HL Deb 04 July 1939 vol 113 cc914-39

Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee read.

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(The Earl of Courtown.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly:

[The EARL OF ONSLOW in the Chair.]

Clause 1 agreed to.

Clause 2:


(3) A police authority may refuse to grant a licence, or, where a licence has been granted, may revoke it, if it appears to the authority— (a) that the amount of the proceeds of the collection applied for charitable purposes or to be so applied or both is inadequate in proportion to the total amount of the said proceeds;

3.8 p.m.

THE EARL OF COURTOWN moved, in subsection (3), to leave out paragraph (a) and insert: (a) that the total amount likely to be applied for charitable purposes as the result of the collection (including any amount already so applied) is inadequate in proportion to the value of the proceeds likely to be received (including any proceeds already received); The noble Earl said: This is purely a drafting Amendment. It is not quite clear in subsection (3) (a) as it stands in the Bill whether there will be adequate application of the proceeds of the collection for charitable purposes, including the amount already applied on application for the licence, and it is very important that this should be made clear.

Amendment moved— Page 3, line 6, leave out paragraph (a) and insert the said new paragraph.—(The Earl of Courtown.)


I think the noble Earl is a little modest in describing this as a drafting Amendment. I am not opposing it, but I want to call attention to it. It very much widens the duty of the police authority. The authority will be entitled to consider the value of the proceeds likely to be received. I cannot help thinking that if hospital governors in Edinburgh applied to the police authority for leave to make a house-to-house collection in Glasgow the police authority in Glasgow might put the value of the proceeds likely to be received at a smaller amount than the hospital authorities hoped to get. The same difficulty might arise, say, between Liverpool and Manchester or between Leeds and Bradford. I like the Amendment, but I think the acceptance of it makes the consideration of other Amendments which will be moved later very much more important.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


The next is also a drafting Amendment, consequential on the first one.

Amendment moved— Page 3, line 12, leave out from the first ("the") to ("is") in line 14, and insert ("total amount aforesaid").—(The Earl of Courtown.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


There is another drafting Amendment, to make the wording clearer.

Amendment moved— Page 3, line 16, leave out ("thereof") and insert ("of the collection").—(The Earl of Courtown.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


This also is a drafting Amendment.

Amendment moved— Page 3, line 44, at end insert ("or").—(The Earl of Courtown.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

3.12 p.m.

LORD MACMILLAN moved, at the end of the clause, to insert: (4) When a police authority refuse to grant a licence or revoke a licence which has been granted they shall forthwith give written notice to the applicant or holder of the licence stating upon which one or more of the grounds set out in subsection (3) of this section the licence has been refused or revoked and informing him of the right of appeal given by this section, and the applicant or holder of the licence may thereupon appeal to the Secretary of State against the refusal or revocation of the licence as the case may be and the decision of the Secretary of State shall be final. (5) The time within which any such appeal may be brought shall be fourteen days from the date on which notice is given under subsection (4) of this section. (6) If the Secretary of State decides that the appeal shall be allowed the police authority shall forthwith issue a licence or cancel the revocation as the case may be in accordance with the decision of the Secretary of State.

The noble and learned Lord said: I rise to move the Amendment which stands in my name, and I need scarcely say that I do so in no spirit of hostility to this Bill. The King Edward Hospital Fund for London and the British Hospitals Association, who have asked me to move this Amendment on their behalf, welcome the Bill as an admirable measure. None of us who are associated with hospital administration can fail to realise how important it is that bogus charities should be suppressed and that collections should be fostered and protected. Therefore the Amendment which I am about to ask your Lordships to accept is offered in no spirit of hostility to the Bill. The scheme of this measure is that persons who propose to carry on house-to-house collections should obtain the authority of the police of the area and be properly identified. That seems a most workmanlike way of going about it. What the hospitals are concerned with is that, operating as many of them do in large areas which overlap the territory of many police authorities, they may find themselves in very considerable difficulties owing to the different views which these different police authorities may take; and they view with some apprehension the fact that in the Bill as it stands there is no appeal whatever from the decision of a police authority to whom application is made for a licence.

The history of the matter may be brought before the Committee in a few words. In the original Bill which first came before this House, the police authority, when they were asked to grant a licence and refused to do so, were bound to specify the grounds of their refusal, and a right of appeal was given to a court of summary jurisdiction. Your Lordships will recall that the Bill was referred to a Joint Committee, and before that Committee a considerable amount of evidence was led. I think it is fair to say that the general tenor of the evidence, at any rate of the official evidence, was against there being the right of appeal from the decision of the police authority; but that on the other hand, if there were to be a right of appeal, it should not be to a court of summary jurisdiction, which was thought to be an unsuitable tribunal, but that the appropriate authority would be the Home Secretary. For example, Commander Kemble, who appeared before the Joint Committee and spoke for the chief constables, said that an appeal to the Home Secretary would very probably be the best procedure, because then all the appeals would come to one central authority, who would know the history of the case from other angles. Notwithstanding that statement, the Joint Committee recommended the omission of a right of appeal altogether, and consequently in the Bill now before the Committee there is no right of appeal whatever against the decision of the police authority either in refusing a licence or in revoking an existing licence.

The reasons which actuate those who are interested in hospitals to ask for the insertion of a right of appeal are really very practical reasons indeed. There may be considerable divergence of view among different police authorities as to whether a licence should or should not be given in particular circumstances. It will be observed that the reasons which must actuate a police authority in refusing to grant a licence, or in revoking one that has been granted, are discretionary. They are enumerated in six paragraphs, and all these paragraphs raise matters upon which divergent views might very well be taken. One police authority might quite genuinely consider that a certain percentage of the proceeds was too high; another might think that it was a reasonable percentage, and so on. Consequently you can well have the most divergent views, and the "drainage area," if I may so call it, of most of the large hospitals—their collecting area—is not confined to one police authority.

Take so famous a hospital as the Hospital for Sick Children in Great Ormond Street, of which I was myself for a time Chairman. That hospital serves practically the whole country and, I am happy to say, has in fact obtained the good will and support of people in every part of England and also to some extent in Scotland, because of the splendid treatment which is there accorded to children. Consequently contributions come in from all parts of the United Kingdom, and indeed also from abroad. It does seem rather ridiculous to say that if the Hospital for Sick Children—because it is always better to be concrete than abstract—desire to have a collection in some area they should have in each particular area where the collection is to take place to obtain the authority of the police. For a charity which is to all intents and purposes a national charity, like the Children's Hospital or many other of our great hospitals, to have to apply to all these different authorities for the requisite licence from them all would be hampering in the extreme; and also it might well happen, as was foretold a moment ago by my noble friend Lord Donoughmore, that very different views indeed might be held by police authorities as to the reasons for which such licences should be granted or revoked.

It would be most unhappy if there were no appeal from such a discretionary power. I entirely agree with the view which was taken by the Joint Committee that an appeal to a court of summary jurisdiction would be unsuitable. This is one of the few cases where, although a member of the judiciary, I am inclined to think that the decision is better in administrative than in judicial hands. I should not regard the insertion of this subsection as an instance of the "New Despotism." It is plainly a matter where the discretion of the Minister would be an appropriate quarter in which to appeal, and it would have this further advantage: the hospitals would not only be able to appeal from possibly arbitrary and possibly unjust decisions, but unity of policy would be obtained. In that way I venture to think this Bill would work much better than it would work if it were left to the discretion of the innumerable police authorities throughout the country. This really is a very practical question indeed from the point of view of the hospitals, and I venture to ask the Committee to give this Amendment, which is in no way inimical to the Bill and will in no way hurt the Bill, their most favourable and sympathetic consideration.

I recognise that if a subsequent Amendment, which will shortly be moved by my noble friends Lord Luke and Lord Donoughmore and which proposes that the hospitals should be treated as exempted charities, were accepted, I should not have the same motive for moving this Amendment as I have now, because then the hospitals would receive the treatment to which I think as national charities they are entitled, of being placed on the same footing as the other privileged charities. If that Amendment were given effect to, I quite recognise that my locus standi to speak for the hospitals on this Amendment would really disappear; but I am anxious at this point to make it quite plain that we attach the greatest possible importance to the right of appeal, in order that there should be no hampering of our legitimate efforts to promote the welfare of hospitals. At the present moment the hospitals have many anxieties, and they were never more entitled to rely on the good will of those who are interested in their work, and especially on the good will of this House, where I know there are so many noble Lords who are themselves interested in the conduct of hospital affairs. Therefore, with confidence in your Lordships' fairness to hospitals, and to all those who have to apply for police licences, I ask that my Amendment should be adopted.

Amendment moved—

Page 4, line 6, at end, insert the said new subsections.—(Lord Macmillan.)


As a member of the Joint Committee, I would like to say a few words on the noble and learned Lord's Amendment. If the Amendment were directed entirely to hospitals, I think no one could say anything against it, but I cannot see the word "hospital" in the Amendment. In other words, an appeal may be made by all people, whether connected with hospitals or bogus charities, and I think it is most unfortunate that this Amendment should be moved before that of Lord Luke, which follows. I ask your Lordships to pause before giving a right of appeal to every possible charity which may be refused a permit by the police authorities. I cannot exactly envy the Secretary of State, or the Under-Secretary of State, if everybody who meets with a refusal to his application for a permit has a right of appeal to the Secretary of State. In fact I think the position would be untenable, and it would require an enormous amount of machinery to find out what everybody was in the most remote district of the country.

I think the police authorities are the best to determine what is a reputable charity. We did discuss this matter very thoroughly in the Joint Committee, as has been said, and it was because of the difficulties of confining the appeal to what I might call warrantable cases that we decided, if I remember rightly, unanimously, that there should be no appeal, on the principle that the local police are supposed to be, and I think rightly supposed to be, in full knowledge of what are reputable local charities, or reputable people who wish to assist charities. The only reason there are so many bogus charities to-day is that the police have not got the power with which to prevent these collections. Hence this Bill, as a result of the Joint Committee's Report, and I most earnestly ask your Lordships to hesitate to pass this Amendment—at any rate, until a later stage in the Bill, when we shall know what the House decides to do with regard to the hospitals.


I think it advisable at this stage to give the Government's views on this Amendment moved by Lord Macmillan. If the Government had felt that an appeal was necessary, they would themselves have proposed that provision for appeal should be included in the Bill, but they agreed with the view that the matter could safely be left in the hands of the police authorities, or the sub-committee to which the police authorities may delegate their powers. A licence is only to be refused or revoked on the grounds set out in Clause 2, subsection (3) of the Bill, which are, roughly, that too much of the proceeds is likely to be absorbed in expenses, or that the promoter is not a suitable person. It is true that in Clause 2, subsection (3) (a), power is given to the police authorities to use their discretion to decide what proportion of the proceeds is an adequate proportion to be applied to charity, but it is quite impracticable to lay down a proportion in this Bill, as circumstances may vary considerably in every case.

Surely there is no reason to think that the police will take any unreasonable view in these matters. The whole tenor of the Bill makes it clear that the purpose is the one to which the Joint Committee limited their recommendations—namely, not to interfere with legitimate charitable efforts, but to put a stop to those virtually fraudulent collections which have caused so much indignation. Surely, no police authorities would wish to incur the odium of refusing a licence for legitimate charitable efforts. The Government feel that the proposed right of appeal is not really necessary, but might mean that a number of fruitless applications, which could quite well have been finally settled locally, would have to be dealt with at the Home Office, with consequent waste of time and labour to all concerned.


I rise to oppose this Amendment. I should have hesitated to draw swords with so distinguished an authority on this subject, but I think his arguments have been very well answered by the noble Marquess, who was a member of the Committee, and I think that this right of appeal is entirely unnecessary. It would load up the Bill and considerably increase the work and trouble of the Home Office, because I can see that a great many bogus charities would appeal. Lord Macmillan referred to the Great Ormond Street Hospital, for which I have very great respect and admiration, but I think a great deal of what he said would have been much better directed to the later Amendment on the Paper, for I cannot see any voluntary hospital, such as the Great Ormond Street Hospital, instituting a house-to-house collection over a very wide area. It is the great charities which hold almost simultaneously street collections throughout the country. In the Act dealing with street collections there is no right of appeal, and I understand that that Act has worked very well indeed, and there has been no complaint. On these grounds, and especially on the ground that the Joint Committee consid- ered the matter very carefully indeed, I submit that this House should not accept the Amendment.


I hope that noble Lords will accept the Amendment which the noble and learned Lord has thought fit to move. I support it on a ground which I believe has not yet been raised—namely, that it is very desirable that any appeal which is made with regard to the refusal of the police to allow collections should go to the Home Secretary and not to a court of summary jurisdiction. I think it is very desirable that not only the collection, and the right kind of collection, should be made, but that the administration of the funds, when they are collected, should be inquired into. I do not think that the police are an authority that could really inquire into the administration of these large collections. A man like the Home Secretary has means whereby the generosity of the public can be safeguarded.


I am much tempted by certain words which fell from the noble Marquess and also from the noble Earl in charge of the Bill, but it is unfortunate that this Amendment should be moved at this stage when a more fundamental Amendment affecting the hospitals is coming on later. But I am a little apprehensive that, if I do not hold my ground now, then when the next matter comes along that unhappy precedent will be followed, and I shall be defeated and the hospitals will be left in an unfortunate position. But in the circumstances I am more interested in the substantive Amendment, relating to hospitals particularly, which will follow. It might perhaps be wise for me to withdraw the Amendment at this stage, but if we are unfortunate enough not to persuade the Committee to accept that Amendment I should like to be permitted to move this Amendment on the Report stage.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 2, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 3:

Exemptions in the case of collections over wide areas.

3.—(1) Where the Secretary of State is satisfied that a person pursues a charitable purpose throughout the whole of England or a substantial part thereof and is desirous of promoting collections for that purpose, the Secretary of State may by order direct that he shall be exempt from the obligation to apply for a licence imposed by Section one of this Act as respects all collections for that purpose in such localities as may be described in the order, and whilst an order so made in the case of any person is in force as respects collections in any locality, the provisions of this Act shall have effect in relation to that person, to a promoter of a collection in that locality for that purpose who acts under the authority of that person, and to a person who so acts as a collector for the purposes of any such collection, as if a licence authorising that person to promote a collection in that locality for that purpose had been in force.

3.32 p.m.

LORD LUKE had given Notice of two Amendments to subsection (1)—namely, after "person," where that word first occurs, to insert "(a)," and after "purpose," where that word occurs for the second time, to insert "or (b) carries on a voluntary hospital approved by the British Hospitals Association or by King Edward's Hospital Fund for London and is desirous of promoting collections for the purpose of that hospital." The noble Lord said: This is really one Amendment, and it has the approval of King Edward's Hospital Fund and the British Hospitals Association representing 900 hospitals. It is said that the reason why the hospitals are not included in the favoured list of charities associated with this Bill is that they do not beg nationally. It is admitted that they serve the community very well locally, and in some instances do so throughout the country, but on the whole their service departments are usually better than their appeal sections, and these latter do not often reach from Land's End to John o'Groats. In the past they have obtained support from an area, say of fifty or even 100 miles around their hospitals, from which area they receive the bulk of their patients, though in these days of motor accidents they may have patients from any part of the country. Their area may include half a dozen, or even a dozen, police divisions, and in each of those the favoured outside charities would start with an advantage over the local hospital by having exemption. This Amendment will not put the local hospitals at the head of the favoured list of charities, it will only put them on a level, and that after they have been thoroughly approved by one of the two central hospital bodies which I have mentioned.

There has been a good deal of mystery about this list of favoured charities. The noble Lord who moved the Second Reading said that exemption was to be given to a list of charities which had had a conference before deciding to support the Bill, and he only gave the names of some of them, no doubt the best of the names. But there may be a dozen or more in this list, and we have not seen it. Probably some of them are very efficient beggars, and have the right to be termed national beggars, but I should like to dispute any suggestion that they do more national service than many of the hospitals. The money available in the hands of those kindly people who give to charity is certainly not inexhaustible, and there is competition for it. The most worthy causes are not always the ones most efficiently begged for. The hospital which only appeals to, say, a dozen police areas, and gives full service to those areas, may have a very active secretary for its hospital work, but he may be a man too busy to compete successfully with national beggars who invade his territory, and he simply cannot afford to be further handicapped against the efficient appeals that I have referred to. I trust your Lordships will support this Amendment and place the hospitals in a position equal to that of the favoured charities under this Bill.

Amendment moved— Page 4, line 8, after ("person") insert ("(a)").—(Lord Luke.)


I am afraid I must oppose this Amendment, because I cannot conceive any conditions under which a local authority will suffer by having to apply to the police rather than being put on a list at the Home Office as an exempted authority. The noble Lord said that there might be a dozen or half a dozen authorities from which a hospital got its patients, but I cannot help thinking that that is a slight exaggeration. I admit that the number may amount to three or four. I could mention one hospital which covers four police authorities, but that is rather an exception. The majority of these hospitals, whether in London or outside it, operate in a very restricted area, and if they do operate over more than one police area presumably the police in the neighbouring areas would say that the authority had agreed to issue the licence and they had made full inquiry.

The grounds on which they can refuse a licence are very limited indeed, and they are laid down in the Bill. I think this Amendment would give an undue advantage to a voluntary and non-elected association, the British Hospitals Association, because there might very easily be a local hospital which did not belong to that particular association for some reason or another, just as some motorists, for some particular grievance perhaps, do not belong to the A.A. or the R.A.C. Supposing that were the case, and they applied for a licence, the police might very well say, "This is not a recognised hospital," or "There is something against it," and might be inclined to withhold the licence. This matter was very fully gone into, I understand, by the Joint Committee, and they decided that it was not necessary to include voluntary hospitals. After the very weighty and considered opinion which they gave I hope your Lordships will not accept this Amendment.


I am sorry my noble friend is not able to accept this Amendment, but I think I can reassure him that the position which has been referred to by the noble Lords, Lord Macmillan, and Lord Luke, is nothing like as exceptional as he thinks. My mind goes at once to two hospitals, with the work of which I am familiar as a visitor—I am not concerned in their management—one in the North of England, the other in Scotland. Both these hospitals have done a very remarkable thing. They have managed to persuade a number of the small hospitals round them to act as clinics under their guidance, for purposes of diagnosis, and for purposes of after-treatment, that being a very sound thing from the point of view of medical treatment as well as from the point of view of relieving work in the hospital itself. It is perfectly reasonable surely that where medical treatment is given the collection of money should be permitted.

I have not been into the matter with great exactness, but the hospitals in Scotland certainly have this system in operation in eight or nine counties—it comes right down to the border; and in the case of the hospitals in Lancashire there must be many more than eight or nine police districts, because after all in Lancashire the police authorities are independent round about the hospitals where these clinics are working, and of course there are all the small boroughs. I think therefore that this Amendment is desirable in the interests of administrative efficiency. It is surely ridiculous that these hospitals should go to the police, not once for all, but annually, in order to ask that they shall have permission for these house-to-house collections—which, I agree, it is extremely desirable to have confined to genuine and proper cases. The point raised by my noble friend regarding the difficulty which might arise if one of the authorities who have been selected under the Amendment to advise in this matter did not include them in their membership, could be easily got over. It is quite easy to get recognised if they are not already so recognised. Your Lordships will remember the figure given by my noble friend that this Amendment, if passed, would at once cover 900 hospitals, which is a very considerable number, spread all over the country.

There is one other point—a rather indirect point but not unimportant—which it is only fair to remember on this occasion. After all, outside London, who are the police? They are the servants of the local authorities. I believe the Secretary of State for the Home Department has certain powers over them, but at the same time they are responsible to the local authorities and must obey their orders. The hospital world is in a state of anxiety and flux at this moment because you have the great voluntary hospital system and you have the rapidly improving and increasing municipal hospital system. There ought to be close co-operation between the two—I wish there were more. Many of the voluntary hospitals are anxious to co-operate with the municipal authorities. I wish that quite as many of the municipal authorities—there are of course splendid exceptions—were anxious to co-operate with the voluntary hospitals. We cannot shut our eyes to the fact that unless this Amendment is passed, if this Bill goes through in its present form, in this respect you are putting the voluntary hospital system under the municipal authorities. It is a small matter. You may call it the thin end of the wedge, but it is not such a very thin end, and it is a dangerous precedent as regards future legislation. I hope the day may not be far distant when the two systems will be amalgamated. I believe there is good in both systems, and they ought to work alongside each other in co-operation; but I am certain it is undesirable to put the voluntary hospitals under the municipal authorities by a side wind. I am quite certain that my noble friend, if he drafted this Bill, had no such thought in his mind, but there are very astute people who have been advising him who, I am sure, did not shut their eyes to the fact when they brought forward the Bill in its present form.


A suggestion of the same kind as the noble Lord, Lord Luke, has made was put before the Joint Committee, and the Home Office was consulted informally upon it. The view was expressed that it would be practicable to adopt a scheme of this kind, but the scheme should apply to other charities vouched for by a reputable central body, and also the proposals of the central body for exemption of local charities should be related to specified areas, so that the appropriate police authorities could be notified. The scheme was, however, strongly opposed by some members of the Committee, chiefly on the ground that it would give powers to unofficial bodies, which might seriously prejudice the position of, say, a hospital which had declined to join the British Hospitals Association. The Committee therefore abandoned the idea and no reference was made to it in their Report.

Two grounds have been advanced for this proposal. One is the trouble involved in applying to several police authorities in cases where a hospital serves several police areas, but this would not be confined to hospitals and the trouble involved would not in practice be at all great. As the noble Earl in charge of the Bill pointed out, a charity would no doubt apply to the authority in the area in which its activities are chiefly centred and give full particulars to that authority. This could be stated in applications to other authorities, and the police forces concerned would co-operate so as to avoid unnecessary duplication of inquiries. The noble Lord, Lord Luke, and other speakers based their case for the Amendment on some mistrust of the police authorities. I would point out to your Lordships that as Lord Macmillan's Amendment has not been made at this stage, your Lordships have given expression to confidence in the police authorities.


That is exactly what I said was going to happen.


Supposing the Amendment were made at a later stage, perhaps the whole matter could then be gone into again on this point of the mistrust of the police. Surely there could be no ground for thinking that hospitals want special protection from the police. The present proposal was discarded by the Select Committee after full consideration. Any attempt to deal centrally with charities other than "national" charities would lead to administrative complications, and the balance of advantage clearly lies with the proposal of the Bill under which the applications of local charities would be dealt with locally and the power of exemption conferred on the Secretary of State would be applicable only to charities operating over a really wide field. His Majesty's Government therefore are not in agreement with the Amendment.


I hope that the Committee will take this matter into their own hands. It appears to me that on this occasion your Lordships have an opportunity of safeguarding the interests of the voluntary hospitals of this country. Pray observe what Clause 3 of the Bill proposes. It proposes that in certain instances charities shall not require to have a police licence in order to conduct a house-to-house collection. Therefore the Bill does recognise that in some instances it is appropriate that there should be exemption from the necessity of obtaining police authority. Could there be any institutions more worthy of such exemption than the voluntary hospitals of this country? If any institutions are worthy of exemption, I venture to say that the voluntary hospitals are these bodies. It does not mean that if they are exempted they will be clear of all the restrictions, the very proper restrictions, imposed by this Bill upon house-to-house collections. All the provisions about having proper badges and proper precautions to see that none but duly authorised persons make a collection, and so on, will still apply. All that is proposed is that these exempted authorities shall not have to go the police authority to get a licence. That is all.

The point was made with regard to many of the hospitals that their territory extends over many police authorities. That objection is not in the least founded upon mistrust of the police authorities. The police authorities of this country are most admirable bodies, but police authorities, and even His Majesty's Judges in whom your Lordships have every confidence, have been known to differ. Even in this House I have heard noble Lords differing upon a point of law, and certainly I have heard this House in its legislative capacity differing very much on questions of policy. You may have various police authorities differing, and differing widely indeed, in their views as to which charities should, or should not, get a licence. Often in small localities there are prejudices which are unfounded but which might operate most unfairly with regard to one particular charity, for some reason or another. This Amendment does nothing more than put the hospitals of this country in the position of not requiring to get a police licence. It will not exempt them in any way from all the other proper provisions of the Bill.

In recent Bills the position of the hospitals has been recognised. For example, in connection with the services they render to the unfortunate victims of the internal combustion engine. Under the Statutes, provision has been made for payment to be made to the hospitals, and the hospitals are defined in this Bill and are known and recognised in this House as reputable institutions. They receive that recognition for the services that they render. Why should they not also be free from what will be a distinct embarrassment and handicap? If, in carrying out their splendid work throughout the country, any charities are entitled to be exempted, I venture to suggest that our hospitals are entitled to be.


I very much hope your Lordships will not agree to this Amendment. The Joint Committee went into this matter very carefully, and they came to the conclusion that all local charities should be dealt with locally. The last thing the police authorities would wish to do would be to stand in the way of deserving charities, and I think they should be trusted.


I wish to support this Amendment as I feel strongly that our great voluntary hospitals should be treated as national institutions rather than as local ones. These hospitals draw their patients to-day from far and wide. I have had a certain experience of the King Edward's Fund and also experience in one of our Dominions, where I was appeal secretary to a hospital in New South Wales. New South Wales some three years ago brought in a Bill very similar to this, and the New South Wales Hospitals Association were instrumental in getting their voluntary hospitals exemption from obtaining a permit. I suggest to your Lordships that precedent is one which should have weight, and that this Amendment is worthy of consideration.


I hesitate to say anything against an Amendment proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Luke, to whom the hospitals as a whole are so much indebted, but I should like to say one thing in reference to a statement by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Macmillan. He seemed to think that to have to get a licence to collect for a hospital is a drawback. As a matter of fact the whole machinery that is proposed by the Joint Committee is that it should be a recommendation that those who collect for a charity shall have a badge to wear which will guarantee the respectability of the charity for which they are collecting, and it seems to me that the hospitals—


May I point out to the noble Marquess that if exemption is given to a charity, the collectors still will have to wear a badge?


I have not quite finished. It was put to the Committee that it would be a very great advantage to be placed on the same footing as everybody else who was regarded as reputable. I cannot myself imagine a police authority that would not desire to help local hospitals, and, still more, national hospitals, such as the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children which is known throughout the country. You would have only to mention the name of that hospital and any authority would say "Yes" without a moment's hesitation. One other point which I wish to allude to is this. I would rather like to have an undertaking from someone who can give it, if possible, that the British Hospitals Association never refuses an application for affiliation made by any hospital which has any reputation. If we can have that undertaking, I think those who are rather chary of accepting this Amendment would feel much more comfortable, because they would then know that the British Hospitals Association, which extends over the whole country, never refuses an application for affiliation by any hospital, however small, and however insignificant it may be, provided of course that it does the work of a hospital for the benefit of those who attend it.


With reference to the noble Marquess's remarks, it is difficult to speak of the British Hospitals Association, but I am quite sure that between the British Hospitals Association and King Edward's Hospital Fund for London, it would be found that approval would be obtained for any hospital getting into the awkward position which the noble Marquess suggests. With regard to the main question, I really do not quite understand why there has been a belittling of the advantage of getting this exemption. I am quite sure that a large number of bodies who have obtained this exemption must value it very much. If there was no list at all I do not think the hospitals would be so much worried about it, but they do not really know the size of this list; they do not know what the tail of this list looks like. We presume that we have heard the best names. It seems to me that the police are going to be bothered by more people who want to beg from house to house than in the past. Therefore the police, who may be excellent in detecting crime, and would probably have a list of these bogus charities to work on, will no doubt effect a great change in that matter; but I am not inclined to believe that the police are quite as good at deciding which charity shall have an exemption and which shall not. There are only certain conditions on which you are not supposed to obtain a licence. At the same time, if there are a great many asking for a licence, there will be gradually a desire to limit the number. There will be reticence in giving the licences. These favoured charities, who already have had one, will not require to obtain one, and therefore hospitals will be in an unfavourable position. I am afraid that unless the Amendment is accepted, we shall have to go to a Division.


I think a great number of noble Lords who are interested in hospitals must be very seriously concerned, listening to the debate, as to which way to vote on the Amendment. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Macmillan, mentioned Great Ormond Street Hospital, and there have been frequent references in the debate to the great national hospitals. As I understand the Bill with the Amendment, its purpose is to differentiate the treatment between what may be called national charities and local charities, and it would seem to me, unless I am wrong in the impression I have gained from the debate and in studying the Amendment, that if the Amendment is inserted a very great number of hospitals, which, however meritorious, are still strictly local in their history and their appeal, will be put on the footing of national institutions. In that case it is obvious that the Amendment really defeats one of the main objects of the Bill, and if that is really so, I personally should feel that the advice given by the noble Lord, Lord Stanmore, was the right advice for your Lordships to follow.


Even though very weighty arguments have been put forward in support of this Amendment, I feel that I cannot accept it. For the life of me I cannot see how the voluntary hospitals are going to suffer at all by being excluded from what can be called national charities. There is no desire on the part of the local authorities, I am sure, nor on the part of the Home Office, I am equally sure, to hamper the local hospitals. No one has a greater admiration for the voluntary hospitals than I have. At the present moment I happen to be the Chairman of the Special Appeal Committee of a local hospital, so I do know a little about this matter. I am quite certain that no local hospital would suffer and the police have not got the power to refuse a licence to a hospital simply on the ground that it is not local. If, for instance, the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children wanted to make a house-to-house collection in Newcastle, the police in Newcastle could not turn it down simply because it was not a local hospital. They would have to put forward a better argument than that. I have been advised by the Association of Municipal Corporations, and I think I can assure your Lordships, that there is no desire on their part to use this as the thin end of the wedge for bringing all hospitals under local control. I would like to draw the attention of your Lordships to the opening words of the clause: Where the Secretary of State is satisfied that a person pursues a charitable purpose

4.10 p.m.

THE EARL OF COURTOWN moved, in subsection (1), to leave out "the obligation to apply for a licence imposed by" and insert "the provisions of subsection (2) of". The noble Earl said: This is a drafting Amendment—I think I can call it drafting in spite of what the noble Lord said just recently. The present wording is not accurate. The subsection refers to an obligation to apply for a licence. It is inconsistent with the form of Clause 1, which does not in terms impose an obligation but provides that it shall be an offence to promote a collection without a licence. I beg to move.

throughout the whole of England or a substantial part thereof …."

No hospital can claim that it operates throughout the whole of England nor even a substantial part of it as do the great national charities. I think the only thing to do is to leave the matter to the sense of the Committee.

On Question, Whether "(a)" shall be there inserted?

Their Lordships divided:—Contents, 24; Not-Contents, 49.

Exeter, M. Rothes, E. Gifford, L.
Salisbury, M. Wicklow, E. Harmsworth, L.
Howard of Glossop, L.
Bradford, E. Hailsham, V. Hutchison of Montrose, L.
Iddesleigh, E. Hutchinson V. (E. Donoughmore.) Jessel, L.
Lichfield, E. Luke, L. [Teller.]
Malmesbury, E. Ullswater, V. Macmillan, L. [Teller.]
Minto, E. Phillimore, L.
Onslow, E. Cautley, L. Saltoun, L.
Radnor, E.
Maugham, L. (L. Chancellor.) Bridport, V. Faringdon, L.
Mersey, V. Gainford, L.
Runciman of Doxford, V. (L. President.) Samuel, V. Gorell, L.
Stonehaven, V. Hindlip, L.
Swinton, V. Mancroft, L.
Aberdeen and Temair, M. Marley, L.
Crewe, M. Addington, L. Pentland, L.
Zetland, M. Bayford, L. [Teller.] Portsea, L.
Birdwood, L. Raglan, L.
Albemarle, E. Blythswood, L. Rennell, L.
Ancaster, E. Boston, L. Saltersford, L. (E. Courtown.) [Teller.]
Carlisle, E. Butler of Mount Juliet, L. (E. Carrick.)
Feversham, E. Snell, L.
Fortescue, E. Cornock, L. Stafford, L.
Howe, E. Chesham, L. Stanmore, L.
Lucan, E. Clanwilliam, L. (E. Clanwilliam.) Strabolgi, L.
Midleton, E. Templemore, L.
Munster, E. Clwyd, L. Teynham, L.
Elton, L. Wigan, L. (E. Crawford.)
Bertie of Thame, V.

Resolved in the negative, and Amendment disagreed to accordingly.

Amendment moved— Page 4, line 12, leave out ("the obligation to apply for a licence imposed by") and insert ("the provisions of subsection (2) of").—(The Earl of Courtown.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


The next is a drafting Amendment to cure words which are somewhat vague.

Amendment moved— Page 4, line 18, leave out ("that person") and insert ("the person exempted").—(The Earl of Courtown.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


This is also drafting.

Amendment moved— Page 4, line 19, leave out ("that person") and insert ("the person exempted").—(The Earl of Courtown.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


These are the same words.

Amendment moved— Page 4, line 22, leave out ("that person") and insert ("the person exempted").—(The Earl of Courtown.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 3, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 4:


(2) Without prejudice to the generality of the powers conferred by the foregoing subsection, regulations made thereunder may make provision for all or any of the following matters, that is to say:—

  1. (a) for requiring and regulating the use by persons acting as collectors under the authority of the holder of the licence, or of the person in whose case the order has been made, as the case may be, of prescribed badges and prescribed certificates of authority, and the issue, custody, production and return thereof, and, in particular, for requiring such persons as aforesaid on demand by a police constable or by any occupant of a house visited to produce their certificates of authority;
  2. (b) for requiring, in the case of persons acting as collectors under the authority of the holder of a licence, that their prescribed certificates of authority shall be authenticated in a manner approved by the chief officer of police for the area in which the collection is made, and that their prescribed badges shall have inserted therein or annexed thereto in a manner and form so approved a general indication of the purpose of the collection;

(4) Any regulations made under this Act shall be laid before Parliament as soon as may be after they are made, and if either House of Parliament, within the next thirty days on which that House has sat after the regulations have been laid before it, resolves that the regulations be annulled, the regulations shall thereupon become void, without prejudice, however, to anything previously done thereunder or to the making of new regulations.

THE EARL OF COURTOWN moved, in paragraph (a) of subsection (2), to substitute "collectors" for "persons acting as collectors under the authority of the holder of the licence, or of the person in whose case the order has been made, as the case may be." The noble Earl said: This Amendment is designed to simplify the wording, which is a somewhat elaborate way of describing the collectors.

Amendment moved— Page 4, line 38, leave out from ("by") to ("of") in line 1 on page 5, and insert ("collectors").—(The Earl of Courtown.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


The next Amendment has the same intention.

Amendment moved— Page 5, line 4, leave out ("such persons as aforesaid") and insert ("collectors").—(The Earl of Courtown.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

THE EARL OF COURTOWN moved, at the beginning of paragraph (b) in subsection (2), to insert "in the case of collections in respect of which licences have been granted." The noble Earl said: This Amendment might also, I think, be described as a drafting Amendment, as it is desirable to make quite clear, as paragraph (e) does, that paragragh (b) only requires the prescribed information in the case of collections in respect of which licences have been granted, and not in cases in which the person is exempted by order of the Secretary of State under Clause 3.

Amendment moved— Page 5, line 8, at the beginning insert ("in the case of collections in respect of which licences have been granted").—(The Earl of Courtown.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


This Amendment is consequential.

Amendment moved— Page 5, line 8, leave out from ("requiring") to ("shall") in line 11, and insert ("that the prescribed certificates of authority of the collectors").—(The Earl of Courtown.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


This is a drafting Amendment, to make it quite clear that the chief officer of police is the one for the area in respect of which the licence has been granted.

Amendment moved— Page 5, line 13, leave out ("in which the collection is made") and insert ("in respect of which the licence was granted").—(The Earl of Courtown.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

THE EARL OF COURTOWN moved, in subsection (4), to leave out "next thirty days on which that House has sat after the regulations have been" and insert "period of forty days beginning with the date on which the regulations are." The noble Earl said: This is a more important Amendment. With the next Amendment, it is designed to bring the provisions into line with similar provisions in other Bills. It has been pointed out by those concerned with managing the business of this House that there is a great diversity in existing provisions of this nature. This diversity leads to great difficulties. After careful consideration this form of words has been adopted. The form of words as printed has been copied from recently introduced Bills. It is, of course, not possible to amend all those which have been passed into law, but it is proposed to adopt this form of wording in the case of Bills now in progress.

Amendment moved— Page 5, line 38, leave out ("next thirty days on which that House has sat after the regulations have been") and insert ("period of forty days beginning with the date on which the regulations are").—(The Earl of Courtown).

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


The next is consequential.

Amendment moved— Page 5, line 43, at end insert ("In reckoning any such period of forty days as aforesaid, no account shall be taken of any time during which Parliament is dissolved or prorogued or during which both Houses are adjourned for more than four days").—(The Earl of Courtown.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 4, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 5:

Unauthorised use of badges, etc.

5. If any person, in connection with any appeal made by him to the public in association with a representation that the appeal is for a charitable purpose, displays or uses— (a) a prescribed badge or a prescribed certificate of authority, not being a badge or certificate for the time being held by him pursuant to regulations made under this Act, or

THE EARL OF COURTOWN moved in paragraph (a), after "him," to insert "for the purposes of the appeal." The noble Earl said: This Amendment relates to the prevention of the misuse of prescribed badges and certificates. It is designed to ensure that the badge and cer- tificate refer to the particular collection being held and have not been used for any collection before.

Amendment moved— Page 6, line 7, after ("him") insert ("for the purposes of the appeal").—(The Earl of Courtown.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 5, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 6 agreed to.

Clause 7 [Delegation of functions]:


On Clause 7, might I ask the noble Earl in charge of the Bill a question? The first sentence provides that any functions conferred by the Bill on a police authority may be delegated by the authority. The interpretation clause, Clause 10, reads: In this Act the following expressions have the meanings hereby respectively assigned to them, that is to say … 'police area,' 'police authority' and 'chief officer of police,' have the same meanings respectively as in the Police Pensions Act, 1921; If you read Clause 7 further, you see: (a) in the case of the authority for the metropolitan police district, to the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis; My question is, who is the authority? I do not see how the Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis is going to delegate to himself.


I have been caught there, because I am afraid I have not had notice of that question; but I will have it looked into and see whether it can be made clearer at a later stage. I am very sorry that I cannot answer now. Perhaps the Home Office can explain.


Is not the police authority for the Metropolitan area the Home Secretary?


Then this is another flagrant example of legislation by reference. Why it could not have been put in, I do not see.

Clause 7 agreed to.

Clauses 8 and 9 agreed to.

Clause 10 [Interpretation]:


The first Amendment to this clause is purely a drafting Amendment.

Amendment moved— Page 9, line 3, leave out from ("collection") to the end of line 7 and insert ("all money and all other property given, whether for consideration or not, in response to the appeal made").—(The Earl of Courtown.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


The next also is a drafting Amendment.

Amendment moved— Page 9, line 11, leave out ("has a corresponding meaning") and insert ("and 'promotion' have corresponding meanings").—(The Earl of Courtown.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 10, as amended, agreed to.

Remaining clause agreed to.

Schedule agreed to.