HC Deb 06 March 1963 vol 673 cc594-6
Mr. Whitelaw

I beg to move, in page 50, line 20, at the end, to insert: (2) Nothing in this Act shall apply to any premises which, not being office premises, are used for the sale of fish by wholesale and constitute, or are comprised in, premises to which certain provisions of the Factories Act 1961 apply by virtue of section 125 (1) (docks, etc.) of that Act. It may be convenient to discuss with this Amendment the Amendment in Clause 77, page 51, line 27.

Mr. Speaker

Very well.

Mr. Whitelaw

. The object of these Amendments to to exclude from the Bill places where fish is sold wholesale in the docks. Many of these places are on open quaysides which probably would not be regarded as premises within the meaning of the Bill. In other docks parts of the quayside may be earmarked as wholesalers' "stands"—perhaps under some kind of roof. The "stands" may be no more than lines drawn on the ground and frequently there are no lateral divisions at all. They are usually adjacent to office premises occupied by the fish wholesalers. The "stands" are normally used only for two or three hours a day for the sale of fish. At other times they may be unoccupied or used for other dock purposes. These places are so different from the premises for which the Bill is designed that it would, in my view, be impracticable to apply its provisions to them. Since circumstances in the different fish docks vary considerably there may be doubt in particular cases whether the Bill does apply. My right hon. Friend, therefore, thought it best to set the matter beyond doubt by moving this Amendment.

I should like to make it clear that the scope of the Amendment which I have moved is limited and that it does not affect other premises used in connection with the sale of fish in docks—for example, offices used by wholesalers. These will remain within the Bill.

I should also like to point out that the Food Hygiene (Docks, Carriers, etc.) Regulations, 1960, apply to fish docks and make requirements about cleanliness, ventilation, lighting, sanitary and washing facilities, drinking water and first-aid. The Regulations, therefore, provide, incidentally, benefits for the workers concerned although their primary purpose is to secure a high standard of hygiene in the handling of food.

I hope that these two Amendments will be thought to make sense in that they exclude from the Bill premises which I believe no one thinks should be included. I commend them to the House.

Mr. Hannan

While appreciating the Parliamentary Secretary's explanation of the Amendment which he moved, may I ask him whether he would care to elaborate on the other Amendment which was taken with it?

Mr. Whitelaw

Not, I think, specifically.

Mr. Graham Page

I think that this is all very fishy. My hon. Friend has excluded from the definition of fish something which I have always thought came within the definition and which is very tasty—the eel. Why has my hon. Friend excluded eels from the definition of fish? They do not come within the definition of molluscs and crustaceans or within that of fish. Supposing there is a wholesale undertaking which deals in eels, would that come under the Bill now?

Mr. Whitelaw

I think that at this stage it would be difficult for me to be specific about eels, but I certainly note what my hon. Friend has said.

Amendment agreed to.