As regards the Green Investment Bank, I am looking round the Chamber but cannot see the noble Lord, Lord Smith—somebody I met in a previous incarnation as a BBC governor—but I am sure that he will bring a lot of experience to this matter. For us the concern about the Green Investment Bank is the fact that it is not actually a bank, as the Minister told us. But putting that to one side for a minute, when will it be allowed to borrow? Will it be a lender of last resort and what will be its impact on lending to SMEs? Those questions have been raised in the debate.

We have heard some fascinating comments on the Equality and Human Rights Commission. As one of the architects of the legislation behind that, the noble Lord, Lord Lester, brings a wealth of experience to that matter. He criticised Clauses 57 and 58 on third-party harassment and vulnerable minorities. A clear difference of opinion has emerged on this issue. I and my noble friends are worried about the general remit of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. I take this opportunity to welcome back the noble Baroness, Lady Campbell. I congratulate whoever it was behind the scenes in the House who assisted her to make a full contribution. It is great to see her back making that contribution. We share her concern about the general remit. A number of noble Lords made very powerful contributions on that issue, not least the noble Lord, Lord Ouseley, who also brings a wealth of experience to the debate. He asked where the evidence was with regard to third-party harassment. Noble Lords asked about the evidence time and time again.

I turn to directors’ pay. I pay tribute to the noble Lord, Lord Tugendhat, for his contribution. I hope it does not blunt any career chances or capacity to act with the Government that he might have had. My tribute is sincere because he made a careful analysis of directors’ pay based on experience and evidence. The noble Lord mentioned a two-thirds vote, transparency, bonuses being linked to the short term, the consultants’ remuneration merry-go-round whereby they all keep rewarding each other, and last but by no means least, the bit that the Minister did not address: that is, not just the gap between pay and performance but the really worrying gap between the pay of directors and the pay of median workers in a company.

The other major contribution in that debate—and that is not to denigrate any one else who contributed on that particular area—was from my noble friend Lord Gavron who brings a wealth of experience: 29 years as a CEO and he is wearing incredibly well. I like the phrase “being a connoisseur of mistakes”. I suppose we all are in one way or another in organisations that we have taken part in. He made a powerful point about the directors of public companies whose pay has increased 50 times in comparison to that of their median workers. The question of dividends and bonuses was raised and last, but by no means least, the impact on motivation and performance. We recognise that the Government have gone some way to addressing the

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concerns about directors’ pay. However, there is a wide-ranging view—I do not know whether it is a consensus—that the Government have not gone far enough. We will probe this with further amendments in Committee.

I will return to the contributions from my noble friend Lady Ford and the noble Lord, Lord Bates, in my conclusion. In their different ways they gave us a different analysis which is worth addressing. There are some areas that I will not cover, given the time available, as I want to be swift. I welcome and congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Currie of Marylebone, on his appointment and wish him well. He gave us a very wide-ranging and balanced analysis of business, consumers and competition which was exceedingly interesting.

There were a number of very powerful contributions on health and safety and whistleblowing. My noble friend Lord MacKenzie of Culkein reminded us, as did the noble Lord, Lord Low of Dalston, how important whistleblowing has been in exposing some really serious injustices and bad practices in a wide range of industries, not least in the health service. Upsetting the balance in that particular piece of legislation is a real worry and I hope the Minister will address it.

My noble friend Lord MacKenzie of Culkein, with his particular experience in health and safety, pointed us to the dangers of Clause 61 and the fact that hundreds of lives have been saved by health and safety legislation. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Skills, Matthew Hancock, said, on 16 October:

“We all have different reasons for coming into politics. When I was growing up, I had one of the experiences that brought me to this place, concerning the over-burdensome intervention of health and safety officers. I worked in a family computer software company when an over-long health and safety investigation took place, which took up huge amounts of time for the officers and senior management. The only result at the end of it was the recommendation that some bleach in a cupboard must be labelled correctly. After a sign was put up saying, “There is bleach in the cupboard. Please do not drink it,” the company was passed under the health and safety regulations”.—[Official Report, Commons, 16/10/12; col. 191]

That is a Minister showing what I can only describe as contempt for something that is fundamentally important. Does he really believe that that is the only thing you are doing when you carry out risk assessments? If we were living in a society where there were no deaths or serious injuries due to industrial accidents we might have cause for such complacency. However, testing electrical equipment and doing fire risk assessments are not overblown requirements of the Health and Safety Executive. Perhaps the Government think that attitude is the right approach to health and safety.

I only have a few minutes left so I return—with apologies to a number of my noble friends for not referring to them—as I said I would, to the interesting debate involving my noble friend Lady Ford about the purpose of this legislation. How would it really assist growth in the economy? She drew our attention to the concern of SMEs and the fact that they are looking for investment and finance. Those are what they need in their businesses. She drew our attention also to another piece of legislation that is coming along and

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invites workers to trade their rights for shares in the company. That was an analysis of what business really required to grow.

The noble Lord, Lord Bates, told us that it was all about the wealth creators and getting the Government off their back. That did not acknowledge the role of the workers as wealth creators in those companies as well as the role of the people who own the companies. He talked about big companies making mistakes by employing the wrong people. This is what worries me about this whole piece of legislation. It suffers from what I call DDA, dysfunctional displacement activity, inasmuch as it seems to come from the belief that if you signal to employers, “If only we make it easier for you to get rid of people, it will solve your problem”.

It was my noble friend Lord Monks who said that there is a low road and a high road. A lot of the Bill is about the low road, rather than the high road of investing in skills. If you wanted to send a message to companies about how to look after their employees who, after all, are the most valuable part of their company, it surely would be about training and investment. I heard an interesting statistic from the Chartered Management Institute, which said that only one in five managers get any training at all. If you wanted to send a positive message, rather than a lot of the negative messages in the Bill, that is one that I could recommend.

I am conscious of the time. I apologise to my noble friends and others whose superb contributions I have been unable to address. I look forward to the Minister’s response.

5.32 pm

Lord Marland: My Lords, I thank all noble Lords for this excellent debate. I am very grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Young of Norwood Green, for his cheerful and genuine support on the Bill. I am also grateful to my noble friends Lord Gardiner of Kimble and Lady Stowell of Beeston who have been extremely supportive throughout, and to our officials who have had to endure a six-and-a-half-hour marathon. There is much to digest, and this is clearly not the point where we go into hand-to-hand combat on some of the key issues. That is for Committee, and I look forward to it.

I have been in business all my life. The Bill redresses some of the imbalances that have developed, particularly in the area of employment, and it comes as no surprise that Members who have had affiliations with the trade union movement feel strongly about these issues, which they take seriously—as indeed do we. I respect their views, but we must remember that workers have rights and, of course, so do the employers. This is what this Bill sets out to do.

The noble Baroness, Lady Ford, said that in her working life she never came across issues of health and safety. I do not think that she has been talking a lot to other business people if that is what she thinks, because to many companies the health and safety issue is becoming really strangling, as are the tribunals, the long process and the time that it takes up.

Baroness Ford: Perhaps I may gently say to the noble Lord that I was aware that he was taking a comfort break during most of my speech. I never said any such thing and I suggest that he looks at Hansard to see what I actually said.

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Lord Marland: I apologise. I am happy to accept that, but I thought I heard her say what I suggested, and I was there when she said it.

Business must be allowed to develop without unfair burdens. I totally agree with the noble Lord, Lord Mitchell, who said that red tape needs to be reduced, but it is a difficult balance. That is what we are trying to do here—find the balance, because that is the key to prosperity. If we take the view that none of the Bill is acceptable, we are not starting from a point of view of balance. The Bill aims to be fair for growth and enterprise and to protect workers’ rights and those of employers. It also allows small and medium-sized enterprises, unlike large companies, to develop without some of the impositions that can be absorbed by big companies but that cannot be absorbed by small ones. I congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Greengross, on saying that employers have to be confident in employing their staff, and this Bill provides for that.

In the short time available, I shall rattle through a number of points. I apologise in advance for not speaking too substantively on them because we will do that in Committee. The noble Lord, Lord Stevenson of Balmacara, made various points. He thinks that the Bill is in bad shape, but he must remember that it is this Government who have taken on the issue of directors’ pay, not the previous Government; it is this Government who are delivering on the Green Investment Bank; it is this Government who are getting to grips with copyright and the Intellectual Property Office; and it is this Government who are getting to grips with the heritage issues, to which the noble Baroness referred. This Government are undertaking those important forward steps, although the previous Government had the opportunity.

My noble friend Lord Razzall asked a number of questions, but a key one was asking me to confirm that the cap on unfair dismissal awards will not apply to race and sex discrimination. I can assure the noble Lord that any change that we make to the cap on unfair dismissal compensatory awards will not affect the awards made in respect of any discrimination claim. I hope that deals with a number of issues raised by noble Lords.

I was very grateful to see the noble Lord, Lord Smith of Kelvin, and I wish him every success with the Green Investment Bank, and I thank him for all he is doing to get that initiative off the ground. He will take that over with his management structure. It is important to remember that it will be independent of government.

A number of noble Lords asked about whether the bank should be allowed to borrow. They also asked whether the Green Investment Bank will be a lender of last resort, and I was delighted that the noble Lord, in his excellent speech, said that definitely it will not be a lender of last resort. We in Government very much agree that the bank’s ability to borrow will be critical to its long-term success. That is why the Government are fully committed to providing the bank with the funding that it needs to become an enduring green financial institution. It is also important to recognise that any borrowing by the bank will score against the national debt targets. We have given the commitment that the Government will seek state aid approval in

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respect of borrowing from the European Commission before the end of this Parliament. The level of bank borrowing will need to be agreed by the Government as it is part of our future spending plans. I hope that deals with that issue for the moment.

My noble friend Lord Tugendhat and the noble Lord, Lord Gavron, make a formidable team and have raised some important issues with which I totally agree. I would like to read out some things about which I wrote to the noble Lord, Lord Gavron, on 8 November, after a very constructive meeting that we had. One of his points was that companies should disclose an audited figure for the total remuneration of each director. I am pleased to say that in future all remuneration reports will have to include a single figure for the total pay awarded to each director and that will be subject to audit. He also asked me the frequency of the new binding vote on remuneration policy. The binding vote on future pay policy will happen annually, unless companies choose to leave their pay policy totally unchanged. I think there will enormous shareholder pressure on companies that continue to leave their policy unchanged.

The noble Lord, Lord Gavron, and my noble friend Lord Tugendhat were concerned to ensure that companies cannot make payments to directors until they have been approved by shareholders. I can confirm that that will be the case under the Government’s proposals. The noble Lord made the point that shareholders should approve the specifics of pay and not just the general policy. The draft regulations which we have published will require companies to set out clearly and succinctly what type of payments directors are entitled to, how pay links to the company’s’ strategies, how performance will be assessed and how that will translate into awards under different scenarios. Even before coming to the House, we sat down and had constructive discussions which I hope noble Lords agree have made fruitful progress.

The noble Baroness, Lady Warwick of Undercliffe, gave a very good speech about orphan works. There is a lot of good stuff in the Bill about that issue.

My noble friend Lord Lester of Herne Hill has been described as the grandfather of human rights. It was interesting that there were cross-party differences on a number of things that the grandfather put forward. I do not for one moment think that the noble Lord is complacent about anything he does. I compliment him on the clear way in which he let the Government know how he felt about some of these issues. Through discussion, we will try to find a way to mitigate his concerns—and indeed the concerns of all noble Lords. However, as I said, I do not want to go into hand-to-hand combat with him or with other noble Lords at this point.

My noble friend Lady Buscombe talked passionately about the creative industries. I have just returned from Hong Kong, and the opening of the great creative campaign. In the past 18 months I travelled with representatives of the creative industries to China and Brazil. The creative industries are absolutely fundamental to the prosperity of this nation. A lot of the work that we in government are doing will support them.

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I welcome back the noble Baroness, Lady Campbell of Surbiton; it was a joy to see her again. I am not entirely sure that I welcomed many of her remarks, but that is the fun of the fair. I am so glad to see that the system worked and that she was able to make a very moving and impassioned speech.

The work at English Heritage of the noble Baroness, Lady Andrews, is of the highest quality. We are very grateful for everything that she does. She has offered to correspond on a number of issues. Of course, we will take that correspondence extremely seriously, as she deserves.

I compliment my noble friend Lord Lucas on a marvellously brief speech and thank him for his support for our copyright initiatives. We want more speeches like his—although I am afraid I will have to disabuse any noble Lords who thought that I myself would be making a short one.

I had the pleasure of one-to-one meetings with the noble Lord, Lord Borrie. We discussed many issues that he spoke about today. He asked for reassurance that Citizens Advice and trading standards would be adequately resourced to take on additional consumer functions. This matter was raised by a number of noble Lords. Of course, it is absolutely fundamental that all these things are resourced properly. The Government will give the new National Trading Standards Board £9.7 million this year, with an indicative increase to £11 million next year, to help local trading standards target high-priority enforcement cases for consumers. Citizens Advice will receive £1.5 million of government funding for its consumer education role from April 2013. I look forward to further dialogue with the noble Lord, who is expert on the CMA and related issues. His input will be invaluable.

The noble Lord, Lord Low, was kind enough to give me advance notice of a question that he asked. I reassure him that we do not intend to use Clause 66 to narrow or remove the exceptions for visually impaired people provided by the Copyright (Visually Impaired Persons) Act 2002. The Government recently consulted on whether to widen these exceptions so that they would benefit more disabled people. We will issue our response to the consultation soon. The Government strongly support international negotiations on a treaty of copyright exceptions for visually impaired people, which we hope will be agreed by 2013. The noble Lord referred to the views of the General Counsel of the EHRC, John Wadham, on abolition by stealth. I will counter that with a quotation from Mr Wadham, who stated:

“This Bill reduces our powers and our remit, but not in a way that we are overly concerned about”.

So there.

The noble Baroness, Lady Ford, talked about fairness in the workplace, and about health and safety, which we have already discussed. She is completely right that there should be fairness in the workplace. The Bill does not hamper that; it creates fairness for both sides.

The noble Lord, Lord Bates, referred to the importance of small and medium-sized enterprises. I agree with him totally. The work that he does in the north-east is extremely valuable and we are very grateful for it.

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It is difficult to cope with the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, because he does not seem to agree with anything we are putting forward despite the fact that I and my officials have had exhaustive meetings with him over a period of time. He has a great passion for and knowledge of the subject. I have discussed many of these issues with him and we will carry on our discussions. We recognise what he is saying: we do not agree with a great deal of it but there is a way through this. I hope that he will acknowledge that from the discussions we have had so far and look forward to further discussions. I have a feeling that the noble Lord is going to get to his feet.

Lord Clement-Jones: I thank the Minister for that. I know that it is very difficult to deal with the questions raised during the debate, particularly in the area of copyright where a number of technical questions have been raised by myself, the noble Baroness, Lady Buscombe, the noble Lord, Lord Grade, and others. Will he undertake to write in response to some of the questions raised during the course of the debate?

Lord Marland: It is not that I am not prepared to write—I am always prepared to write and to get engaged in dialogue—but there a number of things are happening on the intellectual property front at the moment. I have been made recently the Government Minister responsible for it and I am holding an up-and-down review of the Intellectual Property Office as we speak. I can tell the noble Lord that a number of changes will be made, which I do not want to enunciate now. However, during the progress of the Bill I will be able to help in that regard. I am also sitting on a document about modernising copyright with a modern, robust and flexible framework. It will be my bedside reading today and tomorrow, and Government Ministers will know what a joy that is. It is big enough to fill the Red Box on its own. So, if the noble Lords, Lord Clement-Jones and Lord Grade, and the noble Baroness, Lady Buscombe, will allow me, I will deal with this in Committee. During the process I will be happy to engage in one-to-one conversations with them as it happens.

I have enjoyed greatly working in the past with the noble Lord, Lord Whitty. I am not sure I am going to enjoy the “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”, although it is quite a good film. So far the noble Lord has always fitted in the good category as far as I am concerned and I hope he is not moving into the bad or ugly bit. I am sure he will not.

I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Currie of Marylebone, on his important new role and on his excellent speech, which set out, in a way that I could not possible have done, the excellent work that the CMA will do. As my noble friend Lord Eccles said, it is one thing to have an inspiration to merge things but, in practical terms, it is a big task to achieve to achieve it. However, in my view, it could fall to no greater man.

The noble Lord, Lord Clinton-Davis, will be a challenge because there are many things that he does not agree with.

A number of noble Lords referred to the report by the noble Lord, Lord Young of Graffham, Common Sense. Common Safety, and the report by Professor

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Reclaiming Health and Safety for All

. We are taking on board many of the matters they have written about and produced evidence for. A great deal emerges from that and no doubt we will debate these issues more aggressively in the coming months.

The noble Baroness, Lady Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, asked a number of important questions, but perhaps I may respond to only one of them in the time that I have available. She said that the change to the public interest test on whistle-blowing will make employees think twice about whether they should blow the whistle. We disagree with that. Where the employee has a reasonable belief that disclosure is in the public interest they will be protected. It is not a difficult evidential hurdle to satisfy. I hope that that deals with some of the points, but obviously a number have been raised.

I am grateful for the support of my noble friend Lord Teverson on the Green Investment Bank. The noble Lord, Lord MacKenzie of Culkein, quite rightly said that whistleblowing takes courage. It most certainly does, and none of what we are trying to do here seeks to prevent it. We are trying to allow people to have the courage to do it, and I think that his were wise and bold words which we agree with. The noble Lord, Lord Touhig, talked about the public interest test. It is absolutely fundamental that we get this right in the debate.

I have only two minutes to speak so I shall be very quick. The noble Lord, Lord McKenzie of Luton, shares a commonality of theme with the noble Lord, Lord Ouseley. I have referred to some of the points made by the noble Lord, Lord Mitchell, in what I thought was an excellent and balanced speech. The noble Lord, Lord Morris of Handsworth, has clearly shown a long-term interest in the rights of workers, and as I said earlier, this is all part of trying to have the rights of workers protected. I am grateful to my noble friend Lord Sheikh for mentioning sunset clauses. I am also grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Monks and my noble friend Lady Brinton for their comments

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about ACAS resources. It is absolutely fundamental that ACAS is properly resourced and there is a Government commitment that it will be. It is a fine service and I am glad that everyone thinks so. We will do all we can to make sure that that happens. Questions were put about Heseltine, but the Government’s response will not be ready until a bit later so I will not deal with it now. The noble Baroness, Lady Turner of Camden, again feels strongly about certain employment issues, and I look forward to her debate. I am also grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, for his view on the Green Investment Bank.

There were a number of questions about the Equality and Human Rights Commission. It is absolutely fundamental that it should retain its A-grade status and the Government are committed to that. However, it is quite difficult when an organisation does not fulfil its audit commitments and does not manage its finances as well as it should. The commission is in the position it is not as a result of government interference, but through the organisation itself. I think that under the leadership of the noble Baroness, Lady O’Neill, it will be in a very good place.

I thank all noble Lords for their contributions. This House is marvellous at revising and improving things. I know that because I have already taken a Bill through it. In the past it has been a pleasure to co-operate with noble Lords. I hope that I am thought of as a reasonable man to create a dialogue with. I am prepared to listen and we are prepared to have discussions as this complicated and complex Bill with its wide-ranging bandwidth goes through the Lords. I am looking forward to the Committee stage. I respect the views of everyone in this Chamber, as is only right. My door will always be open, as will that of my officials, to listen and provide as much information as possible.

Bill read a second time and committed to a Grand Committee.

House adjourned at 5.54 pm.