HC Deb 25 October 1972 vol 843 cc1276-8

Lords Amendment: No. 438, in page 364, line 6, at end insert— "House to house and street collections 20A. In section 5 of the Police, Factories, &c. (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1916, in subsection (1) for the words "A police authority" there shall be substituted the words "Each of the authorities specified in subsection (1A) below", and for the words "the police" there shall be substituted the word "their", and at the end of that subsection there shall be inserted the following subsection:— (1A) The authorities referred to in subsection (1) above are—

  1. (a) the Common Council of the City of London,
  2. (b) the police authority for the Metropolitan Police District, and
  3. (c) the council of each district;
but any regulations made by a district council under that subsection shall not have effect with respect to any street or public place which is within the Metropolitan Police District as well as within the district. 20B.—(1) In section 2 of the House to House Collections Act 1939, in subsection (1), for the word "police", in the first place where it occurs, there shall be substituted the word "licensing" and the word "police", in the second place where it occurs, shall be omitted. (2) After that subsection there shall be inserted the following subsection:— (1A) In this section "licensing authority" means—
  1. (a) in relation to the City of London, the Common Council;
  2. (b) in relation to the Metropolitan Police District, the Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis; and
  3. (c) in relation to a district exclusive of any part thereof within the Metropolitan Police District, the district council."
(3) In that section, in the proviso to subsection (2) and in subsections (3), (4) and (6), for the word "police", wherever it occurs, there shall be substituted the word "licensing". (4) In section 4(2)(e) of that Act the word "police" shall be omitted. (5) In section 9 of that Act, in subsection (2), for the words from "said Commissioner" to the end of the subsection there shall be substituted the words "Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis by virtue of his being a licensing authority within the meaning of section 2 of this Act".".

7.30 p.m.

Mr. Carlisle

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment.

The purpose of this Lords Amendment is to transfer the control of street and house-to-house collections for charity outside London to the new district councils. As the House probably knows, these functions were conferred on police authorities by the Acts of 1916 and 1939. However, the reorganisations which have taken place of police forces since the war have necessitated consequential changes in the authorities responsible, with the result that the present pattern is no longer based on any discernible principle. These functions are exercised now by many local authorities at county and borough level and in some places remain in the hands of the police authorities. In the view of the Government the control of these collections is more a matter for local authorities than it is for the police, and we have decided that it is time that the transfer of powers over house-to-house and street collections should be completed. It is essentially a local, normally an urban, matter, and the Government, therefore, think that it is right, and in tune with the allocation of other functions already included in the Bill, that these collections should in future be supervised by district councils which are familiar with local circumstances and likely to be more familiar with local circumstances.

There are, however, consequential and transitional arrangements which will need to be made, some of which will be subject to orders under Clause 243, and some of which will involve licensing authorities in administrative action. It is, therefore, the intention of the Government that a memorandum of guidance about the arrangements to be made should be circulated in the near future to all the authorities concerned.

I think that is all I need to say. As I say, at the moment there is a patchwork of responsibility. It seems sensible to transfer it to the local authorities rather than leave part of it in the hands of the police authorities and part of it in the hands of the local authorities, and it is in accord with modern practice to give these functions to the local authorities, and as they relate essentially to what are local, urban matters—the questions of street collections, and house-to-house collections—it seems appropriate to transfer them to district councils rather than county councils, and that is the effect of this Lords Amendment.

Question put and agreed to.

Subsequent Lords Amendments agreed to.

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