§ (1) In every premises licensed for the sale of intoxicating liquor in any new town it shall be deemed a condition of the licence that there shall be provided such kinds and brands of the intoxicating liquors for the sale of which the premises are licensed and such kinds and brands of mineral waters and other beverages as may be reasonably required by the customers, and the licensing justices may refuse to renew a licence on the grounds that the holder thereof has persistently and unreasonably refused to supply such kinds and brands of intoxicating liquor, mineral waters or beverages aforesaid at a reasonable price. If the justices so refuse to renew a licence they shall be deemed to have refused it on the ground that the premises had been ill-conducted.
§ (2) It shall be unlawful for any person either directly or indirectly in regard to any new town
- (a) to enter or attempt to enter into any agreement with the holder of a justices' licence or an occasional licence therein with any person intending to apply for the grant or renewal of any such licence or with any person having the control or management of licensed premises therein the purpose or effect whereof is the granting of a monopoly to or the favouring of the sale, supply or use of any brands of intoxicating liquor, mineral waters or other articles whatsoever intended for sale, supply or use on licensed premises which are manufactured or supplied by such person or by any other person, or the purpose or effect whereof is the restriction of the sale, supply or use on any licensed premises therein of any brands of intoxicating liquor, mineral waters or other articles aforesaid:
- (b) to induce or attempt to induce by any means whatsoever any holder of a justices' licence or an occasional licence therein any person intending to apply for the grant or renewal of any such licence or any person having the control or management of the licensed premises therein to enter into such agreement as aforesaid to grant such monopoly to favour such sale, supply or use or to restrict such sale, supply or use as aforesaid:
- (c) to make it a condition of the offer, grant or renewal of any tenancy of licensed premises therein or of any contract of service relating to the control or management of licensed premises therein that the tenant, proposed tenant, manager or controller or proposed manager or controller should enter into such agreement as aforesaid or should grant such monopoly or should favour such sale, supply or use or should restrict such sale, supply or use as aforesaid;
- (d) to enter into any agreement with any person the purpose or effect whereof is to induce or attempt to induce any holder of a justices' licence or of an occasional licence therein any person intending to apply for the grant or renewal of any such licence or any person having the management or control of licensed premises thereto to enter into such agreement as aforesaid or to grant such monopoly or to favour such sale, supply or use or to restrict such sale, supply or use as aforesaid.
§ (3) Any such agreement whether made or entered into before or after the passing of this Act shall be void and unenforceable.
§ (4) In this section the word "agreement" shall include any contract, term, condition, covenant or promise whether oral, written or by deed and whether or not (apart from the provisions of this section) it would be enforceable in law or equity.
§ (5) If after the passing of this Act any brewer, distiller or other person enters into any such agreement he shall be guilty of an offence under this Act and shall be liable on summary conviction for a first offence to a fine of one hundred pounds and for any subsequent offence to a fine of five hundred pounds.
§ Brought up, and read the First time.
§ 4.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Geoffrey Bing (Hornchurch)
I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."
When the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Home Secretary was opposing the Licensing Act, 1948, he said something which, if in fact it had been applicable to that Measure, would, I think, have brought a great number of my hon. Friends into the Lobby with him. He said:… it seeks to deprive a large section of the people of this country of what should be their inalienable heritage, the right of choosing their own draught beer."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 14th December, 1948; Vol. 459, c. 1043.]The Clause which I am moving is a much more modest one. It atempts to give a very small section of the people of this country what is their inalienable heritage. It is an attempt to prevent a few people from being deprived of it by the right hon. and learned Gentleman. The object of the Clause, which stands in the 48 names of my right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede), myself and other hon. Members, is to do away with the tied house. We suggest that we should do away with it as an experiment in the new towns.
In the opinion, I think, of every hon. Member on this side of the House, this is a very evil system, and the only defence of it which is put forward by right hon. Gentlemen opposite is that it is really impossible to sell drink without it. I think that the right hon. and learned Gentleman ought to say to his friends the brewers that their profits ought not to be so dependent upon their connection with one great political party of the State. They should, like other business men, be prepared to face competition.
After all, in the United States of America they would not allow anything of this sort, and the capitalists in the U.S.A. are at least as experienced as any of the capitalist friends who are available to advise the right hon. and learned Gentleman opposite. Indeed, in the U.S.A. it is one of the evils which is prohibited by law. Anyone who studies the social history of that country knows that this has not led to a universal cessation of drinking.
The new Clause which I am moving is drawn from a Bill which I had the honour to introduce but the misfortune, on a number of occasions, never to move. It is, as it were, a pilot scheme. I would be wrong if I said that my right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields is committed to such a revision for the whole country, but he, like me, thinks that it might be a good thing to experiment in the now towns. This Bill, which has been before the public for a long time, is criticised in identical terms. That is one of the most interesting features of this Bill—the identity with which people, whom we are assured never communicate with each other, speak on all questions that have to do with the licensed trade. This criticism is identical by three sets of people: by the brewers, by certain of the licensed victuallers and by the Conservative Party.
The brewers, one has no doubt, have every reason for their opposition. The opposition of the licensed victuallers is, at first sight, a little more difficult to see. If the right hon. Gentlemen opposite read—and I commend it to them, not only for 49 its racing tips, for which I understand it is second only to the "Daily Worker," but for its general information—the "Morning Advertiser," the publicans' newspaper, they will see that in fact the Licensed Victuallers' Associations are in the pay of the brewers. It is difficult sometimes to get the actual figures. If one looks at the "Morning Advertiser" of 23rd July, 1952, one sees that the Aylesbury and District Licensed Victuallers' Association, a small body with only 152 members, got £3,000 a year from the brewers.
The question that every hon. Member on this side of the House must ask is: If 152 licensed victuallers in Aylesbury can get £3,000 from the breweries for passing a resolution condemning the free house, how much is got by those in the House of Commons who are in a position to implement the attitude taken by the brewers? Another question that we might ask is: If the brewers are so stupid as to waste £3,000 of their shareholders' money on 152 publicans in Aylesbury and not pay anything to the fount of authority, are they not unfit to run public houses?
The question of the tied house is the touchstone of the good intentions of the right hon. and learned Gentleman. Like other hon. Members, he will probably have taken a passing glance at the manifesto on which he was elected. He may remember the passage dealing with monopolies:We believe in the necessity for reducing to the minimum possible all restrictive practices on both sides of industry and we shall rely on a greatly strengthened Monopolies Commission to seek, and enable Parliament to correct, any operations in restraint of trade.What could be a greater operation in restraint of trade than a tied house the licence of which is restricted to people who sell only one class of commodity?
The right hon. and learned Gentleman has been in some difficulty. Up to now none of his policy as outlined in the King's Speech has been carried through. From a purely party point of view, this would surely be a good opportunity to carry through just one portion of one of the things which were mentioned in the King's Speech. The real opposition to the Licensing Act, 1949, as the right hon. and learned Gentleman knows very well, was not that the brewers were opposed to State control but that they were opposed to the abolition of the tied house.
50 What are the evils that we are trying to eliminate? First, injustice to the small men, something which ought to appeal to hon. Gentlemen opposite even when they are not conducting an election. I have previously quoted the perfunctory way in which the dismissal of licensees is treated. At the same time as the newspapers were full of a terrible injustice to someone who owned a place called "Briar Patch," licensees in Sheffield were being flung out wholesale. Yet one had to look at the third page of the "Daily Express" just to find this little item:Landlord Must Go. A sheriff's officer will today eject Mr. Isaac Hampton, licensee, from the Lodge Inn, Spital Hill, Sheffield. He is one of four tenants who refused to go when 29 were sacked by the brewery.
§ Mr. Marlowe
The hon. and learned Gentleman has often repeated this misconstruction of the facts. Is he aware that Mr. Isaac Hampton was removed because he had twice been caught watering his beer?
§ Mr. Bing
I do not know in which brewery company the hon. and learned Gentleman has any interest, but I can tell him that that is technically a highly difficult task. I propose later to speak of analyses of certain beers which I have had made by the public analyst, and from that hon. Members will see that anyone dismissed for watering his beer ought really to have been promoted to a high position in some chemical establishment for achieving what amounts practically to the splitting of the atom. Were the remainder of the 29 licensees caught watering their beer?
§ Mr. Marlowe
That allegation is not so easy to deal with, for no one has been able to trace the 29 of whom the hon. and learned Gentleman speaks.
§ Mr. Bing
Would the hon. and learned Gentleman care to write to the "Daily Express" pointing out that its news is incorrect and that it is doing an injustice to the brewery, in order to see whether the "Daily Express" can justify what it published? The date of the report was 3rd March, 1949.
What is the usual defence given, not by the right hon. and learned Gentleman, but by someone who is far more skilled in defending the brewers, the hon. Member for Wokingham (Mr. Remnant)? His argument is exactly the same as that 51 of the fraudulent share pusher. He says, as does the fraudulent share pusher when he is caught, "Why should this fellow object to taking these shares? Heaps of other people would have bought them if he had not." He says, in other words that there are plenty of other mugs to take on the job and, therefore, it must be all right. If he had had anything like the letters I have had from licensees throughout the country, he would know that this is a small but very genuine matter of the exploitation of a small man who has extended the hand of kindness and help in time of need to many people both in this House and outside it.
The second argument against the tied house is merely that it provides bad service. Everybody knows of the inquiry which was made by Lord Balfour of Burleigh in the Royal Borough of Kensington. That was some time ago, and conditions have improved since. There was an inquiry in Bath in 1950 which showed that out of 156 public houses, 29 were re-selling drippings and overspill from glasses, without even bothering to use a utilisator to filter the beer, 64 had no means of sterilising glasses, 56 had no constant hot water, 18 had insufficient ventilation and six had no toilet accommodation. It was said that the general conditions in Bath were no worse than those anywhere else.
The next point is that they deny the people things which the ordinary person wants. Let us take the question of cider. There is no tax on cider, but in some mysterious way every time the price of beer has gone up the price of cider has also gone up. Even the licensees who are paid such large sums by the brewers cannot avoid protesting. I refer the Home Secretary to the "Morning Advertiser" of 9th July, 1952. In reporting a meeting of the Maidstone and Mid-Kent Licensed Victuallers' Association, it said:It was said that the brewery had decided to increase the price because it found that one of its houses sold nearly all cider but very little beer.The reason for putting up the price of cider was to prevent people from buying cider.
§ Mr. Bing
We all congratulate the hon. Member for Aberdeenshire, East (Mr. Boothby) upon being one of the few honest Conservatives in the House of Commons. His interruption was typical of the honesty of his approach. The Report goes on:The tenants, however, had been obtaining this drink from another company which was very popular in the district.What a terrible offence!A deputation of tenants explained this to the brewery. The brewery had told the cider company that they could continue to supply the tenants, provided the brewery was given so much for every gallon supplied.This is rather like protection money which is collected in other ways. Yet this is the system which, in the name of liberty and doing down the monopolies, the right hon. and learned Gentleman is preparing to foist on the new towns It is the same with wine. I have here a letter—I shall not give the name of the writer because it might prevent his getting other trade; judging by the agencies which he holds he must be one of the best-known wine merchants in the City of London—which says that a traveller has been told that from 10s. to 30s. per dozen more must be paid as a royalty if he supplies any houses in the Midlands or on the East coast.
Now, for the benefit particularly of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Hove, may I come to the question which I think is the most serious matter in regard to the tied house question, and one which I have not myself liked to raise hitherto, because I have not had or been able to get a sufficient analysis to prove my case. I am fortunate now in having a full report from a public analyst, and I am in a position to give the Committee and the hon. and learned Member for Hove the figures which he ought to have obtained a long time ago if he had gone into this question.
Let me say, first of all, to the hon. and learned Member for Hove that the tied house system is used to cheat the public by selling short measure. I will prove it to him in a moment. Secondly, it is used to defraud the Revenue by weakening and watering the beer. This is not done by an individual licensee but by whole brewery concerns, some of the 53 greatest names in the country, and this selling of watered beer by the brewery companies means that they are taking for themselves the money for the extra duty.
Since the hon. and learned Member for Hove did me the honour to interrupt me, let me read from an article which he himself wrote very appropriately in a journal whose name is "Property." He said:… the agricultural labourer in the remoter parts …"—he was defending the tied house system—… usually wants the beer he gets. Thus he gets the beer he wants.There are great differences between beer. The advantage of the tied house system is to enable the more dishonest brewer—because there are degrees of honesty among brewers—to secure an outlet and prevent anyone from selling better beer anywhere around. This is well-known, because an analysis was made in Kent in 1951. I have here the report of Mr. Strugnell, and it shows that the gravities of beer—that is what tax is paid on—varied very considerably, by as much as nine or 10 degrees.
Unfortunately Mr. Strugnell, for reasons of delicacy, did not in his report see fit to give the names of the firms who were doing these sorts of things. I am not under any similar inhibition. I had analysed by a public analyst—I suppose one of the best-known analysts in the country—five brands of beer, Watney's, Meux's, Charrington's, Bar-clay's, and Taylor Walker's.
I chose in each case the same beer, pale ale; I chose in each case a bottle which was brewery bottled so that there could be no question that it was a dishonest publican who watered it; I chose a half-pint bottle in each case and I paid in each case for it at the public bar. The price varied between 9½d. and 10d. and, for the information of the hon. and learned Member for Hove, I bought it all in the area between Great Portland Street and the Charing Cross Road. Only one of those houses saw fit even to give full measure to the public, and that was Taylor Walker's. As to the other brewers, Barclay's Brewery, by selling short measure, were making 15s. a barrel and Meux's were making 13s. a barrel.
The hon. and learned Gentleman, who takes a great interest in the licensing question, will remember that in April, 1950, in order to get a better beer, the brewers 54 gave a pledge to Sir Stafford Cripps, then Chancellor the Exchequer, and this is what Sir Stafford said at the time:The brewers have given an assurance that the gravities of all beers will be increased by three degrees."—[OFFICIAL REPORT. 18th April. 1950; Vol. 474, c. 71.]Because of a certain unfamiliarity with the milieu with which he was dealing, Sir Stafford Cripps may not have put upon the brewer's promise the value that some others of us would have put who know the brewers better.
In fact, the beers have been watered to quite a fantastic degree. Barclay's India pale ale only exceeds by 6 of 1 per cent. of alcohol the strength of beer which was permitted in the United States of America during prohibition. I am sorry that the hon. Member for Wimbledon (Mr. Black), who is President of the Band of Hope, is not here to hear just what type of beer we are dealing with.
§ Mr. Boothby
The hon. Member for Ealing, North (Mr. J. Hudson) is taking quite a new view of the brewers.
§ Mr. Bing
That may be so. Of these five beers, all of them except Charring-ton's were below average original gravity, which is 33 degrees. I do not know what the original gravity of bottled pale ale ought to be, but there is one hon. Gentleman here who does know, the senior member of the Brewers' Society Parliamentary Committee, the hon. Member for Wokingham. What does he say it ought to be? The figure that is given in the "Brewers' Almanac" is 55 degrees. That is supposed to be the pre-war strength of beer. I do not know whether that is correct, but perhaps the hon. Member will tell us what the original gravity of beer ought to be. I will give way if he likes.
§ Mr. Peter Remnant (Wokingham)
The hon. and learned Gentleman must not mix up original gravity and standard gravity.
§ Mr. Bing
The hon. Gentleman is confused in a way which one would not expect from one who is so familiar with brewery matters. The original gravity of beer is a matter which is determined by analysis and depends upon the amount of material put into the beer. Does the hon. Gentleman know the original gravity of his beers or does he not?
§ Mr. Remnant
I do not want to interrupt the hon. and learned Gentleman's story, which is most amusing, but the standard gravity of 1,055 degrees was a gravity to which beers were reduced before the war by the Excise for the purpose of imposing the duty.
§ Mr. Bing
If the hon. Member will look at page 119 of the "Brewers' Almanac," he will see set out there a list of beers and a list of gravities which it is suggested they should go up to, and the gravity for pale ale is 55. The "Brewers' Almanac" may be mistaken, but it is for the hon. Member, who is a member of the Parliamentary Committee of the Brewers' Society, publicly to tell us if it is mistaken, and it is also for him to tell us what is the right figure. If he does not know the right figure, may I put one other point to him? May I suggest to him that he and I should go out together and get a bottle of beer made by his own firm from one of his tied houses, seal it up together and send it to an analyst, on whom we can no doubt agree? If we do that, will he agree to have the result published?
This is a serious matter. It is a fraud on the Revenue. This is selling to the public water, and charging them the duty and putting it into their own pockets instead of handing it back to the State. This is what is being down. If the duty were 55 degrees—I do not know whether that is the right figure—it would be £16 1s. a gallon. On the stuff Meux' s and Barclay's are selling, they pay only £7 15s. 4d. On the stuff that Taylor Walker's sell, they are paying only £8 8s. 7½d. On the stuff that Charrington' s are selling, they are at least paying £10 1s. 9d. Look at it in this way. A Meux' s or Barclay's house is making 20 per cent. more profit—23 per cent. to be accurate—on weaker beer, because they do not pay so much duty per barrel.
That is the case which I put up on the proposed new Clause. I want to urge it on the House once again. I suggest that this is a test of the good faith of hon. Gentlemen opposite. Are we to have any word from the right hon. and learned Gentleman, when he replies, to tell us that he will have the receptacles measured in which beer is sold by the people who have been pressing him to pass this Measure? Are the public to get any quid pro quo? Are they to know the 56 gravity of the beer which they buy? Is there to be any check?
Would he care, before the Measure goes to another place, for the Government analyst to analyse the beer of the various people who will benefit by the Bill? The House should remember that there are certain small classes of brewer who will benefit by the Bill. Would the right hon. and learned Gentleman care to get the public analyst or the Government chemist to analyse these beers and to let us know which brewers are selling water and charging tax on it and which, like Charrington' s, are comparatively honest?
If the Home Secretary is serious about monopolies, does he think that there is any more obvious monopoly than that of the tied house? Is he prepared to take any action, or is his only action in dealing with monopolies to be to impose a monopoly where one did not exist before? Is the Home Secretary serious about the small man? Is he not aware that the tenant who lives on the premises is one of those who have no security of tenure? Is the Home Secretary proposing to do anything about him? Is he serious about the amenities of the new towns, or is he just going to sell them to a brewer who sells bottled beer of an original gravity of 29 points?
My case is that there is a gross inflation of prices and that there is a fraud on the Revenue. Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman proposing to say, "I shall leave all these matters alone"? Is all that he is going to do, at the behest of and cheered on by the brewers, to make universal everywhere a scandal which cries out for remedy?
§ 4.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Leslie Hale (Oldham, West)
I beg to second the Motion.
The Motion was so well moved and the points were so well covered by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Bing) that there is very little I need add. I hope that the right hon. and learned Gentleman will consider this matter seriously, because our proposed new Clause is an attempt to set the people free. It would only set them free in the new towns for the moment, but it would not be a bad thing to try this important experiment in a limited sphere in order to see precisely how it worked.
57 There is only one thing which fell from my hon. and learned Friend with which I was not in complete agreement. He appeared to convey the impression that licensed victuallers seemed to be against the proposed new Clause, but I am sure that they are not. The truth is that they have just about as much chance of expressing their views on licensing matters as Liberal voters had under the old Tory régime. The Licensed Victuallers' Association are very reluctant to fight the brewers because they know what the results might very well be.
The situation is serious. Everyone knows precisely what is the position of a licensed victualler holding a tied house licence. It is exceedingly doubtful whether his agreement does not violate the law. I have always contended that it did, because the licensed victualler is under a common law obligation to provide reasonable refreshment for man and beast, yet he cannot do it if there are certain kinds of refreshment that he cannot sell.
It is said that the licensed victualler is free to sell any kind of drink, such as tea, coffee or cocoa, but everyone knows that the licensed victualler whose sales of beer drop gets notice to leave. If he increased the sales of other beverages he might have to go. He has no protection, and no reason has to be given for giving him notice under his tied house agreement, which lays down the period of his notice. The case is usually taken to the local petty sessions, where the bench are compelled to make an order for possession.
That is not the only trouble for the licensed victualler. Even if he increases his sales of beer so as to make a very profitable public house he may get notice and be replaced by a manager, or his rent may be put up. He may be faced with the necessity of signing a new agreement and have to pay more.
There is a second matter, on which I tried to intervene in the speech of my hon. and learned Friend. I was very sorry that he tempted the hon. Member for Wokingham (Mr. Remnant) to speak, but perhaps he forgot that this proposed Clause is one on which the hon. Member will be debarred from voting because of his financial interest. There may be some point as to whether the hon. Member is even in order in speaking on the matter 58 at all. It should be borne in mind that the hon. Gentleman was tempted to his feet by observations made by my hon. and learned Friend.
I want to repeat two or three sentences which I used in speaking on an earlier Clause and to say that a very important temperance question is involved in the present proposals, too. I have had very considerable practice in licensing affairs. If a man wants to drink beer or whisky I think he is entitled to do it, and if a man wants to drink tea, coffee or cocoa he is equally entitled.
The whole trend of licensing reform has been aimed at the establishment of licensed premises where a man can buy what he likes, and can go in with his wife and have a glass of beer while his wife has coffee or tea—or the reverse. The wife can have the beer and the man can have the tea. I do not see why the Home Secretary should not facilitate this experiment. I was staggered and surprised by the figures from the analyst's certificate, which my hon. and learned Friend did not give but indicated to the House. I wish he would read those figures, because it is time that they were known.
§ Mr. Hale
Those figures are practically conclusive evidence not only that nightingales do not sing in Berkeley Square but that there is not even a good swallow. This is a matter to which the Home Secretary ought to devote attention, and if he would consult the President of the Board of Trade he might find it one which should be referred to the Monopolies Commission. It is a monopoly of a vicious type, directed against the public, and my hon. and learned Friend has now shown that it is engaged in swindling the public.
I said during the Committee stage that I was hoping to spend the summer holiday abroad, and I hope I may say in the presence of my right hon. Friend, in view of some recent statements, that I actually followed in his footsteps. My wife and I 59 took a little walking tour along the River Loire in circumstances of extreme beauty, but we were condemned by the travel allowance to visit only what the "Guide Michelin" refers to as sixth class public houses. However, we found always a charming and delightful welcome and most suitable accommodation in every village, however small. We made no preparations at all. We stopped when it rained or when we were hungry—[An HON. MEMBER: "Or thirsty."] When I was thirsty, not my wife. We always found a kindly welcome, a clean bed and food.
To-day, if one wants to see the beauties of England, other than through the Youth Hostel movement, there is really no chance of finding those facilities. It is nonsense to say that the licensed victualler does not want to give them because it is only when one goes to the free house that one finds any hospitality.
All of us who know Watling Street and the Great North Road are aware that here and there can be found a free house where one can get a snack or a good meal if one has time and money, or a bed at a reasonable price, and the old fashioned, traditional hospitality of the licensed house. All this is being strangled by this great monopoly. The hon. Member for Wokingham (Mr. Remnant) represents—I do not mean that unkindly—but he is associated with it. I address these remarks to him in the hope that he will help the people concerned to mend the error of their ways.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman could easily accept this Clause. It gives what he has appealed for on other occasions, a full discretion to the licensing justices. It enables them to try to lay down the sort of premises they want in their area and the sort of management they need.
In conclusion, there is one thing I welcome in this matter, that the solitary representative of the Liberal Party who, with a sore and heavy heart voted Tory on every occasion—at any rate, on every occasion when he was present—during the Committee stage of the Bill, will be able to rise in his place in a moment or two and say, "Here is a proposal which would have gladdened the heart of 60 Lloyd George and the Liberal leaders of the past, and on this occasion I shall support it and shall go into the Lobby if necessary to support this exceedingly important proposal."
§ Mr. Frederick Gough (Horsham)
I was on this Bill when it was in Committee upstairs. I have looked most carefully through the Clauses and I cannot see anything in them which prevents a free house in any of the new towns. Therefore, I cannot see that there is any point in creating in this Bill a monopoly for free houses. In the course of time the hon. and learned Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Bing) may be fulminating just as much against a monopoly as he has been in the introduction of this Clause this afternoon.
The hon. and learned Gentleman raised a unique form of argument to which I want to refer. He gave the names of many brewers and he has no doubt taken their beer to the analysts. May I put this point to him? If all those brewers are watering their beer, as he said, when he has produced his free houses in the new towns what kind of beer will they have?
§ Mr. Gough
I wonder whether the hon. and learned Gentleman has carried his "pub crawl"—If I might so call it—to the length of taking in the beers of those brewers and whether he has actually had those analysed as well.
The hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale) referred to the question of a tenant whose beer sales fall and who is then promptly sacked. Whether or not that is an exaggeration, it is not for me to say. In the case, however, of the free house where the man is his own master surely, if his beer sales drop, he goes bankrupt. I should have thought that his condition was worse than that of the tenant, because even if the tenant is sacked he still has a little money of his own whereas the licensee in the free house whose beer sales fall is completely out of business.
61 I feel that the argument on this Clause put up from the other side of the House has no support whatever among the mass of the people. First of all, the tied house is no new thing. It has been in existence since the end of the 18th century. I can say, as one who likes his glass of beer, that the average "pub" in this country today has improved in cleanliness, in amenity value and in lack of any evidence of drunkenness immeasurably during the past 50 years.
§ Mr. Gough
There are about 73,000 public houses in this country and over 89 per cent. are already tied houses. I do not accept the argument that 89 per cent. of the people who go into the public houses in our towns and villages are as dissatisfied as the hon. and learned Gentleman made out when he moved this Clause.
I oppose this Clause because, as the hon. Member for Oldham, West said, we want to set the people free. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] We want to set them free from the worst possible monopoly and that is the monopoly of the State "pub." There has not been enough said about that. What has been said about Carlisle? The people there have no choice of beer. They will not have any choice of beer in the State "pub" because they have the ordinary locally brewed beer, but they have a choice of beer in the tied house, and they also have the choice in the new towns of having free houses. After all, there is no reason why any person who wants to start a free house in the new towns should not do so under this Bill.
Therefore, I think it is far wiser to leave the Bill as it is, to make it possible for the free house to exist in the new towns and also the tied houses which I know in the case of Carlisle are serving the people extremely well, and for one to compete against the other and in that way best serve the wishes of the people.
§ Mr. Arthur Holt (Bolton, West)
I am glad to be able to assure the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale) that on this occasion I shall be with him. The Liberal Party has no doubt where it stands on questions of monopoly. While 62 in the Committee I supported the Government consistently in their endeavour to get rid of the State monopoly, as the hon. Gentleman so rightly said, and on this Clause it is only logical to get rid of what might be a brewers' monopoly. I hope that the Home Secretary will give the Clause careful consideration and will accept it.
I do not profess to have anything like the wide and inside knowledge of the hon. and learned Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Bing) of the brewery trade, but it is as well to bear in mind, whatever the arguments may be, that as regards having competition and providing the customer with the types of drink that he requires, undoubtedly a free house will best give it to him.
If the Government do not accept the Clause but, by their majority, overrule it, they will be spoiling what can be a good move in the right direction. It can be an experiment to see exactly how free houses work under modern licensing conditions: and from that possibly there could be an expansion and other legislation later so that we ensure that the free houses in the rest of the country do not continue to disappear, as they are doing.
§ Mr. Eric Johnson (Manchester, Blackley)
It appears to me that the chief effect of the Clause would not be to give greater freedom to the development corporations in the new towns, but to restrict their right to decide who was to own, occupy and operate the licensed premises in the new towns. If the brewers are not to be allowed to do so—if they insist on selling their own beer and not any and every other kind which the public may reasonably demand, whatever "reasonably" may mean in this connection—immediately a large section of possible occupiers of these public houses would be excluded.
As has already been pointed out, free houses can be set up. The development corporations can own and operate their own public houses. Hotels can do so, and so can catering firms. If, then, the licensing justices, knowing full well that the breweries would insist on selling their own draught beer exclusively, although not necessarily their own bottled beer, decide to let them run some of the public houses, I do not see why anybody should object. I know that those who object to 63 the Bill and to the tied house system in particular say that it restricts the facilities which are given to customers and their right to drink the beer, or even the minerals, of their own choosing. They say, further, that the brewers are unwilling to supply food or the other amenities for which the public may ask.
Before referring briefly to this question of what constitutes a reasonable choice, however, I should like to say something about the suggestion, which has been made on more than one occasion, although not today, by the hon. and learned Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Bing) in particular, that the brewing industry restricts the right of the tenants to its houses to sell what minerals they like; in other words, that it ties them for minerals as well as for beer. [An HON. MEMBER: "That is true."] It may be true in some cases, but they are very few. Eighty per cent. of the brewing industry do not tie their tenants for minerals in any shape or form.
On the Second Reading debate, the hon. and learned Member for Hornchurch suggested to the Home Secretary that he might make a simple test to show that the breweries wanted to discourage the sale of non-intoxicants. He went on to say:Let him go into a tied house of Messrs. Charringtons and ask for a bottle of lemonade. Then let him measure how much he gets, and ask for a bottle of their beer. He will find that he has to pay only one halfpenny less for the lemonade than he has to pay for the beer.The hon. and learned Member then asked:Why is that? Because the people he is going to put in the new houses are charged, first of all, a royalty on any lemonade they are allowed to sell and they put up the price of lemonade."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th February, 1952; Vol. 496, c. 1186.]I am sure that the hon. and learned Member would not wish to mislead the House in any way, but what he said in the second part of that quotation is, according to my information, just as much inaccurate as the statement he has made more than once that the "Daily Worker" is the best source of information on racing.
In point of fact, the price of lemonade varies considerably in different houses occupied by Messrs. Charringtons. Not only does the price vary, but, of course, 64 the brand varies also. The price at which it is sold is nothing whatsoever to do with Charringtons. It is a matter purely for the licensee himself and for the makers of the lemonade. It may be true that the price of lemonade and of beer is much the same.
Indeed, the hon. and learned Member rather under-estimated the price of lemonade, because if he goes, not to a house of Charringtons, but down to the Strangers' Bar, he will find that a bottle of lemonade costs 8d. and a bottle of beer, although not Charringtons, costs 11½d.; and as the bottle of lemonade is considerably smaller than the bottle of beer, he would find that here, in the Strangers' Bar, lemonade is more expensive than beer.
I do not think that the hon. and learned Member would suggest that the Kitchen Committee are in any way tied to the brewers or that the brewers are attempting to force hon. Members to drink beer rather than lemonade, but that is what his argument would seem to suggest.
It is perfectly natural that the brand of lemonade should vary just as much as the price between one house and another. Charringtons do not tie their tenants in any way as regards the sale of minerals. They have no interests in mineral water sales. They do not know how much their tenants sell, and the tenants are perfectly free to buy any brand they like, to buy it wherever they like, and to sell at whatever price they please.
§ Mr. Bing
I bow to the hon. Member's knowledge of where the best sporting tips are to be obtained. My knowledge is not anything like his, and if he corrects me on that matter I humbly accept his correction. On the matter of the price of lemonade, however, leaving aside the question of the Kitchen Committee, which I do not think is in order, I ask the hon. Member this: in any of the cases where he investigated, did he ask the tenants to show him their agreement with the brewers?
§ Mr. Johnson
In no case which I have investigated have I asked more than the price of the lemonade and of the beer. In each case I have asked the tenant or, in the case of one Charrington' s house which I visited, the manager, if they were restricted as to where they bought minerals and was told that they could buy 65 whatever lemonade they liked. The brands varied a good deal. Indeed, one tenant told me that he happened to be selling "Presta" at the time because the "Presta" traveller had recently called but that the next week it might be Schweppes, and that the brewers did not tell him in any way what he ought to sell.
Let me pursue the matter from the other side, also. There are two breweries in Manchester which own a very large number of public houses. In one case they never have tied their tenants in any shape or form. In the other case they did so until about three years ago and then stopped doing so under the provisions of the model tenancy agreement of, I think, 1948; and now those tenants can buy their minerals wherever they like. It is true, however, that if they continue to buy from the suppliers to which they have been tied, the brewery gets a discount on the amount sold, but they do not in any way bring pressure upon the tenants to buy from them.
The hon. and learned Member for Hornchurch went on to refer to the question of a royalty and said that it was because of the royalty that the price of lemonade was put up so high. To whom is that royalty paid? It is certainly not paid to Charringtons. Charringtons do not receive a royalty. The tenants tell me that they do not pay a royalty. Therefore, there is no reason to put up the price of lemonade because of some imaginary, non-existent royalty.
Food in public houses, certainly in the larger cities food is not often obtainable—at any rate, not in public houses in a place like Manchester. There are, however, some public houses in Manchester which provide sandwiches and snacks of various kinds. Others have tried it but have abandoned the practice when it has not been a success. The whole point is that the brewer is perfectly prepared to provide catering facilities, just as much as the free house is willing to do, if the public demand it. That is all that these brewers are concerned with.
§ Mr. Johnson
If they demand it in a tied house. I could take the hon. Member to several in Manchester and show him where he can get it, in a tied house.
66 I have no doubt that a large number of people who live in the new towns will have come from London and may wish to exercise what is called their inalienable right of drinking the draught beer to which they have become accustomed in London. It would not be difficult to think of about a dozen breweries which sell draught beer in London. Surely it is not suggested that public houses, tied or free, in a new town can possibly carry all these varieties of draught beer to cater for every possible taste of people coming from London?
One can think of many difficulties. It would be equally impossible to carry a large stock of bottled beer. It would be quite impossible to keep a great many different kinds of draught beer in good condition. In the case of a large and varied stock of bottled beer of different kinds I do not think any public house could tie up so much of its stock in this way.
It is utterly fallacious to suggest that a State-owned "pub," a free house, gives a wider choice than a tied house. The average tied house provides probably two or three draught beers of its own, mild and bitter and very often its best mild and in many cases they supply draught Bass as well and bottled beers, such as Bass, Worthington and Guinness stout. If one compares that with the State-owned public house in Carlisle one finds there is no greater choice in the State house than in the tied house.
In Carlisle one can get Carlisle draught mild and bitter and their bottled pale ale and a certain amount of bottled beer, but not very many more than one can get in the tied house. It stands to reason, also, that two tied houses in Carlisle would offer double the choice of draught beer than all the State-owned houses in Carlisle put together.
If I may return to the subject of gravity to which the hon. and learned Member for Hornchurch has referred, it is a fact that the Carlisle State-owned breweries do not put the gravity of their beer on the label—or not on any that I have seen.
§ Mr. Johnson
The hon. Member is perfectly correct. We have had our attention drawn to that fact by the hon. and learned Member for Hornchurch and I 67 was pointing out that the practice in the State-owned brewery was no different from that of the private brewery. The gravity is not stated.
§ Mr. Johnson
I think the name is the Northern Clubs Brewery, or something rather similar to that. They do not invariably put the gravity on their labels. I have seen their labels on which the gravity was not stated. It may be the practice now, but it has not been done universally in the past.
It has been further suggested in debates on this Bill that one effect will be a carve up of the new towns by the different breweries, but no evidence has ever been produced that that will happen. Our experience in these new towns suggests that that is most unlikely to happen. Public houses in the 14 new towns are owned by different breweries. In Welwyn Garden City there are four public houses owned by Whitbreads. Why is that? There was no need to give them all to one firm.
I am given to understand, and no doubt I shall be corrected if I am wrong, that Welwyn Restaurants Limited insisted on this monopoly in an attempt to get the maximum possible price for the property on which these public houses were to be erected and that Whitbreads did not want it. Although in a technical sense it may be a monopoly in Welwyn Garden City, it is not an effective one, because one has only to go outside the confines of the Garden City to find a public house owned by another firm about 300 yards away and another a matter of 400 yards away. I am given to understand that each of those public houses is owned by a different firm. So there is a choice of three, one being in the new town, although not in the original estate.
§ Mr. Lindgren
Can the hon. Member give the distance to these public houses from the centre of the town?
§ Mr. Johnson
I cannot give the distance, but one is about 300 yards from the outskirts and the other about 400 yards, which would not be an unreasonable distance to go for a drink—
§ Mr. Johnson
I still think it not unreasonable. A walk would provide a good thirst and would be through a nice town.
There are no doubt some forms of State ownership with which many people agree, but I suggest that State "pubs" are most emphatically not what we want. The purpose of the Bill is to give greater freedom to the licensing committees and to the new towns development corporations and a wider choice to the consumer than is available in places like Carlisle where we have the experiment in State ownership. I believe it is wholly undesirable to accept any amendment which would whittle down one of the objects of the Bill—that of giving greater freedom.
The real purpose of this new Clause is to attack the brewers, not to do anything about better amenities in new towns. It will not fulfil its ostensible purpose of giving a wider choice to the consumer if we deny the public the better built, better equipped and better run public houses, which the breweries can provide. I hope that this new Clause will either be withdrawn, or overwhelmingly defeated.
§ Mr. James Glanville (Consett)
Very seldom do I intervene in debates in this House. When I do so I am generally an authority on the subject. I have listened to this debate today and I think I have entirely wasted most of my day by doing so.
There is a very simple solution to this problem. I am not concerned whether the "pubs" in the new towns are owned by the State, or by private enterprise. My view is that there should be no "pubs" there at all. My hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, North (Mr. J. Hudson) will agree with me on that. Will he agree with what I say next? I believe that the suppliers in the new towns should accept the principle which we established many years ago on the North-East coast by building a brewery of their 69 own and setting up their Working Men's Club and Institute Union.
It is many years since that was done in the North. Never mind the Carlisle experiment—that is a mere nothing, just temporary; it was only done to dope a few lads in the First World War because the beer was too strong for them. The Carlisle experiment would not even satisfy my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, North. We set up our own Working Men's Club and Institute Union many years ago. We have a brewery of our own which we work on the co-operative principle. I offer this as a suggestion to anyone who resides where the new towns are to be.
I can tell the House that already an approach is being made for a site for a working men's club in a new town in Durham County. We are always ahead there: Durham leads, the rest follow. It is a waste of time to argue whether there shall be privately- or publicly-owned public houses. Socialise the liquor trade. Let those concerned set up their own breweries.
We do not even make our clubs tied houses. In a little public house near my home I can get a Scotch beer, a Guinness, a Bass—I can get anything because we are prepared to rely on our own Clubs' Federation beer to prove itself, and it has a larger sale than all the rest put together.
A great deal has been said today about the price of lemonade. I cannot claim to be an authority on that; I leave it to my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, North, but I would say that the question will solve itself in the areas concerned if the public become interested in their own well-being. Is there any question whatever that the Government are handing over the new public houses in the new towns as a bribe to the brewers for valuable services rendered during the Election?
The Northern Clubs' Federation Brewery has, ever since its inception, stated the gravity of its beer on every invoice that it has sent out. [Interruption.] I say that it has stated the declared gravity on the invoice. I have been a member of a club for more than 40 years and the hon. Member should not contradict me. There is not a private brewery in the country which will state the gravity of its beer on the invoices that it sends out.
§ Mr. Glanville
The label on a bottle does not tell one what the bottle contains. Only a week or two ago there was the case of a child being poisoned when its mother had some concoction in a mineral water bottle and her child drank some of it. The label on the bottle said that it contained lemonade, but when the child drank some of the contents she nearly poisoned herself.
The invoice is a written declaration of the value of the commodity that is being sold. The Northern Clubs' Federation Brewery are the only people who will state the declared gravity. I do not wish to take up too much time as I know that others wish to speak—[HON. MEMBERS: "Go on."] Well, it is a change to hear someone talking about a subject with which he is conversant.
Whether we accept this new Clause or not—and if we accept it it will make an inroad into the privileges of the private brewer—I hope that the great possibilities which the Working Men's Club and Institute Union affords will be borne in mind—socialisation of the liquor trade, not mere State control.
§ Mr. Marlowe
I am not quite sure at the end of all that the hon. Member for Consett (Mr. Glanville) has said, which side he is on in regard to this new Clause. But the complexity of this problem could not be better illustrated than by the fact that the hon. Member was heard on this occasion to be claiming to walk arm in arm with the hon. Member for Ealing, North (Mr. J. Hudson).
The hon. and learned Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Bing) claimed that the Clause bore some similarity to a Bill which he said he had had ready for presentation but had never moved. He did himself less than justice. I have heard him move that Bill on dozens of occasions, including today. I have heard him move it on the Adjournment, I have even heard him move it on the occasion of a Motion for the Guillotine. He really cannot deny that he has had plenty of opportunity to present his Bill.
There is one aspect with which I will deal which the hon. and learned Member presented with his usual remoteness from the facts. He referred to specific gravity. That is a scientific aspect of the matter 71 with which I am not particularly familiar; I am more concerned with the legal side. He has repeated an allegation which he has made on a number of occasions in regard to the specific gravity on the label.
§ Mr. Marlowe
The original gravity. I am concerned only with whether figures appear on the label or not. The hon. and learned Member contends that the Clubs' Federation breweries and the Co-operative breweries put the specific gravity on the labels, and he claims that the private enterprise brewers do not. One accepts his assurance on this point, but I can only tell him that I have more than 20 labels of Federation, club and Co-operative breweries, and not one of them bears any reference to gravity.
We were told a few minutes ago by the hon. Member for Consett that the gravity was stated in the invoice. That is not really helpful to the customer, who sees the label. The hon. Member referred to the Northern Clubs' Federation Brewery. I have here three labels of the Northern Clubs' Federation Brewery Limited, which are the labels that go on their various products. One is "Federation Mild," another "Federation Special" and the third "Federation Pale Ale." There is no reference whatever on those labels to the gravity.
While I accept the assurance of the hon. and learned Member for Hornchurch that it is the custom to state the gravity on the labels, I can only say that it is very unfortunate that I do not seem to be able to find the same labels as those to which he has referred.
§ Mr. Glanville
Might I correct the hon. and learned Member for Hove (Mr. Marlowe)? I did not say that the brewery of which I spoke stated on the label the gravity of the ale. I said that they did so on the invoice which is tendered.
§ Mr. Marlowe
And I accurately repeated what the hon. Member for Consett said. He said that they put it on the invoice, I agree. But the hon. and learned Member for Hornchurch has on more than one occasion referred to it being put on the label. That is the important point. The hon. and learned Member referred to it during the Committee stage. He then claimed that these gravities appeared on the label. He may well be accurate but I can only say that I have more than over 20 of the labels of the Co-operative Club and Federation breweries, and I have not been so fortunate as he has been. I have not found a single one on which the gravity is stated.
§ 5.30 p.m.
§ Mr. John Baird (Wolverhampton, North-East)
May I interrupt the hon. and learned Gentleman? It is rather an important point. Obviously, the hon. and learned Gentleman does not know much about the running of working men's clubs. The management of a working man's club is elected by the membership, and if the figure is quoted on the invoice it is open to any member to know what the gravity is—[Laughter]—of course it is.
§ Mr. Marlowe
I can quite understand the hon. Member wanting to shift the ground a little bit now. I was talking about labels, and I can assure the hon. Gentleman that he can look at the labels at any time he likes, but he will not find the figure on any of the ones which I have been able to secure.
The hon. and learned Member for Hornchurch made the usual case which he always does—we have heard it very often, it is wearing a bit thin now I think, and there is a certain amount of tedious repetition about it—about Mr. Isaac Hampton. The hon. and learned Gentleman always makes out a moving case about how this poor old man was evicted from his public house by the tyrannical brewers. The facts are that Mr. Isaac Hampton, having been twice caught watering his beer, the brewers thought it was not in the public interest—
§ Mr. Marlowe
I entirely agree, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, but the hon. and learned Gentleman will no doubt be aware that the watering of beer is an offence against the Act of 1885; and of course if a licensee sells it and repeats the offence, the brewer has little or no alternative but to secure his removal.
§ Mr. Marlowe
I am not going to be cross-examined by the hon. and learned Gentleman. The hon. and learned Gentleman always starts his case by painting a picture of an unhappy tenant of premises in the tied house. It is perhaps unfortunate that this form of business has acquired this name of a tied house. But when we look at the number of people waiting to become tenants of tied houses there seems to be a singular willingness to get into this form of bondage. It is amazing, if the unfortunate tenant is such a slave of the brewer, that there is such a long waiting list to acquire these premises.
§ Mr. Marlowe
The hon. Gentleman—and in this he was supported by the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale)—went on to paint a pathetic picture of a tenant being evicted, almost as it were without notice, by the brewer. That bears no relation whatever to the facts. The facts are that there is now a model tenancy agreement under which at least 12 months' notice has to be given. Now a new tenant is given security in that he cannot be given notice within the first six months of his occupation and thereafter at least 12 months' notice must be given.
The reason that has been done is that it became necessary for the brewers to remedy an injustice originally set up by the Socialist Party. What, in fact, happened in relation to this is that when the Labour Government was in office between 1929 and 1931 they were the first to take up this problem. They set up a Committee to consider whether or not 74 the Rent Restrictions Act should apply to licensed premises. In the Committee stage of this Bill the hon. and learned Member for Hornchurch made great play with the fact that in 1933—implying, of course, that it was the Conservative Party who had done it—the Rent Restrictions Act was removed from its jurisdiction over licensed premises.
In fact, that was done at the instance of the Labour Party who set up an appropriate Committee in 1930 under the chairmanship of a well-known Socialist, Lord Marley. On that Committee there were two Conservative Members of Parliament and six Socialists. They reported that the Rent Restrictions Act ought not to apply to licensed premises and it was as a result of the recommendation of that Socialist dominated Committee that legislation was brought into effect. The hon. and learned Gentleman seeks to impose that on the Conservative Party.
If we are to abolish the tied house I can tell the hon. and learned Gentleman that it will not be possible for the required number of people to set up licensed premises on their own account. I am told that to start a public house today would probably require a minimum of £25,000 to £30,000 and involve great risks. Not everybody can be assured that if licensed premises are put up in a particular place it would be a profitable concern.
The brewers can afford to take the risk. They have money at their disposal and they spread the risks all over the various parts of their area. They can take the risk of whether or not a venture will be profitable. Not many people in this country today, acting on their own initiative, would be prepared to put up £25,000 to £30,000 to start a public house. It is as a result of this organisation of the brewers that the public are able to get a better service.
Reference has been made to the great improvement which has taken place in public house building in this country in this century. That is entirely due to the fact that the brewers have been prepared to invest immense sums of money in the improvement of existing public houses and in the building of new ones. The benefit of that has been passed on to the public. If we did not have that vast organisation available people would not get those improvements. The brewers 75 have their own organisation which, in fact, is really their selling service. They are able to provide a good selling service, because they are able to do it on a large scale. Without that kind of service the public would not get the amenities which they get today.
If, instead of that, there were only free houses I think it is a fair estimate that the free house would not be able to provide the alternative choice of beers which is always suggested. The accommodation would not be available. I am told that beer is not a thing which keeps for very long. It is necessary to have cellarage space. Unless there is a fairly quick turnover the beer begins to deteriorate in the barrel and is not fit for sale.
The owner of a free house is always confronted with that difficulty. In the cellarage space available at his premises he cannot keep a whole variety of different brews. He cannot keep half-a-dozen, or a dozen, different brews because of the risk of deterioration. Therefore, in practice, he concentrates on one, two or three different brews, and he has to see that they are available. The result is, for all practical purposes, exactly the same as in the tied house. There is a limitation of choice imposed upon him by circumstances rather than by contract.
That has been found where people have tried to operate the same kind of Clause as the hon. and learned Gentleman is putting forward today. The hon. Member for Wellingborough (Mr. Lindgren) is familiar with the Welwyn case, which he has referred to on more than one occasion. He has always claimed that at Welwyn Garden City Whitbreads secured a monopoly. What he does not make quite so plain to the House is that the monopoly was given to Whitbreads at the instance of what was equivalent to a development corporation.
It was Welwyn Garden City, Ltd., who insisted on the monopoly, because they could not themselves put up the free houses: they had not the money. When Whitbreads wanted to make a contract with them, the Garden City people said, "We insist on a monopoly, under which all the charges should be the same," which they did. That is the sort of thing which follows when we try to set up the sort of organisation which is proposed in this Clause.
76 The simple fact is that it is because the brewers are able to provide, by means of their vast organisation and their huge turnover, a proper and adequate service, that we get the amenities which we find throughout the licensed trade today, which Socialists are now steadily trying to abolish, with the inevitable result that the service to the public will fail. This attack is repeatedly made on the brewers, and it is made repeatedly by the hon. and learned Member for Hornchurch, who very often puts forward a case which has only a slight or a remote relation to the facts in the instances which he produces.
The hon. and learned Gentleman referred to the 29 evictions. All I can say is that I have been unable to trace them. The hon. and learned Gentleman makes allegations which he has never made any attempt to prove. He makes this charge that there have been 29 evictions, and apparently relies on a report which he saw in the "Daily Express." I do not know whether it is the case or not. I only want to suggest that he should prove his case.
§ Mr. Marlowe
This is not the time or place, but I am prepared to establish the facts that I have asserted and I will certainly produce them, to prove that this man was evicted because he watered the beer. All I say is that I think the hon. and learned Member for Hornchurch should—I do not ask him to do it now, but sometime later—produce evidence of the 29 evictions.
The real truth of the matter is that it is part of the creed of the Socialist Party to attack the brewers because they believe that brewers in general are part of the framework of the capitalist system. It is part of the animosity shown by Socialists towards anybody who becomes rich, and, because there are certain rich brewers in the country, the Socialists have turned their attacks upon them out of the envy, hatred and malice which characterises everything they do.
§ Mr. Hudson
The House will appreciate that I rise to enter into a discussion on mysteries with which I am little acquainted. I have listened to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Horn-church (Mr. Bing) telling the House about the extent to which the brewers are now managing to water beer, and some of them, apparently, have gone so far in the process that they have reached the same point that was reached by the American Prohibitionists. I am almost persuaded that the real temperance advocates and protagonists in this country today must be the brewers. If they have turned their beer as nearly as possible into water, and if it really was as good as that, I should be very greatly relieved, as a temperance advocate, to hand the job over to them.
The fact is that one still has to meet the consequences of the drinking of beer of any sort, whether it is sold by brewers, by a State public-house, by a free house or by clubs in Durham about which my hon. Friend spoke. The beer that is sold by all these people has the same effect of bringing into the lives of the people, somewhere or other, a weakening influence which they might very well do without if they were wise. I am afraid that I shall have to go on making speeches with other temperance advocates for a long time, despite the discoveries which my hon. and learned Friend has made about the watering of beer, whether the brewers do it or anybody else.
I only rose to say that any process which tends to break up the powerful influence in politics and in trade which the brewing industry now represents in the life of this country is something that is very well worth while the attention of the temperance reformer. It is because I think that the tied public house should give place to a different sort of institution, in which the monopolistic power and the political power of the trade would, to a very considerable extent, be decreased, is right, that I propose, temperance reformer as I am, to give my support to his proposal.
For that reason, I thought it right, after all the appeals that have been made to me, when I only wanted to sit quietly through this debate, to get up and give expression to the view which I have just put before the House.
§ 5.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Charles Doughty (Surrey, East)
I rise to speak briefly, like the hon. Member for Ealing, North (Mr. J. Hudson), but not for the same reason. I wish to speak shortly because the constituency which I have the honour to represent has no breweries in it, so far as I know, no brewers and no new towns, and I can can therefore speak with complete impartiality.
I wish to speak against the new Clause which has been moved by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Bing). I listened with great care to the case he submitted, which was based on a number of statements which he put forward with his usual force and clarity but which, in my respectful submission, were completely wrong. To begin with, the hon. and learned Gentleman described the licensed victuallers whom we all know in every part of the country. I was unable to recognise his description of licensees as "downtrodden, oppressed people, unable to speak with their own voices," which was the way in which they were described by the hon. and learned Gentleman.
At any rate, he must have met a different lot from the people I have met, because those I know are very capable of speaking their own minds whether to Members of Parliament, brewers, temperance reformers or anybody else. I can say with equal force but greater accuracy that these people are wholeheartedly and totally opposed to the suggestion that the running of public houses in the new towns shall be handed over to a committee of people in that new town or some other body, which would have no knowledge of the selling of beer in public houses.
Again, to place the brewers or other suitable persons running a public house under the authority of the new town is to deprive the public of the services and the houses to which they have become accustomed and to which they are fully entitled. Could any private individual ever raise the necessary capital to provide the services that are now available, not only accommodation and drinking facilities, but feeding and cooking facilities, staff facilities and bedroom accommodation, all of which are part of the stock-in-trade of these houses? Admittedly, all this was done between the wars by the money provided by brewery companies, 79 and to talk of monopoly in a matter of this kind is, to use the words of the hon. and learned Gentleman, "arrant nonsense."
The hon. and learned Gentleman himself, in his reference to the area between Great Portland Street and Charing Cross, provided the answer to his own arguments. He mentioned a large number of different firms in that restricted area who were competing fiercely against each other for the hon. and learned Gentleman's custom and that of other people in that neighbourhood—
§ Mr. Doughty
I was well aware of that fact, and of the situation in the area between Great Portland Street and Charing Cross. I was merely repeating the words which the hon. and learned Gentleman himself used, and pointing out that his own words provided the answer to the arguments he put forward. In that restricted area there is a very large number of different brewers competing for business, and that applies throughout the whole country. Therefore, it is entirely wrong to call it a monopoly. If, in fact, the business was substantially run by one firm then I would support the hon. and learned Gentleman.
I am quite certain that the brewing industry can be proud of its record for supplying service to the people, a service which they appreciate and will continue to appreciate despite the efforts of the hon. and learned Member for Hornchurch. I entirely agree with what was said by the hon. Member for Consett (Mr. Glanville), and I hope that working men's clubs will flourish and increase in number in new towns, though I cannot see why they should want their own breweries because I am sure that the existing brewers can supply their needs.
§ Mr. S. Silverman
I apologise for detaining the House after what has already been a rather long debate in which. I am afraid, many of the arguments have been repeated by a number of speakers. I am not an expert either on the law or practice of any of the matters which have been discussed in the 80 debate, and I only venture to intervene because I find myself considerably puzzled to know what the argument is about and why this proposed new Clause is being opposed.
There has been a considerable measure of agreement in the discussion that has taken place. For instance, every speaker so far has said that there ought to be no monopoly in these matters and that monopoly conditions ought not to be created in the new towns concerning licensed premises. The House is completely unanimous about that. Again, I think it has been agreed that where there are licensed premises the people who drink in them ought to have a reasonably free choice as to what beer or other beverage they wish to drink. Nobody has contested that.
The argument has been as to whether they will have a better guarantee of a free choice under what is called a "free" house as opposed to what is called a tied house. But there has been no disagreement on the point that they ought to have as wide a degree of freedom of choice as the local circumstances make possible. No one has suggested that one particular set of licensed premises can afford its customers at all times an absolute choice of all the various brands produced. It has been said that there ought to be a reasonable choice and that a customer ought not to be compelled to buy the product of one particular brewery or one particular brand. Everybody is agreed about that.
The argument that has ranged over the whole of this debate has been one about the general merits of tied houses as opposed to the general merits of free houses. I suppose my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Bing) is responsible for that because of the marginal note to his Clause which says:Tied houses prohibited in new towns.I think he will agree with me that his marginal note is not part of his Clause, and if it is a mis-description it can be amended.
I wish to draw the attention of the House to the fact that there is not a single word in the Clause itself about tied or free houses, but there has been a considerable amount of argument in the course of the debate to the effect that any wealthy and powerful firms of brewers 81 would or could undertake the serious risks of building commodious licensed premises with all reasonable modern amenities.
I can find nothing in this Clause to prevent any brewing company from having licensed premises in any new town. There is not a word in the Clause to prevent that, and if they can more conveniently do it than other people then let them go ahead. I am sure that my hon. and learned Friend would be perfectly content. All that it prevents—and I have read the whole Clause very carefully—is the making of agreements which necessarily lead to things which every speaker in the debate has said he is against.
The hon. and learned Member for Hove (Mr. Marlowe) said—I do not know whether he is right or wrong, but as he said it very likely he is right—that one would get just as limited a choice of beer in a free house as in a tied house because the limitation of choice arises out of the necessary limitations which geography, economics and other considerations place upon the licensee rather than the limitations which arise out of a contractual agreement which compels a licensee only to take and offer for sale a particular brand. That is his argument and if it is right he ought to support this Clause.
All that the Clause prevents is any agreement which stops the licensee from offering a free choice of brands to his customers. It does not say that he must offer a free choice. After all, circumstances inevitably impose restrictions upon the freedom of choice. All it says is that if a licensee enters into a contract which obliges him to restrict the choice then that contract shall be void.
I should like to know who is against that. If it is said that the brewers never impose any of these limitations, to what are certain hon. Members objecting? All the Clause does is to make certain by statute that they shall not do what they say they do not do anyhow. There have been numerous attacks upon the brewers in this debate and a lot has been said in their defence. It seems to me that a great deal of that argument was irrelevant to this Clause, because it does not raise that argument.
§ Mr. Marlowe
It does. If the hon. Gentleman will look to subsection 2 (a), he will see that it forbids the entering 82 into a contract to supply a brand of intoxicating liquor.
§ Mr. Silverman
I do not quite follow what the hon. and learned Gentleman is inviting me to read. Subsection (2) says:It shall be unlawful for any person either directly or indirectly in regard to any new town(a) to enter or attempt to enter into any agreementand then follows a number of things included in which is the thing to which the hon. and learned Member referred. But the only thing which the subsection makes illegal is that the licensee or anybody else shall enter into an agreement with a brewer whereby the licensee may take only the brands offered by that brewer.
I understood that the hon. and learned Member was himself in favour of no such restriction being imposed. I do not want to invite him to make another speech, but if he means that such an agreement as that ought to be lawful and that this Clause is wrong because it makes it unlawful, then he ought to make another speech, and it would, I suggest with great respect, be a very different speech from the one he has already made.
His speech was based on the allegation that these restrictions, which he deplored as much as anybody else, do not arise out of an agreement, but out of other circumstances and would still be valid and limit the customer's choice whether there was an agreement or not. Therefore, I invite him to say that he ought to join with all of us who only want to secure that there shall not be a valid contract which limits the customer's choice. If the customer's choice is to be limited by other things that cannot be prevented, all well and good. All that my hon. Friends are arguing is that there shall not be allowed in the new towns a valid contract to limit choice which, but for that agreement, would be a wide one.
§ 6.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Marlowe
The hon. Member is arguing that this Clause does not forbid tied houses in new towns. He may or may not be right about that. If it is a matter of drafting he should argue that with his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Bing), who intended that it should have that effect.
§ Mr. Silverman
I am always delighted to have a friendly argument with my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hornchurch, but any such argument as the hon. and learned Member for Hove invites me to have would be out of order at this moment. What this House is considering is what this Clause, in fact, does, and if my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hornchurch mistakenly told the House that it prevented tied houses so much the worse for his argument. I have no need to correct him.
The Clause does no such thing unless it be true—and this is really the substance of the matter that hon. Members are contending on the other side—that no brewer would risk his capital in building licensed premises in new towns unless he was permitted to make such agreements as this Clause would make illegal.
§ Mr. Silverman
If the hon. Member asks, "Why not?" he is arguing against a speech which he made a few moments ago, in which he said that the brewers are in favour of the utmost freedom of choice and the reason why one ought to have tied houses is because with tied houses one has greater freedom of choice than ever. If one does have greater freedom of choice then there is no reason why the brewer should not build his premises in the new towns and waive any right to have an agreement of this kind. On the hon. Gentleman's argument he does not need it. And it is a bad agreement to enter into on the grounds of public policy, because on the face of it it is an agreement to limit choice. If it is not an agreement to limit choice it is not rendered invalid by this Clause. If the hon. Gentleman says that the brewers do not want such an agreement they ought to accept the Clause.
I ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Home Secretary, who is in charge of this Bill, why he does not accept this Clause. He will surely follow the argument which I have been advancing. He knows perfectly well that there is nothing in this Clause against tied houses. There is nothing in this Clause to prevent a brewer from owning a licensed premises in a new town, installing a tenant in it, installing a manager in it and getting a licence. So 84 all those general questions are not involved. It only prevents him from limiting by an agreement what a licensee wants to offer to the public.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman has often delighted the House in his defence of freedom, at any rate in this limited sense. If he does not accept the Clause then it can only be because the brewers do not want him to accept it. There can be no reason on merit why he should not accept it. If he wants to establish, what he has contended so often, that in this matter the Government are acting according to their own conscience and discretion and are not being influenced by the pressure of the people who contribute largely to party funds, now is his opportunity to demonstrate that, not by an eloquent speech but by a very eloquent acceptance of this Clause.
If the right hon. and learned Gentleman cannot do that, if he remains the tied tenant of the brewers, can we, this afternoon, at any rate when it comes to voting on this Clause, be not a tied House? Can the House be free? Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman take the Whips off and let everybody vote according to conscience about this? Let there be freedom of choice about this, at any rate. I ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman whether it is worth while to proceed in an argument from which all merit has long disappeared.
§ Mr. Lindgren
My speech in winding up from this side of the House will be much shorter than it otherwise would have been because of the very helpful speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman), who has pointed out the legal points in this suggested Clause.
I suggest that the hon. Member for Surrey, East (Mr. Doughty) will have to support us on this Clause, because he said that if there was anywhere where there was a complete monopoly, if there was a new town where there was only one brewer and every other brewer was prohibited, then he would support the Clause. He spoke about the different types of houses between Portland Road and Charing Cross. There is a town, one of the new towns—Welwyn Garden City with a population of 18,000—which is tied to one brewery, Whitbread. As a resident of that town I resent it, and I 85 want my freedom about which hon. Members opposite talk. Set Welwyn Garden City free from the brewers.
The hon. and learned Member for Hove (Mr. Marlowe) said that Whitbread do not want a monopoly. The Development Corporation asked them to release the corporation from the monopoly, but Whitbread have said, "Before we give up the monopoly in this town we want you to compensate us for the loss of the monopoly." It is true that they pay for it; but this is freedom. Under the Ministry of my right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) that monopoly went, and Welwyn Garden City was going to be free and able to have what public houses the people liked in the area.
§ Mr. Marlowe
I am sure that the hon. Member does not wish to misinterpret what I said. I did not say that the Development Corporation and Whitbread were in dispute. I said that it was the Welwyn Garden City Limited, the formation company, which insisted on Whitbread having the monopoly.
§ Mr. Lindgren
That is perfectly true. Private enterprise in these operations tends towards monopoly. It is perfectly true that Welwyn Garden City Limited were the land developer. I pay full tribute to them because they did a first-class job. They tried to tackle a job which was beyond private enterprise. As a result of their work the New Towns Act of 1946 came into being, but they sold a monopoly to the brewers to enter the town in order to get money from the highest bidder.
§ Mr. Lindgren
Yes, Whitbread obtained a monopoly. It has been said in this debate that on the outskirts of Welwyn Garden City, about 400 yards away, there is a public house belonging to some other brewers and people can go there if they like. That is perfectly true; but Welwyn Garden City is quite a big place and it is a considerable distance for people to walk from one side of the town to the other.
That very system which operates at Welwyn Garden City, with one brewer for one town, is what the brewers want for all new towns. That was their intention. If the hon. Member for Surrey, East meant 86 what he said about being opposed to monopoly to that extent, then I ask him to support this Clause, because this Clause gives freedom to us in Welwyn Garden City to have agreements with other brewers or to allow another brewer to come in. Under this Bill Welwyn Garden City or the Development Corporation of any of the new towns are being put in the hands of one single brewery who require public money in compensation if they give up the monopoly which they possess.
The hon. Member for Horsham (Mr. Gough) said that this Bill and this Clause had no public support. It has the complete support of those who have already experienced the operations of brewery monopolies in new towns. There is unanimous opinion in Welwyn Garden City, irrespective of political opinion, that the monopoly of a single brewer is undesirable.
I am not singling out Whitbread in any way; in case it might be thought that I am, let me say that the management of their houses within the new town of Welwyn Garden City is of a very high standard and is up to the standard of the management of any house that I have seen anywhere. But what we object to is the monopoly of a single brewer over a single town. No one on the opposite benches has yet defended that situation except by saying that on the outskirts of a town there is another brewer.
§ Mr. Græme Finlay (Epping)
Is the hon. Gentleman able to speak for any new town apart from Welwyn Garden City?
§ Mr. Lindgren
The new towns are the towns which will be developed under the New Towns Act, 1946, with public money. I do not want to be drawn into discussing anything outside the scope of the Bill, but, after all, there are no new towns except those which were established prior to the 1946 Act and which were experiments.
There is Letchworth which prohibits all "pubs," and the only people who broke the rule in Letchworth were the Conservative Party in the Conservative Club there. That is perfectly true. Letchworth is dry by the decision of the people in the town. The Garden City Company at Letchworth were foolish enough to believe that the Conservative Party would 87 respect the public opinion in the town, but, of course, they had a licence for the Conservative Club.
Welwyn is a second new town. The other new towns—Hatfield, Stevenage, Hemel Hempstead and the rest—are being built. We want to prevent in the other new towns what has been experienced in Welwyn Garden City.
§ Mr. Doughty
There is a simple answer to that problem. Build enough "pubs" and do not sell them to the same brewer.
§ Mr. Doughty
No, we are not. I pointed out in my speech that a monopoly was the last thing it was. The various members of the trade are in fierce competition with each other, and if we want to maintain that competition we should build enough "pubs."
§ Mr. Lindgren
I do not know whether I should address the hon. Gentleman as "learned," but if he is as simple as that I really wonder why to the members of the legal profession we give the term "learned." That was not meant offensively, and I am sure that the hon. Gentleman does not take it offensively.
My right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields is much more competent to deal with this matter than I am. In fact, I ought to have left it to him because he has had experience as Home Secretary. But I will assert this, and my right hon. Friend will, no doubt, deal with it further at the appropriate time. Instead of rivalry there is such complete agreement among the brewers that they are prepared to agree areas of influence and boundaries of operation.
§ 6.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Lindgren
The hon. Gentleman says "No." I ask him, how it is that all over the country we have these various spheres of interest and influence?
Having been drawn into that question in a little more detail than I originally intended, let me state that the really vital point is the point put by my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne. This Clause is designed to rid the people in an area from being confined completely to 88 the beers of a particular brewer by agreement among the brewers. We are not engaged in restrictive practices. If the brewers are the great benevolent friends of the public as hon. Members opposite have suggested, then there is nothing to stop them building a really fine public house in an area and allowing the tenants of that building to sell to the public what the public want.
All that this Clause says is that whoever is the tenant of a house in a new town shall be free to buy such beers as the local tastes of the area shall demand, and it shall not be legal for a particular brewer to tie the tenant of a house so that he must sell a certain type of beer. I hope that the House will give this Clause the support that it deserves.
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
May I make clear at the outset that I am only able to deal with the argument which occupied the House for seven-eighths of the debate; that is the argument based on the fact that this Clause is called "Tied houses prohibited in new towns" and is extracted from the Tied Houses Bill of the hon. and learned Member for Horn-church (Mr. Bing). The issue before the House is whether there should or should not be tied houses permitted in the new towns.
§ Mr. S. Silverman
On a point of order. Surely the issue before the House is not merely the marginal note to the Clause but the issues raised by the Clause?
§ Mr. Speaker
The issue raised by the Bill of the hon. and learned Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Bing) was of general application, whereas by this new Clause it is proposed to restrict its operation to these new towns, so far as I understand it. Therefore, the points do not cover the same area, but they are related.
§ Mr. Silverman
The Clause, in my submission, is qualitatively different from my hon. and learned Friend's Bill. The Clause does not raise at all the question of tied houses in the sense of houses which are owned and controlled or managed by brewery companies. It raises only the question of the validity of the restrictive agreements between the licensees and any other person, which is a quite different issue from the issue to which the right hon. and learned Gentleman says he is going to confine his speech.
§ Mr. Speaker
I can only repeat that I do appreciate that this new Clause raises a subject related to the Bill of the hon. and learned Member for Hornchurch, but it is not so wide in its scope as that Bill.
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
I ask the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne to justify what he said a moment ago, that this Clause differs from the Bill of the hon. and learned Member for Hornchurch. I am willing to give way if he will tell me where it differs from the provisions of the Bill which the hon. and learned Gentleman introduced.
§ Mr. Silverman
I think there are other things in my hon. and learned Friend's Bill besides those which are in this Clause. There are many other things which are not raised in this Clause. The principal point that I am making is that there is nothing in this Clause which deals at all with the right of brewery companies to own licensed premises. The Clause deals exclusively with the validity of certain restrictive monopolistic agreements.
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
The hon. Gentleman shows an innocence on the question of public houses which surprises me after an acquaintance of 30 years in which we have appeared in the same courts in our earlier days when many licensing questions were discussed. A tied house in the ordinary acceptance of the term, and the way in which we have always been using here, does not mean a house owned by a brewery company. It means a house where a brewery company has said, "In that house we put a tie on the manager that he will sell the draught beer of our brewery and no other draught beer." That is the sense in which we have used it through all our discussions of this Bill, and what I started by saying was that that was the sense in which I wanted to discuss the question today. Until we came to the speech of the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne everyone had approached it on that basis.
Fortunately, it is not necessary for me to recapitulate arguments which have already been recapitulated so many times. I listened with the attention I always give to the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Hornchurch, 90 which was easier to do on this occasion because, as regards two-thirds of it, I could follow it word for word in the speech he made during the Committee stage, and I had his printed word in front of me.
I was therefore interested to note that on the major points his arguments were answered, firstly, by my hon. Friend the Member for Blackley (Mr. E. Johnson) and, secondly, by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hove (Mr. Marlowe). The only point which has emerged with greater clarity than on the many other occasions when the hon. and learned Gentleman has made this speech is that he has now no answer to the question—that has been produced in the perennial conflict—as to whether the labels contained a statement of the gravity.
§ Mr. Bing
Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman agree, or does he not, that the club brewers disclose the original gravity of their beer and that the private brewers refuse to do so? If he agrees, he should say whether he thinks that the private brewers ought or ought not to disclose the original gravity.
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
The point I was making—and I think the hon. and learned Gentleman appreciates it—is that when in the course of charges he is making he makes a statement about labels, the House is entitled to take the accuracy of his statement about labels as a test of the general accuracy of his charges. That is a matter which one is also entitled to take into account in connection with the point which the hon. and learned Gentleman is making today and with his appeal to me to accept this Clause.
I agree with him that this point relates to the field of the new towns and is not a general one, but it is a point which he had endless opportunity to press when his own party were in power for six years. As far as one can see he failed completely, in those days which were halcyon for his own party, to convince any of them that there was any importance in the point on which he has made such thunderous comment today.
The only part of his speech which we have not heard a dozen times before was the part about certain investigations which he had made and the results which had been obtained by analysts. If these 91 matters are accurate, as I understand it from a working recollection of the law they would disclose a criminal offence. The hon. and learned Gentleman comes here with charges of that kind, but when he has had information and when he has disclosed on so many hundreds of occasions his hatred and malice towards the brewers he is surely not going to try to convince us that there have been prosecutions about which he cannot tell us. He comes here with his account, but not a single case which has been brought to decision has he drawn to the attention of the House to justify the charge he has made.
§ Mr. Bing
The right hon. and learned Gentleman's recollection of the law is wrong. There is no offence in selling a beer of very low gravity; there is no offence whatsoever in selling a beer of such low gravity that it does not contain any alcohol. If he cares to read the report of the Inspector of Weights and Measures for Kent he will find that the inspector calls attention to this fact and suggests that it might be made a criminal offence. It is because it is not a criminal offence and should be one that steps should be taken in that direction.
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
During the course of his speech the hon. and learned Member said that there were sales of short measure and frauds on the Revenue. If those are not offences, somebody has been watering down the criminal law since I left the Bar. The onus is on the hon. and learned Gentleman, as it is on anyone who makes charges, to make out a case. If the hon. and learned Gentleman comes here with accusations about criminal offences without any statistics as to prosecutions that have taken place or have been successful, he really cannot expect to have any more success with me than he had with the Home Secretary of the Government which he supported for six years.
Let me leave these rather vague and insubstantial imaginings and come to the real question, which is that of tied houses in the new towns. We are considering this problem as a matter affecting the new towns. In the case of the new towns, assuming for the moment that there were some basis for this attack—although none has been shown—the new towns are so protected by this Bill that they would be 92 the last places where the suggestion would seem important.
If we consider the procedure in the new towns, the first safeguard rests with the development corporation. They will be, at least at first, the ground landlords of new licensed premises. They will be much concerned to ensure the success from every point of view of their new towns.
Then there will be the committee which will represent the development corporation and the licensing justices. It is difficult to imagine that they will encourage the continuance of abuses such as have been mentioned. Apart from their composition, the provisions of the Bill enabling the committees set up under it to draw up specifications for the sort of licensed premises to be provided—and, if I may strain the rules of order for a moment I would add that these provisions will be improved if Amendments on the Order Paper are accepted—form another safeguard and ensure not only that the premises are satisfactory but that the services and amenities which they provide will be satisfactory also. Then we come to the licensing justices upon whom the duty is imposed of seeing that these specifications and provisions take place.
We have to face the point which was made originally by my hon. Friend the Member for Horsham (Mr. Gough) that the tied house is the usual thing in this country and has been going on for something like 200 years. The people who are going to be affected if this change is made—and I do not think that the argument need be put any higher than that—are the development corporations and ground landlords whose desire it is to get as profitable a person as possible to contract with them, and to have the resultant funds for the general amenities and benefits of the people in the new towns.
But I would point out, on this question which everyone is trying to approach on its merits, that my hon. Friend the Member for Blackley showed quite clearly two things: first, that even if there were a complete tie for the area and every house to which people could go was under the same tie—and that is almost impossible to imagine—even so there would be exactly the same degree of freedom as is possible under State management; and secondly, as my hon. Friend went on to 93 show in what I thought was a most compelling argument, even if there were only two brewers within reasonable reach of the people, there is then twice the variety which exists under State management—and it goes on in the sane proportion as the numbers increase.
The second point which nobody has faced is the practical limits within which one can introduce a number of varieties of draught beer in the houses; and I say that with great respect to hon. Members who, I am sure, have applied their minds to this problem as carefully as they can. My hon. and learned Friend dealt with that point and, as I say, it has been unanswered in our discussions.
I ask hon. Members, and particularly the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne, who has looked at this matter very carefully, as our previous discussions show, to look again at subsection (1). Perhaps he will allow me to quote it from memory and will not be too stringent if I miss a word, as long as I give the sense, which is this: it puts the obligation on the licensee to provide such liquors as may be reasonably necessary.
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
I give the hon. Gentleman that: I do not think it is an essential difference, but I give it to him. The sanction is—and again I am paraphrasing the Clause—that if the licensing justices do not think he has done so, they can refuse his licence. That is the general effect of the subsection.
§ Mr. Silverman
I do not want to interrupt for long, but I think the right hon. and learned Gentleman should make this point in fairness—and I am sure that this is not purely a verbal point:… the licensing justices may refuse to renew a licence on the grounds that the holder thereof has persistently and unreasonably refused …
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
I quite agree that it has to be shown to be deliberate and to appear to be unreasonable; and that would tie with "reasonably required." But it comes to this: if, in the view of the licensing justices, he ought to provide a certain type of beer and in fact he provides another type of beer, and the licensing justices in their wisdom think that is unreasonable—and once you have 94 a beer in the engines it will obviously be persistently done—then the licensing justices can use the sanction of refusing a licence. In other words, we put on the licensing justices—and I do not want to overstrain the point—the obligation and discretion of deciding the drink which is to be supplied. I think that is a very difficult situation to meet.
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
The only other argument with which I think I should deal is that of monopoly. Here, again, the hon. and learned Member for Horn-church made a dramatic and emotional appeal to me as one interested in the study of monopolies. For an awful moment I thought he had got hold of the book I once committed on the subject and was about to quote from it, but he spared me that.
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
But it is also an interesting fact that during the time of the late Government, for a period of about two years, when the Monopolies and Restrictive Practices Act was functioning and the right hon. Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson) was at the Board of Trade—not insusceptible, I should have thought, to the charms of the hon. and learned Gentleman—not once did the hon. and learned Gentleman suggest to his right hon. Friend that this would be a suitable matter for study by the new machinery.
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
That leaves us with two interesting possibilities; one, that the hon. and learned Gentleman never put in an application to the Board of Trade such as the Act contemplates; or, secondly, that he did put it in and that the right hon. Member for Huyton turned it down for the nonsense it was. I do not mind; the hon. and learned Gentleman can have it either way.
On this question of monopoly one has to consider the facts, and it is idle to talk of a monopoly when the most difficult case which the hon. Member for 95 Wellingborough (Mr. Lindgren) made in his most frank and free discussion of the subject, if I may be allowed so to describe it, was where someone in the very centre of a town has to walk a few miles and then either 300 or 400 yards. The worst monopoly which can be contemplated is for the person whose house is at the absolute centre to walk two miles.
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
And 400 yards; and anyone else would have a shorter distance, because it is not usually a contemplatable fact that public houses will be in only one sector.
§ that what really worries him is the walk to the "pub."
§ I think the point which has been made is quite an amusing debating point about monopolies but not one which we can take very seriously. The major question is whether there is to be the opportunity of freedom of choice—and there has been no evidence brought forward to suggest that there will not be competition of public houses between different brewers—or whether we are to be limited to the beer of State breweries. That is the real question of monopoly. Apart from that, they are debating points, which disappear on touch. For these reasons I ask the House to reject this new Clause.
§ Question put, "That the Clause be read a Second time."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 249; Noes, 268.99
|Division No. 231.]||AYES||[6.40 p.m.|
|Acland, Sir Richard||Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Holt, A. F.|
|Adams, Richard||Davies, Harold (Leek)||Houghton, Douglas|
|Albu, A. H.||de Freitas, Geoffrey||Hubbard, T. F.|
|Allen, Arthur (Besworth)||Deer, G.||Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)|
|Anderson, Alexander (Motherwell)||Delargy, H. J.||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)|
|Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven)||Dodds, N. N.||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Donnelly, D. L.||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)|
|Awbery, S. S.||Driberg, T. E. N.||Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W Bromwich)||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.|
|Baird, J.||Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Janner, B.|
|Balfour, A.||Edelman, M.||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. A J||Edwards, John (Brighouse)||Jeger, Dr. Santo (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Bartley, P.||Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Johnson, James (Rugby)|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F J||Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)|
|Bence, C. R.||Evans, Albert (Islington, S. W.)||Jones, David (Hartlepool)|
|Benn, Wedgwood||Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)|
|Benson, G.||Fernyhough, E.||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)|
|Beswick, F||Fienburgh, W.||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Finch, H. J.||Keenan, W.|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)||Kenyon, C.|
|Blackburn, F.||Follick, M.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W|
|Boardman, H.||Foot, M. M.||King, Dr. H. M.|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G||Forman, J. C.||Kinley, J.|
|Bowden, H. W.||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Lee, Frederick (Newton)|
|Bowen, E. R.||Freeman, John (Watford)||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)|
|Bowles, F. G.||Freeman, Peter (Newport)||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)|
|Brockway, A. F.||Gibson, C. W.||Lewis, Arthur|
|Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Glanville, James||Lindgren, G. S.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Gooch, E. G.||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Logan, D. G.|
|Burke, W. A.||Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Wakefield)||MacColl, J. E.|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)||Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||McGhee, H. G|
|Callaghan, L. J.||Grey, C. F.||McInnes, J.|
|Carmichael, J.||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||McKay, John (Wallsend)|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||McLeavy, F.|
|Champion, A. J.||Griffiths, William (Exchange)||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)|
|Chetwynd, G. R||Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)||McNeil, Rt. Hon. H.|
|Clunie, J||Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)|
|Coldrick, W.||Hall, John (Gateshead, W.)||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)|
|Collick, P. H.||Hamilton, W. W||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Hardy, E. A.||Mann, Mrs. Jean|
|Cove, W. G.||Hargreaves, A.||Manuel, A. C.|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)||Marquand, Rt. Hon H. A|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Hastings, S.||Mellish, R. J.|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||Hayman, F. H.||Messer, F.|
|Daines, P.||Hewitson, Capt. M.||Mikardo, Ian|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H||Hobson, C. R||Mitchison, G. R|
|Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Holman, P.||Monslow, W.|
|Davies, A. Edward (Stoke, N.)||Holmes, Horace (Hemsworth)||Moody, A. S.|
|Morgan, Dr. H. B. W.||Rhodes, H.||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Morley, R.||Richards, R.||Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)|
|Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Timmons, J.|
|Mort, D. L.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)||Tomney, F.|
|Moyle, A.||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, K.)||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Mulley, F. W||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Murray, J. D.||Ross, William||Viant, S. P.|
|Nally, W.||Royle, C.||Wade, D. W.|
|Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Schofield, S. (Barnsley)||Wallace, H. W.|
|Oldfield, W. H.||Shackleton, E. A. A.||Watkins, T. E.|
|Oliver, G. H.||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.||Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Oswald, T.||Shurmer, P. L. E.||Weitzman, D.|
|Padley, W. E.||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Paget, R. T.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)||Wells, William (Walsall)|
|Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Va'ley)||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)||West, D. G.|
|Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Slater, J.||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John|
|Pannell, Charles||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Pargiter, G. A.||Snow, J. W.||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N. E.)|
|Parker, J.||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Paton, J.||Sparks, J. A.||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.|
|Pearson, A.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)||Willey, Frederick (Sunderland, N.)|
|Peart, T. F.||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Plummer, Sir Leslie||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)||Williams, Rev, Llywelyn (Abertillery)|
|Poole, C. C.||Stross, Dr. Barnett||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Popplewell, E||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.||Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)|
|Porter, G.||Swingler, S. T.||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton)||Sylvester, G. O.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Proctor, W. T.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)||Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)|
|Pryde, D. J.||Taylor, John (West Lothian)||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Pursey, Cmdr. H||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)||Yates, V. F.|
|Rankin, John||Thomas, David (Aberdare)||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Reeves, J.||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Reid, Thomas (Swindon)||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Reid, William (Camlachie)||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)||Mr. Wilkins and Mr. Hannan|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Clyde, Rt. Hon. J. L.||Harris, Reader (Heston)|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Cole, Norman||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Colegate, W. A.||Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J.||Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert||Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)|
|Arbuthnot, John.||Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Harvie-Watt, Sir George|
|Ashton, H. (Chelmsford)||Cranborne, Viscount||Hay, John|
|Astor, Hon. J. J. (Plymouth, Sutton)||Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Heald, Sir Lionel|
|Baker, P. A. D.||Crosthwaite-Eye, Col. O. E.||Heath, Edward|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Crouch, R. F.||Henderson, John (Cathcart)|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Higgs, J. M. C.|
|Banks, Col. C.||Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)|
|Barber, Anthony||Cuthbert, W. N||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)|
|Barlow, Sir John||Davidson, Viscountess||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount|
|Baxter, A. B.||De la Bere, Sir Rupert||Hirst, Geoffrey|
|Beach, Maj. Hicks||Deedes, W. F.||Holland-Martin, C. J.|
|Beamish, Maj. Tufton||Digby, S. Wingfield||Holmes, Sir Stanley (Harwich)|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Hope, Lord John|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.|
|Bennett, Sir Peter (Edgbaston)||Donner, P. W.||Horobin, I. M.|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Doughty, C. J. A.||Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence|
|Bennett, William (Woodside)||Drayson, G. B.||Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Drewe, G.||Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)|
|Birch, Nigel||Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir Thomas (Richmond)||Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)|
|Bishop, F. P.||Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.||Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J|
|Black, C. W.||Duthie, W. S.||Hurd, A. R.|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Hutchinson, Sir Geoffrey (Ilford, N.)|
|Bossom, A. C.||Erroll, F. J.||Hutchison, Lt.-Com, Clark (E 'b' rgh W.)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Fell, A.||Hutchison, James (Scotstoun)|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Finlay, Graeme||Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.|
|Braine, B. R.||Fisher, Nigel||Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.|
|Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)|
|Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G. (Bristol, N. W.)||Foster, John||Jennings, R.|
|Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale)||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell||Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)|
|Browne, Jack (Govan)||Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. (Pollok)||Jones, A. (Hall Green)|
|Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T.||Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.|
|Bullard, D. G.||Gammans, L. D.||Kaberry, D.|
|Bullock, Capt. M.||Garner-Evans, E. H.||Keeling, Sir Edward|
|Bullus, Wing Commander E. E||George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd||Kerr, H. W. (Cambridge)|
|Burden, F. F. A.||Godber, J. B.||Lambert, Hon. G.|
|Butcher, H. W.||Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.||Lambton, Viscount|
|Carr, Robert (Mitcham)||Gough, C. F. H||Lancaster, Col. C. G.|
|Carson, Hon. E.||Gower, H. R.||Langford-Holt, J. A.|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Graham, Sir Fergus||Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.|
|Channen, H.||Gridley, Sir Arnold||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. W. S.||Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)||Legh, P. R. (Petersfield)|
|Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon A. T|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.)||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)||Lindsay, Martin|
|Linstead, H. N.||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Lloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)||Speir, R. M.|
|Longden, Gilbert (Herts, S. W.)||Orr-Ewing, Ian L. (Weston-super-Mare)||Spent, Sir Patrick (Kensington, S.)|
|Low, A. R. W.||Osborne, C.||Stevens, G. P.|
|Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Partridge, E.||Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)|
|Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)||Peake, Rt. Hon. O.||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Perkins, W. R. D.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.||Peto, Brig, C. H. M||Storey, S.|
|McAdden, S. J.||Peyton, J. W. W.||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)|
|McCallum, Major D.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)|
|McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.||Studholme, H. G.|
|Macdonald, Sir Peter (I. of Wight)||Powell, J. Enoch||Sutcliffe, H.|
|McKibbin, A. J.||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)|
|McKie, J. H. (Galloway)||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.||Teeling, W.|
|Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Raikes, H. V.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)||Rayner, Brig. R.||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)||Redmayne, M.||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Macpherson, Maj. Niall (Dumfries)||Remnant, Hon. P.||Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.|
|Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Renton, D. L. M.||Tilney, John|
|Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)||Roberts, Peter (Heeley)||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E.||Robertson, Sir David||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Markham, Major S. F.||Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)||Turton, R. H.|
|Marlowe, A. A. H.||Robson-Brown, W.||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Marples, A. E.||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)||Roper, Sir Harold||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K|
|Marshall, Sir Sidney (Sutton)||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard||Vosper, D. F.|
|Maude, Angus||Russell, R. S.||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Maudling, R.||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.||Walker-Smith, D. C.|
|Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C||Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Medlicott, Brig. F.||Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)|
|Mellor, Sir John||Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.|
|Molson, A. H. E.||Schofield, Lt.-Col. W. (Rochdale)||Watkinson, H. A.|
|Monckton, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Scott, R. Donald||Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)|
|Moore, Lt.-Col. Sir Thomas||Soott-Miller, Cmdr. R.||Wellwood, W.|
|Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.||Shepherd, William||White, Baker (Canterbury)|
|Nabarro, G, D. N.||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)||Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)|
|Nicholls, Harmar||Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Noble, Cmdr. A. H. P.||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Nugent, G. R. H.||Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Odey, G. W.||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.||Soames, Capt. C.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Major Conant and Mr. Oakshott|