HC Deb 28 January 1954 vol 522 cc2020-2
Amendment made

In page 3, line 27, at end, insert: or

  • (c) that the manager or the body providing the canteen has entered into an agreement of the kind mentioned in paragraph (d) of sub section (1) of section two of this Act.

Mr. Hastings

I beg to move, in page 3, line 39, to leave out "five" and insert "three."

This Clause deals with the renewal of licences. Under it, the licensing authority may demand certain structural alterations, and, unless those alterations are carried out, the licence will not be renewed. Presumably, in order to prevent vexatious requests, the Clause says that, having once granted a request for reconstruction or alteration of premises, no further request shall be made for five years.

I regard this time as rather too long. There is a strong point in the argument raised, but I submit that there may be unforeseen circumstances which render necessary a change in the structure of the premises. For instance, there may be an increased demand for food. There may be more visitors. People may come in from a different part and they may want a different type of food or drink. Therefore, changes may be necessary in the kitchen.

Again, we learn more and more about the necessity for cleanliness and the proper washing of the glasses and utensils used in clubs and licensed premises. There may be a demand of that nature. There may also be a change in the type of ships arriving and there may be a number of people, perhaps all Mohammedans, who object to taking alcoholic liquor. There may thus be a real and justifiable demand for part of a club or canteen to be set aside as a place where no intoxicating liquors are taken.

I suggest that five years is rather too long to bind the licensing authority to allow no change, and I suggest that three years is long enough. In view of the changing circumstances in which we live, three years may be regarded as more reasonable. Before I conclude, I wish to thank the Government for what they have already done in connection with the Bill and for their attitude toward our honest attempts not to change its character but merely to improve it. I ask them to give careful consideration to this small change.

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

I am sorry to say that I cannot bring off the hat-trick. I must resist the Amendment, though I hope that it will not be necessary to negative it after I have explained the position. The argument adduced by the hon. Member for Barking (Mr. Hastings) is one of a general kind. The hon. Gentleman will appreciate that here we are running parallel to other legislation and in this respect, and in others too, the Bill follows Section 12 of the Licensing Act, 1953, and the corresponding Section 42 of the Licensing (Scotland) Act, 1903.

Those Acts provide for a five-year period in the case of public houses. I think that the Committee will feel that it would be wrong to be even stricter here than in the case of the ordinary public house. It may well be that at some future date we shall come to consider the principle Acts in this respect. Then the whole matter will be open, but so long as the normal period is five years, there should be a similar period here. I hope that the hon. Member will not press the Amendment.

Amendment negatived.

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

I beg to move, in page 3, line 40, at the end, to insert: (5) If the applicant for renewal of a licence under this Act has given such notices as the licensing authority may require and so requests, the licensing authority may at their discretion in renewing the licence vary the kind of retailer's excise on-licence to be authorised by the licence so renewed. This is a Privilege Amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.