My Lords, I think I said on Report that I felt really sorry for the Minister having to respond, because it is clearly not an easy clause or schedule to respond to. There is absolutely no rationale to it whatever. The fact is that whatever the Minister has been told to say, this is a much more protracted procedure than is going to go ahead nationwide. Most local authorities will deal sympathetically with people who make a mistake by putting something out in a way that they should not. As I understand it, it does not require another offence to trigger the next stage. It can be the same offence that has not been acknowledged —so the warning of an offence, then a letter of intent, then perhaps a penalty charge notice, then an appeal, then to a tribunal, because under the England procedures you can continue on down the line. I totally fail to understand why London should be encumbered with this.
I did not make the point in my opening remarks about the level of the penalty. I worry that this is being presented by the Minister as a penalty appropriate to shoplifting. In London the penalty for this offence, as he has rightly said, would be in the region of £130, but then so is a parking ticket. London is a bit more expensive in what it does and a shoplifter would probably go to court anyway rather than have a penalty charge notice. Indeed, if people spit chewing gum on to the pavement, we are still looking at the same sort of penalties.
I think this is a daft bit of legislation and I wish to test the opinion of the House.