§ 2.55 p.m.
§ THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY, BOARD OF TRADE (LORD RHODES)
My Lords, I beg to move the Motion which appears in my name on the Order Paper. Many noble Lords will be aware that on the 31st of this month Part IV and the related Schedules of the Weights and Measures Act, 1963, comes into force. That means that on and after that date a very wide range of pre-packed goods (which have never had to be so marked before) will be required by law to be marked with indications of quantity. As the law stands, this new requirement will apply to all goods (of the relevant descriptions) irrespective of whether or not they had left the premises when they were packed before the critical date, July 31. This draft Order is to alter the law to give distributors a period of grace—a period strictly limited to twelve months—for selling off without quantity markings any pre-packed goods of the kinds covered by Schedule 7 in the case where the goods had left those premises before the end of this month. Such goods will, of course, be a dwindling proportion of the goods of the relevant 1001 kinds that buyers will find in the shops from now on. But there will at first be enough of these goods on the shelves of some shops and wholesalers' warehouses to present serious difficulties to those traders unless we defer this marking requirement. Indeed, in the case of some slow-moving old stocks of lines discontinued by the manufacturer, it would be almost impossible for the retailer to find out what the correct quantities ought to be. The goods affected by the Order are all the kinds of pre-packed goods required by the Act to bear quantity markings except the food and drink items.
§ Moved, That the Draft Weights and Measures (Exemption) Order, 1965, laid before the House on 24th June, be approved.—(Lord Rhodes.)
§ LORD DRUMALBYN
My Lords, we on this side of the House very much welcome this period of grace, as the noble Lord has called it. May I just ask him one question? Would he consider giving publicity, in a year's time, to the need to mark all Schedule 7 goods, so that those who are responsible will have the opportunity to bring those goods which are still left on their shelves within the law, and will he make it quite clear at that time on whom that responsibility lies?
§ LORD RHODES
My Lords, may I say that is a very common-sense suggestion, and I will see that notice is taken of it.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.