Clause 162 - General information duties

Enterprise Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 12:45 pm ar 7 Mai 2002.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

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

Photo of Nigel Waterson Nigel Waterson Ceidwadwyr, Eastbourne

I have another brief point, which pertains to subsection (2). It is right, practical and necessary that the OFT gives the commission any information in its possession which the commission may reasonably require, as set out in subsection (1)(a), and any other assistance. I am slightly baffled about subsection (2), which seems to assume that the

commission will not be the best judge of the information that it needs to receive from the OFT, and that the OFT may force on the commission information that it does not want. I am all in favour of belt and braces in drafting, but that seems to be a subsection too far. The commission is best placed to decide what information it needs. It beggars belief that the OFT would want to say, "You should have asked for the following information, so here it is." Can the Under-Secretary explain?

Photo of Miss Melanie Johnson Miss Melanie Johnson Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Trade and Industry

The explanation is simple. The Competition Commission will not necessarily know what information the OFT has. The OFT has a duty to give to the Secretary of State or an appropriate Minister all the information it has that has been requested and which the OFT believes is appropriate. The provision may be needed when the Secretary of State is considering referral of a market to the Competition Commission, and the OFT may have information that has led it to conclude that a market reference is unnecessary. The OFT should then be able to share that information with the Secretary of State, but the Competition Commission will not necessarily know what the OFT has.

Clause 162 ordered to stand part of the Bill.