Ivory Bill - Second Reading

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:05 pm on 17th July 2018.

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Photo of Lord Gardiner of Kimble Lord Gardiner of Kimble The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 7:05 pm, 17th July 2018

Yes, I understand the noble Baroness’s point. I think that I have explained the position that we are in, but I will of course meet with her.

The noble Earl, Lord Kinnoull, referred to museums. Accredited museums will be exempt from the ban. This will allow them to purchase, loan or exchange ivory items. I am also happy to meet him to discuss insurance.

A number of noble Lords mentioned funding, including the noble Lord, Lord Grantchester. We wholly believe that the regulator and law enforcement agencies need sufficient funding to tackle wildlife crime. Defra will consider longer-term funding as part of the normal spending review process over the coming year. The noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, asked whether the agencies have sufficient powers under the Customs and Excise Act and the Proceeds of Crime Act. The Bill does not change the scope or reach of the legislation conferring powers for the purpose of customs checks on international trade and divesting criminals of the proceeds of crime. These powers are available, where applicable, against unlawful dealings in ivory items.

My noble friend Lord Lingfield mentioned the process for rarest and most important items—RMI, as I will describe it. We are working with experts at a number of institutions and have no expectation that this process will take a long time. My noble friend Lord Carrington of Fulham expressed concern about high registration fees. We do not intend these to be on anything other than a cost-recovery basis. My noble friends Lord Crathorne and Lord Carrington referred to museum quality. Yes, I agree that it is subjective but we have been working to get the advice of the country’s foremost experts, so I hope my noble friend Lord Cormack and others will see that we are sincerely trying to ensure that all these items are within the exemption, as they should be.

My noble friends Lord Attlee and Lord Carrington asked about inheritance tax and my noble friend Lady Rawlings referred to other taxation. Once the ban comes into force, prohibited items will be subject to nil value for inheritance tax purposes. Items subject to exemptions will still have a market value and may therefore be subject to inheritance tax. Indeed, we are aware that there may be a loss to the Exchequer, but we believe that the objects of this legislation far outweigh that loss.

A number of points were made about enforcement powers. I would be very happy to meet my noble friend Lord Inglewood, because there are points that I would like to discuss with him. On more spending on conservation, I have already mentioned it in another regard, but my noble friend Lady Chalker and the noble Lord, Lord St John of Bletso, raised this. We are doing more, but I will write on that.

I have sought to refer to all questions, but I will write more fully. My noble friend the Whip will not be pleased with me, but I am most grateful for all contributions. I will study Hansard very carefully and will write fully, but at this stage I ask noble Lords to give the Bill a Second Reading.

Bill read a second time and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.

House adjourned at 7.27 pm.