Clause 51 - Consequential amendments relating to information
Consumer Credit Bill
Gerry Sutcliffe (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs), Department of Trade and Industry; Bradford South, Labour)
This clause makes consequential amendments to the 1974 Act as a result of provisions relating to the provision of information to the Office of Fair Trading. Several information provisions in the Bill require applicants and licensees to notify the OFT if they become aware of errors or omissions in information provided. Applicants and licensees must also notify the OFT if certain documents change or are superseded. The clause inserts new section 7 to the 1974 Act to ensure that, if a licensee knowingly provides any information, not just with an application, that is false or misleading, he commits an offence. However, general clerical errors, which do not affect the applicant’s fitness, do not breach the requirements. The clause also states that the breach of a requirement imposed by clauses 38 and 39 and certain information provisions inserted by clauses 45 to 47 will not trigger OFT’s powers under section 162 of the 1974 Act.
Any power in the Act to require that information shall be produced also includes the power to take copies of the information. The clause gives the power to an enforcement officer to require an explanation of any information he requires. It makes clear that the information powers in the 1974 Act do not override legal professional privilege. Criminal liability under section 165 for giving false information or assistance to investigating officers will also not be triggered by breach of the new information requirement provisions. I commend the clause to the Committee.