Having been out recently with the environmental protection team at Westminster city council and watched them in action, I can give some comfort to my hon. Friend Philip Davies that these systems, at least in Westminster, work moderately well although, as he rightly says, the test is fairly objective.
My hon. Friend Mike Freer must be the first person to have mentioned Cinderella in such seasonal terms in only the second week of October, but this is a Cinderella department and there will clearly be downward pressure on costs for local authorities, so my slight concern is that what is deemed, rightly in my view, to be a deregulatory measure might end up becoming awfully bureaucratic, particularly if a massive set of appeals procedures are to be put in place. My instinctive view is that, if we are going down that route, we should have a review every six or 12 months. The idea that the well-funded muscle of large operators can overturn a hygiene ruling in such a way is unfavourable and would militate against small, independently owned and family-run establishments that had fallen foul of clauses 8 or 9 when it came to their hygiene regulation in any year.
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