HC Deb 24 February 1972 vol 831 cc1482-3
28. Mr. David James

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will introduce legislation to enable minors to consume wines, beers and ciders on licensed premises when accompanied by an adult.

Mr. Carlisle

My right hon. Friend does not propose to introduce legislation on any aspect of liquor licensing in advance of the report of the Erroll Committee. Under the present law, however, an adult may buy drink for a minor on licensed premises as long as it is not in a bar—for example, in a restaurant.

Mr. James

I see the force of my hon. and learned Friend's reply, but at a time when many people are worried about the generation gap is it not a pity that a father cannot take his 16-year-old son into a pub for a pint of beer? [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Does it not place an impossible burden on landlords to require them to know the age of young people who are maturing at a much younger age?

Mr. Carlisle

The general point made by my hon. Friend is clearly within the terms of the Erroll Committee which is looking at the licensing laws.

Mr. Rankin

Is the Minister aware of the amount of drinking which takes place in licensed premises among juniors and even schoolchildren? Instead of making it easier for them to continue in this way, should not the Minister look at the situation in terms of tightening up the law to keep children out of public houses?

Mr. Carlisle

We must await the recommendations of the Erroll Committee. One must have a certain amount of sympathy with my hon. Friend the Member for Dorset, North (Mr. David James) when he says that it is not always easy for licensees, without knowing the exact age of the people who come into a public house, to administer to law.