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House of Lords

Wednesday, 29 January 2014.

3 pm

Prayers—read by the Lord Bishop of Leicester.

Scotland: Independence


3.07 pm

Asked by Lord Flight

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the event of the result of the Scottish referendum in 2014 being in favour of independence, whether they expect Members of Parliament from Scottish constituencies to be eligible to stand for election in the 2015 General Election; and, if so, what will happen on the date of Scottish independence in 2016.

The Advocate-General for Scotland (Lord Wallace of Tankerness) (LD): My Lords, in the event that a majority of people in Scotland vote for independence in the referendum in September, Scotland would leave the United Kingdom and all its institutions, including the UK Parliament, after a process of negotiation. The timing for any changes would have to be settled in the event of a vote for independence.

Lord Flight (Con): My Lords, I am sure we all hope and expect that the Scottish vote will be in favour of the union but, surely, all eventualities need to be catered for. If Scotland votes for independence, it would be inappropriate for there to be Scottish MPs at Westminster thereafter. What precisely are the arrangements before implementation of Scottish independence, should it be voted for, in 2016?

Lord Wallace of Tankerness: My Lords, as I indicated in my original Answer, there would be a process of negotiation. Obviously, laws passed by this Parliament set out the arrangements for elections and it would be a matter for Parliament to change the arrangements if it so wished. I take the first point of my noble friend’s Question. I think I say for colleagues on all sides of the House that, while we support the integrity of the United Kingdom, we should be making every effort to ensure that the eventuality of a yes vote in the independence referendum simply does not arise.

Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale (Lab): My Lords, one issue that those Members of Parliament might have to address in that eventuality would be the position in relation to the currency. Does the noble and learned Lord welcome the very thoughtful and balanced contribution to the debate on the currency in Scotland made today by the Governor of the Bank of England? Will he join me in urging others who head up our great national institutions, whether in Scotland or throughout the UK, to contribute in a similar fashion to ensure

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that the complexities of the decisions that are required afterwards are fully understood and that the people in Scotland have all the information they need to make the right decision?

Lord Wallace of Tankerness: My Lords, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer has previously said, the current arrangements of a full monetary, fiscal and political union bring benefits to all parts of the United Kingdom. I certainly have noted that the Governor of the Bank of England today has highlighted the principal difficulties of entering into a currency union—losing national sovereignty, the practical risks of financial instability and having to provide fiscal support to bail out a foreign country. That is why we have consistently said that, in the event of independence, a currency union is highly unlikely to be agreed so the Scottish Government need a plan B. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord McConnell, that people who, from experience, have an important contribution to make should make it. Indeed, this month, Better Together has published a very good pamphlet which quotes many people showing how untenable the position of the Scottish Government is on the issue of the currency.

Lord Stephen (LD): My Lords, is it not vital that we all spend the time between now and the referendum in September working together and positively campaigning in favour of Scotland staying part of Great Britain and part of the United Kingdom? Speculating on the constitutional detail of what will happen if there is a yes vote in the referendum does not necessarily help in that united campaign.

Lord Wallace of Tankerness: My Lords, I agree with my noble friend. It is vital that our focus is on ensuring that there is a substantial no vote in the referendum in September and that we set out the benefits. Ahead of the debate in your Lordships’ House tomorrow morning, I hope later this afternoon to send out to noble Lords the 20 positive reasons—there are many more—that my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Scotland set out earlier this month together with links to the 10 analysis papers published so far in Scotland, which make a very compelling case for the integrity of the United Kingdom and for Scotland remaining part of it.

Baroness O'Neill of Bengarve (CB): My Lords, does the noble and learned Lord agree that even in the event of a no vote in Scotland, which I very much hope for, there are questions to be addressed about our variegated devolution settlements with parts of the United Kingdom? Does he not further agree that thought about that should take place now rather than in a rush after an unexpected and unhoped for yes vote?

Lord Wallace of Tankerness: The noble Baroness makes an important point. There are important issues about our current constitutional arrangements in all parts of the United Kingdom. The Government have shown by our implementation of the Calman report proposals, through the Scotland Act 2012 and the way

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that we are taking forward the proposals of the Silk commission in relation to Wales that we are alert to these. But I am certain that a no vote in September will not bring an end to these discussions. All parties and even people without parties have an important contribution to make to those discussions.

Lord McFall of Alcluith (Lab): My Lords, if there is a yes vote, it is important to remember that the rest of the United Kingdom will be diminished as a result; by one-fifth of our land mass, 5 million of our population and 10% of our GDP. The big picture is that both national and international issues are involved. Therefore, the voices of the Scottish diaspora need to be mobilised, and also the voices of the English, the Welsh and the Northern Irish who value an entity that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Lord Wallace of Tankerness: My Lords, I could not agree more with the noble Lord. It is important that people not only from the diaspora but from other parts of the United Kingdom speak up and say how valued Scotland is as part of a family of nations, which is one of the great success stories of modern history. Scotland is obviously better within the United Kingdom, but the United Kingdom is also better with Scotland in it.

Lord Forsyth of Drumlean (Con): My Lords, does my noble and learned friend not agree that the answer of the Scottish Nationalists to my noble friend Lord Flight’s question is symptomatic of the fantasy politics that they are putting forward? When he asks what the position of Scottish MPs would be in the House of Commons if they were elected after a vote for independence, their official policy is that we should postpone the date of the general election until 2016.

Lord Wallace of Tankerness: My Lords, I did in fact notice that. I am not quite sure what it says about democracy—that people should be denied the chance to elect new Members of Parliament. I also bear in mind that the date that they set for this referendum was after this Parliament had agreed to the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, which had already set the date for the next general election.

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean (Lab): My Lords, would there even be a United Kingdom if the vote was a positive one? After all, Northern Ireland is not a kingdom and never has been, and Wales is a Principality. “United Kingdom” refers to the fact that there are the two kingdoms of England and of Scotland. Will we have to change the name of this country in such an eventuality?

Lord Wallace of Tankerness: My Lords, it is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. All I would say is that, having been part of a party which merged and spent a long time deciding its name, I do not want to start speculating about what might happen if we start breaking up.

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Children: Racist and Islamophobic Bullying


3.15 pm

Asked by Baroness Hussein-Ece

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps are being taken to address the reported increase in the number of children who contacted Childline in the last year complaining of racist and Islamophobic bullying.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash) (Con): My Lords, all schools must have a behaviour policy with measures to prevent all forms of bullying. Ofsted specifically considers how well schools tackle bullying and discrimination and we have strengthened teachers’ powers to discipline pupils for poor behaviour including bullying. We are also providing £4 million to four anti-bullying organisations to tackle bullying in schools. The new curriculum also offers opportunities to address some of the underlying causes of bullying, including racist bullying, through developing greater understanding and tolerance.

Baroness Hussein-Ece (LD): I thank my noble friend for that reply. Is he aware that ChildLine reported a 69% increase in this form of bullying in the past year alone, where students were forced to go to ChildLine rather than go to their school to have this matter addressed? Is he aware that ChildLine further said that it links this specifically to the intemperate language being used around immigration and with Muslim children being called “bombers” and “terrorists”? Will this be specifically taken up and systems put in place so that teachers can deal with it at source rather than children having to go to ChildLine?

Lord Nash: My Lords, every school must have a policy and systems in place and bullying in school at any time is completely unacceptable. The Government are funding Show Racism the Red Card until the end of March to deliver workshops to 10,000 young people in schools. Of course I entirely agree with my noble friend that all of us in public life have a duty to behave responsibly and set positive examples.

Baroness Howarth of Breckland (CB): My Lords, I was the first substantive chief executive of ChildLine and while I was there we produced a booklet in which children talked about racism. That was 15 years ago and it was one of our most in-demand booklets. It was especially in demand among schools which used it as a base for discussions among young people. Could Ofsted also look at how peer groups are developed? The other thing that ChildLine found was that it was far more progressive when young people worked together with other young people and talked about these issues, rather than direct teaching.

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Lord Nash: The noble Baroness is extremely experienced in these matters. Ofsted does look specifically at all types of bullying—cyberbullying and race and religion-related bullying—and in its inspectors’ handbook it says that they will look at the,

“types, rates and patterns of bullying”,

and at the school’s effectiveness in dealing with them. The noble Baroness raises a very good point on peer groups which I will undertake to discuss with Ofsted.

Baroness Benjamin (LD): My Lords, I was a victim of racial abuse so I personally know the distress and trauma it can cause. Some children react very violently when they are racially abused at school and find themselves excluded, which is even more traumatic—they have long-term complications and implications because of it. Can my noble friend tell the House what sort of counselling and support victims of racial abuse receive from their schools?

Lord Nash: I am very sorry to hear of the distress that my noble friend suffered when she was at school. School staff should support all pupils and the nature of that support will depend on the circumstances. It may well be that the staff can support the victim adequately but otherwise the school can involve a specialist charity or organisation which can provide counselling or mentoring, such as Kidscape or Beat Bullying, which my department funds, or Place2Be, a very good counselling charity.

Lord Patel of Bradford (Lab): My Lords, the noble Baroness, Lady Hussein-Ece, mentioned the bullying of Muslim children and their being called “bombers”, linked to the media. The Government have a clear strategy—the Prevent strategy. Can the Minister tell me how his department links into the Prevent strategy and what it is doing to support teachers in that respect?

Lord Nash: My department pays significant attention to this area and has a particular group of people who carry out due diligence for it. It is also looking at concerns or issues about extremism in schools. We are heavily focused on this.

Lord Elton (Con): My Lords, can my noble friend tell us what guidance and support trainee teachers get in methods of dealing with this sort of abuse and bullying and how that is built on in their continuing development programmes?

Lord Nash: We recently reduced the length of the guidance to schools on bullying from 481 pages, which of course nobody can absorb, to 11. There is a view that we may have gone slightly too far, and we are looking again at whether we should improve certain aspects. Of course, all teachers should receive behaviour management training in ITT. We are also substantially improving the amount of in-school training with the expansion of teaching schools. We have a high number of SMEs and NLEs that are especially focused in this area.

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Baroness Afshar (CB): My Lords, are the Government aware that the everyday otherisation of children in terms of their creed and colour results in their feeling that they do not belong in this society? It is hardly surprising that they grow up radicalised. Surely we have long since passed the time when you were defined by your creed or colour. What are the Government doing to eradicate from common-day parlance—in Parliament, in the papers and elsewhere—the definition of people by their religion?

Lord Nash: My Lords, our society is now multiethnic. The only way we will succeed in making it truly civilised is if we eliminate all forms of racism and all celebrate the diversity of our country—I entirely agree with the noble Baroness. We expect all schools to teach tolerance and understanding of others in PSHE. We are heavily focused on this. The new national curriculum, which will come into force in September, will offer varied opportunities for pupils to learn about different cultures and religions. The citizenship programme is heavily focused on this, and the history curriculum should also celebrate the contribution of different races and ethnic groups to the history of our country.

Housing: Underoccupancy Charge


3.23 pm

Asked by Baroness Hollis of Heigham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the effect of the underoccupancy charge on tenants.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) (Con): Both an impact and a quality impact assessment have already been published, although it remains too early to say how people are reacting to this change. We have commissioned a consortium to undertake a two-year monitoring of the effects of the policy. The research will include looking at the effects of the measures on supply issues, the impact on rural areas and the effects on financial circumstances and vulnerable individuals.

Baroness Hollis of Heigham (Lab): My Lords, I thank the Minister. Social security sanctions claimants and cuts their benefits if they break the rules, say on JSA, in order to change their behaviour. But the 660,000 families affected, whose existing housing benefit is being cut by the bedroom tax, cannot change their behaviour because there is nowhere smaller for most of them to go. Two-thirds of them are, in any case, disabled, and may need the extra space. Discretionary housing payments, on which the Minister properly relies, can help only a minority even of disabled people. Does the Minister really think it fair to sanction existing tenants for misbehaviour when they have not misbehaved and when they cannot change their behaviour? Are we not punishing people who have done no wrong but who, as they face eviction, are having wrong done to them? Is that now social security’s definition of social security?

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Lord Freud: My Lords, I must make clear that the removal of the spare-room subsidy is not a sanction. The numbers are down from 660,000 to 523,000, which may indicate some behaviour trip-change, as people move to smaller places where they can. The self-declared proportion of disabled people is two-thirds, but when you look at the DLA figures it is 17% of the total. We have raised the amount of DHPs to help with the transition; we have £180 million. The signs at the moment are that there will not be a demand for all of it.

Lord Martin of Springburn (CB): My Lords, it is bound to be the case that when tenants vacate a flat or a house, some of the properties will remain empty in parts of the United Kingdom. Will he make sure that records are kept of the cost of their upkeep, and also protect them from vandalism?

Lord Freud: My Lords, we are having an intensive review of what is happening. Clearly, there are a large number of people—1.8 million—on the waiting list who would welcome a place to live when it is vacated. We can also look to move some of the people who are living in overcrowded social accommodation; that is a large figure that I discussed with the House yesterday. That will give them some relief.

Baroness Quin (Lab): Will the Minister confirm that discretionary housing payments can cover only a fraction of the losses involved for households as a result of this measure? Research shows that it is of the order of only 6%.

Lord Freud: My Lords, clearly people will respond in different ways, which is one of the things that this policy is intended to bring about. The area with which the noble Baroness is closely associated, Gateshead, spent roughly 69% of DHP in the first half-year and put in an application for further DHP that we were pleased to match with another £130,000. This meant that it could spend roughly the same amount in the second half of the year as in the first. That contrasts with the area that the noble Baroness, Lady Hollis, is very closely associated with. It has spent 58% of its DHP. I have not seen its application for further DHP. There is a bidding fund of £20 million that I would like to get spent. Norwich has until Monday to put in that bid, and I hope that the noble Baroness will use her very considerable energies to make sure that it does.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, with the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research showing that 42% of tenants in some parts of Wales, north-east England and north-west England think it unlikely that they will be able to pay their rent in full, what assessment have Her Majesty’s Government made of the implications of the introduction of the charge? In particular, what contingency plans do they have in case that research proves to be true?

Lord Freud: My Lords, the way in which we are handling the transition is to make sure that there are adequate discretionary housing payments. That is why we raised that figure. We know that people are making adjustments, which will take time and need funding.

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I am very pleased to see some of the innovative ways in which local authorities are responding to the challenge. Places such as Warrington and Salford are converting empty office space. They are purchasing and improving long-term empty two-bedroom homes. Derby has a home-release scheme that provides tenants with money to move—£500 for removal costs, for example. Many local authorities have revised their strategies to allow people with arrears to move, which was a block for some people. We are getting the kind of creative response from local authorities for which this policy asked.

Lord Lexden (Con): My Lords, the party opposite says that it wishes to control welfare spending but believes that this policy should be scrapped. How does my noble friend think that equivalent savings could be made?

Lord Freud: My Lords, I have noted that the party opposite has said that it will be tougher on welfare than we are. If it is going to take £500 million of savings and put them back, and then risk matching that and paying the equivalent amount in the private sector—adding up to £1 billion a year—I do wonder where it can get that money back out of the welfare system.

Baroness Lister of Burtersett (Lab): My Lords, almost a quarter of a million children are in households whose benefit has been reduced because of the bedroom tax—we will be debating this later today. What impact will this have on the Government’s child poverty strategy?

Lord Freud: My Lords, we monitor child poverty very closely. I am pleased to say—and as the noble Baroness knows perfectly well—that we now have lower relative child poverty and poverty than we have seen for a very considerable time. We will go on monitoring that figure.

NHS: Cancer Treatment


3.31 pm

Asked by Baroness Pitkeathley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they propose to take to ensure that older people receive equal access to NHS cancer treatment.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): In December, the national clinical director for cancer at NHS England launched a call for action on the treatment for older people. NHS England is now setting up an advisory group to identify where improvements in cancer services for older people can be made. It is also supporting an initiative to ensure that patients are better informed about the options available to them and that they are fully involved in decisions about their treatment.

Baroness Pitkeathley (Lab): I thank the Minister for that welcome Answer, but is he aware of the recently published Macmillan Cancer Support report, which shows that up to as 10,000 cancer patients die needlessly each year because of blatant ageism among doctors? For example, recommendations for chemotherapy

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diminish by as much as half if you are over 70. Since we are an ageing population and half of all new cancer diagnoses are in people over 70, does the Minister agree that it is of the utmost importance that we ensure that people are treated as individuals regardless of their age? How will he ensure that this view is held also among GPs and hospital consultants?

Earl Howe: My Lords, I completely agree. The noble Baroness is right that a series of reports has shown that the NHS has too often failed to provide the best possible services to older people. We cannot save lives without tackling inequalities. The NHS has a statutory duty to reduce health inequalities and to improve the health of those with the poorest outcomes. A ban on age discrimination in the NHS services was introduced in 2012, meaning that NHS services need to do everything they can to ensure that they do not discriminate against older people. We will hold the NHS to account for that through the mandate and the NHS outcomes framework.

Lord Turnberg (Lab): To what extent are these shocking figures due to lack of funding for cancer services? In that light, what is the Government’s plan for the cancer drugs fund?

Earl Howe: My Lords, the noble Lord may recall that the Government pledged an additional £750 million to support the cancer strategy. We are doing that, and a range of actions are proceeding there. On the cancer drugs fund, we initially pledged a total of £600 million for the first three years of the fund and we recently pledged another £400 million, making £1 billion in all. I am pleased to say that the cancer drugs fund has so far helped more than 38,000 patients.

Lord Walton of Detchant (CB): My Lords, some two weeks ago, the Minister agreed that, when NICE recommends that a particular form of treatment should be given to patients with cancer, rare cancers and other rare diseases, it is incumbent on clinical commissioning groups to see that those drugs are prescribed. Does the Minister agree that clinical criteria must be employed in reaching decisions as to which patients are to receive those drugs and that age alone must never be a barrier to the prescription of drugs in patients with cancers of that type?

Earl Howe: My Lords, I agree. The noble Lord may recall that in December 2012 we worked on a project with Macmillan Cancer Support and Age UK to improve uptake of treatment in older people. That established some key principles for the delivery of age-friendly cancer services. In December 2013, NHS England published an analysis of chemotherapy uptake in older people, and that report reaffirmed those principles and set out some new recommendations around improving the uptake of chemotherapy.

Baroness Gardner of Parkes (Con): My Lords, in the previous reply the Minister said he had looked at figures for chemotherapy for older people. Has he looked at the figures for radiotherapy for cancer patients of an age, in particular for intensity-modulated

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radiotherapy, which is not reaching its target but is considered a great improvement on the previous type of radiotherapy being used for cancer cases?

Earl Howe: My Lords, the Government invested £23 million aimed at increasing the capacity of radiotherapy centres in England to deliver intensity-modulated radiotherapy. The latest analysis shows that the median average of IMRT activity in England is at 29%, with the vast majority of centres delivering at 24% or above. That 24% was the magic figure recommended a few years ago by the national radiotherapy implementation group. We continue to monitor progress and local action plans closely.

Baroness Masham of Ilton (CB): My Lords, I declare an interest as vice-chair of the all-party cancer group. Does the Minister agree that many older people develop cancer and, therefore, to stop treatment would ensure that many Members of your Lordships’ House would not get treatment? Will he therefore take this really very seriously?

Earl Howe: My Lords, I am with the noble Baroness all the way in wishing to see your Lordships live a healthy and long life but, as regards the population generally, I hope that I have made clear the Government’s determination to see that all citizens of this country receive treatment according to their ability to benefit from it.

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath (Lab): My Lords, I am sure we are all with the noble Baroness in those sentiments. Can I refer the noble Earl back to the research that my noble friend referred to? The report seems to show that survival rates for cancer patients over the age of 75 are very poor in this country compared with other European countries. The noble Earl has said that he will ensure that action is taken through the mandate to NHS England. Should he not give instructions to clinical commissioning groups to start commissioning cancer services with no age discrimination?

Earl Howe: My Lords, commissioning is an important ingredient in this, but there is a range of actions that we can take and have taken. We know that low levels of awareness and late diagnosis are particular problems for older patients, so it is welcome news that Public Health England is to run a national campaign to raise awareness of breast cancer in women over the age of 70. We are also raising the screening age for breast cancer to include women aged 71 to 73, and the extension of the NHS bowel cancer screening programme to men and women aged 74 is now complete.

Scottish Referendum (Consultation) Bill [HL]

First Reading

3.39 pm

A Bill to make provision for certain Scottish people resident outside Scotland to be consulted ahead of the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence.

The Bill was introduced by Lord Selsdon, read a first time and ordered to be printed.

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Works of Art Committee

Membership Motion

3.39 pm

Moved by The Chairman of Committees

That Lord Finkelstein be appointed a member of the Select Committee in place of the Earl of Shrewsbury, resigned.

Motion agreed.


3.39 pm

Lord Bassam of Brighton (Lab): My Lords, I apologise for being a bit presumptuous. Perhaps I may take this opportunity to raise an issue on which I am sure the whole House would like some guidance. Will the government Chief Whip clarify her intentions as to the minimum intervals to be applied to the European Union (Referendum) Bill? It is our assumption on these Benches that, should the Bill complete its Committee stage on Friday 31 January or 7 February, Report will take place on 28 February. Can the Chief Whip confirm that that is her intention?

Baroness Anelay of St Johns (Con): My Lords, first, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Bassam, for his courtesy in giving me advance notice that he was going to raise a question on the matter. He did not actually say what the question would be, but I got the rough idea of what it might refer to and I am genuinely grateful to him. He will be aware that I did not intend to be at Question Time today, not because I am uninterested—I listened to every word, as I always do—but because in the coalition Government I share attendance at Question Time with my coalition partner, the noble Lord, Lord Newby, which is why he was here today. That is why I was not in the House earlier.

The noble Lord asked a question about minimum intervals and, in the same breath, referred to Committee having not yet concluded. He also referred to Committee being scheduled for a later date than this coming Friday. I gently remind the House of a couple of things. First, there is a straightforward answer to all this. Matters concerning the intervals of Bills are not considered until one has secured Committee. This House has not concluded Committee, and matters to do with when Report or other stages might be follow at the end of Committee. That is the normal procedure.

Secondly, the noble Lord refers to different dates. I took the chance to check what I said last week—I thought that my memory was okay, but we like to be sure. Towards the end of Committee on Friday, I referred to the fact that we would continue Committee on the Bill next Friday, 31 January, at 10 am. It is at col. 957 of Hansard. I expressed my expectation that Committee stage would finish on that day, this Friday, and I believe it was a realistic assumption given the rate of progress of business last week. It is still my reasonable assumption that Committee will conclude this Friday, and it is at that stage that matters to do with other stages will be considered. That is the time to do it, not now.

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Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I find that easy to accept, but all I am asking is for the noble Baroness to confirm that she will advise the House to abide by the minimum intervals set out in the Companion. In the end, it is a yes or no question.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: My Lords, this is a self-regulating House. The Companion has rules that set out the process in different circumstances. It is a matter that is considered at the end of Committee. That is not far away. I urge a little patience. I know that the House may soon become impatient because we have serious matters to address in the Children and Families Bill; I know that many noble Lords have attended the House for that.

I am not in a position to go further than I would in any other case. This is not a time for consideration of how the Bill will proceed after Committee has been concluded. It has not yet been concluded; my expectation is that it will on Friday.

Lord Grocott (Lab): My Lords, I would not intervene on this were it not for the fact that the government Chief Whip has been kind enough to quote me in relation to the Bill both at Second Reading, when she said that she was following my previous judgment about timings on Second Readings of Bills, and, as I have since discovered, although I did not have the pleasure of coming along to the House on Friday, in Committee, when she again cited previous Labour Chief Whips as the reason for her behaviour and making judgments in the way that she is.

If it ever was the case that she was following our precedent, she has now clearly decided to depart from precedents. That is something that she must make a decision about in the following respect. It is crystal clear that the normal gap between Committee and Report is 14 days. Although this is the normal gap, it would be particularly so in the case of a Bill with considerable constitutional implications. It seems that even if Committee were completed this Friday—when I, sadly, have to report to the House that I am again unable to attend, which is why I make no apologies for making this point now—14 days could not mean that the Committee stage was considered the following Friday, or on the two Fridays after that because they are in the Recess. The earliest I can see that it could be, in keeping with the normal conventions of this House, would be 28 February. If I have made my calculations incorrectly, given that they are precisely the calculations I would have made had I been in the Chief Whip’s position now, perhaps she will be good enough to correct me.

3.45 pm

As the Chief Whip keeps telling the House that she is acting precisely in accordance with precedent and previous procedure, could she please put in the Library of the House a copy of the precedents for a Private Member’s Bill, introduced in mid-January, being given two successive Fridays that are wholly devoted to the Committee stage of the Bill—Fridays which went on in both cases beyond 3 pm, again in contravention of the normal procedures of this House? We will all be interested to read all the precedents for that. Perhaps it will be an extensive list; I just do not know.

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The noble Baroness is speaking from the Dispatch Box as the Government’s Chief Whip. My contention about the Bill is that it is not in any sense a Bill with any obvious precedent. Could she then please reassure the House that she is speaking from that Front Bench and giving her advice as the government Chief Whip with responsibility to the whole House? She is an active Conservative Party politician, which I respect and admire. I am an active Labour Party politician and have been all my life, but parts of her responsibility are to the whole House. Those include respecting the minimal interval.

Again, if the noble Baroness is speaking on behalf of the Government, it means that she has the full and wholehearted consent of her deputy, to whom she kindly referred in reminding the House that he would normally stand in for her on a day such as this Wednesday. Perhaps she or the Deputy Chief Whip can confirm that she is speaking on his behalf as well as hers when she has been unable to give an assurance to the House, as she has been unable to give, that she will respect the full 14-day minimum interval between the two stages of the Bill.

As I see it, she is speaking on behalf of the Conservative Party—

Noble Lords: Oh!

Lord Grocott: I need to say this if the House does not mind. Your Lordships will be able to find that I am frequently prayed in aid. It seems now that I am not being prayed in aid and I wish to establish the distinction. The Chief Whip can possibly do two things. First, can we please have all the precedents in the Library of the House and, secondly, can she confirm now to the House that she is speaking on behalf of the Government, with the full assent of the government Deputy Chief Whip?

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: My Lords, my answer remains straightforward because I like to be a straightforward kind of person. I am giving the answer that any government Chief Whip would give at this stage. Matters of further stages are not considered until the end of Committee, which should conclude on Friday. I believe that that is a reasonable expectation. I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Bassam, will give an undertaking that it is his expectation as well. The noble Lord, Lord Grocott, refers to my praying him in aid. I do so with genuine respect, because I respect him as a government Chief Whip. I particularly recall that when he was government Chief Whip, he frequently called in the other Chief Whips, the Convenor and Members of the Cross Benches, to ensure that his guidance that at least three groups an hour should be considered in Committee was maintained.

I give a straightforward answer. Nothing further should be said by a government Chief Whip at this stage because it would be pre-empting any decision that may be made and making assumptions about Friday that it would be wrong to make. My expectation is that Committee will finish and I think the House has wearied of going around the same route. Again, there is only one answer, to which I will adhere because it is the right answer.

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Lord Richard (Lab): My Lords, I ask the noble Baroness what I hope is a fairly simple question. The Companion is quite clear in what it says. If it is for the convenience of the House, the intervals that are set out in the Companioncan clearly be varied. One accepts that. It happens quite often with government Bills. You get a Motion down on the Order Paper to say that the intervals should be compressed.

Does the noble Baroness accept that in relation to this Bill, in order for the intervals to be compressed, there will have to be a Motion of this House, which will have to be passed?

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: My Lords, matters of procedure with regard to usual intervals are a matter to be discussed once one completes Committee. The Companionis absolutely clear. I can certainly see that the Clerk of the Parliaments is able to give firm advice, which may not be that which the noble Lord, Lord Richard, wishes to hear. I have given the only answer any government Chief Whip should and can give at this time. That is where it rests.

Water Bill

Committed to Committee

3.50 pm

Moved by Lord De Mauley

That the Bill be committed to a Committee of the Whole House.

Motion agreed.

Water Bill

Order of Consideration Motion

3.50 pm

Moved by Lord De Mauley

That it be an instruction to the Committee that they consider the Bill in the following order:

Clause 1, Schedules 1 and 2, Clauses 2 to 4, Schedules 3 and 4, Clause 5, Schedule 5, Clauses 6 to 37, Schedule 6, Clauses 38 to 44, Schedule 7, Clauses 45 to 48, Schedule 8, Clauses 49 to 74, Schedule 9, Clause 75, Schedule 10, Clauses 76 and 77, Schedule 11, Clauses 78 to 80, Schedule 12, Clause 81.

Motion agreed.

Immigration and Nationality (Fees) (Amendment) Order 2014

Motion to Approve

3.51 pm

Moved by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

That the draft order laid before the House on 16 December 2013 be approved.

Relevant document: 17th Report from the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments, considered in Grand Committee on 28 January.

Motion agreed.

29 Jan 2014 : Column 1215

Children and Families Bill

Report (5th Day)

3.51 pm

Amendment 57B

Moved by Earl Howe

57B: Before Clause 80, insert the following new Clause—

“Regulation of retail packaging etc of tobacco products

(1) The Secretary of State may make regulations under subsection (6) or (8) if the Secretary of State considers that the regulations may contribute at any time to reducing the risk of harm to, or promoting, the health or welfare of people under the age of 18.

(2) Subsection (1) does not prevent the Secretary of State, in making regulations under subsection (6) or (8), from considering whether the regulations may contribute at any time to reducing the risk of harm to, or promoting, the health or welfare of people aged 18 or over.

(3) The Secretary of State may treat regulations under subsection (6) or (8) as capable of contributing to reducing the risk of harm to, or promoting, the health or welfare of people under the age of 18 if the Secretary of State considers that—

(a) at least some of the provisions of the regulations are capable of having that effect, or

(b) the regulations are capable of having that effect when taken together with other regulations that were previously made under subsection (6) or (8) and are in force.

(4) Regulations under subsection (6) or (8) are to be treated for the purposes of subsection (1) or (2) as capable of contributing to reducing the risk of harm to, or promoting, people’s health or welfare if (for example) they may contribute to any of the following—

(a) discouraging people from starting to use tobacco products;

(b) encouraging people to give up using tobacco products;

(c) helping people who have given up, or are trying to give up, using tobacco products not to start using them again;

(d) reducing the appeal or attractiveness of tobacco products;

(e) reducing the potential for elements of the packaging of tobacco products other than health warnings to detract from the effectiveness of those warnings;

(f) reducing opportunities for the packaging of tobacco products to mislead consumers about the effects of using them;

(g) reducing opportunities for the packaging of tobacco products to create false perceptions about the nature of such products;

(h) having an effect on attitudes, beliefs, intentions and behaviours relating to the reduction in use of tobacco products.

(5) Regulations under subsection (6) or (8) are to be treated for the purposes of subsection (1) as capable of contributing to reducing the risk of harm to, or promoting, the health or welfare of people under the age of 18 if—

(a) they may contribute to reducing activities by such people which risk harming their health or welfare after they reach the age of 18, or

(b) they may benefit such people by reducing the use of tobacco products among people aged 18 or over.

(6) The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision about the retail packaging of tobacco products.

(7) Regulations under subsection (6) may in particular impose prohibitions, requirements or limitations relating to—

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(a) the markings on the retail packaging of tobacco products (including the use of branding, trademarks or logos);

(b) the appearance of such packaging;

(c) the materials used for such packaging;

(d) the texture of such packaging;

(e) the size of such packaging;

(f) the shape of such packaging;

(g) the means by which such packaging is opened;

(h) any other features of the retail packaging of tobacco products which could be used to distinguish between different brands of tobacco product;

(i) the number of individual tobacco products contained in an individual packet;

(j) the quantity of a tobacco product contained in an individual packet.

(8) The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision imposing prohibitions, requirements or limitations relating to—

(a) the markings on tobacco products (including the use of branding, trademarks or logos);

(b) the appearance of such products;

(c) the size of such products;

(d) the shape of such products;

(e) the flavour of such products;

(f) any other features of tobacco products which could be used to distinguish between different brands of tobacco product.

(9) The Secretary of State may by regulations—

(a) create offences which may be committed by persons who produce or supply tobacco products the retail packaging of which breaches prohibitions, requirements or limitations imposed by regulations under subsection (6);

(b) create offences which may be committed by persons who produce or supply tobacco products which breach prohibitions, requirements or limitations imposed by regulations under subsection (8);

(c) provide for exceptions and defences to such offences;

(d) make provision about the liability of others to be convicted of such offences if committed by a body corporate or a Scottish partnership.

(10) The Secretary of State may by regulations provide that regulations under subsection (6) or (8) are to be treated for the purposes specified in regulations under this subsection as safety regulations within the meaning of the Consumer Protection Act 1987.

(11) The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision amending, repealing, revoking or otherwise modifying any provision made by or under an enactment (whenever passed or made) in connection with provision made by regulations under any of subsections (6), (8), (9) or (10).

(12) The Secretary of State must—

(a) obtain the consent of the Scottish Ministers before making regulations under any of subsections (6), (8), (9) or (10) containing provision which would (if contained in an Act of the Scottish Parliament) be within the legislative competence of that Parliament;

(b) obtain the consent of the Welsh Ministers before making regulations under any of those subsections containing provision which would (if contained in an Act of the National Assembly for Wales) be within the legislative competence of that Assembly;

(c) obtain the consent of the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister in Northern Ireland before making regulations under any of those subsections containing provision which would (if contained in an Act of the Northern Ireland Assembly) be within the legislative competence of that Assembly.

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(13) For the purposes of this section a person produces a tobacco product if, in the course of a business and with a view to the product being supplied for consumption in the United Kingdom or through the travel retail sector, the person—

(a) manufactures the product,

(b) puts a name, trademark or other distinguishing mark on it by which the person is held out to be its manufacturer or originator, or

(c) imports it into the United Kingdom.

(14) For the purposes of this section a person supplies a tobacco product if in the course of a business the person—

(a) supplies the product,

(b) offers or agrees to supply it, or

(c) exposes or possesses it for supply.

(15) In this section—

“enactment” includes—

(a) an Act of the Scottish Parliament,

(b) a Measure or Act of the National Assembly for Wales, or

(c) Northern Ireland legislation;

“external packaging”, “internal packaging” and “wrapper” have the meanings given by regulations under subsection (6);

“packaging”, in relation to a tobacco product, means—

(a) the external packaging of that product,

(b) any internal packaging of that product,

(c) any wrapper of that product, or

(d) any other material attached to or included with that product or anything within paragraphs (a) to (c);

“retail packaging”, in relation to a tobacco product, means the packaging in which it is, or is intended to be, presented for retail sale;

“retail sale” means sale otherwise than to a person who is acting in the course of a business which is part of the tobacco trade;

“tobacco product” means a product consisting wholly or partly of tobacco and intended to be smoked, sniffed, sucked or chewed;

“travel retail sector” means retail outlets in the United Kingdom at which tobacco products may be purchased only by people travelling on journeys to destinations outside the United Kingdom.”

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): My Lords, I am very pleased to have tabled government amendments that introduce regulation-making powers to enable the Government to bring in standardised tobacco packaging, if such a decision is made.

I would like to acknowledge the support and positive responses that we have had to the Government’s action on tobacco and its packaging. We have seen support in both your Lordships’ House and in the other place. I have also had discussions with a number of noble Lords. I was pleased as well to see the welcoming comments from the public health community. I wrote to all noble Lords on 17 December explaining the key elements of this new clause. I will summarise the main provisions.

Amendment 57B will provide the Secretary of State for Health with the power to make regulations to standardise packaging of tobacco products, should such a decision be taken by the Government. The regulation-making powers would enable Ministers to regulate internal and external packaging and any other associated materials included with a tobacco product.

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This would include, for example, not just the outside and the inside of a cigarette pack but also the cellophane or other outer wrapper of a pack.

Ministers may also specify requirements for the products themselves, for example to regulate the appearance of, or branding on, individual cigarettes. The powers will extend to other forms of tobacco, such as hand-rolling tobacco. If standardised packaging is brought into place, we will think carefully about the type of tobacco to which the requirements should apply.

The amendment is clear that before deciding whether to introduce regulations, Ministers must consider that regulations may contribute at any time to reducing the risk of harm to those under 18 or promote their health or welfare. This includes harms that do not appear until later in life because, as we know, the harm to the health of a smoker may not be immediate but may manifest after several years of addiction. Ministers may also consider whether regulations may contribute to reducing the risk of harm to those aged 18 or over, so we could also take into account whether standardised tobacco packaging might help adults who want to quit.

The amendment sets out the elements of the tobacco packaging that could be regulated—for example, the use of colour, branding or logos, the materials used and the texture, size and shape of the packaging. It also sets out the aspects of the tobacco product itself that could be regulated. The Government would not necessarily use all these powers, and if we proceed we will need to decide which aspects to include in any regulations. However, it is prudent to take a comprehensive approach now so that we are prepared for possible future developments and do not inadvertently create loopholes that could be exploited.

The requirements would apply only to the retail packaging of tobacco products, which means the packaging that will or is intended to be used when the product is sold to the public. Manufacturers, distributors and retailers would still be able to use branding such as logos and colours on packaging, provided that they were used only within the tobacco trade—for example, on boxes used for stock management in a warehouse that were not seen by the public.

These provisions will apply on a UK-wide basis, provided that legislative consent Motions are passed by the Parliament or Assemblies of the devolved Administrations. The Governments in Wales and Scotland have already obtained the necessary Motions, and Ministers in Northern Ireland are progressing this.

The Government have also tabled two technical amendments, one making the regulations subject to affirmative resolution procedures and the other extending the provisions to the whole of the United Kingdom. If regulations are made, they will be enforced by local authority trading standards as safety regulations under the Consumer Protection Act. In reviewing the detail of the amendment, we have identified a small gap that we wish to address. As it is currently drafted, Ministers would not be able to take enforcement action if none was taken by a local authority. As a precaution, and in line with other tobacco control legislation, we think it

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sensible for Ministers to be able to do this and so intend to make a technical amendment to the new clause at Third Reading to allow for this.

I wrote to noble Lords on 27 January about the Government’s intention to table amendments at Third Reading on the proxy purchasing of tobacco and the sale of nicotine products, primarily e-cigarettes, to children. I hope that both measures will be welcomed by your Lordships. I recognise that these amendments come at a late stage in the Bill’s passage, and I apologise for this. I want to be able to give noble Lords as much information as possible, so have invited all Peers to a meeting to discuss the amendments on 3 February and would be happy to meet on an individual basis as well, so that there is time to consider them before the debate at Third Reading.

I shall summarise these amendments. We intend to create a new offence of the proxy purchase of tobacco, which is buying tobacco on behalf of someone underage. Nicotine is highly addictive and it is wrong in principle for adults to be buying cigarettes on behalf of children. We need to close common routes of supply to children. We know that proxy purchasing is a common problem and we need to take clear action to tackle it. There was considerable support for tackling proxy purchasing when it was debated in the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill. We have also listened carefully to the views of retailers and their representative organisations on this issue.

In addition, we have decided to table an amendment to enable us to make regulations to prohibit the sale of electronic cigarettes to people aged under 18. E-cigarettes deliver nicotine, a highly addictive substance, albeit in a safer way than smoked tobacco. We know that some young people in England are using these products and there is nothing stopping their sale to people under 18. Some in the public health community are very concerned that e-cigarettes could act as a gateway into smoking tobacco, and that their use and promotion can undermine our efforts to reshape the social norms around tobacco use. The revised European tobacco products directive, which achieved political agreement in December last year, covers e-cigarettes but does not include an age of sale restriction. We therefore want to do this domestically through the Bill.

The amendments will apply to England but we are in discussions with the Welsh Government regarding the possibility of extending the provisions to Wales, subject to the necessary legislative consent Motion being secured.

4 pm

I hope your Lordships will welcome these additional measures and understand why we are using the opportunity of this Bill to take these additional steps to try to protect young people from developing a lifelong addiction to smoking, with the major consequences this will bring to their health. Tobacco use is a leading preventable cause of death, accounting for nearly 80,000 deaths per year in England alone. Almost two-thirds of smokers take up smoking regularly before they are 18. We must take action to prevent young people taking up smoking in the first place.

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The Government have tabled this new clause on tobacco packaging so that we can act without delay if it is decided to introduce standardised tobacco packaging. Health Ministers have commissioned Sir Cyril Chantler to carry out an independent review of the evidence on whether the introduction of standardised tobacco packaging is likely to have an effect on public health, in particular for young people. The review will report by March 2014.

The decision about whether to go ahead and introduce standardised packaging clearly and correctly rests with the Government. We will need to consider Sir Cyril’s report about the impact on public health alongside the wider issues raised by this policy. I will not pre-empt the outcome of the review, nor indeed of the decision-making process, but I can confirm that the Government will introduce standard tobacco packaging if, following the review, we are satisfied that there are sufficient grounds to proceed. I beg to move.

Amendment 57BA (to Amendment 57B)

Moved by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

57BA: Before Clause 80, line 3, leave out “may” and insert “must”

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath (Lab): My Lords, I shall speak also to my Amendments 61 and 57BB. I very much welcome Her Majesty’s Government’s change of heart as far as standardised packaging is concerned, and I certainly welcome the appointment of Sir Cyril Chantler to review the evidence. Sir Cyril is known to many of your Lordships and has made a significant contribution to the NHS. We can have complete confidence in his work.

My two amendments are designed to press the noble Earl on the comments he made in his final remarks and to encourage him to give the House an absolute assurance that should Sir Cyril Chantler conclude that the evidence is clear that standardised packaging is effective in reducing the risk of harm to children, the Government will speedily move to lay the regulations specified in his Amendment 57B. The noble Earl will know that at the moment line 3 of his amendment merely says,

“The Secretary of State may make regulations”.

I would have preferred to see the word “must”. To an extent, the noble Earl has already explained why it is to be “may”, but are there any circumstances where, on the assumption that Sir Cyril has concluded positively, the Government would not proceed to legislate?

Amendment 57BB concerns the proposal that it be an offence for any person who drives a vehicle to fail to prevent smoking in the vehicle where a child or children are present. I do this on the basis that the past 15 years have seen an impressive reduction in the amount of smoking in this country. Indeed, since the previous Government’s 1998 Smoking Kills action plan, smoking rates among children, who are, of course, the focus of this Bill, have fallen by more than half following a period of little progress lasting 20 years. I have little doubt that the ban on advertising was pivotal, but the fall was also due to a series of other concerned measures which included an increase in the age of sale, picture warnings on packs and an above-inflation increase in tobacco duty to reduce affordability.

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I believe that we should continue the momentum and protect future generations from the dangers of smoking. That is why I welcome the Government’s agreement to legislate on standardised packages and the proposals that the Minister has outlined today in relation to proxy purchasing and the restriction of the sale of e-cigarettes to under 18 year-olds. However, the Government could do more by accepting my amendments and support the principle of a ban on the use of cigarettes when children are present in cars.

Children’s lungs are smaller and they have faster breathing rates, which makes them particularly vulnerable to second-hand smoke, especially within the close confines of a car. Members of the public are protected by smoke-free legislation when in public transport and work vehicles. However, large numbers of children remain exposed to high concentrations of second-hand smoke when confined in family cars. Indeed, around one child in five reports being regularly exposed to second-hand smoke in cars, with catastrophic health consequences. Figures released by the British Lung Foundation show that around 185,000 children between the ages of 11 and 15 in England are exposed to potentially toxic concentrations of second-hand smoke in their family car every day or on most days.

We know that children exposed to second-hand smoke have a raised risk of lower respiratory infections, wheeze, asthma, middle ear infections and meningitis. Every year, exposure to second-hand smoke leads to an estimated 165,000 additional cases of these conditions among children. Many of those cases are serious, leading to an estimated 8,500 hospital admissions.

I was very surprised by research identified by the British Lung Foundation, which shows that a single cigarette smoked in a moving car with the window half open exposes a child in the centre of the back seat to around two-thirds as much second-hand smoke as in an average smoke-filled pub of days gone by. Levels increase to 11 times those of a smoky pub when the cigarette is smoked in a stationary car with the windows closed.

Some noble Lords will argue—as I heard the FOREST spokesman arguing this morning—that a car is a private space and that we should not legislate for what happens in such a space. However, there are more important principles than that, one of which is the need for child protection. Unlike most adults, children lack the freedom to decide when and how to travel, and they lack the authority most adults have to ask people not to smoke in their company. In those circumstances it is right for Parliament to step in to protect children.

I know that the Government argue that the most effective way to reduce smoking in cars carrying children is not through legislation. In his letter to us the noble Earl talked of two successful campaigns aimed at encouraging people to change their behaviour, and said that the evaluations are encouraging. From what I see—and they do not appear to be very robust evaluations—I am not aware that the scientific evidence of behavioural change has been published. Can he give an assurance that the evaluations spanned several months and not just immediately after the campaign? Can he also confirm that they took into account what

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was reported by children and not just adults? There is sometimes a discrepancy between what adults say they do and their behaviour as reported by children. Can he also confirm that the research includes actual measurement of behavioural change? I do not believe that marketing measures such as website visits effectively demonstrate behaviour change. Can the noble Earl also say why, if the Government are so keen on evaluation, Ministers forced NICE to abandon a project to give public health guidance for commissioners and providers on the development and implementation of policies on smoke-free homes, private cars and other vehicles?

The noble Earl will argue that this is best done through education. I understand that argument and I certainly accept that education programmes can achieve much. However, my contention is that we are now close to—

Lord Stoddart of Swindon (Ind Lab): I have listened to the noble Lord very carefully and I cannot understand—perhaps he can explain it to me—why on earth he has joined the question of plain packaging with smoking in cars. They are two completely different issues. Is it expected that those of us who are concerned with both amendments now have to speak in one debate rather than two, on two particularly difficult and important matters?

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, a number of amendments have been grouped together. Some deal with standardised packaging, others with the issue of smoking in cars. My answer to the noble Lord is that we will deal with both issues in one debate. The House always has to trade off having separate debates on individual amendments or pulling them together. I, for one, think it is better that we have a wider debate; but of course the noble Lord is entitled to speak on both issues. I hope that he will do so because he always has interesting insights—although I do not always agree with him on this particular one.

In finishing, I want to come back—and anticipating the noble Earl’s response—to the issues around awareness campaigns. As I said, of course they can achieve much, but sometimes legislation also needs to be brought into the picture.

Lord Forsyth of Drumlean (Con): The noble Lord said earlier in his speech that the principle of not legislating into private space and private family activity was one that should be breached on certain occasions. Could he explain why he is stopping at cars and not at living rooms in small flats, for example?

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, they are two different issues. I certainly do not propose that we legislate in relation to people’s homes. The differences lie, first, in the scale of the health issue. As I have already indicated, the amount of second-hand smoke that a young person is likely to inhale in a car generally will be very much higher than in a person’s home. Secondly, by and large there are usually rooms in a person’s home that are not used for smoking, so there is more of an element of choice. I accept that this is a continuum, but I assure the noble Lord that it is not

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my intention to propose a ban on smoking in people’s homes. There are specific circumstances that make the banning of smoking in cars while children are present a particular health issue.

Lord Cormack (Con): I am grateful to the noble Lord. Surely, my noble friend Lord Forsyth highlighted a very important point. He talked about small flats; there are small flats where there may be several children and only one living room. What is the logic of the noble Lord’s argument in that case? Personally, I do not think we should invade private space; that is my position and I may seek to defend it later. There is no logical difference between a single child in a car and four children in the living room of a small flat.

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, I do not accept that. Clearly, in relation to a child travelling in a car we are going to debate where the balance lies: whether a car should be regarded as a private entity in which the state ought not to intervene, or whether noble Lords consider that a child’s health becomes the paramount concern.

A private car is rather different from a home; the health damage to a young person inhaling smoke in a car generally will be much greater than in a person’s home. I do not want to repeat the point that I have already made to the noble Lord, Lord Forsyth, although I may be tempting him to intervene again. However, within a home there are likely to be opportunities for young people to avoid the smoke-filled parts of that home.

Lord Forsyth of Drumlean: I do not want to prolong the noble Lord’s speech; I am not making a debating point, but am genuinely interested in his logic. A child in a car—which I accept is a very confined space—will probably be in a car for a short journey. If children are in a living room, they are there all evening. Perhaps I should declare an interest; my late mother used to smoke 60 cigarettes a day. That is one of the reasons why I would never touch a cigarette. Surely, if a child is in a small living room in which continuous smoking is going on, that seems to me, without any evidence, to be as great a health hazard as being in a car. I am not advocating invading private space, but where is the evidence that supports what the noble Lord is saying—namely, that it is a much worse hazard being in a car, probably on a short journey, than being in a living room where smoking goes on all day?

4.15 pm

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, I do not have evidence on the length of the average car journey, though clearly short and long distances may be travelled during which smoking may take place. I suspect that we can argue that until the cows come home. However, I come back to the core argument that in a confined space, such as a car, a child is likely to be more damaged through inhaling second-hand smoke than they are in a person’s home. That is the reason for making a distinction between legislation affecting an individual vehicle and legislation affecting a person’s home.

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Lord Scott of Foscote (CB): I wonder whether the noble Lord can help me. Does “private vehicle” in the amendment include a motor boat? One drives a motor boat.

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: No, my Lords, I do not think that that is covered in my amendment—although, of course, it is open to the noble and learned Lord to propose an amendment to increase the scope of the measure. I would give such an amendment all due consideration.

I refer noble Lords to an inquiry into smoking in private vehicles by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health, carried out in 2011, which concluded that the evidence from smoke-free public places was that legislation would be necessary to reduce exposure to cigarette smoke in cars. That is the basic case I am making. At this stage, I am asking noble Lords to support the principle of a ban. If my amendment were accepted, I would be very happy to work on a cross-party basis to consult on the type of offence that should be put in place. I have not gone as far as the noble Lord, Lord Ribeiro, and his colleagues in terms of specifying the offence because I think that needs further consideration and discussion.

We would not be alone in legislating to protect children from the damage of smoking in cars. Seven other countries already do so, including four US states, 10 of the 13 Canadian provinces and all but one jurisdiction in Australia. As far as the public are concerned, a YouGov poll in 2011 found that 78% of adults in Great Britain agree that smoking should be banned in cars carrying children younger than 18 years of age. Just as significantly, perhaps, a British Lung Foundation survey in 2011 found that 86% of children want action to be taken to protect them from cigarette smoke in cars. I think that we should listen to the voice of children in this respect. I hope that noble Lords will support the amendment that I shall propose later.

In concluding, I should have pointed out to noble Lords my health interests in the register, including being chairman of a foundation trust, a consultant and trainer with Cumberlege Connections and president of GS1.

Lord Ribeiro (Con): My Lords, the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, is compelling but fails to acknowledge the impact of second-hand smoke on children in confined spaces or in the home, as we heard in an earlier debate. For this to happen, the public, particularly parents, have to be educated about the harm that second-hand smoke can do to young children’s lungs. The noble Lord identified some of those problems. That is why I believe that education and behavioural change are important.

As a doctor, I recognise the damage that second-hand smoke can cause, and in particular the long-lasting effect it can have on the lungs of young children. Just this Sunday, I was present at the birth of my first grandson out of six grandchildren.

Noble Lords: Hear, hear.

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Lord Ribeiro: I greeted that event with jubilation. I would not want that grandson to go through life having his young lungs damaged by cigarette smoke. I am concerned about that. Cigarette smoke contains a cocktail of carcinogens: arsenic, cadmium, formaldehyde, benzene and in particular the fine particulate matter that comes out of cigarettes when they are smoked. This can cause long-term damage and illnesses.

My Amendment 62, which mimics the Private Member’s Bill that I took through this House in 2012, serves to make parents and the public aware of the risks and to provide educational programmes to rehabilitate them through smoke-free driving awareness courses. I believe strongly in education and behavioural change, rather than the imposition of punitive measures. It is about providing incentives to change behaviour, not dissimilar from the police driving course which noble Lords may have been offered if they have ever been unfortunate enough to have been caught speeding. There may be some in this Chamber who can endorse the benefits of that.

In that sense, my amendment is exploratory, seeking to obtain answers from the Government on two specific issues. The first is education to change behaviour, as I explained. Here, I applaud the Government for their successful advertising campaign launched last year, with its graphic films of children assaulted by smoke in the back of cars while parents in the front are oblivious to the damage being done behind them, probably because the driver has a window open and therefore assumes that all the smoke is going outside. I should like assurances from my noble friend that the Government will repeat that successful campaign and undertake an extensive evaluation of its effects. We must know that behavioural change is happening.

I am sure that the Government have taken note of the Welsh Government’s Fresh Start Wales campaign. I made reference to this at Second Reading and asked whether the Government would again consider mirroring what the Welsh Government were doing. That Government are due to report in the spring on the result of their campaign, following which they reserve the right to introduce legislation if no improvement in behaviour is apparent.

My second question to the Government relates to a national consultation, which should involve the public, the profession and the retailers, to decide whether legislation or non-legislative measures are required to protect children from smoking in confined spaces. I am pleased that my noble friend has asked Sir Cyril Chantler to undertake an independent review of the public health evidence on standardised tobacco packaging and its effects on public health. Might he perhaps also consider asking Sir Cyril, at the conclusion of this review in March, to undertake a similar review of the effects of second-hand smoke on children travelling in cars? There is plenty of evidence out there but what is now needed is the clinical evidence that shows that smoke causes long-term damage. We know that the long-term sequelae from smoking in adults are quite severe. If we can demonstrate that they start at a very early age, that will be very good evidence for taking action now rather than later.

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My amendment provides the Government with measures to change behaviour. They may have started with good intentions—and I am sure that they have. Standardised tobacco packaging will reduce the risk of smoking and its damaging effects on children. I hope that the Government will take the view that legislation, although difficult, may need to be considered. However, for legislation to work, I understand that it must be proportionate and enforceable. In this respect, my amendment is probably defective, as it will be difficult to police and to enforce, much in the same way, I suppose, as is the case with the mobile phone offence, which is legislated for but is difficult to police.

I hope that my noble friend will provide me with some of the concessions that I seek. I do not think that they are small ones but they will help to ensure that over the next year, and certainly over the next three months when we hear the results of the Welsh review and Sir Cyril Chantler’s review—and it is to be hoped that he will extend that further—we will have more information on which to make a decision as to whether we should introduce legislation or non-legislative measures.

Baroness Finlay of Llandaff (CB): My Lords, I have put my name to Amendments 60 and 62. I will first address Amendment 60 on standardised packaging and move on to the amendment to which the noble Lord, Lord Ribeiro, has spoken so eloquently. I hope to avoid covering the ground that has already been covered. In terms of standardised packaging, those of us who contributed in Committee to a very powerful and widely supported debate across the House are grateful to the Government for having done exactly what they said they would; namely, take the proposal away and look at it. They have returned with an elegant amendment. Before finally legislating, it seems wise to have an independent review by Sir Cyril Chantler.

This is definitely a public health and a child protection measure. I should like to address that briefly but not repeat what was said previously. The Minister has already said how many children start smoking before the age of 18. That figure is particularly high in looked-after children, where about one-third report that they are current smokers. However, when looking at children in residential care, the figure rises to more than two-thirds. There is a real problem with very vulnerable children.

In 1999, the tobacco industry’s magazine, World Tobacco, said that,

“if your brand can no longer shout from billboards … it can at least court smokers from wherever it is placed by those already wedded to it”.

The problem is that we know that tobacco is a highly addictive substance, and that the products of tobacco damage health and do not have any positive benefit. Recently, a study published in the European Journal of Public Health has shown that,

“the removal of brand imagery from tobacco packaging reduces the appeal of tobacco products, including perceptions of brand attractiveness and smooth taste and perceptions of lower tar or lower health risk”.

Those perceptions are an illusion. The study was in the UK, and I am sure that it will be considered in the evidence review and that Sir Cyril will be an independent reviewer in every sense.

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It is worrying that it has taken us so long to get to this point. Like other noble Lords who have put their name to this amendment, I sincerely believe that the day will come when we will see standardised packaging. That day is not far off, because research study after research study reports are reinforcing that standardised packaging is making cigarette packs less attractive to young people.

I have had discussions with Her Majesty’s Customs as regards illicit trade. It pointed out that it is not that difficult to detect counterfeit standardised packaging, just as it is not difficult to detect other counterfeit packaging. Indeed, the cover marks, number codes and security marks are the clue, rather than the bald, external appearance of the pack. It also is well aware that tobacco firms have been producing and exporting cigarettes far in excess of any known demand in a stated target market abroad, knowing that this excess production will be smuggled back into the UK. The tobacco companies appear to have been complicit with what has been termed the illicit trade. It seems logical that this move and the government amendment are because of child protection issues and the importance of preventing children from starting to smoke.

On tobacco and smoking in cars, the British Lung Foundation study, which was addressed by the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, included another set of figures which I hope the House will consider. One has to remember that the children responding in the study were of an age at which they could answer competently. When asked about being a passenger in a car, 31% said that they had asked someone to stop smoking but 34% said that they had not dared to ask because they were too frightened or too embarrassed. The child in the back seat, belted in, is effectively imprisoned in the vehicle for their own safety while travelling. They are stuck there. They have no control over what the adults do, and it is worth remembering that they do not feel able to do anything about it either. As was pointed out by the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, if they are in a house, they can move to another room or another area and the volume of space is much greater than in a car.

4.30 pm

Lord Cormack: Would this amendment apply to open-topped cars such as sports cars where children would presumably not be at risk?

Baroness Finlay of Llandaff: It is worth pointing out that the noble Lord, Lord Ribeiro, has already indicated that he will not press his amendment, which is quite specific, and the amendment in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, simply addresses the ability to bring forward regulation but does not specify what those regulations should be. I respectfully suggest to the noble Lord, Lord Cormack, that his question is an important one for us to have at a later stage, in the event that the House decides to support the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Hunt.

My last point relates to my home country of Wales, where I am delighted that the problem of tobacco consumption has been taken seriously. The results of the Welsh campaign will be published fairly soon. But

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it is with regret that I have to note that at the end of the first year of the campaign, 22% of smokers still pointed out that smoking was allowed in their car at any time. There is a perception that if it is allowed it is okay. I am concerned over the results that will come forward from the education campaign, although I fully support the campaign itself.

I remind the House that we had a parallel debate over seat belts in cars. Yet the seat-belt wearing rate increased in the UK from 25% before legislation to 91% after legislation. That was introduced alongside awareness campaigns. We cannot have legislation without a large education and awareness-raising campaign. The efficacy relates to the education and awareness-raising campaign rather than to any kind of punitive measures that go alongside it.

Lord Faulkner of Worcester: I added my name to Amendments 57BB, 60 and 62 and will speak briefly to those, but I start by congratulating the noble Earl on bringing forward his Amendment 57B and for overseeing a significant change in government policy on the subject of standard packaging. Like many of your Lordships, I was heartened when I heard the then Public Health Minister, Anna Soubry, around a year ago saying that the Government were minded to go down the standard packs route and then bitterly disappointed last summer when the plans were suddenly dropped. Various conspiracy theories were propounded at the time and I will not go into those now, but it looked as if the issue was dead, at least for the foreseeable future.

At that point, it seemed sensible to look at whether there was any possibility of adding a standard packaging amendment to another Bill, which might not immediately present itself as the most appropriate, in order to be able to give the House the opportunity to debate the issue and come to a view on it. With the help of staff in the Public Bill Office—about whom I cannot speak highly enough, as their help was invaluable in framing our original amendment in Committee and the subsequent amendment that we tabled for today—we were able to bring the issue to the Committee and approach the issue in an entirely cross-party and non-party way. The amendment that we put together was signed by the noble Baronesses, Lady Finlay and Lady Tyler, the noble Lord, Lord McColl, and myself.

Amendment 60 is an improved version of what we had in Committee, but the Government’s amendment today is a great improvement on that as well. I congratulate them on picking up a number of the points that were defective in ours and coming forward with one that, I think, is very effective. Tobacco control should not be a party-political matter; it should be the common concern of everyone who cares about the health and the well-being of the public. As we have heard from the Minister, smoking-related disease still kills more than 100,000 people across the UK and is by far the most common form of preventable death—it accounts for more premature deaths than the next six most common causes put together.

As most smokers start as teenagers, the teenage market is the one which the tobacco companies are anxious to promote, which it is the responsibility of all

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of us to try to prevent. Two-thirds of existing smokers report that they started before their 18th birthday, and around two in five before they were 16. The younger the age at which they start, the greater the harm is likely to be, because the early uptake of the habit is associated with subsequent heavier smoking—of the sort that the noble Lord, Lord Forsyth, experienced with his mother and her 60-a-day habit—high levels of dependency, a lower chance of quitting and a higher chance of death from smoking-related disease.

For the tobacco industry to keep its market, it is necessary for it to recruit new smokers every year. That is because older smokers die or quit—or indeed lose their lives prematurely as a result of their habit. Since most smokers start when they are young, it follows that, for the industry, young people are the most important target group of potential new consumers.

We know what the tobacco industry would do in this country to promote its products if the law and the authorities allowed. Indeed, we probably know more about the commercial strategies of the tobacco industry than about any other major industry in the world, in large part because so many previously confidential documents were made public as a result of the US master settlement agreement with the industry in 1998.

Given the restrictive legislation around marketing and advertising tobacco in the UK, the industry is left with few options to promote its products. Of these, the most important is now packaging. Packs can be used to market and advertise, to create brand identities and to help present an image of smoking that may indeed seem “cool” to a curious teenager. There are many diversionary arguments advanced by the tobacco industry and the front groups it funds so lavishly about why we should not proceed with standardised packaging. So we hear tobacco industry claims that the UK is being flooded with illicit tobacco and that standard packs will make the problem worse. But the level of illicit trade has fallen sharply since it peaked back in 2000, and the security features on existing packs will also be present on standard ones. Both our amendment and the Government’s would allow the Secretary of State to specify packaging requirements that would enhance and not reduce product security, and make smuggling and counterfeiting more difficult.

However, the tobacco industry’s real, core argument is quite simple. It is advancing the proposition that its claimed so-called “intellectual property rights” trump the requirements of public health—or to put it more sharply, that its right to design products designed to get children addicted is more important than the children’s right to be protected from that addiction and the health damage that it causes. I believe that the overwhelming majority of your Lordships, and indeed Members of the other place, reject the tobacco industry’s arguments and want to make cigarettes as unattractive to children and young people as possible. So, as I said at the beginning, I warmly welcome the Government’s amendment. I congratulate the Minister on bringing it forward and on his announcement regarding proxy purchasing of tobacco products by adults for young people, and the regulation of e-cigarettes, about which we shall hear more at Third Reading.

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I am not going to speak about smoking in cars because the speeches on that subject by the noble Lord, Lord Ribeiro—with whom I agree, and whom I congratulate on his perseverance in taking a Private Member’s Bill through your Lordships’ House on this subject—and the noble Baroness, Lady Finlay, have covered the main points. However, I strongly commend the points that my noble friend Lord Hunt made about the desirability of moving towards a smoke-free atmosphere in cars where children are trapped and subject to appalling levels of second-hand smoke.

I am very happy indeed to support the government amendment. We shall not be pressing our own amendment on standard packaging, but I shall be supporting my noble friend.

Baroness Tyler of Enfield (LD): My Lords, my name is also attached to Amendments 60 and 62. I will speak briefly to them and try not to repeat some of the arguments we have already heard. I will also say how much I welcome government Amendment 57B. In Grand Committee, the strength of feeling across your Lordships’ House on the issue of standardised packaging of cigarettes was crystal clear, and the Government are to be strongly applauded for responding with their own amendment, which is very well founded and very persuasive. I, too, look forward to Third Reading, when the Government will introduce additional measures around proxy purchasing and e-cigarettes.

At the beginning of these debates, some noble Lords raised questions about the logic of including an amendment on the packaging of cigarettes in a Bill whose stated remit is children and families. To my mind, the relevance is unequivocal—this is the very nub of the issue, which is why we are discussing it today. Preventing the uptake of smoking among the young is primarily an issue of child protection. As we have already heard today, each year around 200,000 under-16s take up smoking. For some, it is the start of a lifetime of addiction which will result in debilitating health conditions and, for some in turn, premature mortality. As the noble Baroness, Lady Finlay, pointed out, many of those children will come from particularly deprived backgrounds. We have already heard about children in care and I would draw your Lordships’ attention to teenage mothers, who, according to an ONS survey, are six times more likely than the average mother to smoke throughout their pregnancy, to the detriment of both their own and their baby’s health.

Standardised packaging, bearing clear anti-smoking messages, is the first key step to reducing the attractiveness of this lethal habit to children and young people. As we have just heard from the noble Lord, Lord Faulkner, we should be absolutely clear that tobacco packaging and branding is not innocuous. It is undoubtedly, at the moment, targeted at the young—the industry documents released in the USA about this were very telling indeed, although I do not intend to repeat the details of that. Equally critically, the weight of evidence is mounting that standardised packaging does work to reduce the incidence of smoking. I was very persuaded by the Department of Health’s systematic literature review, which found that, compared to current cigarette packs, standardised packs are less attractive to young people, improve the effectiveness of health warnings

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and reduce the mistaken belief that some brands are safer than others. I eagerly look forward to the outcome of the review by Sir Cyril Chantler, who will look at all of this in the round. I will be very surprised if he does not come out supporting the various literature reviews that we have already seen.

Very recently, thanks to the noble Lord, Lord Faulkner, I had the privilege of meeting with Nicola Roxon, the former Australian Minister for Health who was instrumental in the implementation of standardised packaging there. I was very impressed as she explained to us the impact that standardised packaging was having as part of—this is absolutely critical—a wider anti-smoking strategy in no longer portraying smoking as cool and glamorous or cigarettes as a “must have” accessory, but instead portraying a much less desirable, and far more truthful, image.

It is revealing that hard data are already coming from Australia—something that I am sure Sir Cyril will want to look at. A study in Victoria, Australia, published in the British Medical Journal, concluded that when consuming cigarettes from the new packs, smokers are 66% more likely to think their cigarettes were of poorer quality, 70% more likely to say they found them less satisfying and 81% more likely to have thought about quitting at least once a day. Why is that? Because standardised packs carry powerful health messages that expose the reality of smoking. Frankly, having seen some of the images, it would take a very strong stomach or tightly closed eyes to be unaffected by them.

4.45 pm

I will say a few words in support of Amendment 62 on smoking in cars, which my noble friend Lord Ribeiro has already covered very eloquently. For me the nub of the issue is that as a nation we have recognised the harm that passive smoking can do and we have made laudable strides in mitigating its effects, by banning smoking in public places, on public transport and in work vehicles. There is a glaring omission: every day children across England are exposed to dangerously high levels of smoke when travelling in the family car. According to the British Lung Foundation—this is a different statistic—more than 430,000 children every week will be exposed to it.

In Grand Committee, in all the debates and earlier this afternoon it came up that whenever proposals of this sort are put forward some will argue that this is extending the reach of the nanny state: this is private space, where the Government should not get involved. But clearly there are overriding reasons for acting now to safeguard that most precious commodity, the health of our children. We hear lots of people, generally from the tobacco industry, talking about the rights of smokers, but who is speaking up for the rights of the child? Every parent can smoke if they want to, but surely every child should have the right to be in a safe environment, which includes when they are in a car.

When I read through the statistics, the one that most brought it home to me was that to which the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, has referred—that within the confines of a stationary car with a roof and the

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windows closed, a single cigarette can create concentrations of smoke 11 times greater than in the average smoky pub. How many parents would knowingly want to expose their child to such a toxic atmosphere with such adverse long-term effects on health? The answer of course is very few. Let us never forget that there is huge public support for this ban. A recent survey found that 80% of the public support it and so do 86% of children.

In Committee, my noble friend Lord Howe raised concerns about enforcement, but it must be possible to find a way forward here. The police already have a number of duties with respect to private vehicles, including on seat belts, intoxication levels of the driver, mobile phones and the use of child-safety seats and restraints. Those are not always easy to enforce and we may not have got things quite right yet, but I do not see why that role, primarily undertaken by the police, cannot with careful thinking also be undertaken in relation to smoking in cars with children.

We have a precedent. Seven out of eight states in Australia have adopted this legislation and found a way of enforcing it. We can learn something from them. I like to think that we can take this forward on a cross-party basis. I agree that it is too important to become a party-political football and it should be an issue that we can all agree on.

This has been an interesting debate. Is it better to have legislation or a public-education campaign? The latter would probably be effective. My own view, backed up by the statistics on wearing seat belts given by my noble friend Lady Finlay, is that having the two together is the most effective. We are not talking either/or; it is a clear case of both/and. I hope that today we send out a message, loud and clear from this Chamber, that it is simply not acceptable to expose your children to second-hand smoke in the car.

Lord Patel (CB): My Lords, I am delighted to take part in this debate. Before I start, I shall not miss this opportunity to chide both Front Benches. I have spoken about this in the past and tabled many amendments on different health Bills. The last time that I tried was with the Labour Government. The Minister taking the legislation through was not the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, but the noble Baroness, Lady Thornton. I did not succeed on that day in getting my amendment through. Obviously, the government Benches were not going to support me, but I did have the support of the noble Baroness, Lady Barker, who is not in her place and who was the Front Bench health spokesman of the Liberal Democrats. I did not have the support of the noble Earl, Lord Howe, at the time—hence I did not succeed.

However, I am delighted to congratulate the Government on having, in a step-wise fashion—and as a result of efforts made by many other noble Lords, including the noble Baroness, Lady Finlay, and the noble Lord, Lord Faulkner—reached a place where they can bring forward an amendment to address the public health evidence that plain packaging will make a difference to the uptake of smoking of cigarettes, in particular by children. I am particularly delighted that the government amendment includes not just external packaging but internal packaging. I remember my

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days as a young medical student, when one would rush out and buy Sobranie Black Russians because the cigarettes were wrapped in nice black paper with gold tips. At the same time, we would also buy a packet of Sobranie Cocktails to impress the ladies we were taking to dances because they came in multicoloured wrappers—so packaging makes a difference, even to a young medical student.

I am therefore delighted to see the Government’s amendment. I have no doubt whatever that Sir Cyril Chantler, whom I know well as a friend, will be absolutely meticulous in looking at the evidence. I am convinced by the evidence and I hope that he will be, too.

Let me turn to the issue of smoking in cars when children are present. I have taken the trouble to look at all the evidence about second-hand smoke in confined spaces. I have looked at the public health evidence from the Surgeon General of the United States, from Australia, from New Zealand and from Great Britain—both epidemiological and observational studies. The findings are quite interesting: undoubtedly, second-hand smoking is harmful. It is harmful to children—more so because their metabolic rate is higher, so any injurious substances that they inhale are bound to have a greater effect. It is harmful also to adults, particularly older people who have respiratory conditions or cardiac disease. It is harmful also to pregnant mothers who do not smoke, among whom there is a higher rate of still-births and infant deaths because of the epigenetic effects of the inhalation of injurious substances during their pregnancy. It is worse if they smoke during their pregnancy, but even if they do not, the effect of second-hand smoke is harmful to them.

There is further evidence, mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Ribeiro, that some of the injurious substances in tobacco smoke persist on certain surfaces for a very long time. So this issue is not just about smoking when there are children in a car; it is also about making that car harmful to children because injurious substances persist. That also applies to any confined space. So the question is: what legislation will have the greatest public health effect? Will it be legislation that stops smoking in cars when children are present? Will it be legislation that bans smoking completely? Of course, it will be the latter, but that will not be possible—such legislation is too draconian. Could it be a good educational programme that teaches people that if you smoke in front of children, whether in a confined space or in an open space, or if children just see you smoking, that is wrong and harmful?

I was accused by my wife of smoking 20 to 40 cigarettes a day. All young doctors smoked in those days; it was the thing to do. Not all doctors smoke these days. When I saw my daughter, who was 11 months old, watch me lighting a cigarette, it was the day that I stopped smoking. She might object to me giving her age, but she is past 40—just, and she is a cancer doctor, so she understands these things. I felt that her observing me lighting a cigarette would be as harmful to her as her taking up smoking. The issue that we should therefore debate is what would have the greatest public health gain, whether for children—more importantly for children—or for young adults, older people and pregnant mothers.

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The amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Ribeiro, seeks more targeted education and some consultation to find the evidence. The amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, seeks to have on the statute that a regulation must be brought in. I was talking about regulations pertaining only to cars. The evidence that I have looked at would suggest that we should ban smoking in cars completely, because that way there would be no possibility of anybody smoking in cars and leaving injurious substances behind that may harm children. That may or may not be a better deal than that proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, but my plea is, “Let us look at what would be the best public health gain”.

Lord Cormack: My Lords, I begin by congratulating my noble friend Lord Howe on his amendment. I wholly support what he said about packaging and about appointing Sir Cyril Chantler. I have the good fortune of knowing Sir Cyril. Like the noble Lord, Lord Patel, who spoke a moment ago, I believe that he is a man of impeccable integrity and great knowledge and I am sure my noble friend could not have chosen anyone better. I do not want to dilate on that subject.

I have smoked two cigarettes in my life. I was 15 years old; they were Woodbines and it was behind the bike shed. They were thoroughly disgusting—I have never smoked since and I never want to smoke. I am afraid I cannot say the same for my wife, although I think she has cut down a bit; she certainly does not smoke in my presence, either in the car or at home.

It is beyond doubt that we can and should accept everything that has been said about the dangers of smoking by the noble Lord, Lord Patel, and my noble friend—my friend in every way—Lord Ribeiro. We should do everything possible to deter people from smoking. I am sure I speak on behalf of everyone in congratulating my noble friend Lord Ribeiro on the birth of his grandson. I would be entirely in favour of the parents of the grandson of the noble Lord, Lord Ribeiro, being sent a note about the dangers of smoking. I would be entirely in favour of the parents of every newborn child being specifically warned about the dangers to children of passive smoking. I would be entirely in favour of increasing the taxes on cigarettes. I would be in favour of extra insurance premiums for people who smoke. I would not object to there being a column about smoking on car insurance forms, and, if you tick the smoking box, there being an extra premium that goes directly to the battle against smoking. I would be entirely in favour of all those things or permutations of them. There are many that we could all think of.

However, when it comes to the question of smoking in motor vehicles, my noble friend Lord Ribeiro introduced his amendment skilfully, tactfully and undogmatically. I have no argument with that, but I believe that his essential premise is wrong. To advocate any law that is going to be exceptionally difficult to police and enforce, and moreover brings the state into the private space of individuals, is to be deplored.

Baroness Howarth of Breckland: My Lords, can I just ask the noble Lord about the whole of the child protection law as it stands at the moment, which is in

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every private space to protect children from neglect, emotional harm and, indeed, abuse within their own homes.

I believe that this is actual harm. It is extraordinarily difficult to police every home, as we know from what happens to social workers and social services every time something occurs in a local authority because the policing has been so difficult. That does not stop us having legislation to ensure that in private space, the child is protected from harm. We have heard from the noble Lord, Lord Patel, just how harmful it is. Were it left to me, I would legislate in the private space of the home. Having been brought up in a two-bedroom house on a working class estate, I think that my lungs have suffered. I am just pointing out that we legislate for private space, because that point has been raised on a number of occasions.

5 pm

Lord Cormack: My Lords, that was really a speech rather than an intervention. There is all the difference in the world between the physical or sexual exploitation of a child and smoking. Smoking is not an illegal activity. Some of us may wish that it were, but it is not. It would be wholly impractical, as the noble Lord, Lord Patel, made plain in his remarks, for us to outlaw smoking. That is a road down which we cannot go. Therefore, to invade the private space of individuals who are committing a perfectly legal act seems to me a step too far. That is why we should look at other means. I have mentioned taxation and increased insurance premiums; there are many routes down which we could go to make it more and more difficult for adults to smoke in the presence of children.

Most importantly, it is up to experienced people such as the noble Baroness and my noble friend Lord Ribeiro to ensure that there is a well informed education campaign so that no one is in any doubt that smoking is a harmful activity and that inhaling passive smoke is dangerous and injurious to health. I am with the noble Baroness and my noble friend on that all the way, but the invasion of personal space—prosecuting people for what is a legal activity—seems a step too far. That is why, while I welcome and applaud the amendment introduced by my noble friend Lord Howe—if there were a Division, although I am sure that there will not be, I would enthusiastically go into the Lobby to support him—I cannot support something that I believe is a step too far in the invasion of personal space, which would also be monumentally difficult to enforce. We have to bear in mind the responsibilities of the police, whose job it would be to stop the cars and ask the questions.

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: Does not the noble Lord accept that, although there may be difficulties of enforcement, the very fact of passing a law combined with the kind of educational programme that he supports is likely to have a positive effect?

Lord Cormack: No, frankly, I do not. I respect the noble Lord—he knows that—and we agree on many issues, but we will have to disagree on this one. I think

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it would make the job of the police even more difficult than it is at the moment and endanger what popularity they have with many law-abiding citizens. It is a burden that we should not place on them.

I repeat: let us do everything we can to educate; let us do everything we can to deter; let us have the plain packaging; let us listen very carefully to what Sir Cyril says in his report; but let us not take the ultimate step that the noble Lord advocates.

Baroness Masham of Ilton (CB): My Lords, I shall be brief. I congratulate the Government on having listened about packaging of tobacco. I also support the amendments to protect children from people smoking in vehicles. Apart from damaging children’s health, smoke gets in their eyes and is very unpleasant. There are also small babies and pregnant mothers whose unborn children need protecting. I hope that the noble Earl can give the House some assurance that there will be regulations that will protect these vulnerable babies and children. I would add that people with asthma, and all chest problems, should also be protected because this is really dangerous for their health.

Baroness Benjamin (LD): My Lords, I ask noble Lords to consider the following points as we debate these amendments. More than 800 children visit their doctors every day due to the serious effect of second-hand smoke exposure, according to research published by the Royal College of Physicians. The survey also highlights that 65% of parents who smoke admit to doing so in the car with their children and other people’s children present, and that 75% of smoking parents were shocked to hear that second-hand smoke affects the health of so many children. If they had not been asked that question they would not have been aware of this, so they really need to be educated.

Asthma UK has stated quite clearly that second-hand smoke is a major trigger for asthma attacks, making the symptoms even worse. It believes that if we take action to reduce second-hand smoke, we will be a step closer to a world where asthma begins to be no longer a daily struggle, or where no one dies from that condition. The children’s charity Sparks—I declare an interest as one of its trustees—spends millions of pounds on research to eradicate asthma among children, a condition which is growing daily. Sparks dearly believes that if we take action to protect children from second-hand smoke, that will be helpful to children. So let us give careful consideration to what action we should take to protect children from the result of second-hand smoking and act robustly in the best interests of the child.

Baroness Howe of Idlicote (CB): My Lords, I very much support the aims behind Amendment 62, and indeed an awful lot of what the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, said about doing something really firm to prevent smoking in cars when children are present. This amendment certainly seems a sensible and straightforward way to ensure that all children have a healthy start in life, without the harmful influence of tobacco smoke in their young and still developing bodies.

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We have heard that opponents of the proposed ban on smoking in cars have argued that legislation on activity in private vehicles would constitute an invasion of people’s private space. The noble Earl, Lord Howe, even said in Committee on this amendment that although smoke-free public spaces legislation has proven to be extremely successful in reducing people’s exposure to second-hand smoke,

“it does not automatically follow from that that it is right to extend the scope of legislation to cover private cars”.—[

Official Report

, 20/11/13; col. GC 412.]

However, in the case of child protection, this may not be such a stretch of the imagination. My noble friend Lady Howarth absolutely spelt out that the issue of child protection is a perfect example of this distinction playing a secondary consideration to the well-being and health of the child. Children are protected by the law from abuse and neglect wherever they are.

I have heard about the impact that tobacco smoke has on the health of children. We have all heard about it. Their bodies are still developing and they are much more likely to be affected by smoke-related illnesses than their adult counterparts. A Royal College of Physicians report estimated that smoking around children causes more than 20,000 cases of lower respiratory tract infection; 120,00 cases of middle-ear disease; at least 22,000 new cases of wheeze and asthma; 200 cases of bacterial meningitis; and 40 sudden infant deaths—one in five of all SIDs.

We know that only a proportion of people continue to smoke around children, so the level of illness in children due to second-hand smoke is staggering. It would be difficult to impose such a law on the home—we have heard this already—but we can do something about children's exposure to smoke in cars. We also know that tobacco smoke pollution levels in vehicles can be 23 times greater than in a house. I am talking, of course, about a car with a roof on it. Moreover, when a child is strapped into the car, they do not have a choice about leaving the room—a choice possible, at least for some children, in their home—when adults are smoking.

More needs to be done to protect children from avoidable harm, whether this harm takes place in private vehicles or in public spaces. Moreover, there is also a precedent for banning smoking in vehicles. Cars are already recognised as potentially dangerous spaces for second-hand smoke exposure due to their confined spaces. This is why smoking has already been banned in all vehicles used for the purpose of work in the UK since July 2007. It is surely astounding that we cannot do something effective to protect children as well. There are no restrictions on smoking in private vehicles with children present. I believe fully that this needs to change.

Viscount Simon (Lab): My Lords, the greater majority of people live in smoke-free homes, not because of the law, but because it is no longer acceptable to smoke in the home of a non-smoker. Equally, most smokers no longer allow smoking in their cars when children are present.

It is absolutely correct to protect children from second-hand smoke, but it is wrong to think that it is children who are most at risk from its catastrophic

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consequences. While it is estimated that there are 1 million children with asthma, adults with asthma outnumber them by four to one—and I am one of them. While open windows in cars have been mentioned by a couple of noble Lords, I would have an asthma attack on the motorway with my windows closed if there was someone smoking a cigar at some time somewhere ahead. Also, the greatest risk from second-hand smoke is to those with a pre-existing heart condition.

The objective of Amendment 57BB, therefore, must not be simply to protect children but rather to further change public attitudes and behaviour so that people no longer smoke in cars carrying any passenger. Just as the law focused on workplaces had a great effect on smoking at home, it is hoped that this amendment will reduce the harm caused to non-smokers of all ages.

As it is the noble Earl’s birthday today, I hope he will accept this amendment.

Lord Naseby (Con): My Lords, I want to make it clear that I have no interest to declare on this Bill. I have never smoked and I have no investments in any tobacco company. However, it remains a fact that 20% of our nation smokes. That 20% expects someone at least to speak up for the implications for it of any legislation that we in Parliament propose.

Perhaps surprisingly, the first dimension of the amendment that I draw to the House’s attention is a constitutional one. I think many noble Lords will know that in another place I was Chairman of Ways and Means, and there one had to be very careful about constitutional innovations—I shall put it like that. This amendment is a constitutional innovation. Leaving aside the detail about the standard packaging for a moment, the broad framework of the amendment defines what the regulation is to be and says that the Secretary of State, not Parliament down at the other end, may make those regulations. We need to be quite clear about this. The amendment goes on to say, in new subsection (12):

“The Secretary of State must”—

not “may”—

“obtain the consent of the Scottish Ministers … the consent of the Welsh Ministers”,


“the consent of the Office of the First Minister … in Northern Ireland”.

What it does not say is that the regulation needs to receive the consent of the House of Commons in the United Kingdom. Noble Lords may be very comfortable with that in relation to standard packaging, but I wonder whether they would be equally comfortable if it directly involved other packaged goods industries. One has in mind the sugar industry, the alcohol industry and the fizzy drinks industry, and there must be myriad others that interest groups outside would lobby to have contained or indeed restricted. I just put that on the record because it is a novel dimension to our constitution that I would like to have studied in a little more detail rather than have it sneaked in, if I may put it that way, in this Bill.

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5.15 pm

The Countess of Mar (CB): Does the noble Lord realise that if the Secretary of State makes regulations, they will have to be done by statutory instrument? Statutory instruments are either affirmative or negative. In the case of a negative instrument we can pray against it, and in the case of an affirmative one we can debate it. Both Houses will have the opportunity to consider them.

Lord Naseby: While it is true that there is an opportunity to debate a statutory instrument after the Statutory Instruments Committee has looked at it and decided that it wishes to do so, nevertheless—

The Countess of Mar: My Lords—

Lord Naseby: Let me just finish. Your Lordships know full well that there is absolutely no way that we may amend any statutory instrument; we either take it as it comes or we reject it. I am just pointing out that this is a change to the procedures of this House that we have had hereto. The noble Countess may disagree with me—it happens quite often in law that people disagree—but I have had advice. Perhaps she also had advice on her intervention. I leave that aspect; it is on the record now.

I turn specifically to the amendment and its contents. There are three aspects of it that I draw to the House’s attention. First is the matter of intellectual property rights. Such rights are a key dimension to any industry, particularly in the packaged goods world, where I had the privilege to work for some 20 years. Those rights are something that most of those industries have had for centuries. They distinguish between one product and another from a competitor; importantly, they produce a quality assurance for those who buy the product; and they provide for the businesses to have valuable assets that they can produce innovations from and so create competition. Those are assets to those companies that should not lightly be cast aside. There may be particular reasons why some of them should be confined at certain times in certain circumstances, but personally I think that society needs to tread very carefully.

In relation to this amendment, there is the legal situation. I am not a lawyer, but I have had a look and sought advice on the exact legal situation as matters stand at the moment. As I understand it, there are four constraints on Her Majesty’s Government. When my noble friend winds up, I hope he will be able to reassure me that all these issues have been dealt with. Otherwise, the Government will have to deal with them before this part of the Bill becomes law.

The constraints are: first, Article 34 of TFEU covering the free movement of tobacco products; secondly, Article 13(1) of the tobacco products directive which affects the free movement of goods; thirdly, it would produce a disproportionate and unjustified interference with a company’s property rights, which are specifically protected in the UK by, surprisingly, the Human Rights Act 1998 and in the EU by the European Charter of Fundamental Rights and would cut across the UK’s

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obligations made under international law, several World Trade Organisation agreements, particularly the agreement on trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights, and other agreements. Finally, I understand that fewer than five countries are taking action against the EU in relation to what this amendment addresses. My first question to my noble friend is, am I right in what I have been advised is the situation? If I am right, what action are the Government taking successfully to overcome what I see as considerable hurdles ahead?

I am not going to go through the whole of standardised packaging because this is not the appropriate time to do that but, in the round, as far as I see it as a marketing man looking at the evidence, there is as yet no real hard evidence. There are lots of assumptions and attitudes from surveys, but there is no hard evidence that consumption of cigarettes will fall if we have standardised packaging. Consumption is already falling without standardised packaging, and I am sure it will continue to fall in future, but I do not see any hard evidence that that will come.

What I do see is that it will be very bad for CTNs—confectionary, tobacco and newspaper shops—of which there are well over 100,000 in the United Kingdom. About 20% to 25% of their business is dependent on tobacco products. It is exceedingly bad news for them. It is pretty bad news for the 60,000-odd people employed in the industry. It is exceedingly good news for the counterfeiters, and we see increasing evidence of the number of counterfeit products. It is no good the noble Lord shaking his head—these are facts. We have facts on the importation of counterfeit products.

Lord Faulkner of Worcester: The figures on counterfeiting reached a peak in 2000 and have been steadily falling year by year. If the noble Lord had listened to my remarks earlier, he would have heard that I said that there is no reason why standard packaging should not be at least as secure as existing branded packs.

Baroness Howarth of Breckland: My Lords, I would like to ask a short question.

Baroness Northover: My Lords, I remind noble Lords that we are on Report. Noble Lords have one opportunity to speak. They can intervene to ask a question to seek elucidation from somebody who is speaking. Providing that is what noble Lords do, those interventions are all right. They must seek clarification from, or ask a question of, the person who is speaking.

Lord Naseby: I reassure the House that I do not intend to speak for very much longer. I respond to the noble Lord opposite by pointing out that the latest figures for Australia indicate an increase of 13% following the introduction of standardised packaging for counterfeit and illegal cigarettes. Therefore the most current evidence—perhaps he can get up to date—is a little more relevant. To finish on standardised packaging, if 20% of our nation smokes legitimately, and we have a legitimate industry, do people not have a right to choose between one pack which they like the look of as opposed to another pack?

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I will finish with Australia. I, too, welcome Sir Cyril Chantler as chairman. I also know him quite well and have known him for a very long time. He will already be able to see two results. One is that standardised packaging has done absolutely nothing to the prevalence of smoking in Australia, and the other, as I have just mentioned as evidence to the noble Lord opposite, is the worrying fact that the illegal market has increased by 13%, up to an all-time high in Australia of 13% of all consumption.

I draw the House’s attention to a book in the Library which refers to the situation in the United Kingdom during the war. It is called Black Market Britain, 1939-55, by Mark Roodhouse, and it features, among other evidence, what happened to the cigarette market during the time of the black market. I refer to that book because if we go down the route of standardised packaging, a black market will undoubtedly emerge.

I wish Sir Cyril well; we await his report with interest, and I am sure that it will be balanced and thorough. However, whatever that report produces, I ask that first, the Government will give adequate time to this House to have a short debate on it, and secondly, and perhaps more importantly, that the industry will have a reasonable amount of time—and by that I mean some weeks and not days—to look at the evidence that is provided by Sir Cyril and to put its view to the Secretary of State on its interpretation.

Finally, I will wind up on a couple of other questions, specifically on proposed subsection (4)(d) of Amendment 57B on,

“reducing the appeal or attractiveness of tobacco products”.

I submit that that has little to do with the packaging. Proposed subsection (8)(d), which refers to,

“the shape of such products”—

as opposed to the package—does not have anything to do with the packaging, and proposed subsection (8)(e) would even more insidiously apply to,

“the flavour of such products”.

Given that by nature all cigarettes are different, as tobacco is a vegetable product and they all taste different, I do not see how on earth the Secretary of State can intervene regarding the flavour of tobacco. I have already mentioned the contrast between the consent of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and our own home Parliament.

Baroness Howarth of Breckland: My Lords, I apologise to the noble Baroness for intervening earlier. I wanted to ask a short and straightforward question of the Minister. Should the noble Earl’s amendment be accepted—I hope it is because I greet it hugely; noble Lords will know how much it means to me—can he tell us in his summing up what the timetable is likely to be as regards when the research would take place and how long it might take? If, when that was completed, the outcome was positive—I recognise that because it is research it could go either way—when would the Government be likely to bring in the legislation? I recognise that we are moving towards an election and I hope that the Minister would want to get this on the statute book before he might or might not leave office. We already have legislation on not displaying cigarettes,

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but I still go in to my local tobacconist and see displays of cigarettes, so I wonder what is happening about that.

5.30 pm

Lord Storey (LD): My Lords, I want to speak to Amendments 57B and 62. First, on Amendment 57B, the Government are to be congratulated. The package that they propose—if I dare to use the term “package”—of proxy purchase, e-cigarettes and looking at the whole question of standardised packaging of cigarettes and tobacco products is to be welcomed. I think it will result in thousands of people being saved from getting respiratory and lung diseases; it will save literally thousands of lives. I congratulate the Minister and the Government. I want also to thank those cross-party noble Lords who put down the original amendment, because they initiated this debate.

On Amendment 62, I said in Committee and say again: some noble Lords have mentioned their grandchildren. Can you imagine carrying your grandson or granddaughter in a carry-cot, putting that child into a metal box—a car—and allowing somebody to pump cigarette fumes into that metal box? You would not do that at all; you would not allow that to happen. Whatever our concerns are about personal space or civil liberties or whatever it is, this is about the rights of a child; the rights of a baby. A baby cannot say, “Well, actually, I don’t mind”; a child cannot say, “Actually, I don’t mind”. In fact, research—certainly from talking to children—shows that they do mind. As we have heard, we can see when we look at the figures that children are particularly vulnerable to second-hand smoke. Why? Because they have small lungs, because they have faster breathing, and because they have a less developed immune system. That makes them more susceptible to respiratory problems: asthma, bronchitis and lung malfunction. Knowing that, and that passive smoking results in more than 165,000 new episodes of all sorts of diseases associated with lungs and respiration—and I am talking about children here—are we serious about allowing children and babies to be strapped in a car where that happens? Surely not; all the other arguments pale into insignificance.

We seem to cite lots of surveys here. Interestingly, in 2010 a survey that directly asked 11 year-olds and 15 year-olds found that one in five reported being exposed to second-hand smoke in cars.

A number of people have said, “How are we going to make this happen? The police are very busy; can we really make it happen?”. I have two answers to that. Do noble Lords remember when seat-belt legislation was suggested? People got up and said, “Oh no, this is an attack on my civil liberties; oh no, we will solve the problem by advertising”. It was the “clunk click” advertisement, was it not? Oh—perhaps we had better move on from that. With the “clunk click” advertisements, in fact, something like 24% of people started to belt up in cars. Legislation was then brought in and we found that 97% of people then put on a seat belt. We do that automatically; we do not think about it, or sit in our cars saying, “This is an infringement of our liberties; we shouldn’t be doing this”; we do it. Why do we do it? Because it saves lives: it saves our lives and the lives of other people who are travelling in the car.

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Interestingly, a study conducted in Scotland—we talk about Scotland a lot in this Chamber, thank goodness—suggested that air quality inside a smoker’s car was comparable to industrial smog in cities such as Beijing or Moscow, even when the driver has the window open. Are we seriously suggesting that children and young people should be subjected to air quality which is akin to that in Beijing or Moscow? Of course, we are not. Research by Aberdeen University found that 7% of 11 year-olds experience smoking in cars. That is why I am pleased that one of my colleagues in Scotland, the Liberal Democrat MSP, Jim Hume, is introducing a Private Member’s Bill looking at safeguarding children by banning smoking in cars. That is now going out to public consultation.

I end by making two further brief points. It is easy to find all sorts of reasons why you cannot do something. We could ask, “What about cars that are convertible? What about yachts? What about this? What about that?”. However, if you believe in something and think that it is right, you get on and do it. My only regret regarding the amendment is that it was initially an all-party amendment. When I listen to the news, I hear that it is a Labour initiative. I am sorry that it has been politicised and has become a party-political issue; I hoped that it would not be.

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The noble Lord has made an impassioned speech. My understanding was that the original cross-party amendment had been degrouped and would be taken only late at night. I therefore brought forward this amendment to enable the House to make a decision. I agree with him about the cross-party nature of the debate.

Lord Storey: I respect what the noble Lord says and thank him for it.

The Minister is a listening Minister. I hope that he will reflect on what has been said and accept the amendment because it is important to take the whole House with him on issues such as this. I hope that he will look again at continuing the advertising campaign but, perhaps more importantly, that he will consider a review of this issue so that we can go forward on it together.

Lord Scott of Foscote: My Lords, I wish to add a word on the amendment about smoking in cars when children are present. I do not wish to say anything about standardised packaging because I thoroughly support the amendment on that. However, so far as smoking is concerned, the support for the relevant amendment is focused on smoking in motor cars. However, that is not what the amendment says. It refers to “a private vehicle”. Motor cars are a very common—perhaps the most common—species of private vehicle, but there are all sorts of other private vehicles that one must take into account as well. The word “drives”, commonly used in relation to motor vehicles, comes from the driving of carriages and ponies and traps. Suppose that somebody has a pony and trap, and has a child in the trap, why on earth should he or she not smoke? If this amendment were confined

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simply to motor cars, I would have no objection to it at all; indeed, I think that I would support it. However, in relation to all private vehicles, it simply goes too far. I do not believe that was intended and I think the wording should be modified accordingly.

Lord Stoddart of Swindon: My Lords, I think the score is about 10 or 11 to one in favour of the amendments. I will be the second noble Lord to speak against both amendments. I shall take a little while to do so.

Noble Lords: Oh!

Lord Stoddart of Swindon: If we consider this in terms of the time given to the “fors” and the “againsts”, as I have already said, it is about 11 to one, and it is going to be about 11 to two. I intend to make the points that I intended to make before this debate started.

First, I declare my interest. I am an associate member of the Lords and Commons Pipe and Cigar Smokers’ Club. I am an associate member because I do not smoke, but I believe that users of a legal product should be allowed to enjoy it without continuous harassment by government and an army of lobbyists such as ASH, which is subsidised, and the BMA. Smokers, unfortunately, are treated as social lepers, although let us not forget that they contribute some £10.5 billion per annum to the Treasury. If they are such lepers, perhaps we should not accept their money.

In my view, the amendment of the noble Earl, Lord Howe, is perhaps one of the most extreme Henry VIII pieces of legislation that I have ever seen, and I am sorry to see that it is in his name. I want to take the House back in history to 4 February 2009. Let us hear what the noble Earl said then, when we were discussing the ban on tobacco displays:

“The Bill’s proposals to outlaw point-of-sale displays of tobacco products are unjustified and repressive. The evidence to back them up is flimsy, and the data has been hyped. In 2002, when tobacco advertising was banned, the Government said that they had no plans to interfere with the right of retailers to display a perfectly legal product in shops. We must be absolutely sure of our ground before removing that right”.—[Official Report, 4/2/09; col. 749.]

I believe that the noble Earl was right then and is wrong today because he is going further than the previous Government dared to do. Not only have we banned the display of cigarette packets and what have you but now plain packaging will be banned as well, and that seems quite an absurdity.

The new clause proposed in Amendment 57B is so detailed as to be almost incomprehensible. The Government are now proposing to intervene in the nooks and crannies of design and, indeed, even in the fabric of cigarette and other tobacco packets. There are 19 ways in which the Government are going to intervene and tell the tobacco manufacturers how they can display their products. That, I believe, is going much too far. In passing, I suppose that I ought to note that the display legislation is not yet fully operative—small retailers will not be banned from displaying these products until 2015. So here we are, before the

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ban even comes into force, going even further than the previous Government did, which at the time the noble Earl, Lord Howe, opposed.

We have heard a lot in the past few days about cutting regulation but the Government are also increasing regulation, of which this amendment is the nastiest example. I do not have time to go into the complete detail, although I should go through the whole amendment but I will not.

5.45 pm

Whether these measures will discourage young people from taking up smoking is doubtful. Youngsters take up smoking for a whole range of reasons, not just because of the packaging. There is no real evidence that plain packaging will prevent youngsters starting to smoke. There has been no proper consultation about it. Indeed, we were informed by the noble Earl that there will not be any consultation on this matter. This proposal will set a precedent for other products, such as alcohol, sweets and products containing sugar, and fatty foods that are causing an obesity crisis which is costing the health service even more than smoking. I certainly oppose the government amendment.

As I pointed out earlier, I am surprised that smoking in private vehicles is being discussed with plain packaging. It is a completely different issue which should be discussed separately. We are saying that children will be at risk from second-hand smoke but surely noble Lords realise that a car must have air input and output. PN10s from diesel and petrol fumes pass through cars. Therefore, children in cars ingest dangerous fumes even where there is no smoking. What are we going to do? Are we going to ban cars from the road? It really is quite ridiculous.

Furthermore, it will be very difficult to enforce this type of legislation. We are not yet able properly to enforce not using mobile phones in moving vehicles. Anyone who travels along a motorway knows perfectly well that practically every lorry driver is using a mobile phone, yet we know that very few of them are prosecuted, let alone fined, for doing so. Enforcement will be extremely difficult.

What will be the next step? People against smoking will not stop at smoking in cars. They will want to stop smoking in homes where there are children. Noble Lords will say that that will not happen but there have already been proposals to do that. That would be an amazing interference in people’s lives. I am against the extension of bans on smoking. Let me add that I was born in south Wales in the Rhondda Valley, in a small three-bedroom terraced house. My sister and I lived with our parents and grandparents. My step-grandfather, grandmother, mother and father smoked. I have to say that it has not done me very much damage. In May, I shall be 88 years of age.

People may well think that I have gone on too long. However, what has certainly not done me any damage was the fact that the whole of my family smoked, as indeed did most people in the Rhondda, because that was the only thing that could relieve the awfulness of the slums and unemployment that they were suffering at that time. I am sorry that these amendments have been tabled. I know that if there is a vote we shall be very heavily outvoted, but we shall see.

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Lord Walton of Detchant (CB): My Lords, different views have been expressed by a number of noble Lords and I shall speak very briefly. The accumulated evidence relating to plain packaging of cigarettes that has arisen over the past few years is incontrovertible, and for that reason the Government’s amendment is extremely welcome.

So far as smoking in cars is concerned, there is no doubt whatever that passive smoking is extremely dangerous. The concentration of the effects of passive smoking within an enclosed space such as a motor car is particularly dangerous for children. Again, the medical evidence on this is incontrovertible. The point made by my noble and learned friend Lord Scott, on the issue of people smoking in a pony and trap, is an interesting one but could readily be dealt with by regulations under the amendment to restrict the provisions to enclosed motor cars and so forth.

I listened exceptionally carefully to the very erudite and persuasive speech by the noble Lord, Lord Cormack, whose views I normally fully support and accept. Unlike him, who was disgusted by smoking two Woodbines behind the bike sheds, I first smoked a Woodbine in a mining village in County Durham at the age of 10 and I enjoyed it. By the time I was a teenager, I was a regular smoker. When I was in the Army in the late 1940s as second in command of a hospital ship, I could get a can of 50 Senior Service for one shilling and eight pence, which lasted me two days, so I was a heavy smoker. It took me a long time to get over it.

The question I would put to the noble Lord and the noble Earl is this: the noble Lord, Lord Cormack, took a great deal of time to talk about the difficulty of policing this amendment if it were carried into law. But is it any more difficult for the police to recognise someone smoking in a vehicle containing children than it is to recognise someone who is not wearing a seatbelt or using a mobile phone illegally? I do not believe that it is. For that reason, I support the amendment.

Baroness Hughes of Stretford (Lab): My Lords, this has been an important but very long debate. However, my name is attached to three of the amendments in the group and I beg the indulgence of the House to make a few comments in, I hope, concluding the debate before the Minister responds. I want to thank the Minister in particular for his role in responding to the widespread support for standardised packaging within and beyond the House. The crucial role that he personally played in the Government conceding on this measure is recognised across the House. I am also grateful for his commitment on the record today that it is the Government’s clear intention to implement these measures as soon as possible, subject to the outcome of the evidential review. I hope that he can further confirm that the action will follow very swiftly in response to the questions raised by my noble friend Lord Hunt and the noble Baroness, Lady Howarth, about the timetable.

The Government’s intention to bring forward at Third Reading measures to ban proxy purchasing of cigarettes and e-cigarettes, taken together with this amendment on standardised packaging, will make a significant difference to the exposure to and take-up

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of cigarettes by young people. However, there is one other distinct and significant health hazard to children from smoking that we should include in this package of measures, and that is in relation to smoking in private vehicles and enclosed vehicles.

Our Amendment 57BB would simply enable the Government to bring forward regulations to make it an offence to expose children to tobacco smoke in cars, once the Government, with others, had reviewed the detailed implications and practicalities that such a measure would entail. That process of review and developing regulations would take account of all the questions raised across the House today about what if, would it mean this and would it mean that. It is an enabling amendment.