HL Deb 12 December 1961 vol 236 cc244-99

3.30 p.m.

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

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(Lord Craigton.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The LORD MERTHYR in the Chair.]

Clause 1:

Licensing courts may grant restaurant certificates and restricted hotel certificates

Restaurants and hotels


(3) A restricted hotel certificate is a certificate which—

  1. (a) is granted in respect of a hotel which—
    1. (i) is structurally adapted and bona fide used, or intended to be used, for the 245 purpose of habitually providing the customary main meal at midday or in the evening, or both, for the accommodation of persons frequenting the premises of such hotel, and
    2. (ii) does not contain a bar counter; and
  2. (b) authorises the holder thereof, in accordance with the appropriate excise licence, to sell or supply excisable liquor in the said premises—
    1. (i) to persons taking table meals there, for consumption by such a person as an ancillary to his meal;
    2. (ii) to persons residing there or their private friends bona fide entertained by them at their own expense, for consumption by such person or his private friend so entertained by him either on the premises or with a meal supplied at, but to be consumed off, the premises.


This is a drafting Amendment which brings paragraph (a) in Clause 1 (3) into line with paragraph (a) of Clause 1 (2). If your Lordships accept the addition of this word, sub-paragraphs (i) and (ii) will be removed as a matter of printing to the next stage of the Bill. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 2, line 17, at end insert ("which").—(Lord Craigton.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD CRAIGTON moved, in subsection (3) (b) to leave out from "licence" to end of subsection and insert:

  1. "(i) to sell or supply exciseable liquor in the said premises to persons taking table meals there, for consumption by such a person as an ancillary to his meal;
  2. (ii) to sell or supply exciseable liquor in those premises to persons residing there, for consumption on the premises by such a person or his private friend bona fide entertained by him at his own expense, and to supply such liquor in the said premises to any private friends of such a person so entertained by him, for consumption on the premises by such a friend entertained as aforesaid;
  3. (iii) to sell or supply exciseable liquor in those premises to persons residing there, for consumption by such a person or his private friend bona fide entertained by him at his own expense with a meal supplied at, but to be consumed off, the premises."

The noble Lord said: With the approval of your Lordships, I suggest it might be convenient for the Committee if this Amendment is discussed with Amendment No.3, Nos.37 and 39 to the First Schedule and Nos.50 and 51 to the Second Schedule, which Amendments are consequential. On Second Reading the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, said of subsection (3) (b), which is rewritten by this Amendment, that under it it was possible to sell, as distinct from supply, liquor direct to the guest of an hotel resident; and in winding up I said that if the clause meant what the noble Lord thought it meant it would have to be altered, because that was not the intention. I am grateful to the noble Lord for having raised the point on Second Reading, and I hope he will accept the Government's revision rather than his own, as our Amendment makes it quite clear that it is not an offence actually to serve the friend—that is to say, to put the drink in front of him—although the friend may not pay for it.

I hope also that the noble Lord will not press his point about converting the words "private friend" to just "friend". The words "private friend" are already used in the 1959 Act to describe the sort of friends to whom the landlord may stand a drink out of permitted hours. They are used in the English Act of 1961 in the same context as we are now discussing; and I am sure it is our duty, where the offence is parallel as between England and Scotland, to give parallel guidance to the courts by using the same form of words. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 2, line 20, leave out from ("licence") to end of subsection and insert the said subparagraphs.—(Lord Craigton.)


I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Craigton, for what he has said in moving this Amendment. I am not at all certain that it is necessary to go to three paragraphs in order to accomplish the little thing I suggested on Second Reading. I thought I had accomplished it quite simply in three lines. However, if the Minister assures me that it is necessary to go to such lengths in order to do this, then I certainly will not move Amendment No. 3, which stands in my name. I still do not think it is reasonable (although I will accept it) to put in words like "private friend" and "bona fide entertainment", but once again, if this is the way in which the Government have to do it, having accomplished the main purpose I am quite content. I therefore support the Amendment which the noble Lord has moved.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS moved, in subsection (3) (b) (ii), to leave out "either". The noble Viscount said: Despite the fact that your Lordships have just removed from the Bill the wording upon which I base my Amendment and have replaced it with something else, I hope I may be allowed to say a few words on this subject. As I understand it, the restricted hotel licence will open the door for various small hotels and boarding houses to supply liquor in the conditions laid down by the Bill, and this will consequently result in far more people than there are now being empowered to sell liquor. The proprietors of these small hotels and boarding houses will be entitled to provide drink for their guests to take out, presumably, on picnics with a packed lunch or with sandwiches.

In view of the large numbers that may be expected to take advantage of this form of certificate, I am doubtful whether there is any need for the last part of sub-paragraph (iii) as it now stands, particularly having regard to the fact that by Clause 3 of the Bill off-licences will be open throughout the day and well on into the evening. It seems to me that if the residents of these small hotels and boarding houses wish to take a drink with them on their picnics, or when they go outside the boarding house or hotel where they are living, they could just as easily buy it in an off-licence and so remove what may possibly be a source of some abuse of this lightening of the restrictions in the Bill as it now stands. Therefore I think this freedom which is here being given might be restricted in the way that I propose. I beg, to move.

Amendment moved— Page 2, line 28, leave out ("either").—(Viscount Colville of Culross.)


I take it that the noble Viscount is discussing Amendments Nos. 4 and 5 together. I think he has made a slight error in referring to this being applicable to small hotels and boarding houses. The clause which he seeks to amend refers only to licensed hotels; they must have received a licence from the licensing court. I must admit that to permit a licensed hotel to supply residents with a picnic lunch goes further than the Guest Committee recommended. But there are certain considerations. This is permitted in the English Licensing Act of 1961. It is—and I am sure the noble Viscount will agree with me—a great service to the tourists. Finally, a hotel is, after all, the residents' home and the whole tenor of the licensing laws accepts that the resident can buy drinks at any time and have drinks served to his friends. Why not take out a packed lunch? This is a narrow point, I know, but, particularly in view of the tourist industry interests, I hope the noble Viscount will feel able to withdraw his Amendment in view of this explanation.


I entirely appreciate the tourist point. I hope my noble friend is perfectly satisfied that this is not going to lead to any abuse, and if that is so, I am willing to withdraw this Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


This is a slight variation on the same point. If the resident or guest in a hotel is allowed to take a drink out with him together with a meal it seems to me that the meal should be of a substantial nature and not merely an excuse for taking the drink out of the hotel when he would otherwise not be allowed to. It may be that the courts would interpret the word "meal" as a substantial meal, and in that case there would be no need for this Amendment, but I thought it as well to have the matter cleared. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 2, line 29, after ("a") insert ("substantial").—(Viscount Colville of Culross.)


Before the Minister replies, might I ask how the word "substantial" would be explained? Must you eat a certain amount? Would it be laid down in the Act what was a substantial meal or what was not? I think it is going to make things worse if you have words in the Act which can be looked upon by different people as having a different meaning.


The final remarks of the noble Viscount are quite right. I am advised that whether a "substantial meal" or just a "meal" were in the Act, it would make no difference to the court's decision on this point. It is a very minor point, and I would recommend your Lordships not to accept it, simply because a meal is described in the English Act, and we ought to follow suit if we can.


I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 1, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 2 agreed to.

Clause 3 [Application and effect of permitted hours provisions]:


This is a drafting Amendment. It makes it quite clear that guests entertained by hotel residents may only be supplied with and drink drinks paid for by their host. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 5, line 15 at end insert ("to them").—(Lord Craigton.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


This Amendment meets a point made by the Association of County Councils in Scotland. They consider that these words are inappropriate in a Bill dealing with the supply of liquor. The purpose of the clause is to make it clear that there is nothing in the licensing law which requires licensed premises to remain open for purposes other than the supply of liquor. These words might be held to affect an existing duty to remain open for some other purpose, and they are better out of the Bill. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 5, line 18, leave out ("or for any other purpose").—(Lord Craigton.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 3, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 4:

Permitted hours in licensed premises, registered clubs and licensed canteens

4.—(1) Subject to the provisions of the principal Act and this Act, the permitted hours in licensed premises (other than public houses) and in registered clubs and licensed canteens shall—

  1. (a) on weekdays, be the period between eleven in the morning and three in the afternoon and the period between five and ten in the evening; and
  2. 250
  3. (b) on Sundays, be the period between half-past twelve and half-past two in the afternoon and the period between six and nine in the evening so, however, that for the purpose of the sale or supply of exciseable liquor for consumption off the premises there shall be no permitted hours in such licensed premises or clubs on Sundays.

(2) Subject to the provisions of the principal Act and this Act, the permitted hours in public houses shall on weekdays be the period between eleven in the morning and three in the afternoon and the period between five and ten in the evening, and (except as provided in section six of this Act) there shall be no permitted hours in public houses on Sundays.

(3) The following provisions of the principal Act shall cease to have effect, namely— sections one hundred and twenty-three, one hundred and twenty-four and one hundred and twenty-five (permitted hours in licensed premises, registered clubs and licensed canteens);

3.42 p.m.

THE EARL OF HADDINGTON moved, in subsection (1) (a), to leave out "three" and insert "two". The noble Earl said: Clause 4 deals with the permitted hours of opening. Subsection (1) (a) fixes the midday terminal hour—that is, for week-days—at 3 p.m.


Would it be convenient if we discussed Amendments Nos. 9 to 15 and 17 and 18 together, which are all on permitted hours?


May I move my three Amendments together?


I can call and put only one Amendment at a time, but, as is very often the case, it may be for the convenience of the Committee to debate all these Amendments together. I should like to suggest to the Committee that although there is, strictly speaking, only one Amendment before the Committee, there should be a general debate on them all, and then they can be dealt with later.


I wish to say this about the 3 p.m. terminal hour. The experience of the trade, I am led to understand, is that there is little demand for liquor service after 2 p.m., and that is one reason for my proposal to bring the terminal hour forward one hour. The other reason is this. While we must try to give the public the service it needs, I believe it is our duty also not to forget the staff. It is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain staff for licensed premises nowadays, owing to the long hours they have to work. Your Lordships will remember that there is a "drinking up" period of ten minutes after the terminal hour, and this means that, with that and the necessary time for cleaning up, as the clause now stands the staff might not get away much before 3 p.m. They must be back again at least fifteen minutes before what I might call the second session, the afternoon-evening session, at 5 o'clock. This means that there is little more than an hour's respite for them. Surely this is not enough for a family with its own meals to get and many other domestic responsibilities. Therefore, I feel that this Amendment, which is strongly supported by the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, is a most reasonable one—in fact, I believe it to be a most necessary one.

The second Amendment in my name is to paragraph (b) of the same subsection dealing with the permitted hours on Sundays. This Amendment seeks to alter the permitted hours of the midday period so that they shall be from noon until 2 p.m. In the clause as it stands, it reads 12.30 to 2.30. I want to bring both those times forward half an hour. It has been pointed out to me that the fact of opening licensed premises half an hour earlier will not interfere with religious observance, as most of the services in Scotland now begin at 11 or 11.30 a.m. Certainly, by noon they are all being conducted. Concerning the closing at 2 p.m. instead of 2.30 p.m., I feel that my argument should carry still more weight in this Amendment than in the last—more weight that is to say, on a Sunday than on a weekday. Surely, as I think I said on Second Reading, the majority want Sunday to be a little different from every other day in the week, and surely the staff of a licensed premises are entitled to ask for a little more time off on Sunday afternoon, be it for rest, recreation or what you will. In other words, while we must think of the public, we must think of the publicans as well. I think this is an even more reasonable and necessary Amendment than my first one.

My third Amendment concerns the permitted hours of opening on Sundays during the afternoon and evening. That is the second period, as we might term it, in the Bill, and it is fixed at from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. I wish to alter it to 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. I will explain why. I do not object—in fact I welcome—the limitation of the Sunday hours of opening. I have particularly in mind the case of family parties, so many of whom nowadays like to take a run out in the car and stop at a licensed hotel, perhaps for a high tea. I think it is a custom to enjoy a drink either before or with the meal itself. But, of course, if liquor cannot be served before 6 p.m., as the Bill states in its present form, then this custom cannot continue.

As regards extending the terminal hour to 10 p.m. on a Sunday, that may be a disputed point, but I am assured by the Scottish Licensed Trade Association that it would be better to bring Sundays into line with weekdays as regards the terminal hour; that 10 p.m. would be a more reasonable hour for the public, without restricting it too far, and that such premises as are licensed for Sunday are now, or will be, sufficiently geared to cope with these suggested hours and would suffer no embarrassment thereby. In short, and to sum up, I feel that this Amendment strikes a happy compromise between too much strictness on the Sabbath, which I feel few want nowadays, and too much latitude, which is equally undesirable. I beg to move,

Amendment, moved— Page 5, line 24, leave out ("three") and insert ("two").—(The Earl of Haddington.)


As the other instigator of these Amendments, may I say a few words before Lord Craigton replies? Personally, I think that from the point of view of drunkenness it would make no difference at all if there were no licensing hours, as I am sure the amount people drink is limited both by pocket and inclination and not by the time that is allowed to drink. But I recognise that probably we are not ready for that move; moreover publicans probably want a fixed, definite closing time for the afternoon. I feel, however, that two hours is not long enough for that time. I have therefore sought to insert, by Amendment No. 10, that the lunch time period of drinking should end at 2.30. This in fact means 2.40, because we are now going to be allowed ten minutes in which to finish up our drink. It will still give the people who serve us drink in the hotel only about 1¼ to 1½ hours between the two sessions, and I feel that this is the minimum. By the time they have got to their homes, had their rest and got back again, it does not amount to very much, and so I think there is a great case for making the time 2.30.

I also think that, except in the large towns, it is very unreasonable to think that one cannot finish lunch, with a brandy afterwards, by 2.40. I admit that possibly in Edinburgh and Glasgow there may be difficulties because there are such things as business lunches which seem to me to drag on interminably. It would be a very good thing if by law we could stop them dragging on so long, although perhaps business would suffer. Nevertheless I feel the rest of the country would benefit.

In Amendment No. 13 I have put down that on Sundays the hours should be extended to 3 o'clock. If Amendment No. 10 is accepted, I do not intend to move this. It seems illogical to me that on the day when there is not a great deal of work to do in the afternoon and plenty of time to relax afterwards, one is allowed half an hour less for drinking after lunch than on weekdays. One has also one and a half hours less in which to drink before lunch, but that is a different consideration. I should also like to reserve comment on Amendment No. 15, which is on a slightly different point, until we reach that Amendment.


Deciding what ought or ought not to be permitted hours gives plenty of scope for ingenuity to the two noble Lords who have raised these Amendments, but I am sure they will realise that I cannot accept both of them. Both Amendments, taking weekdays first of all, have something in common. They seek to bring forward the three o'clock closing hour, the noble Earl by an hour and the noble Duke by half-an-hour. So the first thing I have to do is to say why the Government fixed 3 o'clock. First, it was the advice of Lord Guest. The position in Scotland—and I have the position up to October 1960, though I do not think it has significantly altered since then—about closing hours at weekday lunchtime is that only very few of the 147 licensing areas close earlier than 2 o'clock or later than 3 o'clock. Some, of course, are dry areas where there are no hours at all, but the main bulk of the areas, 135 of them, fix closing hours as follows: 38 at 2 o'clock, 47 at 2.30, and 50 at 3 o'clock. So 3 o'clock is slightly more favoured than 2.30 and 2 o'clock is the least popular. But there are in the Government's view sound reasons for accepting this most favoured time of 3 o'clock.

If we are to have standard hours, as I know your Lordships would like, these hours must err on the side of generosity and go as far as possible to meeting existing area practice. An earlier close than 3 o'clock would, the Guest Report says, be inconvenient to travellers wishing to have a late lunch, and I think this is especially relevant to foreign tourists. Furthermore, no one that I know objects to the 10 o'clock evening close during weekdays, but unless licensed premises close at 3 o'clock, or open earlier than 11, or open earlier than 5, the number of drinking hours would be smaller than the nine which are permitted in the Bill and in the English Act. Furthermore, there has been no public demand for 2 p.m. or 2.30 p.m. closing since the Bill was published; and this fact, coupled with the fact that there is a slight preference of the licensing courts for 3 o'clock—and I do not want to stress this unduly—leads the Government to believe that so far as weekday closing is concerned 3 o'clock is the right time.

On Sunday hours, there are two points about which the Government must be firm. First, let me take the noble Earl's proposal that Sunday drinking should start at 12 noon. I know the noble Earl does not agree, but the Guest Committee said, and it is on page 16 of the Report, It would seem to us to be Ironer that the midday period should begin at such a time as not to clash with the usual hours of morning church services. We take that view, although the noble Earl does not agree. Whatever the case for earlier closing, the Government accept this view as the overriding consideration, and we do not think that the majority of the Scottish people would wish us to depart from a 12.30 Sunday start. Secondly, the noble Earl increases the number of hours of Sunday drinking from five to eight, and the noble Duke, if he moves all his Amendments, from five to six-and-a-half hours.


To 10 o'clock.


I mean the total number of hours of drinking on Sunday from five hours to eight hours, and the noble Duke increases them from five hours to six-and-a-half hours. England is limited to five-and-a-half hours. Noble Lords will have in mind, as the noble Earl pointed out, that the five hours for Sunday drinking time in the Bill, as on weekdays, are extended in the case of drinks with meals by half-an-hour under the 1959 Act, both for lunch and dinner, and by another extra evening hour under Clause 5 of this Act where an extension is obtained. So we consider it an overriding consideration that the number of hours, whatever hours they may be, in which drink alone should be supplied on Sunday must be relatively short. The Bill fixes the number at five hours. We could not agree to six-and-a-half hours, and much less to eight hours. The Committee's view, again on page 16, confirms that point when they say: We think a relatively short period of time would be sufficient to meet all genuine requirements. So, for these reasons, I cannot advise your Lordships to accept any of these Amendments, but if the noble Lords will withdraw them we shall be very glad to discuss with them before the Report stage whether any compromise can be found that goes some way to meet all the points of view. Such an undertaking on my part, however, could not be considered to include a 4 o'clock Sunday start. I cannot make any promises because, as I say, there are so many different ways in which one can ring the changes, but there seems to be some room for manœuvre, especially on Sunday afternoon and evening closing hours.


If I may just very briefly say a word, having taken some interest in this subject and not being, I may say quite honestly, opposed to an occasional drink on Sundays or on any other day of the week, I wish to support the Government in this. I hope my noble friends will not object. On balance, my reason for supporting the Government is the fact that if we have a committee such as the Guest Committee, and a unanimous Report, it always seems to me unwise for the Government to depart from the recommendations of that Report unless they have very strong reasons for doing so. I am in a difficulty here because I am afraid that when this Committee reaches Clause 16 I may find myself wishing to depart from the recommendations of Lord Guest's Committee. I would rather that nobody remembered that when we reach Clause 16. On this occasion I suggest to the noble Duke and the noble Earl that they should not press their Amendments but should support the Government.


I was very happy to hear the noble Viscount give that advice to the Government about not departing from unanimous recommendations, and I hope that, while the noble Lord may wish to forget it when he reaches Clause 16, he has it very firmly in mind while we are still discussing Clause 4. While I really ought to be trying to gather support for my own Amendment later on by helping those who are proposing other Amendments, I am afraid I cannot do so in this case because I do not think that the Amendments are an improvement on the Bill in relation to this midday period. Nevertheless, I am glad to hear the noble Lord say that he will look at the position, because I think a point which ought to be taken into account is the one which the noble Earl, Lord Haddington, made about the insufficiency of the break for staff between three and five.

If the noble Lord is going to look at it, then I think he should look at it on a wider basis than that of the Amendments which have been moved, because all these Amendments relate to the hours in licensed hotels and not to public houses. There is just as much need for a bigger break in the public house as there is in the licensed hotel. There are all those glasses to be washed up and the premises to be cleaned in the two hours in the public house just as much as in the licensed hotel. If only the public houses were concerned I should have had no difficulty in supporting the Amendment put forward by the noble Earl, Lord Haddington, but the difficulty that I am in in supporting it is that I think that it would be unreasonable to require everybody to finish their lunch by two o'clock if they were having a drink with their lunch. It seems to me sometimes that, because of the pressure, you are lucky if you are able to sit down to lunch before a quarter to two, so I think from the hotel point of view two o'clock is unworkable.


May I intervene? I am advised that any one in the hotel who bought liquor up to two o'clock could still drink it with his meal until two thirty.


That may well be, but I think it would be very undesirable if we had to follow the precedent in other parts of the world, where the first thing you do is not to look at the menu but decide how much liquor you want to consume so that it is ordered within the legal period. I do not think the noble Earl would want that. There is obviously a case for looking at it, and I hope that when the Minister considers the matter he will consider it in relation both to public houses and to the other licensed premises, so that if it is possible, consistent with a reasonable service to the public, to give the staff a proper break in the evening he will bring forward an Amendment at the Report stage.


I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, for his helpful contribution. Of course, permitted hours are uniform for all licensed premises, and I can assure him we will not confine our further discussions to the points made in the Amendments, though in view of what my noble friend Lord Stuart of Findhorn said, we shall have to be very certain before we depart from the recommendations of the Guest Committee.


If a Southerner might butt in, might I point out a little inconsistency on the part of the Government? I am in favour, if it can be arranged, of the twelve o'clock opening. The general arrangement for a meal starting about one o'clock is just as applicable to Scotland as to England. As I understood the noble Lord, his objection to the twelve o'clock opening on Sunday, the same as we have in England, was interference with church services. Yet he allows evening opening from six till nine o'clock. On the few occasions when I have been to church in Scotland (I must admit that I have been to more pubs than churches in Scotland) the church service did not start till six o'clock and did not finish until seven o'clock and sometimes after. Evening opening from six o'clock until nine o'clock coincides with church services, and I think there is much to be said for closing time being ten o'clock as in England. But why not twelve o'clock opening which does not coincide with most church services?


I think the basic answer is that many of our Scottish church services in the North do not start until twelve o'clock, and that we have been guided very largely by the recommendations of the Guest Committee.


I have no wish to press any of the three Amendments. In fact, I moved them from only an exploratory point of view, and the noble Lord has given adequate reasons why he cannot accept them this afternoon. I am very glad to hear that he will consider them and let us know the result on the Report stage. I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

4.7 p.m.

THE DUKE OF ATHOLL moved, in subsection (1) (b), to leave out "nine" and insert "ten". The noble Duke said: I should like to say a few words on this Amendment. I think that 9 o'clock, particularly in the summer, is much too early to end licensed hours on a Sunday. If the Government are going to have any licensed hours at all on a Sunday—and I am personally glad that they are accepting them—I would remind them that at 9 o'clock in the summer it is still broad daylight in Scotland. You can go on playing golf in the far North of Scotland till 11.30 and in the rest of Scotland till 11 o'clock, and it is the same with tennis, bowls, and all other games. I think many people would appreciate being able to play a game after their evening meal and then being able to get a drink after it, even on Sunday, and not necessarily having to finish their game early in order to get their refreshment before 9 o'clock. I hope, therefore, that the Government, even if they do not see their way to extending permitted hours to 10 o'clock the whole year round, will consider extending them to 10 o'clock during the period of summer time. I would also point out to my noble friend that it would be a great help for the tourist trade if one could get a drink until 10 o'clock on Sundays in the summer I believe now I have formally to move this Amendment, but I have every intention of withdrawing it. I beg to move.

Amendment moved. Page 5, line 28, leave out ("nine") and insert ("ten").—(The Duke of Atholl.)


I am grateful to the noble Duke. The undertaking I have given applies also to the Amendment he has moved.


I hope my noble friend will give consideration to matters other than those mentioned by the noble Duke, who has pleaded for the hour of 10 o'clock. Will my noble friend the Minister of State please remember that many of the country village people like to get quiet again in the evening on Sunday, and from that point of view the 9 o'clock closing is of advantage. I am merely asking my noble friend to consider that when considering the observations of the noble Duke.



4.10 p.m.


If the noble Lord is considering this matter, I hope he will have regard to the fact that this particular point is really not on a level with the other points which have been discussed in earlier Amendments. It seems ridiculous that a licence should end at 9 o'clock on these evenings. There can be no possible question of interference with church services, and, as the noble Duke has pointed out, in summer the hour is about 9 o'clock before people even begin to think of coming in and taking a drink. Therefore, although the noble Lord has said that he will take this matter into consideration in discussions that he is going to have, it seems a point which stands alone and is outwith the other considerations which he will have in mind. While I always feel it necessary to apologise for expressing an opinion on a matter which concerns Scotland, I think it would be completely out of accord with the Scottish reputation for hard common sense to have such an utterly absurd provision existing in the Bill.


The noble Lord says that this particular point is not on a level with other points. There are two major considerations. One is that there must be limited hours: at present, under the Bill, closing time is set at 9 o'clock. Then there must be uniformity. All considerations such as the noble Lord has raised must be looked at in the light of these two major factors.


Before the noble Duke withdraws his Amendment, I should like to draw my noble friend's attention to the situation in connection with clubs. Their position will be absurd if they are forced to close on Sundays at 9 o'clock. I should declare an interest in that I manage a club. My experience has been that while there would not be, and in fact there never has been, any difficulty in closing at 10 o'clock, to close at 9 on a Sunday would be totally impracticable. People do not come in to get drunk, but merely for a pleasant social evening. To ask them to go home at 9 o'clock would mean that we should cease to have a club. I would ask my noble friend the Minister to take that point into consideration.


I had not intended to speak on this Amendment but for the remark made by the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, and the fact that the noble Lord, Lord Craigton, says that he is going to consider these matters further. My particular point concerns the question of Sunday evening opening hours, which in a way relates to this Amendment of the noble Duke. I would cross swords with the noble Earl, Lord Haddington, on the subject of liquor with high teas. I think that 4 o'clock is too early to consume liquor—it is not customary. I am not a high-tea consumer myself, but I would say, having taken the trouble to make inquiries, that 6 o'clock is a reasonable time to begin opening hours on a Sunday evening.


I should like to say how much I personally welcome Lord Stonham's contributions to our Scottish debates. I think they may indicate that he intends to take up residence North of the Border quite soon. I am sure we shall all welcome him up there. Before I withdraw this Amendment, I should like to make it quite clear that I have every intention of setting down the same Amendment on the Report stage unless I get some satisfaction from the Government, either by being convinced by their argument or by their giving way.


Before the noble Duke withdraws his Amendment, may we have an assurance from the noble Lord, the Minister? We have had some difficulty in the past in regard to Amendments, in that undertakings have been given that something will be considered, and then nothing happens. Perhaps the noble Lord could let the noble Duke know, shall we say unofficially, whether he intends to do something or whether he intends to do nothing. In that way we shall be able to prepare for the Report stage.


I am ashamed to hear such a contribution from the noble Lord, because, both in another place and here, where I have been for some time, I have never given a Committee an undertaking to consider something unless it was a quite genuine undertaking. One cannot always give an undertaking to meet points, and one cannot always give an undertaking to do something, but I would not give an undertaking unless I intended really to carry it out.


I am not saying that the noble Lord would not consider it. But if the Government decide not to do something in regard to an Amendment, could we know, perhaps in advance, and so come prepared with all our forces on the Report stage?


I do not think my noble friend was present when the Minister made his statement, in which he did more than just say that he would consider; he said he would consult. I hope that in the consultations he will not consult merely those who sit behind him.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

4.17 p.m.

LORD HUGHES moved, in subsection (2), to leave out from the first "shall" to end and insert:

  1. "(a) on weekdays, be the period between eleven in the morning and three in the afternoon and the period between five and ten in the evening; and
  2. (b) on Sundays, be the period between half past twelve and half past two in the afternoon and the period between six and nine in the evening so, however, that for the sale or supply of exciseable liquor for consumption off the premises there shall be no permitted hours in public houses on Sundays, provided
    1. (i)that the licensing court decides to permit Sunday opening of public houses and
    2. (ii) that it shall be within the power of the licensing court from time to time to fix the number of public houses which may open on Sunday, to vary the number so permitted at different periods of the year, and to allocate to certificate holders, who on application are permitted to open on Sunday such Sundays as the licensing court in its sole discretion may determine."

The noble Lord said: This Amendment will not be withdrawn after discussion. I reminded the noble Viscount, Lord Stuart of Findhorn, who has now left us, that this should be kept in mind until the end of Clause 4, because there are two major recommendations made by the Guest Committee on licensing in Scotland. One was to permit the opening of public houses on Sundays, and the second was to control the carrying of drink in public vehicles. I think it would be fair to say that those are the major recommendations, and they are the only recommendations which the Government have not accepted. In other words, they have run away from the two important points, brought out unanimously by the Committee which they set up.

It may be that the Government are acting cautiously in this matter, but it does not seem to me that it is right that we should deliberately pass a Bill if we believe that its provisions will not deal with the situation which it purports to remedy. I do not want to anticipate what the noble Lord, Lord Ferrier, will say when moving his Amendment, but I have in mind all the difficulties which the Minister raised on Second Reading. He did not bring forward any difficulties so far as my Amendment was concerned. It is just that the Government have decided not to do it.

I gave some figures on Second Reading and, through the courtesy of the Minister's Department, I have been able to acquire further information which, to me at any rate, makes it quite clear that the position in the Bill will result in a completely unworkable situation so far as Sunday drinking is concerned. I quoted the figures which I had for the four cities and mentioned two of the large burghs. Since then I have obtained from the Scottish Home Department, the figures of licensed hotels and public houses in the large burghs of Scotland, and they make just nonsense of the figures quoted by the Minister on Second Reading.

The Committee will recollect that Lord Craigton said that, in agreeing to open the 2,000 licensed hotels, it was not considered necessary also to open the 4,000 public houses. If the licensed hotels were distributed in the same sort of way as the public houses, I think that that would be a perfectly reasonable point of view; but the distribution is totally different. Generally speaking, the licensed hotels fall in large numbers in those parts of Scotland which cater for tourists. I gave the figures for Glasgow. At the time when I was doing my homework on this subject I did not have readily available the assistance of the Scottish Home Department, but what I did have was some semi-official assistance from an admirable book, published by the Scottish Tourist Board, called Where to Stay in Scotland. They give a list of hotels throughout Scotland. It is not exhaustive, so that if there is any defect in the figures which they give, the error, so far as I am concerned, will be on the conservative side, because there will be no place listed as a hotel which does not exist, although there may in fact be licensed hotels which are not recorded in the book.

But even taking their figures as covering the whole situation, I found that the numbers of licensed hotels in relation to the population fell as low as one hotel for every 57 people—and, remembering the intervention of the noble Earl, Lord Haddington, when I spoke on Second Reading, I would add that when I say 57 people I mean 57 men, women and children. I should not like to mention the name of the place, although any of your Lordships who care to invest half-a-crown in buying Where to Stay in Scotland can find it out for yourselves. All you have to do is to divide 170 by 3, and on that basis you will find that the third hotel has only 56 potential customers. We know perfectly well that these sorts of figures are not for the people who live in the place; they are for the folk who go there at particular times of the year.

When looking at the figures for the large burghs, we find exactly the same pattern repeated. The large burghs listed have a total population of 827,000 people, and there are 114 licensed hotels for the whole of them. But of the 114, 69 are located in five large burghs which have a tourist trade. If I might quote them Arbroath has 8; Ayr has 16, Dumfries has 15; Inverness has 17; and Perth has 13. The other large burghs with 670,000 people living in them have 45 licensed hotels.

We have the extraordinary situation that the Government accept it as perfectly reasonable that, in addition to what I have said about Glasgow, 93,000 people living in Paisley, in so far as they are drinkers—and, obviously, not all of the 93,000 people are—should try to crowd into two licensed hotels; that the 76,000 people in Greenock have two licensed hotels at their disposal; that the 23,000 people in Dumbarton do not have a licensed hotel at all; that the 24,000 people in Rutherglen have no licensed hotel at all; that 68,000 people in Motherwell and Wishaw are to have three places where they can go and drink on Sundays; and that at Coatbridge and at Clydebank, with populations of 47,000 and 45,000 respectively, each has one licensed hotel.

On that basis, I suggest that by throwing overboard the recommendations of the Guest Committee the Government have run away from this matter because they believe that it is a contentious one. It is contentious, and there have been many representations made to the Government against opening public houses on Sundays. But when the Guest Committee were calling for evidence many of the licensing courts expressed themselves in favour of opening on Sundays, although I believe the majority of the individual magistrates had no particular wish to do so. I myself supported a Motion to that effect although, as I have indicated, my personal preference would be to have them all shut. But we must be reasonable in these matters, and I think that my Amendment is a reasonable position.

After I spoke on Second Reading, the noble Lord, Lord Craigton, in replying to the debate, said that if he were proposing to give discretion to licensing courts to open public houses he would have to give them the same discretion in relation to the other licensed premises. I do not accept that. If it is the desire of a licensing court that there should be prohibition in an area, then the way in which that could be accomplished is in the hands of the population. They can seek to have a local poll under the Act as we had recently in two areas of Scotland, one of which adhered to the decision and the other of which reversed the decision that had applied since many years ago. I propose that we accept the Government's decision in relation to licensed premises other than public houses, that they shall be open provided that the hotel-keepers wish to have a licence permitting them to open on Sundays.

So far as the public houses are concerned, I think it is reasonable to say that this is a case where we should take the opinion of the man on the spot. After all, if licensing courts arrive at decisions which are contrary to the wishes of the local population, it is easier by elections to change the composition of the licensing courts than it is to change the Scottish Licensing Act. We can change quite a few magistrates' benches if they take the wrong decision, before the noble Lord, Lord Craigton, or his successor, will have the opportunity of introducing another Licensing Bill. How does my Amendment change the Act? It means that where a licensing court feel that there is a case, because of the inadequacy of the other facilities, for permitting Sunday drinking in public houses, they can do so. I say that they should not compel public houses; that it should be only those publicans who apply for permission to open on Sundays who should be considered.

There is quite an amount of other material in this Amendment, but I think it is self-explanatory. I do not think it is necessary that every public house should be open on Sundays, and I am quite certain that licensing courts would not wish every public house to be open on Sundays. Similarly, it is not necessary that the same conditions should apply at all times of the year. I can imagine that in some of the tourist areas they would not, perhaps, wish to open any of the public houses, or would wish to open very few of the public houses, in the winter, because of the great number of licensed hotels that are available. But in the summer they might wish to open at least some of the public houses on Sundays, when there are large numbers of people in the area who are accustomed to taking their drink in public houses and who do not wish, therefore, to go to hotels. So for that reason, I suggest that the court should be given permission to decide upon the number of public houses that should open, and to vary that number from time to time, and that it should be at the sole discretion of the licensing court. If we do that we take into account all the different circumstances that exist locally. The areas which have many hotels may wish to open few or no public houses. The other areas which have few or no hotels may wish to open some of their public houses.

I should be surprised if, between the Second Reading and this afternoon, the noble Lord has changed his mind—I almost said "has been permitted to change his mind", but that would he wrong. I do not know whether he has changed his mind because, quite frankly, I am not at all certain that what is in the Bill is in accord with the noble Lord's mind, but it reflects the Government's mind as it is at the moment. But I do not think that the position proposed in this Bill is workable. If I thought it was workable, then I should be very happy to support it, because it is much more to my personal inclination than what I am moving. But I think it is completely unworkable, and it will merely aggravate the situation which the noble Lord, Lord Ferrier, is seeking to help in his Amendment later on, because, if the premises are not to be open where the people live, we are encouraging, them to drive either in public vehicles or, worse still, in their own cars to those places where drink can be obtained on a Sunday. I would say that all the hotels which exist on the perimeter of Glasgow are going to be visited very largely by the people who live in the City of Glasgow, and driving on the roads there on Sundays will become even more dangerous than it is at the present time. I hope, therefore, that either here or in another place the Government will think about the inadequacy of their proposals and put a more realistic provision into the Bill.

My final words are these. I said that there had been many representations to the Government against the opening of public houses on Sundays. That is so; but these have been put forward, very largely, by church organisations and other similar bodies. The people who normally press for the extension of public house hours are the publicans. In this case they did not do so, because the publicans—and I admit this quite frankly —do not want to open on Sundays. They believe that there is a certain amount of money available to be spent on drink, and if they can collect this money during six days of drinking then they do not care very much for opening on Sundays. They do not want to spend money on opening on seven days in order to collect the same revenue as they can get in six. That is a reasonable point of view so far as the publicans are concerned. But there has been no opportunity, no organisation, to enable the man in the street who wants public houses opened on Sundays to represent that point of view. If there had been, then I am certain that the Government would not have found it possible to take the decision which they have taken. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 5, line 34, leave out from ("shall") to end of line 38 and insert the said new paragraphs.—(Lord Hughes.)

4.32 p.m.


I beg to second the Amendment which has been so convincingly moved by my noble friend—an Amendment to which my name also is appended—not for the reason that I want to interfere in Scottish affairs but because I know something of Scotland and love the Scottish people. I would describe this Amendment as an extremely modest one. If I had been framing it, it would have been much more demanding. For example, I am quite sure my noble friend would agree that the Amendment which was moved earlier by the noble Duke would apply also to this—in other words, that the opening hours should be until 10 o'clock in the evening.

There are just one or two points I should like to make. I am quite sure that the noble Viscount, Lord Stuart of Findhorn, will agree that this is an Amendment which should be supported for the reasons that he put forward earlier—that it is a recommendation of the Guest Committee. Indeed, the Government are obliged to show very convincingly indeed (in other words, I am asking them to do the impossible) why they have discarded the Committee's recommendation on this particular point. As my noble friend showed clearly, as the Bill stands, with restaurants and hotels able to open during permitted hours on Sundays, the concentration of facilities will be completely unequal over the country. It will have no relationship to the population and potential demand. Indeed, to some people—and your Lordships are aware that I never advocate this kind of argument normally—it would appear as a kind of class discrimination.

There is another point, which your Lordships who were born and who live in Scotland may not quite appreciate, and that is the effect which the Scottish licensing laws have on the Sassenach visitor. My memory of my first visit to Glasgow is quite imperishable. I went there on business as a young man of 23 or 24, and, anxious that everything should be in order, I arrived late on a Sunday night. It was February. The whole of the week it rained that drizzling rain which conserved its strength so that it should not run out of ammunition before the end of the week. But I remember in particular the Sunday, my first Sunday in Glasgow. My agent met me, and we talked in the morning. That was all right. We went to my hotel for lunch, and that was all right, too. Then I wanted him to show me the amenities of Glasgow, and he took me out. The only place to which he could take me was the Museum, where we saw stuffed figures and armour of the Battle of Langside. Of course, I was very properly impressed, as a guest should be.

Then it was a case of going for tea. That was almost a miracle. I saw rows and rows of confectionery shops. Some had the name of McColl, others had the name of Birrell; almost nothing else. Finally, we arrived at the Grand Central Hotel, where, on this Sunday afternoon, we were actually allowed to go in for a cup of tea. There was even—delight of delights and horror of horrors!—a man playing a xylophone. After tea, having stayed as long as we could and more than worn out our welcome, there was absolutely nowhere for us to go at all. Eventually, I said, "I've heard a great deal of Glasgow Green. Let us go to Glasgow Green". As anyone who visited Glasgow Green in 1924 or 1925 will appreciate, on that wet Sunday evening in February I experienced utter misery and depression, and I was only too glad to crawl back to my hotel at about eight o'clock in the evening and stay there.

It may not be important to Scots, but to me it is fantastic that, when we have the opportunity of introducing a new Licensing Bill for Scotland, Scots should be so utterly unconscious of what is reasonable and proper. I do not profess to be a teetotaller. My own view is that most of the trouble in the world is caused by extremists, and, on the question of drink, by those people who drink too much or who do not drink at all—although, if I were asked the pointed question, I would say that it was better to die of drink than to die of thirst. But I plead humbly in this matter to the Minister that the Bill as it stands is abject nonsense. It is a complete slur on the recognised sanity of his great country. I therefore hope that, even if he cannot at this stage accept the Amendment so convincingly moved by my noble friend, he will, at least, not only give an assurance that he will look at it again but will express the hope that he will be able to come back at the next stage of the Bill with something very much better and, with respect, even more sensible than the Amendment moved by my noble friend.


I should like to say a word in sympathy with the Amendment proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Hughes. I will not weary your Lordships by repeating and spoiling the arguments which he has so admirably expressed, but I would put before your Lordships one consideration which nobody has yet touched on, and which perhaps I am as well able to put before you as anybody. That is the extraordinary change in the habits of the people that has taken place during my lifetime. The noble Lord, Lord Hughes, will know that in Aberdeen, before the railings were put up, we had a much vaster area of station platform than he has in Dundee. When whisky was 3s. 6d. a bottle, I have seen that platform so strewn that I could hardly get to my train at night. To-day, I believe that if the whole North Sea were to turn into alcohol you would not get anything like that. The habits of the people have completely changed; they have changed as completely, I think, as that great naturalist Hudson said that the habits of dogs were changed by the muzzling order. I think, therefore, that the arguments used by the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, should be looked at in the light of that great change in the habits of the people. I do not think that an increase in the scope of the Bill such as he suggests will have any bad effects on the country; and I realise very fully the force of the arguments which he brought forward in support.


I must admit that I should find it extremely difficult to support the Government if they were to resist this Amendment, but I should like a little clarification from either the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, or the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, on the last sentence of their Amendment, which says: … who on application are permitted to open on Sunday such Sundays as the licensing court in its sole discretion may determine". Does that mean, for instance, that if I am a licensing court, and I think it is good for people to drink every third Sunday, I can say to them, "You can open on the 1st and 22nd of the month, but not on the 8th or 29th"? Or does it mean that a third of the pubs in each town will be able to open in turn each Sunday? Surely, it would be better if it were laid down that what one might call the most superior pubs with the best amenities were to be the ones to be open on Sundays, rather than have any form of rota system.


The noble Duke interprets quite correctly what I meant by the Amendment. Naturally, in a Bill the wording has to be on the widest possible basis. When I used the words "licensing court in its sole discretion", I was assuming that most licensing courts were in fact discreet. I mentioned in my speech on Second Reading that one criterion which might be adopted was that those public houses which were of a reasonable standard were the ones which should be permitted to open. I certainly do not have it in mind that public houses should be open on the first Sunday in the month or the last, but what I had in mind was that it might be perfectly reasonable, in an area which has a large number of public houses, that only a quarter or a third of them should be open on a given Sunday. The courts should have at their disposal any machinery which they care to operate to ensure that as many public houses as they think necessary and desirable should be opened. It might be that if only a quarter of them applied and all were considered suitable, they would be permitted to open every Sunday; or if they could all open, then each might open in turn one Sunday in three or four. But certainly I should not think the courts would be exercising their discretion in a reasonable way if they said that the dates of certain Sundays in the month should have a ring round them as they were Sundays on which the pubs were open.


The noble Lord, Lord Saltoun, took out of my mouth what I intended to say about changes in the habits of the people over the last two or three decades or more, but there is one point which the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, mentioned—namely, the Amendment I intend to move later. There is still one problem which is with us—the bus party, the travelling drinking party. In that respect, I feel with the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, that the remedy is to have all the pubs open on Sundays. That was the recommendation of the Guest Committee. At the same time, after due consideration I feel quite satisfied that I can support the Government in their wise decision that all the pubs should not be open on Sundays. I think I am right in saying that I said I regarded the Bill as a stepping stone to further relaxation when the time is ripe, because I do believe, as the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, believes, that opening all the pubs on Sundays is the solution to curing drunkenness in terms of the habits of the people to-day.

But I personally would oppose the Amendment on the ground that this means that some pubs will be open one Sunday, and other pubs will be open on another Sunday. This would cause a variation, not only in terms of time, but in terms of the pubs which are open. I am reminded—perhaps the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, will also recall this—of the song sung by the late Mr. Jack Buchanan during American prohibition time: I've been around your London, I've been to lunch at Kew, Where I was nearly undone, They close at half-past-two. From there I went to Southwark, Cathedrals interest me. I only stayed there half-an-hour, For there they close at three. That is the sort of thing which would result, in my view, from encouraging the travelling bus. I differ from the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, in saying that his Amendment represents a remedy for the problem here. The remedy, to my mind, is opening all the pubs; but I support the Government in taking the view that the time for that is not yet.


I am grateful to your Lordships for the many speeches which have been made. I think I should first meet the request of the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, who is not in his seat, and tell your Lordships why the Government have discarded the Guest Committee recommendation. In deciding to recommend to Parliament that there should be Sunday permitted hours for hotels and restaurants but not for public houses, the Government took a decision in principle, a decision which they consider the best possible one in the present circumstances. They accept that their decision has some disadvantages, and these are discussed in the Report of the Guest Committee, a Report which the Government considered most carefully and from which, I can assure your Lordships, they did not lightly depart.

I listened with great interest and attention to the persuasive and, if I may be so bold as to say, well-marshalled arguments of the noble Lord who moved this Amendment. But arguments based on pure arithmetic, such as the noble Lord advanced, are not, in the Government's view, necessarily the determining factor. It is their opinion that the number of people who want to drink in licensed premises on Sunday is only a small proportion of the population, a substantially smaller proportion than those who want to do so on weekdays. They accept that the distribution of hotels is uneven, particularly, as the noble Lord pointed out, in industrial areas. But is it therefore right that there should be permitted hours for public houses, or for some of them?

Since Lord Guest's Committee reported, the Secretary of State has given careful consideration to this question, and has heard the views of a wide range of Scottish public opinion on it. He has decided that, in present circumstances, it would not be right to allow public houses to open. The general welcome which has been given in Scotland to the proposals in the Bill suggests that his decision, with which I wholeheartedly agree, is the correct one. That is the reason why the Government cannot accept this Amendment.

Furthermore, what is the view of the "man in the street", including those who enjoy a drink at their local on weekdays? The noble Lord pointed out, and I agree with him, that the "man in the street" is not organised; but he is certainly able, as everyone in this House knows, to be, and frequently is, vocal if he considers that his rights will be interfered with. He has certainly in this case not protested in any concerted or vigorous way against Sunday closing. If some pubs were to open during some Sundays, would their patrons understand or hold in repute a law which allowed them to drink on their own corner one Sunday, but made them walk seventeen streets, say, to another pub the next weekend? In the Government's view there can be no compromise here. It must be all pubs open or no pubs open on Sundays, and the Government have made their decision.

Even if we felt that we could agree to the principle of this Amendment (and I have made it quite clear that we cannot), we should not, in any case, be able to accept its form. It places on the licensing courts the duty of taking a series of decisions which, in the Government's view, they should not, and cannot, be asked to take. The first of these, in sub-paragraph (i) of paragraph (b), is a decision in principle that there should be Sunday opening of public houses. How are they to decide this? Although the Amendment, curiously enough, includes no provision that they should seek local opinion on the question, the Court will be aware that this is a matter on which strong moral views, both Sabbatarian and temperance, are held. The present position is that, in the exercise of their difficult task of considering applications for new certificates, they now have the guidance of legal decisions to the effect that it would be wrong for them to refuse on temparance grounds all applications made to them, but that they must consider each on its merits. Sabbatarian considerations are not within their purview, the six-day certificate being a right of the applicant. But the Amendment gives no guidance on how they are to exercise this discretion. They are to take upon themselves the whole odium of appearing to disregard these moral objections.

Secondly, they are to decide how many pubs are to open. Again, there is no guidance. Is the noble Lord who moved this Amendment happy at the idea of the licensing court opening all, or most, of the public houses in the area? Could he say, under the provisions he proposes, that they would be doing anything wrong, that they would be exercising their discretion in an undue manner, if they decided to do this? Thirdly, as I think the noble Lord agrees, they may establish a rota for Sunday opening, and put on the rota those of the publicans they think fit to authorise to open on Sunday. Finding a satisfactory method of working out a rota would be difficult enough, but choosing between applicants for Sunday opening seems to the Government to be, of all the discretions in the Amendment, the one which it is most unfair to ask the licensing court to exercise.

In his speech the noble Duke referred to choosing the superior pub. Who is to decide which is the superior pub? Is it the quiet, little, well-run place round the corner, or the larger and more flashy public house? Is this something which the licensing court can be asked to decide? How can they, however conscientiously they approach their task, establish a method of deciding between applicants that will seem just and fair not only to the public but also to the applicants themselves? As the noble Lord well knows, it would not be possible. The applicant who is refused often now expresses his dissatisfaction. Would he not probably make allegations of misconduct, or even of corruption, on the part of the court? And, in the absence of any distinguishable reason for their decision as between one certificate-holder and another, would not these allegations, however unfounded they may be, at least appear to be plausible? This is a risk to which, in the opinion of the Government, the licensing court should not be exposed. The Government are therefore opposed to this Amendment, because they consider it is wrong in principle and unworkable in practice. I very much hope that, in view of what I have said, the noble Lord will be able to withdraw his Amendment.


As I said earlier, my view is that when the Government set up a Committee, they should adhere to the Report of that Committee, but I qualified this by saying, "unless you have strong reasons for departing from it." I have listened with care to the debate on this Amendment. I began by feeling influenced in favour of following my noble friend Lord Guest, whose absence due to ill-health I very much regret, but I am influenced by what I have listened to, and, following the advice of Bruce Bairnsfather in the First World War, which I have often quoted in my days in the Scottish Office, "If you knows of a better 'ole, go to it; if you don't know of a better 'ole, better stay where you are," I support the Government.


In supporting my noble friend who moved this Amendment, I would suggest to the Committee that it is customary to accept the principle behind an Amendment and not criticise so much its details. As the noble Lord knows, we do not have Parliamentary draftsmen who could help us in producing the correct words. I wonder whether the Government appreciate what they may well be creating. They are now making it possible for Scots to drink on Sunday without breaking the law, but they will be able to drink only in licensed hotels. In many cases, these hotels are residential and cater for local inhabitants. What is going to happen when people come in from outside the area to drink at these hotels? We shall be turning these residential hotels, used by tourists both from the United Kingdom and from overseas, into some kind of drinking dens on Sundays. No doubt this will be harmful to the hotels.


If I may help the noble Lord, I would point out that hotels are now open 24 hours on Sunday for bona fide travellers.


Yes, but people will be coming in from outside the locality.


Only three miles.


In certain places there will be a considerable number of people, and I think that it is going to cause trouble in this type of hotel. Why are Scots being treated differently from those of us who have the privilege of living in England? I do not see any difference between the drinking habits of Scots and English. Why are we in England permitted to drink on Sunday in a public-house? The noble Lord himself said that in certain parts of Glasgow people will have nowhere to drink on Sunday unless they travel quite a distance. I do not think that the case the noble Lord has made will stand up, in the interests of the people of Scotland.


I intervene briefly only because during the course of the Second Reading debate I said that perhaps my noble friend the Minister should have a look at what the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, was suggesting. One of the things that has been talked of during the course of this debate has been the changing habit of the people of Scotland. I do not think that proportionately there has been the same change in the amenities which are offered by our public-houses. That was one of the things which I emphasised in the Second Reading debate: that to open all the public-houses, or even a proportion of them, at the present time would be highly detrimental to the young people of our country. They are quite unfitted as places to which young people might resort, particularly on the Sabbath Day. The noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, asked why we in Scotland should be treated differently from people in England. The reason simply is that our public-houses have no comparison with those that exist in England. If they were of the same character, I should not have the objections which I have at the moment. While I feel that in the course of time no doubt we shall have to proceed further, we should realise that we are taking a very big step under the present Bill. I think that our motto to-day should be, "One step at the time." For that reason, I propose to support the Government.

4.59 p.m.


If the public-house in Scotland is unfit for drinking in on Sunday, it is unfit for drinking in all the rest of the week, and the sooner the Scots get down to making their public-houses places in which it is fit for the normal citizen to go for a drink and take his wife, the better it will be for the temperance movement in Scotland. Perhaps the best change of habit which has taken place in England has been due to the change in the facilities and amenities of the English public-house. Now it is not uncommon, both during the week and at week-ends, for the English worker to go to the local and take his drink in company with his wife. That has meant more sobriety and better family relations.

One group of people has not been referred to in this debate—those who have to work on Sundays: those who provide transport services, work on farms or in the essential services which operate seven days a week. It is all right for noble Lords and people who wear their Sunday best to go into a hotel on Sunday for a drink, but a fellow who has come off an engine and is on his way home thinks twice before going into a hotel lunch bar for a Sunday drink. Why should a man who has been performing a useful service to the community on Sunday be denied the opportunity of going to have a drink in ease and comfort? I doubt whether many folk in the lounge bar of a Scottish hotel would object to an engine driver coming in with greasy trousers and greasy hands, but the engine driver himself would feel self-conscious and would not want to go in. But if he called in the "local" on his way home, his mates would know him and he would be quite happy.

This Bill really means that you are depriving a section of the community of this facility. I think the sooner the Scots are not a deprived class, the better it will be. We can, in fact, train them to be as moral and as responsible as we are in England—because that is what the Scots are saying: that they are not as moral or as responsible as the average Englishman. I do not wonder that there is a great exodus from Scotland to England and they take only a one-way ticket.


It might help to clarify the position if the Government could state whether or not within a reasonable number of years they hope that all pubs in Scotland will be open on Sundays.


In answer to my noble friend's question, I do not think it is for me to forecast what will be the tenor of Socttish public opinion and the exact needs of Scotland. I agree most heartily with my noble friend Lord Strathclyde when he says that we should take one step at a time.

I appreciate the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Lindgren, about the worker on his way home wanting to stop at the "local". But it has been the situation for a hundred years that the "local" has not been open on Sunday. Therefore, there is no question of deprivation in the way that he suggested. The noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, said he hoped we were not going to trip up this Amendment simply on its drafting. I would assure him that it is not a drafting question. Even if the Amendment as the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, wishes it were properly drafted, it would put on the licensing court a burden which we consider definitely, and without question, they could not in any circumstances be asked to bear.


Before the noble Lord sits down, may I say that I think that many of us would feel the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, is wrong in saying that Scotsmen would have nowhere else to drink, because it is visualised that a large number of clubs will spring up, especially in these areas?


I am not sure that my noble friend is right, because there are no public houses open now, and the clubs, if there is a demand for them, will be there already. There is no change in large areas in Glasgow, and there will be no springing up of clubs as a result of this Bill.


I hope that, if the Government accept the Amendment I am going to move about buses, people will have to drink at home.

5.4 p.m.


The Minister put a number of questions to me and they mostly came down to the fact that the licensing courts were not to be trusted with these powers or it would be unfair to confer the powers on them. I have a strong recollection of having heard the Minister speaking in other places on this subject at other times, and one of his strongest points was that the man in Whitehall is not the man who knows best; the man who knows best is the man on the spot. He has argued that very strongly more than once in Scotland. But consistency is not the Minister's strong point, particularly when he is presented, as he so often is, with an indefensible case. Earlier on I drew attention to the fact that I had put forward an Amendment in simple words in three lines, whereas the Minister had produced a similar Amendment in three paragraphs, and the justification put forward for doing that was that those were the words used in England. But when we propose to adopt a principle applicable in England, apparently we cannot do it just because it is done in England. I have come to the conclusion that these are inconsistencies which follow only naturally when you have a Scottish Minister who is an Englishman: he does not know whether he is on his head or his heels.

So far as I am concerned, I do not believe that the courts will be frightened at the discretion which I propose to confer on them. I think the Minister's suggestion about accusations of corruption against licensing courts was most unfortunate. The suggestion that once a local authority exercises its discretion in favour of one individual or another is the basis for an allegation of corruption is, in my view, a wholly improper one for the Minister to make. It is quite improper coming even from a completely irresponsible person outside. The idea that the exercise of discretion would be a basis for suggesting corruption against a licensing court will not be helpful to them in the exercise of the functions they have to carry out at the present time, which inevitably involve discriminating between one individual and another. One of the things they have to take into account in allowing a person to secure a licence is whether that person has a proper character. How do you decide if a person has a good character? You cannot put it in the scales and weigh it; you cannot put it in a window and say it is obvious that that person is a person of good character and that one is a person of bad character. All these things are placed at the discretion of the local men at the time.

I could go on, but I should not convince a man who either already knows I am right, but cannot accept it, or alternatively is not willing to be convinced in any circumstances. But I would suggest to your Lordships that if the noble Lord, Lord Craigton, was arguing for anything, he certainly was not arguing for the Bill which is before us. His whole argument was devoted to the fact that the right thing to do is to open all public houses on Sunday. If that is what he thinks, then at the next stage of the Bill he should put down an Amendment of this kind. He certainly has advanced no argument whatsoever in favour of the proposal which is before us. On Second Reading the noble Lord said that the "bona fide traveller" provision had no friend among reasonable people, and he is putting forward a measure which is going to increase, not diminish, the amount of travelling to sources of drink. The good which is done in other parts of the Bill will be completely spoilt because of the Government's timidity on this aspect.

The noble Lord said that the Bill was well received. I would suggest to him that between now and the Report stage he should go and have another look at the daily newspapers of Scotland, with their comments. When the Government's Bill was introduced, almost without exception the headlines expressed the astonishment of the newspapers that the Government had not accepted the Guest Committee's recommendation. Many of the newspapers conducted inquiries on the street, as they sometimes do, asking people for their reactions to the Government's measure, and the overwhelming response of the people was that this was not a reasonable measure: that it was subject to the same sort of objections as were made fifty years ago in connection with gambling, when the decision was that if you were sufficiently good to get credit for your gambling you could gamble to your heart's content, but that if you had to pay cash, it was illegal. Now, in 1961, the Government are saying that if you are not the sort of person who will feel at home in a hotel, you will be welcome and can drink in a hotel on Sunday. But, it must be remembered that some hotels will not welcome many people who want to drink on Sunday, and if you do not want to drink in a hotel, or if the hotel does not want you to drink, there are to be no facilities available to you.

The Minister rebutted the suggestion of the noble Lord, Lord Ferrier, that the Bill would lead to the springing up of a large number of clubs. I hope he is right, because that would be worse than some of the things I have suggested. But in large areas of population, if there are not to be public houses open on Sunday the pressure on licensing courts who deny licences to hotels with which they have to deal at the present time will be such that they will have to give way. Already quite a number of the small hotels which have licences are far from satisfactory. They attract the same category of criticism as the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, has levelled against public houses.

One thing in his remarks which I was surprised at was his reference to public houses being undesirable places for young people to be in. He said he would not like them to go there on Sunday. He surely thinks that the young people of Scotland are locked up for six days of the week and let loose on Sunday to go to public houses or somewhere else. I am told that there are many public houses in Scotland where, on certain week nights, if an ordinary man wants to go for a drink he cannot get in for teenagers, frequently paying with £5 notes, particularly on pay night, and they are not going in for a glass of beer. If that is the situation, it is something other than the closing of public houses which is necessary to deal with that situation. The noble Lord is closing his eyes to the situation, and your Lordships will be closing your eyes to it, if it is thought that keeping a public house closed for one day a week is going to be the salvation of the youth of Scotland, or that if they stay out on Sunday they will follow the example by staying out from Monday to Saturday.

Finally, I did not really think that I should trap the noble Viscount, Lord Stuart of Findhorn, into supporting my Amendment. He was too long at the Scottish Office not to have given himself a way out. When he spoke he tacked on certain words right at the beginning. Of course, when these words are put on to any statement they can justify you in doing the most outrageous things, because you merely say, "I gave myself an 'out' at the beginning, and I am going". He spoke about a "better 'ole". I would say that he was perfectly right in using these phrases, because if the Government insist upon and succeed in carrying the Bill as it stands, they certainly are landing themselves and the people of Scotland in one 'ole, but the adjective that would apply would not be Parliamentary, and it would not be "better".


Before the noble Lord finishes, I admit I was too long at the Scottish Office; but wait until we reach Clause 16 and then I will depart from the Guest Report.


As I have just said, once a man has been Secretary of State for Scotland for a certain period of time he can advance any argument to do anything he likes and he is quite satisfied that he is correct.


Or Lord Provost of Dundee.

On Question, Whether the said Amendment shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 24; Not-Contents, 63.

Ailsa, M. Douglas of Barloch, L. Saltoun, L. [Teller.]
Alexander of Hillsborough, V. Hughes, L. Shepherd, L. [Teller.]
Amulree, L. Lawson, L. Silkin, L.
Amwell, L. Lindgren, L. Stonham, L.
Atholl, D. Listowel, E. Torrington, L.
Burden, L. Lucan, E. Walston, L.
Chorley, L. Macdonald of Gwaenysgor, L. Williams, L.
Citrine, L. Rea, L. Wise, L.
Ailwyn, L. Dundonald, E. Milverton, L.
Albemarle, E. Elliot of Harwood, B. Molson, L.
Allerton, L. Ferrier, L. Morley, E.
Ampthill, L. Forbes, L. Newall, L.
Auckland, L. Fortescue, E. Newton, L. [Teller.]
Bathurst, E. Fraser of Lonsdale, L. Perth, E.
Blackford, L. Haddington, E. Rathcavan, L.
Bossom, L. Hailsham, V. (L. President.) St. Aldwyn, E. [Teller.]
Boston, L. Hampton, L. St. Oswald, L.
Buckinghamshire, E. Hastings, L. Salisbury, M.
Carrington, L. Hawke, L. Sinclair, L.
Chesham, L. Horsbrugh, B. Somers, L.
Colville of Culross, V. Howard of Glossop, L. Soulbury, V.
Conesford, L. Jellicoe, E. Strathcarron, L.
Craigton, L. Kilmuir, V. (L. Chancellor.) Strathclyde, L.
Davidson, V. Long, V. Stuart of Findhorn, V.
De Freyne, L. MacAndrew, L. Swansea, L.
De La Warr, E. McCorquodale of Newton, L. Swinton, E.
Denham, L. Margesson, V. Tenby, V.
Devonport, V. Massereene and Ferrard, V. Teynham, L.
Devonshire, D. Merrivale, L. Waleran, L.

Resolved in the negative, and Amendment disagreed to accordingly.

Clause 4 agreed to.

Clause 5 agreed to.

Clause 6: [Restaurants in public houses may have permitted hours on Sundays in certain cases].

THE DUKE OF ATHOLL had given notice of his intention to move two further Amendments dealing with hours of closing. The noble Duke said: I am sure the Committee are weary of discussing hours and, subject to your Lordships' approval, I have no intention of moving either Amendment No. 17 or No. 18.

Clause 6 agreed to.

5.20 p.m.

THE DUKE OF ATHOLL moved, after Clause 6, to insert the following new clause:

Amendment of 15 & 16 Geo. 6 & 1 Eliz. 2 c. 44

".In section one hundred and fifty-three of the Customs and Excise Act, 1952 (which relates to the granting of licences to passenger vessels) there shall be inserted the following subsection— (8) It shall be lawful for the Commissioners of Inland Revenue, or for any officer duly authorised by them to grant licences for the retail of intoxicating liquors on board packets, boats and other vessels employed for the carriage of passengers from one part of Scotland to another, or going from and returning to the same place in Scotland on the same day, in terms of the recited Acts, to indorse on such licences that intoxicating liquor can only be sold, retailed or bartered on board such vessels during the period between half-past twelve and half-past two in the afternoon and the period between five and ten in the evening.

The noble Duke said: First, I must apologise to your Lordships. I originally tried to draw up this clause as an amendment to the Act of 1882. Unfortunately, that Act was repealed in 1952 and something substituted in its place. So this is the identical Amendment to the one which was originally circulated, except that it is now appertaining to a different Act.

The Guest Committee recommended unanimously that the power of endorsing excise licences granted to passenger vessels plying between Scottish ports and from one Scottish port back to the same one with the words that they could not serve drinks on a Sunday, or to that effect, should be abolished. I should perhaps explain that licences for trains, aeroplanes and boats are not granted by licensing courts—I imagine because it would be difficult to decide which town should have the dubious honour of doing this—but are granted direct by Customs and Excise. So far as I can make out, Customs and Excise do not have the powers to stop the serving of drinks on trains and aeroplanes, even if they ply or run between one Scottish town and another on a Sunday, but in the case of boats they do. Now if you completely remove this power of endorsement, a boat will be able to serve drinks throughout the 24 hours of a Sunday; on weekdays there are no fixed permitted hours on means of transport, and this would mean that the same would apply to Sundays.

I have tried in this Amendment to keep the hours more or less the same as they will be on shore, because on the Second Reading my noble friend pointed out that if we agreed to abolish the discretion—which, in fact, is always exercised, I might say—of the Commissioner of Inland Revenue to endorse the licences, people would be able to go on board a boat and drink to their heart's content until the boat returned. I am not very impressed by this argument. For one thing, they could do the same on a train; and, secondly, it is a very expensive way of drinking. Even if the boat is just plying up and down Loch Lomond or from Gourock to Greenock, the fare is quite expensive and it adds enormously to the cost of your drink. There are much cheaper ways of drinking than going on a boat purely with the intention of drinking, and I do not believe that that happens at all. Personally, I dislike travelling by sea, but there are occasions when one simply has to, and one has to do it on a Sunday; and one of the few compensations of travelling by sea—you cannot really admire the scenery because it does not change quickly and there is always mist and rain on the Clyde, as the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, told us—is passing time, chatting to friends over a drink. I think that it is very surprising that one should not be allowed to drink on a Sunday on passenger vessels.

I believe that the 1882 Act was originally passed because, just as now there are coach parties drinking their way sordidly through Scotland on Sunday, in those days there were boat parties on the Forth-Clyde Canal on Sundays. The Forth-Clyde Canal has been closed, so there is no longer any fear of that. I think people's attitude to drink has changed since 1882; and I consider there is no need to perpetuate this Act. I am disappointed that the noble Viscount, Lord Stuart of Findhorn, has gone, as I wished to make it quite clear that the proposal in this Amendment was recommendation No. 8 of the Guest Committee, and I hoped he would support it.

Finally, I should like to draw your Lordships' attention to paragraph 49 of the Guest Report, which makes it quite clear that the passenger vessels which get licences do have catering facilities. Therefore, if they do, they would presumably be allowed one of the new licences that the Government are bringing in under Clause 1 of the Bill. I cannot see any reason why vessels should not be allowed to serve drinks during the permitted hours when, under Clause 1, they would have been allowed to serve drinks on a Sunday if they had been ashore.

When I drafted this Amendment, I did so in the hope that my Amendment to extend the hours to 10 o'clock would have been accepted; but, of course, if the Government think the hours on board boat should be the same as those on dry land, while I cannot say I should be delighted to reduce the hour to 9 o'clock, at any rate something would have been achieved. Therefore I hope that they will feel able to accept this Amendment. If they say the drafting is wrong, I am, of course, quite prepared to take their advice. If it is wrong we can try again on the Report stage, but it is the general principle I should like them to accept. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— After Clause 6, insert the said new Clause.—(The Duke of Atholl.)


Could my noble friend explain what he envisages by the fascinating transaction of bartering intoxicating liquor on board ships? Does he envisage some form of piracy on the Firth of Clyde?


In answer to my noble friend, I would point out that that was in the 1882 Act, and therefore I imagine there is something in it. I think there was little piracy on the Clyde then, but I do not know. As it was in the 1882 Act I thought it would be better to keep it.


I should like to say a few words on this extremely reasonable Amendment, because surely it is preferable for the public to drink on a ship than in the stuffy bar of a licensed hotel. If you are drinking on a ship you can go out on to the deck and you get the lovely sea breeze, which blows all the cobwebs away. I should say it is far more healthy to drink on a ship than in an hotel, and it does appear inconsistent that you can drink on Sunday in an hotel but you cannot drink on a ship. After all, it is not as if the crew are going to drink, presumably, or the man who is steering the ship. Therefore I should like to support my noble friend in this Amendment.


I think I had better deal with this as regards Sundays first of all and then come to the question of week-days. There is no drinking of alcohol on Sunday day cruises now. The Guest Committee recommended permitted Sunday hours for all licensed premises, including pubs, and suggested that the power of endorsement to prohibit supply on Sunday cruises, it did not say should be, but might be, with advantage abolished. My right honourable friend has decided to recommend to your Lordships that pubs should not open on Sunday, and he is taking the view that a cruise steamer is more akin to a public-house than to an hotel. That being so, we feel it is right that such steamers, too, should not serve drinks on Sundays. That was the basis for my right honourable friend's decision. So far as weekdays are concerned, as the noble Lord said, it has been the case that liquor may be supplied at any time on moving vehicles, whether trains, ships or aircraft, and no restriction has been found necessary in the past; but under my noble friend's Amendment the restrictions on weekdays would apply not only to cruise steamers but to ordinary steamer services as well. I am advised that here, too, the present freedom has led to no undesirable results.

The noble Duke asked me not to raise drafting points, but there is one point I must make; it really is undesirable to give the Customs and Excise discretion between total prohibition and drinking during permitted hours. He will realise that his Amendment does not stop the old prohibition power but adds a new power to permit during restricted hours supply of drink both on Sundays and weekdays. We consider that where there is real discretion like this the Customs and Excise are not the appropriate authority to make the sort of decision my noble friend envisages. Because drinking on travelling vehicles causes no trouble now, we feel that any interference with the weekday arrangements would be quite inappropriate; because Sunday ships are now dry and pubs are to be closed on Sundays, we feel that such ships should remain dry, and because the Customs and Excise, in any case, are not really the appropriate authority to give permission for the sale of liquor, I hope that the noble Duke will feel able to withdraw his Amendment.


May I say a few more words? I never intended that this discretion should apply on weekdays. I quite agree that the present system on weekdays works remarkably well and has caused no trouble, and I should not like to see it altered. With regard to Sundays, I cannot see that I am giving the Customs and Excise any more discretion than they have at the moment. At the moment they have the power to endorse or not endorse the certificate; in fact they always do endorse. All I intended to suggest was that they should be able to put a limited endorsement on the certificate, that people should not be able to drink on Sundays except between the hours of 12.30 and 2.30 and 5 and 10. I agree it is not what I have said in my Amendment, and I apologise, but it is what I intended to say.

I feel that there is a great argument that these vessels should be allowed the same hours as licensed hotels and restaurants will be allowed ashore. For noble Lords who are not familiar with these vessels perhaps I may explain that most of them go between Gourock and Rothesay. They take half-an-hour longer than on weekdays, because Wemyss Bay is closed on Sunday, so you have to spend half-an-hour more on a claustrophobic boat; you cannot go on deck because it is always wet. I think it is a pity that on these boats, if not on the cruise-type ships, one should not be able to get a drink on Sundays. I do see that there are big faults in my draftsmanship and I shall withdraw this Amendment at this stage, but I must warn the noble Lord that I will return to the battle at the Report stage with something more expressive of what I mean than my present effort. I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 7 agreed to.

Clause 8:

Seasonal certificates.

8.—(1) On granting or transferring a hotel certificate, a restaurant certificate or a restricted hotel certificate in respect of any premises a licensing court may, if the applicant so requests and if they are satisfied that the requirements of the licensing area for which they are constituted make it desirable, insert in the certificate a condition that, during such part or parts of the year as may be specified in the condition (being a part which is not longer, or parts which taken together are not longer, than six months) there shall be no permitted hours in the premises.

5.37 p.m.

THE EARL OF HADDINGTON moved, in subsection (1), to leave out from first "a" to third "certificate". The noble Earl said: It may be convenient to the noble Lord and the Committee if I took Amendments Nos. 20, 22 and 23 together because 22 and 23 are entirely consequential on No. 20. The purpose of this Amendment is to extend the provisions of Clause 8 to all classes of licensed premises. Clause 8 deals with seasonal certificates. The purpose of the seasonal certificate will be obvious to all who are familiar with conditions in rural areas and in particular in holiday and tourist resorts, where such premises do business only in the fine summer months and probably can do no business at all in the off-season winter months; it is uneconomical for them to remain open. But the practice of some of the licensing courts is to make the granting of the certificate conditional on the premises being kept open all the year round.

To the Guest Committee this seemed unfair, and consequently they made the recommendation that hotels and restaurants should be put into Clause 8, which the Government accepted. The seasonal certificate, of course, contains a condition that the closed period shall not exceed six months. The Guest Committee did not absolutely confine this recommendation to hotels and restaurants. They used the words "particularly hotels and restaurants", and it seems to me only logical that the seasonal certificate should be extended to public-houses and other licensed premises. Of course, in this case, too, a licensing court must be satisfied that local requirements make it desirable. But some holiday resorts are full in summer and quite empty in winter, so it surely seems common sense to have more pubs open in summer than in winter. Similarly, in the case of off-sale premises, there may be grocers in holiday resorts who would find it convenient to stock liquor during the summer months for visitors, but who could not sell it in the off season. I would remind the Committee that the whole of this clause is what is termed "permissive", which of course means that it deals with what may be done if it seems desirable to the licensing court. I believe the Government are ready to accept this Amendment if the Committee approve.

The other two Amendments are consequential on this one; they are necessary to bring the off-sale premises within the scope of this clause. The first restricting provision is that there shall be no permitted hours—that means drinking hours—in the premises other than off-sale premises. The second provides that in the case of off-sale premises the certificate holder who is granted a seasonal certificate shall not open the premises for the serving of customers with liquor during the off season. This wording follows on Clause 17 of the Bill. As I say, I believe the Government are prepared to accept these Amendments, and I beg to move the first Amendment.

Amendment moved— Page 10, line 16, leave out from first ("a") to second ("certificate") in line 17.—(The Earl of Haddington.)


I am grateful to the noble Earl for moving this Amendment. It may well be useful in areas where the summer population greatly exceeds that in winter. I should tell your Lordships that I have consulted my noble and learned friend Lord Guest about this Amendment, and he asks me to tell your Lordships that it has his blessing. As it has the Government's blessing too, I ask your Lordships to support it.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

5.42 p.m.


I put down this Amendment purely because I want to clear up two points, one being that I personally think that six months is too long for an hotel or licensed hostelry not to have a certificate. If it does not pay them to have a certificate for over half the year, I feel that there must be something very wrong with the hotel. With the extension—we hope, the continual extension—of the season in Scotland, I think that 150 days without a certificate would be a much more appropriate period of time. The second reason why I have proposed 150 days and not five months is that I imagine that if an hotel wishes to have a certificate granted purely for the Christmas and New Year period, which I think a lot of hotels would find useful, 150 days would then make it clearer that they did not necessarily have to have their certificates granted for calendar months or for any other sort of months. I feel that to express the period in a number of days is an advantage. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 10, line 24, leave out ("six months") and insert ("one hundred and fifty days").—(The Duke of Atholl.)


The Guest Committee, at page 41 of their Report (I will not read it to your Lordships), make the point that their recommendation of six months is greatly in the interests of tourists. The recommendation is that the premises could remain shut for a period of six months or less as applied for by the certificate holder and agreed to by the court. The noble Duke wishes the hotel to remain shut for a maximum of only 21 weeks and three days, and that it must be open for thirty weeks and four days, which is four weeks and four days longer than the Guest Committee recommendation. The noble Duke may not realise that this will make the provision of tourist attractions that much less attractive to the promoter.

I agree that we must do all we can to prolong the season, but we must also do all we can to provide new tourist facilities. The noble Duke's Amendment certainly does not help towards that. We must encourage the tourist attractions first, then encourage the tourists, and then encourage them to visit more frequently in the off season. For this reason, the fact that it discourages tourist attractions, and incidentally because of a similar provision in the 1961 Act, perhaps my noble friend would feel able to withdraw the Amendment, which may do more to hinder rather than to build up the Scottish tourist industry.


Before I withdraw my Amendment, could my noble friend answer my point—namely, am I right in thinking that they will be able to get a licence for the ten days or fortnight to cover the Christmas and New Year period? I know that many hotels find that they do a great deal of trade over that period, and then afterwards the place goes absolutely dead again.


The noble Duke is right.


I beg to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


This Amendment is consequential. I beg to move.

Amendment moved—

Page 10, line 24, after ("months)") insert— ("(a) in the case of premises other than off-sale premises.").—(The Earl of Haddington.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


I beg to move Amendment No. 23.

Amendment moved—

Page 10, line 25, at end insert— (b) in the case of off-sale premises, the certificate-holder shall not open the premises for the serving of customers with exciseable liquor."—(The Earl of Haddington.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 8, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 9 agreed to.

Clause 10:

Amendment of law relating to provisional grant of certificates

10.(2) Where a licensing court make a provisional grant of a certificate by virtue of the foregoing subsection, the holder of such certificate may apply to the court for the grant to be affirmed and in making such application shall lodge with the court a plan of the premises in respect of which the said provisional grant was made; and the licensing court may consider such application at any meeting of the court held not earlier than fourteen days after the making of the application and shall affirm the provisional grant if they are satisfied that the premises, if completed in accordance with the plan thereof lodged with the court as aforesaid, will be fit and convenient for their purpose and that the said plan does not deviate materially from the site plan and description of the premises lodged under the foregoing subsection.


With your Lordships' approval, I will deal with this Amendment and the following four Amendments to Clause 10—that is, five altogether. One of the objects of this clause is to give prospective licensees the right to apply for the provisional grant of a certificate on the basis of a site plan and a description of the proposed premises. But the provisional grant can be affirmed only if, within twelve months, detailed plans are lodged. The clause envisaged the twelve months dating from the granting of the certificate by the licensing court, but we overlooked the fact that nearly all provisional grants have to be confirmed by the licensing court of appeal before they are valid. Unless these Amendments are made, the period of grace would be reduced by a month or more, which is the time taken by the Appeal Court to confirm provisional certificates after they have been passed to them by the licensing court. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 11, line 16, leave out ("the next following subsection") and insert ("subsection (3) of this section").—(Lord Craigton.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


I beg to move the next Amendment.

Amendment moved— Page 11, line 17, leave out from ("court") to end of subsection.—(Lord Craigton.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


I beg to move Amendment 26.

Amendment moved—

Page 11, line 23, after ("may") insert— ("(a) in the case of a grant which requires confirmation by the court of appeal, within the period of twelve months immediately following the date on which the grant is confirmed; (b) in the case of a grant which does not require confirmation, within the period of twelve months immediately following the date of the grant or, where there is an appeal, the date the appeal is disposed of;").—(Lord Craigton.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


I beg to move Amendment 27.

Amendment moved—

Page 11, line 26, leave out from ("made") to ("at") in line 27 and insert— ("(3) A licensing court may consider any application made to them under the last foregoing subsection").—(Lord Craigton.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


I beg to move Amendment 28.

Amendment moved— Page 11, line 40, leave out ("the last foregoing subsection") and insert ("subsection (2) of this section").—(Lord Craigton.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 10, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 11 [Amendment of law relating to control by licensing courts over structure of licensed premises]:

5.50 p.m.


With your Lordships' approval, I will discuss this Amendment with Amendment No. 43, which is consequential. The changes made by this Amendment are purely of a drafting nature. As your Lordships know, the 1959 Act provides a comprehensive code of the licensing laws. We have endeavoured in the Second Schedule, wherever practicable, to write into the relevant sections of the 1959 Act the effect of any alterations made to that Act by this Bill. Clause 11, which we wish to amend, makes extensive changes to the 1959 Act and, on second thoughts, we think that greater clarity will be achieved if these changes are also recorded in the Second Schedule. This calls for slightly altered wording in subsection (1) of Clause 11 as a lead to the improved consequential Amendments of the 1959 Act in the Second Schedule, as given in Amendment No. 43. The purpose of the clause is in no way altered. I beg to move.

Amendment moved—

Page 12, line 7, leave out subsection (1) and insert— ("(1) Section sixty-one of the principal Act (under which the consent of the licensing court is required for any reconstruction of or alteration in certain licensed premises or the premises of a licensed canteen) shall apply, and be deemed always to have applied, in relation to an extension of premises as it applies in relation to a reconstruction of or alteration in premises.")

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 11, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 12 [Protection of young persons]:

THE EARL OF DUNDONALD moved, after subsection (5), to insert: ()

  1. (a) This section shall not prohibit the sale or delivery of exciseable liquor to a person over sixteen
    1. (i) at the residence or working place of the purchaser, or
    2. (ii) in corked and sealed vessels in quantities not less than one reputed pint for consumption off the premises only.
  2. (b) A person shall not knowingly send any person under sixteen to any place where exciseable liquor is sold or delivered in pursuance of a sale for the purpose of obtaining exciseable liquor except for the purpose of obtaining it in corked and scaled vessels in quantities not less than one reputed pint for consumption off the premises only.
  3. (c) In this section 'corked' means closed with a plug or stopper and 'sealed' means secured with any substance without the destruction of which the plug or stopper cannot be withdrawn."

The noble Earl said: This Amendment is proposed in order to bring the Bill more into line with the existing law. Under Section 145 of the 1959 Act it is legal for persons over 14 years of age to be sent out by their parents, friends or employers for the purpose of purchasing exciseable liquor in sealed vessels. Under the new Bill as it stands at present, the age limit would be raised to 18 years. There is no known evidence that the existing practice has been in any way abused, and the raising of this age will cause hardship to many families. Juvenile drunkenness has not in any way been connected with persons over 14 years acting in the capacity of private messengers, and it is clearly stipulated in the proposed Amendment that these persons are permitted to carry only sealed or corked bottles or containers. I should add at this stage that this Amendment is strongly supported by the Scottish Licensed Trade Association. I should also like to draw your Lordships' attention to subsection (4) of this clause, whereby it is proposed that all persons over 16 years may drink beer, porter, cider or perry with their meals. I therefore trust that the Government will agree to accept this Amendment which is in conformity with modern thinking of making our licensing laws more liberal.

Before concluding, I should like to add a point which I did not notice when this Amendment was put down. If this Amendment is accepted, some modification will be needed to the earlier part of Clause 5, and I feel that the simplest way of effecting this would be to add a full stop in line 18 after the word "purchaser", and to delete the rest of that paragraph which, as it stands at the moment, would conflict with the proposed Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved—

Page 13, line 26, at end insert— ("()

  1. a) This section shall not prohibit the sale or delivery of exciseable liquor to a person over sixteen
    1. (i) at the residence or working place of the purchaser, or
    2. (ii) in corked and sealed vessels in quantities not less than one reputed pint for consumption off the premises only.
  2. (b) A person shall not knowingly send any person under sixteen to any place where exciseable liquor is sold or delivered in pursuance of a sale for the purpose of obtaining exciseable liquor except for the purpose of obtaining it in corked and sealed vessels in quantities not less than one reputed pint for consumption off the premises only.
  3. (c) In this section 'corked' means closed with a plug or stopper and 'sealed' means secured with any substance without the destruction of which the plug or stopper cannot be withdrawn.")—(The Earl of Dundonald.)


I agree with the noble Earl that his Amendment is defective, but it is my duty to satisfy your Lordships on the merits or the demerits of the intention of the Amendment, and not to rest my case on an unsatisfactory form. Under this Amendment, persons of 16 years or over are to be permitted to buy liquor in closed vessels, which they can do under the present law, which at the time reasonably assumed that youngsters could not normally afford to buy for their own consumption. But times have changed, and many people over 16 can afford to buy drinks; and it seems to me quite wrong to allow, as this Amendment does, a youngster of 16 to buy a bottle and drink it outside the premises while preventing him until he is 18 from buying a drink inside the premises. Because that is the effect of the Amendment. I agree that in the civilised atmosphere of the licensed restaurant, a youngster of 16 may buy the less harmful drinks with his meals. But that concession does not break the principle.

I appreciate the thought behind paragraph (b) that it should be safe to send children to obtain liquor, rather than to allow them to buy it; but have we any satisfactory way of ensuring that sales and delivery, nominally on behalf of the parents, are not in fact for consumption by the youth? As I said on Second Reading, the Government feel very strongly on this point. The Kilbrandon Youth Council have made representations to my right honourable friend about it, and we have no alternative but to hold firm to the provisions of this Bill. I sincerely hope that the noble Earl will feel able to withdraw his Amendment.


I am most grateful for the answers which my noble friend has given, and I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 12 agreed to.

Clauses 13 and 14 agreed to.

Clause 15 [Special permission for clubs]:

VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS moved, after subsection (3), to insert: (4) Section sixty of the principal Act (in its application to clubs) shall have effect as it after paragraph (b) of subsection (3) there were inserted— '(c) after taking into account any representations made by the chief constable,'".

The noble Viscount said: Clause 15 introduces the subject of clubs into this Bill, and it makes provision for special permission to be given for clubs to serve liquor outside and later than the normal extended hours as, for example, at a New Year's party, a Burns Night, or something like that. There have been included in the clause as it stands many stringent conditions on the issue of such special permission, and, in fact, it follows very closely the existing form of Section 60 of the 1959 Act and imposes almost all the same conditions; for instance, no such special permission can be given for a club on a Sunday. There is, however, a certain amount of anxiety in Scotland about what is going to happen to clubs when this Bill comes into force. It has already been suggested this afternoon that there may be some increase of the use of clubs on Sundays, and, although that is not applicable here, none the less, drinking clubs may become more prevalent. Therefore, I want to make quite certain that the strictest possible scrutiny is made before this special permission, which I think is new, is issued for a club.

The provisions of Section 60 of the 1959 Act put a fairly arduous requirement on the person applying for the permission, and he has to satisfy members of the licensing court, who are to grant him his permission, that he has served on the chief constable a notice of his application. On the other hand, there is nowhere in Section 60 anything to say, either that the chief constable may make representations to the members of the licensing court who are going to consider the matter, or that if he does so they shall consider it. I should have thought that it would have been an improvement to the provisions in this particular context, if the members of the licensing courts were specifically required by this Bill to take account of any representations put forward by the chief constable. It is in order to make sure that that particular loophole is closed that I am putting forward this Amendment.

Amendment moved— Page 15, line 12, at end insert the said subsection.—(Viscount Colville of Culross.)


I think I can reassure the noble Viscount, because although it is not specifically written into Section 60 of the 1959 Act, that section, as he says, does make it obligatory to give the chief constable notice and to give the chief constable the names of the members of the licensing court. I can give the noble Viscount a categorical assurance that, in practice, if the chief constable has any views, he will be able to express them to the members concerned, and I am sure that they will pay due heed—as, indeed, they do now—to his objections. This after all, is exactly what the noble Viscount's Amendment asks for. Of course, he does realise that, both in the 1959 Act and in his Amendment, although he wishes that the chief constable's objections should be taken note of and should be listened to—and they are, in fact, listened to—the final decision whether or not to grant remains, as it should, at the complete discretion of the members of the court. I hope that this will satisfy the noble Viscount.


Might I ask the noble Lord, Lord Craigton, one question? There is a great deal of feeling in various parts of Scotland that the point of view of the chief constable is not taken into account. I have been told of cases where, unless he speaks to all the licensing magistrates, it may be that two of them sign this document and then, when he complains afterwards, it is too late. The practice is not uniform in Scotland, so would the noble Lord look into that?


Yes. That is not my understanding, but I shall be very glad to look into the noble Lady's complaint.


In that case, in view of what my noble friend Lady Horsbrugh has said, I think it is as well that I raised this matter. If the noble Lord will see whether there is any substance in what the noble Lady has said, then I am sure that is a satisfactory conclusion, and I beg leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 15 agreed to.


It has, I understand, been arranged through the usual channels that we should break off the discussion on this Bill at 6 o'clock and resume on Thursday. This may be a convenient place to break off, and I beg to move that the House do now resume.

Moved, That the House do now resume.—(Lord Craigton.)

On Question, Motion agreed to, and House resumed accordingly.