HC Deb 22 January 2003 vol 398 cc350-1W
Dr. Murrison

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the impact on village halls of regulations introduced since 1997. [91844]

Alun Michael

No such specific assessment has been made. However, all proposals for regulation which have an impact on businesses, charities or voluntary bodies must be accompanied by a regulatory impact assessment. The necessary checks and balances required under the system ensure that regulation is necessary and proportionate and the risks, options, benefits and costs are fully explored.

I am aware from correspondence that concerns have been expressed in particular about the impact on village halls of the "Disability Discrimination (Providers of Services) (Adjustment of Premises) Regulations 2001". However the Disability Discrimination Act requires service providers to do only what is reasonable in all the circumstances, and there is no question of unreasonable costs being imposed.

I have recently discussed concerns expressed about the prospective impact on village halls of the Licensing Bill currently before Parliament with the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Dr Howells).