Taxation (Post-transition Period) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:01 pm on 9th December 2020.

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Photo of Bill Cash Bill Cash Chair, European Scrutiny Committee, Chair, European Scrutiny Committee 4:01 pm, 9th December 2020

I simply would like to put on record it on Second Reading the fact that, as I made clear in a point of order earlier, consideration on Report will take place next week and a lot will happen between now and then. The UKIM Bill at the moment has the “notwithstanding” provisions in it; they have not yet been taken out. We do not yet know what will transpire this evening or at any point between now and the Report stage of this Bill next week. Therefore, I have given instructions for the tabling of amendments to reinsert the “notwithstanding” provisions for the purposes of this Bill, which would have appeared but for the fact that the decision had already been made yesterday, before a statement was made to the House of Commons. That was dealt with today in principle, although not the question of what actually is going to be done. Therefore, for practical purposes, all I need say on Second Reading is that there are relevant provisions within the scope of this Bill, in clause 9, which is entitled “Recovery of unlawful state aid”.

Earlier this afternoon, I chaired, as I always do on Wednesdays, the European Scrutiny Committee. We have a 10 or 15-page paper on this question. The report, which will be signed off today and then published, covers reform of state aid rules and potential implications for the UK and includes a full description of what the state aid rules would mean; what the evaluation is at the moment by the European Commission; what it intends to do with respect to state aid in relation to enforcement proceedings; matters of sovereignty regarding the United Kingdom; the timetable for amendments to the EU state aid rule book; and the continued relevance of EU state aid law to the UK.

I am reading out some headline points, which also include infringement proceedings for state aid granted before 31 December; state aid law under the protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland; state aid commitments—this is of course highly relevant to what the Minister said at the beginning, and I strongly advise him to read the report carefully—and state aid commitments in the EU-UK trade agreement, which the Prime Minister is going to be discussing today, and we do not know the outcome of that; the impact of EU subsidy controls on the competitors to UK businesses; and article 10 of the protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland, which my right hon. Friend John Redwood referred to. Indeed, I did too this afternoon, when my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster made his statement and I pointed out that not only do I agree 100% with what the Prime Minister said at Prime Minister’s questions on all those relevant matters, wishing him well for this evening, but that what the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster announced yesterday, in principle, and then reaffirmed today must not be allowed to undermine the unfettered sovereignty of the United Kingdom Parliament. That sovereignty is based on the referendum, the votes, the Acts of Parliament that everybody in this House on the Government Benches and the House of Lords agreed to, and, for that matter, section 38 of the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020, which was passed by a majority of 120 in this House—not a word of dissent from the House of Lords and not a word of dissent from any Member of this House.

In conclusion, I intend to table these amendments to examine the question when we get to the Report stage next week.