HC Deb 22 February 1945 vol 408 cc1086-7
Miss Wilkinson

I beg to move, in page 3, line 14, after "area," insert: the accommodation provided thereat, and the facilities given thereat for obtaining food. The purpose of this Amendment is to implement the undertaking I gave in Committee to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Eastbourne (Major Taylor). The House will perhaps recall that I stated at that time that it was the Government's intention that licensing planning committees should take into account facilities for food and accommodation when considering the suitability of licensed premises. I promised that we would be prepared to reconsider the wording of Clause 4, and if necessary, to introduce an Amendment on Report stage to make that clear. The word "accommodation" is intended to have a wide meaning. It covers not merely sleeping accommodation—which is not a question that usually arises—but also general structural facilities. For example, it would cover the space that is required for customers to take their refreshment at a table.

It would also include outdoor accommodation, such as gardens or bowling greens. The Amendment moved during the Committee stage dealt, also, with the requirements of visitors from overseas, and I promised to look into it. This, however, is a separate point, and it is covered, without amendment to the Bill, by the expression, "local requirements." I am advised that this expression means not merely the requirements of the residents in the locality, but also those resulting from daytime visitors, or a seasonal influx of visitors into the area. That is made clear in the Report by the Morris Committee. I promised the Committee that we would see that the attention of the licensing planning committee was called to the point when they were advised of their functions under the Bill, and that will be done. With this assurance I hope the Committee will accept the Amendment.

Viscountess Astor (Plymouth, Sutton)

I am glad that the right hon. Lady has not given in on the question of overseas visitors. May I remind her what has happened in Plymouth and other towns? The minute the drink trade has had a chance to sell tea and coffee, after selling their liquor, they have closed their houses. So long as the drink trade is in the hands of private enterprise they will go in for selling liquor and nothing else. In the last war we made great forward strides in temperance reform, and I regret to say that we have lost all that ground in this war. It is a sad commentary on present day conditions, when young people are in uniform and girls are free for the first time in their lives, that the Government have not shown more vision and more understanding on the drink question. We have begged public houses to keep open and sell tea and coffee, so that young people would not have to walk about the streets, but they have refused. Once they have sold their liquor they have closed.

Amendment agreed to.