HC Deb 28 July 1982 vol 28 cc1113-4
Mr. Allan Stewart

I beg to move amendment No. 1, in page 2, line 22 leave out from 'and' to end of line 26 and insert— `, subject to the following provisions of this section, reach a final decision on it within 6 months.

(2) On summary application by the licensing authority within the 6 month period referred to in subsection (1) above, the sheriff may, if it appears to him that there is good reason to do so, extend that period as he thinks fit.

(3) The applicant shall be entitled to be a party to a summary application under subsection (2) above.

(4) Where the licensing authority have failed to reach a final decision on the application before the expiry of—

  1. (a) the 6 month period referred to in subsection (1) above, or
  2. 1114
  3. (b) such further period as the sheriff may have specified on application under subsection (2) above,
the licence applied for shall be deemed to have been granted or, as the case may be, renewed unconditionally on the date of such expiry and shall remain in force for one year, but this subsection is without prejudice to the powers of revocation under section 7(8)(a) of this Act, of variation under paragraph 11 of Schedule 1 to this Act and of suspension under paragraphs 12 and 13 of that Schedule and to the provisions of paragraph 9(3A) of that Schedule.

(5) The licensing authority shall make out and deliver the licence to the applicant to whom it has been deemed to have been granted under subsection (4) above.'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this it will be convenient to take Government amendments Nos. 15 to 19 and Government amendment No. 95.

Mr. Stewart

This set of amendments implements concessions or agreements to reconsider made by the Government in Committee. Amendment No. 1 provides that a decision on an application for a licence must be reached within six months, subject to extension of that time limit by the sheriff on application by the authority. Where a decision is not reached within six months, the licence will be deemed to be granted unconditionally for one year and issued by the licensing authority. Amendment No. 18 is a drafting, consequential amendment and meets concern expressed by hon. Members in Committee that there should be safeguards against unreasonable delays.

Amendments Nos. 15, 17 and 19 arise from suggestions made by the hon. Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar). A discussion took place about whether the provision for temporary licences and for the extension of joint licences in the name of one holder where the other has ceased to be such were sufficiently flexible to cover all hardship cases. These amendments seek to improve the position by providing that, where a temporary licence or an extension of a joint licence is in force and the holders apply for a full licence, the temporary licence or the extension shall continue until a final decision, whether or not for an appeal, is reached on that further application.

Amendment No. 16 deals with the question of the widow of a licence holder. It provides that there should be automatic transfer for three months of an operator's licence to the executor.

I commend the amendments to the House.

Mr. Dewar

I give a brief but genuine welcome to one of a large number of groups of amendments that represent the Government's efforts to meet points made by hon. Members in Committee. I am grateful to the Minister, who has taken the Committee stage seriously and who has shown willingness to respond to what are not controversial but still important points. I am particularly glad to see amendment No. 1. It is useful to replace the not unusual arrangement in which a final decision must be made without unreasonable delay. The proposal that a decision must be made within six months unless there is recourse to a sheriff for an extension represents considerable tightening up of the arrangements.

These are useful amendments. I should like to mention amendment No. 16 described by the Minister as the death-in-harness amendment. This is not just a matter of the widow: it could apply to another relative. It ensures that the executor could continue to operate the taxi business for three months while the application for transfer of the licence is processed.

Amendment agreed to.

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