HL Deb 30 June 2003 vol 650 cc674-97

7.55 p.m.

Earl Howe

My Lords, I beg to move the Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper. The Minister's recent appointment to the Department of Health enables me to begin with a brief reassurance. The Motion standing in my name this evening should not be construed in any sense personally. It does of course fall to the noble Lord to reply to the Motion on behalf of the Government, but clearly the situation which has prompted this debate is not of his making.

Nevertheless, I hope he will understand that I have tabled this Motion for two reasons: first, to make clear to him that the Food Supplements Directive in its present form is unacceptable; and, secondly, to bring home to the Government that, in failing to represent British interests properly in Brussels, they have let down this country and its consumers very badly. I may be proved wrong, but I fully expect the Minister to be in denial about those two propositions.

For six years, successive Ministers have brushed aside any suggestion that the UK market for vitamin and mineral supplements would be severely affected by the directive. They have reassured us that any adverse consequences would be negligible and, indeed, have taken considerable credit for negotiating flexibilities into the final text, which they claimed fully met the fears expressed by UK supplement manufacturers and retailers. It is now abundantly clear that those reassurances were hollow and that the manufacturers' fears about this measure were right all along.

Perhaps I may set out the situation briefly. For very many years in this country, health food supplements have been freely available for consumers to buy, provided they are legally safe—that is, provided they comply with the general food safety requirements laid down under the Food Safety Act. My understanding is that more than 40 per cent of the public consume these products and that 32 per cent of the population take vitamins or other dietary supplements every day.

It is true to say that this country enjoys a far less restrictive regulatory regime for food supplements than many other European countries. However, through the FSA, we have the means in the UK to regulate food supplements to ensure that they are marketed safely. Against that background, a European directive designed to harmonise the marketing of food supplements across the EU would, I think, excite little comment in this country if its purpose and effect were to regulate purely on grounds of safety. That, indeed, has been the Government's stated aim all along for this measure, ever since the Commission's Green Paper was published in 1997.

Some three years ago, Gisela Stuart, the then Minister, re-emphasised the Government's commitment to a safety-based approach and said that the aim of Ministers was to ensure that any eventual restriction on the range of available products could be justified on health rather than on trade grounds. Even as late as last January, Hazel Blears gave very similar reassurances during a debate in another place. "So far, so good", everyone thought. We had a Government prepared to stand up for the British consumer and British interests—we should let them get on and do that.

But when the directive was at last published, what emerged completely blew apart the assurances that the Government had previously given. Although couched in terms that suggest that its purpose is consumer safety, the directive is nothing more nor less than a market harmonisation measure. The legal principle that underpins it is that everything is forbidden unless it is positively allowed.

The directive therefore contains a positive list showing the nutrients and nutrient sources that are permitted for use. Unfortunately, that list has precious little to do with science, safety or, indeed, reality. It was lifted bodily from another directive that was not specifically geared towards food supplements. For that reason, more than 300 nutrients or nutrient sources currently on the British market and accepted as safe by the regulators for many years do not feature on the lists. These missing substances are contained in thousands of products currently on sale in this country. Those products will become illegal under this directive. That means that they will either have to be reformulated or else removed from the market altogether.

I have a list of some of these ingredients and how they are used. Sulphur, including glucosamine sulphate, is an essential element missing from the list and is valued for its role in the synthesis and maintenance of connective tissue. Boron, not on the list, is widely used to assist the absorption of calcium. Silicon is again widely used in conjunction with other minerals to support healthy hair, nails and skin. Vanadium is used to control diabetes or blood sugar levels. Mixed tocotreniols is almost the whole spectrum of naturally occurring vitamin E, a potent source of antioxidants. Fourteen different forms of Selenium, another source of antioxidants, are important as a trace element and seen as beneficial for the functioning of the heart and for cancer. Calcium ascorbate is a type of vitamin C for those who cannot tolerate ascorbic acid. The list also includes 21 forms of food forms of iron, including iron-based yeast; 30 different forms of magnesium; 21 different forms of potassium. I could continue with many more examples.

The point here is that all these ingredients have been used in food supplements for many years, quite safely. Many of them have been reviewed by the Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals and have been given safe upper limits. The implicit suggestion by government has been that products affected by the directive can be reformulated so as to exclude ingredients that are prohibited and to include permitted substances with a comparable potency. That, to be sure, is possible in a few instances, though it has to be said that nearly all changes of active nutrients would require manufacturers to undertake time-consuming and expensive trials to verify shelf-life. In other cases, though, reformulation is neither desirable nor a practical proposition. It is well recognised that one chemical form of an ingredient is quite different from another in what is termed its bio-availability—that is to say the ease with which the human body can absorb it into the system. Iron chelate, for example, is easily absorbed and well tolerated. Ferrous sulphate, which could be substituted for it, is not.

The Government are also quick to point to the derogation in the directive which will allow manufacturers to submit a dossier to Brussels to enable any nutrient missing from the list to he added to it. Again, in the vast majority of cases the submission of dossiers will simply not be a practical proposition. The rules insist on manufacturers analysing and submitting a large array of technical data which is often not available and would take a long time and a great deal of money to assemble.

There is a case to be made for such an elaborate process when we are dealing with nutrient sources that have never been tried or marketed before. But there is no case for it when we are dealing with nutrient or food ingredients that have had a long period of significant and safe use. Even assembling and analysing existing data costs many thousands of pounds. To create additional data would cost hundreds of thousands of pounds.

If you mention the phrase "regulatory impact assessment" in Brussels, you are more than likely to he met with looks of blank incomprehension. As far as I know, no assessment of the impact of this directive on business has been done. It should have been, because the fact is that unless there is a much simpler process for submitting safety information on well-used nutrient sources, the industry will not be able to afford to take advantage of the derogation. I am therefore asking the Government to go away and negotiate that simpler procedure.

Even if that can be achieved, and even if ingredients are added to the permitted list, we are left with a derogation that is time-limited. At the end of 2009, any ingredients that have been added to the list will no longer be authorised. That is completely illogical and unsatisfactory and I am asking the Government, through my Motion, to negotiate an amending directive which would allow member states to permit on their own domestic market products which are recognised by the competent authority as safe and appropriately labelled, but which would otherwise lie outside the restrictions of the food supplements directive. That proposal would not undermine the present directive and would also be entirely consistent with the principle of subsidiarity, which seems to have got lost in all of this.

There is a final important issue that is causing concern; that is the dosage levels of each nutrient that will be allowed. Dosage levels in vitamins and minerals sold in the UK have not been the subject of any safety concerns whatever. Yet there is now the very real prospect that because of the directive maximum permitted dosages will have to be scaled down quite drastically. Subject to negotiations still to be completed, maximum permitted levels of vitamins and minerals will be determined much more along the lines currently adopted on the Continent, which works from the starting point of the recommended daily allowance. You can take 1,000 mg of vitamin C quite safely—and indeed you can buy it here in that dosage—but the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C is a great deal less than that.

The directive states that the maximum permitted levels of nutrients will be decided by reference to the RDA and to nutrient intake from food, not simply by reference to what is safe. That is the nanny-state approach writ large. We need to remind ourselves that these are not pharmaceutical products which, if you are not careful with the dosages, can poison you. They are food supplements, which are not only safe to use but are readily capable of improving people's well-being and health. Why should the UK have to abandon its traditional approach and conform to continental dosage levels for absolutely no good reason? If that happens, as looks likely, British consumers will either have to pay a lot more for multiples of lower dose tablets, or else order what they want on the Internet with no guarantee of the quality of what they are buying.

The losers from these regulations will above all be British consumers. The directive represents an unwarranted erosion of consumer choice and consumer rights. As an EU harmonising measure, it is completely misconceived. The Government point to their achievements in negotiation, but they have not done nearly enough to uphold our national interest. They have allowed the EU bandwagon to roll over us. They need to do much more and they should be in no doubt of the millions of people who will be watching and judging them as they do so. I commend the Motion to the House.

Moved, That this House regrets the limited nature of the lists of permitted nutrients contained in the Food Supplements Directive and calls upon Her Majesty's Government to revoke the Regulations (S.I. 2003/1387), and (1) to negotiate with the European Union Commission an amendment to the directive permitting individual member states to allow food supplements to be marketed which are recognised by the competent authority as safe and appropriately labelled; (2) to secure simplified requirements for the submission of dossiers to the Scientific Committee for Foods in respect of ingredients which have been omitted from the positive lists and which can demonstrate a long history of safe use; and (3) to ensure that maximum permitted levels of vitamins and minerals are based on sound science.—(Earl Howe.)

Lord Clement-Jones

My Lords, we on these Benches very strongly support the Motion so well moved by the noble Earl, Lord Howe. Throughout dealings on the Food Supplements Directive, the Government's approach has been characterised by complacency. A prime example of that was on 20th January when a major debate took place in the other place on what was then the proposed Food Supplements Directive. The government amendment in that debate, as regards the Food Supplements Directive, stated that the Government were committed to allowing safe and properly-labelled food supplements to be freely marketed, welcomed the Government's intention to take advantage of flexibility to permit continued use of substances not on the permitted list where products comply with existing food safety legislation in the UK and noted, finally, that the long-term availability of products currently on the market will depend on future developments on maximum limits and lists of permitted nutrients.

Let us take each of those aspects in turn. First, safe and properly-labelled food supplements to be freely marketed".—[Official Report, Commons, 20/1/03; col. 100.] In fact, the directive takes off the market a whole range of supplements in the form of vitamins and minerals found to be safe. As a result of the establishment of the so-called positive lists, as the noble Earl, Lord Howe, pointed out, which dictate the nutrients and nutrient sources permitted for use in dietary supplements, the Food Supplements Directive will lead to the banning of nutrients such as boron, sulphur, vanadian, tin, germanium and so forth. All except germanium, sulphur and vanadian have been reviewed by the UK Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals and have been given safe upper levels and found to be safe. Hundreds of sources of vitamins and minerals will also be banned which pose no threat to public safety, some 270 as calculated by the industry.

In the debate on 20th January, Hazel Blears claimed that reports of the imminent withdrawal of swathes of products are misleading. But a huge number of UK products will he affected. Just take the list provided to some of your Lordships by Holland and Barrett. Products equating to some £6 million worth of sales will have to be taken off the market by that retailer. The Department of Health in answer to a recent Written Question from me stated that up to 5 per cent of the market for food supplements may be affected. Based on a market of £450 million, that is an enormous £22.5 million.

Rather than pooh-poohing the claims of manufacturers and retailers about the threat that the directive poses to their businesses, the Government need to start vigorously arguing for an amending directive to add to the positive lists. What are the Government doing to promote such an amending directive?

In the debate on 20th January the government amendment welcomed the Government's intention to take advantage of flexibility to permit continued use of substances not on the permitted list where products comply with existing UK food safety legislation. That gave a quite misleading impression that the Government had secured substantial derogation to allow missing nutrients not on the positive lists when that was not the case; far from it.

Continued use is allowed for certain substances if not in the annexes until December 2009 if safety dossiers have been submitted by July 2005. But, far from being a flexible system, the cost of preparing a dossier for submission is massive. The biological and toxicological data required for the technical section depend on an analysis and submission of a large array of data which have to be specially generated. The manufacturers say that those kind of data take two years or more to create and therefore could not be ready by the deadline of July 2005.

Even the Government in answer to Written Questions accepted that the cost of producing one dossier could be anything in the region of £80,000 to £250,000. Were the Government aware of those costs when they were debating the matter in January? In practice, it appears that fewer than a dozen dossiers are being produced. The Government, far from patting themselves on the back, should be urging their EU partners for a simplified process of approval of these dossiers.

In the debate on 20th January the Government claimed that the long-term availability of products currently on the market will depend on future developments on maximum limits and lists of permitted nutrients. Hazel Blears, the then Minister responsible said as regards maximum permitted limits: The important thing is that the Government are engaged actively in the debate and are not simply throwing our hands up and saying that there is nothing that we can do".—[Official Report, Commons, 20/1/03; col. 102.] She later added: Our efforts will focus on getting a good deal for the UK on implementation. I accept that many consumers value the high-dose products on the UK market, but we are actively pressing for thorough scientific risk assessments. There is still a great deal to play for".—[Official Report, Commons, 20/1/03; col. 106.] The UK Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals recently completed an assessment exercise for the FSA. Its report was trumpeted by the FSA in a quite sensationalist way as saying that vitamins can damage your health, are a waste of money and could lead to cancer. That caused huge alarm among consumers. That was by our own UK agency. That bodes extremely badly for acceptance by the EU bodies of sensible upper limits.

If our own FSA had its way, vitamins such as B6 vitamin C and zinc would now be able to be sold only in far lower doses than hitherto. What valid safety reasons are there for reducing dosages of those vitamins and minerals? For instance, how many adverse reactions have been notified as a result of vitamin B6 consumption since advice was last given in 1997?

I recently asked a series of Written Questions relating to the UK expert group's report" to which I have not yet had a reply. These related to how the expert group's report was handled by the FSA's press office. Why were its recommendations for safe upper limits substantially different from other internationally respected organisations as regards safe upper limits?

It is no wonder that consumers and manufacturers are so pessimistic about the outcome of this directive. At a meeting with industry representatives and the Minister for Public Health on Monday 9th June, the Food Standards Agency stated that the European Union is now likely to set maximum permitted levels for nutrients in food supplements on the basis of nutritional need—not safety.

The Government's support is needed to ensure that pressure from countries with a more restrictive approach does not prevail and that—where safe—supplements containing ingredients at current levels can continue to be sold.

In the mean time, there is great uncertainty on dose levels. When and if these regulations become law this August, no one will know what daily dose level of vitamins will be allowed. That makes it impossible for manufacturers who need to be able to plan for their products. There will be a huge impact on small and medium-sized enterprise suppliers. What account have the Government taken of that? We have a thriving health food industry in Britain.

Hazel Blears, in the debate I cited, said: I am informed that the vitamins that people want to take will be available in the formulations … on the positive list. However, companies may be required to reformulate their products or submit dossiers if they want to carry on with a specific formulation". That itself is also grossly complacent. Reformulation may be impossible. Some 20 per cent of food supplements in the UK contain one or more of the 270 prohibited ingredients. Some products of course contain more than one prohibited ingredient. In total, an estimated 5,000 products are affected. The costs are impossible to calculate.

The reformulated product, as pointed out by the noble Earl, Lord Howe, may not be as effective—for example, the form of selenium permitted by the EU SCF committee. The positive list of nutrient sources does not now include selenomethionine, which is found in broccoli. Ms Blears made the breathtaking claim: we have been able actively to engage in those negotiations to make sure that we can retain UK consumers' rights to the supplements that they value, and ensure that they make those goods more widely available in future".—[Official Report, Commons, 20/1/03; cols. 105–06.] That flies in the face of every analysis of the impact of the directive. The UK consumers affected are: pregnant women, those suffering from arthritis or osteoporosis, women during the menopause, those suffering from endometriosis, diabetics and so on. That is a huge swathe of patients and consumers.

In many areas, we on these Benches have argued for the precautionary principle to be applied to new and untried products and technology. But what possible reason can there be for introducing the restrictions contained in the directive for products which have had years of safe use? Is it because we must all be in thrall to new pharmaceuticals and are not allowed to rely on natural traditional remedies?

I hope that as a result of this debate the Government and the FSA will redouble their efforts and achieve a satisfactory outcome for consumers and manufacturers of these food supplements.

8.15 p.m.

Lord Beaumont of Whitley

My Lords, on behalf of the Green Party, I express our support for the noble Earl and his efforts today. I do not wish to take up your Lordships' time at this time of day. This is a very important debate which, one would have thought, could have been timed for a better period than the dinner hour.

Nevertheless, I want to make two points. First, no matter what the FSA say, the Government cannot possibly say that they would have introduced this measure unless they were being forced to by the European Union. This is certainly an area where subsidiarity should have been allowed to prevail and we should have been allowed to conduct our own affairs in our own way.

Secondly, I would like to support briefly what the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, said about the precautionary principle. The Government and the European Union appear to have introduced the precautionary principle as a justification. The precautionary principle is not, as the noble Lord said, there to be introduced and involved in things which have been going along for a long time without any proven harm of any kind. It is very bad and dishonest to use that particular argument in this case.

I hope that the noble Earl will have his way and that the House will decide that the Government must go back and renegotiate the measure. It is quite intolerable as it stands.

Lord Turnberg

My Lords, I find myself in the unhappy position of disagreeing almost entirely with the noble Earl, Lord Howe, and the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones. Along with many other noble Lords no doubt, I have received letters, largely from a variety of organisations involved in the manufacture or sale of food supplements but also from individuals, expressing horror that a range of so-called natural substances, vitamins and minerals will no longer be available to the public. The basis of the concern lies largely—not entirely—in the difficulties and expense that the industry would have in complying with the directive. Furthermore, they question the need for regulation given that the supplements have been used safely for many years—or so it seems.

There are very cogent reasons for adopting greater regulation—by that I mean some regulation—in an area of public safety that stands out because of the almost complete absence of regulation governing it.

Earl Howe

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord for giving way. Is he saying that there are no mechanisms in this country to withdraw food supplements from the market if there are safety concerns? That is clearly not correct; we do have such mechanisms.

Lord Turnberg

My Lords, what we do not have is information. I shall develop that theme in my argument. The public are not completely aware of potential dangers, safety limits and so on. That information is not available. Quite rightly, we have very stringent regulation for pharmaceutical drugs but not for so-called natural products. Do the public not deserve to be informed about what they are eating? Should they not have available information to give them some idea of whether additives and supplements are safe, in what dose, and whether there is any evidence that they will do what they are claimed to do.

It is suggested that vitamins are essential for life. That is absolutely true, but it is far from the truth to suggest that they are all safe in whatever dose they are given and no matter for how long. The fact that they are essential for life does not mean that taking several times the daily dose makes you a healthier person. Indeed, the opposite may be the case. Noble Lords have mentioned boron, silicon and tin as beneficial. But what is the evidence that taking any extra than that which you gain in your normal diet does you any good?

The noble Earl mentioned that iron chelates are better absorbed than iron sulphate. That is perfectly correct. Several years ago, when I was a physician, I wrote up a patient who had been taking an extra iron pill a day simply because she felt that it would do her good—a not unreasonable assumption. But I saw her because she had developed haemochromatosis, a rather nasty liver disease. Iron itself is potentially dangerous. Vitamins A and D are marvellous if you are among the unusual subjects who are deficient in either. It is also possible that minute doses—I stress minute—taken over long periods will protect against deficiencies. But large or even modest doses of either are dangerous and cause all sorts of well-recognised ill health.

Folic acid, which is in the vitamin B group, is excellent in small doses in pregnancy. But taken in the same dose—about 5 milligrams a day—it could unbalance others with undiagnosed pernicious anaemia, of which there are quite a number in the population, and precipitate the condition of subacute combined deficiency of the spinal cord causing paralysis. Indeed, many such cases are described. A dose of 400 micrograms—less than half a milligram—seems safe and may well be worthwhile to the population since there is now increasing evidence that it may prevent heart attacks. But greater doses lead to potential dangers.

I use those examples to point out that, although a little bit of what does you good may be fine, a lot more seemingly harmless supplements are certainly not fine. The directive is necessary because at present the public do not have much information on the composition of many additives—their purity, dosage, the evidence on which claims are made about what they can do, and their safety. Regulation seems entirely appropriate.

I support the noble Earl's wish to secure simplified, less bureaucratic dossiers to be submitted. I particularly support his desire to ensure that maximum permitted levels of vitamins and minerals are based on sound science. How could I not support that? However, I am concerned that the proposal to revoke the regulations would leave us with too little to ensure the safety of the public. I am therefore unable to support the proposal.

Lord Skelmersdale

My Lords, would the noble Lord, Lord Turnberg, be good enough to tell us what interests he has in that particular matter?

Lord Turnberg

My Lords, my interests are solely those of an ex-physician. I am involved in the Academy of Medical Sciences and I give scientific advice to the Association of Medical Research Charities. Noble Lords can make of that what they like.

Lord Alexander of Weedon

My Lords, before the noble Lord sits down, perhaps I may ask him two questions. I accept totally his impartiality in this area, but why is his point that we need to have safe use not sufficiently covered by paragraphs 2 and 3 in the Motion moved by the noble Earl, Lord Howe? Also, why does he think that the issues that he so genuinely raises could not he better dealt with on the basis of subsidiarity in this country?

Lord Turnberg

My Lords, I am not sufficiently versed in the system of subsidiarity for this sort of directive, so perhaps the Minister will answer that question.

I think that paragraphs 2 and 3 are very reasonable; I am concerned about paragraph 1.

Baroness Howarth of Breckland

My Lords, I was not sure whether I would speak in this debate, so I must declare an interest as a member of the board of the Food Standards Agency. I feel a bit like Daniel in the lion's den after the speech by the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones.

I want to correct some issues about the agency. Although we sympathise with the Consumers for Health Choice and the industry about the scope of the positives lists, it seems unlikely that the Commission will consider reopening discussions. I will return to that matter later, so perhaps noble Lords should wait until the end of my speech before standing up.

The Food Standards Agency's focus is on pressing for a maximum limit to be based on safety rather than on restrictive nutritional need. However, when the report that was mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, by the UK's Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals was published, the Food Standards Agency pointed out that a good balanced diet would meet all one's requirements. However, we appreciate that people may wish to exercise their own choice as consumers about certain vitamins and minerals. In that respect, we are keen to promote good labelling and information about those products so that people are clear about what they are using.

Baroness Oppenheim-Barnes

My Lords, perhaps the noble Baroness would answer my question on that point. After the semi-hysterical outbursts of the FSA about vitamins and many other matters, how can the agency and the noble Baroness possibly support the directive, particularly when she knows that, year after year after year, Europe has held up the nutritional food labelling in this country for which the FSA has fought without any success whatsoever?

Baroness Howarth of Breckland

My Lords, I should remind the noble Baroness and the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, that we are not responsible for the way in which the media reproduce information. Our officials fought hard to make sure that the list was not as restrictive as it is. In fact, the list was hard-fought and hard-won in terms of some of its content.

It was because we believed that consumers should have a choice that we negotiated forcefully in the EU for the law to allow food supplements that are safe and properly labelled to be freely marketed, and for any restriction in the range of products to be justified on public health grounds. The criteria of safety and consumer choice underpin the FSA's approach to all food legislation.

We were concerned at the time of the negotiations, when there was a change in the presidency, that, had the negotiations been reopened at that stage, the directive would have become more restrictive. I was in discussion with our officials during that time. The compromise was, as I said, hard fought for, and the concessions finally supported were the best that could be achieved at the time.

I am simply trying to put the record straight about the position of the Food Standards Agency. There will be considerable difficulties in renegotiating with the EU. That is a position for the Government to take. We will continue to make sure that the nation has as much information as possible in labelling, choice—where choice means that food is safe and healthy—and information about a good and balanced diet, which is the best way to get vitamins and minerals.

8.30 p.m.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch

My Lords, following upon what the noble Baroness said, I want to ask the Minister one simple question: what is the status of this beautiful example of the benefits of our membership of the European Union? In other words, what is the status of the directive in the European Union? Is it subject to qualified majority voting? If so, have we been outvoted, or would we have been outvoted if we had put it to a vote? Is there anything that we can do about it? Is the amending directive proposed by my noble friend on the Front Bench a possibility, or, as usual, have we had it?

Earl Ferrers

My Lords, I suppose that I should declare an interest. My interest is that I am a sometime consumer of some supplements.

I am grateful to my noble friend Lord Howe for having put down the Motion. He made a devastating argument against the regulations. He said that it was a market harmonisation measure—nothing more, nothing less. That is so. The measure is designed to harmonise the markets of European Union countries. Why? In the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, where millions of consumers have used higher rates of minerals and vitamins for decades, it will mean less of a substantial number of products. It ought to open up the market to our standards; as it is, it will close up our markets.

Despite what the noble Lord, Lord Turnberg, said, there is no evidence that the products, some of which have been used for 50 years, are unsafe. That should be the test: are they safe? At the moment, all products are submitted to the Health Food Manufacturers' Association, which has a department for examining new products. It ensures that the ingredients and the doses are correct, and it works closely with the Food Standards Agency. If the regulations come into effect, any product that contains any of the 300 relevant substances must be removed or re-formulated. There is nothing wrong with those products. If they are removed or re-formulated, it will he an expensive business. If the products were dangerous, we could understand; but they are not. They have not been dangerous for years. Somebody once said that there were fewer bureaucrats in the European Commission than in Surrey County Council. One wonders what on earth they are doing the whole time concocting such regulations.

As I understand it, it is the stated policy of the Government that products may be legitimately brought to the market provided they are safe and properly labelled. The directive runs strictly counter to that. Why have the Government accepted the situation?

There is a way round, as has been pointed out. Dossiers can be compiled for submission to the European Union Scientific Committee for Food by 2005, but that is expensive. Until the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, spoke, I had not realised that the cost of doing it would be between £80,000 and £250,000. It costs a huge sum of money to prepare a dossier to request that what one is presently producing perfectly legally can continue to be produced. Of the 300 products removed by the regulations, only about 15 are having dossiers put forward.

I find these regulations amazing and pointless. What have the Government been doing for the past six years? They always say that they are in favour of consumers, but why have they not been looking after the interests of the United Kingdom? Last week, Her Majesty's Government announced a monumental reform of the common agricultural policy, but said that France—typically—had been excluded. Why can we not be excluded from a poor directive such as this about food supplements? If the French Government can do it, why cannot the British Government? I am sure that the noble Lord, Lord Warner, will use his great might to ensure that that happens. But there is an alternative. My noble friend is quite right to suggest taking the regulations away and renegotiating them. They have no advantage for Britain; they have no advantage for consumers; and they will damage our industry and the freedom of people to take safe supplements when they wish to do so.

Lord Phillips of Sudbury

My Lords, I congratulate the noble Earl, Lord Howe, on bringing forward this Motion today. The noble Lord, Lord Turnberg, said that one must be aware of the potentially dangerous consequences of our agreeing to this Motion. I suggest that there are other potential dangers in the steady bureaucratisation and over-regulation of life which many people feel is in train. In the European Union last year, there were more than 4,000 separate directives and regulations. On occasion, there really is a tendency for the issue of safety to be carried to an extent and degree which undermines the reasonable freedom and liberty of individuals to make decisions for themselves.

Lord Turnberg

My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for giving way. Does he agree that it is important for the public to be aware of exactly what it is that they are taking, the safety profiles, and the potential benefits or otherwise of them?

Lord Phillips of Sudbury

My Lords, I do indeed agree but I believe that the Motion takes account of those matters in a proportionate way. We have here yet another example of an EU sledgehammer to crack a nut. I shall be very interested to hear from the Minister how many products are off the list. Is it 270, or more or fewer? My suspicion is that if the large pharmaceutical companies had had a great interest in the matters being discussed today, we would not be facing this kind of regulation. Tobacco and alcohol are freely—rightly—available substances which can cause mayhem with people's lives and health. I wonder whether we are not perhaps being a little out of kilter in the way in which we are dealing with some of these traditional medicines.

Do not let us make any mistake; this will hit the small shop and will decimate yet another domestic industry in the way that others have been previously. I believe that the measures suggested in the Motion will be quite enough. Does the Minister have any statistics on the number of deaths and serious incapacities that have been caused by the products that are subject to this new regime? Unless he can give noble Lords a fairly striking statistic, he will fail to win round those who have a degree of open-mindedness about this issue—I still do. One of the few herbal products that I know has damaging results, which comes from a Chinese herb, is aristolochia which apparently can reduce hereditary Members of the House to silence. But that is the only one I have managed to track down.

I should also like to know what are the estimated costs of compliance? Has there been a cost-benefit analysis? If so, with what result? Finally, from where will people who currently use these traditional herbal medicines get their supplies in future? Will it be a criminal offence to obtain them from outside the European Union?

The Countess of Mar

My Lords, I stand before the House today as an example of what vitamins and minerals can do for one. When I first suffered from organophosphate poisoning, I developed intolerances to standard drugs and to many foods. I had great difficulty in surviving; I was a very sick person. I was given very high doses of vitamins and minerals— admittedly under medical supervision.

The blurb that goes with the directive and the statutory instrument states that vitamins and minerals will be available to medical practitioners to prescribe to their patients. They will not be. Manufacturers rely greatly upon over-the-counter sales of their products. Anyone who has any idea about business will know that if the turn-over of a product falls below a certain level it will no longer be produced. This will happen to vitamins and minerals, some of which were listed by the noble Earl. Lord Howe. I am grateful to the noble Earl for bringing this matter to our attention.

I listened with great interest to the noble Lord, Lord Turnberg, who referred to the rigorous testing of drugs. How is it then that, I understand, some 40,000 people a year die from adverse drug reactions? How is it that 40 per cent of people over 65 in hospital are there as a result of adverse drug reactions? If rigorous testing produces that result, heaven help us with minerals and vitamins.

This is about trade. It has nothing to do with consumer safety or anything else; it is purely and simply about trade and the restriction of trade by certain interest groups. The noble Lord, Lord Phillips, said that the major manufacturers are not involved. They are. They are up to their necks and beyond in it. This is where the problems arise. They do not like the business that the small manufacturers have. We have seen this happen over and over again in this field.

The noble Lord also mentioned herbal medicines. We are not talking about herbal medicines today, but about vitamins and minerals. But I have no doubt that we shall go on to herbal medicines.

I am concerned about the parameters used to determine safe levels. The recently published report, Safe Upper Levels for Vitamins and Minerals, from the expert group on that subject states: The determination of Safe Upper Limits and Guidance levels entails the determination of doses of vitamins and minerals that potentially susceptible individuals could take daily on a life-long basis without medical supervision in reasonable safety". "Potentially susceptible individuals"? The noble Lord, Lord Turnberg, referred to a number of his patients. Is everyone else to be prevented from having these food supplements? Thousands of people benefit from them every day even if they have only a placebo affect. If they think they are doing them good, does it matter? They are not knocking on the doors of doctors' surgeries; but if we take many of these supplements off the list, they will be.

The House knows that I keep animals. I know that our animals suffer from a selenium deficiency because our land is deficient in selenium. I know, too, that in order to make selenium work you have to have vitamin E with it. My goats, for example, have a tiny dose of vitamin E and selenium twice a year, which keeps them fit. They have wonderful pregnancies with very few delivery problems. They are good, fit and healthy goats. If I did not give them selenium and vitamin E they would have staring coats and they would have problems with birthing. These things happen.

We do not know enough about what vitamins and minerals do to humans because the research has not been carried out. To take them away from us now would be a grave error. I ask the Minister to listen to the noble Earl, Lord Howe—to take note and to do what he asks.

Lord Phillips of Sudbury

My Lords, before the noble Countess sits down, my point about large industrialists was precisely hers. The issue we are discussing affects small producers. My point was that if the very large pharmaceuticals were really interested in some of the products we are talking about, the outcome might be different.

Lord Colwyn

My Lords, it was my intention to intervene for a few minutes, but can I clarify whether this is a timed debate? Does the debate finish at 8.50, or may it run on?

Lord Grocott

My Lords, it is not a timed debate, although, as is normally the case with these matters, the usual channels try and put on in the dinner break something which will last for roughly an hour. It is not a science, it is an art. If we come to a conclusion within a reasonable time, we could move on to the Criminal Justice Bill, which contains important matters for debate as well.

Lord Colwyn

In that case, my Lords, perhaps I may have just two minutes. I have spoken on this issue for many years in your Lordships' House. Many of the commonly used ingredients that will be banned by the directive are more efficient than those that will be retained. There is no logical reason for their exclusion; it is entirely without scientific justification and certainly not in the best interests of the consumer.

A combination of a detrimental lifestyle with smoking, inner-city pollution, alcohol abuse, inadequate diet and other stresses with the problems of over-farming, pesticides and soil depletion seriously undermine normal health. Despite the many advances in healthcare, there is evidence that herbal, vitamin and mineral supplementation can help many of the problems associated with modern living—not only for those of us who do not achieve the recommended intake of nutrients but for the population as a whole if it is believed that the recommended intakes are not sufficient for optimal health.

The Library has given me a copy of the regulatory impact assessment referred to in the Explanatory Notes. It describes the objective of the directive as a means of facilitating trade: The Directive lays down a frame-work for Community rules on food supplements marketed as foodstuffs … in order to promote the free movement of trade … and ensure a high level of consumer protection". These two objectives seem incompatible. The FSA was set up to protect the consumer, not to further trade, its remits being food safety and nutrition.

According to the RIA, the only downside of the regulations might be a reduction in consumer choice. Millions of consumers are concerned that the restrictions may affect their health and their right to look after their health.

The RIA makes no reference to the role of food supplements making good the mineral and vitamin deficiencies induced by soil depletion and their role in the maintenance of an efficient immune system.

In conclusion, the RIA presents four options as to how the directive should be incorporated into UK law. I am concerned that the FSA has not fully understood the implications of the directive. I am concerned that it has not grasped the clinical and scientific evidence of the importance of nutrition, a fact at last recognised by the American Medical Association in its advice that everyone—even healthy adults—is in need of supplementation.

I hope that the Government will take notice of this short debate. What is needed is an amendment that would allow member states to permit products on their own domestic market which were recognised by the competent authority as safe and appropriately labelled but which would otherwise lie outside the technical restrictions of the directive.

Baroness Oppenheim-Barnes

My Lords, one of my greatest concerns about this directive and the FSA is that consumers are thoroughly confused. They think that things they always thought safe may not be safe. The majority of consumers do not have a balanced diet. Many sectors of society, such as geriatrics, need to have a greater intake of vitamins in the form of medicines than other members of the community. These are all serious considerations.

I am concerned that people will stop taking what they need to take as a result of this confusion. Surely. this is just another step along the road to the situation where, in a few years' time, we will be telling consumers that they should buy only one orange and not two because they might have an excess of vitamin C.

Lord Monson

My Lords, when the Minister comes to reply, can he explain why the principle of subsidiarity referred to by the noble Earl, Lord Howe, and the noble Lord, Lord Beaumont of Whitley, has once again been treated with total contempt by the European Commission?

Secondly, with reference to the last question posed by the noble Lord, Lord Phillips of Sudbury, is it not the case that the people of this country will still be able to obtain the vitamins and minerals in question from Norway, Switzerland, the Channel Islands and elsewhere, even if these wretched regulations are agreed to?

Lord Stoddart of Swindon

My Lords, I want to make two short points. First, we are being hurried along in this debate although many other noble Lords would like to speak. The Government, knowing that the resolution was down for debate, should have made adequate provision for the debate to take as much time as was needed, and should not have put it on in the dinner hour. Secondly, I presume that this is a single market matter. What proportion of the supplements are consumed in this country and how many are exported abroad?

Lord Warner

My Lords, this has been a stimulating debate. On occasion, the thought crossed my mind that some of your Lordships might be taking some of the supplements that we were discussing.

I cannot respond to all the points, but I shall try to pick up many of them along the way. I assure the noble Earl, Lord Howe, that I am not into denial. Although I was not previously involved in the issue, I do not believe that UK consumers and manufacturers have been let down, and I hope to persuade the noble Earl and others of that in the course of my remarks.

I recognise that the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, stands ready to accuse me of complacency. However, as he told the Health and Social Services Journal that I am feisty and competitive, I believed that I ought to live up to that reputation along the way.

The noble Earl, Lord Ferrers, referred to whether we were dealing properly with Europe. As I recall, the Government have actually been at the heart of Europe, negotiating hard for United Kingdom interests. I recollect from memory that the noble Earl's party had some sort of internal difficulties about that issue. However, that was a long time in the past, I am sure.

The noble Lord, Lord Phillips, and a number of other noble Lords asked for statistics. I do not have all the statistics immediately to hand, but I will look into it and write to noble Lords. I do not believe that the issue is just about statistics, as I believe noble Lords will agree at the end of my remarks.

The debate has served to confirm that many noble Lords feel very strongly and that the public should have a right to continuing access to a wide range of supplements. That is both my personal view and that of the Government, and nothing in the regulations gives any support to the argument that a variety of supplements will not be available to members of the public—and a wide range of supplements, at that. That was the position adopted by the Food Standards Agency on behalf of the UK in the negotiations on the Food Supplements Directive. I share the views expressed by the noble Baroness, Lady Howarth, that FSA staff fought hard for the UK's interests. She put the record straight very effectively on that issue.

The Government have always taken the view that the market should be open to all foods that are safe and properly labelled. That principle underpins our approach to all food legislation. We need to find the correct balance between our obligations to protect public health and the desire for wide consumer choice and the benefits of free trade.

My noble friend Lord Turnberg, in his clear and authoritative way, put the case for public safety that underpins the directive and regulations. He put the case for protecting the public better than I could. Not all the substances are safe for life, irrespective of duration and levels of consumption. That is a point that is often overlooked in this area.

The Government's responsibility is to ensure that appropriate food safety controls are in force and to promote honest and informative labelling in order to facilitate informed choice. It is for consumers to choose what they eat, and we know that they welcome a wide range of choice. Let me be clear that the Government do not wish to do anything that thwarts people taking responsibility for their own health by using food supplements that are safe to use.

The noble Earl, Lord Howe, raised the point that the legal principle should be that everything is allowed unless it is specifically forbidden. He complained that the directive ran shy of that. The establishment of a permitted list is an approach common in all food law—for example, for additives, nutrients and nutrient sources in products such as baby food. The extension of that particular principle to nutrients and nutrient sources used in food supplements is not therefore a departure in principle from current practice and was supported in the negotiations in Brussels by all 14 member states.

I am acutely aware of how important the availability of food supplements is to certain consumers as well as to businesses and individuals involved in the use, manufacture and sale of food supplements. I should like to make it clear that these regulations do not set the maximum limits for vitamins and minerals in food supplements, which is an area for further negotiations. I shall return to that issue. The Government have absolutely no desire unnecessarily to reduce consumer choice or unduly to restrict trade. That is why we will work hard to ensure that these maximum limits are based on safety and not nutritional needs.

Noble Lords should not underestimate the difficulty of the negotiations on the Food Supplements Directive. They were carried forward with great vigour and in full consultation with a wide range of interested parties. However, we should recognise that only in the Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland are there, as in the UK, diverse markets in food supplements. Those two other EU member states were the only ones sympathetic to our concerns over potential loss of products from the market.

I do not want to spend too much time going over old ground, although quite a few other noble Lords did go over old ground. It is important to understand that while the directive does not deliver all that the UK wanted, it was a lot better than it might have been and certainly was the best deal that we could achieve in the circumstances. At the time of the vote on the directive in the Council of Ministers the UK made a carefully considered judgment that if it had blocked the directive's adoption and forced further negotiations, that would very likely have resulted in a more rather than less restrictive regulatory framework.

It is important to note that most of the UK stakeholders we consulted, including all the major trade associations representing UK food supplements manufacturers, agreed and supported that position. This decision was not taken in a "hole in a corner" manner within the Government but with the industry. However, it is also important to recognise that, in negotiations, the UK secured a number of important concessions, notably inclusion of the derogation in Article 4(6) of the directive that allows us to permit the continued marketing in the UK of food supplements containing substances currently excluded from the permitted lists until 1st January 2010 where relevant criteria are met. That represents a very long transitional period. I thought that that achievement was rather underestimated in a number of noble Lords' contributions.

I should also like to bring to the attention of noble Lords—specifically the noble Earl, Lord Ferrers—one perhaps rather underplayed effect of the directive, which is that it will open up markets for products manufactured by UK business in other member states where those have previously not been permitted to be sold.

It has been suggested that the Government should go back to the negotiating table in Brussels with a view to securing an amendment to the directive. I do not know why those who suggest that think that we could achieve now what we could not achieve in the first place. The reality is that the Commission has secured a deal and will not reopen discussions. As regards the future effects of this directive in Europe, the Government's priority now is to make the best possible use of our influence and negotiating capital when we come in due course to negotiations on maximum limits for vitamins and minerals in food supplements.

As a member of the European Union the UK is obliged to implement the directive. We must recognise that, however much we wish that the directive were different, failure to transpose its requirements properly would be a serious breach of our obligations under the EC treaty and would result in infraction proceedings against the UK and in the likelihood of our facing heavy fines. Ultimately, implementation would be forced upon us. The Government do not think that that would be the most sensible way forward.

The implementing regulations, which have been debated so vigorously here today, make full use of the flexibility available to us under the directive; namely, they permit the continued marketing of food supplements until 1st January 2010, providing the relevant criteria are met; they do not require notification of marketing of new products; and they prohibit trade in non-compliant products from the latest possible date to allow sufficient time to enable them to be brought into line with the requirements of the new legislation.

I hope that noble Lords will also support the Government's welcome for the labelling requirements in the directive which will contribute to our commitment to promoting honest and informative labelling in order to facilitate informed consumer choice.

I am not brushing under the carpet the very legitimate concerns that have been raised today. The Government acknowledge that consumers and industry are worried about a number of issues. I am very well aware of, and sympathise with, concerns about the missing nutrients and nutrient sources that are currently excluded from the directive's "positive lists"; the expense and time involved in preparing dossiers to support the safety of these substances; the loss of particular product characteristics and the costs resulting from the reformulation of products in those cases where that may become necessary. But it is worth bearing in mind that the regulations do not cover natural sources of vitamins and minerals such as cod liver oil and that the lists of permitted nutrients in the regulations can be extended if satisfactory safety dossiers can be compiled by the industry.

We welcome the steps members of the industry are taking in a very responsible way to collaborate to ensure efficient and effective submission of safety dossiers and I am particularly pleased that discussions on dossier preparation are to take place between the European Food Safety Authority and representatives of the relevant interest groups. We certainly give that initiative our wholehearted support and hope that some simplification of dossier preparation will take place.

We must look to the future. I am aware that there is concern about the future setting of maximum limits for vitamins and minerals in food supplements and concern that that could have the effect of removing certain high-dose vitamin and mineral food supplements from the market at some time in the future. But, as I said, the directive does not set specific maximum limits for vitamins and minerals or other nutrients in food supplements. It agrees principles to be followed when they are established by future EC legislation. These are that maximum limits should take account of safety criteria and dietary intakes as well as due account of measures of nutritional need. I hope that everyone agrees that consumer safety should be the prime concern. That is certainly the Government's position. The Government's firm view is that maximum limits should be set at levels based on scientific risk assessments and should not be limited by considerations of nutritional need. Maximum limits should be set at levels that protect public health. The noble Lord, Lord Turnberg, made a number of comments very relevant to that. The Food Standards Agency continues to press that approach in Brussels.

This is a very important issue for the Government, as well as for consumers and the food supplements industry. We recognise that there are many high-dose food supplements products on the UK market and that many UK consumers value those products highly. There is nothing in the regulations to suggest that people will lose access to those supplements in the immediate future. Simply engaging in Brussels bashing on the directive will not help British consumers and industry. What we need to do is to influence the outcome of the future negotiations on maximum limits in Brussels. It is crucial that food supplements manufacturers and retailers, as well as members of the public and noble Lords, make effective use of all legitimate means at their disposal. The safety-based regime we are calling for offers benefits to consumers in other countries as well as our own and to businesses across the EU. We need to get this message across. While negotiations on the existing directive are finished, there is still a lot to play for regarding the future setting of maximum limits.

The report of the Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals has been mentioned. I commend its findings to the House. This group of independent experts has carried out a thorough review of currently available information on the safety of vitamins and minerals in food supplements. The handling was questioned by the FSA, but careful study of the FSA's press release suggests that the review was a balanced document that provided clear advice to consumers, to help them make informed choices.

I welcome the fact that the Food Standards Agency has recently had initial positive discussions with representatives of the food supplements manufacturing industry on actions that need to be taken as a result of the implications of the report of the Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals. We are working very closely with the experts and the industry in that area. Not only do I welcome that work on behalf of UK consumers, who have a right to be able to make properly informed choices over the products that they might buy, but I welcome the discussions as a positive step taken by UK food supplements manufacturers in demonstrating to the rest of Europe that the industry is a responsible one. All that should help to put the UK in a strong position when it comes to entering into negotiations on maximum limits in due course.

I acknowledge the concerns expressed today over some of the potentially less positive effects that the regulations could have in future on consumer choice and the food supplements industry. However, the directive has been agreed and we are obliged to implement it. The Government's focus is now on the future and, in particular, on minimising restrictions on consumer choice and trade by pressing for a safety-based approach to the setting of maximum limits. Much of what I have said addresses the concerns of the noble Earl's Motion.

Earl Ferrers

My Lords, the Minister has not explained why the Government are content to see 300 products removed from the market. Is that safety, or is it bureaucratic neatness?

Lord Warner

My Lords, I thought that I had made it clear that the products will not immediately be removed from the market, and that a good deal of negotiation is to go on in terms of maximum limits in the period ahead.

Earl Howe

My Lords, it has been a very good short debate. I thank everyone who has participated in it, including the Minister. However, despite the reassurances that he sought to give, it is clear that the Government are on the defensive on the issue. He was not able to answer the key points raised by a number of noble Lords. I, for one, was not reassured. To claim that the directive is about consumer safety and nothing else is, I am afraid, patently untrue.

The Government point to the derogation. If the directive were really about safety, any nutrient added to the list after the submission of a dossier should be allowed to remain on the list permanently, not simply until the derogation expires. But that is not the case. That gives the lie to the Government's claim as to what the directive is about.

The Minister said that there was no evidence that the public would be denied supplements. Indeed, there is a two-year period before any products currently marketed need to come off the market. However, the shelf life of the products is such that manufacturers now have to plan for what happens in two years' time. Effectively, they have to take action now.

As regards maximum limits, if safety is to be the prime consideration in determining the maximum permitted levels—I commend what the Minister had to say on the Government's intentions on that score, which I hope that they can carry through—why does the directive state that the recommended daily allowance should also he taken into account when determining the limits? That does not seem reassuring either. If there were a real health risk from those products, the Government would have statistics about the harm and deaths that result from people taking food supplements. No such statistics exist; indeed, I have yet to hear any evidence that nutrients that are prohibited under the directive cause people any harm.

The situation created by the directive is absurd. Consumer choice should not be curtailed unless there are genuine safety reasons for doing so. We should not have to ban safe, legal products just to achieve EU harmonisation. The noble Lord, Lord Phillips, said that this was a case of an EU sledgehammer cracking a nut; I quite agree. The House needs to send a strong and unequivocal message to the Government that the regulations are unjustified and unacceptable and that they must take further urgent action to safeguard British interests and British consumer freedom. I therefore wish to seek the opinion of the House.

9.10 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said Motion shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 132; Not-Contents, 79.

Division No. 2
Aberdare, L. Kilclooney, L.
Alexander of Weedon, L. Kimball, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V. King of Bridgwater, L.
Anelay of St Johns, B. Kirkham, L.
Arran, E. Liverpool, E.
Astor of Hever, L. Lucas, L.
Attlee, E. Luke, L.
Barker, B. Lyell, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L. McColl of Dulwich.L.
Bell, L. MacGregor of Pulham Market, L.
Biffen, L.
Blaker, L. Mackie of Benshie, L.
Blatch, B. McNally, L.
Bledisloe, V. Maddock, B.
Bridgeman, V. Mancroft, L.
Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, L. Mar, C.
Brougham and Vaux, L. Mar and Kellie, E.
Burnham, L. Marlesford, L.
Caithness, E. Masham of Ilton, B.
Carlisle of Bucklow, L. Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B. Miller of Hendon, B.
Cavendish of Furness, L. Monro of Langholm, L.
Chadlington, L. Monson, L.
Chester, Bp. Montrose, D.
Clement-Jones, L. Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Cobbold, L. Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Colwyn, L. Newton of Braintree, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L. [Teller] Northbrook, L.
Courtown, E. Northesk, E.
Craigavon, V. Norton of Louth, L.
Crathorne, L. O'Cathain, B.
Crickhowell, L. Onslow, E.
Dahrendorf, L. Oppenheim-Barnes, B.
Darcy de Knayth, B. Patten, L.
Denham, L. Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Dixon-Smith, L. Peel, E.
Eccles of Moulton, B. Phillips of Sudbury.L.
Eden of Winton, L. Plummer of St. Marylebone, h.
Elliott of Morpeth, L. Prior, L.
Elton, L. Quinton, L.
Erroll, E. Rawlings, B.
Evans of Parkside, L. Reay, L.
Feldman, L. Renton, L.
Ferrers, E. Roberts of Conwy, L.
Flather, B. Roper, L.
Fookes, B. Russell, E.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L. Ryder of Wensum, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B. Saatchi, L.
Geddes, L. Sainsbury of Preston Candover, L.
Gilmour of Craigmillar, L.
Gray of Contin, L. St John of Fawsley, L.
Greaves, L. Seccombe, B. [Teller]
Greenway, L. Selborne, E.
Harris of Richmond, B. Sharples, B.
Higgins, L. Shaw of Northstead, L.
Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, L. Shutt of Greetland.L.
Howe, E. Skelmersdale, L.
Howe of Idlicote, B. Smith of Clifton, L.
Howell of Guildford, L. Stevens of Ludgate, L.
Hunt of Wirral, L. Stewartby, L.
Hylton, L. Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Jenkin of Roding, L. Strange, B.
Jopling, L. Strathclyde, L.
Tebbit, L. Vivian, L.
Thomas of Gresford, L. Waddington, L.
Trefgame, L. Wakeham, L.
Ullswater, V. Walmsley, B.
Acton, L. Hardy of Wath, L.
Amos, B. Haskins, L.
Andrews, B. Hayman, B.
Bach, L. Hollis of Heigham, B.
Barnett, L. Howarth of Breckland, B.
Bassam of Brighton, L. Howells of St. Davids, B.
Berkeley, L. Hunt of Chesterton, L.
Blackstone, B. Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Borrie, L. Irvine of Lairg, L.
Brennan, L. Jones, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L. Judd, L.
Brookman, L. Kirkhill, L.
Burlison, L. Lockwood, B.
Campbell-Savours, L. Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Carter, L. McIntosh of Haringey, L.
Chan, L. McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
Chandos, V MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Clark of Windermere, L. Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L
Cohen of Pimlico, B. Milner of Leeds, L.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L. Mitchell, L.
David, B Morgan, L.
Davies of Coity, L Morris of Aberavon, L.
Davies of Oldham, L. [Teller] Pendry, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B. PitKeathley, B.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Desai. L. Puttnam, L.
Dixon, L. Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Dubs, L. Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Elder, L. Rendell of Babergh, B.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L. Scotland of Asthal, B.
Falconer of Thoroton, L. (Lord Chancellor) Simon, V.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B. Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Faulkner of Worcester, L. Turnberg, L.
Gale, B. Warner, L.
Gibson of Market Rasen. B. Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Gilbert, L. Whitaker, B.
Goldsmith, L. Whitty, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L. Williams of Mostyn, L. (Lord President of the Council)
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Grocott, L. [Teller] Woolmer of Leeds, L.

Resolved in the affirmative, and Motion agreed to accordingly.