Clause 62 - Transitional and saving provision in relation to the Enterprise Act 2002

National Security and Investment Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:45 pm on 10th December 2020.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Derek Twigg Derek Twigg Labour, Halton

With this it will be convenient to discuss clauses 63 to 66 stand part.

Photo of Nadhim Zahawi Nadhim Zahawi Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

I now turn to the Bill’s final provisions. Clause 62 sets out the transitional provisions for cases that may qualify for intervention under both the Bill and the Enterprise Act 2002. The starting point for the transition arrangement is that the 2002 Act continues to apply in relation to national security until the new regime is commenced. That means that qualifying mergers can continue to be scrutinised under the Act where the statutory requirements are met.

However, the Government do not wish to expose to some form of double jeopardy qualifying mergers that take place after the introduction of the Bill but before commencement. The clause means that, in effect, the Secretary of State must use one Act or the other. Not doing so would create significant uncertainty for business and investors and could, at least theoretically, lead to the perverse position of the Secretary of State, following commencement of the Bill, re-examining decisions that they themselves made merely weeks ago under the 2002 Act.

Clause 63 makes provision in relation to the regulations that may be made under the Bill, setting out how they must be made and what they may contain. All the regulations that may be made under the Bill are subject to the negative resolution procedure, except regulations made under clause 6, “Notifiable acquisitions”, clause 11, “Exceptions relating to control of assets”. and clause 41, “Permitted maximum penalties”, where the draft affirmative procedure will apply. Given their nature and effect, the Government consider that regulations under those three powers should be subject to the approval of Parliament.

Clause 64 provides that any expenditure incurred by the Secretary of State under the Bill is to be paid out of money provided by Parliament. Clause 65 is purely a technical one to provide for definitions of the key terms used in the Bill. I do not intend to explore individual meanings of key terms now; I will instead direct hon. Members to lunch and to the relevant clauses that provide them. Finally, hon. Members will appreciate that clause 66 is purely a technical one to set out the Bill’s short title and provide details about the commencement of the Bill’s clauses and the extent of the Bill.

Photo of Chi Onwurah Chi Onwurah Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

I thank the Minister for setting out the provisions of the clauses and for moving us onwards to lunch and to the end of the Bill. I will not detain the Committee with a detailed consideration of the technical provisions in the clauses and the interpretation of the various terms. However, the Bill as a whole would benefit from greater clarity, as my hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Test has so well set out, particularly in his reference to the use of language by bank managers.

We will not oppose the final clauses. We congratulate the Committee and particularly the Clerks and all those who have supported us in enabling us to reach the final clauses.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 62 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 63 to 66 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Michael Tomlinson Michael Tomlinson The Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury

On this occasion I will, without rudely interrupting anyone, beg to move that the Committee do now adjourn.

Ordered, That further consideration be now adjourned.—(Michael Tomlinson.)

Adjourned till this day at Two o’clock.