HC Deb 25 November 1914 vol 68 cc1250-1

(1) If the holder of a retailer's on-licence proves that the sale or consumption of intoxicating liquor on his premises has in any year been suspended during any hours under the Intoxicating Liquor (Temporary Restriction) Act, 1914, he shall be entitled to a repayment of any duty paid by him in respect of his licence at the rate per annum of one-fifteenth part of the duty for every hour or part of an hour that the sale or consumption has been so suspended.

This provision shall not have effect as respects premises in any area to which the Secretary of State orders that it is not to apply owing to the increased opportunities afforded for the sale of intoxicating liquor due to the concentration of troops in the area.

(2) In order to make provision for the case where hours of sale are curtailed by Section seven of the Temperance (Scotland) Act, 1913, the holder of a retailer's on-licence in Scotland shall (in addition to any other relief granted by this Section) be entitled to a rebate of two-fifteenths of the duty payable by him in respect of his licence.

(3) The amount of any duty repaid or allowed under this Section shall in no case exceed one-fourth part of the whole duty payable by the licence holder in respect of his licence.


I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), after "1914" ["Intoxicating Liquor (Temporary Restriction) Act, 1914"], to insert the words "or under any Regulations made in pursuance of the Defence of the Realm Act, 1914, or any Act re-enacting that Act with or without Amendment."

Under Clause 8 a reduction in Licence Duty is legislated for in cases where under legislation passed this Session—the Intoxicating Liquor (Temporary Restriction) Act, 1913—public-houses are closed earlier. Since the Committee stage it has been brought to our notice that there is a certain curtailment of hours going on in certain parts of the country, not under that Statute at all, but under the Defence of the Realm Act. It seems a hard case that the public-house licensee is to get the benefit of this provision if he closes under one Statute but not if he closes earlier under the other Statute. I move this Amendment to meet that case.


I would ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he proposes to deal with the question of grocers' licences in Scotland, which come under this particular Clause? So far as I understand the matter, when it was brought up the Chancellor of the Exchequer promised that he would inquire into it and if he found that these licence holders in Scotland suffered any loss from the diminution of hours under the Temperance (Scotland Act), 1913, he would grant them a rebate of 3–15ths for the reduction of hours. The Chancellor of the Exchequer knows, and the right hon. Gentleman knows, that the hours are reduced there and that these people are not allowed to open their shops under that particular Act until ten o'clock in the morning, whereas formerly they opened at eight o'clock. The 3–15ths reduction is being given to one section of the trade—the on-licence holders—but the off-licence holders who hold grocers' licences are not being granted the same privilege. They think they are suffering a loss and disadvantage in this respect, and they have sought to be put on the same footing as the on-licensees. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will consider that point.


My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has given very careful consideration to the proposal made yesterday on the Committee stage that the off-licences should be included in the proposal, but at present we are not prepared to recommend the proposal to extend this reduction to the off-licence holders. If a man has a licence for the consumption of intoxicating liquor on the premises then, as the best-intentioned among us can only drink at a certain rate, the curtailment of hours must mean a certain reduction in consumption. But when a man goes to premises to buy liquor which he drinks off them, it does not mean that there will be necessarily a reduction of consumption because of the reduction in the hours. For that reason my right hon. Friend regrets that he cannot agree to the suggestion.

Question, "That the words or under any Regulations made in pursuance of the Defence of the Realm Act, 1914, or any Act re-enacting that Act with or without Amendment' be there inserted," put, and agreed to.