HL Deb 05 December 1996 vol 576 cc793-4

4.7 p.m.

Baroness Miller of Hendon rose to move, That the draft order laid before the House on 4th November be approved [4th Report from the Delegated Powers and Deregulation Committee].

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, the draft order is concerned with removing the burdens currently imposed by the Rag Flock and Other Filling Materials Act 1951. The Rag Flock and Other Filling Materials Regulations 1981 would fall with the repeal. If the House wishes me to go into the detail of the 1951 Act's provisions, I can do so.

The controls placed in the rag flock legislation are considered to be over-prescriptive and bureaucratic. Furthermore, both businesses and the enforcement agencies consider that the methods used to assess the cleanliness in the rag flock legislation have become outmoded.

The Government are satisfied that the repeal of the Act will not compromise the protection it was enacted to provide. This protection will be offered by the existing provisions of the General Product Safety Regulations 1994 (which implement an EU directive) and the British Standard 1425 of 1991. These place responsibilities on producers and distributors of products (including second-hand products) to supply only those products that are safe, that is in this case, products that are clean, free from contaminants and impurities. In order to ensure that producers and manufacturers supply products that are safe, the regulations attract the relevant enforcement provisions of the Consumer Protection Act 1987 in relation to prohibition and warning notices, suspension notices and appeals, forfeiture, the power to obtain information, the power to enter and search premises and to take samples. The measure will therefore not reduce the necessary protection for consumers.

The proposal has completed the preliminary scrutiny procedures for the deregulation orders under the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994. The Delegated Powers Scrutiny Committee of your Lordships' House and the Deregulation Committee of the other place have separately assessed and reported on the proposal. Both committees have indicated that they are content with the draft order as it stands.

The order will remove controls which are considered to be over-prescriptive, bureaucratic and outmoded, without reducing the necessary consumer protection. Therefore I commend the order to your Lordships. I beg to move.

Moved, That the draft order laid before the House on 4th November be approved [4th Report from the Delegated Powers and Deregulation Committee].—(Baroness Miller of Hendon.)

Lord Gladwin of Clee

My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for that detailed explanation of the order. We on this side of the House wish it a fair wind. It is clear from the documentation that many of the requirements under the 1951 Act have been overtaken by subsequent legislation. I am grateful that she made reference to the general product safety regulations. The response from the Minister, Mr Ian Taylor, is very helpful.

I also note that the Fire Officers Association is quite happy with the provisions of the order, and although the National Consumer Council was invited, it was not able in time to submit its views about the new order. But the committee is satisfied that the necessary consultation has taken place and therefore, as I said, this side of the House wish it a fair wind.

On Question, Motion agreed to.