HC Deb 08 March 1960 vol 619 cc220-1
16. Mr. Langford-Holt

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland why he has refused his consent to a licence for an hotel, not run by the State, at Annan, Dumfriess-shire, despite the fact that the application was unanimously approved and confirmed by the County Licensing Appeal Court, and although representations were made to him by the town council.

Mr. N. Macpherson

On several occasions since 1948 my right hon. Friend has been approached by or on behalf of the proprietors of the Corner House Hotel, Annan, for the grant of his authority for the sale and supply of exciseable liquor. On each occasion the application was considered most carefully, but he could find no sufficient reason within the existing principles which govern such matters in State Management Districts to justify the grant of authority in this case.

Mr. Langford-Holt

Will my hon. Friend tell us whether he is satisfied with the situation in which three burghs have a different law from that which applies throughout the rest of Scotland, and if not, what he proposes to do about it in the future?

Mr. Macpherson

The system is one which has been in operation for a long time and it was reaffirmed in 1949, but my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has said that he has an open mind about the matter.

Mr. John MacLeod

Is my hon. Friend aware that there is feeling among people of all political persuasions, certainly in my constituency, that this is quite wrong?

Mr. Woodburn

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that this system has worked in England, as well as in Scotland, since the First World War, that there have been very few complaints over that period, and that it would be a great pity to upset an arrangement which is so satisfactory and was made by all political parties at that time?

Mr. Macpherson

I am aware that it has been in operation for a long time, but I am also aware that there have been complaints, especially recently.

Mr. Langford-Holt

Is my hon. Friend aware that the purposes for which this action was taken have for a long time ceased to exist?

Mr. Macpherson

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has to have regard not only to the origin of this but to the fact that he is expected to judge of applications in the light of the principle of disinterested management.

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