Clause 27 - Charge on applicants for licences etc.

Consumer Credit Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:00 pm on 25 January 2005.

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

Photo of Laurence Robertson Laurence Robertson Shadow Minister (Treasury)

How will the charges for licences be set? It is not entirely clear. What right of appeal would applicants have?  

Photo of Gerry Sutcliffe Gerry Sutcliffe Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Trade and Industry) (Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs)

Licence applicants will be required to pay a charge towards the OFT's costs of carrying out its functions, which is the case under the current system. Payment will be required on application and periodically after that—probably every five years. The OFT will issue a general notice setting out the level of the charges. It is likely that the charge will increase from its current level. The provision is subject to full consultation, and approval of the Secretary of State and the Treasury will be required before charges are set.

The OFT may set licence charges according to the category or subcategory of activity entered into, and those will reflect the cost of monitoring. Very narrow licences may attract a reduced charge, and licences in high-risk sectors may attract a higher charge. Some types of licences will not attract an application or maintenance charge. The increased charge will fund more effective monitoring of licensees, ensuring that they remain fit to hold their licences. Monitoring will include visits to business premises where appropriate. The charges will enable the OFT to use the additional powers that the Bill provides to investigate applicants and licensees. I hope that that was the explanation that the hon. Gentleman required.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 27 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 28 ordered to stand part of the Bill.