Clause 79 - Guidance

Subsidy Control Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:30 am on 18th November 2021.

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Photo of Seema Malhotra Seema Malhotra Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) 11:30 am, 18th November 2021

I beg to move amendment 80, in clause 79, page 45, line 9, leave out “may” and insert “must”.

This amendment, together with Amendment 81, would require the Secretary of State to issue guidance about the practical application of the areas listed under 79(1)(a), (b), and (c).

Photo of Caroline Nokes Caroline Nokes Chair, Women and Equalities Committee, Chair, Women and Equalities Committee

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Amendment 24, in clause 79, page 45, line 9, leave out “issue guidance” and insert

“by the affirmative procedure make regulations”.

This amendment ensures that the Secretary of State’s guidance is made by affirmative regulation in order that parliament can debate the matter before implementation.

Amendment 81, in clause 79, page 45, line 12, at end insert—

“(1A) The Secretary of State may issue guidance about the practical application of – ”.

This amendment, together with Amendment 80, would allow the Secretary of State to issue guidance about the practical application of the area listed under 79(1)(d), (e), (f) and (g).

Photo of Seema Malhotra Seema Malhotra Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

It is a pleasure to move amendment 80 and to speak to amendment 81. Clause 79 gives the Secretary of State the power to issue guidance on the new subsidy regime. We agree with the general principle of the clause, which is that the Secretary of State should be able to provide clarity and advice on the practical application of the regime, but we believe that clause 79 is lacking in significant ways and it is important that we look to strengthen it.

Clause 79 states that the Secretary of State “may issue guidance” on the areas listed under subsection (1). However, there are areas of the Bill where we think that guidance is not just beneficial, but necessary for the effective and fair running of the regime, and we should not leave that to chance. In particular, we believe that guidance must be issued for the subsidy control principles, the energy and environment principles and the control requirements laid out in part 2, chapter 3 and chapter 4.

Those areas are crucial to the regime. They will ensure that public authorities create subsidies that match the aims of this Bill; that British subsidies meet the requirements of the TCA; and that public authorities and interested parties are aware of the transparency and scrutiny expected of subsidies. That is why we believe it is vital that the Secretary of State provides information and clarity about what he—or she, in the future, or even the Minister, as we have discussed—expects around the principles and requirements of the new regime, how they should be interpreted and carried out by public authorities and interested parties, and the expectations of subsidy recipients. That is why we propose amendment 80, which would mandate the Secretary of State to issue guidance on the practical applications of subsection (1)(a), (b) and (c).

We want to draw the distinction that we are not being overly prescriptive, so amendment 81 would continue to allow the Secretary of State the option to issue guidance on subsection (1)(d) to (g). We hope that the Minister will appreciate the importance of guidance on the principles and requirements of this new regime, and why the Bill ought to state that they will be—not that they may be—issued for the practical application of those parts of the Bill. If the Minister does not believe that guidance on those areas should be mandated, could he tell us how he expects the Secretary of State to issue guidance on subsection (1)(a) to (c), and indeed (d) to (g), and what the timeframe for such guidance is expected to be?

Photo of Kirsty Blackman Kirsty Blackman Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Economy) 11:45 am, 18th November 2021

As has been common throughout, I agree with almost everything that the hon. Lady has said, and I agree that we lack information on what this will look like. I get all the arguments that the Government have made about the structure being permissive, but we could do with more information on several of these things. That is why I have tabled amendment 24, which is a probing amendment to try to find out how the Government intend the guidance to be drafted.

Clause 79(5) states:

“Before issuing guidance under this section, the Secretary of State must consult such persons as the Secretary of State considers appropriate.”

It would have been helpful to have more information on that, and it would be useful to have that from the Minister. With subsection (1)(a), (b), (c) and (e), will the Secretary of State consider the devolved Administrations to be reasonable organisations to contact before issuing guidance around the subsidy control principles, the energy and environment principles, the subsidy control requirements and, crucially, the criteria for determining whether something is of interest or particular interest? That is a really important part of the Bill, and we do not have enough information on what interest and particular interest will mean.

The shadow Minister is absolutely correct that there is a hierarchy. In some areas, the Secretary of State must issue guidance because otherwise the scheme will not work, but in others it is more flexible. I probably would have included subsection (1)(e) among the areas on which the Secretary of State must issue guidance, because I do not think the scheme works if people do not know what interest and particular interest will mean. The Minister has spoken an awful lot about certainty for granting authorities and for organisations that will be receiving subsidies, and about trying to cut down the length of the period of uncertainty. In the absence of proper guidance that we have been able to scrutinise in any way, that uncertainty becomes much higher—definitely at this point, and I hope that will not be the case when the Act comes into force and begins to work.

I have one other question for the Minister. Clause 79 says that

“the Secretary of State must consult such persons as the Secretary of State considers appropriate.”

I have asked before—I have been reasonably happy with the answers—about how long in advance of the Act coming into play the guidance will be published. I think it is hugely important that the consultation period is long enough to ensure that that guidance is right, not just in lining up with the principles that have been set out and achieving the Government’s intentions, but in covering all the gaps that organisations foresee and answering the questions that granting authorities or enterprises might have. That length of time is needed to provide the right level of certainty and enable people to study what is a very big change.

We have had state aid rules in place for a long time, and that is why, in practice, an awful lot of the decisions that are being taken just now are based not on the interim regime but on state aid itself. A lot of people who are going to lawyers for advice are being told, “We will apply the state aid principles to this, because that is the easiest course of action just now.” We want to make sure that that does not continue to happen. For the new regime that the Government intend to be in force, we need to make sure that legal experts have the time to get up to speed on how they should advise people, because it is technical, and it is important that people get it right. It is important that subsidies are allowed to be made—that is the point of the Bill—but that regulation is in place to ensure that public money is spent wisely and properly, and that inappropriate distortion of competition is removed so far as possible.

Amendment 24 asks for that guidance to be made by the affirmative procedure, because I do not think that enough scrutiny will be brought to bear on the guidance that will be issued. If the Minister feels that there will be scrutiny, it will be helpful if he lays out how parliamentarians might interact with that guidance, either before or after—preferably before—it is issued. It is obvious that we have an interest, and it is obvious that we have concerns, but we also have ideas; a number of the amendments that we have tabled have been constructive and intended to improve the Bill. None of us suggests that there should not be a subsidy control regime. We are trying to make it the best subsidy control regime, in order that it works for our constituencies and the countries and people that we represent. Any information that the Minister could give on that would be incredibly useful.

Photo of Paul Scully Paul Scully Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Minister of State (London)

The power to issue statutory guidance, as is currently provided for in clause 79, will allow the Government to offer greater colour and detail to public authorities in how to comply with the subsidy control requirements. We plan to provide extensive guidance on the new regime, set out in clear, plain language and including useful explanatory material, case studies, practical explanations and additional matters that public authorities may wish to consider. For instance, it might be used to explain how subsidies could be given to support disadvantaged areas in a way that is consistent with the principles; among other things, it could describe characteristics or criteria that a public authority could use to identify a disadvantaged area, which would help to ensure that the subsidy is addressing an equity objective and is consistent with principle A.

The Secretary of State will consult such persons as appropriate before issuing the guidance. This may well include the devolved Administrations, businesses and public authorities. This will allow public authorities plenty of time to consider the guidance before the new regime comes into force. The hon. Member for Aberdeen North talked about the devolved Administrations. Clearly, the Government cannot do this in isolation. It is incumbent on us to make sure that we speak to the people who will use the guidance, to make sure that it is fit for purpose. I cannot give a precise list of stakeholders that we will engage and consult, but it is in our best interest to ensure that we have the widest, broadest range of stakeholders to make sure that guidance is useful, rigorous and fit for purpose.

On timing, I said earlier that, depending on parliamentary time, the commencement of the Bill will be next autumn, which gives us plenty of time. We have already started the process of engaging with officials, and we will make sure to continue our engagement with officials in the devolved Administrations, as well other public authorities, to make sure that we can publish this guidance in time for the Bill’s coming into force.

Photo of Kirsty Blackman Kirsty Blackman Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Economy)

Will the Minister confirm that, should there be a requirement to update the guidance in the future, which there is likely to be, a consultation process will be undertaken in advance of that updating, and that there will be a reasonable length of time before changes are made to the guidance so that authorities can comply with it?

Photo of Paul Scully Paul Scully Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Minister of State (London)

It is incumbent on us to engage on any changes. How we engage and the timing of that will depend on the circumstances. However, if we are going to do this and make it work, clearly we need to engage as widely as possible to make sure that those changes are fit for purpose.

Amendment 24 would effectively remove the power to issue statutory guidance and replace it with one for the Secretary of State to make binding delegated legislation on the practical application of key elements of the domestic subsidy control regime. We do not believe that regulations are a suitable vehicle for setting out information and advice on the practical application of parts of the subsidy control regime. Regulations are restrictive in their content and must be drafted in a specific, technical way. Guidance, on the other hand, serves the purpose of explaining and clarifying the regime, in ordinary language, for the benefit of those who will need to use and understand the practical effect of the legislation. It can also be quickly updated should circumstances change.

I know that the right hon. Member for Aberdeen North—sorry, the hon. Member; that was another promotion for a colleague. I am sharing the love. I know that she wants to scrutinise future regulations made under the Bill, and it is right that there be additional parliamentary scrutiny of those regulations, as they impose new legal obligations that are additional to those in the Bill, but that is not true of any guidance that will need to be issued under clause 79. The guidance will need to be consistent with, and cannot change, the law to which it relates.

Amendments 80 and 81 would compel the Secretary of State to issue guidance under subsection 1(a) to (c)— that is, on the subsidy control requirements. I understand the intent behind the amendments, but in practice they are unnecessary. While the Secretary of State “may” issue such guidance, in practice he must do so for the regime to function effectively.

Going back to the Government response to the subsidy control public consultation, as we have consistently said, the foundation of the new regime is a clear, proportionate and transparent set of principles, supported by guidance that will ensure that public authorities fully understand their legal obligations and embed strong value-for-money and competition principles. The guidance will show how the assessment of compliance with the principles should be carried out, and how different benefits and distortive impacts should be assessed for different kinds of subsidies. I assure hon. Members that the Secretary of State certainly does not propose to commence the regime without first issuing clear guidance on the subsidy control requirements.

Photo of Seema Malhotra Seema Malhotra Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

It is heartening that the Minister has said that where the clause says “may”, he thinks it means “must”. From that we conclude that the Secretary of State will issue guidance. It would be helpful to know how soon we can expect that guidance. That was one of the questions. That will be very important in making sure that implementation is accelerated as much as possible, but that there is scrutiny, and time to review the guidance.

Photo of Paul Scully Paul Scully Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Minister of State (London)

I can commit to this: we want to share parts of the draft guidance as we develop it, because we want to make sure that the guidance is there as we go through this process. Officials from the Scottish Government and Welsh Senedd in particular told us, before we even introduced the Bill, that they wanted more involvement in drafting the guidance. We talked about getting the framework right in the Bill, and issuing the guidance once we knew what the framework looked like; that is the right way round. We consulted and engaged heavily on the framework. It is right that we do a similar job of engagement with parliamentarians, key stakeholders and public authorities as we develop the guidance. We want to make sure that it is put in place—and not just five minutes before commencement of the provisions next autumn. We want to make sure that public authorities have that understanding. We will try to share as much of the guidance as we can as we develop it, rather than having people wait until final publication.

The inclusion of clause 79 in the Bill clearly shows that the Government understand the need for, and importance of, guidance for public authorities on these elements of the regime. For those reasons, I ask the hon. Member for Feltham and Heston not to press amendments 80 and 81 to a vote.

Photo of Seema Malhotra Seema Malhotra Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

I thank the Minister for his comments, and for his strengthened interpretation of “may” in the clause. I appreciate his saying that he hopes that guidance will be issued, perhaps in stages, so that there is time for scrutiny. I will not press the amendment to a vote. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Photo of Seema Malhotra Seema Malhotra Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) 12:00 pm, 18th November 2021

I beg to move amendment 82, in clause 79, page 45, line 39, leave out subsection (5) and insert—

“(5) Before issuing guidance under this Section, the Secretary of State must seek the consent of the Scottish Ministers, the Welsh Ministers and the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland.

(5A) If consent to the making of the regulations is not given by any of those authorities within the period of one month beginning with the day on which it is sought from that authority, the Secretary of State may make the regulations without that consent.

(5B) If regulations are made in reliance on subsection (5B), the Secretary of State must publish a statement explaining why the Secretary of State decided to make the regulations without the consent of the authority or authorities concerned.”

This amendment would require the Secretary of State to gain the consent of the devolved administrations before issuing guidance under Clause 79.

Photo of Caroline Nokes Caroline Nokes Chair, Women and Equalities Committee, Chair, Women and Equalities Committee

With this it will be convenient to discuss amendment 86, in clause 87, page 49, line 9, at end insert—

“(7A) Before making regulations under this Act, the Secretary of State must seek the consent of the Scottish Ministers, the Welsh Ministers and the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland.

(7B) If consent to the making of the regulations is not given by any of those authorities within the period of one month beginning with the day on which it is sought from that authority, the Secretary of State may make the regulations without that consent.

(7C) If regulations are made in reliance on subsection (7B), the Secretary of State must publish a statement explaining why the Secretary of State decided to make the regulations without the consent of the authority or authorities concerned”.

This amendment requires the Secretary of State to seek the consent of the devolved administrations before making regulations under this Act.

Photo of Seema Malhotra Seema Malhotra Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

This is again about devolution. There is some overlap with the debate we just had. I would have hoped that we were in a position where by the end of this Committee we were not having debates similar to the ones that I feel we had at the start. However, it is important to keep coming back to where engagement with the devolved Administrations matters in particular parts of the Bill, and to say why.

Devolution gives all nations of the UK the chance to make more decisions locally. We have respect for our devolved Administrations and their respective powers, and their input into our economic and social development and our UK-wide democracy. That is why we feel that, if there are ways in which that very important role in our constitutional settlement may be diminished by the way this legislation is crafted and then implemented, it is important for us to consider that issue and also what should be made more explicit in the Bill.

I believe, and I am sure that the Minister believes it too, that all four nations of the UK are stronger together. This Bill is an example of post-Brexit legislation and we are looking at elements of how what was done previously via our membership of the EU will be implemented in a way that will stand the test of time and retain the confidence of all the devolved Administrations. So we must consider how we act in line with those intentions to ensure the importance of devolution and the framework that we have, and how inevitably there will need to be some adjustment, as what happened through the EU is absorbed within our constitution. We must consider some of those roles, responsibilities and judgments about where there needs to be some tweaking of the way our constitution works, with the main principles of devolution—as they have been established and how they are working effectively—and the importance of ensuring that the voices of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are put into legislation that affects all of our nations, and the UK as a whole.

The devolved Administrations will have perspectives that are closer to their own nations. As we have seen, perspectives is a theme running through this legislation, which will be an integral part of how the UK works as a whole, and it will be a more effective regime if those voices are loudly heard.

We agree that Westminster is primary in the way that the legislation is implemented. However, we call on the Minister to consider amendments 82 and 86 seriously. Amendment 82 would mandate the Secretary of State to seek the consent of the devolved Administrations, with a fair backstop, before issuing guidance under clause 79. Amendment 86 stipulates that the Secretary of State must also seek the consent of the devolved Administrations before making the regulations under clause 87.

We have said throughout the debates on the Bill that we want to ensure that there is a settlement that will stand the test of time, that will be flexible in terms of how we all work together, and will be successful for the UK as a whole. It is not just the Labour party or indeed the SNP that thinks along those lines; we have heard evidence from a number of our witnesses alluding to it. I quote Dr Pazos-Vidal, who is head of the Brussels office at the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, who outlined that the Bill currently is,

“too general and not reflective of the territorial constitution of the UK as it stands. There should be a provision that the Secretary of State must consult the devolved Administrations in a dedicated system that should also involve local law. There should be a duty to make sure that different parts of the UK have full ownership of the final outcome—it is true that the Secretary of State will issue the guidance—but also the intelligence and the local know-how about these ideas.”––[Official Report, Subsidy Control Public Bill Committee, 26 October 2021; c. 8, Q4.]

I ask the Minister, for the final time, to support amendments 82 and 86, which in our view give the devolved Administrations the role they should have and that is appropriate in the Bill. The guidance that the Secretary of State issues on the new regime and the regulations that will be put in place will have just as large an effect on Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland as on England. Therefore, guaranteeing that the devolved Administrations are involved in the decisions that affect them too will only improve the way in which the guidance is developed and confidence in how it will be implemented.

Photo of Kirsty Blackman Kirsty Blackman Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Economy)

As I have said, I largely agree with everything the hon. Member for Feltham and Heston has said and I would be happy to back these amendments, should they be pushed to a vote, but I want to make it clear that I do not agree that the four nations are stronger together, and I look forward to the day—not that far off—when we will prove how much more successful we can be when we are out of this political Union.

Photo of Paul Scully Paul Scully Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Minister of State (London)

I will speak first to amendment 82. As I have previously stated in addressing other amendments to this clause, the power to issue statutory guidance in clause 79 will allow the Government to add greater colour and detail to public authorities on how to comply with the requirements.

This amendment would require the Secretary of State to gain the consent of the devolved Administrations before issuing guidance, but since subsidy control is a reserved policy matter, it is right that the UK Government do not need to seek the formal consent of the devolved Administrations before issuing guidance. I should reiterate that the Bill as currently drafted already says:

“Before issuing any further guidance … the Secretary of State must consult such persons as the Secretary of State considers appropriate.”

I believe that is the right approach for guidance relating to a reserved policy area.

Photo of Stephen Kinnock Stephen Kinnock Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

Which persons does the Minister think the Secretary of State should consider to be appropriate?

Photo of Paul Scully Paul Scully Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Minister of State (London)

I think that would depend on what the guidance is, especially with changes to guidance, because this is clearly looking at the wider future. I will come back to engagement, because attaching a formal consent mechanism to the clause could slow and inhibit the issuing and updating of statutory guidance, so it is important that the Government are able to update guidance quickly, should circumstances change—for example, due to the development of new UK case law—and delaying changes would be unhelpful for public authorities and subsidy recipients alike. That said, we have engaged extensively with the devolved Administrations in developing the policy for the new subsidy control regime and will continue to work closely with them while developing the guidance in the way I described in the previous clause. It is in all our interests to ensure that the regime works for the whole of the UK and enables the UK’s domestic market to function properly.

Photo of Stephen Kinnock Stephen Kinnock Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

The Minister has confirmed that consultation with the devolved Administrations has taken place. Does he therefore consider that the devolved Administrations are persons that would be considered appropriate by the Secretary of State for consultation?

Photo of Paul Scully Paul Scully Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Minister of State (London)

It is really important that we continue to engage with the devolved Administrations—with the Welsh Senedd, the Scottish Government and the Northern Ireland Assembly. The key issue we are talking about here, though, is that the consent mechanisms contained in the amendment may risk delay, and may change the dynamic of the fact that subsidy control is a reserved matter. None the less, as I say, it is really important that we continue to work closely with the Welsh Senedd, the Scottish Government and the Northern Ireland Assembly, because we have to make sure that this Bill works for the UK as a whole, and for every part of the UK as well.

Amendment 86, which has also been tabled by the hon. Member for Feltham and Heston, would, as I said, require the Secretary of State to seek the consent of each of the devolved Administrations before making regulations under the Bill. The amendment would not require the Secretary of State to obtain that consent before making regulations, but if it was not forthcoming, the Secretary of State would be required to make a statement to the House explaining why they chose to proceed with the regulations regardless. However, as I noted while addressing the previous amendment, since subsidy control is a reserved policy matter, it is right that the UK Government do not need to seek the formal consent of the devolved Administrations before making regulations creating streamlined subsidy schemes or issuing guidance.

However, again, I am absolutely clear about the importance of engaging with the devolved Administrations as the Bill progresses through Parliament, as well as the process towards implementation and beyond. That engagement will, and has to, continue as we develop guidance and draft regulations. Throughout, the Government will take into account the specific needs and concerns of authorities and other interested parties. Furthermore—we will discuss this issue further in relation to clause 91 and the commencement provisions of this Bill—we are committed to ensuring the timely passage of the necessary regulations to ensure commencement of the Bill as soon as possible. I therefore ask the hon. Lady to withdraw the amendment.

Photo of Seema Malhotra Seema Malhotra Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

I thank the Minister for his comments, and I agree with his statement that this regime needs to work for the UK as a whole: I think that is something on which we all agree. I am not quite clear, though, on whether the Minister is saying that there is an incompatibility between the reserved competence and seeking consent, because I am not sure that there is. If there was, we would not have had evidence—including from Daniel Greenberg, parliamentary counsel—about how there could be some co-ordination mechanisms and consultations in and around how the Bill operates.

Photo of Stephen Kinnock Stephen Kinnock Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

To fortify the argument that my hon. Friend is making, the Minister claimed that our amendment would force the UK Government to seek the formal consent of the devolved Administrations, but that is not the case. It would require consultation, but if consent is not given, the UK Government can go ahead with their original plan anyway. Just for the record, we are not saying that formal consent should be given: it is simply a requirement for consultation.

Photo of Seema Malhotra Seema Malhotra Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

My hon. Friend is correct, and that is the reason I wanted to make this point. I do not think that the arguments the Minister has made about risking delay and changing the dynamic are really arguments against this amendment, which clearly says that

“Before making regulations under this Act, the Secretary of State must seek the consent of the Scottish Ministers, the Welsh Ministers and the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland…If consent to the making of the regulations is not given by any of those authorities within the period of one month”— so this is not an extensive delay—

“beginning with the day on which it is sought from that authority, the Secretary of State may make the regulations without that consent”,

but it will be on the record that consent was sought.

Thirdly, the amendment says that

“If regulations are made in reliance on subsection (7B), the Secretary of State must publish a statement explaining why the Secretary of State decided to make the regulations without the consent of the authority or authorities concerned”.

I cannot see anything in the amendment that is incompatible with the fact that this is an area of reserved competence. It simply seeks transparency on where there may be disagreements and why. In my view, that is part of how we have a mature relationship between Westminster and the devolved Administrations—not everyone is always going to agree, but they should be included and views on how the Bill is implemented should be respected. Being able to disagree on the record is, I think, part of how our democracy should be working.

My hon. Friend the Member for Aberavon made some very important points as well. In the light of all those points, I wish to push the amendment to a vote.

Question put, That the amendment be made.

Division number 25 Subsidy Control Bill — Clause 79 - Guidance

Aye: 4 MPs

No: 7 MPs

Ayes: A-Z by last name

Nos: A-Z by last name

The Committee divided: Ayes 4, Noes 7.

Question accordingly negatived.

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

Photo of Paul Scully Paul Scully Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Minister of State (London)

The clause gives the Secretary of State the power to issue and update guidance on the practical application of the provisions in the Bill. It places a duty on public authorities to have regard to the guidance when designing a subsidy scheme or giving an individual subsidy. The Secretary of State is also required to publish the guidance and keep it under regular review, and may revise or replace that guidance. The Secretary of State must also consult persons they deem appropriate before issuing guidance.

Photo of Kirsty Blackman Kirsty Blackman Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Economy)

I wonder whether the Minister would commit to ensuring that there are links to the guidance on the subsidy control database. People who are interested in the database are likely to be interested in the guidance, particularly if they are considering making a challenge. Will he ensure that the links are on the website, so that people can find them more easily? That would be helpful.

Photo of Seema Malhotra Seema Malhotra Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

The Minister has outlined the details of the clause. Notwithstanding the points we have already made, we support clause stand part.

Photo of Paul Scully Paul Scully Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Minister of State (London)

In answer to the hon. Member for Aberdeen North, the guidance will be on the gov.uk website. I will reflect on how best to make it accessible. It is important that it is accessible to everybody.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 79 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.