Leaving the EU: State Aid, Public Ownership and Workers’ Rights — [Mr Philip Hollobone in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:42 pm on 11th December 2018.

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Photo of Chris Skidmore Chris Skidmore Vice-Chair, Conservative Party, Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Universities and Science) (Joint with the Department for Education) 3:42 pm, 11th December 2018

I thank my hon. Friend for putting that on the record. I listened to his speech on the Council of Europe and know he is a dedicated member of it. I pay tribute to his work, which often goes unheralded in this place. We know that there are many colleagues from across all parties who do a great deal of work on behalf of the United Kingdom at the Council of Europe, and it is right that that is recognised in this debate.

I hope the Government’s commitment, in both the withdrawal agreement and statements that we have made, will give certainty and continuity to employees and employers alike, creating stability in which the UK can grow and thrive. The political declaration on our future relationship makes it clear that we will build on this for the future deal with the EU. We want to ensure that the future economic partnership of the EU is underpinned by measures that ensure fair and open competition. Obviously, a rigorous approach to state aid is a critical component of that and provides a foundation for ensuring smooth trade and a partnership based on high market access. That is reflected in the political declaration, which establishes state aid as a crucial part of the level playing field commitments. The text makes clear that the precise nature of these commitments will depend on the scope and depth of the future relationship and the negotiations to take place.

There is no choice between taking the state aid rules or protecting workers’ rights; the Government recognise the fundamental importance of both.