Violent Crime Reduction Bill
Lord Bassam of Brighton (Government Whip (technically a Lord in Waiting, HM Household); Labour)
In moving this amendment I will speak also to Amendment No. 108. Amendment No. 107 would insert the order-making power set out in new Section 147A(9) into the list which currently exists in Section 197(3) of the Licensing Act 2003. This is a list of the order-making and regulation-making powers in the 2003 Act that require approval under the affirmative resolution procedure. In other words, any order seeking to increase the maximum fine of £10,000 on conviction for the offence of persistently selling alcohol to children would require the explicit approval of both Houses of Parliament.
However, the insertion is limited by the application of new Section 197(4A) so that an order would not require affirmative approval by each House if any increase related only to inflation. I think this is simply sensible. It would be wrong to trouble the House with a matter as routine as solely inflationary increases. The House would rightly be concerned if any increase related to matters of policy and both Houses would need to give their explicit consent if that were the case.
We are proposing this change in accordance with the recommendation of the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee. The committee was of the opinion that such a power should be exercised only with the explicit approval of the House on each occasion. We are happy to accept the committee's recommendation, subject to the limitation that I have mentioned. We are grateful to the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee for its advice and I am sure that the Committee would want to support it by accepting this amendment.
Amendment No. 108 would insert into Clause 20 a requirement for the Secretary of State to keep under review the effectiveness of the measures in new Sections 147A and 147B and issue an annual report including numbers of convictions, numbers of court orders on convictions suspending premises licences and the Secretary of State's opinion as to the effectiveness of the measures in reducing sales of alcohol to children.
I know that my noble friend has not already spoken to his amendment, but, before he does—