§ Sir Anthony Grant
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he expects to consult interested parties on the draft regulations to implement the European Community package travel directive.
§ Mr. Leigh
Following the consultation period we initiated in July 1991, my Department has today issued for consultation draft regulations covering articles 1 to 6 of the directive. These lay down minimum standards for the way that consumers of packages are to be treated by the travel organiser and travel agent. In particular, the legislationsets out the information to be included in brochures, and other information which must be supplied to the consumer before the start of the holiday;defines the circumstances in which changes may or may not be made to the particulars in the brochure;lays down the matters which must be included in the contract;regulates the circumstances in which surcharges can be made and provides that no price increases may be made within 30 days before departure;places the liability for the package on the other party to the contract with the consumer (usually the organiser).
These requirements will be backed up by a combination of new criminal offences and civil liabilities.
The circumstances under which surcharges are allowed have been brought into line with the voluntary code of practice operated by members of the Association of British Travel Agents. This has been done under the provision in the directive which allows us to adopt more stringent provisions to protect the consumer.
I expect to consult shortly on our proposals for implementing article 7 of the directive which requires organisers and/or retailers to show evidence of security for the refund of money paid over and for the repatriation of the consumer in the event of insolvency.