Health Bill returns to Commons for final hearing before gaining Royal Assent

The Health Bill, which includes provisions to ban smoking in workplaces in England, completed its third reading in the House of Lords yesterday afternoon.

It will now return to the Commons for a final hearing before being pencilled in to receive Royal Assent, after which it becomes an Act.

However, hospitality employers are warning that licensees will not have enough time to prepare for the ban – set for summer 2007 – unless the crucial regulations governing it are published before the Parliamentary recess at the end of this month.

“If the regulations are published in the next few weeks, members are relatively confident they will have sufficient time to put effective plans in place,” said Mark Hastings, director of communications at the British Beer & Pub Association. “If they drift into the autumn, people are less confident.”

A ban on smoking in enclosed spaces came into effect in Scotland on 26 April 2006.

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