PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES - HOUSE OF COMMONS OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD) - Parliament Publications

 
Friday                                      Volume 507
12 March 2010                                   No. 56

                 HOUSE OF COMMONS
                   OFFICIAL REPORT

                PARLIAMENTARY
                   DEBATES
                      (HANSARD)

                     Friday 12 March 2010

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519                                                   12 MARCH 2010                                                    520

          House of Commons                                              Marriage (Wales) Bill [Lords]
                                                                Bill reported, without amendment.
                                                                Third reading
                  Friday 12 March 2010
                                                              9.44 am
        The House met at half-past Nine o’clock
                                                                 Alun Michael (Cardiff, South and Penarth) (Lab/Co-op):
                                                              I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.
                   PRAYERS                                       Knowing of your connection with Wales, Mr. Deputy
  The Second Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means                Speaker, there is certainly a Welsh flavour about what I
took the Chair as Deputy Speaker (Standing Order              trust will be a very short debate. I am a member of the
No. 3).                                                       Church in Wales, although I was brought up in Eglwys
                                                              Bresbyteraidd Cymru—yr Hen Gorff—and I am very
  Julie Morgan (Cardiff, North) (Lab): I beg to move,         proud to bring the Bill before the House.
That the House sit in private.                                   When the Public Bill Committee met on 24 February,
  Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 163).            Members from all four parties representing Welsh
                                                              constituencies attended and spoke. There was unanimity
  The House divided: Ayes 0, Noes 37.
                                                              across all parties and all denominations from Free
Division No. 107]                                  [9.33 am   Church to Catholic, and support from all parts of
                                                              Wales, north, south, east and west. Perhaps that is the
                         AYES                                 most surprising element of unity.
                             Tellers for the Ayes:               It is ironic that the established Church of England
                                Angela Watkinson and          can make a change of the sort introduced by the Bill
                                Mr. Christopher Chope
                                                              through a simple Measure, but that we need a private
                                                              Member’s Bill, that most fragile of legislative vehicles,
                                                              to do so in Wales. The purpose is simple. On 1 October
                         NOES
                                                              2008, the Church of England Marriage Measure 2008
Bellingham, Mr. Henry        Jowell, rh Tessa                 came into force. Before then, marriage banns could be
Bottomley, Peter             Keeble, Ms Sally                 called in a parish church if one or both of the parties to
Brennan, Kevin               Keen, Ann
                                                              be married resided in the parish. If they lived in different
Brown, Lyn                   Lamb, Norman
                                                              parishes, the banns had to be called in the parish church
Burns, Mr. Simon             Michael, rh Alun
Clark, Paul                  Morgan, Julie
                                                              of each party.
Coaker, Mr. Vernon           Naysmith, Dr. Doug                  The Measure added five additional cases of qualifying
Corbyn, Jeremy               Pelling, Mr. Andrew              connection with the parish. In summary, they are as
Eagle, Angela                Robathan, Mr. Andrew             follows: first, that one of the parties was baptised or
Field, Mr. Mark              Ruddock, Joan                    confirmed in the parish; secondly, that one of the
Francis, Dr. Hywel           Simmonds, Mark                   parties had, at any time, his or her usual place of
Grogan, Mr. John             Skinner, Mr. Dennis              residence in the parish for not less than six months;
Hanson, rh Mr. David         Spellar, rh Mr. John             thirdly, that one of the parties had, at any time, habitually
Hoban, Mr. Mark              Taylor, Dr. Richard
                                                              attended public worship in the parish for not less than
Hodge, rh Margaret           Timms, rh Mr. Stephen
                             Villiers, Mrs. Theresa
                                                              six months; fourthly, that a parent of one of the parties,
Iddon, Dr. Brian
                             Ward, Claire
                                                              during the lifetime of that party, fulfilled either of the
Irranca-Davies, Huw
                                                              two previous conditions; and finally, that a parent or
James, Mrs. Siân C.          Tellers for the Noes:            grandparent of one of the parties was married in the
Jones, Mr. David                Nia Griffith and
                                                              parish.
Jones, Mr. Kevan                Laura Moffatt
                                                                 The affirmation of the relationship between two people
                                                              in marriage is important, and in these days of a highly
  Question accordingly negatived.                             mobile population, people want to make the connections
                                                              that are indicated by those five additional qualifying
                                                              criteria. All that the Bill will do is bring the arrangements
                                                              of the Church in Wales into the same situation that the
                                                              Measure brought into place for the Church of England.
                                                              The only difference is some of the terminology that is
                                                              necessary to meet the arrangements in the disestablished
                                                              Church.
                                                                 Given the unity of support for the Bill throughout
                                                              the Chamber and across all denominations, I am sure
                                                              that I need say no more on the subject.

                                                              9.48 am
                                                                Mr. David Jones (Clwyd, West) (Con): I declare at the
                                                              outset that, like the right hon. Member for Cardiff,
                                                              South and Penarth (Alun Michael), I am a member of
                                                              the Church in Wales. As he said, the Bill has full
                                                              cross-party support for all its provisions, and perhaps
521         Marriage (Wales) Bill [Lords]            12 MARCH 2010          Marriage (Wales) Bill [Lords]                 522

[Mr. David Jones]                                              connections. It is only fair that they should be able to do
                                                               so—as, indeed, they can in the Church of England. As
more importantly, it has the full support of the governing     the right hon. Gentleman pointed out, we now have a
body of the Church in Wales and therefore represents           much more mobile population, and the Bill is an important
its official policy.                                           measure in ensuring that those people can get married
   As the right hon. Gentleman said, the Bill will bring       in the church of their choice, in a place where they have
Church in Wales practice in line with that of the Church       connections.
of England. He outlined the consequences of the Church            I am slightly concerned about the churches in the
of England Marriage Measure 2008, which introduced             Welsh marches, which were mentioned by my hon.
five additional cases in which marriage banns may be           Friend the Member for Clwyd, West. The church may
called in a church in a particular parish. As he said, the     be in one jurisdiction, but the county in a separate
change in practice was meant to reflect social changes,        jurisdiction across the march. I do not quite know how
in that people are far more mobile than they were but          that problem is going to be sorted out—perhaps the
nevertheless feel an affinity with a particular place          Minister can fill us in regarding the verdict of the
where they have lived, or where a parent or a grandparent      Ministry of Justice. It is an important issue, and a few
has lived, and wish to mark important occasions such           anomalies may be thrown up.
as marriage there. The Church in Wales recognises that            The Bill is a small but important measure, and it will
the change effected by the Church of England is good           bring a great deal of happiness and joy to a significant
and sensible and wishes to adopt it too.                       number of people. It is good to see right hon. and hon.
   There is another point that should perhaps be made.         Members on the Government Benches supporting the
Along the often highly populated border between England        institution of marriage.
and Wales, there are parishes that fall within with one
ecclesiastical jurisdiction but a different political one.     9.53 am
The changes contemplated under the Bill will therefore
                                                                  Mr. Christopher Chope (Christchurch) (Con): I have
resolve a great deal of possible confusion, of which
                                                               very little to say about the Bill, given that I am not a
there is frankly already enough along the English-Welsh
                                                               member of the Church of Wales. It would be interesting,
border.
                                                               however, to speculate on whether the measure will result
   Mr. Christopher Chope (Christchurch) (Con): As my           in an increased number of church weddings. For my
hon. Friend regularly attends church in Wales, does he         part, I certainly hope that will be the consequence. In
know whether the proposal will result in an increased          principle, if we give a wider choice of venue to people
number of church weddings in Wales? Does he have any           who wish their marriage to be solemnised in church,
information about the impact of the 2008 Measure on            that should increase take-up.
the number of weddings in churches in England?                    I wish to examine the consequences of the equivalent
                                                               Church of England Measure. Unfortunately, the most
   Mr. Jones: I do not have any information about the          recent statistics are for 2008, before the Measure was
consequences of the 2008 Measure, which is clearly             fully implemented on 1 October 2008. In the Church of
fairly recent. However, I have received representations        England, between 2002 and 2008, the number of weddings
from people interested in the Bill who think that a            was relatively constant: some 54,800 in 2002; and 57,000
widening of the categories of people may be married in         in 2004, falling to 53,100 in 2008. Given that there are
a particular church will have a desirable effect on the        some 16,000 churches under the control of the Church
number of weddings. I have been approached in particular       of England, that is an average of only three marriages
by people in the catering trade who say that wedding           per church per year. Marriage ceremonies are a good
catering may well be stimulated. In both business and          way of increasing church income—with due respect to
social life in Wales, the consequences are highly desirable.   my hon. Friend the Member for Clwyd, West, the
   The Bill will make it easier for people to get married      income for the church is probably more important than
where they wish, which is surely a good thing. The             the income for the wedding cake makers. I hope that the
Opposition welcome it unreservedly, and look forward           Church of England Measure that was introduced has
to its enactment.                                              resulted in an increased number of church weddings.
                                                               The Church of England website—I imagine that the
9.51 am                                                        Church in Wales would do something similar—says
   Mr. Henry Bellingham (North-West Norfolk) (Con):            that as a result of the Measure
I congratulate the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South        “the Church of England’s network of 16,000 churches—ancient
and Penarth (Alun Michael) on the Bill, which is a             or modern, intimate or grand, simple or spectacular—can offer a
                                                               wider wedding welcome than at any time in the Church’s history.”
sensible measure. I declare an interest as a former
practising barrister who undertook a certain amount of         I hope that the Church in Wales, although not an
family law. I absolutely agree with the purpose of the         established Church, will say something similar, and will
Bill, because the existing requirement is for the banns to     use this Bill to promote the case for family involvement
be read in the parish churches of the groom and of the         in the Church and particularly the importance of church
bride. The fact that the qualifying criteria are so strict     weddings.
leads to some hardship because, as the right hon. Gentleman       I should like the Church, in Wales and in England, to
and my hon. Friend the Member for Clwyd, West                  produce statistics to show the durability of marriages
(Mr. Jones) pointed out, many people wishing to marry          that take place in church, compared with that of marriages
have moved away from home. They have gone to university        that take place in purely civil ceremonies, as that might
and taken jobs elsewhere, yet they want to get married         be encouraging for couples wondering whether or not
in their local church, perhaps in the place where their        to get married in church. The Church, whether in Wales
grandparents live or where they have other family              or England, has a lot more work to do to promote that
523         Marriage (Wales) Bill [Lords]           12 MARCH 2010         Marriage (Wales) Bill [Lords]               524

cause. The statistics produced by the governing body          that couples will not necessarily need to be resident in
of the Church in Wales show that there were only              the parish in which they wish to get married, as is
68,837 communicants at Easter. In 2006—the last year          currently the case. For example, a couple may have
for which statistics are available—there were only            moved away from their home parish in Wales, but may
3,779 church weddings in Wales, which is a pretty paltry      wish to get married there because their family and
figure.                                                       friends still live in the area. The current more restrictive
   We all know about the fine singing of the Welsh            rules could prevent them from doing so, but if the Bill is
choirs and everything that comes out of Wales, so I am        enacted, they would need only to show that they have
surprised that relatively few people wish to get married      previously lived or worshipped in the parish. Alternatively,
in church in Wales. I hope that the Bill—I congratulate       they could demonstrate one of the other widened qualifying
the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth          connections set out in the Bill—for example, that their
and its sponsors on its introduction—will ensure not          parents or grandparents were married in that church.
only that there is improved church attendance but an             I know that the Church in Wales is looking forward
increase in the number of church weddings in Wales. I         to welcoming more couples to its parishes for marriage
am therefore happy to give the Bill my enthusiastic           as a result of the Bill, and it seems only fair that people
support.                                                      with a connection with Wales should have the same
                                                              access to their church for marriage that people in England
9.57 am                                                       now enjoy.
   Norman Lamb (North Norfolk) (LD): The Liberal                 The hon. Member for Clwyd, West (Mr. Jones)
Democrats wholeheartedly support the Bill, and we             mentioned the border with England. The Bill will regularise
congratulate the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South         the border problem, which is the fact that some districts
and Penarth (Alun Michael) on its introduction. The           in Wales are under the Church of England, so parishioners
hon. Member for Christchurch (Mr. Chope) asked about          in those districts are covered by the Church of England
the impact of the equivalent Measure in England, but          Measure.
for me the important thing is that the Bill provides             As the Bill is a matter of Church administration, the
greater flexibility. It gives people the opportunity, which   Government have remained neutral. However, I am
they have been denied in the past, to get married in a        aware that many people with a link to Wales will welcome
place to which they have an emotional attachment or a         it and benefit from it. Therefore, with complete neutrality,
close family connection. It brings the Church in Wales        I wish the Bill well.
into line with the Church of England, so it makes
eminent sense for us to get on and introduce it. I do not     10 am
want to delay it any further.                                    Alun Michael: I hope that in future we will be able to
                                                              look at how we legislate for the Church in Wales and
9.58 am                                                       perhaps produce a simpler solution and one that is
                                                              appropriate in the age of devolution. I am grateful for
   The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice
                                                              the support of Members on both sides of the Chamber.
(Claire Ward): May I first congratulate my right hon.
                                                              I know that people in the parish of St. Mellons in my
Friend the Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth
                                                              constituency are looking to see what happens today
(Alun Michael) on successfully steering this Bill through
                                                              with interest, because the Bill will make a difference to
its remaining stages in the Commons? It is good to note
                                                              the traditional links between the Llanrumney estate and
from the speeches we have heard that it has not only
                                                              the parish. I am sure the Bill will make a similar
cross-party support cross-denominational support.
                                                              difference in parishes up and down Wales and, as the
   The Bill seeks to introduce widened “qualifying            hon. Member for Clwyd, West (Mr. Jones) said, particularly
connections” for couples who wish to get married in a         where parish boundaries cross the border.
parish of the Church in Wales, which will be equivalent
                                                                 I am grateful for the support the Bill has received,
to those introduced by the Church of England in October
                                                              and I commend it to the House.
2008. Since then, parishioners of the Church in Wales
have been at a disadvantage compared with parishioners           Question put and agreed to.
in England when it comes to their choice of venue for a          Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed, without
church wedding. The Bill will remedy the position so          amendment.
525                                                      12 MARCH 2010              Sunbeds (Regulation) Bill                526

             Sunbeds (Regulation) Bill                                 Are the Bill’s regulations necessary? Are they
                                                                    proportionate? Could the problems that they seek to
Consideration of Bill, not amended in Public Bill Committee         address be dealt with in a better way? Will the regulations
                                                                    be vulnerable to the law of unintended consequences?
                                                                    Are the regulations necessary as a matter of substance,
                        New Clause 1                                or are they more equivalent to exercises in gesture
                                                                    politics?
        RESTRICTIONS ON SALE OR HIRE OF       SUNBEDS
                                                                       My understanding is that the sponsors of the Bill
  ‘(1) A person who sells or hires or offers for sale or hire any   believe that exposure to ultra-violet light can lead to
sunbed shall ensure—                                                skin cancer, particularly if young, unprotected skin is
      (a) that the specification of the sunbed complies with        exposed over a prolonged period. There seems to be a
           European standard EN 60335-2-27, and                     substantial amount of medical evidence to support that
      (b) that any UV radiation emitted by the sunbed does not      proposition. The sponsors consequently argue that because
            exceed 0.3 watts per square metre.                      malignant melanoma is one of the five most common
  (2) Any person who is in breach of the provisions of              cancers among those aged 15 to 24, and because four
subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence and liable on          out of five melanomas are caused by exposure to UV
summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £20,000.’.—              sunlight, something has got to be done, but it will not
(Mr. Chope.)                                                        have escaped your notice, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that
  Brought up, and read the First time.                              there is an undistributed middle in the sponsors’ logic.
                                                                       That malignant melanomas are one of the five most
10.1 am                                                             common cancers among 15 to 24-year-olds is a statement
                                                                    of fact, but the suggestion is that, by implication, those
 Mr. Christopher Chope (Christchurch) (Con): I beg to               melanomas are caused by exposure to artificial sunlight,
move, That the clause be read a Second time.                        and there is no evidence for that at all. In Committee,
                                                                    the Bill’s promoter, the hon. Member for Cardiff, North
   Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Michael Lord): With this it              (Julie Morgan), argued that the consequences of UV
will be convenient to discuss the following: amendment 1,           exposure—in terms of skin cancer—are often not apparent
in clause 2, page 1, line 11, leave out ‘18’ and insert ‘16’.       for many years. If it is correct that exposure to UV rays
   Amendment 2, page 1, line 15, leave out ‘18’ and                 results in malignant melanoma a long way down the
insert ‘16’.                                                        track, where is the evidence that the melanomas in
   Amendment 3, page 1, line 16, leave out ‘18’ and                 people aged between 15 and 24 are caused by UV
insert ‘16’.                                                        exposure? Might there be some alternative explanation?
   Amendment 8, page 2, line 15, leave out Clause 3.                   The incidence of cancers among relatively young
                                                                    people is quite small. Obviously, one case of cancer is
   Amendment 4, in clause 4, page 3, line 2, leave out              one too many, but the sponsors of the Bill, who say that
‘18’ and insert ‘16’.                                               UV exposure is the fifth most common cause of cancer
   Amendment 5, page 3, line 5, leave out ‘18’ and insert           in young people, have unfortunately not given us any
‘16’.                                                               direct figures. We need to ensure that intellectual rigour
   Amendment 6, page 3, line 7, leave out ‘18’ and insert           is brought to the arguments in support of the Bill.
‘16’.                                                                  The sponsors have not discovered a way in which to
   Amendment 15, page 3, line 11, leave out subsection (4).         prevent people from exposing themselves to natural UV
   Amendment 16, page 3, line 14, leave out Clause 5.               light from the sun. That is obviously the most common
                                                                    way in which people are exposed to UV light, and
   Amendment 31, in clause 10, page 4, line 36 leave out            thereby the risk of contracting melanomas. We know
paragraph (a).                                                      that as soon as there is any sunshine, the number of
   Amendment 10, in clause 11, page 5, line 11, leave out           people who rush out and strip off—not necessarily
subsection (1).                                                     completely—is considerable. That shows that there are
   Amendment 11, page 5, line 17, leave out subsection (2).         limits on the legislative zeal to regulate. There is no
   Amendment 12, page 5, line 24, leave out ‘to which               proposal by the promoter of the Bill to regulate exposure
this subsection applies’ and insert ‘containing regulations         to ordinary sunlight. Instead of doing that—they cannot
made under this Act’.                                               regulate such exposure, but it is obviously the biggest
                                                                    cause of melanomas—they are bringing their legislative
   Mr. Chope: The background to the new clause and                  zeal to regulating exposure to artificial sun.
the group of amendments, all of which are in my name,                  Artificial sun is produced by sunbeds or, more accurately,
is regulation. You will know, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that              by the ultra-violet tubes inside sunbeds. I am told by the
that has been a perennial theme in Friday debates for               Sunbed Association that an ultra-violet tube emitting
many years. As this may be the last occasion on which               ultra-violet radiation of 0.3 W per square metre is
you preside over our private Members’ Bills proceedings,            equivalent to being in the Mediterranean sun at midday,
I am sure that you are deserving of praise for your                 so a 10-minute session on a sunbed should produce a
forbearance during these repetitive debates, which have             tan without burning. Prevention of burning is often
often centred on whether more regulation is the answer              ensured by the use of anti-sun tanning creams, which
to the nation’s ills or whether we should consider legislative      stop the skin being over-exposed to the ultra-violet light
proposals more carefully before rushing them on to the              from the sunbed tubes.
statute book to deal with any problem that arises. That                Interestingly, although the Government apparently
theme is very much pertinent to proposed new clause 1               support the Bill, they continue to impose the full rate of
and the proposed amendments.                                        VAT on sun creams, which are a much better way to
527            Sunbeds (Regulation) Bill            12 MARCH 2010             Sunbeds (Regulation) Bill                528

prevent the adverse consequences of exposure to all UV           Mr. Chope: My point is that the Government have
light, whether from the sun or artificial sources. So         introduced an extension of the nanny state to try to
although the Government say that this is a desperately        make it more difficult for those between 16 and 18 to
important problem that needs to be addressed urgently,        gain access to cigarettes and alcohol, but we know how
they still impose a 17.5 per cent. tax on the creams that     counter-productive that exercise has been. We now probably
help to prevent the adverse consequences of exposure          have record levels of youngsters using illegal drugs,
to UV light.                                                  drinking to excess below the age of 18, smoking tobacco
   New clause 1 addresses the issue of sunbeds with           and carrying illegal knives. I could go on. My hon.
tubes that emit higher levels of UV radiation. If a           Friend may have heard reports on the radio just this
sunbed has tubes that emit levels of radiation greater        morning about the number of youngsters engaging in
than 0.3 W per square metre, the likelihood of consequent     self-harm by cutting themselves. Some 3,000 youngsters
burning is greater. Burning is normally the precursor to      a year end up in accident and emergency for that
a raised risk of melanoma, so it is important to prevent      reason. The promoter of the Bill is not suggesting that
burning and ensure that only a gentle tanning takes           we should bring in a law outlawing self-harm, but that
place. I was very interested when my hon. Friend the          statistic illustrates the propensity of young people to
Member for Boston and Skegness (Mark Simmonds)—I              experiment and do their own thing, irrespective of what
am delighted to see him in his place on the Front             the legislation says.
Bench—raised this issue in Committee. He said that if
we want to deal with this problem and reduce the risks          Mr. Burns: I do not wish to be unhelpful to my hon.
of using sunbeds, we should first act to regulate the         Friend and I accept his point about the levels of smoking
amount of UV radiation emitted by the tubes in sunbeds.       and drinking, but that is not an argument to abandon
I was surprised that the Government did not say that          the law altogether in those areas.
they agreed and would therefore use this Bill as an
opportunity to ensure that the European standard was             Mr. Chope: I am sure that you would rule me out of
incorporated into British law, so that anyone hiring out      order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, if I were to suggest that we
or selling a sunbed that exceeded the recommended             could use the Bill as a vehicle for changing the laws on
maximum wattage per square metre of UV would be               alcohol and cigarettes. I am certainly not going to be
outlawed. A logical regulator would make that their           drawn down that line.
starting point in introducing legislation.

  Angela Watkinson (Upminster) (Con): I note that this          Mr. Burns: I was not for one minute suggesting that
Bill places new duties on anyone hiring or selling sunbeds.   the Bill be used in that way. My point was that, to my
Regulating the wattage is a fairly simple aspect on           mind, the Bill is eminently sensible in having an 18-year
which to regulate, but under the terms of the Bill people     threshold. That is in line with the law on buying cigarettes
who carry on sunbed businesses would have to ensure           and going to public houses, so it would be a consistent
that people under the age of 18—it would be reduced to        and logical level, if we are to have an age limit.
16 if later amendments are accepted—do not use them.
How, in reasonable terms, could every operator be                Mr. Chope: I shall address in more detail the question
certain that someone below that age will not use their        of whether the limit should be 16 or 18, if it should be
sunbeds, especially when the sunbeds are unattended?          regulated at all. Before we start introducing more
At some premises, no one is in attendance, but there are      regulations—this is a very good rule of thumb—we
warning signs. How can operators be reasonably expected       should see whether similar regulations are working in
to stop people ignoring the warning signs? If someone         practice. I put it to my hon. Friend that similar regulations
below the relevant age did ignore the signs, who would        trying to restrict access to alcohol and tobacco by 16 to
be responsible—the person who had ignored the signs           18-year-olds have not achieved anything, except—
or the owner of the premises?                                 probably—to bring the law into disrepute. I can see that
                                                              the argument, “Well, because we already have that bad
10.15 am                                                      law in place, there is a case for putting another bad law
   Mr. Chope: My hon. Friend makes a powerful and             on top of it” might be logical—I cannot argue against
important point and I shall address it later in my            the logic—but I do not agree with the wisdom of it.
remarks. New clause 1 would provide that we deal with         That is the point that I shall try to address when I turn
that issue at the earliest possible stage. It would ensure    to the amendments in this group dealing with the question
that the tubes in the sunbeds comply with the European        of whether regulations should apply only to under-16s
standard. That could be achieved easily, which would          using sunbeds or whether they should extend to those
then raise the question of whether we would then need         aged 16 to 18 as well.
to criminalise those who are duped by someone aged               Before those interventions, I was talking about what I
between 16 and 18 into allowing them to use a sunbed.         think is the most important issue. My new clause 1 is
The person using the sunbed would incur no penalty,           designed to improve the Bill by introducing more protection
but the person supplying the sunbed—however                   for people who use sunbeds, so that they do not use
innocently—could be brought before the courts. That is        any—unwittingly or otherwise—that emit more than a
one of the flaws in the Bill.                                 safe amount of artificial UV radiation. I wait with
                                                              anticipation to find out whether the Bill’s promoter, the
   Mr. Simon Burns (West Chelmsford) (Con): Does my           hon. Member for Cardiff, North and Ministers have
hon. Friend agree that the proposals in the Bill are in       changed their tune on this issue. I would have thought it
line with the way in which the law works when it comes        logical for any rational regulator to put at the top of
to selling cigarettes to those under age, or admitting        any list of priorities the need to ensure that there are no
under-age people to public houses?                            sunbeds for sale, hire and, ultimately, in use—this point
529               Sunbeds (Regulation) Bill                    12 MARCH 2010               Sunbeds (Regulation) Bill                   530

[Mr. Chope]                                                               never been given either by Ministers or the Bill promoter
                                                                          to question of why, just because it is technically the
is supported by the Sunbed Association in England and                     responsibility of the Department for Business, Innovation
Wales—that emit more than 0.3 W of radiation per                          and Skills, it cannot be incorporated into the Bill.
square metre.                                                                We have had almost 13 years of this ghastly Government.
   That elementary, cost-effective and simple regulation                  They have spoken repeatedly about the need for joined-up
could, and should—in my view—have been enacted by                         government, but here we have, on the eve of their
the Government already. It is the specification in European               demise, a ringing example of how, even now, they are
standard EN 60335-2-27, which is referred to specifically                 not joined up—indeed, there is a stand-off; they are in
in new clause 1. That standard was recommended by                         different silos. Perhaps because it is Lord Mandelson’s
the European Union Scientific Committee on Consumer                       Department’s responsibility for some reason the
Products in 2006, and was adopted and published in a                      Department of Health cannot possibly engage with it
European Union declaration in January 2007. The United                    and is not prepared to concede the point—or perhaps
Kingdom Government signed up to that declaration,                         they are simply not discussing it with each other.
but have failed to legislate to ensure that all UV tanning                   In Committee, the Minister went on to say that
equipment in service complies with that important safety
                                                                          “although the concerns are real, unfortunately the Bill is not the
standard.                                                                 right instrument to tackle them.”––[Official Report, Sunbeds
   That is another example of the Government talking                      (Regulation) Public Bill Committee, 10 February 2010; c. 16.]
tough on questions of health protection, but actually                     Perhaps—this is being generous to her—she thought
failing—neglecting—to take measures that, at a stroke,                    then that the new clause might not be selected because it
could increase product safety and reduce the risks to                     was not within the scope of the Bill.
sunbed users resulting from exposure to sunbeds with
wattages higher than the limit to which I have referred. I                However, the new clause has been selected; therefore it
am told by the Sunbed Association that there might be                     must be within the scope of the Bill. The new clause
as many as 60,000 sunbeds around, and that a large                        having been selected, it is apparent that this Bill could
proportion of them contain tubes that emit UV radiation                   be the right instrument to tackle the problem.
in excess of the European standard.
                                                                          10.30 am
   New clause 1 would fill that gap in the law and ensure
that all sunbeds for sale or hire would have to meet that                    Now that the new clause has been selected, I hope
basic safety standard. In my view, that is common-sense                   that the Minister will indicate her support for it. I would
consumer protection. Although I am instinctively against                  be happy, as I always am, to reduce my arguments if
regulation, there is a lot to be said for consumer protection             I thought that the Government had accepted them. I
when the consumer himself cannot be expected to have                      would therefore be happy to give way to the Minister if
the information available to determine whether the product                she were to say to me, “Don’t worry any more about
that he is using is safe. I see this as being a very sensible             new clause 1. The Government will accept it.” If the
area for the law of consumer protection to apply. The                     Minister rises to intervene, I will happily give way to
reason is that no ordinary consumer would otherwise                       her, but I note that she is declining to do so, for reasons
know what level of UV radiation emissions from the                        that we will perhaps find out in due course. Indeed, I
equipment would be safe.                                                  hope that the Government will express some views on
   The fact that the Sunbed Association, which has been                   this group of amendments before the day is out.
prayed in aid as supporting the Bill, strongly supports                      My new clause would protect all those who hire
the new clause makes me feel that I am doing the cause                    sunbeds, irrespective of their age, which is very important.
of public health a good turn by enabling the House to                     When people look back over the history of this Bill and
adopt the new clause as part of the legislation. I hope                   its gestation, I think they will remark how extraordinary
that my hon. Friend the Member for Boston and Skegness                    it was that a fortnight ago almost every vested interest
will support the new clause if it goes to a Division.                     group in the country was trying to persuade me to
Before that, however, I hope that the Government or                       withdraw my new clause—I gave two weeks’ notice—even
Bill promoter will accept that it would be much better                    though it would improve product safety, as well as
to incorporate the new clause than to exclude it.                         public health and public well-being. The Sunbed Association
   Although there may be a change of heart along those                    told me that without the new clause, everything in the
lines today, I must say that at a meeting this Monday,                    Bill will at best merely amount to papering over the
when the Bill’s promoter held a discussion with                           cracks—satisfying the test that I set out earlier and
representatives from the Sunbed Association, who argued                   demonstrating that this Bill is about gesture politics
strongly for my new clause, she expressed her strong                      rather than addressing the substance of the problem.
opposition to it. Perhaps she was echoing the bizarre                     That brings me back to why we are considering the
line of defence given by the Minister of State, Department                amendments and whether there is a better way of addressing
of Health, the hon. Member for Lincoln (Gillian Merron)                   the problem. I suggest that one such way would be to
to my hon. Friend the Member for Boston and Skegness                      incorporate new clause 1.
in Committee. The Minister said:                                             Let me now discuss the need to educate and encourage
   “It is the responsibility of the Department for Business, Innovation   people not to over-expose their skin to UV light, whether
and Skills, so it is not appropriate for such a measure to be             from the sun or from UV tubes in sunbeds. I think I
included in a public health Bill”––[Official Report, Sunbeds              speak for a generation of people who used to expose
(Regulation) Public Bill Committee, 10 February 2010; c. 15.]             themselves to the sun in probably too great a measure.
Why not? If something is the responsibility of Lord                       I can remember members of my family going out in the
Mandelson, why should it not be included in a Bill                        sun and, far from using sun creams, putting olive oil on
before the House? Were it included in the Bill, it would                  their skin, thereby increasing the burning sensation. I
increase consumer safety. A satisfactory answer has                       am not sure how many of them ultimately suffered from
531            Sunbeds (Regulation) Bill           12 MARCH 2010            Sunbeds (Regulation) Bill               532

melanomas, but that is an indication of how public              Mr. Chope: Fifteen pence? Well, that sounds pretty
attitudes have changed over a generation. That has           inexpensive to me—it is even less than the price of a
happened as a result of increased public awareness,          Mars bar, or whatever young people eat these days. I
largely through education and the marketing of sun           read somewhere that the price was 25p in an unsupervised
creams by companies.                                         studio, but if the price can be as low as 15p, that
   An important educational role is also played by           suggests that the costs of provision are probably very
responsible suntanning studios. I went to visit one in       low and that there is scope for the development of a
Christchurch two or three weeks ago, because as you          black market, with substantial profits to be made. If
know, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I do not like to come to the       sunbeds are driven out of the legitimate community
House without being fully informed about the issues          and pushed underground, we could end up with another
that we are discussing. I was very impressed by the          sub-culture being exploited by some of our friends from
detailed questionnaire that the staff at that studio,        Albania or wherever, although that is speculation. It
which is a member of the Sunbed Association, put to          would therefore be a mistake to start legislating heavily
clients, asking them about their medical history and the     in a way that would result in such activity going
nature of their skin, which they look at carefully. From     underground and thereby becoming even less apparent
those calculations staff can work out an appropriate         to those concerned to regulate it and ensure that it is of
amount of exposure to the UV rays in a sunbed. All           high quality. There is an important educational role to
that activity takes place under tight supervision, with      be performed, in relation not only to artificial UV but
advice and, of course, appropriate sun creams. If a          to the natural UV from the sun.
young person—say, a 16-year-old—goes along to such              Many people experience a feel-good factor following
a studio, they are likely to have a greater understanding    exposure to UV light. Indeed, the dark, sunless days of
of what is involved in exposure not just to artificial UV,   winter are known to have an adverse effect on the
but to natural UV, and be more aware of the need to use      mental health of many citizens, although I am not
creams as a preventive measure.                              advocating access to sunbeds as a solution to all the
                                                             mental health problems in this country. On the radio
  Angela Watkinson: My hon. Friend refers to 16-year-olds,   this morning, I heard evidence that mental health problems
whereas 18-year-olds are deemed to be adults, and            had increased significantly during the lifetime of this
therefore responsible for their actions. Just as with the    Government, but I will not go down that route now.
purchase of alcohol or tobacco—in that parents must
be responsible for how much money their children have           It used to be the privilege of only a few to be able to
to spend unsupervised, as well as knowing where they         top up their tan in the West Indies in January and
are and what they are doing—where does my hon.               February. Now, that can be done by jetting off to places
Friend see parental responsibility in the use of sunbeds     such as Dubai, Egypt, other parts of north Africa or
by 16-year-olds?                                             the Canary islands. For those who cannot afford the
                                                             time or the expense of such excursions, however, a local
   Mr. Chope: My hon. Friend is absolutely right, but        sunbed salon is attractive. Only a couple of days ago, I
the trouble is this. I speak as a parent of one child who    was talking to someone who works in this great Palace
is still a teenager, and not yet 18, and of another who      of Westminster and who is getting married next month
has just turned 20, but I am not sure that all young         in Las Vegas. She has decided that it would be a good
people are blessed with families who are sufficiently        idea to top up her tan in advance of the trip by using a
concerned about their welfare and well-being. We hear        sunbed. She told me that that would raise her self-esteem
of the most ghastly cases of parental neglect, and not       and prepare her for the sun that she hoped to experience
just of children between the ages of 16 and 18, but of       in Las Vegas. The local sunbed salon has a legitimate
far younger children. I am afraid that the reality is that   role to play in that regard.
parental responsibility does not enter into the lives of       I was unfortunately unable to attend the Second
lots of families up and down this country, which is a        Reading debate, in which my hon. Friend the Member
great pity.                                                  for Shipley (Philip Davies) raised the possibility of there
                                                             being an agenda out there among those who want to
  Angela Watkinson: I wonder whether my hon. Friend
                                                             ban all sunbeds, and wondered whether everyone in the
could enlighten me—and possibly other hon. Members
                                                             country might ultimately be prohibited from using them.
present—on the cost of a session on a sunbed. I do not
                                                             There was no clear answer from the Minister or from
know what the cost is, but the money has to come from
                                                             the promoter of the Bill to the question whether the Bill
somewhere, and where 16-year-olds are concerned,
                                                             would set us on the slippery slope, or whether it was
presumably it comes from the parents.
                                                             simply a free-standing Bill that was not part of a more
   Mr. Chope: That might be true in the world in which       wide-reaching agenda.
my hon. Friend lives, but I suspect there are large parts      How great is the demand for sunbeds? There is a
of the country where the money that 16-year-olds have        shortage of hard evidence, but the Sunbed Association
does not come from their parents. It might come from         has told me that there are up to 6,000 salons, of which
casual work—who can speculate?—but in answer to my           about 1,000 are members of the association.
hon. Friend’s question about the costs, I did not inquire
in the Christchurch studio that I visited.
                                                               Angela Watkinson: Has my hon. Friend given any
   Mark Simmonds (Boston and Skegness) (Con): It             thought to the anecdotal evidence in the newspapers
might be of assistance to my hon. Friend to learn that       that a small number of young people—young women in
evidence was put before the House on Second Reading          particular—are almost addicted to having a very heavy
to suggest that it might be possible to get a session in a   tan? Does he think that some thought should be given
treatment salon for as little as 15p.                        to the frequency with which customers visit sunbed
533            Sunbeds (Regulation) Bill           12 MARCH 2010             Sunbeds (Regulation) Bill                534

[Angela Watkinson]                                           Member for West Chelmsford (Mr. Burns) could draw
                                                             that inconsistency to her attention at an appropriate
establishments, and to whether, in extreme cases, the        moment.
proprietors should take responsibility for limiting the         The Government’s attempts to deny those aged 16 and
number of such visits by young girls?                        17 access to alcohol and cigarettes have manifestly
                                                             failed. Illegal drug taking among teenagers has now
  Mr. Chope rose—                                            reached epidemic proportions, as have alcohol consumption
                                                             and tobacco smoking. Even more sinister is the fact that
   Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. Before the hon. Gentleman      the laws to restrict the carrying of knives and the sale of
responds to that intervention, may I point out that he is    knives and other offensive weapons to people under 16
in danger of straying into a Second Reading debate? He       seem to have had no effect whatever. Record numbers of
ought to be a bit more specific and relate his remarks to    young people drive without insurance—they routinely
the new clauses and amendments before the House.             ignore those rules—and the incidence of drink-driving
                                                             and drug-driving among young people is also on the
   Mr. Chope: Certainly, Mr. Deputy Speaker, but I           increase, having at one stage started to decline.
should just like to respond to the points raised by my
                                                                The Bill in its present form would ban 16 and 17-year-olds
hon. Friend the Member for Upminster (Angela
                                                             from using tanning salons, but would those young
Watkinson). We should think about that issue. The
                                                             people actually forgo their tanning sessions if they
Sunbed Association has a demanding code of practice
                                                             really wanted them? Of course not. They would simply
that includes the need for the inspection of premises.
                                                             go and find another outlet where they could have access
I believe that the association would have regard to
                                                             to a sunbed. I have looked on the internet to find out
whether people were having sunbed treatment too
                                                             the availability of sun-tanning machines. They can be
frequently, particularly those between the ages of 16
                                                             bought online for a couple of hundred pounds. If we
and 18. If a member of the association failed to comply
                                                             drive 16 and 17-year-olds out of the legitimate salons
with the code of practice, they would lose their status as
                                                             on the high street, they will simply go to friends’ houses.
a member of the association. Such status can be helpful
                                                             They will club together to buy pieces of equipment—often
in enabling them to drum up business and build a
                                                             second-hand—which may not comply with the standards
reputation for providing a high quality service.
                                                             that I mentioned earlier. All of this would be counter-
                                                             productive.
10.45 am
                                                                Mr. Burns: Is that not one of the reasons why this
   I shall return to the specific issue of people between    legislation is before us today? I have no doubt that the
the ages of 16 and 18. I understand that the Sunbed          vast majority of people who provide sunbed facilities
Association’s code of practice does not prohibit treatment   and services are highly reputable and that the services
for people between those ages. If the Bill were to be        are well and properly run, but there is a rogue element
passed in its present form, however, such treatment          whose standards are not at the proper levels demanded—
would obviously be prohibited. The association recognises    hence the need for regulation and legislation such as the
that people of 16 are in a different category from those     Bill before us.
who are under 16.
   The amendments in this group deal with changing              Mr. Chope: My hon. Friend will know that the Health
the age limit from 18, as set out in the Bill, to 16. My     and Safety Executive has an important role to play. The
view is that, as Conservatives, we should be encouraging     rogue elements to which he refers are probably already
young people of 16 and over to take responsibility for       operating in breach of relevant health and safety regulations.
their own lives and their own health. There is relatively    Another disease that we have as a Parliament is that
little that the nanny state should do to people over 16 to   where existing regulations are not complied with or not
force them into a particular pattern of behaviour. We        enforced, we duplicate them instead of enforcing the
can encourage, educate and cajole them, and we can           existing ones. We say, “Let us make a fresh lot of laws
give them incentives, but ultimately, we must accept that    and see if we can make them a substitute or a duplicate”,
16-year-olds are people with independent minds who           thereby adding to the legislative burden and making it
will make their own decisions.                               more difficult for people to understand where they are. I
                                                             believe that existing laws are in place to deal with what
  Mr. Burns: Would my hon. Friend give the vote to           my hon. Friend describes as the “rogue” tanning salons.
16-year-olds, then?                                             I am much more concerned about driving—unwittingly
                                                             or otherwise—legitimate, good quality salons out of
  Mr. Chope rose—                                            business, forcing people who want to get access to these
                                                             salons to go underground, adding to the underground
  Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. I do not think that we          culture that is on the increase in our society. My question
can start talking about voting in a debate about sunbeds     is this. By banning 16 and 17-year-olds from sun-tanning
for 16-year-olds. The hon. Member for Christchurch           salons, will we ensure that they do not expose themselves
(Mr. Chope) should definitely ignore that intervention.      to sun tanning? Of course we will not. One might also
                                                             ask the rhetorical question, “How naive can MPs be
  Mr. Chope: I will ignore it, Mr. Deputy Speaker,           about this?” Indeed, “naivety of MPs” might be quite a
other than to say that I note the inconsistency of the       good collective noun to apply to MPs in this gesture-ridden
promoter of the Bill saying that it should apply to          and regulation-obsessed generation of parliamentarians.
people up to the age of 18, even though she introduced          My amendments to change to 16 rather than 18 the
a Bill two years ago—admittedly without success—to           age limit for entry to a salon are designed to address the
reduce the voting age to 16. Perhaps my hon. Friend the      reality gap between good intentions and unintended
535            Sunbeds (Regulation) Bill            12 MARCH 2010               Sunbeds (Regulation) Bill                  536

consequences. Far better, in my opinion, for a 16-year-old    deception, malice or criminal intent. In the rough world
who wants a tan to go to a tanning studio and receive         of competition, a sunbed provider might set up someone
proper advice than to go to a friend’s house where the        who looks well over 18—but is younger—to go along to
tanning is uncontrolled and unsupervised.                     a rival sunbed establishment to get access to sunbeds;
   The hon. Member for Cardiff, North (Julie Morgan)          then, as soon as access is given, they could blow the
will know of the proposal by my hon. Friend the               whistle. There might be scope for that sort of activity
Member for Wellingborough (Mr. Bone), supported by            because of the arbitrariness of the enforcement and
me and others, for more private Member’s Bill Fridays         penalty regime in the Bill. If my hon. Friend looks at
in this last Session of Parliament. This is now the last      the selection list, she will see that it is the second group
private Member’s Bill Friday, so it is a time when            of amendments—amendments 7, 21 to 25 and 32—that
compromise should be in the air. Although the hon.            deal with offences and penalties. When we reach that
Member for Cardiff, North might ideally like her Bill to      stage of the debate, I hope that she will be able to
extend the restrictions to 16 and 17-year-olds as well as     develop her remarks in more detail.
to those below that age—we look forward to hearing                To summarise so far, I have discussed new clause 1,
her contribution shortly—she might share a spirit of          along with amendments 1, 2 and 3, which leave out “18”
compromise and accept that passing a Bill that is less        and insert “16”. I now come to amendment 8, to which
than ideal from her point of view would be better than        my hon. Friend the Member for West Chelmsford referred.
passing no Bill at all. On those grounds, she might feel it   Under this amendment, clause 3 would be left out. It is
sensible to concede to my amendments.                         a probing amendment, because I wanted to find out
                                                              exactly in what circumstances it was thought reasonable
   Mr. Burns: I am grateful to my hon. Friend, who is         for a person under the age of 18 to have access to a
generous in giving way. I am a bit confused, however.         sunbed for medical treatment.
He is making a powerful case, from his point of view,             If the promoter’s argument is that any exposure by a
about 16 to 18-year-olds, but if we look at his amendment 8   young person, or child, to artificial ultra-violet light on
we see, surprisingly, that he proposes to remove from         a sunbed is bad for the health, why does clause 3
the Bill the exemptions relating to the use of sunbeds        contain a special exemption for medical treatment? It
for medical purposes, yet part of clause 3 specifically       would be useful to know in what circumstances that
provides that people under 18 who are based in a              exemption would apply, and whether it would extend to
medical establishment will be allowed to use a sunbed.        medical treatment not directly related to a skin condition,
Is there not a contradiction there?                           but related to a person’s mental state. Medical treatment
                                                              can be related to mental as well as physical health, and
   Mr. Chope: On the face of it, I would concede to my        it is not clear to me whether clause 3 would apply in that
hon. Friend that there is a contradiction. When I come        context. I hope that, in the spirit of openness and
to discuss amendment 8, however, my hon. Friend will          transparency, the promoter will help us to understand
see that it takes the form of a probing amendment             the thinking behind the clause.
rather than one that I would wish to press to a vote. I
hope to be able to come to that point quite quickly.          11 am
   I was saying to the Bill’s promoter, the hon. Member          Amendments 4, 5 and 6 are all consequential. They
for Cardiff, North, that there is an opportunity for          all state
compromise between reasonable people on this issue.           “leave out ‘18’ and insert ‘16’”.
At the age of 16, people are able to take key decisions
relating to their personal health and well-being. In a        Amendment 15 proposes to leave out clause 4(4). The
sense, issues around sunbed exposure are relevant to          clause is headed
personal health and well-being. People at that age are           “Power to make further provision restricting use, sale
able to choose their doctor and their medical treatments;     or hire of sunbeds”.
they can also choose which piercings they want, which         Subsection (4) states:
tattoos, if any, and so on. The Electoral Commission             “Consultation undertaken by the appropriate national authority
produced a list of all the things that 16-year-olds could     before the commencement of this section is as effective for the
do. It seems to me that the opportunity for them to take      purposes of subsection (3) as consultation undertaken after that
responsibility on whether or not to go to a sun-tanning       time.”
studio and expose themselves to artificial UV should be       It seems to me that we should allow the consultation
included on that list.                                        period to run only after the enactment of the Bill. A
                                                              consultation period cannot suddenly be followed by the
  Angela Watkinson: If my hon. Friend’s amendments            announcement of the commencement of a section. The
succeed and the Bill prohibits under-16s from using           Bill states:
sunbeds, an offence would be created. To whom would             “This Act comes into force at the end of the period of 12 months
that offence attach? Would it be to the provider or           beginning with the day on which it is passed.”
proprietor of the sunbed establishment; would it be to        That makes clear that there is no great urgency, and that
the individual who used the facilities; or would it be to     whether the Bill succeeds today in whole or in part will
the parent who is still responsible for the behaviour of      make no difference to anyone using a sunbed for the
their children?                                               next 12 months. This may be more of a Third Reading
                                                              point, but surely it is better for the Bill to be perfect—even
   Mr. Chope: I stand to be corrected, but my understanding   if it takes a little longer to get it right—than to rush it
is that the parents are not responsible, even though they     through, given that, as it will not come into effect for at
have responsibilities under other legislation. There is       least 12 months, there is no need for a rush. I consider
no responsibility for the users, even if they acted with      that provision to be inconsistent with the provisions in
537               Sunbeds (Regulation) Bill                  12 MARCH 2010             Sunbeds (Regulation) Bill                538

clause 4(4) about the consultation period. I think that,                remedy will be available under consumer protection or
as a matter of good practice, only after a clause has                   trading standards legislation that prohibits people from
come into effect—after a section has commenced—should                   making false claims. Are we really saying that the state—the
any consultation arising from that clause take place.                   Government—should require each sunbed salon to put
   I feel that rather than the Bill’s containing a lot of the           up notices that comply 100 per cent. with terms laid
Government’s ideas, the Government are holding back,                    down by it, at the centre? These are some of the most
saying “Why do we not deal with this by means of                        prescriptive measures that I have ever come across.
regulations?” When the Minister was asked, on Second
Reading and in Committee, what exactly she had in                         Mr. Burns: I am sure there is a middle way between
mind, she said that the Department would make a                         our different points of view. I am sure my hon. Friend
decision before the introduction of the regulations.                    does not object to the fact that in the safe sex campaigns
That was unnecessarily vague. I would much prefer to                    the Department of Health and others educate people
know exactly what the Government and, for that matter                   about the health risks of unsafe sex; indeed, I believe he
the promoter, have in mind, and I think that clause 4(4)                thinks that that is sensible. These proposals are on a par
compounds the error.                                                    with such campaigns, which most people in this country
   Amendment 16 proposes to leave out clause 5, which                   regard as highly beneficial, informative and educational.
is a very controversial provision. It is headed
  “Power to require information to be provided to sunbed users”,           Mr. Chope: Taking my hon. Friend’s analogy further,
and states:                                                             in effect this Bill would require every nightclub in the
                                                                        country to put signs up on notice boards, and to do so
   “Regulations may make provision requiring any person who             in such a way as to conform with a series of prescribed
carries on a sunbed business… to provide, in prescribed circumstances
and in a prescribed manner, prescribed health information to            rules—on where the notice boards must be located, for
persons who are using or may seek to use a sunbed”                      example, and the size of both the notices and the
                                                                        writing on them. All of that would have to be prescribed
and
                                                                        from the centre. That is, in effect, what this clause is
“to display prescribed health information in a prescribed manner        saying must be done in respect of health information
and in a prescribed form.”
                                                                        and sunbeds.
It also states that
“’health information’ means information about the health risks            Mr. Burns: I am a bit confused. Why would all this be
associated with the use of sunbeds”,
                                                                        put up in nightclubs?
and that
   “Regulations may make provision prohibiting any person who              Mr. Chope: I am sorry that my hon. Friend is confused.
carries on a sunbed business from providing or displaying any
material that contains statements relating to the health effects of
                                                                        He has been talking about unsafe sex. As I understand
sunbed use other than… statements containing information prescribed     it, all sorts of allegations are made against sunbed
under subsection (1), or… statements containing any other information   parlours, but I do not think that even their most vigilant
prescribed for the purposes of this subsection.”                        and enthusiastic opponents have yet claimed that they
   That is a very wide-ranging provision, which is strongly             are places where unsafe sex takes place. It may well be
opposed by the Sunbed Association. The association                      desirable to warn people about unsafe sex, but if we
believes that, apart from anything else, it would duplicate             apply my hon. Friend’s analogy to clause 5, the equivalent
much of the existing consumer protection legislation.                   measure would be for it to be required that notices be
Legislation already exists to prevent people from making                put up in a prescribed form in a prescribed location and
false health claims in relation to treatments that are                  with prescribed content. Nobody—not even my hon.
offered. The idea that a Big Brother Government—the                     Friend, with his understandable concern to reduce the
Department of Health—should prescribe exactly what                      amount of unsafe sex—would suggest that the Department
can be contained in what piece of legislation is a step                 of Health should be so prescriptive about health information
too far down the Big Brother route.                                     for sunbed users.

   Mr. Burns: I understand the point that my hon.                         Angela Watkinson: If there were to be a power to
Friend is making, but surely he is not comparing like                   require the proprietors of sunbed establishments to
with like. The existing rules concern false claims, whereas             provide information to users, does my hon. Friend
clause 5 merely deals with the provision of factual                     think it would be reasonable for there to be a similar
information about the health risks. Surely educating                    power to require users to provide relevant information
people about risks, and about how they can protect                      to the establishment, particularly about their age and
themselves to benefit their general health and well-being,              any health complications that they know of ?
is a positive step.
                                                                           Mr. Chope: My hon. Friend is saying, with her typical
   Mr. Chope: I think that my hon. Friend has misread                   fair-mindedness, that if we are going to have these
the clause. It does not deal simply with facts; it deals                powers, there must be a two-way street. There are no
with propaganda approved by the Department of Health.                   measures in this Bill that would impose a duty or
If the Department says that something is a health risk,                 obligation on a sunbed user to provide accurate information
even if it is not, under the clause it could require the                to the provider or leaser of that sunbed, let alone any
provider of a sunbed to put up a notice containing the                  measures addressing the provision of false information.
information that it posed a health risk when it did not.                That shows that the legislation does not provide a level
We seem to be moving away from the concept of factual                   playing field, but that, basically, it is designed to place
information. If the information is factual, the Bill should             an additional—and, in my view, unfair—burden on the
state that it is. If the information is not factual, a                  legitimate and lawful operators of tanning salons.
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