Sea Fishing Grants (Charges) Bill — 22 May 2000

Not amended in the Standing Committee, considered .

Order for Third Reading read.

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

The Bill is short and straightforward. It is a very narrow Bill, but it has a complex legal background. Its purpose is to ensure the validity of charges that were levied by the Sea Fish Industry Authority between 1 October 1981 and 3 May 1996 in connection with its administration of grant schemes under the Fisheries Act 1981. It also applies to the validity of charges that were made by the authority's predecessor, the Herring Industry Board, between March 1972 and October 1981.

However, it was not thought appropriate to make any reference to it, as no decision had been made at that time about how to deal with the issue.--[ Official Report, Standing Committee G , 14 March 2000; c. 16.]

This view would be consistent with "Statement of Standard Accounting Practice 18" and its successor "Financial Reporting Standard 12" which provide that in those cases where the probability of the ultimate outcome having a material effect on the financial statements (ie those of SFIA in this case) is remote, no disclosure of the contingent liability is required in the accounts.

The Bill is retrospective. As I said on Second Reading, the Government do not take lightly the introduction of retrospective legislation.--[ Official Report, Standing Committee G , 14 March 2000; c. 4.]

That point has dogged the Bill from the start. In fairness to the Government, they have made no secret of the fact that it was retrospective, but, as the hon. Member for St. Ives (Mr. George) has just said, the argument is whether retrospective legislation is justified to solve a problem that may not have existed. Even now we have not got to the bottom of that. I certainly have not, because I have not yet seen the note on the legal advice that the members of the Committee have seen, but that is not yet in the Library as the Minister claimed that it was. The rest of us who were not on the Committee are in the dark about the content of the note.

On Second Reading, the Minister was pressed to convey to the House the basis of his legal advice. He declined to do so then, and appears unwilling to do so today.--[ Official Report, Standing Committee G , 14 March 2000; c. 5.]

I still think that there are considerable gaps in his explanation of the advice that he has received about the necessity for these retrospective provisions.

advise colleagues in the House who will have to consider it in due course.--[ Official Report, Standing Committee G , 14 March 2000; c. 10.]

The Government have become slap happy in the use of retrospective legislation.--[ Official Report , 23 June 1986; Vol. 100, c. 86.]

The total value of the charges levied by the Herring Industry Board and the Sea Fish Industry Authority was about £7.3 million covering some 13,000 cases. By ensuring that these were validly levied the Bill will secure a possible saving in public expenditure in avoiding any obligation that might otherwise arise to fund repayments.

It being five hours after the commencement of proceedings on the allocation of time motion, Mr. Deputy Speaker, pursuant to Order [this day], put forthwith the Question necessary for the disposal of proceedings to be concluded at that hour.

Motion made, and Question put, That the Bill be now read the Third time.-- [Mrs. McGuire.]

The House divided: Ayes 313, Noes 1.

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Frank DoranAberdeen CentralLabaye
Mr Malcolm SavidgeAberdeen NorthLabaye
Anne BeggAberdeen SouthLab (minister)aye
Mrs Helen LiddellAirdrie and ShottsLab (minister)aye
Mr Barry JonesAlyn and DeesideLabaye
Judy MallaberAmber ValleyLabaye
Mrs Ray MichieArgyll and ButeLDemaye
Geoff HoonAshfieldLab (minister)aye
Mr Robert SheldonAshton-under-LyneLab (minister)aye
Eric IllsleyBarnsley CentralLabaye
Jeff EnnisBarnsley East and MexboroughLabaye
Michael ClaphamBarnsley West and PenistoneLabaye
John HuttonBarrow and FurnessLab (minister)aye
Angela SmithBasildonLabaye
Mr Joe AshtonBassetlawLabaye
Mike WoodBatley and SpenLabaye
Martin LintonBatterseaLabaye
Alan BeithBerwick-upon-TweedLDem (front bench)aye
Ms Oona KingBethnal Green and BowLab (minister)aye
Mr Nigel BeardBexleyheath and CrayfordLabaye
Frank FieldBirkenheadLabaye
Gisela StuartBirmingham, EdgbastonLab (minister)aye
Mr Robin CorbettBirmingham, ErdingtonLab (minister)aye
Steve McCabeBirmingham, Hall GreenLab (minister)aye
Clare ShortBirmingham, LadywoodLab (minister)aye
Richard BurdenBirmingham, NorthfieldLabaye
Mr Jeff RookerBirmingham, Perry BarrLab (minister)aye
Lynne JonesBirmingham, Selly OakLabaye
Roger GodsiffBirmingham, Sparkbrook and Small HeathLabaye
Ms Estelle MorrisBirmingham, YardleyLab (minister)aye
Mr Derek FosterBishop AucklandLab (minister)aye
Jack StrawBlackburnLab (minister)aye
Joan HumbleBlackpool North and FleetwoodLabaye
Gordon MarsdenBlackpool SouthLabaye
Mr Llew SmithBlaenau GwentLabaye
Ronnie CampbellBlyth ValleyLabaye
Dennis SkinnerBolsoverLab (minister)aye
David CrausbyBolton North EastLab (minister)aye
Brian IddonBolton South EastLabaye
Terry RooneyBradford NorthLabaye
Gerry SutcliffeBradford SouthLab (minister)aye
Marsha SinghBradford WestLabaye
Mr Alan HurstBraintreeLabaye
Mr Richard LivseyBrecon and RadnorshireLDem (front bench)aye
Ann KeenBrentford and IsleworthLabaye
Mr Win GriffithsBridgendLabaye
David LepperBrighton, PavilionLabaye
Dawn PrimaroloBristol SouthLab (minister)aye
Mrs Valerie DaveyBristol WestLabaye
Eric ForthBromley and ChislehurstContellno
Mr Peter PikeBurnleyLabaye
Ivan LewisBury SouthLabaye
Chris McCaffertyCalder ValleyLabaye
Harriet HarmanCamberwell and PeckhamLab (minister)aye
Mrs Anne CampbellCambridgeLabaye
Mr Jon Owen JonesCardiff CentralLabaye
Julie MorganCardiff NorthLabaye
Eric MartlewCarlisleLabaye
Dr Alan WilliamsCarmarthen East and DinefwrLabaye
Nick AingerCarmarthen West and South PembrokeshireLabaye
Mrs Christine ButlerCastle PointLabaye
Mr Simon ThomasCeredigionPCaye
Jonathan R ShawChatham and AylesfordLabaye
Mr Tony BennChesterfieldLabaye
Mr Gerry SteinbergCity of DurhamLabaye
Hugh BayleyCity of YorkLab (minister)aye
Shona McIsaacCleethorpesLabaye
Mr Tony WorthingtonClydebank and MilngavieLabaye
Bob RussellColchesterLDem (front bench)aye
Kali MountfordColne ValleyLabaye
Dr Jack CunninghamCopelandLabaye
Phil HopeCorbyLabaye
Bob AinsworthCoventry North EastLab (minister)aye
Jim CunninghamCoventry SouthLab (minister)aye
Laura MoffattCrawleyLabaye
Gwyneth DunwoodyCrewe and NantwichLabaye
Rosemary McKennaCumbernauld and KilsythLabaye
Brian H DonohoeCunninghame SouthLabaye
Ann ClwydCynon ValleyLab (minister)aye
Howard StoateDartfordLabaye
David HansonDelynLab (minister)aye
Mr Andrew BennettDenton and ReddishLabaye
Bob LaxtonDerby NorthLabaye
Margaret BeckettDerby SouthLab (minister)aye
Mrs Ann TaylorDewsburyLab (minister)aye
Caroline FlintDon ValleyLabaye
Mr Kevin HughesDoncaster NorthLab (minister)aye
Gwyn ProsserDoverLabaye
Ian PearsonDudley SouthLabaye
Russell BrownDumfriesLab (minister)aye
Steve PoundEaling NorthLab (minister)aye
Mr Clive SoleyEaling, Acton and Shepherd's BushLab (minister)aye
Piara S KhabraEaling, SouthallLabaye
John CummingsEasingtonLabaye
Stephen TimmsEast HamLab (minister)aye
Ian StewartEcclesLabaye
Gavin StrangEdinburgh East and MusselburghLabaye
Dr Lynda ClarkEdinburgh PentlandsLab (minister)aye
Donald GorrieEdinburgh WestLDemaye
Colin BurgonElmetLabaye
Clive EffordElthamLab (minister)aye
Liz BlackmanErewashLabaye
John AustinErith and ThamesmeadLabaye
Ben BradshawExeterLab (minister)aye
Michael ConnartyFalkirk EastLab (minister)aye
Alan KeenFeltham and HestonLabaye
Rudi VisFinchley and Golders GreenLabaye
Mrs Diana OrganForest of DeanLabaye
Edward LeighGainsboroughCon (front bench)no
Alasdair MorganGalloway and Upper NithsdaleSNPaye
Ms Joyce QuinGateshead East and Washington WestLab (minister)aye
Vernon CoakerGedlingLabaye
Paul ClarkGillinghamLabaye
Mr Jimmy WrayGlasgow BailliestonLabaye
Mr John MaxtonGlasgow CathcartLabaye
Mohammad SarwarGlasgow GovanLabaye
George GallowayGlasgow KelvinLabaye
Mrs Maria FyfeGlasgow MaryhillLabaye
Ian DavidsonGlasgow PollokLab (minister)aye
Thomas McAvoyGlasgow RutherglenLab (minister)aye
David MarshallGlasgow ShettlestonLabaye
Mr Chris PondGraveshamLabaye
Austin MitchellGreat GrimsbyLabaye
Anthony D WrightGreat YarmouthLabaye
Dr Norman GodmanGreenock and InverclydeLabaye
Nick RaynsfordGreenwich and WoolwichLab (minister)aye
Mr Brian SedgemoreHackney South and ShoreditchLabaye
Sylvia HealHalesowen and Rowley Regiswhilst Labaye
Mrs Alice MahonHalifaxLabaye
Derek TwiggHaltonLabaye
John ReidHamilton North and BellshillLab (minister)aye
Mr Bill TynanHamilton SouthLabaye
Mr Iain ColemanHammersmith and FulhamLabaye
Glenda JacksonHampstead and HighgateLabaye
Bill RammellHarlowLabaye
Phil WillisHarrogate and KnaresboroughLDem (front bench)aye
Tony McNultyHarrow EastLab (minister)tellaye
Gareth ThomasHarrow WestLabaye
Mr Ivan HendersonHarwichLabaye
Andrew StunellHazel GroveLDem (front bench)aye
Mr Tony McWalterHemel HempsteadLabaye
Jon TrickettHemsworthLabaye
Paul KeetchHerefordLDemaye
Tom LevittHigh PeakLabaye
John CryerHornchurchLabaye
Mrs Barbara RocheHornsey and Wood GreenLab (minister)aye
Mr Ivor CaplinHoveLabaye
Barry SheermanHuddersfieldLab (minister)aye
Greg PopeHyndburnLab (minister)aye
Ms Linda PerhamIlford NorthLabaye
Mr David StewartInverness East, Nairn and LochaberLabaye
Mr Jamie CannIpswichLabaye
Jeremy CorbynIslington NorthLabaye
Don TouhigIslwynLab (minister)aye
Stephen HepburnJarrowLab (minister)aye
Des BrowneKilmarnock and LoudounLabaye
John PrescottKingston upon Hull EastLab (minister)aye
Alan JohnsonKingston upon Hull West and HessleLab (minister)aye
Roger BerryKingswoodLabaye
George HowarthKnowsley North and Sefton EastLab (minister)aye
Mr Hilton DawsonLancaster and WyreLabaye
Hilary BennLeeds CentralLabaye
George MudieLeeds EastLabaye
Dr Jim MarshallLeicester SouthLabaye
Mr Peter Temple-MorrisLeominsterwhilst Labaye
Bridget PrenticeLewisham EastLabaye
Jim DowdLewisham WestLab (minister)aye
Harry CohenLeyton and WansteadLabaye
Gillian MerronLincolnLabaye
Maria EagleLiverpool, GarstonLabaye
Louise EllmanLiverpool, RiversideLabaye
Peter KilfoyleLiverpool, WaltonLabaye
Jane KennedyLiverpool, WavertreeLab (minister)aye
Robert WareingLiverpool, West DerbyLabaye
Mr Denzil DaviesLlanelliLabaye
Kelvin HopkinsLuton NorthLabaye
Ian McCartneyMakerfieldLab (minister)aye
Tony LloydManchester CentralLabaye
Graham StringerManchester, BlackleyLab (minister)aye
Mr Keith BradleyManchester, WithingtonLab (minister)aye
Alan MealeMansfieldLabaye
Elfyn LlwydMeirionnydd Nant ConwyPC (front bench)aye
Mr Ted RowlandsMerthyr Tydfil and RhymneyLab (minister)aye
Stuart BellMiddlesbroughLab (minister)aye
Mr Eric ClarkeMidlothianLabaye
Phyllis StarkeyMilton Keynes South WestLabaye
Siobhain McDonaghMitcham and MordenLabaye
Mr Huw EdwardsMonmouthLabaye
Lembit ÖpikMontgomeryshireLDemaye
Geraldine SmithMorecambe and LunesdaleLabaye
Frank RoyMotherwell and WishawLabaye
Mr Calum MacDonaldNa h-Eileanan an IarLabaye
Peter HainNeathLabaye
Fiona JonesNewarkLabaye
Mr David RendelNewburyLDemaye
Jim CousinsNewcastle upon Tyne CentralLabaye
Nick BrownNewcastle upon Tyne East and WallsendLab (minister)aye
Doug HendersonNewcastle upon Tyne NorthLabaye
Mrs Llin GoldingNewcastle-under-LymeLabaye
Mr Alan HowarthNewport EastLab (minister)aye
Paul FlynnNewport WestLabaye
Mr Bill O'BrienNormantonLabaye
Mr Paul TylerNorth CornwallLDemaye
Nick HarveyNorth DevonLDem (front bench)aye
Mr Giles RadiceNorth DurhamLab (minister)aye
Mr Harry BarnesNorth East DerbyshireLabaye
Menzies CampbellNorth East FifeLDem (front bench)aye
Mike O'BrienNorth WarwickshireLab (minister)aye
Hilary ArmstrongNorth West DurhamLab (minister)aye
David TaylorNorth West LeicestershireLabaye
Dr George TurnerNorth West NorfolkLabaye
Sally KeebleNorthampton NorthLabaye
Mr Tony ClarkeNorthampton SouthLabaye
Steve WebbNorthavonLDem (front bench)aye
Charles ClarkeNorwich SouthLab (minister)aye
John HeppellNottingham EastLabaye
Graham AllenNottingham NorthLab (minister)aye
Bill OlnerNuneatonLabaye
Mr Martin O'NeillOchilLab (minister)aye
Phil WoolasOldham East and SaddleworthLabaye
Michael MeacherOldham West and RoytonLab (minister)aye
Andrew SmithOxford EastLab (minister)aye
Douglas AlexanderPaisley SouthLabaye
Gordon PrenticePendleLabaye
David MacleanPenrith and The BorderContellno
Mr David JamiesonPlymouth, DevonportLab (minister)aye
Linda GilroyPlymouth, SuttonLabaye
Kim HowellsPontypriddLab (minister)aye
Jim FitzpatrickPoplar and Canning TownLabaye
Mr Syd RapsonPortsmouth NorthLabaye
Mrs Jackie LawrencePreseli PembrokeshireLabaye
Ms Jane GriffithsReading EastLabaye
Martin SalterReading WestLabaye
Ms Lorna FitzsimonsRochdaleLabaye
Mrs Eileen GordonRomfordLabaye
Sandra GidleyRomseyLDemaye
Janet AndersonRossendale and DarwenLab (minister)aye
Denis MacShaneRotherhamLabaye
Mr Andy KingRugby and KenilworthLabaye
Hazel BlearsSalfordLabaye
Mr Lawrie QuinnScarborough and WhitbyLabaye
Elliot MorleyScunthorpeLab (minister)aye
John GroganSelbyLab (minister)aye
Richard CabornSheffield CentralLab (minister)aye
Clive BettsSheffield, AttercliffeLab (minister)aye
Mr Bill MichieSheffield, HeeleyLabaye
Mrs Helen JacksonSheffield, HillsboroughLabaye
Paddy TippingSherwoodLab (minister)aye
Mr Paul MarsdenShrewsbury and AtchamLabaye
Derek WyattSittingbourne and SheppeyLabaye
Fiona MactaggartSloughLabaye
David HeathSomerton and FromeLDem (front bench)aye
Mark ToddSouth DerbyshireLabaye
Colin BreedSouth East CornwallLDemaye
Dr David ClarkSouth ShieldsLabaye
Stephen LadymanSouth ThanetLabaye
John DenhamSouthampton, ItchenLab (minister)aye
Alan WhiteheadSouthampton, TestLabaye
Mr Ronnie FearnSouthportLDemaye
Dave WattsSt Helens NorthLabaye
Mr Gerry BerminghamSt Helens SouthLabaye
Andrew GeorgeSt IvesLDem (front bench)aye
David KidneyStaffordLabaye
Charlotte AtkinsStaffordshire MoorlandsLabaye
Mr Tom PendryStalybridge and HydeLabaye
Barbara FollettStevenageLabaye
Anne McGuireStirlingLab (minister)tellaye
Ann CoffeyStockportLabaye
Frank CookStockton NorthLabaye
Mark FisherStoke-on-Trent CentralLabaye
Joan WalleyStoke-on-Trent NorthLab (minister)aye
Mr George StevensonStoke-on-Trent SouthLabaye
Keith HillStreathamLab (minister)aye
Beverley HughesStretford and UrmstonLab (minister)aye
David DrewStroudLab (minister)aye
Bill EtheringtonSunderland NorthLabaye
Mr Donald AndersonSwansea EastLab (minister)aye
Alan WilliamsSwansea WestLabaye
Brian JenkinsTamworthLabaye
Mr Martin BellTattonIndependentaye
Mrs Jackie BallardTauntonLDemaye
Mr Bruce GrocottTelfordLabaye
Mr Peter BradleyThe WrekinLabaye
Andrew MacKinlayThurrockLabaye
Adrian SandersTorbayLDem (front bench)aye
Paul MurphyTorfaenLab (minister)aye
David ClellandTyne BridgeLab (minister)aye
Mr Keith DarvillUpminsterLabaye
Kate HoeyVauxhallLab (minister)aye
Mr David HinchliffeWakefieldLabaye
David WinnickWalsall NorthLab (minister)aye
Neil GerrardWalthamstowLabaye
Denis MurphyWansbeckLabaye
Dan NorrisWansdykeLabaye
Helen JonesWarrington NorthLab (minister)aye
James PlaskittWarwick and LeamingtonLabaye
Claire WardWatfordLabaye
Bob BlizzardWaveneyLabaye
Mike HallWeaver ValeLab (minister)aye
Mr Paul StinchcombeWellingboroughLabaye
Miss Melanie JohnsonWelwyn HatfieldLab (minister)aye
Mr Tony BanksWest HamLab (minister)aye
Mr Colin PickthallWest LancashireLabaye
Mr Brian CotterWeston-Super-MareLDem (front bench)aye
Neil TurnerWiganLabaye
Mr Roger CasaleWimbledonLabaye
Ben ChapmanWirral SouthLabaye
Stephen HesfordWirral WestLabaye
Ken PurchaseWolverhampton North EastLabaye
Mr Dennis TurnerWolverhampton South EastLab (minister)aye
Ms Jenny JonesWolverhampton South WestLabaye
Michael FosterWorcesterLabaye
Mr Dale Campbell-SavoursWorkingtonLabaye
Mr Terry LewisWorsleyLabaye
Peter BottomleyWorthing WestConaye
Mr David LockWyre ForestLab (minister)aye
Paul GogginsWythenshawe and Sale EastLabaye
Mr Paddy AshdownYeovilLDem (front bench)aye

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