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Consumer Protection (Enforcement) (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 - Motion to Approve

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 8:00 pm on 15th January 2019.

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Photo of Lord Henley Lord Henley Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) 8:00 pm, 15th January 2019

My Lords, I thank both noble Baronesses for their comments, particularly the noble Baroness, Lady Hayter, for reminding me that we would deal again with these matters tomorrow and that I might want to respond more fully at that stage. After considering things overnight, it might be that I deal with just a few more of the noble Baroness’s points in that debate on the report from the Select Committee—a debate which, dare I say it, will happen somewhat later than tonight’s.

The noble Baroness, Lady Burt, raised a number of questions. She started by asking how many statutory instruments were coming from the department, how many were drafted and when she would see the figure. I regret that I do not have the figure in front of me, but I think virtually all of them are now drafted and on their way through the process. I think we will be able to get them ready in time for 29 March. I look forward to discussing those and others with her, the noble Baroness, Lady Hayter, and other noble Lords as they come before us. I will continue to write to the noble Baroness or her noble friend, depending on whether I can work out who is dealing with each SI—but I am sure that they manage to exchange letters perfectly well—just as I wrote on this occasion to the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, who no doubt passed on that letter to the noble Baroness, Lady Hayter.

The noble Baroness asked also about the EU consumer centre and what our plans were. I am grateful to her for repeating what a good job it did and saying that it will continue to operate until March 2020. At this stage, all I can say is that we have made no final decisions, but we will review that over the coming year. Again, I will make sure that the noble Baroness is kept informed in the appropriate manner.

On engagement, I can give the assurance that discussions were held with the Competition and Markets Authority, members of the Consumer Protection Partnership, Which?, MoneySavingExpert, the devolved Administrations, the Government of Gibraltar, the Crown dependencies and other government departments with direct responsibility for the laws in the annexe to the CPC regulation. The related competent authorities were also consulted. That engagement was as wide as is appropriate.

The noble Baroness, Lady Hayter, will be aware that it is not necessary to publish a full impact assessment for this SI because it qualifies for the de minimis exemption. The de minimis exemption from a full impact assessment applies where the expected net direct impact on businesses is no more than £5 million per year. It is also important to note that, in assessing impact, we are considering the effect of the SI in question rather than the wider impacts of EU exit. These regulations are designed to correct the deficiencies in legislation after exit to maintain the status quo as much as possible. Therefore, the expected impacts are small. To form the assessment of likely impacts, the department has engaged in informal partnership with the Consumer Protection Partnership.