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Clause 2 — Duty to prevent sunbed use by children

Part of Prayers – in the House of Commons at 12:30 pm on 12th March 2010.

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Photo of Mark Simmonds Mark Simmonds Shadow Minister (Health) 12:30 pm, 12th March 2010

My hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch is right in saying that the additional burden specified in the regulatory impact assessment is only £88,000 for the whole of England and Wales. I expressed concern about that figure on Second Reading and in Committee. We must ensure that it is monitored carefully. It would be helpful if the Minister confirmed that it really is so low, given that it relates to an additional responsibility for staff in local authorities throughout the country who already have other responsibilities. Enforcement is key to the success of the Bill.

I do not agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch about the penalties. I think it important to provide for significant penalties that will act as a deterrent. However, my hon. Friend made a good point about the burden of proof, and about people who are not knowingly in breach of the provisions. It would also be helpful if the Minister made it clear that the £20,000 figure is a ceiling rather than a fixed penalty, and also that it will probably apply to repeat offenders only. As my hon. Friend said, it is a significant amount. We do not want genuine, responsible sunbed operators to be deterred from entering the market and operating within the legislative structure that we are creating. Some of them operate on very slim margins.