Select Committee on Regulatory Reform Thirteenth Report

Appendix B

Letter to the Clerk of the Committee from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport

Proposal for the draft Regulatory Reform (Gaming Machines) Order 2003: request for further information

Thank you for your letter of 3 April seeking further information about this draft Order. We are happy to help.

2. I set out our answers to the Committee's 37 questions below. Our answers are of course to be read in conjunction with the narrative in your letter, which I have not sought to repeat.

3. We are as you ask sending a copy of this letter to the Clerk of the House of Lords Committee on Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform. We will be replying to her separate letter shortly.

Whether the proposal removes or reduces a burden

Q1 Please specify the nature of the burden the Department considers is imposed by the present requirement that prizes won in one session of play on a gaming machine must be paid out at the end of that session, on whom the Department considers that burden falls, and how the proposal would reduce or remove the burden.

4. We assume that in referring to "burden" in this question, the Committee are using that term as having the specific meaning given by the Regulatory Reform Act 2001. Section 2 of the RRA defines burden as meaning "a restriction, requirement or condition… " and under section 1 of the Act the burdens which may be removed by a Regulatory Reform Order are those "affecting persons in the carrying on of any activity".

5. Looked at on this basis, we take the view that the primary burden is the requirement imposed on those persons who are potentially liable - as the Committee has noted elsewhere - for an offence under section 38 to ensure that, where they operate any gaming machine on premises, the machine complies with the condition imposed by section 31(4) and (5) or (as the case may be) section 34(5C). Section 34(5C) prohibits an AWP machine from retaining winnings for further play. The same necessarily applies to jackpot machines, by virtue of sections 31(4) and (5) as those provisions currently have effect.

6. The proposal would remove this burden in relation to jackpot machines by relieving the relevant persons from having to comply with this requirement. In practical terms, the effect of the burden which the law imposes is that the payment mechanism of the machine undergoes considerable wear and tear as coins are paid in and out, and the Order would reduce that wear and tear. Players replaying their winnings would not be using the coin-op mechanisms to put their winnings back in, and there would be fewer separate occasions when the mechanism was operated to pay money out.

7. The burden which the law imposes has a corresponding effect upon players since, if they want to use their winnings for further play, they must first get the machine to pay them out, and then re-insert them. The Order would mean that players who wanted to carry on would no longer have to go through this process.

Whether the proposal satisfies the tests in sections l ('proportionality') and 3 ('fair balance')

Q2 Please indicate why the Government believes that the new burden which would be created by the Order is proportionate to the benefit which is expected to result from its creation.

8. As the Committee has noted, the burden which is created by the Order itself (as distinct from burdens in the Gaming Board guidelines) is that contained in Article 2(4) of the draft Order, inserting into section 31 of the Gaming Act a provision that smartcards (or other 'objects') used to play jackpot machines are 'redeemable on demand at the premises where the machine is used for gaming at any time when a machine to which this Part of the Act applies is available for use for gaming at those premises'. In other words, the operator of the premises has to pay out on the card on demand, as long as the premises are open.

9. The benefit which arises from this burden is that the player of a machine using a smartcard or other non-cash payment method will be able to recover any money that he has won or that remains credited to the smartcard. Gaming debts are not enforceable in law, and the Department considers that a requirement that machines take smartcards that are redeemable on demand is both reasonable and proportionate to the benefits which operators may derive from the opportunity to run smartcard machines.

Q3 The Department has accepted the need to make non-statutory provision for measures of protection further than those which the draft order itself contains. Please state how the Department believes that the order, taken as a whole, would strike a fair balance between the public interest and the interests of the persons affected by the burden being created.

10. There is a public interest in increasing the efficiency of the gaming machines sector of the leisure industry and also, of course, in ensuring that machines are operated in ways which do not give rise to substantial risks of encouraging players to use machines excessively. There are two categories of persons affected by the burden being created - machine operators and players.

11. The Department believes that the Order strikes a fair balance in these respects. Operators support the change in the law, recognising that the new burden only arises as part of a larger freedom to configure their machines in a more efficient way. The Department believes that players cannot be in a less advantageous position than at present since they will, in practice, be assured of payment of any winnings on demand.

Necessary protections

Q4 Please list the relevant protections which the Department considers are contained in (a) the existing law affected by the proposals, and (b) any current Gaming Board guidelines on the operation of gaming machines which will be amended by the proposed new guidelines.

12. There are three protections in the law. The first derives from the fact that players must play in coin (for jackpot machines, s. 31(3) of the Gaming Act 1968, and for higher-value AWP machines, s.34(5B)). Taken together with the fact that the highest value coin is £2, this means that players must make a separate decision to commit each new unit of £2, or less, to play. The proposals affect this requirement in the case both of jackpot and higher-value AWP machines.

13. The second protection in the law is that players are paid out in cash when they win. The Order affects this requirement as it applies to jackpot machines, but not as it applies to higher-value AWP machines. This protection in respect of jackpot machines appears at section 31(4) of the 1968 Act.

14. The third protection in the law is that machines should be able to accept payment for a single play. The Order affects this protection as it applies to both jackpot and higher-value AWP machines. For jackpot machines, it appears at section 31(3) of the 1968 Act, and for higher-value AWP machines it appears at section 34(5B), read together with section 34(2). In both cases, it is the reference to the 'charge for play for playing a game once by means of the machine shall be a coin or coins of an amount not exceeding….' which is interpreted as meaning that the machine must be capable of taking payment for a single play.

15. The Gaming Board is not amending any of its existing guidelines.

Q5 Please indicate the extent to which the Department considers these protections will be continued by means of (a) the proposed order and (b) the proposed new guidelines.

16. The guidelines will ensure that the maximum amount that players can commit to play - without making a separate decision to commit further money to play - is £2, and the Order requires that players are paid out either in cash or by non-cash means which are redeemable on demand.

17. The Department considers that both these protections are entirely equivalent to what currently exists in these areas. As explained elsewhere in this document (please see answer to Question 16) the Board's guidelines apply to all licensed suppliers of gaming machines. Players can rely on the Board's guidelines applying to any machine which they might use.

18. The Department considers that there is no significant difference so far as the player is concerned between being paid out in cash directly by a machine and being paid out by non-cash means which are redeemable on demand at the premises.

19. The third protection - that machines should be able to accept payment for a single play - is not being continued. See Q6 below.

Q6 In respect of any protections the Department considers will not be continued, please indicate whether the Department considers that these are necessary protections.

20. The only protection which is not being continued is that machines should be able to accept payment for a single play. As explained in the Home Office's March 2001 consultation document (para 50) this is not a necessary protection. It does not add to consumer safeguards to have law which requires that players must always be able to insert, in effect, their loose small change into a gaming machine.

Paying out on smartcard debts

Q7 What is the Department's response to the specific issues raised by Professor Miers in his consultation response?

21. We referred to Professor Miers' analysis at paragraph 141 of the explanatory statement to this draft Order. As we said there, the Government has made it clear that the forthcoming overall Bill on gambling will propose the repeal of the provisions of the Gaming Act 1845 which make gambling debts unenforceable in law.

22. The Government believes that this will be a change of considerable importance, and it is right that Parliament should have the opportunity to consider it as part of a Bill and in the context of the controls on gambling as a whole. Although it might have been technically possible to disapply the 1845 Act from gaming machine smartcard debts as part of this Order, that would have created a situation in which these relatively small debts were legally enforceable while far larger ones, for instance in connection with betting or casinos, would not be. The Government sees no merit in that.

23. More generally the Department does not agree with Professor Miers' pessimistic assessment of the operation of the market in this area. The Order would allow smartcards to be used by machines in casinos, bingo clubs, and members' clubs. Casinos and bingo clubs operate under licence from the Magistrates and are subject to monitoring by the Gaming Board. We consider it highly unlikely in these circumstances that they would refuse to pay out on a legitimate gaming machine debt. But if they did, the Gaming Board would have to give consideration to applying for cancellation of their licence.

24. Members' clubs need Magistrates' permits for their machines. It seems improbable that they would refuse to pay out on a gaming machine prize legitimately won by a member or guest. Club members would be able to have recourse to the club's own procedures if they did.

Q8 Why it is not possible to make it a criminal offence to refuse to pay out on smartcard debts by means of the proposed order?

25. We have not said that it is not possible to make this a criminal offence. But we believe that this would be a disproportionate response, particularly as the Gambling Bill will not propose that non-payment of a gambling debt will be a criminal offence. It will instead allow for debts to be enforceable through civil process.

26. As the Committee has observed there is an offence in terms of operating an unlawful machine (section 38 of the Gaming Act - see Question 11 below) which may be applicable in some circumstances.

Q9 What will the practical effect of the new requirement on payouts be, in terms of consumer protection?

27. The Gaming Act defines the maximum prizes from gaming machines, but it does not require operators to pay them. The Department considers that defining smartcard and other non-cash payment methods, as the Order does, in terms of an obligation to pay out on them provides players with a safeguard which balances the extra latitude which the Order gives to operators.

Q10 What recourse, if any, will a customer have in practice against an operator who refuses to comply with the new requirement?

28. If a casino or bingo operator refused to pay a winning customer, the customer would be able to complain either to the Gaming Board or to the local licensing authority. They would need to take that into consideration when determining whether the operator was a fit and proper person to hold the relevant licence.

29. As we have said in answer to question 7, it seems improbable that a members' club would refuse to pay out on a gaming machine prize legitimately won by a member or guest. Club members would be able to have recourse to the club's own procedures if they did.

Q11 What sanctions in law, if any, will be available against an operator who refuses to comply with the new requirement?

30. If an operator consistently refuses to honour smartcards he has issued for play on his machine, he could arguably be said to be operating a machine which contravenes the requirements of section 31 of the Gaming Act. That could render him liable to prosecution under section 38. But see the answer to question 12 below.

31. It is difficult to envisage circumstances in which proceedings under s.38 might happen. The Order allows for smartcards to be used only in bingo clubs, casinos, and registered clubs. The courses of action which we have set out in answer to questions 7 and 10 offer in our view a much more plausible scenario for what might happen in such circumstances, were they to occur.

Q12 Does the Department agree that failure by an operator to honour a smartcard debt, thereby breaching the provisions of proposed new subsections 31(3A) and (3B), would constitute an offence under s. 38(3) of the 1968 Act?

32. In the case of a one-off or occasional failure, rather than a consistent pattern of refusal, we consider that the answer to this question is No. The obligations which the new provisions impose relate to the type of object that can be inserted in the machine in order to play it - that is, one that is redeemable on demand. We do not consider that this directly imposes a requirement to redeem a smartcard. Such a result might be achieved were failure to redeem the smartcard (or other 'object') to be taken as showing that it was not in fact 'redeemable' as the new provisions require. But as already explained we find it difficult to envisage practical circumstances in which this might happen.

Q13 If this is so, does the Department intend that this should be the case?

33. It is not so.

Credits to smartcards

Q14 Why was the proposed requirement that a smartcard withdrawn or ejected from the machine should first be credited with all the monetary value owing to the player dropped between consultation and proposal stage? For what reason is this safeguard not considered to constitute a necessary protection?

34. Such a requirement would be impractical. If the player inserts a smartcard, he can download separate tranches of £2 until he gets to £20, at which point his card is automatically ejected. If the original proposal were implemented, all the credits would then have to be put back on the card, leaving the player unable to play.

35. The guidelines do not require smartcard machines to credit a player with all the money he has won when he withdraws his card from the machine. They allow for money to be credited to the card in units of £1, so that a player who has won £2.50 may, under the guidelines, get only £2 of that credited to his card.

36. This gives consistency in terms of the guidelines with cash (banknote) machines. The guidelines do not require these to pay out in units of less than £1.

Smartcard readers

Q15 Please explain the apparent discrepancy between the Departmental policy aim, which is to require operators to provide free-standing smartcard readers, and the draft Gaming Board guidelines which are intended to achieve this aim, which indicate that it is acceptable for smartcard readers to be built into gaming machines. Please also indicate how the draft guidelines are to be amended to resolve the discrepancy.

37. See answer to Question 16.

Q16 Please explain how the proposed requirement for operators to provide free-standing smartcard readers can effectively be enforced by Gaming Board guidelines, given that these guidelines are addressed to, and enforceable upon, suppliers of gaming machines rather than operators.

38. We do not think that a separate smartcard reader is necessary. It is better for the player to have a reader conveniently sited in the machine he is playing. This will also aid enforcement, since the Board can exert more direct control over the suppliers and manufacturers who will install them. The Gaming Board does not licence manufacturers. However, it has a close relationship with them. If the Board has objections to a particular machine that a manufacturer has made, it can exert its influence on the suppliers (who it does licence) not to use or site it.

Single play

Q17 How does the Department intend to ensure that players know, in advance of committing their money to a machine, the minimum stake which has to be committed to play, and the number of games which can be played for that stake?

39. Every gaming machine which the Gaming Board is aware of shows the price of a game on its face. It has never been necessary to require this by guideline, but in the unlikely event that manufacturers were to stop doing this the Board would press them. That could well lead to new guidelines being issued to cover the point. The intention is that the player should always easily be able to know how much it will cost to play on the machine.

Q18 Why does the Department now believe that jackpot and higher-value AWP machines which accept coins should no longer be subject to the requirement that they should be able to accept payment for a single play?

40. We did not on reflection see it as necessary or logical to require coin only machines to require payment for a single play when machines taking banknotes do not. We also discuss this issue at Question 6.

Q19 What is the basis for the Department's assertion that not much purpose would be served by including the requirement in Gaming Board guidelines?

41. We concluded that this should be a commercial matter for the industry to decide. It will need to strike a balance between attracting casual players and installing the mechanisms needed to accept coins for a single play.

Retention of cash residues

Q20 Please explain whether in the Department's view the proposal, contained within the Gaming Board guidelines, to permit operators to retain sums of up to £1 which remain on a player's bank meter, constitutes an acceptable reduction in the level of protection presently available to players of gaming machines. If so, please explain why.

42. We think that this is acceptable, since machines which only accept £1or £2 coins will not have lower value coinage to pay out smaller amounts. So far as inducing further play is concerned, we take the view that the issue in terms of player protection is whether the player has to pay for that further play. For example, the maximum permissible stake for a single game on a jackpot machine, which the Order would allow to take smartcards, is 50p (though many such machines have a lower stake). If the player has 90p left on the machine, and this is not going to be credited to his card, he can use 50p of that to play a last single game. There will be only 40p left over.

43. The player could then add another 10p to the machine to obtain a further final game. But a similar situation already applies to existing gaming machines - there are often occasions when a small amount of money, not enough for a single game, is left in the machine. The Order would introduce nothing new in that regard.

Gaming Board guidelines

Q21 Why does the Department believe that it is more appropriate for the safeguards to be enshrined in non-statutory and non-binding guidelines, which will not be subject to Parliamentary scrutiny or approval, rather than being set out on the face of the proposed order?

44. Because that makes them easier to adapt to circumstances in the light of a rapidly-changing, high-tech industry. Although the Gaming Board's guidelines are non-binding, the industry adheres to them.

45. The guidelines system works well. The core protections have always been, and will remain, in the legislation. The proposals do not significantly alter the overall balance between protections which are in the legislation and those which are not.

Q22 At what point does the Department expect the guidelines which the Gaming Board intends to issue to accompany the proposal, if made, to be finalised and issued? Under what circumstances, and under whose authority, may the guidelines subsequently be amended?

46. The guidelines will be ready when we lay the Order at second stage. They are issued under the authority of the Gaming Board, who will discuss any possible amendments to them with the Department before these are issued.

47. It is difficult to speculate about circumstances in which the Board may wish to amend its guidelines. Our answer to question 17 suggests one scenario in which that might happen, though we think it unlikely.

Q23 What is the Department's assessment of the effectiveness of the Gaming Board as a certifying and enforcement authority?

48. The Department recognizes the Gaming Board as a highly effective and competent regulator. The British gaming industry - including its gaming machines component - has a high reputation internationally for integrity, reflecting the work of the Board over the last 30 years in controlling entry to the industry and regulating its detailed performance through its certification and enforcement powers and through codes of practice and guidances.

Q24 What is the Department's response to GamCare's assertion that the Gaming Board's powers to enforce compliance with its guidelines "are only partially effective"?

49. We accept GamCare's concern, which reflects the indirect nature of the control which the Board can bring to bear in this instance. Indirect though they may be, however, the Department considers that the Board's powers will be effective in this instance.

Q25 Please provide an analysis, covering the last three financial years for which figures are available, of the Board's activities in certifying suppliers and refusing and revoking certificates; the complaints received in respect of breaches of gaming machine guidelines; the number of complaints investigated, and the resulting action taken by the Board.

50. The Gaming Board does not prepare formal analyses of breaches of its gaming machines guidelines. These are extremely rare. Should a breach occur, the Board would deal with it by discussion with the supplier or the manufacturer. Ultimately, the Board can if need be remove a supplier's licence, but it would be unprecedented for this to happen as a result of an operator not adhering to the guidelines. The supplier would have a very great deal to lose.

51. The numbers of registered suppliers and of refusals and revocations in each of the last three years are as follows -
1999-00 2000-012001-02
Number of   

S27 certificate holders

registered with GB

773679 678
Revocations and refusals 21 1

Q26 Please explain why the Department believes the proposed guidelines can be enforced by the Gaming Board in so far as they relate to operators, and how the proposed guidelines to apply to suppliers relate to their fitness to be suppliers.

52. The Board does not certify operators as such. However, that does not mean that the Board is without power to control the characteristics of the gaming machines on an operator's premises. Operators can only be supplied with their machines through companies holding the Board's gaming machine supplier certificate under section 27 of the Gaming Act. The Gaming Board's guidelines bite on these suppliers, and as explained in response to Question 16 they also bite indirectly but effectively on the manufacturers of the machines.

53. Aside from that, the Board directly regulates two of the three types of location in which jackpot machines with smartcards will be able to be used. The Board issues consent certificates to both bingo clubs and casinos. These extremely valuable certificates - without which a bingo club or casino cannot operate - fall to be renewed yearly (and can be cancelled at any time). The Board would take serious account of any non-adherence to its machine guidelines in deciding whether to apply to the Magistrates for the revocation of a casino or bingo club's licence.

54. The other location where smartcard machines will be able to be used is the registered club. Although these are registered with the Magistrates, the Gaming Board does not licence them. But quite apart from the Board's control over their suppliers - which applies to registered clubs as it does to any other premises with gaming machines - club members themselves would voice their concern if there were a pattern of irregularity or unfairness, in particular if it involved not paying out on a smartcard.

Adequate consultation

Q27 Please set out the basis for the gaming machine industry's assertion, repeated in the consultation document, that 70% of players' winnings are played back into gaming machines, and that players generally decide to limit their session expenditure.

55. Both estimates come from studies carried out by the industry itself. The 70% figure derives from an analysis that JPM (a leading manufacturer of gaming machines) carried out, based upon live data from machines in pubs and betting shops which had been electronically linked to a central system which recorded details of use by players.

56. The gaming machines industry view that players decide to limit their session expenditure derives from a poll conducted by their trade association, BACTA. The consensus of leading operators was that the majority of players generally limit their expenditure, determining in advance how much they are prepared to spend (in effect, to lose) during a particular session and sticking to it.

Q28 Please indicate whether the Department has commissioned, or is aware of, any independent research into the effects of the new machines and payment methods on player behaviour and problem gambling; if so, what conclusions it has drawn from the research findings; and if not, why not.

57. The Department itself has commissioned no research specifically on the Order. Such research would be difficult to carry out in advance of the Order being made. The independent Gambling Review Body however reviewed a wide range of research evidence relating to machine gambling behaviour before endorsing the current proposal.

58. We are aware of a further review of the research evidence commissioned by the Gambling Industry Charitable Trust and carried out by independent consultants. This points to evidence that machines can be set up in ways which increase the risks of excessive play, but it does not identify any additional evidence to suggest that there are significant risks in allowing players to insert value into the machines in one form rather than another.

Q29 Why did the Department not seek the views of consultees on dropping these forms of protection from the proposal?

59. We have explained above (Q.6, Q.18 and Q.20) why we have taken the decision we have in respect of the requirement about payment for a single play and crediting small amounts to smartcards.

60. The substance of the issue of accepting payment for a single play had already been raised in the initial Home Office consultation document, and its abandonment in the case of coin-only machines did not raise any separate issues. The position we envisage whereby machines can retain small amounts of money is essentially no different from what pertains at present. In neither case did we consider that issues of principle had arisen which would have required a further round of consultation.

Whether the proposal requires elucidation, is not written in plain English, or appears to be defectively drafted

Q30 Please indicate whether the Department agrees with the Committee's analysis of the effect of the proposed order in this respect. If so, how does the Department propose to redraft the proposal to close this drafting loophole? If not, why does the Department believe that the draft order, as presently drafted, would have the effect of permitting higher-value AWP machines to accept nothing other than banknotes and coins in payment?

61. As things stand higher-value AWP machines, though in practice they operate on a coin only basis, are not prevented by law from accepting tokens as a form of payment. Section 34(5B) provides for the charge for play to be the same as that under section 34(2). Section 34(2) provides for both coins and tokens.

62. What in practice makes higher value AWP machines coin only is the restriction in subsection (5C) that the machines can only pay out a money prize. The fact that prizes can only in practice be made available for machines through the availability of the monies used to play the machines means in practice that higher value AWP machines are coin only.

63. The same practical reality will apply once the coins/ tokens only restriction has been removed by the amendment to section 34(5B). Therefore, whilst section 34(5B) as proposed to be amended will not directly impose a cash only restriction on the charge for play, and therefore on the face of it would allow non-cash forms of payment such as smartcards or credit cards, this restriction is imposed in practice by the money prize requirement imposed by section 34(5C).

64. Also, so far as smartcards are concerned, there will arguably be no change to the present position. As explained at paragraphs 67-72 of the Home Office consultation document, the Gaming Board already accepts that the Courts might rule that current law on AWP machines, in allowing them to accept payments by 'token' would also cover credits on a smartcard.

65. In the longer term, the Government intends that the proposed Gambling Bill will specifically prohibit the use of credit cards in all gaming machines.

Whether the proposal has been the subject of and takes appropriate account of estimates of increases or reductions in costs and other benefits

Q31 Given the very significant reduction in overall benefits which the proposed order would now achieve, why has the Government decided to press ahead with the proposal at this time and in this form?

66. The Department sees no reason not to proceed now with a modest package of reform that will immediately deliver small, but real, advantages to the industry. It hopes to be able to bring forward a wider Gambling Bill next session, but at this stage of course Ministers are not in a position to make any commitments with respect to the availability of Parliamentary time.

Q32 Are operators of gaming machines in Great Britain at present able to accept payment into machines in euro, and/or to pay out in euro? Would the proposal lift any restrictions which presently operate in this respect?

67. The Department and the Gaming Board consider it (at the least) highly probable that the current legislation allows machines to take payments, and make prizes, in Euros or any other currency so long as the amounts in question do not exceed the maxima expressed in Sterling in the Gaming Act. The proposal would make no difference to the position.

Other matters

Q33 Why were the implications of amending sections 34(5C) and (5D) of the 1968 Act in December 2001 not realised, given that the provisions of the proposed order, and of the Regulatory Reform Bill, were known as early as March 2001?

68. The Order was not drafted until later in 2002. Until that point in time specific consideration had not been given to the particular amendments that would be required to give effect to the proposals set out in the consultation document.

69. Even when, on drafting the order, it was appreciated that section 34(5C) and (5D) would require amendment in a way that might be incompatible with section 1(4) of the Regulatory Reform Act 2001, the point was not clear cut. Section 1(4) prevents changes to the law contained in any "provision" of an Act if that provision has been amended by an Act etc. which has been passed not more than 2 years before the date on which the order is made. It was not immediately clear that the elements of section 34(5C) and (5D) which were amended- ie those that set the maximum value of the prize from a higher- value AWP machine- formed part of the same "provision" as those which laid down the means by which a prize is to be delivered.

70. Had this problem been appreciated in late 2001 when the maximum value laid down in sections 34(5C) and (5D) was changed, it would have been necessary for the Government to consider whether that uprating should go ahead. As the industry were urgently pressing for the increase to £25, and the Gaming Board had endorsed it, it is by no means clear that the Government would have decided to delay it in favour of the prospective - and at that point still undrafted - Regulatory Reform Order.

Q34 How soon after the expiry of the 60-day period for Parliamentary consideration (presently estimated to expire on 4 June 2003) does the Department envisage being able to lay the draft of this order before Parliament?

71. Subject to the Committee's report and the report from the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee of the House of Lords, and to the Government's consideration of these reports, we would hope to be able to lay the Order at its second stage in late June.

Q35 Assuming Parliamentary approval of the draft order, when does the Minister expect to be in a position to make the order?

72. Depending on the availability of Parliamentary time, before the Summer Recess.

Q36 What is the earliest date on which the Minister would be able to make a regulatory reform order in the terms envisaged in the March 2001 consultation document, having regard to the provisions of section 1(4) of the Regulatory Reform Act?

73. 9 December 2003

Q37 Please indicate the date on which notification of the proposed new technical standards was made to the Commission, and when the Department expects to receive clearance of the new standards.

74. The Commission received the notification on 7 March 2003. Member States are required to observe a three month standstill period before the regulation is made or brought into force. This is to provide an opportunity for the Commission and other Member States to comment if they consider that the proposed regulation has the potential to create a technical barrier to trade. The standstill period ends on 9 June 2003.

75. The notification, number 2003/0088/UK, can be viewed on the European Commission's web site at

14 April 2003

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2003
Prepared 28 May 2003