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Volume 449: debated on Wednesday 19 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what level of fine will be imposed on individual licensees in England and Wales for not enforcing the smoking ban in their public houses; and what research her Department has undertaken on the level of fines in other jurisdictions. (80921)

Penalties for offences within chapter 1, part 1 of the Health Bill, on smoke-free premises, places and vehicles, will be set out in regulations.

Through the passage of the Health Bill, Ministers have clearly set out the Government's intentions for fine levels for offences under smoke-free legislation, and propose that a person who is found guilty of an offence under clause 8 of the Health Bill (offence of failing to prevent smoking in a smoke-free place) will be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level four on the standard scale.

The levels of penalties for offences under chapter 1, part 1 of the Health Bill were the subject of public consultation in 2005, as part of the Consultation on the smoke-free elements of the Health Improvement and Protection Bill published by the Department.

Proposals for levels of penalties reflect the feedback from this consultation process, as well as advice received from other bodies including the Home Office.

Proposed penalties for the offence of failing to prevent smoking in a smoke-free place are consistent with those in Scotland's smoke-free legislation, with the exception that a penalty notice for this offence can be issued by an authorised officer of an enforcement authority in Scotland.