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Mr. Edward Leigh accordingly presented a Bill to make provision to allow any member of the Royal Family to marry a person of any religion or none: And the same was read the First time; and ordered to be read a Second time on Friday 8 April, and to be printed [Bill 79].
Since the Bill was introduced to the House of Commons, we have been considering the legislation covering arrangements for regulating translators at driving tests, and we have concluded that we ought to remedy its deficiencies. In short, we have decided, after careful reflection, that the existing law is not clear enough in this regard.
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The new clause will provide a much improved framework for regulation of translation services at driving theory tests by introducing more robust conditions and better and more transparent checks on those who act as translators. It will also enable us to extend the scope of our current arrangements so as to assist candidates taking their practical driving test. The examination of a person's fitness and ability to give driving instruction and the emergency control assessment taken by disabled driving instructors are also covered.
The powers will enable the Driving Standards Agency to impose conditions on approved translators in respect of their initial and ongoing approval. It will also be able to require approved translators to produce evidence of their approval to theory test invigilators and practical test examiners and charge reasonable fees for administering the approved translator arrangements. Finally, it will be able to make information available about approved translators and publish information about their language specialisms, the geographical area covered, and so on. In addition, there will be a right of appeal to the transport tribunal in respect of the DSA's decision regarding refusal to grant approval, withdrawal of approval, and the imposition of conditions.
These improved arrangements are essentially anti-fraud measures. They will help to prevent unscrupulous persons from becoming translators in an attempt to improperly assist candidates to pass tests of competence to drive that they would otherwise have failed, thereby facilitating identity fraud. They also represent a customer service improvement. Candidates will be able to make use of approved translator services for the practical driving test and the emergency control assessment, and for examinations of fitness and ability to give driving instruction. Such services are currently restricted to the theory test.
Mr. Greg Knight (East Yorkshire) (Con): We regard this new clause as sensible and necessary, largely for the reasons outlined by the Minister. Indeed, this is perhaps the first and last time that I can say during consideration of this Bill that I wholeheartedly agree with him. As a lawyer, I am aware that the law in this area is unclear, and there may be occasions when an inappropriate person is acting as a translator, and when the temptation to commit fraud could arise. Can the Minister confirm, however, that generally speaking, the fees to be paid to the translator will be passed on to the person taking the driving test, and that where that person lodges an appeal that proves unsuccessful, the costs will follow the event? In other words, will the person appealing have to pay the costs of the appeal if it fails?
I am very pleased to hear of the right hon. Gentleman's welcome for this new clause, which will enable the DSA to charge translators for being put on the approved register and ensure that checks such as criminal record checks can be carried out on them. It will also ensure that information on translators is made
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publicly available by, for example, putting it on the website. On the appeals system, the standard transport tribunal arrangements that obtain in many other areas will apply. However, I will examine the question of who would pay in the event of an unsuccessful appeal and write to the right hon. Gentleman on that point. I accept his welcome for this useful little new clause, and I hope that it will become part of the Bill.
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