Amendment 59

Part of Trade Bill - Report (2nd Day) – in the House of Lords at 7:33 pm on 13th March 2019.

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Photo of The Earl of Kinnoull The Earl of Kinnoull Crossbench 7:33 pm, 13th March 2019

My Lords, Amendment 60 is also in my name. I too have problems with the TRA as currently constituted, in that arguably it lacks independence and balance. It is in looking for independence and balance that the amendment has evolved. Amendment 59 very much deals with the independence point, and on that basis I strongly support it.

In Committee, I said that independence is important, because the TRA needs to be seen to be not a mere cipher for the British state but something which has its own life. There is a problem when one looks at Schedule 4 and sees that the chair is appointed by the Secretary of State, as are all the non-executive directors. The Secretary of State gets the chance to approve the CEO. The non-executive directors will always be in the majority and the Secretary of State has the power to remove them. On top of that, paragraph 34 of Schedule 4, entitled “Guidance”, says that the TRA must have regard to the Secretary of State’s guidance, which seems to me to mean instructions. It seems to be wrongly titled. Therefore, I worry that the independence bit of my beef is not coped with sufficiently. I look forward to hearing something from the Minister to assuage my concerns.

Balance is incredibly important. This cannot be an effective body if there is no balance—balance of experience and background. The point is obvious. Nowhere in Schedule 4 do I see anything that gives rise to a feeling that there would be balance, but I look forward to being corrected on that point.