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Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 21 July 2000, Official Report, columns 362-63W, (1) if he will assess the impact of the controls added to the drinks industry's code of practice on the merchandising and packaging of alcoholic drinks; 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Portman Group's Code of Practice, which is supported by the overwhelming majority of companies involved in the manufacture and sale of alcoholic drinks, has provided real and substantial benefits. The numbers of complaints and upheld complaints have both fallen; the findings of the independent panel, set up by the Group to consider complaints of breaches of the code, have enjoyed a high degree of compliance; and the Group's system of Retailer Alert Bulletins, advising retailers not to stock offending products in their original packaging, has reduced their availability to the public.
Nevertheless, it is a cause for great concern that, as separate research studies show, large numbers of children under 18 are able to buy alcohol, both in pubs and in retail outlets. It is for this reason that we have strongly supported the provisions strengthening the law on under-age sales included in the Private Member's Bill introduced by my hon. Friend the Member for Pudsey (Mr. Truswell); and that we have proposed to bring forward further measures to deal with the problem, including the test purchasing of alcohol, as set out in our White Paper "Time for Reform".
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Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had with representatives of the drinks industry on the application of the code of practice on the naming of alcoholic products. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: I meet representatives, which may include the Portman Group, from time to time, to discuss matters of current interest, which may include the operation of the Group's code of practice on the naming, packaging and merchandising of alcohol drinks.
Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 21 July 2000, Official Report, columns 362-63W, about merchandising and packaging of alcoholic drinks, (1) what assessment he has made of the extent to which the provision in the Code of Practice about avoiding artificially bright colours in the product and the packaging has been implemented; 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: Since September 1997, there have been five complaints that alcoholic products or their packaging have been more likely to appeal to under-18s than adults by reason of artificially bright colours. Of these complaints, two have been upheld by the independent complaints panel for the Portman Group's code of practice.
23 Oct 2000 : Column: 46W
Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Great Grimsby (Mr. Mitchell) of 26 June 2000, Official Report, columns 384-86W, if he will call for reports on the reasons for the absence of fixed penalties for carrying more than one person on a pedal cycle in (a) Avon and Somerset, (b) Bedfordshire, (c) Cambridgeshire, (d) Cheshire, (e) Derbyshire, (f) Durham, (g) Essex, (h) Gloucestershire, (i) Hertfordshire, (j) Humberside, (k) the City of London, (l) the Metropolitan Police area, (m) Norfolk, (n) Northamptonshire, (o) North Yorkshire, (p) Nottinghamshire, (q) South Yorkshire, (r) Staffordshire, (s) Surrey, (t) Sussex, (u) Warwickshire, (v) the West Midlands and (w) West Yorkshire, between 1 August and 31 December 1999. 
Mr. Charles Clarke: The issuing of fixed penalties for cycling offences is an operational matter for individual chief officers of police. Data from Essex and Humberside have now been received and show that two and three fixed penalties were issued respectively for carrying more than one person on a pedal cycle for the period August to December 1999. Data have also now been received from West Yorkshire and show that one fixed penalty was issued for carrying more than one person on a pedal cycle for the period November to December 1999. Cambridgeshire cannot supply relevant data. The remaining forces have indicated that no fixed penalty notices were issued. I have no plans to call for reports in this instance from the forces referred to by my hon. Friend the Member for Great Grimsby (Mr. Mitchell).
Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Great Grimsby (Mr. Mitchell), of 26 June 2000, Official Report, columns 384-86W, if he will call for a report on the reason for the absence of fixed penalties for cycling on pedestrian footways in West Yorkshire between 1 August and 31 December 1999. 
Mr. Charles Clarke: The issuing of fixed penalties for cycling offences is an operational matter for individual chief officers of police. Data from West Yorkshire have now been received and show that two fixed penalties were issued for the offence of cycling on the pavement in the period November to December 1999. No data are available for the period August to December 1999.
23 Oct 2000 : Column: 45W
|Police force||Carrying more than one person on pedal cycle||Cycling on the footway (pavement)||Registration mark defective||Overtaking at pelican, zebra or puffin crossing||Driving on footway (pavement)||Total|
|Avon and Somerset||--||19||127||7||16||169|
|Devon and Cornwall||1||28||20||--||4||53|
|London, City of||--||10||5||--||10||25|
|Total (42 forces)||34||665||2,208||144||377||3,428|
(2) Included in column 2
(3) October to December only
(4) November to December only
(5) Figures not available
23 Oct 2000 : Column: 47W
23 Oct 2000 : Column: 47W
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