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Lord Warner: My Lords, the target groups are very much those that the noble Earl mentioned. However, this Government are to be congratulated on the Second Reading of the Health Bill in the other place, which takes place today, and which will produce a ban in 99 per cent of workplaces.

Lord Stoddart of Swindon: My Lords, how many cases of mouth cancer are there every year, and how many are related to the consumption of alcohol or tobacco? Is there any clinical evidence that that is so?

Lord Warner: My Lords, around 4,400 people are diagnosed with mouth cancer each year, and around 1,600 people die from it each year. As I said, heavy drinkers and smokers have 38 times the risk of contracting mouth cancer compared with those who abstain from taking those products.

Lord Avebury: My Lords, while it is obviously highly desirable that GPs should display the cancer campaign material in their surgeries, is it not more likely to reach
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the target group if this material could be displayed in the pubs and clubs where excessive drinking takes place?

Lord Warner: My Lords, apart from running a national campaign, Cancer Research UK has chosen a number of areas and populations at particularly high risk of mouth cancer for particular attention. Those include Gateshead and the Bangladeshi community in Tower Hamlets.

Road Safety Bill [HL]

3.6 pm

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, I beg to move that the Bill be now further considered on Report.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

Clause 29 [Compulsory surrender of old-form licences]:

Lord Hanningfield moved Amendment No. 38:

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I have read very carefully our debates in Committee and with the passage of time I find them no more reassuring than I did at the time. Indeed, I find the situation even more disturbing. We still have no clear justification for this sweeping power to recall all existing driving licences, no justification for charging motorists for this bureaucracy, no costing of the process, no statement of what the charge to motorists will be and no denial of the obvious potential link to the identity card project.

There is a growing suspicion that the Government are being less than candid with the public about their ID card plans. I absolve the Minister from this; he has always been very helpful to the House; but he needs to say today whether the Government will rule out ever designating driving licences as documents with which people will be made to register with the ID cards scheme when they seek a new one. If he cannot give that categoric assurance, there must be one obvious conclusion—the Government are designing this gigantic bureaucratic engine to recall and reissue all driving licences at least partly in order to force people into the ID cards scheme. It is hard to see what other purpose there could be. After all, in Committee the Minister gave three rather flimsy explanations as to why this sweeping new power was required. On 17 October (at col. 665 of the Official Report) he said that it was nothing to do with Europe. It is odd, though, that the existing photo licences are in a common form and bear the EU flag, but, of course, I accept unreservedly what he said. These clauses are nothing to do with Europe. Therefore, it must be a purely internal policy consideration that is driving a potentially massive bureaucratic exercise to recall all existing driving licences.
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The Minister said (at cols. 665-6 of the Official Report) that the matter was to do with security, nothing more, nothing less. He said that almost every day there was a case of fraudulent abuse of identity involving paper licences. One case a day does not seem to me to be massive in the context of tens of millions of licences in issue, but I grant that the matter needs addressing. However, does it require this massive sledgehammer built at undisclosed cost to the taxpayer and inconvenience to the public to deal with it?

The Minister said (at col. 668 of the Official Report) that we need to improve the quality of the paper licence. Frankly, that could be done in time and is being done without these powers. The Minister said that there were already 20 million photograph licences in circulation, with 2 million being added each year.

That would mean 22 million possible recalls of photo licences under this clause if it were decided to recall them all or limit their term of validity for less than the existing 10 years. Is there any assurance that the Government will not do that? We would like some explanations on these points as there were none in Committee.

The Minister said that he could not be drawn on the cost of the process, nor could he say what charges would be imposed on motorists who have perfectly legal documents withdrawn so that they have to get new ones. He said nothing about the concern that I have raised about ID cards. When I asked about a link to ID cards, the Minister said:

That is hardly illuminating. It is widely acknowledged by those involved that part of the Government plan to force people to volunteer for ID cards and be registered on the national ID register is to designate driving licences under Clause 4 of the Identity Cards Bill and force people to be registered when they apply for a driving licence. Indeed, you would not be allowed to drive unless you agreed to be registered in the Prime Minister's ID register. By a pincer movement of designating both passports and driving licences it is hoped that in the shortest time 80 per cent of the population will be forced to volunteer to be registered. Perhaps the Minister did not know that; if not I hope that it is helpful to the House for me to have informed him. If he did know that, I hope that he will be a little more forthcoming on this occasion about the intention of the Government if it is so, and if it is not so that he will be forthcoming in a firm undertaking to Parliament that driving licences will never be a designated document under the Identity Cards Act.

Even if the ID card issue were not involved I would be cautious about the need for the powers being taken here. The justifications given are slight, the cost and inconvenience are potentially enormous and the bureaucracy is unnecessary and avoidable. A potential link to the ID card scheme would be better made in the Identity Cards Bill, rather than taking powers in this
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legislation to facilitate it. I see no proportionate case for these powers, and I believe that they should be omitted from the Bill. I beg to move.

Lord Bradshaw: My Lords, I agree almost entirely with what the noble Lord, Lord Hanningfield, said. We believe that the identity card as proposed, as far as we know, is a way of getting people on to the identity card register. We are concerned about what information is to be carried on the driving licence; are they in fact to be surrogate identity cards? What sort of charges are people going to be forced to pay, both now and in the future, for what is going to be a quasi-identity card? Is this not a way of getting around the debate in which this House is already engaged with the Government on the future of identity cards?

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, I am grateful to the two noble Lords who have contributed to the debate, although the arguments have not advanced a great deal since Committee. Let me deal with the suspicion that has been articulated that this is all about the identity cards legislation. The noble Lord, Lord Hanningfield, thought that it would be better if the driving licence issue was brought within that legislation.

In the Identity Cards Bill there is provision for any official document to be designated. That would mean that in order to obtain the designated document—for example a passport or driving licence—an applicant would have to possess an identity card. But there are no plans at present so to designate the driving licence. I sought to make that clear in Committee. Any order to designate the driving licence would be subject to further parliamentary scrutiny under the terms of the Bill, and that scrutiny would be through affirmative resolution procedure. So we are making it as obvious as we can that if in due course that was thought to be desirable, Parliament would have to consider it as a separate issue through the affirmative procedure.

3.15 pm

But we are not anticipating that that will happen and we are not making provision for it to happen. If the driving licence remains a non-designated document, an applicant may be offered the option of proving his identity by evidence of an entry on the national identity register. That would be voluntary, as against the current procedure in which applicants have to submit physical evidence of identity, such as a passport, to the DVLA. Officials are liaising with the Home Office to examine how that would work. Therefore, if, as I think it is, the main burden of the noble Lord's amendment is that this is all a precursor to the Identity Cards Bill, I am merely indicating that our thinking is very different from that.

Why are we concerned about the driving licence? First, when I say, as I did in Committee, that it has nothing to do with Europe, I meant to imply—I hope to clarify this matter now—that it is not imposed on us by any European legislation or directive. It has something to do with Europe in that some fraud is perpetrated in European countries by people using
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British driving licences, which in their present form are rather inadequate as identification, in other European countries. Those people obtain the opportunity to drive and then succeed in getting into Britain as drivers without ever having passed the test.

How many cases are involved? The noble Lord says that there are not many, and he is right—the number is not huge. I believe we identified 60 cases last year. But, as the noble Lord freely stated, it is fraud. That should be dealt with and we are seeking to do so. There are many other illustrations of occasions when these cards are used—not abroad but in the United Kingdom—in counterfeit ways. The police bring to the attention of the DVLA some 300 counterfeit licences a year. The DVLA provides the police with witness statements confirming that a licence is counterfeit.

Perhaps I may make the obvious point. First, the right to drive is a privilege, not an automatic right; it is a privilege won through competence so that one is safe on the road. Secondly, the whole House will recognise that there is often a strong correlation between the right to drive—particularly the opportunity taken to drive at excessive speeds—and criminal activity. I recognise that there are many features which increase crime in our society and therefore I will not make this point too strongly, but if there is one feature which contributes to criminality, it is the use of the motor car for access to the place where the crime is going to be perpetrated and for the getaway. We all know that, and that is why we are concerned about the right to drive and whether people are fraudulently able to avail themselves of these rights.

I remind noble Lords that this is a Road Safety Bill. I cannot think of anything that countermands the concept of road safety more than a person in control of a vehicle which can travel legally at speeds of 70 miles per hour and, in the hands of some people who have never qualified to drive because they have counterfeit records, a good deal faster than that.

Last year, the police also brought to the DVLA's attention approximately 1,200 cases where the individual had set up more than one identity on the DVLA's record. Some of the more extreme cases result in several separate identities being recorded. I wonder why that should be so if it does not indicate a level of criminal activity that has been easier to pursue than it would be under our new proposals.

The noble Lord then spoke about inordinate costs. I recognise that cost factors are involved and I believe he will forgive me—although I am not sure that he is in a forgiving mood today—if I am unable, at this stage, to cost this issue. I am not in a position to do that. I shall give way to the noble Earl.

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