HC Deb 20 April 1939 vol 346 cc494-5
42. Mr. Alan Herbert

asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been drawn to the pronouncements of certain licensing benches against the playing of darts and other innocent and skilful games on licensed premises; what is the statutory authority by which licensing justices are able to veto such activities; and will he draw the attention of all licensing benches to the report of the Royal Commission on Licensing, 1929–31, which found that games, music, and the like, have a definite value as distractions from the mere business of drinking and expressed the hope that steps would be taken to secure the discontinuance of any policy of discouragement of lawful games in licensed premises?

Sir S. Hoare

I have seen reports of a statement recently made by the Liverpool Licensing Justices on this subject. Section 79 of the Licensing (Consolidation) Act, 1910, prohibits gaming (that is, the playing of games for money or money's worth) on licensed premises, but licensing justices have no power to veto any lawful games, and I am in general agreement with the views expressed by the Royal Commission as to the desirability of encouraging such games "as a distraction from the mere business of drinking." In certain cases, however, in view of the special difficulties experienced by the licensees in their area in preventing gaming, licensing justices have, I believe, expressed disapproval of the playing of any games on licensed premises, and I am informed that this is what occurred recently in Liverpool. I have no reason to doubt that licensing benches generally are well aware of the recommendation of the Royal Commission, and in any case I am glad to think that my hon. Friend's question has called attention to the position.

Mr. Kirby

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in Liverpool the licensing justices are really anti-licensing justices, of a very narrow frame of mind?

52. Mr. Herbert

asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been drawn to paragraph 381 of the Report of the Royal Commission on Licensing, 1929 to 1931, to the effect that in the State public-houses at Carlisle the provision of facilities for playing games has been adopted as a matter of policy; and whether this is still the policy of His Majesty's Government?

Sir S. Hoare

I am aware of the statement of the Royal Commission to which my hon. Friend refers. There has been no change since the Royal Commission reported in the policy of providing facilities for playing games in public houses in the Carlisle State Management District.

Viscountess Astor

Is it not true that the conditions in Carlisle are quite different from those in privately-owned public houses?

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