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12 Mar 2010 : Column 556

I am winding up the debate, which included a reasonable question from my hon. Friend to the Minister. The hon. Lady has given a response on the record which must be inaccurate. I am not suggesting that that was deliberate, but it is misleading. I am not even suggesting it was reckless, which under the terms of the Bill would result in a criminal conviction. What I am saying is that the Minister's response was not correct, and I hope she will intervene to correct the record, apologise for inadvertently misleading my hon. Friend, and also address the substance-

Madam Deputy Speaker (Sylvia Heal): Order. I know that the hon. Gentleman is well experienced in matters in the House and realises that he has made his point and is now winding up the debate on the amendments.

Mr. Chope: Indeed, Madam Deputy Speaker, I realise that I am winding up the debate. I hope I am not winding up the Minister too much and that she will engage with my comments. If not, the only course open to me, and to my hon. Friend, is to seek to divide the House on amendment 21.

Ann Keen: I do not wish to detain the House. I thought clause 8 had been discussed. I was advised that it had been discussed.

"Facilities" could mean being able to use an office or even a photocopier. "Assistance" could mean getting help working the computer or filing system. Those are examples, of course, and they are not exhaustive. The House needs to move on.

Mr. Chope: I am grateful to the Minister for that clarification. She has confirmed me in my opinion-I cannot speak for my hon. Friend-that the clause is a load of nonsense. Why should somebody whose premises are entered by an authorised officer be required to make his photocopying facilities available to that officer, with the consequence that if he does not do so, he will be guilty of a criminal offence? Even under the anti-terrorism legislation, I do not think there is any requirement that terrorists should make their photocopying equipment available to investigating officers. The provision is manifestly absurd. It smacks of the extension of regulation far beyond what is reasonable or proportionate.

The promoter of the Bill asserted that the costs of policing the Bill would be only £88,000 across the whole country. I share my hon. Friend's incredulity at that, but we will have to see what happens in practice. I repeat what I said earlier-that is only about £200 per constituency per annum. If, as my hon. Friend the Member for Boston and Skegness (Mark Simmonds) says, we need strong implementation and enforcement, the costs will end up being much higher than suggested. Rather than have an academic argument about that, it is better to say that we do not want to have people made into criminals because they will not let the local authority officer visiting their premises borrow their photocopying machine. I would have thought that that was something that we should leave to their discretion rather than make it a criminal offence not to allow the photocopying machine to be used. Therefore, I beg to ask leave to withdraw amendment 7 and to press amendment 21.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

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Clause 8

Obstruction etc. of authorised officers

Amendment proposed: 21, page 4, line 6 , leave out 'any facilities, assistance or'.- (Mr. Chope.)

Question put, That the amendment be made.

The House divided: Ayes 0, Noes 40.
Division No. 109]
[12.50 pm


Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. Christopher Chope and
Mr. Edward Leigh

Brennan, Kevin
Brown, Lyn
Clark, Paul
Coaker, Mr. Vernon
Dobson, rh Frank
Eagle, Angela
Follett, Barbara
Gardiner, Barry
Griffith, Nia
Grogan, Mr. John
Hanson, rh Mr. David
Hepburn, Mr. Stephen
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Irranca-Davies, Huw
James, Mrs. Siân C.
Jones, Mr. Kevan
Jowell, rh Tessa
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keen, Ann
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Lamb, Norman
McCarthy, Kerry
Michael, rh Alun
Moffatt, Laura
Morgan, Julie
O'Hara, Mr. Edward
Pelling, Mr. Andrew
Pound, Stephen
Raynsford, rh Mr. Nick
Robinson, Mr. Geoffrey
Ruddock, Joan
Skinner, Mr. Dennis
Slaughter, Mr. Andy
Spellar, rh Mr. John
Taylor, Matthew
Taylor, Dr. Richard
Thomas, Mr. Gareth
Waltho, Lynda
Ward, Claire
Wicks, rh Malcolm
Tellers for the Noes:

Dr. Doug Naysmith and
Dr. Hywel Francis
Question accordingly negatived.

Third Reading

1.1 pm

Julie Morgan: I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

The Sunbeds (Regulation) Bill will protect children; that is why it has Government and cross-party support. It was clear on Second Reading and on Report that the Bill could save lives. I am grateful to everyone who has supported it, particularly those Members who turned out on more than one Friday.

I should like to put on the record how grateful I am to my hon. Friend the Member for Swansea, East (Mrs. James) for all her support. She has campaigned tirelessly on this issue for many years. I thank everybody who has made such an effort to support the Bill. It is important and it will protect young people. I commend it to the House.

1.2 pm

Mark Simmonds: I should like to join the hon. Member for Cardiff, North (Julie Morgan) in congratulating everybody who has been involved in getting the Bill to
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this stage. I include, of course, the hon. Lady herself and the hon. Member for Swansea, East (Mrs. James), who have both been tireless in their pursuit of that end.

The Bill is sensible and is supported by a significant amount of clinical evidence. If it is enforced properly over a period of time, it will make a contribution to reducing rates of skin cancer. It is vital that we should find ways of improving cancer outcomes in this country, and the Bill is one small contribution to that.

I want to make two final points. It is essential that we provide greater, more accurate and more easily accessible information to enable people who might use such facilities to understand the implications of doing so; I am thinking of those over 18, and those below 18 in respect of whom medical exceptions apply.

I should like to leave the Minister with this message: the success of the Bill will be in the evaluation and monitoring. That issue must be consistently looked at by the Department to ensure that if there are any improvements, the cost of the Bill is closely considered as it develops 12 months hence.

I wish the Bill swift passage, and I look forward to its receiving Royal Assent.

1.4 pm

Norman Lamb: I, too, congratulate the hon. Member for Cardiff, North (Julie Morgan) on having got the Bill through the House to this point. She has wholehearted support from the Liberal Democrats.

The Bill will save lives and protect the health of young people. It will also help to meet the educational challenge of raising the profile of this health risk. The truth is that most young people simply do not recognise the risk. When we read that 250,000 children have used sunbeds in England, we recognise the scale of that risk, as we do when we read that the International Agency for Research on Cancer has reclassified sunbeds and put them in the same category as smoking. We see the absolute importance of getting the message out to young people in particular, but to others as well, that there is a real risk involved and that we all need to take care of ourselves and avoid the risk of cancer. I congratulate the hon. Lady, and we will support the Bill.

1.5 pm

Mr. Burns: I, too, congratulate the hon. Member for Cardiff, North (Julie Morgan) on her achievement so far in piloting the Bill through this place, because there is an overwhelming need for it. Nobody wants to legislate and regulate for the sake of it, but there are times when one has to save people from themselves either because of their ignorance of a problem or because of their bloody-mindedness and refusal to accept that something might harm them.

I am aware from a number of press reports of horrific stories involving young people who, either through ignorance, because they thought they knew better, or because of the poor operation of a salon, have done great and lasting damage to themselves, leading to great pain. I have had four operations in the past six years for medical conditions related to sunbathing many years ago, though I hasten to add not in a sunbed salon. It was done through ignorance, but I am paying the price now and hope that other people can learn from the
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mistakes and ignorance of my generation. If the Bill goes any way towards helping young people and others, through the restrictions on the age at which people can enter sunbed premises and the displays that will have to appear about the risks, it will be positive and a price worth paying in regulation to help the next generation.

1.7 pm

Mr. Chope: May I, too, congratulate the hon. Member for Cardiff, North (Julie Morgan) on promoting the Bill? As will have been apparent, I have been trying to improve it, sadly without success so far today. I do not live without hope that it might be improved in the other place, and that the big gap in the Bill, which was exposed by the failure to include new clause 1, will be remedied. As my hon. Friend the Member for West Chelmsford (Mr. Burns) pointed out, an even bigger gap is the fact that the Bill deals only with the exposure of young people and children to artificial UV. It does not deal with the much bigger problem of exposure to natural sunlight and burning. I hope that the hon. Member for Cardiff, North will show equal enthusiasm for campaigning for a reduction in VAT on sun creams, which would contribute to wider use of those-

Madam Deputy Speaker: Order. The hon. Gentleman knows that that matter is outwith the Bill and should therefore not be included in his speech.

Mr. Chope: I absolutely know that, Madam Deputy Speaker. Perhaps that gives me an opportunity to thank you for all the times you have managed to keep me in order on so many Fridays during the time you have sat in the Chair. I think I speak for many Members when I say that we very much regret the fact that-

Madam Deputy Speaker: Order. I appreciate what the hon. Gentleman is saying, but I have to be consistent with him.

Mr. Chope: Nobody would ever accuse you of being anything other than consistent, Madam Deputy Speaker. We much appreciate it.

I am not going to make a long speech, because I do not wish to vote against Third Reading. Although the Bill is not as good as I would like it to be, I grudgingly concede that it is probably better than nothing. As I said at the outset-the hon. Member for Cardiff, North picked up on this-if one person dies as a result of overexposure to artificial UV, that is one person too many. However, we are not just talking about deaths. As my hon. Friends the Members for West Chelmsford and for Gainsborough (Mr. Leigh) have pointed out, we are also talking about the worry and pain associated with melanoma and other conditions that, although not fatal, result in a need for medication or operations. They could be reduced if the Bill allowed us to give more publicity to the consequences and risks of overexposure to ultraviolet light, whether artificial or natural.

I take quite a lot of satisfaction from the fact that the hon. Member for Cardiff, North implicitly recognises that 16 and 17-year-olds are not responsible enough to
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be able to decide for themselves whether to use sunbed parlours. It flows from that that they cannot be deemed responsible enough to exercise the vote at 16, for which she has campaigned. That, however, is outside the strict terms of debate on Third Reading. I hope that the Bill will lead to more information becoming available, and more awareness of the health issues involved and, as a result, a better quality of life and standard of public health in the UK.

1.11 pm

Ann Keen: I am pleased and proud to speak to the Bill, and I apologise on behalf of the Minister of State, Department of Health, my hon. Friend the Member for Lincoln (Gillian Merron), who has played a key role in its progress. She is disappointed and sorry that other business prevents her from being here today.

I warmly congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, North (Julie Morgan), who should be proud of her achievement in introducing the Bill. In addition, I recognise the efforts of my hon. Friend the Member for Swansea, East (Mrs. James), who has championed this cause too. It is a tribute to the energy and commitment shown by my hon. Friends that the Bill has gathered strong cross-party support and has reached Third Reading. Much has been said about the cities of Cardiff and Liverpool, which are known as sunbed capitals, but they are also known for their sport-rugby and football-culture and music. On behalf of the London Welsh contingent, I am proud to support the Bill.

As has been said during the Bill's progress through the House, the evidence is clear that sunbeds are a health risk, and that the risk is greater for young people. The hon. Member for West Chelmsford (Mr. Burns) spoke about his personal difficulties with the effects of the sun. We are pleased that he is well, and is active in the House. Voluntary self-regulation by the industry has not worked, and the Government are committed to taking action to prevent young people from harming themselves through sunbed use. The Bill seeks to prevent under-18s from using sunbeds by making it a criminal offence for sunbed businesses to offer them sunbeds. There are also provisions that set the scene for the future regulation of sunbed use. My hon. Friend the Minister of State, who has ministerial responsibility for public health, said:

We are committed to preventing cancer in young people. We have the knowledge, so we must act on it. As a result of the measures in the Bill, people will have a greater awareness and understanding of the risks of using sunbeds and of sun damage generally, not only to young people under 18 but to people of all ages, so I am proud to support it.

Question put and agreed to .

Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed.

12 Mar 2010 : Column 561

Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies and Credit Unions Bill [ Lords]

Not amended in the Public Bill Committee, considered.

Third Reading

Queen's and Prince of Wales's consent signified.

1.15 pm

Malcolm Wicks (Croydon, North) (Lab): I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

I promise that this will be a very short speech, but I need to detain the House for a minute or so with an explanation. I originally introduced a similar measure on 21 January 2009. That went through the Commons without being amended and with all-party support, but it was unable to complete its passage through the Lords before Parliament was prorogued on 12 November 2009.

Concerns in relation to that Bill were raised in the Lords by the Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform, and the Constitution Committee, as well as by Baroness Noakes, who introduced amendments in Committee that formed the basis for some of the changes that were made before I introduced the Bill that we are debating.

The Bill was introduced as a private Member's Bill in the House of Lords on 19 November 2009 with all the required changes having been made, thanks to my colleague, Lord Tomlinson. As we have heard, no amendments were made in a very brief Committee sitting following Second Reading. I therefore commend the Bill to the House.

I sincerely thank Lord Tomlinson for steering the Bill with great ingenuity and authority through another place. I also thank colleagues on both sides of the House and in the co-operative movement for their support for the Bill.

1.17 pm

Mr. Mark Hoban (Fareham) (Con): I pay tribute to the right hon. Member for Croydon, North (Malcolm Wicks). His handiwork was delayed in the previous Session, but this Bill is heading towards the statute book. He was right that the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee identified deficiencies, and that they have now been rectified in clauses 5 and 6.

It is important to recognise that a great deal of the work to modernise the framework for mutual societies in the past few years has been done by virtue of private Members' Bills. My hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth, West (Sir John Butterfill) and others, on both sides of the House, have introduced Bills in recent years. When a Bill such as this has the sponsorship of the Treasury, it is incumbent on the Treasury to ensure that the right steps are taken to ensure that it is robust, and that it meets the requirements of a proper legislative process. It is the fault of the Treasury that such a measure, which has a great deal of support, has been delayed because it did not take enough time to get the drafting right.

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