Clause 16 - Parliamentary procedure for regulations

Part of Fireworks Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 4:15 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 4:15, 30 Ebrill 2003

I make the same presumption as the hon. Member for Blaby in assuming that the Bill will successfully conclude its consideration in Committee, and add my warm congratulations to my hon. Friend the Member for Hamilton, South on his stewardship and guidance of it in Committee. He has undertaken a wide range of discussions with all interested parties and has spent much time on the detail that underlies the Bill. I also thank you, Mr. Benton, for your chairmanship of the Committee.

In response to the question of powers raised by the hon. Member for Blaby, clause 16 allows us to make regulations as negative instruments. Those clauses that require affirmative resolutions will be made that way; they are not necessarily on a par. There is a separate issue, which is relevant to the question of whether we want to have affirmative resolution for every power under the Bill, which is not the case at the moment. That is that some of the safety regulations would have to be made under section 11 of the Consumer Protection Act 1987. Some would be fireworks regulations covering non-safety aspects, deriving from the Bill. The arrangements would be affirmative in one case and negative in the other, so we could end up doubling the amount of consideration of issues in cases in which both pieces of legislation had to be brought to bear on the matter.

There is a role for affirmative powers, and we have undertaken to ensure that it can be used on key topics in this instance. It would be helpful if Committee members would indicate in discussions outside the Committee any areas in which they feel strongly that there should be affirmative resolution. I undertake to consider such comments and to declare on Report whether further affirmative powers are needed. I reiterate that the Bill secures regulations under the powers in clauses 1(2) and 14(3) that will now be subject to the affirmative procedure, which they would not have been under the 1997 private Member's Bill

introduced by my hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, Sutton.

The regulations on consultation and timing will be subject to Government guidelines, under which we have to consult for a minimum of 12 weeks. We shall also consult more generally on the content before that. I cannot promise regulations for this November's fireworks season. By way of consolation to those hon. Members who are disappointed, I should point out that given the lead time for the production of fireworks, most of the fireworks will be imported fairly soon, if they are not already here. We therefore have a reasonable lead-time. We shall endeavour to come forward with the statutory instruments as soon as practicable. Those, such as my hon. Friend the Member for Ogmore, who urge consultation on me and who press me on the time scale, know and appreciate the tension between those two factors.