Tracy West

Wednesday’s announcement of a snap General Election – on July 4 – took a lot of people by surprise but it also led to uncertainty over the future of pending legislation.

The Election announcement meant we went straight into a ‘wash-up’ period before the dissolution of Parliament on May 30, when final bills that could become law are considered.

There was good news for the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) last night when the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill was passed and this gave the CMA more powers to monitor the road fuel market. Good news for them but perhaps not such good news for forecourts!

However there are other key bits of legislation that affect the forecourt sector which are currently in limbo.

The Criminal Justice Bill is apparently unlikely to be passed because of the 140-plus amendments attached to it.

The Report Stage debate on the Criminal Justice Bill, began earlier this month and included amendments such as one that would make assaulting a shopworker while they’re at work a separate offence; introducing new community orders for prolific shoplifters after their third offence; and introducing an option to make offenders wear an electronic tag to monitor their whereabouts.

Speaking on the latest ACS Local Shop Podcast, the Association’s government relations director, Ed Woodall said it was unlikely to get passed but he added that as crime would be a huge issue during the Election campaign he expected whichever government we get in July would revisit the Bill. And the powers that be at the ACS would ensure that would be the case.

Another, more controversial piece of legislation, is the Tobacco & Vapes Bill which would bring in a generational ban on smoking plus big restrictions on the sale of vapes.

Woodall said this had a better chance of getting passed because there was cross-party support for it.

According to the Law Gazette, any unfinished business is lost at dissolution and the government may need the co-operation of the opposition in passing legislation that is still in progress. Previously some bills have been lost completely during the election process, while others have progressed quickly but in a much-shortened form.

Popular opinion seems to be that we are in dire need of a General Election, it’s just a shame that some legislation will be kicked into the long grass as a result.