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Where an aerodrome has been designated under section 25 of the Aviation Security Act 1982, the manager of the aerodrome, the police authority and the chief officer of police will be required to enter into a police services agreement. The specific requirement is in new section 25B, which is inserted in the 1982 Act by paragraph 2 of the schedule. To remove any ambiguity over roles and responsibilities, the agreement should set out the level of policing services to be provided by the police, the amount to be paid for that policing by the airport manager and the facilities to be provided by him to the police. That is set out in section 25B(3).The specification of payments in the agreement may also include references to amounts paid to the police
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authority towards policing at the airport from sources other than the airport manager. We are thinking, for example, of Home Office grants that might be made to fund a particular initiative.

The agreement will need to recognise that circumstances might change during the year. Section 25A(6) requires an agreement to include provisions that will allow it to be varied where there is a material change in circumstances. Before concluding an agreement, and to determine the appropriate level of policing services, the aerodrome manager and chief officer of police will be required to consult with the relevant stakeholders: those in receipt of directions under part 2 of the Aviation SecurityAct 1982, Customs officers and immigration officers. New section 25A provides for that consultation.

Section 25A includes a delegated power for the Secretary of State to modify the consultation requirements, in subsection (4). Under new section 25A(5), the degree of parliamentary scrutiny prescribed is dependent on whether there is any controversy about such changes. I should note that new section 25A(6) was subsequently amended by the Lords on Report. That minor change for clarification, which does not alter the substance of the provisions, has been taken up in the version of the schedule that we are debating today.

Where the parties—the aerodrome manager, police authority and chief officer of police—cannot reach an agreement because they disagree on a particular aspect such as the level of policing to be provided, or are in dispute over the terms, construction or operation ofan agreement, the matter will be referred for determination by an independent expert or tribunal of experts. Paragraph 4 of the schedule therefore inserts new sections 29A to 29D into the Act. Under new section 29A(1), any of the three parties is entitled to ask the Secretary of State to set up the expert determination. The expert should be an independent person appointed by the Secretary of State for the particular dispute, and agreed by the aerodrome manager on one side and the police parties on the other. If the parties cannot agree, the Secretary of State will require each side to appoint an expert and those two experts to appoint a further panel member to act as chairman. New section 29B provides for those arrangements.

Patrick Mercer (Newark) (Con): I was going to intervene, but if the Minister has finished, I will make a quick response. I was interested in what he had to say, as much of it as there was.


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At a recent Transport Committee meeting, the hon. Member for Manchester, Blackley (Graham Stringer) took evidence from Chief Superintendent Savill on this very point, who said:

Wheeler—

He continued:

I would be interested to hear what the Minister has to say about that. I would also be interested to hear, if police reorganisations are going on at the moment, whether it would make sense to consider the policing and security aspects—

It being three hours after the commencement of proceedings, Mr. Deputy Speaker put forthwith the Question already proposed from the chair, pursuant to Order [this day].

Lords amendment No. 8 agreed to.

Mr. Deputy Speaker then put the Questions necessary to dispose of the business to be concluded at that hour.

Lords amendment No. 11 disagreed to.

Government amendment (a) in lieu of Lords amendments Nos. 5 and 11 agreed to.

Lords amendments Nos. 9, 10 and 12 agreed to.

Committee appointed to draw up Reasons to be assigned to the Lords for disagreeing to their amendments Nos. 1, 2 and 4: Mr. Julian Brazier, Mr. Alistair Carmichael, Alan Keen, Mr. Frank Roy and Derek Twigg;Derek Twigg to be the Chairman of the Committee; Three to be the quorum of the Committee.— [Mr. Alan Campbell.]

To withdraw immediately.

Reasons for disagreeing with the Lords amendments reported, and agreed to; to be communicated to the Lords.


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Future EU Finances and Own Resources

7.31 pm

The Minister for Europe (Mr. Geoffrey Hoon): I beg to move,

The House will recall that in December 2005 the United Kingdom, in its capacity as President of the European Union, brokered an agreement on an EU budget that many said at the time would be impossible to deliver. In fact, the result was a comprehensive budget for the period between 2007 and 2013, known as the financial perspective.

EU budget negotiations are inevitably complex, especially when they involve the challenge of doing a deal that works for all 25 EU member states. We were also working in the aftermath of a failed deal somesix months earlier, and in the knowledge that there was a realistic prospect that if we did not secure a deal, it would hold up the development of the accession states and delay a budget agreement by up to two years. In the EU presidency, we were determined to agree a budget that would enable the European Union to deliver for its citizens in the areas where it adds real value, and to make good our commitments to the new accession states.

Mr. William Cash (Stone) (Con): I remember confronting the Minister across the Floor of the House many years ago in different circumstances. Does he agree that the Prime Minister was either severely mistaken or verging on being misleading when he referred to the amount that the taxpayer would haveto find? Does he agree that—as the European commissioner has just announced—the actual amount is £24 billion above the budget that the Prime Minister announced, which means that the British taxpayer will have to find an extra £2 billion and we will now contribute £44 billion to EU coffers over the next budget period? In other words, it was a mockery.

Mr. Hoon: I am delighted to have the opportunity of renewing the acquaintance that the hon. Gentleman and I established over the course of many debates. I am probably one of the few people in the Chamber who have had the privilege of listening to the hon. Gentleman speak sometimes for as little as two hours. Given the time constraints on this debate, I realise that he may struggle to achieve his normal output.

The figures quoted by the European commissioner are not normally used as a basis to calculate the EU budget. They reflect a wider assessment of the budget, involving various items that would not usually be
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considered as part of the negotiation that was achieved in December. I do not say that simply on behalf of the UK Government; the position is widespread across the EU. The figures mentioned by the commissioner involved many aspects of EU expenditure not normally counted as part of the EU budget.

Kelvin Hopkins (Luton, North) (Lab): I welcome my right hon. Friend to his new post. He portrays the deal as a success, but was it not a golden opportunity for Britain to use its leverage to secure fundamental reforms to the European budget? Could we not have reached an historic, positive agreement to change the budget, rather than brokering a deal that will cost Britain much more and not reform the budget?

Mr. Hoon: I am sorry that my hon. Friend is so critical. I know how keen he is on the redistribution of wealth. I should have expected him to say what a good deal this budgetary arrangement is for a relatively wealthy country such as the United Kingdom, with its great economic success, and to refer to the UK’s opportunity to use its influence to persuade all EU member states to recognise their obligations to some countries that are significantly less well off and ensure that the budget assists them in their development.

Kelvin Hopkins: Does my right hon. Friend not agree that redistribution currently benefits richer countries as a result of the perverse effects of the common agricultural policy? Will not our deal help the countries that benefit most from the CAP, such as Denmark, France and Ireland?

Mr. Hoon: That is precisely what the deal changes. I should have thought that, having examined the detail, my hon. Friend would be very pleased at the way in which his Government negotiated an excellent deal for the countries that are only just joining the EU, and benefiting from the opportunity.

Several hon. Members rose—

Mr. Hoon: I seem to have excited a lot of people, but I give way to my hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, East (Keith Vaz).

Keith Vaz (Leicester, East) (Lab): I am most grateful. I too warmly welcome my right hon. Friend back to the Foreign Office as Minister for Europe. I know that he will perform his task with great distinction, as he did when he last held the post.

Does my right hon. Friend not agree that, although we have great affection for my hon. Friend the Member for Luton, North (Kelvin Hopkins) when he speaks on European issues, he misses the point about the deal? Britain has been the champion of enlargement. Indeed, when my right hon. Friend last held his current post he pushed forward the enlargement agenda. It is only right that we agreed a deal to help the new countries that have joined the European Union.

Mr. Hoon: I am grateful for my hon. Friend’s kind words and even more grateful for his observations, with which I entirely agree.


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Mr. Richard Shepherd (Aldridge-Brownhills) (Con): Will the Minister confirm that the deal requires primary legislation in the House, and can he give us an idea of when that is likely to happen, given the time scale?

Mr. Hoon: Were I still Leader of the House, I might be in a better position to answer that question.

Mark Pritchard (The Wrekin) (Con): I welcome the Minister to his new role, but I shall miss him on Thursday mornings.

Have not the Government given away more British taxpayers’ money, both in net terms and in terms of a reduced rebate, without benefiting from reciprocal reforms of EU finances?

Mr. Hoon: That is not the case. I shall deal with those points in due course, but the deal is hugely successful for both the United Kingdom and the European Union. I think that ensuring that all the different elements were put in place—not least, in a European Union of 25 member states, a commitment to long-term reform—as well as being fair to the new member states constitutes a tremendous success.

I hope that the hon. Gentleman will forgive me for being party-political for a moment. His party strongly supports enlargement, and I should have expected itto show equally strong support for the willing of resources to allow that enlargement to be successful. That is precisely what this deal does.

Mr. Charles Walker (Broxbourne) (Con): If this was such a fair deal for Europe, why was France so happy with the outcome?

Mr. Hoon: When I was at the Ministry of Defence, there were a number of rather large oil paintings depicting Britain’s great victories over France in the past. I would hope, however, that in the 21st century it was important for us to work closely with our nearest neighbour, as well as other members of the European Union. Certainly France was happy, and I am sure that that was because of the extremely effective negotiating skills of Britain’s Ministers.

Mr. Ian Davidson (Glasgow, South-West) (Lab/Co-op): Along with many others, I congratulate the Minister on his new position. May I point out to him, however, that he has a very hard act to follow? Within days of taking the post of Minister for Europe, my right hon. Friend the Member for Paisley and Renfrewshire, South (Mr. Alexander) had managed to get the French and the Dutch to vote against the European constitution, thereby destroying it. Can we expect similar activity on the part of this Minister in relation to the European budget?

Mr. Hoon: I always enjoy the congratulations of my hon. Friend, although I have also sometimes lived to regret them. I am not planning to be as spectacularly successful as my right hon. Friend the Member for Paisley and Renfrewshire, South (Mr. Alexander) was in this area.


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David Taylor (North-West Leicestershire) (Lab/Co-op): Does my right hon. Friend accept the figuresfor the five complete years between 2000 and 2004, which show that Britain’s net contribution to European institutions was some £4.6 billion a year, and that, in the seven years of this deal, the contribution will be some £10.6 billion? Is that not a very substantial rise, and is he happy that the budget’s make-up reflects the EU’s priorities? In most areas of life and inmost organisations in societies and economies, large budgets are shaped to reflect the priorities of such organisations. However, this is still substantially an agricultural budget, is it not?

Mr. Hoon: A significant element of agricultural spending is still involved, which is why it was important to agree a process for reforming further the common agricultural policy. It is important that my hon. Friend put into context his figures for the United Kingdom. We are talking about a financial perspective for 25 EU member states that stretches well into the future. We need to achieve such an agreement—my hon. Friend will forgive me for repeating this point—in the context of a number of new member states whose economic progress and development was, frankly, far behind that of existing member states. Crucially, it is in our and all other member states’ interest that the new ones be able to develop in the way that this budget allows for.

John Bercow (Buckingham) (Con): I welcome the right hon. Gentleman to his new responsibilities, and I hope that we find the exchanges with him on these matters every bit as stimulating as his leadership of the House and of the business statement repertory company. Assuming that he welcomes and endorsesthe Commission’s contribution to the institutional negotiations on the budget agreement, does he think it practical to hold out a realistic prospect of the EU’s accounts being signed off—for once—by the European Court of Auditors?

Mr. Hoon: I recognise the historical difficulties associated with being positive about that aspect of EU finances. The hon. Gentleman asks whether I hold out a realistic prospect of dealing with this issue. I am always hopeful, but the member states and the EU institutions need to work together to deal with fraud, in particular, which has been a problem for many years, largely because we have not had the necessary co-ordination between institutions and member states. I am confident that the co-operation that we have seen in recent times—not least in agreeing this budget—will lead in that direction, so, yes, I am hopeful, but at the moment, no, there is no realistic prospect hope of achieving the aim that the hon. Gentleman refers to.


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