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I appreciate the points made by the noble Lord, Lord Marlesford, in relation to the amendments that he has tabled; let me attempt to respond to them. This provision has been included as it is necessary for a
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I have no desire to take unnecessary powers, but entry without a warrant may be necessaryfor instance, in circumstances where giving notice might result in the destruction of relevant documents or important evidence. It is also worth highlighting that this enforcement power cannot be used as a supervisor sees fit, but is subject to the important safeguard that it may be employed only if the information sought is reasonably required in connection with the exercise by the enforcement authority of its functions. I believe that that should provide protection for the butchers of East Anglia.
In addition, I note that the power to enter premises without a warrant is not unusual in legislation, as the noble Lord, Lord Selsdon, advises us. Similar examples can be found, to list a few, in Section 162 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, Section 118C of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 and Section 14 of the Food Standards Act 1999.
Lord Thomas of Gresford: My Lords, who decides whether the entry is reasonably required without a warrant? Under paragraph 21, if it goes before a magistrate, the magistrate decides if it is reasonably required, but who decides under this paragraph?
Lord Myners: My Lords, the decision on reasonableness would be made by the enforcement agency. There is provision to appeal against that if the individuals involved judge that it is unreasonable. For these reasons it is clear that Parliament has granted a number of rights to intervene without warrant.
The noble Lord, Lord Selsdon, gave us an historical perspective. He complimented my noble friend the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform with his former title of President of the Board of Trade. I note that he proposes legislation in that respect. I will leave it to my noble friend to comment in due course on whether he wishes to have either a new or an extra title. The more serious point about
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The noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford, asked when a weights and measures inspector might need to use the powers. I anticipate that it will probably be in connection with the enforcement powers of the OFT but, if I am incorrect, I shall write to the noble Lord and to all those who have participated in this debate.
Lord Lloyd of Berwick: My Lords, I asked whether the Minister could give us one example of an occasion when the enforcement officer might need to use the powers under Clause 29. I think that the only one that he has so far given is if the person in question was on the point of destroying a document. Is that the only reason that the noble Lord has?
Lord Myners: My Lords, I thank the noble and learned Lord for his question. I believe that that right would be necessary in many circumstances which it is difficult to be precise about. It is in the nature of acting in an enforcement relating to terrorism, proliferation or money-laundering that one may have to move very swiftly. As was explained on Report, that is why we propose the powers. We would not wish them to be used lightly, but there are circumstances where we feel that the threat is such that it is appropriate to have them.
Lord Swinfen: My Lords, the Minister told me that he would write to me with an answer. Unfortunately, this is Third Reading, so that would be absolutely useless. Perhaps he could tell the House how one can appeal against a right of entry when the entry is actually being effected, because that will often be the first time that the householder knows about it. There is no time for an appeal.
Lord Myners: My Lords, I did not say that the right of appeal could frustrate the right of entry. The right of appeal would be after the right of entry had been exercised, to seek to challenge the grounds on which the entry was secured.
Lord Mayhew of Twysden: My Lords, as someone who has become increasingly worried as this short but very welcome debate has continued, I ask how the powers could be needed in connection with the Office of Fair Trading. How could that furnish relevant documents or important information, to use the description that the noble Lord employed a few moments ago?
Lord Selsdon: My Lords, with the leave of the House, I would like to ask the Minister a couple of questions. Has he by any chance read the Powers of Entry etc. Bill and the Schedule to it? Is he aware that I tabled the entire Bill as an amendment to the then
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I remind noble Lords that the powers we seek are to assist us in addressing very real and serious threats, such as making funds available to support terrorism or the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. That is the seriousness of the matter and why we are seeking these powers.
Lord Marlesford: My Lords, I am afraid that the Minister has had to bat on a pretty sticky wicket and that his explanation has not satisfied me in any instance. The 16 October minute, which I read and he has read, but most people will not have read, absolutely does not suggest that this legislation need be attached to this Bill. It could perfectly well have been attached to another Bill, which the business managers could have made as fast as they wished. It could then have been subject to proper scrutiny by Parliament. That is point 1.
Point 2there is no way in which I am seeking to deny the Government powers of entry. They have got it all under paragraph 21 of the schedule. The Minister makes no sense at all saying that having powers of entry without a warrant would make it less likely that someone could destroy the evidence, unless you are suggesting that the magistrate tips off somebody, I have just signed a warrant for someone to enter your premises, which would be absurd. The Government say that they already have all these powers in other legislation to do with money-laundering, but the whole point of the Bill of my noble friend Lord Selsdon was that there were far too many powers of entry without warrant. We understood that the Prime Minister himself had said that he wanted to reduce them. Here the Government slip in another one, in a shoddy manner, because it is cobbled together. There is no defence for the weights and measures chap. I wish the Minister would be honest about thatsorry, I did not mean to use that word. The Treasury Box obviously has been unable to produce any conceivable case where Mr Revett would be an appropriate target. I must test the opinion of the House.
The Treasury must provide such assistance as may reasonably be required by a supervisory authority or other body drawing up guidance that, when issued and published with the approval of the Treasury, would be relevant guidance for the purposes of paragraph 25(3) (civil penalties) and 30(3) (offences: failure to comply with requirement imposed by direction).
( ) Any penalty under paragraph 25 (civil penalties) received by the FSA is to be applied towards expenses incurred by it in connection with its functions under this Schedule or for any incidental purpose.
The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon): My Lords, with the leave of the House, I shall repeat a Statement made by my right honourable friend the Prime Minister entitled, World Leaders Summit: Financial Markets and the World Economy.
First, Mr Speaker, I am sure that the whole House will join me in sending our profound condolences to the family and friends of the three servicemen killed in Afghanistan in the past week. They were Marines Neil Dunstan and Robert McKibben from the UK Landing Force Command Support Group, and Colour Sergeant Dura of 2 Battalion of the Royal Gurkha Rifles. We owe them and all those who have lost their lives in conflict a huge debt of gratitude.
With permission, I should like to make a Statement on the Washington Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economythe first ever G20 leaders summitwhich I attended this weekend with my right honourable friend the Chancellor.
In just over six months, the world has seen a 40 per cent collapse in global share values; global financial institutions write off losses approaching $1,000 billion; world oil prices peaking at nearly $150 dollars a barrel and then sinking 60 per cent; and a fall in global expectations for growth in the worlds industrialised countries from 2.5 per cent in 2007 to below zero, with all the impact on families and businesses with worries about mortgages, jobs and family security in Britain and around the world. What has made this a fully worldwide crisis is that in recent weeks a problem that started in America has extended to emerging markets and developing countries, some of which are facing bankruptcy.
These unprecedented global events call for unprecedented global action. While the economic problems of the 1970s created the G5 and then the G7, it is right that for the first time leaders from developed, emerging and developing economies, which are responsible for 85 per cent of global GDP, met and agreed on the urgency of common and concerted, and, where appropriate, co-ordinated actions to address the financial and economic crisis.
To put the long-term challenge in context in the next 20 years it is expected the world economy will double in size, which will mean a doubling of opportunities for British business and new opportunities for British workers and families. But
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In Washington we agreed, first, on fundamental reform of how the financial system is supervised around the principles that Britain has been promotingof transparency and accountability, responsibility, better banking practice, integrity and international co-operation, including establishing international colleges of regulators; bringing transparency to tax havens by including them within the scope of the financial system; convergence of accounting standards; reviewing executive compensation schemes that encourage excessive and irresponsible risk-taking; disclosure of toxic assets; and reform of credit-rating agencies.
We set a clear timetable, tasking our Finance Ministers to prepare immediate measures for implementation by 31 March and to report back on progress with the full action plan at the next meeting. The summit also agreed that recapitalising the banks was the right course of action. The action taken in the UK to buy shares in banks has now been followed on every continent, and guarantees have been introduced to allow banks to raise the money needed to continue to support the real economy, as they must, through lending to businesses and families.
Secondly, we agreed that, against a background of deteriorating economic conditions worldwide, a broader policy response was needed immediately, based on closer macroeconomic co-operation. Importantly, we made clear that within our commitment to fiscal sustainability this broad and international policy response needed to encompass both monetary and fiscal policy action.
While it is for independent central banks to make their own decisions, we recognised the importance of monetary policy to the restoration of growth. While some have contended that it was impossible to cut interest rates in Britain because of the fiscal position, in fact the Bank has now, in two successive months, made two cuts worth 2 per cent in total, and the governor has stated clearly that there is scope for further action. A measure of the level of international co-operation that has already resulted is the extensive currency swaps put in place between central banks and the co-ordinated cut in interest rates across Europe, Asia and America a few weeks ago.
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