We need your support to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can continue to hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Trade Bill - Committee (4th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 9:00 pm on 4th February 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Stevenson of Balmacara Lord Stevenson of Balmacara Opposition Whip (Lords) 9:00 pm, 4th February 2019

I am grateful to the noble Lord for his interventions, which are always helpful, but I was going on to say that the economic interest test is different from the public interest test because some aspects of it are fleshed out. But the intention of Amendment 88 is to extend that slightly to ensure that two things happen. The first is that there should be a consultation about what the economic interest test is among those whose interests might be affected by it. Those involved in,

“employment, economic health and prosperity, and productivity”,

which includes trade unions, businesses and consumers, should be consulted on how one constitutes the economic test.

Secondly, it is important that the test must reach not just for a national economic view but down to a regional, or even sub-regional, point of view. The suggestion would be for the devolved Administrations and for the various regions of England to be parts of a group that could respond on things. Clearly, an economic test dealing with a small aspect of the ceramics industry based in a particular area will be different from one dealing with a major national employment issue.

Again, these amendments are not meant to be accepted as written, but they are probing suggestions to get the Government to flesh out in more detail their thinking behind this.

We always talk about what is in the public interest but never define what that means. I am not trying to define it. I am saying that it would be useful to have a process under which, from time to time, a Secretary of State who wished to employ that as part of the process for the TRA had to consult and then come forward with proposals through Parliament for what that constituted. That is what these amendments are all about.

Finally, Amendment 89 in my name suggests that TRA investigations can be considered complete only when they involve the devolved Administrations and the devolved authorities. I hope that will also commend itself to the Government. I beg to move.