HC Deb 30 April 1975 vol 891 cc682-4
Mr. Alison

I beg to move Amendment No. 60, in page 14, line 42, at end insert 'and such other relevant accounts as may be specified by the registration authority and called for;'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this amendment it is proposed to take also Amendment No. 61, in page 14, line 47, at end insert— '(f) such other information concerning the lottery as may be specified by the registration authority, and called for'.

1.45 p.m.

Mr. Alison

These amendments constitute an attempt to effect control over the running of lotteries and the way in which they work. However, a number of competent observers, including the Churches' Councsil on Gambling, take the view that if control is to be adequate, Schedules 1 and 2 should be strengthened.

Schedule 1 of the Bill is substantially the same as Schedule 7 of the 1963 Act, which was taken from the Small Lotteries and Gaming Act 1956. I understand that many competent observers have shown that the wording in this provision is not adequate. It gives local authorities no power to call for or to examine the accounts of a lottery or for any other information concerning it. It gives no means of ensuring that all societies which promote lotteries render returns.

It is in accordance with those criticisms that we have tabled these two tightening amendments. I hope that the Under-Secretary will be able to accept them.

Dr. Summerskill

These amendments would enable a local authority to call for information about a society's lottery when the total tickets sold do not exceed £5,000. However, the information already required by the Bill seems adequate. There seems to be no necessity for a power to demand further information of this kind in relation to small lotteries.

The functions and power of local authorities as registration authorities under Schedule 1 are similar to those under the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act 1963 and there is insufficient justification for adding to the responsibilities of local authorities in this area.

All local authorities' and societies' lotteries with a turnover of more than £5,000 will be promoted under schemes registered with the Gaming Board. The Gaming Board will have power to require the provision of accounts and other information.

Mr. Graham Page

These amendments deal with accounts. As these are the last amendments which we shall be debating—the others are pure formalities and will be moved formally—and as we shall not detain the House on Third Reading, may I congratulate the Under-Secretary of State on the good account she has given of herself in the course of her conduct of this Bill. I may be out of order. However, the hon. Lady has kept her calm and serenity throughout our bullying and hectoring of her, both in Committee and on Report, when she produced the answers to the amendments. Of course, I am thoroughly dissatisfied, but the hon. Lady has been so successful in stonewalling every amendment we have proposed that nevertheless I congratulate her on the conduct of this Bill.

Mr. Rees-Davies

I do not know whether the Under-Secretary has seen what the Churches' Council on Gambling said about the two schedules. Mr. Gordon Moody is highly critical of the effectiveness of Schedule 1 in relation to the societies. I do not go along with the report all the way. However, I think that the matter should be investigated.

It would be nice to hear a final assurance from the hon. Lady regarding the further legislation on large lotteries. Before the Bill goes to another place, will the hon. Lady give us an assurance that the Government have in mind the revision next year of the Pool Competitions Act 1971 and that the Home Office is already preparing and stripping itself for action to complete this measure? If so, we thank the hon. Lady for her admirable effort as a first instalment. We happily await her returning to the Dispatch Box to deliver the full and effective measure which we wish to see.

Dr. Summerskill

Before answering that point I should like to thank the right hon. Member for Crosby (Mr. Page) for his kind and gallant words. I shall return the compliment and say that I appreciated his co-operation—when he felt able to give it—in Committee and on Report.

With regard to further legislation—when the House has recovered from this Bill—I cannot, of course, say exactly when the next Bill, if any, will be introduced. But, as a preliminary step, I believe that it is necessary for the House, the public, and all interested local authority organisations to have an opportunity to discuss the very complex issues involved. It would be a very complicated Bill. But I shall make representations to my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House that, as a first step, we should have a full debate on large lotteries and perhaps on gambling in general.

Amendment negatived.

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