Debates between Baroness Noakes and Lord Faulkner of Worcester during the 2019 Parliament

Wed 9th Jun 2021
Professional Qualifications Bill [HL]
Lords Chamber

Committee stage & Committee stage
Thu 15th Oct 2020
Trade Bill
Lords Chamber

Committee stage:Committee: 2nd sitting (Hansard)

Professional Qualifications Bill [HL]

Debate between Baroness Noakes and Lord Faulkner of Worcester
Baroness Noakes Portrait Baroness Noakes (Con)
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My Lords, I thank all noble Lords who have taken part in this debate for their contributions, an awful lot of which were on my amendment. Some important issues were raised by the noble Lord, Lord Purvis of Tweed, and the noble Baroness, Lady Hayter, none of which have been very satisfactorily dealt with by the Minister.

I turn to my amendment. I thank my noble friend Lord Lansley for his support and accept his challenge to look at the positioning of my amendment if I decide to take it forward at a later stage. The Minister talked as if compensatory measures were just sitting in every regulator’s toolbox to deal with every situation that could possibly arise, but the truth is that compensatory measures will have been designed for the sort of applicants who have already been coming to the UK for assessment, and they are not going to cause any problem. We do not even need this Bill for those applicants.

We are most likely to encounter problems when other forms of overseas applicant arise, with less traditional professional qualifications and/or experience. It is that which is likely to cause the burdens on the individual regulated professions to cope with things that they are not already coping with. The question posed by my amendment was about how we avoid unreasonable burdens being placed on those regulators and, in particular, on existing members of those professional bodies who fund the regulators.

To be honest, I do not think that the Minister answered that question at all. There is a very real problem there. I can see that we are not going to progress it any further today, but I recommend to my Front Bench that all the issues raised in this debate are looked at again before we get to Report because there are some big unanswered questions arising from this debate.

Lord Faulkner of Worcester Portrait The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Faulkner of Worcester) (Lab)
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Before inviting the Committee to consider the withdrawal of the amendment, I call the noble Lord, Lord Lansley, who was attempting to come in after the Minister.

Trade Bill

Debate between Baroness Noakes and Lord Faulkner of Worcester
Lord Faulkner of Worcester Portrait The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Faulkner of Worcester) (Lab)
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My Lords, I have received no requests from noble Lords to speak after the Minister, so I call the noble Baroness, Lady Noakes.

Baroness Noakes Portrait Baroness Noakes (Con)
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My Lords, first, I thank all noble Lords who have taken part in this short debate. I am grateful to my noble friend for confirming positively that the regulation-making power in Clause 7(4) cannot be used to compel the provision of information and that HMRC would not be able to impose penalties—that is exactly the assurance I was seeking.

However, I have to say that I am not entirely sure that I followed everything my noble friend said in relation to Clause 8. I did not follow what he said about why, if the words “among other things” were to be deleted from subsection (2), that would impede the use of information for trade purposes. I will read carefully in Hansard what he said, but I put him on notice now that it did not quite ring true when I heard him say it for the first time.

I have to say that I remain concerned about HMRC being regarded as a “safeguard” for information. If my noble friend the Minister listened to what some other noble Lords said in this short debate, he will have heard that people are concerned about what HMRC sometimes does. So to say that HMRC is one of the safeguards in this does not quite meet the point. That is why I asked my noble friend specifically to say what safeguards there are and what oversight there is of the use by HMRC of this kind of power, because it is very significant to authorise the disclosure of information other than for trade purposes. I hope that my noble friend will reflect on that and possibly come back to explain how we will oversee how HMRC uses its power here, effectively to override the provision of information only for trade purposes, and how that will be effective. But for today, obviously, I am happy to withdraw the amendment.