeheartedly agree with my hon. Friend, who speaks well for her constituent. I am very sorry that her constituent had that experience, and of course GPs should be sensitive, as the large majority are.

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The implications of coronavirus include rising levels of loneliness, which can impact on mental health and physical wellbeing while increasing pressure on the NHS. Last Friday, I visited Henley Green community centre in my constituency of Coventry North East and saw the work it is doing with health services to combat loneliness and deliver positive health and wellbeing outcomes. What resources can the Government provide to accelerate the spread of such social prescribing schemes so that community groups can deliver tailored local support to tackle this growing problem? [907161]

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I pay tribute to the group that the hon. Lady mentions. I have put a huge amount of effort into supporting social prescribing, including with funding, and I encourage her CCG to engage with such bodies to make sure that we can get funding to support them on the frontline.

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At the start of this pandemic, in the first lockdown, abortion services were relaxed to allow women to enable them to access the service from home, but I am particularly worried about the effect that has had on those women who are particularly vulnerable, subject to abuse or in coercive relationships. Now that we know that the risk to women of childbearing age from attending a face-to-face appointment is extremely low, what assessment has my right hon. Friend made of the ongoing need to continue in this way? [907167]

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The Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, my hon. Friend the Member for Bury St Edmunds (Jo Churchill) has committed to consult on the subject to make sure we get to the right outcome.

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This Government have repeatedly refused to meet the group representing covid-19 bereaved families. I met the group last week, and they confirmed that they are not in litigation with the Government and never have been. They simply want to put across the concerns of thousands of people who have lost loved ones to coronavirus, so will the Minister now commit to meeting the group and hearing their concerns at first hand? [907162]

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Of course I have met and continue to meet the families of those bereaved through coronavirus. With this particular group, I am afraid that when I last looked into it, they were in legal action—in pre-action protocol—with the Government, so I am advised that I should not therefore meet them.

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It is important that communities, such as mine in Middlesbrough, can see a way out of the tighter local restrictions that have now been imposed. Notwithstanding my right hon. Friend’s earlier, very reasonable answer to the hon. Member for Bradford South (Judith Cummins) about the impossibility of setting hard metrics for the release from lockdown, can he set out what would constitute a path out? Does it include, for example, a sustained fall in transmission rates? [907169]

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The level of cases matters, but so too does the direction of travel, and when the number of cases is falling—especially if it is falling rapidly—that is the sort of indicator that we will look at. One example is the action we took in Leicester a few months ago now, where we removed some of the most restrictive measures when the numbers were coming down sharply.

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Please, please, Secretary of State, my constituents need extra support. Despite the outstanding efforts of the staff at Northumberland County Council, covid-19 is running rife through our towns and villages. Since stricter local lockdown measures were introduced, we have seen a huge increase in transmission levels. Parts of Ashington, Bedlington, Morpeth and Newbiggin have seen rates of almost 500 per 100,000. Secretary of State, please help us. [907163]

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I am very worried about the rates of transmission in the north-east, as I am about parts of the north-west of England. I look forward to working with the hon. Gentleman and colleagues from across the regions affected to take the action necessary to suppress this virus and to support the economy, education and the NHS right across this land.

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I have first-hand experience of how effective the app has been, as it has kept my father covid-free before he goes into hospital tomorrow. Could my right hon. Friend update the House on the success of the app and advise me of what more Members can do to ensure that the covid-19 app continues to keep us all safe, including my father? [907168]

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The covid-19 app has now been successfully downloaded by around 15 million people, including my hon. Friend’s father. Every extra person who downloads it helps to keep themselves safe and keep others safe. I urge everybody in this House to download it—I hope you have, Mr Speaker. It is one of the tools in the armoury, and everybody can play their part in keeping this virus under control by downloading the app.

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As you can imagine, Mr Speaker, I was astounded to be told that people living in Devon were being advised to go to Inverness for a covid test. Can the Secretary of State reassure me that a truly collaborative effort is being made by Her Majesty’s Government and the Scottish Government to beat this virus? [907164]

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Yes, absolutely. The testing facilities are one example of that. Testing facilities across the UK work very closely with the Scottish NHS, to ensure that people can get a test as close to them as possible. I think we have reduced the problem of people being sent to Inverness, but we continue to work to increase the capacity in Inverness and right across the country.

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Partly in response to large queues and hours-long waits for tests in Canada, Health Canada has followed the US Food and Drug Administration in approving rapid testing, such as the ID NOW test, which can give a result in 15 minutes. Can the Secretary of State update us on where we are with the roll-out of rapid testing? [907171]

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We are making good progress in validating the tests and in doing what needs to be done to be able to use them effectively. I have seen some of these reports from around the world, and I talk regularly to my opposite numbers about how we can get this sort of next-generation testing going.

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With Spina Bifida Awareness Week coming up, can the Secretary of State say when the Government will respond to the consultation on putting folic acid into flour? It is a move that could help to reduce the number of babies born with defects of the spine, and it is important to hear when that might happen. [907165]

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I am a strong supporter of the work we have done to look at that approach. The hon. Lady is right to raise it, and I will write to her with a timetable for that response.

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Positive outcomes are more likely when cancer is detected early through breast screening, and evidence suggests that take-up of screening is generally higher when mobile units are used, yet women in Heald Green have missed out on local screening and been directed out of Cheadle to Macclesfield. It is the second time that their three-yearly checks have been disrupted, potentially affecting uptake and risking cancers going undetected. Will the Secretary of State agree to meet me to discuss ways to address the situation in Stockport and give women in my constituency access to the local mobile screening units they need? [907173]

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Yes, of course I would. I would underline some news announced by the Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, my hon. Friend the Member for Bury St Edmunds (Jo Churchill), which is that the breast screening backlog from the first peak, which was 450,000, is now down to just over 50,000. I pay tribute to the NHS and all those involved in screening who have done so much work to bring that backlog down, and I am very happy to meet my hon. Friend to discuss this subject.

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The pharmaceutical industry has highlighted supply difficulties due to covid-19 as a challenge to recreating stockpiles before the end of the transition period in December. How will the Secretary of State ensure that there are no drug shortages, particularly of medicines such as insulin, which is not produced in the UK? [907172]

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A huge amount of work is under way to ensure that we are fully prepared for all eventualities this winter. It is an important piece of work across the Department.

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I would like to thank the Secretary of State for his commitment to Northumberland hospital investment, with the Northgate Hospital investment announced last week. Does he agree that rural hospitals such as Berwick Infirmary—one of the most rural English hospitals—are places to develop the technology to enable us to reach many more patients, without them having to travel long distances to get to hospital? [907174]

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We have ended where we started this questions session: with my delight at a new hospital that has been funded and announced by the Prime Minister on Friday—Newgate in Northumberland. That is a very important development. My right hon. Friend makes a wider point about the importance of community hospitals, which are local to where people live. With modern advances in technology, we can deliver more services closer to people’s homes and in people’s homes, and then in community hospitals, while of course needing to build those superb hubs of science and care that our great hospitals are.

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In order to allow the safe exit of Members participating in this item of business and the safe arrival of those participating in the next, I am suspending the House for a few minutes.

Sitting suspended.

Areas with Additional Public Health Restrictions: Economic Support

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(Urgent Question): To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on economic support available to individuals and businesses in areas of the country subject to additional public health restrictions.

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The decision to extend tighter lockdown measures to Liverpool city region, Warrington, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough was based on the latest health evidence, including advice from the chief medical officer and local public health authorities. The resurgence of the virus has demanded further action to minimise harm to health and wellbeing, while preserving the ability of people to work and businesses to trade in the areas affected. That is why, throughout this crisis, we have sought to strike a balance between minimising the burden faced by businesses and protecting public health. To that end, we have provided one of the most generous and comprehensive packages of support for people, businesses and public services, totalling £190 billion by July.

As the path of the virus and the threat to the economy have become clearer, we have taken further decisive action. Last month, the Chancellor announced the winter economic plan—a package of targeted measures to protect jobs and businesses, including the job support scheme to support the wages of employees in viable jobs and an extension of the self-employed income support scheme to the end of April 2021. We are also continuing the temporary reduction in VAT for hospitality until the end of March 2021 and the Government-backed loan schemes until the end of November this year. We are also providing an additional £100 million in surge funding to support the hardest-hit areas in containing covid-19. That is on top of the £300 million provided through the test and trace programme. We are offering grants to businesses that have been required to shut because of the new measures, worth up to £1,500 for each three weeks of closure.

Throughout this pandemic, we have prioritised a flexible and adaptable approach to economic support. We will continue in that spirit, and we stand ready to evolve our policies as required.

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Thank you, Mr Speaker, for your courteousness and patience, as always.

Seventeen million people—one in four of us—are living under additional covid-19 restrictions. That was not inevitable: experts agree that it is linked to the continuing failure to deliver a functioning test, trace and isolate system. That failure has profound economic consequences and puts businesses and jobs at risk. Today, nearly 1 million people are still on furlough in the areas of the country that are subject to local restrictions or are on the watch list.

Support for local areas has only ever come after restrictions have been imposed—for example, a month later in Leicester’s case. There are leaked suggestions that the Treasury will be involved in decision making around restrictions, potentially to prevent such delays. When will the Government finally be in a position to deliver support hand in hand with the imposition of restrictions, not trailing them?

The response has been inconsistent: £3 million for Leicester, £7 million for Liverpool city region, an undefined funding package for the north-east of England and nothing for Greater Manchester or the west midlands. What criteria determine the allocation of support to areas under local restrictions? Will they be published? If not, why not? Do they truly reflect the needs of areas subject to restrictions? I note that the Chief Secretary did not talk at any point in his statement about support for areas with economic needs, not health needs. He referred to the local restrictions support grant, but can he confirm that no area currently qualifies for that grant because of current restrictions?

The millions of people living under local restrictions deserve better. When will the Government grasp the scale of the challenge and act to recover jobs, retrain workers and rebuild businesses?

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The shadow Chancellor almost implies that the resurgence of the virus is unique to the United Kingdom, yet anyone who looks across the continent will see that many other countries, as we come out of the summer period, are seeing exactly the same trend and are dealing with it in in many of the same ways as we are in the United Kingdom.

The hon. Lady says that support has not been offered to those suffering from economic harm, but that ignores, for example, the announcement that I made in the Chamber some weeks ago about the £1,500 of support for businesses for every three weeks of closure as the result of a local lockdown—[Interruption.] Hon. Members should let me answer, rather than chuntering from a sedentary position.

The hon. Lady also ignores the fact that my right hon. Friend the Chancellor has extended many of the measures that we introduced in our initial response, including the package of loans, the tax deferrals and pay as you grow. Those are universal offers to support businesses, irrespective of whether they are in areas of acute lockdown or otherwise.

As I said at the start, and as my right hon. Friend the Chancellor said yesterday, we will keep listening, and we will keep striving to be creative in response to the challenges that we face. Where we can, he will act. That shows our willingness to adapt. The package of measures that my right hon. Friend the Chancellor brought to the Chamber just a few days ago, with the winter plan, illustrates that willingness to listen, to evolve and to respond to the virus, as the economic needs of the country dictate.

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Local restrictions are inevitably impairing many thousands of businesses in those areas, but some businesses are not just being impaired: because of the regulations, they are simply unable to trade. I am thinking about many companies in the hospitality sector—events companies, hotels, nightclubs and many more. Would my right hon. Friend recognise that and come forward with a specific set of support packages for those businesses, which the regulations basically stop dead in their tracks? In that way, the many thousands of jobs in those businesses, which are otherwise entirely viable, can be saved.

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The Chair of the Treasury Committee raises an extremely pertinent point, which I know my right hon. Friend the Chancellor has heard loud and clear. That is why we have seen repeatedly in the measures that the Chancellor has brought forward a targeting—particularly, as the Chair of the Select Committee says, in areas such as the hospitality sector, which have been acutely hit—with a package of measures, such as the cut in VAT and the package over the summer. For specific areas such as the independent cinema sector, there has been the £30 million of funding for the British Film Institute. That is an individual measure, but it does not address the much wider part of the cinema sector and the major chains. It is about looking at targeted measures of support in response to the issue that the Select Committee Chair raises.

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Local lockdown is a reality, and there is a potential for a national lockdown of some kind as we go into the months ahead. Livelihoods have been disrupted once again and the viability of businesses is being threatened by these restrictions, which are necessary to protect public health.

Kate Nicholls of UKHospitality told the Treasury Committee this morning that sector-specific restrictions require sector-specific support. What sector-specific support is the Minister going to bring forward for sectors such as hospitality, events, tourism, funfairs, culture and the arts? The Chancellor earlier seemed to suggest that people should just go and get another job, which is deeply offensive to many in those sectors.

Failing to support and sustain businesses right now risks putting those businesses over the edge so that they will not be there for a recovery in the future. The Minister must speak to the Chancellor today, extend the furlough in the self-employment support scheme and fill the gaps for those who have not had a single penny from the Government since lockdown began. People are depending on this UK Government, with the economic levers that they have. The Government are failing in their duty to protect those jobs and livelihoods right now. They are letting millions of people down and accepting the harm of mass unemployment that will follow.

The Scottish Government are limited in how much they can spend and in how much they can borrow, which is very limited. They do not even have the certainty of a UK Budget to know how much they will receive in the months ahead. If Scotland needs to lock down on public health grounds, how much money will come in support?

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The hon. Lady says that she seeks targeted measures, but then seems to ignore the £1.57 billion that the Chancellor announced for the arts—exactly the sort of targeted package that she was referring to. She then says that that is not enough, but it is unclear how long the SNP would want to extend schemes such as the furlough, how targeted that would be on specific sectors and what that would mean for the supply chains for those sectors. We think that it is right to be honest with the British public and ensure that we target support beyond the eight months of the furlough, in the way that the Chancellor set out, with the job support scheme and the extension of the self-employed income support scheme.

On certainty of funding for the Scottish Government, I have had regular discussions with the Scottish Finance Secretary. I would have welcomed the hon. Lady’s acknowledgement that we had done something unprecedented in guaranteeing the Barnett consequentials in order—as the Scottish Government had requested, and responding to their wishes—to give them confidence in the funding pipeline. That had not been done before. The Government did it to give the Scottish Government confidence on the Barnett consequentials. An acknowledgement by the hon. Lady of that point would have been welcome.

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Although I am clear that my right hon. Friend and his colleagues in the Treasury have done a Herculaen job in bringing forward schemes to support jobs in the economy, like the Chair of the Treasury Committee, I remain concerned about those sectors that are unable to operate because of Government restrictions. I cite particularly the events industry and our aviation sector—I think especially of the regional airports, which will be affected by regional restrictions. May I ask my right hon. Friend to look with colleagues across Government at ways in which we can get those sectors at least partially working again, with proper social distancing rules? I cannot believe that it is not possible to do that. If it is possible to go to a supermarket, surely it is possible to have airport testing, and socially distanced trade shows and similar to get some of those sectors moving again.

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My right hon. Friend is right that it is important, as we live with the virus and accept that it will be with us for longer, that we constantly learn from that and see what lessons there can be, not just in terms of, for example, regional air travel, but how that reads across into other matters such as non-pharmaceutical interventions. My right hon. Friend’s point is exactly why the Chancellor said yesterday that he will keep listening and striving to be creative. His track record has demonstrated that. I look forward to working with my right hon. Friend as we learn those lessons.

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Many businesses may not have to close because of local restrictions, but they have seen a drop in footfall and a decline in their business. I am thinking of many small family-run businesses that have approached me in Lancaster in Fleetwood. Will the Chief Secretary outline what support will be available for those businesses and what they can expect when local restrictions are put in place?

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For exactly that reason, the Chancellor set out the package of measures in the winter plan. We recognise that there is a balance, and we have sought to strike one that enables many of those businesses still to trade—so restrictions have not led to closure of certain businesses, as full lockdown did. However, we acknowledge that there has been an impact, particularly on cash flow. That is why the Chancellor set out the furlough bonus and the job support scheme and extended what is, by international comparisons, one of the most generous self-employed income support schemes. We recognise that there is a balance between the health measures that we are taking and the hon. Lady’s legitimate concern about the impact on businesses, particularly their cash flow.

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There is no crystal ball that will tell us how bad the virus will be in various areas. I thank the Chief Secretary for his assurance that the Government will be flexible and continue to offer targeted support in areas of high coronavirus rates. Will he also assure my constituents in Wolverhampton North East and people in the Black Country that the Government’s levelling up agenda will not be forgotten in the coming months?

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I am happy to give my hon. Friend that assurance about levelling up. It is at the core of the Government’s mission. It is a key priority of the Prime Minister and consequentially of all Ministers. We are actively working in the Treasury to accelerate under Project Speed our infrastructure investment to ensure that it is better targeted in terms of place as well as scheme.

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London, which is now on a watch list, is not only our financial centre but our cultural capital. [Interruption.] I believe so. It is the nation’s beating heart. Despite the £1.57 billion arts rescue package, freelancers and the self-employed in the sector in my constituency have not seen a penny since March. Established venues such as The Questors in Ealing face a record loss this year because the panto is off—oh yes it is! Will the Chief Secretary not be a villain and sort this out now?

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I shall resist pursuing the panto theme, although I am not sure too many villains have allocated £1.57 billion to the industry in addition to the other package of support that the Chancellor has announced. The hon. Lady speaks of a real concern, which we are acutely aware of. The House has debated at length the issue of that subset of the self-employed who were beyond the date of the initial package and I do not think we need to rehearse that argument, but I recognise that it is an issue of ongoing concern. By international standards, the self-employed income support package that we have put in place is extremely generous, and my right hon. Friend the Chancellor extended it further in the winter plan.

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Hyndburn and Haslingden have been in local restrictions since 31 July, and were only removed for a short period beforehand. My local authorities are playing a huge part in supporting my community, to support the most vulnerable people and keep vital services running. Will my right hon. Friend outline what steps the Government are taking to support them and what further support is being considered if further restrictions are imposed?

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My hon. Friend is quite right to single out the huge amount of work being done by local authorities up and down the country to assist us in our response to the pandemic, and I am sure that I join many hon. Members in paying tribute to that work. She will be aware that my right hon Friend the Chancellor announced £3.7 billion of grant support for councils, an extra £1.1 billion of support for social care providers, and on top of that £300 million as part of our enhanced track and trace. In addition, £100 million was announced for the surge, in our response to local authorities. It is an important point; we work very closely with local authorities as part of our response.

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We now have local lockdowns on top of the threat of further national restrictions, warnings daily from various sectors, and the threat of mass unemployment. Many companies are under threat because they are being responsible and following restrictions, so, bearing in mind what the Secretary of State has said about flexibility, will the Government now accept that an extension to furlough into June 2021, which experts say could protect more than 1 million jobs, is absolutely vital to those companies?

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I am very proud that, as a result of our ability to act as one UK, the broad shoulders of the United Kingdom have enabled us to protect almost a million jobs in Scotland, supporting nearly half a million through the furlough scheme, and 65,000 businesses in Scotland have benefited from the UK Government loan scheme. The ability of the Treasury and the Government to act and support businesses and jobs in Scotland has been enhanced by our ability to act as one United Kingdom.

On what further measures are taken, I do not agree with the hon. Lady that the solution would be to extend the furlough scheme indefinitely, because I think that would hold out to people the expectation of a job that may never return, and do so at very significant cost. That is why we need to support those jobs that are viable, and, in addition we need a training package to enable people to get the skills to re-enter the labour market when they are needed.

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Does my right hon. Friend agree that while some parts of the Labour party see this as a good crisis to exploit, we have actually managed to ensure that our response has helped the least well-off the most, proportionately?

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It has been a time when most people have come together and worked together to respond to the very legitimate concerns that we all have on behalf of our constituents. The more we can work together across the United Kingdom and with local authorities and other stakeholders, the stronger the Government’s response to the pandemic.

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The further restrictions announced on 1 October will have a huge impact on the Liverpool city region’s retail, hospitality and leisure sector—a sector that accounts for 20% of the city region’s economy. The end of the furlough scheme and the 20% below self-employed income support scheme will impact thousands of jobs and hundreds of businesses. The £7 million to be shared with other areas is not enough. The city region has therefore called for a support package totalling £710 million, in order to ensure that we have an economy to revive. Will the Chancellor make a statement on what financial support will be made available to the Liverpool city region?

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The hon. Lady says that there should be a package for the Liverpool city region of £700 million of additional funding. That would equate to over £23 billion if applied evenly on a per head basis across England. It is important that we are proportionate. Of course, the £7 million is not in isolation; it sits alongside the many other things that have been announced, including £130 million of un-ring-fenced funding to the Liverpool city region in March; but I am happy to continue to work with colleagues across the House in considering our wider response.

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May I return to the sectors that are effectively closed by the lockdown rules? Will my right hon. Friend ensure that when the Chancellor is looking at what support he can give, he thinks about companies in the supply chains to those sectors, which have lost all their orders but so far have not had the benefit of some of the help, such as the business rate reliefs?

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One of the difficulties when people talk about extending the furlough is that those supplying particular sectors do not simply supply one sector; they usually supply across sectors. In the wider discussion about extending the furlough, not only is there the question of how long, because we do not know how long it will be until a vaccine arrives, but it is often unclear from those seeking an extension which sectors it would apply to and how it would apply to the supply chains of those sectors. The reality is that people do not simply supply one sector; supply chains reach across many sectors.

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The Minister knows that the Rhondda has not just had to contend with coronavirus this year; we have had the worst flooding of any area in the whole of the UK—nearly a quarter of it was in one constituency—and we have had a major landslide from a coal tip. In February, the Prime Minister promised this House that the money would be “passported” from Westminster to Rhondda Cynon Taf to pay for the repair work. In June, the Prime Minister told me that the work had to be done and that he would be looking at making sure it happened. The Minister wrote to me in July to say that we should be applying to the reserve fund. I cannot underline more strongly how serious this is for the local community. We are one of the poorest communities in the whole of Europe. The local authority will be bankrupted if we do not get the money. There are families who are fearful that they are going to be flooded all over again, and many more who are even more worried that there will be another Aberfan. Please, please, please, just say the money is going to come.

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The hon. Gentleman has raised this before and I discussed it with the Secretary of State for Wales. As a result of the hon. Gentleman’s question, I will ask for an urgent update to clarify with the Secretary of State what the latest is on that. Because of the emotion that I think everyone feels around the national tragedy of Aberfan, we recognise the specific issue in that regard, and I know that the Prime Minister is very sighted on it. To be fair, I think the issue has more aspects to it than simply the individual site that is of most concern; there is a wider discussion with the Welsh Government around flood protection and where that funding is, but I am very happy to follow up. Given that the hon. Gentleman has raised the issue before, let me follow it up, and I will write to him following today’s exchange.

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The Welsh Government have imposed movement restrictions in four north Wales counties, an area where tourism and hospitality are the mainstay of the economy. That has had an immediate adverse effect on local businesses, some of which have closed, maybe never to open again. Can my right hon. Friend say whether the Welsh Government have been in touch with the Treasury to outline what financial measures they intend to put in place to compensate the businesses that have been so badly affected by this action?

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I am not aware of any specific representations in respect of the individual case that my right hon. Friend refers to. The wider point I would make is that it is important across the United Kingdom as a whole that decisions on local lockdowns are shaped by the Joint Biosecurity Centre so that we have a consistency of approach that is led by the medical science, and then, on the basis of that, the Treasury can have discussions about any individual issues that arise from that advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre.

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Last Friday, in an interview with the BBC, the Prime Minister said that additional resources would be available for Northern Ireland in the light of restrictions due to alarming covid numbers, which are now twice the UK average. There are local restrictions in place, hundreds of students are isolating, and businesses are struggling but have to keep the doors open to pay the bills. With furlough ending and an extra 89,000 universal credit claimants just in the second quarter of this year, people cannot afford to wait and see. When asked whether extra funds would be available, the Prime Minister said, “Absolutely.” When will those funds come?

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We have provided significant funds to Northern Ireland—an additional £2.2 billion—to cope with the pressures of the pandemic, and that has enabled 300,000 jobs in Northern Ireland to be protected through the furlough scheme, along with an additional 78,000 jobs through the self-employed income support scheme. Indeed, the package of measures that my right hon. Friend the Chancellor announced in his winter plan applies in terms of additional support for Northern Ireland as it shapes its response to the pandemic.

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Does the Chief Secretary agree that the best way to help business is to let business get on with the job, as free as possible from Government control? Will he note that when the Treasury argues against further lockdowns for business, scores of Tory MPs and tens of thousands of businesses cheer it on? After all, to quote the Chancellor, is it not our “sacred” duty to “balance the books”? What is the point of solving this problem by borrowing money? Is that not the socialist way? What would be the point of a Conservative Government if we did that?

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As a former Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, my right hon. Friend is quite right to focus on the importance of value for money and protecting the interests of the taxpayer. He knows me well enough to know that I share that sentiment. On our wider response, it is important that we get the right balance between responding to the virus and doing so in a way that is supportive to the economy. It is a false choice to see this as a choice between health and economics; they are clearly intertwined and we need to work together in shaping our response.

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It is a horrific irony that while we risk 1980s levels of unemployment, the Chancellor was busy reminding his party conference that Tory values are old and timeless. I appreciate that not every job can be saved, but many more jobs can be saved by a proper extension of the furlough scheme and targeted support for aerospace, aviation, travel, tourism, hospitality, the night-time economy and those excluded to date. If the Treasury is not going to step up, does the Minister agree that the Scottish Government need borrowing powers so that they can provide targeted sector support and localised support where local restrictions might be needed for public health measures?

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The slightly puzzling thing is that the hon. Gentleman does not seem to accept yes for an answer. When I was asked by the Scottish Government Finance Minister whether I would give further guarantees on Barnett consequentials, we agreed that, thereby enabling the Scottish Government to make spending commitments with that guarantee, yet that point is not recognised at all. The reality is that it is because of our broad shoulders and ability to act across the United Kingdom that we have been able to protect 930,000 jobs in Scotland at the peak in July, and 65,000 businesses in Scotland have benefited from our loan schemes. Our ability to act across the United Kingdom enables us to better protect jobs.

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I urge my right hon. Friend not to forget areas like the High Peak which, although not under local restrictions themselves, are impacted economically by the local restrictions next door in Greater Manchester. I wish to highlight specifically the events industry, which, if it is allowed to trade again, could be a crucible for economic recovery. The situation is imminent—lots of fantastic events, such as Buxton International Festival, are having to make decisions now about when their event can go ahead next year—so I urge my right hon. Friend to look urgently at measures for the industry.

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My hon. Friend is quite right that the impact on business is not constrained to those areas most acutely affected by the virus; there is a wider displacement effect on businesses, including in neighbouring constituencies. We very much recognise that issue, which very much shaped the approach that the Chancellor set out in the winter plan, particularly in respect of the cash-flow pressures faced by those businesses. Together with the job support that he brought forward, the package recognises the very real pressures businesses face and will provide comfort as we go through the winter period.

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In his response to my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Riverside (Kim Johnson), the right hon. Gentleman suggested that he would be willing to work with MPs from all parties because of our concerns about the vulnerability of the hospitality, retail and live entertainment industry. In the light of that invitation, may I suggest that he agrees to meet local MPs from our city region, together with council leaders and the Metro Mayor, for a constructive discussion about how a comprehensive package for those sectors and others can be put in place as a matter of urgency?

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As I think colleagues across the House would recognise, I have always been open to meeting MPs from all parties, and I am happy to give an undertaking to the right hon. Gentleman to meet MPs to discuss these issues. On the Liverpool city region, the point I was making in response to the previous question is that the request for £700 million that has come in will equate to an additional funding commitment of £23 billion. There is a responsibility on all of us, not just on Government, to have a view of the wider value for money of schemes, because £23 billion, in addition to the other packages, is a very significant amount.

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Some of those worst affected by local lockdown measures will be our young people, who are left isolated or worse still, trapped in unhealthy home environments, and there will be long-term implications for local services that stem from that. Youth groups and organisations that can offer support need help, and the youth investment fund is vital to their sustainability. Will my right hon. Friend use his influence to end the delay to that funding and get that help to the young people who need it?

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My hon. Friend is right that the youth investment fund is a very important allocation—£500 million was allocated in September 2019 under the fund. However, he speaks to a more fundamental point, which is that many of those most affected by covid’s economic consequences are the young, who tend to concentrate in areas such as hospitality that are most impacted. That is why the Chancellor has set out measures such as the £2 billion for the kickstart scheme, the tripling of traineeships, the £2,000 for apprentices and the doubling of work coaches. We recognise that it is not just the number of young people whose jobs go, but the length of time that they are out of the labour market that is absolutely crucial. Both of those are key areas of focus and I look forward to working with him in our response on them.

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Further to the question asked by the hon. Member for High Peak (Robert Largan), what consideration have the Government given to the impact of local lockdowns on businesses and supply chains located beyond the lockdown areas? What support will be made available to businesses that are materially impacted by restrictions imposed elsewhere?

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As I said to my hon. Friend the Member for High Peak (Robert Largan), it is absolutely valid for colleagues across the House to raise the wider impact. That is partly why we gave the guarantee on Barnett consequentials, which has meant that the Welsh Government have benefited to the tune of £4 billion. It is why we are engaging very closely with the Welsh Government, among others, on shaping our response, and why the Chancellor set out, through the winter plan, the package of additional measures, building on his plan for jobs—the £30 billion that was announced in July. We recognise that it is not only the areas most affected by lockdown that have pressures in terms of retaining jobs or cash flow challenges; the winter plan spoke to the issue much more widely across all parts of the United Kingdom.

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I call Antony Higginbotham—not here.

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There are 660 closed and shuttered nightclubs and live entertainment venues across the west midlands. I understand that they are not eligible for any help from the local restrictions support grant. Why not?

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First, all businesses are able to benefit from the universal elements of the support package put in place by the Chancellor, whether that means loans, tax referrals or schemes such as the furlough. However, the hon. Gentleman is right that the nightclub sector is affected acutely, among all businesses affected. That is not just because it has been shut down from the start of the lockdown, but because it is very unclear when the end will be in sight, in terms of that sector and our ability to reopen. That is why the Chancellor has said, extremely reluctantly, that we are not in a position to save every single job. I think that around a third of nightclubs have repurposed by becoming pubs or reshaping their offer, but I absolutely accept that not all nightclubs will be able to do that. We are trying to target the very comprehensive measures of support on areas where jobs can be saved, but we recognise that not every single job will be saved.

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In my constituency of Stoke-on-Trent Central, more than 11,600 jobs have been protected so far through the furlough scheme and more than £50 million has been made available to businesses to bounce back through various loans and grants. Recently, Stoke-on-Trent was removed from the watchlist and avoided a local lockdown, thanks to prompt local action; however, we are geographically close to many local lockdown areas. I ask my right hon. Friend for reassurance that those businesses in Stoke-on-Trent most economically vulnerable to any local lockdown will continue to be able to access financial support.

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I am very happy to reassure my hon. Friend that the package of support that the Chancellor set out in his winter plan will assist businesses in Stoke and elsewhere, bringing back jobs that are viable and supporting them in terms of their cash flow. Furlough has already seen more than half the jobs—from a peak of 8.9 million—come back, so it has served a key part of its purpose. I know that my hon. Friend is also a keen champion of the wider levelling up agenda, so as those businesses bounce back, it will also be important that we work together on that agenda, which I know areas such as Stoke should benefit from very strongly.

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In the leisure and entertainment industry in my constituency, Cineworld shut its cinema, Hollywood Bowl has written to me about the problems that it has, wanting a further cut in VAT because of the impact of additional restrictions, Peller Agency has had virtually no work for any of its artists in live entertainment venues since March, and Central Travel and Linburg Travel were offered no help by the Government at all because, perversely, coach companies are not seen as part of the leisure industry. Those are effects on the constituency without additional restrictions; it can only get worse if additional restrictions come into play. Will the Government introduce a comprehensive range of measures to help the leisure and entertainment industry? Ultimately, if measures are not brought in, such products and offerings will not be available for all of us to enjoy once the restrictions are lifted.

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I gently take issue with the point about coaches not having support. One of the areas where coach firms have been able to benefit hugely from our response, and to work with the Government, has been in school transport. We were able to secure the additional capacity that we needed in part through the willingness of coach companies to adapt as part of our response. It is not the case that coach companies have been unable to get any business during the pandemic.

On more comprehensive measures, the hon. Member is right that the cinema industry has been hit hard. We were all concerned to see the announcement from Cineworld at the weekend. Together with Odeon and Vue that is 75% of the market, but as he knows it is not simply down to one issue. With cinemas, there is the supply of films—the delay of some of the blockbuster films has had an impact—and consumer confidence. Attendance is significantly down compared with last year, and there is also the impact of the non-pharmaceutical interventions. There is not one single factor, but we continue to work with the cinema industry in shaping our response.

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Dominic Harrison, the director of public health for Blackburn and Darwen said that some of the more economically challenged boroughs are

“being placed into more restrictive control measures at an earlier point in their…case rate trajectory. This has the effect of exacerbating the economic inequality impacts of the virus in those areas.”

Why are some areas being treated differently from other areas, and can the Minister not see the need to have greater transparency and equity across the board?

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The pace of those medically driven decisions is more, perhaps, a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, who I know has been to the Chamber and answered such questions. I am willing to flag the hon. Gentleman’s concern about the transparency of that process.

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I thank the Minister for the generous and timely support that businesses and workers across Aberconwy have received during this pandemic. Sadly, the same businesses and workers, mainly in tourism, are struggling now under fresh local restrictions that have been brought in by the Welsh Government. I noted the Minister’s response to my right hon. Friend the Member for Clwyd West (Mr Jones). Will he press the Welsh Government, when they introduce local restrictions that are stricter than those in other parts of the UK, and do so at lower thresholds than in other parts of the UK, to also provide the funding that the businesses and workers struggling under them need?

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As I said in reply to my right hon. Friend the Member for Clwyd West (Mr Jones), it is important that these decisions are shaped by the Joint Biosecurity Centre and that it takes a consistent approach throughout the United Kingdom. That helps not only with the consistency of support that can be offered to businesses across the UK, but with communication to constituents and the clarity of that message.

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I welcome the Minister’s agreeing with my right hon. Friend the Member for Knowsley (Sir George Howarth) to meet local MPs, local leaders and the Mayor to talk about what is happening in the Liverpool city region. The Minister will know that £7 million between nine different local authorities as extra money for the much more severe restrictions being imposed is not nearly enough, so will he promise to keep an open mind about the extra support we need in a region where 20% of our economy is the visitor offer, hospitality and tourism, and where 50,000 jobs and 4,000 businesses are at stake?

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As I said to colleagues earlier, I am happy to meet Members of Parliament across the House, and I am happy to meet the hon. Lady, who brings considerable experience to these issues from her time in government. However, as I pointed out earlier, it is not the case that it is only £7 million of support. It is important to look at the wider package of support that has been offered, but of course we can discuss that in due course.

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There is no doubt that a number of businesses in Birmingham, Northfield and across Birmingham, especially in hospitality, would not exist now if it was not for the support packages put in place by the Government over the past several months. Will my right hon. Friend please commit to looking at as many ways as possible of supporting businesses, especially those affected by the local restrictions and the 10 pm curfew?

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As I said in an earlier reply, the Chancellor was very clear yesterday that he continues to listen and to strive to be creative in our response. I refer my hon. Friend to the comprehensive package that has already been announced, including the winter plan that the Chancellor has announced, which provides considerable support to businesses through the furlough bonus, the jobs support scheme, the self-employed income support scheme, the tax deferrals, the loans and so on, all of which support businesses in his constituency.

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The fact is that more and more people are struggling just to put food on the table, as the Trussell Trust and others have highlighted, so with furlough being wound down, will the Government end the five-week wait for universal credit? Will they also make the £20 uplift permanent and extend it to legacy benefits? These measures are desperately needed.

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We always keep these things under review. That was a temporary set of measures brought in by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor, but the hon. Member is right to point to the wider package of support that the Government offer. Following the package of support that was set out in March for individuals, public services and businesses, he will recall that the Chancellor has continued to revise that, with the most recent iteration being the winter plan that he announced in the Chamber a week or so ago.

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A theme of many of the questions, and of some of the Chief Secretary to the Treasury’s answers, is predicated on the assumption that some of these economic support measures will be needed only for a short period. My right hon. Friend referred to the potential for a vaccine to solve the problem. Is it the Treasury’s assumption that these measures will be needed only for a short period and that a vaccine will come along and solve everything, or is it more likely, as I believe, that we will see permanent changes to our economy that will require us to accept that a significant economic transformation is required?

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The significant fiscal measures that we have put in place will clearly have longer-term consequences for the public finances. The Chancellor has been quite clear about that in terms of our response to the future fiscal event. In terms of the timing of a vaccine, as the Prime Minister and the Chancellor have set out, things have changed since March, when there was perhaps a sense initially that these measures would be needed for a shorter period, and it is now clear that we will be living with the virus for a longer period—at least for a further six months. I know, however, that through the work of the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, a huge amount of work is going on in the vaccines taskforce, because that is clearly the best way to limit the longer-term damage. However, we cannot guarantee the timing of when any vaccine would arrive.

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The Minister will no doubt appreciate just how precarious the future of many businesses is and how desperately worried they are that they could face further restrictions and more local lockdowns. Further to the question from my hon. Friend the Member for Lancaster and Fleetwood (Cat Smith), will the Minister please outline the additional and specific support that businesses that do not have to close but are facing significantly lower demand can expect to receive?

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One of most important areas of support is avoiding, if at all possible, businesses closing in the first place. That is why, in response to the measures brought forward by the Secretary of State for Health, we have drawn the balance between businesses being open for the majority of the evening and addressing the risk—outlined by the chief medical officer and others—that social distancing tends to be weaker later in the evening. This addresses the concerns of the Department of Health about the increased risk, while protecting the ability of businesses to stay open. It is important that we keep this measure under review and ensure that the modelling and the data evolve so that we get the balance right for businesses.

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Many of the areas that have been hit hardest by covid are those that relate most to the Government’s levelling-up agenda and that, like Stoke-on-Trent, will be vital for unlocking productivity. Will my right hon. Friend prioritise ensuring that we continue to see a refocusing of investment into these areas as we build a stronger recovery, so that no part of our country is left behind again?

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There are few stronger champions of the levelling-up agenda in this House than my hon. Friend, and rightly so. I share his determination to ensure that our levelling-up agenda speaks to the people of Stoke and to many other places across the United Kingdom. I look forward to continuing conversations with him as we take that important work forward.

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From 1 November, the job support scheme will only be available to firms that can offer their staff at least a third of their usual working hours. For businesses forced to close as a result of local restrictions, that will not be possible. What do the Government suggest such businesses do in these circumstances to retain their staff who are skilled and who have been trained by these businesses?

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As we covered earlier, there are specific measures for areas with local lockdowns, such as the £1,500 support for businesses that are closed for three weeks or more. The Chancellor announced a package of measures in the winter plan, including tax deferrals, loans and other cash-flow support, alongside the self-employed income support and job support that he announced in the same statement.

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Let us head up to Harrow so that Bob Blackman can glide his question in.

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Thank you, ground control.

I thank my right hon. Friend for explaining the current position. He will know that we are currently experiencing an increase in the infection rate in virtually every borough in London. What we do not know is whether lockdowns or further restrictions will take place covering the whole of London or on a borough-by-borough basis. In either case, there will be a huge impact on business, so will my right hon. Friend set out what measures will be in place to support London and each London borough in the event of local lockdowns or a London-wide lockdown?

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As I have said in reply to a number of colleagues, we will continue to listen and evaluate the circumstances, including as applies to London. The Chancellor has set out a comprehensive package of support that applies to businesses within the London community, assisting them in their ability to retain what is most prized within a business, which is the talent of its own staff, and in addressing particular cash-flow pressure. We responded very much to the feedback that we have received from business leaders, including business leaders in London, as the winter package was shaped.

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The International Monetary Fund has encouraged Governments to spend on infrastructure. In London, the infrastructure is the west end and the suburban theatres. What urgent plan will the Government put in place to protect the workers—whether the technicians, the actors, the divas or the stars—to keep our desperately loved theatre going?

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On the specific point about the theatre, it is sector championed by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and I referred earlier to the £1.57 billion package that the Chancellor has set out. I agree with the hon. Lady about the importance of infrastructure as a whole. Theatre is one aspect, but there is a much wider piece that includes Crossrail, High Speed 2, the acceleration of our road schemes, and broadband in particular to areas of poor connectivity. There is a huge agenda for infrastructure, and delivering that at pace is a key focus of the Chancellor and the Treasury team.

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The hospitality sector has benefited from an incredible and innovative package of support, and I hope that will continue in a targeted way to mitigate the impact of local lockdown. But if we do not rethink the 10 pm curfew, we could see bars, pubs, restaurants and breweries call last orders for the final time. Will the Government back Britain’s boozers and breweries and reconsider their approach to the 10 pm curfew?

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My hon. Friend is absolutely right that it is important that we act in a targeted way both in terms of our economic measures and in our health response to the pandemic. It is about getting that balance right.

On the 10 pm curfew, it is worth reflecting on the fact that we are not alone in that. The Netherlands and parts of Spain, such as Madrid, have taken a similar approach, but it is all about getting the balance right and ensuring that we act in a targeted way, as my hon. Friend suggests.

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Live music professionals in my constituency saw an average income drop of 97.5% during the initial lockdown. If further local restrictions come into force, the situation is likely to become even bleaker. Given that the sector employs 589,000 people nationally and that their skills are in demand worldwide, will the Chief Secretary extend the remit of the £1.57 billion arts support package to cover live music?

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We keep all packages under review but, to address the very legitimate point that the hon. Lady raises about particular impacts within the economy, we have extended the self-employed income support scheme as one of the vehicles of assisting many of her constituents and those affected particularly in the arts. It is the case that certain sectors have been acutely hit and where we are not able to save every job in a sector, it is extremely important that we are able to get the support, the skills and the training package in place to people from such sectors in the wider economy.

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We can all agree that the Government’s economic support has been a lifeline for millions of hard-working people but in local lockdown areas, such as those across the north-east, hospitality businesses are really struggling with restrictions such as the 10 pm curfew and households not being able to meet for a meal and a pint across Bishop Auckland. May I urge my right hon. Friend to look at how he can offer additional economic and financial support? Some of these businesses have seen their takings drop through no fault of their own.

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I know that the 10 pm curfew is an issue that a number of colleagues across the House have raised. As I said a moment ago, it is about getting the balance right. We have striven to ensure that venues are able to continue to be open most of the evening rather than, as we saw in the initial lockdown, having to close. It is about protecting the majority of the evening and getting the balance right with the later night socialising that the chief medical officer and others are most concerned about in terms of the risk to public health. It is something that we continue to keep under review and learn from other countries around the world. As I have said, other countries are addressing similar issues.

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Last week, one of my constituents who owns a bridal store contacted me in desperation. Because of the coronavirus restrictions in the north-east, brides-to-be can no longer take a relative or friend to their dress-fitting appointments, a special time for any bride. Ultimately, this has led to numerous cancellations. To echo my hon. Friends, will the Minister commit to providing support for businesses, like my constituent’s, or will the Government allow them to fail through no fault of the owner?

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This is one of those sectors that has been hit hard both emotionally and economically. One can see the human distress and the impact of the virus in such cases, at what is a pivotal moment in people’s lives, and also the economic distress. It is certainly not the case that this is about the Government letting businesses fail in that regard. The consequences of the pandemic hit particular sectors more acutely than others. We have put in place, as I said earlier, a comprehensive package of support, but it is also the case that not every single job will be protected. Where that is the case, we need to work with people to ensure that we are able to support them back into the labour market.

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I listened very carefully to my right hon. Friend’s response to the question of my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow East (Bob Blackman) about restrictions in London. I have heard from a lot of small and medium-sized enterprises in Wimbledon that the business rate support grant—the relief that the Government made available—was the lifeline that has kept them going. If there are further restrictions to be imposed, may I ask him to look again at that as the way to help SMEs, a vital part of our economy, to keep going?

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My hon. Friend speaks with great authority when it comes to the business community. I know that he engages extensively with it and understands the issues closely. I am very happy to relay the issue that he raises to my right hon Friend the Secretary of State. As I have said on a number of occasions, we have put in place a comprehensive package of support. It will not address every job, and the Chancellor has been honest with the public in that regard, but it is right that we keep the situation under review. I will take my hon. Friend’s representations on that issue.

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With the Health Secretary reportedly considering further restrictions on hospitality in areas of local restrictions and with 19,000 people in Bradford still on the furlough scheme that comes to an end in just 25 days, will the Treasury bring in a local furlough scheme to save those very viable jobs, which are now under threat as a direct result of this Government’s decisions?

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The hon. Lady raises a legitimate concern, but I do not see the panacea to that being an extended furlough for an indefinite period. What has never been clear to me from those who seek to extend the furlough indefinitely is for how long they would extend it, and how many sectors would be included. We have taken a different approach, as the Chancellor has set out, through the winter plan, the job support scheme and the self-employed income support scheme to support those jobs that we are able to support. I say respectfully to the hon. Lady that I do not agree that the panacea to this would be an open-ended furlough.

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I think there is a growing understanding that we will be wrestling with this crisis for perhaps many more months to come—far longer than any of us had perhaps hoped at the beginning of the pandemic. Does my right hon. Friend agree that it is essential we have a longer-term framework in place—a framework of support for families and for businesses through periods of rolling on-off lockdowns and through periods of self-isolation and sickness—and that, underneath that framework of support for society and for business, we need a strong safety net of social security, which is the hallmark of a decent society?

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My right hon. Friend is absolutely right that our response to the pandemic needs to evolve as our understanding of the disease improves but also as we get a better understanding of how long we will live with the consequences of the pandemic. That is at the heart of the Chancellor’s strategy. In the initial phase in March, we locked down to protect the NHS to build our capacity. There was a shift to the second phase in July, with the plan for jobs and more recently with the winter plan as we look to move people from being furloughed at home to being brought back into the workplace. The more tailored approach of which he speaks is shaped by things such as track and trace and the significant funding that the Treasury has put into that programme in order, as he rightly says, that we can be very targeted as we deal with this in the months ahead.

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In areas of Lancashire—in South Ribble, Chorley and West Lancashire—that I represent, I speak to businesses and they get that we are trying to save lives. The businesses they are in are people businesses—they are in events, weddings and bands—and they will put people first, but they are looking at three winters. They would not be here without the coronavirus business interruption loans, the bounce back loans and the furlough. But can the Minister assure me that he is giving every consideration to ensure that those businesses are still here when we are past this awful virus?

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The Chancellor, through measures such as the extension of the loans to which my hon. Friend refers, and other cash flow measures such as tax deferrals, is seeking to support those businesses, but we do face living with the virus for a longer period. That is why, as our approach evolves, we need to be targeted, so that we get the balance right, not just between the health measures and the economy, but within the economy, where we need to get the balance right between wider fiscal sustainability and the support we are able to offer specific sectors.

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The speculation in the media today that the Scottish Government are about to introduce greater restrictions in Scotland just as we go into the October school holiday is causing tremendous concern to businesses in my constituency, especially those working in the visitor economy. What comfort is the Chief Secretary able to give them that, at this last opportunity they have for a bit of a boost before the third winter comes, they will be protected and that he will work with the Scottish Government to ensure that they get the support they need?

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The right hon. Gentleman raises an important point. The response to the pandemic is helped if across the UK we take a co-ordinated approach. For example, Scotland’s chief medical officer sits alongside the CMOs from the rest of the UK; a huge amount of joint work is undertaken through the Joint Biosecurity Centre; and I engage regularly with counterparts in the Scottish Government. He raises the important point that there is concern in the business community and it is important that a consistent message across the UK, followed by the CMOs, is applied.

Points of Order

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On a point of order, Mr Speaker. As you may be aware, I am chair of the all-party group on coronavirus. On 22 July, in Prime Minister’s questions, we were given a welcome assurance by the Prime Minister that he would “look at” the recommendations we would send him very seriously. During the recess, we wrote to him and sent him the recommendations, but we never received a response. I then tabled a named day question on 17 September asking whether the Prime Minister had acknowledged the all-party group’s recommendations. That was then transferred from No. 10 to the Department of Health and Social Care. The named day, when the reply was meant to come back to us, was 22 September—two weeks later, we have still heard nothing. Our group has been looking at this in order to try to save lives before a second wave. That second wave is now upon us. We have heard moving evidence from those suffering from long covid, from bereaved families and from frontline staff, who deserve to know that the promise is kept to them and the Prime Minister looks at these recommendations seriously. Can you please advise me on what further action remains open to me to seek a substantive and timely response from the Prime Minister on whether he has met the recommendations and whether he has looked at them?

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First, I am grateful to the hon. Lady for giving me notice of her intention to raise this matter. As Speaker, I have expressed my concerns on several occasions about the delays in answering written questions, particularly delays within the Department of Health and Social Care, none more so than in the case referred to in the text I received yesterday from the hon. Member for Chatham and Aylesford (Tracey Crouch)—she said that she had been waiting since April and had finally got a reply last week. The Ministers on the Treasury Bench will have heard the instance that has been raised and I hope that they will also take action. The hon. Member for Oxford West and Abingdon (Layla Moran) may also wish to consider raising her concerns with the Procedure Committee, which keeps a watching brief on the timeliness and adequacy of answers to parliamentary questions. I am disappointed on her behalf and, although this does not make it better, she is certainly not on her own.

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On a point of order, Mr Speaker. You are aware that there are a number of reports in the Scottish media today regarding the possibility of increased restrictions in Scotland. It was suggested earlier today that we might in fact be heading for some sort of circuit-break lockdown. As things stand, it is my intention to go home on Thursday to return on Sunday for business on Monday. I am not, at present, sure if that is actually going to be possible. What guidance can you give to Members, especially from Scottish constituencies, who want to be here to carry out their duties in the House, especially in the light of the reluctance of the Leader of the House to allow us the continuation of digital participation to its full extent?

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I thank the right hon. Gentleman for giving me notice of his point of order. While being grateful, I would also remind him that he knows very well that it is not a point for the Chair. The decision on the scope of virtual participation is for the House itself, but his views, I am sure, have been heard by hon. Members across the House. I express his concern myself, as well, in saying that we do have alternatives. It will depend on what news comes in the future, I am sure.

In order to allow the safe exit of hon. Members participating in this item of business and the safe arrival of those participating in the next, I am suspending the House for three minutes.

Sitting suspended.

Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age)

Motion for leave to bring in a Bill (Standing Order No. 23)

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I beg to move,

That leave be given to bring in a Bill to revoke parental or judicial consent which permits the marriage or civil partnership of a child and to criminalise child marriage or civil partnership under the age of 18; and for connected purposes.

Madam Deputy Speaker, imagine that you are 16 years old, looking forward to your sixth-form education or going into an apprenticeship, and enjoying life, as 16-year-olds should, when all that comes to an abrupt end because your parents tell you that you are going to be married to a man you have never met who is more than 30 years old. You are taken out of school and unlikely to ever return. You are taken to choose your wedding dress and then later taken to the wedding ceremony. Many families, friends and acquaintances are there, but no one—from your teachers to the registrar—asks if you are happy with this. Why would they? A child has no rights, and the parents have given permission, so it is okay.

Anyone who watched the recent drama “Honour”, based on the true story of a girl who was married at 17 to an abusive husband against her will, will understand how shocking this can be. She divorced him, which shamed her family, and her father and other family members and friends killed her. Her sister was also married at 16 against her will to somebody much older than her in this country. She was abused by her husband and now campaigns against child marriage.

Jasvinder Sanghera from Derby set up Karma Nirvana over 25 years ago to provide help to young women, and some men, who have been forced to marry. It has helped thousands of girls over the years, but the sadness is that this charity is still needed. Jasvinder’s sister poured petrol over herself after her unhappy forced marriage and set light to herself in the streets of Derby. Jasvinder has campaigned over many years to stop forced marriage, and we now have a Bill. We need to go further, because so many people are coerced into marrying at 16, and they dare not say anything to the authorities because they are children and frightened. This is what happens to thousands of girls. It is not exclusively girls—some boys are married at this age too, but it is a minority.

Following the first Girl Summit in 2014, the Department for International Development allocated up to £39 million to support global efforts to prevent child marriages. By that proactive contribution, the UK recognised that child marriages result in early pregnancy, social isolation, interrupted or stopped education, limited career and vocational opportunities and a risk of increased domestic violence. Why are we allowing the marriage of children in this country when the recognised age of adulthood is 18? The Government have signed two international human rights conventions which demand that signatories end child marriage in their jurisdictions. We are violating those conventions and allowing child sex abuse.

The law allowing marriage with parental consent dates back to 1929, when parents were most concerned about property rights. Since then, our understanding of childhood and marriage has changed significantly. The United Kingdom now requires everyone to be in education or training until the age of 18, and then they are encouraged to pursue a university education. Social aspirations have increased, especially for girls and women. A 2012 YouGov poll on the ideal age of marriage found that only 2% thought that under 20 is the ideal age for marriage, and 49% considered 25 to 29 to be the ideal age. Many young people do not marry until after 30 these days.

Decreasing numbers take advantage of this opportunity every year, or at least those who are registered. In 2017, 43 men and 140 women were married under the age of 18, contrasting with 228 men and 3,486 women in 1929. There is an argument used by Ministers that numbers are so small that it is not worth the legislative time to make this change. However, preventing the harm to those who are married more than justifies the time and effort.

We must remember that many marriages happen outside Britain, and young women and some men are brought back to this country already married. The data underestimates the scale of the problem. Religious and cultural child marriages may not be reported, and the forced marriage unit cannot act where the child does not understand marriage or has been groomed to appear willing. The British legal system is respected and followed throughout the world. UK laws therefore have international consequences.

Let us consider Bangladesh. Having raised the legal age of marriage to 18, with no exceptions, Bangladesh introduced an exception in 2017 allowing girls younger than 18 to marry in special circumstances. One Bangladeshi Government official stated, “Child marriage is legal in the UK, so why shouldn’t it be allowed here?” According to Girls Not Brides, 59% of Bangladeshi girls are married before they are 18. Save the Children, in its “Global Childhood Report 2020”, estimates that half a million young girls are at risk of child marriage because of the economic impact of today’s pandemic.

The UK’s influence is more important than ever, and we should set a high standard. The current law fails to safeguard children in England and Wales, and it undermines the UK’s international efforts to prevent child marriage elsewhere. By abolishing the exception and criminalising child marriage, this Bill would remove an anachronism in marriage law and protect children worldwide, as well as the integrity of the institution of marriage.

We have young people staying in education and training, and they should not be leaving school, education and training to be married, so that they can never have an economic future of independence. They should not be having children too young, and they should not be forced into this situation. At 16, very few young people are able to fight against their parents; by the time they get to 18, there is much more opportunity because they can see a future of going off to university or further training and having some independence.

Apart from the pandemic, life is much better now than in 1929, and girls in particular have many more opportunities than young people brought up at that time. In 1929 there was nothing to do but to leave school at 14 and go to work, and the work was pretty menial for most girls. Life has changed, and girls can do anything they wish: they can become barristers or doctors; they can work and live abroad; they can travel. They have so many opportunities. They can even become MPs now, which is quite a relief. They will not be able to do any of those things if they miss out on education and training because they have left school to get married.

It is time this country came into the 21st century and changed it completely so that girls, and some boys, are protected while they are still children. We need to safeguard these children. We need to look after them and provide them with a future, which is what most of them want.

Question put and agreed to.

That Mrs Pauline Latham, Sarah Champion, Sir Graham Brady, Mr Virendra Sharma, Henry Smith, Philip Davies, Sir Roger Gale, Dr Dan Poulter, Mrs Sheryll Murray, Mrs Heather Wheeler, Ms Nusrat Ghani and Fiona Bruce present the Bill.

Mrs Pauline Latham accordingly presented the Bill.

Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time on Friday 13 November, and to be printed (Bill 192).

Prisoners (Disclosure of Information About Victims) Bill (Programme) (No. 2)

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 83A(7)),

That the following provisions shall apply to the Prisoners (Disclosure of Information About Victims) Bill for the purpose of supplementing the Order of 11 February 2020 (Prisoners (Disclosure of Information About Victims) Bill (Programme)):

Consideration of Lords Amendments

(1) Proceedings on consideration of Lords Amendments shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion one hour after their commencement.

Subsequent stages

(2) Any further Message from the Lords may be considered forthwith without any Question being put.

(3) The proceedings on any further Message from the Lords shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion one hour after their commencement.—(Tom Pursglove.)

Question agreed to.

Prisoners (Disclosure of Information About Victims) Bill

Consideration of Lords amendments

After Clause 2

Parole board database

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I beg to move, That this House disagrees with Lords amendment 1.

This Bill—Helen’s law, as we have come to know it—amends the release provisions that apply to offenders who do not disclose information relating to cases of murder, manslaughter, or taking or making indecent images of children. As Members are aware, it places existing Parole Board guidance on a statutory footing to ensure that parole board members must consider, when making release assessments, any non-disclosure of information relating to a victim’s remains if they were murdered, or the identity of the victims of child sexual abuse.

I once again pay tribute to the tremendous work done by the hon. Member for St Helens North (Conor McGinn) in campaigning for this Bill. He was inspired by his constituent Marie McCourt, whose daughter, Helen, was tragically murdered. I also pay tribute to the hon. Member for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport (Luke Pollard), many of whose constituents were abused by Vanessa George. Without their tireless work, this Bill would not be progressing through Parliament. I extend to them, once again, my congratulations and thanks.

The Government agree entirely with the spirit and intent behind Baroness Kennedy’s amendment but have some issues with its practicality. Essentially, what it seeks to achieve is already achieved by other means. The first part of Baroness Kennedy’s amendment requires the Parole Board to take responsibility for contacting the victim, but there is of course already a victim contact service as part of the National Probation Service, which has responsibility for precisely that. We think it would create duplication and possibly confusion if two different bodies had the same responsibility for contacting victims.

Their lordships expressed some concern about the effectiveness of the current operation of the victim contact service. In particular, their amendment calls for communications with victims and their families to be done on an opt-out basis so that the family gets contacted automatically, and the contact desists only if the family or victim says, “No, we don’t want to hear anything further.” A pilot of doing exactly that has been running across many parts of the country, although—in response to an inquiry from the hon. Member for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport—not currently in Devon and Cornwall.

I am pleased to tell the House that, subsequent to the House of Lords’ consideration of this matter, a decision has been taken to roll out that programme nationally as part of the new victims code, which we expect will come into operation in early 2021. We intend to lay before Parliament a negative statutory instrument before long to give effect to that. That is precisely what the other place called for in its amendment. Subsequent to their lordships’ debate, it has been decided to progress and do that, so that part of the amendment is being done already. Their lordships might take some credit for prompting us, but it was something that we had been trialling previously, and we intended to do that. I hope that assurance that it will be done gives Members on both sides of the House a great deal of reassurance, happiness and contentment.

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My hon. Friend will know that when the Justice Committee looked at these issues after a great deal of publicity and some court cases, our inquiry shared many of the concerns of the other House about the effectiveness of the victim contact scheme. Can he assure us that appropriate organisational changes, and additional resources where necessary, have been put in to ensure that the scheme can discharge these important duties adequately?

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I thank the Chairman of the Justice Committee for the work that he and his Committee have done in this area, which has been very thorough and useful. I think we do accept the point that he has made, as have the hon. Member for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport and others, that the victim contact scheme can be improved.

I have had discussions with the Minister of State, my hon. and learned Friend the Member for South East Cambridgeshire (Lucy Frazer), who has responsibility for prisons and probation. She has asked me to pass on to the House her undertaking to meet and speak to the Victims’ Commissioner about improving the victim contact scheme. We will also be happy, either in the same meeting or a separate one, to Labour Front Benchers, including the hon. Member for Hove (Peter Kyle) and, if he wishes, the right hon. Member for Tottenham (Mr Lammy), as well as the hon. Members for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport and for St Helens North and their constituents if they wish to join the meeting, to discuss any concerns they may have and any ideas they may have for further improvements to the victim contact scheme. I am happy to put that commitment by the Minister of State on the record this afternoon.

This Bill has progressed thus far with cross-party support. It has been worked on very constructively by those on the Government Front Bench and the Opposition Front Bench, as well as by those on the Back Benches. Indeed, it would not have got here without their work, as I said earlier. I hope we can continue in that spirit of cross-party unity on this topic.

Given that the victim contact scheme exists already and the opt-out changes will be made shortly, and given our commitment to work with the Victims’ Commissioner and others to further improve the victim contact scheme, I hope the House will join me in respectfully rebuffing—perhaps that is the word, or perhaps gently pushing back—the amendments that their lordships have sent in our direction.

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May I start by thanking the Minister for his comments and the tone in which he has conducted this debate? It is much appreciated by those of us on the Opposition Benches, I can assure him.

I start by paying tribute to the tireless campaigning of victims’ families, and in particular the campaigning of Marie McCourt and the families of those abused by Vanessa George. They have begged successive Governments to time the release of serious offenders in a way that is more responsive to victim circumstance. Supported by my hon. Friends the Members for St Helens North (Conor McGinn) and for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport (Luke Pollard), they have changed the law for the better.

Observers of this House from the outside may think it is quite normal for people to bring forward legislation from the Back Benches and get it all the way through both Houses, but it is very unusual. In fact, I think I am right in saying that both the Minister and I have attempted in the past to introduce legislation from the Back Benches. In his case, it was to tackle industrial relations in utility companies and in mine it was to extend the franchise to 16 and 17-year-olds, and both of us met with undignified failure. They have succeeded where we unfortunately failed.

Those families will make a significant difference to the lives of victims’ families for generations to come. They did so knowing that it would not materially impact their own situation. They did it to save others from the torment they have endured, and we are grateful to them.

As the House is aware, the first part of the Bill implements Helen’s law. Motivated by the case of Ian Simms, it forces the Parole Board to consider the non-disclosure of key information during the release decisions of people convicted of murder or manslaughter. The unwillingness of murderers to disclose such details is a source of merciless and unrelenting anguish. That is equally true of the young victims of Vanessa George, who was convicted of sexual assault and making and distributing indecent photographs of children. She was released from prison last year, despite never naming the children she abused. The second part of the Bill guarantees the same protections for victims in such cases.

It is unforgivable that our system has not better reflected the needs of those bereaved by such horrific crimes over previous decades. For far too long, victims and their families have been treated as an afterthought in the criminal justice system. They were described as such by the victims’ commissioner for London, Claire Waxman, in a recent interview. The Bill delivers two new key statutory rights to victims and their families. I hope the Government will continue with this direction of travel apace, because, despite repeated pledges, they have still failed to bring forward the long-promised victims law, which would offer a comprehensive set of rights and protections to the victims who so desperately need them. Such a law is desperately needed now more than ever, given the increasing rate of offences for which no one is ever brought to justice because of the victim and witnesses dropping out due to various different issues. We have pledges aplenty from the Government; we need more action.

There is far more left to do to address the systemic challenges facing victims in the criminal justice system. We on the Opposition Benches will continue to press the Government on this issue and work constructively with them when the opportunity arises, as we have done today. We will campaign unfailingly until comprehensive rights are guaranteed by law for those victims who need them the most. This Bill marks one very positive step forward, and the Opposition proudly support it on its convoluted pathway from the Back Benches to the Front Bench and through both Houses of Parliament. We now look forward to the difference it will make for victims and their families.

Lords amendment 1 was proposed in the other place by Baroness Kennedy of Cradley and seeks to address the asymmetry in offender and victim rights, wherein offenders receive regular communication from the authorities—a luxury that most victims will only ever dream of. This cannot continue, and Baroness Kennedy’s amendment represents an effort to tackle the injustice. However, we are happy to have agreed with the Minister, over the course of recent weeks, commitments regarding the future of the victim contact scheme. As a result, we will not seek to divide the House on the amendment.

I want to thank the Minister and put on the record the open-spirited way in which he has engaged with me and Members from all parties as we have approached today’s debate. First, we accept his argument that the creation of a victim database would replicate the work of the victim contact scheme. Victim liaison officers perform a vital role in keeping victims and their families up to date on the release process. That extends to those affected by the shocking crimes under discussion in respect of the Bill. There is scope to improve the scheme further, and the Government have pledged to review it as part of a broader reform of probation. It is vital that the tragic cases to which the Bill applies are given substantial consideration in any such review.

Secondly, we welcome the Government’s intention to introduce an opt-out system as part of the victim contact scheme. That will help to ensure that families of victims are empowered throughout the criminal justice process, extending support to more of those in need while protecting the right to withdraw from the contact process should that be desired.

Finally, we welcome the commitment to involving the Victims’ Commissioner in any review of the victim contact scheme. In her letter dated 7 August, the commissioner laid out her thoughts on how to make the scheme more responsive to victims’ needs, including by changing it from a transactional service into a package of end-to-end support and considering the benefits of co-location with victims’ services. The Government must work closely with the commissioner to consider the viability of her proposed changes.

I thank the Minister for inviting us on the Opposition Benches to contribute to any future review; it is generous of him and welcomed by us. We look forward to working with him on this issue and finding solutions to the challenges of how we ensure that families can easily update contact details over time. It is important that our political system, and those who work within it, come together when broad agreement can be found. Not only is this how politics can better reflect most people’s experiences in their daily lives, but it is a way that we in this House can demonstrate our respect for the suffering of victims and their families by coming together and putting their needs ahead of any others.

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May I join the Minister and shadow Minister in paying tribute to the victims who have worked so hard to have an appalling wrong righted, and to the hon. Members of this House who have campaigned so steadfastly for that to be achieved? I welcome, too, the spirit in which the Minister has approached this issue throughout; I think we will all end up in the same position.

When the Select Committee heard evidence around these matters of disclosure—I am grateful again to those members of the public who assisted us while sometimes having to relive painful experiences, as hon. Members can imagine—we had concerns about the effectiveness of the victims service at that time. I am glad to hear that those changes have been made. I hope that the Minister will ensure that it continues to have the resources needed to provide what I think we all accept needs to be a more holistic support service for victims in such circumstances.

We also have to bear in mind the new and perfectly proper responsibilities placed on the Parole Board, ensuring that it is resourced in terms of both money and suitably qualified personnel. I would submit that the chairs of the panels dealing with such sensitive cases should always be legally qualified. I hope and anticipate that the Minister will be prepared to take those suggestions on board. The Select Committee looks forward to keeping an eye on how the review progresses, and I hope that it will not take too long. I also hope that we will, as our party pledge, move towards a victims law in due course, although we appreciate the work that has been done to strengthen the victims code; that is important.

When the Victims’ Commissioner last gave evidence before the Select Committee, she expressed some ongoing concern at the variability of support for victims in general across various parts of the country. Much of the funding comes from police and crime commissioners, and the level of priority can vary—if I can put it that way—from place to place. It is probably not acceptable to have that degree of postcode lottery. I hope that we can engage constructively with the Government to find ways in which we can even out the imbalances to ensure that, wherever the victim is in the country, they get the same and proper levels of support.

This Bill is an important and valuable step forward. It does credit to the parliamentary process that it has been improved and taken forward in the way in which it has. It is in that spirit that we should say to their lordships that, with respect, we regard the amendment to the Bill as now unnecessary. I am grateful to the Minister and to all concerned for this important piece of work.

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I thank the Minister for his remarks, which will go a long way to helping the families involved in the case of Vanessa George. I speak today on behalf of the families of the children who were abused by Vanessa George. Those babies and toddlers—as they were when they were abused—are still children and young adults, so they cannot be named; nor can I place on record the names of the family members who have done so much campaigning and hard work, and who have shared so many painful experiences in order to get this far. They know who they are and Plymouth is grateful to them, and I am grateful to them for their work in this respect.

Our campaign started when the news of Vanessa George’s release was made public. At first, its key objective was to prevent her early release, as someone who still held a power over the families and the victims: the names of the children who were abused. We do not believe that every child at Little Ted’s nursery in Laira was abused by Vanessa George, but we do not know which child was. That means that every single family who sent their most precious gift in the world—their child—to the nursery is living with the uncertainty over whether it is their child who was abused, and whether it is an image of the abuse of their child that is festering in some dark corner of the web somewhere. That is a cancer that eats away at people, and the courage and determination of the families throughout this process has been a real source of strength for me.

When it was announced that Vanessa George was released, the campaign then moved to strengthen the law. I want to pay tribute to the Government. As a member of the Opposition Front-Bench team, that is not something I find myself doing often, but in this respect, party politics has been put to one side. The Minister, his predecessor, who is now the Secretary of State, their Justice team colleagues and the officials went out of their way to listen to the family’s concerns and bring forward a measure that enacts the campaigns of two Labour MPs. That is testament to the importance of the issues and the sense that, despite the contested nature of our politics, there are things that we can all agree on and work together on to make our country better.

The campaign had two parts. One was tightening the law to make refusal to name children who have been abused a material consideration for the Parole Board in determining whether to release a prisoner. That legislative change is needed and I am grateful that it remains in the Bill. The second part relates to the amendment that was passed in the Lords. That was the softer side—communication and how the victims’ families felt involved in the process.

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Does the hon. Member agree that it is extremely important that the contact database or the contact scheme that the Parole Board has lists each family member? So often in these instances, the trauma of what has happened leads to families breaking up. It is therefore important for each family member to know what is happening.

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The hon. Member is exactly right. That point is an important part of the softer side of communication that needs to be built into the system. The majority of the families found out about the release not via communication from the authorities but through Facebook and our local media. That is an enormous tragedy for those families who were unable to prepare themselves or their children for what was coming.

The children who Vanessa George abused and those we think she may have abused and their classmates are now young adults of secondary school age. They are digital natives. They were born with the internet. They know the issues in their community and they have followed this issue, sometimes with greater awareness than their parents. Schools have done a tremendous job in ensuring that they are supported through the process, but we need to build that into a system to make sure that there is proper communication.

I am therefore pleased that the Minister has said that the pilot schemes that were put in place with the probation service will be rolled out nationally, including in Devon and Cornwall. That is a huge improvement on the current situation. I am also glad that they are “opt out” rather than “opt in”. Opting in when the crime or the trial takes place is an enormously difficult decision. As has been said, only one member of a family normally makes that decision to take the lead on liaison with the authorities. For most people, liaison with the police and the criminal justice system is not something that they go through every day, and it is a difficult decision. The ability to have a system, whereby families can adjust their details over time, when email addresses change and families break up, is important. The enormous stress of this case has led to families breaking up. It is right and proper that both parents—the mum and the dad—have the opportunity to know what is happening place.

I am also pleased that the Minister has set out the involvement of the Victims’ Commissioner. I have met her in relation to this case and I have found her as compassionate and skilled in her current role as she was when she was in this House. I know that her involvement will strengthen the system that flows from the Bill.

The roll-out of the victim contact scheme is important. I am glad that the Minister has made that commitment. I would be pleased to take him up on his offer of being involved with that and to feed in the families’ experiences. I have been sharing not just the communication but the whole process with Ministers. In a meeting with one of the Minister’s Justice colleagues, I spoke about the experience of one family member who gave evidence at the Parole Board hearing. It was a still a requirement to attend in person at that point, in the prison where the offender was held, to read out a statement. I could not understand why, in the 21st century, that could not be done by video link from a local court, sparing the family member the pressure of travelling. That applies particularly in the case of a female offender because we do not have as many female prisons as male prisons and that means travelling long distances, especially from the south-west, to give evidence. Coronavirus has speeded up the giving of video evidence, but I know that the Government were looking at a pilot, which was held in London, and that they are considering rolling it out nationwide. I hope that the importance of doing that can be reinforced.

On the basis of the reassurances that the Minister has provided today—I am grateful to him for doing so—I echo the words of my hon. Friend the Member for Hove (Peter Kyle) in saying that we will not be pressing this amendment. I think that is a good thing because, in my mind, child abuse should not be party political: it should be something where we find common ground and work together. I am grateful to Baroness Kennedy in the other place for tabling the amendment and for pressing it, because in doing so she has listened to the campaign of the victims in Plymouth and has helped to achieve movement, which is very welcome. Vanessa George robbed these children of their innocence. She robbed the families of the trust that they could place in their local nursery, which has now closed. Each of the families I have spoken to has said, “This can’t change what happened, but it can stop it happening to someone else.” That is a really important part of where we are going.

I pay tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for St Helens North (Conor McGinn) for his championing of the first part of this Bill in relation to Helen’s law. It is enormously difficult to make a case consistently for as long as he has done, but he has done so proudly, professionally and with great courtesy. I know he will continue to support Marie and the family. Notwithstanding the personal pain that she feels at the release of Helen’s killer, she was pleased to see that this law will come into force soon and hopes that no other family will have to go through what she has gone through. That is a lasting tribute to her campaigning.

I must admit that I was ill prepared to deal with the scale of child abuse that this case presented me with. We need to equip people in public life better for that. Dealing with one case of child abuse is awful, but I was ill prepared for the scale of challenge in dealing, as in this case, with dozens of babies and toddlers who had been abused and the uncertainty around that. I am very glad that, with the support of Labour Front Benchers and of Ministers and their officials, we are getting to a point where the victims will be able to see a form of justice done in improving the system, with better communication on what is taking place.

My final remark is to Vanessa George herself. She maintains a power over the victims by withholding their names. She will know the names of some of the children she abused and photographed and whose images she shared. Wherever she is in Britain at this point, she could help the families and relieve a part of their suffering and uncertainty by naming some of the children she abused. She must know the names. She must know that naming the kids would enormously help the healing process. I appeal to her to do that, because for as long as she holds on to those names, those families will not have peace. That is a really important of this issue.

I thank the Minister for the concessions and the announcements that he has made today. They go an enormous way towards delivering on the campaign on behalf of the families from Plymouth. This is a good Bill. I hope that it can be passed into law by Christmas so that all the families of the children who were abused in Plymouth will know that there is a strengthened legislation and better communication as a result of their campaign.

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I would first like to express my support for this Bill as a whole. We absolutely must do everything we can to return the bodies of victims to their loved ones to ensure that they are afforded a proper burial and an opportunity to say goodbye. The death of any loved one can have a profound impact on family members and friends. From the testimony of the McCourt family, who have been the driving force behind this Bill, and that of many others, it is clear that that is magnified in cases of murder, and further still when an offender refuses to disclose where they have left the body of their victim. It is also right that the measures in this Bill extend to those who have been convicted of abusing children and making indecent images of their victims. That is a heinous crime, and families of potential victims deserve answers.

Turning to the amendment, I doubt that anyone would dispute the need to ensure that victims and their families are kept apprised of any parole applications and, indeed, of every stage of the parole process thereafter. Over the past few years as a caseworker for my predecessor and now as the Member of Parliament, I have supported constituents of mine such as the Weedon family, whose daughter Amanda was subjected to a frenzied attack by a complete stranger when walking home from her job as a nurse at a local hospital. She sustained 37 knife wounds. Even more shockingly, it was reported that the attack happened while the perpetrator was visiting the grave of his first victim. The perpetrator of these horrific crimes was sentenced to life imprisonment in the 1980s but made a parole application earlier this year. The family were subsequently informed of this and were able to make a victim personal statement and challenge the Parole Board’s decision in the necessary timeframe. Unfortunately, in this case, the prisoner was released, but the families were at least given the opportunity to make their views known.

It is crucial that victims and their families are given a voice and treated on a level playing field with the offender. Indeed, Amanda’s father, Horace Weedon, who sadly passed away earlier this year, played an active role in the years following Amanda’s murder in improving the support afforded to victims’ families, even delivering a talk at HMP Gartree to prisoners serving life sentences. I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to his work.

I welcome the fact that, as the Minister highlighted, there is already a well-established process in place, delivered through the victim contact scheme, which keeps victims and their families up to date with parole applications. Sadly, however, there are still too many cases in which victims and their families are not provided with that information and find out that an offender has been released only when it is reported in the media. That is wrong. Even if the Government consider that creating a database is not the right solution, we need to look again at the process and how it can be improved, not just in the specific instances covered by the Bill but more widely.

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I shall keep my remarks very short, but I want to say a few things in the cross-party spirit of the Bill. My remarks became even shorter after the Minister contacted me this morning and explained exactly the concessions that the Government are making. I am very grateful for that. I also pay tribute to the campaigners and Members of this House who have ensured that this important change in the law will hopefully come into force very soon, making life a lot better and more bearable for victims’ families, who have gone through traumatic experiences already.

The Liberal Democrats welcome the Bill, which will hopefully bring much needed justice for the families of victims. I sincerely hope that this legislation will mean that far fewer families find themselves in the awful position of not knowing what has happened after a loved one becomes a victim of a heinous crime.

The most important issue, which is at the core of the Bill, is improving communication, disclosure and open decision making. The parole function needs to make sure that the views of victims’ families are an essential part of that function. As we just heard, there are too many examples of a victim’s family finding out the result of a parole hearing only through media reports or online. I do not doubt that everyone in the House wants to ensure that our justice system does better to support victims. Parole Board cases are of great significance to victims’ families. They must have the right to know what is happening and to have their say—a meaningful say.

The issue we are debating, which arises from the Lords amendment—much of that has already been discussed—is effective communication with victims’ families. That is currently done through the probation service. The Lords amendment would require the Parole Board to provide the essential and meaningful communication with victims’ families. I understand that the Government are offering not to amend this essential part of the Bill, but to improve the probation service to a point where justice is done for the families of victims.

The Government do, however, agree with part of the Lords amendment and have already been running a pilot for opt-out systems so that families can have regular updates, and they intend to lay a statutory instrument under the negative resolution procedure at the beginning of the new year, in line with the new victims code. All that is very welcome. We have also heard that the Government are committing to more contact between the Prisons Minister and the Victims’ Commissioner. Again, that is very welcome.

The proof of those concessions, however, will be in their effectiveness, and we will need to see how effective the system is once it is up and running. My main request is for a proper review of whether the new arrangements have the required outcome of giving the families of victims of terrible crimes the justice that they deserve, and minimising the trauma that families go through.

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With the leave of the House, let me say a word or two in conclusion. I once again thank the hon. Members for St Helens North (Conor McGinn) and for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport (Luke Pollard) for their campaigning on this topic, and I thank the Opposition Front Bench and the Liberal Democrat Front Bench for the constructive cross-party spirit in which they have approached it.

This is an example of Parliament working at its best on an issue of profound importance to victims whose lives have been destroyed by either murderers or child abusers who seek to further torment their victims, even after the offence and their trial and conviction, by intentionally and maliciously withholding information about the whereabouts of the body or the identities of the children who have been abused. It is wicked and unacceptable, and this House, in passing this legislation, sends a clear message to those people that their behaviour is abhorrent and unacceptable, and we stand united against it.

Lords amendment 1 disagreed to.

Ordered, That a Committee be appointed to draw up Reasons to be assigned to the Lords for disagreeing to their amendment 1;

That Chris Philp, Tom Pursglove, Neil O’Brien, Julie Marson, Bambos Charalambous and Peter Kyle be members of the Committee;

That Chris Philp be the Chair of the Committee;

That three be the quorum of the Committee.

That the Committee do withdraw immediately.—(Rebecca Harris.)

Committee to withdraw immediately; reasons to be reported and communicated to the Lords.

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In order to observe social distancing, the Reasons Committee will meet not as usual in the Reasons Room but in Committee Room 12.

In order to allow Members to safely leave the Chamber and Members who are going to speak on the next item of business to enter, I suspend the sitting for three minutes.

Sitting suspended.

Private International Law (Implementation of Agreements) Bill [Lords]

Considered in Committee

[Dame Eleanor Laing in the Chair]

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I should explain that, in these exceptional circumstances, although the Chair of the Committee would normally sit in the Clerk’s chair during Committee stage, in order to comply with social distancing requirements, I will remain in the Speaker’s Chair, although I will be carrying out the role not of Deputy Speaker but of Chairman of the Committee. During Committee, the occupant of the Chair should be addressed as Chair of the Committee, rather than as Deputy Speaker.

Clause 1

Implementation of the 1996, 2005 and 2007 Hague Conventions

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I beg to move amendment 2, page 2, line 20, at end insert—

3F The 2007 Lugano Convention to have the force of law

(1) The 2007 Lugano Convention shall have the force of law in the United Kingdom.

(2) For the purposes of this Act the 2007 Lugano Convention is to be read together with any reservations or declarations made by the United Kingdom at the time of the approval of the Convention.

(3) For convenience of reference the English text of the 2007 Lugano Convention is set out in Schedule 3H.”

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With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Amendment 3, page 2, line 21, leave out “3G” and insert “3H”.

Amendment 4, page 2, line 22, leave out “4” and insert

“(Schedule to be inserted as Schedule 3H to the Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments Act 1982)”.

Amendment 1, page 2, line 24, at end insert—

“(5) The 2007 Lugano Convention on Jurisdiction and the Recognition and Enforcement of Judgements in Civil and Commercial Matters shall have the force of law in the United Kingdom, conditional upon the United Kingdom accession to such Convention.”

Clause 1 stand part.

Government amendment 5.

This amendment provides that regulations made under NC5 may make provision binding the Crown.

Clause 2 stand part.

Government amendment 6.

This amendment inserts a new subsection into Clause 3. This allows Her Majesty by Order in Council to extend to the Isle of Man NC5 (including NS4) and subsections (2) and (3) of Clause 2 inserted by Amendment 5.

Clause 3 stand part.

Government new clause 5—Implementation of other agreements on private international law (No. 3)

“(1) The appropriate national authority may make regulations for the purpose of, or in connection with, implementing any international agreement, as it has effect from time to time, so far as relating to private international law (a ‘relevant international agreement’).

(2) The appropriate national authority may make regulations for the purpose of, or in connection with, applying a relevant international agreement, with or without modifications, as between different jurisdictions within the United Kingdom.

(3) The appropriate national authority may make regulations for the purpose of, or in connection with, giving effect to any arrangements made between—

(a) Her Majesty’s government in the United Kingdom, and

(b) the government of a relevant territory,

for applying a relevant international agreement, with or without modifications, as between the United Kingdom, or a jurisdiction within the United Kingdom, and that territory.

(4) Regulations under this section may make—

(a) consequential, supplementary, incidental, transitional or saving provision;

(b) different provision for different purposes or for different parts of the United Kingdom.

(5) Regulations under this section may include provision about—

(a) enforcement of obligations arising under or by virtue of the regulations;

(b) sharing of information;

(c) legal aid.

(6) Schedule (Regulations under section (Implementation of other agreements on private international law (No. 3))) makes further provision about regulations under this section.

(7) In this section—

‘appropriate national authority’ means—

(a) in relation to England and Wales, the Secretary of State;

(b) in relation to Scotland—

(i) the Scottish Ministers, or

(ii) the Secretary of State acting with the consent of the Scottish Ministers;

(c) in relation to Northern Ireland—

(i) a Northern Ireland department, or

(ii) the Secretary of State acting with the consent of a Northern Ireland department

‘international agreement’ means a convention, treaty or other agreement to which the United Kingdom is, or is expected to become, a party;

‘private international law’ includes rules and other provisions about—

(a) jurisdiction and applicable law;

(b) recognition and enforcement in one country or territory of any of the following that originate in another country or territory—

(i) a judgment, order or arbitral award;

(ii) an agreement, decision or authentic instrument determining or otherwise relating to rights and obligations;

(c) co-operation between judicial or other authorities in different countries or territories in relation to—

(i) service of documents, taking of evidence and other procedures, or

(ii) anything within paragraph (a) or (b);

‘relevant international agreement’ has the meaning given in subsection (1);

‘relevant territory’ means—

(a) the Isle of Man;

(b) any of the Channel Islands;

(c) a British overseas territory.

(8) This section and Schedule (Regulations under section (Implementation of other agreements on private international law (No. 3))) have effect, with the following modifications, in relation to a model law adopted by an international organisation of which the United Kingdom is a member as it has effect in relation to an international agreement to which the United Kingdom is, or is expected to become, a party.

The modifications are—

(a) a reference in this section or that Schedule to implementing or applying a relevant international agreement is to be read as a reference to giving effect to the model law (with or without modifications);

(b) subsection (1) is to be read as if the words ‘as revised from time to time’ were substituted for the words ‘as it has effect from time to time’.”

This new clause contains a power to implement international agreements relating to private international law.

Amendment (a) to Government new clause 5, in subsection (1), leave out from “implementing” to “relevant ” and insert “the”.

This amendment together with amendments (c), (d) and (g) is intended to ensure the powers in Government NC5 may be used only to implement the 2007 Lugano Convention.

Amendment (b) to Government new clause 5, in subsection (1), leave out “any” and insert “an”.

This amendment with Amendment (f) is intended to ensure that order making powers are confined to the international treaties set out in clause 1 only.

Amendment (c) to Government new clause 5, in subsection (2), leave out “a” and insert “the”.

See explanatory statement for Amendment (a).

Amendment (d) to Government new clause 5, in subsection (3), leave out “a” and insert “the”.

See explanatory statement for Amendment (a).

Amendment (e) to Government new clause 5, in subsection (6), leave out

“Schedule (Regulations under section(Implementation of other agreements on private international law (Amendment3)))”

and insert

“Schedule (Regulations under section(Implementation of other Agreements on Private International Law (Amendment 2)))”.

This amendment would provide for super-affirmative procedure to be applied in accordance with NS3 to regulations made under Government NC5.

Amendment (f) to Government new clause 5, in subsection (7), after “party”, insert

“and which is set out in section 1.”

This amendment with Amendment (b) is intended to ensure that order making powers are confined to the international treaties set out in clause 1 only.

Amendment (g) to Government new clause 5, in subsection (7), leave out

“has the meaning given in subsection (1)”

and insert

“means the Convention on Jurisdiction and the Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters signed at Lugano on 30th October 2007 (the ‘2007 Lugano Convention’);”.

See explanatory statement for Amendment (a).

New clause 1—Implementation of other agreements on private international law

“(1) The appropriate national authority may make regulations for the purpose of, or in connection with, implementing an international agreement, as it has effect from time to time, so far as relating to private international law (a ‘relevant international agreement’).

(2) The appropriate national authority may make regulations for the purpose of, or in connection with, applying a relevant international agreement, with or without modifications, as between different jurisdictions within the United Kingdom.

(3) The appropriate national authority may make regulations for the purpose of, or in connection with, giving effect to any arrangements made between—

(a) Her Majesty’s government in the United Kingdom, and

(b) the government of a relevant territory,

for applying a relevant international agreement, with or without modifications, as between the United Kingdom, or a jurisdiction within the United Kingdom, and that territory.

(4) This section applies (subject to subsection (5)) where the United Kingdom has authenticated a relevant international agreement.

(5) This section applies only if the proposed agreement is not binding on the United Kingdom as a matter of international law unless it is ratified by the United Kingdom.

(6) Before the United Kingdom ratifies the proposed agreement, a Minister of the Crown must lay before Parliament a report which gives details of the proposed agreement.

(7) In this section a reference to authenticating a relevant international agreement is a reference to doing an act which establishes the text of the agreement as authentic and definitive as a matter of international law.

(8) This section applies where a Minister of the Crown proposes to make regulations under subsections (1), (2) or (3) for the purpose of implementing a relevant international agreement to which the United Kingdom and another signatory (or other signatories) are signatories.

(9) A draft of the statutory instrument containing the regulations may not be laid before Parliament unless, at least 10 Commons sitting days before the draft is laid, a Minister of the Crown has laid before Parliament a report which gives details of, and explains the reasons for, the relevant international agreement.

(10) In this section ‘Commons sitting day’ means a day on which the House of Commons begins to sit.

(11) Regulations under this section may make—

(a) consequential, supplementary, incidental, transitional or saving provision;

(b) different provision for different purposes or for different parts of the United Kingdom.

(12) Regulations under this section may include provision about—

(a) enforcement of obligations arising under or by virtue of the regulations;

(b) sharing of information;

(c) legal aid.

(13) No regulations may be made under subsections (1),(2) or (3) after the end of the period of 2 years beginning with the date of enactment of this Act.

(14) In this section—

‘appropriate national authority’ means—

(a) in relation to England and Wales, the Secretary of State;

(b) in relation to Scotland—

(c) in relation to Northern Ireland—

‘international agreement’ means a convention, treaty or other agreement to which the United Kingdom is, or is expected to become, a party and which is set out in section 1 of this Act;

‘private international law’ includes rules and other provisions about—

(a) jurisdiction and applicable law;

(b) recognition and enforcement in one country or territory of any of the following that originate in another country or territory—

(c) co-operation between judicial or other authorities in different countries or territories in relation to—

‘relevant international agreement’ has the meaning given in subsection (1);

‘relevant territory’ means—

(a) the Isle of Man;

(b) any of the Channel Islands;

(c) a British overseas territory.

(15) This section has effect, with the following modifications, in relation to a model law adopted by an international organisation of which the United Kingdom is a member as it has effect in relation to an international agreement to which the United Kingdom is, or is expected to become, a party.

The modifications are—

(a) a reference in this section or that Schedule to implementing or applying a relevant international agreement is to be read as a reference to giving effect to the model law (with or without modifications);

(b) subsection (1) is to be read as if the words ‘as revised from time to time’ were substituted for the words ‘as it has effect from time to time’.”

This new clause is a modified version of clause 2 removed from the Bill by the House of Lords. This new clause requires a Minister to lay a report before Parliament at least 10 Commons sitting days before regulations implementing a relevant international agreement are laid in draft under subsections (1), (2) and (3) requires a Minister to lay a report before Parliament before the UK ratifies a private international law agreement with another country and contains a sunset provision.

New clause 2—Implementation of the 2007 Lugano Convention

“(1) The Secretary of State may make regulations for the purpose of, or in connection with, implementing the Convention on Jurisdiction and the Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters signed at Lugano on 30th October 2007 (the ‘2007 Lugano Convention’), in the event that the United Kingdom becomes a party to the Convention in its own right.

(2) The Secretary of State must consult the Scottish Ministers, the Welsh Ministers and a Northern Ireland Department before making regulations under subsection (1).

(3) Regulations under subsection (1) are subject to super-affirmative resolution procedure (see Schedule (Super-affirmative resolution procedure)).”

This new clause would enable the Secretary of State to make regulations implementing the Lugano Convention in the UK, subject to the super-affirmative resolution procedure in NS2.

New clause 6—Report on relevant international agreement

“(1) This section applies (subject to subsection (2)) where the United Kingdom has authenticated a relevant international agreement in accordance with section (Implementation of other agreements on private international law (No. 3)).

(2) This section applies only if the proposed agreement is not binding on the United Kingdom as a matter of international law unless it is ratified by the United Kingdom.

(3) Before the United Kingdom ratifies the proposed agreement, a Minister of the Crown must lay before Parliament a report which gives details of the proposed agreement.

(4) In this section a reference to authenticating a relevant international agreement is a reference to doing an act which establishes the text of the agreement as authentic and definitive as a matter of international law.”

This new clause requires a Minister to lay a report before Parliament before the UK ratifies a private international law agreement with another country.

New clause 7—Report to be laid with regulations under section 2(1), (2) or (3)

“(1) This section applies where a Minister of the Crown proposes to make regulations under section (Implementation of other agreements on private international law (No. 3)) (1), (2) or (3) for the purpose of implementing a relevant international agreement to which the United Kingdom and another signatory (or other signatories) are signatories.

(2) A draft of the statutory instrument containing the regulations may not be laid before Parliament unless, at least 10 Commons sitting days before the draft is laid, a Minister of the Crown has laid before Parliament a report which gives details of, and explains the reasons for, the relevant international agreement.

(3) In this section, ‘Commons sitting day’ means a day on which the House of Commons begins to sit.”

This new clause requires a Minister to lay a report before Parliament at least ten Commons sitting days before regulations implementing a relevant international agreement are laid in draft under subsections (1), (2) and (3) of Government NC5.

New clause 8—Sunset Provisions

“No regulations may be made under subsections (1),(2) and (3) of section (Implementation of other agreements on private international law (No. 3)) after the end of the period of 2 years beginning with the date on which this Act is passed.”

That schedule 1 be the First schedule to the Bill.

That schedule 2 be the Second schedule to the Bill.

That schedule 3 be the Third schedule to the Bill.

That schedule 4 be the Fourth schedule to the Bill.

That schedule 5 be the Fifth schedule to the Bill.

Government new schedule 4—Regulations under section (Implementation of other agreements on private international law (No. 3)).

New schedule 1—Schedule 4A

“Schedule to be inserted as Schedule 3H to the Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments Act 1982

SCHEDULE 3H

Text of the 2007 Lugano Convention

CONVENTION ON JURISDICTION AND THE RECOGNITION AND ENFORCEMENT OF JUDGMENTS IN CIVIL AND COMMERCIAL MATTERS

(Concluded on 30 October 2007)

The High Contracting Parties to this Convention,

Determined to strengthen in their territories the legal protection of persons therein established,

Considering that it is necessary for this purpose to determine the international jurisdiction of the courts, to facilitate recognition, and to introduce an expeditious procedure for securing the enforcement of judgments, authentic instruments and court settlements,

Aware of the links between them, which have been sanctioned in the economic field by the free trade agreements concluded between the European Community and certain States members of the European Free Trade Association,

the Brussels Convention of 27 September 1968 on jurisdiction and the enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters, as amended by the Accession Conventions under the successive enlargements of the European Union,

the Lugano Convention of 16 September 1988 on jurisdiction and the enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters, which extends the application of the rules of the 1968 Brussels Convention to certain States members of the European Free Trade Association,

Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 of 22 December 2000 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters, which has replaced the abovementioned Brussels Convention,

the Agreement between the European Community and the Kingdom of Denmark on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters, signed at Brussels on 19 October 2005,

Persuaded that the extension of the principles laid down in Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 to the Contracting Parties to this instrument will strengthen legal and economic cooperation,

Desiring to ensure as uniform an interpretation as possible of this instrument,

Have in this spirit decided to conclude this Convention, and have agreed as follows—

TITLE I

SCOPE

Article 1

(1) This Convention shall apply in civil and commercial matters whatever the nature of the court or tribunal. It shall not extend, in particular, to revenue, customs or administrative matters.

(2) The Convention shall not apply to—

(a) the status or legal capacity of natural persons, rights in property arising out of a matrimonial relationship, wills and succession;

(b) bankruptcy, proceedings relating to the winding-up of insolvent companies or other legal persons, judicial arrangements, compositions and analogous proceedings;

(c) social security;

(d) arbitration.

(3) In this Convention, the term ‘State bound by this Convention’ shall mean any State that is a Contracting Party to this Convention or a Member State of the European Community. It may also mean the European Community.

TITLE II

JURISDICTION

SECTION 1

General provision

Article 2

(1) Subject to the provisions of this Convention, persons domiciled in a State bound by this Convention shall, whatever their nationality, be sued in the courts of that State.

(2) Persons who are not nationals of the State bound by this Convention in which they are domiciled shall be governed by the rules of jurisdiction applicable to nationals of that State.

Article 3

(1) Persons domiciled in a State bound by this Convention may be sued in the courts of another State bound by this Convention only by virtue of the rules set out in Sections 2 to 7 of this Title.

(2) In particular the rules of national jurisdiction set out in Annex I shall not be applicable as against them.

Article 4

(1) If the defendant is not domiciled in a State bound by this Convention, the jurisdiction of the courts of each State bound by this Convention shall, subject to the provisions of Articles 22 and 23, be determined by the law of that State.

(2) As against such a defendant, any person domiciled in a State bound by this Convention may, whatever his nationality, avail himself in that State of the rules of jurisdiction there in force, and in particular those specified in Annex I, in the same way as the nationals of that State.

SECTION 2

Special jurisdiction

Article 5

A person domiciled in a State bound by this Convention may, in another State bound by this Convention, be sued—

(1) (a) in matters relating to a contract, in the courts for the place of performance of the obligation in question;

(b) for the purpose of this provision and unless otherwise agreed, the place of performance of the obligation in question shall be—

in the case of the sale of goods, the place in a State bound by this Convention where, under the contract, the goods were delivered or should have been delivered;

in the case of the provision of services, the place in a State bound by this Convention where, under the contract, the services were provided or should have been provided;

(c) if (b) does not apply then subparagraph (a) applies;

in the case of the sale of goods, the place in a State bound by this Convention where, under the contract, the goods were delivered or should have been delivered;

in the case of the provision of services, the place in a State bound by this Convention where, under the contract, the services were provided or should have been provided;

(2) in matters relating to maintenance—

(a) in the courts for the place where the maintenance creditor is domiciled or habitually resident; or

(b) in the court which, according to its own law, has jurisdiction to entertain proceedings concerning the status of a person if the matter relating to maintenance is ancillary to those proceedings, unless that jurisdiction is based solely on the nationality of one of the parties; or

(c) in the court which, according to its own law, has jurisdiction to entertain proceedings concerning parental responsibility, if the matter relating to maintenance is ancillary to those proceedings, unless that jurisdiction is based solely on the nationality of one of the parties.

(3) in matters relating to tort, delict or quasi-delict, in the courts for the place where the harmful event occurred or may occur;

(4) as regards a civil claim for damages or restitution which is based on an act giving rise to criminal proceedings, in the court seized of those proceedings, to the extent that that court has jurisdiction under its own law to entertain civil proceedings;

(5) as regards a dispute arising out of the operations of a branch, agency or other establishment, in the courts for the place in which the branch, agency or other establishment is situated;

(6) as settlor, trustee or beneficiary of a trust created by the operation of a statute, or by a written instrument, or created orally and evidenced in writing, in the courts of the State bound by this Convention in which the trust is domiciled;

(7) as regards a dispute concerning the payment of remuneration claimed in respect of the salvage of a cargo or freight, in the court under the authority of which the cargo or freight in question—

(a) has been arrested to secure such payment; or

(b) could have been so arrested, but bail or other security has been given;

provided that this provision shall apply only if it is claimed that the defendant has an interest in the cargo or freight or had such an interest at the time of salvage.

Article 6

A person domiciled in a State bound by this Convention may also be sued—

(1) where he is one of a number of defendants, in the courts for the place where any one of them is domiciled, provided the claims are so closely connected that it is expedient to hear and determine them together to avoid the risk of irreconcilable judgments resulting from separate proceedings;

(2) as a third party in an action on a warranty or guarantee, or in any other third party proceedings, in the court seized of the original proceedings, unless these were instituted solely with the object of removing him from the jurisdiction of the court which would be competent in his case;

(3) on a counter-claim arising from the same contract or facts on which the original claim was based, in the court in which the original claim is pending;

(4) in matters relating to a contract, if the action may be combined with an action against the same defendant in matters relating to rights in rem in immovable property, in the court of the State bound by this Convention in which the property is situated.

Article 7

Where by virtue of this Convention a court of a State bound by this Convention has jurisdiction in actions relating to liability from the use or operation of a ship, that court, or any other court substituted for this purpose by the internal law of that State, shall also have jurisdiction over claims for limitation of such liability.

SECTION 3

Jurisdiction in matters relating to insurance

Article 8

In matters relating to insurance, jurisdiction shall be determined by this Section, without prejudice to Articles 4 and 5(5).

Article 9

(1) An insurer domiciled in a State bound by this Convention may be sued—

(a) in the courts of the State where he is domiciled; or

(b) in another State bound by this Convention, in the case of actions brought by the policyholder, the insured or a beneficiary, in the courts for the place where the plaintiff is domiciled; or

(c) if he is a co-insurer, in the courts of a State bound by this Convention in which proceedings are brought against the leading insurer.

(2) An insurer who is not domiciled in a State bound by this Convention but has a branch, agency or other establishment in one of the States bound by this Convention shall, in disputes arising out of the operations of the branch, agency or establishment, be deemed to be domiciled in that State.

Article 10

In respect of liability insurance or insurance of immovable property, the insurer may in addition be sued in the courts for the place where the harmful event occurred. The same applies if movable and immovable property are covered by the same insurance policy and both are adversely affected by the same contingency.

Article 11

(1) In respect of liability insurance, the insurer may also, if the law of the court permits it, be joined in proceedings which the injured party has brought against the insured.

(2) Articles 8, 9 and 10 shall apply to actions brought by the injured party directly against the insurer, where such direct actions are permitted.

(3) If the law governing such direct actions provides that the policyholder or the insured may be joined as a party to the action, the same court shall have jurisdiction over them.

Article 12

(1) Without prejudice to Article 11(3), an insurer may bring proceedings only in the courts of the State bound by this Convention in which the defendant is domiciled, irrespective of whether he is the policyholder, the insured or a beneficiary.

(2) The provisions of this Section shall not affect the right to bring a counter-claim in the court in which, in accordance with this Section, the original claim is pending.

Article 13

The provisions of this Section may be departed from only by an agreement—

(1) which is entered into after the dispute has arisen; or

(2) which allows the policyholder, the insured or a beneficiary to bring proceedings in courts other than those indicated in this Section; or

(3) which is concluded between a policyholder and an insurer, both of whom are at the time of conclusion of the contract domiciled or habitually resident in the same State bound by this Convention, and which has the effect of conferring jurisdiction on the courts of that State even if the harmful event were to occur abroad, provided that such an agreement is not contrary to the law of that State; or

(4) which is concluded with a policyholder who is not domiciled in a State bound by this Convention, except insofar as the insurance is compulsory or relates to immovable property in a State bound by this Convention; or

(5) which relates to a contract of insurance insofar as it covers one or more of the risks set out in Article 14.

Article 14

The following are the risks referred to in Article 13(5)—

(1) any loss of or damage to—

(a) seagoing ships, installations situated offshore or on the high seas, or aircraft, arising from perils which relate to their use for commercial purposes;

(b) goods in transit, other than passengers’ baggage, where the transit consists of or includes carriage by such ships or aircraft;

(2) any liability, other than for bodily injury to passengers or loss of or damage to their baggage—

(a) arising out of the use or operation of ships, installations or aircraft as referred to in point 1(a) insofar as, in respect of the latter, the law of the State bound by this Convention in which such aircraft are registered does not prohibit agreements on jurisdiction regarding insurance of such risks;

(b) for loss or damage caused by goods in transit as described in point 1(b);

(3) any financial loss connected with the use or operation of ships, installations or aircraft as referred to in point 1(a), in particular loss of freight or charter-hire;

(4) any risk or interest connected with any of those referred to in points 1 to 3;

(5) notwithstanding points 1 to 4, all large risks.

SECTION 4

Jurisdiction over consumer contracts

Article 15

(1) In matters relating to a contract concluded by a person, the consumer, for a purpose which can be regarded as being outside his trade or profession, jurisdiction shall be determined by this Section, without prejudice to Articles 4 and 5(5), if:

(a) it is a contract for the sale of goods on instalment credit terms; or

(b) it is a contract for a loan repayable by instalments, or for any other form of credit, made to finance the sale of goods; or

(c) in all other cases, the contract has been concluded with a person who pursues commercial or professional activities in the State bound by this Convention of the consumer’s domicile or, by any means, directs such activities to that State or to several States including that State, and the contract falls within the scope of such activities.

(2) Where a consumer enters into a contract with a party who is not domiciled in the State bound by this Convention but has a branch, agency or other establishment in one of the States bound by this Convention, that party shall, in disputes arising out of the operations of the branch, agency or establishment, be deemed to be domiciled in that State.

(3) This section shall not apply to a contract of transport other than a contract which, for an inclusive price, provides for a combination of travel and accommodation.

Article 16

(1) A consumer may bring proceedings against the other party to a contract either in the courts of the State bound by this Convention in which that party is domiciled or in the courts for the place where the consumer is domiciled.

(2) Proceedings may be brought against a consumer by the other party to the contract only in the courts of the State bound by this Convention in which the consumer is domiciled.

(3) This Article shall not affect the right to bring a counter-claim in the court in which, in accordance with this Section, the original claim is pending.

Article 17

The provisions of this Section may be departed from only by an agreement—

(1) which is entered into after the dispute has arisen; or

(2) which allows the consumer to bring proceedings in courts other than those indicated in this Section; or

(3) which is entered into by the consumer and the other party to the contract, both of whom are at the time of conclusion of the contract domiciled or habitually resident in the same State bound by this Convention, and which confers jurisdiction on the courts of that State, provided that such an agreement is not contrary to the law of that State.

SECTION 5

Jurisdiction over individual contracts of employment

Article 18

(1) In matters relating to individual contracts of employment, jurisdiction shall be determined by this Section, without prejudice to Articles 4 and 5(5).

(2) Where an employee enters into an individual contract of employment with an employer who is not domiciled in a State bound by this Convention but has a branch, agency or other establishment in one of the States bound by this Convention, the employer shall, in disputes arising out of the operations of the branch, agency or establishment, be deemed to be domiciled in that State.

Article 19

An employer domiciled in a State bound by this Convention may be sued—

(1) in the courts of the State where he is domiciled; or

(2) in another State bound by this Convention—

(a) in the courts for the place where the employee habitually carries out his work or in the courts for the last place where he did so; or

(b) if the employee does not or did not habitually carry out his work in any one country, in the courts for the place where the business which engaged the employee is or was situated.

Article 20

(1) An employer may bring proceedings only in the courts of the State bound by this Convention in which the employee is domiciled.

(2) The provisions of this Section shall not affect the right to bring a counter-claim in the court in which, in accordance with this Section, the original claim is pending.

Article 21

The provisions of this Section may be departed from only by an agreement on jurisdiction—

(1) which is entered into after the dispute has arisen; or

(2) which allows the employee to bring proceedings in courts other than those indicated in this Section.

SECTION 6

Exclusive jurisdiction

Article 22

The following courts shall have exclusive jurisdiction, regardless of domicile—

(1) in proceedings which have as their object rights in rem in immovable property or tenancies of immovable property, the courts of the State bound by this Convention in which the property is situated.

(a) However, in proceedings which have as their object tenancies of immovable property concluded for temporary private use for a maximum period of six consecutive months, the courts of the State bound by this Convention in which the defendant is domiciled shall also have jurisdiction, provided that the tenant is a natural person and that the landlord and the tenant are domiciled in the same State bound by this Convention;

(2) in proceedings which have as their object the validity of the constitution, the nullity or the dissolution of companies or other legal persons or associations of natural or legal persons, or of the validity of the decisions of their organs, the courts of the State bound by this Convention in which the company, legal person or association has its seat. In order to determine that seat, the court shall apply its rules of private international law;

(3) in proceedings which have as their object the validity of entries in public registers, the courts of the State bound by this Convention in which the register is kept;

(4) in proceedings concerned with the registration or validity of patents, trade marks, designs, or other similar rights required to be deposited or registered, irrespective of whether the issue is raised by way of an action or as a defence, the courts of the State bound by this Convention in which the deposit or registration has been applied for, has taken place or is, under the terms of a Community instrument or an international convention, deemed to have taken place.

(5) in proceedings concerned with the enforcement of judgments, the courts of the State bound by this Convention in which the judgment has been or is to be enforced.

SECTION 7

Prorogation of jurisdiction

Article 23

(1) If the parties, one or more of whom is domiciled in a State bound by this Convention, have agreed that a court or the courts of a State bound by this Convention are to have jurisdiction to settle any disputes which have arisen or which may arise in connection with a particular legal relationship, that court or those courts shall have jurisdiction. Such jurisdiction shall be exclusive unless the parties have agreed otherwise. Such an agreement conferring jurisdiction shall be either—

(a) in writing or evidenced in writing; or

(b) in a form which accords with practices which the parties have established between themselves; or

(c) in international trade or commerce, in a form which accords with a usage of which the parties are or ought to have been aware and which in such trade or commerce is widely known to, and regularly observed by, parties to contracts of the type involved in the particular trade or commerce concerned.

(2) Any communication by electronic means which provides a durable record of the agreement shall be equivalent to ‘writing’.

(3) Where such an agreement is concluded by parties, none of whom is domiciled in a State bound by this Convention, the courts of other States bound by this Convention shall have no jurisdiction over their disputes unless the court or courts chosen have declined jurisdiction.

(4) The court or courts of a State bound by this Convention on which a trust instrument has conferred jurisdiction shall have exclusive jurisdiction in any proceedings brought against a settlor, trustee or beneficiary, if relations between these persons or their rights or obligations under the trust are involved.

(5) Agreements or provisions of a trust instrument conferring jurisdiction shall have no legal force if they are contrary to the provisions of Articles 13, 17 or 21, or if the courts whose jurisdiction they purport to exclude have exclusive jurisdiction by virtue of Article 22.

Article 24

Apart from jurisdiction derived from other provisions of this Convention, a court of a State bound by this Convention before which a defendant enters an appearance shall have jurisdiction. This rule shall not apply where appearance was entered to contest the jurisdiction, or where another court has exclusive jurisdiction by virtue of Article 22.

SECTION 8

Examination as to jurisdiction and admissibility

Article 25

Where a court of a State bound by this Convention is seized of a claim which is principally concerned with a matter over which the courts of another State bound by this Convention have exclusive jurisdiction by virtue of Article 22, it shall declare of its own motion that it has no jurisdiction.

Article 26

(1) Where a defendant domiciled in one State bound by this Convention is sued in a court of another State bound by this Convention and does not enter an appearance, the court shall declare of its own motion that it has no jurisdiction unless its jurisdiction is derived from the provisions of this Convention.

(2) The court shall stay the proceedings so long as it is not shown that the defendant has been able to receive the document instituting the proceedings or an equivalent document in sufficient time to enable him to arrange for his defence, or that all necessary steps have been taken to this end.

(3) Instead of the provisions of paragraph 2, Article 15 of the Hague Convention of 15 November 1965 on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil and Commercial matters shall apply if the document instituting the proceedings or an equivalent document had to be transmitted pursuant to that Convention.

(4) Member States of the European Community bound by Council Regulation (EC) No 1348/2000 of 29 May 2000 or by the Agreement between the European Community and the Kingdom of Denmark on the service of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil or commercial matters, signed at Brussels on 19 October 2005, shall apply in their mutual relations the provision in Article 19 of that Regulation if the document instituting the proceedings or an equivalent document had to be transmitted pursuant to that Regulation or that Agreement.

SECTION 9

Lis pendens—related actions

Article 27

(1) Where proceedings involving the same cause of action and between the same parties are brought in the courts of different States bound by this Convention, any court other than the court first seized shall of its own motion stay its proceedings until such time as the jurisdiction of the court first seized is established.

(2) Where the jurisdiction of the court first seized is established, any court other than the court first seized shall decline jurisdiction in favour of that court.

Article 28

(1) Where related actions are pending in the courts of different States bound by this Convention, any court other than the court first seized may stay its proceedings.

(2) Where these actions are pending at first instance, any court other than the court first seized may also, on the application of one of the parties, decline jurisdiction if the court first seized has jurisdiction over the actions in question and its law permits the consolidation thereof.

(3) For the purposes of this Article, actions are deemed to be related where they are so closely connected that it is expedient to hear and determine them together to avoid the risk of irreconcilable judgments resulting from separate proceedings.

Article 29

Where actions come within the exclusive jurisdiction of several courts, any court other than the court first seized shall decline jurisdiction in favour of that court.

Article 30

For the purposes of this Section, a court shall be deemed to be seized—

(1) at the time when the document instituting the proceedings or an equivalent document is lodged with the court, provided that the plaintiff has not subsequently failed to take the steps he was required to take to have service effected on the defendant; or

(2) if the document has to be served before being lodged with the court at the time when it is received by the authority responsible for service, provided that the plaintiff has not subsequently failed to take the steps he was required to take to have the document lodged with the court.

SECTION 10

Provisional, including protective, measures

Article 31

Application may be made to the courts of a State bound by this Convention for such provisional, including protective, measures as may be available under the law of that State, even if, under this Convention, the courts of another State bound by this Convention have jurisdiction as to the substance of the matter.

TITLE III

RECOGNITION AND ENFORCEMENT

Article 32

For the purposes of this Convention, ‘judgment’ means any judgment given by a court or tribunal of a State bound by this Convention, whatever the judgment may be called, including a decree, order, decision or writ of execution, as well as the determination of costs or expenses by an officer of the court.

SECTION 1

Recognition

Article 33

(1) A judgment given in a State bound by this Convention shall be recognised in the other States bound by this Convention without any special procedure being required.

(2) Any interested party who raises the recognition of a judgment as the principal issue in a dispute may, in accordance with the procedures provided for in Sections 2 and 3 of this Title, apply for a decision that the judgment be recognised.

(3) If the outcome of proceedings in a court of a State bound by this Convention depends on the determination of an incidental question of recognition that court shall have jurisdiction over that question.

Article 34

A judgment shall not be recognised—

(1) if such recognition is manifestly contrary to public policy in the State in which recognition is sought;

(2) where it was given in default of appearance, if the defendant was not served with the document which instituted the proceedings or with an equivalent document in sufficient time and in such a way as to enable him to arrange for his defence, unless the defendant failed to commence proceedings to challenge the judgment when it was possible for him to do so;

(3) if it is irreconcilable with a judgment given in a dispute between the same parties in the State in which recognition is sought;

(4) if it is irreconcilable with an earlier judgment given in another State bound by this Convention or in a third State involving the same cause of action and between the same parties, provided that the earlier judgment fulfils the conditions necessary for its recognition in the State addressed.

Article 35

(1) Moreover, a judgment shall not be recognised if it conflicts with Sections 3, 4 or 6 of Title II, or in a case provided for in Article 68. A judgment may furthermore be refused recognition in any case provided for in Article 64(3) or 67(4).

(2) In its examination of the grounds of jurisdiction referred to in the foregoing paragraph, the court or authority applied to shall be bound by the findings of fact on which the court of the State of origin based its jurisdiction.

(3) Subject to the provisions of paragraph 1, the jurisdiction of the court of the State of origin may not be reviewed. The test of public policy referred to in Article 34(1) may not be applied to the rules relating to jurisdiction.

Article 36

Under no circumstances may a foreign judgment be reviewed as to its substance.

Article 37

(1) A court of a State bound by this Convention in which recognition is sought of a judgment given in another State bound by this Convention may stay the proceedings if an ordinary appeal against the judgment has been lodged.

(2) A court of a State bound by this Convention in which recognition is sought of a judgment given in Ireland or the United Kingdom may stay the proceedings if enforcement is suspended in the State of origin, by reason of an appeal.

SECTION 2

Enforcement

Article 38

(1) A judgment given in a State bound by this Convention and enforceable in that State shall be enforced in another State bound by this Convention when, on the application of any interested party, it has been declared enforceable there.

(2) However, in the United Kingdom, such a judgment shall be enforced in England and Wales, in Scotland, or in Northern Ireland when, on the application of any interested party, it has been registered for enforcement in that part of the United Kingdom.

Article 39

(1) The application shall be submitted to the court or competent authority indicated in the list in Annex II.

(2) The local jurisdiction shall be determined by reference to the place of domicile of the party against whom enforcement is sought, or to the place of enforcement.

Article 40

(1) The procedure for making the application shall be governed by the law of the State in which enforcement is sought.

(2) The applicant must give an address for service of process within the area of jurisdiction of the court applied to. However, if the law of the State in which enforcement is sought does not provide for the furnishing of such an address, the applicant shall appoint a representative ad litem.

(3) The documents referred to in Article 53 shall be attached to the application.

Article 41

The judgment shall be declared enforceable immediately on completion of the formalities in Article 53 without any review under Articles 34 and 35. The party against whom enforcement is sought shall not at this stage of the proceedings be entitled to make any submissions on the application.

Article 42

(1) The decision on the application for a declaration of enforceability shall forthwith be brought to the notice of the applicant in accordance with the procedure laid down by the law of the State in which enforcement is sought.

(2) The declaration of enforceability shall be served on the party against whom enforcement is sought, accompanied by the judgment, if not already served on that party.

Article 43

(1) The decision on the application for a declaration of enforceability may be appealed against by either party.

(2) The appeal is to be lodged with the court indicated in the list in Annex III.

(3) The appeal shall be dealt with in accordance with the rules governing procedure in contradictory matters.

(4) If the party against whom enforcement is sought fails to appear before the appellate court in proceedings concerning an appeal brought by the applicant, Article 26(2) to (4) shall apply even where the party against whom enforcement is sought is not domiciled in any of the States bound by this Convention.

(5) An appeal against the declaration of enforceability is to be lodged within one month of service thereof. If the party against whom enforcement is sought is domiciled in a State bound by this Convention other than that in which the declaration of enforceability was given, the time for appealing shall be two months and shall run from the date of service, either on him in person or at his residence. No extension of time may be granted on account of distance.

Article 44

The judgment given on the appeal may be contested only by the appeal referred to in Annex IV.

Article 45

(1) The court with which an appeal is lodged under Article 43 or Article 44 shall refuse or revoke a declaration of enforceability only on one of the grounds specified in Articles 34 and 35. It shall give its decision without delay.

(2) Under no circumstances may the foreign judgment be reviewed as to its substance.

Article 46

(1) The court with which an appeal is lodged under Article 43 or Article 44 may, on the application of the party against whom enforcement is sought, stay the proceedings if an ordinary appeal has been lodged against the judgment in the State of origin or if the time for such an appeal has not yet expired; in the latter case, the court may specify the time within which such an appeal is to be lodged.

(2) Where the judgment was given in Ireland or the United Kingdom, any form of appeal available in the State of origin shall be treated as an ordinary appeal for the purposes of paragraph 1.

(3) The court may also make enforcement conditional on the provision of such security as it shall determine.

Article 47

(1) When a judgment must be recognised in accordance with this Convention, nothing shall prevent the applicant from availing himself of provisional, including protective, measures in accordance with the law of the State requested without a declaration of enforceability under Article 41 being required.

(2) The declaration of enforceability shall carry with it the power to proceed to any protective measures.

(3) During the time specified for an appeal pursuant to Article 43(5) against the declaration of enforceability and until any such appeal has been determined, no measures of enforcement may be taken other than protective measures against the property of the party against whom enforcement is sought.

Article 48

(1) Where a foreign judgment has been given in respect of several matters and the declaration of enforceability cannot be given for all of them, the court or competent authority shall give it for one or more of them.

(2) An applicant may request a declaration of enforceability limited to parts of a judgment.

Article 49

A foreign judgment which orders a periodic payment by way of a penalty shall be enforceable in the State in which enforcement is sought only if the amount of the payment has been finally determined by the courts of the State of origin.

Article 50

(1) An applicant who in the State of origin has benefited from complete or partial legal aid or exemption from costs or expenses shall be entitled, in the procedure provided for in this Section, to benefit from the most favourable legal aid or the most extensive exemption from costs or expenses provided for by the law of the State addressed.

(2) However, an applicant who requests the enforcement of a decision given by an administrative authority in Denmark, in Iceland or in Norway in respect of maintenance may, in the State addressed, claim the benefits referred to in paragraph 1 if he presents a statement from the Danish, Icelandic, or Norwegian Ministry of Justice to the effect that he fulfils the economic requirements to qualify for the grant of complete or partial legal aid or exemption from costs or expenses.

Article 51

No security, bond or deposit, however described, shall be required of a party who in one State bound by this Convention, applies for enforcement of a judgment given in another State bound by this Convention on the ground that he is a foreign national or that he is not domiciled or resident in the State in which enforcement is sought.

Article 52

In proceedings for the issue of a declaration of enforceability, no charge, duty or fee calculated by reference to the value of the matter at issue may be levied in the State in which enforcement is sought.

SECTION 3

Common provisions

Article 53

(1) A party seeking recognition or applying for a declaration of enforceability shall produce a copy of the judgment which satisfies the conditions necessary to establish its authenticity.

(2) A party applying for a declaration of enforceability shall also produce the certificate referred to in Article 54, without prejudice to Article 55.

Article 54

The court or competent authority of a State bound by this Convention where a judgment was given shall issue, at the request of any interested party, a certificate using the standard form in Annex V to this Convention.

Article 55

(1) If the certificate referred to in Article 54 is not produced, the court or competent authority may specify a time for its production or accept an equivalent document or, if it considers that it has sufficient information before it, dispense with its production.

(2) If the court or competent authority so requires, a translation of the documents shall be produced. The translation shall be certified by a person qualified to do so in one of the States bound by this Convention.

Article 56

No legalisation or other similar formality shall be required in respect of the documents referred to in Article 53 or Article 55(2), or in respect of a document appointing a representative ad litem.

TITLE IV

AUTHENTIC INSTRUMENTS AND COURT SETTLEMENTS

Article 57

(1) A document which has been formally drawn up or registered as an authentic instrument and is enforceable in one State bound by this Convention shall, in another State bound by this Convention, be declared enforceable there, on application made in accordance with the procedures provided for in Article 38, et seq. The court with which an appeal is lodged under Article 43 or Article 44 shall refuse or revoke a declaration of enforceability only if enforcement of the instrument is manifestly contrary to public policy in the State addressed.

(2) Arrangements relating to maintenance obligations concluded with administrative authorities or authenticated by them shall also be regarded as authentic instruments within the meaning of paragraph 1.

(3) The instrument produced must satisfy the conditions necessary to establish its authenticity in the State of origin.

(4) Section 3 of Title III shall apply as appropriate. The competent authority of a State bound by this Convention where an authentic instrument was drawn up or registered shall issue, at the request of any interested party, a certificate using the standard form in Annex VI to this Convention.

Article 58

A settlement which has been approved by a court in the course of proceedings and is enforceable in the State bound by this Convention in which it was concluded shall be enforceable in the State addressed under the same conditions as authentic instruments. The court or competent authority of a State bound by this Convention where a court settlement was approved shall issue, at the request of any interested party, a certificate using the standard form in Annex V to this Convention.

TITLE V

GENERAL PROVISIONS

Article 59

(1) In order to determine whether a party is domiciled in the State bound by this Convention whose courts are seised of a matter, the court shall apply its internal law.

(2) If a party is not domiciled in the State whose courts are seised of the matter, then, in order to determine whether the party is domiciled in another State bound by this Convention, the court shall apply the law of that State.

Article 60

(1) For the purposes of this Convention, a company or other legal person or association of natural or legal persons is domiciled at the place where it has its—

(a) statutory seat; or

(b) central administration; or

(c) principal place of business.

(2) For the purposes of the United Kingdom and Ireland ‘statutory seat’ means the registered office or, where there is no such office anywhere, the place of incorporation or, where there is no such place anywhere, the place under the law of which the formation took place.

(3) In order to determine whether a trust is domiciled in the State bound by this Convention whose courts are seized of the matter, the court shall apply its rules of private international law.

Article 61

Without prejudice to any more favourable provisions of national laws, persons domiciled in a State bound by this Convention who are being prosecuted in the criminal courts of another State bound by this Convention of which they are not nationals for an offence which was not intentionally committed may be defended by persons qualified to do so, even if they do not appear in person. However, the court seised of the matter may order appearance in person; in the case of failure to appear, a judgment given in the civil action without the person concerned having had the opportunity to arrange for his defence need not be recognised or enforced in the other States bound by this Convention.

Article 62

For the purposes of this Convention, the expression ‘court’ shall include any authorities designated by a State bound by this Convention as having jurisdiction in the matters falling within the scope of this Convention.

TITLE VI

TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS

Article 63

(1) This Convention shall apply only to legal proceedings instituted and to documents formally drawn up or registered as authentic instruments after its entry into force in the State of origin and, where recognition or enforcement of a judgment or authentic instruments is sought, in the State addressed.

(2) However, if the proceedings in the State of origin were instituted before the entry into force of this Convention, judgments given after that date shall be recognised and enforced in accordance with Title III—

(a) if the proceedings in the State of origin were instituted after the entry into force of the Lugano Convention of 16 September 1988 both in the State of origin and in the State;

(b) in all other cases, if jurisdiction was founded upon rules which accorded with those provided for either in Title II or in a convention concluded between the State of origin and the State addressed which was in force when the proceedings were instituted.

TITLE VII

RELATIONSHIP TO COUNCIL REGULATION (EC) No 44/2001 AND OTHER INSTRUMENTS

Article 64

(1) This Convention shall not prejudice the application by the Member States of the European Community of the Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters, as well as any amendments thereof, of the Convention on Jurisdiction and the Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters, signed at Brussels on 27 September 1968, and of the Protocol on interpretation of that Convention by the Court of Justice of the European Communities, signed at Luxembourg on 3 June 1971, as amended by the Conventions of Accession to the said Convention and the said Protocol by the States acceding to the European Communities, as well as of the Agreement between the European Community and the Kingdom of Denmark on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters, signed at Brussels on 19 October 2005.

(2) However, this Convention shall in any event be applied—

(a) in matters of jurisdiction, where the defendant is domiciled in the territory of a State where this Convention but not an instrument referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article applies, or where Articles 22 or 23 of this Convention confer jurisdiction on the courts of such a State;

(b) in relation to lis pendens or to related actions as provided for in Articles 27 and 28, when proceedings are instituted in a State where the Convention but not an instrument referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article applies and in a State where this Convention as well as an instrument referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article apply;

(c) in matters of recognition and enforcement, where either the State of origin or the State addressed is not applying an instrument referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article.

(3) In addition to the grounds provided for in Title III, recognition or enforcement may be refused if the ground of jurisdiction on which the judgment has been based differs from that resulting from this Convention and recognition or enforcement is sought against a party who is domiciled in a State where this Convention but not an instrument referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article applies, unless the judgment may otherwise be recognised or enforced under any rule of law in the State addressed.

Article 65

Subject to the provisions of Articles 63(2), 66 and 67, this Convention shall, as between the States bound by this Convention, supersede the conventions concluded between two or more of them that cover the same matters as those to which this Convention applies. In particular, the conventions mentioned in Annex VII shall be superseded.

Article 66

(1) The conventions referred to in Article 65 shall continue to have effect in relation to matters to which this Convention does not apply.

(2) They shall continue to have effect in respect of judgments given and documents formally drawn up or registered as authentic instruments before the entry into force of this Convention.

Article 67

(1) This Convention shall not affect any conventions by which the Contracting Parties and/or the States bound by this Convention are bound and which in relation to particular matters, govern jurisdiction or the recognition or enforcement of judgments. Without prejudice to obligations resulting from other agreements between certain Contracting Parties, this Convention shall not prevent Contracting Parties from entering into such conventions.

(2) This Convention shall not prevent a court of a State bound by this Convention and by a convention on a particular matter from assuming jurisdiction in accordance with that convention, even where the defendant is domiciled in another State bound by this Convention which is not a party to that convention. The court hearing the action shall, in any event, apply Article 26 of this Convention.

(3) Judgments given in a State bound by this Convention by a court in the exercise of jurisdiction provided for in a convention on a particular matter shall be recognised and enforced in the other States bound by this Convention in accordance with Title III of this Convention.

(4) In addition to the grounds provided for in Title III, recognition or enforcement may be refused if the State addressed is not bound by the convention on a particular matter and the person against whom recognition or enforcement is sought is domiciled in that State, or, if the State addressed is a Member State of the European Community and in respect of conventions which would have to be concluded by the European Community, in any of its Member States, unless the judgment may otherwise be recognised or enforced under any rule of law in the State addressed.

(5) Where a convention on a particular matter to which both the State of origin and the State addressed are parties lays down conditions for the recognition or enforcement of judgments, those conditions shall apply. In any event, the provisions of this Convention which concern the procedures for recognition and enforcement of judgments may be applied.

Article 68

(1) This Convention shall not affect agreements by which States bound by this Convention undertook, prior to the entry into force of this Convention, not to recognise judgments given in other States bound by this Convention against defendants domiciled or habitually resident in a third State where, in cases provided for in Article 4, the judgment could only be founded on a ground of jurisdiction as specified in Article 3(2). Without prejudice to obligations resulting from other agreements between certain Contracting Parties, this Convention shall not prevent Contracting Parties from entering into such conventions.

(2) However, a Contracting Party may not assume an obligation towards a third State not to recognise a judgment given in another State bound by this Convention by a court basing its jurisdiction on the presence within that State of property belonging to the defendant, or the seizure by the plaintiff of property situated there—

(a) if the action is brought to assert or declare proprietary or possessory rights in that property, seeks to obtain authority to dispose of it, or arises from another issue relating to such property; or

(b) if the property constitutes the security for a debt which is the subject-matter of the action.

TITLE VIII

FINAL PROVISIONS

Article 69

(1) The Convention shall be open for signature by the European Community, Denmark, and States which, at the time of the opening for signature, are Members of the European Free Trade Association.

(2) This Convention shall be subject to ratification by the Signatories. The instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the Swiss Federal Council, which shall act as Depositary of this Convention.

(3) At the time of the ratification, the Contracting Parties may submit declarations in accordance with Articles I, II and III of Protocol 1.

(4) The Convention shall enter into force on the first day of the sixth month following the date on which the European Community and a Member of the European Free Trade Association deposit their instruments of ratification.

(5) The Convention shall enter into force in relation to any other Party on the first day of the third month following the deposit of its instrument of ratification.

(6) Without prejudice to Article 3(3) of Protocol 2, this Convention shall replace the Convention on jurisdiction and the enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters done at Lugano on 16 September 1988 as of the date of its entry into force in accordance with paragraphs 4 and 5 above. Any reference to the 1988 Lugano Convention in other instruments shall be understood as a reference to this Convention.

(7) Insofar as the relations between the Member States of the European Community and the non-European territories referred to in Article 70(1)(b) are concerned, this Convention shall replace the Convention on Jurisdiction and the Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters, signed at Brussels on 27 September 1968, and of the Protocol on interpretation of that Convention by the Court of Justice of the European Communities, signed at Luxembourg on 3 June 1971, as amended by the Conventions of Accession to the said Convention and the said Protocol by the States acceding to the European Communities, as of the date of the entry into force of this Convention with respect to these territories in accordance with Article 73(2).

Article 70

(1) After entering into force this Convention shall be open for accession by—

(a) the States which, after the opening of this Convention for signature, become Members of the European Free Trade Association, under the conditions laid down in Article 71;

(b) Member States of the European Community acting on behalf of certain non-European territories that are part of the territory of that Member State or for whose external relations that Member State is responsible, under the conditions laid down in Article 71;

(c) any other State, under the conditions laid down in Article 72.

(2) States referred to in paragraph 1, which wish to become a Contracting Party to this Convention, shall address their application to the Depositary. The application, including the information referred to in Articles 71 and 72 shall be accompanied by a translation into English and French.

Article 71

(1) Any State referred to in Article 70(1)(a) and (b) wishing to become a Contracting Party to this Convention—

(a) shall communicate the information required for the application of this Convention;

(b) may submit declarations in accordance with Articles I and III of Protocol 1.

(2) The Depositary shall transmit any information received pursuant to paragraph 1 to the other Contracting Parties prior to the deposit of the instrument of accession by the State concerned.

Article 72

(1) Any State referred to in Article 70(1)(c) wishing to become a Contracting Party to this Convention—

(a) shall communicate the information required for the application of this Convention;

(b) may submit declarations in accordance with Articles I and III of Protocol 1; and

(c) shall provide the Depositary with information on, in particular—

(i) their judicial system, including information on the appointment and independence of judges;

(ii) their internal law concerning civil procedure and enforcement of judgments; and

(iii) their private international law relating to civil procedure.

(2) The Depositary shall transmit any information received pursuant to paragraph 1 to the other Contracting Parties prior to inviting the State concerned to accede in accordance with paragraph 3 of this Article.

(3) Without prejudice to paragraph 4, the Depositary shall invite the State concerned to accede only if it has obtained the unanimous agreement of the Contracting Parties. The Contracting Parties shall endeavour to give their consent at the latest within one year after the invitation by the Depositary.

(4) The Convention shall enter into force only in relations between the acceding State and the Contracting Parties which have not made any objections to the accession before the first day of the third month following the deposit of the instrument of accession.

Article 73

(1) The instruments of accession shall be deposited with the Depositary.

(2) In respect of an acceding State referred to in Article 70, the Convention shall enter into force on the first day of the third month following the deposit of its instrument of accession. As of that moment, the acceding State shall be considered a Contracting Party to the Convention.

(3) Any Contracting Party may submit to the Depositary a text of this Convention in the language or languages of the Contracting Party concerned, which shall be authentic if so agreed by the Contracting Parties in accordance with Article 4 of Protocol 2.

Article 74

(1) This Convention is concluded for an unlimited period.

(2) Any Contracting Party may, at any time, denounce the Convention by sending a notification to the Depositary.

(3) The denunciation shall take effect at the end of the calendar year following the expiry of a period of six months from the date of receipt by the Depositary of the notification of denunciation.

Article 75

The following are annexed to this Convention—

a Protocol 1, on certain questions of jurisdiction, procedure and enforcement,

a Protocol 2, on the uniform interpretation of this Convention and on the Standing Committee,

a Protocol 3, on the application of Article 67 of this Convention,

Annexes I through IV and Annex VII, with information related to the application of this Convention,

Annexes V and VI, containing the certificates referred to in Articles 54, 58 and 57 of this Convention,

Annex VIII, containing the authentic languages referred to in Article 79 of this Convention, and

Annex IX, concerning the application of Article II of Protocol 1.

These Protocols and Annexes shall form an integral part of this Convention.

Article 76

Without prejudice to Article 77, any Contracting Party may request the revision of this Convention. To that end, the Depositary shall convene the Standing Committee as laid down in Article 4 of Protocol 2.

Article 77

(1) The Contracting Parties shall communicate to the Depositary the text of any provisions of the laws which amend the lists set out in Annexes I through IV as well as any deletions in or additions to the list set out in Annex VII and the date of their entry into force. Such communication shall be made within reasonable time before the entry into force and be accompanied by a translation into English and French. The Depositary shall adapt the Annexes concerned accordingly, after having consulted the Standing Committee in accordance with Article 4 of Protocol 2. For that purpose, the Contracting Parties shall provide a translation of the adaptations into their languages.

(2) Any amendment of Annexes V through VI and VIII through IX to this Convention shall be adopted by the Standing Committee in accordance with Article 4 of Protocol 2.

Article 78

(1) The Depositary shall notify the Contracting Parties of—

(a) the deposit of each instrument of ratification or accession;

(b) the dates of entry into force of this Convention in respect of the Contracting Parties;

(c) any declaration received pursuant to Articles I to IV of Protocol 1;

(d) any communication made pursuant to Article 74(2), Article 77(1) and paragraph 4 of Protocol 3.

(2) The notifications will be accompanied by translations into English and French.

Article 79

This Convention, drawn up in a single original in the languages listed in Annex VIII, all texts being equally authentic, shall be deposited in the Swiss Federal Archives. The Swiss Federal Council shall transmit a certified copy to each Contracting Party.

In witness whereof, the undersigned Plenipotentiaries, have signed this Convention.

Done at Lugano, on 30 October 2007.”

New schedule 2—Super-affirmative resolution procedure—

“1 If the Secretary of State considers it appropriate to make regulations for the purpose of, or in connection with, implementing any international agreement, the Secretary of State Minister may lay before Parliament—

(a) draft regulations, and

(b) an explanatory document.

2 The explanatory document must introduce and give reasons for implementing the international agreement.

3 Subject as follows, if after the expiry of the 40-day period the draft regulations laid under subsection (1) are approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament, the Minister may make regulations in the terms of the draft regulations.

4 The procedure in paragraphs (5) to (8) shall apply to the draft regulations instead of the procedure in paragraph (3) if—

(a) either House of Parliament so resolves within the 30-day period, or

(b) a committee of either House charged with reporting on the draft regulations so recommends within the 30-day period and the House to which the recommendation is made does not by resolution reject the recommendation within that period.

5 The Secretary of State must have regard to—

(a) any representations,

(b) any resolution of either House of Parliament, and

(c) any recommendations of a committee of either House of Parliament charged with reporting on the draft regulations, made during the 60-day period with regard to the draft regulations.

6 If, after the expiry of the 60-day period, the draft regulations are approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament, the Secretary of State may make regulations in the terms of the draft regulations.

7 If, after the expiry of the 60-day period, the Secretary of State wishes to proceed with the draft regulations but with material changes, the Secretary of State may lay before Parliament—

(a) a revised draft of the regulations, and

(b) a statement giving a summary of the changes proposed.

8 If the revised draft regulations are approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament, the Secretary of State may make regulations in the terms of the revised draft regulations.

9 For the purposes of this Schedule regulations are made in the terms of draft regulations or revised draft regulations if they contain no material changes to their provisions.

10 In this paragraph, references to the ‘30-day’, ‘40-day’ and ‘60-day’ periods in relation to any draft regulations are to the periods of 30, 40 and 60 days beginning with the day on which the draft regulations were laid before Parliament.

11 For the purposes of paragraph 10 no account is to be taken of any time during which Parliament is dissolved or prorogued or during which either House is adjourned for more than four days.”

This new Schedule would apply the super-affirmative resolution procedure to regulations implementing the Lugano Convention in the UK (see NC2).

New schedule 3—Regulations under section (Implementation of other agreements on private international law (No. 2))

Restrictions on power to make regulations

1 (1) Regulations under section (Implementation of other agreements on private international law (No. 2)) may not include—

(a) provision that confers power to legislate by means of regulations, orders, rules or other subordinate instrument (other than rules of procedure for courts or tribunals);

(b) provision that creates an offence for which an individual who has reached the age of 18 (or, in relation to Scotland or Northern Ireland, 21) is capable of being sentenced to imprisonment for a term of more than two years (ignoring any enactment prohibiting or restricting the imprisonment of individuals who have no previous convictions).

(2) Sub-paragraph (1)(a) does not prevent the modification of a power to legislate conferred otherwise than under section (Implementation of other agreements on private international law (No. 2)), or the extension of any such power to purposes of a similar kind to those for which it was conferred.

(3) A power to give practice directions or other directions regarding matters of administration is not a power to legislate for the purposes of sub-paragraph (1)(a).

Regulations to be made by statutory instrument or statutory rule

2 The power to make regulations under section (Implementation of other agreements on private international law (No. 2))—

(a) is exercisable by statutory instrument, in the case of regulations made by the Secretary of State;

(b) is exercisable by statutory rule for the purposes of the Statutory Rules (Northern Ireland) Order 1979 (S.I. 1979/1573 (N.I. 12)), in the case of regulations made by a Northern Ireland department.

Parliamentary or assembly procedure

3 (1) This paragraph applies to a statutory instrument containing regulations made by the Secretary of State under section (Implementation of other agreements on private international law (No. 2)).

(2) If the instrument contains (whether alone or with other provision)—

(a) provision made for the purpose of implementing or applying, in relation to the United Kingdom or a particular part of the United Kingdom, any relevant international agreement that has not previously been the subject of any such provision (whether made by regulations under section (Implementation of other agreements on private international law (No. 2)) or otherwise),

(b) provision made for the purpose of giving effect, in relation to the United Kingdom or a particular part of the United Kingdom, to any relevant arrangements that relate to a particular territory and have not previously been the subject of any such provision (whether made by regulations under that section or otherwise),

(c) provision that creates or extends, or increases the penalty for, a criminal offence, or

(d) provision that amends primary legislation,

it may not be made unless it has been approved under the super-affirmative procedure (see paragraph 4).

(3) In this Schedule ‘relevant arrangements’ means arrangements of the kind mentioned in section (Implementation of other agreements on private international law (No. 2)) (3).

(4) If sub-paragraph (2) does not apply to the instrument, it may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before each House of Parliament and approved by a resolution of each House.

Super-affirmative procedure

4 (1) If the Secretary of State considers it appropriate to make regulations for the purpose of, or in connection with, implementing any international agreement, the Secretary of State may lay before Parliament—

(a) draft regulations, and

(b) an explanatory document.

(2) The explanatory document must introduce and give reasons for implementing the international agreement.

(3) Subject as follows, if after the expiry of the 40-day period the draft regulations laid under sub-paragraph (1) are approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament, the Secretary of State may make regulations in the terms of the draft regulations.

(4) The procedure in sub-paragraphs (5) to (8) shall apply to the draft regulations instead of the procedure in sub-paragraph (3) if—

(a) either House of Parliament so resolves within the 30-day period, or

(b) a committee of either House charged with reporting on the draft regulations so recommends within the 30-day period and the House to which the recommendation is made does not by resolution reject the recommendation within that period.

(5) The Secretary of State must have regard to—

(a) any representations,

(b) any resolution of either House of Parliament, and

(c) any recommendations of a committee of either House of Parliament charged with reporting on the draft regulations, made during the 60-day period with regard to the draft regulations.

(6) If after the expiry of the 60-day period the draft regulations are approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament, the Secretary of State may make regulations in the terms of the draft regulations.

(7) If after the expiry of the 60-day period the Secretary of State wishes to proceed with the draft regulations but with material changes, the Secretary of State may lay before Parliament—

(a) a revised draft of the regulations, and

(b) a statement giving a summary of the changes proposed.

(8) If the revised draft regulations are approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament, the Secretary of State may make regulations in the terms of the revised draft regulations.

(9) For the purposes of this paragraph regulations are made in the terms of draft regulations or revised draft regulations if they contain no material changes to their provisions.

(10) In this paragraph, references to the ‘30-day’, ‘40-day’ and ‘60-day’ periods in relation to any draft regulations are to the periods of 30, 40 and 60 days beginning with the day on which the draft regulations were laid before Parliament.

(11) For the purposes of sub-paragraph (10) no account is to be taken of any time during which Parliament is dissolved or prorogued or during which either House is adjourned for more than four days.

Scottish affirmative procedure

5 (1) This paragraph applies to regulations made by the Scottish Ministers under section (Implementation of other agreements on private international law (No. 2)).

(2) The regulations are subject to the affirmative procedure (see section 29 of the Interpretation and Legislative Reform (Scotland) Act 2010).

Northern Ireland affirmative procedure

6 (1) A Northern Ireland department may not make regulations under section (Implementation of other agreements on private international law (No. 2)) unless a draft of the regulations has been laid before the Northern Ireland Assembly and approved by a resolution of the Assembly.

(2) Section 41(3) of that Act applies for the purposes of sub-paragraph (1) in relation to the laying of a draft as it applies in relation to the laying of a statutory document under an enactment.

Interpretation

7 In this Schedule—

‘amend’ includes repeal or revoke;

‘primary legislation’ means any provision of—

(a) an Act of Parliament,

(b) an Act of the Scottish Parliament,

(c) an Act or Measure of Senedd Cymru, or

(d) Northern Ireland legislation;

‘relevant arrangements’ has the meaning given in paragraph 3(3);

‘relevant international agreement’ has the same meaning as in section (Implementation of other agreements on private international law (No. 2)).”

This new schedule is linked to Amendment (e) to Government NC5 and makes provision for regulations made by the Secretary of State under Government NC5 to be subject to super-affirmative procedure, and for all regulations made under that section by Scottish Ministers or Northern Ireland departments to be subject to the relevant affirmative procedure.

Government amendment 7.

Amendment 8, in title, line 1, at end add

“and the Lugano Convention of 2007;”

This amendment is consequential on either Amendment 1 or on Amendments 2 to 4 and NS1.

Amendment 9, line 1, at end add

“and to provide for the implementation of other international agreements on private international law, subject to certain conditions.”

This amendment is consequential on NC1.

Amendment 10, line 1, at end add

“and to provide, subject to a super-affirmative procedure, for the implementation of the Lugano Convention of 2007.”

This amendment is consequential on NC2 and NS2.

Amendment 11, line 1, at end add

“and the Lugano Convention of 2007; and to provide, subject to consultation and a super-affirmative procedure, for the implementation of other international agreements on private international law.”

This amendment is consequential on Amendment (e) to Government NC5 and NS3.

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The main outstanding issue with the Bill concerns parliamentary scrutiny—that is, of the UK’s accession to a private international law treaty itself and then concerning orders made pursuant to that treaty. To those Members who may have been mesmerised by the complexity of the amendments today, I should say that this was not helped by the Government tabling their amendments only late last week, which required an element of guesswork for everyone else. Having said that, this belies a high level of consistency in the approach taken with tabled amendments by those who remain concerned at the Government’s position, as I shall explain.

Following Second Reading, the Government have unfortunately decided to re-table, almost unamended, the order-making powers as new clause 5, which was so decisively rejected in the other place. Despite multiple meetings with Ministers—where, I have to say, they have only been polite and listening—I am not much the wiser about the Government’s reasons for what can only be seen as a significant proposed extension of the power of the Executive.

The Government’s hinted amendment to remove criminal sanctions of more than two years’ sentencing from the order-making powers would be a good start but would not be nearly enough. I have therefore tabled amendment 2 and others, in my and others’ names. Those amendments need to be put into the context of the Bill as a whole. That is because the Bill only deals with the UK’s entering specific existing PIL treaties. It does not look at how we approve, or scrutinise entering, other future PIL treaties in the first place. Then it goes on to give the broad order-making powers for any unnamed future PIL treaties. I would suggest that, by focusing on future order-making powers, rather than the initial treaties themselves, it is effectively putting the cart before the horse.

Let us look at the initial treaty scrutiny in more detail. What is clear—and it is between both Houses—is that there is not a demand for approval by Parliament prior to signing of PIL treaties, in the same way, for instance, as exists, and is being argued for in the Trade Bill, for free trade agreements, so it is surely even more important that we have in place a modern, efficient and fair system for scrutinising PIL treaties before their ratification. The current system for doing so is via the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010—CRaG—but no fewer than three Lords Committee reports over the past two years have described that legislation, based as it is on the 1924 Ponsonby convention, as outdated, inadequate, flawed and in urgent need of reform. In practice, a system designed a century ago to debate relatively simple trade deals was hidden behind the scrutiny and legislator approval afforded by our membership of the EU. Post Brexit, we now need a modern system that equates to those being used by our negotiating partners.

Different Departments of State are giving varying support for reform of CRaG, but none seems to wish to take ownership of it. It would be really good to have the Minister say today that the CRaG legislation does need reform and that his Department will take responsibility for that reform process. The issue is important, and intrinsic to our attitude to order-making powers in the Bill; because if, as those Lords Committees have been suggesting, there were to be a specific treaty Committee, and such a Committee could insist on a debate in Government time within a set period, with specific guidelines on access to information, the scrutiny of amendments, mandates, devolved Administration consultation and calls for evidence, then attitudes to order-making under these treaties would surely be somewhat more understanding.

When pointing out our lack of scrutiny compared with other countries, Ministers have said that although, yes, they admit it is true for the United States, Japan and the European Union, it is not true for Commonwealth countries such as Australia. I took that somewhat at face value, but a month ago there was a report by Emily Jones and Anna Sands of Oxford University, and they looked at the Australian equivalent system. In some ways, technically, it is similar to that of the UK; the power to enter treaties is a prerogative power. However, in practice, in the Australian system, once a treaty has been signed it is laid before Parliament for at least 15 joint sitting days before a binding treaty action is taken—20 days for major treaties—and the Government provides a national interest analysis to inform the Committee scrutiny work. There is also a very well established Joint Standing Committee system, which was set up as far back as 1996. The point being that, yes, I have heard Ministers say that we have the same system as in Australia, and technically we could say that; but in practice, they have a very much further developed scrutiny process than we have, and actually in both Australia and Canada, there are significant demands to move to a more United States-type system.

With that in mind, and as a first step, I tabled, in new clause 1 and as a stand-alone provision in new clause 6, a requirement that a Minister should lay a report before Parliament before the UK ratifies a PIL agreement with another country. I do not suggest that as an alternative to general reform of the CRaG Act, or as a move to the superior Australian system, but I move it as a reminder that the Justice Department should be adopting better practice, whatever happens with CRaG.

As things stand, however, these order-making powers attach to any PIL treaty made at any time in the future. That is much too broad. For instance, it treats laws on signing international business contracts or international financial bond issues as bundled together with the laws dealing with international divorces or child contact, which is surely wrong. That is the purpose behind amendment 2 and subsection (13) of new clause 1. A similar approach is adopted in Opposition amendments (a) and (b) to Government new clause 5. On the one hand, clause 1 is extended to include other treaties that we want to join; I have inserted Lugano, but there may be others. On the other hand, the new clause 5 order-making powers are restricted only to those treaties mentioned in clause 1, and not all PIL treaties now or at any time in the future, as provided in Government new clause 5.

Given the Government’s possible rejection of amendments 1 and 2, I think it important that, as a fall-back alternative, those Government new clause 5 order-making powers should be subject to a sunset provision. Although I do not agree with the arguments that these broad powers are needed in every case to sort things out in the aftermath of Brexit, at least with the sunset provision we would have a prospective return to normality. That is why there is a two-year sunset provision to the order-making powers in my new clause 1 and as a stand-alone in my new clause 8. Just as an improved scrutiny process is needed for initially entering these PIL treaties, it is also important when it comes to the orders made in respect of those PIL treaties. To be frank, I am currently not satisfied that Ministers have these important processes in place.

I have mentioned the CRaG Act, but also important is how Committees of the House are given a strong and ordered scrutiny role for future PIL treaties. I note that the Justice Committee, chaired by my hon. Friend the Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Sir Robert Neill), was not even mentioned on Second Reading when the Minister spoke about consulting with Committees in the other place. My hon. Friend may well wish to address that in his comments later, but to me it was a somewhat stark reminder of how our scrutiny processes here are far from what they should be.

In an attempt to help the scrutiny process, new clauses 1 and 7 contain a further proposal that orders to implement a relevant international agreement can be laid only if a report is issued at least 10 Commons sitting days before laying such regulations—less than they have in Australia, I note. Such a report would give details of, and the reasons for, the agreement.

The official Opposition and the Scottish National party have taken a slightly different approach by proposing super-affirmative procedures, which seem to me to be also a reasonable way to improve scrutiny and which deserve the Minister’s consideration. As I said initially, the various parties’ amendments today are remarkably similar despite their quantity. I hope that that has not gone unnoticed by the Government.

In conclusion, we are talking about private international treaties that normally take many years to gestate. They are important for cross-border commerce and social issues, but are very rarely party political. There is rarely, if ever, anything fast moving about their formation—that is something of an understatement, I think—and there should be plenty of time for proper scrutiny of both their adoption and orders made in relation to them.

Whatever happens here today, the Bill needs to go back to the other place. I hope that that will provide a breathing space for Ministers to take stock of the issues at hand and agree a compromise position that should, frankly, have been reached by now.

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I rise in support of the amendments in my name and that of my hon. Friend the Member for Huntingdon (Mr Djanogly). I agree with and adopt the arguments that he has made—in particular, in relation to scrutiny and the inadequacy of the current arrangements under the CRaG Act. That is not satisfactory, and we are going to have to address it sooner or later. As a consequence of leaving the European Union, we will be signing a great number of international treaties and other important international obligations, too—free trade agreements of many kinds. We do have to put in place a fit-for-purpose system, and relying on the Ponsonby convention really is not sustainable at the current time.

I had the pleasure, funnily enough, of knowing the third Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede—now no longer with us—who was very active in London government, and it was his grandfather who was responsible for this. That is itself indicative of the passage of time. It was in 1924, at the time of the Zinoviev letter, when this convention was put in place, so we really do have to have something—with every respect to the memory of the Lords Ponsonby—that is more fit for purpose for the modern time, particularly because this deals with very important issues and because international treaties have themselves become much more complex and very frequently now have implications for domestic law, as well as international treaty law obligations. Therefore, a new system, as set out of my hon. Friend, for scrutinising these issues is something we have to do at some point.

The one issue that does need to be dealt with quickly—my hon. Friend is right about how long such treaties take—is that we should sign up to the Lugano convention as a matter of absolute urgency. It is one of the unfortunate consequences of our departing from the European Union that we will leave one of the most sophisticated and effective means of civil justice co-operation that exists. That was not probably something very much debated during the referendum, and it is perhaps collateral damage in that sense of the broader decision that was taken, which I have to respect, but it is an important potential loss for British legal services and British business.

That can be made good if we swiftly joined Lugano, and a number of other international conventions, including the various Hague conventions, that go with it. That is why our amendment would in fact place joining Lugano in the Bill, although I will not read out new schedule 1 in detail. There is a real concern among businesses, as well as among lawyers, of a lacuna. At the moment, any British company or individual contracting with someone in the EU or the European Free Trade Association for that matter would, by virtue of our membership of the EU, be part of the Brussels I and Brussels II recast conventions and also of the Rome conventions in relation to domestic family law. Those enable contracts to be recognised and enforced, and judgments of the courts on those contracts to be recognised and enforced automatically in any of the member states. We have that advantage at the moment by virtue of our membership of the EU, carried over in the transition period, but that will go.

Obviously, for any contract to be worth its weight, it has to be enforceable—there is no point in having it otherwise—and that runs across every type of business. There is the significant and highly lucrative development of derivatives and other financial instruments, in which the City of London remains a world leader, and they have to be enforceable should they ever be called upon, as do contracts for manufacturers or the supply of agricultural produce. Contracts for any type of good or service that have an international dimension have to be effectively enforceable, and the same applies for the rights of individuals.

For example, for the British tourist or business person abroad who is injured in a road accident where the defendant—the driver at fault—is resident in one of the continental states, at the moment they can pursue their action in Bromley county court if need be or in the High Court to get a judgment and then have it enforced in France, Germany or elsewhere. Without getting into Lugano, there will be a gap in that person’s ability to seek justice and redress. It would be unconscionable if we should get ourselves into that state of affairs.

There is also the position of the single parent if the father, perhaps, of a child has moved to one of the EU jurisdictions. At the moment, the mother can enforce the judgment of the British family courts for maintenance payments, access arrangements and so on. They can be enforced in the place where the father is domiciled, and she can get her money. Again, it would be unconscionable if we were to have a gap. I know that that is not what the Minister wants, and I know that the Government are striving earnestly to achieve this, but at the moment we do not have it. If I get the chance, I may say more about that on Third Reading, but that is why we think giving statutory provision for Lugano in the Bill demonstrates its importance.

As the negotiations go forward, it is obviously important that we get a deal on free trade in relation to goods and tariffs, but absolutely as important is that we get a deal on judicial co-operation—whether criminal and police co-operation, but also civil co-operation. I hope that our negotiators will be saying, “If we get a deal with the EU, part of that must include the Commission dropping its current objections to the UK joining Lugano.” I hope that that is a negotiating gambit at the moment. The EFTA members are happy for us to join. The EU members at the moment, on the advice of the Commission, are not. This may not be easy, because France and Germany, in particular, have a history of being highly protective towards their jurisdictions in matters of legal services, so it is not something that is to be a footnote for Mr Frost’s agenda—the full Frost agenda, if I can put it that way. It should be central. That is why we think it is sufficiently important to flag it up on the face of the Bill. The Minister knows that, and I think it needs to be stated and put out there, right across Government.

My other points relate to scrutiny matters and the need for us to move forward, because there will be other important treaties that we will need to sign up to. I am grateful for the briefings given by the Law Society and the Bar Council in that regard, and I ought to refer to my entries in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests. It is important, for example, that, as well as signing up to Lugano, we have a means of drawing on the choice of court convention 2005. That is critical as a supplement to Lugano. It is important that we should move to joining the Hague judgments convention 2019, which the UK was instrumental in developing. Putting those two together will be very important for the long-term future of English law clauses in many international contracts. There is a concern otherwise and some evidence already of suggestions of international contracts now having ouster clauses from English law, rather than having specific buy-in clauses to English law. That would be damaging to our position as an international commercial law centre and we want to avoid that. There has to be a means of dealing with that swiftly—there is no question of that—but there also has to be proper scrutiny, because these are complex matters.

We also need, of course, to be in Lugano as soon as possible, so that we can deal with the much vexed question of the “Italian torpedo”, which is not a piece of naval history, but is, in fact, what is sometimes described as a race to the courts. It is about going to the court where a party can claim some residence that is likely to get them the easiest and swiftest deal. It is a name from an Italian law professor, so it is not meant with any disrespect to Italians. This gets to the problem of conflicting cases being run in different jurisdictions—a case being run in Italy and a case being run in the UK, for example, on the same subject matter. It is often family work. To change Lugano, we have to be in it, so that is why, again, getting into Lugano swiftly is absolutely critical. That is all the more important in those cases, since we will not be able to rely on the Brussels regime, as it has been recast, largely—ironically—as a result of work by British Ministers and British jurists to improve the system. That is why we need a proper system for ratification.

The other important point to make at this stage is there are some significant gaps, which I hope the Minister will be able to address, in terms of how we go forward. We know, for example, that within the international conventions to which we seek to adhere, there are ousters at the moment by the EU in relation to contracts for insurance. The insurance market is very important to the United Kingdom, so we have to find a means of making sure that we will have effective recognition and enforcement of judgments in relation to insurance contracts. That is an important issue for the United Kingdom. We will need a means of dealing with what appear to be slightly inconsistent approaches—between the approach in the Bill and that in some of the regulations that were brought in under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, set in tandem with the Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019. That is essentially about how we resolve disputes after exit day. There is a distinction in the approach adopted between common law and EU law in those two separate regulations, so that needs to be ironed out as a matter of some speed. Otherwise, we run the risk of conflict.

In fact, the House of Lords European Union Committee, back in 2016-17, highlighted the risk of adverse consequences for business and the importance of having certainty with this on the choices that businesses are making as to whether or not to select English contract law as the law governing commercial relationships. Of course the same would apply, where relevant, to Scots contract law because both jurisdictions have well-developed legal processes and a good reputation in those fields, so it is important that we preserve that. But the way in which the Government are doing it, with this very broad-ranging regulation-making power, is troubling.

As a former criminal practitioner, I have a particular issue with the ability the Bill at the moment gives the Government to increase penalties and, potentially, to create new offences by statutory instrument. We all know that certain types of offence have been created over the years by SIs, and the Minister and I have both dealt with them when in practice at the Bar, but generally they are of a regulatory nature—for example, they deal with health and safety, construction or vehicles. Taking out offences that have a sentence of more than two years as a maximum penalty is a start, but I am sure the Minister will know that offences carrying less than two years’ imprisonment can have profound reputational consequences for those who may be convicted of them. Often, the fact of the conviction of the offence will destroy someone’s reputation or career, rather than, of itself, the length of the sentence. I therefore hope the Government will reflect again on whether it is appropriate to use these SIs for the creation or extension of any type of criminal offence or penalty without a much greater level of scrutiny, which one would ordinarily expect. That is why the super-affirmative procedure offers a way forward, but better still let us use these to deal with regulatory and civil law matters, not ones that touch on the liberty or reputation of the subject.

It is important that we come to a clear decision on how we go forward with the considerable detail that will need to be put together once we have left. As well as getting into