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Trade Bill - Committee (4th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:00 pm on 4th February 2019.

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Photo of Lord Liddle Lord Liddle Labour 4:00 pm, 4th February 2019

My Lords, on the point about freedom of movement, I have two specific questions for the Minister. I accept what he has said, but I would like to quote a personal example and declare an interest. For a period, my wife was chief executive of the English National Ballet. It was a requirement for the success of the English National Ballet that ballet dancers from all over the world were able to join, but the ENB had great difficulty with ballet dancers from outside the EU because they do not earn anything like the money that is put down in the Immigration Rules to justify easy entry. Are the Government prepared to be flexible on the earnings requirement to enable cultural organisations, which are very important to the British economy, to easily access talent from the EU, where people’s salaries will not initially be that high?

Secondly, if you are a small business in services and trying to expand by getting jobs, projects and contracts on the continent, one of the obvious business strategies you would pursue is recruiting young people from the countries in which you hope to do business. You take them into your consultancy, or whatever, and that gives you language and personal links into the markets you are trying to target. Again, there is no guarantee that, under the immigration policy outlined by the Home Secretary, young people coming from European countries would be able to get jobs in that kind of situation. We asked for a clear statement of the Government’s trade policy. The Government have to be clear on these issues before we can proceed on the Bill.