Unopposed Bill Committee Minutes of Evidence

Sections 100-119

London Local Authorities Bill [HL]

Tuesday 18 February 2003

100. If you look at paragraph 2.7, which is on page 9, you will see that certain conclusions are reached about the average age of a graffiti artist, indicating that more are aged between 11 and 16 than they other age limit. Councils rely upon the GLA Report and their own knowledge of the typical person who causes graffiti. It is not by any means assertive that graffiti is only caused by under 18 year olds and sadly there is evidence, which is demonstrated in the GLA Report, to show that those of that age should know far better.

101. However, the thought is that a huge amount of graffiti is carried out by those of school age and particularly boys and young men who use graffiti as a way of tagging their territory. This tagging is probably the least attractive type of graffiti, the unintelligible scribble that is found on many buildings.

102. My Lord, again no government report now subsists against this Report and I was not intending to take it any further. I recognise this is a rather interesting Clause and you may have some observations to make before we move on to Clause 19.

103. LORD ELTON: I was interested in the DTI objection in which they held that there had be no proper consultation with the retail sector ­ this is dated November ­ and you say that many adjustments have been made arising from the input from the retail sector, does that mean that difficulty has been met? They have not told us.

104. MR LEWIS: We have met with the British Retail Consortium, who were the main objectors from the retail sector as far as we know, who represent a huge body of the retail market. We had separate meetings with them and the DTI after the Bill was deposited. The British Retail Consortium I believe are content with the amendments which we have made but it remains to be seen whether they take any further action against the clause later on.

105. LORD ELTON: They suggest there should be a regulatory impact statement in Bills such as this, I just wondered if one is preparing a Bill such as this what your comment on that would be?

106. MR LEWIS: It is not a requirement, as the Report quite rightly says, for the Promoters of private Bills to come forward with a regulatory impact assessment. I have to say there was no such assessment carried out before this Bill was promoted. Clearly the Promoters take on board what the Government have said in their Report, in particular in cases where there is obviously a business impact then they will, no doubt, think about the matter for the future.

107. LORD ELTON: The DTI have no objections.

108. CHAIRMAN: Is that normally signified through the Committee or is it sent through the Promoter?

109. MR LEWIS: I do think it is quite normal for it to be sent through the Promoters. I do have an e­mail somewhere from a lawyer in the DTI confirming that. I can dig it out for later on today or tomorrow.

110. LORD ELTON: I am sure if you are in error you will be corrected.

111. CHAIRMAN: Are there any other comments on this clause? I hope it works, particularly on the trains.

112. MR LEWIS: Yes. I have had enquiries made by train operating companies about this clause, not in London, but else where they are particularly keen to follow how we go and whether it works. Obviously this legislation is pioneering in a sense it is a certain amount of wait and see. We are optimistic.

113. LORD ELTON: Am I right in concluding that apparatus and the plant includes underground railway carriages. What I am asking is, a very familiar sight is a defaced railway train or an underground train, is that covered by this?

114. MR LEWIS: It is not, I am afraid. I will come on to that, I was going to deal with railway undertakers specifically when we came to Clause 19.

115. LORD TORDOFF: Can I come back to Clause 18, reading the Report it is quite clear that the number of people over 18 is very small, presumably those are the people who perform that as an art form rather than a way of stirring up others?

116. MR LEWIS: I think it is widely thought that the tagging, the indecipherable squiggle is probably more likely to be carried out by the younger offenders but I cannot obviously say myself whether that is the case in all cases.

117. LORD TORDOFF: Clearly the supply side of the thing would not effect the older user?

118. MR LEWIS: That is correct. I am sure that there will be people who try to get round this legislation. It is very easy to ask somebody to buy cigarettes for you or alcohol or anything else that is regulated by acts of Parliament.

119. CHAIRMAN: This is only to do with supply. Presumably it is still an offence of some kind or another to do the graffiti?

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