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Lord Faulkner of Worcester: My Lords, I congratulate your Lordships on once again managing to reflect British public opinion so well in this Chamber. Support among the British people for completely smoke-free enclosed public places and workplaces is running at between two and three to one. That is almost exactly the proportion of Peers who have spoken in favour of the two Bills tonight, and I am sure that if all Members of the House voted on the issue, that proportion would be maintained.

I am most grateful to everyone who has spoken in the debate, especially to those of your Lordships who have brought such a deeply impressive understanding of the medical and social issues involved in smoking and health. It would be invidious of me to single out any particular speaker. I do not think I have come across such a powerful array of speakers from a medical background as we have heard tonight. But I must congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Stratford, on his brilliant maiden speech. We look forward to hearing him on this and many other issues many times in the future.

I express my appreciation also to the Minister for her thoughtful and helpful speech. The change in the Government's approach during recent months is remarkable, and that was reflected in what she had to say today. I know how strongly she supports a comprehensive approach to smoke-free workplaces. I hope that she will take very seriously the points that have
 
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been made by speakers who have backed these two Bills tonight on the extra number of lives that will be saved if a comprehensive approach, rather than the piecemeal approach which was contained in the White Paper published before the general election, is adopted.

I thank also the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, for her contribution from the Liberal Democrat Benches. Her support for the two Bills is much appreciated. I know that the heart of the noble Earl, Lord Howe, is very much in the right place. He has a job to do with some of his noble friends. Virtually every opponent of these measures tonight came from the Benches behind him. He has some persuading to do on the dangers of passive smoking and why a radical policy needs to be adopted.

I should deal briefly with some of the points that were made by opponents of the Bills. On the issue whether passive smoking kills, I think only one speaker denied the facts on that: the noble Lord, Lord Harris of High Cross, who sadly has had to leave us. I am sure that he will want to read very carefully the contributions from the noble Lord, Lord Chan, the noble Baroness, Lady Finlay, and my noble friends Lord Turnberg and Lord Rea on that subject, and indeed others. He might also like to read the latest report of the Chief Medical Officer that was published yesterday.

Attempts by the tobacco lobby to deny that passive smoking kills are similar to their earlier attempts to deny that smoking itself is dangerous or that nicotine is addictive. They tell untruths on these matters, and they are not telling the truth on passive smoking.

As many speakers in this debate have demonstrated, the claims that smoking bans are bad for business are also untrue, based on experience elsewhere. My noble friend Lord Haskel dealt very effectively with that point, and my noble friend Lord Rosser reminded us how strongly trade union support for comprehensive smoke-free policies is running.

Questions were asked about the scale of the consultation in Liverpool. The noble Lord, Lord Naseby, raised that matter early in the debate. He will find that my noble supporter, the noble Lord, Lord Chan, and the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, answered the points on consultation. The promoters of the Bills will write to the noble Lord, Lord Naseby, if he wishes, to give him more details of how extensive the consultation was.

Lord Naseby: My Lords, not only does he wish it, but he looks forward to receiving them.

Lord Faulkner of Worcester: My Lords, that is good to know. The question whether this is an appropriate subject for local government legislation was raised by one or two speakers, and it was answered to great effect by the noble Baroness, Lady Williams, by my noble friend Lord Rosser and indeed by other speakers. I ask noble Lords to look at the history of local authority legislation, particularly in the health field. So much of what was passed in the 19th century which made a difference to the health of our people in
 
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our cities originated in local government Bills. The approach of Liverpool and London with these Bills is totally in accord with that spirit.

Noble Lords opposite made some fun of the attitude of Westminster City Council towards the London Bill. It is not true to say that it has withdrawn its support. It remains the lead local authority in promoting it. It has twice voted to promote the legislation. But it is an adoptive Bill in London, and Westminster City Council is perfectly free not to bring it into effect if it chooses to do so. But the voters in the City of Westminster are similarly free to change that council if they feel that it is not representing them. That is called representative democracy and there really is nothing more to it than that.

The noble Lord, Lord Skelmersdale, had some fun about border crossings, and how people would know where the ban applied when they entered London boroughs or the city of Liverpool. We heard from the Minister that we shall shortly be crossing the Border into Scotland, where the ban applies. We shall be crossing the border into Wales—and, at present, although perhaps not for much longer, when you cross the border from Northern Ireland into the Irish Republic you are moving from a smoking zone to a no-smoking zone.

There were also questions about places of work. In the case of vessels on the Mersey, if they are within the territorial waters of the city of Liverpool, which go half way out across the Mersey, they are covered by the Bill. Indeed, if lorries are operating in Liverpool, they are covered too.

To talk about "smoke police", as the noble Earl, Lord Liverpool, did, is just nonsense. If you look at the Irish experience you can see that there is almost universal compliance. The measures there are implemented by people themselves, who make sure that they are implemented—because the provision is popular and is what people want.

This has been an excellent debate and I thank all noble Lords who have taken part in it. On the liberal principle and the issue of freedom, I quote John Stuart Mill. In his Essay on Liberty he said:

On Question, Bill read a second time and committed to a Select Committee.

London Local Authorities (Prohibition of Smoking in Places of Work) Bill [HL]

10.16 pm

Baroness Howarth of Breckland: My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a second time.

I thank all noble Lords for a fascinating debate. It is my belief that all views should be aired thoroughly. It needs to be a robust debate, so I welcome the views of
 
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those who have opposed the Bills as well as those who have supported them. I particularly wanted to add my congratulations to the noble Lord, Lord Stratford, on his maiden speech. I have much admired his tenacity of purpose, and I am just glad that he is on my side rather than on the other side with regard to the London Bill. I commend the Bill to the House.

Moved, That the Bill be now read a second time.—(Baroness Howarth of Breckland.)

On Question, Bill read a second time and committed to a Select Committee.

Registration of Fish Buyers and Sellers and Designation of Fish Auction Sites Regulations 2005

10.17 pm

Baroness Byford rose to move to resolve, That this House regrets that Her Majesty's Government have not considered that the Registration of Fish Buyers and Sellers and Designation of Fish Auction Sites Regulations 2005 inappropriately implement European legislation (SI 2005/1605) [5th Report from Merits Committee.]

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, the Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee has stated that:

I am particularly grateful to the Minister and to the noble Baroness, Lady Miller of Chilthorne Domer, who so kindly waited to be able to take this piece of business through tonight. In all fairness, this business should have come before the private Bills that have just had their Second Reading, but I am doubly grateful that they have been willing to hang on.

The committee has produced a report which, at two full pages with a one and a half page index, is longer than normal and contains some concerns. The regulations are intended to implement fully the EU regulations of 1993 and the extensions of 2002. Those provisions cover the registration of those involved in the sale or purchase of first sale fish and the designation of auction sites. As drafted, the regulations allow a derogation for direct sales of less than 25 kilograms of first sale fish, provided that it is intended for personal consumption. In effect, the regulations extend to vessels of less than 10 metres the requirements to provide sales notes in respect of all sales over 25 kilograms and non-personal sales under that limit.

The sales notes are to be supplied to the relevant authority within 48 hours of the sale taking place. The explanatory information in the appendix states that the time limit and the contents of the sales notes are laid down by the EU. Will the Minister confirm that the EU demands that sales notes are to be submitted within 48 hours of the completion of the sale? The wording of the statutory instrument suggests that the
 
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true requirement is 28 days. I refer the Minister to Section 5(5)(b). I wonder whether we are not over bureaucratically interpreting the system.

Will the Minister also confirm that sales notes relating to customers who purchase first sale fish daily and are invoiced weekly or monthly will be considered to cover the same period? I am thinking of seaside hotels and bed-and-breakfasts supplied to a standing order from harbour stalls run by local fishermen.

The Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee report also details the effect of these new demands. In 2004 there were about 73,000 recorded landings of fish from small boats. These landings may have been grouped on some occasions; on others they may have gone to several outlets. Calculating the total of sales notes generated is largely guesswork but is thought to number about 100,000 at a cost of at least £400,000.

I find that figure a little low and would like to ask the Minister whether his department has revisited those costs since the RIA was done and, if so, whether they hold to the original published figures because the committee refers to significant costs in its report.

I would also like to ask the Minister whether the Government have made any attempt to obtain an exemption from these requirements on the grounds, as stated by the committee, that,

The committee also questions what the fisheries department will do with 100,000 or more sales notes every year. Will that be a reason further to increase the number of civil servants? Will the notes be transposed to a computer record and, if so, why is there no requirement for them to be typed, or is that yet another job to be created?

I should like to ask how the regulations will impinge on the fisherman who sells his catch from a stall in or near the harbour? Are these regulations designed to force him out of business, particularly as they operate above 25 kilograms when the consultation related originally to 50 kilograms and to all non-personal purchases? What will happen about one-off sales, for example, for a charity function or family celebration that needs more than 25 kilograms?

I hope that the noble Lord will respond to two further questions. Christopher Booker's column in the Sunday Telegraph last week referred to a report—I believe that a noble Lord may be laughing slightly about that but it is a serious issue on which I seek clarification—in the Western Morning News. Mr Booker states:

If that is true, it is, indeed, worrying. Presumably, that would be over and above the demands already being made through the statutory instrument. The article claims that Mr Bradshaw's ministry maintained that,


 
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I would be grateful for the comments of the Minister on that.

Finally, because it is so topical and relates again to statutory instruments, I refer the Minister to the recent publication by the European Union Committee, which considered the European fisheries legislation. In the report of 11 July—it is very current—the committee talks about improving the scrutiny of EU fisheries policy. Item 9 in the report says:

I shall not go on to quote the next part, but it is there to be read. It goes on in recommendation 10:

I then jump to recommendation 14, which states:

I would be grateful if the Minister would touch on both those points. I realise that they are slightly wider than the original statutory instrument, but they obviously have a direct bearing on the cost to our inshore fishermen.

Moved to resolve, That this House regrets that Her Majesty's Government have not considered that the Registration of Fish Buyers and Sellers and Designation of Fish Auction Sites Regulations 2005 inappropriately implement European legislation (S.I. 2005/1605). [5th Report from Merits Committee.]—(Baroness Byford.)


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