`(1) The duty charged under the Dog Licences Act 1959 on Licences for dogs shall from the date set out in subsection (5) and subject to subsection (2), be determined by a London borough, or district council, as appropriate at a level of not less than £10 per annum and not more than £20 per annum in any financial year and shall be allocated by the authority to the funding of a dog warden service in its area.
(2) No duty shall be charged in respect of any dog which is:—
(3) in Section 1 of the Protection of Animals (Cruelty to Dogs) Act 1933 (disqualification for keeping a dog of any person convicted of cruelty to dogs), at the end there shall be inserted the following subsection—
(5) For the purposes of this section a person shall be presumed, until the contrary is shown, to keep a dog—
(4) In section 1 of the Protection of Animals (Cruelty to Dogs) (Scotland) Act 1934 (disqualification for keeping a dog of any person convicted of cruelty to dogs), at the end there shall be inserted the following subsection
(5) For the purposes of this section a person shall be presumed, until the contrary is shown, to keep a dog—
(5) This section shall come into force at the end of the period of 2 months beginning with the day on which this Act is passed.".—[Mr. Rooker.]
§ Brought up, and read the First time.
§ Madam Deputy Speaker
With this we shall take the following: New clause 10—Dangerous dogs—'( ) A local authority shall be empowered to draw up a register of dangerous dogs and will be entitled to inspect premises to ensure adequate care and security where such dogs are kept.'.Amendment No. 29, in page 30 line 1, leave out clause 33.
§ Mr. Rooker
There are some important aspects to this debate. Dog licences were discussed in Committee during only one sitting out of 29, so it cannot be said that we made a full meal of it. We thought it right to discuss the matter further on Report for the simple reason that the Government made it difficult to amend the clause as they sought to abolish dog licences. The Opposition proposed an amendment as an alternative to abolishing dog licences which was not taken as it was out of order. We gave notice then that we would table an amendment on Report, which we have done in the form of the new clause.
I shall not repeat the speech that I made upstairs, nor do I expect my hon. Friends to repeat their speeches. We 887 emphasise that local authorities are not opposed to dog ownership. They are not anti-dog, but they are opposed to irresponsible dog ownership. I think that all hon. Members would share that opposition. The vast majority of dog owners are responsible people, although only half of them seem to pay the dog licence. One hon. Member, who shall be nameless, boasted in the Committee about his illegality in not paying for licences for his two dogs. He was not a law-breaking Labour Member but a lawbreaking Conservative Member.
The present situation is ludicrous and cannot be allowed to continue. We spend £3.5 million to collect £1 million and the public must think that Parliament has taken leave of its senses in not having tackled this issue before. The way in which we tackle it is where we are divided. The Government have taken the easy way out by deciding to abolish the licence. That was not always their intention. It is much better to propose a system for which we think there is a consensus: a well-funded and adequate dog licence scheme.
§ Mr. Andrew F. Bennett (Denton and Reddish)
Does my hon. Friend accept that although the Government have shown remarkable cowardice in not dealing with the situation in England, Scotland and Wales, they have dealt with it in Northern Ireland? As far as one can make out, they have dealt with it very successfully there, and there has not been massive civil disobedience as a result of Northern Ireland people deciding not to pay the new dog licence fee. The problem of sheep worrying and other problems caused by dogs have been largely solved in Northern Ireland. For once, would it not be worthwhile taking a leaf out of the Northern Ireland statute book and having such legislation here? [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]
§ Mr. Rooker
I notice "Hear, hears" from Conservative Back Benchers. This is not the first time today that the Government's policy in Northern Ireland has been contradicted by Department of Environment Ministers. In our debate in which contract compliance was raised, the policy that the Government operate and for which they legislated in Northern Ireland is not the same as the legislation in England, Scotland and Wales. Quite clearly, there is also a difference between Great Britain and Northern Ireland in respect of dog licences.
The problems caused by dogs can be summarised by and large as the problem of strays, fouling of public places, traffic accidents, worrying of livestock, transmission of disease, and noise. Those problems will not be eradicated, by a higher dog licence or, indeed, by a dog licence in the first place. They could be eradicated, or at least seriously tackled to the benefit of the wider community, if we had funded dog wardens. We object to having such a system funded by the poll tax. If the dog licence system does not fund the dog wardens, they will have to be paid for by the poll tax. We are not prepared to accept that because our constituents will not accept it. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"] Because apart from all the other ramifications of the poll tax, tackling dog nuisance and funding dog wardens should not be paid for by the wider community by way of the poll tax. It is in the interests of responsible dog owners to have properly funded dog wardens. Indeed, that is in everbody's interest and there is no reason why such a scheme cannot be funded by dog owners through dog licences.
§ Mr. Andrew Bowden (Brighton, Kemptown)
I do not agree with the hon. Gentleman on this occasion. Does he not accept that if we have a substantial dog licence fee, the people who will pay it will be responsible dog owners? They will have to suffer because of the irresponsible minority.
§ Mr. Rooker
That is true, but dog wardens will tackle the problems caused by irresponsible dog owners. At the moment nobody is tackling that problem. It is occasionally left to the police and in the city of Birmingham, with 1 million people and perhaps 100,000 dogs, to one dog warden. For a population of perhaps one million people, there is one dog warden. He just cannot cope with the problem.
§ Mr. Hughes
I shall not stop the hon. Gentleman making progress. The point is exactly parallel to that regarding four-wheeled vehicles on the roads. The responsible people who pay their vehicle excise licence fees subsidise all those who do not pay. The same point applies to all other licences. We shall not get everybody to pay. It is not a perfect world. The argument is flawed unless it is accepted across the board, and it never has been accepted on the Government side.
§ Mr. Rooker
Of course the same applies to any licence. For example, I refer to the television licence.
§ Mr. Marlow
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman. I support what he said. I just want to sustain the point he is making by saying that if we do have a dog warden system, the anti-social dog owner who is currently not paying for a licence will be found out and will be required to pay a licence. So all dog owners will pay for the licence.
§ Mr. Rooker
The hon. Gentleman is quite right. I was right to give way, but I thought three times about it. I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman.
If shall not recite many of the statistics that are involved, but there are a couple that I must put on record. I have not checked the figures since the matter was considered in Committee. I apologise. Since 1978, figures have not been collected about the number of livestock that have been killed or injured because of dog worrying. I am not sure whether the collection of figures stopped because of the election of the Conservative Government or whether we decided to cease collecting them. The figures for 1978 show that 5,700 livestock were killed and 3,140 were injured. In 1985, 1,200 road accidents involved clogs. In those accidents three people were killed and 1,400 were injured.
On the argument about transmission of disease, no fewer than between 50 and 100 people—half of them children — a year suffer from blindness from being affected by dog mess or, as is the case in respect of local 889 authority workers, cutting grass kerbs which serve, for irresponsible dog owners, as dog lavatories—not outside their houses, of course, but outside somebody else's house. The range is fairly wide because of the non-reporting of the matter. One must pick up the figures from institutions for special diseases and hospital reports. It is unacceptable that between 50 and 100 people a year go blind strictly as a result of irresponsible dog owners who could be controlled by a dog warden scheme that is funded by a proper dog licence system. In the end, the matter goes back to the dog licence issue.
Many countries apart from Northern Ireland have dog licences. Since 1984, at a cost of £5, Ireland has had a dog licence and dog warden scheme. The situation in Germany varies. Dog licences cost between £19 and £76. It actually varies according to the type of dog involved. Believe it or not, in Holland the price of a dog licence varies between £14 and £43, based not on the number of dogs but the rateable value of the dog owner's home. No doubt, we shall return to that point in Committee when we consider the poll tax legislation.
One other aspect relates to the effect on one section of our population — postmen and postwomen. To them, dog ownership and irresponsible ownership are important. A delegation from the Union of Communication Workers came to see me and my hon. Friends a few days ago. I had not thought the matter through as I should have done, and asked, "Why only the postmen? Why do I not get representations from bakers and milkmen?" They rightly put the point to me, "We are usually the first people in the day to put our hands through the letterboxes of the homes of irresponsible dog owners." The baker and the milkman do not have to do that. In 1986, no fewer than 5,560 postal workers were attacked by dogs. The Daily Telegraph of 20 August 1986 carried a report about a postwoman in Gloucester having been attacked by three alsatians, who tore off one of her ears. It is a damned serious business when one of our fellow citizens is put at risk —[Interruption.] Conservative Members find something funny about a postwoman being attacked by three alsatian dogs in Gloucester and having her ear ripped off. To laugh at that is a thundering disgrace.
§ Mr. Rooker
I am not defending a dog licence of only 37p that is paid for by only half the dog owners, because it could not fund a dog warden scheme. I am not attacking the quality of a dog warden scheme in Gloucester that allows three alsatians to attack a postwoman.
§ Mr. Rooker
No, I shall not give way.
That is where we part company with the Government. Whether dogs are licensed is irrelevant. Our argument is that that kind of incident would be less likely to happen if there were adequately funded dog warden schemes.
§ Mr. Rooker
That cannot be denied. I shall now give way to the hon. Gentleman, just so that he can contain himself.
§ Mr. Harris
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving way. Will the hon. Gentleman explain exactly what difference a dog warden scheme would have made in that case? Dog wardens would be unable to go round to each house to establish whether alsatians were likely to rip the ears off postwomen. If those dogs were licensed, what difference would it make?
§ Mr. Rooker
That is exactly what has happened in Northern Ireland since the law was changed. We do not expect every door to be knocked on, but our point is that, with an adequately funded dog warden scheme, it is less likely that there will be roaming packs of dogs.
§ Mr. Matthew Taylor
In Carrick district council— a Liberal council — Mr. Hugh Baldry proposed successfully that a dog warden should be appointed. Carrick council is now funding a dog warden and it has proved to be a success. But does it not make far more sense that dog owners should pay for such a service and that it should not be a burden on the local community as a whole?
§ Mr. Rooker
Another point that has been put to me by postal workers is that there ought to be compulsory insurance for dog owners. That still leaves the problem of identification, but there ought to be compulsory insurance. If a postal worker is attacked by a dog the incident is reported to the head postmaster, who writes a letter to whoever lives at the address where the incident happened. The letter has to be delivered by the postal worker who reported the incident in the first place. That is ludicrous. The amendment does not deal with the proposal, but there is a case for considering the introduction of compulsory insurance for dog owners.
The Government ought to consider this proposal. We do not believe that there is a simple solution. There are many problems to be overcome, but we do not believe that a solution can be found simply by abolishing the dog licence. No serious attempt has be made to tackle the problem of stray dogs, packs of dogs and dog fouling, and no serious attempt will be made by hard-pressed local authorities to tackle those problems. They will be reluctant to say to their electorate that they intend to increase the poll tax to pay for a dog warden service. We do not think that they should be in that position.
§ Mr. Patnick
Does the hon. Gentleman regard the dog warden as an endangered species? Does he envisage them delivering the letter rather than the postal worker?
§ Mr. Rooker
No, I do not think that the dog warden is an endangered species. Rather it is the dogs of irresponsible owners who are endangered. The dog population would go down if there were dog wardens. There are an estimated 6.5 million dogs in Britain, but 1,000 a day are put down. It is a tragedy that animals which share this planet with us are put down on that scale because of irresponsible owners. It is because of that that we want the problem tackled. One way in which to do that is not to abolish the dog licence, but to increase it to £10 or £20 at the discretion of the local authority, to use the money only for a dog warden scheme and to have exceptions for working dogs, guide dogs and those owned by pensioners.
§ Mr. Andrew Bowden
I declare an interest as the owner of three West Highland terriers. The House would not 891 expect me to declare that interest on financial grounds because of the gain I would make from the licence being abolished.
§ Mr. Bowden
They are indeed. I am a member of the national advisory panel of PRO Dogs and I understand the well-meaning case that the hon. Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Rooker) has advanced. Nobody denies that there are irresponsible dog owners, but the evidence suggests that it is the most irresponsible dog owners who will not purchase a licence.
The proposed list of exemptions is to be found in subsection (2)(c) which reads:a dog whose owner has attained the age of statutory retirement.There are approximately 6 million dogs in Britain. I estimate that the proposed exemptions cover 2 million of them. How would the list be administered? We would have to set up a complicated and expensive bureaucratic system. We would require a Swansea for dogs. It is difficult enough to collect the licence fee for cars. We would have to establish an immensely costly system to collect a relatively small sum from, as a result of the proposed exemptions, about one third of the dog-owning population. Any such system would itself eat heavily into the revenue raised by a £20 licence.
§ Mr. Simon Hughes
The hon. Gentleman will be aware that we are now spending an enormous sum and retrieving little. Moreover, the police are spending an enormous amount of time and money looking after stray dogs. That is a bad investment for the taxpayer. Why should we not have a decent investment producing a decent revenue and a decent service which looks after dogs? A licence fee of £10 would do that, even if not all dogs were licensed.
§ Mr. Bowden
I thought that I had explained that. It is clear that the hon. Gentleman was not listening.
The cost of setting up a system with computers and applications, for example, that would exclude one third of dog owners would be exhorbitant. That is why I suggest that we must seek other methods, and others are open to us.
I am a dog lover and a dog owner and I do not deny that a minority of dog owners pose a substantial problem by allowing their dogs to foul the pavements and, even worse, to run loose on the roads. How do we deal with that? Surely there should be fines based on identification. The police, and even dog wardens, are reluctant currently to take people to court because hours of valuable time for many people lead to fines of only £2 or £5. If a first offence attracted a minimum fine of £50, the impact would be considerable. That would certainly be so in Brighton, for example. The imposition of such a fine would attract press coverage and thereafter dog owners would be careful to prevent their dogs from fouling pavements—at present, too many do not care—and would not let their dogs run loose on the roads. That would be a practical and realistic approach.
There will be difficulty in collecting a licence fee. It has proved difficult to collect televsion licence fees—and we cannot have detector vans for unlicensed dogs. There are difficulties also in collecting motor car licence fees.
§ Mr. Andrew F. Bennett
Does the hon. Gentleman accept that the greatest difficulty with fines is that it is 892 almost certain that the first person to be fined in any area for a dog nuisance offence would almost certainly be a pensioner, who would have difficulty in paying the fine? There are those who persistently allow their dogs to run free and cause a nuisance, whereas someone else's dog may escape on one occasion and thereby cause the owner to incur a fine. There is a danger that a system of fines will penalise good dog owners.
§ Mr. Bowden
I suspect that probably the most responsible section of dog owners is composed of the elderly and/or pensioners. They are much more likely than many others to have their dog on a lead and under control. In Brighton, I see dogs running loose. In nine cases out of 10 they are owned by people — not pensioners — who could well afford to pay a £50 fine, for example. If a pensioner happened to be the first person to be fined for such an offence, the court could ensure that time was given to pay. It would not be necessary for the fine to be paid immediately. The impact of a more substantial fine would be salutary.
In consultation with the RSPCA and other interested organisations, we should prepare an effective method of identification. That should be backed by a solid system of substantial fines. Such a system would deal more effectively with the problem than the provisions that are set out in the new clause.
§ Mr. Andrew F. Bennett
I support the new clause, but that does not mean that I agree with everything within it. It is deplorable that, after 11 years of discussion, the Government have run away from the issue. In 1976, a working party firmly identified the existence of a major problem. It found that we were no longer a nation of dog lovers. Indeed, it was revealed that we were a nation of dog neglecters. For 11 years Governments have delayed taking action, and now we are faced with a decision to abolish the dog licence. No attempt has been made to address the real problem, which is that dogs suffer cruelty as a result of neglect.
The greatest merit of a substantial licence fee is that it would make prospective owners think before making a purchase or taking on dog ownership. We all know that there are pressures upon children to take a dog home as a pet. Some dogs will be cherished for a few months or for ever, but in many instances they will soon be neglected. If a youngster comes home from school and says that one of his friends is prepared to give him a puppy, the parents may take it because there is no cost involved. It is only when they have had the dog for some time that they appreciate the expense of feeding it and the other problems, and often the dog is neglected. If there were a licence fee at the point at which a person became the owner of a dog, it would make him stop and think about the commitment. It would ensure that fewer dogs were taken and neglected.
If we had a substantial licence fee people would feel much more responsibility in looking after their clogs and would not, as happens in so many parts of the country, open the door first thing in the morning, kick the dog out and have very little more concern about what the dog does until it returns to be fed later in the day. If people were more concerned about their dogs, there would not be such appalling sheep-worrying —
§ Mr. Corbett
Does my hon. Friend agree that a spaying scheme would do away with the problem of packs of dogs around inner and outer-city council estates, driving people to distraction?
§ Mr. Bennett
I agree that spaying centres would be a useful development to solve some of the problems.
It was a sad day when the Government stopped collecting figures of the number of sheep and animals which are harmed by dogs. Anyone who has seen sheep which have been chased round and round a field and torn to bits by a pack of dogs is horrified. It is not just sheep but other animals which are worried by dogs. When statistics were kept, there were figures for horses and cattle which had been damaged by packs of dogs running round causing a nuisance.
In Northern Ireland when farmers complained about sheep-worrying and pointed out that the only solution was for them to carry guns to shoot the dogs that were causing the nuisance, the Government acted quickly and introduced an effective licence fee and dog warden system to solve the problem. It was, of course, undesirable in Northern Ireland to allow farmers with guns to deal with sheep-worrying. I do not see that it is any more satisfactory to have people walking around in this country trying to shoot dogs which are worrying sheep. It would be far better to tackle the problem by appointing dog wardens to impress on people their responsibility.
A licence fee would discourage people from taking on dogs without thinking seriously about it. It might do something to reduce the problem of the fouling of pavements, grass verges and sports fields. One of the most disgusting things I ever saw was a youngster scoring a try at rugby and sliding across the touchline straight into a pile of dog shit. That demonstrates how objectionable some dog owners are that they will specifically walk on to playing fields where they know that people will be enjoying sport and allow their dogs to foul those areas. It is objectionable that they use playing fields, but there are also problems in children's play areas in parks.
Dogs on the highway cause a substantial number of road accidents. There are many incidents of children being bitten by dogs. Not only do they suffer pain from the bite, but many of them fear dogs for the rest of their lives. That is a great pity for those youngsters.
I object particularly because the Government are simply running away from the problem. They have washed their hands of the whole thing and said that local authorities can provide dog wardens if they can raise the money from general rates. Even at this late stage, I suggest that the Government should come forward with a positive set of proposals for a dog warden service, paid for from the licence fee costing either £10 a year, suggested in the new clause, or involving a once-for-all fee paid when someone takes on the ownership of a dog.
We would not need a great bureaucracy to be set up at Swansea to record the system. It would be simple to sell a licence that could be clipped to the dog's collar to show whether someone had paid the licence fee and allow those who were exempted from paying because of age to have that exemption included in information on the collar.
§ Mr. Martin M. Brandon-Bravo (Nottingham, South)
The hon. Gentleman complained that rates would be wasted on cleaning up dog mess from pavements. Like all hon. Members, he must have received complaints from 894 constituents that they pay local rates, but do not use the education or social services which are the part of the general duty of a local authority in respect of all of its citizens. Why should the provision of dog wardens and the perfectly justifiable need to keep pavements and parks clean be a charge only on people who own dogs?
§ Mr. Bennett
I do not believe that a dog warden or anyone else should be involved in the clearing up. The one person who should be responsible for clearing up after a dog is the owner. We need someone to enforce that. That is the advantage of the dog warden.
§ Mrs. Teresa Gorman (Billericay)
Is the hon. Gentleman aware of the "poopa scoopa" schemes operating in other countries and, I believe, on the Isle of Wight? Owners can get a plastic bag and a cardboard shovel from a little machine on a street corner and clear up after their dogs.
§ Mr. Bennett
I am aware of that scheme. I am disappointed that such a scheme does not apply in 99 per cent. of this country, but it would be exceptional for anyone to act responsibly enough to use that scheme.
If there was a proper dog warden system across the country, the warden would give advice and no doubt encourage schemes like the "poopa scoopa". I support the new clause but deplore the fact that the Government have not come forward with their own specific proposals.
§ Mr. Tony Marlow
If I may declare three brief interests, first I am vice-president of the League for the Introduction of Canine Controls. It is a very valuable organisation which seeks to direct public attention to some of the problems associated with dogs and the need to deal with those problems and also, of course, the welfare of dogs.
Secondly—I think that it was the day the Americans invaded Grenada or somewhere — I had the good fortune to have a ten-minute Bill on the subject of the control and the welfare of dogs. The Bill that I put before the House was very similar to the measure proposed in the new clause moved by the hon. Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Rooker) from the Opposition Front Bench. I am happy to say that on that occasion we had a vote and the overwhelming majority of the House— about 2:1—was in favour of a measure similar to that put forward by the hon. Gentleman today. I am disappointed that on an issue such as this, the Government have not seen fit to allow the House to have a free vote. I believe that on a free vote the measure would be overwhelmingly supported and passed.
That is an idea in its time and there is nothing quite as strong as an idea in its time. It is like movements on smoking, and anti-social smoking. Society has changed its view. It has moved and taken a new position, and so it is particularly in our urban areas with the nuisance of some dogs.
The third point of interest, I suppose, that I declare is that one of my sons as a small child picked up and was infected by the worm toxocara canis. As the hon. Member for Perry Barr said, 50 to 100 people a year are infected or damaged in some way by this disease. My son effectively lost the sight in one eye. It does happen. What the hon. Gentleman said is correct. It happened to my son when he was a small child. He knew nothing about it and he could do nothing to prevent it from happening to him.
People take their dogs — carelessly, sometimes casually—into public parks. The dogs defecate, and they 895 do not clear up after them. I am pleased to say that we are allowing local authorities to take measures, but they are still not complete.
The worm is in the faeces. It gets into the ground, and can stay dormant there for a long period. A small child, wandering or crawling around — perhaps having been eating a sweet—can pick up a bit of dirt in its fingers, suck its fingers and ingest the worm. It migrates throughout the system, and can cause epilepsy; it can also cause fits, asthma and—as I know, and my son knows —damage to the eyesight. That is a severe problem, and I believe that it is time that the Government addressed themselves to the issue more forcefully than by simply doing away with dog licences.
After noise — as I think that my hon. Friend the Minister would agree—the nuisance caused by dogs is about the biggest environmental problem that we face. That nuisance has been set out by many hon. Members, and I do not wish to go over the points that have already been made. Parks in many areas are disgraceful, however. Play areas where children go are covered in dog filth. If a mother wants to take her child into a play area, she has to watch every step that it takes. That is very unpleasant and distressing.
Blind people going for a walk using a stick can tell where the stick will take them, but not where they are going to put their feet or what they are going to tread in. When they go into their homes, they cross their carpets with the filth on their feet, because some anti-social person has allowed his dog to defecate on the pavement. We would not let human beings do it; why should we let dogs do it?
An increasing number of dangerous dogs are being kept not as pets or companions, but as macho symbols to build up the prestige of some little people in our society who want to frighten and humiliate others. That is something that dog wardens could keep an eye on.
There is also the problem of the latchkey dog. People get a dog at Christmas for a child, and are bored with it by Easter. They go out to work; they have a bored dog at home that they do not know what to do with; they open the door and let it out. It roams the streets, gets together with other dogs and forms a pack. They cause traffic accidents, or people are attacked: we often read of people being attacked by packs of dogs, and of children being savaged through people keeping the wrong sort of dogs in their homes.
Dog wardens would be able to start to deal with what is a growing problem in many urban areas. If we are to 896 have such a system, I think that we ought to allow local authorities to finance it. Different local authorities have different problems, and different local authorities have different perceptions of the problems. The beauty of the new clause is that it allows a sliding scale of licence fees. The areas with the worst problems could charge a higher licence fee, and thereby have a more effective and complete system of dog wardens for dealing with the problems of dogs—and not only that, but for helping people to see to the welfare of dogs that suffer and are badly looked after at present. They can provide advice and instruction for people thinking of getting dogs—
§ Mr. Marlow
If the hon. Gentleman thinks that it is Socialism, I do not think that he has been following the argument.
Let me make one further point. I have spoken about the latchkey dogs that are let out during the day to roam the streets. In my constituency, I often go around knocking on doors in the evening, canvassing—speaking to people, and feeling the pulse of the constituency to see what problems people have. One of the problems that is brought to me quite often is that of elderly ladies who dare not leave their houses during the day because if they do so a neighbour's dog will come bounding up and knock them over, having been left outside all day. What are we going to do about that?
I get in touch with a dog warden, because we have one in Northampton. We only have one, however, and we need more than that. The amendment would allow local authorities to introduce a proper system.
People say that we should not have a licence system. But what if rabies arrives here? How will we know where the dogs are? How will we control them? Is it really time, after 100 or so years, to throw out the system that would control any future menace from rabies? When it was introduced the licence cost 37½p—7s. 6d.—and in those days that constituted, for the working man, a week's wages.
What the hon. Member for Perry Barr is suggesting is that we should be allowed to increase the licence fee to £20, all of which would be spent on the control and welfare of dogs. I do not agree with every point in the hon. Gentleman's new clause, but it is courageous and worth supporting, and I certainly intend to do so.
Further consideration of the Bill adjourned. — [Mr. Howard.]
Bill, as amended (in the Standing Committee) to be further considered tomorrow.