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Lord Simon of Highbury: My Lords, it is uppermost in the Government's mind that the regime which substitutes the existing illegal regime, as found by the WTO, will have to span one of three options: tariff, licence or quota. I think it most likely that tariffs will be used. Uppermost in our minds in the negotiations will be the fact that we shall have to make good some income to our fellow citizens who are deeply affected by the banana trade.

Lord Renton: My Lords, bearing in mind that the World Trade Organisation criticised the agreement which led to the banana war as long ago as 12th April, why do we have to wait until September until the matter is satisfactorily resolved? Will the Minister bear in mind that much damage could be done to our export industry meanwhile?

Lord Simon of Highbury: My Lords, as we have often said, that is the nature of complex international trade negotiations when upwards of 20 or 30 people want to see a successful outcome. We are taking very seriously the impact on our own industries. The Department of Trade and Industry has had several discussions with people who are affected by the first stages of the retaliation about which we speak.

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Bett Committee Report: Academic Salaries

3.2 p.m.

Lord Walton of Detchant asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their response to the Bett Committee report which has recommended substantial pay increases for academic and academic-related staff in United Kingdom universities.

The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Baroness Blackstone): My Lords, the independent review of higher education pay and conditions, the Bett Committee, was established by, and reported to, the higher education employers. It will be for them to respond to its recommendations.

Lord Walton of Detchant: My Lords, I thank the Minister for that reply. Does the noble Baroness accept that over the past few years the salaries of this group of staff in universities have fallen by some 30 per cent in real terms compared with those of other professional groups? Does she agree that in order to recruit and retain high quality staff it is crucial to the future of the higher education sector that remuneration should be adequate? Would she care to comment upon the effect of professional interrelationships which may have resulted from the recent decision of the Wellcome Trust to give a 30 per cent salary increase to research scientific staff working in the universities?

Baroness Blackstone: My Lords, the figures cited by the noble Lord are not those that I have been given. The new earnings survey data show that between 1981 and 1998 university teachers' pay grew by about 18 per cent in real terms. I accept that compared with comparable groups the figure does not indicate a very satisfactory position for university teachers. Over the same period, the pay of a comparable group of non-manual workers rose by about 46 per cent.

It is important that remuneration should be adequate for any group. The Wellcome Trust made a decision to give its very senior research fellows a large pay increase. That is a matter for the trust. However, I must reiterate what I said in my initial reply. It is a matter for the employers, the universities, to decide what they pay their academic staff, and indeed the other staff who work in universities.

Lord Annan: My Lords, does the Minister agree that something must be done as regards academic staff pay? The staff have been vilely treated over the past 20 years. It is more important that any action should be undertaken quickly. If the Government have plans for another vast expansion of higher education, they cannot be carried out unless staff are reasonably remunerated. Even then, it is questionable whether those plans should be carried out.

Baroness Blackstone: My Lords, I am sympathetic to the position of university staff. I should correct what

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the noble Lord said about plans for a vast expansion of undergraduate degree level and postgraduate courses. The Government have not made any decisions about that. The Bett Committee recognised that there was no funding in the CSR for substantial increases. When we consider the next CSR it will be a matter for further discussion on whether such funding should be made specifically available.

Baroness Blatch: My Lords, I was bemused by the Minister's last answer. I understood that the Government intended firmly to expand yet further access to higher education. What are the Government going to do? Recommendation No. 50 of the Dearing Committee was that there should be an independent review. That independent review has now taken place. Will the Government respond to the Bett Report? Will they set up a separate review? Alternatively, will they do nothing?

Baroness Blackstone: My Lords, the Dearing Committee recommended that there should be an independent review. That independent review has now taken place. It was clear that the Dearing Committee intended that it should be a review set up by and reporting to the employers. That is exactly what has happened. There is no case for the Government to interfere in and to respond to the Bett Committee at this point in time.

Baroness Lockwood: My Lords, is not additional government funding required in order to implement the recommendations of the Bett Report? They seek to put right the neglect of the past 20 years in relation to university pay and conditions. In the light of the contribution that our universities make to competitiveness within the UK economy and through investment by overseas students, does the noble Baroness agree that it is essential that the staff are paid adequately in order to maintain the high standards of British universities?

Baroness Blackstone: My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend for commenting on the valuable work that is being done in universities. I agree that the economic contribution of our universities is considerable. However, we invested an extra £168 million in universities when we first came to power and a further £776 million in the CSR.

I have said--I say it again to my noble friend--that we shall consider the issue but I cannot anticipate the provision of the next CSR when the work on the many competing claims on it has not yet begun.

Petition: Immigration and Asylum Bill

The Earl of Sandwich: My Lords, I beg to present a petition from Mrs Ann Dean of Brighton on behalf of those seeking humanity and justice for refugees, which prays that this House will amend the Immigration and Asylum Bill as suggested by roughly 100 organisations and a few individuals who gave evidence to the House

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of Commons Standing Committee on the Bill, and especially to note the suggestions of Mr N J P Bond, who met genuine torture victims who were deported, so that the procedures are truly fairer and faster, but only harsher to fraudulent claimants and to those who neglect their duty to act justly, efficiently and with humanity to all refugees, so that United Kingdom citizens like Mr Bond, as well as refugees, do not suffer stress from this injustice.

Petition presented.

Immigration and Asylum Bill

3.9 p.m.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now resolve itself into Committee on this Bill.

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.--(Lord Williams of Mostyn.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.


Baroness Williams of Crosby moved Amendment No. 1:

Before Clause 1, insert the following new clause--


(" . Amendments to Immigration Rules under the 1971 Act shall be subject to an affirmative resolution of each House of Parliament.").

The noble Baroness said: In a long parliamentary career, I have learnt that, although Executives from all parties almost invariably resent the intervention of Parliament in the matters that they put before it, that oversight and that scrutiny are vital in producing the best possible legislation.

This is a long and complex Bill that directly affects people's human rights and the reputation of this country as an outstanding model of the democratic treatment of individuals from wherever they may come and of respect for civil liberties. Therefore, it behoves us all to give the most careful scrutiny possible to the legislation that we are considering today and will consider in the next few days in Committee.

It is crucial to recognise how much the Bill's impact will depend upon the detail of orders and regulations, and even the practice of immigration officers, that is not laid down in the Bill. A feature of the Bill--which does not incur some of the problems that afflicted earlier legislation when very few provisions appeared as primary legislation--is that the Secretary of State has wide and sweeping powers to issue orders and to make regulations of a kind that the House will not be able to supervise directly. In light of the phrase, "The devil is in the detail", we urge careful consideration of those powers of regulation and of the powers to make orders.

A second area of the Bill is more important even than the issues of asylum and the treatment of refugees. The Bill represents a crucial early test of the commitment of

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Parliament--and, indeed, of the Government--to upholding the European Convention on Human Rights and to incorporating human rights into British law. How we handle the Bill and how we deal with potential conflicts with the European convention and with other international conventions to which this country has put its name, such as the refugee convention, will form an important precedent for legislation on many subjects that will follow over many years.

Therefore, we believe that it is crucial to show that the articles of the European Convention on Human Rights and those concerned with the refugee convention and other similar conventions are respected, honoured and upheld in the Bill. The Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Deregulation has produced a report for which many of us are extremely grateful. That clear and powerful report is the culmination of difficult and detailed work, and it points out that delegated powers can be exercised in ways that are not compatible with convention rights or with the refugee convention.

As many noble Lords will know, much doubt and concern were expressed in another place about this aspect of the Bill. As a consequence, many amendments were put down, insisting that the affirmative resolution procedure was the proper way to deal with many of the regulations and orders made under the Bill. I am delighted to say this afternoon that the Government seem to have considered those amendments and those arguments very carefully.

Nevertheless, a good deal in this Bill will rely upon the immigration rules, which are extremely detailed and extremely long. They provide considerable guidance to immigration officers and others in the pursuit of their duties by suggesting how they should handle claims from asylum seekers and refugees. The rules also refer to persons who are to be removed and deported, to arguments about detention and so on. As those rules are so important, we believe that they should be subject to affirmative resolution. I will give a few examples of how the immigration rules will affect the consideration that we can give to this Bill and how they affected the consideration that it received in another place.

It is worth mentioning that, when similar legislation was considered in 1993 and 1996, draft immigration rules were laid before Parliament at the same time as the primary legislation. In other words, it was recognised that the immigration rules were an integral part of the way in which we deal with the difficult issues surrounding asylum seekers and refugees. We do not have draft immigration rules before us today, and it is not altogether easy to get hold of those very long immigration rules--I know, because I have tried to do so. I believe that it would be helpful if those draft immigration rules, or at least rules that could be changed, could be laid before Parliament. That would make our debates both more effective and more serious.

I will give a few examples of the way in which the immigration rules bite on the issues that we are considering in this legislation. The first issue concerns Clause 10, which refers to the right to send people to third countries that are regarded as safe. The relevant immigration rule, No. 345, is not on the face of the Bill

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but it raises some extremely important issues of principle. If someone is to be sent to a third country that is deemed safe on the grounds that he is not a national or citizen of that country and that his right to life, liberty and certain kinds of freedom and so on will be respected, one might expect that, at the very least, the Home Office would be responsible for ensuring that that person will be received in that country and not sent into limbo. Immigration rule No. 345 states:

    "Provided that he is satisfied that a case meets these criteria"--

that is, a case for sending someone to a third country--

    "the Secretary of State is under no obligation to consult the authorities of the third country or territory before the removal of an asylum applicant to that country or territory".

The fact that we have no idea whether a third country will receive the person who is sent on is of sufficient moment to justify discussing the matter in Parliament and in your Lordships' House. It is part of the immigration rules, but we cannot discuss them at present.

Clause 12 refers to the security measures needed to enable someone to visit this country. Those criteria will be laid down not in Committee or in primary legislation but in the immigration rules. Clause 20 provides a third example. It refers to how far "sham marriages"--as they are called--may be entered into in order to avoid immigration rules. However, we cannot discuss that issue seriously in detail unless we know what the immigration rules to be avoided say.

For those reasons, I ask the Minister--we have not yet put down an amendment to this effect--whether the immigration rules can be laid before the Committee and whether the Committee will be able to make suggestions for changing those rules that ride alongside the primary legislation. But more importantly, it is why we seek to ensure that the immigration rules themselves should be subject to affirmative order.

I hope that I have shown that, at least in some instances deeply affecting the passage of the Bill, the immigration rules are as relevant as anything on the face of the Bill itself. However, they must be considered alongside the Bill. If we do not do so, we may find, as was indicated by the Justice report, that secondary legislation and the immigration rules themselves might contradict our commitments under the European Convention on Human Rights and under the refugee convention. For that reason, we need to be able to discuss in more detail changes to the immigration rules that could profoundly affect the civil liberties, rights and standing of those who are seeking asylum or refugee status in this country. I beg to move.

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