§ Notwithstanding anything contained in the Licensing (Scotland) Act, 1903, the Licensing Court shall insert in all certificates granted from or after the twenty-eighth day of May, nineteen hundred and thirteen, the hour of ten o'clock in the morning in lieu of the hour of eight of the clock in the morning, and the forms of certificate contained in the Sixth Schedule to the said Act shall be construed accordingly: Provided that where sale of commodities other than exciseable liquors is permitted by the certificate, such commodities may be sold before such hour, and provided further that exciseable liquors may be dispatched before such hour in fulfilment of orders received as prescribed by Section sixty-three of the Licensing (Scotland) Act, 1903, and that Section fifty-six of that Act shall apply to this Act.
§ Mr. NORMAN CRAIG
I beg to move to leave out the Clause.
Ever since 1862 the hour of opening in Scotland has been eight o'clock, and whoever has been responsible for the drafting of this Clause seems to have considered the convenience neither of the trade nor of the public. As regards the trade, in Scotland as compared with England, you are putting the licence holder under more serious disadvantages than 420 those under which he already labours. If the hours are from ten to ten for six days in the week, you are giving him a seventy-two hours' working week. Against that, the English, Welsh, or Irish licence holder will have hours from 6 a.m. to 10 or 11 p.m., or even later, making 102 hours per week, apart from such hours as he maybe open on Sundays. That is not a handicap as regards local competition, but it is a very serious handicap in regard to the adjustment of such things as Licence Duty. If you take twelve hours off an eighty-four hours' week, without making any abatement of the Licence Duty or of the other-taxes on the trade, you will do that which is unfair and likely to cause difficulty and trouble to the licence holder. There is no provision for reducing the Licence Duty, though you are taking away about one-seventh of the working time during which a man can make money. That that is wrong according to the recognised canons and obligations which the Government recognises in this respect I can show simply by this: that the Excise Regulations already recognise that where you have earlier closing you are allowed an abatement of one-seventh off your duty, and where you get Sunday closing you are allowed an abatement of one-seventh. Here you are doing what is equivalent to one of these two things, because you are taking in effect a day from the man's week, and you are continuing this difficulty of making ends meet. That is one aspect; but I want to look at the matter rather from the point of view of the public. It is all very well to open at ten o'clock, but what about the difficulty of the man who is a night worker, or the man who lives at a distance from his work?
In places like Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and Leith many are engaged in the shipping. There are large bodies of labourers, mechanics, and dock hands. Often the work is all-night work. These are men whose days are nights. Then you get large bodies of men like sailors and firemen, who begin their day very much earlier than ordinary persons. You are putting them in this position, that when their day's work is done they are unable to have their nightcap. It is not a question of one or two men, but of many thousands who want their nightcap after their work is done, and who cannot have it because you are not opening before ten o'clock. It is a perfectly arbitrary infliction upon people of that sort. There are many people who work at night. A large body start their day's work and have done 421 a good part of it before ten o'clock arrives. All sorts of dislocation of business will follow. Take, for instance, the steamboat traffic at a place like Rothesay. Many passenger steamers are despatched from there before ten o'clock, and you will compel the people who are going away pay a higher price on board for the liquor they want. It is not fair. Take the large bodies of men who are at work at Glasgow and on the Clyde. They start away from home early to get to their work. Their breakfast hour is from nine to 9.45. You open at ten o'clock. They cannot go to a licensed house, which really is not a place only where drink is sold, for these places are also restaurants. The men cannot go to them, and you are putting a premium upon unlicensed houses. Even to open at nine o'clock would be a very great hardship, but it would not be as unfair or as bad as opening at ten o'clock. I speak not from the point of view of the trade, but from the point of view of the workers, especially those who work at night and in the early morning and have a distance to go to their work. For these you are creating a great hardship by the change of hours.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
I beg to second the Amendment.
The idea, no doubt, underlying this change is that there should be no possibility for the working classes to get any drink at all during the breakfast hour, which in Scotland is from nine till ten. There may be something to be said from that point of view in some respects, but it is interfering with the liberties of the workers. It seems to be forgotten that there is a very large number of people who work during such hours that at the time of our breakfast they are really preparing for their supper, or taking their meal after their night's work. There are other places where there are markets, and so on, and nine o'clock in the morning is a different thing to them to what it is to us, who perhaps arise at eight o'clock. These people have been up at three o'clock in the morning, and nine o'clock is their dinner hour. The point, it seems to me, is one for some compromise. I did not vote against this Clause in Committee. I say that quite frankly. But I had it borne in upon me since that the object of the right hon. Gentleman is not likely to be obtained by the proposal. Employers of labour, particularly on the Clyde, men who employ riveters and men of that sort, have 422 told me that their men have intimated to them that if the Bill goes through that they will be required to change the breakfast hour of nine to ten to 9.30 to 10.30, so that their men may, if they like, get a glass of beer. The employers have told me that it will be perfectly impossible for them to resist any demand for the change of the sort, and that they are not going to have a strike over a trumpery change of the breakfast hour. Therefore, the idea underlying this extremely prohibitive proposal will be defeated by a change in the breakfast hour. The right hon. Gentleman might meet us, I think, in this matter. He has not accepted any Amendment from me yet.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
Not from me. No Amendment of substance from me has been accepted by the right hon. Gentleman. I think in this particular case he might take a more reasonable view of the situation and not put on so much restriction. If the right hon. Gentlmean replies I should like him to tell us what action he proposes to take in regard to the duties payable by these people in the event of this restrictive change being made. I would like to ask him whether he has found time to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer his opinion upon the particular question.
§ Colonel GREIG
I should not have risen if the hon. Baronet had not spoken about the condition of labour on the Clyde and the wishes of the employers in that district. I had the opportunity on Monday and previous days of visiting some of the works there. I represent a large section of the workers upon the Clyde. I was in conversation with the manager of a very considerable works whose name I will give in private if desired. Without any suggestion on my part—for we were not discussing the question of the Temperance Bill or allied subjects—this-manager said: "It would be a great blessing if you people in Parliament would pass a Bill to prevent public-houses opening before ten o'clock." I supported the Bill in Committee, and I am convinced after hearing what the manager had to say that we were on the right lines. This gentleman pointed out to me that in some works half the men only were at work—due to the fact that the public-houses are open early. The men, he said, before they went into the works visited the public- 423 houses, where, instead of liquor being served out to them man by man, scores of tables are spread out with liquor poured out ready in hundreds of glasses. The men swallow it, and the result is that they are incapacitated for the rest of the day. At the present time that is the difficulty with the employers. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I am speaking of what I know: the difficulty with the employers on the Clyde at the present time is to get their men to go to work and do the work that is waiting there for them. Do not imagine that I would support this and be afraid to say so, or defend it before the men. I addressed a meeting of working men in my Constituency on the evening of the day to which I refer. I told them that if I thought this was an interference with their liberty I would not support the proposal, but that I did not think it was. I said that the State had taken control of the liquor traffic by licensing it, and if it was necessary for the public welfare, and for their welfare, that the same should be restricted by opening at ten o'clock I was prepared to support it, and should do so. An hon. Member who rose below the Gangway, spoke as though there was only one trade to be regarded in this matter. He spoke of "the trade." There is the other trade, the trade of the country. I believe it would be benefited—I have had first-hand evidence of it—by fixing the hour at ten, and I shall support this Clause.
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
I must say that it is a great disappointment to me that on the one Clause in this Bill on which I thought there was general agreement and on which there has hitherto been general agreement, we now have a reactionary policy indicated by the Amendment. I think that the hon. Baronet might have spared his heavy attack upon me in this matter, because in the line we have taken we have been supported not once, but I think on three occasions, by Unionist Members of the Committee. They never objected to this. The proposal was first brought forward by a Conservative Member of Parliament, Colonel Denny, of Dumbarton, and it was included in the Bill of the hon. Gentleman, the Member for Aberdeen. It was never objected to by the Opposition. There were no Divisions in Committee, nor on the second or the third time when it came before Committee. Now we are told that it is a thing I should be ashamed to put forward—
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
The hon. Baronet made some rather strong suggestions. My opinion is that the employers as a whole will be very glad to have this provision. They do not want their men nipping in the morning. I do not believe that the mass of the working men want this morning nipping. Nobody wants drink at that hour of the morning except the confirmed toper, or except under very exceptional circumstances. I hope, therefore that the House will maintain this provision. It is a very useful provision, and I think it will be supported, not only by the opinion amongst the working classes of Scotland. I have found time to consult the Chancellor of the Exchequer upon the matter, and the view of the Chancellor is, first of all, that there is no justification for the claim suggested by hon. Members opposite. I cannot agree with the hon. and learned Gentleman who moved the Amendment that this is equivalent to Sunday closing or anything like it. The view of the Chancellor of the Exchequer is that it will be an unprecedented thing in connection with a Bill of this sort to make the provision asked for.
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
The Chancellor of the Exchequer is not prepared to make the allowance, and I cannot promise to insert such a provision in the Bill.
§ Sir J. D. REES
Concerning what the hon. Gentleman the Member for Renfrew (Colonel Greig) said, I assert, as one who stood as a Parliamentary candidate for the burgh, and who spent some weeks there, that I do not accept his description of the workmen in that great industrial constituency as being in the habit of nipping in the morning. On the contrary, I think they are in the main intelligent and of the highest type—in spite of the fact that they voted against me! They are highly intelligent working men, and I do not think the hon. Gentleman's description is at all right, and I would say, in reference to what was said by the Secretary for Scotland with regard to public-houses opening early in England, I have known extremely decent men to have their glass of beer early in the morning because they like it better than tea. The inference drawn 425 from the fact of a man having a glass of beer with his breakfast is an entirely erroneous one.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ 7.0 P.M.
§ Mr. HOGGE
I beg to move, after the word "thirteen" [" twenty-eighth day of May, nineteen hundred and thirteen"], to insert the words "on condition that no alcoholic liquor may be served to any young person not of the age of eighteen for consumption by such person on licensed premises."
That is to say, I want to provide in the Clause that in addition to the later opening of public-houses in future, no publican would be able to serve any young person under the age of eighteen years. I hope the Secretary for Scotland will accept this Amendment. Obviously it is one of the best means of securing what this Bill in other ways attempts to do. I cannot imagine that there is any hon. Member on either side of the House who would offer alcoholic liquor to a guest at his table of that age, and I do not see why, if that is the social custom, it should not be transferred to the public-house. The greatest temperance reform that can be achieved in this country is the influence of temperance upon the youth of the country. I am one of those persons who continually emphasises that side of the temperance movement which will secure for the growing generation of the community this dissociation altogether from the licensed trade. I cannot conceive any argument being used against the insertion of this Amendment in the Clause. It would secure for a great section of the community immunity from public-houses for a period of years not provided for in the Bill. I do not think I need elaborate the point, but I intend to press the matter to a Division if the Government do not accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. A. F. WHYTE
I beg to second the Amendment. The only serious objection that can be brought against the Amendment of this character is that usually it is difficult to draw the age line. That may be, but I suggest that the intention of the Amendment is distinctly in line with modern movement in raising the age at which it is permissible to serve juniors with intoxicants, and although there will be a certain haziness as to the proper line above and below eighteen, nevertheless it is a desirable reform to attain, and for that reason I have great pleasure in seconding the Amendment.
I am in great doubt whether this Amendment can possibly come into this Clause. This Clause deals with "later hour of opening," and the Amendment is not limited to the question of the hours of opening.
§ Mr. HOGGE
May I respectfully say that what induced me to put it down in this form as an Amendment to this Clause, was that this Clause seemed to apply to the same subject as Clause 58 of the Licensing Act of 1902.
If the hon. Member will look at the Clause he will see it deals with "later hour of opening" and matters connected therewith. This should really come up as a separate Clause. It cannot be moved as an Amendment on this Clause.
§ Mr. HOGGE
I tried to put it down as a separate Clause, but owing to the fact that I am not a very old Member of the House, I was not aware that it should appear printed upon the Paper, so there was nothing else open to me but to move it as an Amendment as there was not time to have it printed as a new Clause.
Of course there is always great advantage in having these things printed, because it enables persons responsible to consider them.
§ Amendment made: Leave out the words "permitted by certificate" ["provided that where sale of commodities other than exciseable liquors is permitted by the certificate"], and insert instead thereof, the words "otherwise lawful."—[Mr. McKinnon Wood.]
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I beg to move, to add at the end of the Clause, the words "and that nothing in this Section contained shall detract from the powers of the Licensing Court as to opening hours in certain cases under Section 35 of the Licensing (Scotland) Act, 1903," but the word 'ten' shall be substituted for 'eight' in the said Section."
I have altered the Amendment slightly from the form in which it appears on the Paper by the addition of the words "but the word ten shall be substituted for eight in the said Section." This is an Amendment which gives a little extra power to to the licensing justices. Clause 35 of the Act of 1903 says:—
It shall be lawful for a Licensing Court where they shall deem it inexpedient to grant to any person a certificate in the form applied for, to grant him a certificate in any other of the forms contained 427 in the Sixth Schedule annexed hereto: Provided always that in any particular locality within any county or district or burgh requiring other hours for opening and closing inns and hotels and public-houses than those specified in such forms or certificates applicable thereto, it shall be lawful for such Court to insert in such certificates such other hours, not being earlier than six of the clock or later than eight of the clock in the morning for opening, or earlier than nine of the clock or later than eleven of the clock in the evening for closing the same, as they shall think fit.
If there are districts where in Scotland such as were alluded to by the hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite (Colonel Greig), where workmen go in for excessive drinking in the early morning, there may be other districts where the circumstances are different. If the Secretary for Scotland accepts my Amendment, he does not prevent the opening being always ten o'clock, but he does give the justices power, supposing circumstances are brought to their knowledge that an exception should be made, to do so. This Amendment simply provides a little more elasticity in the Clause. I hope the Secretary for Scotland will accept the Amendment.
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
I have no objection to the alteration which the hon. Baronet made in his Amendment, but I am afraid I have an objection to the Amendment as a whole. There are exemptions now, but they are hardly ever used. I do not think there is any substantial advantage in breaking away from the general practice, as there are hardly any cases in which the exemptions are used, and therefore I do not think it worth while to alter the general law.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman to reconsider his decision? He says there are not many cases in which these exemptions are used. Is not that an argument for accepting the Amendment? I would point out to the right hon. Gentleman that by the alteration of the word "eight" into "ten" there is the possibility that it may be used more frequently. It was not likely to be necessary to open much before ten, but it is possible that it may be necessary to open for a short time before ten. I 428 hope I have shown, first, that the right hon Gentleman's reasons for refusing the Amendment is not good, and that it is possible there might be more use made of this provision if it is carried than there has been in the past.
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
I think the hon. Baronet has rather given his case away. He says he thinks that if this Amendment were accepted the provision would be more frequently used. I do not want it to be more frequently used.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. HARRY HOPE
I beg to move to add, at the end of the Clause, the words "and provided further that in places frequented as holiday resorts during certain seasons of the year the Licensing Court may suspend for such period or periods as the Court shall specify, not exceeding in the aggregate four months in any year, the obligation of this Section as to the hour in the morning before which no ex-ciseable liquor shall be sold on the premises."
There are some parts of Scotland where at certain times of the year the exercise of this power will be very necessary, and the Amendment merely gives to the Licensing Court the power to accommodate people. Those who want to see this Bill work smoothly ought to agree to give the Licensing Court some little power of a reasonable nature such as is asked for here.
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
I am afraid that I am still unconvinced that holiday people want to drink early in the morning, and I do not think the hon. Baronet has made out a case for this proposal.
§ Amendment negatived.