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Lord Campbell of Alloway: My Lords, I apologise for intervening, but the noble Lord has a few more moments. Could he very kindly say whether he agrees with the Prime Minister that something has to be done to contain disruption in the public services? That is the point of the debate.

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: My Lords, my interpretation of the Prime Minister's comments is that he believes there has to be a better way than going on strike. We are pursuing an approach entailing partnership allied to investment, which we believe is the way forward. It is not a question of ending the right to strike but a matter of trying to end the need to strike.

We believe that the investment we have been making in the public sector has had a profound effect in the labour market. We have achieved the lowest number of people claiming unemployment benefit for more than 25 years. That will of course have a dynamic, knock-on effect in the marketplace when there is a tight labour market and people start flexing their muscles and asking for more money. People in the public sector can see a tight labour market in the private sector. Remarkably, however, 1.5 million more people are employed now than in 1997. That has to have an effect on the way in which people view their salary in relation to others. That is one of the issues that any government must face. It is also one of the problems that comes with our success. However, success for the workers involved has been demonstrated by the fact that pay for good and experienced teachers, for example, has increased by 30 per cent since 1997. The same applies to qualified nurses. The pay of hospital doctors has increased by at least 20 per cent since 1997.

We believe that the trade unions should be reassured both by the assurances we have given them and by other action such as changes to the TUPE regulations, transfer terms and pension rights. As the Prime Minister said, it is investment in return for reform.

The noble Earl, Lord Northesk, mentioned our pamphlet and our four principles of reform. Had time allowed, I should have liked to go into them more deeply. Nevertheless, the four principles are higher national standards and accountability; greater devolution and delegation to the front line; increased flexibility in the sense of an end to demarcation; and,

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very importantly, more choice and contestability. So, far from encouraging statist models, we are looking to PPP and PFI partnerships to have increased choice in order to ensure more customer-focused public services.

Export Control Bill

8.50 p.m.

Consideration of amendments on Report resumed.

Clause 5 [General restriction on purposes of control orders]:

Lord Sainsbury of Turville moved Amendment No. 16:

    Leave out Clause 5 and insert the following new Clause—

3 (1) Subject to section (Exceptions from the general restriction), the power to impose export controls, transfer controls, technical assistance controls or trade controls may only be exercised where authorised by this section.
(2) Controls of any kind may be imposed for the purpose of giving effect to any Community provision or other international obligation of the United Kingdom.
(3) In subsection (2) "international obligation" includes an obligation relating to a joint action or common position adopted, or a decision taken, by the Council under Title V of the Treaty on European Union (provisions on a common foreign and security policy).
(4) Export controls may be imposed in relation to any description of goods within one or more of the categories specified in the Schedule for such controls.
(5) Transfer controls may be imposed in relation to any description of technology within one or more of the categories specified in the Schedule for such controls.
(6) Technical assistance controls may be imposed in relation to any description of technical assistance within one or more of the categories specified in the Schedule for such controls.
(7) Trade controls may be imposed in relation to any description of goods within one or more of the categories specified in the Schedule for such controls."

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 16, I wish to speak also to Amendments Nos. 18, 32 and 35. Noble Lords may recall our discussion about the Government's Amendments Nos. 43 and 46 to Clause 5 made in Committee on 4th March. During that discussion one of the issues we focused on was the expression "description of thing" which is now in subsections (1) and (2) of Clause 5. I explained why Clause 5 was drafted in that way, but the language used was nevertheless criticised and described by the noble Lord, Lord Phillips, as Orwellian "newspeak" when he presented his related amendments.

While it seemed to me that the criticism of the noble Lord, Lord Phillips, was a trifle harsh, the language used could not be described as a model of eloquence or clarity and I said that I would look at the matter again and consider whether we might produce text that was clearer. That, in essence, is what these amendments seek to achieve.

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I am sorry that the noble Lord, Lord Phillips, is not present to see the death throes of "description of thing". I hope that he and others will be pleased to see that the offending words have been removed. In getting rid of that phrase, we have restructured Clause 5 and made it into two clauses. I believe that that achieves greater clarity and simplicity and makes the Bill easier to understand, which is an important objective.

The revised clauses would have exactly the same effect as the existing Clause 5. Our amendments maintain the essential link between the control orders and the schedule. That will enable us to control any military goods or technology and also any goods or technology that might have any of the potential consequences set out in the table to the schedule.

Amendment No. 18 is simply subsections (4), (5) and (6) of the current Clause 5, again with some minor drafting improvements, which will be shown separately for clarity under a separate heading and side note that mentions "categories".

Amendments Nos. 32 and 35 are straightforward consequential changes needed to Clause 11 relating to the resolution procedure for orders made under what is now subsection (4) of Clause 5.

I hope that noble Lords will see these amendments as a modest triumph for the English language and clarity in respect of powers that we have already agreed are necessary. I beg to move.

Baroness Miller of Hendon moved, as an amendment to Amendment No. 16, Amendment No. 17:

    Line 3, after first "to" insert "section (3A) and"

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, this very short amendment would insert a minor qualification to the new Clause 5 that the Government seek to introduce in place of the former Clause 5. The new clause requires one further important drafting amendment. Subsection (1) of the new clause imposes a limitation on the power to make control orders. That limitation is to be subject to the provisions of another new clause, at the moment temporarily numbered 5A.

However, now that your Lordships have passed Amendment No. 10, which incorporates an important new Clause 3A into the Bill, it is necessary that the limitation on making control orders that are contained in subsection (1) should also be made of that clause which also limits the powers to make a control order.

This is only a technical amendment, not one of principle. I imagine that the Government will have no problem in accepting it. I beg to move.

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: My Lords, we are happy to accept Amendment No. 17 as a consequential amendment.

On Question, Amendment No. 17, as an amendment to Amendment No. 16, agreed to.

On Question, Amendment No. 16 agreed to.

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Lord Sainsbury of Turville moved Amendment No. 18:

    After Clause 5, insert the following new clause—

(1) Section (General restriction on control powers) does not apply to the power to impose any controls if the control order which imposes them provides for its expiry no later than the end of the period of twelve months beginning with the day on which it is made.
(2) Section (General restriction on control powers) does not apply in relation to provisions of a control order which—
(a) amend an earlier control order; or
(b) revoke and re-enact (with or without modifications) provisions of an earlier control order,
unless they impose new controls or strengthen the controls previously imposed.
(3) In subsection (2) "an earlier control order" does not include an order made by virtue of subsection (1)."

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 6 [Control powers: supplementary]:

Baroness Miller of Hendon moved Amendment No. 19:

    Page 5, line 19 at end insert ", but such disclosure shall not be permitted except—

(i) insofar as is necessary in order to monitor or enforce compliance with the order or any licence granted under it and shall (except when provided for the purpose of regulation or enforcement of export controls and the investigation or prosecution of alleged offences) only be permitted on condition that the recipient shall treat such material as confidential; or
(ii) in order to enable the United Kingdom to comply with its international obligations by virtue of any treaty, international agreement or its membership of any international organisation.

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, this amendment is similar to the one I moved in Committee, but I have altered it to take into account the objections that the Minister raised to it then. The original amendment is contained in paragraph (i) and seeks to limit the use and disclosure of information obtained under the section solely for the purpose of monitoring or enforcing compliance with the Bill.

I reminded the Committee that the human rights convention seemed to have been overlooked in the unlimited power of disclosure that the Secretary of State seeks for herself under Clause 6(1)(f).

In the notorious Guinness case, Ernest Saunders was convicted on the basis of information that he was compelled to give to the inspectors appointed by the DTI—the same department that is promoting this Bill and has defended this clause. That testimony was passed to the prosecution but was later held to be in breach of his elementary right against self-incrimination.

Paragraph (i) of this amendment ensures that records and information will be used for the purposes of the Bill and nothing else. There should be no disclosure to potential competitors, other government departments or NGOs. I pointed out to the Committee that this Bill will be largely administered by Customs and Excise. It will be wrong for the information

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demanded and obtained by it under this Bill to be passed on, for example, to the VAT department. The Minister told the Committee:

    "The Government also wish to have the power to exchange information within Government . . . for the regulation and enforcement of export controls and investigation or prosecution of offences".—[Official Report, 7/2/02; col. 838.]

I entirely agree with that statement. Paragraph (i) of my amendment makes it clear that that is definitely a permissible purpose. My concern at the time of the debate in Committee on 7th February has been heightened by the kite recently flown by Downing Street when it suggested that information held by one government department should be freely passed around to other departments and agencies.

There are serious libertarian implications in that. If that facility is to be granted, it should be after full parliamentary scrutiny and debate. It should not be slipped in as a sub-paragraph to a subsection of a Bill which has a rather specific application. Next we shall see this provision cited as a precedent for further dissemination of private information that the Government have been given power to demand.

In Committee I also suggested that it would be wrong for the Government to pass that information on to foreign governments. I quote the Minister's words in an abbreviated form, also at col. 838 on 7th February:

    "The Government require the power to obtain and share information . . . By virtue of its membership of a number of international organisations".

The Minister went on to give three examples. In withdrawing my amendment in Committee, I invited the Minister to put down a similar one on Report adding a provision about international agreements. I regret that he was not able to do so. Therefore, I have been left with no alternative but to reintroduce the amendment which already included a description of the proper reasons why the information could properly be shared within the Government which fully accords with the Minister's own reasons which he gave to me.

I have now added a saving about the United Kingdom's foreign obligations in order to meet the Minister's objections. Now that I have done so, I very much hope that he will find it possible to accept the amendment. I beg to move.

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