HC Deb 20 April 1931 vol 251 cc612-3
82. Sir W. DAVISON

asked the Home Secretary whether in view of the information recently supplied to him and also of the losses which are being suffered by British hospitals by the falling off of subscriptions since the recent Irish Free State sweepstakes in aid of Dublin hospitals, he is now prepared to set up a committee to investigate the conditions and safeguards which will be necessary if lotteries are to be permitted as a method of raising money for approved public purposes?


I have delayed coming to a decision on this question in the hope that I might receive some definite indication of the attitude of those responsible for the more important charities. Such indication as I have received seems on the whole adverse. I think it will be wise to defer a decision for some time longer, particularly as there can, of course, be no question of legislation this Session.


Does the right hon. Gentleman not recognise that it is a very bad thing for any country to have its laws daily broken by large sections of the community, and that for that reason alone it is very desirable that the law regarding sweepstakes and raffles should be clarified?


It is under the pressure of the high obligation to try to enforce the law that I do not want too hurriedly to take steps that might alter the law, but I await representations of a representative character on the subject.


Does the right hon. Gentleman not recognise that it is far more dangerous that the law should in any way encourage gambling among the people?

86. Mr. DAY

asked the Home Secretary what instructions have been issued to his Department for the return of letters containing money, or its equivalent, to senders of such letters to the organisers of the Irish hospital sweepstakes on the Derby; and can he state what postage the Post Office demand for such returned letters?


I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for Newcastle-on-Tyne North (Sir N. Grattan-Doyle) on the 14th instant. As regards the latter part of the question, I am informed that no postage is charged.


Is my right hon. Friend aware that where letters are returned a fee of 3d. is surcharged to the person who originally sent them? Will he make investigations?


Yes, I will certainly inquire into any particular case.