HC Deb 18 March 1982 vol 20 cc463-4
1. Mr. David Atkinson

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will amend the licensing laws to permit alcoholic drinks to be served on long distance motor coaches.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. Timothy Raison)

We have no plans to introduce such legislation.

Mr. Atkinson

Does my right hon. Friend accept that, as a result of the Transport Act 1980, the travelling public are benefiting from cheaper fares and a better service from free enterprise coach operators? Does he further accept that these coach operators are being discriminated against by not being able to provide a bar service in the way that British Rail does? Will he now give further thought to introducing legislation to remedy that situation?

Mr. Raison

I certainly accept the merits and advantages that have arisen from the Transport Act 1980. However, this point was considered by the Erroll committee on liquor licensing and it came to the conclusion that it would not be wise to do what my hon. Friend asks. The problem, of course, is the risk that the sale of alcohol could contribute to rowdiness and accidents.

Mr. Hardy

Will the Minister make it clear to his hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth, East (Mr. Atkinson) that it is not the business of the House to bring delight to brewery companies or football hooligans? Will he also make it clear to his hon. Friend that his point about road safety is extremely relevant?

Mr. Raison

Road safety is of great importance, and I am totally against football hooligans. I do not understand, however, why we should not cheer up he brewery industry.

Forward to