Debates between David Rutley and Sue Hayman

There have been 14 exchanges between David Rutley and Sue Hayman

1 Tue 23rd July 2019 Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill (Second sitting)
HM Treasury
6 interactions (1,969 words)
2 Wed 10th July 2019 Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill
HM Treasury
2 interactions (596 words)
3 Thu 20th June 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
3 interactions (216 words)
4 Tue 2nd April 2019 Puppy Smuggling
HM Treasury
5 interactions (1,762 words)
5 Thu 7th March 2019 Dangerous Dogs
HM Treasury
2 interactions (482 words)
6 Thu 18th October 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
5 interactions (260 words)
7 Tue 9th October 2018 Food Labelling and Allergy-Related Deaths
HM Treasury
3 interactions (739 words)
8 Wed 4th July 2018 Ivory Bill
HM Treasury
5 interactions (1,910 words)
9 Tue 19th June 2018 Ivory Bill (Sixth sitting)
HM Treasury
24 interactions (5,440 words)
10 Tue 19th June 2018 Ivory Bill (Fifth sitting)
HM Treasury
28 interactions (5,397 words)
11 Thu 14th June 2018 Ivory Bill (Fourth sitting)
HM Treasury
39 interactions (5,514 words)
12 Thu 14th June 2018 Ivory Bill (Third sitting)
HM Treasury
68 interactions (6,593 words)
13 Tue 12th June 2018 Ivory Bill (Second sitting)
HM Treasury
5 interactions (797 words)
14 Wed 6th June 2018 Rural Crime and Public Services
Home Office
2 interactions (3,659 words)

Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill (Second sitting)

(Committee Debate: 2nd sitting: House of Commons)
Debate between David Rutley and Sue Hayman
Tuesday 23rd July 2019

(1 year ago)

Public Bill Committees
Read Full debate Bill Main Page
HM Treasury
Sue Hayman Hansard

The right hon. and learned Gentleman makes an extremely important point. One thing that has been quite difficult when looking at the evidence is some of the extraordinary cruelty against animals of which people are capable. The work he did with other colleagues on Finn’s law was really important, because service animals put themselves in front of their police officers or whoever they are working with to protect them. It is important that that has now been recognised.

It is important that we are finally giving judges the tools they need to start handing out the kind of sentences that are required if we are to have not only a punishment that will act as a deterrent, but a punishment that is right for the crime. We do not have that at the moment. In conclusion, the Opposition will support the Bill, and I thank everyone for their work on it.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 1 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 2

Extent, commencement and short title

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
23 Jul 2019, 2:39 p.m.

Clause 2 provides the extent, commencement and short title of the Bill. Clause 2(1) provides for the Bill’s extension to England and Wales only. Animal welfare is a fully devolved matter, but in this case the Welsh Government have confirmed that the maximum penalty will apply in Wales. The Bill is drafted on that basis. The Welsh Government are preparing a legislative consent motion so that the Bill can be extended and applied in Wales, which is excellent news.

Clause 2(2) provides the date and commencement of the Bill. The Act will come into force two months after Royal Assent. The clause also ensures that the application of revised maximum penalties is not retrospective and is not applied to offences committed before the Bill comes into force. It specifies the short title of the Bill, that being the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act 2019.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 2 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

New Clause 2

Report on effects

‘(1) The Secretary of State must publish a report on the effects of the provisions of this Act.

(2) The report must include assessments of—

(a) trends in sentencing practice;

(b) the effects of this Act on animal welfare;

(c) the extent to which this Act has had a deterrent effect on animal welfare offences;

(d) the coherence and adequacy of animal welfare legislation in aggregate in the light of the operation of this Act.

(3) The assessment under subsection (2)(d) must include consideration of—

(a) the welfare of animals that are not “protected animals” under section 2 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006;

(b) sentencing for offences under—

(i) all sections of the Animal Welfare Act 2006;

(ii) the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981;

(iii) the Deer Act 1991;

(iv) the Protection of Badgers Act 1992;

(v) the Wild Mammals (Protection) Act 1996; and

(vi) the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (S.I.2017/1012).

(4) The report must be laid before Parliament within two years of this Act coming into force.’—(Sue Hayman.)

This new clause would require the Secretary of State to lay before Parliament, within two years of the Act coming into force, a report on the effectiveness of the Act, including specific assessments of its effect on animal welfare, the overall coherence of animal welfare legislation, and other matters.

Brought up, and read the First time.

Sue Hayman Hansard
23 Jul 2019, 2:39 p.m.

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

New clause 2 would provide for an assessment of the effectiveness of the Act, and for a report to be laid before Parliament. I hope the Minister agrees that it is good practice for our legislation to be reviewed, and for Parliament to have the opportunity to consider the extent to which it is achieving its objectives, and indeed to consider whether any adjustments might be needed. Within that, we believe that there is a specific need to examine the level of penalties available to the courts for cruelty offences across animal welfare legislation as a whole.

The Bill improves the deterrence impact of penalties for cruelty under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, but introduces a two-tier system—maximum penalties for cruelty offences under the legislation listed in new clause 2 remain at six months. It is clear that offenders do not discriminate between wild and domestic animals in inflicting cruelty. The RSPCA has a shocking catalogue of offences, just a few of which I will mention: a wild rabbit hit with a log and stabbed with a pen; a sheep beaten to death with a gold club; a goldfish’s eye cut out; a squirrel set on fire; a cat chocked and suffocated; and two hens beaten to death. I find it extraordinary that anyone can behave like that.

How do we work out what maximum penalty should be available to the court in each of those cases? If a person kicks their pet rabbit, it should be clear that, under the Bill, the maximum penalty would be raised to five years, but what if the poor animal that has been kicked to death is a wild rabbit in the middle of a field? The nature of the offence is arguably identical, and most people would agree that the offender should face the same penalty, but would they? What about the case we heard about from the hon. Member for Southend West (Sir David Amess) on Second Reading, of a driver who put down chips in a road to attract wild birds so that he could then run them over? Should wild birds, squirrels or hedgehogs be regarded as under the control of man in a situation such as that, and would they come under this penalty? What about people putting out poisoned foods at a wild bird feeding station? What if wild chickens are taken and tortured? Is it different if chicks are taken from a hedgerow or from a garden nest box? These are genuine questions and I find the definitions confusing.

My hon. Friend the Member for Bristol East spoke on Second Reading about cruelty committed against game birds that are specifically reared for shooting before being released in the wild. Where does that sit within an offence of cruelty? What concerns me is that guilty offenders might well seek to persuade a court that a lesser sentence should be imposed if the victim could be classed as a wild animal.

We heard in evidence from Mr Schwarz that the two-tier approach could end in confusion for both the judiciary and prosecutors. We need to consider carefully whether the Bill’s good intentions to deter the worst acts of cruelty could unintentionally lead to offenders targeting more wild animals. The Opposition are pretty clear that all animals are equal and deserve to be treated with respect and kindness. As our animal welfare plan stated:

“Our vision is one where no animal is made to suffer unnecessary pain and degradation and where we continue to drive up standards and practice in line with the most recent advances and understanding.”

Our preference would be for the Bill to set a maximum sentence according to the level of cruelty in the offence, rather than whether the animal is domestic or wild, which I have discussed with the Minister. New clause 2 offers the option of looking into that and giving Parliament an opportunity to consider it once the Act has taken effect. As I have said, we do not want to delay the Bill—we want it on the statute book quickly, which is why we are asking for a review. I hope the Minister considers it and I look forward to his response.

Break in Debate

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
23 Jul 2019, 2:52 p.m.

As I said, we have distinguished lawyers in the room for a reason—they make important points such as that one, which only my right hon. and learned Friend could make with such eloquence. I completely agree that there is an added responsibility. It is a privilege to be able to look after animals and, when we do, we should expect higher standards of ourselves. There are laws that are relevant to other wild animals but, when these animals are in the control of man, a higher standard needs to be adhered to.

I do not really want to mention these cases, but I am trying to provide clarification and confidence to members of the Committee. We heard the example of a rabbit being kicked in a very serious way. Whether a rabbit is wild or not, rabbits are commonly domesticated, and that would be covered by the Bill. Similarly, if other animals were mistreated under the control of man, they would be covered. I understand that there are concerns, but I reassure members of the Committee that the courts will be in a better position, as a result of this legislation, to hold people to account and put the right sentences in place. They will be able to make judgments that will help domesticated animals and, in many cases, wild animals too—I will come to the point about wild animals more broadly in a second.

A review of wildlife legislation has already been conducted. At the request of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Law Commission commenced in 2011 its wildlife law project to develop proposals for a modern, simpler and more flexible framework. The commission published its report and draft Bill in November 2015, and recommended that the existing pieces of wildlife legislation be replaced with a single statute.

Exit from the EU provides an opportunity to re-examine our regulatory framework and how it works so that it is fit for purpose to meet our national needs in the future and to fulfil our international obligations. As hon. Members may be aware, much of our wildlife law stems from EU directives. That is why EU exit would provide an opportunity to take that wider look. We will need to consider the implications of EU exit for our approach to wildlife policy before deciding whether and how to implement the Law Commission proposals.

In addition to the existing reviews of the Animal Welfare Act 2006, the Ministry of Justice regularly publishes criminal justice statistics. Under the 2006 Act, data on prosecutions, convictions and sentencing speak to the impact of higher penalties on animal welfare.

In summary, I completely understand the point made by the hon. Member for Workington, but the Bill focuses on the most heinous crimes involving animals, including wildlife, under the control of man. The penalties for wildlife crimes that focus on animals in their wild habitat are separate from this legislation. Welfare groups have long called for an increased maximum sentence for the serious crimes under the 2006 Act. It is important that we get this change of an increased maximum penalty on to the statute book as soon as possible and without amendment.

I would be happy to commit to meeting the hon. Lady in the very near future to discuss different maximum sentences for Animal Welfare Act offences and offences relating to the welfare of wildlife. In line with our normal, standard procedure, we will look at the impact of the Bill in three years’ time. On that basis, and with a commitment to hold an early meeting, I ask the hon. Lady to consider withdrawing her new clause. I hope she can support the passage of this important Bill at this stage without amendment.

Sue Hayman Hansard

I thank the Minister for his considered response. He will probably think that I am a bit odd, but I have a copy of the report and the proposed legislation from the Law Commission by my bed. [Hon. Members: “Hear, hear!”] Thank you.

I would very much appreciate a meeting to discuss how we take this matter further. Some of the Law Commission work is excellent, and it would be good to see how we move forward. On that basis, I am happy to beg to ask leave to withdraw the motion.

Clause, by leave, withdrawn.

Bill to be reported, without amendment.

Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill

(2nd reading: House of Commons)
(Programme motion: House of Commons)
Debate between David Rutley and Sue Hayman
Wednesday 10th July 2019

(1 year ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Bill Main Page
HM Treasury
David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
10 Jul 2019, 1:51 p.m.

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his question. Just to clarify, we are discussing the maximum penalty; there will be other gradations that the courts will see fit to use. It is important to highlight, as I have done with a couple of case studies, that the courts felt they did not have the right sentencing available, given the horrific nature of some of the crimes they had been looking at. The Bill is about providing a maximum. The hon. Gentleman must be psychic, because I was about to come to that point. Under clause 1, the existing maximum penalty of six months will be retained if the offender is summarily convicted. However, offenders may now receive a higher penalty of up to five years’ imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine if they are convicted on trial by indictment.

Clause 2 outlines that the Bill will come into force two months after Royal Assent. The application of revised maximum penalties is not retrospective and does not apply to offences committed before the Bill comes into force. The clause also specifies the short title of the Bill, and provides for the Bill to extend to England and Wales. Animal welfare is a fully devolved matter, as many Members know. However, in this case the Welsh Government have confirmed that the maximum penalty should also apply in Wales, and the Bill is drafted on that basis. The Welsh Government are preparing a legislative consent motion so that the Bill can be extended and applied in Wales.

It is the Government’s view that the subject matter of this Bill is considered to be within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly. I have commended Northern Ireland for having already set the maximum penalty for animal cruelty offences at five years’ imprisonment in August 2016, and I am pleased that the Scottish Government have announced their intention to do so as well. This country has some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world, but our maximum penalties are currently among the lowest. An increase to five years’ imprisonment should be introduced to enable the courts to have more appropriate sentences at their disposal for the most serious crimes of animal cruelty, and to reinforce our position as a world leader on animal welfare.

The Government are pleased to be taking forward this positive step on animal welfare. Just a month ago, we introduced a ban on third-party sales of puppies and kittens, and we have introduced mandatory CCTV in slaughterhouses. The Bill follows the previously mentioned passing of Finn’s law and we are also demonstrating the importance of the value of wild animals with the Wild Animals in Circuses Bill progressing well through the other place. The Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill is a fundamental step in ensuring that we have an appropriate response to those who inflict deliberate suffering on innocent animals and, for the reasons I have set out, I commend the Bill to the House.

Sue Hayman (Workington) (Lab) Parliament Live - Hansard
10 Jul 2019, 1:54 p.m.

Today has been a long time coming. We welcome the Government bringing forward this vital piece of legislation, although we regret that it has taken this long, considering that it has widespread support across the House and with the general public. I hope the Bill manages to make it through both Houses and on to the statute book in a timely fashion. It is imperative that it should receive Royal Assent and come into force as soon as possible so that our courts can start handing out appropriate sentences to those people convicted of inflicting terrible harm on innocent animals.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between David Rutley and Sue Hayman
Thursday 20th June 2019

(1 year, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Parliament Live - Hansard
20 Jun 2019, 9:45 a.m.

I have had the chance to go to the national forest in my hon. Friend’s constituency on two occasions, and he is a fantastic champion and ambassador for the national forest. We need to take lessons from that and apply them in the northern forest as well, to see what the exciting opportunities can be.

Sue Hayman (Workington) (Lab) Parliament Live - Hansard
20 Jun 2019, 9:45 a.m.

The role of tree planting in tackling climate change is well documented. The right hon. Member for Penrith and The Border (Rory Stewart) promised during his leadership bid to plant 100 million trees. The Minister has been mentioning targets, so it is disappointing to read this week that the Government are falling woefully short—by 71%—of their targets. Can the Minister explain why that is? What is he doing about it? How long will it be before we see the Secretary of State’s targets actually met?

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Parliament Live - Hansard

We have set out a clear target of planting 11 million trees in this Parliament. We are at 3.6 million now and on the trajectory to achieve that target of 11 million, so I assure the hon. Lady that we are working in that direction. We have also set out strong aspirations to increase our woodland cover from 10% to 12% within the 25-year environment plan. We have stretching targets and we will move further forward.

Puppy Smuggling

Debate between David Rutley and Sue Hayman
Tuesday 2nd April 2019

(1 year, 4 months ago)

Westminster Hall
Read Full debate
HM Treasury
Sue Hayman (Workington) (Lab) Hansard
2 Apr 2019, 5:22 p.m.

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Hollobone. As other hon. Members have done, I thank the hon. Member for Mid Worcestershire (Nigel Huddleston) for securing this debate and for keeping up the pressure to get this terrible activity banned. We need to keep up that pressure if we are to make progress.

There is huge public appetite for robust action to improve the lives of animals and strengthen the animal protections in our laws. We are a nation of animal lovers, and we want all our animals to be well loved and given the opportunity to live happy and stable lives. Puppy smuggling is just one of many serious animal welfare issues that all Members read about in our postbags. Since last year’s debate on the matter, I have been proud to launch the Labour party’s animal plan, which pledges to take increased measures to tackle puppy smuggling. It has received an excellent response and we are working on the next version, which I hope to be able to share with hon. Members shortly.

It is obvious that the humane treatment of animals should be a benchmark for a civilised society. As parliamentarians, we must send out a strong message that the illegal importation of puppies is a cruel practice that must stop; there has been extraordinary consensus on that today, just as there was last year. The Animal and Plant Health Agency and many animal welfare charities such as the Dogs Trust, the RSPCA and Battersea Dogs and Cats Home have done a lot of crucial and very welcome work to tackle puppy smuggling.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Penistone and Stocksbridge (Angela Smith) said, it really is time for the Government to act. I know that their commitment to banning the third-party sale of puppies and kittens through Lucy’s law, which the Minister announced in December, has been welcomed by Cats Protection and many dog charities—it is indeed welcome, but we need to see results as soon as possible. The pledge to increase sentences is also welcome, but the legislation needs to be introduced as soon as possible so that we can debate it, scrutinise it and get it on the statute book; I hope that the Minister will give us some idea of when that will happen. In the meantime, Government agencies need the resources to tackle puppy smuggling by enforcing the current legislation. We need to ensure that we have sufficient border guards, with greater international co-operation between police forces to crack down on the problem properly.

As we have heard, dogs should be available only from licensed and regulated breeders or from approved rehoming organisations. Unfortunately, the current legislation does not protect the welfare of all dogs or the interests of all consumers, so the only solution is to ban third-party sales entirely. We have heard about the terrible treatment of smuggled dogs and the terrible diseases and health problems that they can suffer, as in the really sad story that the hon. Member for Mid Worcestershire told. As long as there is a market for cheap, intensively bred puppies, such welfare problems will persist, because the incentives for non-compliance far exceed the penalties.

Availability may artificially inflate demand, so unless we reduce the supply of cheap, poorly bred puppies from dealers and smugglers, we will never bring a more responsible buying culture into society. Ministers have said that prospective buyers should always insist on seeing a puppy interacting with its mother in the place where it was born, but that advice is inconsistent with the ongoing legality of third-party sales, because it concedes that neither animals nor consumers can be protected by the regulations imposed on the industry. We therefore need a third-party sales ban as soon as possible.

I do not think that it is too ambitious to want to move on now, or to ask the Government to do more to enable that. Animal welfare must not be swept under the carpet or undercut, so I ask the Minister again for a commitment that he will continue to show that he understands the need for this legislation and that he will do everything he can to stamp out this appalling trade.

David Rutley Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (David Rutley) - Hansard
2 Apr 2019, 5:27 p.m.

It is a pleasure to see you in the Chair again, Mr Hollobone. I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Mid Worcestershire (Nigel Huddleston) on securing the debate. It is a testament to the hard work of my hon. Friend and many other Members, and to public concern, that so many are present. I am grateful for his work and his active communication.

Since my appointment as Minister, it has become increasingly clear to me that we need to tackle the abhorrent puppy smuggling trade from end to end by looking at both supply and demand. I have spent a lot of time working with officials on the issue. Like all other hon. Members who have spoken, I have zero tolerance for the unscrupulous dealers and breeders who are simply abusing the pet travel scheme—we need to put an end to that.

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend—no, my hon. Friend; I am elevating him before his time, but I am sure that his time will come—for highlighting such an abhorrent case, which brought home just how awful and how illegal puppy smuggling activities are. We need to do everything we can to protect animals, their potential owners and other humans who may suffer from the health risks. We must tackle the issue as best we can and with real urgency.

Along with 137 other Members of Parliament, I have pledged to be part of the Dogs Trust’s campaign to end puppy smuggling. I stand by that commitment fully, and I am very grateful to the trust for its hard work on this really important issue. We must also respect the important work that the RSPCA and Battersea Dogs and Cats Home do to shine a spotlight on the issue.

DEFRA’s overall comprehensive approach to tackling puppy smuggling encompasses international engagement, enforcement, tighter regulations and public communications. We have been doing a great deal of work on all those fronts since the last Westminster Hall debate in 2017.

The Government continue to raise the issue of puppy smuggling at an international level. My hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton and Honiton (Neil Parish), the Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, raised that issue today. International engagement is particularly important in the wake of intelligence such as that mentioned by my hon. Friend, which suggests that puppies from non-EU countries such as Serbia are being illegally imported into the UK with EU passports and microchips, to make them appear EU-bred. Our chief veterinary officer has written to Serbia and Hungary, which is one of the potential receiving countries, to highlight our concerns.

Break in Debate

Sue Hayman Hansard
2 Apr 2019, 5:31 p.m.

When?

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
2 Apr 2019, 5:32 p.m.

And we will do it very shortly. This is a huge priority for us. Obviously, it requires primary legislation. I hope that hon. Members can see that I am as committed as they are to bringing this forward as soon as we can, but it requires other parts of the Government to work with us. We will push it through. I know that the hon. Member for Workington (Sue Hayman) will cut me a little bit of slack, because she knows that I am keen to move the matter forward.

The hon. Member for Workington raised resources. We have increased resources at major UK ports by one third since 2017, specifically to detect smuggled puppies. That has helped us to intercept tragic cases such as that of Lola, the heavily pregnant French bulldog, who has already been mentioned today. Last year, we also launched our new dog importation intelligence steering group. It consists of national enforcement agencies such as Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, Border Force, the police and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, who are forming a collaborative partnership with the Animal and Plant Health Agency to disrupt puppy smuggling. I know that my right hon. Friends the Members for North Thanet (Sir Roger Gale) and for Ashford (Damian Green) are concerned about that issue.

Our collaborative relationship with Border Force continues, and last year Border Force established a special point of contact at Dover, who is specifically in post to share information and intelligence on suspected puppy smuggling. DEFRA and APHA officials have been working in partnership with the Dogs Trust since 2015 on the Dover puppy pilot, which aims to tackle the illegal importation of puppies by providing additional resource to seize and quarantine smuggled puppies, as well as to ensure that they are placed in secure, caring homes afterwards.

APHA continues to be fully engaged at the border, and last year we saw a downturn in the number of non-compliant puppies seized. It is, however, too early to draw any conclusions from that single result, but we will continue to monitor the situation and to shine a spotlight on the issue.

Based on what we have seen so far, there is limited overall evidence of concealed smuggling, with the exception of one case last year in which Border Force collaborated with APHA to intercept 10 heavily sedated and concealed puppies. My hon. Friend the Member for Mid Worcestershire mentioned that case in his opening remarks. I will be discussing the issue in more detail with the Minister for Immigration when I meet her later this month to further our continued collaboration on puppy smuggling, which is one of the requests that has been made. We need a joined-up approach.

Improving and ensuring the welfare of animals is at the heart of our recent welfare reforms. In December last year, we announced that we were going to ban the third-party selling of puppies and kittens. I was proud to be able to do that. Third-party sales are often linked to so-called puppy farms and to shocking welfare conditions, which many of us have seen on video or TV footage. It is absolutely abhorrent, and a ban will mean that puppies and kittens younger than six months can only be sold by the breeder directly or adopted through rescue and rehoming centres.

When the selling of puppies is restricted to licensed breeders, that will also help to deter people from attempting to bring puppies into the country to be sold here. The ban will help to tackle puppy smuggling as well as to address welfare issues here in England. I know that hon. Members are interested to know when that secondary legislation will be laid, and I can tell them that that will be later this spring—so, very soon.

Dangerous Dogs

Debate between David Rutley and Sue Hayman
Thursday 7th March 2019

(1 year, 5 months ago)

Westminster Hall
Read Full debate
HM Treasury
Sue Hayman Hansard
7 Mar 2019, 2:31 p.m.

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. In an area such as Cumbria, where I live, many visitors are perhaps not used to being with their dogs in the countryside and around sheep. The education aspect of the issue is absolutely critical, because I do not think that those people appreciate the damage that can be done simply by allowing a dog to run amok among a flock of sheep. We really need to raise awareness of the issue and look at how we can tackle it. I know that the all-party parliamentary group on animal welfare produced an excellent report last year on livestock worrying, and I ask the Minister to look at it and consider its recommendations on how to tackle the problem.

The Select Committee’s report is very clear in its recommendation that changing the law is widely desirable but also achievable, and that it will protect the public much better than the status quo. Let us get the legislation right in order to protect both the public and dogs. We need the right education in place, and we need to focus on how we can tackle irresponsible dog owners, not just the dogs. I look forward to the Minister’s response. I hope that he has paid close attention the recommendations of this excellent report. It would be good if we could finally start to move the issue forward.

David Rutley Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (David Rutley) - Hansard
7 Mar 2019, 2:32 p.m.

It is a pleasure to serve with you in the Chair, Mr Gray. I am grateful to the Liaison Committee for determining as the subject of the debate the EFRA Committee’s report on controlling dangerous dogs and the Government response to it. I am also grateful for the thoughtful and considered contributions that have been made in this debate, which although not one of quantity, has certainly been one of quality. I know that those contributions have been made with conviction, first-hand experience and considerable passion, not least that of my hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton and Honiton (Neil Paris), which is characteristic of him.

I will provide some information on the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 and the Government’s position on breed-specific legislation. The 1991 Act does two things: it provides offences in connection with fighting dogs and offences in connection with dog attacks on people and other animals. Section 1 prohibits four types of fighting dogs: pit bull terriers, Japanese tosa, Fila Brasileiro and Dogo Argentino.

Pit bulls have been associated with a number of serious attacks on people and it was decided that action should be taken against their ownership. Fundamentally, the 1991 Act is about public safety. Under that Act, it is an offence to breed from, sell or exchange those dogs. Courts can allow owners to keep prohibited dogs if they are not a danger to public safety, taking account of the dog’s temperament and of the intended keeper, who must have had substantial prior responsibility for the dog.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between David Rutley and Sue Hayman
Thursday 18th October 2018

(1 year, 9 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
18 Oct 2018, midnight

Yes, that is really important. I think my right hon. Friend will also welcome our commitment to ensure that we will see 1 million more trees in our towns and cities. Trees play a vital role not just in the countryside and more generally but in our towns and close to urban areas.

Sue Hayman (Workington) (Lab) Hansard
18 Oct 2018, midnight

Tree planting is important for ecological diversity and protecting vital habitats. Sites of special scientific interest protect the UK’s most important places for trees and wildlife, but a Greenpeace investigation has found that almost half of SSSIs have not been examined in the last six years, as required by national guidelines. Now that the Prime Minister has announced an end to austerity, what new resources will the Minister commit to, to reverse the alarming neglect and decline of habitats and species across the UK?

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
18 Oct 2018, midnight

That is an important issue. Natural England is focusing carefully on the SSSIs that are most at risk and will ensure that those resources are targeted, for maximum impact in those vital areas.

Sue Hayman Hansard
18 Oct 2018, midnight

If the Minister cannot commit to new resources for our habitats, what commitments can we expect in the Budget to restore our beloved local parks, which are so important to the environment, health and local communities? Will the Minister confirm how much funding the Government’s parks action group has been allocated and how many of the group’s recommendations he has delivered?

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard

Clearly we will have to wait and see what comes up in the Budget on 29 October, but we are working closely with the parks Minister on that agenda.

Food Labelling and Allergy-Related Deaths

Debate between David Rutley and Sue Hayman
Tuesday 9th October 2018

(1 year, 10 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate
HM Treasury
David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Parliament Live - Hansard
9 Oct 2018, 3:49 p.m.

I thank my hon. Friend for his questions. As I have said, we are taking this review forward at pace, and it is now being accelerated so that we can take forward a review of food standards and food labelling at real pace.

The other thing that we have been doing—clearly, in the light of these cases, we need to do more—is to make consumers and businesses aware of the options available, particularly to consumers. It is worth highlighting that we need to find ways of communicating to 16 to 24-year-olds, who are very vulnerable, the ways in which they can find the important information that they need when making food choices.

Sue Hayman (Workington) (Lab) Parliament Live - Hansard
9 Oct 2018, 3:49 p.m.

Clearly, the recent news of these two deaths caused by allergic reactions to Pret a Manger products has been absolutely tragic; I would like to echo the Minister’s earlier comments and say that all our thoughts are with the families and friends of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse and Celia Marsh. These cases have demonstrated just how serious food allergies can be and the fatal consequences that can ensue. That is why proper, rigorous food labelling is paramount to our food safety standards. It was welcome that the Prime Minister called last week for a review of food labelling laws; that is something that I agree with and support. The Minister mentioned the review earlier, but when can we expect further information on when it will be completed and what it is likely to contain?

I appreciate that it is early days, following these events, but as we have seen, food labelling is a serious public health matter. To that end, what discussions have DEFRA Ministers and officials had with their colleagues in the Department of Health and Social Care? We welcome the fact that Pret a Manger and other retailers such as Greggs have said that they will review how they label their food. Pret is now saying that it will list all the ingredients, including allergens, in its freshly made products, but we need this to happen right across the board. This is absolutely vital for people with life-threatening food allergies. Full ingredients lists should not just be a “nice to have”. For some people, they really are the difference between life and death. Food producers, suppliers and retailers have a public health duty to ensure that every food item is properly labelled.

Tomorrow, we will be discussing the Government’s Agriculture Bill, which will mean that the Environment Secretary will be in charge of our nation’s food production for the first time in decades. The Bill also provides a unique opportunity to put in place strong laws around food that could include the full labelling of all ingredients, allergens in particular. As we have heard, the Food Standards Agency states that food products containing the 14 main ingredients likely to cause an allergic reaction must be labelled as such and that manufacturers must then make it clear whether products contain those allergens. However, under EU law, as the Minister mentioned earlier, that can be done orally—it does not have to be written down—so customers will have to go out of their way to ask staff if allergens are not listed on a label.

I am pleased that the Minister referred to that anomaly but, as requested by my hon. Friend the Member for Great Grimsby (Melanie Onn), does the Minister believe that it is time to mandate that all allergens must be set out clearly in written format? Will he provide the House with a cast-iron guarantee that there will be no attempt to water down any current food labelling laws after Brexit? For example, in US law only eight major allergens have to be listed, as opposed to the FSA’s 14, and any trade deal with the US cannot come at the price of watered-down food safety standards. We clearly need urgent action to ensure that British food labelling is as good as it possibly can be to ensure that such tragic cases never happen again.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
9 Oct 2018, 3:56 p.m.

I thank the hon. Lady for her questions. She makes penetrating points, as always. As the father of a daughter with allergy problems, I assure her that I take such things incredibly seriously. I have recently come to this post—we have worked together on issues such as the ivory ban—and she can rest assured that I will be taking this matter up with the utmost seriousness and will tackle it as a matter of urgency.

Ivory Bill

(3rd reading: House of Commons)
Debate between David Rutley and Sue Hayman
Wednesday 4th July 2018

(2 years, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Bill Main Page
HM Treasury
David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
4 Jul 2018, 4:45 p.m.

As I said in the DEFRA announcement—I am pleased that my hon. Friend has given me the opportunity to underline this—the consultation would start on or as soon as practicable after Royal Assent. The commencement of the Bill will be around six months afterwards. Importantly, the consultation will take place at the point of or close to—as soon as practicable—Royal Assent. We will then move forward with the consultation and, assuming that the evidence shows that it is right to put forward the statutory instrument and include certain species that we have talked about, we can then move forward on a quicker timescale than has been set out—[Interruption.] From a sedentary position, I heard the hon. Member for Workington suggesting that we do it straightaway, which is a lovely thought and I understand her intention. However, the key thing that I am trying to stress is pace. Let us make sure that the Bill is compliant as well. I say gently to Opposition Members—I know that they are committed to pressing the new clause to a vote—that we want to make sure that the Bill is compliant, and given the focus and commitment that we have all given to the Bill, it is not right for there to be any risk, not just to the future of the delegated powers, but to the Bill as a whole by putting such provisions in it. That is what I ask Members to consider as we move to the vote.

We have already talked about new clause 1, but let me just add further weight to the arguments around it. It is clear that this new clause will place the Secretary of State under a duty to lay an instrument under the affirmative procedure within 12 months of clause 35 coming into force. It would extend the prohibition on dealing elephant ivory to ivory from CITES-listed species, so it does not go as far as the approach that the Government have set out.

As I said, the Government intend to consult on the extension of the ban and to conduct analysis of the impact that this may have on individuals and business. The new clause, however, presupposes or prejudges the outcome of that important work and would remove the opportunity for the public to provide evidence. It would oblige the Government to extend the prohibition to CITES species, even if the evidence does not support it. For some or all of the species listed in the new clause, that could mean that the regulations may not be compliant with the European convention on human rights and could be challenged on that basis. Given that explanation, I very much hope that in her concluding remarks the hon. Member for Workington will consider withdrawing her new clause.

During the debate, a number of other issues have been raised and I will turn briefly to some of them. The hon. Member for Redcar (Anna Turley) has made points about resources and cyber-security. I assure her that this is obviously a key area of focus and priority for the Government. The National Wildlife Crime Unit and Border Force do a fantastic job and we are committed to making sure that they have the resources to take this work forward. Of course, the Office for Product Safety and Standards, the regulator, will have additional resources, and working together with the enforcement agencies, will ensure that the ban is enforceable and is done so well.

The hon. Member for Leeds North West (Alex Sobel) made the point about plectrums. If they are made of mammoth and assuming that the ban extends to mammoths, they would be prohibited, but clearly, they can still be used. They can be passed on and bequeathed; they just cannot be sold commercially. He makes an excellent point about narwhals. We have exchanged correspondence and we encourage other nations to take such commitments seriously. I will gladly meet him separately to talk about Canada.

The hon. Member for Workington talked about the need for a report. We talked about this in Committee at great length. I understand why she wants a report, but the Government do not believe it to be their job to produce one, because other organisations can do so more independently, and of course there would be a cost involved as well. I therefore ask her not to press her new clause 2. With that, I thank hon. Members for their contributions on Report.

Sue Hayman Parliament Live - Hansard
4 Jul 2018, 4:50 p.m.

We have had an excellent debate this afternoon, and it is great that hon. Members right across the House have welcomed and supported this important Bill. I thank the Minister for our constructive discussions in Committee and today and warmly welcome the Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the hon. Member for Suffolk Coastal (Dr Coffey), to her place.

I take issue with what some hon. Members have said about Government amendments 3 and 4 meaning that new clause 1 is not required. Our new clause would amend clause 35(1), whereas the Government amendments amend subsections (2) and (3), so they are not mutually exclusive. If we are to make the Bill as strong as it can be today and achieve as much as we can, I see no reason why the House cannot support both new clause 1 and the Government amendments. We would then today have the strongest Bill possible. I am a little disappointed, therefore, that the Government do not want to support the new clause.

Break in Debate

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
4 Jul 2018, 5:32 p.m.

We will seek to do this as speedily as possible. A consultation normally lasts about 12 weeks, but, clearly, that work needs to be further reviewed, and then we can move things forward. I think that my hon. Friend can use his own process of deduction to work out that we can move this further and quicker than would have been set out by the Opposition’s amendments.

Let me conclude by thanking once again and paying tribute to the Secretary of State for his determination to introduce this Bill. I have also mentioned the important work that the Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for Suffolk Coastal (Dr Coffey) has done in taking this Bill forward, ahead of its introduction in this House. It is also important to recognise the contributions from my hon. Friend the Member for Richmond Park (Zac Goldsmith) and from my right hon. Friend the Member for North Shropshire (Mr Paterson) who set out his long-held ambitions to take this work forward. I also wish to pay particular tribute to those members of the Bill Committee who sat through various evidence sessions and made very important contributions during the Committee stage, including the hon. Member for Workington (Sue Hayman). She made some characteristically thoughtful and considered contributions, even though we did not quite agree on some of the procedural matters. We are grateful for that constructive approach not just from Members of this House, but from representatives from conservation non-governmental organisations, from the musicians sector, from the arts and antiques sector, from the enforcement agencies and from others. I also wish to extend my thanks to our wonderful and hardworking Bill team, our private offices, our Parliamentary Private Secretaries, and the Whips who, like warthogs, can get overlooked at times. I also wish to thank the Clerks and other parliamentary staff for their sterling work and support on this issue.

It has been a real honour to take the Bill from Second Reading through to today, particularly knowing that there has been such strong support from all parties across the House. I wish the Bill safe and speedy passage through its remaining stages in the other place.

Sue Hayman Hansard
4 Jul 2018, 5:34 p.m.

I just want to reiterate that Labour is not opposing the Bill. We have sought to strengthen it in Committee and today, and I trust that the Minister and Conservative Members who served on the Bill Committee would agree that we have demonstrated out earnest desire and efforts to do so.

It is good that there is clear, widespread, cross-party recognition that this comprehensive ban on the sale of ivory is needed. I thank the Bill Committee Clerk, Gail Poulton, for her tireless work with Members, for supporting me and my team and for her expert guidance. I also thank all members of the Committee from both sides of the House, including the Minister, for participation in a good-natured and thorough debate throughout. In particular, I thank my hon. Friends the Members for Bristol West (Thangam Debbonaire) and for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport (Luke Pollard), and my hon. Friend the Member for Redcar (Anna Turley), who is no longer in her place, but was wearing a marvellous elephant dress earlier. I thought I was doing well wearing ivory-coloured clothes, but there we are. I also thank my hon. Friends the Members for Bristol East (Kerry McCarthy) and for Blaydon (Liz Twist), and my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds North West (Alex Sobel) for his introductions to Obi-Wan narwhal. I thank all those hon. Friends for their support, time and dedication over the last few weeks. I also thank all the different organisations that have given us their time and expertise.

I would go as far as to say that there has been agreement in principle from all parties in the House for the premise behind the vast majority of the Labour amendments in Committee. All we were doing was seeking to increase transparency, remove conflicts of interest and clarify the definitions in the Bill. I will just highlight a few key concerns that came up in Committee.

We discussed an annual register of items exempted for having artistic, cultural or historical value. This was strongly supported by conservation groups during the Committee’s evidence hearing, and it would ensure public confidence in the ivory ban and that any exemptions applied were fair. Despite not supporting our amendment, the Minister provided an assurance in Committee that steps would be taken to ensure the utmost transparency and public confidence. In time, it would be interesting to have more detail on those assurances. We also asked for assurances regarding the potential abuse of replacement certificates, as the Bill currently includes no limit on those. Again, it would be interesting to hear from the Minister more about how any potential abuse could be eliminated.

The Committee heard that the National Wildlife Crime Unit has only 12 members of staff to cover its whole area of operations, right across the UK, and that this number includes administrative staff as well as enforcement officers. This level was a cause for concern in Committee, given the expanded responsibilities of the unit under the Bill. The Minister mentioned the potential for this being dealt with in the autumn statement—I think that is actually the Budget now, but it moves so often—so we would be grateful if the Minister acknowledged that these concerns exist so that they can then be addressed at that point.

The Committee also heard how the internet plays a central role in the sale of ivory products. I would be grateful if the Minister outlined plans for proactively policing and monitoring this online activity and mentioned what kind of resources would be needed.

This Bill is a welcome step forward for the future of global elephant populations. I look forward to working with colleagues right across the House to ensure that we continue to do everything in our power to stamp out the global ivory trade and preserve these iconic animal species for generations to come.

Ivory Bill (Sixth sitting)

(Committee Debate: 6th sitting: House of Commons)
Debate between David Rutley and Sue Hayman
Tuesday 19th June 2018

(2 years, 1 month ago)

Public Bill Committees
Read Full debate Bill Main Page
HM Treasury
Sue Hayman (Workington) (Lab) Hansard
19 Jun 2018, 2:10 p.m.

I will speak briefly to amendment 12, which I tabled following a suggestion from the hon. Member for North Dorset, who unfortunately is not in his place at the moment. He suggested that in clause 35(3) everything following the word “only” should be deleted, so that it would read:

“The regulations may amend subsection (1) so as to include ivory from an animal or species not for the time being covered by that subsection.”

That would allow us to look at non-CITES species, a point raised by a number of hon. Members, including the hon. Member for Mid Derbyshire. That would include mammoth, for example. There is obviously also the dear warthog. My hon. Friend the Member for Bristol East missed a treat this morning when the hon. Member for North Dorset threatened to sing a song about the warthog in order to draw attention to its plight. She might like to have a word in private, to ask if he could entertain her.

Amendment 11 seeks to extend the scope of the Bill. Amendment 12 would allow us to consider any animal that might be affected in future by displacement or removal of other species from poaching, for example. This is an important area to consider. I hope that the Government will consider it seriously, because it is a simple amendment that would attract cross-party support.

David Rutley Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (David Rutley) - Hansard
19 Jun 2018, 2:09 p.m.

I will speak to amendments 11 and 12 and clause stand part. I warn colleagues that this will be a lengthy contribution, but that is fitting, given the contributions we have heard. I will take interventions, and I know that the hon. Member for Workington will wrap up with her final thoughts. She made a few detailed points about consultation, and the fact that she is an associate of the Consultation Institute and is taking guidance and advice from it. We would be happy to look into that. As a Minister, I need to take guidance from other sources within Government too, so there are often different views on these matters. We will of course look at that.

The hon. Member for Leeds North West spoke with passion and conviction about narwhals, and he made some good points. I will write to him with the details on imports. The hon. Member for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport talked about the risk of judicial review. Perhaps he could hold that thought, because in the main body of my remarks I will talk about the biggest risk here, which is of the European Court of Human Rights challenging the provisions in the Bill. We can answer questions as we go. I thank hon. Members for their amendments and would like to acknowledge the significant degree of support, in the House and from conservation organisations, for extending the scope of the Bill to cover other species.

Clause 35 provides the definition of ivory applied in the Bill. Ivory is defined as the tusk or tooth of any species of elephant. Subsection (6) defines elephant as any animal or species that is within the family Elephantidae and that is extant—meaning living—at the time the Bill is passed.

My hon. Friend the Member for Witney questioned whether we should be looking at the chemical composition of ivory, so let us put that on the table as well, as we are all keen to understand the situation. The chemical composition of ivory cannot be used here, or indeed in the CITES or EU wildlife trade regulations, to assist in defining elephant ivory. That is because the chemical composition of all mammal teeth is broadly the same, so this is not a helpful method for distinguishing between species. Instead, a range of other approaches is used to distinguish elephant ivory from other species and other materials such as plastic, including physical characteristics and DNA testing. Therefore, chemical composition or any other practical means of testing ivory cannot be used as a legal definition for elephant ivory, either in the Bill or in international restrictions on ivory, with which it is important that we align.

Many will ask why back in October we consulted only on the sale of elephant ivory. We have moved quickly—not just in this Committee but before—but the short answer is that that is where the clear priority lay at the start. As we heard so clearly from the NGOs last week, their primary aim is to see a world-leading ban on elephant ivory sales enacted in the UK. That is where the Government have acted quickly in response. Also, the UK signed up to a resolution at the last CITES conference committing to close domestic elephant ivory markets. We therefore wanted to do what was necessary to get this legislation on to the statute book as soon as possible.

Elephant ivory is the most commonly found and traded form of ivory. Indeed, during initial consultations with NGOs it was stated that their primary focus was on banning the sale of elephant ivory as it forms the vast majority of the trade. Amendment 11 seeks to protect other endangered ivory-bearing species by extending the scope of the Bill to cover hippos, killer whales, narwhal, sperm whales and walrus. I stress that we share these concerns about other endangered ivory-bearing species and want to do all we can to protect them. Species such as the hippo and the narwhal—the unicorn of the sea—deserve as much protection as the elephant, and the poaching of such creatures for their ivory is equally abhorrent. However, I cannot say what proportion of the UK ivory market concerns non-elephant ivory, as we did not seek that information in our consultation—that consultation was narrower.

That is why the Bill includes, in clause 35, a power for the Secretary of State to lay regulations to widen its scope to cover other endangered ivory-bearing species, such as hippopotamus, narwhal and walrus. That power is broad, and it is not dependent on demonstrating that the banning of elephant ivory has caused the displacement of the market to other species. The hurdle is low.

Clause 35(3) states that regulations may be laid only in respect of ivory-bearing species listed on an appendix to CITES. That is an important qualification. A listing in one of the three appendices to CITES demonstrates that the animal or species requires a degree of protection from trade, for example through restrictions on the trade in that species. Currently, the listed ivory-bearing species to which that may apply are hippopotamus, walrus, killer whale, sperm whale and narwhal. Unfortunately for my hon. Friend the Member for North Dorset and the hon. Member for Bristol East, the Bill does not include walruses, but I will come to them in a second.

Break in Debate

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
19 Jun 2018, 2:23 p.m.

I completely understand that. I think we need to pause for a moment, though, to reflect on the fact that we are trying to make a real difference with elephant ivory. There are provisions for all other forms of ivory and I will take away the hon. Lady’s point, but it is worth reflecting on the evidence we had from the NGOs, which was that they like the ban, that it is meaningful that and it is going to make a difference. It will also set a standard for others to follow.

I am sure Opposition Members as well as the Government will reflect on these matters. We will do everything we can to make these provisions as wide-ranging and impactful as possible. As I hope I have described, we need to get through a balance test, and at the moment we do not have enough evidence to support a balance review taking place.

Should warthogs become endangered and listed under CITES, the Bill provides the ability to amend the regulations to reflect that. With my rather lengthy explanation, I hope I have addressed most of the points to be made regarding clause stand part. I say to my hon. Friends and Opposition Members that I am committed to considering whether steps can be taken to use the subsection (3) powers as soon as possible after commencement so that all statutory instruments and guidance to enforce the ban on elephant ivory are in place. However, I am happy to consider the evidence and data required for a balance review.

Sue Hayman Hansard
19 Jun 2018, 2:24 p.m.

I thank the Minister. During the discussion on amendment 11 and extending the scope of the Bill, it appeared that the Government’s main concern was about further consultation and a potential judicial review.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
19 Jun 2018, 2:24 p.m.

The key point is that this is not about judicial review. I know I am getting a bit techy, but the key thing is that it would be a challenge under the European convention on human rights. To satisfy the requirements of the ECHR, we need to review whether we have looked not just at the general interest in the ban but in the rights of individuals, in particular to do with possessions, that are enshrined in the ECHR. That is why we have to do the balance test. What I am trying to get across to the Committee is that we need to ensure that we have the evidence—we want to gather it as quickly as possible—but there is still a requirement to do the balance test.

Sue Hayman Hansard
19 Jun 2018, 2:26 p.m.

We have talked about how we could do the consultation quickly, and the Minister has made a commitment to talk to the Consultation Institute about that. As far as human rights go, according to the legal advice I have taken primary legislation can be challenged only on human rights and EU law grounds. I have been informed that in the case of human rights, the argument would have to rest on article 1 of protocol 1, on the “peaceful enjoyment” of property, but that is subject to a public interest caveat. On those grounds, we can justify the inclusion of other creatures—such as on the grounds of endangerment—in the same way as we can elephants. That is the legal information that I have received, so I put it on the record.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
19 Jun 2018, 2:27 p.m.

I thank the hon. Lady for setting out her view. At this point, I think we strongly agree with each other. On helping to get people familiar with the provisions, that is exactly what the Government say—it is an ECHR requirement, so it is about getting the fair balance review in place. We are perhaps using slightly different language about what we are trying to describe, but we are saying the same thing.

Sue Hayman Hansard
19 Jun 2018, 2:28 p.m.

The legal advice I have been given is that that need not mean that we cannot extend the scope of the Bill and miss the conference deadline in October, which the Government are clearly keen to meet. I would be keen to look at how to extend the scope now, because that is what most people would prefer from the Bill at the beginning, rather than coming back to it through secondary legislation at a later date—we do not know when that would happen.

In response to points made during the debate, including by the Minister, I would say that the most important thing is to get the Bill absolutely right and to get it into legislation as quickly as possible. However, I do not think a conference date should be the ultimate deadline. We need to get the legislation correct regardless of whether that means we miss the conference deadline by a week or two—it is more important to get it right. A lot seems to be about the Government having the will to make the Bill the best they possibly can. We are in Committee to work with the Government, genuinely, to make a positive and helpful addition to what can be achieved though this groundbreaking piece of legislation.

I am disappointed that the Government are not prepared to consider amendment 12, because we know that non-CITES species are already being affected and are likely to be further affected by the displacement that we all agree will occur, or is likely to occur, once the ban on ivory comes into effect. We know that mislabelling as mammoth is used to confuse or misrepresent potential purchasers. The Minister talked about Schreger lines—I am not even sure of the spelling of that, and it is something I have learned during the debate. I had not heard of them, I would not know what they looked like and I do not think that the average punter would either, so I think it is important to understand more about what is happening with the use of mammoth.

Finally, I reinforce what my hon. Friends the Members for Bristol East and for Redcar said. We do not want to wait for an animal to become endangered before we step in and do something about its persecution. I ask the Minister to look again at amendment 12, but in the case of amendment 11, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Break in Debate

Sue Hayman Hansard
19 Jun 2018, 2:38 p.m.

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

New clause 2 is about reporting on the international ivory market. We are asking that:

“Within 12 months of section 1 of this Act coming into force, the Secretary of State must publish and lay before each House of Parliament a report on the international ivory market.”

The idea is that the report would provide practical analysis of the impact of the Bill on demand for ivory in the United Kingdom and in other countries. Importantly, we would want it to consider the impact on nations or communities that generate income from ivory. We are also looking at the work of the Department for International Development in reducing the global demand for ivory and mitigating any negative impact that the provisions of this Bill would have on those nations or communities.

The reason for tabling the new clause is that it is important to keep a close, watchful eye on any implications of the Bill on the international ivory market and the communities that will be most affected by an ivory ban. During the evidence sessions, a number of hon. Members asked about the international ivory market and what contribution the Bill could make specifically toward deterring poaching and having a wider impact on the illegal worldwide trade.

Recent analysis has shown that the United Kingdom is the largest supplier to the world’s legal ivory market, with more than 36,000 legal ivory items exported from the UK in the five years between 2010 and 2015. It is also one of the largest importers to China and Hong Kong. As we also heard during the evidence sessions, seizure data shows that, alongside the legal market, the UK plays an increasing role in the illegal ivory trade in import, in export and as a transit country. The president of the Born Free Foundation, for example, said:

“Investment in wildlife law enforcement in Africa is really important.”

He also said that, in his view,

“there is a common linkage with our clear objectives in overseas development,”

which are to do with poverty and providing opportunities, and that:

“If we are not investing in the…areas where elephants and other species live, we are not doing a great service either…to the people who live…downstream from those protected areas.”––[Official Report, Ivory Public Bill Committee, 12 June 2018; c. 9, Q12.]

In the evidence session, the International Fund for Animal Welfare made reference to the discussion on Second Reading about how some of the Department for International Development’s budget might be used. I am aware that the hon. Member for Cheltenham also mentioned that on Second Reading. IFAW said that

“the impact of poaching on communities is not isolated from the illegal wildlife trade…There are good opportunities that exist with our overseas development budget to take a more integrated approach to delivering holistic aid and support and anti-poaching measures, to help build communities and tackle corruption...It is all part of a jigsaw that really helps, but our overseas aid is another part that we could potentially re-examine and look at, to provide better integrated aid.”––[Official Report, Ivory Public Bill Committee, 12 June 2018; c. 14, Q18.]

I do not know whether hon. Members saw it, but this morning CNN released a very interesting report on what has happened to the poaching of African elephants following the ban that the Chinese Government imposed on ivory on 1 January. CNN went to Mozambique specifically to see whether that ban was having an impact on poaching. I will just mention a few things about that report, because if we are looking to introduce our own legislation we need to look at the impact of other legislation on ivory from around the world, to see what areas we need to work in; perhaps that other legislation is not being as effective as it could have been.

One of the things that the CNN investigation found was that six months after that ban smugglers were still working with near-impunity. As I said, CNN went to Mozambique, to the Niassa reserve, which is one of the last great wildernesses in southern Africa. What the CNN team found was that the different officers who work there trying to stop poaching told them that corruption is the source of poaching. Looking to invest, along with DFID, to start to tackle that corruption will be really important if this Bill is to have the effect we want.

CNN said that the huge Niassa reserve should be home to thousands of elephants, but it is now thought that less than 2,000 are left there, which is really shocking. As part of its investigation, CNN also interviewed the people actually doing the poaching. Just as the drug lord obviously does not go and harvest his own cocaine, in the same way the people who are actually making money out of poaching do not go out and shoot the elephants themselves.

CNN went to a prison where there was a suspected poacher, and he said: “We were in the bush when we found a group of elephants. I shot the first one, then I shot the second one.” He then said that he had already spent a year in jail for a separate poaching incident. But his choices are limited; he said that he would do anything to help his family escape grinding poverty. He said, “I went poaching because I was suffering. I had nothing to survive on and I was desperate.”

So the poachers who kill elephants are usually poor and just looking for a way to feed themselves and their family, and often they do not have alternatives to wildlife crime. Poverty is causing poaching in Mozambique. Even if the Chinese ban had ended the market, or if the ban that we are putting place ended it, the poachers on the ground would continue this behaviour.

The new clause is designed to consider how we can do something to tackle that problem, take the focus of the Bill beyond just this country and do something to look at what causes poaching in the first place.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
19 Jun 2018, 2:45 p.m.

I thank the hon. Lady for tabling the new clause, the intention of which is clear, and it would potentially provide useful information. However, gaining such information could be a considerable and potentially expensive undertaking that is likely to require the engagement of outside experts or organisations, even though the full costs and benefits of this ban may not be fully known within the first 12 months of its coming into force.

As explained in the accompanying impact assessment of the Bill, no single comprehensive data source exists about the domestic ivory trade. Recent studies, including by TRAFFIC, the University of Portsmouth and Two Million Tusks have provided some useful evidence. However, each of these sources has its limitations with regard to generalising to wider regions or sectors.

Internationally, a key assumption is that other countries will be positively influenced by the UK lead and implement their own bans, which will reduce demand, prices, and therefore the poaching and killing of elephants. That is what we all want. However, while there have been many reports into various aspects of ivory and its trade—the UK has conducted some—I am not aware that there is a single comprehensive data source that would allow for the type of analysis that is being proposed.

Furthermore, I am conscious that such an undertaking may in effect duplicate some of the work being undertaken under the auspices of CITES, whereby reports on the illegal killing of elephants and the trade in ivory are presented every three years to each CITES conference of the parties. All countries implicated in the ivory trade, including the UK, appear in the cluster analysis of the ivory trade reports.

Those reports are “Monitoring of Illegal Trade in Ivory and Other Elephant Specimens” and the “Elephant Trade Information System”—ETIS. While the reports are the not perfect and have their critics, they are the best we have at this time.

I also believe that a report objectively analysing the effect of the illegal ivory trade on the UK would be best carried out by an organisation outside Government. That should probably be a conservation organisation experienced in analysing regulations on the illegal wildlife trade and in reporting its findings to the public and the Government.

Break in Debate

Sue Hayman Hansard
19 Jun 2018, 2:47 p.m.

I just make the point that, if we are serious about stopping poaching and having a real impact on the ivory trade with any legislation, it is important that we look at that global aspect, not just through the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs but through the Department for International Development and maybe through the Foreign Office, in order to have a clear and holistic approach. It is easy for us to sit here and pat ourselves on the back and be smug about this marvellous piece of legislation, but if it does not actually stop the poaching and does not do what we say it will, we do not have any right to feel smug or pleased with ourselves.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
19 Jun 2018, 2:48 p.m.

I understand the hon. Lady’s point. It was clear on Second Reading and in Committee that we have to appreciate the wider sense of what is going on and the wider global implications. We also have to recognise that the Bill is one piece of the co-ordinated approach that we are taking to tackling this problem.

Sue Hayman Hansard

I beg to ask leave to withdraw the motion.

Clause, by leave, withdrawn.

New Clause 3

Assessment of enforcement resources

“(1) Within 12 months of section 12 of this Act coming into force, the Secretary of State must make an assessment on the resources available to enforce the prohibition.

(2) The report shall consider in particular—

(a) the resources allocated or planned to be allocated towards enforcing the prohibition,

(b) the potential impact of any change in resources so allocated or planned to be allocated, and

(c) the impact on other law or border enforcement activities of the resources so allocated or planned to be allocated.

(3) The Secretary of State shall lay a report of the assessment under this section before each House of Parliament as soon as practicable after its completion.”.—(Sue Hayman.)

This new clause requires an assessment to be made and laid before Parliament regarding the level of resources allocated or proposed to be allocated to enforcing the prohibition against ivory dealing.

Brought up, and read the First time.

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time.

Break in Debate

Sue Hayman Hansard
19 Jun 2018, 2:51 p.m.

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time. The new clause is about internet services, about which we had quite a lot of discussion during the evidence sessions and on Second Reading. The new clause provides for the power to require service providers to block access to material that facilitates a breach of the prohibition. I will not run through all the detail—we have all had it in front of us—but under the new clause, internet service providers may be requested by the Secretary of State to block access to any online deal that facilitates a breach of the prohibition, and the Secretary of State may obtain court orders to ensure that the internet service providers comply with such a request.

The matter has been discussed in quite a lot of detail. I am aware that the Minister has said previously that he feels the Bill is robust when it comes to internet services, but I respectfully say that not every hon. Member and every person giving evidence has agreed with that. That is why we decided to table the new clause: to try to toughen up the rules on internet sales and the Secretary of State’s ability to step in if they felt the internet service providers were not behaving as they should.

During discussions, we had a look at a number of items being sold on eBay. On Second Reading, the hon. Member for Richmond Park (Zac Goldsmith) talked about a recent International Fund for Animal Welfare report on wildlife cyber-crime and said that eBay had removed 25,000 ivory listings from its site in just one year. It is a huge number and it is a good start, but from what we have been made aware of during the evidence sessions, it is clearly only scratching the surface of the problem.

In response to one of my questions during the evidence session, Chief Inspector Hubble said:

“We would certainly welcome better self-policing and self-regulating by online auction houses with some responsibility on them for the items that they are making money from the sale of.”—[Official Report, Ivory Public Bill Committee, 12 June 2018; c. 43, Q92.]

By putting this responsibility on them through the new clause, they will know that if they do not take the ban seriously, action will be taken to shut them down.

We know, from having dealt in the House with issues around other internet providers and online digital companies, that they are not always the easiest to work with when it comes to looking at different legal aspects. It is important that they take responsibility for what they are selling. It is often a problem that they like to push what they are selling and what is said on their sites to one side. It is important to think about how they can be properly held to account.

During the evidence session, my hon. Friend the Member for Blaydon asked a question of Alexander Rhodes and he replied,

“if it were possible the Bill should say that ivory may not be bought and sold over the internet because that would make it so much simpler for the enforcement guys.”—[Official Report, Ivory Public Bill Committee, 12 June 2018; c. 27, Q49.]

We know that that is not a practical solution either, so it is about how we can introduce proper enforcement.

Chief Inspector Hubble again said something that was worth considering:

“I would love to have a dedicated cyber-team looking at this day in, day out, with real training and a focused effort. Lots of people in the NGOs we work with are doing work around cyber-related crime. We are in the process of setting up a cyber-working group”—

that is with the NWCU—

“to try to pull some of that effort and interaction together”.—[Official Report, Ivory Public Bill Committee, 12 June 2018; c. 36, Q63.]

That will be a significant resource.

We have talked about resources previously and I do not particularly want to do that now, but it is important that the size of the problem when it comes to cyber-crime and managing the internet is properly recognised and that sufficient safeguards are put in place. We need to ensure that we pursue every single avenue we can to stop the trade in ivory. Tackling internet ivory trading will be the best way to stop this. We know that, right across the country, no matter what is being sold, more and more people are selling online, so we know that that trade is likely to increase. From what we have seen on eBay, it is also likely that that is where the illegal trade—items described as bone or as mammoth—will increase.

I am not convinced that the Bill provides for tackling the internet’s facilitating the global ivory trade sufficiently to make a real difference. That is is why we have tabled the new clause. I would like to hear the Minister’s views on that.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
19 Jun 2018, 2:57 p.m.

I thank the hon. Lady for tabling the new clause. Most people recognise that while the internet can be a helpful tool, it can also be used to facilitate and perpetuate criminal acts. In that context, I understand the intention of the new clause. Paragraph 5(1)(a) of schedule 1 allows the Secretary of State to serve a stop notice on a body such as an internet service provider to stop it displaying material that facilitates a breach of the prohibition. It is an important point. It is possible to serve a stop notice, and that in essence mirrors what the new clause seeks to achieve. The schedule could apply to an online sales forum such as eBay or an internet service provider, although in practice the latter, whether it be British Telecom or another internet service provider, would be a higher bar for the enforcement body. The better focus of attention through such stop notices would be the online sales forum itself.

Moreover, the Bill confers broad powers on the regulatory body, whose role should not be forgotten: the Office for Product Safety and Standards addresses online breaches of the ban. Clause 21, for example, allows a regulator to require the production of documents where the officer thinks they are relevant to an offence. This may mean documents or other materials from online companies and sales forums that provide evidence that an online company has facilitated a breach of the ban.

In addition, the NWCU is an intelligence unit that plays an important role in supporting police forces, as we have already highlighted. They have observed an increase in the use of the internet to enable and facilitate many types of wildlife crime. They have identified cyber-crime as a thematic threat area on which they are going to focus. Working with the OPSS will help with this task.

It is also worth considering this amendment with respect to the broader picture around the governance of the internet. The hon. Lady will know that this is a big, important question that is currently being addressed by the UK and Governments around the world. The way in which Government and society approach internet governance is a major strategic challenge, and it will not be tackled by this Bill alone. In January 2018, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport launched the digital charter. It is to be a rolling programme of work to agree norms and rules for the online world and put them into practice, and it should give confidence. In some cases it will involve shifting behavioural expectations. We will need to agree new standards, or we may need to update our laws and regulations. Our starting point is that we will have the same rights and expect the same behaviour online as we do offline. That is important. With that explanation, I ask the hon. Lady to consider withdrawing the motion.

Sue Hayman Hansard
19 Jun 2018, 2:59 p.m.

I thank the Minister for that explanation. Schedule 1 states that a stop notice may be served on “a person”. It does not mention service providers or organisations; it specifically refers to “a person”, and the explanatory notes do not mention organisations, the internet—or online at all. I am not convinced that it covers what we are trying to achieve with the new clause.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard

It is my turn to scurry around. I cannot readily find the definition of “person”. All I can say is that we are very committed—[Interruption.] Inspiration has arrived. The definition of “person” is wide enough to capture businesses, and therefore ISPs. We can see that from clause 34. The definition of “person” is broad enough to satisfy that requirement.

Sue Hayman Hansard

Again, I thank the Minister for that explanation. It would help if it were properly laid out in the Bill that internet service providers are included, so that we have absolute clarity when the Bill becomes law and that people realise that that is not the best way of going about trying to sideline what the Bill seeks to achieve.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard

Excellent points have been made. We will certainly clarify that and put it into English—not just legal English—to help everyone understand what has been said. We can do that in guidance notes and by clarifying the scope of the Bill for people who are not so familiar with it. There is a real commitment to address this issue. I hope I have been able to reassure the hon. Lady that there are provisions in the Bill itself, but that we will explain that better. I hope that satisfies her.

Sue Hayman Hansard

I beg to ask leave to withdraw the motion.

Clause, by leave, withdrawn.

Question proposed, That the Chair do report the Bill to the House.

Ivory Bill (Fifth sitting)

(Committee Debate: 5th sitting: House of Commons)
Debate between David Rutley and Sue Hayman
Tuesday 19th June 2018

(2 years, 1 month ago)

Public Bill Committees
Read Full debate Bill Main Page
HM Treasury
Sue Hayman (Workington) (Lab) Hansard
19 Jun 2018, 9:27 a.m.

I beg to move amendment 9, in clause 12, page 7, line 40, at end insert—

“(1A) For the purposes of subsection (1), a person facilitates a breach of the prohibition if he or she, whilst not directly engaged in the process of a sale, acts in such a way as to allow that sale, or other form of dealing, to occur.”

This amendment defines ‘facilitate’, which is not defined in the Bill, using the text from the Explanatory Notes to the Bill.

During the evidence sessions we discussed enforcement and implementation, and the potential for mis-selling and misleading behaviour. The exact definition of “facilitate” in the Bill was also discussed. The amendment is designed to clarify that. The explanatory notes give details on page 22. They state:

“This offence would apply to anyone who, whilst not directly engaged in the process of a sale, acted in such a way as to allow that sale, or other form of dealing, to occur. For instance, this could apply to the owners of an online sales forum if they were found not to have taken reasonable steps to ensure that an item was a) exempt from the ban, and b) had been registered as such. Further, anyone found to have advertised an item in order to facilitate a sale may be found to be in breach of this clause.”

We thought that it would be helpful to include the definition of “facilitate” in the Bill, and the form of words used in the amendment is based on the explanatory notes.

David Rutley Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (David Rutley) - Hansard
19 Jun 2018, 9:27 a.m.

I thank the hon. Lady for her careful consideration of the Bill and for this amendment, which seeks to define “facilitate” in the context of a sale of an item of ivory in breach of the prohibition on sales of ivory. I would like to reassure her, and the Committee more generally, that the amendment is not required. No definition for facilitating a breach of the prohibition was provided in the Bill, as the term “facilitate” shall have its natural meaning.

The amendment would also be misleading, as it refers solely to the sale of ivory, whereas the Bill is concerned with the broader concept of commercial dealing in ivory. The facilitation of the illegal purchase, hire or acquisition of ivory for valuable consideration—that is, bartering—is also prohibited. The wording used in the amendment is taken from the explanatory notes, as the hon. Lady set out, but those are intended to provide guidance and steer on the meaning of the Bill, not to prescribe provisions.

I share the hon. Lady’s intention that the Bill should be as clear as possible, but on this occasion I do not believe that the amendment is necessary. The current wording in the Bill is sufficient to define when an offence of breaching the prohibition through facilitation has been committed. Furthermore, the Bill’s explanatory notes are not intended to set a direction in the prohibition on dealing in ivory; they are there to assist the reader. With that explanation, I ask the hon. Lady to withdraw her amendment.

Break in Debate

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
19 Jun 2018, 9:30 a.m.

I thank the hon. Lady for that point, and I understand her concerns. We all want to make sure that cyber-crime is cracked down on more generally, and specifically in the Bill. As I said to the hon. Member for Workington, the Bill as drafted will tackle the issue of facilitation, so we do not need a further definition. We will also debate later today the role of internet service providers, which is included in the Bill. We heard from non-governmental organisations that they are satisfied that there are strong measures in the Bill and that the ban will be strong. I assure the hon. Member for Blaydon that the provisions will tackle the concern that she rightly raises.

Sue Hayman Hansard
19 Jun 2018, 9:31 a.m.

On the understanding that it is clear what “facilitate” means, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Break in Debate

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
19 Jun 2018, 9:50 a.m.

As I have already described, enforcement agencies do such work all the time. They work through quite tricky situations where they have to work out the intent as well as the act itself: for example, the difference between murder and manslaughter. I am no lawyer, but there are differences in degrees. The key thing is that the Bill will push forward strict legislation. The NGOs were clear that the ban will be tough. The provisions in the Bill will enable people to be held to account. The enforcement agencies will be able to do that. As I have said, an element of proportionality and discretion is required, and that is true for the vast amount of law that enforcement agencies need to enforce.

To give another example, a person might have inherited an ornament thinking it was bone, as family members had always said that it was. The person then sells it without realising it is elephant ivory. It is difficult to say that they should have known. The enforcement agency will need to test that and work through it. Over time, it will be able to work out, through precedent and judgment, how appropriate it would be to use the range of enforcement measures that we will discuss line by line. Those measures are there to help work out proportionately how serious that particular crime is.

Sue Hayman Hansard
19 Jun 2018, 9:50 a.m.

I have listened carefully to everything the Minister has said, and I thank the hon. Member for North Dorset for his suggestions, but the idea of little old ladies being imprisoned for finding things in their attics is a little beyond the point I was trying to make. The National Wildlife Crime Unit will be directly responsible for investigating, and for enforcing the legislation once it passes, so we should take seriously what the chief inspector said. To remind the Committee, she confirmed that the unit had only 12 members of staff, so it is pretty limited in what it can investigate. She said that if the convention on international trade in endangered species brings something to the unit, it can tie them up for several months. She also said:

“We deal with the ones who have a complete disregard for policy protocol legislation. We deal with the ones who are deceptive, who lie and who want to make money out of this.”

It is not about people who find things in their attics. She continued:

“The burden of proof has to be manageable and has to be able to be enforced”.––[Official Report, Ivory Public Bill Committee, 12 June 2018; c. 39, Q79.]

We need to take seriously what she is saying. The Minister said that enforcement services should be able to take a view about whether someone should have known, but Chief Inspector Hubble said that was difficult from an enforcement perspective.

Earlier in our proceedings, the Minister committed to a rigorous education programme. If we have an effective education programme, people should know to check for ivory. We need a law that is enforceable and will make a difference. Otherwise, what is the point?

Question put, That the amendment be made.

Break in Debate

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
19 Jun 2018, 9:55 a.m.

The clause provides for the new offences to be created under the Bill. The new offences have been developed to capture the likely chain of actions pertaining to commercial dealing in ivory or that support commercial dealing. Directly breaching the ban, causing it to be breached or facilitating a breach are all offences under the Bill. In practice, directly breaching the ban would include dealing in a prohibited item or dealing in ivory without an exemption certificate or registration for that item. That applies equally to the seller and the buyer. Causing a breach would include someone acting under the discretion of another person, such as an auctioneer, or someone otherwise engaged on behalf of another—a person selling an item on behalf of a friend, for instance. That relates partly to the point that the hon. Member for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow raised earlier. The offence of facilitating a breach discussed under amendment 9 would apply, for example, to those responsible for an online sales platform if they were found not to have taken reasonable steps to prevent an illegal sale. It would also include anyone found to have advertised an item to facilitate a sale, for instance a newspaper.

Clause 12(2) ensures that it is an offence to deal in an item of ivory if the person knows, ought to have known or suspects that the substance is ivory, as we discussed at length under amendment 10. That will mean that it is less likely that a defendant can rely on a claim that they did not know that an item was ivory because the item was mislabelled. The enforcement bodies will consider the position of the person in taking a view on whether they should have known or suspected the item was ivory, for instance whether the person is an antiques dealer or a member of the public, as I have said several times.

Clause 12(3) ensures that actions taken by individuals and organisations to exercise due diligence and avoid committing an offence should be taken into account and can be used as a defence. For example, a buyer of a prohibited ivory item may be able to demonstrate that they checked that the item was registered and that the registration appeared authentic before they making purchase, and an organisation that listed a prohibited item for sale, for example online or in a sale room, may be able to demonstrate that it had taken steps to check that it had been registered and that the registration appeared authentic.

Recognising that offences committed under the Bill will vary in severity, a mixed regime of criminal and civil sanctions will apply. Clause 12(4) details the criminal sanctions that are applicable to the offences. We are committed to setting a high bar for sanctions for illegal wildlife trade activities and, as such, the maximum criminal sanction of five years’ imprisonment or an unlimited fine will be applied in line with existing sanctions under the Control of Trade in Endangered Species (Enforcement) Regulations 1997—COTES.

The clause also provides for summary convictions through a magistrates court to be applied in line with the maximum sanctions applicable in each of the devolved Administrations. The regulatory body, the Office for Product Safety and Standards, and the police will be responsible for identifying and investigating breaches of the ban. Criminal breaches will be dealt with by the police and the Crown Prosecution Service and the specific nature of the breach will be considered when a sanction is applied, to ensure a proportionate approach is adopted, as discussed earlier.

We recognise that the defences under existing legislation, such as the Serious Organised Crime Act and Police Act 2005 and the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, may apply to illegal dealing in ivory. The Bill will rely on the existing offences, where the appropriate criteria are met. For example, it would be an offence under the Fraud Act 2006 to make or use a fraudulent exemption certificate or registration.

New clause 3, which the hon. Member for Workington tabled, raises the critical issue of ensuring effective enforcement, a theme she has understandably been keen to raise this morning. I can assure the Committee that the issue is of foremost concern to the Government, as reflected in the strength of the powers we have conferred on the police, customs and the civilian enforcement body—the Office for Product Safety and Standards—to ensure compliance with the ban and to prosecute those who breach it. Effective enforcement is, of course, reliant on the appropriate resources, and I give credit to the police, including the National Wildlife Crime Unit and the Border Force for their efforts to date in tacking the abhorrent trade.

In the oral evidence to the Committee we heard that the CITES Border Force team is recognised as one of the best in the world at enforcing controls against the illegal wildlife trade. Moreover, both the Border Force team and the National Wildlife Crime Unit share their expertise with countries all over the world. It is paramount that the available resources are effectively used to enforce the ban.

Our proposals go further than the current regime by putting a civilian regulator in place to enforce the ban, alongside the police and the Border Force. The regulator will raise awareness of the ban and the compliance provisions and assess whether businesses are operating in compliance with the legislation. That will reduce the burden on the enforcement agencies by increasing compliance. The regulator will also be responsible for issuing civil sanctions, which are new in the Bill.

In developing and implementing the compliance processes necessary for the ban, the Government will assess the resources required and monitor their effective application over time. It will be a matter for the Home Office to allocate and monitor the police resources necessary for the enforcement of the ban, and the National Wildlife Crime Unit will play an important role. It will also be critical to assess the enforcement of the ban over time, including the number of cases successfully brought and the sentences applied.

We do not believe that the resources assessment should be included in the Bill. It would also be unhelpful for a single assessment to be made 12 months after clause 12 comes into force. That is because it is likely that different levels of resources will be required in the early stages of enforcement and as implementation progresses, for example, as awareness-raising exercises are carried out to improve awareness among those affected. Such an assessment would also not capture a sufficient period following the Bill’s coming into force. For example, it would not cover an assessment of court cases and rulings brought forward as a result of the ban.

The Government will assess the implementation of the ban over time, in particular its enforcement, as a matter of course. Much of this information will be in the public domain and open to civil society and to public scrutiny.

In summary, we do not believe this matter needs to be addressed in the Bill and a one-off assessment will not be sufficient. With this explanation, I ask the hon. Lady not to press her new clause.

Sue Hayman Hansard
19 Jun 2018, 10:02 a.m.

First, I will make a few points on subsection (4)(a) to (c) on the sentencing guidelines. During the evidence sessions, we talked about the fact that the Bill is not just about enforcement; it is also a deterrent. We have the opportunity to introduce sentencing guidance for courts in the United Kingdom to make sure that magistrates and judges have proper information when hearing cases. We agreed that we need good sentencing guidance to ensure that appropriate sentences are given. I welcome the inclusion in the explanatory notes of a table setting out clear maximum penalties and the different sanctions, which are imprisonment or the statutory maximum fines. I may have misheard, but I thought the Minister said that there would be unlimited fines. Will he clarify that point?

Witnesses at the evidence sessions also stressed the need for significant awareness programmes to accompany the introduction of the Bill—I also mentioned that point during the discussion of amendment 10—not just for the judiciary, but for the general public. Education of the public, the judiciary and the enforcement officers is essential. Does the Minister have any further information about how his Department intends to roll out an education programme to inform the general public and the judiciary about exactly what is required and how the Bill is intended to work?

The witness from the International Fund for Animal Welfare said that he hoped that having consulted IFAW on the draft legislation, the Department would also be willing to consult it on the guidance notes. Has the Minister thought any more about that? Another witness, Alexander Rhodes from Stop Ivory, made an interesting and helpful suggestion about how we can learn from some of the African countries that are members of the Elephant Protection Initiative, which has been working hard to develop prosecution and sentencing guidelines for wildlife crime, particularly in relation to the ivory trade. During the evidence session, he said not only is this an area where we can learn from what African countries have been doing about the ivory trade, but our Government have paid for it anyway. He gave the example of Angola, where a challenge fund grant is paying to review a programme of legislative reform, and for prosecutor and judicial training. Has the Minister looked at how we can learn from that initiative? If good work is taking place in other parts of the world, it is important to learn from it to make the Bill as effective as possible. Will the Ministry of Justice or the Home Office be involved in developing the judicial guidelines?

New clause 3, as we heard from the Minister, is about the assessment of enforcement resources. We would require an assessment to be made and laid before Parliament on the level of resources allocated, or proposed to be allocated, to enforcement of the prohibition of ivory dealing. Clearly, unless we have effective enforcement, the Bill is toothless. Enforcement is a critical part of achieving the aims of the legislation. Chief Inspector Hubble stated that point succinctly during the evidence session, saying that

“any Bill has to be enforceable; if not, it is just guidance. It is not legislation if it cannot be enforced.”––[Official Report, Ivory Public Bill Committee, 12 June 2018; c. 35, Q59.]

None of us in Committee wants simply to produce guidance notes to guidance legislation.

During the progress of the Bill, Members in all parts of the House have raised the issue of resources necessary to enforce the Ivory Bill effectively. On Second Reading, the hon. Member for Richmond Park (Zac Goldsmith) said that

“the ban will be meaningful only if it is properly enforced”,

stressing the need for the provision of

“a long-term settlement for the National Wildlife Crime Unit, as well as resources for the CITES Border Force team.”—[Official Report, 4 June 2018; Vol. 642, c. 111.]

The right hon. Member for North Shropshire (Mr Paterson) asked for

“a strong, firm reassurance from the Minister that this legislation will need enforcing and will need the right level of expertise.”

Enforcement is not just about funding, but about the level of expertise required. He said that the National Wildlife Crime Unit should

“be beefed up and properly resourced for the future. On the same grounds, the CITES Border Force team at Heathrow needs sufficient levels of manpower and resources, as they will be our front line of defence against illegal imports and organised criminal activity coming into the UK.”—[Official Report, 4 June 2018; Vol. 642, c. 105.]

I am aware that the witness from Border Force at Heathrow said that he had the resources necessary for enforcement at the moment, but clearly the Bill might have an impact on that. It is therefore important to understand the potential increase in workloads, including the possible impact on the ability to enforce properly.

On Second Reading, the hon. Member for Mid Derbyshire also mentioned the National Wildlife Crime Unit. She expressed her hope that

“that the Secretary of State will be able to announce permanent funding for the unit, as its existing funding expires in 2020.”—[Official Report, 4 June 2018; Vol. 642, c. 116.]

In the evidence session with the enforcement agencies, we heard how the Border Force CITES team and the NWCU work in partnership, and that the Border Force no longer has an investigation function but hands over all its intelligence from investigations to the NWCU, with a view to the unit investigating the offences. We heard from Chief Inspector Hubble exactly what that involves:

“We collate that intelligence, develop it and research it to look at the number of items that people might be buying, selling or trading. We look at their associates. We try to map a network of people that they are linked in with, and ultimately we produce an intelligence package that goes out to a police force in the area where the person is committing the offences.

We have four officers who provide an investigative function to support police forces on the ground, and they work with police officers throughout the investigation: taking statements from witnesses, linking in with experts, compiling prosecution files, assisting with search warrants, and attending court to provide evidence… One seizure by Border Force can result in months and months of investigation for us, and we can compile hundreds of intelligence logs from that one investigation. At the moment, we struggle to disseminate all that intelligence back out to Border Force, to close that loop, because we just do not have the resource to develop that. We have to be selective in what we deal with”.––[Official Report, Ivory Public Bill Committee, 12 June 2018; c. 34, Q57.]

I imagine that every single member of the Committee is impressed with the amount of work carried out by such a small team—only 12 in total. The team does not just carry out investigations referred from Border Force, but works right across all of the UK wildlife crime priority areas, which is a significant remit outside CITES, including domestic wildlife, bats, badgers, prosecutions relating to birds of prey, freshwater pearl mussels and poaching. All of those sit within the UK’s strategic priorities, and the work of the NWCU is split right across all those areas.

A strong commitment to future funding is vital if that important work is to continue. We have heard that the funding is committed to 2020, but beyond that, the NWCU has had no formal indication that there will be continued funding, which clearly causes concern. It is unable to plan or commit to long-term strategies. It is very difficult for any agency to form business plans when, in 20 months, it may well not exist at all.

Chief Inspector Hubble said about the morale of her staff:

“It is difficult for me to keep my staff motivated when they have no job security—a whole raft of concerns are caused by funding.”––[Official Report, Ivory Public Bill Committee, 12 June 2018; c. 37, Q67.]

She was also asked about the potential increase in the number of investigations once the Bill comes into force. She replied that

“if a member of the public sees something on sale that they think is ivory, inevitably they will report it, which comes back to the issue of resourcing and how we deal with the potential increase in the volume of crimes”.––[Official Report, Ivory Public Bill Committee, 12 June 2018; c. 44, Q93.]

Grant Miller, from the CITES Border Force team at Heathrow was asked about the future of the NWCU and the implications for enforcement if its funding were to be discontinued. His reply was clear:

“Our ability to take cases and offenders before the courts would be impacted on greatly. We would be pushed into going out to each constabulary, looking for a supportive senior manager to take on an investigation on our behalf. If we were not able to find that, our activity would be just to disrupt and seize, and the threat would just continue.”––[Official Report, Ivory Public Bill Committee, 12 June 2018; c. 40, Q82.]

On Second Reading, the Secretary of State said he would look to strengthen and resource specialised enforcement to combat illegal ivory dealing. Winding up the debate, the Minister agreed:

“The work carried out by the National Wildlife Crime Unit is absolutely critical.”

With regard to its funding, he assured me that the Government

“are looking at that vital issue ahead of the IWT conference, and I am sure that the Secretary of State would be working on it with the Home Secretary.”—[Official Report, 4 June 2018; Vol. 642, c. 133.]

In response to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield (Mary Creagh), the Secretary of State confirmed in that debate that

“in the run-up to the illegal wildlife trade summit this October we will be looking not just to ensure that we can continue to staff and support the officers who work in this field adequately, but to ensure that we go even further.”—[Official Report, 4 June 2018; Vol. 642, c. 98.]

Will the Minister give some more information on that commitment from the Secretary of State? When is the NWCU likely to hear about its future funding to support the delivery the Bill?

The Minister also confirmed that the Office for Product Safety and Standards will be the regulator. He spoke about that a moment ago, but will he elaborate on how the reporting requirements will work with the regulator? How does he see the regulator reducing the burden on the enforcement services, as he mentioned in his previous statement?

Break in Debate

Sue Hayman Hansard
19 Jun 2018, 10:28 a.m.

Amendment 13 is pretty straightforward. It was designed to clarify the circumstances in which the Secretary of State will consider criminal sanctions to be more appropriate than civil sanctions. We propose to insert it into paragraph 21 of schedule 1 in order to be absolutely clear about why a criminal sanction would come into play, as opposed to a civil sanction. The Minister said that the bulk of cases will come under civil sanctions, but what is the tipping point? We feel that anyone involved in this will need to understand properly the circumstances in which the Secretary of State would consider a case to have tipped into a criminal sanction.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard

I set out in our discussion on clause 12 that a mixed regime of criminal and civil sanctions will be applied to the offences under the Bill. In line with that approach, clause 13 ensures that civil sanctions may be applied to breaches of the ban. The civil sanctions are detailed in schedule 1. We recognise that offences made under the Bill may vary in severity. Overly harsh sanctions should not be applied in a way that could be deemed to be disproportionate. For example, where members of the public have genuinely made every effort to abide by the ban or are genuinely of the belief that the item is not ivory, it would clearly be inappropriate to levy criminal sanctions.

However, compliance with the ban cannot be seen as optional. Acts of non-compliance must be deterred and penalised with the appropriate level of sanction. That is critical if we are to meet our objective of ending the link between the UK ivory market and elephant poaching. The clause ensures that, where a criminal sanction is unwarranted, a range of civil sanctions may be applied. The regulatory body and the police will be responsible for identifying and investigating breaches of the ban. The regulatory body will be responsible for issuing civil sanctions, as I described earlier.

If an offender does not comply with a civil sanction imposed against them—for example, if they do not pay the monetary penalty imposed against them within the necessary period—they may be subject to criminal sanctions. The Government believe that the range of available sanctions reflects the seriousness of the ban, while allowing it to be proportionate. I commend the clause to the Committee.

Break in Debate

Sue Hayman Hansard
19 Jun 2018, 10:32 a.m.

I thank the Minister for providing that detail. Schedule 1 states that the Secretary of State must

“prepare and publish guidance as to”—

this is in paragraph 21(1)(c)—

“the circumstances in which the Secretary of State is likely to take any such action.”

Does that clearly explain whether he would consider criminal sanctions to be more appropriate than civil questions? Perhaps further clarification could be given in the guidance that accompanies the Bill, because it is important for people to understand whether these are criminal or civil sanctions. Could the guidance be elaborated to make that clear?

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
19 Jun 2018, 10:33 a.m.

I understand the hon. Lady’s concern about getting this right. I can assure her that there will be further clarification on these points in the guidance. The point is well made, but it will be in the guidance.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 13 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 1 agreed to.

Clause 14

Power to stop and search persons

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Break in Debate

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
19 Jun 2018, 10:42 a.m.

My hon. Friend makes an important point. Of course, there will be a strong training regime to ensure that these individuals are able to carry out their current role and we want to ensure that they have adequate training to take on new roles related to the ivory prohibition. I will write to him with details of how that will be moved forward.

Sue Hayman Hansard
19 Jun 2018, 10:43 a.m.

Further to that point, the situation has been described as possibly unprecedented. How often does the Minister see these civilian officers taking part in investigations? Would that be rare or a regular part of the enforcement process? That would clearly affect resources and training. I would be grateful for clarification on that.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
19 Jun 2018, 10:45 a.m.

The Bill is clear that the powers given to the body and its members will be strictly controlled. The relationship with customs officers and police officers is tightly defined. As for the number of times it will be used, we are putting more focus on civil sanctions. The key point is that officers or members of the OPSS will need these powers to carry out their work and move matters through. The hon. Lady will note that clause 17 requires the OPSS to issue reasonable notice of intent to enter. The move to enter premises is not just to search; it can also be to ensure compliance. It is important to remember that the job of the OPSS is to help educate and train as well as ensure compliance and enforcement. It is a matter of thinking about their role more broadly. In many situations, as set out in the Bill, reasonable notice will be required.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 17 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 18 and 19 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 2 agreed to.

Clauses 20 to 26 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Break in Debate

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
19 Jun 2018, 10:52 a.m.

I reassure my hon. Friend that we are not looking to skimp, and we must of course ensure proper training. I will write to him, as I have already promised. We are all getting our heads around a new regime, but I assure the Committee that it is not unprecedented for OPSS to exercise powers under legislation; it falls under the remit of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and, as I have said, it has these powers already in relation to the Consumer Rights Act 2015. We want to ensure that it has the proper powers and that there is proper training, because of the implications.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 27 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 28 to 34 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 35

Meaning of “ivory”

Sue Hayman Hansard
19 Jun 2018, 10:52 a.m.

I beg to move amendment 11, in page 20, line 40, leave out “an elephant” and insert “a hippopotamus, elephant, killer whale, narwhal, sperm whale, or walrus.”

This amendment would include in the definition of ivory all the ivory-bearing species listed in an Appendix to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Break in Debate

Sue Hayman Hansard
19 Jun 2018, 10:54 a.m.

Amendment 11 would include under the definition of ivory all the ivory-bearing species listed in an appendix to CITES. We have discussed the definition of ivory at length at every stage of the Bill, so I want to consider some of the discussion that we have had.

On Second Reading, the Secretary of State said that there would be an opportunity in Committee to consider whether the scope of the Bill was absolutely as it should be. He said:

“A number of Members have previously indicated their interest in extending its scope to other forms of ivory, such as narwhal horns, and there will indeed be an opportunity to debate precisely that matter in Committee.”—[Official Report, 4 June 2018; Vol. 642, c. 92.]

With amendment 11, I am taking the Secretary of State up on that generous offer and considering it in more detail.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
19 Jun 2018, 10:54 a.m.

Very kind.

Sue Hayman Hansard
19 Jun 2018, 10:54 a.m.

I know how the Minister appreciates it.

Several hon. Members, some of whom are members of the Committee and others who are not but took part in the Second Reading debate, have spoken about why they feel it is really important that we look at extending the Bill’s scope. They include my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol East, who I believe is paired today, the hon. Members for Mid Derbyshire and for North Dorset, who are both here today, the right hon. Member for North Shropshire (Mr Paterson), and the hon. Members for Richmond Park (Zac Goldsmith), for North East Hampshire (Mr Jayawardena), for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mrs Trevelyan), for Bexhill and Battle (Huw Merriman), for Witney, and for Southend West (Sir David Amess). They all raised the specific issue of extending the scope on Second Reading.

Ivory Bill (Fourth sitting)

(Committee Debate: 4th sitting: House of Commons)
Debate between David Rutley and Sue Hayman
Thursday 14th June 2018

(2 years, 1 month ago)

Public Bill Committees
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HM Treasury
David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 2:08 p.m.

It will be a relatively speedy process. On the cost, we have said that small fees will be involved. That will become clear as we carry out the work. The aim is to recover the costs involved in establishing the IT system and the compliance arrangements, rather than to create surplus funds. The fees will be small and the process will be as simple as possible, but it is there to create a consistent approach.

Sue Hayman Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 2:09 p.m.

I have a small comment about the points made by the hon. Member for Cheltenham. In relation to the fairness and openness of what we are trying to achieve, keeping the exemptions as small and as tight as possible is important, and we would support that. The enforcement officers we heard from on Tuesday made it clear that they would want as few exemptions as possible in order to do their job successfully.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 2:09 p.m.

I thank the hon. Lady and, once again, we strongly agree on the same point. We are saying that the exemptions need to be robust, and my hon. Friend the Member for Cheltenham is saying that they also need to be proportionate. I think we have the balance right.

It is also important to reiterate to my hon. Friend that although people may want to sell some of those items, and we are putting a ban in place to make that more difficult, they can be gifted or donated to other people who might appreciate or have space for them. Certain charities might benefit, but the items would not be for resale. Gifts and donations are fine. We just have to look again at the way we treat ivory. This involves a cultural change for some people. We are all on a journey and the measure will help in that regard.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 7 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 8

Pre-1975 musical instruments

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 2:11 p.m.

The clause exempts from the prohibition of commercial dealing certain musical instruments containing ivory. Subsection (1) sets out that if a musical instrument is made before 1975 and less than 20% of it contains ivory, the item will be exempt, provided that it is registered as set out in the Bill, from the prohibition of the trade of ivory in the UK.

Subsection 2(a) defines a musical instrument as an item whose primary purpose is to be played as a musical instrument. It explicitly excludes items that, although they may technically be used as an instrument—in other words, they could produce a sound or be used to beat a rhythm—that was not their primary purpose on manufacture. That also extends to items intended as ornaments.

Subsection 2(b) confirms that items used as an accessory to play a musical instrument, such as a violin bow, are within the definition of the clause. The exemption recognises that musical instruments, particularly expensive ones, continued to be made with ivory until late into the 20th century. As the Government have no intention to unduly affect artistic and cultural heritage, nor to unduly affect the livelihoods of professional musicians, the exemption extends on the general de minimis exemption.

We heard from the musicians sector about the significant value of some instruments and the role they play in professional musicians’ retirement plans. The backstop date at which Asian elephants were first listed under appendix I of CITES was 1975, before the poaching crisis of the 1980s. Evidence provided through the consultation, including from the Musicians Union, showed that the vast majority of commonly played and traded instruments, including violins, pianos and bagpipes, contain 20% ivory or less by volume.

Sue Hayman Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 2:13 p.m.

The evidence we took on Tuesday from musicians was interesting. They supported and broadly agreed with the measure, and were pleased with the exemptions because they will allow them to continue to work as musicians, whether professional or amateur. It was particularly interesting, however, to hear them say that they have had to deal most recently with the rosewood legislation, which CITES brought in last year. Rosewood is a protected species and that has had a big knock-on effect on the music industry because of the number of instruments made from rosewood.

The musicians said that that legislation had resulted in them having to fund a large education programme for their members and the wider music industry, so that the music industry understood that rosewood was now a protected product. They said that the legislation has had a large impact on the music industry, both in manufacturing and in buying and selling. I raise the issue because they said that it has been a really big challenge for them. Although they welcome and support the Ivory Bill, it would also create similar challenges, as they would have to do a fairly large education programme right across the industry—all sorts of people have musical instruments and many people have very old instruments, which might be in their attic—just to get that understanding across.

Education was discussed on a number of occasions in the evidence sessions. What kind of educational support programmes and guidance are the Government considering in relation to the Bill? Are they seeking to work in particular with industries, such as the Musicians Union, to get that information across to its members? Otherwise, it is a huge burden on them to do it on their own.

Break in Debate

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 2:31 p.m.

In the scheme of what we are debating, it certainly is a small item. However, for those involved, it may be significant. My hon. Friend is absolutely right: if it is made of elephant ivory, it does not comply. However—we will debate mammoths at length when we debate clause 35, I am sure—mammoth ivory is not in the scope of the Bill as it stands, and therefore a plectrum will not be affected if it is made of mammoth ivory.

Sue Hayman Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 2:32 p.m.

I will ask the Minister for a couple of clarifications; these may be covered in the Bill, but I am flicking backwards and forwards. First, the Minister mentioned the new regulator when talking about education and information. Are the Government saying that the new regulator will have a duty to educate and inform the affected industries? Just so I am clear, how will it work with the Department? If the Government have not decided, that is fine; I just want to know where we are.

Secondly, although this may well be covered in the Bill, I want to return to the point raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol East about certifications when going abroad for repairs. If someone has sent an instrument abroad for repair, not having realised that they should have registered it—which is obviously one concern of the Musicians’ Union—and is told that they cannot bring the instrument back into the country, will there be a method whereby they can apply for that certification in order to bring that instrument over? I am just trying to get clarity, so that I know exactly where we are on those particular issues.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 2:33 p.m.

The OPSS will have a role in driving awareness. However, we clearly need to work through how it will carry out that task. Lessons will need to be learned from the rosewood example and other situations.

It is exciting that people generally are clearly learning very quickly about plastics, and we need to capture some of that enthusiasm in the same way on ivory. I think that will be quite straightforward for some people, but for those who are unaware that their item has any ivory in at all, more work will need to be done. That is what the OPSS will do. The exact detail of that will be drawn up with the action plans. The decision that the OPSS will be the regulator is very recent, so there is clearly a lot more work to be done on that point. On the point about people not being aware of an item’s containing ivory, I will write to the hon. Lady to provide some clarity.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 8 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 9

Acquisitions by qualifying museums

Sue Hayman Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 2:34 p.m.

I beg to move amendment 6, in clause 9, page 5, line 31, leave out from “that” to end of line 33.

This amendment would only permit acquisitions by qualifying museums to be exempt if the item is also registered under section 10, in all circumstances.

We tabled the amendment because we felt that clause 9(2)(a), which relates to acquisitions by qualifying museums, was also covered under clause 10 in all circumstances. The issue is whether paragraph (a) is strictly necessary. Surely all ivory items will be registered under clause 10, if they are held by a qualifying museum. I am just trying to join up clauses 9 and 10 logically, but I may have missed the reason why the provision is in the Bill. We would like clarification of what otherwise seems to be unnecessary confusion. Will the Minister enlighten us?

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 2:36 p.m.

I thank the hon. Lady for her careful consideration of the issue. I understand her desire to ensure tight control over exemptions. The intention of the clause is to provide for an exemption to the prohibition on dealings in ivory to and between qualifying museums. There is a strong argument for allowing the exemption on the grounds of national and international cultural exchange of heritage.

There is some doubt as to whether the amendment would achieve its stated intention. Were it to be accepted, the effect would be for qualifying museums to have to register items of ivory in every circumstance and to deal only in items meeting one of the other exemptions. The amendment would in effect remove the museum exemption. That is neither our intention, nor what we have set out publicly.

We should bear in mind that a qualifying museum is one accredited by either the Arts Council England, the Welsh Government, Museums Galleries Scotland or the Northern Ireland Museums Council. For museums elsewhere, they must be a member organisation of the International Council of Museums. Accreditation by those bodies requires adherence to high standards of governance and financial management and, as we heard in evidence, high ethical standards.

To require registration by qualifying museums in all circumstances would undermine the reasons for providing qualifying museums with an exemption and be a disproportionate burden, particularly as we do not believe the exemption is likely to contribute to continuing poaching of elephants. We intend, however, that a person seeking to sell an item to an accredited museum will be required to register it. The purchasing museum will be required to confirm its purchase.

With that explanation, I ask the hon. Lady to withdraw her amendment.

Sue Hayman Hansard

I am not entirely sure what kinds of items are covered. Surely any exempted item is covered by clause 10. I am trying to understand what items we are considering.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard

I understand the hon. Lady’s point. We are trying to be very narrow in our approach. An example that might be useful—it certainly helped me to understand this case—is a museum that wanted to have a household object for a display on social history. The item has direct relevance to a period of time in a social history exhibition, so it would not qualify under the other exemptions we have discussed, if it is more modern, but it would still be directly relevant to the museum’s exhibition.

Sue Hayman Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 2:39 p.m.

I thank the Minister for that extremely helpful explanation. Basically, he is talking about items that would not come under the exemptions because they are not the rarest and most sought after, but are important items in the context of an exhibition. That would be allowed to take place only within the confines of a museum; it could not take place universally.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 2:41 p.m.

Let me give another example to make it come alive a bit more. We heard from the Victoria and Albert Museum that a post-1918 item made wholly of ivory, such as an art deco item, which would not be exempt elsewhere, might be relevant for a particular display, in terms of culture and heritage. Of course, that would have to take place in line with the museum’s very strict acquisition processes.

Without seeking to become an expert in how museums acquire these things, I think that it was clear from our evidence session that they have very strict approaches, which would still be in place. This is a discreet exemption for museums because they are held to higher standards. They are regulated in a different way, and are subject to restrictions that do not apply to other holders and owners of ivory. We need to make sure that there are regulation processes outwith museums, but museums are required to work at very high standards.

Because there might be some items that sit outwith the exemptions we have broadly agreed upon, we want to continue to have the exemption for museums. There is a danger that the wording of the amendment would nullify the museums category. I hope that the hon. Lady will see that it would be wise to withdraw the amendment. We can discuss the matter more outside the Committee if that is required.

Sue Hayman Hansard

I thank the Minister for that explanation. We are all aware that this is a complex Bill, and the exemptions are even more complex. It is important that we get this right and that there is a proper understanding of the purpose of each clause. I fully understand that explanation, so I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 9 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 10

Registration

Amendment proposed: 7, in clause 10, page 6, line 34, at end insert—

‘(1A) In the case an exemption under section 7 or 8, an item only satisfies the relevant exemption conditions if the volume of ivory in the item relative to the total volume of the material of which the item is made has been calculated in accordance with a method provided in guidance by the Secretary of State.’—(Sue Hayman.)

This amendment requires a person registered an pre-1947 item with less than 10% ivory content, or a pre-1975 musical instrument with less than 20% ivory content, to calculate the ivory content according to a method set by the Secretary of State in guidance.

Break in Debate

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 2:49 p.m.

Returning to the clause, registration will require an explanation of any planned commercial activity for the item. We recognise that there might be occasions when an item is registered for non-commercial reasons, such as to satisfy insurance requirements. Subsection (1)(f) provides for the Secretary of State to specify, in guidance, any other areas of information that must be provided.

Subsection (1)(g) allows the Secretary of State to issue regulations that will prescribe a fee payable by those registering an item for commercial dealing, such as sale. The fee will be in line with the Government’s principle of cost recovery, as we talked about earlier, to reflect the cost of establishing the registration scheme, including the new IT system.

We also intend the registration scheme to apply to those who wish to import into the UK items bought abroad that meet one of the categories of exemption. Again, we have talked about some of those, such as the musical instrument exemption. By registering the item, the owner will confirm that, to their understanding, the item qualifies under the relevant exemption. This registration must take place prior to the dealing of that item. The system will be administered by the Animal and Plant Health Agency.

In submitting the required information to register an item, the owner will in effect be making a declaration that the item is as they have described. Subject to the requirements of the registration process being fulfilled, confirmation of the registration of the ivory item will be issued, which will permit the owner to engage in dealing with that specific item. Should it transpire, as a result of either a check of the system by the Secretary of State or compliance and enforcement activity by the regulator or police, that the information does not match the item in question, the owner may be liable to prosecution.

I thank the hon. Member for Workington for tabling new clause 4. I think we all agree that we need to make the process as transparent and open as possible. As we discussed in relation to new clause 1, the Government intend to publish the number of exemption certificates issued. I appreciate the intention behind the new clause, which is that the Government should be able to build up a clear picture of the movement of items exempted under clause 2 as they are bought and sold, and of items registered for exemption under clause 10. I should clarify that an exemption certificate will be associated not with a person, but with the relevant item—we touched on that earlier in the debate. A registration, on the other hand, will be valid for only one commercial dealing resulting in a change of ownership—that is, a sale. Once an item has changed hands, the registration expires.

We need to ensure the right to privacy of owners and sellers, in line with the Data Protection Act 2018. We therefore doubt whether it would be permissible to list a current or previous owner’s name on either exemption certificates or registration certificates, as they might be displayed publicly by the seller, or by someone acting on behalf of the seller. In the case of exemption certificates, they will also be required to be passed on to the purchaser.

We are looking at the possibility of publishing data annually on the types of items exempted under each category—for instance, how many pianos are registered under the musical instruments category. Again, the publication of any further detail will have to be considered in line with the Data Protection Act, in order to ensure the right to privacy of owners and sellers. We talked about some of these tensions in the earlier debate.

In addition, law enforcement agencies and the regulatory authority will have access to the database for registration, so they will be aware if previous applications have been made in respect of an exemption certificate under clause 3 or a registration under clause 10.

Sue Hayman Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 2:53 p.m.

In amendment 7 we are looking at an item that has been exempted under clause 7 or clause 8. The item would then only satisfy the relevant exemption conditions,

“if the volume of ivory in the item relative to the total volume of the material of which the item is made has been calculated in accordance with a method provided in guidance by the Secretary of State.”

The amendment requires anyone registering a

“pre-1947 item with less than 10% ivory…or a pre-1975 musical instrument with less than 20%”,

to calculate the ivory to a set, prescribed methodology.

We looked at tabling this amendment following the oral evidence we took on Tuesday from the Chairman of the British Art Market Federation. I asked a question about volume and measurement and how that would work, and his concern was that there could be discrepancies in the way that volume was measured. There was a clear appreciation of the fact that measuring by volume is the right way to move forward; it is much more practical than measuring by weight. If we are going to measure by volume, it would be helpful to have a clear and consistent method of calculation so that nobody accidentally falls into criminality because they use a system of measurement that is not recognised by the Secretary of State. We just seek to provide clarity to the music and art world, and to museums, that, “This is the prescribed method, and we expect you to use this system if you are to get your certification.”

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 2:57 p.m.

I thank the hon. Lady for the amendment, but I believe that it would add an unnecessary and disproportionate requirement to the registration process. The clause establishes the compliance regime that must be followed by the owner of an ivory item who wishes to deal in that item under any one of the exemptions. The registration process already requires a description of the item and a photograph to confirm the distinguishing features. From responses to the consultation, we understand that the majority of commonly played and traded musical instruments and accessories, such as pianos and violin bows, are less than 20% ivory. We also believe from the evidence we have received that it is reasonably easy to assess with the naked eye whether an item is 10% or less ivory by volume. Indeed, we believe that it is easier to assess against a 10% threshold than, for instance, a 30% threshold.

Anyone who registers an ivory item will have confirmed to the best of their knowledge that the item in question meets the relevant category of exemption, and will have submitted information or evidence about it—photographs, for example. Spot checks will be carried out on registered items by enforcement and compliance officers to confirm that they are exempt from our ban. If an item is being used commercially, regulators or the police may check to confirm that it is registered and compliant, and may take appropriate action if necessary. Given that explanation, I ask the hon. Lady to withdraw her amendment.

Break in Debate

Sue Hayman Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 3:03 p.m.

New clause 4 would establish a record of any item’s provenance. Items to be exempted are, as we know, the most rare and most important of their kind. When such important items are sold, whether privately, individually or through an auction house for museums or galleries, their provenance would tend to move with them so that the purchaser has confidence that the item is genuine and knows who bought it before and where it has been stored or exhibited.

The idea is for the Secretary of State to make arrangements so that persons applying for an exemption certificate under clause 3 or registering an item under clause 10 could associate the item to which the application or registration relates with previous registrations or exemption certificates. Where an exemption certificate has previously been issued in respect of an item or an item has been previously registered and the Secretary of State is satisfied that that is the case, the exemption certificate would also record previous exemption certificates issued and registrations made in respect of that item. In particular, it would include relevant dates so that any certification or registration follows the item. The Minister has made it clear that registration is for the item, not the individual, so it makes sense for the history to move with the item as it goes through any future registrations or exemptions.

On Second Reading, the Secretary of State stressed the importance of ensuring that an item’s provenance can be guaranteed, and that is what the new clause tries to achieve. It would provide security for future owners, who would have full details of an item’s history in this area, as is normal for many items sold or within the art world. It would also helpfully flag up any replacement certification. It may also be helpful in trying to counteract any fraudulent behaviour regarding multiple replacement certificates. If those previous certifications followed the item, it would be very clear if there was a particular item for which a number of replacement certificates were being requested. I ask the Minister to consider the value the new clause could bring to future owners of the items we are talking about.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 3:05 p.m.

There are a few items. We are going in a slightly different order, but we are going with it, in the spirit of the Bill. We are getting through it and I appreciate the co-operation.

Sue Hayman Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 3:05 p.m.

We have to be nimble.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 3:07 p.m.

We are. We are fleet of foot, that is for sure. Some of the questions are quite interesting.

As we are talking about lots of different issues at this point, I want to go back to the comments from the hon. Member for Leeds North West, to bring it together. The musicians sector has said that it is broadly happy with the 20% exemption. Particularly for pianos, the vast majority are definitely going to fall within that exemption, so that will be fine. The US has a different arrangement, but our enforcement bodies were very clear that they did not want a weight measure. It just made it more difficult. Just so we are all clear, the US body is called the US Fish and Wildlife Service—I thank my officials for that.

A very good point was raised about resources. Obviously, public finances are always under scrutiny and we need to make sure that they are being best used. The National Wildlife Crime Unit is jointly funded by the Home Office and DEFRA and will be funded up to 2020, and there are ongoing conversations about that. Future funding decisions about such bodies will be for the Home Office, and the Home Secretary has said he is working on those matters. We should also not forget that we have the regulator involved.

Break in Debate

Sue Hayman Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 3:10 p.m.

I will just think about that.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 3:11 p.m.

While the hon. Lady thinks about it, perhaps I can explain that although our approach will require resources, it will also require online tools so that we can have a proper registration and certification process in place. I do not know whether that has given the hon. Lady enough time to revisit the amendment.

Sue Hayman Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 3:12 p.m.

Yes, it has—I thank the Minister for his support on that. On the total volume, as long as the guidance that is provided to support the Bill once it has become law is clear about support for individuals who are assessing the volume of their items, and that any accidental criminality, owing to people falling on the wrong side slightly of the volume calculation, is avoided, I will withdraw the amendment. The guidance needs to be clear about the implications and the best way to find help and support. We are talking about musical instruments: people might not have any idea how to calculate this, so there needs to be proper access to people who can. It is important that that information is easily available so that people do not accidentally fall on the wrong side of the law. If the Minister can give me that reassurance, I will be happy to withdraw the amendment.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 3:12 p.m.

Yes, I can reassure the hon. Lady that proper guidance will be available. The enforcement agencies that we spoke to during the evidence sessions were committed to the volume-based approaches, and they seem able to move on. They did not query it when we met, so I can give her those assurances.

Sue Hayman Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 3:12 p.m.

I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 10 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 11

Further provision about registration

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 3:14 p.m.

The clause is largely technical; it provides further information on the registration process and ensures that the Secretary of State has the necessary levers to ensure that the process works effectively and is not open to abuse or misuse. Subsection (1) ensures that the registration of an item would cease to be valid as soon as its owner changes. Unlike the exemption certificate issued for items under the rarest and most important category, registration allows the current owner either to sell their item or to engage in other forms of dealing that do not result in change of ownership, such as hiring the item. The registration is therefore associated with the individual and is valid for a single change of ownership. It is different from certification.

The owner must register an item in order to carry out dealings but does not need to register an item each time a commercial dealing is undertaken, as long as the owner does not change. For example, if the owner wishes to hire the item multiple times, they complete a single registration for the item to be subject to hire. If the owner changes, however, the registration becomes invalid and the item must be registered by the new owner before they can carry out any dealing. This applies to individuals and organisations.

Subsection (2) sets out that once the owner registers an item under clause 10, they have a responsibility to ensure that the information recorded in the registration process remains complete and accurate. As such, if the owner becomes aware that information included in the application is inaccurate or incomplete, or if any information becomes invalid or changes, they must notify the Secretary of State and provide the required information to address the issue. That could be, for example, because the item is damaged or otherwise altered at some time after registration but before dealing, or if the owner, having completed the registration process, subsequently becomes aware of some fact that might invalidate the registration. If an owner were found to be in possession of such information and had not informed the Secretary of State, they could be found to be in breach of the provision.

Break in Debate

Sue Hayman Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 3:17 p.m.

I thank the Minister and congratulate him on getting through that. I find this clause complex. I worry that existing and future owners might get confused about what is expected of them and when it is expected. Again, clear guidance will be incredibly important. The explanatory notes state:

“If a new owner wishes to carry out dealings in that ivory item, they must make a fresh registration”—

but a fresh registration from what? Is that fresh from the exemption certificate or an existing registration? I find that slightly confusing.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 3:18 p.m.

In the interests of clarification, it is important to note that certificates are required for the rarest and most important items. The certificate is in a way a passport that goes along with the items, because they are particularly rare, important and often valuable. The certificate acts a bit like a passport, moving on with the item.

The other categories are covered by the registration process. Notwithstanding the fact that I have learned through this process that some musicians have valuable items, often such items are not that valuable. In this approach, therefore, we have a registration process that is more simple and straightforward, with lower cost—this is about cost recovery from applying through an online system. Applying for a certificate will be a more costly approach, because of what we talked about this morning—where the Secretary of State is required to get advice from another body. The idea is that certificates are for the rare and most important items, and a more simple, low-cost registration approach is for all the other exemptions that we have discussed so far. I hope that clarifies matters.

Sue Hayman Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 3:19 p.m.

Yes, it does. I am thinking about the comparison with car registration that my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol East used earlier. The language is complex, but it would be good if it were absolutely crystal clear where the responsibility lies, and when in respect of registering items. If that is not clear in the Bill, or if I have missed it, how can we make it obvious to any purchaser or seller so that people do not accidently fall foul of the law?

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 3:21 p.m.

I agree that the provision can sound complicated. I have tried to explain as best I can how it will move forward. The key thing is that registration is the lighter touch when compared with certification. People who have an item and want to ensure that everything is all right can use the registration system online, and there are telephone and postal arrangements for those who are not tech-savvy.

We need to ensure that we have a robust system and should remember that we are trying to stop the use of ivory. That is the balance we are trying to strike; we want something that is both robust and proportionate. Registration for those other categories is more proportionate but will enable us to ensure that the measures are properly complied with.

Sue Hayman Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 3:22 p.m.

I thank the Minister for his response. I support the idea that the Bill needs to be robust—if it is not, we will not achieve the desired ends. Registration will affect many more people than the exemption certificates, so it is important that when the Bill becomes law there is an absolutely clear understanding of what is expected of people and the deadlines.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard

I thank the hon. Lady for those further points. The responsibility will be very much with the owner—we are putting the onus on the owner—which is why we need to ensure that the system is clear. We will be working hard to ensure that it is an easy-to-use and clear system. We now have several months in which to get the provisions in place. We need to get moving to Royal Assent, but then there will be a six-month period when we can get ready for when it is put into practice.

We are moving at pace and want more pace, but at the same time we need to ensure that the systems are right. We are working behind the scenes with officials and various other bodies to ensure that there is clear guidance and that the systems, once established—we are still developing them—are fit for purpose and easy to use.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 11 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Ordered, That further consideration be now adjourned. —(Mims Davies.)

Ivory Bill (Third sitting)

(Committee Debate: 3rd sitting: House of Commons)
Debate between David Rutley and Sue Hayman
Thursday 14th June 2018

(2 years, 1 month ago)

Public Bill Committees
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HM Treasury
David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 11:37 a.m.

There is a risk that that could happen, but the Bill covers it, and we will look at that issue in further stages as we go through the Bill, line by line.

Subsection (5) provides a simple definition of ivory in relation to its prohibition by the Bill, capturing that “ivory” covers items made solely of ivory or worked items containing ivory. The clause is integral to banning the dealing of ivory in the UK and to achieving our aims: removing the UK from international trade in ivory; and not fuelling international ivory markets.

For those reasons, I seek the support of members of the Committee and I move that this clause stand part.

Sue Hayman (Workington) (Lab) Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 11:39 a.m.

I thank the Minister for his speech and for recognising the importance of our working together constructively across the House on this very important Bill, because the Labour party welcomes this Bill. It is a good piece of legislation and one that we wish to support.

The amendments and new clauses that we have tabled for debate in Committee have been tabled in the spirit of co-operation, to improve the Bill and make it the best it can possibly be, as we work to ban the ivory trade.

I have a small query about subsection (2). During the evidence sessions, concerns were expressed by museums staff about the definition of “dealing” and about how loans for exhibitions could fall foul of the Bill. For example, Anthony Misquitta of the Victoria and Albert Museum said:

“The terminology used in the Bill is ‘dealing’, and the definition of dealing includes the word ‘hiring’. I am sure the intention is not to capture these loans, but as it is currently drafted the Bill does capture them.”––[Official Report, Ivory Public Bill Committee, 12 June 2018; c. 61.]

In the Bill’s explanatory notes, page 9 says quite clearly that,

“the prohibition applies to the exchange of ivory for any good or service and, therefore, is not restricted to financial transactions, or exchanges for money.”

Hiring or offering to hire ivory are prohibited activities; such activities include temporarily obtaining an ivory item in return for a payment or other exchange of goods.

Therefore museums raised the concerns that loans of ivory for exhibition could fall foul of subsection (4) (b), and be seen as “hiring” the ivory, although they would receive nothing in return. Can the Minister confirm for me and reassure museums that that will not be the case, and that loans to and from museums will not fall foul of the legislation? Also, could appropriate guidance be provided to museums that are supporting the Bill, so that they can properly understand the situation?

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 11:40 a.m.

I thank the hon. Lady for those questions. It is worth reiterating the point about the so-called swapping of pieces of ivory. So that Members on both sides of the Committee understand, that would be considered bartering, because it would be exchanging for a valuable consideration, so it would be prohibited.

The point about museum loans is a very good one, which was raised in our excellent evidence session. Loans between accredited museums, or from a private owner to an accredited museum, would be considered hiring and therefore would be permitted under the terms in the Bill for museums.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 1 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 2

Pre-1918 items of outstanding artistic etc value and importance

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Break in Debate

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 11:45 a.m.

My hon. Friend makes an important point. The Bill provides for that. The hon. Member for Workington raised some interesting questions around this, which we will debate shortly. For the reasons that my hon. Friend set out, agents will have the ability to get involved in that process.

Sue Hayman Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 11:45 a.m.

I thank the Minister for that explanation. I ask for one more small clarification, which I think should be quite straightforward. Subsection (5) talks about prescribed institutions, and page 10 of the explanatory notes says that it

“confers a delegated power on the Secretary of State…to designate and update a list of institutions”.

However, the Bill does not mention updating. Will the Minister clarify that that is the position?

Will the Minister also clarify whether that provides the Secretary of State with the ability to remove an institution if for any reason that institution does not meet the required standard?

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 11:46 a.m.

I thank the hon. Lady for those points. On updating the list, yes, those powers will absolutely be available through delegated powers. On removing bodies from that list, yes, the Secretary of State will absolutely have that power if required. Let us hope it is not.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 2 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 3

Applications for exemption certificates

Sue Hayman Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 11:47 a.m.

I beg to move amendment 1, in clause 3, page 2, line 29, leave out “a person” and insert

“An owner of an item when”.

This amendment would clarify that only the owner of an item can apply for an exemption.

This should be fairly straightforward. It refers back to clause 2(4), which, as we have just heard from the hon. Member for Cheltenham, states:

“An exemption certificate for an item may be issued only on the application of the owner of the item.”

However, clause 3(1) states:

“A person applying for an exemption certificate for an item must—”.

To tidy this up so that both subsections use the same language and to avoid any confusion, the amendment suggests amending clause 3(1) to read:

“An owner of an item when applying for an exemption certificate for an item must—”,

so that those two subsections work together effectively and efficiently.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 11:47 a.m.

I understand that the amendment’s intention is to clarify that only an owner of an item can apply for an exemption certificate. However, although I understand the point that the hon. Lady makes, I do not think the amendment is appropriate. It is the Government’s intention that the application for an exemption certificate under clause 2 will be completed by the owner or by somebody acting on behalf of the owner. This is intended to take into account the owner’s circumstances; the owner may have instructed an agent to act on their behalf, or the owner may not be capable of completing the registration process—due to illness, for instance—so a family member may be able to do so on their behalf.

Subsection (1)(a) states that the name and address of the owner must be stipulated on an exemption application, which reflects the concerns that prompted the tabling of the amendment. Under clause 10, the item is registered using the owner’s details. The primary intention of the clause is to ensure that items meet the criteria for the applicable exemption. The identity of the person making the application is much less significant than ensuring that items containing ivory that should be prohibited from dealings are restricted from the market. For those reasons, I ask the hon. Lady to withdraw her amendment.

Sue Hayman Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 11:49 a.m.

I am happy to withdraw the amendment. With reference to what the hon. Member for Cheltenham said earlier, it would be good if the guidelines clarified exactly what some of the terminology means and who is then applicable.

I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Break in Debate

Sue Hayman Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 11:51 a.m.

Amendments 2 and 3 takes us back to concerns raised with me about potential conflicts of interest when prescribed institutions acquire an item. Amendment 2 is designed to give confidence that acquisitions are transparent and that conflicts of interest would therefore not arise. There are also concerns about conflicts of interest between nominated assessors and prescribed institutions, but I will come on to that when I speak to amendment 3. On amendment 2, I hope the Minister will want to ensure that the Bill is as transparent as possible and that we do not have a situation in which conflicts of interest can arise between a prescribed institution and anyone else involved in the application.

As I have said, amendment 3 is designed to deal with conflicts of interest between nominated assessors and prescribed institutions. The concern is that the Secretary of State prescribes the institutions but the institutions can then choose their own assessors who may not be employed by the institutions. We need to be clear that there is no vested interest and no conflict within the commercial trading. The amendment seeks assurances that there are no conflicts of interest in the appointment of an assessor and that if any concerns arise at a later date the Secretary of State will be able to step in and take action. Both amendments seek to minimise the risk of conflicts of interests, in order to give full confidence in the certification process.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 11:53 a.m.

I thank the hon. Lady for her suggestions in the two amendments. On amendment 2, we would all agree that a declaration of a conflict of interest is a necessary requirement in many areas. I do not, however, believe that the amendment is necessary, as I hope I will be able reassure the hon. Lady, because we intend to take measures to that effect.

Clause 3 provides for the certification process that applies to pre-1918 items of outstanding artistic value and importance, and takes into account whether the item is rare and the extent to which it is important. The clause also sets out the role of the designated assessor. Our aim is to appoint eminent museums and academic institutions to act as assessors for the exemption. We are in discussion with some of those institutions. We have built safeguards into the process by which they will be able to provide advice. We intend that the institution and assessor will be asked to sign a waiver before accepting a commission to assess an item from APHA to confirm that they have no commercial interest in that item. The final decision whether an item meets an exemption will fall to the Secretary of State through the APHA.

On amendment 3, it is feasible that an institution asked to assess an item might wish to acquire it for its own collection, thus leading to a potential conflict of interest. Additionally, the pool of owners and collectors of such items will clearly be small. In some cases, the assessing expert might even know the owner through seeing the item. We therefore intend that advisory institutions and the assessors that they appoint to assess an item will sign a waiver to the effect that they have no interest in purchasing an item when accepting a request to assess it. Obviously, that will be a very small set of circumstances because, as we heard in the evidence session on Tuesday, the number of transactions will be very small. With that explanation, I ask the hon. Lady to withdraw her amendment.

Sue Hayman Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 11:55 a.m.

I thank the Minister for his explanation. I would be interested to know more about how the waiver will be built into the Bill, to give me confidence that it will be structurally part of it.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 11:59 a.m.

I will seek some inspiration to ensure that the hon. Member for Workington, which is an incredibly nice part of the world—

Break in Debate

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 11:57 a.m.

My goodness! I do not think I can disagree with a word of that. We are forever grateful. Indeed, I am genuinely grateful for the conversations that we have had outside the Committee and elsewhere. We are all trying to progress the Bill, and these questions are absolutely right.

The point made by the hon. Member for Redcar is particularly interesting and I would like to consider it further. We would all agree that we want museums to be able to acquire important items for public enjoyment, so we need to further understand the implications of the point she raised.

Sue Hayman Hansard

I thank the Minister for that further explanation; I appreciate it. On the understanding that a memorandum of understanding will lay out all those areas so we cannot fall foul of any conflicts of interest or difficulties within the certificate, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Break in Debate

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 12:04 p.m.

As I was saying, the Animal and Plant Health Agency, on behalf of the Secretary of State, will check that all necessary information has been completed and that the application is reasonable. For example, if the application is clearly for an item that is not pre-1918, that will not be considered reasonable and it will be rejected. If satisfied, the APHA will refer the application to an appropriate designated assessor, provided for under clause 2. Although the application’s initial stages will be similar to those for the self-registration system—submitting requested information via the online system—the certification process diverges significantly, as the information provided will be passed by APHA to one of the listed prescribed institutions for expert advice, as discussed earlier.

As we discussed in response to amendments 2 and 3, the institution will be required to confirm via a waiver that it has no commercial interest in the item before accepting a commission. That is to avoid any potential conflicts of interest. The assessor, as a relevant expert, will be best qualified to assess the item against the conditions of the exemption. APHA will then decide whether to issue an exemption certificate, taking into account all relevant factors, including the expert assessor’s advice.

When making an application, the applicant must pay a fee as set by the Secretary of State through regulations. In practice, the set fee will be paid to cover the application’s administration costs. If referred to an expert assessor, an additional fee will be paid to cover reasonable costs incurred by the assessor. The additional fee will be considerably higher than the fee applicable to the self-registration process, reflecting the specialist advice needed and the limited number of unique items for which the process is designed to cater.

I thank the hon. Member for Workington for tabling new clause 1. Clause 10(5) sets out the minimum information and evidence that the Secretary of State must record with regard to both successful and revoked exemptions to applications. That information includes a description of the item and photographs and expected dealings in the item. Furthermore, statutory guidance to be published before the Bill comes into force may stipulate further information requirements to be captured. The Government share the hon. Lady’s aim of being informative to the public and agree that being as transparent as possible about how the system is working in practice will be essential to ensuring public confidence in it. As such, I assure her and the Committee that we already intend to publish headline data on the number of exemption certificates issued each year for items exempted under clause 2.

I will, however, issue a note of caution with regard to publishing the information described in subsections 3(a) to (d) of the new clause. The exemption will apply to a very limited number of outstandingly important items. As such, and particularly when considering the small number of people who are likely to own and wish to sell such items, it is highly possible that the owner may be identifiable through the publication of photos and so on of an item, which would have serious repercussions in terms of personal privacy and data protection. Any information that the Government publish on annual exemptions must be fully in line with the Data Protection Act 2018. In the light of the assurances that the Government intend to publish information on the number of certificates issued, and with reference to the provisions of the Data Protection Act, I ask the hon. Lady not to press the new clause.

Sue Hayman Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 12:06 p.m.

The reason for tabling the new clause is that quite a number of people felt that this was an important issue, on Second Reading, in the written evidence and in the oral evidence sessions. If there is a proper report, as opposed to a headline report, that would provide us with important, ongoing evidence and allow for confidence in the Act. All items, not just the headline items that have been granted an exemption certificate, would be included in the reporting requirement under the register that we propose.

I will refer to some of those who have said that they would like to see such a register. On Second Reading, the hon. Member for Mid Derbyshire made an excellent suggestion. She said:

“It would be useful if DEFRA published a register showing how many exemptions have been issued under the historical, artistic and cultural definition every year, so that a picture could be built up of all the relevant artefacts, which would be verified by people who know what they are doing, such as the V&A and other museums.”

She also suggested that the register should be publicly available, in order to

“demonstrate a commitment that the exemption is for the rarest and most important items only, not just any old ivory artefact.”—[Official Report, 4 June 2018; Vol. 642, c. 116.]

The International Fund for Animal Welfare and Born Free both support the proposal. They told us in evidence:

“It is absolutely critical...that we should be publicly accountable for what is being listed.”––[Official Report, Ivory Public Bill Committee, 12 June 2018; c. 17, Q24.]

A public register would go some way towards establishing a wider understanding and consensus about what constitutes the rarest and most important items, which we know prompted much discussion during the drafting of the Bill. Having a publicly available register would help to inform that process as we go forward. We are not talking about a lot of items. IFAW has suggested that it would be about 75 to 100 items a year, which should not be a huge burden on the Government. Having a publicly available register also provides proper scrutiny and transparency to the legislation and the processes involved.

The Minister confirmed on Second Reading that he would be happy to look at how data could be published, including using a new IT system that would be developed to facilitate the task. I would ask that he does that. I know that he has raised concerns about security and data protection, but I feel sure that we could come up with a method of photographing, data collection and registering that need not fall foul of either data protection or identification and security laws. I do not see why photographing an item in a particular way, as they do for museum catalogues and auctions, would require the identification of the owner. I ask the Minister to reconsider the new clause.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard

I thank the hon. Lady for her points. She makes an important point—[Interruption.]

Break in Debate

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 12:13 p.m.

The hon. Lady makes a good point. We are trying to get the right balance between privacy and transparency. That is a real challenge in lots of legislation. I also point out that items that are registered, as opposed to certified, will come under clause 10. We will publish data on those items as well.

We are looking at ways of making it as transparent as possible, but the issue with the rarest and most important items is that they are more easily identifiable with an individual than items in some other categories, which is why it might be more difficult in this area than in others. I hope that explanation is helpful. We will do everything we can to try to bring transparency. We are very committed to doing that, and I will work with officials, while the Bill is in Committee and beyond, to see how we can make that more definitive.

Sue Hayman Hansard

I thank the Minister for all his comments and for taking the matter seriously. However, because of the number of people who stressed that they felt that this was incredibly important, both for transparency and for getting a proper understanding of the kinds of items that we are looking at in order properly to monitor what the Bill is achieving, I stand by the new clause and would like to press it to a vote.

Break in Debate

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 12:14 p.m.

Mr Pritchard, I think we need a bit more clarification. We want to ensure that everybody is clear.

Sue Hayman Hansard

Yes—at exactly what stage will we have a vote on new clause 1?

Break in Debate

Sue Hayman Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 12:18 p.m.

It is really important. We heard an awful lot during the various evidence sessions about how the UK is one of the largest markets in the legal ivory trade. A knock-on effect of that, however, is that we help the illegal ivory trade, simply because of how the whole trade operates. We therefore want to clamp down on the illegal ivory trade and on the ivory trade in this country, because we need to ensure that we leave no loopholes and that nothing in the Bill could be abused by unscrupulous people. If we are not careful with the replacement certificates, as my hon. Friend said, it is possible that more than one replacement certificate could be issued for one item over a period of time and then used to sell on a third item.

IFAW was also concerned about that, stressing that more safeguards were needed to issue replacement certificates, because in theory an ivory item could have several replacement certificates issued over a number of years, and unscrupulous people might use such a certificate to sell similar items legally. Given that the whole point of the Bill is to stop illegal ivory trading and the poaching of elephants, we need to ensure against any such opportunities for unscrupulous people. Any replacement certificates must be issued rarely and with due consideration.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 12:20 p.m.

I thank the hon. Lady for her amendment, which recognises an important issue: to ensure that, through our legislation, we do not create any loopholes—something she is keen to avoid, as we all are—that could be exploited by those wishing to circumvent the ivory ban and continue to trade ivory illegally. I understand the concern that an individual might exploit the provision to issue replacement certificates under the exemption for the rarest and most important items. Such an individual might, for example, fraudulently use replacement exemption certificates for non-exempt items.

However, we clearly heard from the Victoria and Albert Museum and the British Museum that items exempted under clause 2 will necessarily be unique pieces, meaning that there is an exceedingly low risk that a certificate, which will include a photograph, can be used fraudulently for another item, because they are so unique. I must first say that such an action would of course be an offence under the Fraud Act 2006 and might be subject to criminal sanctions, a custodial sentence or a criminal fine. I also want to reassure the hon. Lady that the process an individual must follow to request a replacement will be carefully developed with APHA, alongside other online application processes required for the implementation of the Bill.

As stated in the Bill, a replacement certificate will be issued only if the original has been lost, the original is not passed on by the original owner when the item is sold, or for any other reason the APHA considers appropriate. It is expected that the owner will need to submit an application to request a replacement and declare why a replacement is required. The APHA will compare information provided by the owner against the database of exempt items to ensure that the item in question has indeed been issued a certificate in the past.

A unique identification number will be included on the certificate, which associates it with the exempt item. Certificates will also include the photographs of the item originally submitted when applying for the exemption and a narrative description of the item. Given the nature of items exempted under this category, it is highly unlikely that there would be another item of such close similarity that it could reasonably be taken to be covered by the certificate issued for another item—they are so distinct and different. That will ensure that prospective buyers and enforcement agencies will be able to check that items for sale are compliant with the ban, and will therefore allow any fraudulent activity to be identified by enforcement agencies and the appropriate sanctions to be applied. With that explanation, I ask the hon. Lady to withdraw her amendment.

Sue Hayman Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 12:24 p.m.

Sorry; I just had to look up what the APHA was—I should know these things.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 12:24 p.m.

Excuse me. It is the Animal and Plant Health Agency. There are a lot of acronyms.

Sue Hayman Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 12:24 p.m.

Yes, quite. Just to confirm, is the Minister talking about developing processes for how it would be managed alongside the Animal and Plant Health Agency?

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 12:24 p.m.

That is correct.

Sue Hayman Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 12:24 p.m.

As this is a fraud issue, is he looking at doing it with any other agencies that have expertise in that area? I do not know whether the Animal and Plant Health Agency has expertise in fraud—I am sorry to be a bit ignorant.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 12:24 p.m.

I think we are all learning through this process, and Committee stage is about getting into the details and ensuring that we get the right answers to those important questions. The APHA and the enforcement bodies will have full access to the database of exemption certificates, and we have full confidence that they will consider applications for replacements—there will not be many—very sensibly, with reference to the history of applications for that item. The point that I think the hon. Lady was making is whether the enforcement bodies will be engaged in creating the guidance. She is nodding from a sedentary position. My understanding is that we will involve those bodies as well. We want the best expertise to ensure that this process is as watertight as possible.

Break in Debate

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 12:24 p.m.

Those are more good questions. I explained a little bit in my remarks—I apologise if I ran through them too quickly. An example would be if a certificate was lost or not passed on appropriately from the original owner when the item was sold. There are situations in which that can happen, and we need to be open to that; we live in a world where people lose things. The hon. Lady makes an important point about tracking. That is where the APHA will be able to log the number of replacements and take the appropriate action. If there is a pattern of behaviour that looks odd, obviously it will be on to that.

The important thing to bear in mind as we go through the Bill is that we are spending a lot of time on the most important areas. It feels like this is a big category, but actually there is a very small number of items. In this particular category it will be much easier to track patterns of behaviour than it would be in some others.

Sue Hayman Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 12:25 p.m.

I may have missed this in the Minister’s comments, but will the number of replacement certificates issued every year be available publicly? Will the register that is being created for items also include whether replacement certificates have been granted for those items?

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 12:29 p.m.

I await a little inspiration on that point, but it is worth pointing out that the Secretary of State can revoke a certificate if he has cause to do so. Some people might not have focused on that. If there is a pattern of behaviour, certificates can be revoked. That is an important point to consider. On the point about the number of replacements that have been put into the public domain and whether that will be published, we certainly will consider that.

Sue Hayman Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 12:29 p.m.

The important thing for us on the replacement certificates is to have proper reassurance that there is no potential for abuse, and that the Minister understands the concerns raised in evidence by a number of organisations. If the register will look carefully at how many certificates are sent out each year, so that we have a clear idea of the situation, that will give us an idea of whether abuse is likely to be taking place. If it is being monitored by the Animal, Plant and Health Agency and tracked and we know that the fraud services are involved, that is extremely useful.

It is really about giving proper reassurance to all the agencies involved that no element is open to abuse. But if the register is tracked and abuse is found to be taking place, even though we are talking about only a small number of items, it would be useful to revisit this, perhaps after 12 or 24 months, just to see whether the replacement certification process is working effectively.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 12:29 p.m.

This is a real-time conversation—that is what we are here for. Some very good points have been made. I hope that the hon. Lady will gain some reassurance from what I have said; bodies will review the certificates and the replacements will be tracked. On behalf of the Government, I will give due consideration to the proposal for publication. Law enforcement agencies will track this, as they can share and exchange information under the Data Protection Act. That is another layer of protection. We all want a tight system. The steps to achieve that have been set out in this clause.

Sue Hayman Hansard

On the understanding that the Minister takes the concerns forward and brings into play a lot of the areas that we have discussed and agreed upon, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 4 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 5

Fresh applications and appeals

Break in Debate

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 12:30 p.m.

Clause 5 makes provision for an owner of an ivory item either to make a fresh application for an exemption certificate under clause 3, where the Secretary of State has revoked a previously issued certificate under clause 4, which we spoke about, or to appeal the Secretary of State’s decision to refuse a previous application.

The clause simply sets out that any reapplication for an exemption certificate will be treated as a new or fresh application. It will follow the same procedure as set out in clause 3, and will incur the same fees. The clause gives the Secretary of State a delegated power to set in regulations provisions for an appeals process against a decision to refuse an application or to revoke an exemption certificate. The appeals process will give individuals the right to a fair hearing by an independent and impartial panel. That is consistent with article 6 of the European convention on human rights. A recent example of an appeals process that is article 6-compliant and, like the Ivory Bill process, is outlined in secondary legislation, is section 48(3)(f) of the Children and Social Work Act 2017, which allows appeals when courses for mental healthcare professionals are not approved.

Any appeals process is intended to incur fees that are reasonable and proportionate to the cost of dealing with the appeals. Our intention is to establish an appeals process through regulations before the Bill is commenced.

Sue Hayman Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 12:31 p.m.

It is very important that the appeals process is robust. When we look at appeals processes in other Departments, we see how important it is that this appeals process is efficient and effective. Too often, appeals get bogged down. We must look at the Department’s resources and how it will handle appeals to ensure that people do not have to wait for a long time without knowing what is happening. I seek some reassurance from the Minister about how that will be managed through the Department.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 12:31 p.m.

As the hon. Lady says, we need an appeals process. It must be efficient—we do not want logjams—and the relevant bodies must be fully sighted of the appeals so that they can spot any trends that look odd and take appropriate action. The design is very important. The process will be established before the Bill is commenced.

Break in Debate

Sue Hayman Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 12:36 p.m.

We are trying to understand the process of how the appeals are working and, if an application is refused, how that appeals system will work, and whether people who have had an application refused will be advised to put in an appeal against that specific application or whether it is more practicable to start afresh and put in a new application. If it is a new application, to my mind, it is not an appeal to the previous application. We need to get that differentiation absolutely clear, as to the spirit of what the Bill is trying to achieve and the meaning of the terminology.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard

I thank the hon. Lady for filling that time, which shows true co-operation. We are trying to get answers to these questions on both sides. I really appreciate that. I will try one more time to explain the process. Forgive me if I have not been as clear as I should have been. Initially an individual or the owner makes an application, which is refused. The appeal is then considered by a separate new assessor once. Separately, an owner may make a new application and pay the fee again, but after the appeal has been heard.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 5 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 6

Pre-1918 portrait miniatures

Sue Hayman (Workington) (Lab) Hansard

I beg to move amendment 5, in clause 6, page 5, line 6, at end insert—

‘(1A) In this section, “portrait miniature” means a portable portrait that is—

(a) of no more than 204mm in height,

(b) of no more than 153mm in width, and

(c) made by painting on to a sheet of ivory no more than 5mm thick.’

This amendment defines a ‘portrait miniature’ for the purpose of the exemption.

Break in Debate

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 12:46 p.m.

Perhaps finishing the point I am trying to make will clarify the matter for the hon. Lady, and I will then go on to the point about the frames. I am grateful for the amendment, and I also note the helpful detail from Philip Mould & Company given during the evidence session. We will continue to consider this issue fully.

Sue Hayman Hansard

I appreciate the Minister’s response, but to be honest I felt that this was a pretty straightforward thing that we could move ahead with. There did not seem to be any disagreement at all. Philip Mould & Company is the expert in portrait miniatures. Emma Rutherford brought some along to show to us, and she was pretty clear on the definition. The amendment would be an extremely helpful addition to the Bill and I do not really understand why the Government will not consider it.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 12:47 p.m.

I assure the hon. Lady that the Government will give it full consideration, as I said. This is one point in the Bill’s passage. We will give full consideration to what has been said in Committee today and in the evidence sessions.

Break in Debate

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 12:48 p.m.

We will give that full consideration. I understand the point that hon. Members have made, that including a definition would add greater clarity. We will make that definition as clear as possible. However, as I have said several times now, the point has been made very clearly by Members on both sides of the Committee and we will give it full consideration.

Sue Hayman Hansard

Will the Minister expand on what he means by “give consideration”? I am sorry to push this, but I really think it would be helpful to have a definition in the Bill.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 12:49 p.m.

I understand that the hon. Lady’s enthusiasm knows no bounds; she is very passionate, as we all are, but I think she understands that there are formal processes that need to be gone through as part of the legislative process, and there will be moments at which these points can be given full consideration as the Bill progresses over the next few weeks.

Break in Debate

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 12:54 p.m.

My hon. Friend makes an important point. I hope I have provided some reassurance to Members on both sides of the Committee that we are taking the matter seriously. I have never said that we are giving something serious consideration as often as I have in the past couple of minutes, and clearly my voice and tone are not as reassuring to people as they should be, but in the spirit of what we are trying to achieve, I hope that Members understand that important points were made in evidence, and there are processes that need to be undergone. Members have made important points in Committee about ifs, buts and maybes, and they need to be worked through, but I make a commitment that we shall give the matter proper consideration, with the right expertise, and move forward as quickly as we can. I hope that reassures Members on both sides.

I did not realise that there was so much interest in portrait miniatures until we got involved with the Bill.

Sue Hayman Hansard

I think the reason there is quite a lot of interest is partly that Emma Rutherford, the consultant, brought along such beautiful examples of portrait miniatures, but partly that it seemed to be a straightforward, easy thing on which we could all agree. I think that is why there has been such interest. I must say I am reluctant to let this go.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 12:55 p.m.

I understand the hon. Lady’s frustration to some extent, but having been asked to come off the substitutes bench to act as a Minister for a few weeks, I am learning that processes need to be put in place to ensure that various regulations and laws are respected and due process is followed before any changes are made. That is the point I am trying to make, perhaps not as elegantly as I should, but I hope that reassures her.

Sue Hayman Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 12:55 p.m.

With reference to the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol East about looking at the implications of size, will the Minister undertake to work with me to take the matter forward and to table an amendment for consideration on Report, so we have that clarification in the Bill?

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 12:55 p.m.

That is an excellent suggestion, and I look forward to working with the hon. Lady in the spirit of co-operation that we have seen today, to see how we can move it forward.

Sue Hayman Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 12:56 p.m.

On the understanding that we will work together and table an amendment to clarify that area on Report, I am happy to beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 6 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 7

Pre-1947 items with low ivory content

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
14 Jun 2018, 12:48 p.m.

Clause 7 sets out the second exemption under the Bill. Subsections (1) and (2) state that items made before 1947 in which the ivory content is below 10% of the total volume of the item and the ivory is integral to the item, so it cannot be removed without damaging it or without difficulty, are exempt from the prohibition of sales, provided they are registered under clause 10.

The 1947 date for de minimis items derives from the EU wildlife trade regulations as the date before which worked ivory does not currently need a CITES—convention on international trade in endangered species—certificate to be commercially traded, and is familiar to those in the antiques sector. That familiarity will aid the ban’s implementation.

The exemption recognises that items with a very low ivory content, such as inlaid furniture, or a dish or a teapot with a small ivory handle, are not valued on the basis of their ivory content. Further, in such pieces, the ivory is incidental and integral to the item. It cannot be easily removed, so it is not vulnerable to recarving. The threshold of 10% ivory content is higher than in a significant number of countries. At federal level, the US has a 50% by volume limit or 200 grams threshold for de minimis exemption, although some states, such as New York and California, have implemented tougher thresholds.

The de minimis threshold is supported by key non-governmental organisations, including the World Wildlife Fund, the Tusk Trust and International Fund for Animal Welfare, which recognise it as a tough measure. Enforcement agencies have also indicated their gratitude that we have opted for a volume rather than a weight-based threshold, as it is far easier to assess.

Ordered, That the debate be now adjourned.—(Mims Davies.)

Ivory Bill (Second sitting)

(Committee Debate: 2nd sitting: House of Commons)
Debate between David Rutley and Sue Hayman
Tuesday 12th June 2018

(2 years, 1 month ago)

Public Bill Committees
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HM Treasury
Sue Hayman Hansard

Thank you, I am just chucking out thoughts.

David Rutley Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (David Rutley) - Hansard
12 Jun 2018, 2:10 p.m.

Q I join members of the Committee in thanking you and your teams for the work you are doing and also for the way in which you are leveraging the rest of the Border Force or the wider police force available to tackle this crime—we are very grateful.

To go back to the regulator for a minute though, do you both agree that having the regulator in place will help you with your work, because it will help to raise awareness of the new regime that will come into place, and because it will work with the antiques sector and musicians to help to improve compliance and assess compliance in future? Would that help you with your work?

Grant Miller: It would certainly help us. We have found the antiques trade to be very receptive. We have delivered training sessions to it on the rules and regulations, and generally, the larger auction houses have been keen to work with us and to drive the illegal trade out of their supply chain. An increased resource—another body—actually going round and delivering a prevention message, and helping and enabling an understanding of the controls, will assist us, but an awful lot of the illegal trade at the moment sits outwith the regular auction houses. It is private individuals who are sourcing ivory from car boots, house clearances and so on, and that illegal trade will continue. They have no intention of complying with any rules or regulations, so that market will continue for us to police.

Chief Inspector Hubble: From an enforcement perspective, we echo those thoughts about working with auction houses. We are regularly contacted by people within the industry for advice—for them to satisfy themselves that they are complying. Although it is good to raise awareness of an issue, ultimately that may result in increased reporting of it. Once the Bill comes into force, if a member of the public sees something on sale that they think is ivory, inevitably they will report it, which comes back to the issue of resourcing and how we deal with the potential increase in the volume of crimes that we will have coming in to us.

Break in Debate

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
12 Jun 2018, 3:26 p.m.

Q You have done a lot of work to explain that museums do not get involved in a huge number of sales, and perhaps get involved in a very small number of purchases. What I was talking about—I should have been clearer—was the rare and most important items that you and institutions like you help to certify. Do you anticipate large volumes or small volumes? What volumes do you think will qualify under the definition of rare and most important?

Hartwig Fischer: I am personally not in a position to answer that question, I am afraid, because I do not have a sufficiently deep and detailed overview of what is happening in the trade. We see from the museum side that a very small quantity of objects qualify to enter the museum. When it comes to museums and what we see generally, even following what is happening in auctions, we are talking about small quantities. We are not talking about thousands of objects. The material that is historically relevant and significant is very limited.

Dr Boström: If one were to talk about taste in ivory carving and collecting, we always associate the working of it more with the 17th and 18th centuries, and the collectors with the end of the 19th century. It is not foremost in collecting practices or trends.

Hartwig Fischer: It remains to be seen what will actually come up for certification. One will have to react to the volume to see how best to deal and cope with it efficiently.

Sue Hayman Hansard
12 Jun 2018, 3:29 p.m.

Q Earlier, you were talking about resources—there is obviously a certain amount of work that comes with this. You are clearly very large institutions, and you have a broad range of specialists and experts within your museums. What might the impact be on smaller museums that do not have such access to specialists? Will there be a cost implication for them?

Dr Boström: I imagine that, in parallel with the export licensing, even if objects were to come to a small museum or be associated with it, it will be devolved back to the major national museums—where many of the experts reside, because of a reduction of curatorial staff in our regional museums—to help them, in the way we do in other cases.

Hartwig Fischer: We have wide-ranging national partnership programmes in place. We work with 150 small and bigger institutions across the country. There is a well-established network of exchange, skill sharing and trust. We are confident that we will find a solution. We are engaged in helping museums that do not have the expertise to cope with these questions.

Rural Crime and Public Services

Debate between David Rutley and Sue Hayman
Wednesday 6th June 2018

(2 years, 2 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Home Office
Sue Hayman (Workington) (Lab) Parliament Live - Hansard
6 Jun 2018, 6:34 p.m.

Follow that, as they say. We have had a wide-ranging, comprehensive debate, and I wish to thank all colleagues, from both sides of the House, for taking part and bringing their helpful contributions to the Floor. I also wish to thank the hon. Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham (Dr Johnson) for mentioning the all-party group on rural crime, as it is useful for colleagues to know what else is happening in the House that they can take part in when they have an interest in a particular subject. I also thank my hon. Friend the Member for Clwyd South (Susan Elan Jones) for raising the important issue of speeding on rural roads. Any of us in a rural community knows that it is a serious issue, particularly in some of our villages. My hon. Friend the Member for High Peak (Ruth George) drew a vivid picture of the challenges faced by the police in her constituency.

What we have heard today can leave us in no doubt that the Tory Government have simply neglected Britain’s rural communities and have taken so many of our rural constituencies for granted. I represent the Cumbrian seat of Workington, and I join the hon. Member for Copeland (Trudy Harrison) in supporting the important work that our constabulary and PCC do. I thank her for raising that. The constituency I live in covers a huge rural area of the northern Lake district, including the national park, which is now a world heritage site, and the Solway Plain area of outstanding natural beauty. So I am acutely aware of the issues facing people in our small towns, villages and hamlets—I am one of those people.

Anyone with a rural constituency, and anyone who lives in one, knows just how difficult the delivery of high-quality public services is in our communities and how much more expensive they are to deliver. Our local authorities are under intense funding pressures. My local authority, Cumbria County Council, is set to have to make a colossal £33 million in savings over the next 12 months, because of the widespread uncertainty it is facing over its funding for the future. That is £33 million of cuts to vital public services that the authority is being forced into, and we know that that is because funding from central Government has been slashed. Expecting a county such as Cumbria to get its funding from business rates is simply not realistic, as we do not have the necessary level of business or population. It is really important that rural communities have proper funding and that the Government understand that not all formulas work for all areas.

The people set to suffer the most from the cuts to local services are our young people, our elderly, adults who are more vulnerable—those with disabilities—and the people who live in our most rural areas. That is because of the extra cost of delivering to those communities. Unfortunately, it seems that things are set to get even more difficult in Cumbria, as the council also has to find a way to save £70 million by 2022, and that is in addition to the £214 million it has reduced spending by since 2011.

In February, the Government announced an extra £150 million for adult social care, with about £1.5 million of that for Cumbria, but that was described by the council leadership as “crumbs from the table”, and they are absolutely right. As I said, councils need proper funding in place for the requirements they have to deliver and they should not have to rely on ad-hoc tiny handouts from Whitehall to try to keep crucial social services afloat. The County Councils Network estimates that Cumbrian residents will receive £161 of core funding per head this year. As has been mentioned, rural constituents get less money per head. London residents are going to receive £459 per head, which illustrates clearly the problem that we face.

Obviously, the county council has the option to raise council tax. We have heard about precepts being raised and council tax being raised, but what that means is that people who live in rural communities end up paying more per head again and this will continue to build and build. I do not believe that any Minister would consider that this is a fair situation.

I will now turn to the issue of rural crime. It is clear that the Government are failing properly to tackle wildlife crime, rural fly-tipping, sheep worrying and rustling and farm machinery thefts. A recent NFU report, “Combatting Rural Crime”, said that there is, in fact, no proper co-ordinated response from the Government. My right hon. Friend the Member for Delyn (David Hanson) talked about the really serious issue of sheep worrying. Figures obtained by Farmers Weekly on sheep worrying attacks reveal that the problem is endemic. We know that there is a huge number of attacks on sheep and that, on average, one dog is shot every single week. The investigation suggests that there is significant under-reporting by farmers, so we know that this is likely to be just the tip of the iceberg. More dog attacks on sheep were recorded in Cumbria last year than in any other English county, so this is an issue that is acutely felt by many of my own constituents. I urge the Minister to listen to what my right hon. Friend has said and take action on this issue.

We have heard that fly-tipping is on the increase, and an increasing amount is being tipped on farmland and in woodland. Farmers are being left to clean up the mess and cover the costs. For example, a Shropshire farmer had a clean-up bill recently of £18,000. Another in Staffordshire, a bill of £6,000, and we have heard of cases where ambulances cannot get through to farms owing to blocked lanes.

On wildlife crime, the latest bird crime report from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds shows that, in 2016, there were no prosecutions at all in the UK for raptor persecution. That was for the first time in more than 30 years, despite the fact that there were 81 recorded instances of persecution. It is simply not good enough. Hen harrier populations are now down by 27%.

There is also concern that the badger cull is fuelling organised badger baiting. We heard from my hon. Friend the Member for Canterbury (Rosie Duffield) that badgers are now worth £500 to £700 on the black market. Criminal gangs sell on these badgers for fighting with dogs, an absolutely abhorrent practice that we really need to get on top of and stamp out urgently.

Despite Labour’s 2004 fox hunting ban, we have heard again today about concerns that thousands of animals are being targeted and killed every year by hunts. Campaigners believe trail hunting is being used to cover up the indiscriminate killing of foxes, hares and deer. We have also heard much this afternoon about the problem of hare coursing and the need to clamp down on it. My hon. Friend the Member for Peterborough (Fiona Onasanya) painted a particularly vivid picture of this.

The National Wildlife Crime Unit was set to be shut down by the Government in 2016, but was awarded four years’ worth of funding at the last minute, and I thank them for that. However, can the Minister confirm whether the unit will continue to receive adequate funding after 2020? The removal of this funding would have serious implications for the detection and accountability of those committing wildlife crimes, such as badger baiting and raptor persecution.

A recent wildlife charity study found a “worrying lack” of prosecutions for wildlife crimes. Almost 1,300 incidents were recorded in just one year, but the records show that there were only 22 prosecutions or convictions. Worryingly, the report also says that the charities’ data is believed to be more comprehensive than Home Office crime statistics, but is still likely to be only the “tip of the iceberg”. It calls on the Government to follow Scotland’s lead. I understand that, in Scotland, there are specific police recording codes that the police use for wildlife crime. As one Member mentioned, it needs to become a reportable offence. The problem at the moment is that if something is recorded as miscellaneous, it is very difficult to build a really clear picture of the extent of the problem. If we want to monitor the situation properly to take the correct action, this is an important step that the Government could take. I ask the Minister to commit to that; if he will not commit to it today, perhaps he could commit to look at whether this is something that could feasibly be done.

I am so pleased that this debate is on the Floor of the House because we need to talk about the real issues that affect rural communities on a daily basis. At the last general election the Conservatives offered nothing for rural voters in Britain, concentrating their efforts on reopening the debate on bringing back foxhunting, instead of improving rural transport, halting bank closures, properly funding local schools, stopping the centralisation of beds away from community hospitals that play such an important role in our communities and, as we have discussed today, resolving the problem of rural crime.

The Labour party would put proper investment into Britain’s public services and infrastructure. This has never been more relevant than it is today to the millions of people living in rural communities across the country, who become so isolated when that infrastructure breaks down. In our 2017 election manifesto, Labour pledged to rural-proof all of our policies, alongside proper investment in rural housing, transport, public services and local authorities, so that they are able to deliver services in areas such as mine, where it costs so much more to do so. We also have policies such as widening of the scope of the Groceries Code Adjudicator, reinstating the seasonal agricultural workers scheme and introducing an agricultural wages board in order to boost the rural economy. The rural economy needs boosting through investment in infrastructure, transport and people such as farmers and food producers. By taking those steps, we can support that economy and, through that, support British farming.

A Labour Government will invest in rural communities and deliver prosperity for towns and villages, because they deserve and need it. Everyone who lives, works and enjoys the countryside has the right to feel safe, understood and secure.

David Rutley Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (David Rutley) - Hansard
6 Jun 2018, 6:47 p.m.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, my hon. Friend the Member for Louth and Horncastle (Victoria Atkins), opened the debate by talking about the beauty of the Lincolnshire Wolds. Without wanting to sound competitive in any way, I would like to remind colleagues of the wonders of the Cheshire Peak district—right next door to High Peak, of course—and Cheshire’s beautiful plain. I am grateful to Members on both sides of the House for setting out their views on rural crimes and public services, and I thank the Opposition for securing this important debate.

As the hon. Member for Workington (Sue Hayman) said, this has been a wide-ranging debate with contributions from across the United Kingdom, including from Scotland through the hon. Member for Glenrothes (Peter Grant), and from Wales with speeches from the hon. Member for Clwyd South (Susan Elan Jones) and the right hon. Member for Delyn (David Hanson). However, I must confess that I do believe that this debate was over-represented by Members from Lincolnshire, although we recognise that that is another great county.

The Government are committed to bringing sustainable growth to the rural economy, and to supporting and strengthening communities. We have talked a lot about crime. To reassure the hon. Member for High Peak (Ruth George), my DEFRA responsibilities are purely for a short-term period until my hon. Friend the Member for Suffolk Coastal (Dr Coffey) returns to her place.

Around 12 million people—19% of the UK population—live in rural areas. Despite some of the challenges we have talked about today, statistics show that most people feel that our rural towns and villages are great places in which to live and work. The fundamental features of rural areas—being more geographically dispersed and more sparsely populated than urban areas—are the key attractions of the UK’s rural towns and villages. We recognise, however, that distance, sparsity and demography can affect the delivery of important services. Rural areas are further away from the main economic centres and can suffer from poorer access to services and facilities that are commonplace in urban areas.

That is why the Government have made a commitment to rural-proof all policies. Much of what Government do has an impact on rural areas. We want these policies and programmes to take account of the specific challenges—and opportunities—for rural businesses and communities. To support this, DEFRA published updated rural-proofing guidance in March 2017. My ministerial colleagues, including Lord Gardiner, have represented the rural voice on taskforces on childcare, housing, and digital. The rural voice is being heard more loudly across Government, as it should be.

As I said, much of this debate has focused on rural crime. I would like to acknowledge the excellent work of our police—in particular, the North Yorkshire and Lincolnshire forces and PCCs who lead nationally on rural crime issues. That said, there have been incredible contributions from Members praising the North Wales and Derbyshire forces, for example. I would like to add my voice in paying tribute to the great work that Cheshire police do on these issues as well. DEFRA and the Home Office work closely with the National Police Chiefs Council’s wildlife crime network and the National Rural Crime Network. I recently went on patrol with Cheshire’s rural and wildlife crime team to see their work at first hand in the Macclesfield area.

It is important to recall that, although crime has a regrettable impact on victims wherever they are based, crime rates in rural areas are generally lower than in urban areas. For example, there were 3.9 vehicle offences per 1,000 population in rural areas compared with 8.5 vehicle offences per 1,000 population in urban areas. However, as we have heard, remoteness and isolation can increase the sense of vulnerability in those rural areas. There are types of crime such as hare coursing, fly-tipping and sheep-worrying that are a particular problem for rural communities, as has been well expressed today.

I recently heard from the Macclesfield branch of the NFU in Cheshire about how distressing livestock-worrying is for farmers and animals, and about how serious the financial repercussions can be for local farmers. I thank the NFU for producing its illuminating and constructive report, “Combatting Rural Crime”. That is an important contribution to this debate, as I think we will all agree on both sides of the House. Earlier this year, DEFRA wrote to all police forces and local authorities to explain the powers and initiatives available to help to tackle irresponsible dog ownership, including in relation to attacks on livestock. This is a real concern to the right hon. Member for Delyn, who made some excellent points. I encourage him to write to me, particularly on recording crimes, and I will follow up on them. We will listen to the points that he made—absolutely.

Hare coursing was raised by the hon. Member for Sheffield, Heeley (Louise Haigh), by my hon. Friend the Member for Boston and Skegness (Matt Warman), and by many other Members. It is another issue raised by the NFU in its excellent report. The Government recognise the problems that hare coursing causes for rural communities—not just around the activity itself but, as we have heard, the associated violence, damage, and sense of intimidation. The Hunting Act 2004 bans all hare coursing in England and Wales. Anyone found guilty of hare coursing under the Act can receive an unlimited fine. My hon. Friend the Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham (Dr Johnson) and the hon. Member for Peterborough (Fiona Onasanya), among others, raised important points about what can be done further to improve the response to this heinous crime. Again, I ask Members to raise those with me in writing and we can follow them up. Whether it is about recording or other issues, we do need to address this with greater vigour.

The Government recognise the costs that landowners face in dealing with fly-tipping. The hon. Member for Canterbury (Rosie Duffield) made an important contribution on this, as did my hon. Friend the Member for Saffron Walden (Mrs Badenoch) and the hon. Member for Peterborough. We are committed to tackling this problem. We have given local authorities the power to issue fixed penalty notices for small-scale fly-tipping and strengthened their powers to seize and crush vehicles of suspected fly-tippers. We will set out further measures to tackle all elements of fly-tipping in our strategic approach to waste crime as part of the resource and waste strategy that DEFRA will publish in the autumn.

DEFRA and the Home Office jointly fund the National Wildlife Crime Unit as part of efforts to prevent and detect wildlife crime. We have provided £301,000 of funding per annum for the next two years. That supports the unit’s important work in intelligence gathering and analysis of wildlife crimes, including some of the crimes mentioned earlier, such as hare coursing, rural poaching and the illegal wildlife trade. We heard more about that important work on Second Reading of the Ivory Bill on Monday.

This debate, however, has not just been about rural crime. It has also touched on public services in rural areas, which I will come on to later, because we must not miss those issues. It is vital that we address other points raised in the debate, including antisocial behaviour in some of our smaller communities. My hon. Friend the Member for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland (Mr Clarke) talked about antisocial behaviour in Saltburn. I promise faithfully that my family were not responsible for contributing to that when we went body-boarding there during the recess—in the North sea fog, I hasten to add.

County lines challenges were raised by my hon. Friend the Member for South Suffolk (James Cartlidge), the right hon. Member for Delyn and my neighbour, the hon. Member for High Peak. This is a truly worrying and concerning development. The Home Secretary is co-ordinating a response to this scourge by overseeing a county lines working group with other Government Departments and law enforcement agencies to improve the response to drug dealing, the violent crime associated with it and the exploitation of vulnerable people, which includes those in a rural setting.

The hon. Member for Clwyd South and others raised concerns about speeding. It is true that we have some of the safest roads in the world, but we need to do more, and we need to innovate to find ways to reduce speed on these often very difficult roads. We found ways to do that on one of the most notorious roads, the Cat and Fiddle road going from Macclesfield to Buxton, where we significantly reduced traffic accidents as a result. We need to promote more actively the Government’s important THINK! campaign, particularly among younger people.

Much has been said about police funding. That has been dealt with well by the hon. Member for Sheffield, Heeley for the Opposition and by my hon. Friend the Minister. The 2015 spending review protected overall police funding in real terms. We recognise that we need to respond to changing demands on the police. That is why new flexibility has been given to police and crime commissioners so they can raise the income required to tackle specific local challenges. I am pleased that we have increased the overall investment in policing from £11.9 billion in 2015-16 to £13 billion in this financial year.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Gainsborough (Sir Edward Leigh), who is also from Lincolnshire, reminded us, we should not always be too gloomy about the challenges we face. Of course they are very real, but we need a greater understanding of and ability to respond to new technology. He talked about the use of drones. We need to be innovative in our approach. In Poynton, a village to the north of Macclesfield, we have an excellent emergency services hub where we bring together fire, ambulance and police services. We can get better at taking forward action by looking at innovation.

This is not just about the crime or policing element. We want to ensure that our public services and rural businesses thrive, to support rural communities and those who live in the countryside. We want this experience to be an opportunity, not a challenge, as we may have painted it today. Britain is blessed with beautiful and iconic countryside, which can provide a good quality of life, but we recognise too the challenges of rural life. We will look to support and encourage innovative solutions in the crime arena and also in other areas, such as community hubs in villages to host libraries, surgeries and outreach services.

DEFRA Ministers will continue to champion the interests of rural communities, working with other Departments, including the Home Office and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on issues such as broadband and mobile reception, to ensure that rural communities can thrive and realise the very real opportunities that lie ahead.

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved,

That this House is concerned that the level of rural crime remains high; notes research by the National Famers’ Union that rural crime cost the UK economy £42.5 million in 2015; recognises that delivering public services across large, sparsely populated geographical areas can be more costly and challenging than in urban areas; agrees with the National Rural Crime Network that it is vital that the voice of the countryside is heard; calls on the Government to ensure that the personal, social and economic costs of crime and anti-social behaviour in rural areas are fully understood and acted upon; and further calls on the Government to ensure that rural communities are not disadvantaged in the delivery or quality of public services.