Clause 73

Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 1:30 pm on 19 June 2008.

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Functions to which section 72 applies

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

Photo of Pat McFadden Pat McFadden Minister of State (Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform) (Employment Relations and Postal Affairs), Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee 1:45, 19 June 2008

If clause 72 is about regulators’ job description, clause 73 is about their functions and the particular regulators to which the duty will apply. It has been said by some that a ministerial order made under powers conferred in clause 73 could interfere with regulators’ independence. As I just said, this is not about regulators’ independence; it is about how their functions are carried out. Some regulators requested that they be named in the Bill. They are named in subsection (2), paragraphs (a) to (e): the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority, the Office of Fair Trading, the Office of Rail Regulation, the Postal Services Commission and the Water Services Regulation Authority. Subsection (2) applies the duty to those regulators.

We have included the power in the Bill rather than simply applying the duty to all regulators to allow flexibility in both the extent and the timing of the duty’s applications. The power to apply the duty in a territorial sense is set out in subsections (3), (4) and (5). Subsection (6) requires the Minister to consult the regulator and other appropriate bodies before seeking to apply the duty, subsection (7) allows the order to make consequential amendments and subsections (8) to (11) specify other procedural requirements. The Committee might want to note that an order applying the duty is subject to the affirmative procedure. The clause concerns the functions that we have discussed, which are set out in subsection (1), and the regulators to whom the new duty will apply.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 73 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 74 to 76 ordered to stand part of the Bill.