Clause 7 - Licensing of suppliers

Part of Fireworks Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 3:45 pm ar 30 Ebrill 2003.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Miss Melanie Johnson Miss Melanie Johnson Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Trade and Industry 3:45, 30 Ebrill 2003

My hon. Friend, who has been studying these matters carefully, may well be right. I do not have the figure in front of me, but I will converse with him later about that matter. The revocation of a licence could also happen if there were a breach of the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974. Therefore, there is more than one avenue to go down. Breaches might include storing too many fireworks on the premises, or storing them in the wrong type of container.

The regulations do not currently allow us to refuse or revoke a licence if a retailer has sold fireworks to someone under 18, or has broken other consumer retail legislation. Both the ability to refuse or revoke licences for something, other than for registration or storage purposes, and the periods for which licences are to be issued are still matters to be resolved. However, we are continuing to have discussions with all interested parties, including the HSE, to see how clause 7 might be implemented in the regulations.

I have a great deal sympathy both with the sorts of solutions suggested by my hon. Friend the Member for Hamilton, South and the comments that a number of other hon. Members have made, including those of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Dudley, North. We need to recognise cultural diversity, but we must be careful not to operate a system that assumes that boundaries around each authority area are like the Berlin wall. Different licensing arrangement could be operating from one authority to another. It is not difficult now for someone to trek down the road and buy an out-of-season product that is thought to be appropriate for a particular community.

Many issues must be examined, but there are practical ways forward, and we need to find a sensitive system that recognises that people might get into difficulties, but that those difficulties need to be dealt with without severe punishment. We need a system in which a licence can be revoked or refused, so that we can use the licence as an important part of the correct implementation of other aspects of the Bill to ensure that it bites on those who are issued with licences and that they must abide by them. That will be safer and less hazardous for communities.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 7 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 8 ordered to stand part of the Bill.