In the previous Trade Bill, this amendment was taken to a vote and passed. If the Government do not accept this amendment, I hope we will do the same again.
Baroness Bull Portrait Baroness Bull (CB)
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My Lords, I support this amendment, which seeks to secure the continued success of the UK’s trade in goods and services with the EU, and to preserve the mobility framework that will be vital in achieving that aim. I will also focus on services, because they have undoubtedly been the Cinderella of the Brexit story or, as Sir Ivan Rogers memorably described them last year, the dog that has failed to bark.

I wondered then whether it might be that trade in goods has predominated because the at-the-border issues they involve are easier to grasp than the behind-the-border issues of domestic rules, regulations and qualifications that underpin trade in services. It might be because of the confusing range and diversity of sectors that shelter under the umbrella of services, from IT to hairdressing, education to tourism, architecture to the arts, as well as health, insurance and financial services. Or it might be because the biggest service earners—the financial and insurance services—are heavily skewed to London and the south-east: 48% of the £128 billion those two service sectors contribute to the UK economy is generated by London alone. That uneven geographic distribution and economic contribution does not sit easily with the language of levelling up, and supporting bankers and brokers may not be much of a vote winner either.

However, like it or not, this country has long been predominantly a services economy. In 2019, services contributed around 80% of UK economic activity, and they account for about 30 million jobs. The EU single market is the primary destination for UK services exports, with the UK running a trade surplus with the EU in services. This dominance of the EU for our services exports is not surprising. One of the best-established empirical results in international economics is that bilateral trade decreases with distance.

There are five modes of services traded across borders: remote, in the supplier’s country, in the consumer’s country, via fly in, fly out, and as an integral component of a traded good. That last mode of attached or embedded services—perhaps the long-term maintenance contract for a machine, for example—has been a great big growth area for the UK in recent years. The majority of Rolls Royce’s revenues come not from the sale of the aircraft engines and other goods it produces but from the accompanying services that are sold as part of the package.

In each mode there is an inextricable link between services and mobility. Service provision, as the noble Lord, Lord Fox, pointed out, requires people on the ground. Services provided in this country—higher education or tourism, for example—depend on inward mobility. Services provided in other countries, including those all-important embedded services, require outward mobility. Some of our most important and successful service industries are heavily dependent on EU workers: financial services, education, health, road haulage, and, as I often remind this House, the creative industries. The Royal Institute of British Architects estimates that one in four architects working in the UK is from the EU. In tourism, 10% of workers are EU nationals, as is 6% of the NHS workforce, and we have discussed over and over again the importance of EU migrants to our care sector.

Even before Covid, the loss of free movement post Brexit threatened the sustainability and success of the UK services sector. Covid continues to have a devastating effect on parts of the sector that rely on human gatherings and interactions: hospitality, air travel, restaurants, hotels, as well as arts and entertainment. Only last week, the Lords Economic Affairs Committee heard devastating testimony about the effects of the pandemic on the UK’s cultural and creative industries. However, according to research from the LSE, Brexit will deliver a double shock to the economy. Business conditions will worsen for those sectors that have been able to better weather the Covid storm—IT, financial and legal services, for example—because of the barriers it will impose on the continuation of trade, whether or not there is a deal. These of course include the end to the reciprocal mobility that has underpinned the UK’s status as a world leader in services provision.

Sir Ivan Rogers, in the same speech I referred to earlier, suggested that the UK services industry’s needs have been sacrificed to the primary goal of ending free movement, and it is hard to disagree with him. This amendment seeks to preserve a mobility framework with the EU. In doing so, it would help preserve one of the UK’s most successful sectors, and along with that the jobs, revenues and opportunities that it provides.

Baroness Noakes Portrait Baroness Noakes (Con)
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My Lords, I had initially intended to take part in the debate on this amendment solely for the purpose of probing whether study, which is mentioned in the amendment, can logically be regarded as necessary for trade in goods or services. I had not expected this debate to go into our border control policies, with yet more angst over not having the same rights to travel throughout the EU as exist even today.

I would just say to noble Lords, including the noble Lord, Lord Fox, who seems to think that Conservatives might be upset at restrictions on movement, that we voted, both in the referendum and in the last general election, to take control of our borders—that is what the people voted for. That has consequences. Noble Lords who are trying to constantly recreate what we have had in the past as members of the EU do themselves no service. We have to change what we are doing going forward. That is not to say that we cannot have sensible arrangements with both the EU and other countries to facilitate the trade in goods and services, which I fully support. However, we should not be constantly harking back to life as it was when we were a member of the EU.