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

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