HC Deb 21 June 1976 vol 913 cc324-5W
Mr. David Price

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will list every different circumstance in which officials of his Department, and of all public bodies ultimately answerable to himself, have search and entry powers into either the homes or the business premises of British citizens, with in each case reference to the appropriate statutory authority for the exercise of such powers.

Mr. Les Huckfield

Authorised officials of my Department may at all reasonable times enter and inspect any premises in which there is or should be any asset in respect of which an investment grant or a regional development grant has been made and require the asset to be produced or identified for inspection. The statutory authorities are, respectively, the Industrial Development Act 1966, Section 8(5), and the Industry Act 1972, Schedule 1 paragraph 2.

In addition to these statutory powers there are a number of agreements and contracts freely entered into by both parties which provide similar rights of entry to business premises.

Officials of the Post Office may enter buildings for the purposes of constructing or maintaining any telegraphic line. The Post Office is required to endeavour to make an arrangement with the occupier before entering, but this requirement does not apply in cases of emergency—(Telegraph (Construction) Act 1916 Section 4). Telephone and telex subscribers are required to permit persons engaged in the business of the Post Office to enter upon their premises at all reasonable times for the purpose of constructing, inspecting, maintaining, altering or removing telecommunications installations—Post Office Act 1969 Section 28, and the Post Office Telecommunications Scheme 1976, paragraph 15. Post Office officials may also, under the authority of a search warrant, enter premises as agents for the Secretary of State for the Home Department. The statutory authorities are the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949, Section 15, and the Post Office Act 1969, Section 91.

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