Amendment 4

Part of Online Safety Bill - Committee (2nd Day) – in the House of Lords at 6:30 pm on 25 April 2023.

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Photo of Lord Moylan Lord Moylan Chair, Built Environment Committee, Chair, Built Environment Committee 6:30, 25 April 2023

My Lords, while my noble friend is talking about the possibility of excessive and disproportionate burden on businesses, can I just ask him about the possibility of excessive and disproportionate burden on the regulator? He seems to be saying that Ofcom is going to have to maintain, and keep up to date regularly, 25,000 risk assessments—this is on the Government’s own assessment, produced 15 months ago, of the state of the market then—even if those assessments carried out by Ofcom result in very little consequence for the regulated entity.

We know from regulation in this country that regulators already cannot cope with the burdens placed on them. They become inefficient, sclerotic and unresponsive; they have difficulty in recruiting staff of the same level and skills as the entities that they regulate. We have a Financial Services and Markets Bill going through at the moment, and the FCA is a very good example of that. Do we really think that this is a sensible burden to place on a regulator that is actually able to discharge it?