Clause 12 - Enforcement

Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:30 am on 8 February 2001.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Caroline Spelman Caroline Spelman Shadow Spokesperson (Health)

We are keen to discuss the clause because it relates to a completely different subject. Having arrived in the Committee at this stage, Mrs. Adams, you could not know that we have had no discussion on enforcement and have saved all our points on it for this debate.

Enforcement is an important area. We share the Government's aim of trying to reduce smoking. We have our doubts about the Bill's effectiveness given that there is no effective control over the volume of smuggled tobacco coming into the UK. None the less, the enforcement authorities will be required to put the Bill into effect, and even its limited effectiveness will depend greatly on those authorities. It seems perfectly reasonable, therefore, to ask the Minister what the Government intend in terms of allocating resources to the weights and measures authorities in England, Wales and Scotland and to district councils in Northern Ireland so that they are able to enforce the Act. We have not raised that question before and now is the right time to do so.

When the Act comes into effect, it will be bound to create many cases, at least initially, that need investigation by the relevant enforcement authority. The Bill represents a big shift in practice as regards the currently quite legitimate advertising of tobacco products. Those who engage in the trade of buying and selling tobacco products and their accessories will have to adapt to a new situation in which it is no longer legal to advertise those tobacco products. During the earlier stages of the Commiteee, we sought on a number of occasions to clarify precisely what is an advertisement and what is a display, and we are going to receive some clarification on the latter point when we debate new clause 3.

There will undeniably be a transitional period during which those involved in the trade will try to adjust to the new law and work out precisely what it means for them. A lot of specific guidance has still to be given in regulations; effectively, we have an empty box into which the regulations have still to be placed. I have been very concerned that a number of small commercial entities that trade tobacco products, such as specialist tobacconists and corner shops in which 50 per cent. of the product is tobacco, may find themselves in the difficult position of having to go to court to clarify whether they are trading legitimately once the Act bans tobacco advertising.

The up-front cost to the weights and measures authorities concerns me. It would be extremely helpful to those who trade in tobacco products to have the assistance of the authorities in clarifying, in the early stages, precisely what the regulations mean. We cannot give any guidance because we have not seen the regulations, which will not be set out in the Bill. The rule of the enforcement authorities will be very important, and I am aware, from other Bills that have gone through this House and passed into law over the past four years, that we are expecting a lot of extra work from weights and measures authorities in England, Wales and Scotland and from our district councils.

The resourcing of the authorities is pertinent. We share an interest with the Government in that we want to ensure that those who will be affected by the Bill should have proper guidance, part of which will undoubtedly be provided by the weights and measures officers.

Why will Ministers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland be able to take over enforcement functions in some cases? Is that because no extra resources are being allocated to the weights and measures authorities in England and Wales? Is that the intention of the Minister's Department, given that a lot of up-front effort will be needed to get across the change in commercial practice that the Bill requires? What is the rationale behind that provision? Does the Department take the pessimistic view that the authorities are likely to fail in their task, and that the Department will need to be able to take over those powers if weights and measures authorities protest either that they do not have the required resources, or are not capable in some way.

The Local Government Act 1999 provides, in a similar way, for the Government to step in where local authorities fail to perform particular tasks, as properly measured. Does the Minister agree that it is important for the weights and measures authorities to know the circumstances in which her Department might muscle in and take over. That could be demoralising to someone who has been carrying out a new task in trying to bring about a change in commercial practice by stemming tobacco advertising and who suddenly finds that it has been taken out of his or her responsibilities. That could lead a local authority to think that it had not done well in the task, and was being criticised. It is important to spell out for everyone's sake, the circumstances in which the Department would take over responsibility.

Does the provision have anything to do with taking a case through to prosecution? Is some sort of two-tier role in operation, under which weights and measures authorities may check on where there may be a breach of the law, but the Department take over because of the cost of going to court and prosecuting. I am interested to know the rationale behind the provision.

Photo of Mr Ian Bruce Mr Ian Bruce Conservative, South Dorset 9:45, 8 February 2001

My hon. Friend touches on cost, but the Bill puts a duty on every local authority—every district council—to be an enforcement authority. There is no requirement for the Minister take the costs off the local authorities, which must bear the costs, unless the Minister decides to take over.

Photo of Caroline Spelman Caroline Spelman Shadow Spokesperson (Health)

I thank my hon. Friend for that intervention. At the moment, local councils are of the opinion that more and more is being foisted on them, without the necessary resources. I am not making any sort of spending commitment by saying that resources are needed for enforcement. Health has had a large increase in funding, which we have said that we will match. Within that increase in funding, it should, logically, be possible to allocate the resources appropriate to making a Bill work.

I should be interested to hear from the Minister how the provision will work in practice. We need to understand aspects of enforcement application before we can judge whether we think that the Bill will be effective.

Photo of Kevin Barron Kevin Barron Labour, Rother Valley

I welcome you to the Chair, Mrs. Adams, on this last day of our proceedings. On enforcement, may I first say to the hon. Member for Meridian that it is not exactly true that the Bill represents a big shift in what trading standards officers have to do, or that it creates is a completely new situation. The so-called voluntary codes have to be policed somehow, and policing fell on many occasions to local authorities trading standards departments.

In 1994, it was decided to take tobacco advertising off shop-fronts, where it was soon replaced by Coca Cola adverts as far as I can remember. It was also decided to remove tobacco advertising from billposters in close proximity to schools. There is evidence, therefore, that some local authorities have acted as a type of police to ensure that the voluntary codes were adhered to.

As regards enforcement, the contents of the clause are not dissimilar to those in the Food Standards Act 1999. I chaired the pre-legislative Select Committee that considered that Act before its Second Reading. We took a great deal of evidence from different parts of the country from trading standards officers—or weights and measures, as the hon. Lady calls them. Different parts of the country have different forms of enforcement in relation to foods standards. It was quite clear that what was needed in that Act—I suspect that this is also the reason for provision in the Bill before us—was a power for someone to be able to take over if it were found that the trading standards authority, or other relevant local organisation, was not capable of doing a job that would give meaning to the Act in their particular area.

Photo of Caroline Spelman Caroline Spelman Shadow Spokesperson (Health)

May I put it on record that my constituency is not ``Meridian'' but Meriden, lest I should be confused with the television company? That is quite important in view of the matters that we have just discussed.

I, too, served on the Committee that dealt with the Foods Standards Bill, and I clearly remember that, it spelled out the circumstances in which the enforcement authority could be supplanted by another authority. If a local authority was failing to perform its role of enforcement, it could be superseded. The difference is that the circumstances in which that could happen were spelled out in that Act, but are not in this Bill.

Photo of Kevin Barron Kevin Barron Labour, Rother Valley

I apologise for getting the hon. Lady's constituency name wrong. I think that I was talking about clause 11 at the time, which is about television. It is not unusual for members of the Committee to talk about one clause when they are supposed to be discussing another one entirely.

I agree, to some extent, with the hon. Lady. The Foods Standards Act was about policing. The other side of the coin is that the clause before us does contain powers. I have a question for my hon. Friend the Minister about subsection (5). Members may have noted recently, in the national media, the prosecution of people who were selling unfit poultry meat. Some of them went to prison, and rightly so. That prosecution effectively started in my own Rotherham borough. The trading standards authorities went to the south coast at some stage to take evidence and interview people in, I think, Brighton.

That was clearly a national scandal, and the cost of the investigation has been horrendous. Meetings have taken place between the authorities and central Government, but the costs of that investigation all fell on Rotherham metropolitan borough council. The investigation cost hundreds of thousands of pounds and was clearly national in nature. If it happened again, unless the rules were changed and money found to pay for such an investigation, authorities might be dissuaded from becoming involved in gathering evidence and prosecuting people who are breaking the law.

I would like to ask my hon. Friend whether subsection (5) will help with that? Investigations and proceedings in cases of breaches can be massively expensive. Would that be taken into account? That would clearly be an improvement on the provisions of the Foods Standards Act 1999, which were simply about making sure that local authorities, or whoever was responsible, were policing the food chain correctly.

Photo of Mr Ian Bruce Mr Ian Bruce Conservative, South Dorset

It seems that we may all be voting against the clause. I am only too pleased once again to support the hon. Gentleman, even though he did not support his own argument last time we had a vote. The hon. Gentleman briefly mentioned the fact that trading standards is now the correct name for what old-fashioned people like me call the weights and measures authorities. The Committee will be pleased at his expertise, but is the Bill faulty? Is there no such thing as a weights and measures authority any more?

Photo of Kevin Barron Kevin Barron Labour, Rother Valley

The hon. Gentleman will have to ask the parliamentary draughtsman about that. I use the phrase ``trading standards'' because that is what we have in our borough. Different parts of the country may have something else, and I am no expert on local government in Wales or Northern Ireland. I cannot really answer the hon. Gentleman's question.

The hon. Gentleman invites me to vote against the clause, and I am not surprised that he wants to do so. If a Bill is not enforced, it becomes a non-Bill, and, given that the Tories tabled an amendment declining to give the Bill a Second Reading, I am not at all surprised to hear that they want to try again to kill the Bill. At each sitting, Opposition Members have said that there are loopholes in the Bill and that it will never be possible to enforce it. If that were the case, why would they want to vote against any part of it? The Opposition should be completely in favour of it.

Photo of Kevin Barron Kevin Barron Labour, Rother Valley

I am going to sit down. I am not against debate, but I would like to move on because I have other things to say later.

Photo of Mr Ian Bruce Mr Ian Bruce Conservative, South Dorset

Strangely, we have had a really useful contribution from the hon. Gentleman, who pointed out yet another loophole in the Bill, but when we suggest that he helps us to force the Government to return with a clause that would deal with his concerns, he immediately replies, ``No, no, no. Let the Government carry on, let them be condemned by their own folly.''

I am concerned about the clause, which contains many loopholes and reasons why the Bill will not work. The hon. Gentleman again misunderstands me. He was a co-signatory of my early-day motion when I tried to ban tobacco. I no longer feel that that is the right way forward—voluntary action would be better. We have to ask how the Bill's provisions will be enforced. The nub of the Bill is the enforcement of a set of rules and regulations that the Government have decided to introduce. It was extraordinary to discover from the expert who last discussed trading standards that weights and measures authorities apparently no longer exist. Does that mean that I shall be out of order if I discuss weights and measures authorities? I believe that my three district councils are responsible for that.

Most of the advertising that concerns us appears in the national press, the enforcement authority for which is provided by the Broadcasting Acts. It may be, however, that tobacco companies could decide to put a big advert on the side of their lorries. Those lorries are driven from one end of the country to the other on a regular basis, passing though every district council area in the country. That would mean that all those district councils had a duty to prosecute that company. If The Daily Telegraph is delivered in every district authority area in the country, and someone has placed something that looks like a tobacco advertisement in the newspaper, all local authorities would have a duty to prosecute.

That is a ridiculous situation. If a local tobacconist sets up an advertisement that it has paid for, one could say that there would be some purpose in asking the local trading standards office to warn that individual. That is usually the sensible solution: the authority tells the person that he is breaking the law, and normally the individual would remove the advertisement. It may be, however, that the individual says, ``No, I have read the Bill carefully, and I have been advised by the tobacco company that what I am doing is legal, and you are going to have to prosecute me individually.'' In that case, no special funding route has been set out to enable each local authority to prosecute such cases.

We should compare the situation with the weights and measures case that we have just had in the north-east. A man who wants to weigh bananas in pounds and ounces because his customers ask him to do so is being prosecuted—despite the Minister saying, ``Oh no, no, we wouldn't prosecute somebody just for responding to a consumer''. I understand that it has cost at least £200,000 to date to prosecute that individual for selling a few bananas to someone who asked for them in pounds rather than kilograms. That seems bonkers, but it is the mechanism that we are being asked to approve. I am being asked to say to all three weights and measures authorities, which is what they are called now, in my constituency—[Interruption.] I will give way to hon. Members who clearly want to make a speech. Or perhaps they do not.

Those three authorities in my constituency, and all the 100 or more local authorities throughout the country, must get on and start prosecuting. If the enforcement authority says, ``Look, we're strapped for cash at the moment, as all local authorities are,'' and councillors say to their enforcement officers, ``You may have a duty to prosecute, but if you expect us to keep piling money into your budget, you've got another think coming,'' how will the Government force them to police every individual advertisement or suggestion of an advertisement and challenge it in the local courts? It is nonsensical to set that down as a duty. The clause does not say that the enforcement authority may take action; it states that the authority has an absolute duty to take action. The relevant Government Department, whichever Department it is—I will come to that in a moment—does not have a duty to prosecute. It may decide to come in and take over or, if it wishes, prosecute a certain class of advertisement centrally. We are being asked to allow the clause to go through without being told what the Government intend to do. Regulations may already exist in draft form, setting out that any case covering more than one local authority will be picked up and paid for by a central prosecuting authority.

If an authority is to take action, someone has to decide who will pay for that. I cannot see my tiny authorities of Weymouth and Portland, Purbeck and West Dorset, which have tiny amounts of money, agreeing to pay. The recent case in the north-east cost £200,000, which to my authorities is a significant amount. The Government have taken over the banana-measuring case. I am sure that my councillors, of all political persuasions, wish to reduce tobacco consumption, but they would not incur the risk of spending hundreds of thousands of pounds in court costs for a test case on behalf of the Government. The Minister needs to tell us how the clause will operate.

Subsection (3) refers to an ``appropriate Minister''. Who is an appropriate Minister? It is not defined in the clause. I would be grateful for a signal on that.

Photo of Mr Ian Bruce Mr Ian Bruce Conservative, South Dorset

I am shocked by the situation that will now exist. Every morning, officials in the Department of Health will have to check what is happening in consumer affairs, which are already monitored by the Department of Trade and Industry. An extra department or section of the Department of Health will have to be set up specifically to deal with tobacco advertising. That seems extraordinary. If that is joined-up government, give me silo government.

Photo of Caroline Spelman Caroline Spelman Shadow Spokesperson (Health)

The example of the Food Standards Agency has already been evoked. My hon. Friend did not serve on the Committee that considered the Food Standards Bill. It may help him to know that a piggyback arrangement, under which someone looks over the shoulder of the people who are carrying out the enforcement role, operates under that legislation. Initially, health enforcement officers from the local authority carry out an investigation, and the FSA enforcement officers look over their shoulders. It is quite a heavy structure.

Photo of Mr Ian Bruce Mr Ian Bruce Conservative, South Dorset

I am grateful for that intervention. I apologise to the Committee for not having read sufficiently through the Bill, but I am even more concerned now that we have identified who will be responsible. I thought that the appropriate Minister would simply refer to an appropriate Minister in a Department that had monitoring arrangements in place, rather than to the Secretary of State for Health, who is a pretty busy man already.

Photo of David Taylor David Taylor Labour/Co-operative, North West Leicestershire

The hon. Gentleman seems concerned about the possible appointment of extra staff in the Department of Health or elsewhere to monitor the compliance of advertising agencies and others with the proposed legislation. The Government estimate that about 2.5 per cent. of the 120,000 premature smoking-related deaths a year—about 3,000 lives—could be prevented. Does the hon. Gentleman not agree that it is worth appointing a few civil servants to achieve that?

Photo of Mr Ian Bruce Mr Ian Bruce Conservative, South Dorset

If a single life can be saved, that must be done. Clearly, we want to spend the money saving lives, but I am not dealing with that point. I thought that the hon. Gentleman would accept that I was asking who would be responsible for enforcement. I discovered that the Department of Health would be responsible, but it does not have the necessary mechanisms. It has controls in that it looks at what the British Medical Association does and various other matters. The Secretary of State for Health is constantly bombarded with various important issues relating to people's health—such as drugs, the Alder Hey problem and so on—and of course he is a very suitable person to deal with such matters.

We are trying to determine who would be an appropriate Minister to keep an eye on what happens. There is a consumer affairs department within the DTI. I thought that it would be perfectly normal for that department to consider matters involving weights and measures—but apparently not. If I were a weights and measures or trading standards officer at a district council and I was concerned about what my duties were, I should be able to look to a single Department within Government. That is what joined-up government is about. I should be able to say, ``That is the lead Minister for me in my job.'' I should not have to go round with all the individual Acts of Parliament under my arm to ensure that what I did complied with those Acts, policed by individual Secretaries of State.

Photo of David Taylor David Taylor Labour/Co-operative, North West Leicestershire

I understand the hon. Gentleman's point, which is reasonable. On a point of correction, trading standards functions are carried out by county authorities and city authorities, not by district councils. Therefore, they probably will have the resources to undertake the role in a satisfactory fashion. I hope that, when my hon. Friend the Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron) speaks to his new clause 2, he will see the merits of making that authority responsible for tackling the weaknesses that he flags up. I am sympathetic to that.

Photo of Mr Ian Bruce Mr Ian Bruce Conservative, South Dorset

I would certainly be pleased to take advice. I have asked my colleagues which authorities deal with such matters. I have seen confusion in the past about whether it is the district or county authority, but we are still talking about a large number of authorities. In Dorset there are in effect three county authorities. There are two metropolitan councils, one in Poole and one in Bournemouth and there is a third council for rural Dorset, which includes my constituency.

It is interesting that a group of us in the Committee are struggling to work out whether the relevant authority is still called the weights and measures authority or the trading standards authority and which is responsible for enforcement. Imagine what the public will think when they want to know whom to contact about a problem with tobacco advertising.

Getting back to the point about which Minister is the ``appropriate Minister'', I rather suspect that people who feel that some terrible tobacco company is trying to get round the advertising ban will contact the DTI because it deals with trade and industry, consumer affairs and so on. That would be incorrect.

One of the problems that arises when one says that the funding is with the local authority is how it gets that funding. The money going to local authorities generally comes from the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions; not much money comes from the Department of Health. The mechanisms are getting confused because social services are funded partly by the health budget. Those are complications that we should understand when we discuss the clause. We must ensure that we get clarity.

I know that Labour Members are keen to ensure that this is a workable Bill. What will happen when an officer from their trading authorities contacts them to say, ``You were on that Committee. I've just realised that we've got to have an extra body to deal with this. Can you contact the Government and get the funding?'' I am sure that they will have to ask to whom they should write to get the additional funding. The appropriate Minister is at the Department of Health, but I do not think that the Department of Health has a budget to send down to the trading standards people in whatever local authority it is. The clause is creating further confusion about the way in which these things should be funded.

Subsection (5) enables the Secretary of State to take over proceedings. When a local authority is faced with activities that are clearly not only local, but of a wider nature, we should not just have the Secretary of State saying, ``Well, I have plenty of money at the Department of Health and I do not need to buy any new cancer drugs so I will come and take over the prosecution and spend £200,000 on the activities of that tobacconist.'' We should tell the Department of the Health that if that is what it wants, it should take over prosecutions in specified circumstances, not that it may do so. Passing the buck is not the right way to proceed here.

Subsection (7) brings us to the magistrates courts. I am sure that hon. Members can tell me the sort of penalties that could be imposed. I assume that offences will be triable within a magistrates court and that the fines and penalties should be fairly minimal. If a major tobacco company has spent a lot of money on an advert that we think is caught by the Bill and a local authority says that it is aware of its duty to act, it is strange that the case is simply triable within a magistrates court with no jury.

I am not an expert in what happens when cases move up from magistrates courts to the Crown court, but the Minister owes it to the Committee to explain how a major multi-million pound campaign—£100 million is spent on promoting tobacco products in this country—will be affected by the legislation. There will be attempts to find loopholes. Local authorities may be prepared to carry out their duty and spend ratepayers' money on taking a case to court, but the magistrates will be able to inflict only three months in jail or whatever maximum penalty such a court can apply. Will the Minister explain exactly how the provisions will operate? Will the hundreds of thousands of pounds that a local authority might have to pay to bring cases to court be commensurate with the penalties that could be imposed?

Photo of Yvette Cooper Yvette Cooper The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health 10:15, 8 February 2001

I am surprised that we have taken up so much time debating this clause, which is pretty standard stuff. It sets out which bodies and which Ministers are responsible. If the hon. Member for South Dorset had bothered to read the Bill, his comments might have been substantially shorter. The clause reflects the work of local trading standards officers who enforce consumer protection or under-age sales provisions. Nothing weird is going on. The clause is completely in tune with the work of trading standards officers, who are properly defined and know exactly who they are.

Photo of Mr Ian Bruce Mr Ian Bruce Conservative, South Dorset

The hon. Lady adopts the terminology of trading standards, but it is not in the Bill. What explains the switch from her terminology to what is in the Bill?

Photo of Yvette Cooper Yvette Cooper The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

The language in the Bill is perfectly appropriate to identify the precise organisations and agencies that will be responsible for carrying out the provisions. ``Trading standards officers'' is a broad term to encompass the relevant authorities. It is sensible. There is no confusion. As I said, trading standards officers know exactly who they are and exactly what they will have to enforce. It is set out in the Bill. Opposition Members are wasting time over straightforward matters. If they had bothered to talk to local trading standards officers, they would realise that the provisions are no big deal.

Photo of Mr Ian Bruce Mr Ian Bruce Conservative, South Dorset

The Minister continues to talk about trading standards officers, but they are not specified in the Bill. Trading standards officers are simply not described. The clause refers to the weights and measures authority, which is not the same terminology. A local authority worried about having to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds might well say, ``We are not a weights and measures authority. That is fine. We can shrug our shoulders; there is nobody to enforce the Act.''

Photo of Yvette Cooper Yvette Cooper The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

The enforcement authorities know exactly who they are. They are properly defined in the Bill. I am trying not to waste the Committee's time by listing them every single time that I refer to trading standards officers. Clause 12(1) expressly states that ``enforcement authority'' means:

``(a) in England and Wales, a weights and measures authority;

(b) in Scotland, a local weights and measures authoritiy; and

(c) in Northern Ireland, a district council.''

If I have to refer to that every time that I mention trading standards officers, the Committee's debate on the clause will take even longer than it has already. I am trying to move the Committee on to substantive issues.

Legitimate questions were asked about resources. The Department of Health will fund the training of local authority enforcement officers. Resources for enforcement will be allocated in the usual way—through the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions.

Hon. Members asked whether the Bill would result in a huge number of investigations and prosecutions. I remind the Committee that the approach of trading standards officers is first to draw attention to offences and then to educate to prevent or end offences in the simplest, swiftest way. Prosecution is not trading standards officers' first action; court proceedings are the last resort. The Local Authorities Co-ordinating body on Food and Trading Standards has discussed the issue with the Department and much of what is proposed will fit well into its existing work to prevent under-age sales, especially in the light of the new enforcement protocol that has been drawn up to tackle that problem.

The clause will allow Ministers to take on a prosecution to enforce the measure, but we would not normally expect that to happen, as we have great confidence in the local trading standards authorities' ability to monitor and to prosecute under the terms of the Bill. However, it is appropriate for the Secretary of State or the Minister to have the power to prosecute in an especially costly and complicated case which requires lots of evidence. It is hard to envisage such a case, but it might be one that involves brand sharing or a related matter. However, it is important for that power to be in the Bill to ensure that it is properly enforced when, for example, there is a complicated and costly prosecution that might be difficult for a local trading standards organisation to pursue.

Photo of Mr Ian Bruce Mr Ian Bruce Conservative, South Dorset

From what the Minister is saying, it appears that she did not include in the list of matters that the Secretary of State would normally take over, something that covers the whole country, which I assumed would have been included in the regulations. If we are talking about advertisements in national newspapers it would be extremely difficult for a local authority to say, ``We're going to spend our money on The Daily Telegraph advertising'' for example, when that clearly covers the whole country. I would have assumed that the Government had a mechanism to pick that up.

Photo of Yvette Cooper Yvette Cooper The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

Individual cases would need to be considered on their merits, but we do not expect the Bill to result in huge numbers of prosecutions. The tobacco industry has told us that it intends to comply with the law, and we hope that it will do so. Trading standards officers attempt to resolve an issue, to educate and to draw attention to offences before there is a need to prosecute. The Bill gives the Secretary of State the power to prosecute when it is necessary and the case is complicated or costly. However, we are confident that local trading standards authorities will be perfectly competent and able to implement and enforce the Bill. That is their job and that is what that they will do.

Photo of Caroline Spelman Caroline Spelman Shadow Spokesperson (Health)

Clause 12 is important and I ask the Minister to reconsider it on Report, because it is not just Government Departments and legislators who will have to work with it. If the clause were expressed in the vernacular, everyone who read it might understand it, but ordinary mortals might read it and wonder whether a new weights and measures authority is to come into existence.

Photo of Caroline Spelman Caroline Spelman Shadow Spokesperson (Health)

It is not time-wasting; I am making an important point and it is unnecessary to get frustrated about it.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 12 ordered to stand part of the Bill.