HC Deb 30 April 1975 vol 891 cc616-8
Mr. Graham Page

I beg to move Amendment No. 1, in page 1, line 18, at end insert— ('b) hospital services and medical research'. Paragraphs (a) and (b) of subsection (2) apply to lotteries for charitable purposes and purposes in support of athletic sports or games or cultural activities, whether or not private gain is involved. Paragraph (c) applies to anything in which private or commercial undertaking is not concerned.

To the public, hospitals and medical research are among the most attractive objectives. In other countries the public have become accustomed to hospital sweepstakes and support them strongly. No mention of that purpose is contained in subsection (2) but it could come within paragraph (c) as a purpose in which no private gain or commercial undertaking was concerned. Hospital services, however, may be for a private nursing home in which one could scarcely say that there was no question of gain or commercial undertaking, and research work in medical matters might be undertaken by a consultant to some extent for his own profit.

I should like to see those two purposes expressed in an early paragraph of subsection (2) so that although private gain or commercial undertaking may be concerned, hospital services and medical research work can still be the subject of lotteries run by societies or local authorities under the Bill. That is the purpose of mentioning it specifically as a separate paragraph in the early stages of the list of items which can be the subject of lotteries.

Mr. David Weitzman (Hackney, North and Stoke Newington)

I support the amendment. As the right hon. Member for Crosby (Mr. Page) rightly says, hospitals and medical research are very important in this context. He has pointed out that it might well be that this category will not come within Clause 1(2)(c) because of the question of private gain or a commercial undertaking. I hope that my hon. Friend will accept the amendment.

Mr. Eric Ogden (Liverpool, West Derby)

With respect to my hon. and learned Friend, I take a completely different point of view. My hon. Friends and I have been opposed in principle and in practice to any private gain from sickness but attempts are now being made to finance the National Health Service by lotteries. I hope that the House has not reached that stage.

Mr. Graham Page

Does the hon. Gentleman object to the League of Friends running lotteries for hospital services or medical research?

Mr. Ogden

Yes. I believe that such matters should be financed honestly and openly. That should be done for the sake of the service itself. The element of winning a prize should not enter into the matter. I hope that my hon. Friend will resist the amendment.

Dr. Summerskill

If the purpose of the amendment is to permit a society established to help provide services in a hospital or to encourage medical research to promote lotteries, I can tell the right hon. Member for Crosby (Mr. Page) that the amendment is unnecessary as it is already covered by Clause 1(2) (c). That is the situation provided that the society is not operating for private gain or as a commercial undertaking.

The effect of the amendment would be to authorise lotteries for medical purposes where there is an element of private gain or profit. We would find that unacceptable. It would be outside the spirit of the Bill to allow, for example, a drug firm to promote a lottery to finance its own private research with a view to marketing a new commercial medical product.

I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that medical research or hospital services can be assisted through lotteries under Clause 1(2)(c) provided that the society is not operating for private gain.

Amendment negatived.

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