§ (1) This section shall apply to any premises for which a certificate (other than an off-sale certificate) is held or to the premises of a registered club—
- (a) if the holder of the certificate or, as the case may be, the club gives notice of the application of the section to the premises in accordance with the provisions of subsection (6) of this section, and
- (b) as from such date as may be specified in the said notice:
§ (2) While this section applies to any premises the effect shall be that, for the purposes mentioned in the next following subsection, on weekdays the permitted hours in those premises in the afternoon, as fixed by section four or, as the case may be, section (Alternative permitted hours in certain athletic clubs during winter) of this Act, shall be increased by the addition of half an hour at the end thereof.
§ (3) The purposes referred to in the last foregoing subsection are—
- (a) the sale or supply to persons taking table meals in the premises of exciseable liquor supplied in a part of the premises usually set apart for the service of such persons, and supplied for consumption by such a person in that part of the premises as an ancillary to his meal; and
- (b) the consumption of exciseable liquor so supplied.
§ (4) While this section applies to any premises, then for purposes other than those mentioned in the last foregoing subsection, or in parts of the premises other than the part so mentioned, the permitted hours shall be the same as if this section did not apply to the premises.
§ (5) This section shall cease to apply to any premises on the expiry of the twenty-seventh day of May in any year if the holder of the certificate or the club, as the case may be, gives notice of the disapplication of the section from the premises in accordance with the provisions of the next following subsection:
§ Provided that this section shall cease to apply to premises for which a hotel or a public house certificate is held, or to the premises of a club, at any time on the licensing court ceasing to be satisfied as mentioned in the proviso to subsection (1) of this section.1397
§ (6) A notice of the application of this section to, or of the disapplication of this section from, any premises—
- (a) shall be in writing;
- (b) shall, in the case of a club, be given by the secretary of the club on its behalf;
- (c) shall, in the case of a notice of application, specify the date from which the section is to apply to the premises and, in the case of a notice of disapplication, state that the section is to cease to apply to the premises on the expiry of the twenty-seventh day of May next following the giving of the notice;
- (d) shall be served on the chief constable not later than fourteen days before the date specified as aforesaid, or not later than fourteen days before the twenty-seventh day of May, as the case may be.
§ (7) The secretary of any club to the premises of which this section applies shall notify the licensing court for the licensing area within which such premises are situated of any reconstruction or extension of, or alteration in, the premises which affects the facilities available in the premises for the provision of the customary main meal at midday, and if the secretary of any club contravenes this subsection he shall be guilty of an offence and on conviction thereof shall be liable to a fine not exceeding twenty pounds.
§ (8) The holder of the certificate for premises to which this section applies shall keep posted in some conspicuous place in the premises a notice stating that this section applies thereto and setting out the effect of its application, and if any person contravenes this subsection he shall be guilty of an offence and on conviction thereof shall be liable to a fine not exceeding ten pounds.—[Mr. Brooman-White.]
§ Brought up, and read the First time.
§ Mr. Brooman-White
I beg to move, That the Clause be read a Second time.
I wonder whether it would be for the convenience of the House to consider this new Clause with the Amendments in Clause 4, page 5, line 41, to leave out "three" and to insert "half-past two"; and in page 6, line 6, to leave out "three" and to insert "half-past two".
§ Mr. Brooman-White
The case which I have to put to the House is simple. In a discussion in Committee on permitted hours, we undertook to look again at the situation. One point struck us as a reasonable change to make. The present closing hour is 3 p.m. It was represented to us strongly that this was not suitable from the point of view of the convenience of the staff working in licensed premises. By the time they had completed washing up and cleaning the premises, and had gone home for 1398 something to eat, it would be almost time for them to return to get the premises ready for opening again. It was represented that this would be a considerable strain on them, and we saw the force of that argument.
We looked again at the reasons why the Guest Committee recommended 3 p.m. as the closing hour. There were two. The first was that in the majority of licensing areas in Scotland, although there were variations between areas, the closing hour was 3 p.m. But we reconsidered this from the point of view of the number of public houses, and we found that only about 35 per cent, closed at 3 p.m. and that 65 per cent, closed earlier. We felt, therefore, that the argument based on the practice of licensing areas was not very strong in this case and, in fact, had led us the wrong way.
The second argument was that it would be a substantial inconvenience to travellers and others to have an earlier closing hour in the afternoon for drink with meals. We fully accept the validity of that argument, and the new Clause, as opposed to the Amendments, is concerned with meeting that point. It is a rather elaborate piece of machinery to secure a simple objective. All the new Clause, read with the Amendments, does is to say that the closing hour for bar drinking should be 2.30 p.m. instead of 3 p.m., but that the provision for drinking with meals should remain unchanged. The procedure is, of course, complicated, but it is based on our own provision for an extension and on arrangements made in the English Bill by which in certain areas the closing hour is 2.30 p.m. and a similar provision is made for the continuance of drinking with meals until 3 p.m.
If the closing hour of 2.30 p.m. is accepted rather than 3 p.m., it means a slight reduction in the total number of hours available for bar drinking in Scotland, but the half-hour between 2.30 p.m. and 3 p.m. is not in wide demand by the public, and it imposes inconvenience on the staff in licensed premises. We think that it is a reasonable change to make. If so, and as a corollary, we think that the new Clause should be introduced to ensure that the Amendments do not curtail the existing provisions in the Bill for drinks with meals in those premises which make application under the provisions of the Clause.
§ Mr. Hannan
May I offer an apology to you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, and the Under-Secretary of State in that there was some distraction at the beginning of the debate when I was trying to ascertain the Amendments under discussion. Am I right that we are considering the new Clause "Extension of permitted hours in the afternoon in certain licensed premises and clubs" together with the Amendment in page 5, line 41, to leave out "three" and to insert "half-past two" and the Amendment in page 6, line 6, to make a similar change?
§ Mr. Brooman-White indicated assent.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
I interrupt the hon. Member in the interest of clarity. As I understand it, the two Amendments which are being discussed with the new Clause are those in the name of the Secretary of State for Scotland in page 5, line 41, and page 6, line 6.
§ Mr. Hannan
That is as I thought.
I feel that the Minister's explanation is acceptable to those hon. Members on this side of the House who have been watching the Bill closely. If I understand the Under-Secretary of State correctly, we have to provide this long new Clause to keep the hours as they are, with the exception that during the afternoon they are changed from 3 p.m. to 2.30 p.m. I agree that that half-hour is not in great demand although, on the other hand, it might be looked upon as an attractive half-hour which would decide a man whether to go back to work or business or to continue drinking. I understood the Under-Secretary of State to say that this made no difference to the total number of hours available for drinking.
§ Mr. Brooman-White
There is half-an-hour less in the total bar drinking hours, but no change in the hours for drinking with meals.
§ Mr. Hannan
I am grateful to the Under-Secretary of State for that explanation, which makes me still more enthusiastic about the acceptance of the Clause. But it is extraordinary that, to make a change of this character, the Government having departed from the principle, they give the draftsmen and the Department all the trouble of creating a frightful-looking Clause of 70 to 100 lines in order to make such a simple Amendment as this.
1400 As the explanation is acceptable at least to myself, I do not intend to delay the House longer. I think that I can say for some of my hon. Friends, too, that it is acceptable.
§ Question put and agreed to.
§ Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.