HC Deb 16 March 1937 vol 321 cc1836-8
28. Mr. Mathers

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether the tenant of the Keodale farmhouse, in Durness, Sutherlandshire, which was acquired by the Department of Agriculture for land settlement in 1921, received the permission of the Department when he applied for a liquor licence in 1928; and whether the new tenant who applied for the renewal of the licence in 1936 also obtained the consent of the Department?

The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Elliot)

As indicated in the reply to a similar question by the hon. Member on 16th June last, Cape Wrath Hotel, situated at Keodale, is let as a hotel and licensed at the discretion of the appropriate authority. The Department of Agriculture acquiesced in the granting of a licence to the joint tenants in 1928 and raised no objection to its continuance to one of these tenants when the partnership was dissolved in 1936.

Mr. Mathers

Why is Government property licensed for the sale of liquor in Scotland, and is not this breaking the rule that is generally observed?

Mr. Elliot

I do not think so. The question of licences comes up before the appropriate authorities, and it is not for me to usurp the powers of the authorities.

Mr. Mathers

Is it not the case that the Department must give authority for this licence to be held, and is it not the case that these particular licensed premises are in an area that has been dry for about 20 years, and that in this way the Government are assisting in breaking the wishes of the inhabitants?

Viscountess Astor

As a former Minister of Agriculture, surely it is the right hon. Gentleman's duty to encourage the drinking of milk instead of beer?

29. Mr. Mathers

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether the Department of Agriculture applies the rule to all landholders and tenants upon its property that no application for a liquor licence shall be made in respect of any premises owned by them without the consent of the Department being first obtained; if, and why, there is any differentiation made between landholders and other types of tenants in respect of this rule; and whether, in any case, the Department will in future withhold permission to apply for a licence on any Government property situate in any area which, as in the case of Durness, has been free of any licensed premises over a long number of years?

Mr. Elliot

The granting of licences for the sale of intoxicating liquors is governed by Statute, and I am not aware of any rule of the kind referred to by the hon. Member. The Department of Agriculture would not normally raise objection to the grant of a licence in appropriate cases, but the ultimate discretion lies with the licensing authority.

Mr. Logan

If it takes 20 years to get a licence, could not the right hon. Gentleman see that the matter was arranged earlier?

Mr. Duncan

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this hotel is the only hotel within a radius of about 50 miles, and that it not only serves the local population, but that the intoxicating liquors supplied are much appreciated by the people who visit there?

Mr. G. Hardie

Is it not the law that before a licence can be applied for, the permission of the owner of the property has to be given; and why did the Government give permission?

Sir William Davison

Is it a crime to apply for a licence?