Enterprise Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:45 pm on 15th October 2002.

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Photo of Lord Phillips of Sudbury Lord Phillips of Sudbury Liberal Democrat 5:45 pm, 15th October 2002

My Lords, I am grateful for the Minister's response. I believe that there is a difference here. I believe that a great deal of the value judgments that have to be made even within the framework of the Bill involve decisions that are not purely economic. The notion of fair trade, for example, is not based on a purely economic concept but on the concept of what is fair. There is no way round that problem. The Minister suggests that by introducing concepts of social community and environmental awareness, one is opening a Pandora's box. First, that is not the case as I have used only those three adjectives in the amendment. Secondly, I agree with the noble Baroness, Lady Howe, that any education, whether offered by the OFT or anyone else, that disregards that matrix of considerations is doomed to failure because it will not achieve its purpose.

I am a little surprised that the Government are not happy to accept the amendment as I believe that it would enforce the work of the OFT. Finally, it does not extend the scope of the OFT; it simply states that if the OFT is to engage in education as opposed to giving information or advice, it must do so in a broader context. Therefore, I wish to seek the opinion of the House.