Clause 12 - Regulations

Seafarers’ Wages Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee am 3:00 pm ar 17 Ionawr 2023.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Gavin Newlands Gavin Newlands Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Transport) 3:00, 17 Ionawr 2023

I beg to move amendment 61, in clause 12, page 8, line 33, leave out subsection (3) and insert—

“(3) A statutory instrument containing (whether alone or with other provision) regulations made by a Minister of the Crown under any of the following provisions may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament—

(a) section 3 (power to request declaration);

(b) section 4 (nature of declaration);

(c) section 7 (imposition of surcharges);

(d) section 9 (refusal of harbour access for failure to pay surcharge).

(3A) Any other statutory instrument containing regulations made by a Minister of the Crown under any provision of this Act is subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.”

This amendment ensures that regulations under clauses 3, 4, 7 and 9 of the Bill are subject to the affirmative resolution procedure.

Photo of Carolyn Harris Carolyn Harris Llafur, Dwyrain Abertawe

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Amendment 66, in clause 12, page 8, line 33, leave out

“is subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either” and insert

“may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before and approved by resolution of each”.

Clause stand part.

Photo of Gavin Newlands Gavin Newlands Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Transport)

I was on tenterhooks there: I was not sure whether I would have to leave expeditiously for the Standing Order No. 24 debate application in the Chamber, but thankfully that has been resolved.

As trailed when I spoke previously, amendment 61 seeks to amend the legislation in a similar fashion to Labour’s amendment 66. I am not precious about which amendment the Minister accepts. Clause 12 concerns the power to make regulations by statutory instrument and currently sets out that regulations made under the legislation are subject to the negative resolution procedure, as is always the case these days—other than for those in respect of clause 15, I should add in fairness. Given the potential nature and impact of the provisions that may be made by regulations under clauses 3, 4, 7 and 9, it would be appropriate for such regulations to be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure, to enhance the scrutiny of the regulations of this Parliament. At one point, the Government were keen for this Parliament to “take back control”. I hope the Minister can exert that with these amendments.

Photo of Mike Kane Mike Kane Shadow Minister (Transport)

I rise to speak in favour of amendment 61, in the name of the SNP Members, and amendment 66. The proposal is self-explanatory but important. The regulations under the Bill hand very broad powers to Ministers. It would be important for the House to consider and approve the regulations that will be made.

Photo of Grahame Morris Grahame Morris Llafur, Easington

The ground has been very well covered. I am just wondering, particularly in relation to amendment 61, tabled by my colleagues from the SNP, about the impact of the earlier Government amendments. The Secretary of State has quite extensive powers in relation to the declaration, the imposition of surcharges, and directions to harbour authorities. I am sure that that must have been taken into account, but it does seem, given the extensive powers being conferred on the Secretary of State, that it would be reasonable to have reference to the affirmative procedure in the Bill and to specify which sections require delegated power for the Secretary of State. Therefore I support amendments 61 and 66.

Photo of Richard Holden Richard Holden Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

Clause 12 empowers the Secretary of State to make regulations to provide further details on the implementation of the Bill’s provisions. The regulations made under the legislation will be subject, as it stands, to the negative resolution procedure. The regulations may make different provisions for different cases, for example to take account of different types of ship services, such as freight ferries and container ships, and different non-qualifying seafarers—for example, there may be different surcharge rates according to age. The regulations may also confer discretion on specified persons and contain consequential, supplementary, incidental or transitional provisions. This provision gives the Government the flexibility to adapt the regulations as needed to ensure that the Bill’s provisions are effectively implemented and to achieve the Bill’s policy objectives as quickly as possible.

Amendments 61 and 66 seek to ensure that regulations under clauses 3, 4, 7 and 9 are subject to the affirmative resolution procedure, rather than the negative resolution procedure as currently. We expressly considered why it is appropriate that each regulation-making power was negative in our delegated powers memo, and the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee did not raise any concerns about the procedure for the remaining regulation-making powers in the Bill. Indeed, the only regulation-making power that the Committee recommended be subject to the affirmative procedure has now been removed from the Bill.

Although we have tweaked certain regulation-making powers, we do not consider that this changes the appropriateness of the negative procedure, and we will be providing a supplementary delegated powers memorandum for the Committee to consider in due course. Switching to the affirmative procedure is not a good use of parliamentary time and would slow down the implementation of the Bill. I request that the amendments be withdrawn so that we can get on with protecting seafarers as quickly as possible.

Photo of Gavin Newlands Gavin Newlands Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Transport)

I thank the Minister for that response. Surely it is for Parliament to decide the best use of parliamentary time. I think we have let the Minister off with enough this afternoon, so I will push the amendment to a vote.

Question put, That the amendment be made.

Rhif adran 4 Seafarers’ Wages Bill [Lords] — Clause 12 - Regulations

Ie: 7 MPs

Na: 10 MPs

Ie: A-Z fesul cyfenw

Na: A-Z fesul cyfenw

The Committee divided: Ayes 7, Noes 10.

Question accordingly negatived.

Clause 12 ordered to stand part of the Bill.