Clause 69 - Power of access

Part of Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 12:00 pm ar 22 Mehefin 2023.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Paul Scully Paul Scully Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology) 12:00, 22 Mehefin 2023

I am saying that the amendments that we are discussing in this grouping are specifically about domestic and business premises. I am just keeping to the narrow scope of the amendments. As for the wider evidence that we heard last week, we will clearly reflect on that and work out any other parts of the legislation; I was being really specific about what these amendments do.

Government amendment 21 limits a firm’s duty to give access to a skilled person, so that it is access to business premises only, to ensure consistency with other DMU and wider CMA investigatory powers. Government amendment 14 to clause 69 limits the power of the DMU to access persons to a power to access individuals, and Government amendment 23 limits the firm’s duty to assist a skilled person to a duty to assist a skilled individual. Those changes clarify the scope of the power and the duty, as a person includes a legal person, such as a company. The clauses already specify that the DMU or skilled person can require access to a designated firm’s premises, equipment, services and information. Limiting access to individuals—or natural persons—is a more accurate reflection of the policy intention of the clauses.

Finally, Government amendments 15 and 24 clarify that the DMU may access individuals or business premises only in the UK, and similarly that a firm’s duty to assist a skilled person by giving them access applies only to individuals and business premises in the UK. The DMU’s powers of entry allow entry to domestic premises only under a warrant, under clause 73. Its interview and entry powers may also be exercised only in respect of individuals and premises in the UK. Government amendments 13 to 24 will preserve those important limits on the DMU’s powers and ensure consistency across the DMU’s information-gathering toolkit.