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Mr. George: It is possible if one has not sought to take a serious view of this Bill to think that it is pretty manageable and pretty understandable. It is all about stopping those under 18 going into salons. But the more one reads about this area of policy, the more one realises how complicated it is. Therefore a public health officer who has not dealt with this issue before will not be able to meet the requirements of even a short Bill like this. I was wading through the documents and it is worse than doing O-level chemistry; not that I ever did. Oh I did, yes. I think I failed. The 13th report of the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment is very complicated.
I should like some assurances. When one is dealing with enforcement, there will be a power to prosecute. I have mentioned the security industry authority. For a long time the guy who was responsible for enforcement said—I was at a conference where he said this— that he did not believe in prosecution. There are some cases where a tap on the wrist or a fine will not be enough. There will be some cases where something stronger must be done. Enforcement should have a high set of sanctions. Enforcement by local authorities should involve those who have a competence—I am sure they do—and the training.
Gillian Merron: For the Bill to be effective it has to be enforced properly. We believe that local authorities are well placed to authorise officers to enforce the provisions of the Bill in their area. My hon. Friend the Member for Llanelli makes good points about the support for the Bill from young people themselves. She said that good quality enforcement is about good quality understanding and support from the public. I believe that the Bill will have that.
To answer the hon. Member for Boston and Skegness, no notice period is required. However, if entry is not given voluntarily, a justice of the peace warrant is needed. This is an on-notice application, although there are circumstances where notice of application for warrant is not given, in other words when it would defeat the very object of the Bill.
Perhaps I can reassure my right hon. Friend the Member for Walsall, South. Standards will be set by local authorities and their representative bodies which we work very closely with. My hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, North has done so too. However, if we get to that stage, the Department of Health plans to produce guidance to assist enforcement.
It is interesting to note that France has had a mandatory registration scheme since 1998, and that 80 per cent. compliance has been achieved. Given the combination of matters that will go on, and the awareness of the communities in which operators are based, we should be realistic about the challenge. We certainly do not expect a masters degree or a doctorate in order to ensure compliance.
Julie Morgan: I wish to add to what the Minister said and respond to the queries raised.
Entry to commercial premises is already included in health and safety legislation. The warrant allows entry at all reasonable times. It is up to the local authority to determine the most appropriate person and the best use of resources. It could be environmental health officers, as they already visit suntan premises for health and safety compliance checks. That position was suggested by the Local Government Association.
Enforcement officers are trained to apply a wide range of legal requirements. Evidence is generally provided by the Department with responsibility. Additional training will not be a major issue, but the Minister has already covered that point.
Question put and agreed to.
Clause 7 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Clauses 8 and 9 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 10

Regulations: general
Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.
Julie Morgan: Clause 10 contains further provisions regarding the regulation-making powers. It was said on Second Reading that £20,000 was a stiff penalty. I reiterate that that is the maximum penalty. Often a lower amount will be charged, but I imagine that the £20,000 will act as a deterrent to those who might not adhere to the provisions.
Mark Simmonds: I am grateful to the hon. Lady for highlighting that point.
I wish to make two or three quick points on this clause. First, I presume that the maximum fine of £20,000 may be for repeat offenders rather than first-time offenders. Clarification would be useful. Secondly, the power to make the regulations is exercisable by statutory instrument. Will that be by affirmative or negative resolution procedure?
Thirdly, subsection (2) states:
“Regulations under this Act may—
make different provisions for different cases or different areas”.
What on earth does that mean? It seems to include every possible option for future variance in the regulations that may apply. Some clarification on those points would be helpful.
Gillian Merron: We believe that the clause is necessary in order to prevent officers of a company from hiding behind their company so as to escape prosecution. The parliamentary procedure is set out in clause 11. I hope that that helps the Committee.
Mark Simmonds: While I am still on my feet, I wonder whether the Minister might find the inspiration to explain what subsection (2)(a) means—or will the hon. Member for Cardiff, North explain? Making different provisions for different cases or different areas seems a very loose catch-all provision.
Julie Morgan: I go back to the fine, the first point raised by the hon. Gentleman. The £20,000 maximum is a standard level for the magistrates court and can be found in similar legislation on health and safety and food safety. It will rarely be imposed, as a proportionate application is required.
The regulations are dealt with in clause 11, so perhaps we can look at that again when we reach that clause.
Mrs. James: I understand that in Scotland the maximum rate is £4,000, and I welcome the fact that the maximum, I presume, for repeat offending is £20,000, because that will truly be a deterrent and remind businesses that the matter is serious and that there are serious consequences. I welcome the £20,000 maximum.
Gillian Merron: I feel inspired and so perhaps can now assist the hon. Member for Boston and Skegness. The reference to different areas allows for regional variation and variation in respect of Wales, as different cases could relate to different sorts of sunbed, for example those for sale or hire. I hope that that is helpful to him.
Question put and agreed to.
Clause 10 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 11

Regulations: control by Parliament or National Assembly for Wales
Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.
Julie Morgan: All regulations under clause 4 need to be laid in draft and approved by resolution of each House of Parliament and the National Assembly for Wales. They are subject to the affirmative resolution procedure. Regulations under clauses 5 and 6 are subject to affirmative resolution procedures where they create offences. In all other circumstances it is negative resolution.
Question put and agreed to.
Clause 11 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Clauses 12 to 14 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Schedule 1 agreed to.
Question proposed, That the Chairman do report the Bill to the House.
Julie Morgan: I thank everyone for today’s productive discussions. We have covered some important points. This legislation is important and, as many have said, long overdue. I hope that we will have the support of all parties to make it law.
Mark Simmonds: Once again, I congratulate the hon. Member for Cardiff, North on her excellent piloting of the Bill through Committee and the Minster on the thorough way she has answered the queries and questions raised today. I will make one final point. The Minister is aware, because I have talked to her privately, of my nervousness about the anticipated cost of the Bill for local authorities, which is detailed in the impact assessment with a total of £88,000 for all local authorities in England and Wales. There needs careful monitoring to ensure that that assessed cost is accurate. I hope that the officials in the Department will look closely at that, and if it is much greater that anticipated it needs to be brought back before some part of Parliament to ensure that it can be discussed properly.
Peter Bottomley: I, too, congratulate the hon. Member for Cardiff, North on successfully bringing the Bill through Committee. I also thank the Minister and, through her, her officials. It would be useful if most colleges had the chance to read the impact assessment as though it was an economic study, and they would learn a great deal on the health advantages as well.
Mr. George: It has been a delight to serve on this Committee. It has been swift and consensual. My only request to the Opposition is that they scour the programmes of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, the Inter-Parliamentary Union and all other inter-parliamentary assemblies to ensure that their Members who may seek to be obstreperous are gainfully employed during the further stages of the Bill. If the hon. Member for Boston and Skegness needs advice on names, I am more than prepared to offer a few to him. Apart from that, this has been a good experience. We have done good work and I congratulate all those who have been involved in this endeavour so far.
Mrs. Betty Williams (Conwy) (Lab): May I too congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, North? I have nothing to add. I came here having read the Bill. I know how diligent she has been in preparing the Bill with the assistance of my hon. Friend the Member for Swansea, East. I congratulate her on getting the Bill so far, and I hope and pray that the whole House will support it without delay.
Gillian Merron: It has been a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship this afternoon, Mr. Betts, and with colleagues on all sides. I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, North. In preparation for today, I suggested that she regard herself as the Minister for the Bill. I think she has acquitted that role beautifully. [Hon. Members: “Hear! Hear!”] I am full of admiration, particularly for her explanation of parliamentary procedure. I have learned something myself. I also congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Swansea, East, who has allowed us to get to this point. I thank all Committee members and all other hon. Members who have supported the Bill.
It would be appropriate to write to the hon. Member for Boston and Skegness with regard to the figure and I am happy to do so. I will outline for him some of the assumptions and give some background. I assure him that we will continue to work with LACORS to monitor the cost. We have worked closely with it to date.
I am delighted that we have successfully concluded today’s proceedings and I hope that we will see the Sunbeds (Regulation) Bill become law.
Julie Morgan: Briefly, on the point raised by the hon. Member for Boston and Skegness on costs, we have specific costings from LACORS, which is supporting the Bill and is part of the Local Government Association. Those are based on the number of estimated visits. A lot of that work is taking place. Scotland did not put any additional costs in for the work relating to its legislation and Northern Ireland, which is consulting at the moment, has not put any money in. I think that a lot of this work is embedded.
Question put and agreed to.
Bill accordingly to be reported, without amendment.
6.17 pm
Committee rose.
 
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