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Baroness Hayman: We are not saying that in this Bill; that has already been said in an Act of Parliament which is the Scotland Act. We are dealing with the consequences of what has already been decided by both Houses of Parliament.

Viscount Thurso: Before the noble Lord responds, perhaps I may add one further point. The statement has been made that no one can see this happening. We have a very good precedent in the matter of BSE, where the Northern Irish as a result of having a slightly different regime were able to go back to selling beef far faster than other parts of the United Kingdom. I can see in the example of fish, which the noble Lord has already mentioned, a situation where the Scottish Parliament might well wish to include something to aid it to sell abroad or for whatever other reasons. We cannot necessarily take the argument that because, as we see it, it is a UK agency, the Scottish Parliament would not necessarily find any area where it might wish to enact some legislation. It is a perfectly appropriate consequence of that that the agency in this legislation provides the ability to deal with the consequences.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: All I can say is that I hope on that day I am not involved in any of the food-processing industries if I have to set up two parallel lines in order to deal with my two markets. I rather fear that the Scottish market might be sacrificed in favour of a larger English one. The Government and the noble Viscount tell me that will never happen. If it will never happen, why are we not saying that we will have one agency in the United Kingdom? The Scotland Act does not refer to the need for two agencies in the United Kingdom Food Standards Bill. We could stick to one agency, and if at some time in the future we decided that the Scottish Parliament wanted to go its own way, we could come back to primary legislation. Then we could deal with issues such as the one raised by my noble friend Lord Selborne--that in the event of two agencies being set up there would have to be some kind of co-ordinating mechanism to make sure that we did not get into some very deep trouble both north and south of the border.

If the Government are doing all this as a precautionary principle--“we don't think it will happen but we have to make provision because the Scotland Act says we should"--why not go that step further and do as my noble friend suggests? That is,

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we should put something in on that precautionary principle to say that in the event of this happening some kind of joint committee should be set up to co-ordinate these matters and to allow a channel of communication between the two agencies.

I am glad that I raised this point because it is profoundly worrying. I suspect and hope that if I have done nothing else I have probably prevented any chance of a separate agency and distinctly separate standards being set up, because people in the industry would be extremely concerned. If the possibility is there in legislation, one is entitled to ask whether it might be carried out. We shall waste a great deal of time and paper if clause after clause are put in Bills in case one day we decide to do it. I am afraid I am of the view that in that case, we have primary legislation to do it; we do not do it by Orders in Council.

I know when I am beaten by Her Majesty's Government. I knew it in the devolution Bill and I know it now. However, will the noble Viscount, Lord Thurso, who is in the food business, explain to the food processors in Thurso that perhaps at some time in the future there might be separate agencies with separate rules for Scotland and England? I believe they would meet that with a fair degree of horror. They would certainly be campaigning against him in that case. But they campaigned against him anyway, as I recollect, in the elections to the Scottish Parliament.

5 p.m.

Viscount Thurso: They did, and I am delighted to say that I received more votes than any other party in the constituency in which I was campaigning.

Does the noble Lord not recognise that the Scots export to many countries in Europe, to America, to South America, and all over the world? Our wonderful smoked salmon that we both love goes everywhere in the world. It goes to all sorts of regulatory areas. I fail to see what is the great brouhaha about having some slightly different regulations between England and Scotland.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: Dare I say to the noble Viscount that England and Scotland are in one large internal market, which we have been in for 300 years and in which there is free trade? We all accept that if one goes to trade abroad in a foreign country one has to deal with the issues as they affect that foreign country. I hope the noble Viscount is not saying that he would be comfortable to have England treated like that.

Lord Sewel: Following the logic of the noble Lord's argument, I cannot resist asking a simple question. Is he advocating a European food standards agency?

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: There is one being advocated. As far as looking at standards as non-tariff barriers, in a single market--and that includes Europe--on all these things the sooner we have common standards we all agree to, the better, because then there will not be the market distortion we are getting at the moment, for example, with the French

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being difficult. It helps everybody if we can all play to the same standards and the same rules. I do not believe that the noble Lord has managed to trap me at all on that. He underlines the importance of it.

I just hope that at some time in the future the other party who would like to do a little more division of the United Kingdom does not gain control of the Scottish Parliament, because those are exactly the kind of things it will use to help it on its merry way. The Government have delivered it all to them in pieces of legislation like this. I beg leave to withdraw the motion.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 33 agreed to.

Clause 34 agreed to.

Clause 35 [Devolution in Scotland]:

Baroness Hayman moved Amendment No. 88:

Page 19, line 9, at end insert--
(“(2) It is not outside the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament, by virtue of the reservation of matters relating to the constitution mentioned in paragraph 1 of Schedule 5 to that Act, to remove, alter or confer relevant functions of the Agency which are exercisable in or as regards Scotland.
(3) Nothing in subsection (2) affects any legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament apart from this section.
(4) Relevant functions of the Agency in relation to Northern Ireland shall be regarded as functions of a Minister of the Crown for the purposes of paragraph 1(a) of Schedule 2 to the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (excepted matters).
(5) In this section “relevant functions of the Agency" means functions relating to, or to matters connected with--
(a) food safety or other interests of consumers in relation to food; or
(b) the safety of animal feedingstuffs or other interests of users of animal feedingstuffs.")

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 35, as amended, agreed to.

[Amendment No. 89 not moved.]

Clause 36 [Interpretation]:

Baroness Hayman moved Amendment No. 90:

Page 19, leave out line 13

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 91 not moved.]

Baroness Hayman moved Amendments Nos. 92 to 94:

Page 19, line 24, at end insert (“; and
“the 1991 Order" means the Food Safety (Northern Ireland) Order 1991")
Page 19, line 29, leave out subsection (3) and insert--
(“(3) Expressions used--
(a) as regards England and Wales and Scotland, in this Act and in the 1990 Act, or
(b) as regards Northern Ireland, in this Act and the 1991 Order,
have, unless the context otherwise requires, the same meaning in this Act as in that Act or that Order (except that in this Act “animal" includes any bird or fish).")
Page 19, line 33, after (“order)") insert (“, or under the corresponding provision of Article 2(2) of the 1991 Order,")

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On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 36, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 37 [Subordinate legislation]:

Baroness Hayman moved Amendment No. 95:

Page 19, line 40, leave out subsection (2)

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 37, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 38 agreed to.

Clause 39 [Financial provisions]:

Baroness Hayman moved Amendment No. 96:

Page 20, line 45, leave out (“enactment") and insert (“Act")

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Viscount Thurso moved Amendment No. 97:

Page 21, line 9, at end insert--
(“( ) Any funding made available to enforcement authorities for enforcing relevant legislation (as defined in section 15) shall be designated as being used by enforcement authorities for that purpose only.")

The noble Viscount said: This is a probing amendment. I am grateful to the Consumers' Association which suggested it to us. As I understand the situation, funds that have been made available to local authorities are not ring-fenced and they can, if they so wish, transfer them for other purposes. For example, I believe that additional money was recently given to local authorities following the Pennington Report to ensure that measures were taken to protect the public against E.coli but without any particular mechanism for ensuring that this was how the money was to be spent. The concern is that there needs to be a more effective mechanism for ensuring that moneys made available in this way are spent in the manner in which they are meant to be spent. Therefore I wish to know whether any such measure exists within the Bill, or whether this is something that we should consider. I beg to move.

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