HL Deb 14 June 1972 vol 331 cc979-81

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will introduce legislation for a system of registration of window cleaners.


My Lords, the right of an individual to carry on a lawful occupation ought not to be subject to a requirement to register unless it is essential in the public interest. My right honourable friend the Home Secretary does not consider, on the information before him, that legislation to subject window cleaners to such a requirement would be justified.


My Lords, while thanking the noble Lord for his reply to the Question, may I ask whether he is aware that these people have a unique access to the homes of individuals, and would not the Minister agree that it is desirable to have some means of identification for those who can in fact enter one's home? is he aware that the Scots, as is so often the case, have beaten the English and that many Scottish cities already have a system of registration for window cleaners?


My Lords,, I do not know that window cleaners have unique powers or rights of entry. There are a number of other people who go into houses and have the opportunity of access. I do not think that window cleaners have a greater opportunity of access than builders, plumbers, decorators and other people, and inquiries we made when this matter was raised a few months ago do not suggest that the police have found any increase of crimes suspected to have been committed by window cleaners. As to the cities that have powers on this: the Scots are not unique or necessarily in advance. I was looking at the Teesside Corporation General Powers (No. 2) Act 1971 and I find that Sections 41 to 44 deal with this in Teesside but not in any way that would require anything other than information. They do not allow a licence to be refused or provide for any appeal provisions and it seems to me that this is probably not a thing that most other local authorities would consider is necessary in their areas.


My Lords, is my noble friend aware that after cleaning windows, the windows being transparent, window cleaners can see into people's bedrooms? I understand there is some evidence that burglaries may have been carried out through information supplied by window cleaners.


My Lords, I wish somebody would look through my window at the Home Office. I am aware of what my noble friend has said, but, as I have already told the House, there is no indication that, despite these opportunities, there has been in recent years any increase in the number of crimes suspected to have been committed by window cleaners.