HC Deb 16 November 1939 vol 353 cc816-7
35. Mr. Robert Gibson

asked the Home Secretary what steps were taken in 1914–18 to restrict the sale of intoxicating liquors; and what steps he has taken, and what further steps he has in contemplation , in this regard at the present time?

Sir J. Anderson

It would be impossible within the limits of an answer to a Parliamentary question to set out all the measures taken from 1914 to 1918 for controlling and restricting the sale of intoxicating liquor. The principal restrictions, including a drastic reduction of the hours of sale, were continued with certain modifications in the Licensing Act, 1921. As I have already stated, while I am watching the situation carefully, I have as yet no information to suggest that further restrictions are now required.

Mr. Gibson

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this matter is causing great concern in wide circles in Scotland, who associate the increase in road fatalities to the imbibing of alcoholic liquor after the hour of black-out?

Colonel Arthur Evans

When contemplating any further steps restricting the liberty of the subject will my right hon. Friend bear in mind the number of restrictions now in force and the undesirability of their extension unless vital in the interests of national defence?

Viscountess Astor

Does not my right hon. Friend think it necessary in this war to do what was done in the last war, and will he remember that the Liquor Control Board was set up, not because of drunkenness, but because of the impediment of drink to national efficiency?

Sir J. Anderson

I think one must also take into account that there have been certain changes in the habits of the people since then.

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