HC Deb 28 January 1954 vol 522 cc2002-19
Mr. J. Hudson

I beg to move, in page 2, line 2, after "canteen," to insert: Provided that in considering whether premises are fit and convenient within the meaning of this section the licensing authority shall have regard to what accommodation and amenities are provided in the premises and what facilities are available in them for obtaining both intoxicating liquor and meals and other refreshments, including the provision of accommodation in which beverages other than intoxicating liquor may be consumed and in which the consumption of intoxicating liquor is prohibited. The purpose of the Amendment is to ask the Home Secretary to accept in the Bill the same principle as he was able to accept when we discussed the question of public houses in new towns. I was very glad at that time to find that he was willing to give an opportunity for the practice of the experiment that I then suggested, that there should be not only places where intoxicants were consumed, but places definitely specified to be free of any intoxicating liquors, so that those who did not desire to have intoxicating liquors—and who, indeed, dislike to be in the presence of them—might have an opportunity of using the premises in the same way as other people. I should think that if it was worth while in the new towns to accept and apply that principle, it is well worth while to apply it in this case.

The argument is that there is a general desire to run these canteens for seamen so that they shall have something better than the ordinary public house in which to be tempted. As the places that we are considering will offer such an alternative, there should be a willingness, at least, by those who press that view that we should allow the seamen's canteen equally to be a place where a man who is entirely undesirous of obtaining intoxicants can go readily and without any inhibition.

A good deal of good work has been done amongst seamen by the Agnes Weston Homes and other similar organisations, where it has been strongly implanted in the minds of the seamen, either by general religious means orby direct temperance propaganda, that he should not when in port get himself mixed up with the processes that have been so disastrous to many seamen in the past. If that is so, and there is a real desire to provide in the canteens all that meets the merchant seamen's requirements, then I hope the Government will accept this Amendment, which we regard as important.

Mr. Ede

I do not understand what my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, North (Mr. J. Hudson) regards as a better place in which to be tempted, because at the beginning of the day we pray that we may not be led into temptation. We have never so far specified that there are degrees of places where we would like to be subject to it if it cannot be avoided.

Mr. J. Hudson

There are degrees of places where temptation is and it may be stronger in some than in others.

Mr. Ede

There is some temptation all the time, and we ask not to get near it.

This Amendment was a concession that the right hon. and learned Gentleman gave after very considerable discussion during the Committee stage of the Licensed Premises in New Towns Act, 1952. He will recollect that, after a somewhat prolonged beginning to the Committee stage of the Bill, we did in some of the later Clauses apply our minds quite seriously to the problem of what was the sort of place we would like to see when a licence was granted. The words that we have put into this Amendment are, in fact, taken from Section 3 (1) of the Licensed Premises in New Towns Act, 1952. There the committee that was to be established to arrange for the new licensed premises was charged to have regard to these particular criteria. I hope, therefore, that the right hon. and learned Gentleman will be able to feel that in somewhat similar circumstances where these licensed canteens are to be established the licensing authority should have in mind exactly the same considerations.

In spite of what was said by the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland in his reply on Second Reading, let there be no doubt that this Measure provides for the establishment of new canteens should a demand be made. As one who has two of these canteens in his constituency, I hope that in new ports that may be established, or in the extension of existing ports, the need for some facilities of this kind will be borne in mind. When such an application comes before the licensing authority, I very sincerely hope that it will be brought home to it that, in deciding whether these places should be established or not, it shall have regard to the kind of things that are provided for in this Amendment.

I do not want to prolong the discussion, but, in view of the fact that it was the generally expressed view in 1952 that this requirement would be regarded as suitable for licensing authorities to have in mind when they were considering the granting of new licences, I hope that the right hon. and learned Gentleman will feel that he can accept this Amendment.

5.45 p.m.

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

I appreciate the motives which actuated the hon. Gentleman the Member for Ealing, North (Mr. J. Hudson), in moving this Amendment, and the right hon. Genltleman the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) in supporting it, and also the source from which it came. But it is right that I should tell the Committee that in this context the words used would probably have a rather different meaning. I am advised that, although the effect is not altogether clear, the Amendment would probably require the licensing authority to insist on every canteen having separate accommodation in which soft drinks only would be provided. In other words, it would be a heavier burden on the canteen than was put on the public house in the other case. I think that everybody in the Committee would agree that that would be going too far.

We are not here dealing with a commercial undertaking at all. We are dealing with a canteen being run by a welfare organisation, and, indeed, the only purpose will be the welfare of the seamen. The wording of this Amendment would mean that separate accommodation would have to be set aside in every single canteen for teetotallers. I think that would be impracticable in the first place, and, I think it would also be unreasonably expensive.

Moreover, I am not quite sure it would be socially desirable. In this context I am not certain it would be a good thing to try to separate the sheep from the goats. There is a lot to be said for keeping them together. In the other case referred to by the right hon. Gentleman, we were dealing with quite a separate proposition. We were going to provide places in public houses where local people could take their families to eat. That is not the direct purpose here: we are concerned today with clubs for seamen. For those reasons I hope that the hon. Member will not press the Amendment. I should not like it to be negatived. It would be better if he could see his way to withdraw it.

Mr. William Keenan (Liverpool, Kirkdale)

I appreciate that the words in the Amendment might have the effect that the Under-Secretary says they would have, but is it not possible for the Government to have another look at this matter? I am prepared to agree that from some points of view it might be desirable that these two kinds of people should mix. Certainly, if we cannot have the kind of segregation that the Amendment asks for, then it might not be of much use. I think there ought to be some safeguard, and the very least we ask for is an assurance that what the Amendment is asking for in the way of separate provision should be made available.

It seems to me that this is an Amendment which might very well be looked at a second time by the Government with the object of bringing in a suitable Amendment on Report. There seems to be no real objection to the idea embodied in this Amendment, and I hope the Home Secretary will have another look at it and see whether he could accommodate the Committee by embracing the idea in the Amendment.

Mr. J. Hudson

I am very disappointed at the reply of the Under-Secretary of State. Even with my meagre understanding of the law, I feel that he has inadequately stated the position. If we confine our consideration for a moment not to the premises but to that which will be sold in the canteens, it should not be beyond our ability to insist that in the canteens non-intoxicating beverages shall always be available.

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

They should be.

Mr. Hudson

I did not gather that from what the hon. Gentleman said. They should be available by law in any ordinary public house, so I hope that assurance will be implemented. However, there still remains the important question of the rooms where people will not be able to get intoxicants at all. I think that was put forward for consideration in connection with the new towns, and I cannot see why this proposal should not be considered in the same way for these canteens. I do not feel that it would be morally right to back down from this proposal, and so I wish it could be looked at further to see whether the Government could not go some way to meeting us.

Mr. Manuel

I want to ask one or two questions in connection with the Amendment. As I understand the main purpose of the Bill, it is a laudable one, namely, that when these men who follow the profession of the sea in a Merchant Navy capacity get back to port, they will have certain facilities. I agree with that, and I do not want to limit the freedom of anyone to have a drink if he wants it. We must recognise, however, that there is bound to be a percentage who do not take alcohol. Is it the case that if these men do not want to go into the bar, but want food and a beverage, they will need to go outside the seamen's canteen to some place in the street?

During our last debate, the Joint Under-secretary drew my attention to the fact that these are to be fine places, up to hotel standards in many cases. We had to recognise, he said, that when they came into port it was usual for their wives to travel from their homes, wherever those might be, in order to stay with their husbands for the week or 10 days they were in port. A wife may have convictions which the husband may share when he is with her, though not when he is alone. Do I take it that, in order to satisfy the convictions of his wife, the husband will have to be inconvenienced to the extent of taking her outside to dine in some other place which may be much more expensive? Could there not be a promise given that this question will be looked at with a view to making some separation for relatives, wives and others so that, if they feel like it, they may have a meal with beverages away from the bar?

Mr. Ede

I was rather surprised that the Joint Under-Secretary of State took the view that these words would make it mandatory on the licensing authority to refuse to grant a licence to the place if all these facilities were not available, because the words are that "the licensing authority shall have regard to.…"As I understand it, the use of such words means that if it were proved that in a small canteen it was physically impossible to provide the full range of these facilities, the licensing authority would have some discretion.

I attach considerable importance to the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Manuel). It was understood clearly that these places were to be available for the wives of seamen, particularly of junior officers, so that they would be able to meet their husbands in port and share with them residential accommodation where it is provided. The fact that married quarters are to be provided indicates that these places will be of some size. So I should have thought it would be possible to make some arrangement. I do not think it is necessary, even to comply with the words we have here, to have separate rooms; a part of the dining-room could have tables with notices to the effect that intoxicating liquor would not be sold at those tables. That would meet the requirements of the Amendment.

I want to assure the right hon. and learned Gentleman that we are not trying to be awkward or obstructive, but we attach considerable importance to the phrase in the Licensed Premises in New Towns Act, 1952. I am quite sure he will recollect the spirit in which those words were steadily built up in a series of discussions. I regret to see in any new Bill dealing with the question of licensed premises of any sort a departure from at least the spirit of the standard we then set up.

I understand that one of the difficulties is that the right hon. and learned Gentleman wants to get all stages of the Bill today. This means that there can be no Report stage. I do not see how we could get the words put in as an Amendment to a Commons Amendment when the Bill goes back to another place, as it will have to do on what we have already done today. If, however, we could reach accommodation whereby these words could be put in, on the understanding that if there is a really substantial difficulty in the way of the right hon. and learned Gentleman accepting them in this form, and an Amendment to a Commons Amendment could be moved in another place, that would remove the difficulties but would maintain the standard set up under the previous Act. I am sure that we would be willing to accept such an arrangement.

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

I am in full sympathy with the aims and objectives of this Amendment, as I have declared many times in our previous discussions, but may I explain the technical difficulty to which my hon. Friend has referred? As the right hon. Gentleman will remember, in the Licensing Bill we were dealing with the general duties of the committees set up to decide the distribution of licences in the new towns. That Act required the committees to have regard, in approaching that problem, to the matters which are set out in this Amendment. But it did not require the committees to insist upon all these things being provided in every case. That was one of the points which we considered. My advisers tell me, and I think that I appreciate their point, that there is a difficulty in putting the same words in this Bill with regard to the largely judicial authority of the licensing justices themselves. That is the technical difficulty, and if I make the facts perfectly clear, it may help hon. and right hon. Members opposite.

6.0 p.m.

All the existing canteens in fact make ample provision for meals and other refreshments and soft drinks a reserved everywhere. There is no difficulty about that. There is no place where one cannot obtain a soft drink, and I should think that in the lounge or billiard room one would find that soft drinks are more commonly asked for and consumed than are hard drinks. The whole object of these canteens is to provide a place with a lounge, billiard room, and in some cases other rooms. In many cases they provide rooms of a totally different kind, as hon. Members are aware. So the problem does not really arise of anyone being driven into an atmosphere where alcoholic drinks are supreme. That is what I am told, and my experience bears it out.

My hon. Friend the Joint Under-secretary has dealt with the other difficulty, relating to separate accommodation. I feel that what I have just said is the real answer to that point. I know that in the case of an ordinary public house, which is primarily and traditionally a place for the consumption of alcoholic liquor, it was very much in our minds when creating a new community that there should be somewhere where those who did not want to share in that traditional view of the premises could retire. But we are not dealing with that kind of thing at all in this Bill. We are dealing with undertakings primarily intended to help seamen and to provide them with some place to which they can go.

I do not want to overgild the lily, but from my own experience I can say that many of these premises have been provided by people who gave the money for it, perhaps 70 years ago, and in whose minds was the idea that the place should be an alternative resort to the public house. I think that that is a fair way of putting it. Therefore, I do not think that there is a real comparison between these places and public houses. I want to make it clear that in existing canteens and in any new ones there is or there will be a place where food and soft drinks can be obtained.

The other point which I should like to emphasise is that these canteens are to be provided by welfare bodies of a very responsible character. There is no commercial element in their proceedings. They are not out to make a profit out of seamen but to help them, though some of the receipts, of course, go towards the upkeep of the place. The sole object of those concerned is to provide the amenities which the seamen need in the best possible surroundings. I think that everyone will agree that their attitude is that they do not want seamen to be forced to seek entertainment in less desirable places.

I believe that those who are worried aboutthis matter can feel that these canteens will be places where the general spirit will be that which we tried to catch in our previous discussions. They will be places where a man can go for a rest after an arduous voyage, where he can meet his family, and where all the things that are necessary for himself and his family will be provided. I am told that these things are present in existing canteens and I can give the assurance that they will be present in the future. Present Ministers will ensure that that is so, and I am sure that the same can be said of our successors. I therefore ask hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite not to press this Amendment, on the assurance that its real spirit will be met, except on the one point of separation which I do not think practicable.

Mr. Ede

As a result of the statement which has just been made, I would advise my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, North (Mr. J. Hudson) to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment. It would be very undesirable for this Amendment to be even formally negatived, because that might indicate that the Committee had gone back on the arrangement which we made in 1952. I thank the Home Secretary for the way in which he has dealt so fully with this matter. As to the spirit of the doing, I am quite sure that there is nothing between us. I am quite sure also that, in their own interests, the managing bodies of canteens where separate provision can be made will always endeavour to make that provision. On the understanding that the right hon. and learned Gentleman's speech has gone a very long way to meet us and indicates that he is sympathetic towards this point, I would advise my hon. Friend, if he will, to withdraw the Amendment.

Mr. J. Hudson

Quite frankly, we are a little disappointed. I am not wholly satisfied, and I do not think that the Home Secretary would expect me to say that I was wholly satisfied, with what he has offered; but I think that the spirit of what he has said is a quite clear admission that many in this House recognise, as clearly as the Home Secretary does, that there is a problem. He referred to the desire not to have men driven into an atmosphere where the consumption of alcoholic drink was supreme. I thought that was well put and that it will serve as a reminder for the future to those Ministers who will be responsible for issuing certificates for these places. The speech which the Home Secretary has just made, and the spirit in which he made it, encourages me to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

The Deputy-Chairman

It may be for the convenience of the Committee if the next Amendment, in page 2, line 4 at the end, to insert: or

  • (d) that the applicant or the body providing the canteen has entered into an agreement limiting the sources from which the intoxicating liquor or the mineral waters to be sold in the canteen may be obtained."
and the Amendment in page 2, line 15, at the end, to add: (3) Any licence granted under this Act shall provide that at all times at which intoxicating liquor is sold food and beverages other than those of an intoxicating character shall also be provided for sale. are discussed together.

Mr. Ede

I beg to move, in page 2, line 4, at the end to insert: or

  • (d) that the applicant or the body providing the canteen has entered into an agreement limiting the sources from which the intoxicating liquor or the mineral waters to be sold in the canteen may be obtained."
I suggest that it might be convenient if we discuss some other Amendments with this Amendment. I suggest that we could consider also the Amendment proposed to Clause 3, page 3, line 7, at the end, to add: except that the licensing authority shall add to the rules a requirement that the provisions of paragraph (d) of subsection (1) of the last foregoing section shall apply to the licence. and the Amendment to Clause 4, page 3, line 27, at the end, to 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 subsection (1) of section two of this Act."
I also suggest that we might consider the proposed new Clause standing in my name—[Prohibition of agreements tying canteens to beer brewed by any one brewer.] I agree that there are rather different points in these Amendments, but they all appear to flow from the Amendment I am now moving. If this one is not carried, I do not think there would be any point in moving the others, except that the new Clause might be regarded as an alternative.

The Deputy-Chairman

I am not selecting the new Clause.

Mr. Ede

That does relieve me of a very considerable difficulty. When we were discussing the Bill on Second Reading, I asked the right hon. and learned Gentleman to consider the question whether there should be some provision against any of these places becoming tied. I suggested that he should have a little time to think it over, but I was met in a very handsome way. He instructed the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland to reply that if I could find a form of words which would satisfy the right hon. and learned Gentleman, he would be prepared to concede it. Therefore, I did give some thought to the matter. The best I have been able to do as a preliminary is to put forward the Amendment I now move. It would ensure that if the body providing the canteen had tied the place, that would be a ground for refusing the licence.

I did not have much fear about the existing canteens. I have no fear about them now nor for the next few years, but, as the right hon. and learned Gentleman has said, these places are promoted by voluntary bodies whose personnel changes. There may be difficulty in some cases. We all know the fate which overtakes some philanthropic types of organi- sation. As the personnel changes, there may be difficulty in raising the money which may be required, and then there may be a suggestion from one of the wholesale vendors of intoxicating liquor that they should step in and arrange for the place to be carried on under some arrangement with them.

6.15 p.m.

With regard to new canteens, there is a danger that bodies whose interest is in the sale of liquor might offer to establish a voluntary body and, behind that facade, might get a licence. I had this experience with a body of men whom I knew. They came to me and asked whether I could get them a building licence to enable them to build a club. They pointed out to me the needs, as they saw them, of the district in which they lived. They thought that the social amenities of the area would be improved by the addition of a club.

When I looked at the plans of the building, it seemed to me that it was a place which would be very considerably beyond their resources. So I said, "If I get you a building licence, how are you to pay for the building?" "Oh," they said, "the brewers have promised us the necessary money to enable us to erect the club." It became quite clear that if the brewers did make such provision it would not be entirely done from philanthropic motives, but that they would expect that suitable acknowledgement would be made when the club was erected and opened in the way in which the placing of orders for intoxicating liquors would be done. I should not like to think that the provision which we are making in this Measure could ever be abused in that way. I therefore hope that we shall put this Amendment into the Bill today.

There is the question as to who should have the duty of safeguarding this matter. The new Clause, which I understand is not to be called, did have, so far as half of it was concerned, a most distinguished parentage to which, in view of the Ruling which has been given, I will not refer. It did indicate that some people thought that the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation was the proper person to deal with the matter.

Before I had seen the form of words, I had come to the conclusion that the proper people to deal with it were the local licensing authority, because the kind of arrangements I have just suggested might happen in future would be more likely to be known and more easily detected by the local licensing body than by the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation. Although we gather from what the right hon. and learned Gentleman told us on the last Amendment which was discussed, that the Minister apparently has a very intimate knowledge of the internal drinking arrangements of establishments similar to these, I cannot think that the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation would regard it as other than a very trivial part of his duties to wander about the country slipping into these places to see how they were conducted and the variety of drinks he could obtain within them.

On this matter of clubs and canteens, my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, North (Mr. J. Hudson) has a knack of hunting with the Licensed Victuallers' Association. Asa supporter of well-conducted clubs—the kind which the right hon. and learned Gentleman would be seen in—I sometimes find it difficult to appreciate the way in which my hon. Friend and the hon. Member for Wokingham (Mr. Remnant) reach a common agreement with regard to this phase of the matter. But the local licensed victuallers' association are, in my experience, the most effective watchdogs with regard to misconduct in the carrying on of clubs and canteens. If they find that their privileges are being in any way interfered with, they seem suddenly not merely to be in close consultation with my hon. Friend, but also are not above drawing the attention of the local police officer to the fact that the law has been infringed. Of course, managers of clubs are not eligible for membership of the local licensed victuallers' association. That is why I prefer that the matter should be dealt with locally.

I wish to make it plain that, in moving this Amendment, I am casting no aspersions on the existing controlling bodies or their managers. But I return to the point I made when we were discussing another Amendment. We must face the fact that the more successful and reputable these places become, the more likely they are to be required in the future in ports which are extended, or in new ports which may be established, or even in-some existing ports.

The right hon. and learned Gentleman was kind enough to supply me with a list of the places where these canteens are established, and it is interesting to note that one of them is at Limpsfield, a place I know very well, which is 700 feet above sea level and not usually regarded as being among the seaports of our country. I know of no vessel registered in the "port of Limpsfield." There is, however a convalescent home there in connection with the Merchant Service which ranks as one of these canteens—which I consider a very desirable thing. But there may be an extension of that kind of operation, and it would be very undesirable that it should ever be suspected that one of these places was established and conducted by means of a loan or other advance of money made by people interested in the sale of intoxicants.

That is the case I put forward and which I hope will be accepted by the right hon. and learned Gentleman as meeting the friendly challenge, thrown out through the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, that if I could produce a form of words he would be willing to enact them. I am not wedded to this form of words. The right hon. and learned Gentleman yesterday indicated to me that one of the Amendments was in a form which might cause some difficulty, and I have accordingly reworded it in such a way that I hope he will be relieved of a difficulty in which otherwise he might have found himself. In the interests of making these places above suspicion, I sincerely hope that the right hon. and learned Gentleman may be able to accept this Amendment.

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

I say at once that I am prepared to accept Amendments which will carry out the purposes mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman and with which we agree. I have taken the advice of the licensing experts in my Department, and I suggest that if we take the first Amendment to Clause 2, page 2, line 4 and the complementary Amendment to Clause 4, page 3, line 27, it would meet the case. The first Amendment deals with Clause 2 (1): The licensing authority shall not refuse to grant a licence under this Act except under the following subsection or on one or more of the following grounds.… We shall add that they can refuse to grant a licence if the applicant or body has entered into an agreement limiting the sources from which the intoxicating liquor or the mineral waters to be sold in the canteen may be obtained. Then, in Clause 4,page 3, line 27, if we add a very similar provision with regard to renewals, I am told that that will deal adequately with the question of any tie and will leave a sufficiently wide field for inquiry by the licensing authority. This second Amendment which adds a paragraph (c) to Clause 4 (3) relates back to the other Amendment, but deals with renewals.

I hope that the readiness with which we have accepted these Amendments and the assistance we have endeavoured to give in making them effective will clear up one matter which worried me on Second Reading. I fully understand the attitude of the hon. Member for Ealing, North (Mr. J. Hudson) with regard to alcoholic liquor. No one respects his attitude more than I do, although we have disagreed so often on the way he expresses it. I know hon. Gentlemen opposite have feelings about the licensed trade which they are perfectly entitled to have and which may be discussed when necessary; but I should not like it to go out from this Committee that there is a feeling of suspicion about the people who run these canteens, because they are very worthy people and actuated by the best of motives.

I hope that the Committee will feel that the way we have approached this matter now makes it clear that there are no grounds for such suspicion, and that we are united in an endeavour to get the best possible provisions in the Bill.

Mr. J. Hudson

It is clear that in an effort to do the right thing it is sometimes possible for people holding very diverse views to come together on a common platform. My right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede), who poured such ridicule on me for being mixed up with the brewers, now finds himself in complete harmony with another type of enemy on the other side of the Committee.

What has taken place is a realisation that in the past there have been such efforts, not on the part of the estimable people who run these canteens—and I agree with all that the right hon. and learned Gentleman said about them— but on the part of the brewers, who always see their opportunities, and who provide money for all sorts of estimable purposes. In fact, they declare themselves to be the true temperance agents in the community and they set themselves up into a rival temperance organisation.

I am sure the time will come when even these estimable places about which we are speaking will be tempted by an offer of money to tie themselves to the purposes of a particular brewer or association of brewers. I merely wish to say in this Chamber what I have said on earlier occasions in Committee upstairs, that it is astonishing what can be done by finance in this matter of securing control over the supply of liquor in what otherwise would be quite estimable establishments.

6.30 p.m.

The case which I remember best, and which ought to be kept in mind, particularly by my hon. Friends, on all occasions like this, is that of the Rotherhithe Labour Club, which for years had on its balance-sheet a loan of £500 which had been received from a famous brewer, who was well-known as a leading Conservative. It continued to appear on the balance-sheet year after year without any statement about interest paid on it or any indication of the repayment of the loan, and the whole of the story was revealed because the club continued to acquire the beer of that particular brewer.

As long as that kind of thing happens, it is necessary to keep a watchful eye on all brewers, even though, under this Bill, there will be opportunities to make objection to the licensing magistrates. That is why I think there is such an improvement in this Bill, and I am certainly not going to vote against it, as I have already indicated, but, because there will be opportunities for objection, I thank the Home Secretary warmly for what he has done and for what he is offering us in this Bill. I support the Amendment.

Mr. Ede

I should like to express my thanks to the right hon. and learned Gentleman for the way in which he has met our Amendments, which he has agreed to accept. The right hon. and learned Gentleman did not, however, say anything about the Amendment to Clause 3, page 3, line 7, which I admit is not of the same importance. I merely put it down because I thought it might be as well to bring to the notice of the applicants or the body managing or being responsible for the canteen the fact that this was in the Act. This Amendment would embody the requirement in the rules that are made, and therefore it would be impossible for them to plead ignorance of the fact.

The other Amendment which the right hon. and learned Gentleman did not mention is the one to Clause 12, page 8, line 8, dealing with the question of agreement. In order to make it quite clear that a loan of the kind I have mentioned and which my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, North (Mr. J. Hudson) mentioned would be regarded as a departure from this scheme, we put down this Amendment. We suggested this Amendment to the definition Clause in order to make it quite clear that the word "agreement" does include the question of a loan of the kind that we have discussed.

I happen to be chairman of a licensing committee of a bench of magistrates, and I am not at all sure that I could persuade all my colleagues, if it ever came to a dispute on the matter, that a loan could be regarded as an agreement, but I should be quite prepared to defer to the right hon. and learned Gentleman on that matter, and I hope that, if the occasion ever arises, he would be in a position to appear in front of me in order to indicate what the proper meaning of the word "agreement" was or whether he thought it covered the arrangements which I have suggested.

Amendment agreed to.

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

I beg to move, in page 2, line 4, at the end, to insert: but nothing in this subsection shall prevent the licensing authority from specifying in the licence granted by them a kind of retailer's excise on-licence other than that requested by the applicant. This is a Privilege Amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. Hastings

I beg to move, in page 2, line 15, at the end, to add: (3) Any licence granted under this Act shall provide that at all times at which intoxicating liquor is sold food and beverages other than those of an intoxicating character shall also be provided for sale. After the most sympathetic and helpful speech of the right hon. and learned Gentleman, I have no doubt that this Amendment will be accepted. It seems to be clear from what has been said in connection with this Bill that all hon. Members in the Committee feel that these seamen's canteens ought to be, in the very best sense of the term, clubs. After an arduous voyage, men should be able to come ashore to relax, rest and take refreshment, talk to their friends and members of their families whom they have not met for weeks or even months, and to have a really restful time.

It was made clear by the Joint Under-secretary of State for Scotland when he replied during the Second Reading debate that this was indeed the way in which these clubs were managed. The hon. Gentleman pointed out that in no sense were they drinking clubs, and that, in two which he had visited, only about 10 per cent. of the receipts came from intoxicating liquor, the rest being represented by accommodation, food, and non-intoxicating drinks of all sorts, and this, I am sure, is what everyone desires.

If that be so, it seems to me that there could be no reason at all for not making it perfectly clear in the Bill by a subsection like that which I have moved that that is the object. I am quite sure that at present all the existing seamen's canteens are run on the lines suggested. If that is so, and if that is the wish of the Government, as I am sure it is, why should there not be included in the Bill a provision which will make that obligatory on seamen's canteens for all time?

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

Partly in order to preserve the amiable atmosphere in the Committee, and partly also because of the merits of the case, I have much pleasure in accepting the Amendment moved by the hon. Member for Barking (Mr. Hastings). I cannot add anything to what he said, except to give the definite assurance that, in fact, the canteens always do more than the Amendment provides for, and it can do no possible harm to require them to do it in the Bill.

Amendment agreed to.

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