Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Bill

Part of the debate – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:30 am on 17 April 2007.

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Photo of Mark Prisk Mark Prisk Shadow Minister (Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform) 10:30, 17 April 2007

I simply wish to record one or two thoughts on the motion. I do not oppose the principle of it, which is entirely right. It is a proposal that has been made by the House. However, I wonder whether  other members of the Committee find the way in which it has been implemented to date helpful. I received the papers that we will consider only this morning. There are three or four essential papers, including one from BOC Gases. There is one from the Consumers Association, with which I happen to have been in conversation previously, so I was aware of that paper. I also note that there are papers from the Law Society of Scotland and Citizens Advice.

Those papers are all helpful and important, and I do not oppose the principle that underlies the new procedure, but I wonder whether the way in which it operates is helpful, particularly in relation to this Bill. I have open mind: other Members might say that it has been extremely helpful, which will be fine. The danger is that a lot of paper is produced, and although individual Members might have the opportunity to raise one particular point or perhaps ask a question, if the procedure is to work properly it is important for the papers to come at least a week before the Committee begins so that Members have time to consider their arguments.

I do not wish to oppose the motion, but I should like to put on record the fact that, while the principle is good, it is perhaps not working as well as it might.