§ 5 Clause 31, page 28, line 27, leave out "forty-eight hours" and insert "two working days.".
6 Page 28, line 30, at end insert—
(2A) In subsection (1) above the reference to two working days is a reference to a period of forty-eight hours calculated from the time when the goods in question are seized but disregarding so much of any period as falls on a Saturday or Sunday or on Christmas Day, Good Friday or a day which is a bank holiday under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 in the part of the United Kingdom where the goods are seized.".
§ 7.30 p.m.
§ Lord Lucas of Chilworth My Lords, I beg to move that this House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 5 and 6. It may be for the convenience of your Lordships if I speak also to their Amendments No. 19 and 20.
This issue was debated extensively during the passage of the Consumer Safety (Amendment) Act last year and also while this Bill was passing through its earlier stages in this House.
We have listened carefully to the discussions on this subject and have given further consideration to the potential difficulties of enforcement. In the light of this, we accept that significant difficulties may arise where the 48-hour period encompasses a weekend or bank holiday. To overcome these difficulties, we propose that the period during which Customs and Excise may detain imported goods should be altered to two working days. This point was forcibly raised by either the noble Lord, Lord Graham of Edmonton, or the noble Baroness, Lady Nicol. This will make no difference in the majority of cases. But it will allow enforcement authorities much greater flexibility in those cases where real difficulties may arise. I hope that the House will agree that this allows an adequate time for the limited purposes of this provision. I beg to move.
§ Move, That this House do agree with the Commons in the said amendments.—(Lord Lucas of Chilworth.)
§ Lord Williams of Elvel
My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister. This involves a sensible adjustment of the Government's view, and we welcome it. It will give reassurance to trading standards officers and Customs and Excise officers, and we are pleased about the amendment.
§ Lord Brougham and Vaux
My Lords, I should like to thank my noble friend and the Government for bringing forward these sensible amendments.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.