Amendment 28

Part of Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill - Report (3rd Day) – in the House of Lords at 6:15 pm on 6th October 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Sherlock Baroness Sherlock Shadow Spokesperson (Work and Pensions) 6:15 pm, 6th October 2020

My Lords, as we heard from the noble Lord, Lord Flight, this amendment would prevent regulations made under Clause 5 including any provisions that could be inconsistent with the withdrawal agreement. I presume that the aim is to avoid any action that might serve to undermine the rights of UK citizens in the EU and EU citizens here that were guaranteed under the withdrawal agreement.

As the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, said, we have had this debate at earlier stages and on Clause 4. On the basis of those past debates, I think there is a decent chance that the Minister will say that this amendment is unnecessary. But as the noble Lord, Lord Flight, pointed out: what is the downside? Given the uncertainty caused by statements elsewhere about the nature of the withdrawal agreement and the extent to which the UK is committed to it, the Minister will understand why some noble Lords are nervous and want the kind of assurances that one would hope she should be able to give without difficulty.

The noble Lord, Lord Flight, explained the terribly important issues that are covered by Clause 5. This will be our only engagement on Report with the subtle joys of this clause. I raised many of the issues about social security co-ordination at Second Reading and in Committee, and felt that I did not get satisfactory answers in Committee. However, I have now received a letter from the Minister, the noble Baroness, Lady Stedman- Scott, which has provided more information. In the light of that, I do not intend to move Amendment 29 in my name in the next group.

I remain very concerned about the implications for too many people of the loss of reciprocal arrangements for social security co-ordination, but I recognise that we will not get anything more at this stage of the Bill. I hope that the letter I mentioned will be placed in both Libraries. Because it contains information about new developments which were not reflected in the draft regulations shared with us in Committee, it would be helpful if the letter were displayed as soon as possible in the relevant place under the “will write” section of Bills before Parliament, so that its contents are readily accessible to those who are interested.

These are very important issues. I look forward to hearing what the Minister has to say.