Paying Polluters: UN Report

Debate between Lord Davies of Brixton and Lord Callanan
Monday 22nd April 2024

(1 month ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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As I said, ISDS clauses work both ways. They also seek to protect the interests of UK companies investing in other overseas economies. Any state that wishes to regulate against the interest has to prove that it is being transparent and fair, not discriminating against foreign investors, et cetera. All these criteria are used to make judgments about whether cases will proceed.

Lord Davies of Brixton Portrait Lord Davies of Brixton (Lab)
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We discussed ISDS arrangements in the context of the CPTPP Bill recently, and a number of noble Members expressed concern about the impact on environmental standards. The response from the Government Front Bench was, “Not to worry; it won’t be used in this way”. That is clearly not the case with Colombia. It has faced at least 21 cases under the ISDS process, mainly for mining companies and mainly questioning the effect on the country’s environmental standards. Given the pressure that Colombia is under in its transition to full democracy and peace, would the money that it inevitably has to spend on defending these cases, and in some instances paying damages, be better spent on maintaining the peace process?

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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I am sure it would, but we are responsible for what clauses we agree to in the UK. We always protect our right to regulate, and we seek not to take actions that are arbitrary or discriminatory against foreign companies. Ultimately, it is a question of what clauses Colombia agrees to, what criteria it uses and how it will be arbitrated, so it is a difficult question to answer.

Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill

Debate between Lord Davies of Brixton and Lord Callanan
Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist Portrait Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist (Con)
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The Minister must be allowed to speak.

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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I will start by speaking to government Amendments 31, 41, 45, 52, 138 and 144. Amendments 31, 41 and 144 remove relevant subsections from the Bill as they are now included in the new clause. These are purely for drafting clarity and therefore do not change the policy intent or effect of this Bill in any way.

Lord Davies of Brixton Portrait Lord Davies of Brixton (Lab)
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My Lords, I am being denied my right to speak.

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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The proposed new clause tabled in Amendment 45 sets out clearly and in one place all the exceptions to the sunset in Clause 1. It includes exceptions that were previously located elsewhere in this Bill.

Lord Davies of Brixton Portrait Lord Davies of Brixton (Lab)
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This is outrageous.

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Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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They are not short remarks. They are nothing to do with the amendments in question. The noble Lord, Lord Hendy, has just spoken for about 10 minutes on issues that are totally unrelated to the subject in question. On group 1, we discussed all the labour law provisions at great length. They are raising irrelevant points.

Lord Davies of Brixton Portrait Lord Davies of Brixton (Lab)
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On the previous day in Committee, I raised the issue and the Minister said explicitly that we could debate it at a later stage on this clause. He is now breaking his word. He explicitly said that we could discuss the issue that I wished to raise.

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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Okay, let the noble Lord raise his point.

Lord Davies of Brixton Portrait Lord Davies of Brixton (Lab)
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I wish to address subsection (1)(a) of the new clause. It is about process rather than the issues. I support the issues that have been raised by my noble friends, but the issue of process is important and comes up under this section.

I was unable to be present at Second Reading because I was taking part in Committee of the Financial Services and Markets Bill, which is directly relevant to this clause, as the Minister well knows, because the clause excludes the European regulations covered by that other Bill. I asked in Committee on that Bill why there was a difference in treatment. Why do we have one Bill for these regulations and another for the other regulations? In that debate, the Minister, the noble Baroness, Lady Penn, said that unlike the approach taken with this Bill, that Bill repeals retained EU law in financial services. She continued:

“The Government will continue to repeal and replace the contents of Schedule 1 until we have an established a comprehensive FSMA model of regulation.”—[Official Report, 25/1/23; col. GC 71.]


The important point is that the Financial Services and Markets Bill had an extensive two-year period of consultation, on the principal legislation and on the regulations. There were two formal consultations; the Bill had 346 pages; there was a Public Bill Committee session of nine meetings, eight oral witnesses, 54 items of written evidence, an Explanatory Memorandum, and extensive debate and discussion.

At Second Reading of this Bill, the Minister said:

“Without the sunset as a default for retained EU law, we risk unsuitable or obsolete EU laws still being on our statute book in 10, 15 or even 20 years’ time.”—[Official Report, 6/2/23; col. 1080.]


What is the difference between the rules under the two Bills? It is not a simple technical issue; it goes to the heart. It is the process being adopted. I want a satisfactory answer from the Minister on what the difference is between the two Bills. The crucial difference is that in the financial services Bill, there is no sunset clause. I could go on at length. In view of the time, I simply ask that question.

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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I will address the noble Lord’s point at the end of my remarks, after I have moved the government amendments.

I think I had got to the new clause tabled as Amendment 45. The new clause sets out clearly and in one place all the exceptions to the sunset in Clause 1. I will explain the financial services issue at the end.

It includes exceptions that were previously located elsewhere in the Bill but have now been consolidated into the proposed new clause, such as exceptions for instruments specified in regulations—the preservation power—and for relevant financial services law. It also contains a number of amendments that will help departments deliver our ambitious EU law reform programme. The first of these is to ensure that, when a decision is taken to preserve retained EU law, any legislation that is made or has effect under it will also be preserved alongside the parent legislation, without it having to be individually specified in regulations. The parent legislation establishing a regime, for example, would still be reviewed under the programme but, once a decision to keep such a regime is made, it will not be necessary to reassess every single licence, for instance, or decision issued under that regime.

The second of these amendments allows for the preservation of a description of minor instruments, without the requirement to individually identify and specify them. This includes where these instruments are made directly under primary legislation that is not in scope of the sunset. This and the previous amendment remove the need to individually list large numbers of what might not be traditionally considered legislative instruments in order to preserve them.

A third minor amendment would remove any existing “transitional, transitory or saving” provisions from the scope of the sunset. In a number of areas we have already reformed retained EU law and, in some cases, we have made “transitional, transitory or saving” provisions, whereby some aspects of the previous legislation were saved to support implementation of or transition to the new regime. The aim of the Bill is not to undo or revoke retained EU law reform that has already been made. Thus, this amendment will ensure the continued legal operation of retained EU law that has been identified as necessary to serve a particular purpose, often for a time-limited period.

Finally, this proposed new clause introduces new wording to ensure that references to instruments or provisions in preservation SIs apply only so far as the provisions would otherwise sunset. Consequently, this puts beyond doubt that, where an SI references instruments that contain provisions that are not in scope of the sunset, the instrument is still lawfully made within the power.

Ultimately, this new clause provides drafting clarity. It will make the exemptions to the sunset much clearer, gathering them all in one place. It also introduces four minor and technical amendments that I have just explained in detail but that do not change the overall policy. They facilitate departments to preserve legislation more easily, where they deem it appropriate to do so, and respond to many of the points made in the debates on previous groups.

Amendment 138 is also minor and technical, and serves merely to change the reference to Clause 1 in Part 3 of Schedule 4 to a reference to the new clause created by Amendment 45.

Amendment 52 will update the drafting of the new clause, but in Clause 2. It will insert the wording “so far” after “section 1”. In effect, this will ensure that references to specified instruments or provisions in extension SIs apply only to those provisions so far as they are in scope of the sunset, and do not relate to any provisions not in scope of the sunset.

These amendments are all minor drafting clarifications or changes and do not change the scope of the sunset or the policy of the Bill. I hope noble Lords will look at Hansard if they want the details of them.

There are a large number of other amendments that seek to limit the ambitions of the sunset or to insert additional complex processes into the operation of the sunset clause. It is our belief that none of these is appropriate for this Bill and that they are likely only to hamper efforts to realise the opportunities that the Bill presents.

To start with, Amendments 46 and 47 tabled by the noble Baroness, Lady Young, aim to amend government Amendment 45, which I have already discussed. To reiterate, the exceptions within Amendment 45 are only sector-specific in the case of financial services, where the retained EU law in question will be reviewed via the separate legislation to which the noble Lord, Lord Davies, already referred, which is already being planned and implemented. The legislation put forward by the noble Baroness would not be appropriate to remove from the scope of the sunset. We just had a very long debate on the issues with exempting specific environmental legislation from the scope of the sunset, and I hope noble Lords accept that we do not need to repeat that on this group.

I turn to Amendments 26 and 48, tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Fox. The consulting and reporting requirements introduced by these amendments would limit the sunset as a key driver of reform and would therefore narrow the ambition.

A significant minority of retained EU law is also legally inoperable. Removing it from the statute book swiftly is good democratic governance. Requiring the Government to undergo complex and unnecessary parliamentary processes to remove legally inoperable retained EU law that is unnecessary and no longer fit for purpose is not good governance.

Where reforms are being made to retained EU law, the normal processes of consultation will of course be followed where appropriate and the relevant reforming legislation scrutinised as usual. It is not necessary to add additional complexity to the existing legislative process.

Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill

Debate between Lord Davies of Brixton and Lord Callanan
Lord Davies of Brixton Portrait Lord Davies of Brixton (Lab)
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My Lords, perhaps the Minister will take on board that, when he says there is no need for carve-outs, his own Amendment 45 creates a carve-out for financial services. We can have a substantial debate on that issue when we get to that amendment, but the idea that you do not have carve-outs is clearly wrong; the Government’s own amendment creates one.

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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We will get to that debate on those technical amendments later.

Employment Policies

Debate between Lord Davies of Brixton and Lord Callanan
Tuesday 6th December 2022

(1 year, 5 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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As I said, we had a referendum on the subject, and we are no longer members of the EU. The Social Charter no longer applies to the UK. As I further said, we have some of the highest labour standards in the world, way in excess of the minimum standards of many states of the European Union. Many other member states of the European Union also have minimum service levels in their law—this is not unprecedented.

Lord Davies of Brixton Portrait Lord Davies of Brixton (Lab)
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Will the Minister acknowledge that the European Social Charter, to which my noble friend referred, is an instrument of the Council of Europe and not the European Union, so still applies to this country?

Horizon Europe

Debate between Lord Davies of Brixton and Lord Callanan
Thursday 7th July 2022

(1 year, 10 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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My noble friend is exactly correct.

Lord Davies of Brixton Portrait Lord Davies of Brixton (Lab)
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My Lords, the Minister referred to plan B, and the financial commitment is obviously to be welcomed. Does he agree that the most important issue here is not finance but the international networks established for research? I should like to quote Professor Dame Anne Johnson, president of the Academy of Medical Sciences, who said:

“Horizon Europe provides an important and established framework for the networks and relationships that underpin international health research and benefit patients’ health everywhere.”


Does the Minister accept that it is the international networks that are crucial?

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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Money is of course important but I agree that the international networks, both with the EU and wider partners, are also crucial. That I why we should like to associate with Horizon Europe if the EU is prepared to sit down and discuss these things with us and to live up to the commitments it made in the TCA. I am sorry that many Members of this House are prepared to make excuses for the EU on this. We agreed it and are prepared to live by the commitment. It is the EU that is refusing to honour what it signed up to.

European Research Council

Debate between Lord Davies of Brixton and Lord Callanan
Wednesday 27th April 2022

(2 years, 1 month ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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The noble Viscount makes a very good point and, of course, alludes to the previous answer that I gave to my noble friend Lord Hannan. There are many good universities around the world, not just necessarily in the EU. We have a number of different, collaborative research programmes with other parts of the world. Ironically, under the Horizon programme, it is of course possible for third countries to associate in collaborative research programmes, provided they pay their fair share of the bills. The EU is not just treating us unfairly in terms of the agreement it signed, but is actually treating us differently from other countries in the world.

Lord Davies of Brixton Portrait Lord Davies of Brixton (Lab)
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My Lords, does the Minister understand that top-quality academic research is inherently an internationally co-operative effort? Oh, my phone is ringing. Pending the completion of the Horizon project, the UK’s universities—despite what his noble friend Lord Hannan might suggest—are inherently at a disadvantage, because of the complexity and the fact that they will no longer, in practice, be able to be the co-ordinator of the project, with the loss of the academic prestige and indeed funding that it involves.

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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Perhaps we should all have musical accompaniments to our answers and questions; I am sure they would be much improved. The noble Lord makes an important point: the leadership of these programmes is important and international collaboration is important in science, but we should not make the mistake of thinking that the EU is the repository of all knowledge and wisdom on scientific matters. There are many other parts of the world. Yes, of course we want to co-operate with EU institutions, but we also want to co-operate with others across the world.

National Minimum Wage (Amendment) Regulations 2022

Debate between Lord Davies of Brixton and Lord Callanan
Thursday 10th March 2022

(2 years, 2 months ago)

Grand Committee
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Lord Callanan Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Lord Callanan) (Con)
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My Lords, the purpose of these regulations, which were laid before the House on 31 January 2022, is to raise the national living wage and the national minimum wage rates on 1 April 2022.

We are committed to making the UK the best place in the world to work and build a business. The pandemic has presented extraordinary circumstances. The labour market shows strong signs of recovery but both workers and businesses will be concerned about the rising cost of living. Our approach must always balance the needs of both.

The UK labour market’s recovery from the pandemic is one to be proud of. The current number of payroll employees is over 400,000 more than pre-pandemic levels, and unemployment has fallen to 4.1%. This success is in no small part due to government intervention, most notably the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which supported more than 11 million jobs over the course of the pandemic. The UK’s economic recovery has been no less impressive. GDP at the end of 2021 recovered to the pre-pandemic level and increased by an estimated 7.5% over the year.

However, we are aware that a key issue on people’s minds is the rising cost of living. We have already acted to support households with rising energy bills. We recently announced a package of measures worth £9.1 billion for 2022-23, including a £200 reduction in energy bills and a £150 rebate on council tax bills for all households in bands A to D in England. These are in addition to measures that we have already announced, such as cutting the universal credit taper rate and freezing fuel duty for the 12th year running.

Central to managing the cost of living in the long term is the creation of a high-skill, high-wage economy. We are committed to doing just that. Through policies such as the plan for jobs, we are helping people get into work and gain the skills they need to prosper, progress and succeed. We are also committed to supporting the lowest paid on this issue. Since 2015, we have increased the national living wage significantly faster than average wages and more than twice as fast as inflation, meaning more money for the lowest-paid workers. The increase in the rates this year will continue to protect the lowest paid against the increase in the cost of living.

These regulations will increase the rates of the national minimum wage and the national living wage from 1 April. We estimate that these will provide a pay rise to around 2.5 million workers. I am pleased to say that the Government accepted all the rate recommendations made by the Low Pay Commission in October 2021. The commission is an independent body that brings together the views of business and workers and is informed by expert research and economic analysis. Once again, I express my gratitude for its excellent work and well-informed recommendations.

The Government have a target for the national living wage to equal two-thirds of median earnings by 2024. Commissioners made their recommendations last October, taking into consideration the target and the strong economic and labour market recovery to that point alongside the remaining uncertainty and feedback from a wide range of stakeholders. We are delighted that this increase keeps us on track to reach our target for 2024; we remain committed to it. The Low Pay Commission made its recommendations on the basis of significant stakeholder evidence from business, workers and academic representatives. Businesses spoke of the variety of concerns they faced at that stage of recovery, as well as how they continue to plan for the future based on our target for the national living wage.

These regulations will increase the national living wage for those aged 23 and over by 59p to £9.50—an increase of 6.6%. A full-time worker on the rate will be more than £1,000 better off over the course of the year. The regulations will also increase the rates for younger workers and apprentices. Workers aged 21 and 22 will receive an increase of 82p an hour—a 9.8% increase—to see a minimum hourly rate of £9.18. Workers aged between 18 and 20 will be entitled to an extra 27p an hour, taking their rate to £6.83. Under-18s will have a 4.1% increase of 19p, to an hourly rate of £4.81. Apprentices aged under 19, or those in the first year of their apprenticeship, will receive an increase of 11.9% to an hourly rate of £4.81—51p more. This rate will remain equal to, but separate from, the under-18 rate. The regulations will also increase the amount that employers can charge workers for accommodation without it affecting their pay for national minimum wage purposes. From 1 April, it will be £8.70 per day.

Looking ahead, the Government have pledged to continue raising minimum wage rates. As set out in our manifesto, we have set a target for the national living wage to reach two-thirds of median earnings by 2024. To improve fairness for younger workers, we also have a target to further reduce the age threshold for the national living wage, making it apply to those aged 21 and over by 2024. These targets remain dependent on economic circumstances, and we will monitor the labour market carefully.

In conclusion, these regulations ensure that the lowest paid are fairly rewarded for their contribution to the economy. The Government will continue to monitor the impacts of increasing the minimum wage and will remain abreast of concerns about the cost of living. We will shortly publish the remit to the Low Pay Commission for 2022, asking it to provide recommendations for new minimum wage rates to apply from April 2023. I commend these regulations to the House.

Lord Davies of Brixton Portrait Lord Davies of Brixton (Lab)
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My Lords, I thank the Minister for his introduction and welcome the fact that the figures are being increased. The support of the Government for having a minimum wage is to be welcomed. The Bible tells us that reformed sinners are to be welcomed. It does not say that we should not remind them of their previous sins. To be honest, I wasted a bit of time re-reading the Second Reading of the National Minimum Wage Bill in your Lordships’ House in 1998. I have several good quotes. The Conservative Front-Bench spokesperson said:

“If the Government go ahead with this legislation they will have to accept that business closures will lead to extensive unemployment in country areas.”—[Official Report, 23/3/98; col. 1078.]


There are several other statements on a similar theme. So I extend a welcome to a reformed sinner.

The second, brief point I will make is that of course this is not the real national living wage, as I am sure the Minister is aware. There was a national living wage before the Government co-opted the title, and it is somewhat greater than the figure being presented to us today. So I ask the Minister: have the Government considered the continued gap between their version of the national living wage and what I regard as the real living wage?

Finally, my main point, and why I am here today, is on the issue of pensions. I argue, and ask the Minister to accept, that a national living wage has to have built into it sufficient resources so that people can retire on a decent pension. A national living wage should encompass not just the day to day but a reasonable pension when the recipient of the national living wage comes to retirement. The Low Pay Commission reported on a submission from the TUC setting out that point in some detail—it reported on it but did not respond to it. If you dig down through what the Government are doing on pensions, you see that they are simply adding a margin that reflects what a typical employer does. It begs the question: is that sufficient to provide a decent pension when people get to retirement? The answer is that it is not.

Mathematical Sciences

Debate between Lord Davies of Brixton and Lord Callanan
Tuesday 8th February 2022

(2 years, 3 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Davies of Brixton Portrait Lord Davies of Brixton
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To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to ensure that the United Kingdom remains a world leader in the mathematical sciences.

Lord Callanan Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Lord Callanan) (Con)
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My Lords, the EPSRC has committed £281 million to research grants for mathematical sciences between April 2015 and September 2021. To further support our world-leading mathematicians, UKRI has awarded around £104 million in additional funding over and above EPSRC’s core mathematical sciences theme budget, in line with the Government’s announcement in January 2020. Research England notionally allocated £55.2 million of mainstream quality-related research funding for mathematical sciences to higher education providers in England for the academic year 2021.

Lord Davies of Brixton Portrait Lord Davies of Brixton (Lab)
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I thank the Minister for his reply and his acknowledgement of our world-leading mathematicians, but would he agree that, to be a world-leader in mathematical sciences, we also have to make greater efforts to encourage girls and young women to become mathematicians and do more to take advantage of all the talent that is available? Will the Minister indicate what steps the Government are taking to this end?

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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I completely agree with the noble Lord, who I know has long advocated the importance of mathematics study. I point him towards the advanced mathematics support programme, which has a specific focus to get more students participating in A-level core maths. It works with schools and colleges to raise awareness of progression to mathematics at university. As I am sure the noble Lord is aware, there is also the national network of maths hubs to help local schools improve the quality of their mathematics teaching. The most recent Programme for International Student Assessment results show that England outperformed on the OECD averages for reading, maths and science.

Emissions Trading Scheme: Transport

Debate between Lord Davies of Brixton and Lord Callanan
Monday 11th October 2021

(2 years, 7 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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As I said in previous answers, we recognise the urgency of taking swift action on climate change. I repeat: we are moving faster than any other G7 country. I accept that the noble Baroness and other Opposition Members would like to be even more ambitious, but we must look at the implications of that on the competitiveness of British industry and the effect on people’s fuel bills, et cetera. These are important matters and we must consider them in the round.

Lord Davies of Brixton Portrait Lord Davies of Brixton (Lab)
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My Lords, I welcome what the Minister has said about the extension of the ETS to shipping, but will he take this opportunity to indicate the degree of urgency that the Government place on this issue, particularly the scandal of the continued use of bunker fuel by shipping worldwide?

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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We agreed to undertake a review of the extension of the ETS to maritime emissions in the transport decarbonisation plan, and will do so. However, like aviation, this is an international issue; ships do not just stay in British territorial waters but move overseas as well. Therefore, we need to work with our international partners and the EU to come up with solutions to this.

Deep Seabed Mining

Debate between Lord Davies of Brixton and Lord Callanan
Monday 6th September 2021

(2 years, 8 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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We are engaging closely in the process. We will possibly abstain on the final resolution, but we are working closely with our international partners to drive this and ensure strong and sustainable progress.

Lord Davies of Brixton Portrait Lord Davies of Brixton (Lab)
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My Lords, the problem is the environmental degradation inherent in mining for manganese, nickel and cobalt, whether you do it from the seabed or on land. This issue has been mentioned already. Will the Government commit themselves to doing the massive research project that is required so that we can have batteries for our electric cars that do not require that sort of environmental degradation?

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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The noble Lord makes a very good point. Indeed, we are doing just that, with the Faraday challenge and many of our other R&D technologies. We have an extensive programme of research into new technologies. Of course we have to do that; I completely agree with the noble Lord.

Employment Rights

Debate between Lord Davies of Brixton and Lord Callanan
Thursday 10th June 2021

(2 years, 11 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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I bow to the noble Lord’s superior knowledge of the proletariat and the precariat, or whatever words he used. I do not have strong feelings about any potential growth in trade union membership. People are free to join a trade union if they wish. I would merely point out to the noble Lord that, of course, only a small minority of employees choose to join trade unions.

Lord Davies of Brixton Portrait Lord Davies of Brixton (Lab) [V]
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My Lords, I start by telling the Minister that the claim in the Statement that the UK has one of the best records on workers’ rights is patent nonsense. We know it and, as a reasonable man, I am sure he knows it too. We also know, not only from the Taylor review, that one thing that could be done to improve the regulation of workers’ rights is to eliminate the scope for employers to exploit regulatory arbitrage. Will the Minister therefore give a commitment to reduce the number of categories of workers with different entitlement to statutory rights?

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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I am afraid I just do not agree with noble Lord. We have an excellent record of workers’ rights in this country. Of course, the best workers’ right of all is the right to a job. We have a better record on employment and employment creation than most of the rest of Europe.

Uber: Supreme Court Ruling

Debate between Lord Davies of Brixton and Lord Callanan
Monday 1st March 2021

(3 years, 2 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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The noble Lord has put the case very well. The Supreme Court’s decision is, of course, final. Uber will have to comply with that judgment, as everybody else has to comply with court rulings.

Lord Davies of Brixton Portrait Lord Davies of Brixton (Lab) [V]
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My Lords, I want to follow up the issue raised by my noble friend Lord Monks of the implications of this judgment for pension provision. Including these people within the aegis of automatic enrolment throws up a series of practical problems. There is the question of whether back pay will be pensionable. These workers tend, by their very nature, to have widely fluctuating emoluments, which again creates problems. Will the Government be undertaking a study of the implications of this judgment for pension provision, particularly under automatic enrolment?

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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The noble Lord makes a good point. Of course, pension entitlement is based on employment status, age and income. It is a complex area of law and we will, of course, look very closely at the judgment.

Workers’ Rights

Debate between Lord Davies of Brixton and Lord Callanan
Tuesday 26th January 2021

(3 years, 4 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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In our manifesto we promised that we would enhance workers’ rights where it was appropriate to do so, and we stick by that commitment. I think the noble Lord makes some important points.

Lord Davies of Brixton Portrait Lord Davies of Brixton (Lab) [V]
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My Lords, we are suffering the worst pandemic for a century. Now as much as ever the employment rights of workers who keep the economy going need to be protected. Will the Minister condemn employers who take advantage of the situation and tactics such as fire-and-hire, and commit the Government to a review of such pernicious practices?

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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I understand that ACAS is currently conducting a review and, of course, the Government will listen carefully to any recommendations it makes. We want to provide support to employees at such a time, but we also need to recognise the very difficult time that many businesses and companies are going through at this unprecedented time during the pandemic.