§ 3.7 p.m.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read a third time.—(Lord Chesham.)
§ Lord McIntosh of Haringey
My Lords, I rise briefly, not to delay the progress of the Bill which, as the noble Lord, Lord Chesham, well knows, has our full support, but to raise a matter which could not conveniently be raised as an amendment but which remains outstanding. I apologise to the noble Lord for not having given him notice of the matter but it came to my attention only in the past hour or so.
I refer to an undertaking that was given at Report stage of the Bill in another place on 31st March. The undertaking was given by Mr. David Maclean, the Minister of State at the Home Office, in response to an amendment proposed by Mr. John Greenway about the extension of the provisions of the Bill to the Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988, the Trade Descriptions Act 1968 and the Trade Marks Act 1994. The Minister expressed sympathy with the amendment and said that an interdepartmental exercise was under way. He stated that,considerable progress is being made, and I should be in a position to make known the outcome of our deliberations shortly. I certainly expect to be able to do so before the Bill completes its parliamentary passage".The Minister told Mr. Greenway:I assure him that the Government will consider very sympathetically the addition of these offences to schedule 4 by means of an order".He added:I should be able to inform the House before the Bill has completed its parliamentary stages".—[Official Report, Commons, 31/3/95; col. 1306.]If the Bill is now passed, that is the end of its parliamentary consideration. I wonder whether the Minister in this place has anything to say on the matter. I apologise to her for not having mentioned it previously, but I know that the Home Office has been aware of the issue over the past few days.
§ The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Blatch)
My Lords, if the House will permit me to respond to that point, the noble Lord is right that the Minister of State in another place explained that the Government were considering adding certain counterfeiting and copyright infringement offences to Schedule 4 to the Criminal Justice Act 1988 with the aim of bringing them within the reach of the confiscation 1542 legislation but that they had not completed their deliberations when the subject was debated on Third Reading in another place.
As the Minister explained in another place, the addition of offences to Schedule 4 of the 1988 Act is not entirely straightforward, and, as a result, it was necessary to set in train an interdepartmental consultation process before the Government could agree to the addition of the offences in question.
I know that promises were made. The noble Lord is absolutely right to press us on that point. Progress has of course been made since the matter was discussed in another place, but the Bill's rapid progress through this House has not permitted all the issues involved to be resolved before now.
The Government have decided that the question of the funding of the provisions must be resolved before the statutory instrument can be made. On that point, I expect a decision to be reached by a very early date, and I propose to make known the outcome to the House shortly. I trust the noble Lord is satisfied that the work is in hand and that our commitment will be met, but not within the timescale that we had envisaged.
§ On Question, Bill read a third time.
§ Moved, That the Bill do now pass.—(Lord Chesham.)
§ On Question, Bill passed.