Clause 9

Part of UK Borders Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:00 pm on 13th March 2007.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Liam Byrne Liam Byrne Minister of State (Home Office) (Immigration, Citizenship and Nationality) 12:00 pm, 13th March 2007

I would not rest my case on that point. It is just a point to note that we are seeking to put in place a civil penalty regime in which civil financial penalties, rather than fines, are incurred. A reference to a fairly well established regime of sanctions set out in criminal law might be a source of confusion. However, as I said, I do not want to overstate the significance of that point. The nub of my argument is that if we accepted the amendments, we would introduce a degree of dissonance between the civil penalty regime under the 2006 Act and that under this Bill, which would be unhelpful, particularly once the cards are designated.

A second key point is that we think that the sanctions provided for are sufficient because the Home Secretary has recourse to others should people persist with non-compliance. I take the point made by the hon. Member for Ashford about changes in the scale of seriousness, but the key points are whether we can adjust the level of the civil penalty in line with changes in the value of money and whether other sanctions are available if people persist with non-compliance—yes, those are available. That is what will be effective in driving compliance.

That is the bottom line in the debate on the amendments before us. How do we encourage maximum compliance? I welcome what I detect is support from Opposition  Members for the broad thrust of the measures—the introduction of compulsory ID cards for foreign nationals and ensuring compliance with the regime. However, I think that the sanctions in place, beginning with civil penalties but with recourse to variations or curtailment of leave, are appropriate and will be effective.