The point was made earlier that such measures are important because they lead to far greater commitment. Why would someone carry on working in a sector when

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they are taking home just over £3 an hour? People will inevitably start to look for somewhere else to work where they can earn more money, and we will not keep the best staff and quality of care unless we pay for it properly. As has been said, some Labour councils are doing a good job and have signed up to the ethical care charter promoted by Unison. They are paying not just the minimum wage in the care sector, but a living wage.

I recently spoke to a director of adult social care who told me that her council has decided to invest half a million pounds in care from a limited and decreasing budget, and in spite of the significant cuts imposed on it—as has happened in many councils, including my own—by the Government. The council realises that unless it takes the drastic step of investing a big sum of money from its budget, quality of care will continue to decline. It has worked out that such investment will lead to an improvement not just in quality of care, but ultimately in efficiency and the financial return that comes from that. People will stay in their jobs, become better at them, and deliver a better standard of care, and that will save money as well as delivering a better service. That has to be the way forward for the care sector, but the situation has not been helped by a lot of what has happened since the Government came to power. Big cuts to social services have made the situation increasingly difficult, and lots of councils would love to go down that route but have not been able to do so for financial reasons.

We have heard from those on the Front Benches about Labour’s plans to give responsibility and power to local councils to enforce the national minimum wage, but cuts to HMRC have made it significantly more difficult to enforce existing legislation—I have also seen that in my area where HMRC employs a significant number of staff. The Government’s efforts to introduce a policy of naming and shaming have been pretty poor.

Tom Blenkinsop: Proposed new section 6A(c) in amendment 8 states

“changes in provisions relating to the national minimum wage improving other measures of pay in the labour market.”

That obviously means that Labour wants better collective bargaining in workplaces. The best way of ensuring any minimum standard is to have collective bargaining on site as that would reduce the costs of enforcing the national minimum wage at a later stage. Does my hon. Friend agree that one good measure for the care sector and other small SMEs is more collective bargaining in the workplace?

Bill Esterson: That is absolutely right, and as evidence from the TUC that I mentioned earlier made clear, where we have organised workplaces, we have a better system of pay, conditions and support, and as a result better services in sectors such as the care sector.


Tom Blenkinsop: Does my hon. Friend agree that the best way to have collective bargaining on site is to pay subscriptions to a trade union? Traditionally, of course, that has been done through check-off. Does he agree that the Government’s current position on check-off, as an employer of their own employees in the civil service, is a demonstration of their lack of commitment on this issue?

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Bill Esterson: My hon. Friend raises an incredibly important point and is absolutely right to raise it in the context of this debate. It is extremely relevant to the points I have been raising, as I am sure you will agree, Mr Speaker.

Graham Jones: My hon. Friend referred to the Government policy of name and shame, which I understand has been announced four times. Only 25 firms have been named, despite evidence that as many as 300,000 people in the UK earn less than the national minimum wage.

Bill Esterson: My hon. Friend must have been reading my speech, because I was about to make exactly that point. He has made it for me. The reality of the naming and shaming policy is that it has not worked: it has not delivered an improvement in the enforcement of the national minimum wage. If 300,000 people are being paid less than the national minimum wage, Government Members should be ashamed of that.

Mr Donohoe: Even if they were paid the minimum wage, working for three hours a week does not, in any shape or form, allow them to live, does it?

Bill Esterson: We should undoubtedly do everything we can to encourage employers to pay a much higher rate. The real level of the national minimum wage has fallen year on year. I agree that we should push employers to pay the living wage, too.

Mr Donohoe: I am talking not so much about the living wage or the minimum wage as the number of hours people work a week. People cannot pay their keep if they are not working a particular number of hours a week. Regardless of what they are being paid an hour, they need the hours. The introduction of zero-hours contracts has surely been the biggest mistake.

Bill Esterson: My hon. Friend rightly brings me back to zero-hours contracts and the problems and difficulties they create for people. Working a very low number of hours causes enormous hardship and difficulties: the difficulty of working an uncertain number of hours that can go up or down; the difficulty of claiming benefits to cover some of the gaps when going on and off benefits; and the difficulty in trying to navigate a system deliberately put in place by the Government to restrict what people, who are in work mostly, are paid in social security. I am glad he has made that point.

The use of agency workers, typically from eastern Europe, by companies in this country to undercut local staff is wholly unfair on the migrant workers who work for very low rates of pay and wholly unfair on local staff who are pushed out of the picture by being undercut. That is disastrous both for them and for the workers who are brought in. The knock-on effect is very damaging to the local economy too, because often any money earned, even in such low amounts, is sent back home and not spent locally and circulated around the local economy. The agencies have to be stopped. I am glad that it is Labour policy to take action to reduce the abuse perpetrated by such agencies. My hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh South (Ian Murray) made the point very well: good businesses want to pay decent wages, but they are undercut in so many ways that they

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find it difficult to do so when unscrupulous employers exploit the system. Agencies’ use of overseas staff on low rates of pay is just one of the ways in which that happens.

The Bill introduces a penalty for employers who do not pay the national minimum wage. The problem is that there will be no improvement in enforcement. I mentioned the cuts in the number of staff at Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (Jo Swinson) indicated dissent.

Bill Esterson: The Minister shakes her head. Is she telling me that I am wrong when I say that the people who used to work in this sector for HMRC in my borough and have told me they have lost their jobs and that they are not telling me the truth?

Jo Swinson: I am not telling him that his constituents are not being truthful in relation to their circumstances, but I am saying that the Government have invested more money in the enforcement of the national minimum wage. HMRC has employed more compliance officers in this area of work. I am sure that on behalf of his constituents he would wish to take up his concerns with the Treasury, but national minimum wage enforcement work has received additional investment from the Government.

Bill Esterson: I am glad the Minister has made that point. The reality is that those who used to work for HMRC would be very puzzled to hear it. Many staff working at HMRC, whose numbers have fallen in the past four-and-a-half years, would be puzzled by it, too.

The lack of improvement in enforcement is a worry, which is why our proposal to give the responsibility and power to local councils is so important. We propose the real deterrent of a £50,000 fine—the Government have not come forward with anything on that scale—and the aspiration of £8 an hour for the national minimum wage. That would move things forward significantly, while at the same time encourage the payment of a living wage.

All these low pay issues—the people who have to put up with low hours on zero-hours contracts, as my hon. Friend the Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr Donohoe) pointed out; the part-time nature of many of the jobs created in recent years, which the Government are so keen to trumpet; the way in which the minimum wage is undercut; the lack of a living wage; and the fact that people are £1,600 a year worse off—show why it is so important for proper action to be taken. The national average for the number of people in work on low pay is one in five. In my constituency, two in five are paid less than a living wage. For my constituents, the issue of low pay is absolutely crucial. They are crying out for an improvement in the way the economy is balanced, so that far more people benefit from economic recovery and we see a reversal in the year-on-year fall in living standards they have suffered under this Government.

There are very high numbers of people on low pay, which—the point was made in an earlier exchange—has led to low tax receipts. That explains why the apparent improvement in the number of those in employment has not been linked to a reduction in the deficit. The deficit is now going up again, despite the draconian cuts in public spending.

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Ian Murray: My hon. Friend makes an incredibly important point. As he will agree, the fact that unemployment is falling but tax take is flat tells us a little about employment in this country. On that basis, it is little wonder that the deficit is rising, not falling.

2 pm

Bill Esterson: The economic indicators tell the story. Whatever the Government are doing and whatever is happening in the economy, for the majority of people it is not working, but it is certainly hurting. That is the reality for many of my constituents: two in five earn less than the living wage. They are hurting and finding it difficult to make ends meet—to pay their mortgages, their rent, their food bills—and many people in work are going to food banks because they cannot survive otherwise.

I was talking to a nurse the other week on the picket line outside Ashworth hospital. He felt he had no alternative, because of the dire situation he was in, but to strike for four hours over the 1% pay rise he had been denied by the Government. One per cent.—how mean can you get? When it gets to the end of the month, he has to choose between putting fuel in his car to get to work and buying food. That is how precarious an existence he and many in the country are living because of low pay.

As others have mentioned, more and more people are entering self-employment, and their position is incredibly insecure. As anyone who, like me, has run their own small business will know, there are times when money is not coming in and there is no guarantee of a wage. It is a difficult situation and one facing a growing number of people. For some, it is a choice, but many more are forced into self-employment for a variety of reasons, and it is a very insecure way of life.

With all these different forms of low pay, I am afraid that the prospects for prosperity or a recovery in living standards will not be good for many people unless we significantly change how our economy operates and the way we deal with issues such as low pay. For that reason, interventions of the kind proposed by my hon. Friends on the Front Bench are important; they give support and encouragement by ensuring that the rules are enforced, that people are paid according to the law and that action is taken to improve pay.

Amendments 8 to 10 are designed to help raise the pay of the lowest paid in the country and those most affected by our low pay economy and to boost the economy in parts of the country, such as my constituency, where there is a big problem. They are designed to protect workers, enforce the law and support businesses that are being undercut and trying to do their bit. The point my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh South made about his own experience in business was a great example of what a good employer should be doing—making absolutely sure they pay their staff decently. My granddad used to run a corner shop, and he said, “If you can’t afford to pay people a decent salary, you should not employ anyone.” If that was good enough for him back in the 1940s and ’50s, it should be good enough for us now. That is how good employers operate. Sadly, however, there are unscrupulous people around who will seek to take advantage where they can, so we need to take action to help the lowest-paid in our society. I hope the House will support amendments 8 to 10.

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John McDonnell (Hayes and Harlington) (Lab): I apologise for arriving halfway through the Front-Bench spokesman’s introduction and for having to leave soon to chair another meeting.

If the Government cannot support the amendments, perhaps they could consider the spirit in which they have been tabled. I refer in particular to amendment 8 and the annual report into the effectiveness of enforcement. I have raised this issue in the House before, and while the Minister was on maternity leave I met the Minister who stood in for her to discuss the failure to pay the minimum wage in the shipping industry, particularly on ferries to the Channel Islands. Condor Ferries is still paying £2.65 an hour. Its ships sail around the Channel Islands, so they are close to, and come to, our shores, but we still cannot get around the current legislation to ensure enforcement. An annual report could give us shared knowledge of where the minimum wage is not being paid and how we can work together to overcome the difficulties. Problems continue, and even if the amendment cannot be accepted, at least the Government could provide us with a regular report into the enforcement challenges.

On amendment 9, in January I helped to launch the fast food campaign, with the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union, to lift living standards, pay and the quality of employment within the fast food sector. It covers all fast food joints operating in this country, such as McDonald’s, KFC and Costa, most of which pay the minimum wage and virtually all of which operate zero-hours contracts. I have not met a fast food worker yet who has voluntarily moved to a zero-hours contract. The right hon. Member for East Yorkshire (Sir Greg Knight), who is not in his place, mentioned end-of-the-pier shows, but the entertainment sector uses fixed-term contracts, rather than just zero-hours contracts, because the latter are so capable of exploitation, victimisation and bullying, as we have found in the fast food sector in particular.

We have stood outside McDonald’s and we have tried to meet the management of McDonald’s, Costa and others to arrange discussions between the trade union, which is recruiting members in that sector, and management, but they have refused to meet and get involved in those negotiations. Recruitment has gone on and there has been some direct action. The fast food campaign will be demonstrating outside this place on Friday lunchtime to expose what is happening in the sector.

I welcome the exclusivity clauses in the Bill—they are really helpful—but even with their introduction, as amendment 9 points out, without the capability to enforce them, they will be almost meaningless. At the moment, the cost and other restrictions over who is entitled to go to an employment tribunal mean that many fast food workers and others on zero-hours contracts will never get their day in court. The amendment is not particularly challenging; it would simply require regulations making it open and transparent how people can enforce their rights. At the moment, it is almost inexplicable to people how they can be enforced.

I think that amendment 10(c), which refers to

“imposing an obligation on an employer to offer a fixed hours contract when a worker has worked regular hours for a continuous period”,

would be welcomed within the sector. Over the past year, I have been working on the fast food sector and have found people being employed on the most exploitative

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zero-hours contracts. We heard examples of individuals being phoned up and told to race to work to get the hours. My dad was a Liverpool docker in the 1930s. We are going back to the days when the ganger could select individual workers for the day. It means that although some will be selected, others will not, perhaps because of their trade union involvement.

One Costa worker who turned up at a public meeting I arranged had been told that he could not have hours the following week because he had not smiled enough that week. We raised that with Costa, but it was denied; the worker and his colleagues confirmed that it was true. That is the sort of exploitation that goes on. Unless we can get to a situation where we can be completely confident that a person has entered into a zero-hours contract completely voluntarily, people will be open to exploitation.

There is a sliding scale of what people want. Most people want permanent employment; others want to plan their lives over a limited period of time and would want some fixed-contract employment; and others—I think it will be a tiny minority, and not on the present scale—will want zero-hours contracts. The proposed new subsection (1A)(c) in amendment 10 therefore refers to regular employment for a continuous period. The proposed regulations could define that period of time; we could debate the practicality of that. The person should then have the opportunity of having a proper contract rather than a zero-hours contract.

I believe that the amendments are acceptable and advise everyone to vote for them, but even if they are not acceptable to the Minister, the Government need to take it into account the spirit of them. We should first ensure that we are open and transparent about the effect of the enforcement and share the problems of enforcement, so we know what the future agenda will be. Secondly, we must be completely clear that there are practical rights of enforcement. At the moment, I cannot explain to people how under the legislation as drafted we will be able to enforce their exclusivity. Thirdly, there is the issue of continuous employment, which I think needs to be tackled.

Again, all that is being suggested is that regulations should be brought forward to deal with these issues. If the Government are unwilling to accept the amendments, they could at least accept that there is an issue and that draft regulations could be brought forward, enabling the possibility of working on a cross-party basis to make some practical arrangements to protect workers from such forms of exploitation. Let me say finally that I would welcome people to join us on the fast-food demonstration at 12 o’clock on Friday.

Jo Swinson: I shall focus most of my remarks on the debate about the national minimum wage and zero-hours contracts, but I would like briefly to set out the effects of Government amendments 61 to 64, relating to the public sector exit payment measures. The measures are designed to enable the proportionate recovery of exit payments when a high-earning individual returns to the same part of the public sector shortly after their exit. The amendments are technical in nature and simply seek to clarify that the obligations can be placed on

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individuals who received exit payments when it is likely that they will swiftly return to the same part of the public sector.

David Rutley: I wanted the Minister to pause for a second on this issue, because it is important to recognise that this Government are taking action on something that has been going on for far too many years. Does she agree that taxpayers across the country who are concerned about these matters will understand that we have taken action so that high earners will not be taking an exit payment and then going off to another job in a few weeks’ time?

Jo Swinson: My hon. Friend makes an important point. This is a basic issue of fairness as well as value for money for the taxpayer. That is why this important measure is part of the Bill. The measure will allow the Government, for instance, to require a high earner who received an exit payment to make arrangements to repay the compensation before they are allowed to take up new employment in the same sub-sector of the public sector. In addition, the amendments clarify that obligations can be placed on the public sector body responsible for the exit payment and the subsequent authority that re-engages the individual as an employee, contractor, or office holder. The amendments are in line with the Government response to the consultation on these measures, which was published on 28 October. I am sure all hon. Members will agree that these amendments are an important clarification, and I look forward to support for them.

Turning to the more substantive issues, I thank hon. Members for tabling the amendments in this group and for the constructive and positive debate we have had. The hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (John McDonnell) was unable to stay, but I thought his contribution was particularly good when he said that if we could not accept the amendments we could respond to their spirit. I very much hope to be able to do so. I shall set out why I do not think the amendments should be accepted as drafted, but I recognise the genuine concern expressed by hon. Members and we share the commitment to tackling the issues. The debate is really about the best way of doing that. It may not be through legislation, but I will explain how the Government intend to tackle the genuine issues raised.

2.15 pm

Amendment 8 is designed to impose reporting requirements on the Government’s approach to national minimum wage compliance and enforcement, as well as the impact on wages more generally. There is already significant transparency through existing reporting arrangements, which I think are sufficient, so amendment 8 is unnecessary. Every autumn, the Government submit evidence to the independent Low Pay Commission, including an assessment of the impact of the national minimum wage on the labour market. That is followed by publication of our assessment of the latest hourly earnings figures and how these are impacted by the statutory wage floor. That evidence, together with views from employers and workers, is considered by the Low Pay Commission before it makes its recommendations to Government. Parliament then debates these findings and the Government’s response in advance of the new rates being introduced each October.

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Amendment 8 is unnecessary because it duplicates the existing reporting requirements. It is not just the final evidence from the Government to the Low Pay Commission that is published, as the interim evidence is published, too. On two occasions every year, there is a written ministerial statement publishing this significant evidence, and it contains the information that is desired in amendment 8.

Ian Murray: The Minister is always incredibly generous in giving way. She has explained how the reports go to the Low Pay Commission and are then reported back to this House, but our amendment asks that to be extended and to be linked to enforcement. It asks the Government to extend the living wage and to look at whether the financial penalties act as an effective deterrent. It thus goes much wider than the Low Pay Commission.

Jo Swinson: The evidence submitted in the reports is pretty comprehensive, so I think it does meet the requirements set out, particularly when combined with the assessment of the latest hourly earnings and the impact of the minimum wage and what it does to living standards and hourly earning. I think that the existing reporting requirements are adequate and that the amendment would bring about a duplication. I welcome the interest in the issue, however, and I welcome the fact that as well as those formal reporting requirements, we have had various debates—sometimes in Westminster Hall, sometimes here in the Chamber—on these issues. Furthermore, these topics are returned to frequently at BIS oral questions, and I expect that to happen tomorrow. It is right that we have these opportunities to discuss these issues because they are important.

Let me deal with some of the specifics that came up in the debate about enforcement of the national minimum wage. In particular, we heard the charge that the number of investigations had gone down and that this was some sign of failure, but I believe the picture is more nuanced than that. Since the national minimum wage was introduced and HMRC has been the enforcement body, that body has continually assessed how it undertakes enforcement activity and how it can be improved. It is true that the number of individual investigations has gone down, but that has been coupled with a much more efficient undertaking of investigations. In particular, HMRC often now has larger and more complex investigations as part of the risk assessment work being undertaken. Sometimes those cases take longer to complete, so there will be fewer overall cases. The number of people covered by each case, however, has been increasing.

In addition, when someone makes a complaint to HMRC about the national minimum wage, rather than just going in to investigate the particular worker, Joe Bloggs, and their circumstances, HMRC has the power to widen the investigation—not only to ensure that the anonymity of the complainant is preserved, but to recognise that if there are anomalies in one particular worker’s payment, it might well be the case for other workers within the organisation. It has the power to expand the investigation more widely. Although that has reduced the number of cases that have been completed, the number of workers helped and the amount of arrears recovered has increased, so that is a good thing.

The number of workers helped, for example, has risen between 2009-10 and 2013-14 by more than 17%. The average number of workers per case has nearly

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tripled, and the average amount of arrears per case has increased by 260%. I think that is a good news story on enforcement, particularly concerning the resources available for enforcement, about which the hon. Member for Sefton Central (Bill Esterson) was concerned. Some 144 officers have been involved in HMRC. As a result of the additional resource dedicated by BIS—the budget has increased by £1 million to £9.2 million—a further 26 individuals have just been hired. A team of 170 is now working to ensure that there is compliance with the enforcement of the national minimum wage. It is clear from the figures that that significant increase in resources has already been delivering, and it will continue to deliver.

Bill Esterson: I am pleased that the Minister has given us those figures, but if so many people are involved, why have so few employers been named and shamed under the Government’s policy? The numbers do not seem to stack up.

Jo Swinson: So far 30 employers have been named and shamed, and, as I said in Committee, there will be a further tranche of naming and shaming shortly.

The previous system was much more permissive in terms of the number of cases in which naming could operate. Until the new rules were introduced, only one employer had been named over a period of many years. We introduced those rules on 1 October 2013, but they did not operate retrospectively, and hence applied only to investigations that began on or after that date. The previous criteria apply to the many current investigations that began before 1 October 2013, and in those cases employers are much less likely to be named. Many other investigations began on or after 1 October 2013 and are still ongoing, so the final stage of the issuing of a notice of underpayment and the consequent ability to name and shame has not been reached.

As I think has been recognised, the numbers are already increasing, but given that this is a new scheme, it is inevitable that they will start small and become larger as cases work their way through the system.

Mr Iain Wright (Hartlepool) (Lab): The Minister will recall that, in Committee, I raised the issue of umbrella companies, in which people who may be receiving relatively high wages are, for a variety of reasons, subject to spurious deductions that take their earnings below the national minimum wage. Does the Minister think that the HMRC enforcement team could look into that as well?

Jo Swinson: The enforcement team can look into any breach of the national minimum wage, and it can enforce notices of underpayment in the case of spurious deductions. That applies even to deductions that would not be problematic if someone were being paid significantly above the national minimum wage. Some contracts suggest that employees pay for their own uniforms if they are paid significantly more than the national minimum wage; that does not necessarily get employers into trouble with the law, but in some cases it does. Obviously it is necessary to ensure that HMRC’s calculations are right, and that it has all the necessary evidence. Sometimes it takes a little time to ensure that the whole process is followed correctly, which is why cases are still working through the system.

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Bill Esterson: I do not remember whether the Minister gave these figures in Committee, but she said a few moments ago that 30 companies had been named and shamed. Does she accept that up to 300,000 staff are affected, and if she does, can she tell us how many of them are employed by those 30 companies?

Jo Swinson: I think that the hon. Gentleman is comparing apples with oranges. According to the most recent estimate, the number of employees who are paid less than the national minimum wage is lower than 300,000—about 236,000, I believe. I stress that that is an estimate. Obviously we do not have data on every single person in the country; such estimates are based on surveys. The figure of 30 companies is not an annual figure; those are cases that have been completed since the new rules came into force.

I can assure the hon. Gentleman that the vast majority of cases in which the national minimum wage law has been found to have been breached are being named and shamed once the notices of underpayment have been issued. Obviously there is still a job to be done: people must be informed about how they can ensure that their rights are being properly enforced. Let me say yet again that if people fear that they are not being paid the national minimum wage when they should be, they should ring the pay and work rights helpline, which is a free service and totally confidential. The number is 0800 917 2368, and I shall continue to take every opportunity to publicise it, because it is important for people to know that they can receive advice on a confidential basis and then make a complaint if they decide to do so.

Local authorities have been mentioned. I think it right that HMRC works in partnership with authorities—with some success—to ensure that enforcement happens, but I also think it right for there to be a national enforcement body. The issue of social care has been raised, along with the issue of travel time, which is well documented. Travel time, other than the times involved in travel to and from work at the beginning and end of the day, needs to be included in the national minimum wage. We are well aware of that, and HMRC is enforcing it.

We know that there are issues in the care sector. That is why targeted enforcement was carried out, and why my colleagues at the Department of Health have been working closely with local authorities to produce guidance to ensure that they contract providers who can provide quality care, along with fair terms and conditions for their work force. Authorities should not be pricing contracts at a level that prevents their basic national minimum wage obligations from being met.

Amendments 9 and 10 concern zero-hours contracts. We have already discussed the question of whether or not they are sometimes a good thing. It was the former Member of Parliament for Sedgefield, Tony Blair, who said, on 3 October 1995,

“There will be an end to zero-hours contracts.”

However, the Labour Government did not deliver that, perhaps because there are people for whom such arrangements work well, as we heard from the TUC during the evidence session in Committee.

While there are undoubtedly problems with zero-hours contracts, and I do not wish to dismiss them, I think it important to introduce some perspective to the debate. Last year the Chartered Institute of Personnel and

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Development conducted a survey to establish what was happening on the ground, and produced a report. It found that zero-hours contract workers were just as satisfied with their jobs as the average United Kingdom employee, that they were happier with their work-life balance, and that they were less likely to feel that they were being treated unfairly by their organisations.

Mr Iain Wright: Does the Minister think that the significant increase in the number of zero-hours contracts over the last four years is a positive or a negative development—or is it just a sign of a flexible employment market?

Jo Swinson: It certainly is a sign of a flexible employment market, which is good for the UK economy. It ensures that we are able to have a stronger economy and increased prosperity. As for whether a zero-hours contract is a good thing, that depends on individual circumstances. There are plenty of people for whom such contracts work well and plenty of people who are happy with them, but I entirely recognise that there are plenty of people who are not happy, and that there are employers who are not behaving as they should.

Some of those issues arose in the consultation on exclusivity, which is why we inserted the clauses that we are discussing. Other issues arose from it as well, and we agree that those too need to be addressed. The Opposition tabled amendments 9 and 10, and I welcome their contribution to the debate. We have argued that it is better to ensure that we can work with industry, sector by sector, in producing guidance on what constitutes responsible use of zero-hours contracts, so that employers are clearer about how they should be using them and employees can know what it is reasonable for them to expect.

Ian Murray: If the Minister thinks that there is no problem with zero-hours contracts, can she explain why the tax take from income is flat but unemployment has fallen by 500,000?

Jo Swinson: Various issues affect the tax take and employment, not least the amounts that people are earning, For instance, if people are working for fewer hours, they will pay less income tax, because there will be more people within the tax threshold. That said, we are proud of the fact that we have raised the threshold. I campaigned hard for that in the last Parliament, and I am delighted that we have delivered it.

The hon. Gentleman accused me of saying that there was no problem with zero-hours contracts. Of course we accept that there is a problem with them. That is why we have produced legislative proposals, which, despite the promises of the former Labour party leader Tony Blair, his party did not manage to do when it was in government.

Amendment 9 is intended to ensure that zero-hours contract workers have a route to redress to enforce the rights in clause 145. I recognise the serious point that the hon. Gentleman is making, but, as I reassured him in Committee, that is already possible through the order-making power in new section 27B. His amendment is therefore unnecessary.

2.30 pm

We have consulted on the issues of avoidance and routes of redress. Obviously, we do not want a situation where rogue employers could try to get around their

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obligations under the Bill. For the benefit of the House—obviously, not all Members were able to attend the discussion in Committee—that consultation closed on 3 November and the Government are considering the responses to it. More than 70 responses were received. We will then of course publish our response. I reiterate my assurances that, if regulations are required, we will act and we have the power in the Bill to do so under new section 27B.

Amendment 10 would allow for individuals on zero-hours contracts to be awarded compensation, in as yet undefined circumstances. Again, the order-making power in new section 27B already allows for that. The amendment also seeks to force employers to offer fixed-hours contracts once an individual has worked regular hours for a continuous period, or series of continuous periods. We discussed a similar amendment in Committee. The issue is whether imposing restrictive criteria such as those could discourage some employers from creating jobs. There could certainly be some unintended consequences: at the end of a qualifying period, some people could be let go, or not offered any hours, to try to avoid having to convert a contract to a fixed-hours contract.

That said, I recognise that amendment 10 is driven by some genuine issues. We recognise that zero-hours contracts have a role in the labour market, but they must be used responsibly. That is why we are committed to working with industry to provide, sector by sector, specific guidance to ensure that employers can have confidence that they are using zero-hours contracts responsibly and that the basic standards and best practice are clear to everyone—employers and employees alike.

I hope, with those reassurances, that the hon. Member for Edinburgh South (Ian Murray) will withdraw his amendment and that the House will be happy to support Government amendments 61 to 64.

Ian Murray: I am grateful to the Minister for answering some of the questions but, on amendment 8, it is not clear that the Low Pay Commission has the remit to look at enforcement of the national minimum wage to ensure that that is working properly; to ensure that the financial penalties are a deterrent; and to ensure that there is a greater link with the living wage. Therefore, I would like to test the will of the House on amendment 8.

Question put, That the amendment be made.

The House divided:

Ayes 233, Noes 301.

Division No. 85]

[

2.32 pm

AYES

Abbott, Ms Diane

Abrahams, Debbie

Ainsworth, rh Mr Bob

Alexander, rh Mr Douglas

Alexander, Heidi

Ali, Rushanara

Allen, Mr Graham

Anderson, Mr David

Austin, Ian

Bailey, Mr Adrian

Bain, Mr William

Balls, rh Ed

Banks, Gordon

Barron, rh Kevin

Bayley, Hugh

Beckett, rh Margaret

Begg, Dame Anne

Benn, rh Hilary

Betts, Mr Clive

Blackman-Woods, Roberta

Blomfield, Paul

Brennan, Kevin

Brown, Lyn

Brown, rh Mr Nicholas

Brown, Mr Russell

Buck, Ms Karen

Burnham, rh Andy

Byrne, rh Mr Liam

Campbell, rh Mr Alan

Campbell, Mr Gregory

Campbell, Mr Ronnie

Champion, Sarah

Chapman, Jenny

Clark, Katy

Clarke, rh Mr Tom

Clwyd, rh Ann

Coffey, Ann

Connarty, Michael

Cooper, Rosie

Cooper, rh Yvette

Corbyn, Jeremy

Crausby, Mr David

Creasy, Stella

Cryer, John

Cunningham, Alex

Cunningham, Mr Jim

Cunningham, Sir Tony

Curran, Margaret

Dakin, Nic

Danczuk, Simon

Darling, rh Mr Alistair

David, Wayne

Davidson, Mr Ian

Davies, Geraint

De Piero, Gloria

Denham, rh Mr John

Dobson, rh Frank

Docherty, Thomas

Dodds, rh Mr Nigel

Donohoe, Mr Brian H.

Doran, Mr Frank

Doughty, Stephen

Dowd, Jim

Doyle, Gemma

Dromey, Jack

Dugher, Michael

Eagle, Ms Angela

Eagle, Maria

Edwards, Jonathan

Efford, Clive

Elliott, Julie

Ellman, Mrs Louise

Esterson, Bill

Evans, Chris

Farrelly, Paul

Fitzpatrick, Jim

Flello, Robert

Flynn, Paul

Fovargue, Yvonne

Francis, Dr Hywel

Gapes, Mike

Gilmore, Sheila

Glass, Pat

Glindon, Mrs Mary

Godsiff, Mr Roger

Goodman, Helen

Greatrex, Tom

Green, Kate

Greenwood, Lilian

Griffith, Nia

Gwynne, Andrew

Hamilton, Mr David

Hamilton, Fabian

Hanson, rh Mr David

Harris, Mr Tom

Hepburn, Mr Stephen

Hermon, Lady

Heyes, David

Hillier, Meg

Hilling, Julie

Hodge, rh Margaret

Hodgson, Mrs Sharon

Hoey, Kate

Hosie, Stewart

Howarth, rh Mr George

Irranca-Davies, Huw

James, Mrs Siân C.

Jamieson, Cathy

Jarvis, Dan

Johnson, Diana

Jones, Graham

Jones, Helen

Jones, Mr Kevan

Jones, Susan Elan

Jowell, rh Dame Tessa

Kane, Mike

Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald

Keeley, Barbara

Kendall, Liz

Khan, rh Sadiq

Lammy, rh Mr David

Lavery, Ian

Leslie, Chris

Lewell-Buck, Mrs Emma

Lewis, Mr Ivan

Llwyd, rh Mr Elfyn

Long, Naomi

Love, Mr Andrew

Lucas, Caroline

Lucas, Ian

MacNeil, Mr Angus Brendan

Mactaggart, Fiona

Mahmood, Shabana

Malhotra, Seema

Mann, John

Marsden, Mr Gordon

McCabe, Steve

McCann, Mr Michael

McCarthy, Kerry

McCrea, Dr William

McDonagh, Siobhain

McDonald, Andy

McDonnell, Dr Alasdair

McDonnell, John

McFadden, rh Mr Pat

McGovern, Alison

McGovern, Jim

McGuire, rh Mrs Anne

McInnes, Liz

McKechin, Ann

McKenzie, Mr Iain

McKinnell, Catherine

Meacher, rh Mr Michael

Meale, Sir Alan

Mearns, Ian

Miliband, rh Edward

Miller, Andrew

Mitchell, Austin

Moon, Mrs Madeleine

Morden, Jessica

Morrice, Graeme

(Livingston)

Morris, Grahame M.

(Easington)

Mudie, Mr George

Munn, Meg

Murphy, rh Paul

Murray, Ian

Nandy, Lisa

Nash, Pamela

O'Donnell, Fiona

Onwurah, Chi

Osborne, Sandra

Owen, Albert

Paisley, Ian

Pearce, Teresa

Perkins, Toby

Phillipson, Bridget

Pound, Stephen

Qureshi, Yasmin

Raynsford, rh Mr Nick

Reed, Mr Jamie

Reed, Mr Steve

Reeves, Rachel

Reynolds, Emma

Reynolds, Jonathan

Riordan, Mrs Linda

Ritchie, Ms Margaret

Robertson, Angus

Robinson, Mr Geoffrey

Roy, Mr Frank

Ruane, Chris

Sarwar, Anas

Sawford, Andy

Shannon, Jim

Sharma, Mr Virendra

Sheerman, Mr Barry

Sheridan, Jim

Shuker, Gavin

Simpson, David

Skinner, Mr Dennis

Slaughter, Mr Andy

Smith, Angela

Smith, Nick

Smith, Owen

Spellar, rh Mr John

Straw, rh Mr Jack

Stringer, Graham

Stuart, Ms Gisela

Sutcliffe, Mr Gerry

Tami, Mark

Thomas, Mr Gareth

Thornberry, Emily

Timms, rh Stephen

Trickett, Jon

Twigg, Derek

Twigg, Stephen

Umunna, Mr Chuka

Vaz, Valerie

Watson, Mr Tom

Watts, Mr Dave

Weir, Mr Mike

Whiteford, Dr Eilidh

Whitehead, Dr Alan

Williams, Hywel

Williamson, Chris

Wilson, Phil

Wilson, Sammy

Winnick, Mr David

Winterton, rh Ms Rosie

Wishart, Pete

Wood, Mike

Woodward, rh Mr Shaun

Wright, David

Wright, Mr Iain

Tellers for the Ayes:

Karl Turner

and

Tom Blenkinsop

NOES

Afriyie, Adam

Aldous, Peter

Amess, Mr David

Andrew, Stuart

Arbuthnot, rh Mr James

Bacon, Mr Richard

Baker, Steve

Baldry, rh Sir Tony

Barclay, Stephen

Barker, rh Gregory

Baron, Mr John

Barwell, Gavin

Bebb, Guto

Beith, rh Sir Alan

Bellingham, Mr Henry

Benyon, Richard

Beresford, Sir Paul

Berry, Jake

Bingham, Andrew

Binley, Mr Brian

Birtwistle, Gordon

Blackman, Bob

Blackwood, Nicola

Blunt, Crispin

Boles, Nick

Bone, Mr Peter

Bottomley, Sir Peter

Bradley, Karen

Brake, rh Tom

Bray, Angie

Brazier, Mr Julian

Bridgen, Andrew

Brine, Steve

Brokenshire, James

Brooke, rh Annette

Browne, Mr Jeremy

Bruce, Fiona

Bruce, rh Sir Malcolm

Buckland, Mr Robert

Burley, Mr Aidan

Burns, Conor

Burns, rh Mr Simon

Burrowes, Mr David

Burt, rh Alistair

Burt, Lorely

Cairns, Alun

Campbell, rh Sir Menzies

Carmichael, rh Mr Alistair

Carmichael, Neil

Cash, Sir William

Chishti, Rehman

Chope, Mr Christopher

Clappison, Mr James

Clark, rh Greg

Clarke, rh Mr Kenneth

Collins, Damian

Colvile, Oliver

Cox, Mr Geoffrey

Crabb, rh Stephen

Crockart, Mike

Crouch, Tracey

Davey, rh Mr Edward

Davies, David T. C.

(Monmouth)

Davies, Glyn

Davies, Philip

Davis, rh Mr David

de Bois, Nick

Dinenage, Caroline

Djanogly, Mr Jonathan

Doyle-Price, Jackie

Drax, Richard

Duncan, rh Sir Alan

Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain

Ellis, Michael

Ellison, Jane

Ellwood, Mr Tobias

Elphicke, Charlie

Eustice, George

Evans, Graham

Evans, Jonathan

Evennett, Mr David

Fabricant, Michael

Fallon, rh Michael

Farron, Tim

Featherstone, rh Lynne

Field, Mark

Foster, rh Mr Don

Fox, rh Dr Liam

Francois, rh Mr Mark

Freer, Mike

Fuller, Richard

Gale, Sir Roger

Garnier, Sir Edward

Garnier, Mark

Gauke, Mr David

George, Andrew

Gibb, Mr Nick

Gilbert, Stephen

Gillan, rh Mrs Cheryl

Glen, John

Goldsmith, Zac

Goodwill, Mr Robert

Gove, rh Michael

Graham, Richard

Grant, Mrs Helen

Gray, Mr James

Grayling, rh Chris

Green, rh Damian

Greening, rh Justine

Griffiths, Andrew

Gummer, Ben

Gyimah, Mr Sam

Hague, rh Mr William

Halfon, Robert

Hames, Duncan

Hammond, Stephen

Hancock, rh Matthew

Hands, rh Greg

Harper, Mr Mark

Harrington, Richard

Harris, Rebecca

Hart, Simon

Harvey, Sir Nick

Haselhurst, rh Sir Alan

Hayes, rh Mr John

Heald, Sir Oliver

Heath, Mr David

Heaton-Harris, Chris

Hemming, John

Henderson, Gordon

Hendry, Charles

Herbert, rh Nick

Hinds, Damian

Hoban, Mr Mark

Hollingbery, George

Hollobone, Mr Philip

Hopkins, Kris

Horwood, Martin

Howarth, Sir Gerald

Howell, John

Hunt, rh Mr Jeremy

Huppert, Dr Julian

Jackson, Mr Stewart

James, Margot

Jenrick, Robert

Johnson, Gareth

Johnson, Joseph

Jones, Andrew

Jones, rh Mr David

Jones, Mr Marcus

Kawczynski, Daniel

Kirby, Simon

Knight, rh Sir Greg

Kwarteng, Kwasi

Lancaster, Mark

Lansley, rh Mr Andrew

Latham, Pauline

Laws, rh Mr David

Leadsom, Andrea

Lee, Dr Phillip

Leslie, Charlotte

Letwin, rh Mr Oliver

Lewis, Brandon

Liddell-Grainger, Mr Ian

Lidington, rh Mr David

Lilley, rh Mr Peter

Lloyd, Stephen

Lopresti, Jack

Luff, Sir Peter

Lumley, Karen

Macleod, Mary

Main, Mrs Anne

Maude, rh Mr Francis

May, rh Mrs Theresa

Maynard, Paul

McCartney, Jason

McCartney, Karl

McIntosh, Miss Anne

McLoughlin, rh Mr Patrick

McPartland, Stephen

McVey, rh Esther

Menzies, Mark

Metcalfe, Stephen

Mills, Nigel

Milton, Anne

Mordaunt, Penny

Morris, Anne Marie

Morris, David

Morris, James

Mosley, Stephen

Mowat, David

Mulholland, Greg

Mundell, rh David

Murray, Sheryll

Neill, Robert

Newmark, Mr Brooks

Newton, Sarah

Nokes, Caroline

Norman, Jesse

Nuttall, Mr David

O'Brien, rh Mr Stephen

Ollerenshaw, Eric

Opperman, Guy

Ottaway, rh Sir Richard

Paice, rh Sir James

Parish, Neil

Patel, Priti

Paterson, rh Mr Owen

Pawsey, Mark

Penning, rh Mike

Penrose, John

Percy, Andrew

Perry, Claire

Phillips, Stephen

Pincher, Christopher

Poulter, Dr Daniel

Pritchard, Mark

Pugh, John

Raab, Mr Dominic

Randall, rh Sir John

Redwood, rh Mr John

Rees-Mogg, Jacob

Reid, Mr Alan

Robathan, rh Mr Andrew

Robertson, rh Sir Hugh

Robertson, Mr Laurence

Rogerson, Dan

Rosindell, Andrew

Rudd, Amber

Ruffley, Mr David

Russell, Sir Bob

Rutley, David

Sanders, Mr Adrian

Sandys, Laura

Scott, Mr Lee

Selous, Andrew

Shapps, rh Grant

Sharma, Alok

Shelbrooke, Alec

Shepherd, Sir Richard

Simmonds, Mark

Simpson, Mr Keith

Skidmore, Chris

Smith, Chloe

Smith, Henry

Smith, Julian

Smith, Sir Robert

Soames, rh Sir Nicholas

Soubry, Anna

Spelman, rh Mrs Caroline

Spencer, Mr Mark

Stephenson, Andrew

Stevenson, John

Stewart, Bob

Stewart, Iain

Streeter, Mr Gary

Stride, Mel

Stuart, Mr Graham

Stunell, rh Sir Andrew

Sturdy, Julian

Swales, Ian

Swayne, rh Mr Desmond

Swinson, Jo

Swire, rh Mr Hugo

Syms, Mr Robert

Tapsell, rh Sir Peter

Teather, Sarah

Thornton, Mike

Thurso, rh John

Timpson, Mr Edward

Tomlinson, Justin

Tredinnick, David

Truss, rh Elizabeth

Turner, Mr Andrew

Tyrie, Mr Andrew

Uppal, Paul

Vaizey, Mr Edward

Vara, Mr Shailesh

Vickers, Martin

Walker, Mr Charles

Walker, Mr Robin

Wallace, Mr Ben

Walter, Mr Robert

Ward, Mr David

Wharton, James

Wheeler, Heather

White, Chris

Whittaker, Craig

Whittingdale, Mr John

Willetts, rh Mr David

Williams, Mr Mark

Williams, Roger

Williams, Stephen

Williamson, Gavin

Willott, Jenny

Wilson, Mr Rob

Wright, rh Jeremy

Wright, Simon

Yeo, Mr Tim

Young, rh Sir George

Zahawi, Nadhim

Tellers for the Noes:

Dr Thérèse Coffey

and

Harriett Baldwin

Question accordingly negatived.

19 Nov 2014 : Column 308

19 Nov 2014 : Column 309

19 Nov 2014 : Column 310

19 Nov 2014 : Column 311

2.45 pm

More than two hours having elapsed since the commencement of proceedings on consideration, the proceedings were interrupted (Programme Order, 18 November).

The Deputy Speaker then put forthwith the Questions necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded at that time (Standing Order No. 83E).

Clause 145

Exclusivity Terms Unenforceable in Zero Hours Contracts

Amendment proposed: 10, page 134, line 36, at end insert—

‘(1A) Regulations made under section 27B, subsection (1), shall include provisions—

(a) giving zero hours workers the right to be awarded financial compensation of amounts, and in circumstances, to be determined by the Secretary of State;

19 Nov 2014 : Column 312

(b) giving employment tribunals powers to enforce their adjudications, including the award of any applicable compensation as referred to in section (1A)(a), or imposition of any applicable penalty, in cases involving zero hours workers; and

(c) imposing an obligation on an employer to offer a fixed hours contract when a worker has worked regular hours for a continuous period, or series of continuous periods, of employment, to be determined by the Secretary of State.”—(Ian Murray.)

Question put, That the amendment be made.

The House divided:

Ayes 235, Noes 303.

Division No. 86]

[

2.46 pm

AYES

Abbott, Ms Diane

Abrahams, Debbie

Ainsworth, rh Mr Bob

Alexander, rh Mr Douglas

Alexander, Heidi

Ali, Rushanara

Allen, Mr Graham

Anderson, Mr David

Austin, Ian

Bailey, Mr Adrian

Bain, Mr William

Balls, rh Ed

Banks, Gordon

Barron, rh Kevin

Bayley, Hugh

Beckett, rh Margaret

Begg, Dame Anne

Benn, rh Hilary

Betts, Mr Clive

Blackman-Woods, Roberta

Blomfield, Paul

Blunkett, rh Mr David

Brennan, Kevin

Brown, Lyn

Brown, rh Mr Nicholas

Brown, Mr Russell

Buck, Ms Karen

Burnham, rh Andy

Byrne, rh Mr Liam

Campbell, rh Mr Alan

Campbell, Mr Gregory

Campbell, Mr Ronnie

Champion, Sarah

Chapman, Jenny

Clark, Katy

Clarke, rh Mr Tom

Clwyd, rh Ann

Coffey, Ann

Connarty, Michael

Cooper, Rosie

Cooper, rh Yvette

Corbyn, Jeremy

Crausby, Mr David

Creasy, Stella

Cryer, John

Cunningham, Alex

Cunningham, Mr Jim

Cunningham, Sir Tony

Curran, Margaret

Dakin, Nic

Danczuk, Simon

Darling, rh Mr Alistair

David, Wayne

Davidson, Mr Ian

Davies, Geraint

De Piero, Gloria

Denham, rh Mr John

Dobson, rh Frank

Docherty, Thomas

Dodds, rh Mr Nigel

Donohoe, Mr Brian H.

Doran, Mr Frank

Doughty, Stephen

Dowd, Jim

Doyle, Gemma

Dromey, Jack

Dugher, Michael

Durkan, Mark

Eagle, Ms Angela

Eagle, Maria

Edwards, Jonathan

Efford, Clive

Elliott, Julie

Ellman, Mrs Louise

Esterson, Bill

Evans, Chris

Farrelly, Paul

Field, rh Mr Frank

Fitzpatrick, Jim

Flello, Robert

Flynn, Paul

Fovargue, Yvonne

Francis, Dr Hywel

Gapes, Mike

Gilmore, Sheila

Glass, Pat

Glindon, Mrs Mary

Godsiff, Mr Roger

Goodman, Helen

Greatrex, Tom

Green, Kate

Greenwood, Lilian

Griffith, Nia

Gwynne, Andrew

Hamilton, Mr David

Hamilton, Fabian

Hanson, rh Mr David

Harris, Mr Tom

Hepburn, Mr Stephen

Hermon, Lady

Heyes, David

Hillier, Meg

Hilling, Julie

Hodge, rh Margaret

Hodgson, Mrs Sharon

Hoey, Kate

Hosie, Stewart

Howarth, rh Mr George

Irranca-Davies, Huw

James, Mrs Siân C.

Jamieson, Cathy

Jarvis, Dan

Johnson, Diana

Jones, Graham

Jones, Helen

Jones, Mr Kevan

Jones, Susan Elan

Jowell, rh Dame Tessa

Kane, Mike

Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald

Keeley, Barbara

Kendall, Liz

Khan, rh Sadiq

Lammy, rh Mr David

Lavery, Ian

Leslie, Chris

Lewell-Buck, Mrs Emma

Llwyd, rh Mr Elfyn

Long, Naomi

Love, Mr Andrew

Lucas, Caroline

Lucas, Ian

MacNeil, Mr Angus Brendan

Mactaggart, Fiona

Mahmood, Shabana

Malhotra, Seema

Mann, John

Marsden, Mr Gordon

McCabe, Steve

McCann, Mr Michael

McCarthy, Kerry

McCrea, Dr William

McDonagh, Siobhain

McDonald, Andy

McDonnell, Dr Alasdair

McDonnell, John

McFadden, rh Mr Pat

McGovern, Alison

McGovern, Jim

McGuire, rh Mrs Anne

McInnes, Liz

McKechin, Ann

McKenzie, Mr Iain

McKinnell, Catherine

Meacher, rh Mr Michael

Meale, Sir Alan

Mearns, Ian

Miliband, rh Edward

Miller, Andrew

Mitchell, Austin

Moon, Mrs Madeleine

Morden, Jessica

Morrice, Graeme

(Livingston)

Morris, Grahame M.

(Easington)

Mudie, Mr George

Munn, Meg

Murphy, rh Paul

Murray, Ian

Nandy, Lisa

Nash, Pamela

O'Donnell, Fiona

Onwurah, Chi

Osborne, Sandra

Owen, Albert

Paisley, Ian

Pearce, Teresa

Perkins, Toby

Phillipson, Bridget

Pound, Stephen

Qureshi, Yasmin

Raynsford, rh Mr Nick

Reed, Mr Jamie

Reed, Mr Steve

Reeves, Rachel

Reynolds, Emma

Reynolds, Jonathan

Riordan, Mrs Linda

Ritchie, Ms Margaret

Robertson, Angus

Robinson, Mr Geoffrey

Roy, Mr Frank

Ruane, Chris

Sarwar, Anas

Sawford, Andy

Shannon, Jim

Sharma, Mr Virendra

Sheerman, Mr Barry

Sheridan, Jim

Shuker, Gavin

Simpson, David

Skinner, Mr Dennis

Slaughter, Mr Andy

Smith, Angela

Smith, Nick

Smith, Owen

Spellar, rh Mr John

Straw, rh Mr Jack

Stringer, Graham

Stuart, Ms Gisela

Sutcliffe, Mr Gerry

Tami, Mark

Thomas, Mr Gareth

Thornberry, Emily

Timms, rh Stephen

Trickett, Jon

Twigg, Derek

Twigg, Stephen

Umunna, Mr Chuka

Vaz, Valerie

Watson, Mr Tom

Watts, Mr Dave

Weir, Mr Mike

Whiteford, Dr Eilidh

Whitehead, Dr Alan

Williams, Hywel

Williamson, Chris

Wilson, Phil

Wilson, Sammy

Winnick, Mr David

Winterton, rh Ms Rosie

Wishart, Pete

Wood, Mike

Woodward, rh Mr Shaun

Wright, David

Wright, Mr Iain

Tellers for the Ayes:

Karl Turner

and

Tom Blenkinsop

NOES

Afriyie, Adam

Aldous, Peter

Andrew, Stuart

Arbuthnot, rh Mr James

Bacon, Mr Richard

Baker, Steve

Baldry, rh Sir Tony

Barclay, Stephen

Barker, rh Gregory

Baron, Mr John

Barwell, Gavin

Bebb, Guto

Beith, rh Sir Alan

Bellingham, Mr Henry

Benyon, Richard

Beresford, Sir Paul

Berry, Jake

Bingham, Andrew

Binley, Mr Brian

Birtwistle, Gordon

Blackwood, Nicola

Blunt, Crispin

Boles, Nick

Bone, Mr Peter

Bottomley, Sir Peter

Bradley, Karen

Brake, rh Tom

Bray, Angie

Brazier, Mr Julian

Bridgen, Andrew

Brine, Steve

Brokenshire, James

Brooke, rh Annette

Browne, Mr Jeremy

Bruce, Fiona

Bruce, rh Sir Malcolm

Buckland, Mr Robert

Burley, Mr Aidan

Burns, Conor

Burns, rh Mr Simon

Burrowes, Mr David

Burstow, rh Paul

Burt, rh Alistair

Burt, Lorely

Cairns, Alun

Campbell, rh Sir Menzies

Carmichael, rh Mr Alistair

Carmichael, Neil

Cash, Sir William

Chishti, Rehman

Chope, Mr Christopher

Clappison, Mr James

Clark, rh Greg

Clarke, rh Mr Kenneth

Collins, Damian

Colvile, Oliver

Cox, Mr Geoffrey

Crabb, rh Stephen

Crockart, Mike

Crouch, Tracey

Davey, rh Mr Edward

Davies, David T. C.

(Monmouth)

Davies, Glyn

Davies, Philip

Davis, rh Mr David

de Bois, Nick

Dinenage, Caroline

Djanogly, Mr Jonathan

Doyle-Price, Jackie

Drax, Richard

Duncan, rh Sir Alan

Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain

Ellis, Michael

Ellison, Jane

Ellwood, Mr Tobias

Elphicke, Charlie

Eustice, George

Evans, Graham

Evans, Jonathan

Evennett, Mr David

Fabricant, Michael

Fallon, rh Michael

Farron, Tim

Featherstone, rh Lynne

Field, Mark

Foster, rh Mr Don

Fox, rh Dr Liam

Francois, rh Mr Mark

Freer, Mike

Fuller, Richard

Gale, Sir Roger

Garnier, Sir Edward

Garnier, Mark

Gauke, Mr David

George, Andrew

Gibb, Mr Nick

Gilbert, Stephen

Gillan, rh Mrs Cheryl

Glen, John

Goldsmith, Zac

Gove, rh Michael

Graham, Richard

Grant, Mrs Helen

Gray, Mr James

Grayling, rh Chris

Green, rh Damian

Greening, rh Justine

Griffiths, Andrew

Gummer, Ben

Gyimah, Mr Sam

Hague, rh Mr William

Halfon, Robert

Hames, Duncan

Hammond, Stephen

Hancock, rh Matthew

Hands, rh Greg

Harper, Mr Mark

Harrington, Richard

Harris, Rebecca

Hart, Simon

Harvey, Sir Nick

Haselhurst, rh Sir Alan

Hayes, rh Mr John

Heald, Sir Oliver

Heath, Mr David

Heaton-Harris, Chris

Hemming, John

Henderson, Gordon

Hendry, Charles

Herbert, rh Nick

Hinds, Damian

Hoban, Mr Mark

Hollingbery, George

Hollobone, Mr Philip

Hopkins, Kris

Horwood, Martin

Howarth, Sir Gerald

Howell, John

Hunt, rh Mr Jeremy

Huppert, Dr Julian

Jackson, Mr Stewart

James, Margot

Jenrick, Robert

Johnson, Gareth

Johnson, Joseph

Jones, Andrew

Jones, rh Mr David

Jones, Mr Marcus

Kawczynski, Daniel

Kirby, Simon

Knight, rh Sir Greg

Kwarteng, Kwasi

Lamb, rh Norman

Lancaster, Mark

Lansley, rh Mr Andrew

Latham, Pauline

Leadsom, Andrea

Lee, Dr Phillip

Lefroy, Jeremy

Leslie, Charlotte

Letwin, rh Mr Oliver

Lewis, Brandon

Liddell-Grainger, Mr Ian

Lidington, rh Mr David

Lilley, rh Mr Peter

Lloyd, Stephen

Lopresti, Jack

Loughton, Tim

Luff, Sir Peter

Lumley, Karen

Macleod, Mary

Main, Mrs Anne

Maude, rh Mr Francis

May, rh Mrs Theresa

Maynard, Paul

McCartney, Jason

McCartney, Karl

McIntosh, Miss Anne

McLoughlin, rh Mr Patrick

McPartland, Stephen

McVey, rh Esther

Menzies, Mark

Metcalfe, Stephen

Mills, Nigel

Milton, Anne

Mordaunt, Penny

Morris, Anne Marie

Morris, David

Morris, James

Mosley, Stephen

Mowat, David

Mulholland, Greg

Mundell, rh David

Murray, Sheryll

Neill, Robert

Newmark, Mr Brooks

Newton, Sarah

Nokes, Caroline

Norman, Jesse

Nuttall, Mr David

O'Brien, rh Mr Stephen

Ollerenshaw, Eric

Opperman, Guy

Ottaway, rh Sir Richard

Paice, rh Sir James

Parish, Neil

Patel, Priti

Paterson, rh Mr Owen

Pawsey, Mark

Penning, rh Mike

Penrose, John

Percy, Andrew

Perry, Claire

Phillips, Stephen

Pincher, Christopher

Poulter, Dr Daniel

Pritchard, Mark

Pugh, John

Raab, Mr Dominic

Randall, rh Sir John

Redwood, rh Mr John

Rees-Mogg, Jacob

Reid, Mr Alan

Robathan, rh Mr Andrew

Robertson, rh Sir Hugh

Robertson, Mr Laurence

Rogerson, Dan

Rosindell, Andrew

Rudd, Amber

Ruffley, Mr David

Russell, Sir Bob

Rutley, David

Sanders, Mr Adrian

Sandys, Laura

Scott, Mr Lee

Selous, Andrew

Shapps, rh Grant

Sharma, Alok

Shelbrooke, Alec

Shepherd, Sir Richard

Simmonds, Mark

Simpson, Mr Keith

Skidmore, Chris

Smith, Chloe

Smith, Henry

Smith, Julian

Smith, Sir Robert

Soames, rh Sir Nicholas

Soubry, Anna

Spelman, rh Mrs Caroline

Spencer, Mr Mark

Stephenson, Andrew

Stevenson, John

Stewart, Bob

Stewart, Iain

Streeter, Mr Gary

Stride, Mel

Stuart, Mr Graham

Stunell, rh Sir Andrew

Sturdy, Julian

Swales, Ian

Swayne, rh Mr Desmond

Swinson, Jo

Swire, rh Mr Hugo

Syms, Mr Robert

Tapsell, rh Sir Peter

Teather, Sarah

Thornton, Mike

Thurso, rh John

Timpson, Mr Edward

Tomlinson, Justin

Tredinnick, David

Truss, rh Elizabeth

Turner, Mr Andrew

Tyrie, Mr Andrew

Uppal, Paul

Vaizey, Mr Edward

Vara, Mr Shailesh

Vickers, Martin

Walker, Mr Charles

Walker, Mr Robin

Wallace, Mr Ben

Walter, Mr Robert

Ward, Mr David

Watkinson, Dame Angela

Wharton, James

Wheeler, Heather

White, Chris

Whittaker, Craig

Whittingdale, Mr John

Willetts, rh Mr David

Williams, Mr Mark

Williams, Roger

Williams, Stephen

Williamson, Gavin

Willott, Jenny

Wilson, Mr Rob

Wright, rh Jeremy

Wright, Simon

Yeo, Mr Tim

Young, rh Sir George

Zahawi, Nadhim

Tellers for the Noes:

Dr Thérèse Coffey

and

Harriett Baldwin

Question accordingly negatived.

19 Nov 2014 : Column 313

19 Nov 2014 : Column 314

19 Nov 2014 : Column 315

19 Nov 2014 : Column 316

Clause 116

Abolition of requirements to hold meetings: company insolvency

Amendment made: 59, page 93, line 13, leave out “one creditor makes” and insert

“the prescribed proportion of the creditors or (as the case may be) of the contributories make”.—(Matthew Hancock.)

This is to overturn an Opposition amendment made at committee.

Clause 123

Administration: sales to connected persons

Amendment made: 60, page 101, line 38, leave out from beginning to “House” in line 39 and insert

“Regulations under this paragraph may not be made unless a draft of the statutory instrument containing the regulations has been laid before Parliament and approved by a resolution of each”.—(Matthew Hancock.)

This amendment changes the regulation making power inserted by clause 123 from negative to affirmative resolution procedure.

Clause 147

Section 146(1): further provision

Amendments made: 61, page 137, line 14, leave out paragraph (d) and insert—

“(d) imposing duties, in connection with a qualifying exit payment, on—

(i) the exit payee,

(ii) the responsible authority, and

(iii) the subsequent authority;”.

This amendment clarifies clause 147 to show that regulations under clause 146 allow for duties in connection with qualifying exit payments to be placed on the exit payee, the authority that made the payment and the authority that re-engaged the exit payee as an employee, contractor or office holder.

Amendment 62, page 137, line 17, at end insert—

“() for preventing the exit payee from becoming an employee or a contractor, or a holder of a public sector office, as mentioned in subsection (1) until the arrangements required by virtue of paragraph (e) have been made;”.

This amendment adds provision to enable an exit payee to be prevented from being re-engaged by a public sector authority, as an employee, contractor or office holder, until after arrangements for repaying the exit payment have been made.

Amendment 63, page 137, line 19, at end insert—

‘( ) In subsection (3)(d)(iii) the “subsequent authority” means—

(a) in relation to an exit payee who becomes an employee or a contractor, the public sector authority of which the exit payee becomes an employee or a contractor, or

(b) in relation to an exit payee who becomes a holder of a public sector office, the authority which is responsible for the appointment.”.

This amendment is linked to amendment 61. It explains that the “subsequent authority” is the authority that re-engaged the exit payee as an employee, contractor or office holder.

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Amendment 64, page 137, line 20, leave out “subsection (1)” and insert “this section”.—(Matthew Hancock.)

This amendment is consequential on amendments 62 and 63. It ensures that subsection (4) of clause 147 applies in relation to all the references to contractors in the clause as amended.

Schedule 3

Register of people with significant control

Amendments made: 65, page 149, line 40, leave out “negative” and insert “affirmative”.

This amendment changes the regulation-making power under section 790B(1)(b) from negative to affirmative resolution procedure.

Amendment 66, page 150, leave out lines 8 to 11.

This amendment removes section 790C(4), which is deemed unnecessary in light of provision made in relation to joint holders of shares or rights in new paragraph 9A of Schedule 1A (as inserted by amendment 78).

Amendment 67, page 150, line 14, leave out from second “they” to “is” in line 16 and insert

“do not hold any interest in the company except through one or more other legal entities over each of which they have significant control and each of which”.

This amendment clarifies that an individual is “non-registrable” in relation to the company only if their interest in the company is held solely through one or more relevant legal entities over which they have significant control.

Amendment 68, page 150, leave out lines 21 to 24.

This amendment removes section 790C(6). Provision made in section 790C(6) is now contained within the new subsection inserted by amendment 70.

Amendment 69, page 150, line 42, leave out from “if” to “is” in line 44 and insert

“it does not hold any interest in the company except through one or more other legal entities over each of which it has significant control and each of which”.

This amendment clarifies that a relevant legal entity is “non-registrable” in relation to the company only if its interest in the company is held solely through one or more other relevant legal entities over which it has significant control.

Amendment 70, page 151, line 3, at end insert—

‘( ) For the purposes of subsections (5) and (10)—

(a) whether someone—

(i) holds an interest in a company, or

(ii) holds that interest through another legal entity,

is to be determined in accordance with Part 1A of Schedule 1A;

(b) whether someone has significant control over that other legal entity, is to be determined in accordance with subsections (2) and (3) and Part 1 of Schedule 1A, reading references in those provisions to the company as references to that other entity.”.

This amendment provides that sections 790C(2) and (3) and Schedule 1A determine whether someone holds an interest in a company, whether they hold that interest through another legal entity, and whether they have significant control over that entity.

Amendment 71, page 151, line 25, after “Regulations” insert

“under subsection (9)(d) are subject to affirmative resolution procedure.

‘( ) Subject to subsection (14), regulations”.

This amendment provides that regulations made under section 790C(9)(d) will be subject to the affirmative rather than negative resolution procedure.

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Amendment 72, page 168, line 38, leave out from “X” to “more” in line 39 and insert “holds, directly or indirectly,”.

This amendment is consequential on amendment 84.

Amendment 73, page 168, line 40, leave out from “Y” to end of line 41.

This amendment is consequential on amendment 84.

Amendment 74, page 169, line 2, leave out “is entitled” and insert “holds the right”.

This amendment is consequential on amendment 84.

Amendment 75, page 169, line 4, leave out from “Y” to end of line 6.

This amendment is consequential on amendment 84.

Amendment 76, page 169, leave out lines 19 to 30.

This amendment removes paragraphs 7 and 8 from Part 1 of Schedule 1A. Provision made in these paragraphs is now contained within new paragraphs 9A and 9B of Part 2 of Schedule 1A inserted by amendment 78.

Amendment 77, page 169, line 30, at end insert—

Part 1A

Holding an interest in a company etc

Introduction

8A This Part of this Schedule specifies the circumstances in which, for the purposes of section 790C(5) or (10)—

(a) a person (“V”) is to be regarded as holding an interest in a company (“company W”);

(b) an interest held by V in company W is to be regarded as held through a legal entity.

Holding an interest

8B (1) V holds an interest in company W if—

(a) V holds shares in company W, directly or indirectly,

(b) V holds, directly or indirectly, voting rights in company W,

(c) V holds, directly or indirectly, the right to appoint or remove any member of the board of directors of company W,

(d) V has the right to exercise, or actually exercises, significant influence or control over company W, or

(e) sub-paragraph (2) is satisfied.

(2) This sub-paragraph is satisfied where—

(a) the trustees of a trust or the members of a firm that, under the law by which it is governed, is not a legal person hold an interest in company W in a way mentioned in sub-paragraph (1)(a) to (d), and

(b) V has the right to exercise, or actually exercises, significant influence or control over the activities of that trust or firm.

Interests held through a legal entity

8C (1) This paragraph applies where V—

(a) holds an interest in company W by virtue of indirectly holding shares or a right, and

(b) does so by virtue of having a majority stake (see paragraph 15) in—

(i) a legal entity (“L”) which holds the shares or right directly, or

(ii) a legal entity that is part of a chain of legal entities such as is described in paragraph 15(1)(b) or (2)(b) that includes L.

(2) Where this paragraph applies, V holds the interest in company W—

(a) through L, and

(b) through each other legal entity in the chain mentioned in sub-paragraph (1)(b)(ii).”.

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This amendment inserts new Part 1A to Schedule 1A. Part 1A specifies what is meant by holding an interest in a company, including through a relevant legal entity, for the purposes of determining under section 790C whether a person is or is not “registrable”.

Amendment 78, page 169, line 34, at end insert—

“Joint interests

9A If two or more persons each hold a share or right jointly, each of them is treated for the purposes of this Schedule as holding that share or right.

Joint arrangements

9B (1) If shares or rights held by a person and shares or rights held by another person are the subject of a joint arrangement between those persons, each of them is treated for the purposes of this Schedule as holding the combined shares or rights of both of them.

(2) A “joint arrangement” is an arrangement between the holders of shares (or rights) that they will exercise all or substantially all the rights conferred by their respective shares (or rights) jointly in a way that is pre-determined by the arrangement.

(3) “Arrangement” has the meaning given by paragraph 17.”.

This amendment inserts provisions in relation to joint interests and joint arrangements to Part 2 of Schedule 1A for the purpose of interpreting that Schedule.

Amendment 79, page 170, line 1, after “capital” insert

“—

(a) a reference to holding shares in that entity is to holding a right to share in the capital or, as the case may be, profits of that entity;

(b) ”.

This amendment clarifies what is meant by a reference to holding shares in a legal entity that does not have a share capital.

Amendment 80, page 170, line 11, after “rights” insert

“—

(a) a reference to exercising voting rights in the entity is to be read as a reference to exercising rights in relation to the entity that are equivalent to those of a person entitled to exercise voting rights in a company;

(b) ”.

This amendment clarifies what is meant by a reference to exercising voting rights in a legal entity that does not have general meetings where matters are decided by the exercise of voting rights.

Amendment 81, page 170, line 35, leave out from “person” to “if” in line 36 and insert “holds a right “indirectly” ”.

This amendment is consequential on amendment 84.

Amendment 82, page 170, line 38, leave out from “(a)” to “that” and insert “holds”.

This amendment is consequential on amendment 84.

Amendment 83, page 170, line 43, leave out from “which” to “that” in line 44 and insert “holds”.

This amendment is consequential on amendment 84.

Amendment 84, page 171, line 17, leave out from beginning to end of line 19 and insert—

“Shares held by nominees

15A A share held by a person as nominee for another is to be treated for the purposes of this Schedule as held by the other (and not by the nominee).

Rights treated as held by person who controls their exercise

16 (1) Where a person controls a right, the right is to be treated for the purposes of this Schedule as held by that person (and not by the person who in fact holds the right, unless that person also controls it).

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(2) A person “controls” a right if, by virtue of any arrangement between that person and others, the right is”.

This amendment provides that where a share is held by a nominee on behalf of a person, the share is treated as held by that person. Where a right held by a person is controlled by another person, the right is treated as held by that other person.

Amendment 85, page 172, leave out lines 30 to 41.

This amendment removes paragraphs 21 and 22 of Schedule 1A. Provision made in paragraphs 21 and 22 is now dealt with in the new paragraphs inserted by amendments 78 and 84.

Amendment 86, page 173, leave out line 10.

This amendment is consequential on amendment 84.

Amendment 87, page 174, line 25, leave out “is entitled to exercise” and insert “holds”.

This amendment is consequential on amendment 84.

Amendment 88, page 174, line 26, leave out “is entitled to appoint or remove a majority” and insert

“holds the right to appoint or remove any member”.

This amendment is consequential on amendment 77.

Amendment 89, page 174, line 29, leave out “entitlement” and insert “right”.

This amendment is consequential on amendment 84.

Amendment 90, page 174, line 31, leave out from “is” to “and” in line 33 and insert

“by virtue of paragraph 15A or 16 of that Schedule, treated for the purposes of that Schedule as held by a person other than the person who in fact holds the interest, both the holder”. —(Matthew Hancock.)

This amendment is consequential on amendment 84.

Third Reading

Queen’s and Prince of Wales’s consent signified.

2.57 pm

The Minister for Business and Enterprise (Matthew Hancock): I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

I would like to start by thanking all hon. Members who have contributed to the scrutiny of the Bill, both in Committee and on Report. There has been considerable consensus and agreement on many of the measures, and I welcome the support from Members on both sides of the House for our doing everything we can to improve the environment for small businesses. It is a clear goal of this Government to make Britain the best place in the world to start and grow a business, and this Bill, the first of its kind, will make a significant contribution to that. Small businesses make a huge contribution to the UK, accounting for around half of UK jobs and a third of private sector turnover, and they are vital to our prosperity and to the UK economy.

The Bill strengthens and improves the way in which regulation is dealt with in government. We have introduced the one-in, one-out and the one-in, two-out approaches to regulatory management, and these have delivered over £1.5 billion of savings per year to businesses since January 2011. I am delighted that there has been support for enshrining the principles of transparent regulatory management in legislation through the regulatory reform measures.

The Bill makes significant inroads into improving the business environment for small businesses even further while also, crucially, providing new protections for the employees who lie at the heart of our recovery. For the

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first time, we have addressed the abuses of zero-hours contracts. Despite Labour’s promises going back 20 years, no action was taken. Now, however, we have passed legislation to address exclusivity in zero-hours contracts.

Ian Murray: Will the Minister tell the House how he can enforce the provisions on exclusivity clauses?

Matthew Hancock: Thanks to the Bill, exclusivity clauses will no longer be valid; they will be null and void. The Opposition promised to do this in opposition last time around, they did nothing about it for 13 years and now they witter on about impractical solutions, whereas this Government are interested in making changes that will improve the labour market. I am proud that we are doing this at the same time as increasing the number of jobs in this economy to record levels.

Andy McDonald: The Minister has not said how he is going to enforce this. How will it be enforced—will he answer, please?

Matthew Hancock: As I said, not only will any exclusivity clause be null and void, but we are consulting on those powers. If the hon. Gentleman actually wanted to get into the detail of trying to sort this out, he would know that that consultation was happening—perhaps he will even respond to it. One thing that happened during the passage of this Bill was that it became clear that the Labour party had not been engaged in any of the consultations about any of the improvements we are making. Instead of making partisan points, we are making it easier to do business and to employ people, and we are strengthening people’s rights where their employment contracts are abused, but doing so in a way that can allow small businesses to continue to grow, employ and take people on.

Julie Hilling (Bolton West) (Lab): The Minister is trumpeting getting rid of the exclusivity clauses as a marvellous thing, but how does it help workers if, instead of having one zero-hours contract with one employer, they end up with several zero-hours contracts with several employers? That does not get to the heart of the problem, which is the abuse of workers on zero-hours contracts.

Matthew Hancock: The heart of the problem is that for 13 years the Labour party, having promised to do something about this issue, did absolutely nothing about it. Tackling this issue is about making sure we remove the abusive practices while also supporting the flexible labour market to ensure that people can get jobs altogether. Our reforms demonstrate that we can both deal with the abusive practices—for example, by tackling people who do not pay the national minimum wage and tackling the abuse of zero-hours contracts—and have a jobs recovery. The best way to help people is to make sure they have access to a job.

I am glad that on Second Reading the Bill had all-party support and that, throughout, we have had more than enough time to consider the issues—indeed, we have had time to spare. The fairness and transparency agenda that is also a crucial part of the Bill is all about making sure that businesses that do the right thing are not undercut by those that do not.

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Robert Neill (Bromley and Chislehurst) (Con): I recognise the importance of the initiatives set out in part 8. Does the Minister recognise that, consistent with his observation about making sure there is proportionality, before any regulations relating to part 8 are drawn up, careful consultation should take place with those directly affected in the financial sectors and, in particular, great attention should be given to the security risks that might arise if a register is held online?

Matthew Hancock: I strongly agree with my hon. Friend. Improving transparency internationally is important in ensuring that we tackle crime and have a system that people trust, but we have to introduce things in a way that supports legitimate business, does not put undue burdens on business and is secure in terms of the data held. The points he makes are important.

We have increased parliamentary scrutiny of the business impact target—the target for regulatory reduction. We heard in Committee that the Labour party would make no commitment to tackle the burden of regulation on business, whereas we have our one-in, two-out rule. We are ensuring that the targets and the associated metrics will have to be laid before Parliament when they are set or amended. We have also changed the Secretary of State’s powers on administration sales to connected parties and certain elements of the register of people with significant control, so that they are now subject to the affirmative resolution procedure, not the negative one.

We have also introduced new topics during the Bill’s passage, making it easier for small businesses to access finance. Research suggests that 71% of small businesses approach only one finance provider. Our change will ensure that those who want to do so, having been rejected by their bank, can have their details passed on, to encourage greater competition among finance providers. One problem was that there were few different finance providers—the number of banks had shrunk over the past couple of decades—but now, thankfully, the competition is very successfully coming back into the market for finance.

Mr Jim Cunningham (Coventry South) (Lab): I am sure the Minister has covered this before, but it is worth saying again that one big problem for small businesses comes when the larger companies do not pay up on time and they then get a cash-flow problem.

Matthew Hancock: The hon. Gentleman is dead right about that and he anticipates my next paragraph. We have also strengthened measures to support prompt payment, acting both to increase transparency, so that when companies do not pay on time that is made clear, and to strengthen public sector prompt payment so that the sector can lead by example. I am grateful for that intervention.

We have also included a new clause on home businesses to remove the incentive, dating from a very old Act of Parliament, for landlords to prohibit tenants from operating a business from home. Home businesses are the hotbed of enterprise; 70% of new businesses are started at home, and we want to make it easier for that to happen. We have also strengthened support for the early-years pupil premium to help three and four-year-olds from less well-off backgrounds by amending the Bill to enable Departments to disclose to local authorities information on eligibility, while ensuring that unlawful disclosure of such data continues to be an offence.

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Questions were raised in Committee about the scrutiny of complaints handling procedures in the financial services sector, so we have introduced a measure to require the independent complaints commissioners to produce an annual assessment of complaints handling. That will ensure that processes are fair and accessible to all complainants, including small business.

Finally, on pubs, the Government have listened and responded to the concerns about the burdens the measures would place on family brewers and removed these smaller companies from the scope of the code during the passage of the Bill. Yesterday, we saw the House express its will, and we will reflect on that vote during the Bill’s further passage.

Toby Perkins (Chesterfield) (Lab): Is the Minister not being a little disingenuous to suggest that the Government have listened to what the Committee said, because they voted against the Committee on the family brewers issue and indeed yesterday they tabled another amendment to try to defeat the will of the House on that matter? Is not the truth that the Government have realised this is a battle they cannot win and they have given in?

Matthew Hancock: No. As the hon. Gentleman knows, no amendments were moved yesterday on family brewers. We will reflect on the vote on the larger pubcos and the mandatory free-of-tie option as the Bill continues its passage in the other place.

Bill Esterson: The Minister says he is going to reflect on the vote, with the will of the House being the market rent only option. I know he has spent his time apologising to the Prime Minister for losing that vote, but perhaps I may press him on the point. This will be taken to the House of Lords. Is he going to try to overturn the will of the elected House or not?

Matthew Hancock: As I have said, the House has made its position clear and we will reflect on that vote ahead of consideration in the other place. That is a very clear exposition of the position.

On the question of how we can ensure that Britain can compete in the future, that we can support businesses and the jobs and prosperity that they bring, that this country is the best place in the world in which to start and grow a business, and that we make things as easy as possible for all those who have the spark of an idea and want to turn it into commercial reality, I say that there have been few Governments in history that have done more for small businesses than this one. For the first time in modern history, we are on track to reduce the burden of domestic regulation—something that was never achieved by the Labour party. With these measures in the Bill adding to a multitude of others that have already been taken, we are doing all we can to support the British people and to ensure that we have a long-term economic plan that can secure for you, Madam Deputy Speaker, and for families across the country, the prosperity that we all want to see.

3.10 pm

Toby Perkins: I echo the Minister’s thanks to everyone who has contributed to the surprising and interesting passage of this Bill. I thank my shadow ministerial colleagues, my hon. Friends the Members for Edinburgh South (Ian Murray) and for Hartlepool (Mr Wright),

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and all the other members on our team who have contributed to the valuable scrutiny of some very important measures. The Bill posed a number of questions and challenges for the Government, and I look forward to investigating and exploring the extent to which they have been delivered.

I also thank the Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, the hon. Member for East Dunbartonshire (Jo Swinson), for her work—the Minister did not get the opportunity to thank her in his contribution—and all the other Members who contributed to an interesting Committee stage.

When we first saw this Bill, it was our strong belief that it was jammed full of missed opportunities. It confronted many of the big questions that people in our constituencies raise. I am talking here about late payments, zero-hours contracts, the minimum wage, insolvency and how our insolvency regimes works, and how we can provide more support to parents in the form of child care. It also addressed this key question of the relationship between pub companies and their tenants, and the Government’s role in all that.

On Second Reading, I said that this House had the chance to pass a small business Bill that did not miss out on many of those key opportunities, and I must say now that we did rather better than I expected, especially on the subject of pub companies. We can be satisfied that, as a Committee, we made progress in some of those areas. What we need is not soundbites on a long-term economic plan, but a Government who deliver on that plan and support a skills-based economy in which people go to work knowing that they can afford to pay their bills at the end of the working week. We want real investment in high-quality apprenticeships and good relationships between businesses in which we can all have confidence. I am talking there about the thorny subject of late payments and the relationship between pub companies and their tenants. This Bill leaves this House having missed out on a whole score of opportunities, but it is none the less stronger than it was at the outset, so the Committee and indeed the whole House must take great credit for that.

Labour has demonstrated real leadership in supporting small businesses through the course of this Bill. The fact that the Government agreed with the spirit behind many of our amendments, but not the specific wording, suggests that we were indeed on the right lines. I am glad that we managed to secure some concessions from the Government in a few of those areas, and the Bill is much the stronger for it.

Mr Jim Cunningham: I am sure my hon. Friend will agree that the test of this Bill will be in its implementation. We want to see what happens with things such as low pay and zero-hours contracts. We hear fine words in the House, but it is what happens out there that is important, because there is a great deal of insecurity at the moment.

Toby Perkins: My hon. Friend makes an excellent point. He is absolutely right. Let me take this opportunity to say that he is a fine MP, and I know that because he is my father’s MP. My father speaks very warmly about his contribution. The last point my hon. Friend made was typical of him. He is speaking up for a city, with a varied post-industrial economy and a proud manufacturing history. Its university is one of the most important in the country, and a massive employer in his constituency.

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Mr Cunningham: I thank my hon. Friend for paying such a compliment to Coventry. In the last recession, during the Thatcher years, we lost thousands of jobs in the motor car trade. We learned a lesson from that, because we diversified. More importantly though, we still have the development centre for Jaguar Land Rover and the university technical college, which is due to take off any day now.

Toby Perkins: My hon. Friend is absolutely right to trumpet the manufacturing excellence of his city and Jaguar Land Rover. We are delighted that Mike Wright from JLR is producing a review for the Labour party, as he is a much-respected figure. For our economy to work in the long term, it is incredibly important that we have a real skill base. I am glad that my hon. Friend raised that point. I am also pleased that he talked about the lessons that we learned from the industrial vandalism of the 1970s which that had appalling consequences for his city. None of us will forget the song “Ghost Town” that was written by the Coventry band The Specials. It reflected precisely that sense of desolation when industries disappeared. He is right to say that the city has learned lessons from that. To repay the debt, we must ensure that we never make the same mistakes again, which is why Labour is coming forward with an economic strategy that is based on skill and on competing with high-wage and successful world economies. We are not even attempting to be part of this race to the bottom or to scrap with the developing world on who can be the cheapest employer. What we are saying is that we need to look again at the way that our economy works.

Mr Cunningham: Interestingly, when Coventry city council joined with the university of Warwick to set up a business park, we were heavily criticised by the then Conservative Government. Two years down the road, it is clear that it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. Creating business parks was the way to go, and we did it in Coventry.

Toby Perkins: I could not agree more. That is an example of how Government and industry can work together to build the high-skill, high-wage economy that we want, which is in stark contrast to the kind of economy that has developed under this Government. My parents worked at Warwick university, and if we compare the size of that university in the ’70s, when I first came to the area, with its size today, we see the real difference that investment can make.

Gordon Birtwistle: Surely the hon. Gentleman agrees that the advances in apprenticeships and high-tech skills that the coalition Government are delivering represent progress from the previous 15 or 20 years. The number of apprentices is approaching 2 million, and many companies in the aerospace, automotive and oil sectors have jumped on the fact that we need such skills to be delivered. Does the hon. Gentleman accept that progress has been made, or is he still thinking back to the days of Thatcher 30 years ago?

Toby Perkins: I accept that some progress has been made. There was a real rebirth in apprenticeships over the second half of the previous Government’s time in office and the current Government have said a lot about apprenticeships. However, I was disappointed that they did not support our amendments on apprenticeships,

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and people will feel short-changed because the Bill represented a real opportunity for the Government to take substantive steps on apprenticeships.

The hon. Gentleman is right to point out that many employers recognise the importance and value of apprenticeships. However, the number of under-19 apprenticeships is falling, and there has been a big increase in the rebadging of programmes that were previously known as back-to-work schemes as apprenticeships. I hope that the hon. Gentleman does not mind me saying that he was the oldest new Member of the 2010 generation. Older workers are incredibly important, as is demonstrated by the vigour with which he performs his tasks, and no one would describe him as an apprentice, but many older workers with a huge amount to offer our economy are being classified as though they are apprentices.

Jonathan Edwards (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr) (PC): The hon. Gentleman talked about the need to tackle the problem of low-wage jobs. Today’s report by the Office for National Statistics indicates that workers in Wales earn an average of £473.40 a week, whereas the UK average is £518 and the London average is £660.50. How would a future Labour Government tackle that wage inequality?

Toby Perkins: The hon. Gentleman makes an important point. I am glad that Members can cite important statistics by the ONS in the Chamber, given the importance of our having statistical accuracy which we have heard about.

On the hon. Gentleman’s specific question, we have a commitment on the living wage for businesses involved in major Government contracts, as well as to increasing the minimum wage to £8 by 2020. We also have a broader commitment to a skills-based economy in which we can create jobs that deliver wages that people can live on, as ultimately that is what will make the biggest difference to increasing wages, rather than the use of Government regulation as a silver bullet.

The small business community took pleasure from the arrival of a small business Bill. We give the Government credit for bringing forward a Bill with the words “Small Business” in its title, as such businesses have been overlooked in recent years. However, sadly, the opportunity to include in the Bill many of the measures that we proposed to benefit small business has passed us by. Provision on late payments is a classic example, as the Government had a real opportunity to support a late payment plan that would ensure that the onus to pursue payment—eventually through the courts, but initially through invoicing—was removed from small businesses that are owed money. Despite the sensible evidence that the Committee heard from the hon. Member for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport (Oliver Colvile), among others, about why small businesses do not pursue their big business customers, the Government did not support our measure, which was backed by the Forum of Private Business and the Federation of Small Businesses, and would have been a significant step forward. However, on a more positive note, the Government talked yesterday about how they could strengthen the prompt payment code and ensure that businesses with payment terms of longer than 60 days would not be considered to be prompt payers.

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Bill Esterson: Will my hon. Friend give way?

Madam Deputy Speaker (Mrs Eleanor Laing): Order. Before the hon. Member for Chesterfield (Toby Perkins) considers giving way, I must point out to him that this is an extremely short debate, that he has had plenty of time to speak over the past two days, that many Members in the Chamber have not spoken on the Bill at all in those two days, and that he has spoken for longer than the Minister. However, I leave it up to the hon. Gentleman; he has the floor.

Toby Perkins: Of course I take your guidance, Madam Deputy Speaker, and I shall attempt to crack on but, as we said yesterday, the programme order gives us a pathetically short period of time to debate the Bill.

Matthew Hancock rose—

Toby Perkins: I shall give way in a moment.

Indeed, the hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr Djanogly) tabled amendments, but he did not even have the opportunity—

Matthew Hancock rose—

Toby Perkins: I can see you, but I am saying something at the moment. The hon. Member for Huntingdon wished to move an amendment—

Madam Deputy Speaker: Order. This is not the moment for discussing the programme order. We have very little time left in which to consider this important Bill, and the hon. Gentleman must stick to his Third Reading points—briefly.

Toby Perkins: I think that that rather makes my point, Madam Deputy Speaker.

At the start of the Bill’s passage, our objectives were clear—[Interruption.] The Minister for Business and Enterprise is getting angry now. I appreciate that he has had a pretty difficult couple of days, but he should have been apologising last night not to the Prime Minister, but to all the publicans he was trying to get in the way of and all the people he has let down. He turned up late to the start of the Bill’s proceedings in Committee and its passage has been a shambles. If this is his Churchillian way of taking measures through Parliament, he should have spent a little more time at the knee of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, as he might have learned a little more.

Matthew Hancock: You are an embarrassment.

Toby Perkins: Frankly, the right hon. Gentleman is the one who ought to be a bit embarrassed.

Let me continue by talking about pub companies. The right hon. Gentleman was not in the Chamber for much of yesterday’s debate, but had he been, he would have realised why we were able to convince people that the Government’s proposals on pub companies did not go nearly far enough and that real change was needed. It is a matter of tremendous pride that we were able to convince hon. Members on both sides of the House to express their will in support of the market rent only option. The Minister’s attitude and the approach that he is taking demonstrate how the Government have lost all the arguments on that. I am glad to see that they are not going to try to bring the family brewers back into the scope of the measure, even though he is wrong to

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say that no amendment was withdrawn yesterday. A series of amendments were withdrawn yesterday that would have attempted to bring the family brewers back in. I hope he reflects carefully before attempting to change in another place something that was the will of this House.

Tom Blenkinsop: On a slightly different note, I wanted to raise one factor that was highlighted to me. There has not been one speech or one single contribution from a Scottish nationalist during the entire—

Madam Deputy Speaker (Mrs Eleanor Laing): Order. That is not a point for Third Reading. I asked the hon. Member for Chesterfield (Toby Perkins) to be brief because there are people who have had no chance to speak in this debate. I trust that what the Chair says will be listened to.

Toby Perkins: My hon. Friend the Member for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland (Tom Blenkinsop) was making an important point, but I accept your guidance, Madam Deputy Speaker.

We have come to the end of the Bill. We look forward to it coming back here. It has been strengthened in respect of prompt payment and includes the market rent only option and a pubs code that the industry has demanded for many years, but we have not seen serious action on zero hours. We have seen a Government at the fag-end of their time in power doing the least they could on the question of zero hours, which shows their lack of commitment to dealing with the issue. None the less, the Bill leaves Report stronger than it arrived, and the House should be very proud of that.

3.31 pm

Mr Jonathan Djanogly (Huntingdon) (Con): I declare my interests as they appear in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests.

On Second Reading I raised my concerns about the provisions in clause 75 and part 7, and related issues in part 8 and schedule 3, to set up a register of people with significant control—in effect, a register of beneficial ownership. I questioned whether they would have benefit in terms of countering illegal activity or investigating tax evasion, even if this was at the triple cost of loss of privacy, increasing the regulatory burden on companies and threatening investment in British companies. Since that time, my concerns that we are doing the wrong thing have increased, not reduced.

I am sorry not to have been given time to speak to my tabled amendments. It is of concern also that the issue of privacy was not raised by any amendments tabled in Committee, with the honourable exception of the wise remarks made by my hon. Friend the Member for Newark (Robert Jenrick) in the stand part debate. He raised the key question: how many of the 22.5 million English companies is it actually suspected may be subject to some wrongdoing that could be tackled by these proposals? This question has yet to be answered by the Minister or anyone else. I respectfully suggest that this is not the proper process for encouraging investment or portraying this Government as business-friendly.

The Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, the hon. Member for East Dunbartonshire (Jo Swinson), replied in Committee that the impact assessments undertaken indicated that

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“our proposed measures are lawful, necessary and proportionate”––[Official Report, Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Public Bill Committee, 30 October 2014; c. 423.]

So I went through the impact assessment, and I cannot find such justification at all. In fact, it is by some way the weakest case I have ever read in an impact assessment. For instance, the impact assessment makes it clear that there exists little or no data or academic literature quantifying the proposition that a reduction in crime will follow as a result of a register of people with significant control.

My prediction is that these part 7, clause 75 and schedule 3 provisions will not work. In many instances there will be confusion as to who or what is a shareholder with significant control—for instance, in terms of family holdings, let alone complicated trusts, with expensive advice then required. The proposed data collection method is based on self-reporting, with no verification mechanism, which could make it easy, especially for non-resident shareholders, to misreport or simply to give the shares to someone else to hold.

For the purpose of this debate, let us take as our starting point the G8 agreement that companies should know who their shareholders are. I repeat: companies—not commercial competitors, NGOs, direct marketers, spammers or providers of financial services looking for clients, let alone criminals, fraudsters and all the others who could use or misuse information provided under these provisions.

Now we have the further G20 communiqué proposing a crackdown on secret shell companies. However, this was not accompanied by a call for share registers to be made public. So how did we get from the narrow G8 and G20 proposals to what we have in the Bill?

Robert Neill: My hon. Friend is making a powerful case and I very much agree with him. Is it not significant that on the back of the G7 discussions these proposals might be extended to the British overseas territories and Crown dependencies, many of which are already well in advance of most other jurisdictions on transparency on an international scale?

Mr Djanogly: That may be the case, but it has not been said in public.

There is a hint in the impact assessment that, amazingly, provides only two alternatives—do nothing and rely on voluntary campaigns, or jump all the way to the Bill provisions and propose company registers, with companies reporting annually to Companies House. But why does the impact assessment not review more focused registration regimes? That will now need to be addressed in the other place.

This is not an academic issue. In particular, there seems to have been a wholesale disregard for the material impact that these provisions will have on privacy. People can buy assets privately unless the asset is public, such as a listed stock. They may not want other people to know what they own; they may have cultural, security or even religious-based concerns about people knowing that they own part of a company. What evidence do the Government offer in the impact assessment to justify destroying this right of privacy? Very little.

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As for the increase in the regulatory burden, the impact assessment talks of implementation costs on companies and ongoing costs. It also says that the costs to people who need to register their interests cannot be ascertained, and those are the same people who may have to take expensive advice.

Investment in British companies is also threatened. The impact assessment methodology is again flawed, because it looks at the quantity of companies affected, not the quality. In other words, one lost huge Chinese investor deciding not to use or invest in an English company could be very damaging to UK plc, even if a thousand single-owner tiny companies say that this measure will not impact upon them. Again, the impact assessment does not support the Government’s contention that they remain convinced that this reform will be good for business and the UK business environment. What the IA actually says is:

“There is a risk that we have not accurately accounted for this potential impact on overseas investment in the UK and UK competitiveness . . . particularly since the UK will likely be a ‘first mover.’”

One has to ask why we should be the first mover, with associated risks as we claw ourselves away from recession.

And here’s the rub: foreign companies will not have to keep this register, which means that British people who legitimately wish to retain their privacy will be forced not to use English companies, but to use, say, Irish or British Virgin Islands ones instead. As always, it will be the relatively small, unsophisticated businessman who bears the weight of regulation aimed at catching drug smugglers, which I suggest these proposals will fail to do anyway.

Looking at this Bill as it goes to the other place, I would consider abolishing the need for companies to file annual returns of their PSCs—that is, returns that will be outdated within five minutes of being filed. Accepting that the company PSC register is instigated to comply with the G8 and G20 requirements, if the company does not wish to release the PSC register voluntarily, the applicant should have to ask the court for access. I suggest that the proper purpose grounds for access should be restricted to national security, personal safety issues and tax investigations.

In this way Government crime and tax agencies would be able to make their inquiries, but the registers would still protect privacy for those companies that wished to respect this right. At the same time, the unjustified costs and regulation of keeping the central register would be abolished and foreign investors would not be put off investing in the UK. Finally, investors, especially British investors, would be saved the irrationality of having to trade through UK branches of foreign companies in order to retain their privacy rights. There is time for the other place to review these provisions, and I hope it does so.

Matthew Hancock: Given that there will be no winding-up speeches in this debate, I would like to say for the record that many of the points that my hon. Friend has made, and made eloquently, will be considered in the consultation and, no doubt, in the other place. The key is to deliver on the agreements we have made internationally, and to do so in a business-friendly way. There are reassurances we can give on some of those

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points, and I know that he is meeting the Minister responsible in due course. I hope that gives him some satisfaction.

Mr Djanogly: I am very pleased indeed to hear that confirmation from the Minister. I look forward to having further meetings and seeing progress, because I can assure the House that there is a lot of concern about these provisions out there in the country, and it needs to be listened to.

3.39 pm

Bill Esterson: The Bill has the words “Small Business” firmly in the title, but the measures it introduces also cover employment. We did not discuss what the hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr Djanogly) talked about at all, but a strong theme running through much of what we did talk about was the insecurity that is endemic in our society today, whether for small businesses or in employment. The question that I do not think has been answered in Committee, on Report and on Third Reading is whether the measures in the Bill will address that insecurity.

We had some very good debates on pub companies, and an amendment that will help family brewers was made in Committee. That will go a long way towards helping that sector. Then we had yesterday’s fantastic decision by the House to support the market rent only option, which Members across the House and many outside have long campaigned for. I know that Elaine Lynch of the Weld Blundell in Lydiate will be one of many publicans in my constituency who will welcome that decision.

Another issue we debated long and hard, including on Report, was late payment. As my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry South (Mr Cunningham) said, we will have to wait and see whether the Bill makes a difference in practice. One in five business failures are the result of late payment. Some £39.4 billion in late payments, or £38,000 on average, is overdue to small businesses. The Government have missed an opportunity by not supporting our amendment on an automatic 8% charge on late payments. As the Forum of Private Business has stated, that would have made a significant difference and gone a long way towards reducing the time and cost that small firms spend chasing late payments, allowing them to concentrate on growing their business and creating jobs.

I think that opportunities have been missed with regard to employment, zero-hours contracts, the exploitation of workers and abuse of the national minimum wage. The Government have promised to do things without actually putting measures in the Bill. We will have to wait and see whether they make a difference or not. In my constituency, 40% of workers are paid less than the living wage. Across the country that is a huge problem for many people and their families, whether as the result of the growth in part-time work, zero-hours contracts or bogus forms of self-employment. The reality is that the change in the nature of employment and the growth

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in low pay are fundamental reasons why the deficit has gone up, despite the Government’s claim that they would get it down, because tax receipts are not being collected. That is the reality of what life is like—

Madam Deputy Speaker (Mrs Eleanor Laing): Order. I asked the hon. Gentleman to be brief. I trust that he will listen to the Chair.

Bill Esterson: Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. I made that point because the Bill was an opportunity to tackle some of the problems at the heart of our economy, to build an economy that works for small businesses and for ordinary people, and I do not think that the Government have come anywhere near that. That is why we need a Labour Government to support small business and people on low pay. This Bill is a missed opportunity. I hope that the Government can deliver on some of the things they said in Committee and on Report, but we will have to wait and see.

3.43 pm

Nadhim Zahawi (Stratford-on-Avon) (Con): In the short time remaining I will make only a few points and post the rest of my speech online. This is an ambitious Bill. The Government have, for the first time, legislated specifically for small business, which will strengthen the recovery and see further support directed to Stratford’s job creators.

On procurement, the Labour party left office with only 6.5% of public procurement going to small and medium-sized businesses. Not only were smaller firms denied a chance to compete on a level playing field, but the taxpayer was denied value for money. The Bill will put that right.

Next, and crucially for businesses in my constituency, the Bill contains important measures on access to finance. Everyone agrees on the need for more competition in the business lending market. The Bill will open that market. Banks will be required to refer businesses to other providers and, crucially, business lending data will be available for new challengers. This is about making sure that finance keeps up with the economic recovery.

Alongside access to capital, the Bill addresses cash flow through, in particular, measures to create a more responsible payment culture. The payment practices of all large companies will now be published, the prompt payment code will be strengthened, and the public sector will lead by example.

3.45 pm

Three hours having elapsed since the commencement of proceedings on consideration, the debate was interrupted (Programme Order, 18 November).

The Deputy Speaker put forthwith the Question already proposed from the Chair (Standing Order No. 83E), That the Bill be now read the Third time.

Question agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed.

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Opposition Day

[Unallotted Half-Day]

EU Justice and Home Affairs Measures

[Relevant documents: Twenty-first Report from the European Scrutiny Committee, Session 2013-14, The UK’s block opt-out of pre-Lisbon criminal law and policing measures, HC 683, and the Government Response, HC 978; Seventeenth Report from the European Scrutiny Committee, The UK’s block opt-out decision: summary and update Report, HC 762; Nineteenth Report from the European Scrutiny Committee, Documents considered by the Committee on 5 November 2014, HC 219-xviii; Ninth Report from the Home Affairs Committee, Session 2013-14, Pre-Lisbon Treaty EU police and criminal justice measures: the UK’s opt-in decision, HC 615, and the Government Response, HC 954 Eighth Report from the Justice Committee, Session 2013-14, Ministry of Justice measures in the JHA block opt-out, HC 605, and the Government Response, HC 972; First Joint Report from the European Scrutiny, Home Affairs and Justice Committees, Session 2013-14, The Government’s response to the Committee’s Reports on the 2014 block opt-out decision, HC 1177]

3.45 pm

Yvette Cooper (Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford) (Lab): I beg to move,

That this House endorses the Government’s formal application to rejoin 35 European Union Justice and Home Affairs measures, including the European Arrest Warrant.

This is a very clear motion. In fact, it is a bit of a Ronseal motion—it does what it says on the tin. It means that today we can support 35 measures, not just 11, and it includes the three words that we were promised: “European Arrest Warrant”. It includes other measures, too: football banning orders, confiscation orders, joint investigation teams, criminal records sharing, and border information sharing so that we can secure our borders. Those are important measures, because crime does not stop at our borders—criminals do not stop when they get to the channel. I had hoped that the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary would be able to sign the motion, but the Home Secretary has written to me to say that she will vote for it. I am glad that she has decided to support our motion, although it would of course have been so much easier if she had just been straightforward in the first place.

This motion is almost exactly the same as the one tabled in the House of Lords. While we got to vote on only 11 measures, the other place was offered a vote on all 35. Here is the revealing statement by the Minister in the Lords:

“the Government have amended the Motion to put beyond doubt that we see tonight’s debate and decision…as on the whole package of 35 measures that the Government will seek to rejoin in the national interest.”—[Official Report, House of Lords, 17 November 2014; Vol. 757, c. 328.]

While we were denied our chance to vote in the elected Commons on the European arrest warrant, the Government decided to assuage the doubts of the House of Lords. They decided to do that last Tuesday. Just 24 hours after the mess in the House of Commons, they decided to change the motion in the Lords—so why not do it for us?

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I will give way to the Home Secretary if she can give us any good reason why she did not come back to this House last week and table a new motion, as she had in the other place. She was prepared to do it there, so why not come and do it here? No reason is being given. We were happy to do it for her, however, because she promised us a vote on the European arrest warrant. She said that the vote will be

“on the whole package of 35 measures—including the Arrest Warrant”.

The Prime Minister promised us a vote on the European arrest warrant. He said that

“we are going to have a vote…before the Rochester by-election”.—[Official Report, 29 October 2014; Vol. 587, c. 301.]

We understand that the Home Secretary has a rather contemptuous view of the Prime Minister’s promises. He promised democracy in policing; she delivered 13% turnouts. He promised, “no ifs, no buts”, that he would meet his net migration target. The net migration target is going right back up, and the Home Secretary said that it was not a promise, but a “comment”. Labour Members are glad to be able to help the Prime Minister to meet his promises to the British Parliament. It looks as though we are doing a rather better job than the Home Secretary of helping him to meet his promises.

Sir Tony Baldry (Banbury) (Con): Look, some of us kind of lost the will to live on all this last week, and I think if we go through all this procedural stuff again today we will seriously lose the will to live. I think we have all had our fun. Will the shadow Home Secretary now move on to the substance of the European arrest warrant so that we can sort it once and for all, have a vote, and go home? I think we would all be grateful if we could just do that.

Yvette Cooper: The right hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. The Home Secretary has deprived him of his will to live, so I feel sorry for him, but he is right that we need to get on to the huge amount of substance in this debate.

I must say that the most startling thing of all in the chaos of last week’s debate was not the betrayal of promises or even the contempt for Parliament, but seeing the Chief Whip and the Home Secretary having to sit next to each other on the Government Front Bench and having to talk to each other for a change.

Huw Irranca-Davies (Ogmore) (Lab): Does my right hon. Friend share my surprise that the intervention by the right hon. Member for Banbury (Sir Tony Baldry) was not to thank her for giving the House the opportunity to demonstrate the good faith of the Prime Minister? The Prime Minister said—quite clearly, I think—that there would be a vote on a specific measure, so I look forward to interventions by Conservative Members thanking her for giving them such an opportunity, not passing that over as if it had never been said.

Yvette Cooper: I am sure that Conservative Members are all deeply grateful to us, which is why they have come to the Chamber to join the debate today.

We still do not know whether it was the Chief Whip or the Home Secretary who made so much of a mess of last week. In June, the Chief Whip said of the Home Secretary that she

“lacked intellectual firepower and quick wit”.

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He said that “she has no friends”, and with amazing prescience, he said that

“she can’t even gain the support of her colleagues”.

That makes two of them, because the Chief Whip is on a roll. He nearly lost a vote—he came within 10 votes of doing so—last week. The man who is supposed to be working the bars of Westminster lost a vote on pubs this week. The man who is supposed to be holding the parliamentary Conservative party together has managed to mislay two MPs. When he was appointed, he said that his new job was

“to ensure the right people are in the right place”.

It is just a shame that they were in the wrong Lobby.

Madam Deputy Speaker (Mrs Eleanor Laing): Order. I appreciate that the right hon. Lady is making some very important and interesting points, but I should remind her, lest she stray too far, that the motion is about the Government’s formal application to rejoin 35 European justice and home affairs measures. I am sure that she will address her remarks to the motion.

Yvette Cooper: You are exactly right, Madam Deputy Speaker. This is in fact the debate that we should have had last week. It is a debate about 35 different measures, including the European arrest warrant. It covers the 11 measures that we voted for last time, but also the 24 measures on which we did not have the chance to vote last time.

Those measures include a series of different things. We need the supervision order, under which a UK national could spend time in the UK pending trial, rather than in a foreign jail, to rectify the rare cases in which that happens. Joint investigation teams are needed to tackle cross-border crime, as was shown by Operation Golf, in which co-operation between the Met and Europol and data sharing stopped child-trafficking rings that were bringing teenagers to London to be raped and forced into prostitution. We need co-ordination on the freezing and seizing of the assets of organised criminals and terrorists. We support continued co-operation on confiscation orders and freezing orders. We need to exchange criminal records. Pilots in London have shown that a significant proportion of foreign nationals arrested already have convictions abroad.

Mike Gapes (Ilford South) (Lab/Co-op): Operation Golf was conducted in my constituency, and I hope to talk about it if I get the chance to speak. It would not have been possible without co-operation between the British and Romanian authorities, including on the Romanians’ subsequent use of an extradition warrant. Is it not wrong—in fact, disgraceful—that we did not have an opportunity to discuss the joint investigation teams during the previous debate?

Yvette Cooper: My hon. Friend is right. It would have been so simple to cover those measures in the initial debate on a straightforward motion tabled by the Government. I think that it is unprecedented that the Opposition table what should be a Government motion and ask the Government to vote with us on the very measures that they supported in the first place.

The 24 measures include football banning orders, which we welcome, to stop hooligans travelling to matches in Europe. We need to participate in Eurojust to gather

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evidence on cross-border crime. We need Europol to support and co-ordinate cross-border investigations. We need co-operation to prevent drug trafficking, and we need the European Police College to share best practice.

Keith Vaz (Leicester East) (Lab): I am most grateful to my right hon. Friend for giving way and hope that she will excuse me for interrupting her. She is clearly on a roll, because I cannot remember a time on which the Home Secretary has written to my right hon. Friend to say that she will support one of her measures. When the Select Committee on Home Affairs considered the matter, we suggested that the vote should have happened much earlier and that the House should have voted to give the Government a mandate to negotiate, rather than it being left to the last moment. Does my right hon. Friend agree that we should really have discussed these matters a long time before?

Yvette Cooper: My right hon. Friend is right. The truth is that the Home Secretary’s handling of the whole thing has been chaotic from start to finish. We have had no proper opportunity to debate the subject and have a vote at the right time and we have had confusion about when we were going to have the votes at the wrong time. We had parliamentary confusion, votes in chaos, Tory MPs scuttling back from their dinners, champagne banquets abandoned and a humiliated Prime Minister returning to the House of Commons with his tails between his legs.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mrs Theresa May): I think I heard the right hon. Lady say just a few moments ago that one of the measures she wanted to debate was the European Police College. Perhaps she has not noticed that CEPOL is not in the list of 35 measures that the Government are rejoining, because it has been “Lisbon-ised” and does not need to be in the list. It falls out of the opt-out altogether.

Yvette Cooper: The Home Secretary knows that an awful lot of the measures she has removed from the 35 are in fact measures that she plans to continue to co-operate with. There is a whole series of different aspects of guidance and pledges for co-operation across the policing and Eurojust world that she plans to continue to co-operate with. However, she has told her Back Benchers that she will not co-operate with them at all so that she can promise them a grand repatriation, when in fact it is the equivalent of repatriating the “Yellow Pages”.

Geraint Davies (Swansea West) (Lab/Co-op): My right hon. Friend knows that this is really about co-operation across Europe to bring thousands of villains to account. How can we have faith in the Government if they cannot even co-operate with their colleagues in the House of Lords so that we can have the same debate, or give us enough time to consider the right thing to do, instead of this complete farce built on a hoax?

Yvette Cooper: My hon. Friend makes an important point. I heard somebody on the Government Front Bench muttering that there are different procedures in the House of Lords—different procedures that mean that they are allowed to vote on 35 measures, but we are allowed to vote on only 11? I have never heard anything so ludicrous.