Issue of sum out of the Consolidated Fund for the year ending 31 March 2020 and appropriation of that sum

Part of Northern Ireland Budget Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:00 pm on 30th October 2019.

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Photo of Gavin Robinson Gavin Robinson Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Defence) 6:00 pm, 30th October 2019

I will be brief, given the need to move on to Third Reading. You mentioned, Sir Lindsay, that an amendment to the Bill had been tabled, and I want to place on record my thanks for the positive and dextrous way in which you and the Public Bill Office considered it. I also thank the Minister for his response on Co-Ownership.

I recognise that the Minister is constrained in giving a definitive timescale for passing legislation, but I want to make it clear that the commitment he gave this evening was given to me in exactly the same debate a year ago. A promise and commitment was given then to rectify this small, discrete issue. Of course, the Ministers who gave that commitment are no longer Ministers. The Minister realises that I hold him in high regard, but with the greatest respect, he will not be here to follow through his pledge.

We need certainty. I asked whether there would be a carry-over motion for the HIA Bill because HIA victims need certainty. It would be an appalling dereliction if the House of Lords did not, in passing Second Reading of that Bill, associate a carry-over motion with it, because otherwise we must start again. In the run-up to Christmas, we will simply sign in, then in the immediate aftermath of Christmas and the new year, we will get another Queen’s Speech. Then for another week or two we will discuss the Gracious Speech and the Humble Address, so there will be no progress on that legislation, which cannot be brought back or reintroduced until the end of January at the earliest, subject to the business managers. That is completely substandard.

The issue of co-ownership, which I have been pushing, must be resolved by the end of the financial year—legislation must be passed by 31 March. I know it is small, but we as Members just piddled about this place whenever the Supreme Court asked us to come back, and we did nothing. No substantive business was put before us, yet we had a commitment on co-ownership legislation a year ago and that was never brought before us.

I must say that the Secretary of State has been good on HIA. His predecessors did not move at all; they said, “I’m sorry, this is a matter for the Executive. The report must go back to the Executive, and it is for the Executive to decide how to go forward.” I am grateful for the injection of progress he has brought, but sadly, given how this Parliament has evolved, it is too little, too late.

I make those points in gratitude to you, Sir Lindsay, for the consideration given to the amendment that was tabled, to the Public Bill Office and to the Minister for the commitment he has given. I recognise the constraints, but this issue cannot wait indefinitely.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 1 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 2 to 7 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedules 1 and 2 agreed to.

The Deputy Speaker resumed the Chair.

Bill reported, without amendment.

Third Reading