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Baroness Buscombe: I did indeed intend what the proposed amendment sets out; that is, that this should to some extent relieve the burdens on small businesses; that small businesses should be recognised for the burdens that are placed upon them now, and that there should be remuneration for the extra time involved in carrying out the duties imposed under this proposed
Lord Sainsbury of Turville moved Amendment No. 9:
Page 3, line 27, at end insert--
("(10) For the purposes of subsection (1) cryptography support services are provided in the United Kingdom if--
(a) they are provided from premises in the United Kingdom;
(b) they are provided to a person who is in the United Kingdom when he makes use of the services; or
(c) they are provided to a person who makes use of the services for the purposes of a business carried on in the United Kingdom or from premises in the United Kingdom.").
The noble Baroness said: We believe that the Secretary of State should consider delegating this activity to an existing trade body. We have concerns about this clause as we believe it threatens the establishment of another regulator, with all the resulting problems of accountability. In the e-commerce area the case for an e-regulator has yet to be made. However, if such a regulator is to be appointed then a professional body or society is, we believe, just as capable of regulating the industry as any individual, and through its collective knowledge is likely to have a much higher level of understanding. A self-regulatory regime based on the industry's own trade body could work well.
It is one of the traits of this Government to mistrust an independent professional body or voluntary group and they would prefer to opt for external regulators whose staff often do not understand the issues involved. The extent to which it was necessary to modify the draft Bill after informed lobbying from the industry we believe shows that that is a misguided attitude. I beg to move.
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: I thank the noble Baroness for clarifying her intentions. I should however make it clear that the term "person" is defined by the Interpretation Act to include a body of persons corporate or unincorporate and "person" thus already covers organisations. There is therefore no need for this amendment and I hope the noble Baroness will be persuaded to withdraw it.
The noble Lord said: These amendments to Clause 4 deal with a recommendation by the Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Deregulation, which saw the need for the power in subsection (2)(c), but considered that it was too widely drawn. Clause 4 protects regulatory information gathered under Part I.
As with many similar provisions in other legislation, it provides that information may be disclosed only through certain gateways. The power in subsection (2)(c) allows the Secretary of State to add new gateways, which is necessary because we do not know exactly how the regulatory regime would develop if it were ever brought into force. For example, if banks applied to be approved, it would be desirable to permit the exchange of information with their regulator, the Financial Services Authority.
As the Bill stands, the Secretary of State could make regulations to permit disclosure for any functions which he prescribed. The amendments would narrow that down so that he could prescribe only public functions.
Perhaps I could mention another aspect of these gateways. The noble Lord, Lord Razzall, asked me how this clause will interact with the Data Protection Act. Both place restrictions on the disclosure of information and both permit disclosure subject to certain conditions being satisfied. They work in different ways, however, and the clause goes much wider than personal information since it also concerns information about business. These are complex issues and I will say something further about the interaction at Report stage. I beg to move.
Lord Sainsbury of Turville moved Amendments Nos. 13 and 14:
Page 5, line 4, leave out ("prescribed").
Page 5, line 15, at end insert--
("( ) In subsection (2)(c) "public functions" includes any function conferred by or in accordance with any provision contained in or made under any enactment or Community legislation.").
The noble Lord said: These amendments, which I anticipated at Second Reading, would meet the other two recommendations of the Select Committee on delegated powers and deregulation. They concern the degree of parliamentary control that would be
Amendment No. 34 would mean that Part I could not be commenced unless each House had approved the commencement order. This amendment would write on the face of the Bill my honourable friend Patricia Hewitt's commitments in another place to return to Parliament before commencing Part I.
Amendments Nos. 15 and 16 are closely related as they would mean that the first time the Secretary of State exercised his regulation-making powers in Part I of the Bill, they would be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure. On subsequent occasions they would be subject to negative resolution procedure. Taken together, these amendments strike a sensible balance between ensuring parliamentary control over a decision to implement Part I and ensuring that, if the statutory approval scheme were to be implemented, it could be operated in a flexible and responsive way after its creation. I beg to move.
Lord Lucas: Can the Minister confirm my understanding that there are no regulation-making powers in this part which would be used in any circumstances other than a full-blown creation of a regulatory procedure? Can he further confirm that none of these powers would be used in any way to supplement or back up a voluntary scheme, and therefore appear rather earlier than we expect?
Lord Sainsbury of Turville moved Amendment No. 16:
Page 5, line 30, at end insert--
("( ) The initial regulations shall not be made unless a draft of them has been laid before Parliament and approved by a resolution of each House.
( ) In this section "the initial regulations" means the regulations made on the first occasion on which the Secretary of State exercises his powers to make regulations under this Part.").
Lord Lucas: I would be grateful if the noble Lord could explain Amendment No. 19 in rather more detail. I had always thought that the parliamentary draftsmen were the enemies of good grammar. They have certainly refused many amendments of mine that I thought improved the wording of statute. However, in this case I really cannot see what the effect of that is even on the grammar and I would be grateful for elucidation.
"incorporated into or logically associated with a particular electronic communication or particular electronic data" and it just leaves out the word "with". It is correct, though not something that one would normally spot, to leave out the word "with" in that context.
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