HC Deb 01 May 1969 vol 782 cc1598-9
15. Mr. Ashley

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has now concluded his review of the question of the spread of amusement arcades; and what steps he proposes to take.

Mr. Elysian Morgan

I have nothing to add to the reply given to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Huddersfield, West (Mr. Lomas) on 17th April.—[Vol. 781, c. 287.]

Mr. Ashley

Is my hon. Friend aware that many local authorities are concerned about the effect on the young of the proliferation of amusement arcades, and that their efforts at controlling them can be overruled by quarter sessions? Is not it time to introduce amending legislation?

Mr. Morgan

I am aware of the feelings of local authorities described by my hon. Friend. My right hon. Friend has considered representations from the Association of Municipal Corporations that the right to appeal should be withdrawn altogether or, alternatively, that the powers of quarter sessions on appeal should be limited to questions of law. He is not satisfied that the introduction of legislation for this purpose would be justified at present, but he is to invite the local authority associations to provide further and more specific information.

Mr. Bagier

Is my hon. Friend aware that the express intention of his right hon. Friend seems to have been frustrated, in that the circular issued on 7th February which says that the power of local councils is absolute is being overturned by quarter sessions recorders? Does he not agree that the strong feeling throughout the country should be recognised, and that the spread of these machines should be stopped?

Mr. Morgan

If there is substantial evidence of abuse, this will be borne in mind by my right hon. Friend in considering whether or not fresh legislation is necessary.