Clause 9 - Enforcement authorities

Part of Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee am 11:15 am ar 7 Rhagfyr 2021.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Maria Eagle Maria Eagle Llafur, Garston and Halewood 11:15, 7 Rhagfyr 2021

It is good to see that there is some provision about enforcement because there is often a gap in legislation, so the law is made and practical enforcement is not set out. I find it quite an interesting approach to enforcement to say that local trading standards or weights and measures authorities in England and Wales “must enforce” in their own area the standard statutory obligation of such an authority but

“may enforce…elsewhere in England and Wales.”

I may be wrong, but that seems a fairly novel approach to enforcement. I am not saying it is bad, but I would like the Minister to set out in a little more detail why the clause is worded in this manner and whether there are any precedents in respect of other enforcement arrangements that have been drawn on to set out the provision.

Subsection (2) says:

“A district council that is not a local weights and measures authority may enforce section 3 in England (both inside and outside the council’s district).”

We have the prospect of roving entrepreneurial weights and measures departments perhaps thinking that they can go and levy fines of up to £30,000 for a breach somewhere else entirely. I think I have read somewhere that they get to keep the proceeds, so this is quite an interesting tax farming idea—perhaps going back to old England, whereby the collector is given a percentage of the takings. Like my hon. Friend the Member for Weaver Vale, I was going to ask what provision the Government will make to enable a local authority’s trading standards department to search out such breaches. Perhaps they intend to enable trading standards from elsewhere in the country to come galloping in.