§ House again in Committee (according to Order).
§ [The EARL OF DONOUGHMORE in the Chair.]
§ Clause 4:
§ Resolutions at further Polls.
§ 4.—(1) Where a poll has been taken, and such poll, or the declared result thereof, has not been declared void in terms of this Act, a further poll shall not be taken before the month of November in the third year from the date of the last poll.
§ (2) Such further poll may be taken—
- (a) if a no-change resolution is in force or a limiting resolution or no-licence resolution has been repealed, for the following options, that is to say, for a further no-change resolution or for a no-licence resolution or for a limiting resolution;
- (b) if a limiting resolution is in force, for the following options, that is to say, for the repeal or continuance of any such resolution or for a further limiting resolution or for a no-licence resolution, provided that if the repeal of any such resolution is not carried, the votes in favour of such repeal shall be added to those recorded in favour of a continuance resolution and shall be deemed to have been recorded in favour thereof; and
- (c) if a no-licence resolution is in force, for repealing the same.
§ (3) The provisions of section two of this Act, except as regards the questions to be submitted to the electors, shall apply to such further polls, provided that where a further poll is taken in any area where a limiting resolution or a no-licence resolution is in force and the majority of the votes recorded is not in favour of the repeal of such resolution, such repeal shall not be carried.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY moved, in paragraph (a), after the words "or a limiting resolution," to insert "or disinterested management resolution."
Page 3, line 37, after the first ("resolution") insert ("or disinterested management resolution")—(The Marquess of Salisbury.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY moved to insert similar words before "a limiting resolution" at the end of paragraph (a).
Page 3, line 40, after ("for") insert ("a disinterested management resolution or for").—(The Marquess of Salisbury.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.1113
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY moved, in paragraph (b), before the words "a no-licence resolution," to insert "a disinterested management resolution or for."
Page 4, line 4, after ("for") insert ("a disinterested management resolution or for").—(The Marquess of Salisbury.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
LORD BALFOUR OF BURLEIGH
I move to leave out the proviso in paragraph (b), which runs, "Provided that if the repeal of any such resolution is not carried, the votes in favour of such repeal shall be added to those recorded in favour of a continuance resolution and shall be deemed to have been recorded in favour thereof." I am quite aware that this Amendment is not pleasing to His Majesty's Government, but it seems to me on the whole to be practically consequential to what was done yesterday.
Page 4, lines 4 and 5, leave out from ("resolution") to the end of paragraph (b).—(Lord Balfour of Burleigh.)
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
I agree that the Amendment is consequential, and in those circumstances I offer no opposition to its insertion.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY moved the insertion of a new paragraph.
§ Amendment moved—"
Page 4, line 10, after ("and") insert:
("(c) if a disinterested management resolution is in force for the following options, that is to say for the repeal or continuance of any such resolution, or for a limiting resolution, or for a no-licence resolution ").—(The Marquess of Salisbury.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause 4, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 5:
§ Supplemental Provisions.
§ 5.—(1) The requisition for a poll shall be in the form set out in Schedule 1 of this Act, and shall be signed by not less than one-tenth of the electors in the area; and the signatures to the said requisition shall be appended thereto with the full addresses of the signatories, on papers which shall be issued on demand of any elector by the clerk to the local authority, not earlier than the 1114 fifteenth day of August immediately preceding the month in which the requisition is to be lodged; and such papers shall bear on each sheet the date of issue. The requisition shall be lodged during the month of September in any year with the clerk to the local authority, who shall thereupon insert, in not less than two newspapers circulating in the area, a notice of t he receipt of such requisition, and shall allow inspection of the requisition by any elector, but, after the requisition has been so lodged, no signatures thereto may be withdrawn.
§ (2) On the day on which a poll under this Act is taken in any area, alt the certificated premises in such area in which exciseable liquors are sold by retail shall remain closed for the sale of such liquors until after the hour fixed for the close of the poll, but nothing in this subsection contained shall prohibit the sale of such liquors to lodgers or to bonâ fide travellers taking meals on the premises in any room usually set apart for that purpose, for consumption therein at the meal, or the sale, distribution, or delivery of exciseable liquors under the conditions prescribed by section sixty-three of the Licensing (Scotland) ) Act, 1903.
§ (3) A poll shall be taken on any day not being a market day which the local authority may fix in the month either of November or of December immediately following the lodging of the requisition: Provided that in a county a poll shall he taken only in the year of a triennial election of county councillors except in the case of a poll held in the year in which a resolution under this Act is first competent; and provided further, that if a poll, or the declared result thereof, is by a judgment of the Court of Session declared void, the Court may, if they think fit, order the local authority to cause a new poll to be taken, or one-tenth of the electors in the area may, by requisition lodged with the clerk to the local authority within one month of the date of the judgment, demand a new poll, and the local authority shall thereupon forthwith cause such poll to be taken.
§ (4) Polls under this et shall be by ballot, and the Secretary for Scotland shall make rules for regulating the procedure with respect to requisitions and the taking of polls, and providing for the re-counting or scrutiny of the votes recorded on any poll when a demand is made therefor, and, without prejudice to the generality of the power hereby conferred, may by those rules apply for the purpose with any necessary modifications any enactments relating to Parliamentary or local government elections and to the prevention of corrupt and illegal practices thereat (including the penal provisions thereof):
§ Provided that where a poll is taken for the first time in any area, the ballot papers shall be in the form contained in Schedule 11 of this Act, with any modifications thereof to meet the circumstances of the case which may be sanctioned by the Secretary for Scotland, and in case of polls other than the first poll or in cases where there are no certificates or not more than one certificate in force in the area, in such forms as may be prescribed by the Secretary for Scotland, who shall fix a maximum scale for the expenses of a poll, and any expenses incurred within such scale by the local authority in connection with this Act shall be defrayed out of the county general purposes rate in counties (excluding police burghs) and the burgh general or police assessment in burghs, but shall not be reckoned in any calculation as to the statutory limit of such assessment.1115
§ (5) If any returning officer, presiding officer, clerk or officer of the local authority is guilty of any wilful act or omission in contravention of any of the provisions of this Act, or of any of the rules made by the Secretary for Scotland under this Act, he shall on summary conviction, in cases where no penalty is otherwise provided, be liable to a penalty not exceeding ten pounds for the first and twenty pounds for every succeeding offence.
§ (6) Every person who forges or procures the forgery of any signature to a requisition, or alters or defaces a requisition, or delivers to the clerk to the local authority any requisition knowing it to contain signatures which have been forged, or to have been altered or defaced in any way, shall be guilty of an offence, and shall be liable on summary conviction to a penalty not exceeding ten pounds, or, alternatively, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months with or without hard labour.
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
I move to leave out subsection (1) of this clause and to insert the new subsection standing in my name. I should like to call your Lordships' attention in the first instance to the words which now stand in the Bill. Under the clause, when any elector demands from the clerk to the local authority a requisition paper it has to be given to him, and then the requisition is to be lodged during the month of September and the clerk is to insert in not less than two newspapers a notice of the receipt of such requisition, and after that he is to allow inspection of the requisition by any elector, but the requisition having been so lodged no signatures thereto may be withdrawn. The first objection I have to the subsection as it now stands is this, that any one elector or any number of separate electors may call upon the clerk to issue a paper, and the clerk is bound apparently to issue a paper to any and all of them. Armed with these papers any electors may then sally forth and walk up and clown the street canvassing to an unlimited extent. It seems to me that canvassing ought as far as possible to be prohibited or at all events to be made difficult in this case, because, as we know, on this liquor question the persons who hold extreme opinions are very much given to canvassing. Then these persons come back with the papers, on one of which, perhaps, there may be a few names; on another a good many; and on a third some more. Those papers are to be handed to the clerk, who has no means whatever of knowing by what solicitations the signatures were obtained, nor, indeed, does he even know whether they are genuine. He has no means himself of testing the genuineness of any of the 1116 papers. Then it is proposed to be enacted that at the end of September he is to allow the inspection of these requisition papers by any elector. He must keep a large number of these papers because he cannot copy them. An elector who wishes to inspect them can only ascertain whether the signatures are genuine or not by seeing the originals, and as the original signatures may be on a number of papers it is quite clear that this is an inconvenient mode of proceeding. So much for the subsection as it stands.
I propose to substitute a subsection providing that on the demand of ten electors made on certain dates a requisition paper shall be prepared by the clerk to the local authority, who shall forthwith insert in the newspapers a notice that such paper is being publicly exhibited at his office, or at such fit and convenient place within the area to which the requisition applies as he shall in such notice specify, for signature and inspection, and that it will be removed on the 30th day of the month of September. Then it goes to the local authority, and if the local authority find that it has been signed by not less than one-tenth of the electors in the area the clerk to the local authority is thereupon to insert in not less than two newspapers circulating in the area a notice that such requisition has been duly made. These proposals of mine are, I think, reasonable and very moderate—at least I intend them to be so. With regard to the requirement that the demand should be made by ten electors, I would point out that it is not usual to provide that machinery such as this should be set in motion at the instance of one elector. Ten is a moderate number, because if there is any chance of the requisition being ultimately signed by one-tenth of the electors it stands to reason that it must be quite easy to get ten electors who will sign the paper in the fist instance. There seems to me another advantage, which is this. There will be only one requisition paper, and all the names will appear on the one paper. It will be in the office and any one can inspect it or sign the paper while it is hanging up. I have provided that this paper is to be exhibited in the office or in some such convenient place as the clerk shall specify.
The only objection it seems to me that there can be to my proposal is that under it an elector is made to walk to the 1117 convenient place and write down his name, and, of course, subsequently if a poll takes place he will also have to go to the poll to vote. I must say I think it is very much better that every one should be obliged to go to a place and write down his name, because there are a great many persons who, if a friend comes in with a paper and says "Will you sign this?" or, in the case of a shopkeeper, if some large customer comes in awl says "I wish you would sign this paper," would very likely sign it without taking any great interest in the matter. I think that a poll of this sort ought only to proceed on a requisition by persons who are really in, earnest about it. If any person really is in earnest—and I believe those who hold strong opinions in this matter are almost all in earnest—I do not think he will consider it a great hardship to be obliged to go and enter his name in an office instead of putting it on a paper brought round by somebody else. But if it be a hardship to these people to have to walk to this place to write down their names, think how much more trouble they are giving to all the persons who do not take any interest in the matter and whom they are going to put to the trouble of having a poll. Think what expense they are going to put the local authority to in holding this poll. For these reasons I think the subsection which I propose is better than the one now in the clause, and I hope that His Majesty's Government will give it favourable consideration.
§ Amendment moved—
Page 4, line 20, leave out subsection (1) and insert the following new subsection:
(1) The requisition for a poll shall be made upon a requisition paper which shall be in the form set out in Schedule I of this Act and shall be signed by not less than one-tenth of the electors in the area who shall append their full addresses. On the demand of ten electors made not earlier than the fifteenth day of August or later than the twenty-fifth day of August next preceding the date on which a poll can be taken under this Act a requisition paper shall be prepared by the clerk to the local authority who shall forthwith insert in not less than two newspapers circulating in the district a notice that such paper is being publicly exhibited at his thee, or at such fit and convenient place within the area to which the requisition applies as he shall in such notice specify for signature and inspection until the thirtieth day of the next following month of September when it will be removed. If the requisition paper shall be found by the local authority to have been duly signed by not less than one-tenth of the electors in the area, the clerk to the local authority shall thereupon insert in not less than two newspapers
circulating in the area a notice that such requisition has been duly made."—(The Earl of Camperdown.)
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
As your Lordships will have realised from the explanation which the noble Earl gave of his Amendment, there are really two questions involved in it. One is whether the local authority shall be given the power of supervision, and the other is the question of the requisition. I think from what happened on Monday night when we first went into Committee on this Bill the noble Earl realises that we are quite willing to give way to him in regard to the local authority. We provide in Clause 5 that the Secretary for Scotland shall make rules for regulating the procedure with regard to requisitions and the taking of polls, but we are quite willing to meet the noble Earl on that point. Therefore we are prepared to agree to that part of this Amendment which deals with the local authority having supervision. We cannot, however, meet him on the other point. I agree that when it comes to a poll it is not unfair to ask electors to go to the polling place and there give their vote. What the noble Earl wishes is that a similar procedure should be gone through with regard to the requisition. That is not the view of His. Hajesty's Government. We think that the requisition might be brought to the electors and that it is unnecessary to force the electors to go to the requisition. That really is the point of difference between the noble Earl and ourselves. When the requisition has been signed, if it is signed by the right number, there is every opportunity for the voters who object to any of the schemes set forward to vote against it. If the promoters of the requisition are misguided in thinking there is a desire for a limiting resolution, then at the polling place the electors of the area will have an opportunity of expressing their opinion. In those circumstances, considering what full opportunity there is for them and what a large majority is necessary, I do not think it is an unfair thing to give those who are anxious for a reduction of licences this small favour, that the requisition should be taken to them rather than that they should be obliged to go to the place mentioned by the noble Earl.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
The noble Earl referred to the question of canvassing, and this question was also referred to in another place. I have more respect for the electors of Scotland than to think that they would be willing, as the noble Earl imagines, to place their names to a requisition with which they did not agree. The noble Earl seems to think that the people of Scotland would willingly sign a requisition with which they did not agree. There I join issue with him. I think we may fairly trust the electors to put their names to the requisition if they think it desirable, but, if not, to refuse to do so.
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
I did not say that they would sign a paper with which they did not agree. What I said was that they might sign a paper in which they took no particular interest.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
It is satisfactory to observe that with regard to this Amendment the noble Earl in charge of the Bill has been able to meet my noble friend at any rate half way, but I would ask him to consider whether in regard to the other half of my noble friend's proposal there is any cause for the refusal which he has just given. The machinery provided by this clause really does seem to be contrived in the interest of a small number of busybodies and extremists who might desire to press this question of total prohibition upon the electorate. Under the clause one single elector can go to the clerk to the local authority, and, as I understand the Bill, the clerk has no right to refuse him a paper. He is obliged on request to issue these papers. Thereupon the single elector or the single elector and a few of his friends may go the round of the area, they may have a sort of house-to-house visitation, a sort of visitation which might very easily fade into something like persecution; and in time end they obtain a collection of signatures which nobody is able to verify at the moment, a number of which may be bogus signatures, and armed with these papers thus signed they are able to set the whole of the machinery of the Bill in motion. That seems to me a very untenable proposal. Take the counter proposal of my noble friend. Is there any hardship in asking people who feel strongly on this matter to go to the clerk's office and sign the papers there in circumstances which render it perfectly clear that the signature is a genuine one? 1120 I am bound to say that if my noble friend presses his Amendment I shall support him with a conviction of the soundness of his arguments.
I hope my noble friend will go to a Division on his Amendment. I do not wish to add anything to what has been already said, but it is obvious what would happen. A person taking a paper through a village or town would very easily get signatures from people who would not think what they were signing. To oblige a friend they would put their names down, and the whole thing would be clone without any thought. It is much better that, as suggested in the Amendment, the signing of the requisition should be done in the town clerk's office. I therefore hope my noble friend will press his Amendment.
THE LORD PRIVY SEAL AND SECRETARY OF STATE FOR INDIA (THE MARQUESS OF CREWE)
I fear, my Lords, it is impossible for His Majesty's Government to give way on this particular point. The noble Marquess opposite has stated that the procedure proposed in the Bill would give opportunities to a small number of busybodies to go round and either cajole or force the sufficient number of electors to join in a requisition for a poll. If that were so, those busybodies would entirely defeat their own object. The poll would take place, and ex hypothesi not sufficient interest would be taken by the voters to carry probably even a limiting resolution far less a no-licence resolution, and the only result of the busybodies' action would be that things would remain as they were until such period as a poll could be again taken—from their point of view a long interval. On the other hand, it undoubtedly will be held by a great number of people that the object of this Amendment being inserted in the Pill is to put a spoke in the wheel of taking a local option resolution at all. The idea will undoubtedly be held by many friends of temperance in Scotland that the object of the Amendment is to hamper the working of the Act by obliging people at some personal inconvenience to go in some cases possibly a considerable distance in order to make this preliminary inquiry whether they may not be allowed to exercise their local option right. I feel convinced that that would be taken by many to be the object of the noble Earl's Amendment, and for that reason it is impossible for His Majesty's Government to consent to it.
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
The noble Marquess who has just spoken has put to us the case of a certain few busybodies who succeed in getting a poll but discover at the poll that really they have no support. He said the busybodies would be acting against their own interests. But I put it to him that there is also the interest of the ratepayers. Here you will have an election for no purpose except to show that there are very few people in
§ Resolved in the negative, and Amendment agreed to accordingly.
Page 6, line 10, leave out from the second ("requisition") to ("shall") in line 13.—(The Earl of Camperdown.)
§ Clause 5, as amended, agreed to.
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
I ask your Lordships to insert, after Clause 5, a new clause establishing a Scottish Licence Holders Central Insurance Board and also
§ favour of this proposal. I do not think the noble Marquess could have produced an instance which could tell more against himself than the one he has just produced. I shall venture to ask your Lordships to divide.
§ On Question, whether the words proposed to be left out shall stand part of the clause?
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 26; Not-Contents, 44.1121
|Haldane, V. (L. Chancellor.)||Sandhurst, L. (L. Chamberlain.)||Reay, L.|
|Crewe, M. (L. Privy Seal.)||Rotherham, L.|
|Armitstead, L.||Rowallan, L.|
|Boston, L.||St. Davids, L.|
|Beauchamp, E.||Channing, L.||Shaw, L|
|Craven, E. [Teller.]||Colebrooke, L.||Stanley of Alderley, L. (L. Sheffield.)|
|Russell, E.||Eversley, L.|
|Spencer, E.||Haversham, I..||Stewart of Carlies, L. (E. Galloway.)|
|Herschell, L. [Teller.]|
|MacDonnell, L.||Strachie, L.|
|Allendale, V.||Pontypridd, L.||Welby, L.|
|Devonshire, D.||Vane, E. (M. Londonderry.)||Hindlip, L.|
|Marlborough, D.||Westmeath, E.||Kenmare, L. (E. Kenmare.)|
|Abercorn, M. (D. Abercorn.)||Hampden, V.||Kintore, L. (E. Kintore.)|
|Lansdowne, M.||Lawrence, L. [Teller.]|
|Linlithgow, M.||Ashbourne, L.||Monk Bretton, L.|
|Salisbury, M.||Avebury, L.||Muskerry, L.|
|Belhaven and Stenton, L.||Oriel, L (V. Massereene.)|
|Camperdown, E. [Teller.]||Belper, L.||Oranmore and Browne, L.|
|Cathcart, E.||Brave, L.||Plunket, L.|
|Cromer, E.||Brodrick, L. (V. Midleton.)||Redesdale, L.|
|Grey, E.||Clanwilliam, L. (E. Clanwilliam.)||Ritchie of Dundee, L.|
|Lytton, E.||Colchester, L.||Saltoun, L.|
|Minto, E.||Desart, L. (E. Desart.)||Sanderson, L.|
|Northesk, E.||Dunmore, L. (E. Dunmore.)||Shute, L. (V. Barrington.}|
|Shaftesbury, E.||Greville, L.||Silchester, L. (E. Longford.)|
On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ a mutual insurance association or associations. In explaining this clause it will be necessary for me to refer to Schedule III which stands in my name on the Order Paper, and if your Lordships will give me permission to do that you will be saved the trouble of a second speech from me. I wish, in the first place, to explain that this is a proposal for insurance and not one for compensation. Compensation, as we know, is frequent in the English Act, but the word "compensation" with reference to Scotland has been very much objected to, and I wish your Lordships to keep in mind that this is a clause absolutely for the purpose of insurance by the licence-holders for their own interests and in some degree to meet the loss which they may very probably incur under this Bill. This clause does not interfere in any way with the working of the Bill or the options 1123 given under it. In fact, it really may be almost said to be next to outside the Bill. That is common ground. It was admitted by the Government in another place, and I have no doubt the noble Earl in charge of the Bill will also admit it here.
§ This scheme, I may explain, is no proposal of mine. It is the joint product of the Scottish Licence Holders Mutual Insurance Association (the large mutual insurance association of the licensing trade and a voluntary association), and of the Scottish Licensing Trade Defence Association. I wish also to remind your Lordships that in this clause the Government are asked for no guarantee. Indeed, the Government are only once mentioned in the proposal, and that is when it is provided that the regulations made by tile central board are to be approved and confirmed by the Secretary for Scotland. The only thing that this clause does is to ask Parliament to place compulsion behind an insurance which is set up by the licence-holders themselves to meet the possible losses under the Act.
§ I may go at once, I think, to my proposed Schedule III, which contains the proposal of the clause. If your Lordships will look at Clause 1 of the schedule you will see that it provides that before May 28 after the passing of the Bill every holder of a certificate shall become a member of a mutual insurance association, and one of the objects of the association is to be the insuring of every member of the association against loss arising from the withdrawal of his certificate by reason of a resolution under this Bill. Then follows the numbers of the association according as the association consists of "on" or "off" licensees or the two combined. Then Clause 2 of the schedule provides that the application to become insured shall contain a declaration of the value (hereinafter called the "declared value") of the certificate to be insured and such further particulars as the association may require. I wish to say a word to your Lordships presently about declared value. The next point is the amount of the premium which is to be payable to the association by each of its members. The schedule standing in my name provides that the premium payable to an association in respect of the insurance of a certificate shall be an annual premium payable in advance and not exceeding ½ per centum 1124 of the declared value as the central board established under this schedule may determine. I call attention to these words because you will see that after the central board are called upon it will be their duty to lay down the principles upon which this declared value is to be based.
§ Clause 4 of the schedule establishes the central board, which is to consist of nine members, to be increased ultimately to a number not exceeding twenty-one. The first board is to hold office for not more than two years, and they are to be elected by certain trades and in a certain way. Then within three months of the passing of the Act the secretary of the Licensed Trade Defence Association shall receive nominations for membership and proceed to the election of a central board, and the way in which they are to be elected is set forth. Then we come to the duties of the central board. Clause 5 of the schedule provides that within twelve months of the passing of this Bill the central board are to make rules prescribing, among other things, (1) the principles on which the declared value of certificates is to be ascertained, and (2) the manner of subsequent election and the number of members of the board. That gives you the constitution of the central board and their duties. They are to make these rules, and every such rule is subject to the approval of the Secretary for Scotland. It is on this occasion, and on this occasion only, on which there is any mention of the Government in the scheme.
§ Then what is to be the income of the central board? Your Lordships will find that in Clause 6 of the schedule. It is there provided that on or before June 30 in each year every association shall pay to the central board 8s. 6d. per centum. That is 8s. 6d. out of the 10s. which is the ½ per cent. they are allowed to levy for that purpose, and all this 8s. 6d. is to be paid by the association to the central board. Your Lordships will see, in subsection (2) of Clause 6 of the schedule, that the amounts received in respect of premiums paid by holders of certificates shall be carried by the central board to two separate accounts to be called respectively "The On-Licence Holders' Insurance Fund" and "The Off-Licence Holders' Insurance Fund." The central board will have the management of these funds and the investment thereof, and the whole of 1125 the said funds are to be applied to the payment of claims as provided by the Bill; and it is further provided that these two funds are to be kept separate, no portion of the on-licence holders' fund is to be applied to claims under the off-licence holders' fund, and vice versa.
§ Next comes the question of claims, and that is to be found in Clause 7 of the schedule, which provides that the claims payable by the central board to an association shall in no case exceed the declared values of certificates insured with such association; and then in the following subsection it is provided that if the available funds of the central board are insufficient the claims of the members of each association against each fund shall be proportionately abated. In Clause 8 you will find that where in any year the respective amounts paid over by the central board are insufficient, to enable an association to pay in full the respective claims of its "off" and "on" members, the directors of an association shall impose upon the on-licence holders or off-licence holders, as the case may require, a levy not exceeding 1½ per centum of the declared value in respect of which each member is insured; and if the proceeds of that levy are insufficient to pay in full the claims in respect of which it was made, the unpaid balance of the claims shall be carried forward for the two following years, and in each of those years, if necessary, the like levy shall be made. Then it is provided in Clause 8, subsection (3), that after the distribution in the third year all claims shall be deemed to have been discharged, so that a claim cannot run on for longer than three years. Those are the main features of the scheme, and that is all I think I need trouble your Lordships with on that subject at the present moment.
§ Your Lordships will see, first of all, that in this scheme compulsion is made universal, for a licence-holder must belong to an association. He must be liable in the first instance to a payment of ½ per cent., and he will be compulsorily liable. In order to justify compulsion I may mention to your Lordships that one of the two associations which is putting this scheme forward is a voluntary association which really conducts at the present time the whole voluntary insurance of the licensed trade in Scotland. When this scheme was first devised the Mutual was opposed 1126 to the scheme, but it has since come to see that it was impossible to work on any other than a compulsory system. The Mutual has therefore changed its mind and is now supporting this scheme, and is, in fact, the joint author of it, because it has been altered in several particulars to meet their wishes.
§ I now come to the question of declared value, about which said I would say a few words. In the first place, your Lordships must remember that this declared value—to which it is not at all unlikely that some persons may take exception because they may think that it may give rise to future claims—is only ad hoc. It is for the purpose of insurance, and is simply applied by the insured persons for their own benefit and for their own purposes only; it will have no force outside this insurance scheme, and also the principles upon which this declared value is to be fixed are to be settled by the central board subject to the approval of the Secretary for Scotland. It may reasonably be said that persons might be likely to put in a very high declared value for reasons of their own, but on the other hand your Lordships must remember that in the first instance they will have to pay on a high value their ½ per cent., and if subsequently further money is required they will be liable to a levy of a further 1½ per cent. by their own association. I am not going to trouble your Lordships with any detailed figures with regard to this scheme because I cannot give any, and, besides, I know your Lordships are not fond of having estimates as to probable results. But for the sake of argument let us suppose that the declared value of all the licences in Scotland is £10,000,000. A ½ per cent. on that will be £50,000, and that sum will be increased by the number of years of time limit which is inserted in this Bill. The time limit, of course, will not apply to the 1½ per cent. levy of the association. That is a matter entirely by itself. No doubt the noble Earl will tell me if I have omitted anything, but so far as I have been able to I think I have explained the scheme fairly fully to your Lordships.
Now what is the Government attitude with regard to this question of compulsory insurance? I have been at a loss to discover it. Hitherto they have behaved very much with regard to this question of compulsory insurance as the noble Earl
in charge of the Bill did yesterday with regard to the case of disinterested management. They highly approve in words of compulsory insurance, but as soon as it comes to inserting it into the Bill they object to it altogether. Just let us see how the Lord Advocate treated this matter in the first instance. On the Second Reading of the Bill in the other House he said—
The question of compulsory insurance has always presented itself to me in two aspects—first, as an indispensable act of justice to a dispossessed publican; and, secondly, as a method of smoothing the path to the passing of a no-licence resolution.
He could not speak more favourably than that. Yet afterwards in Committee he threw obstacles in the way of every proposal that was made. The Secretary for Scotland also opposed every scheme which was submitted, but on the Third Reading he stoutly maintained that he was not an enemy to compulsory insurance. He said—
If the trade can prove to Parliament that compulsion is necessary, and that, if not the whole trade, a large majority are in favour of compulsory insurance, I not only would not view it with hostility but with a benevolent eye. It must not be said, therefore, that I am hostile to the trade insuring itself.
The trade is asking your Lordships to insert in the Bill this schedule which enables the trade to insure itself.
§ What have the Government's objections been in the other House to compulsory insurance? In the first place, it was said that this is not a complete or substantial indemnity. Those who have put forward this scheme have not pretended for a moment that it would furnish a complete indemnity; they do not even say that it will give a substantial indemnity; but what they do say is that whatever it amounts to, whether the amount of insurance be large or small, whatever the amount may be, to that extent it is an alleviation of the loss which the publicans will sustain if they are not insured. Then, in the next place, it has been said that if the Government allow this schedule to go into the Bill it will imply that the Government in some way or another guarantee the soundness or the solvency of the scheme. There is not one word said about the Government from beginning to end, and I venture to think that if the Government wish that it should be expressly stated that they have nothing to do with this, though I 1128 should think any such words entirely superfluous, I do not know that I should offer any objection to their insertion.
The third objection—and this really is the important one—was taken by the Lord Advocate. He said—
Have we any figures to show that there really is a substantial majority of the trade in favour of this scheme?
The two associations have done their best to ascertain what the feeling of the trade was. In the month of October, while the Bill was in the other House, they sent round a circular to the individuals in the trade. I may say that in Scotland there are 5,000 odd publicans, 1,600 odd hotel-keepers, and 3,600 odd grocers—in all there are 10,475 licensed persons in Scotland. A sort of plebiscite was addressed to the individual traders, and this was the circular—
I am [or am not] in favour of a compulsory insurance scheme for the Scottish trade whereby licensees pay on their declared annual licence value a yearly premium for compensation, secured wholly or partly, as the fund will permit, to licensees losing their licences under the operation of this Bill.
In response to that plebiscite 3,778 publicans, hotel-keepers, and grocers—I can give your Lordships the relative numbers if you like—answered that they were in favour of such a scheme, and 436 said that they were not in favour. That was while the Bill was in the House of Commons. But after your Lordships had read the Bill a second time, on November 9 they issued another circular. This time they issued the circular to the associations, of which there are eighty-nine, and up to yesterday eighty-four replies had been received. The five associations from whom no reply was received have 140 members. Replies in favour of this scheme were received from seventy-nine associations with a membership of 7,575, and five associations with a membership of 535 replied that they were against it. Therefore these two bodies who are promoting this scheme have done their best to furnish to Parliament the information which Parliament desired. I must say it seems to me that so far as figures go, though we all know that figures are not always reliable, they have at all events proved this, that there really is a substantial majority of the trade in favour of this scheme. I beg to move.
Insert the following new clause:
§ "Insurance of certificates.
§ "6.—(1) There shall be established in accordance with the provisions of the Third Schedule to this Act a Scottish Licence Holders Central Insurance Board and also a mutual insurance association or associations, and every holder of a certificate shall insure in one or other of such associations.
§ "(2) The insurance of certificates shall be carried out in accordance with the provisions set out in the Third Schedule to this Act, and the holder of any new certificate granted after the passing of this Act in respect of any premises which are not certificated at the time of the application for such grant, and not being premises in substitution for certificated premises from which a certificate is withdrawn, shall make the payments prescribed in the Third Schedule to this Act.
§ "(3) A person from whom a certificate is withdrawn in pursuance of a resolution under this Act may demand the declared value of the certificate insured by him in accordance with the scheme of insurance set forth in the Third Schedule to this Act, and may, subject to the provisions of such scheme, recover the moneys payable to him thereunder.
§ "(4) No excise licence for the sale by retail of excisable liquor shall be granted by the Commissioners of Customs and Excise or by any officer of Customs and Excise except upon the production by the person authorised to hold the licence of a receipt for the insurance of his certificate for the year to which the licence relates, and in the case of the holder of a new certificate, as described in Subsection (2) of this section, except upon the production also of a receipt for any payment then due from such person in accordance with the Third Schedule to this Act.
§ "(5) This section shall take effect as from the passing of this Act."—(The Earl of Camperdown.)
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
The noble Earl, in the course of the speech in which he has moved this Amendment, has, I think, fully explained to your Lordships the reasons which have led him to put it on the Notice Paper; and the researches which he has made in the debates in another place have also supplied him, I think, with most of the arguments with which I intended to reply. But there was one point on which I am disappointed he did not dilate. I had hoped to hear why in his opinion it was necessary that this insurance scheme should be a compulsory scheme, and why it should not have been a voluntary scheme. That was the point upon which His Majesty's Government laid very great stress, and upon which certainly, speaking for myself and I think for other members of your Lordships' House, we should have been glad to hear from the noble Earl a good deal more. That is really the point at issue between us.
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
I think I did say that the Mutual association, which is a voluntary association and was in the first instance opposed to the scheme, had found that it was impossible to proceed otherwise than by compulsion, and had conic round and was now actually promoting the scheme.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
That is the point. The noble Earl tells us they found it necessary, but he has not told us why they found it necessary.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
I do think that on this occasion, when the point at issue between us is just that point—whether or not this should be placed in the Bill as a compulsory insurance scheme—we should have been glad to hear more from the noble Earl on that particular point. In connection with this scheme I shall follow the example, which has been set on several occasions in discussing this Bill, of discussing at the same time the other Amendments connected with this Amendment and touch upon the schedule standing in the name of Lord Camperdown, which is an essential part of the noble Earl's scheme. There is an important point in that scheme to which I should like to draw attention in the first place, and that is that in Clause 9 the noble Earl proposes that the licence-hollers of new premises or those who get new certificates shall in future pay a capital sum equivalent to the capital value of the licence—that is to say, the monopoly value of the new licence. It is interesting to notice to whom the noble Earl says that this sum shall be paid. Under his scheme it is to be paid into the compensation fund, but in England the monopoly value of a new licence is payable to the Exchequer. The noble Earl, therefore, is asking your Lordships to agree to a step which I think is somewhat extreme so far as it goes and beyond anything which temperance reformers in England would agree to. He suggests that this monopoly value should go to the trade rather than to the Exchequer, as it does in England at the present time.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
The noble Earl in Clause 9 of his proposed schedule says that the value of the new certificate is to be paid into the central assurance fund.
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
I omitted any reference to Clause 9 purposely, because that refers only to a particular case. The scheme itself is exclusive of Clause 9. And might I point out that owing to the change which your Lordships made yesterday this particular clause will have to be reconsidered, or rather there must be something put into the Bill to make Clause 9 harmonise with the rest of the Bill. Clause 9 of the schedule, to which the noble Earl is alluding, refers to a particular case—"the holder of a new certificate for premises not certified at the time of the application." It has nothing to do with the insurance fund, which is the real object of this scheme.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
There is no point of difference, as I understand, between us. It is perfectly clear that under Clause 9 this sum of money is to be paid into the insurance fund. That is all I was urging, and I was drawing the distinction between what he proposes should be done in Scotland and what is dome at the present moment in England. If the noble Earl thinks that some further Amendment is necessary in view of what was done in Committee last night, he will no doubt withdraw this particular clause when we come to the schedule and bring it up in a new form on Report.
There is a still more important point to which I should like to draw the attention of your Lordships. The insured person, as the noble Earl told us, may demand the declared value of the certificate insured by him, and the noble Earl explained that that was an ad hoc term which had no force outside this insurance scheme. I agree with the noble Earl, and I rather doubt whether it will have much force inside the insurance scheme either, because there is no provision that the insured person will receive either the declared value itself or anything like it. The noble Earl has himself recognised that, because at the end of Clause 3 he uses another term. He says there that the licence-holder may, subject to the provisions of the scheme, recover, not the declared value, but the moneys payable to him thereunder. Not only in the Bill itself but also in the plebiscite which was 1132 submitted to the licence-holders in Scotland it might have been made rather clearer that although they were to insure for the declared value there was no certainty of any sort or kind that they would receive anything like it under the noble Earl's scheme. I confess that after the last Amendment on which we voted I was rather shocked to hear of the plebiscite to which the noble Earl referred. He sent postcards round to the licence-holders. I should have expected after what he said on the last Amendment that he would have—
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
I should have thought, after what the noble Earl said on the last Amendment, that he would not have approved but would have disapproved of postcards being sent round to the individuals concerned, and would have expected that they should have been required to go and sign the plebiscite in some almost inaccessible place perhaps several miles away from their residence. But circumstances alter cases. What is good enough for licence-holders and convenient for them is not to be the system applied when it is a case of reducing licences under the Bill. Then we come to the quotation which the noble Earl has made from what was said by my right hon. friend on this question of insurance. His Majesty's Government have no objection to a scheme of voluntary insurance, and in view of the large numbers who, as the noble Earl tells us, are in favour of the scheme I cannot see any difficulty in getting a Private Bill which would secure the institution of such a fund as the noble Earl desires. If a Bill of that kind were promoted there would be every opportunity for those who objected to come forward, but as we understand from the noble Earl there would be exceedingly few, if any, objectors. I fail to see in these circumstances why the voluntary system should not be of equal value, at any rate, to the compulsory one. I would suggest to the noble Earl that it would then become more obvious that what they would be likely to receive under the insurance scheme would be nothing like the declared value of which he has already told us.
It is perfectly true, as the noble Earl himself said, that insurance is not compensation nor anything like compensation, 1133 and it would have been of very much greater service to all those concerned if, in suggesting a scheme of compulsory insurance, the association to which the noble Earl referred had also allowed the licence-holders to have some idea of the amount which they were likely to receive. His Majesty's Government cannot deny that if a compulsory scheme of this kind is put into the Act there would be at any rate a moral expectation on the part of those who insured under it that they would receive something like the full value of their licences. We do not believe that it is possible for them to get anything like it under the figures which have been suggested at various times, and in those circumstances His Majesty's Government feel that there would be, rightly or wrongly, an expectation on the part of the licence-holders that His Majesty's Government would come to their rescue and out of the funds at their disposal make up the difference between the two sums. That, of course, is a position which it is quite impossible for His Majesty's Government to accept.
There is another danger that I referred to yesterday, though the noble Marquess opposite, Lord Salisbury, did not seem to think it a serious matter—that is with reference to reduction. It is that reduction is to become conditional on there being an adequate amount of compensation in the funds. That was the point yesterday. I think it is not unfair to say that there would be a general unwillingness to further this scheme of reduction if expectations had been held out of a considerable sum being given under this insurance scheme, and that there was no prospect of a reasonable sum being received under the scheme itself. In those circumstances the mere fact that there was not enough money in the insurance fund to compensate might easily act as a deterrent to this matter of reduction. Then there is the influence of the scheme upon disinterested management, upon which, I hope, we may hear something from noble Lords who are well qualified to speak of the burden it would place on their funds. But so far as His Majesty's Government, are concerned, with their readiness to support the voluntary scheme they are unable to agree to this, because, in their opinion, it would not give such a real and substantial compensation as would be necessary if His Majesty's Government were concerned in the scheme at all.
THE EARL OF LYTTON
There is one question that I would like to ask my noble friend Lord Camperdown. It arises out of the speech we have heard from the noble Earl who has just spoken. He repeatedly stated that under this scheme the declared value of the licence would not be obtained by the licence-holder who resorted to this fund. I am not sure that I quite understand the noble Earl's Amendment. If your Lordships will turn to subsection (3) of Lord Camperdown's Amendment you will see it there stated—A person from whom a certificate is withdrawn in pursuance of a resolution under this Act may demand the declared value of the certificate.Then if you turn s to the proposed Schedule III further on you will see in subsection (2) (if Clause 7—If the available fun is of the central board are insufficient, the claims of the members of each association against each fund shall be proportionately abated.That bears out what was said by the noble Earl in charge of the Bill just now, that though the licence-holder may demand the full declared value of the licence, if the funds are insufficient he shall not receive the full amount. Then we pass on to Clause 8 of Lord Camperdown's proposed schedule, where provision is made for a special ad hoc levy in those cases where the main fund is not sufficient to supply the whole amount, and at the bottom of the page—subsection (2)—we are told, "If the proceeds of the levy"—I suppose this refers to the special ad hoc levy?
THE EARL OF LYTTON
The subsection runs—If the proceeds of the levy are insufficient to pay in full the claims in respect of which it was made, the unpaid balance of the claims shall be carried forward for the two following years, and in each of these years, if necessary, the like levy shall be made and the proceeds thereof shall be applied to the payment of all outstanding claims.I am afraid that under this arrangement you will be placing upon the funds in each year a lien in respect of unpaid funds of one or two years' standing in the past. It seems to me that this subsection of the noble Earl's schedule is designed to enable the holder of the certificate who loses his certificate under a reduction resolution to obtain his declared value, if not by the insurance fund, at any rate by the ad hoc fund which will be raised under Clause 8.
THE EARL OF LYTTON
What I am afraid of is this, that if you place this burden, if I may call it so, upon the insurance fund in respect of claims of past years you will be approaching to the position we are in in England with regard to the Compensation Act—you will only be able to carry out the payments if the funds are forthcoming. As I understood the main object of the insurance scheme proposed by my noble friend, if the funds are not there the claim would have to be abated and the holder of the certificate would only receive what money was available. Therefore I should like some explanation of the meaning of this unpaid balance which is to run for two years, and which will apparently become rather a severe burden on the general insurance fund set up by the Amendment.
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
I do not know whether your Lordships wish me to answer the question of the noble Earl now or postpone it. Of course this is a question with regard to a matter of detail in the scheme and does not refer to the scheme as a whole. I think it would work in this way. The central fund, in the first place, would be possessed of 8s. 6d., which is divided among the on-licence holders' fund and the off-licence holders' fund, and, of course, the respective amount due to the associations under each. To that extent they would be able to call on their individual fund. Supposing the central fund to be insufficient to pay the whole, then there would be a special levy by the particular association of 1½ per cent. on its members. If that was not sufficient to pay the whole in the first year a similar levy would be made in the second, and if the same thing continued a similar assessment would be made in the third year. If by the third assessment the matter were not completely paid off then all liability would cease. But your Lordships will remember it had never been contended by the persons who put forward this scheme—speaking of the scheme as a whole—that it was a complete relief. All that they said was that so far as the money went it would be a relief. It is a matter, of course, affecting the whole trade, and the trade who put this forward are content with 1136 it, and if they are content with it I do not see that the fact that it is not sufficient to pay twenty shillings in the pound is any reason why your Lordships should not allow them to have that which they say they wish to have.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
I think the confusion into which one or two members of your Lordships' House seem for a moment to have fallen has arisen through the mistake of drawing any analogy whatever between the scheme which has been submitted by my noble friend and the scheme in the English Act. They proceed from a totally different basis. I noticed that even the noble Earl in charge of the Bill, who is a master of this subject, fell into that very mistake. The system under the English Act is this. You have a certain sum of money, and you are only allowed to take away licences so far as that money goes. The amount of the money limits the number of licences that you can take away. That is the provision of the Act of Parliament with which those of us who sit on licensing committees are very familiar. Here it is directly the contrary. The authorities take away what licences they like up to any figure, and the insurance is made to go as far as the insurance will go. If there are a great many licences taken away then there will be less money paid by way of insurance. That necessarily must be so. If there are fewer licences taken away then there will be more money available.
But in any case those who take away the licences—that is the electors under the Bill we are discussing—will not be limited in any degree. They may take away under that very absurd limiting resolution, which is fixed at 25 per cent., the 25 per cent., or they may take away all the licences under a no-licence resolution, or under the decision of your Lordships yesterday they may hand over a certain number of licences to disinterested management. They may do anything they like. They have an absolutely free hand, and are not limited or hampered in the least degree by the amount of money there may be in the insurance fund. After that has been decided you say to the insurance fund, "To what extent can you pay the declared value of these particular licences?" and as far as that money will go so it will be used. That is the scheme 1137 of my noble friend. There is a provision that if the central fund is not sufficient then the claim must be abated. Then when you go to the local fund, if you find that the levy of 1½ per cent. in three successive years is not sufficient, in that case the unfortunate dispossessed licensee must do without the balance of his insurance. That is the provision. Of course it is an unfortunate and unjust position, but beggars cannot be choosers. Those whom my noble friend represents have not got the money for the full value of the licences, and therefore they have to go short.
I should have thought that the pitiful position in which the rejected licensees are placed would have moved the pity of the noble Earl. On the contrary, he did not seem to think that it mattered in the least whether they got any money or not. The noble Earl opposite used the word "compensation," but the insurance money imposed by my noble friend is not sufficient for these licensees. Therefore, say the Government, sitting comfortably on their Benches and enjoying their salaries, "These people shall have nothing at all, they can go without; or perhaps a Private Bill can be brought in a little later, and that may get through." That is, I think, a very ungenerous way of treating this matter. These licensees are really deserving of pity. It may be in the public interest in Scotland for the licences to be reduced, but I certainly think it is a great pity that these men who have been earning an honest living up till now should be rejected without any means of compensation. My noble friend comes forward and produces a scheme which provides perhaps half of what they might be expected to get, and yet the Government will not meet us. They have, on every Amendment proposed to meet this, found what they consider to be excellent reasons for doing nothing at all. I am sure that what the noble Earl has said does not represent his real sentiments; he has only been putting forward official sentiments. I hope that when he comes to consider this important point he will see that this is a matter that deserves consideration, and I trust that the Government may be able to find some scheme which will help these unfortunate people. It appears from my noble friend's statement that this scheme has the consent of the vast majority of the persons concerned. Therefore as regards the details as affecting them we 1138 have not a very grave responsibility as to their particular form. The persons interested have considered them and have come to a conclusion by a vast majority—70 per cent., I think, of the whole of the licence-holders in Scotland—that they are satisfied with this scheme; and as to the balance of 30 per cent., I think I am accurate in saying that a large number of them have not voted against the scheme but have merely refrained from voting at all. Therefore I think we are absolved from looking at the details too closely. As long as the interested persons are satisfied surely that ought to be sufficient.
I have only one word more to say, and that is about disinterested management. Undoubtedly if your Lordships think well to assent to this particular provision the Amendment concerning disinterested management to which we agreed last night will have to be to some extent modified, and I undertake myself to propose to your Lordships at a future stage as to how it should be modified. I do not think that it will want much, but it will want certain modification in order to bring it into line with this scheme, and if your Lordships will allow me I will produce that at the next stage of the Bill.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR (VISCOUNT HALDANE)
The noble Marquess has made an appeal to the Government to consider this Amendment more favourably than they have done up to this point, and has based that appeal upon the suggestion that we are hard and flinty hearted and have not considered the position of the unfortunate licence-holder who would be benefited by this scheme. The ground upon which we object to this scheme is a totally different one from that which the noble Marquess has put. We object to it because we think it is a thoroughly unworkable proposition, and as wholly unprecedented a thing to introduce into a Bill of this kind as has ever come within our experience. In the course of this discussion nearly every speaker has stumbled from the expression "insurance" into "compensation." It is quite natural and proper that the stumble should have been made, because this is really an attempt, and a very inadequate attempt, at compensation. What is the position of the licence-holder if this Bill passes? He runs a risk which it is not possible to estimate on an ordinary insurance footing. There is and there can 1139 be no experience which will tell what the value of the risk he is running will be, and consequently there is no basis on which any premium can be calculated.
The noble Earl who introduced the scheme told us almost pathetically of the difficulties there were in getting any scheme from the licence-holders. At first the vast majority said nothing. That is what I would expect. Of those who did say anything a large majority were for the scheme. There were also a small number of dissentients. But the vast majority said nothing, and I gather that still a very large proportion have said nothing. And how could they say anything? How can any man tell whether it is or is not worth while from a business point of view going into this matter? There is one thing I can tell with great certainty, and it is a thing which weighs very much in the mind of the Government. When you have what has been called an insurance proposal, but what is not insurance at all, brought forward and put in the schedule of an Act of Parliament and made compulsory, then as surely as we are here to-night so surely will the unfortunate person who applies for it—and he will be unfortunate because we are told that there will very likely be no money available—reproach the Government for having put in an Act of Parliament guarantees which have not been fulfilled. The licence-holder is apt to say, "I never had time to look into your legal quibbles; all I know is that the Government thought fit to put a provision in this Act of Parliament giving compensation to me, and I am here expecting to have the guarantee of the State made good." It is no use saying, "If you look at the terms of the guarantee you will find on the face of them, although they are so confusing, that you could not expect you would be compensated." You will never get out of being told that you have taken upon yourselves the principle of compensating these unfortunate people, and if the fund is insufficient they will say, "That is not the fault of the insurers; they were compelled to come in, and if it was not a businesslike scheme you, the Government, ought to make it good, having passed it." That is why we object to it. I believe that it is thoroughly unworkable. I have never seen anything like it in any Act of Parliament of which I have had any experience, and so surely as you embark on this plan so surely in the days to come will you rue it. Speaking for 1140 myself and my colleagues we should be glad to see these licence-holders insuring themselves in some voluntary society, but we feel that the responsibility is too great, and too uncertain, to admit of our putting compulsory provisions into a Bill of this kind.
I wish to put a question to the noble Earl who has moved the Amendment. It seems to me that there are associations in the schedule which might amount possibly to ten for all Scotland, taking it roughly. It might be fewer; but so far as I can make out from the schedule these associations do not really control the expenditure of the money. If I understand it aright, the money when raised—first of all the 10s., and afterwards the 30s.—would be pooled and placed at the disposal of the central board for distribution.
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
The 8s. 6d. will be dispensed by the central board, but the levies which are subsequently found necessary by the associations will, of course, be expended by the associations in defraying the debts—I will call them by that word—which are still incumbent on the association.
But if a particular district or association had heavier calls because its houses were closed more than others the association would levy the 30s. among its own members to meet the liabilities of its own group. I understand that now perfectly well. Really this scheme is not an insurance; it is a tax. It is not a voluntary association of people who come in of their own accord to make provision against risk. It is a statutory obligation imposed not only on people in the trade but on any one who may hereafter go into the trade. I say nothing about subsection (9) as to intercepting all the monopoly value of the new licence. It was dropped that would not affect the scheme, but possibly deprive the association of paying a large perquisite. I am speaking of the scheme excluding subsection (9). It seems to me reasonable that persons should associate themselves together to make provision against risk, but it is quite another thing for a group of existing holders who are the people most interested to ask Parliament that every one who hereafter comes into the trade shall be compelled to contribute. It is important to consider the case of disinterested management, which many of us are most anxious to see a success. Obviously the disinterested management managers are bound to make a very small dividend—4 per cent.—and if these houses are set up in accordance with a popular vote they probably would be popular in the district, and a district satisfied with disinterested management would not be likely to abolish it. But you are going to levy a tax which will fall unequally. It will fall on people who are running no risk in order to indemnify people who run a heavy risk. There are districts in Scotland where landowners hold large estates, some of them whole parishes and some even a whole county, where the conditions are totally different. Yet you are proposing to impose a compulsory tax on those places and on those public-houses which run no risk in order to guarantee towns like Glasgow and other towns such as Lord Balfour of Burleigh mentioned, where great risks are run. You are going to tax the well-conducted districts in order to compensate the badly-conducted districts. I can see no justification for this House imposing a tax not only on present holders but all future holders merely to enable people who have pushed their trade in a reckless way to compensate themselves 1142 against the risks they will run when the community can manage their own affairs.
The noble Marquess opposite made a rather careful legal case at the beginning of his speech as to what this insurance scheme covered, but is he sure that he did not rather discount his case by the sentimental appeal with which he followed it? He said he wondered why the Government were not willing to assent to the scheme, and that they had no sympathy for the poor licence-holders who would be deprived of their living. That is exactly what the noble Earl in charge of the Bill informed the House that the Government feared might happen under these provisions. They were afraid, if once you put an insurance scheme in the Bill, that when you came to an election you would have the representatives of the trade up and down the country saying, "You are not going to take away our licences because there is not a sufficient insurance fund to meet the reduction." The noble Marquess put that very case.
No, I say frankly I do not in the case of Scotland. I understand that in Scotland they merely have a yearly licence and therefore this five years notice is ample for them. The noble Marquess said at the beginning of his speech that this scheme does not profess to give full compensation. But I think he had to admit that there might be a sentimental feeling when you come to an election. Of course, the fund available will be known. People will be told that it is a compulsory insurance scheme imposed by an Act passed by His Majesty's Government. These men will say that a Government Act of Parliament has imposed upon them this compulsory levy and yet the Government do not guarantee the benefits under it. I should like to know what the noble Marquess will say about that. I think I am right in saying that it is perfectly true that under the Insurance Act the Government do not guarantee the benefits. I should like to hear something from the Benches opposite as to what in their view would happen if when that Act were to come into operation the Government were to repudiate all those benefits. Here you have a scheme under which a tax is levied upon everybody. How can any 1143 responsible Government take the responsibility of that scheme when it is admitted by its author that it is actuarily unsound? It seems to me if you were to put in the Act in capital letters, "This scheme does not give compensation and it will not pay 20s. in the £," you would be stating what is the actual fact. You could not do that. I do not think the noble Marquess himself would like to issue a circular to the electors saying, "This is an insurance scheme but we cannot hold out any hope and you must not expect it to be realised."
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
Of course, they must be told the truth, and if they are told the truth we must stand by it.
I dare say the noble Marquess knows what has happened in the case of the Insurance Act about telling the people the truth, and I have no reason for thinking that the same thing would not occur in this case. There is one other point to which I should like to call the attention of the House, with regard to the flat rate, as it is called, in insurance. Everybody in this case has to pay 10s. per cent., but it must be remembered that there are houses so conducted that they would be more likely to lose their licence than others. There are houses situated in certain quarters of the town which almost necessarily from their surroundings must be frequented by more or less undesirable people and their licences are consequently in greater danger than is the case in regard to houses situated in more favourable districts. I doubt, therefore, whether a voluntary insurance company would take in all public-houses at a flat rate, and if they refused to do that you would be inflicting a burden upon the better houses by imposing a flat rate and not taxing more heavily the houses that run a greater risk of losing their licence.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
The speech of the noble and learned Viscount, who I notice has now left the House, served, if I may say so, to unmask the position of His Majesty's Government with regard to this important question. He objected to the proposal of my noble friend Lord Camperdown, and, so far as I was able to follow him, entirely on the ground that it would be difficult to work. No hint fell from him or from any of those who sit beside him that they would 1144 endeavour to make it workable. Why does the noble and learned Viscount tell us that the scheme is an unworkable scheme? Because he anticipates that if this insurance should prove to be insufficient to fully indemnify the licence-holder for his licence there will arise a general feeling of dissatisfaction and His Majesty's Government will be criticised for having touched the question of insurance at all and having failed to provide an adequate insurance. That, I think, was the argument of the noble and learned Viscount. It comes then to this, that sooner than attempt to make my noble friend's scheme a workable scheme His Majesty's Government are content to leave these dispossessed licence-holders face to face with the cruel injustice which we believe will be done to them under this Bill. That is a point on which we differ fundamentally from noble Lords opposite. They refuse to admit, because that is really what it comes to, the extent of the wrong which is done to these people who will lose their licences.
The noble Earl on the Back Bench repeated again just now the statement that all that these licence-holders possessed was a yearly licence. I am not going to labour that point again. It has been dealt with repeatedly. Every one with the slightest justice and fairness in his character must know that these men own something more than a mere yearly licence. I could quote to the House the sayings of Ministers and learned Judges in confirmation of that view. I will content myself by quoting a single sentence from a speech lately delivered by the Lord Advocate. The Lord Advocate, speaking of this question of insurance, said that it was in his view "an indispensable act of justice to the dispossessed publican." Does not that answer the suggestion that a voluntary scheme of insurance would be sufficient? If this amount of satisfaction is "indispensable," it will not do, surely, to leave the matter to chance. He went on to say that it was "a method of smoothing the path for a no-licence resolution." Therefore it comes to this, that in the view of the Lord Advocate justice required it and expediency required it. With regard to the criticism that the insurance will be an incomplete insurance, is it seriously contended that these dispossessed licensees who will really under this Bill lose almost everything they have in the world, will not prefer compensation—I call it that for 1145 want of a better word—to some extent rather than have no compensation at all when they lose their licences? As to the statement that the licensees will expect to receive the full value of their interest, surely we are justified in saying that these people are not so absolutely foolish and ill-informed as to the circumstances under which this legislation is taking place as to be led to believe that by the introduction of a scheme of this kind they are to receive 20s. in the £.
My noble friend Lord Camperdown mentioned the fact that a kind of plebiscite had been had and a circular had been addressed to all the associations in Scotland. In that circular the position was fully explained. I will read the words again. The recipient of the paper which was sent out was asked to sign this document—I am in favour of a compulsory insurance scheme for the Scottish trade whereby licensees pay on their declared licence value a yearly premium for compensation secured wholly or partly as the fund will permit.There is an explicit explanation to these associations that the amount of the insurance might not be sufficient to indemnify them fully. To my mind it is a remarkable thing that the representatives of the trade having been fully seized of the question and with this circular before them should, as your Lordships have been told this evening, by this immense majority have declared in favour of a scheme of compulsory insurance. I think we should greatly fail in our duty to those who will be affected by this Bill if we did not attempt at any rate to mitigate the great hardship that will be done to them by inserting in the Bill a clause of this kind.
LORD BALFOUR OF BURLEIGH
I hope the House will allow me to say a word or two before a Division is taken with regard to this matter. I rise with very great diffidence because I cannot profess to have such information or knowledge as justifies me in expressing a very decided opinion on the matters in the schedule, which, of course, we are discussing along with this particular Amendment. In my opinion it would be extremely desirable that there should be an insurance scheme, but the difficulty I have in the matter is how it will work out under compulsion. I will endeavour in a word or two to explain my difficulty, 1146 and perhaps the noble Earl who has made himself responsible for the scheme will do what he can to answer the point which I shall endeavour to put to him. Everybody who knows anything about licences in Scotland knows that they are of very varying value. There are some of them high-class country houses which I do not believe even under a popular vote would be interfered with. There are others, mostly, I think, in the urban districts but also in some country districts, which are not so well managed and which do run a certain amount of risk of their licences being arbitrarily taken away in any circumstances. This is to be a compulsory scheme; everybody is to come into it, and, as far as I understand, the only test of the value which is to be put for any particular house is what the holder of the licence declares to be the value. As I understand, there is no check upon his declaration at all. The only check is the fear of having to pay too high a premium.
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
The central board is to lay down the principles on which the declared value is to be estimated.
LORD BALFOUR OF BURLEIGH
That may be so, but can they enforce those principles? The difficulty I have about it is that it is to be compulsory insurance, and the prime thing certainly is declared value. I have only been able to study it myself; I have not been able to take any advice on the subject; but as far as I read the schedule the only real test is the declaration of value by the holder of the licence. I do not see any provision for any authority to tell the holder of the licence that he has declared too high a value. I suggest to the House-and to the promoters of this scheme that that is not a sufficient test for the lowest class of house. I believe that the temptation of the owner of the worst class of house will be to declare a high value, and he will not mind paying a biggish premium for a year or two. Even though he will probably not cover the whole value of his licence he will stand to lose much less than the other man, because he will put on a very high value, and if the thing goes he will get either that value or a large proportion of it out of the insurance fund or out of the compulsory levy. If that 1147 is so, you are going to put by trade organisation a compulsory levy on the well-managed house for the benefit of the fellow who has brought the whole trade into disrepute. It is on that ground that I dislike the idea of compulsion. I should like to see an insurance scheme, but I am afraid it will have to be voluntary, and possibly that may, to a large extent, create greater difficulties in getting a sufficient area to pay an insurance fund. The idea, to my mind, of insurance is that the person who pays the premium should pay a sufficient premium to cover the risk which is run. My fear under this schedule as I read it is that the man who will run the risk of having his licence taken away will not be the man who will find the insurance which will have to he paid to him, and therefore as at present advised I should gravely doubt the wisdom of putting the scheme exactly as it stands in the Bill.
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
Perhaps I ought to say a few words in reply to what has been said on the other side of the House. The noble Earl in charge of the Bill said he rather expected me to have said more about the voluntary principle. In the first place I did say that the only voluntary association which there is, and which insures a considerable portion of the trade at the present time, had found that the voluntary system did not succeed, and that it had changed its mind and so far from upholding the voluntary principle had become part author of this scheme. All through this debate the main subject has been lost sight of, which is this—that this insurance scheme is an insurance by a trade for itself. It is not to receive any money from the public. It is simply a question of insuring members of the trade by themselves, and for their own benefit. As for saying it will not pay 20s. in the £, nobody has ever said that it would.
§ All that they ever said is that they, who are the only persons interested, are satisfied with the scheme to this extent, that they believe it will do them good. The Lord Chancellor said that the Government might be expected to make this scheme good. Of course, persons may expect, but when nothing is said in the scheme and no mention whatsoever of the Government is made is it likely that the Government could be expected to, or that they would, guarantee the scheme? The trade is only asking you to enable them to apply compulsion, and the reason for applying compulsion is surely tolerably obvious. I am certain if any of your Lordships said, "Here is a splendid principle," many would say, "Oh yes, the principle is all right"; but when you went round to collect subscriptions you would find that a great many persons who were particularly in favour of the principle were not very liberal with their subscriptions. That is the reason why compulsion is proposed in this case. With regard to what Lord Balfour said as to the levy, it is stated in the scheme that the central board is to make rules providing the principles on which the declared value of the certificates is to be ascertained. Those rules will be subject to the approval of the Secretary for Scotland. I imagine that in considering the declared values which are put in the association will, of course, require that those declared values are made in accordance with the principles which the central board lay down. I do not wish to occupy your Lordships' time further. I do not think that anything else has been said to which a reply is necessary.
§ On Question?
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 28; Not-Contents, 31.1149
|Devonshire, D.||Londesborough, E.||Brodrick, L. (V. Midleton)|
|Marlborough, D.||Minto, E.||Colchester, L.|
|Vane, E. (M. Londonderry.)||Greville, L.|
|Abercorn, M. (D. Abercorn.)||Hindlip, L.|
|Camden, M.||St. Aldwyn, V.||Kenmare, L. (E. Kenmare.)|
|Lansdowne, M.||Kintore, L. (E. Kintore.)|
|Linlithgow, M.||Lawrence, L. [Teller.]|
|Salisbury, M.||Ramsay, L. (E. Dalhousie.)|
|Bangor, L. Bp.||Saltoun, L.|
|Camperdown, E. [Teller.]||Silchester, L. (E. Longford.)|
|Cathcart, E.||Ashbourne, L.||Stewart of Garlies, L. (E. Galloway.)|
|Denbigh, E.||Belhaven and Stenton, L.|
|Haldane, V. (L. Chancellor.)||Allendale, V.||MacDonnell, L.|
|Crewe, M. (L. Privy Seal.)||Monkswell, L.|
|Sandhurst, L. (L. Chamberlain.)||Pontypridd, L.|
|Chesterfield, E. (L. Steward.)||Armitstead, L.||St. Davids, L.|
|Beauchamp, E.||Ashby St. Ledgers, L.||Saye and Sele, L.|
|Chichester, E.||Boston, L.||Shaw, L.|
|Craven, E. [Teller.]||Channing, L.||Stanley of Alderley, L (L. Sheffield.)|
|Russell, E.||Colebrooke, L.|
|Shaftesbury, E.||Haversham, L.||Strachie, L.|
|Spencer, E.||Herschell, L. [Teller.]||Tenterden, L.|
|Westmeath, E.||Lucas, L.||Weardale, L.|
On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Resolved in the negative, and Amendment rejected accordingly.
§ EARL GREY
I hope the noble Earl in charge of the Bill may be able to accept the Amendment that stands in my name. The object of my new clause is to compel the Licensing Court to give any new licence which it may think desirable should be created to an authorised society under conditions approved by the Secretary for Scotland. In other words, what this Amendment means is that where a Licensing Court think a new licence should be created it should, wherever possible, be given to a disinterested management company so that the licence may he managed in the interests of the public and not of the publican, or brewer, or distiller. I do not think I need occupy any time of the House in giving reasons for this Amendment. If you go to Scandinavia, Norway or Sweden, you will find that the people there regard with absolute horror the idea of any licence being handed over to a private owner to be rim for his own benefit. The objection that the advocates of disinterested management have to the present system is that these monopoly houses are allowed under the present licensing law to be conducted in the interests of the publican, the brewer, and the distiller, while the interests of the public are not sufficiently safeguarded or considered. This Amendment which I venture to submit to the attention of your Lordships would make it impossible for a Licensing Court, when it thinks a new licence should be granted in the interests of the public, to grant the new licence except upon the condition that it shall be managed not in the interests of the trade but in the interests of the people. I therefore hope that the noble Earl, as it does not interfere with the option part of his Bill at all, may be disposed to accept this Amendment.
Insert the following new clause:
§ "New Licences.
§ "6. Where the licensing court is of opinion that a new licence is required in any area where neither a "no-licence" resolution nor a limiting resolution is in force and in the event of an authorised public company constituted for the purposes of this Act being prepared to apply for and manage the said new licence the licensing court shall (subject to such procedure and conditions as may be prescribed by the Secretary for Scotland) grant a certificate for such new licence to the said authorised public company, but to no other applicant."—(Earl Grey.)
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
Although His Majesty's Government cannot accept this proposed new clause we shall certainly not put your Lordships to the trouble of dividing on the subject in view of the decision which was come to yesterday on the general question of disinterested management. I shall content myself, therefore, with pointing out sonic of the difficulties into which the noble Earl will place the authors of the disinterested management resolution by the adoption of this Amendment. The proposed clause, as your Lordships will see, is to operate in every case except where a no-licence or a limiting resolution is in force. It will therefore operate in an area which may have expressly refused to have disinterested management within its area. So far as the wording goes, the proposal will also operate in districts where a disinterested management resolution has been carried, and if so it is in our opinion inconsistent with the provisions of the clause of the noble Marquess opposite which was carried yesterday, to the effect that in that case no new licence can be granted except to an authorised public company. We are of opinion that even if your Lordships accept this Amendment to-night it will probably be necessary to make some revisions on Report.
§ Structural Alterations.
§ 6. As from the passing of this Act, and until the first day of June nineteen hundred and seventeen, it shall not be competent for a licensing court to order any structural alterations of licensed premises under section forty-two, subsection (3), of the Licensing (Scotland) Act, 1903.
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
I think that my Amendment to this clause is consequential on what was done last night. As the words stand, it is from June 1, 1917. That was five years from June 1, 1912; but as the period has been altered from five to fourteen years I think the words which I propose become necessary.
Page 6, lines 18 and 19, leave out ("day of June nineteen hundred and seventeen") and insert ("earliest date when resolutions under the provisions of this Act Can come into operation").—(The Earl of Camperdown.)
§ VISCOUNT ST. ALDWYN
May I ask for some explanation of this clause? I do not understand the reason for the limiting words, "and until the first day of June nineteen hundred and seventeen," or the words proposed by the noble Earl below the Gangway. If I am right in supposing that the intention of the clause is to take away the power of a Licensing Court to order structural alterations during the five years because at the end of those five years the licence may be taken away from the licensed premises and therefore it would be unfair on the licence-holder that he should be required to make such alterations at perhaps considerable expense, why does not the same rule apply to similar orders after the five years have expired? Of course at any time after the five years are over it is possible for a no-licence resolution to be carried and for the licence to be taken away, and therefore the position would be still the same after the five years as during the five years. The licence-holder would be compelled by the Licensing Court to expend money in making alterations which would really be valueless. Why should there be any limitation of time?
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
The noble Viscount has quite accurately stated the object of the clause in this Bill. Surely the position would be this. If we did not allow the Licensing Court to order these structural alterations at the expiration of 1152 the five years they would not be able to do it at all, and then no structural alterations would ever be possible in any of these public-houses. That seems to me to place the Licensing Court in a position of difficulty such as obviously your Lordships would not wish them to be in. The Licensing Court should not, we think, have power to order structural alterations during the five years in which, under the scheme of the Bill, it was impossible for these resolutions to be put to local vote. It was thought fair that the trade should not be asked to make structural alterations during that period. Whether further alterations should not be made in the clause through postponing the operation of the Act for fourteen years is, I think, a matter for further consideration. But I would venture to say to the noble Earl that the phrase "earliest date" seems a very vague description, because it might mean the 28th day of May in the first year after the expiry of the postponed period. It might, on the other hand, mean the date on which the resolution in a particular area should come into operation, and if no resolution were ever passed the power to order structural alterations would in that case be indefinitely postponed, so you would once more have the Licensing Court in the position of being unable to order the alterations.
§ VISCOUNT ST. ALDWYN
I do not think the noble Earl has met my case. There would be an injustice in the Licensing Court ordering expensive alterations if at the end of, say, five years the licence was taken away. That he admits by the clause. The injustice would be greater after thirteen years had expired because then the licence might be taken away the very next year after the Licensing Court had ordered expensive alterations. Surely the same rule of justice ought to apply to all time. I grant that it takes away the power from the Licensing Court of ordering alterations, but that seems to me necessary in a Bill which enables a licensing authority to take away the licence altogether.
Does not the law still keep alive the power of the present licensing authority to refuse a licence irrespective of the general body of the people every three years? I suppose if that is so it is more a matter of form than of substance, because if the justices or 1153 whoever the people are who sit in licensing Session find premises very bad they can say, "We recommend you to alter these premises," and if that is not done they can withhold the licence at the end of the year. You take away a paper power but they preserve an effective power. Just as the county council may say, "We do not like a particular performance in a music-hall," and if it is persisted in refuse the licence, so the licensing authority could refuse the licence in this case if the alterations were not carried out.
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
I think the noble Lord who has just spoken is quite right. There is no doubt the Licensing Court in Scotland can and does take away licences very frequently, and what the noble Lord pointed out is, as a matter of fact, what does actually occur. The Licensing Court would maintain their authority over the licensees quite irrespective of ordering alterations to be made. With regard to the words which I propose to omit, I think the words as they stand in the clause cannot remain—at least, they may remain but they are no longer applicable. Originally they were put in because it was five years from Arne 1, 1912. Your Lordships have now altered that by enlarging the period from five years to fourteen. Therefore these words "day of June nineteen hundred and seventeen" become no longer applicable. I do not want to press the Amendment, particularly at this moment, but I would point out to the noble Earl that he must make some change.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 6 agreed to.
§ Clause 7:
§ Later hour of opening.
§ 7. Notwithstanding anything contained in the Licensing (Scotland) Act., 1903, the licensing court shall insert in all certificates granted from or after the twenty-eighth day of May nineteen hundred and thirteen the hour of ten o'clock in the morning in lieu of the hour of eight of the clock in the morning, and the forms of certificate contained in the Sixth Schedule to the said Act shall be construed accordingly: Provided that where sale of commodities other than exciseable liquors is otherwise lawful, such commodities may be sold before such hour, and provided further that exciseable liquors may be despatched before such hour in fulfilment of orders received as prescribed by section sixty-three of the Licensing (Scotland) Act, 1903, and that section fifty-six of that Act shall apply to this Act.1154
I move to leave out "the hour of" and to insert "an opening hour not being earlier than eight o'clock in the morning or later than." I think that if the hour of ten o'clock is made a hard-and-fast rule for the opening of public-houses it will be very hard both on the public and on the licensee, and the object of my Amendment is to give the Licensing Court discrimination in the various centres in which they work. They would surely know the conditions which surrounded each district, and they would be perfectly able to arrange the most convenient hours. I must trouble your Lordships for a few minutes because I want to show you what a really great hardship the opening hour now in the Bill would be to a very large portion of the public. Take the City of Glasgow. There is an enormous number of great industries all over that large city. There are markets in the east end and in the centre of the town and along the docks, which go all the way down the Clyde, to which hundreds of thousands of workmen go to their work. There are mechanics, labourers, artisans, firemen, and different classes of labourers who are at work all night as well as all day on different ships. The work time is not by any means confined to day hours. A man working all night finishes his work at or before eight o'clock in the morning, and it is only natural that he should require some refreshment before he goes away, probably a very long journey, to his home. Of course, in the residential part of Glasgow a later hour might suit. At the same time, I am very firmly of opinion that if a later hour of opening is given a later hour of closing should also be given as a compensation to the publican, because there is a great deal of business after concerts, theatres, and so forth. People who come back from such places require some refreshment before they go home, and I believe the last hour before closing is generally the most important one for the licensee. I think in that case some compensation should be given in the direction I indicate. That might easily be seen to by the Licensing Court.
If you turn to Edinburgh, or to Leith, exactly the same conditions apply there. There are the great docks at Leith where men are employed loading and unloading all through the night as well as the day, and they also have to go great distances in order to get home. After working all 1155 night they require refreshment before they start on their journey. Many of your Lordships, no doubt, have travelled to Edinburgh by a late train, and you know you arrive there at about seven o'clock or half-past seven in the morning. It will be very inconvenient for all the passengers if they find that the hotels and licensed places are not open until ten o'clock.
Then let us go to Aberdeen, another large city. There, I think, there are about a dozen public-houses all grouped together along the quay. I know myself that these public-houses are in great requisition at the time the steamers are coming in and going away, and the workmen who have been working on these ships require refreshment just the same before they go home. I have myself seen the way in which these public-houses are conducted. In fact, I have been in one of them and had refreshment there on an occasion when I went to the quay at an early hour to a steamer to see a motor car off. It was at eight o'clock in the morning, and I may say that I had an excellent breakfast there. In Aberdeen I believe women also are engaged working throughout the night. They go home in the early hours of the morning and require refreshment after their work just as much as do the men. I have been given figures—of course, I cannot vouch for them—by a licensee who has made a calculation that in Aberdeen the proposed hour of opening, ten o'clock, which takes off two hours in the morning, would cost the publicans nearly £1,000 a week. There are 125 licensees in the eleven wards in Aberdeen, and the change would, I am told, cost the licensees over £44,000 a year. I will not vouch for that, but I believe it is approximately what the loss would be.
Now let us go to the West of Scotland, and look at the town of Clydebank, a new town that has sprung up quite recently and has a population of 37,500 inhabitants. There are great works there; workmen come all the way from Glasgow, and the hour of breakfast is at nine o'clock. If the opening is kept over until ten o'clock some alteration will have to be made, and a great deal of discomfort will probably ensue. If the opening hour were as I suggest it would be perfectly easy to manage. Before the Act of 1862 the opening was at seven o'clock; it was afterwards changed to eight o'clock, and 1156 now it is proposed to make it ten o'clock. I think that is a long way to go. I believe if it were left in the hands of the Licensing Court to say at what hour the opening should be it would be perfectly safe, and there would be no abuse.
Page 6, line 26, leave out ("the hour of") and insert ("an opening hour not being earlier than eight o'clock in the morning or later than").—(Lord Saltoun.)
LORD BALFOUR OF BURLEIGH
I would make an earnest appeal to my noble friend behind me not to press his Amendment. I believe if this Amendment is carried it will do more to disappoint sensible moderate opinion in Scotland than anything your Lordships could do to the Bill. The noble Lord has mentioned Glasgow, Clydebank, and Aberdeen. My knowledge of Aberdeen is not so great as that of the noble Lord, but I know Clydebank because I happen to be trustee of the estate on which Clydebank is built. I know, therefore, every yard of it. So far as this Amendment is concerned, I would like to tell your Lordships that when I was Secretary for Scotland in 1903 I wanted to put this very Amendment into the Bill which consolidated the whole of the licensing law of Scotland. Circumstances were then too strong for me, and I was not able to do it. I went very fully into it at the time, and I went to see the place. All down the banks of the Clyde, especially in Partick and on the north bank., there are shipbuilding yards, immense centres of employment, and the pay in those yards is generally on Friday evening, hut sometimes on Saturday morning. I am sorry to say that many of those who are paid at that time spend part of their time on Saturday night and Sunday in consuming a considerable portion of their wages in intoxicating liquors. They are perfectly within their right and within their freedom in doing so if they wish to do so, but I am bound to say that it was represented to me as being carried to excess.
The case for this alteration of the law is this. Supposing men have done that on Saturday afternoon and on Sunday, and go back to their work on Monday morning. They go back without haying had breakfast and work for two or three hours in the morning, and when they come out at about eight o'clock and start to 1157 go home to breakfast they find outside the public-houses along the highway rows of tankards of ale and stout and whisky, and so on, ready for their consumption, and many of them have not the strength of mind to pass. They stop and have some, perhaps not too much, but taken on an empty stomach the result is that they are, as was represented to me, too often incapacitated for further work on the Monday, and their time of unwork is thereby prolonged over Monday arid in some cases on Tuesday as well, to the loss of themselves and their families and to the enormous inconvenience of their employers. I am speaking from representations made to me by employers and by agents of the workmen, and I do not think I can speak too strongly—at any rate for that area. I hope, therefore, that this Amendment will not be accepted. It is tempting to suggest that the Licensing Court should have an option over the country for hours between eight and ten o'clock in the morning. I am not prepared to say if the Bill passes as it stands there will not be in some country districts a certain amount of inconvenience, but I believe the advantage of having this later hour of opening will be so overwhelming in its nature that any disadvantages will be gladly submitted to. In my humble opinion if every clause of this Bill were deleted except this one I believe you would do as much as it is possible to do by legislation for the cause of temperance in Scotland. People have not been backward in writing to me in regard to this Bill since it came to this House, and although I have had hundreds of letters I do not think I have had one single protest against the particular provision now under discussion. With all the force and knowledge I can put to your Lordships I earnestly hope that this Amendment will not be passed.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
It only remains for me, after the very moving appeal to which we have just listened from the noble Lord opposite, to record my hope that your Lordships will agree to retain the provisions in the Bill as they stand and not accept the Amendment moved by Lord Saltoun, or, indeed, the other Amendment which stands in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Belhaven and Stenton. I am sure your Lordships will agree that this is purely a temperance provision in the Bill. I can only say for myself that I, 1158 like the noble Lord oho has just sat down, have received a number of resolutions in favour of the retention of the hour at ten o'clock, and I am quite sure it would be a disappointment to a great number of moderate minded men in Scotland if your Lordships were to make any alteration in this particular.
§ On Question, Amendment negatived.
LORD BELHAVEN AND STENTON
After what has been said by Lord Balfour of Burleigh I have no intention of moving my Amendment to substitute nine o'clock for ten o'clock.
§ Clause 7 agreed to.
§ Clause 8:
§ Amendment of Low relating to Clubs.
§ 8.—(1) Section seventy-eight, subsection (1) of the Licensing (Scotland) Act, 1903 (hereinafter in this section referred to as "the Act of 1903"), shall be amended (a) by substituting the words "and the names and addresses of the members" for the words "and the names of the members"; (b) by substituting the words "two justices of the peace who for the time being are members of the court of appeal for the county within which such premises are situate, or, where such premises are situate within a burgh, either by two justices of the peace who for the time being are members of the court of appeal front the burgh licensing court or by two magistrates of the burgh; or by one justice, as aforesaid, and one magistrate," for the words "two justices of the peace for the county within which such premises are situate, or, where such premises are situate within a burgh, either by two justices of the peace, as aforesaid, or by two magistrates of the burgh, or by one justice and one magistrate"; and (e) by adding the words "(1) any such justice of the peace, or magistrate may, within ten days from the date on which lie signed the certificate, withdraw his name from the certificate granted by him; and (2)," after the words "Provided that."
§ (2) Section seventy-nine, subsection (2), of the Act of 1903 shall be amended by including amongst those persons who may lodge objections to the grant or renewal of the certificate of registration the procurator fiscal and any person, or the agent of any person, owning or occupying property in the neighbourhood of the club, and by substituting the word "twenty-one" for the word "ten."
§ (3) Section seventy-nine, subsection (4), of the Act of 1903 shall have effect as if the power conferred thereby on the sheriff (to award expenses against the unsuccessful party where objection has been taken to the grant or renewal of a certificate) included the like power where a summary complaint has been lodged.
§ (4) Any person or council competent under the Act of 11903 to lodge objections to the grant or renewal of a certificate of registration may, within twenty-one days of the receipt of the notice of application for the grant or renewal of a certificate, lodge with die registrar objections to such grant or renewal of the certificate on one or more of the following grounds, and that in addition to the 1159 grounds specified in section eighty-one of the Act of 1903:—
- (a) That the premises are, or the situation thereof is, not suitable or convenient for the purpose of a club; or
- (b) That the club is to be used mainly as a drinking club; or
- (c) That the officials and committee of management, or governing body or the manager, or a servant employed in or by the club have, or has, or will have, a personal interest in the purchase by the club or in the sale in the club of exciseable liquors, or in the profits arising therefrom; or
- (d) That persons are habitually admitted or supplied as members without an interval of at least two weeks between their nomination and election as ordinary members; or
- (e) That the officials and committee of management or governing body or the members are persons of 'hall character or who follow no lawful occupation and have no lawful means of subsistence; or
- (f) That the club has been or will be used as the resort of criminals or persons of bad character; or
- (g) That men or women of had fame assemble in or frequent the club.
§ (5) Section eighty-nine of the Act of 1903 shall be read as if the words "an application with the accompanying documents specified in section seventy-eight, subsection (1), of the Act of 1903, any one of" were substituted for the words "an application for registration."
§ (6) This section shall take effect as front the passing of this Act.
§ LORD BALFOUR OF BURLEIGH moved to amend (b), in subsection (1), so that it would read, "(b) by substituting the words two members either of the Licensing Court or of the Court of appeal,'" etc. The noble Lord said: This is a matter of machinery, and I will not press the Amendment if the noble Earl objects to it. The point is that the Bill proposes that only members of the Court of appeal shall be available for signing certificates for clubs, and there is something to be said against the present practice which is in the Act of 1903. I venture to suggest that the provision proposed to be substituted would be a little too strict in some districts, because members of the Court of appeal are very limited in number and might not be easily accessible. I am convinced that is so, but it is not a matter of much importance, and if the noble Earl has any objection to the Amendment I will not press it.
Page 6, line 42, leave out ("justices of the peace who for the time being are") and after ("members") insert ("either of the licensing court or").—(Lord Balfour of Burleigh.)
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
In the opinion of His Majesty's Government there is a real difficulty in the matter of getting a quorum in these cases of which the noble Lord has spoken, and in view of that we shall be glad to accept the Amendment.
Page 7, line 1, after ("situate") insert ("or one member of each of such courts not being the same member".—(Lord Balfour of Burleigh.)
§ VISCOUNT ST. ALDWYN
I should like to make some suggestions to your Lordships with reference to subsection (4) of Clause 8 in order to stiffen up the new legislation with regard to clubs. But I have not been able to put my suggestions on the Paper, and I only wish to say that I propose to raise the subject on Report.
§ Clause 8, as amended, agreed to.
§ *THE EARL OF KINTORE moved to add after Clause 8 a new clause providing that in any area where a no-licence resolution is in force excisable liquors shall not be supplied or sold in any club except to persons lodging or residing in the club, or to persons taking a meal on the premises of the club for consumption with such meal.
§ The noble Earl said: I present this new clause to your Lordships certainly not front a wish to cast any reflection on the management of existing Scottish clubs, for indeed as far as my experience goes they might be taken as a model by some other clubs elsewhere that I have heard of. I submit it less from any settled intention of asking your Lordships to divide upon it than from a desire to point out a very noticeable omission in the Bill, which amounts, I think, to an anomaly, and to inquire the reason for it. This clause applies to clubs in no-licence areas only. Clubs in other areas are in no way affected by it. Although I bring this clause forward for the reasons I have stated, I am one who has little belief in the possibility of enforcing sobriety on a nation by any Act of Parliament, certainly in Scotland. I think that little permanent good 1161 will ever accrue to any cause from fanatical legislation. If temperance legislation is seriously demanded I believe that happier results might be looked for from enactments aimed at the improvement of the standard and quality of liquors retailed and the comfort and convenience of the places where they are consumed than from any other enactments however drastic.
§ But I recognise that this Bill is before us in response to a somewhat noisily voiced demand. It is true that that demand comes front a small section of the levelheaded people of Scotland, and I must say that the statement on Second Reading of the noble Earl in charge of the Bill, that the Bill as it stood had the general support of the people of Scotland, was a statement characterised by such exaggeration that did it not come from the apologist of a Government who are seldom if ever their own masters I confess it would have taken my breath away. But still the Bill is here, and as it is in my poor country in which it is to operate I am anxious that your Lordships should do all you can to make it a workable and just measure. Your Lordships will have noticed that in Grand Committee of the House of Commons a clause was inserted—a very much more stringent one than my proposed clause—restricting the hours of the sale of liquor in clubs to those hours during which public-houses might be open. I was glad to see that on Third Reading the Government resisted that proposal and that it was struck out of the Bill.
§ It is a novel experience—not an unpleasant one—for me to find myself in agreement with the Parliamentary representative of Scottish Labour. I see that Mr. Barnes, the Member for the Blackfriars division of Glasgow, whose colleague in the St. Rollox division is Secretary for Scotland, said in regard to this matter, "After the Bill becomes operative"—and then he added, "Of that I am very doubtful. I think it will be a dead letter. Clubs will take the place of public-houses everywhere." Of course, my Lords, in no-licence areas they will; they will spring up and flourish independent of the law and untrammelled by it. I have endeavoured to ascertain on what grounds the Government hesitated to deal with clubs in this Bill, but the answers I have obtained are not very satisfactory. One answer was that they are reluctant to interfere with private liberty. As I think private liberty is 1162 interfered with in almost every line of this Bill and in many other Bills of His Majesty's Government I do not think that answer will do. But this, at any rate, I think, is clear, that if the common Radical contention that opportunity makes intemperance is correct, then this Bill, though it may be successful in catching votes, must fail to secure temperance, seeing that it leaves the question of the sale of drink in clubs absolutely unrestricted. That seems to me an illogical position and one with regard to which the House deserves some explanation, and it is in the hope of receiving an explanation that I move the insertion of the first subsection set out in my Amendment on the Paper.
§ Amendment moved—
After Clause 8 insert the following new clause:
9.—(1) In any area where a no-licence resolution is in force excisable liquors shall not be supplied or sold in any club except to persons lodging or residing in the club, or to persons taking a meal on the promises of the club for consumption with such meal."—(The Earl of Kintore.)
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
In view of the consistent hostility with which His Majesty's Government have regarded clauses of this nature proposed in another place you will not expect me to say that we can accept the Amendment which lots just been moved by the noble Earl. The noble Earl's proposed new clause is of a very far-reaching character, and I may say that I have received, as I dare say many of your Lordships have, deputations from a number of clubs against its being passed. The noble Earl's clause provides that no liquor shall be supplied in any club except to persons residing in the club or taking a meal on the club premises. We had some little discussion about what constituted a meal last night, and here again we have the same difficulty. As regards residents, they are only a small fraction of the membership of clubs, while many very good clubs have no residential qualification at all—that is to say, they have no bedrooms. As regards members taking meals, these again form only a very small proportion of the membership of clubs, and we should undoubtedly have those disputes arising concerning meals to which I have already referred. This Amendment is directly contrary to the theory of legislation in regard to clubs. In theory the position is that a club approaches as nearly as possible to the status of a private house. It was upon that theory that Clause 8 was proposed, 1163 and in our opinion it is preferable to try that method before attempting to put into force the drastic proposal of the noble Earl. If experience proves that our suggestion as embodied in Clause 8 is insufficient it might be necessary to proceed with further restrictions. As your Lordships know there are already certain provisions in this Bill which will have some effect upon clubs. Under the Licensing Act of 1903 we found that though clubs generally were not mismanaged there was room for amendment. Those amendments are embodied in the Bill, and in our opinion they are sufficient to deal with the difficulties which have arisen.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
I am sure the House cannot have been surprised that some member on this side should call attention to the manner in which the subject of clubs is treated in the Bill of His Majesty's Government. It seems to me beyond question that the Bill does discriminate, and in a very unfair manner, in favour of clubs as against licensed premises. That is particularly the case, of course, in a no-licence area where all licensed premises will disappear, and where consequently a great stimulus will be given to the consumption of liquor in clubs. The same result will no doubt follow, though not to the same extent, in areas where a limiting resolution has been adopted. It is, as my noble friend said a moment ago, an established axiom that restrictions upon the sale of liquor on licensed premises are always accompanied by a great increase in the consumption of liquor in clubs. It is quite clear that the mind of His Majesty's Government has undergone some change upon this point, because we know that at one moment they accepted a clause very much more drastic than that of my noble friend, under which not only in no-licence areas but universally clubs should be made subject to the same regulations as public-houses.
My noble friend deals, of course, only with no-licence areas. But I am afraid that even under his comparatively limited proposal a great amount of hardship and injustice might be occasioned. You would have under my noble friend's proposal, the case of a perfectly well-conducted club with, perhaps, no residential accommodation, and consequently not frequented by residents and a club in which there was really no demand for meals. A club of 1164 that kind would find itself under my noble friend's proposal placed under all the disabilities of this Bill, and its members would be denied the right of obtaining harmless refreshments when they required them. There is also the additional feature in the case, that I am informed—as I dare say most of your Lordships have been—that in a great mans- cases the frequenters of these high class and well-conducted clubs reside outside the area, and consequently are liable to have their clubs closed upon them by a vote in which they have no right to take part. I am bound also to say that I think there is some force in the argument suggested by the noble Earl in charge of the Bill when he told us that the adoption of this proposal would put a considerable premium upon evasion. There is the difficulty of the supply of liquor in connection with a meal. The noble Earl suggested that there would be great difficulty in obtaining a definition of a meal, and I own I am quite unable to supply one. I can conceive many ingenious forms of evasion: the same mutton chop might, for example, be served repeatedly each time accompanied by a different drink. You may have things of that kind which we would rather not give opportunities for.
Our position is this. His Majesty's Government place us in a dilemma. We have to accept this Bill with what I for one regard as unfair discrimination in favour of clubs as against public-houses. That is one horn of the dilemma. The other horn of the dilemma is a further invasion of personal liberty by imposing wholly unjustifiable restrictions upon well-conducted clubs. Having to choose between those alternatives I prefer the anomaly to the further invasion of personal liberty and I was rather glad when I heard my noble friend behind me, Lord St. Aldwyn, say a few moments ago that it was his intention with regard to the club clause in this Bill—which I am bound to say I regard as a substantial clause and one entitled to sonic consideration—to stiffen the provisions of that clause. In these circumstances I rather hope that my noble friend will be content with the discussion which he has originated and that he will not ask us to divide on his Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.1165
§ Clause 9:
§ Amendments of 3 Edw. 7. c. 25. ss. 16 and 31.
§ 9.—(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in section sixteen of the Licensing (Scotland) Act, 1903, it shall be lawful for the licensing court and the licensing appeal court, in any ease where there are more than one application for a certificate for the same premises, to hear and consider the said applications together.
§ (2) Section thirty-one, subsection (2), of the Licensing (Scotland) Act, 1903, shall be amended by substituting the words "until the twenty-eighth day of May or the twenty-eighth day of November following, as the case may be," for the words "until the next general half-yearly meeting of the licensing court."
§ (3) The section shall take effect as from the passing of this Act.
LORD BALFOUR, OF BURLEIGH
I move the insertion of a new subsection. This, again, is a matter of machinery, but it is one of some considerable importance. By the Licensing Act, 1903, it is necessary to have half the members both of the Licensing Court and the Court of appeal present to make a quorum. Since 1903, which was the first time that provision was made, serious difficulties have arisen. So far as the Court of appeal is concerned, they have power to make their own regulations, but so far as the Licensing Court is concerned they cannot make regulations and must go to Quarter Sessions if a quorum does not turn up on the day appointed. I am advised by the Association of Clerks of the Peace of Scotland that five or six times difficulties have occurred —once at Argyll, twice at Fife, and in one or two other cases. I believe that those who have to work the machinery in these Courts are desirous to have this Amendment, and I hope we shall find that the Government are prepared to accept it.
§ Amendment moved—
Page 8, line 25, after subsection (1) insert the following new subsection:
(2) Section 5 subsection (9) of the Licensing (Scotland) Act, 1903, shall be amended (a) by substituting the words one third' for the words 'one half'; and (b) by adding the words provided that in the absence of a quorum the chairman of a licensing court or court of appeal or in the absence of the chairman the clerk may call a further meeting of such courts respectively' after the word 'quorum.'"—(Lord Balfour of Burleigh)
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
This Amendment divides itself obviously into two parts. One deals with the quorum and the other with the power of adjournment or calling another meeting. A moment when a very important additional duty is being imposed on the Court does not seem a good one to diminish the quorum. Nobody ought to 1166 accept election unless he really means to serve upon the Court. The Court only meets twice a year, the dates are well known, and therefore there should be no difficulty. With regard to the second part of the Amendment, if the noble Lord desires it we shall be glad to consider whether something cannot be done in that direction upon Report. In the circumstances the noble Lord, perhaps, will withdraw this Amendment and let us see whether the Amendment that I will suggest to him on Report meets his views.
LORD BALFOUR OF BURLEIGH
I am very glad to fall in with the noble Earl's suggestion, and I withdraw my Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 9 agreed to.
§ Clause 10 agreed to.
§ Clause 11:
§ Sales on Order of Officials.
§ 11.— (1) Section fifty-live of the Licensing (Scotland) Act, 1903, shall be amended by inserting after "officer of police," the words "including any constable in charge of any police station," and after "medical official" the words "or in case of sickness, accident or emergency by a qualified medical practitioner."
§ (2) This section shall take effect upon the passing of this Act.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
My Amendment in this clause is to omit from subsection (2) the word "upon" and to insert "as from." Your Lordships will see that this is only a drafting Amendment.
Page 9, line 11, leave out ("upon") and inser ("as front").—(Earl Beauchamp.)
§ Clause 11, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 12:
§ Power to close Certificated Premises in Case of Riot.
§ 12.—(1) Where any riot or tumult happens, or is expected to happen, the sheriff may order every holder of a certificate for the sale by retail of exciseable liquors in or near the place whore the riot or tumult happens, or is expected to happen, to close his premises during such time as the order shall require.
§ (2) If any person keeps open his premises for the sale of exciseable liquor during any time at which in pursuance of this section they are ordered to be closed, he shall be liable in respect of each offence to a penalty not exceeding fifty pounds.
§ (3) This section shall take effect upon the passing of this Act.1167
Page 9, line 21, leave out ("upon") and insert ("as from").—(Earl Beauchamp.)
§ Clause 12, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 13:
§ Drunken Persons entering Public-house, 3 Edw. 7. c. 25.
§ 13. Any person who is in a state of intoxication, and found attempting to enter any public-house, shall be subject to the same powers and procedure and penalty as provided in section seventy of the Licensing (Scotland) Act, 1903.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
The Amendments which I have to move to this clause are really none of them of great importance. The history of the clause is this. It was inserted on Report by a private Member, and it is not thought to be sufficiently definite in its terms. The Amendments are not of any substance, but are simply to make more clear the object of the clause.
§ Amendments moved—
§ Page 9, line 23, after ("be") insert ("thereby guilty of an offence and shall be")
§ Page 9, line 24, after ("in") insert ("the first paragraph of Subsection (1) of")
Page 9, line 25, after ("1903") insert the following new subsection:
("(2) This section shall take effect as from the passing of this Act.").—(Earl Beauchamp.)
§ Clause 13, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 14 agreed to.
§ Clause 15:
§ 15. The several words and expressions used in this Act shall unless otherwise provided or unless there be something in the subject or context repugnant to such construction have the same respective meanings as in the Licensing (Scotland) Act, 1903:
Provided that in this Act—
Burgh" means a royal, parliamentary, or police burgh:
County" means a county exclusive of any burgh or part of a burgh comprised therein:
Certificate" means any certificate for the sale by retail of exciseable liquors granted in terms of or under the provisions of the Licensing (Scotland) Act, 1903: Provided that for the period during which a no-licence resolution is in force in any area, no dealer's licence for the sale of exciseable liquor by wholesale shall be granted therein by the Commissioners of Customs and Excise or by any officer of Customs and Excise, except to brewers of beer for sale, distillers, rectifiers, or compounders of spirits, makers of sweets, or wholesale dealers in spirits, wine, beer, or sweets for premises for which similar licences have been taken out for twelve months before the date of the poll, without the production of a certificate authorising such sale from the licensing court; which certificate shall be applied for, granted, confirmed, transferred, and renewed in the same manner as though it were a certificate authorising such sale by retail:
Elector" means in the case of—
The expression "grant" when used in relation to a certificate includes the grant of a certificate by way of renewal:
Local authority" means in the case of—
No-change resolution" means a resolution that the powers and discretion of the licensing court in regard to the grant of certificates or otherwise shall remain unchanged, and in section two as applied to a further poll in any area where a limiting resolution is in force means a continuance resolution.
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
In the absence of my noble friend Lord Clinton, I propose to move the Amendment that stands in his name, to leave out all words from the word "burgh" in the first line of paragraph (a) defining "area" to the end of the paragraph, and insert "the population of which within the police boundaries thereof according to the census for the time being last taken is less than thirty thousand, the whole burgh. "Then by a mistake of the printer the Amendment has not been put down in the words of Lord Clinton. His following words run thus, "And in the case of any other burgh any ward or any combination of wards of such burgh the population of which is not less than fifteen thousand in accordance with the scheme prepared by the town council and approved by the Secretary for Scotland." As the Bill stands the limitation is 10,000, and that is thought far too small. The Convention of Royal Burghs, I believe, proposed 40,000. That was not accepted by the Government, and in this case Lord Clinton proposes 30,000.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
At this late hour I will not detain your Lordships at any length by explaining the reasons which have decided His Majesty's Government to offer a substantial concession which will, I hope, meet the case. We will be willing to take the first part of this Amendment with this single exception, that instead of:30,000 we ask leave to insert the words "twenty-five thousand." With regard to the last words which the noble Earl read out and which are not upon the Paper, I think it will be of general convenience to your Lordships if we do not put them into the Bill at this stage, and perhaps the noble Earl will bring them up on Report when the House will have an opportunity of considering them. I am quite sure that that will be more convenient to all of us, as I did not even know what the words were until the noble Earl read them out.
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
I am quite content to accept the words "twenty-five thousand." With regard to the second part of the Amendment the only difference made is this, that the scheme should be prepared by the town council and approved by the Secretary for Scotland. But if the noble Earl wishes it I will put it off until Report.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
I have been so much with Scotsmen during the last few days that I have become cautious, and I would prefer to see the actual words before I say whether we can accept them or not.
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
The noble Earl will see that he has reduced his Bill to a most lopsided position. He deals with a burgh up to 25,000 but does not deal with anything beyond it apparently.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
I quite recognise the justice of the noble Earl's claim, but is he not prepared to go any further at the present moment? The only change front the print on the Paper is that the proposal is to be prepared by the town council for the approval of the Secretary for Scotland. Everything is the same except that. It is merely the introduction of the words "prepared by the town council" before it goes before the Secretary for Scotland for approval. It would be better drafting if we could put the words in now, hut, of course, in the circumstances, we cannot press the noble Earl to accept them at this stage.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
I think I must ask your Lordships to agree to the suggestion I made to accept the one Amendment as far as the words go to which I referred altering the number to "twenty-five thousand." There is no doubt about those words; but as to the second half I have not the words before me and I should prefer that your Lordships should give us an opportunity of considering them.
Page 10, line 13, leave out front ("burgh") to the end of the paragraph, and insert ("the population of which within the police boundaries thereof according to the census for the time being last taken is less than twenty-five thousand, the whole burgh").—(The Earl of Camperdown.)
LORD BALFOUR OF BURLEIGH
The Amendment which I propose to move now —to leave out paragraphs (a) and (b) and 1171 insert a new paragraph—undoubtedly makes a somewhat drastic change in the areas proposed for the administration under this Bill. This I regard as one of the most important features of the Bill and absolutely vital to the success of the measure from whatever point of view you regard it. But, on the other hand, I venture to say it would not be in its nature so controversial either as the question of the time limit or as the question of compensation or of disinterested management or any of the other kindred subjects which we have been discussing. I am sure we will all agree, whether we regard this Bill with friendly eyes or not, that if it is to pass at all it ought to pass in a workable form. Now, my Lords, I venture to say that the areas suggested in this Bill are absolutely and supremely ridiculous. What you want is self-contained autonomous areas which will have one interest and one interest alone common over the whole area. I think that the areas suggested in this Bill offend against every canon and proper hope of success.
As I understand the Bill, you are dividing comparatively speaking small burghs of under 12,000 into wards. On the Second Reading I gave an instance of the case of Alloa near my own home, in which there are 12,000 inhabitants, which will be divided into four wards and each of those wards will have power to vote differently. I have had a good many complaints of a similar kind from Perth, from Lanark, and from a score of other places. It is obvious when you are making a change of this kind in regard to licences that you cannot proceed on the same principles as if you were dealing with things like education or public health or local government generally. If you are going to have a different law regarding licensed houses in two contiguous areas it is very desirable that the division between the areas should not be in the centre of the population. But in this Bill they have gone out of their way to make it certain that the division between the areas will always be in the most congested parts of the population with which they are concerned. I am told by the representatives of the Convention of Royal Burghs that what I pointed out in the case of Alloa is absolutely the same in almost all the other burghs concerned. The division of the wards proceeds from the centre of the burghs outwards, so that if there is different voting in two different 1172 wards you will have different regulations regarding public-houses on the opposite sides of the main streets in those burghs. Can anything be more senseless than to suppose that any individual will be prevented from getting drink if lie has only to walk across a narrow street for the purpose of entering an open door on the other side? and can there be anything more unfair upon owners of public-houses than to find them shut on one side of the main street and open on the other side?
I admit that the difficulties of getting a proper area are very great. Opinions differ not only as to the size but as to the kind of division which should be made. Some people have gone so far as to propose that the area should be as high as 40.000 of population. I do not go so far as that or nearly so far. But we have in Scotland, as in England, to deal with three different kinds of local authorities. We have the county, the burgh, and the parish. You have counties both large and small, you have parishes large and small, and you have burghs also varying very greatly in size. Speaking generally, there are three kinds of burghs in Scotland—the Royal burgh, the Parliamentary burgh, and the police burgh. For licensing purposes the different parts are regulated by the early clauses of the Licensing Act, 1903, and the proposal in the Amendment which I am moving now is that the licensing authority, whether a county or burgh, should be asked to put a scheme, either alone or in conjunction with the neighbouring area, before the Secretary for Scotland for the making of an area for the purposes of this Bill which will as far as possible get over the undoubted difficulties which exist. If you have an autonomous body, an urban area, surely common-sense suggests that it should be one for the purpose of licensing. We have to take care that we do not offend against the sentiment of the burghs which prize very greatly their separate existence from the counties. But even their interest in the matter seems to me to be less than the interest of the community at large. You should take care not to have more dividing areas than necessary, frontier lines as it were, in a matter of this kind, and certainly not frontier lines in the centre of population. If this Bill passes practically as it stands, as I read it, you might have a different area in every one of the 970 parishes in Scotland and in all of the 175 burghs. If you have a country 1173 district intervening between, what is the condition of licensing on one side and the other? You probably do less harm than if You have merely a stream or street boundary, but you are going out of your way in this Bill to make it absolutely certain that the immense majority of your frontier lines will not be in country districts but between different parts of the same town, or the same city, or the same police butgh.
The proposal which I have ventured to make is made a good deal as it now stands on the suggestion of the Convention of Royal Burghs. When I first drafted the Amendment it is quite possible that in my desire to have as few frontier lines as possible I put the limit of population rather too high. The Convention of Royal Burghs, which is as entitled to speak on this matter as any body I know—it is thoroughly representative of all the burghs of Scotland—paid me the compliment of sending a deputation of their number to see me last week, and it is largely in consequence of the representations then made to me that the Amendment I am now moving appears in the form in which it does upon the Paper of your Lordships' House. It preserves as far as we can the autonomy of the burgh, and yet enables the burgh authorities and the county authorities, with full knowledge of the necessities of their different localities, to propose a scheme for the acceptance of the Secretary for Scotland and of Parliament for the delimitation of different areas. I have provided in the Amendment that there shall not be a division between two parts of the same electoral area. That is a point on which there is a difference of opinion, I believe, between the representatives of the Convention of Royal Burghs and the Amendment which I have put on the Paper. They would desire to go further than I am proposing to do and for the sake of having good frontier lines would even divide electoral divisions to provide a good roll of electors. I look with the most undisguised alarm at the prospect of what will happen in Scotland if this Bill passes in anything like the form, so far as areas go, in which it has been brought to this House. I have given the outline of my case for my Amendment, and I shall best consult the convenience of the House if I wait to see what line is taken in answer to it before I say any more in its support. I beg to move.
§ Amendment moved—
Page 10, lines 13 to 24, leave out paragraphs (a) and (b) and insert the following new paragraph:
It shall be the duty of the county council or of the town council, as the case may be, within two years from the passing of this Act, and from time to time thereafter as may be necessary, to frame a scheme delimiting the provisional area of areas which, taking into account the electoral divisions of such county or die wards of such burgh, constitute the most suitable area or areas for the purposes of this Act, but in every case with these provisos:(1) It shall he competent in any such scheme by agreement between the local authorities concerned to include one or more wards in such burgh or burghs within an area or areas of a county or counties, or to include one or more electoral divisions of a county or counties within an area or areas of a burgh or burghs; (2) In no case shall the number of electors in such provisional area, except when such provisional area is a county, he less than two thousand; (3) In no case shall an electoral division in a county or a ward in a burgh be subdivided so as to form the whole or part of a provisional area. Such scheme when framed shall be submit tad to the Secretary for Scotland who, after making such inquiry as lie may deem necessary, shall have power to approve thereof or to alter or vary the same. Thereafter the Secretary for Scotland shall cause the scheme as finally approved by him to be laid before both Houses of Parliament, and after it has lain two months before Parliament, then, unless within such two months an address has been presented by one or other of the said Houses, preying His Majesty to withhold his consent from such scheme or any part thereof, it shall be lawful for His Majesty, by Order in Council, to declare his approbation of such scheme or any part thereof to which such address does not relate. A scheme, when approved by His Majesty in Council, shall have full operation and effect front the date of such Order in Council in the same manner as if it had been enacted in this Act; and thereupon, every Act of Parliament, letters patent, statute, deed, instrument, trust, or direction relating to the subject matter of the scheme, so far as inconsistent with the provisions thereof, Shall be repealed and abrogated."— (Lord Balfour of Burleigh.)
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
I confess it was with a great deal of regret that, in spite of the concession made by His Majesty's Government on paragraph (a), I find that the noble Lord who has just spoken insists on putting his scheme for dealing with burghs before your Lordships' House. The increase we have made by the Amendment which we have accepted—namely, from 10,000 to 25,000—is so large that with regard to the burghs at any rate I had hoped that the noble Lord would have been satisfied and would not have asked us to adopt the suggestion which he has made. Of course, the acceptance of this Amendment now before us would sweep away the 1175 concession I have spoken of with regard to burghs, because the whole of paragraph (a) would go as well as paragraph (b), and we should substitute for the scheme to which this House has just agreed the new scheme of the noble Lord. I confess that that would be a matter of very considerable disappointment although it is technically possible.
The special point, in view of the fact that we have agreed to so large an amendment in the case of burghs, is really the question of counties. I think we are all agreed that country districts should be treated in a different way from towns. We all realise the difficulty mentioned by the noble Lord of having the public-houses shut up on one side of a street and open on the other, but it will be very difficult to avoid that in whatever scheme you adopt. It must happen in some places, and it really is inevitable. In the case of the counties, to which I specially wish to draw your Lordships' attention, I would say that it is with very real regret that we do not see our way to make any suggestions which would really meet the wishes of the noble Lord. The scheme suggested in his Amendment departs so entirely from the proposal of the Bill that we are unable to suggest any compromise which he is likely to accept. It is quite true that in some instances parishes have very small populations. It is thought, however, that the average population of the units under the Bill in the country districts to which I specially referred will be about 2,000, and it is to be borne in mind that although populations may be small the area of a great many parishes in Scotland is very large indeed, and the element of personal acquaintance with the needs of the district would be absent if many of them were combined together in the way the noble Lord suggests.
The suggestion that the noble Lord makes that the scheme should be first of all suggested by the council and then submitted by them to the Secretary for Scotland is not one that we think Secretaries for Scotland will be very grateful for when they are asked to agree to the suggestions as they reach them. It is dealing with very contentious and very delicate matters, and the present Secretary for Scotland, at any rate, would be most unwilling to accept the duty. But we are, perhaps, under some little disadvantage in discussing this somewhat big question at this hour of the evening, and I content 1176 myself with saying that if the noble Lord's Amendment is carried it will sweep away the conclusion at which your Lordships' House has arrived in the case of burghs.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
I confess that it was with regret that I heard the noble Earl say just now that he looked upon it as inevitable under the Bill that on one side of a street you might have a nolicence area and a different state of things on the other side of the same street. That is so prodigiously absurd that I cannot believe that the Government will insist on it. The obvious fallacy of such a scheme to secure sobriety is quite evident. Instead of securing sobriety it will secure disorder, because there will be a flocking of all the drinking population of the no-licence area across the street to satisfy their wants, and it will produce, if not disorderliness, at any rate a certain amount of congestion. I am not sure that my noble friend has realised that we have already inserted an Amendment in paragraph (a) which I do not think reads with his Amendment. We have already prescribed that in burghs the limit is to be 25,000, and my noble friend goes on to say that the limit is to be prescribed by means of a scheme which is to be suggested by certain authorities.
LORD BALFOUR OF BURLEIGH
My Amendment, if it were carried, would clear away both paragraphs (a) and (b), and make a new scheme.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
I thought my noble friend had not realised what happened in your Lordships' House just now. We have not really swept away paragraph (a), but have put something in its place, and the noble Lord would have to redraft his Amendment in order to make it fit in with the decision the House has already arrived at. We have settled that the limit of the burgh is to be 25,000, but the noble Lord does not want that; he wants a limit which is to vary according to a scheme. His may be the better plan of the two, but unfortunately it is inconsistent, as I read it, with what your Lordships have already decided. In those circumstances I am afraid your Lordships cannot proceed with an Amendment which does not read with what is already inserted in the Bill. I speak subject to correction, but I think that is so; and in the circumstances I do not know whether my noble friend desires to go on with his Amendment.
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
I would suggest that the noble Lord should postpone his Amendment until Report, seeing what we have already done. We have put in this limit of 25,000, and if the printers had not made a mistake my noble friend Lord Clinton's Amendment would have continued to run: "And in the case of any other burgh, any ward, or any combination of wards of such burgh, the population of which is not less than fifteen thousand, in accordance with the scheme prepared by the town council and approved by the Secretary for Scotland." I imagine that if the town councils were to deal with the matter they would do it in such a way that the two sides of a street should not be in different areas. But as we are not able to put in the words at this stage I suggest that I should put down Lord Clinton's Amendment for Report, and that Lord Balfour should withdraw his at the present time and decide, after he has the new print, what he proposes to do.
LORD BALFOUR OF BURLEIGH
I rise at once to say that in the circumstances in which we are placed, and at this hour and having regard to the state of the House, I shall not proceed with the Amendment, and I am quite willing to withdraw it. I only wish to say this to the noble Marquess, that technically I am in order because you always amend a subsection before you strike it out. My proposal would be undoubtedly an alteration of the decision the House has come to, but it sweeps away the two subsections.
LORD BALFOUR OF BURLEIGH
They may be paragraphs; that is a small point. But I think on the whole it is much the better course and to the convenience of the House that the matter should be postponed until Report. I am bound, however, to say that I look with much alarm to the future of temperance in Scotland if the Bill, as far as areas are concerned, passes in anything like its present form. If it is allowed to pass in its present form you will do the worst stroke of business you have ever done for the cause of temperance in Scotland.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.1178
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
I have, in the definition of "certificate," an Amendment to which Lord Camperdown has a further Amendment which I shall be willing to accept. The Amendment is not one of any great substance, and I do not think I need waste your Lordships' time in explaining it.
Page 10, line 11, after ("poll") insert ("including any reconstruction of, addition to, or extension of such premises on tile seine or an adjoining site").—(Eurl Beauchamp.)
After "site" in Earl Beauchamp's Amendment insert ("and any premises in substitution for such premises from which the holder of the licence removes.").—(The Earl of Calltprrdown).
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
This is a drafting Amendment to make clear the intention of subsection (3) of Clause 3. The words are to follow at the end of the definition of "certificate."
Page 11, line 5, after ("retail") insert ("and provided, further, that subject to the variation of conditions prescribed by this Act the form of certificate for an inn and hotel or for a restaurant granted under section throe of this Act shall be, respectively, the first and second form prescribed by the Sixth Schedule of the Licensing (Scotland) Act, 1903").—(Earl Beauchomp).
I move on behalf of my noble friend Lord Lovat. The Amendments that stand in his name are the result of the Division on the Amendment as to the five and fourteen years.
Page 11, line 16, after ("the") insert ("last preceding") line 11, leave out from "up"), to ("under") in line 18.
Page 11, lines 21 and 22, leave out ("under this Act in the year nineteen hundred and seventeen") and insert ("taken in the first year in which a poll can be taken under the provisions of this Act").(Lord Saltoun).
Page 11, line 30, after ("renewal") insert ("or transfer").—(Earl Beauchamp).
§ Clause 15, as amended, agreed to.
§ Remaining clause agreed to.
§ Schedule I agreed to.