The Private Members’ Scrap Metal Dealers Bill proposed by Conservative MP Richard Ottaway has passed the Committee stage of the legislative process in the House of Commons and is now scheduled for a third reading.
MPs on the Public Bill Committee this week considered the Scrap Metal Dealers Bill and is now due to have its report stage and third reading on 9 November 2012.
If no MP objects to the Bill in the third reading, then it will move onto the House of Lords.
British Metals Recycling Association director general Ian Hetherington said that there are still some concerns the trade body has in relation to some of the clauses in the Bill. However, overall it remains supportive of the proposed legislation for giving the metal recycling industry a modern framework of regulation.
He added: “We have some concerns on the definition of electronic payments and are confident this can be resolved. The current e-payment lack precision as it is clearly intended that only payment from one bank account to another should be permitted, but it doesn’t specify this in the text of the Bill.
“If this were only to be specified in the guidance, this would not be good enough. Payments also need to be permitted for sellers of scrap that do not have bank accounts.”
He also warned that there would be a five or six month period between the implementation of the Scrap Metal Dealers Bill (assuming it progresses through Parliament) and from 3 December 2012 the introduction of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act that will ban cash payments for scrap dealers, but will exempt itinerant collectors. This will be repealed by the Scrap Metal Dealers Bill if it is made law.
Ian Hetherington said: “The main challenge is unfair competition due to the uneven application of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act that will drive legitimate business into the hands of unscrupulous and illegal operators.
“There will be a five or six month window of major disruption to the industry. The Scrap Metal Dealers Bill is a Private Members’ Bill and is supported by the Government, but at heart it is high risk and could be derailed at any time as it only needs one vote against it at any time.
“The Government doesn’t have a plan B if it fails, and we are asking the Home Office to develop a plan B, as we want the Government to lift the Bill if it fails at its third reading.”