HC Deb 14 April 1965 vol 710 cc1380-2
10. Mr. Garrow

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will now take steps to permit the police and fire services to exercise control over unlicensed clubs.

16. Mr. Buchanan

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will introduce legislation to ensure that all clubs catering for the various recreational interests of the public shall be licensed, and that all such clubs conform to standards of hygiene and safety.

Mr. Willis

My right hon. Friends the Home Secretary and the Secretary of State are at present reviewing the operation of the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act, 1963, in its application to gaming clubs; and fire prevention legislation which will cover club premises is being prepared. As regards hygiene, there are sufficient powers in the Public Health (Scotland) Acts.

Mr. Garrow

Is my hon. Friend aware that during recent years a number of jive and jazz clubs have been set up in Glasgow in basements or attics? Would he agree that these present a fire hazard? Is he aware that the firemaster and the police in Glasgow have repeatedly expressed concern about these places? Is he further aware that in several of the bingo halls in Glasgow not only are all the seats occupied but participants are permitted to occupy the passageways, and does he agree that this is an unsatisfactory state of affairs?

Mr. Willis

I am aware of the facts my hon. Friend has mentioned. We are preparing suitable fire prevention legislation which is at an advanced stage, but we are not able at the moment to say when it will be introduced.

Mr. Edward M. Taylor

Would the Minister agree that the problem is not so much related to the structure of the premises as to the fact that many of them are overcrowded, particularly the jazz clubs? Surely we do not have to wait until there is a great tragedy before some action is taken?

Mr. Willis

As I have indicated, we are pressing ahead with the preparation of legislation. We shall certainly introduce it when we can.

Mr. Hugh D. Brown

Will the Minister keep in mind that it is not just punitive action which is required? Is he aware that if the previous Administration had been more constructive in making funds available for community purposes in the newer housing areas, we should not have had this over-concentration in doubtful premises in the city?