European Qualifications (Health and Social Care Professions) (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 - Motion to Approve

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 1:00 pm on 7th March 2019.

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Photo of Lord Deben Lord Deben Conservative 1:00 pm, 7th March 2019

I have got it right this time. That is what they say. In every individual case, negligibility may well be the truth, but what is negligible in one case, when added up with a lot of other “negligible” costs, ends up being rather expensive. I am amazed at the number of things you can do with negligible cost. We are filled with these SIs—with all the things that we can do for nothing. I ran businesses, and I have to say that I do not know anything you can do in business which does not cost you something. I would love the Government to explain to me how they are managing to move whole areas of control and regulation over to British regulators without any cost. I would be able to apply that to my businesses and it would be extremely valuable, because all I know is that the moment you change or move anything, it costs money.

I want to know not only how much it costs but whether we have the resources for it. It is also said that we have these organisations that are perfectly capable of doing all this, as if this is an easy thing to do, when in fact it is not only difficult, but if we get it wrong, we are endangering people’s lives. Clearly, we have not worked out what the cost of doing this is; I just do not understand whether we have the human resources and the trained resources to do it. After all, we have shown so far that we cannot run the National Health Service without large numbers of people coming in from outside. I would like to understand whether we can regulate all this without some additional resources, and if so, we ought to know exactly what resources we will need and how much they will cost.

I am sorry that I have to say this to the Minister with such vigour, but it needs to be said; otherwise, this House looks pretty damn stupid. We look as if we are sitting around, having a gentle argument about what is the programme for catastrophe. This is what we are talking about: how a nation decides how to put itself into a very much less favourable position than it is in at the moment. Sometimes people say, “Ah, but Britain will manage—look what it did during the war!” But we did not ask for the war; we did not say that we wanted it. It happened, and we said that we had to fight it. Here we are asking for it, and are seriously sitting around planning for it. We are asked to do that with a degree of politeness and charm, and courtesy and care, when we ought to be very angry indeed that any Government should even suggest that we need SIs like this.