Legislation / Legal

DfT: From 1 June 2009, English local authorities councils which carry out parking enforcement will be able to issue Penalty Charge Notices to motorists who park at dropped kerbs or double-park, without the need for these prohibitions to be indicated with specific traffic signs or road markings.
 
Authorities in London have successfully used this tool for a number of years to help wheelchair users and those with prams manoeuvre on and off pavements - as well as stopping inconsiderate motorists from blocking residents' driveways.  It has also helped deter motorists from blocking the road when parking. Those who park across entranceways to private properties should only be penalised if the owner of the property
 
Currently local authorities are able to enforce contraventions of parking alongside dropped kerbs or double parking under Part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004 (TMA) if they have responsibility for parking enforcement.  DfT advised local authorities that the TMA powers should be used with traffic signs or road markings to show where the prohibitions apply.
Press release ~ Part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004 (TMA)
 
BERR: Using tips to make up staff pay to minimum wage levels will be outlawed from October 2009, the government has announced. This will give thousands of workers fair wages and will hopefully ensure a fair & level playing field for employers and boost consumer confidence in the use of tips.
 
The government is working with consumer and business groups over ways of boosting clarity & information, which could include a new scheme for participating businesses to promote clear tipping practices.
Press release ~ HMRC related press release ~ The National Minimum Wage : Service Charges, Tips, Gratuities, and Cover Charges: A Consultation and response ~ Consumer Focus ~ Directgov – National Minimum Wage
 
OFT:  The Office of Fair Trading has launched a short market study into the sale of second-hand cars. Last year, more than 68,000 consumers complained to Consumer Direct about issues with second-hand car sales.  Concerns around defective vehicles, services and potentially misleading selling are consistently among the top complaints to the government-funded advice service.
 
The second-hand car market is large, with sales of approximately £35bn in 2008 and the level of harm appears substantial: the financial cost of car clocking alone is estimated to be £100m per annum. The purpose of the study is to understand the causes of such high levels of consumer complaints and to consider whether existing consumer protection legislation is sufficient and effective in this sector.
 
The OFT expects to complete the work by the end of 2009.  The OFT will be contacting key parties directly; however, other interested parties can email; second-handcars@oft.gsi.gov.uk to submit their written views (by 5 June 2009). 
Press release ~ Selling Second-Hand Cars - A report by the Office of Fair Trading (October 1997) ~ Consumer Direct - cars ~ OFT
Preventing Unwanted Sensitive Data Acquisition on Government Networks