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3.26 pm

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Richard Benyon): It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Crausby. I congratulate the hon. Member for Arfon (Hywel Williams) on securing such an important debate.

The Government are reviewing all aspects of waste policy and delivery in England, including how we can encourage waste prevention and reuse. The review’s findings will be published in June. As waste is a devolved issue, the review focuses on England only, but I can reassure the hon. Gentleman that my officials meet regularly with those from the Welsh Administration and other devolved Administrations to learn about experiences elsewhere. I congratulate him on the good case studies he shared with us today of Welsh local authorities that are achieving fantastic results for recycling, and in other environmental areas. We can learn from those and from the good case studies in England. What is important is that we are all keen to prevent waste where we can.

The hon. Gentleman talked about the hideous spectacle of recyclates being placed on ships to China, and I entirely understand where he is coming from, but the first thing we need to consider when we think about that is that it is better that that is happening than that they are buried. If recyclable material can be constructed into something useful, there is a business opportunity, and to make recycling work, we need business opportunities. We obviously want to reduce the number of recycling miles, but it is not an entirely bad story if we are exporting materials that get used, and those materials fit in with the import-export structure of our shipping industry. There are new approaches to business waste, which will come out in the review. There is also a lot of good news on the co-responsibility deals the hon. Gentleman discussed.

The hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (John McDonnell) mentioned that it is real nappy week. I would like to be able to stand in front of the House and say that I, as a father of five, was entirely virtuous and forced my poor wife—wives, if I am being perfectly honest—to use terry nappies, but I did not. I believe that I played my part in that function of parenting, but both wives would probably disagree. Nevertheless, we must ask ourselves whether we want to impose reusable nappies on future generations of parents. I think that the point made by the hon. Members for Arfon and for Hayes and Harlington is that this is a question of education and incentives.

Of course, reusing nappies is not a total-sum game. If we managed to persuade many more parents to reuse nappies, there would be increased use of water and possibly increased use of non-biological washing powders. So, it is not a total-sum game. Nevertheless, it is much better than burying large amounts of disposable nappies, which of course contain chemicals.

I want to give the hon. Member for Arfon an absolute assurance about what we mean by zero waste. Zero waste does not mean that no waste exists—we are all realists. It means a society where resources are fully valued, financially and environmentally. One person’s waste is another person’s resource. Nothing is actually wasted over time; we get as close as we can to zero landfill; and there is a new public consciousness about waste. That is how we define zero waste.

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On the subject of nappies, it is also worth considering the work that the Government are doing with the clothing sector. In the UK, we buy some 2 million tonnes of clothing a year. That has a huge impact on our environment right through the supply chain—from production to the end of a product’s life. We discard 1 million tonnes of unwanted clothing a year; 50% of it ends up in landfill and only 24% is reused or recycled. The clothing sector in the UK produces about 3.1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, about 1 million tonnes of waste and 70 million tonnes of waste water. However, those sums are minimal compared with the impact of the clothing sector overseas, where 90% of the clothing that the UK consumes comes from. When we talk about waste, it is important that we understand the breadth of what we are dealing with.

The hon. Members for Arfon and for Hayes and Harlington both mentioned incineration, as did the hon. Member for Copeland (Mr Reed), who said that he wants a very clear statement about how incineration fits in with our waste policy. That will be clearly defined in the waste review; that is its purpose. However, I can say today that incineration is part of the mix and part of the waste hierarchy, as all hon. Members will know well.

The question a lot of people ask about incineration is on the public health aspect. I can tell the hon. Member for Copeland that in 2009 the Health Protection Agency reviewed the scientific evidence of the health effects of modern municipal waste incinerators. I want to emphasise the word “modern”, because there have been problems in the past with incinerators. The HPA’s report on incinerators is available on its website. It concluded that although it is not possible to rule out completely any adverse health effects from incinerators, any potential damage from modern, well-run and highly regulated incinerators is likely to be so small as to be undetectable. I know that that will not make many of the protesters against incineration schemes go away quietly, and there are many other factors to be taken into consideration in siting an incinerator in a certain place. However, the fact remains that modern incinerators are highly regulated. They are not monitored monthly or weekly, but all the time. The Environment Agency is extremely strict in ensuring they are safe. One incinerator recently opened in Sheffield, and another in Bristol. They are a very important part of how we deal with waste, in a society that simply cannot afford to bury it any longer.

We have made great progress in this country in increasing recycling rates, but the best thing we can do with waste is to prevent its arising in the first place. In accordance with the waste hierarchy we have just discussed, and which is now enshrined in UK law, preventing waste helps individuals, businesses and local authorities to save money. It helps us to conserve scarce natural resources and it reduces damage to the environment. Through our waste review, we have engaged widely with individuals, communities and businesses, and we have received more than 300 responses to our call for evidence. Many of those who responded supported our view that we need to focus more on preventing waste from occurring in the first place. Waste prevention covers many types of activities and behaviours. It means improving production efficiencies in business; designing products so they work efficiently and last for as long as possible; repairing

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products when they are broken; reusing products to give them a second life; and not buying products we do not need.

The Government cannot deal with waste prevention alone. The public, private and voluntary sectors need to work together to make it easy for people to do the right thing. A great example of that is the existing work on food waste prevention. Food is a valuable resource. Every tonne of food that ends up in landfill damages the environment by producing the equivalent of four tonnes of CO2. UK households throw away more than 8 million tonnes of food every year, most of which could have been eaten. Preventing that food waste could save the average family £680 a year.

The “Love Food Hate Waste” campaign is run by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ delivery body, the Waste and Resources Action Programme in England. WRAP is working with businesses, householders, civil society groups and local authorities to reduce the amount of food wasted. More than 300 local authorities in England are running “Love Food Hate Waste” initiatives to help local residents buy the right amounts of food and to make the most of what they buy. I have seen such initiatives myself, working locally, and they are excellent schemes. Between 2007 and 2009, all these actions reduced food waste by more than 380,000 tonnes a year, saving consumers more than £860 million and preventing more than 1.6 million tonnes of CO2 emissions a year.

We want to do even more to prevent waste by working with businesses and consumers. For example, WRAP has recently collaborated with Hovis to examine why consumers waste £1.1 billion of bread and bakery products each year, and to consider how manufacturers can help consumers to waste less of their products. Organisations such as FareShare, which is a social enterprise, also make an important contribution to preventing food waste. They work with industry to redistribute good quality surplus food that would have been wasted by giving it to people who might otherwise go hungry.

The Courtauld commitment, a voluntary initiative with retailers and manufacturers in the grocery sector, has also helped to reduce food waste. Phase 2, which was launched last year, aims to encourage further significant reductions in food waste. However, the Courtauld commitment is not only about food waste. It is a key contributor towards our efforts to reduce packaging waste and the carbon emissions associated with packaging production. Packaging makes up between 18% and 20% of household waste, and about 10% of commercial and industrial waste. Reducing packaging can have both economic and environmental benefits. By using only as much packaging as is necessary to protect goods, businesses can save money on raw materials and transport costs. Less packaging means that local authorities and businesses have less waste to deal with. For example, B&Q has just announced that it has swapped the cardboard packaging it used to use to transport kitchen components for a reusable packaging system. That has prevented 435 tonnes of cardboard waste and saved the company about £80,000 per year.

WRAP supports and encourages innovation in packaging design, with the aim of ensuring that packaging uses as little material as will do the job, and that it can be reused and recycled easily. We are looking not only at the packaging that surrounds products, but at the products

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themselves. We need to encourage companies to design products differently to avoid waste. Products need to last longer—to be upgradeable, repairable and reusable. Working with WRAP, we are helping organisations to develop new business models for a greener economy.

For example, under the sustainable clothing action plan I referred to earlier, more than 40 organisations are now taking voluntary action, including reducing production and packaging waste. If an unwanted item is still in good condition, it does not have to end up in landfill; it can be reused. Civil society organisations play a vital part in preventing waste through the reuse of goods. Charity shops and reuse organisations enable individuals to donate and buy items that other people no longer need, which provides social and environmental benefits. For example, the London Waste and Recycling Board is setting up a reuse network for the benefit of households across London.

There are lots of things that householders can do to prevent waste and to reuse products, but we know it is not always simple to do them. That is why the waste review will consider how we can make it easier for people to do the right thing.

The hon. Member for Copeland made a number of points, and I say just this: he is rapidly running out of ideas with which attack to this Government, because each time he does so we cut him off at the pass. He will have to eat his words about the greenest Government ever because, given the publication of the natural environment White Paper, the ecosystems assessment, the biodiversity plan and the many other documents— including the waste review, which has the environment absolutely at its heart—he sounds increasingly shrill in his rather weak attacks. It is simply not good enough to posit something utterly nonsensical to the House as if it were fact. He says that there are endless disputes between my Department and the Department for Communities and Local Government, and I can assure him that that is not the case. The two Departments are working together very closely—on a great many areas, including the Localism Bill, which is currently being debated in the House—and we have a good, sensible, hard-working relationship, which brings benefits both to the environment and to many other areas of our work.

I return to the important, and I hope bipartisan, issues that unite us. Waste prevention is not just for householders; it is for businesses to take action on too. More than 600 organisations have signed up to WRAP’s halving waste to landfill commitment for the construction industry. The signatories have committed to reducing the amount of waste they send to landfill, and they are well on track to halving it by the end of 2012.

With the help of the national industrial symbiosis programme, more companies are able to use other firms’ by-products as resources in their own businesses, diverting 35 million tonnes from landfill, eliminating 1.8 million tonnes of hazardous waste and saving businesses £780 million. We cannot afford to miss out on the opportunities offered by waste prevention, and we are working towards a waste prevention programme, which will be in place by the end of 2013 at the latest. We will set objectives to help us deliver economic growth while reducing waste and its negative impacts. We look forward to saying more when we have published our waste review. I can assure hon. Members that if I have not been able to answer their questions today, a cursory

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look through that comprehensive document, which will set forth before the House a strategy for the coming years, will do so.

Waste prevention can help us to make progress towards a greener, zero-waste economy. It conserves natural resources, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and saves local authorities, businesses and householders money, and the waste prevention programme will help us to achieve those goals. The Government look forward to working in partnership with others to tackle this important agenda, and I urge hon. Members to look at the waste review when it is published and see the value of a proper strategic cross-government approach to this very important issue.

3.43 pm

Sitting suspended.

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Manufacturing Sector

4 pm

Alison McGovern (Wirral South) (Lab): It is an honour to have secured my first Westminster Hall debate on this important subject, and to serve, as a fellow north-west MP, under your chairmanship, Mr Crausby. Before I say anything about manufacturing, its status and its role, I want to explain that I did not apply for this debate so that we could have a party political row. I want to get into some of the specific technicalities of what the Government are doing in relation to manufacturing. I hope that the Minister will take what I have said at face value and that he also wants to engage with the issues, not the party political stuff that we often get caught up in.

I want to concentrate on two specific aspects of manufacturing. I want us to acknowledge that this is a time of opportunity for manufacturing. Over the past decade, we had a relatively high pound—sterling was riding pretty high. Now it is lower, which offers an opportunity. I also think that strategic changes in the global economy to do with the cost of fuel and transportation and the price of carbon offer us real opportunities in the supply chain. At this time, we as politicians must weigh in behind manufacturing as a sector. I hope that everybody present agrees with that sentiment.

The first aspect that I want to look at relates to career choices, young people and reputation issues for manufacturing, but my real focus will be on the second aspect, which relates to exports, UK Trade and Investment and Government support. There is much else to be said about what manufacturing in Britain needs, but I am sure that we will address those at other times in the House.

First, on reputation, less than 3% of people in London work in manufacturing, but many people work in the media and are journalists, so when it comes to talking about the presence of manufacturing businesses in Britain, the popular media gives us an unfortunate feeling and sense that Britain does not make anything anymore. I know that hon. Members present know that that is just not true. If anyone doubts that, let me put on the record how wonderful it is for me as a constituency Member of Parliament to visit Unilever, where we make a huge range of products that people buy every day in supermarkets. Those products are made in Britain, in my constituency, and we are very proud to have them. Not far from my constituency, Airbus makes the wings for the A380. It is inspiring for young people in Wirral to see my constituents go to Airbus and make those amazing aircraft, which are sold all over the world. Every time someone gets on an Airbus aircraft to go on holiday, they are likely to be on an aeroplane whose wings were made by some of my constituents. I say this to all Members: let nobody tell us that we do not make things in Britain; we do. We make amazing things. One reason why I applied to secure this debate was to start a discussion about how we can get that story told in a better way.

The situation is having an impact on young people and employment. Throughout the country, young people feel that their options are limited. They are limited not only because it is a tough time for our economy, but by

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knowledge. Without getting into the whole debate about careers, I think that young people face some difficult choices and are not necessarily aware of the opportunities that exist for them in manufacturing. I do not blame teachers for that. Teachers have a huge amount to do, and we cannot possibly ask them to know the latest data about manufacturing opportunities as well.

I would like to draw the Minister’s attention to the Manufacturing Institute’s “Make It” campaign, which has run successfully in the north-west—without much public subsidy, I might add—and with the support of partners including Jaguar Land Rover, Siemens, Tetra Pak, Cogent, Robert Wiseman Dairies, James Walker, Chemicals Northwest, Aircelle, C-TEC and many others. Those are all fantastic companies and they are working with the Manufacturing Institute to engage young people and give them real skills.

Chris White (Warwick and Leamington) (Con): I congratulate the hon. Lady on securing this debate. The sentiment that she has expressed is most welcome, and I am sure that all hon. Members want to do their bit to increase the profile of manufacturing in this country. Will she join me in supporting the associate parliamentary manufacturing group’s “Made in Britain” competition? It will seek to showcase the best that we have to offer in manufacturing and, as a by-product, encourage young people to do the same. A career in manufacturing is an excellent way forward.

Alison McGovern: I thank the hon. Gentleman for his intervention and for his steadfast support in Parliament for manufacturing. The associate parliamentary group is incredibly important to this discussion. The competition that he has mentioned is fantastic. We should all get behind it and make sure that people see that some of the things that are made in this country are fantastically diverse. It is not about telling a story about our past, but about telling a story about what is going on now.

A company in my constituency makes the chemicals that are sent to Korea to help make iPhones. How cool is that? I think that young people from local schools who visit the company are genuinely inspired about where a career in science could lead them. That is about making the things that we have and use now. It is not about old-style factories from many years ago. I should also mention the work of General Motors in engaging schools. It has one of the most productive car plants in Europe in Ellesmere Port. Showcasing our high level of technology not only helps abroad—we will talk about exports later—but helps to inspire young people so that they can see that they have a future in this country and in making things that we all need.

Will the Minister agree to meet me and the Manufacturing Institute at some point to discuss how we can advance its ideas for the “Make It” campaign? It has been particularly successful in the north-west, and I would like to see those opportunities widened to people elsewhere in the country. The approach to schools has to be business-led. We cannot ask heavily-laden head teachers to do any more than they are already doing. We have to enable businesses in manufacturing to take the lead and to assist head teachers.

Something else that we might want to consider as a country is how we can get more business leaders from manufacturing to become school governors. There are a

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couple of examples on my patch that I think are particularly successful. It enables that body of knowledge to be used by schools and young people as a natural link that does not have to be forced.

The second issue that I want to address relates to exports and Government support. UK Trade and Investment recently produced an interesting strategy, and all of us who care about UK manufacturing and exports need to pay attention to it. It is an important document, because UKTI is in the lead now in terms of exports from this country. That could not be more important at a time in which we are seeing financial difficulty throughout Europe and in this country. I have said that I do not want a party political debate, but we have decided to change the structure of regional support in England. The Government have decided that regional development agencies were not the answer, and we now have local enterprise partnerships. I am grateful for the one that has been set up in my area, in the Liverpool city region. There is a changing picture and we need to work out how UKTI’s strategy will work. I have a few questions about that, which I will ask the Minister in a moment.

Before I do, I want to say briefly that one of the biggest opportunities in manufacturing right now is the supply chain. I mentioned in my opening remarks the place of sterling now compared with what it was some years ago and the business case for the supply chain shifting to the UK in the light of fuel and other transport costs. Some work could be done on that. I hope that businesses around the country and the Government are working to make that business case because it could go unnoticed; for many years, people have had an assumption that the best thing for any business is to source overseas because labour costs are cheaper elsewhere.

Jonathan Reynolds (Stalybridge and Hyde) (Lab/Co-op): I am grateful to my hon. Friend for securing this important debate. I could not agree more when she says that the perception is sometimes that this country does not make anything anymore. Part of the reason for that is past changes to supply chains; people perhaps think that we do not manufacture anything at all. How can we get a wider understanding of how the supply chain works? The example that my hon. Friend gave from her constituency of how one specific part of manufacture leads to a much bigger picture was powerful. On the whole, manufacturing is a very successful story for this country.

Alison McGovern: I thank my hon. Friend for that intervention. It is a difficult story to tell. When a journalist or somebody from the media is taken to Vauxhall Motors or any number of big, exciting manufacturing locations, they can see what is happening. However, in the future, there will increasingly be smaller, more specialist suppliers. In addition to fuel costs, the quality of the product is another driving factor behind the business case for moving the supply chain closer to sites of production.

As we move towards higher-tech production and try to meet some of the challenges of the greener economy, we need a better quality of product. In terms of quality control, we might be looking at smaller, more specialist producers. It is difficult to tell that story, but it has to be

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done. As the BBC moves northwards, I hope that there will be lots of opportunities for those of us from the north-west to get these stories out there. It is a difficult challenge, but it is about telling a story of high quality.

Nic Dakin (Scunthorpe) (Lab): I congratulate my hon. Friend on securing this timely debate and I am pleased to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Crausby. On the supply chain issue, I represent a manufacturing area so I know that it is important to consider the green economy, particularly renewables. Much of the investment in renewables will come from the Government and electricity bill payers. We need to have the imagination to ensure that those jobs come to the UK and to invest in the supply chain, which my hon. Friend has mentioned adroitly in her presentation.

Alison McGovern: My hon. Friend’s intervention is important. I will come to some of my specific questions for UKTI, about how it recognises not just the sectors that are already successful at a high level, but the sectors that are strategically placed for the future, even though they might be small at the moment. Green energy is certainly one of those. How are we going to ensure that Britain is selling green energy technology to Brazil, Russia, India and China in the future? We do not do much of it at the moment, but do we want to do it in the future? That is an important question to ask in terms of strategy.

I shall shift away from the supply chain specifically and on to UKTI’s strategy, which is contained in an interesting document that is important for all of us. I want to ask the Minister the following questions. The strategy identifies five groups with subsectors relating to five parts of the economy, one of which is manufacturing. Of those five groups, what will the resource balance be across UKTI?

It is easy to say that what we want is success and to drive resources towards the bits of the economy where we already have success in exporting parts abroad. We might also say that if we are really going to rebalance the economy, we need to take somewhat more of a risk with our resources and invest in those things with which we might not have had a history of high-level success over the past 10 or 15 years but in which we know we need to invest for the future. I would be interested in understanding a bit more about resource balance.

On monitoring, when we develop the strategy, how will we watch what happens and who will feed back to Parliament and to businesses on the ground? There has sometimes been a bit of a disconnect in terms of understanding to whom UKTI is responsible, who its customers are and how it feeds back successes. When will that happen? We do not want to spend all our time bearing the costs of monitoring, with a thousand tick boxes and charts.

Caroline Dinenage (Gosport) (Con): I thank the hon. Lady for securing this valuable debate. As the owner of a manufacturing business, I have an enormous interest in everything that she has to say. One question that I would like to add to her list of things to mention is about cash flow. Although that is not a new problem, small manufacturing businesses are suffering from badly

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extended payment terms, with the average number of days until payment being around 88. That is astonishing and is affecting some good local manufacturers in a very bad way—some have been forced out of business. A European late payments directive has come into force, but it does not seem to be addressing the issue. I hope that she agrees that that matter needs addressing.

Alison McGovern: I thank the hon. Lady for her intervention. She is absolutely right. She has reminded me of an important point that I wanted to make about UKTI—how we check its work and ensure that we, as Members of Parliament, have full oversight. She is right about payment times; they can be absolutely make or break. I have seen that with companies in my constituency.

If there is a European directive, we, as a country, need to make Europe work for us. I suggest that in the British civil service, there has been a culture of applying directives absolutely to the letter in a way that is very formulaic, rather than saying, “Great, we’ve got this European system. How do we make this work for us?” I gently suggest that other European nations have done rather better than us. We need to see Europe as an opportunity. If there are such directives, that is fantastic—let us make them work for business, rather than just accepting them being handed down and administering them to the letter without watching what impact they have on the ground for business. It is important for us, as a community of politicians, to watch that. Businesses often point out to me how British civil servants tend to treat the rules on state aid and state intervention differently from how civil servants do in other countries. That is an important issue to watch because we can disadvantage ourselves without even meaning to.

Aligned to that is the matter of how the UKTI strategy will affect different parts of the UK. I mentioned that only nearly 3% of people work in manufacturing in London, whereas one in 10 in the north-west and more than one in 10 in the north-east do; there is clearly a differential need. Many more people work in manufacturing in places close to the constituency of the hon. Member for Gosport (Caroline Dinenage). We must recognise that if we have one strategy for the whole UK, we have to continue to watch how that helps different parts of the UK with different needs.

The strategy mentions working alongside the Welsh and Scottish Governments and the London Mayor on their plans for exports. That is fantastic and I support that approach. However, we obviously need UKTI to work with somebody in the English regions—the city regions. If UKTI is not working with regional development agencies, it needs to be working with local enterprise partnerships, which do not have anything like the same resources. They also do not have the same staff to call on the services of UKTI.

I have a final question. How will we check that we are not disadvantaging those parts of the country that do not have their own Parliament or Assembly? How empowered will UKTI staff be to add resources to the parts of the country that need them? I have heard anecdotal evidence that in the past UKTI has been quite centralised around Whitehall. It would be much better to see that service as a network of people embedded in local economic clusters. I hope that the Minister will support less bureaucracy from the centre and more empowerment to people working alongside companies to deliver the strategy. That is important.

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In conclusion, I hope that the Minister will be able to respond to those specific questions—if not now, at a later date. Manufacturing has a huge amount to offer this country. I know that the Government agree and I am grateful for that support. There is every reason to think that now is the time for a new impetus. Strategically and globally, we are well placed to improve our manufactured exports. They have a huge amount to offer the country—not just next year, but in the next 20 or 30 years.

In recent years, we have seen manufacturing go through a high level of productivity improvements, so we are very well placed at the moment to maximise impact. However, if we leave things to chance and have a do-nothing option, it will be business as usual and only the sectors that are already strong and influential will be so. I hope that we can all take this opportunity not to have business as usual and to empower both UKTI and the rest of Government really to work alongside manufacturing.

4.21 pm

The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Mr Mark Prisk): May I also congratulate the hon. Member for Wirral South (Alison McGovern) on securing the debate on this important subject? I gather that this is her first debate in Westminster Hall. It is about an excellent subject.

The hon. Lady pointed out that in her constituency, as in others, modern manufacturing is crucial. She mentioned Unilever. We have learned about the role of GM Vauxhall at Ellesmere Port and that of Airbus nearby. All are at the cutting edge in their own fields. They are all businesses of which we should be proud and I know that they are directly important to her constituents. She is right to say that manufacturing should be a non-partisan issue. I share fully her desire to ensure that manufacturing is at the heart of Government policy. We are determined to ensure that we establish a more resilient economy so that when we face, as we will, different shocks and challenges, we have a broader economy. Manufacturing plays a vital role in that.

I would like to put on the record my own encouragement and support—my private office will regret this, no doubt—for the associate parliamentary manufacturing group, which is very important. It is absolutely right that hon. Members across the House should feel that they can play a part in promoting this vital part of our economy, and I happily commend the group’s work.

As the hon. Lady said, some would have us believe that we are not in the business of making things. They are wrong. In fact, this country remains one of the world’s leading manufacturing nations. Manufacturing generates approximately £140 billion of our economy—some 11% of gross value added. On exports, to which she rightly referred, manufacturing represents 55% of everything that we export to the rest of the world. Encouragingly, in the past year we have seen an increase in that programme—approximately 19% on a year-on-year basis. That is good news.

Let me turn to the specific points that the hon. Lady raised about the profile and status of manufacturing. In a sense, that is a broader and longer question. There are two issues. The first is to tackle head-on the outdated

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perceptions of what modern industry means. The second is how we equip people, so that industry gets the calibre and range of people that it needs.

Changing those negative perceptions—the hon. Lady is right about the media—will be a challenge; some of them are deeply embedded. For example, in 2009, the number of graduates in science, technology, engineering and maths actually represented 43% of those leaving our universities. Only 5%, however, go on into industry. Clearly many young people who have the potential skills that industry needs are going elsewhere. They have not seen industry as something for them. That is the mindset that we have to change. We have to show young people what is the case, rather than what they might think—to fire up their imaginations and ensure that they can see that there are genuinely rewarding careers in industry.

I would like to highlight the work of the Manufacturing Institute, to which the hon. Lady referred. I would be more than pleased to meet its representatives and the hon. Lady. They have already met officials in my Department, and I strongly commend their organisation’s work. I suspect that some of that work coloured my own views on what we needed to do when I was asked to take on this role a year ago. When I started, I wanted to showcase, in the large reception area in the Department, what we make. We have already been able to show a wide range of products, through a series of exhibitions.

The hon. Lady referred to the composite wings. After some challenges, not least having to take the door down, we installed one of the composite wings into the reception area to demonstrate what we make. We also exhibited the first zero-carbon motorbike made in this country. There are many other products that we want to exhibit and we are building up that programme so that people across business, and the wider public, can see what we do.

We want to go further. We have announced open days across industry so that factories, and those who work in them, can show their neighbourhood what they make. Rather than telling people, it is often wiser to show them; that is the heart of this argument. That will change perceptions. GM Vauxhall and Jaguar Land Rover are among the many automotive businesses who have signed up to this, which we are calling, “See Inside Manufacturing”. We will roll that out now over the whole manufacturing sector so that we can engage people and show those who have never stepped into a modern factory what it is really like.

We want to ensure that we tackle the myth about low salaries. As the Manufacturing Institute points out, there is a misconception. According to the Office of National Statistics, the median salary for professional engineers is just more than £36,000 a year, which is in the top 30% of UK salaries. As people’s careers develop, that rises to a median level of £55,000 for a skilled engineer, which is in the top 10%. Most people do not realise that, and that is the mindset that we are working with industry to change.

I am aware of the time, so I will just touch on the issue of skills and then move on to the issue of exports. The issue of skills is crucial. If we fire up the enthusiasm of the next generation of engineers, we need to ensure that they are equipped to do the job. We have focused on university technical colleges, so that we can deal with the vocational desire that many young people have

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while still at school age—14 and onwards. They will be able to get their hands dirty and do practical things that they can learn from. That is what UTCs are all about.

That needs to be harnessed by going further, so we are expanding massively the whole apprenticeship programme. There are excellent examples—I am aware of the one in Wirral, the Wirral Apprenticeship Scheme, which local businesses take up. We are looking to put £180 million, from the last Budget, on top of what we have planned for, so there will be approximately 250,000 additional places in the next four years. That will take the perception of young people through to equipping them with the skills that can benefit industry, too. We need to deliver on that through-thinking.

In the few moments I have left, I will touch on exports and the supply chain issue. The five-year plan set out by UKTI is crucial. The hon. Lady is right; if it were to be run from London without any genuine local roots, whether in Merseyside, Manchester or the midlands, it would fail in its task. We have made sure that UKTI is working with local enterprise partnerships across England, as well as our good friends in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, so that they have a strong national voice abroad, but deep local roots in terms of local knowledge and information. In particular, that means that the international trade directors, who are the local keys to this, are already developing strong working relationships with local enterprise partnerships.

The hon. Lady mentioned the supply chain, which is very important. The automotive sector is crucial. In the past 12 months, I have pushed the industry and worked with it. We have now developed a road map. The industry has identified £1 billion-worth of goods that it currently imports to use in the vehicles that it assembles, and which it would be happy to procure in this country. That is a good example of how we can develop, and I want to build on it if I can.

In conclusion, I endorse totally the points raised by the hon. Lady. We need to ensure that people understand modern manufacturing and recognise it as a rewarding career. That is why we have been showcasing leading products and producers, promoting the benefits of STEM subjects, and working with industry to show that there are good and valuable careers. There is a lot more to do in this field, but this is a welcome debate and I hope that hon. Members on both sides of the House, across the political parties, can work together—not just in Parliament, but with the rest of industry as well.

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Policing Costs (Football Matches)

4.30 pm

Mr Aidan Burley (Cannock Chase) (Con): I am delighted to serve under your chairmanship this afternoon, Mr Crausby. I am particularly grateful to Mr Speaker for granting me this debate on contribution to the costs of policing football matches by premiership clubs. It is my first Westminster Hall debate, as it was that of the hon. Member for Wirral South (Alison McGovern), who secured the previous debate.

To set the parameters of the debate, my proposals this afternoon only relate to premiership football clubs. Policing costs are associated with other sporting events, including lower league football matches. However, premiership football matches require a uniquely heavy police presence, because of the number of fans involved and the rivalries. The policing requirements of Wimbledon, the Ashes at Lord’s or even an international rugby match at Twickenham are much lower compared with those of premiership football. In general, sports spectators are not violent or confrontational, and other sports do not have the same problems as football and hence do not need to separate fans or have strict alcohol laws.

Premiership games require a huge police presence, and I am challenging the idea that the taxpayer should pay for the adverse effects of one party on another. My contention is not that all sporting fixtures should pay for the costs of policing their matches, because at the poorer end of the scale that could wipe out the profit made on a small-scale fixture. However, with the average salary of a premiership footballer now estimated at £55,000 a week, and with some earning as much as four times that amount, or a salary of more than £10 million a year, the affordability of premiership football clubs paying the full costs of policing their highly profitable businesses cannot be questioned in any way. My simple contention is that the total police costs attributable to the policing of a premiership football match should be met by the clubs and not by the taxpayer.

To give some background, the provision of policing at a football match, or at any other commercial event such as a music concert, is a special police service. Special police services are governed by section 25 of the Police Act 1996:

“The chief officer of police of a police force may provide, at the request of any person, special police services at any premises or in any locality in the police area for which the force is maintained, subject to the payment to the police authority of charges on such scales as may be determined by that authority.”

In effect, special police services are extra that police officers provide for security at commercial events. The event organiser must pay for the service at a price determined by the chief constable. If the cost is not met, the organiser can be denied a safety certificate and therefore cannot hold the event.

In 2008, the Association of Chief Police Officers made a submission to the Home Office about the Green Paper on the future of policing, calling for the introduction of full-cost policing. Full-cost policing would extend the definition of special police services beyond the so-called footprint of the event to include consequential policing: policing that is provided beyond the event itself, at train stations or town centres, to deal with crowds arriving at and leaving a commercial event. How

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is that ACPO submission currently viewed in the Home Office? How would a similar submission by ACPO today—for recovery of full-cost policing from football clubs—be regarded by Home Office Ministers?

Under current arrangements, football clubs are only legally obliged to pay for the policing in their footprint, which usually means inside the stadium and the surrounding car parks. However, the provision of consequential policing outside a football match—for example, at the nearest railway or tube station, in nearby pubs and bars or even in the city centre—is currently the responsibility of the police and is provided at their discretion and their cost. Clubs do not have to pay for that extra service, so the cost is paid for by the taxpayer. That has led to a disparity between what the police estimate the total cost of policing a football match to be, and what the clubs currently pay. In the 2007-08 season, it was estimated that the policing of 13 premier league football clubs cost the police £3.2 million in consequential policing. That difference was met by the taxpayer.

The disparity is the result of current case law—in particular, the case of the chief constable of Greater Manchester v. Wigan Athletic—but also of Home Office guidance on charging for the policing of football matches. The result, according to a report of the Select Committee on Home Affairs on this issue in July 2009, is that

“some forces recovered less than half, some as much as two thirds of the costs of policing football”.

The current disparity, therefore, is between what the clubs are legally obliged to pay in policing costs and what the police actually estimate those costs to be, and it stems from grey areas in the current legislation and Home Office guidance. Can the Minister address that issue in his response, and ask his officials to look into clarifying such an important area?

What are the actual costs? Sunita Patel, the London correspondent for the Wolverhampton Express & Star, has recently submitted freedom of information requests to the West Midlands police on the issue. Her story, published yesterday, revealed some interesting results. Data obtained from the West Midlands police show that the force estimated costs of £1.14 million to police Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion’s home fixtures in 2008-09. However, the force was only reimbursed £875,655, leaving a shortfall of £266,111. That quarter of a million pounds alone would pay for 10 police constables or seven sergeants. In essence, the police are recovering only three quarters of the costs of policing Villa and West Brom.

Justin Tomlinson (North Swindon) (Con): Does my hon. Friend agree that the biggest challenge is the lack of transparency—that a freedom of information request had to be submitted? Coupled with that, if he was granted his wish and football clubs in effect had to pay for their own policing, surely they should also have a greater say in how that policing is carried out.

Mr Burley: That is a fair point. One of the challenges to such arguments is that defining the cost of consequential policing is difficult. Is a fight in a bar at midnight between two guys wearing football shirts, a long time after the match, the responsibility of Villa and West Brom or of the police only? However, my argument, and what we found in the FOI figures, is that the police

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calculate such costs quite accurately. They know the costs for policing in the ground—the footprint—and outside, because we have obtained those figures under the FOI requests. A simple test would be to ask a police force what its extra deployment would be if there were a home match on a Saturday. The police would tell us straight away: they would have an extra 10 coppers at the station, a sergeant to oversee, and everything else. Those officers would not otherwise be deployed, so it is quite easy to calculate the extra costs.

Further figures obtained by Miss Patel for the most recent season, 2009-10, showed that West Midlands police recovered £1.23 million for policing the home games of Wolves, Aston Villa and Birmingham City. That is an increase of 40% on the previous season because of an extra west midlands club being in the top flight—I accept that that might change by the end of the week if Wolves or Birmingham go down. If the policing costs outside the football club premises went up by the same ratio, the taxpayer bill for the 2009-10 season would be an estimated £372,555. Extrapolated across the country and the 20 premiership clubs, that would equate to £2.5 million, which is equivalent to 106 police constables or 68 sergeants—at which point, such figures start to appear rather significant.

ACPO itself, in a BBC news article in October last year, estimated that it costs the police up to £25 million to deal with all football matches, but that they only recover £12 million to £15 million a year from the clubs. That is for all football matches, whereas my proposal is for premiership clubs only. Hammersmith and Fulham council estimates that the total cost of policing football matches in its borough, which, uniquely, has three premiership clubs, will be £5.69 million a season. Either way, the cost of policing football matches ranges from £2.5 million to £5.6 million to £15 million, depending on how many clubs and matches are included, and according to the different estimates by different forces of policing their local games. However, one thing from all those figures is abundantly clear. The taxpayer is subsidising wealthy football clubs to the tune of millions of pounds a year, and my simple question to the Minister is: why?

There is an issue and a principle. The issue is the disparity between what the clubs are legally obliged to pay in policing costs, and what the police estimate those costs to be. The principle is that the polluter pays. On the taxpayer subsidy provided to clubs through extra paid-for policing, my personal feeling is that the estimated consequential costs are far higher than freedom of information figures from the west midlands suggest. Let us consider three recent examples.

At the derby match involving Arsenal and Spurs on 31 October last year, a large group of hooligans smashed up several pubs after their side’s 3-0 defeat, causing thousands of pounds of damage. Because of the nature of the derby rivalry at the previous year’s game, the police classified it as high risk, and almost tripled the number of officers on duty from 180 to 560. In the north- east alone this year, British Transport police has already overspent its football budget by around £400,000. In April, a dozen arrests were made after a town centre pub was forced to close when Wigan Athletic, Sheffield United, Barnsley and Manchester United fans turned violent, and the police again had to call in hundreds of extra patrols to deal with the disturbance.

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Eric Ollerenshaw (Lancaster and Fleetwood) (Con): I congratulate my hon. Friend on calling this important debate. As he is aware, British Transport police does not police football grounds—it is completely separate from that—but it estimates that in 2009-10, policing premiership games on Saturdays alone cost £8 million and involved deploying more than 300 police. That, as I say, excluded matches between Mondays and Fridays, and on Sundays. That is all extra expense for the public purse.

Mr Burley: My hon. Friend makes a good point. It is difficult to know how far the footprint goes. People catch trains to football matches, and one sees them at all the stations. That is why I contend that the consequential policing cost is far greater than we think. Whatever the figures, it is clear that it costs more than we recover from the clubs, and my question is: why?

We have all seen the extra police in tube stations and town centres on match days. They are there for one reason: because it is match day. They are doing their job of safeguarding the community, preventing trouble from occurring, and dealing with scuffles and fights between fans. My simple question is: why are the clubs not being billed for those extra policing costs?

In other walks of life there is a principle of, the polluter pays. A constituent, Nigel Clempson, runs a successful shop-fitting company in Rugeley. I am grateful to Richard Littlejohn in the Daily Mail for highlighting his case in the national press. He said that my constituent

“is the kind of businessman upon whom Britain’s recovery depends.”

His team of craftsmen work seven days a week, mostly at night, refurbishing shops and banks. All the debris that they strip out of the buildings they are refitting is taken back to the firm’s yard at Rawnsley, near Cannock, where it is dumped in a large skip to await recycling and disposal. Because of the nature of the firm’s business, the yard is accessible round the clock, and the skip attracts the attention of local rag and bone men and groups of Travellers who sort through it in search of salvage.

Nigel Clempson has never had a problem with scavengers, who are looking for scrap metal and other materials that they can sell for a few bob, but recently he had a visit from a police officer and an inspector from Cannock council’s environmental health department. The police had seen some Travellers loading scrap from his yard into a transit van, and he was told that he needed a licence to transport industrial waste. He assured them that his company was fully insured and licensed, but was told, “Ah, but the Travellers aren’t.” Nigel was informed by the police that it was his duty to ensure that anyone taking material from his premises had a waste transfer certificate.

We all know that Travellers come and go at all hours, so how was Nigel expected to keep track of everyone, and make sure that they were carrying the correct permits? The police said that that was up to him, but that if any of the material was fly-tipped and traced back to him, he would face a hefty fine. People might ask why the onus should be on Nigel, and not on the Travellers themselves, who probably do not tax their own vehicles, so they are hardly going to bother getting a waste disposal certificate. The principle is that a local businessman from the west midlands has been told that it is his personal responsibility to make sure that a gang of Travellers do not remove stuff from a skip, so he has

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reluctantly spent £2,000 on a special cage to encase his skip. My question to the Minister is: why are the same police not telling their local premiership football clubs that it is their responsibility to make sure that the local community is safe, that the streets are cleaned, and that the train stations are protected from damage as a result of their businesses?

Graham Jones (Hyndburn) (Lab): I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on securing this debate, and I thank you, Mr Crausby, for chairing it. I do not disagree with the hon. Gentleman’s principle, but I would like to hear his thoughts on some of the wider issues. He seems to have drawn a harsh line, although he has tried to address that, and my question is: why just premiership clubs?

A recent English Defence League demonstration in Blackburn on 4 April cost a fortune to police. The hon. Gentleman asked why taxpayers are paying for premiership matches to be policed, but what about the EDL demonstration? What about other demonstrations that cost local taxpayers a fortune? What about large community events that must be policed? Where is the line to be drawn? Will he explain why he is referring only to premiership clubs, and why that is fair?

Mr Burley: I am more than happy to do that. I framed my debate narrowly to premiership clubs. In essence, the direct answer is that there are two reasons. First, they are unique in the intensity of policing and number of police required for their entertainment activities, which is very different from the number of police at Glastonbury, an athletics meeting or at Wimbledon. So one reason is the number of police involved and the regularity of matches, and the second is the clubs’ wealth. ACPO figures suggest that if the premiership clubs paid the total cost of policing their matches in the whole country, that would amount to some £15 million a year. I understand that Wayne Rooney is paid £10 million a year, and he is one striker in one club. Clearly, the clubs can afford it.

There seems to be a fundamental inconsistency in our messages to local businessmen and to premiership football clubs. Is that because it is easier to pick on small businesses than on giant football clubs?

Graham Jones: Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr Burley: I must carry on to my conclusion. At the heart of this debate is a disparity between what clubs are legally obliged to pay in policing costs, and what the police estimate those costs to be. That stems from grey areas in current legislation and Home Office guidance. It is not clear to what extent football clubs and other holders of commercial events are liable for policing away from the footprint, and that leads to the disparity between the full cost of policing a match, and what the clubs believe they are liable to pay. There is also an issue of principle. If people like Nigel Clempson are being told by the police that they are responsible for putting cages on skips, why on earth are premiership football clubs not being similarly told that they are responsible for the policing costs incurred by their businesses?

Finally, the reality of the wider economic situation is that the police must make savings of up to 20%. We know that they are finding that a challenge, and officers

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in many forces are being retired after 30 years, while police community support officers and police staff are being lost. West Midlands police alone must save £125 million over the next four years. Why not provide extra revenue from a source that can afford it? That would help to mitigate the massive cuts being made to deal with the record deficit bequeathed to us by the last Government.

4.49 pm

The Minister for Immigration (Damian Green): I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Cannock Chase (Mr Burley) on securing this debate on an issue that is important in itself. As a season ticket holder at Reading football club, and after last night’s play-off results, I hope to be taking a personal interest in premier league policing next season.

First, I will comment on the vital role played by the police in ensuring the safety of the public at all football matches, not just those in the premier league. Levels of football violence and disorder have fallen consistently over a number of years, particularly since the introduction of tough banning order legislation and the associated radical football disorder strategy in 2000.

Last season, total attendance at regulated football matches in England and Wales exceeded 39 million people, mostly in the premier league. Over the same period, football-related arrests fell by 10% and levels of football violence and disorder continue to be low. However, a lingering threat remains—it is perhaps more than lingering in some cases—and the police continue to play a crucial role in ensuring public safety. Let me take this opportunity to thank them for their continued hard work and dedication.

As my hon. Friend is aware, premier league football matches are policed on a public order basis where the aim is to prevent or deter trouble. Police adopt a visible but low-friction approach. They will intervene in stadia as appropriate—usually at an early stage to prevent escalation—and defuse, detain or eject anyone who is engaging in violent, disorderly or antisocial behaviour. Such policing is intelligence-led and based on a dynamic risk assessment. It means that football clubs and police authorities are able to agree on an appropriate level of policing in advance of each match, based on the level of risk as determined by the latest available intelligence. That ensures that the policing service provided is proportionate to the risk.

The provision of policing at a premier league football match, or any other commercial event such as a music concert, is considered a “special police service”, and it is governed by section 25 of the Police Act 1996. Special police services are those provided beyond the normal line of duty, such as when extra officers are deployed at a site to reduce the risk to public safety during an event. Where the event is seen as commercial—such as a premier league football match—the event organiser is responsible for meeting the costs incurred by providing that service. The cost of policing an event is determined locally by the police authority in negotiation with the event organiser, and not by the Home Office. That system allows flexibility and permits police authorities to take into account any benefits and the ability to pay of the event organiser when determining charges at a local level.

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Should an organiser be unwilling to pay for the level of policing deemed necessary to ensure public safety, the chief police officer can refuse to provide policing services. That may mean that the event organiser is denied a safety certificate by the relevant local authority, and without that certificate the event cannot take place.

Although the Home Office does not have formal powers to mandate charging or the level of charging, guidance has been provided in the form of circular 34/2000. Chapter 13 of that guidance deals specifically with the policing of football matches. The Association of Chief Police Officers—ACPO—produced guidance on charging for special police services in 2005, as well as in the 2008 document referred to my hon. Friend.

Football clubs are currently required by police forces to pay only for the policing of their so-called “footprint” area. That usually refers to the area inside the stadium and, for example, the surrounding car parks or streets. In latter case, however, costs can be recovered only when there is an express or implied request from the club for that service to be provided. The provision of “consequential policing” outside a football match—for example, at a railway station or town centre—is currently the responsibility of the police. It is provided at their discretion and at a direct cost to them. Football clubs are not currently required to pay for that extra service, as my hon. Friend has made clear.

I appreciate that in some cases that ambiguity has led to a disparity between what a police authority estimates as the total cost of policing a football match, and what the football club actually pays. It is clear that there is considerable depth of feeling about the extent to which football clubs, particularly those in the premier league, should cover the full policing costs incurred, and there are strong arguments on both sides. The police argue that policing a football match results in extra expense, regardless of whether their presence is on the club’s “footprint” or not. The football clubs argue that the distinction is not so clear cut, and that if they neither require nor request police presence away from their “footprint”, they should not be liable for the cost of police services elsewhere.

Mr Burley: On that point, is not the distinction rather more clear-cut than the football clubs would have us believe? As I mentioned earlier, an inspector for an area with a premiership football club that holds matches on Saturdays will sit down with their team and decide to deploy a certain number of extra officers at tube stations, trains and town centres. They know how much that extra deployment will cost and that such costs are the direct result of the match that afternoon—if there were no match, the extra deployment would not be needed. It is not confusing, because the extra costs are clear-cut.

Damian Green: My hon. Friend would be right if the number of police officers needed in anticipation of a particular crowd, disorder or other problem that might require special policing measures were unambiguous. I am afraid, however, that that is not the case. The police already provide a policing service, which is their job, and deal with crime and disorder in town centres, railway stations and so on. It would be easier if the situation were as clear-cut as my hon. Friend has suggested, but I do not think that it is.

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Eric Ollerenshaw: Last year, the Metropolitan police said that 18,000 police had been deployed over the year to police premiership football. Have the Government looked at the impact of that on other crimes that take place while those policemen are deployed ferrying supporters between railway, bus and tube stations?

Damian Green: My hon. Friend has made an interesting point, but the logic behind that argument is that we should stop holding big public events that might excite emotion or violence, because there will always be a knock-on effect on police costs. We have a police service so that people can go about their normal business, and for many people in this country, attending football matches is just that. I am not sure that it should be regarded as an alien imposition on the wider community.

My hon. Friend the Member for Cannock Chase made the ACPO case for full cost recovery, but football clubs play a key role in local communities and do a lot of good work in education and health. I am keen for them to remain in a position that enables them to provide those benefits to the community, and I do not want to tie them up with more red tape and obligations.

This issue will not go away, and it is clear that many people feel strongly about who should pay for policing premier league football. We must make progress on that. I recognise that the disparity between what premier league clubs are required to pay for policing and what police forces estimate the full costs to be could be interpreted as a form of subsidy. I argue, however, that that interpretation is too simplistic. It is important to remember that the provision of special police services extends beyond premier league football clubs to all organisations, both sporting and otherwise, that require

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such services. That includes non-profit-making local and community-led organisations, which must not be prevented from their activities by prohibitive policing costs.

Graham Jones: Will the Minister give way?

Damian Green: I apologise to the hon. Gentleman, but I have little time left. Having such a wide range of parties with an interest in policing makes the situation even more complex. As a result, a solution to the case of premier league football matches cannot be reached overnight. I agree, however, that increasing the clarity and consistency of existing guidance in the light of case law—such as the recent cases of Wigan Athletic and Greater Manchester police—could help to ensure a more reasoned approach to charging for special police services. That would help reduce the prevalence of disputes between event organisers, including premier league football clubs, and police authorities, while maintaining the all-important principle of local discretion.

I reassure my hon. Friend that Home Office Ministers are considering carefully all options to ensure a mutually beneficial resolution to the problem. We are not there yet, but an increasing body of evidence will enable us to get close to a solution that I hope will square the very difficult circle, and allow our successes in policing football over the past few years to continue, so that people can carry on enjoying football just as much.

Question put and agreed to.

4.59 pm

Sitting adjourned.