Amendment 81

Part of Fisheries Bill [HL] - Committee (3rd Day) (Continued) – in the House of Lords at 4:42 pm on 9th March 2020.

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Photo of Lord Grantchester Lord Grantchester Opposition Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change), Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) 4:42 pm, 9th March 2020

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Teverson, for tabling Amendment 81, and rise to speak to my Amendment 82, which is on the same matter. I hope that is helpful.

The noble Lord’s amendment requires foreign fishing vessels in British waters to comply with the same standards as British vessels. My amendment is very similar, making it clear that as the UK will be granting licences, the licensing authorities in the UK must make sure that all fishing boats, including foreign vessels, comply to UK standards on safety and employment practices.

Equal standards, the level playing field and equivalence have bedevilled all regulations between the UK, the EU and soon others, through all trade negotiations, not least with the USA. In fisheries, as in agriculture, there is clear interest that fair and equal competitive standards must be adhered to across the board. The Committee has recognised the tough and dangerous working conditions in which all UK fishers work; the whole of the UK would want these to be as safe as possible. It is equally important that employment standards and regulations in the UK must not be undermined by any lesser standards that may pertain overseas.

In conversations, officials in the Minister’s department have indicated that the technical side of this issue is dealt with in the Bill. Could the Minister specify its location? I am not sure whether employment law and practices are dealt with specifically, although the Minister may reply they are included in licence conditions. These amendments make sure they are, and that compliance is mandatory for both UK and foreign boats.

Election promises on standards must be upheld in legislation, not merely stating that we are leaving the EU on 31 January and that our future relationship must be decided by 31 December. These standards also need to be put in specific legislation.