HL Deb 02 April 1981 vol 419 cc329-31

4.57 p.m.

Report received.

Clause 8 [Meaning of "instrument"]:

Viscount Colville of Culross moved Amendment No. 1:

Page 5, line 5, leave out from ("character") to ("any") in line 8 and insert— ("(aa) any stamp issued or sold by the Post Office; (ab)")

The noble Viscount said: My Lords, perhaps I may be allowed to speak to these two amendments together. They deal with a small but, I think, important point. Clause 8 contains the definition of the word "instrument" around which the whole of the bit of this Bill which deals with forgery is centred. There is an omission which we ought to put right.

Noble Lords have only to be reminded of the post which they receive every day to recall that, for every one of the letters which bears a now very expensive stamp, there will be at least one which is franked by a machine which is licensed to be used by the Post Office and for which the user pays in due course the necessary sum back to the Post Office to recompense them for not actually using a postage stamp. It is absolutely necessary that we should cover the use of these franking machines, and the forgery of them, as well as the forgery of an actual postage stamp. That is what these two amendments do.

There are two other things which I should say. First, your Lordships will wonder what the clause is going to look like when I move an amendment to put in paragraph (aa) and paragraph (ab). The answer is that when it is reprinted, we shall have in fact a list of four things which will be an instrument: a document, a stamp, an Inland Revenue stamp, and any disc, tape, sound track or other device, which are now in paragraph (b). So there will be paragraphs (a), (b), (c) and (d).

As to Amendment No. 2, the renumbering will take place on reprinting. The last point is that the word "and", at the end of the first line of Amendment No. 1, should not appear on the Marshalled List. I hope that your Lordships will allow me to move Amendment No. 1 with a manuscript amendment, as it were, omitting the word "and". I beg to move.

Lord Elwyn-Jones

My Lords, as this helpful Bill is intended to deal with every situation where the offences of forgery and counterfeiting might arise, it is obviously desirable that any relevant instrument or document should be covered. I am sure that this is a helpful amendment.

Lord Sandys

My Lords, I rise in support of the amendment so ably moved by my noble friend, which, as he has explained to your Lordships, is designed to make it clear that all kinds of postage stamps, including those that are printed on to envelopes by franking machines, are covered by the Bill. This is a welcome clarification and the Government fully support the amendment.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Viscount Colville of Culross moved Amendment No. 2:

Page 5, line 13, at end insert— ("(2A) A mark denoting payment of postage which the Post Office authorise to be used instead of an adhesive stamp is to be treated for the purposes of this Part of this Act as if it were a stamp issued by the Post Office.").

On Question, amendment agreed to.