HL Deb 25 January 1971 vol 314 cc735-95

4.12 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now resolve itself into Committee on this Bill.

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

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The EARL OF LISTOWEL in the Chair.]

Clause 1 [General exceptions from Sunday closing]:

On Question, Whether Clause 1 shall stand part of the Bill?


I feel that we should not part with Clause 1 without some discussion. I notice that no Amendments are put down to this clause. I notice, too, that it is the paving clause for the rest of the Bill. Therefore, it becomes almost the basis of the principles of the Bill. It substitutes for Schedule 5 to the Shops Act 1950 a new Schedule of shops which are to be permitted to be open on Sunday. On the evening of the Second Reading debate on this Bill the House sat very late. The Second Reading debate was not started until quite late and, if I remember rightly, the attendance in your Lordships' House at that time was not large. I was unable to stay on that night. I therefore apologise for the fact that in a few words I am going to say what I would have said on Second Reading had I had the opportunity. I feel that with a better attendance it is wise that we should, on the Committee stage, give some real consideration to the clauses of the Bill.

There are two reasons which would justify change in social legislation of this character: first, any public demand or public need for such legislation; secondly, an agreement or a demand on the part of those responsible for carrying out the legislation after it had reached the Statute Book. Obviously those would be the retail traders. I submit that neither of those reasons has been proved in introducing this Bill. I read the Second Reading debate closely, and I know that the noble Lord, Lord Derwent, said that in 1964 approaches had been made to the Home Office about the anomalies which existed. That is not sufficient for me. I do not believe that what he indicated meets the condition of public demand and public need that I am trying to lay down. Where has the public demand been expressed? Is there any indication anywhere in our mass media that the public have been demanding that food should now be included in the items which can be sold on Sunday? Has application been made to the Home Office? Has there been agitation from any source to the Home Office demanding that these things should be done?

My second point concerns the trade. I know that the National Chamber of Trade, the Co-operative societies, U.S.D.A.W. (the main trade union for the distributive workers), some multiples, the National Federation of Meat Traders and the Grocers' Federation have all indicated their opposition to the principles of this Bill. They do not regard it as something that should go on to the Statute Book. I am speaking to Clause 1 because that is the basis of the Bill. The noble Lord opposite knows of my past interest in the matter. In the case of the meat trade, I submit that the Bill puts the clock back not for twenty-one years, but, in the view of the trade, for thirty-five years. This is an interference with the lives of shop assistants. It is asking that distributive workers in food shops and stores should work for seven working days. We are living in a time when so far as productive workers are concerned there is talk of a working week of five, four or four and a half days, yet at the same time we are introducing legislation which would have the effect, so far as distributive workers are concerned, of imposing on them a seven-day week.

It is all very well to say that nobody need adopt this provision. But as against the larger multiple firms, the small trader has a great problem. If the larger people are going to open their shops on Sundays for food sales, the small traders will be forced to adopt the same line in defence of their own business, and will have to trade on Sundays. I listened closely one day last week to a debate in your Lordships' House on civil aviation. The noble Earl, Lord Amherst, said, I think, that no more actual business would be done if such-and-such a change took place. Only a certain amount of food is sold in this country, and it can be sold just as easily in five or six days as in seven days, without interfering with the family lives of those concerned, as this Bill would do if it became law. In these days wages are paid not later than Thursday evening. The shops are open until late on Friday, and 5 p.m. seems to be the recognised closing time for food shops on Saturday. Surely that is sufficient time for anybody to stock up their food needs for the weekend without imposing this added burden on small traders and on people who are employed by the larger firms.

Is it a service to the public to increase these hours of work? I do not believe it is. Is it the will of the noble Lord, Lord Derwent, and some of his friends, that small traders should disappear from our trading life? This Bill is a real threat to them. I should have thought that anybody who called himself a "Conservative" would be one who wanted to see that the small traders' interests were maintained. That is all I want to say about the matter. I feel very strongly about it, and to such an extent that if I have any support for going into the Lobby on Clause 1 I will certainly do so.

4.21 p.m.


May I rise in answer to my noble friend's plea? I will certainly support him, and if we were the only two there I think we should go in. I was unable to be here at the Second Reading of the Bill, but I regard it as a most important social measure. What astonishes me is that in the years I have been in this House I have observed that the noble Lord, Lord Derwent, has, on occasion, adopted a welcome feminist attitude to many Bills which affected women and which called for deep thought, and which too many men would dismiss lightly with a laugh. The noble Lord, Lord Derwent, has risen and, to my amazement, shown me that he had given great thought to them and had recognised that the usual male flippant approach on certain matters affecting women should not be adopted.

I find it very difficult to believe that he is piloting this Bill through. It is a measure which I believe to be absolutely anti-social and which one could expect to find in some primitive country but not in Great Britain, where we pride ourselves on our social services and our laws concerning the social conditions of the people. If there is one Bill which is being piloted through this House and which will be detrimental to the lives of women, it is this. Does the noble Lord realise that in this Schedule all the activities except one which will be able to take place on Sundays but which cannot do so at the moment are activities which concern women? The only one that does not is No. 10, The transaction of the business of a funeral undertaker. I have never yet found a woman funeral undertaker. I am thinking of adding a codicil to my will and asking my executor to look for a female undertaker. Apart from item No. 10, does the noble Lord realise that every one of these things—the selling of sweets, alcoholic drink, medicines in chemists, flowers, tobacco, stationery, greeting cards, photographs and photographic films and plates, domestic fuels, and food for animals—will be sold by women on a Sunday?


May I interrupt the noble Baroness? First may I say that she also is making a Second Reading speech. Secondly, nine-tenths of these things are now sold on Sunday.


I am a Londoner and in the part of the world where I live, which is the Highgate world, you can get a few of these things; but I can think of shop after shop—and I have lived in the area for nearly forty years—which is closed for these things. I welcome the noble Lord's intervention as it means that he is listening to me. He has not thought, "We are going back over the Second Reading" and gone to sleep. I think he will come to regret this. In his old age, when he will look back on this, he will say, "One of the things I regret in life is this Bill".

I ask the Committee to consider the lot of the ordinary working woman. I believe that half of our labour force are women, and that a third of them are married. They are women who work during the day and in the home. I am not going over the old arguments, but may I just remind the Committee that, whatever job a woman does, if she is married she also keeps an eye on her home. I know precisely what my husband is going to have for dinner tonight, and I shall know every day what he is eating. We do not regret the fact; we enjoy that we are made in that way. Our ductless glands are such that we care, and we like looking after the male. What a confession from me! But it is a fact. Our maternal instinct is so strong that we take within our embrace not only our children but our husbands. All during the week these women—and we are calling for them to do a job in industry—work outside the home and come back to their homes and prepare a meal every night. Often on Monday night they do the washing, and skip around and do the housework, making up the beds. During the weekend they say, "What I have not been able to do during the week, I will do now."

The great joke is that when the man goes out and watches football on a Saturday afternoon, his wife is cleaning the home. She does not complain; she wants to be there. But the noble Lord now comes along and proposes to put Sunday work on to her shoulders. It is cruel; it is thoughtless; it is brutal; and I find it difficult to understand how the noble Lord can do this. I am thinking of the wife in a small shop (though it will apply also to the big shops, because they will follow suit) and who says, "Thank God, to-morrow is Sunday and I can put my feet up". Think of the husband, who is perhaps old, and the wife who, in her usual way, says, "I can look after the shop. You rest to-day."

We who are privileged, and who belong to an income group which does not have to do anything like this, must not sit in this place and pass legislation that will bring hardship to every woman who works in a shop during the week by imposing on her now work on Sundays. It is brutal. I ask the Committee to consider Clause 1 again and to reverse this decision. If the noble Lord wishes to call a Division, I shall be only too pleased to support him.

4.28 p.m.


Although it is not strictly relevant to Clause 1, may I start this afternoon by saying that I am a Yorkshireman and not a Scotsman or Irishman? I bring that to the attention of your Lordships only because I see 'from the Minutes of Proceedings, that when this Committee was announced I was referred to as "The Derwent". I will not say that I think the noble Lord, Lord Royle, and even more the noble Baroness, are stretching our easy methods of debate too far. The noble Lord, Lord Royle, did tie his speech to the Question. That Clause 1 stand part; the noble Baroness just remembered in time. But I really feel that they should not expect me to make a Second Reading speech all over again in reply to them; and I am not going to do so, because I believe that it would be abusing the procedure of the House.

It is quite clear from the speech of the noble Baroness, and partially clear from the speech of the noble. Lord, Lord Royle, that they did not read the Second Reading debate very carefully. I think the noble Lord has not looked at some of the Amendments which are down from noble Lords opposite and which I am going to accept. Both the noble Lord and the noble Baroness talked as if food shops were not at present open on a Sunday, when in fact they have been open on a Sunday for years. They both asked what the demand was. But, of course, if there was not the demand, the shops would not open. The noble Baroness said that in her area there is very little demand, and except for the odd shop which thinks there is a demand they do not open. Well and good; why should they? This Bill does not compel them to open.

The object of this Bill, and I repeat it again, is that the courts, quite rightly, have said that the present Act on Sunday trading is in many respects a nonsense—particularly as regards what is a meal and what is not a meal. The courts have had to rule on the extraordinary legislation under which we live. They have ruled that anything that is edible in the shop without further process is a meal; and you can buy meals on a Sunday. But some foods, such as tea and flour, you cannot buy because they need a further process. However, that is not quite so, because the courts have also ruled that if you buy some bread and some butter you can buy a bag of tea, because it is then part of a meal. That is the sort of nonsense which the present law brings about.

With the possible exception of meat and fish and chips, the only alteration that will be made by the Bill is that this nonsense will be stopped, because when a shop opens for the sale of food it will be able to sell all food. There will be no question of whether something is part of a meal and so on. This is something for which the courts have been asking for a long time. I am not going to make a Second Reading speech, but that is the case for this Bill. The House approved the Bill on Second Reading, and I am quite prepared to rely on the House again.


This has been a rather unusual opening to a Committee stage. Perhaps it is due to two factors: first, that the Division on Second Reading was called very late; and, secondly, that it was not possible to gauge the extent of the support for the noble Lord's Bill and the opposition to it because of a misunderstanding, in that the Opposition did not appoint Tellers in time. Otherwise, there would have been a Division and we might have had some guide as to the support for and the opposition to the Bill. The noble Lord asked whether there had been representations on this subject. I am informed that the Home Office has had representations from individual traders, from representatives of certain trade associations, from some members of the general public and from the Consumer Council. I should not want to put that too high, but the information may be helpful to the noble Lord.

As the debate on Second Reading took place very late, I ought to repeat very briefly the Government's position on the Bill. We are in favour of having a clearer and more rational system of law. There are anomalies in this field and it is certainly desirable to try to clear them up. It will not surprise any of your Lordships to hear that, as a Conservative Government, we are in favour of the widest possible range of consumer choice. But at the same time we are not convinced that that consideration should outweigh all others. This Bill raises a number of important issues many of which are in conflict, but the Government welcome it as an opportunity to gauge opinion and to hear from people inside and outside this House, who will be concerned with the working of the legislation, before deciding whether or not it is desirable to move in this direction. Therefore, the position of the Government now, as it was on Second Reading, is one of strict neutrality.


I do not propose to say very much in this Committee stage and I shall probably not speak to any of the Amendments, but I should like to support the noble Lord, Lord Royle. I began by being completely neutral about this Bill, but at the end of the Second Reading debate I was far more convinced by the arguments against the Bill than by those in favour of it. The arguments which particularly impressed me were that the Bill was to the detriment of the small shopkeeper, that it was to the detriment of family life and that, if it had any effect at all, it would increase the cost of living, one of the greatest evils that we have to avoid at the present time. The only argument I heard in favour of the Bill was that the present position is nonsense.

Resolved in the affirmative, and Clause 1 agreed to accordingly.

Clause 2 [Registration of food shops]: 4.44 p.m.

LORD KILBRACKEN moved Amendment No. 1: Page 1, line 11, leave out from ("which") to ("ingredients") in line 15 and insert ("food is sold, or").

The noble Lord said: The intention of this Amendment is not to change in any way the operation of the Bill. Its aims are brevity, which I consider to be an objective in itself, and clarity, which I suggest is not perfect in the clause as it stands at present. Clause 2 introduces

*See col. 761.

But there are other ways of putting nonsense right than by introducing a bad Bill which, in my view, this is. I shall support the noble Lord, Lord Royle.

4.40 p.m.

On Question, Whether Clause 1 shall stand part of the Bill?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 52; Not-Contents, 37.*

Airedale, L. Gisborough, L. Milverton, L.
Albemarle, E. Gray, L. Molson, L.
Avebury, L. Greenway, L. Monson, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L. Grenfell, L. Montagu of Beaulieu, L.
Brooke of Cumnor, L. Grimston of Westbury, L. Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Butler of Saffron Walden, L. Hanworth, V. Napier and Ettrick, L.
Byers, L. Hatherton, L. Rankeillour, L.
Caccia, L. Hereford, V. Reigate, L.
Clwyd, L. Howard of Glossop, L. Roberthall, L.
Cranbrook, E. Ilford, L. St. Just, L.
Denham, L. Inglewood, L. Sempill, Ly.
Derwent, L. [Teller.] Kilmany, L. Shannon, E.
Effingham, E. Kinnoull, E. Strange of Knokin, Bs.
Elliot of Harwood, Bs. Lauderdale, E. Swansea, L. [Teller.]
Emmet of Amberley, Bs. Leicester, L. Bp. Thomson of Fleet, L.
Falkland, V. Loudoun, C. Vivian, L.
Ferrers, E. Lovat, L. Wakefield of Kendal, L.
Fortescue, E. Meston, L. Wootton of Abinger, Bs.
Gaitskell, Bs.
Archibald, L. Garnsworthy, L. Royle, L. [Teller.]
Ardwick, L, Hoy, L. Rusholme, L.
Beswick, L. Ingleby, V. Sainsbury, L.
Blyton, L. Jacques, L. St. Davids, V.
Brockway, L. Kilbracken, L. Shackleton, L.
Buckinghamshire, E. Lee of Asheridge, Bs. Shepherd, L.
Champion, L. Lindgren, L. Shinwell, L.
Chorley, L. McLeavy, L. Slater, L.
Darcy (de Knayth), Bs. Nunburnholme, L. Summerskill, Bs. [Teller.]
Delacourt-Smith, L. Platt, L. Taylor of Mansfield, L.
Diamond, L. Popplewell, L. Wells-Pestell, L.
Faringdon, L. Rhodes, L. White, Bs.
Fulton, L.

a new concept which does not exist in the 1950 Act, that is, the registration of food shops which will be allowed to be open on Sunday. It describes these shops as:

… shops in which is carried on the sale for human consumption of food (other than sweets, chocolate and other sugar confectionery; ice cream and edible wafers or containers) and drink (other than alcoholic drink) …".

When I first read this clause I misunderstood it—and I suggest that it can be quite easily misunderstood—because I somewhat naturally, I think, supposed that the shops to be registered were those in which food was sold but not those particular commodities which are set out in parentheses—sweets, chocolate, other sugar confectionery and so on. But in this I was mistaken. The commodities in question are among those set out in Schedule 1(3) and they are therefore allowed to be sold in any shop on a Sunday, and it is for this reason that, in this clause, they are excluded. What is meant by the draftsman of the Bill, I understand, is that shops do not have to be registered if they do not sell any food other than sweets, chocolate, other sugar confectionery, et cetera. Therefore, it seems to me that putting in this long phrase is completely unnecessary, because such shops (confectioners, and so on, or shops that sell drink) will never bother to apply for registration. Shops will be put on the register only if they apply to their local authority to be put there, and, of course, a confectioner—somebody who is selling ice cream, or something of that sort—will not bother to apply to be put on the register; and a shop that is on the register is enabled to sell these commodities because they are among those listed in Schedule 1. Therefore, I am proposing that the shops on this register should be described simply as, "shops in which food is sold, or ingredients for the preparation of food or drink". I beg to move.


I have to call the attention of the Committee to the fact that, if this Amendment is agreed to, Amendments Nos. 2 to 6 cannot be moved.


I am very much on the side of the noble Lord in wanting to simplify matters, but I would ask him to withdraw this Amendment for two reasons. First, I am told that the wording of this clause should be as near as possible to that of the 1950 Act, because if you omit from this Bill words which appear more or less exactly in the 1950 Act, then when people come to compare the Bill with the Act—that is, people who have not studied the Bill as carefully as has the noble Lord himself—they will think that this is something quite different, and they will get muddled. That is one reason. The other reason why I would ask the noble Lord to withdraw this Amendment is because I believe that Amendments Nos. 2 to 6 are more important than this one. If this Amendment is agreed to, we cannot have Amendments Nos. 2 to 6, and there are one or two important Amendments among those Amendments. I sympathise with the fact that the noble Lord wants to simplify things, but purely on those grounds I would ask him, at any rate at this stage, at the Committee stage, not to press this Amendment, particularly, if I may use a cryptic phrase, because of something that I am going to say on the Motion, That Clause 2 stand part of the Bill.


I do not think that it would be right for the Government to intervene more than is necessary during the Committee stage. However, there may be times when, on points of drafting or interpretation, I can assist. One of them may be on this Amendment. I am advised that by omitting drink from this clause difficulties would arise when drinks were neither alcoholic nor soft drinks. There are a number of drinks in that category, the most obvious being milk. The Amendment would have the effect of simplifying the wording of the Bill; but, on the whole, I am advised that the original wording of the clause as tabled by Lord Derwent, complicated though it may seem, would be more effective in practice.


I cannot wait to hear the "cryptic" remarks that the noble Lord has promised us on the Motion, That Clause 2 stand part. The noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, was speaking mainly about the difficulties of removing any reference to drinks. In this connection I must admit that milk for consumption off the premises is something that had not occurred to me as being necessary to itemise as being covered by neither "intoxicating" nor "non intoxicating" liquor. I do not think that milk could be called a non-intoxicating liquor, although "liquor" is defined in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary as, "drink (usually fermented or distilled)". Possibly, therefore, milk might come under that definition. If not, some further amendment is going to be necessary in Schedule 1, because I think it is clear that it is the intention that all drinks required for consumption off the premises (whether soft drinks or non-alcoholic drinks or whatever the phrasing is) should be permitted.

The noble Lord, Lord Derwent, said that it was desirable, where possible, to keep very close to the wording of the 1950 Act. I myself feel that we should try to devise a better Act. If in doing so we must depart from the language of the previous Act, that has to be accepted. The noble Lord referred to the desirability of considering Amendments Nos. 2 to 6 which, if this Amendment were carried would fall by the wayside. I believe that all the points contained in those Amendments could be raised on subsequent clauses in the Bill. None the less, in view of the sympathetic way in which the noble Lord has considered what I have to say, I do not intend to press this Amendment and beg leave to withdraw it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

LORD KILBRACKEN moved Amendment No. 2: Page 1, line 11, leave out ("for human consumption").

The noble Lord said: It may be for the convenience of the Committee to consider Amendments Nos. 2 and 6 together. They are among those to which the noble Lord, Lord Derwent, said we might give sympathetic consideration. My Amendments are purely on a matter of semantics. When I read Clause 1 I was put out by the repetition of the word "consumption" in lines 12 and 14. I think the awkwardness of that phraseology can be seen if we read those lines without the words in parentheses. It talks about … the sale for human consumption of food … and drink … for consumption off the premises from which they are sold or of ingredients for the preparation of food or drink. It seems to me to be very much simpler and clearer to say, "in which is carried on the sale of food and drink for human consumption off the premises". That is the effect of Amendments Nos. 2 and 6. I beg to move.


I am not a Parliamentary draftsman and I am not quite sure whether the word "human" is necessary. I do not imagine that my noble friend on the Front Bench has considered this either; but the Amendment seems to me to be harmless and I am prepared to accept it unless any noble Lord thinks that it alters the meaning. It is purely a question of semantics.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

4.53 p.m.

VISCOUNT INGLEBY moved Amendment No. 3: Page 1, line 13, after ("containers") insert ("; and fried fish and chips").

The noble Viscount said: I beg to move Amendment No. 3. Perhaps it may be convenient if I were also to speak to Amendments Nos. 25 and 30 which cover the same point; namely, that of maintaining the existing prohibition on the sale of fried fish and chips from a fried fish and chip shop, which has been the state of the law since 1936. What do the fish fryers themselves say? I should like to read from a statement by the National Federation of Fish Friers, Ltd. I should explain that I have no connection with this Federation although I must say that there is a certain fish shop which my family find it difficult to pass by without calling in. I should like to read the Federation's statement which has been signed by Mr. Peter Worthington, their General Secretary. … in considering this legislation we hope that Parliament will keep in mind that the interests of traders are also important and that it is a poor bargain if convenience to certain sections of the public is obtained only at the expense of hardship to other sections. Generally speaking, fried fish shops are family businesses, usually run by man and wife, sometimes with part-time help at busy periods. Sunday is the one day of the week when the family has leisure. (This is underlined over and over again in our own Federation when social events have to be arranged on Sundays as being the only day on which friers are able to take part). The fish frier works long hours, and he is employed in his shop at times when other people are enjoying their leisure. He has, if anything, a greater need of Sunday off than any other trader. He gets this Sunday break at the moment only because of the operation of the Shops Act 1950 which prohibits the sale of fried fish and chips on a Sunday at a fried fish and chip shop. It has been argued that the new Bill will give the trader free choice as to whether he opens on Sunday or not. This is a fallacy. There are some friers who would undoubtedly choose to open on Sundays and because of the keen competition in the trade and the close proximity of shops this opening by a minority of friers would very quickly result in large numbers of other friers having to open in self-defence. It is not merely that friers will be forced to open in order to share the Sunday trade—there would be the fear that customers would take trade on weekdays also to the shops obliging enough to open on Sundays'…. The National Federation of Fish Friers has 6,000 members, all proprietors of fried fish and chip businesses. We have discussed the question of Sunday opening at recent National Conferences, including our 1970 Conference, and there has been an overwhelming majority on each occasion in favour of retaining the prohibition on Sunday opening of fried fish and chip shops. The fish frying trade does not want Sunday opening; Sunday trading would create a great deal of hardship for friers; the advantage to the general public would be more imaginary than real; and this advantage would be secured only by injuring the fish friers themselves and increasing the costs of fried fish and chips to the public at large.

I think that it is clear from that statement that the fish fryers themselves—an overwhelming majority we are told—do not want Sunday opening. They feel that if Sunday opening is allowed a small number will open and the rest will be forced to open in self-defence. I submit that their feelings are important and that we ought to think very carefully before passing legislation which, they fear, will force them to open on Sunday against their wishes and will deprive them of a leisure day to spend with their families. I beg to move the Amendment.


I want to say one or two words in support of this Amendment. I have an Amendment down to Schedule 3 which deals with the meat trade in the way in which this Amendment deals with fish and chip establishments. As I said during the discussion on Clause 1, I think that the basis of the question is: does that trade want it? It is pretty evident from what what the noble Viscount, Lord Ingleby, has told the Committee, that the fish and chip trade does not want it; and I repeat: if there is no public demand for it, and the trade does not want it, it ought not to be in the Bill.


I would only say that the noble Viscount, Lord Ingleby, has expressed, on behalf of the fish fryers, what no doubt many other trades would desire to say if they were so well organised. It just happens—I cannot understand why—that the fish fryers are very well organised. They have said what I sought to say in my speech on the first Amendment: that they want Sunday with their families, and they do not want legislation introduced which will make them work seven days a week. What goes for the fish fryers should go for all other trades. Unfortunately, there are other trades which are not well organised, and I want once more to draw the attention of the noble Lord, Lord Derwent, to the fact that when it comes to a well-organised trade expressing its views in this matter, it says, "Please save us from this and give us a rest". I still hope that the noble Lord will have second thoughts when he comes to give us those final words.


This is a matter which has caused a lot of concern among fish fryers. The Government are already aware of the views expressed by the National Federation of Fish Friers. The fish fryers have a number of legitimate worries; we have heard them explained fully by the noble Viscount, Lord Ingleby. By and large fish and chip shops are family businesses and do not enjoy the same protection under the law as other shop assistants. Moreover, fish fryers have to work long hours and we can therefore appreciate their concern that they may be forced to open against their will in order to combat competition. At the same time, it is fair to say that the Bill would not require them to open by law. If they decided to do so it would be because of the competitive position in which they found themselves. It may be that these fears are exaggerated. Fish and chip shops are not unique in being small family businesses, and it is a matter for discussion whether shop legislation is really intended to protect shopkeepers from competition and to safeguard a shop owner's leisure time.

It may be argued that the case for treating fish and chip shops exceptionally has to be proved. Having said that, I appreciate that the noble Viscount's Amendment, taken together with the subsequent Amendments that he mentioned, is designed simply to preserve the status quo. As a result of it, the position would not be changed but would be left as it is under Schedule 5 to the 1950 Shops Act. So the noble Viscount is not trying to establish a restriction which does not apply at present under the existing law, and it will be for the Committee to decide whether or not this change should be made and whether fish and chip shops should be treated as a special case.

5.6 p.m.


May I declare an interest—though not as a fish fryer? As I have told your Lordships before, I am the President of the Institute of Shop Acts Inspectors. They are the poor devils who have to try to carry out the present law, and what they say in private is something worse than the courts have said in public. I mention this now because I will give certain facts, not invented by me, but produced for me by people who have to try to enforce the law. The way the noble Viscount, Lord Ingleby, has talked about fish fryers, and so on, sounds very nice, but it is difficult to know what proportion of the proprietors of fish and chip shops actually belong to the Federation of Fish Friers. What we do know is that there are an increasing number of fish and chip shops that have been opened in recent years the owners of which are not members of the Federation. Therefore I do not know what proportion the Federation speaks for. That is the first thing.

The second thing is that by this Bill we are trying to do away with anomalies. The present law says that anyone who sells food can sell fish and chips (that is virtually what it says)—except, of course, fish and chip shops. That does not seem very sensible to me. Restaurants and cafés can sell fish and chips; even grocers can sell fried fish and chips. Your Lordships may have seen cooked fish fillets which are put into refrigerators. When you want to buy some of that fish very often you ask for it from a grocer; and you can buy chips at the same time. That, strange to say, is a meal. One would think it was impossible to eat the fish, although it is cooked, without its being further cooked: the fillets are meant to be bought and heated. But in fact people do eat them cold with sauce—and chips. It is perfectly legal for grocers, if they are open on Sundays, to sell fish fillets, and that is the sort of nonsense that we are trying to do away with by this Bill.

There is a further point—and here I wonder whether the noble Viscount really knows quite fully what he is talking about. Fish and chips has always been rather a favourite food in the Midlands. It is one of the English foods that a great many immigrants like; and in fact a great many immigrants have opened fish and chip shops. What happens? They cannot of course do anything so evil as to sell fish and chips on a Sunday. But what they do has created considerable difficulties for some of the inspectors. They can legally open on a Sunday and sell sausages and chips; they fry chicken and sell it with chips; some sell fried fish without chips, and some have gone so far as to sell fried fish and fried potatoes which are not chip potatoes. They fry whole potatoes and cut them up; but they are not chips. So far the advice given is that they are within the law. That is the sort of nonsense one is trying to stop.

In a small area—I am talking about an area of three or four streets where there is a fish and chip shop—I do not think that if the proprietor does not work on a Sunday someone will open another fish and chip shop in the area and outsell him. I do not believe that, because in any given area there is a limited market for fish and chips. I believe it is necessary to get away from what I consider to be a complete nonsense, because it is not operated right throughout the country. As things stand a man can keep his fish and chip shop open and sell fried fish and roast potatoes or mashed potatoes. So all this talk about these being mostly family businesses, as indeed they are is I think arguing a bit too far.


It seems to me that some attention should be paid to the person who wants to buy fish and chips; and so far he has not been mentioned. I have a rapidly disintegrating relationship with the consumer movement, although I am in no sense briefed to say anything. However, I feel strongly that if somebody (and I should have thought that under the present Government this would be official policy) wants to work a little harder, earn a little more money and give the public what they want, we should not stop him—and least of all a closed shop of organised traders. I do not want to enter deeply into this subject, but in principle I believe that, subject to the employment of paid labour, people should be allowed to buy and sell as often and as freely as they can, and I think we should all benefit if fewer obstacles were put in their way.


I should like to say a word or two in support of my noble friend, while regretting having to disagree with other noble friends. It seems to me quite extraordinary that the proposal, for no particular reason that I can think of, is that, of all the food and drink that we should be able to buy on Sundays, in future there should be a single exception, that of fish and chips. So far as the fish fryers are concerned, if they do not want to open on Sundays, they do not have to; and if there is not a demand from the consumers, they will not want to open on Sundays. As one who personally finds it very convenient when in this country, and rather hungry in Hammersmith on a Sunday evening, to go to the fish and chip shop round the corner and come back with my fish and chips in the News of the World (and it is well known that it is far better in the News of the World than in any other newspaper), I must say that I oppose the noble Viscount's Amendment.


I admit, in answer to the noble Lord, Lord Derwent, that there are loopholes in the existing law. I think they concern a fairly small proportion of the trade, in that they are mostly concerned with the "on" trade—that is to say, fish and chips consumed on the premises—whereas the great majority of the fish and chip trade relates to what people take away. So I think that the extent of these loopholes can be exaggerated. I am concerned only that we shall not jump out of the frying pan into the fire. The frying pan, I think, is a fairly small one, and we may jump into the fire and find that we have done away with Sunday for all these good fish fryers. That is why I moved the Amendment.

On Question, Amendment negatived.


Amendment No. 4 is a drafting Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 1, line 14, leave out ("and") and insert ("or")—(Lord Derwent.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

5.14 p.m.

LORD DERWENT moved Amendment No. 5: Page 1, line 14, leave out ("alcoholic drink") and insert ("intoxicating liquors").

The noble Lord said: My noble friend Lord Windlesham has pointed out to me that in the Shops Act what I call "alcoholic drink" is referred to as "intoxicating liquors" and it would be better to have the same wording in this Bill. I beg to move.


The noble Lord may possibly get into slight difficulty with this Amendment, because in this clause the words in parentheses are commodities which are permitted to be sold under Schedule 1, paragraph 3. The noble Lord has an Amendment down at a later stage to change "alcoholic drink" in paragraph 3(ii) to "intoxicating liquors". Therefore if he is intent upon including these words in parentheses in Clause 2 (1), this particular sentence should read: and drink other than intoxicating and non-intoxicating liquors", because intoxicating and non-intoxicating liquors are both going to be permitted under Schedule 1 if his subsequent Amendment is carried. I suggest, therefore, that the noble Lord should look at this point again and ask himself whether it makes sense to refer here to drink other than intoxicating and non-intoxicating liquor.


I do not think the noble Lord is quite right, and perhaps we can look at the Schedule for a moment. What we are referring to in this subsections in the registration, and what we refer to in the Schedule is what can be sold. Alcoholic drink, intoxicating liquors, is not for the registry, because shops are not to be registered for the sale of those commodities. They come under the licensing justices. So the wording, subject to my Amendment, is correct.


Surely that is the whole point. It is here being laid down what is to be sold in registered food shops. What a shop has to sell in order to have to apply for registration is food other than articles permitted in general under paragraph 3 of Schedule 1. If the noble Lord is going to amend paragraph 3(ii) of Schedule 1 to read "intoxicating or non-intoxicating liquors", then shops selling intoxicating and non-intoxicating liquors do not have to be registered. Those drinks can be sold without the shop being registered. Therefore it is drink other than those two forms of drink that must be sold in shops that are registered.


I will certainly look at this point again, although I think the noble Lord is wrong. If you do not put in "other than the 'hard stuff'" it will be assumed that you have to register with the local authority if you are selling only the "hard stuff", and that is not so.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


Amendment No. 6 is consequential upon my Amendment No. 2. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 1, line 14, after ("for") insert ("human")—(Lord Kilbracken.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD KILBRACKEN moved Amendment No. 7: Page 1, line 20, leave out from first ("to") to ("or") in line 21 and insert ("carry on such business").

The noble Lord said: This Amendment again might be considered to be purely a question of semantics. The point I am concerned about is that in line 20 the Bill speaks about the shop continuing to sell "articles referred to in the foregoing subsection". If we look at the "foregoing subsection" we see that the articles referred to are: Food … and drink … or ingredients for the preparation of food or drink". I do not see that food and drink can be correctly described as "articles". I am, therefore, proposing to delete those words, and simply to say: whilst the shop continues to carry on such business".

My next Amendment, Amendment No. 8, is entirely concerned with the same matter and therefore I shall mention it briefly at this stage. Again, in line 26, there is reference to selling on Sunday articles other than articles mentioned in paragraph 2 of Schedule 1. The articles in question are food and drink. I do not think these can be called "articles". My Amendment would make the Bill refer to: transacting business on Sunday other than business "— that is the business mentioned in paragraph 2 of Schedule 1. I beg to move.


I cannot think that this Amendment is quite satisfactory from a drafting point of view. The words "such business" pose the question, "what business?" If you search the clause for any reference to a business, I do not think you will find it. So, from a drafting point of view, I should have thought that this Amendment was not satisfactory.


That is the advice which I have been given. I am not a Parliamentary draftsman, but I too was told that one cannot refer to "such business" when the business has not been mentioned. "Such business" in this context does not refer to anything in the Bill. That is the best advice that I have been able to obtain, so perhaps the noble Lord will not press this Amendment.


I do not intend to press the Amendment, but it seems a rather strange reply, because in subsection (1) there is a reference to shops in which is carried on the sale for human consumption of food or drink, or ingredients for the preparation of food or drink. It seems to me that is quite clearly a business. When I say "such business" this is the business to which I am referring. If those with far greater legal knowledge than I have (which it would not be difficult to possess) think otherwise, then I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

5.23 p.m.

LORD JACQUES moved Amendment No. 9: Page 2, line 1, leave out from ("Act") to end of line 4 and insert— ("the Court may order the local authority to remove the shop from the register and the shop shall be so removed from the register upon a subsequent conviction, in either case for such period as the Court shall determine.")

The noble Lord said: In moving Amendment No. 9, with the permission of the Committee I will also speak to Amendment No. 10, since I believe that this will be for the convenience of noble Lords. These two Amendments, taken together, are based upon the proposition that justice must not only be done, but must be seen to be done. The Amendments attempt to improve the Bill in three ways. First, the Bill provides that if a shopkeeper is convicted by a magistrates' court, he may be suspended from the register by the local authority. The local authority is normally the prosecutor in the case of alleged offences under the Shops Act. The Bill, in effect, as it now stands, is providing that the court shall convict, but the prosecutor shall determine the sentence. One of the purposes of my Amendment is that the court, in addition to deciding whether or not to convict, shall also decide the sentence and, if it thinks fit, order the local authority to delete the name of the shopkeeper from the register for such period as the court thinks fit.

The second improvement in the Bill that the Amendments seek to make is that the Bill, as it now stands, provides that on a second conviction there shall be removal from the register. It does not say what will happen on a third or subsequent conviction. The Amendments say that on any subsequent conviction there shall be suspension from the register. The third way in which these two Amendments attempt to improve the Bill is that the Bill, as it stands at present, allows either the local authority, or the shopkeeper, to appeal against a decision of the magistrates' court to the quarter sessions, but the appeal, as the Bill stands, can only be in reference to an order made by the court; that is to say, there can be an appeal only on the sentence. Of course, the shopkeeper has a right to appeal against conviction, and the local authority has a right to appeal against non-conviction. The Amendment, therefore, provides that either the shopkeeper, or the local authority, can appeal to the quarter sessions against any of the decisions taken by the magistrates' court. I understand that these Amendments are acceptable to the noble Lord, Lord Dement, and I hope that they will be acceptable to the Committee.


The noble Lord, Lord Jacques, argued this case on Second Reading, as he has done again to-day. I have given it very careful thought, and I have come to the conclusion that he is entirely right. I am very happy to accept the Amendment, and I will also accept the next one.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


I beg to move Amendment No. 10.

Amendment moved— Page 2 line 5, leave out from ("shop") to end of line 11 and insert: ("or the local authority if aggrieved by any decisions so made by the Magistrates' Court, may appeal to Quarter Sessions and this Court may vary the decisions so made by the Magistrates' Court.").—(Lord Jacques.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

On Question, Whether Clause 2, as amended, shall stand part of the Bill?


I should like to say something about this clause. The machinery of registration is somewhat cumbersome. I have reason to know that since the Bill was drafted it has not been very much welcomed by certain local authorities because they think it will give a great deal of extra work to their staff, and some of them are short staffed. This clause was put in in order to put some teeth into the Bill. Under the present Act the penalties are absolutely absurd: £5 for the first offence of breaking the regulations, and £20 for the second offence. What is that to a shop? So Clause 2 was put into the Bill to give it teeth.

The noble Lord, Lord Jacques, has a later Amendment, Amendment No. 20, where he seeks to increase the existing penalties ten times. Frankly, I hope that your Lordships will accept that new clause. My difficulty is that at the moment I cannot take any notice of Amendment No. 20 because it is not part of the Bill; we cannot really discuss it on Clause 2. If that new clause is agreed to, I suggest that we should seriously think whether registration will be necessary at all. I hope that we may have consultations between now and the Report stage, and I particularly hope that I may have discussions with noble Lords opposite, who have taken an interest in this Bill. It will have to be seriously considered whether the new penalties, if they are agreed to, will be a sufficient deterrent to people wilfully breaking the regulations. It may be the right figure, it may not; I do not know. It sounds all right to me: £50 for the first offence and £250 for the subsequent offences. I ask your Lordships to agree Clause 2 now, as amended, and see what happens on Amendment No. 20; and between now and the next stage of the Bill see, in discussions perhaps, whether we think the penalties will be adequate. If on my discussions with various people—not only in your Lordships' House—I decide that Clause 2 is not necessary, I shall put down an appropriate Amendment on Report. If noble Lords disagree with what I propose, then of course it is up to them to disagree. But I should like, if possible, to get rid of this rather cumbersome procedure.


May I ask the noble Lord, Lord Derwent, a question? In the event of this clause being passed and going into the Bill, which department of local authorities does he envisage will take charge of the job—health, weights and measures, markets or police? All of them are overburdened.


It will affect the shop inspectors, who in some cases are the same individuals as those who deal with weights and measures, although in some local authorities the two departments are quite distinct. Those concerned will be the Shops Acts inspectors.


I should like to support the proposal put forward by the noble Lord, Lord Derwent. Parliament increasingly throws work upon local authorities. It has done so over the years, more particularly in recent years. Some of that work is essential, but other parts of it are not essential. I suggest that the registration of food shops that are going to open on Sunday is certainly not essential and should not be thrown upon local authorities when so many of them have other burdens which are essential. I hope that the noble Lord will eventually make up his mind that the penalties as proposed in Amendment No. 20 are better than inflicting this additional work upon local authorities.

Clause 2, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 3 [Power to authorise Sunday opening of shops for sale of certain articles]:


Amendment No. 11 is purely drafting. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 2, line 14, leave out ("Sunday") and insert ("Sundays").—(Lord Derwent.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

5.33 p.m.

VISCOUNT INGLEBY moved Amendment No. 12:

Page 2, line 28, at end insert— ("Provided that no order shall be made unless the occupiers of not less than two- thirds in number of the shops or classes of shops to be affected by the order approve the order".)

The noble Viscount said: I beg to move Amendment No. 12 on behalf of the National Chamber of Trade. It would maintain a safeguard that was included in the 1950 Act but has been left out of this present Bill. The safeguard is that two-thirds in number of the shops or classes of shops affected by an order should approve of it. This would protect the majority of shop owners against pressure from a minority for Sunday opening. As I said, this provision is supported by the National Chamber of Trade; they consider that the existing provision is useful and effective. I beg to move.


I support this Amendment. As I see this Bill, it makes two principal changes in regard to the powers of local authorities to make orders for Sunday trading. First of all, it gets away from the idea of authorities in holiday resorts, and says that any local authority may make an order. Secondly, it gets away from the hole in the 1950 Act. I believe it is essential that traders should be consulted before local authorities make orders, and that the best way of consulting the traders is to take a poll. I hope that this Amendment will be accepted by the noble Lord.


I am afraid I do not like this proposal at all. I never have liked the idea. In fact, it would put at risk the business of certain traders—the reasons may have nothing to do with trade—who want to open when others do not. If the ones who do not want to open are the more powerful people in the locality they may [...]y in such a way that the other traders are not allowed to open when they think it would be profitable. There is a safeguard. The next subsection of this clause provides that the local authority must take notice of any objections. Then, there is a further matter. Mathematically, of course, the proposal is nonsense. Nowadays in semi-country areas—and I mean "semi-country"—where many visitors for one reason or another go (it may be a beautiful view) there may be only two food shops in a large village. If one wants to open and the other does not, the one that wants to do so will not be allowed to. This question cannot be dealt with mathematically. Provided that it is laid down in the Bill that the local authority must take notice of objections—and, obviously, if there were a large opposition to an order the local authority would take notice of it—then these matters are best left in the hands of the local authority;

Clause 3, as amended, agreed to.


I am informed that the Division Lists on the first Division show that the Contents were 54 and not, as announced, 52.*

Clause 4 [Sunday Employment in Shops]:

5.47 p.m.

LORD DERWENT moved Amendment No. 13: Page 2, line 29, leave out subsection (1).

The noble Lord said: Perhaps we may discuss Amendments 14 and 15 with this Amendment as the three Amendments

* See col. 744.

and competitors who have the right of objection should have no final say in the decision. I do not like this Amendment at all.

5.37 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said Amendment (No. 12) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 35; Not-Contents, 44.

Archibald, L. Hilton of Upton, L. Royle, L.
Ardwick, L. Hoy, L. Rusholme, L.
Baldwin of Bewdley, E. Ingleby, V. Sainsbury, L. [Teller.]
Beswick, L. Jacques, L. [Teller.] St. Davids, V.
Brockway, L. Lauderdale, E. Shackleton, L.
Burntwood, L. Lindgren, L. Shepherd, L.
Champion, L. Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, Bs. Shinwell, L.
Davies of Leek, L. Moyle, L. Slater, L.
Delacourt-Smith, L. Nunburnholme, L. Summerskill, Bs.
Diamond, L. Phillips, Bs. Taylor of Mansfield, L.
Fiske, L. Platt, L. White, Bs.
Garnsworthy, L. Popplewell, L.
Airedale, L. Greenway, L. Nugent of Guildford, L.
Albemarle, E. Grimston of Westbury, L. Rankeillour, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L. Hanworth, V. Rea, L.
Berkeley, Bs. Hatherton, L. Reigate, L.
Brooke of Cumnor, L. Hereford, V. Ruthven of Freeland, Ly.
Conesford, L. Inglewood, L. St. Just, L.
Derwent, L. [Teller.] Kilbracken, L. St. Oswald, L.
Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L. Kilmany, L. Sempill, Ly.
Douglas of Barloch, L. Kinnoull, E. Strang, L.
Effingham, E. Leicester, L. Bp. Strange of Knokin, Bs.
Elliot of Harwood, Bs. Loudoun, C. Swansea, L.
Emmet of Amberley, Bs. Milverton, L. Teviot, L.
Fortescue, E. Molson, L. Thurso, V.
Gaitskell, Bs. Montagu of Beaulieu, L. [Teller.] Vivian, L.
Gray, L. Wakefield of Kendal, L.

Resolved in the negative, and Amendment disagreed to accordingly.

deal with the same point. In the discussion on Second Reading it was made clear from various parts of the Committee, including by the right reverend Prelate, that the Committee did not want the time off for Sunday working to be altered from what it is at present. Although I think the point of view is somewhat old-fashioned, I am quite prepared to agree to it. The point is that I believe my Amendment is the right one and that the two Amendments tabled by noble Lords opposite do not really make sense. As a result of their Amendments subsection (1) would read: Section 21(3)(b) of the Shops Act … shall be amended as follows". Then their Amendments would take out paragraphs (a) and (b) and so the phrasing would then be left in mid-air, whereas my Amendment takes out the whole of subsection (1). Therefore I hope noble Lords opposite will agree to my Amendment and will not move theirs. I beg to move.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


This Amendment also deals with time off for Sunday, and passing this Amendment would leave the law as it is at the moment. The noble Lord, Lord Jacques, and I both had the same idea about this. Obviously I agree with my own Amendment, and I agree with his part of it. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 3, line 1, leave out paragraph (b).—(Lord Derwent.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD JACQUES moved Amendment No. 17: Page 3, line 2, leave out paragraph (c).

The noble Lord said: I move this Amendment, hoping that it will be accepted by the noble Lord, Lord Derwent, and expecting that it will be—for this reason. He has already proposed an Amendment which maintains the status quo for assistants. This Amendment deals with pharmacists. The present position is that if a pharmacist works only two hours on a Sunday, and is given time off on some other day, he does not get the protection given to assistants. If he works more than two hours on a Sunday, he does get that protection; that is to say, he will be expected to work only two Sundays a month. Since the noble Lord thinks that the shop assistant should continue to have protection, I assume he would agree that the pharmacist should also continue to have the same protection as he has now. I beg to move.


Pharmacists are not, in fact, for various reasons, quite in the same category as ordinary shop assistants. In practical terms, since the 1950 Act was passed the position raises no real problem one way or the other. If a pharmacist wants to work extra hours, there is such great demand that he will get paid what he wants. So I am quite happy to accept the Amendment.


The Amendment about the protection of shop assistants on Sundays went through so quickly that I did not get the opportunity to thank the noble Lord, Lord Derwent, for meeting the point which was so strongly put by the noble Lord, Lord Airedale, as well as by myself. I take this opportunity to thank the noble Lord, and my excuse is to lend formal support to the Amendment now before us.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 4, as amended, agreed to.

5.53 p.m.

LORD JACQUES moved Amendment No. 18: After Clause 4, insert the following new clause:

Mobile shops

" . This Act shall apply to a mobile shop or a vehicle from which sales are made in the same way as it applies to shop premises except that for the purposes of section 2 above the mobile shop or vehicle shall be regarded as part of the premises from which the goods for sale are normally kept for loading on to the mobile shop or vehicle as required."

The noble Lord said: The purpose of this Amendment is quite simple. It is that any restrictions which apply to shops should apply also to mobile shops. The application of the principle may be a little difficult. In the Amendment it is proposed that for the purposes of registration the vehicle shall be regarded as part of the premises from which the goods for sale are normally kept for loading on to the mobile shop. It may be contended that there are few mobile shops that do not have a depot, a place where reserve stock is kept. If we do not have registration, this problem will not arise. In any case, if this problem does arise and it is argued that this Amendment is not practicable because some shops do not have a depot, I will withdraw it now, but at the Report stage I will submit an exactly similar Amendment suggesting that the premises for registration should be the place where the vehicle is kept overnight, on the assumption that the vehicle has got to be kept somewhere, and if it is kept somewhere that can be the place for the purpose of registration. I beg to move.


This Amendment raises some important issues. It has been held by the courts that in England and Wales a mobile shop which stops to make a retail sale is not a place where any retail trade or business is carried on; nor is the piece of ground on which the vehicle stops. This new clause would create a situation in which mobile traders were subject to the shops law on Sundays but not on weekdays. Therefore, on the face of it, and subject to anything further that is said in this debate, to accept a new clause on these lines would introduce an anomaly into the law. The noble Lord may feel that the right way to deal with the wider issue of whether or not mobile shops should be subject to control is through amendment of the Shops Act 1950, so that "shops" would include specifically mobile shops. I will, of course, listen very carefully to what is said in this debate, but I wanted to draw these considerations to the attention of your Lordships at the onset.


For the reasons that my noble friend Lord Windlesham has given, and for the reason which the noble Lord, Lord Jacques, himself gave—the difficulty about the place where the vehicle is overnight—I suggest to the noble Lord that he should, at any rate at the moment, withdraw this Amendment. I am entirely on his side in wanting to bring mobile shops under the Shops Acts, but I do not think it can be done by altering the Sunday trading provisions. It can be done, I think, either by the Home Office eventually having a completely new Shops Act—(and I do not suppose that will happen for the moment), or as my noble friend suggested, by having a Private Member's one-clause Bill bringing mobile shops under the Shops Act. I do not think that anything satisfactory in this direction can be done under the Sunday Trading Act, because they would not then be covered during the week. That is my own view, although I am in sympathy with what the noble Lord wants.


In view of the definition of "shop" brought up by the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, it may be relevant to point out that some of the sales permitted under Schedule 1 do not seem prima facie to be transactions which normally take place at shops. I do not expect an immediate answer to this, but I wonder if the Committee would like to consider it. If we look at paragraph 5, do fishermen who sell freshly caught fish at the point where it is landed do so in a shop? If you sell produce at a farm, does there have to be a shop on that farm? Can it be said that a funeral undertaker conducts business in a shop? Surely the heading, "Transactions for which shops may be open on Sunday", ought to be changed. In many of these instances the transactions do not take place in what can commonly be understood as shops.


What I should like to see is that mobile shops are made subject to the same laws as ordinary shops. I can see the anomaly that might be created if they were to be regarded as a shop for the purposes of Sunday trade but not for other purposes. I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment now, but I hope that at some date this matter will be given consideration in the wider context.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 5 [Extension of exemption under Shops (Airports) Act 1962]:

LORD DERWENT moved Amendment No. 19: Page 3, line 14, leave out subsection (2).

The noble Lord said: This Amendment deals with the certain old Acts which I now find have already been abolished under the Statute Law (Repeals) Act 1969. Therefore this paragraph does not apply. This is really a drafting Amendment. I beg to move.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 5, as amended, agreed to.

LORD JACQUES moved Amendment No. 20: After Clause 5, insert the following new clause:

Amendment of s. 59 of Shops Act 1950

" . In section 59 of the Shops Act 1950 (offences connected with Sunday Trading for the word 'five' in paragraph (a) of subsection (1) there shall be substituted the word 'twenty-five' and for the word 'twenty' in paragraph (b) of subsection (1) there shall be substituted the words 'two hundred and fifty'."

The noble Lord said: At the present time the maximum penalty for offences after the first offence is one of £20. There are places in the country where traders persist in doing things which they ought not to do, and when they receive a summons consequent upon a subsequent offence they simply send back the summons with a cheque for £20 and do not appear in court. Under this Bill the court will have power to suspend a trader from the register. We do not want traders to be in the position of merely ignoring the decisions of the court. Surely, if we are to have a decision by a court suspending a trader from the register then we must reinforce the present law in regard to penalties; thus, a trader who is suspended from the register will know that he ignores the court at his peril. The maximum fines proposed in the Amendment are in keeping with recent legislation and are not excessive, and I have pleasure in moving the Amendment.


As the noble Lord, Lord Jacques, has just explained, the effect of the Amendment would be to increase the maximum penalty for offences connected with Sunday trading from the present level of £5 for the first offence and £20 for subsequent offences, to £25 for the first offence and £250 for subsequent offences. When the noble Lord spoke on the Question that Clause 2 stand part of the Bill, my noble friend Lord Derwent indicated that he was disposed to accept an Amendment on these lines, and said that if the level of tines was increased he intended to reconsider whether or not food shops needed to be registered. He indicated that he might put down an Amendment on Report to deal with that aspect.

The only points to which I should like to draw your Lordships' attention at this stage are these. The new penalties in this Amendment do not conform to the recognised scale which over the past few years it has been the normal practice to include in Government Bills and to encourage private Members to include in Private Members' Bills in the interests of simplifying the law. The recognised scale is in the stages, £10, £20, £50, £100, £200 and £400. In particular, the differential between the maximum fines for a first offence and the level for second and subsequent offences is not normally more than one stage in the scale that I have just described. However, the argument for having a much greater increase in this particular instance, and bearing in mind the fact that the noble Lord, Lord Derwent, is inclined to accept the underlying approach, means that the Committee ought to decide whether or not they want such a large increase between the first offence and the second and subsequent offences. I should point out that this would be unusual, and also that the figure of £250 is not in the recognised scale at all. There is nothing between £200 and £400.


I am sorry that the gap between the penalty for a first offence and those for subsequent offences is wider than normal, but I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Jacques, will not give way on this matter. I believe it to be most important. A shopkeeper may commit a first offence of a fairly serious kind for which perhaps a fine of £20 is sufficient, though it does not mean very much to him. But if the shopkeeper continues committing offences later, the gap between the first penalty and the maximum for the further penalties ought to be very wide. My noble friend does not like £250. The noble Lord, Lord Jacques, might consider making it £300, or £200. Possibly he would rather the figure be £200; I do not know—that is a matter for the noble Lord opposite. But really anything less than this fairly large fine and this big gap will not stop a dishonest trader; the consequences will not matter to him. So I hope that the noble Lord will keep his penalties wide as between the first and subsequent offences, and will keep a high scale of fine between the second and subsequent offences.


May I suggest that the Committee accept this Amendment, and that if the two noble Lords opposite get their heads together between now and Report stage and arrive at somethilng upon which they agree, the matter could then be reconsidered?


So far as the Government are concerned, that is a perfectly acceptable suggestion. As I said, I should not want to express a view on the merit of the proposal; but since it has commanded general agreement between the noble Lord, Lord Derwent, and the noble Lord, Lord Jacques, it may be that we could advise the noble Lord on what scale of penalties is most in line with the recognised scale and is contained in other legislation. On behalf of the Government I should certainly be willing to accept the suggestion just made.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 6 [Minor and consequential amendments and repeals]:

6.9 p.m.

LORD SAINSBURY moved Amendment No. 21: Page 3, line 18, leave out subsection (1).

The noble Lord said: It might be for the convenience of the Committee if we considered Amendment No. 21 with Amendment No. 28, the former being consequential on the latter. These two Amendments offer the Committee a compromise between those who are in favour of the Bill and those who are its opponents, because the effect of the Amendments will be to permit food shops registered with the local authority to sell a full range of food on Sundays up to 12 noon only, as opposed to all day as in the Bill. I consider it a very reasonable compromise. This will enable those, however few in number, who cannot do their shopping on other days to buy a full range of foods on Sunday morning. It will also meet the needs of the housewife who wants to make some last minute purchases. Thus, it will eliminate the very real anomalies of the present law, in the periods which are likely to be most convenient to the public.

At the same time, these two Amendments go a long way towards protecting those who work in foodshops. It is likely that small shops would take advantage of it and open to 12 o'clock on a Sunday in areas where there is sufficient demand. However, the fact that the Amendments restrict full-scale trading in food to Sunday morning would probably make it uneconomic for the large stores to open. Thus it would lessen the risk of Sunday becoming just another shopping day so far as food is concerned. As a result, the Amendments would have the effect of safeguarding the Sunday of a large number of shop employees and of guaranteeing at least half a Sunday for the small shopkeeper. The Amendments are also in the interests of the shopping public, as I believe they would prevent the large stores from opening and eliminate the risk of Sunday becoming just another shopping day. They would also prevent the rise in costs and prices that full Sunday opening would inevitably bring. The Bill, as was stated at Second Reading, is not a Party matter, and I believe that this Amendment should appeal to all those who, while being concerned with the reasonable interests of the shopping public, are also concerned with the welfare of those who work in shops. Therefore, I commend it to your Lordships. I beg to move Amendment No. 21.

6.13 p.m.


I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Sainsbury, that this is an extremely important Amendment, together with the others that hang with it. It is one that is central to the purpose of the Bill. What the noble Lord and his friends seem to be saying to the noble Lord, Lord Derwent (perhaps in view of the vote on Clause 1 somewhat reluctantly), is, "In the light of the result of that division we will let you have your reform, in this House at any rate; but in the interests of employees the hours should be restricted until 12 noon on Sundays only".

We have heard the noble Lord say, with his considerable personal experience in this field, that he believes that a change up to 12 o'clock only would not have the effect that he described so vividly on Second Reading, that supermarket owners, the owners of the large stores, would also find it necessary to open their stores, with the result that staff costs would be higher and prices might go up, and, as he has just said, Sunday would become just another shopping day.

I think the statement he has just made is one to which we should pay close attention, because it represents a move away from the opinion he expressed on Second Reading, when he was considering Sunday as a whole day rather than as a half-day. Here we reach the crux of this Bill, which is to try to strike a balance between the interests of employees and traders and the convenience of the shopping public. In line with the Government's declared policy, which I mentioned again at the beginning of to-day's debate, I shall not express any opinion on the merits of the argument, but I will certainly undertake to listen very carefully to the arguments that take place on this Amendment, and to study what noble Lords who take part have to say.

6.16 p.m.


Although I have to confess that I am not in the mood to compromise, I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Derwent, recognises that this Amendment which he is asked to accept embodies a most important compromise. It seems that this House contains, on the one hand, noble Lords who feel strongly about protecting the employee and, on the other, those who feel that the freedom of the consumer is being ignored by rejecting this Bill. Here, everybody's conscience can feel relieved, because the noble Lord is being asked to allow shops to remain open until 12 o'clock, so that any customer can buy what he wants up to that time.

Surely he is not going to argue that if a housewife, or anybody else, is short of some food, or other commodity, on Sunday that she should not be expected to buy it before noon. If she wants her fish and chips, all right; let her have her fish and chips. But at least if the shop closes at noon then the individuals who have to stay there, and who have been there, perhaps, every other day of the week, will be able to enjoy their midday meal at home and relax during the afternoon with their family. Surely here we have a compromise which the noble Lord cannot reject, and which should be accepted by the whole Committee.

6.18 p.m.


I am sorry to disappoint the noble Baroness, but there are reasons why I do not like this Amendment. I do not feel very rigid about it, and I agree that most shops that open on Sunday, food shops particularly, do in fact shut about 12 or one o'clock. I have one near me (actually it is not in the town; it is just outside) that does not open until half-past ten on Sundays, and it shuts at one. That is the time he finds his customers want to come to him on Sunday. At the present time, foodshops can open all day Sunday, but they do not. On the other hand, when we come to certain areas, particularly in the summer, when people move about a lot, opening in the morning in some areas is not worth while because the visitors do not arrive until midday.

What I dislike about the Amendment, first, is that it seems to me somewhat retrograde, after many years, and when it has done no harm, suddenly to forbid shops to open when they have been able to open—although, I agree, not to sell everything. Secondly, I do not like the rigid 12 o'clock. I do not know whether the noble Lord would consider saying opening for so many hours, or something of that kind. It seems to me that it would bear very hardly on certain shops which open now if they had rigidly to shut at 12 o'clock. Other shops, of course, would not want to stay open later than 12. I do not know if the noble Lord would like to comment on that thought.


While the noble Lord, Lord Jacques, is considering that matter, perhaps I may say a word. When the noble Lord, Lord Sainsbury, was speaking, I felt that this was the kind of subject which a Bishop ought to support at once. In fact, he made the same kind of speech as the noble Lord, Lord Derwent, and I made repeatedly when we were discussing Sunday entertainment, only it was the other way round. Then we were saying that there should be no sport until after lunch, while here it is said that there should be no trading after lunch. We should look at this matter rather carefully before we do anything. We must remember that in accepting an Amendment about the protection of workers on some Sundays, in the light of their working on other Sundays, we have already gone a long way towards protecting employees from an undue imposition upon their Sunday lives.

But what I was really thinking was that a large number of purchases would be of the sort one wants to buy on outings and trips. It is not for me to think up objections and be a kind of devil's advocate. But would it be possible to bring home, say, some Devonshire cream? I do not think you could get it after 12 o'clock, under the noble Lord's proposal. There are all kinds of local specialities which people want to bring home after a trip and they would be caught by this Amendment.


May I point out that this Amendment does not apply to paragraph 3 of Schedule 1? It is not concerned with sweets, chocolate, alcoholic drink, medicines, toilet requisites and so on. It is concerned only with paragraph 2, which deals mainly with groceries. I should like to make a final plea to the Committee before it divides on this issue. Surely this is an issue on which Parliament should hear what the parties concerned have to say. It should weigh up the evidence and see whether there can be some reconciliation. In this case there are four parties: the employer, the worker, the customer and the poor chap who has to enforce the law. Let us look at each of those and see whether there is a possibility of reconciling their points of view.

So far as the employer is concerned, most of the evidence is given in the Crathorne Report. We know from that Report that the Federation of Grocers are against any extension of Sunday trading; that the meat traders are against it; that the fish fryers are against it, and that the Co-operative Societies are against it. Also, I received an entirely unsolicited communication from the National Chamber of Trade telling me that they were opposed to this Bill but that, as a compromise, they hoped that my Amendment would be carried. Therefore, the employers favour this restriction. I have been in retailing all my life and I know the principal retail trade associations, but I do not know of one association that is in favour of this Bill. If the noble Lord, Lord Derwent, knows of one I shall be very glad to hear of it. We know how the workers stand, since they made their representations to their trade union. At paragraph 138 of the Crathorne Report, the union told the Crathorne Committee that Sunday is the only time when shop assistants have the opportunity of social intercourse with their friends and relatives, because that is the only day on which both shop assistants and other trades are away from work. They pleaded strongly that there should not be any extension of Sunday trading. So much for the employees.

Let us now look at what the consumers and the shop inspectors of local authorities

want. The Federation of Consumer Groups passed a questionnaire to each group, in order to get their opinion. The Institute of Shops Acts Administration did exactly the same with the local authority inspectors, and sent them a questionnaire. Both of those bodies condensed the questionnaires and presented them to the Crathorne Committee. In the words of the Crathorne Committee, at paragraph 134 of their Report: Both surveys indicated that the chief demand was for the sale of groceries during part of Sunday. This Amendment meets the demands of the Federation of Consumer Groups and the local authority inspectors. They want groceries to be on sale for part of Sunday. The Amendment goes a little further and states that all food may be sold up to, but not later than, 12 noon. It is an Amendment which reconciles all four points of view, and I suggest that Parliament should take notice of it. It does not apply to catering; it is concerned merely with groceries, meat and so on, for consumption off the premises. I hope that your Lordships will regard this Amendment as a fair reconciliation of the points of view of the parties concerned, and that you will accept it.


I still think that I am speaking for the consumer. Habits have altered since the Crathorne Report was published: people move about much more, and they may well need food. There may be some other way of limiting the period when a shop may be open, but I still think that it should be left to the retailer to decide when he will open. He knows what the consumer wants, and that is why he opens at certain hours. I am not prepared to accept this Amendment as it stands.

6.30 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said Amendment (No. 21) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 34; Not-Contents, 27.

Albemarle, E. Falkland, V. Lindgren, L.
Ardwick, L. Fiske, L. Llewelyn-Davies, L.
Beswick, L. Garnsworthy, L. Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, Bs.
Brockway, L. Hilton of Upton, L. Milner of Leeds, L.
Champion, L. Hoy, L. Nunburnholme, L.
Chester, L. Bp. Jacques, L. [Teller. Platt, L.
Davies of Leek, L. Kilbracken, L. Popplewell, L.
Douglas of Barloch, L. Lauderdale, E. Royle, L.
Rusholme, L. Shackleton, L. Summerskill, Bs.
Sainsbury, L. [Teller.] Shepherd, L. Taylor of Mansfield, L.
St. Davids, V. Slater, L. Woolley, L.
Airedale, L. Greenway, L. Montagu of Beaulieu, L.
Berkeley, Bs. Grimston of Westbury, L. Norwich, V.
Birdwood, L. Hacking, L. Rankeillour, L.
Brooke of Cumnor, L. Hatherton, L. Rea, L.
Derwent, L. [Teller.] Inglewood, L. Reigate, L.
Effingham, E. Kilmany, L. Sempill, Ly.
Elliot of Harwood, Bs. Kinnoull, E. [Teller.] Strange of Knokin, Bs.
Fortescue, E. Leicester, L. Bp. Vivian, L.
Gray, L. Milverton, L. Wakefield of Kendal, L.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Resolved in the affirmative, and Amendment agreed to accordingly.

LORD KILBRACKEN moved Amendment No. 22: Page 3, line 29, after ("resident") insert ("or employed").

The noble Lord said: Clause 6(2) is concerned with those hospitals, nursing homes or other establishments of the like kind, or hotels or clubs, in which there is carried on the business of a hairdresser or barber. I have no personal interest in this Amendment. As the Bill is at present drafted, such a business may be open on a Sunday for the sole purpose of enabling persons resident in that establishment, hotel or club to be served in the course of that business. I am proposing that such a business should be open for persons who are resident "or employed" in that establishment. This would not mean that any commis-waiter or "washer-upper" in the Savoy would automatically be entitled to patronise the barber's shop in that hotel: that would be a question, for the hotel to decide. I am thinking of hospitals and nursing homes, in particular, where there are such establishments, and where these establishments are used by nurses and doctors.

As the Bill is at present drafted, nurses (and it is of them that I am thinking in particular) would not be allowed to use the hospital hairdressing facilities unless they were actually resident in the hospital. I have been in touch with some of the nursing associations and organisations, and I learn that these establishments are used at any rate in many cases by nurses, and I do not think that they should be debarred from doing so simply because they happen not to be resident in the hospital. Your Lordships will notice that members of a club will not be allowed to use the club's hairdresser or barber on a Sunday simply because they are members of that club; they will have to be resident there. But I am not particularly concerned with clubland: I am concerned with nurses. I think that the enterprises in question should be allowed to be open for anyone who is employed there, whether or not they are resident. I beg to move.


This seems to me a sensible Amendment.


This is a drafting Amendment. The other provisions have already been repealed. This Amendment is merely putting them in order.

Amendment moved— Page 3, line 36, leave out subsection (4) and insert— ("(4) The provisions of the Shops Act 1950 described in Schedule 3 to this Act are hereby repealed.")—(Lord Derwent.)

Clause 6, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 7 agreed to.

Schedule 1 [Transactions for which shops may be open on Sunday]:

6.41 p.m.

LORD KILBRACKEN moved Amendment No. 24: Page 5, line 4, leave out from ("food") to ("for") in line 6 and insert ("or drink").

The noble Lord said: The aim of this Amendment is brevity. I suggest that the words I am proposing to delete are unnecessary. Paragraph 1 of Schedule 1 sets out the sales of food and drink that are permitted for consumption on the premises at which they are sold. It starts by saying: The sale of food for human consumption… I have tried to think of places where food is sold for animal consumption on the premises, and I have been able to think only of zoos, where one can buy monkey nuts or other commodities for consumption by animals on the premises. But the sale of food for animals is already permitted by paragraph 3(xi) specifically. Therefore the words "for human consumption", I submit, are unnecessary.

In the same paragraph appear the words: The sale of food … (including sweets, chocolate and other sugar confectionery) and ice cream … I do not see why it is necessary to state the particular commodities that are included in the word "food". You may as well say that "food" includes "cockles and mussels" or any other food that comes into your mind. If "food" is authorised for sale then it must include those foods particularised. I am therefore suggesting that Paragraph I should read simply: The sale of food or drink for consumption on the premises at which they are sold. I beg to move.


I am advised that there is a reason for the inclusion of these words which may not be obvious at first sight. It may be helpful if I mention it to the Committee. The concern which would arise if the noble Lord's Amendment were accepted relates to the sale of alcoholic drinks on the premises. It may be thought that the inclusion of alcoholic drinks together with certain other items in Paragraph 3 covers that situation; but this is what is known in draftsmen's jargon as a "belt and braces" provision. It is in both Paragraph 1 of the Schedule and Paragraph 3 because it is by no means certain that the courts would interpret Paragraph 3 as covering the sale of alcoholic drinks or beverages on the premises. Paragraph 2 deals with the situation of off-licences and consumption off the premises; and Paragraph 1 specifically refers to the sale for consumption on the premises. Paragraph 3 does not refer either to "on" or "off". If the result of this Bill's passing into law would be to place magistrates in some uncertainty as to whether or not they could permit the consumption of alcoholic drinks on the premises in a public house on a Sunday, we should not be thanked by the public.


I do not intend to press this point; but I do not very much like the concept of "belt and braces" which, in English grammar, is, I believe, known as either a pleonasm or as tautology. I should have thought that if one said, without any qualification, that the sale of drink was permitted, then it must be assumed that that means both "belt" and "braces", both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. But if it raises doubts in that mystical object, the legal mind, then I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


Amendment No. 26 is really drafting. The principle has already been agreed. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 5, line 6, leave out ("alcoholic drink") and insert ("intoxicating liquors").—(Lord Derwent.)


Before I call Amendment No. 27, I must point out that if this Amendment is accepted I cannot call Amendments Nos. 28 to 31. I note that the noble Lord is not moving Amendment No. 27.


I beg formally to move Amendment No. 28. It is the counterpart of No. 21, which has been carried.

Amendment moved— Page 5, line 8, at beginning insert ("Up to but not later than twelve o'clock noon").—(Lard Sainsbury.)


I beg to move Amendment No. 31 which is drafting.

Amendment moved— Page 5, line 10, leave out ("alcoholic drink") and insert ("intoxicating liquors").—(Lord Dement.)


Before calling Amendment No. 31A, I must point out that if this Amendment is agreed to I cannot call Amendments Nos. 32 and 33.

6.48 p.m.

LORD KILBRACKEN moved Amendment No. 31A: Page 5, line 14, leave out sub-paragraphs (i) and (ii) and insert—

  1. ("(i) intoxicating liquors;
  2. (ii) soft drinks, chocolate, chocolate and sugar confectionery; ice cream and ice lollies (including wafers and edible containers);")

The noble Lord said: Here in paragraph 3 are set out the goods that may be sold on Sunday for consumption off the premises and at shops that are not registered with the local authority. I have not felt happy about the language used in sub-paragraphs (i) and (ii) and I have several suggestions which I should like to mention. The paragraph starts off by permitting the sale of: sweets, chocolate and other sugar confectionery … I have been in touch with a number of enterprises and also with the Cocoa, Chocolate and Confectionery Alliance who inform me that this is not quite the right phrase to use. What we, the general public, normally think of as "sweets", is, apparently, divided into three great categories: chocolate, chocolate confectionery and sugar confectionery. "Chocolate" means plain chocolate or milk chocolate. "Chocolate confectionery" means any other kind of sweets made out of chocolate. "Sugar confectionery" means all other kinds of sweets. So, again, it is repetitious to start off by saying "sweets" and then to say, "chocolate and other sugar confecionery". In any case, one cannot say "other sugar confectionery" when chocolate is not sugar confectionery; because you have chocolate confectionery and sugar confectionery and you cannot have, "other sugar confectionery".

The next point concerns the phrase, "ice cream". Here I have been in touch not only with the manufacturers but also with the Ice Cream Alliance, and they tell me that the phrase, "ice cream" by no means embraces all of what we, the general public, think of as ice cream. I have always thought that ice cream ought to contain cream, but, of course, that would be too much to hope for. It does not include ice lollies, which is what we would—or I personally would—refer to as "water ices". And the phrase used in the Purchase Act is "ice cream, ice lollies and similar frozen products".

Next we come to the phrase, "edible wafers or containers". Here I would only comment that the adjective "edible" should be qualifying the noun, "containers," and not the noun "wafers", because all wafers are edible. The noble Lord, Lord Derwent, mentioned that it was good, where possible, to keep to the language of the 1950 Act, and I would point out to him that in the 1950 Act the phrase used is the same as I have used, without "iced lollies". It is, "ice cream (including wafers and edible containers)."

In sub-paragraph (ii) there is this reference to alcoholic drink and I had pointed out to the noble Lord, Lord Derwent, that, obviously by mistake I think, nonalcoholic drinks, or soft drinks—whatever we wish to call them—have been omitted from sub-paragraph (iii). I think he will agree that it was as a result of my mentioning this to him that he is now proposing to amend paragraph (ii) to read, "intoxicating or non-intoxicating liquors". I have no quarrel with the phrase "intoxicating liquors" which is the one used, in the 1950 Act, but I do not think that "non-intoxicating liquors" is the right phrase to apply to what we normally refer to as "soft drinks". Here, not surprisingly, I have the support of the National Association of Soft Drink Manufacturers which is what the appropriate trade organisation is called.

In the 1950 Act we find the words "table waters". I am told that that is now archaic, and that "soft drinks" is the phrase used throughout the trade, and in existing, legislation, to describe what the noble Lord, Lord Derwent, is proposing to call "non-alcoholic liquors". I do not think that when we buy a bottle of fizzy lemonade we think of it as being "liquor". I am therefore proposing that the first two sub-paragraphs should be replaced and that the first subparagraph (here I am exactly following the 1950 Act, which should recommend it to the noble Lord) should put "intoxicating liquors" in a class by itself, which is what the 1950 Act does. Then, in paragraph (ii) we should lump together: soft drinks, chocolate, chocolate and sugar confectionery; ice cream and ice lollies"— I am leaving out, "similar frozen products" because the manufacturers inform me that they constitute only a very small and technical difference and then in brackets: including wafers and edible containers. I think this is an improvement on the existing language and I hope that it may commend itself to the Committee.


I do not know what my noble friend Lord Windlesham has to offer about this proposed drafting, but it seems to me that if we accept this Amendment, and we cannot move the later ones, we get to the question about soft drinks. I am quite certain that the noble Lord, Lord Kilbracken, is right about the chocolate question, but I am advised that, apart from milk, Coca-Cola and ginger ale, "soft drinks" is still understood in the trade to mean lemonade, orangeade and so on. But it is doubtful in particular whether Coca-Cola and ginger ale are soft drinks within the accepted meaning of the term in the trade. They are covered by the term "non-alcoholic". I will have another look at it, but I rather doubt whether the noble Lord's Amendment will do. I hope that my noble friend on the Government Front Bench, who has available more advice from the drafting people than I, will have something to say to the Committee.


The noble Lord, Lord Kilbracken, obviously has done a great deal of extremely careful research. He has talked to several trade associations. My noble friend Lord Derwent also has his own close contacts with the trade. Far be it from me to try to stand between the two of them. All I would suggest is that there are some reservations—my noble friend Lord Derwent has mentioned one or two—and the noble Lord, Lord Kilbracken, might wish to withdraw these Amendments and meet with Lord Derwent to see whether between them they can hammer cut the best form of wording to cover the articles referred to in the Schedule. If my Department can be of any help, I hope that the noble Lords will get in touch with me, but I think that it is a matter between the noble Lord responsible for the Bill and the noble Lord, Lord Kilbracken, who is seeking to amend it on the basis of his very considerable knowledge.


May I say to the noble Lord, Lord Kilbracken, that this Amendment appeared on the Marshalled List only late on Friday night. I have received advice, but because it was put down so late, I have not been able to take the further more skilled advice that I should like. I hope that the noble Lord will not press this Amendment. We can have discussions and I shall get more advice, but I was not really given time to get all the advice I wanted.


I should think that a court would find the intention of Parliament fairly clear. I take the point about soft drinks. My old grandmother used to make herb beer and nettle beer. It was a very fine drink, which seems now virtually to have disappeared; although there are country shops in parts of Wales and in some other parts of Britain where nettle beer and herb beer is sold. I should think that all it would mean would be the addition of, "herb non-intoxicating liquors". I think there is a case for looking at this, so that it is absolutely clear what was intended when we were discussing it.


I apologise to the noble Lord, Lord Derwent, for having put down this Amendment at a late date. I was not assisted by the postal strike. I put it over by telephone, and I apologise for putting it down at the last minute. I cannot speak about nettle beer, unforunately, and I do not know whether it is intoxicating or non-intoxicating.




If It is not intoxicating I should have thought that it would come under the heading of a soft drink. I was informed by the National Association of Soft Drink Manufacturers that the term "soft drink" covered all forms of drink other than intoxicating liquors. We have since had the question of milk raised. I do not think much milk is sold for consumption on the premises, except where it is obtained from a registered food shop where it would not present any difficulty. So I do not think that point arises.

The noble Lord, Lord Derwent, also objected to my Amendment because it would mean that Amendments Nos. 32 and 33 could not be moved. But I suggest that if my Amendment were accepted those Amendments would not be needed, because the points they raise are already embraced by my Amendment. I am in the hands of the Committee to a great extent. I feel that my drafting, although it is not perfect, may be closer to the final language than that in the Bill, and possibly the Committee may agree that the Amendment should be approved, because then there would be less amending to do later to reach agreement on its eventual form. If that were the feeling of the Committee, then I should wish to divide; but if not, I will withdraw it for consultation with the noble Lord.


I can say that the drafting will have to be altered in any case. If the noble Lord gets his drafting, it will have to be altered, and if I have mine, that also will almost certainly have to be altered. If the noble Lord wants this Amendment to go through at this stage, I am quite happy about it.


I should prefer to have my words there.

LORD DERWENT moved Amendment No. 34: Page 5, line 24, after ("accessories to,") insert ("tents,")

The noble Lord said: This Amendment deals with accessories and parts for things like caravans, and so on, so that if something goes wrong one can buy a spare part. I have been asked to include also accessories for tents, because somebody might want some new guy ropes, or something. I beg to move.

7.3 p.m.

THE EARL OF KINNOULL moved Amendment No. 35: Page 5, line 25, at end insert ("and gardening requisites")

The noble Earl said: We move away from chocolates, soft drinks and iced lollies, and I want to direct the attention of the Committee to gardening requisites. May I say, in moving this Amendment, that although I was unable to take part in the Second Reading debate on the Bill, I fully support the main purpose of my noble friend's Bill and I congratulate him on his perseverance and stamina. This Amendment is drafted to include the words "and gardening requisites" in Schedule 5 line 25. Sub-paragraph (vi) would thus read: Flowers (other than artificial flowers) plants and shrubs and garden requisites". I believe this to be an important Amendment, because it would put right in the Bill, and indeed in the law, one of the many present nonsenses that exist under the 1950 Act.

The Amendment is designed to improve the position in which garden centres find themselves to-day. I am sure that few would disagree not only that garden centres to-day are rapidly expanding—I am told that 250 have opened in the last three years in Southern England—but also that they fill a social need. They grant to many an outlet from the age of bustle, noise and pollution. What today is the busiest time for garden centres? It is hardly surprising to find that it is at week-ends. Sunday is the family day, when the husband and wife, the children and the dog all go off in the car and arrive at a garden centre. They can look round, enjoy, choose and eventually purchase at their leisure all the various shrubs, trees and beautiful plants. But that enjoyment is somewhat curtailed for the family when, having chosen their special shrubs for their garden and purchased them, they realise that they need the peat and stakes to go with them, all of which they are told they cannot have on Sunday but they can certainly have if they come back the next day, Monday. It is easy to appreciate that most people find it difficult to get there on a Monday, and they would then have to wait possibly until the following Saturday to acquire these essential extras.

The current situation, I suggest, is a nonsense. What happens in practice, as your Lordships are aware, is that garden centres are controlled, first, by the weights and measures officer, and secondly, by the public health inspector. One has knowledge that the interpretation of these two officers throughout the country differs widely. It depends very much how sympathetic they are to gardeners. I have racked my brain as to who would want to resist the purpose of this splendid Amendment, and cannot think of anyone. It would, I suggest, be those who do not appreciate the real pleasure given, and do not appreciate that the trade is mainly done at week-ends, on Sundays. The old proverb, I suggest, still stands: The rule for gardening ne'er forget, To sow dry and set wet. I submit that this proverb is being frustrated by a nonsense, and I ask the Committee to put it right by accepting the Amendment. I beg to move.


This is a very potent case, but it really must not be allowed to go on. The most important thing about a Bill of this kind is that it must not lead to unfair trading. I know that garden centres want to sell on Sundays what they sell on weekdays. Apart from plants and flowers, they want to sell mowing machines, spades, forks and so on. Because they have gardens they can open on a Sunday. But there are hundreds of shops all over the country which sell all these garden implements, and they cannot open on Sunday. It would be grossly unfair to let these things be sold at garden centres and not to allow shops to sell them. We do not want that sort of trading on Sunday.


I should like to support the noble Lord, Lord Derwent, on this point. Strong objections are corning through the National Chamber of Trade that gardening centres are already selling lawnmowers, spades, forks and so on on Sunday, while the ordinary trader who sells them for six days a week is not allowed to sell them on Sunday. The term "gardening requisites" is far too wide, and I hope the Committee will reject the Amendment.


I wonder whether some compromise could not be made here. I appreciate the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Derwent, but I also appreciate the point of the noble Earl. I wonder whether some wording could not be found which would say "flowers, (other than artificial flowers) plants and shrubs and necessities to plant the same", or something of that kind. That would prevent the selling of lawnmowers and so on, on a large scale. I wonder whether this could be looked at, as it were, privately and brought up at the next stage of the Bill.


I am grateful to the noble Lord for making that suggestion. I shall be happy to withdraw the Amendment and confer with my noble friends. I will reserve my right to put down another Amendment at the next stage. Meanwhile, I beg leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

LORD DERWENT moved Amendment No, 36: Page 5, line 29, leave out ("of philatelic value") and insert ("sold for philatelic purposes").

The noble Lord said: This is a drafting Amendment. The wording in the Bill apparently created some doubt as to whether it differentiated sufficiently between postage stamps purchased for postal purposes, where there is a post, and collectors' stamps. It has been suggested to me by the Home Office that the wording I now seek to put down is the more satisfactory form. I beg to move.


With the permission of the Chairman, I should like to move en bloc Amendments Nos. 37 to 42 inclusive:

Page 5, line 33, leave out ("or") after ("gallery") insert ("or historic house or historic place open to the public") line 34, leave out first ("or") after ("gallery") insert (", house or historic place") line 35, leave out ("or") after ("gallery") insert (", house or historic place")

The noble Lord said: On Second Reading I raised the question of the sale in historic houses and historic places of all the items contained in subsection (4) which are at the moment suggested as being sold in museums and art galleries. Noble Lords will no doubt be aware that there are nearly 800 historic houses and places open to the public, attracting over 20 million visitors a year, and many visitors go to them on a Sunday. I feel that historic houses and similar places should be treated in the same way as museums and art galleries, which could be almost next door, or up the street. You will notice that I have specified that they should be open to the public, and I hope that these Amendments will meet with the Committee's approval.


The effect of accepting these Amendments, which fall together, as the noble Lord explained, would be to extend to historic houses and historic places open to the public the provision in paragraph 4 of Schedule 1 to the Bill which permit outright the sale at museums and art galleries of reproductions of works of art on display, or souvenirs associated with the premises. As the noble Lord, Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, said, he raised this subject on Second Reading and he then forecast that he would be introducing Amendments on these lines. The noble Lord, Lord Derwent, said that he would be pleased to look at any such Amendments. I intervene at this stage for one reason only, and that is that it may be thought preferable to use the description, "place of historic interest", which is that used in Schedule 5 to the Shops Act 1950, rather than the more cumbersome phrase "historic house or historic place open to the public" used in the Amendment. However, for the sake of seeing this principle approved, if it is the wish of noble Lords to approve it, there would seem to be no objection to accepting these Amendments and then discussing this point with the noble Lord, Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, before Report stage.


I promised to look at this point. I have looked at it; I like it.


I beg to move Amendment No. 43.

Amendment moved— Page 6, line 2, leave out ("Corporation").— (Lori Derwent.)

On Question, Whether Schedule 1, as amended, shall be the first Schedule to the Bill?


My Lords, I should like to underline something said earlier by the noble Lord, Lord Kilbracken: that the inclusion of the word "shops" in the heading to this Schedule seems rather misleading, because you will find, for instance, that in paragraph 6 the Schedule covers sales at a farm, and so on. Paragraph 5 covers the sale by fishermen of fish landed on piers. If you were looking for the law as to that, and came to a Schedule in an Act headed, "Transactions for which Shops may be Open on a Sunday" you would not be likely to look at that Schedule and would miss the reference to fishermen on piers. So perhaps, before the next stage of the Bill, we might consider whether we could not eliminate the word "shops" from the heading to the Schedule.

Schedule 1, as amended, agreed to.

Schedule 2 [Articles which may be sold on Sunday pursuant to Orders of Local Authorities]:

7.18 p.m.

LORD AIREDALE moved Amendment No. 44: Page 6, line 11, leave out ("or") and insert ("and")

The noble Lord said: I am indebted to the noble Lord, Lord Kilbracken, for pointing out that there are about 12 instances in Schedule 1 where Amendments identical to this could equally well have been moved. I decided not to I pepper the Marshalled List with a large number of identical Amendments, thinking that perhaps we might use this one as a test case; and if it is found to be right we can make the other Amendments at the next stage of the Bill.

The word "or" in paragraph 3 of Schedule 2 does not seem quite right. It seems to convey the idea that a shopkeeper has to decide whether he is going to sell on Sunday either works of art or reproductions of works of art, but not both. That cannot be what is intended. I should have thought that the test was, where you have, as in the Schedules, things which can be put into a straight list without any conjunction, either "and" or "or", then if they are to be strung together by a conjunction, the conjunction should be "and" and not "or". I beg to move.


You can argue this the other way: that if you put in "and" such as in "fish and chips" you have to sell both or none at all. I do not think there is anything in the argument either way, and as at least on one occasion the noble Lord has supported me, unless the official draftsmen do not like his Amendment, I am happy to accept it.


There is no reason why this Amendment should not be accepted. We doubt whether in practice the inference that the noble Lord has mentioned would be drawn, but it is conceivable. However, there seems to be no reason why the wording should not be accepted.

Schedule 2, as amended, agreed to.

Schedule 3 [Enactments Repealed]:


I beg to move Amendment No. 45. These enactments have already been repealed. This is a drafting Amendment.

Amendment moved— Page 6, leave out lines 15 to 21.—(Lord Derwent.)


This Amendment, Amendment No. 46, is consequential on Amendments on employment which have already been accepted. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 6, line 24, leave out from ("day";") to end of line 28.—(Lord Jacques.


Amendment No. 47, again, is consequential on Amendments Nos. 20 and 28, to which the Committee have already agreed. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 6, leave out lines 30 and 31.—(Lord Jacques.)


I beg to move Amendment No. 48. This is a drafting Amendment.

Amendment moved— Page 6, line 34, after ("58") insert ("(a)").—(Lord Derwent.)


Amendment No. 49 is drafting. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 6, line 35, after ("fifty-two") insert ("and").—(Lord Derwent.)


Amendment No. 50 is drafting. These provisions have already been repealed. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 6, leave out lines 37 to 39.—(Lord Derwent.)


Before I call Amendment No. 51, I think I should point out to the Committee that if this Amendment is agreed to I cannot call Amendment No. 52.

7.21 p.m.

LORD ROYLE moved Amendment No. 51: Page 6, leave out line 40.

The noble Lord said: I will be as brief as I possibly can be, but I want to say just a few words with regard to this Amendment. As compared with the first intervention I made this afternoon, I am now moving from the general to the particular and this Amendment deals only with the question of the sale of meat in butchers' shops. The arguments are roughly those I used in the course of my first intervention, but there are one or two extra points which need to be made. This Amendment would take the sale of meat on Sundays out of the Schedule, and therefore out of the Bill.

By way of explanation, may I say that the 1950 Act contains the Meat Trade Act 1936; by consolidation it was brought into the 1950 Act. The 1936 Act was introduced on behalf of the meat trade—if that is the right expression in Parliamentary terms. It was as a result of the meat trade's agitation, and at their special request, that an honourable Member in another place, and a noble Lord in this place, carried the Bill forward and it ultimately became the law of the land. This was done because of the feeling that there was creeping into the meat trade something which was very undesirable. So far, as I say, we have discussed Sunday trading in only a very general sense.

At that time, in 1936, the mass of the meat trade did not want to open their shops on Sunday, and they tell me that they do not want to open their shops on Sunday now. It is the old, old story. If some opened, competition would force many others to open and business would be lost by small people. I have argued this point previously in the course of our discussions to-day. But I want to add one other point which is very important indeed and concerns the question of inspection. There is no trade in the country which is more concerned with inspection as a result of legislation than is the meat trade. With many other trades, it is involved so far as weights and measures legislation is concerned; but, in addition to that, there is the question of hygiene inspection and regulations.

In regard to weights and measures legislation, meat sale is highly specialised. It is not comparable with taking cans down from a shelf. Meat has to be cut up; a carcase has to be turned into chops or steak, and the situation is very different indeed. The Trade Descriptions Act covers shrinking and draining, which affects weight. A butcher might easily weigh a joint of meat—beef particularly—and put a ticket on it to show its weight and therefore what its price is; but, because of shrinkage, by the time he sells it to a customer it must be put on the scale again; it has to be reweighed and repriced. This is what the weights and measures inspectors are concerned with. I want to know whether it is going to be possible for the weights and measures inspectors to work on Sunday in regard to meat to ensure that the Act is carried out in butchers' shops in the way that all of us, including the meat trade, want it to be carried out.

Hygiene inspection is even more important. Are health inspectors going to work on Sunday and examine butchers' shops with regard to the level of hygiene? Because, obviously, the best people in the trade want proper hygiene and want their standards to be maintained. Therefore, they welcome inspection from the health inspectors. I want to know whether the health inspector is going to work on Sunday to ensure that Acts of Parliament are carried out in the shops. It is quite impossible at the moment, I understand, to get these inspectors working in slaughterhouses on Sunday. In point of fact, the Meat Inspection (Amendment) Regulations 1966 were specifically introduced to enable local authorities to restrict slaughtering in private slaughterhouses to five days, for inspection purposes. It seems to me to be contradictory that we can think in terms of employing meat inspectors, veterinary officers, and so forth, on only five days a week in slaughterhouses, and yet ask the same people, apparently, to go into butchers' shops on Sundays for inspection in the retail trade. This is a contrast which needs to be taken into consideration. In view of the passing of the Amendment which would limit the opening of shops until 12 noon, I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Derwent, does not think I am being rather mean in pressing for the whole hog, as it were, in this way so far as the meat trade is concerned. It is something different. It involves factors which do not apply to other trades, and those in the meat trade themselves are very anxious indeed that their shops should not be open on Sunday. I beg to move.


I should like to take up the time of your Lordships for a moment or two in order to have some points clarified. Schedule 3 broadly says that the extent of the repeal is Section 60 to Section 65 of the Act of 1950—the Act I have in my hand. These are genuine inquiries; they may be inquiries resulting from ignorance and therefore I am not going to delay the Committee. But reading that, and being a layman in this sphere, I would say that therefore the whole of the retail meat dealers' shops in England and Wales could now, if they wished, open on Sunday. I am not at all clear what happens. I am not of the Jewish faith myself, but in Section 62 of the Shops Act 1950, there is entire exemption in respect of the Jewish retail shops. But on Saturdays there are limitations. Does that still stand as it is in consequence of this repeal?

Furthermore, on the question of repealing, Section 65 of that Act says: Nothing in this Part of this Act shall prevent the sale, dispatch or delivery of butchers' meat required by any person for a ship or aircraft on her arrival at, or immediately before her departure from, a port or aerodrome. Does the repeal of that provision mean that items can no longer be delivered to ports and aerodromes? These are the questions I would ask. It is obvious to those who are familiar with this legislation that I am quite a layman, but I think it is right for the situation to be made clear at this juncture.


May I clear that point up before the noble Lord goes further? If you are allowed to sell any food you like on Sunday, these parts of the original Act are not necessary. You may sell them.


What about the repeal of Section 65 concerning delivery to aerodromes and ports?


I do not want to be difficult about this meat question, but anomalies about meat are one of our present difficulties. I fully understand the view of the butchers—which term I use in the old-fashioned sense; I refer to traders who really are butchers. I understand that they do not want to open on Sundays. What is more, I am certain that if they did they would lose money, because they would need to employ skilled cutters and so on. And in the ordinary way, shoppers do not buy meat on a Sunday. They do not want to. Shoppers go to butchers rather differently from the way they go to grocers, particularly in the big town. One goes to a butcher either because one likes his prices or because one likes the quality of his meat or the way it is cut. One goes to a butcher for a variety of reasons. One sticks to one's butcher until a better one opens. I do not think there is the slightest chance of any butcher's shop, in the old-fashioned sense, opening on a Sunday, because if he did he would lose money.

One might almost ask, what is a butcher? There are other shops which sell meat nowadays. In 1936, the butchers' legislation really got going, and in 1950 it was not common for shops to sell different produce if they specialised in a particular kind. Nowadays, butchers sell all kinds of tinned food, and very often they sell eggs. Fishmongers sometimes sell meat and grocers nearly always have in their refrigerator nowadays the odd chop or cutlet. Incidentally, those are the things for which there is a demand on a Sunday. You come back from a journey, or somebody arrives at your house unexpectedly and you go and buy a couple of cutlets. The fact that a grocer who happens to be open is going to sell a couple of cutlets will not have the slightest effect on the butchers' trade. It will not be any form of competition and it will not make any butcher's shop open. We are not talking about great competition for the butchers.

Already by the Amendment which has been accepted the Committee has made it impossible for anyone to go to bed except hungry if he arrives in, say, London after a particular hour. We have closed all the delicatessen shops after 12 o'clock. It is a most extraordinary decision. But if we are going to do that and a shop is open for the sale of food, surely the shopkeeper can take a couple of cutlets out of the refrigerator. If the noble Lord, Lord Royle, thinks that that would lead to the weights and measures inspectors having to be out on a Sunday, then his idea is completely out of date. We are trying to do away with anomalies. There may be some other wording which we could introduce to stop proper butchering on a Sunday. But if we are going to do away with anomalies, let us do so in this case.


I am not at all convinced by what the noble Lord, Lord Derwent, has said. The couple of cutlets in a little corner grocer's shop is not the answer. Great stores will be opening their departments. Large quantities of meat could be sold in large stores, and, as we argued earlier this afternoon, this would almost compel the real butcher—as the noble Lord puts it—to open his shop. He would lose trade constantly, not against the little grocer's shop selling the couple of cutlets but against the greater amount of trade that would be done in the large stores. I am not at all happy at what has been said and I must press the Amendment.


I will just say this about the large stores: shops can open to sell food now, but not butchers' meat. That does not seem to have induced the big stores to open on Sundays, and whether they would open their butcher's department is even more doubtful. Big stores do not open if they are not going to make money. That is the beginning and the end of the matter, and we have not seen the opening of big stores.


I can only say that the noble Lord is guessing.


I do not understand this argument about the big stores opening on Sundays. I thought the strongest limb of the argument which persuaded the Committee to pass the Amendment limiting Sunday sales to Sunday mornings was the argument of the noble Lord, Lord Sainsbury, as I understood it, that it would be satisfactory because it would lead to the small shops opening on Sunday mornings for the convenience of the public but that the big stores were not going to open on a Sunday.


I have listened closely to my noble friend's argument about the stores, and frankly I am not convinced. I am quite sure it applies to Sainsbury's but I am not at all sure that it applies to others I could mention. I am not at all satisfied.


I want to press the point, because your Lordships have not made it clear to me and I am hoping one of the lawyers will spring into the lists. This will be my last Parthian shot. If I understand English—being a Welshman, I do not know—I am told here that Sections 60 to 65 are to be repealed. Section 65 says: Nothing in this part of the Act shall prevent the sale, despatch or delivery of butchers' meat required by any person for a ship or aircraft on their arrival at or immediately before their departure from a port or aerodrome.


There have voted, Contents, 21; Not-Contents, 8. As it appears that fewer than thirty Lords have voted, in accordance with Standing Order No. 52; I declare the Question not decided and, pursuant to the Standing Order, the House will now resume.

House resumed.