Submissions were made in the course of the debates in both Houses that the penalties in the Bill, as it originally came before us, were a bit light and it is good to see that they have been increased substantially.
There is no doubt that certain features of the Principal Act of 1936 were really unenforceable over the years, and it is good to see an effort now being made to tighten up the legislation in this regard. In regard to the amendment of the fines from £200 to £500 and the £100 to £250, I notice that a total fine of £600 has been written into the amendment. Perhaps the Minister would advise us as to how that maximum figure of £600 comes about, because it would appear that after each period of 11 or 12 days it would be necessary to take out a further summons to pursue the matter further.
This matter of the level of fines is something which crops up in every Bill that comes before this House, particularly in an amending Bill. If one looks at section 4 of this Bill, one can see how ludicrous the situation was over the years where an original fine of £10 stood over a period of 45 years and is only now increased to a figure of £250. I think the Government should look at this whole situation and see if there could be automatic revision upwards of fines, not only in this legislation but in other pieces of legislation, because it makes the whole situation rather ludicrous. It certainly would well pay any offender to pursue the business illegally in the light of such small fines.
I welcome the increases in the fines. Perhaps the Minister would explain why this figure of £600 has been imposed as the upper limit?