Legislation to ban cash from the scrap metal trade has passed through the Commons without debate.
Proposals by Labour MPs to remove a controversial exemption to the cash ban for itinerant dealers were not given any time for debate.
Amendments to the Legal Aid and Sentencing Bill to ban scrap dealers paying for metal in cash, along with other measures to tackle metal theft, are now almost certain to become law
The Legal Aid Bill will return to the Lords, where the cash ban could be debated further. But opponents to the itinerants exemption say they now expect the amendment to pass into law as it stands.
The legislation was condemned when it was introduced to the Lords last month. Industry bosses and politicians said the itinerants loophole would undermine the cash ban and give itinerants a commercial advantage.
The British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA) has now called on the Government to draw up a “clear and rapid” timetable to reform the Scrap Metal Dealers Act.
BMRA director-general Ian Hetherington told MRW the Government must begin a “full, fundamental review” of the regulation of the industry. It is now “imperative” that wholesale regulatory reform was brought forward “without delay”.
He said BMRA would be pushing for all itinerant exemptions to be scrapped.
Hetherington said the exemption undermined the aims of the cash ban and would encourage the public and small businesses to sell to itinerant collectors, threatening the established scrap trade.
The itinerants exemption, he added, was a “fig leaf” for the unregulated trade acting “illegally and unlicensed”.