HC Deb 02 July 1986 vol 100 c1121

Lords amendment: No. 21, in page 33, line 3, leave out "and 47" and insert "to (Breach of accounts conditions: criminal penalties etc.)"

Mr. Michael Spicer

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this it will be convenient to take the following: Lords amendments Nos. 43 and 44.

Mr. Spicer

These amendments put in place a separate enforcement procedure for accounts conditions. The provisions relating to transparency of accounts in clause 38 have quite rightly been regarded as a disincentive to unfair cross-subsidy and other monopoly abuses. It is important, therefore, that any breach of the condition can be remedied swiftly to ensure that there are no gaps in the information that the clauses requires.

The existing enforcement procedures in clauses 46 and 47 work well for the conditions on prices and trading practices but are less effective in relation to accounts conditions. For example, it would be impossible to assess what loss or damage had been sustained by others as a result of a breach of an accounting condition and it is doubtful whether a compliance order could require separate publication of any information on an airport operator who had failed to disclose. That is clearly unacceptable.

The new procedure, which is modelled on equivalent enforcement provisions in the Companies Acts relating to accounts generally, will put that right. Because it allows for an airport operator to be liable for a fine and to daily default fines, there will be a strong incentive to comply with any accounts conditions enforced. If there should be a breach, the CAA will be able to take swift and effective action to ensure that all information required by the condition, but not provided, is published. I commend the amendment to the House.

Question put and agreed to.

Subsequent Lords amendments agreed to.

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