HL Deb 07 July 1975 vol 362 cc592-637

3.17 p.m.

Report of Amendments received.

Clause 9 [Rules for authorised lotteries]:

Earl COWLEY moved Amendment No. 1: Page 5, line 36, leave out ("25p") and insert ("50p").

The noble Earl said: My Lords, the Amendment seeks to increase the maximum limit for the price of tickets as laid down under Clause 9(2) from 25p to 50p. In paragraph 44 of the Witney Working Party Report, it proposed that the maximum price of tickets under small publicly conducted lotteries should be raised from 5p to 25p, with the maximum prize going up from £100 to £500 and the maximum turnover going up from £750 to £3,750. The Government, when they drafted their Bill, proposed that the maximum prize should go up to £1,000, with a maximum turnover of £10,000 for short-term lotteries and larger maxima for lotteries held over a longer period during a year. However, the Government did not alter the recommended price for tickets and, as the Bill is currently drafted, that price remains at 25p.

There are some 8.000 local authorities in the country, each with a right to hold a weekly lottery with a turnover of £10,000. That is not to mention the innumerable voluntary organisations and societies which will also have the right to hold these lotteries. At the moment, some 40,000 tickets will have to be sold for each lottery of £10,000 and the total will be more in cases where the lottery has a maximum turnover of £42,000 and £130,000. There is a very real risk of many lotteries failing when so many organisations and authorities will be taking part. I believe, and my noble friend believes, that societies and authorities should be given a chance of making their lotteries a financial success, and that, furthermore, by increasing the limit for the price of tickets the number of people who will be pestered day in day out by those selling lottery tickets will be reduced.

It is in no one's interests that lotteries should fail, and so we believe that the maximum price of tickets should be raised to a more realistic level. But the price we propose is a maxima; there is no obligation on societies or local authorities to put their prices at 50p for each ticket. They can set the price at any level they wish below that figure. If the figure is set too high, people simply will not buy the tickets and the lottery will not be a success. Therefore in the long run it is up to the individual body running the lottery to set the price of its tickets at what the market will bear.

Under Clause 11, the Secretary of State has power to alter the maximum price of the tickets by order. But the Secretary of State is a very busy man, and a number of lotteries will have to fail for it to be brought to his notice that perhaps the maximum price is too low; and with the current rate of inflation running at 25 per cent. the figure proposed in the Bill is now out of date anyway. I should have thought that it would have to be raised within the next year to bring it up to even the level which the Government want. Therefore the arguments for this Amendment are, I believe, overwhelming. I beg to move.


My Lords, I wish to support my noble friend who has just spoken on this Amendment. What I have to say can be said very briefly. I wish to make only one point; namely, if in this country we are to entrust these kind of decisions to the local authority we should do so, and it seems eminently reasonable in this case that we should not hamper the local authorities in any way, restricting them to what the Government say in terms of the price remaining at 25p. I believe that it is important to make the local lotteries financially sound and I think we should support my noble friend's Amendment. We should not, on a small matter like this, give the impression that we are dictating to the local authority what the price should be.


My Lords, I must apologise to the House for my late arrival, but I was detained in my court. I am very keen on this Amendment and I wholeheartedly support my noble friend who moved it. My reason for doing so is that in courts of law, for instance, we magistrates are empowered to impose fines of up to £600. That does not mean that we impose fines of that amount, but we are empowered to do so. By the same token, I feel very strongly that there should be power here to put up the price to 50p. That would not mean that the price of the tickets would have to be 50p; they might be only one 1p. But I feel very strongly that there should be power to charge up to 50p.

The MINISTER of STATE, HOME OFFICE (Lord Harris of Greenwich)

My Lords, first, I wish to welcome one statement made by the noble Earl, Lord Cowley. He began with the frank admission that there was some risk that bodies setting up and organising lotteries under the terms of the Bill might conceivably be less than successful. As the noble Earl will recall, this point was made repeatedly in Standing Committee by my noble friend Lord Wigg, who pointed out both the risks involved in the organisation of lotteries and the fact that neither local authorities nor voluntary organisations should regard these lotteries as bonanzas or certain ways of making substantial sums of money. With that I wholeheartedly agree, and I welcome the conversion of the noble Earl to the argument previously put forward by my noble friend Lord Wigg. This matter was debated previously and by a small majority the Committee took the view that the price should be 25p, as set out in the Bill, rather than 50p as set out in the Amendment.

No doubt your Lordships will wish to have it explained why we think it right that the figure should be 25p rather than 50p. First, I should point out that the present maximum price of tickets is 5p; that is set out in the 1963 Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act. Therefore under the terms of Clause 9 we are proposing an increase of 500 per cent. which, it seems to me, is a fairly satisfactory rate of increase, even allowing for the present high rate of inflation. It is only fair to mention that many voluntary organisations consulted by the Home Office during the period in which this Bill has been discussed have made it quite clear that they would not wish to go beyond a figure of around 10p as a maximum price at which they would wish to sell tickets, rather than the figure of 25p as provided for in the Bill. The figure of 25p is far more in keeping with the level of prizes which was set out in the Bill when it received a Second Reading, than the figure suggested by the noble Earl.

The noble Earl touched on the point that under Clause 11 the Secretary of State has power to vary this figure to take account of inflation, and the noble Earl sought to deal with this by saying that any Secretary of State was a very busy man and might not have brought to his attention the fact that there had been a high rate of inflation. If he will forgive me saying so, he underestimates the lobbying power of a large number of voluntary organisations and the local authorities. If these bodies took the view that there had been a high rate of inflation—and it was continuing—and it was desirable to take account of this under this provision of the Bill, I am sure that they would seek to persuade the Secretary of State that he should vary the maximum price limit as set out in the Bill.

This is a matter in which it is difficult to establish that one figure or the other is a reasonable figure to set out. But I repeat that the Government are here providing for a five-fold increase in the maximum ticket price and there is power for the Secretary of State to vary this to take account of inflation. In all those circumstances, I invite your Lordships to agree that the Amendment proposed by the noble Earl be rejected.


My Lords, I have always accepted that there was always a great risk that a great many lotteries would fail. Although the noble Lord, Lord Wigg, has great power of argument and has persuaded me on many things, I was already convinced on this point before the Committee stage. There is one matter I should like to raise with the noble Lord, Lord Harris of Greenwich, before I withdraw the Amendment. I was interested to hear his argument for attacking this Amendment; that is, that it would be an increase of 500 per cent. I refer him to what is the existing law in relation to prizes and maximum turnover. I am sure that his mathematics are good and that he will realise that the Government themselves have increased the maximum prize by 500 per cent. from £100 to £1,000 and the maximum turnover from £750 up to £10,000.


My Lords, if my mathematics are as good as those of the noble Lord, Lord Harris of Greenwich, he has increased it by considerably more than 500 per cent.


My Lords, this is a considerable increase, but I do not think it is any larger or smaller than is contained in this Amendment. However, in view of what the noble Lord has said and other Amendments to follow, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

3.31 p.m.

Lord HARRIS of GREENWICH moved Amendment No. 2:

Page 6, line 9, after ("prize") insert— (" (a) in a society's lottery which satisfies the condition specified in section 2(2)(b) above, or (b)").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move this Amendment, and with your Lordships' agreement it might be appropriate to discuss at the same time the group of Amendments Nos. 2 to 9 inclusive and the Amendments in the names of the noble Earl, Lord Mansfield, and the noble Earl, Lord Cowley, Nos. 10 and 11. The Government's Amendments, and indeed those of the Opposition, deal with one of the central issues in this Bill; that is, what is an appropriate limit on prizes and turnover? I should be the first to admit—and I am sure the noble Earl, Lord Mansfield, would admit—that these Amendments are needed because of what can delicately be described as a series of contradictory decisions taken by the Standing Committee on the Bill.

I think the House would agree that without these Amendments and those in the name of the noble Earl, Lord Mansfield, and his noble friend Lord Cowley, there would be no limit, first, on local authority lotteries other than those run by parish or community councils; and, secondly, on those of societies whose turnover is in excess of £5,000. In these circumstances the question before us is this. Given that there should be a limit on the size and scale of these lotteries, what should that limit be? It is that issue to which we are addressing ourselves.

The Amendments set out in my name restore the limit which was in the Bill which obtained its Second Reading in this House. The Government believe that two things are needed: first, lotteries of a reasonable size which permit a maximum turnover in a year of up to £520,000; and, secondly, the same limit and roughly similar standards applying to both local authority and local society lotteries. I agree with my noble friend Lord Pitt, who unhappily is not here today but was with us on the Standing Committee on the Bill, that the Bill as drafted, which achieved its Second Reading here and was debated in Standing Committee, will not be of enormous financial advantage to the Greater London Council—I would not seek to suggest otherwise for a moment—but it will be of benefit to many smaller local authorities; and, what is more important, to a host of voluntary organisations, many of whom are finding it extremely hard to live at a time of very high cost inflation.

If I may I will turn to the Opposition Amendments which we are taking at the same time, and explain our objection to them. Our first objection—and I endeavoured to point this out to the Standing Committee—is that they treat voluntary societies and local authorities differently. In the case of local authorities, the control exercised over the scale of these lotteries is that of rateable value, but for voluntary societies it is quite different. Of course it will have to be different, because they do not have rateable values. The test which is applied by the noble Earl is that of gross income in the previous year. This clause is of fundamental significance to voluntary organisations, particularly at a time of high cost inflation. In the terms of the noble Earl's Amendment, a small voluntary organisation seeking to create a lottery would be controlled in a very harsh and restrictive way. With anything like the present rate of inflation—and we very much hope we shall not be enduring such a rate for very much longer—they will be restricted, as far as the scale of a lottery is concerned, by the gross income of the previous year. Therefore, the smaller the organisation wanting to establish the lottery, the more harsh and restrictive this Amendment would be.

I am quite sure that the noble Earl is just as anxious as noble Lords on this side of the House to ensure that voluntary organisations are not badly treated by this Bill, but it seems to me that they would be seriously disadvantaged if his Amendment were carried. Secondly—and this is fundamental so far as local authorities and voluntary organisations are concerned—he is saying that the maximum limit should be not £520,000, which is what the Government are suggesting to the House is an appropriate level, but £5 million. It seems to me that this is a major distinction between us. The effect of this would be extremely serious to many voluntary organisations which are engaged in a life and death struggle to continue to exist. Many of them—as was testified to during the debate in your Lordships' House only a few days ago, when a large number of Members of the House pointed out the very difficult situation which confronted many voluntary organisations—would be faced with large-scale local authority lotteries with teams of hired salesmen, who would be in a very powerful position to compete with their own far smaller lotteries. That, again, would be a substantial disadvantage of the Amendment of the noble Earl.

What is the attitude of local authorities themselves? My noble friend Lord Pitt would be the first to say that the Greater London Council would favour what the noble Earl is suggesting, as also would a number of other local authorities. But, as the noble Earl will be aware, a number of local authorities are prepared to wait for the report of the Layfield Committee, as indeed are the Association of County Councils and the Association of Metropolitan Authorities. Therefore, it is wrong to believe that those who are concerned at the financial predicament of many local authorities in the country must, of necessity, support the noble Earl in what he is suggesting this afternoon.

Before concluding, I must make one other point clear which was touched on by my noble friend Lord Wigg, who asked a pertinent question. He asked: what would be the attitude of the Treasury if the House and Parliament decided on large scale lotteries of the kind envisaged in the Opposition Amendment? I must make it clear that the Treasury has agreed that lotteries should be exempt from pool betting duty, but only in terms of the limits on the scale of lotteries set out in the Bill as originally published. There could be no question of excluding lotteries of the kind envisaged by the noble Earl. I would therefore suggest most strongly, both in terms of the effect which this would have on the voluntary societies concerned, and the fact that pool betting duty is bound to be attracted, which at the moment is excluded from the smaller lotteries envisaged in the Bill, which obtained its Second Reading here and which has already passed through another place, that he does not press his Amendment.

3.40 p.m.


My Lords, it may be convenient and possibly helpful if I set out the view of some noble Lords on this side of the House at this moment. So far as the noble Lord, Lord Harris, is concerned, one matter in which I agree with him is that the Public Bills Committee was not entirely consistent in its deliberations so far as this Bill is concerned. Noble Lords who will have read the Bill as at present printed may have been confused, and perhaps bewildered, by the various clauses and subsections as they appear. The Committee was totally divided on nearly every Amendment, with very small majorities, as to what it would like to see so far as the future of these lotteries is concerned. It may be that this in itself is one more indictment, albeit a slight one, of the lack of thought and of proper preparation that the Government have put into this Bill.

It is at the cornerstone of our criticism of the Bill that nobody knows what is going to happen if it is passed in the form that the Government would like, and that the Government, as anybody who reads the Official Report of the proceedings in another place will see, are quite unable to say what will happen. There are certain things which are absolutely plain. The first is that there will be a considerable increase in the number of lotteries which take place in this country. That is certain. Unfortunately, at this stage we do not know how the public are going to be encouraged to buy tickets for these lotteries, whether some system will devolve on the public similar to that of the pools promoters; whether—and this, in a way, concerns the Secretary of State and the regulations he will make in due course—the public will he invited in various public places to buy these tickets, or whether it will be done by a postal system. One does not know. On the basis that there are certain classes of people who should be protected it does not give rise to any satisfaction, still less complacency. The general thought seems to be that there are going to be armies of knockers-up employed to go round on pay nights, I suppose, or whenever people have a little money, to try to relieve the citizenry of their spare cash for what in the event will be a good cause.

This leads me to summarise, if I may, the objections to the Bill as it stands and the reasons which lay behind the Amendments which we tabled, some of which prevailed upon the Committee and some of which did not. First, as the noble Lord, Lord Harris, said, this Bill does nothing for the larger local authority or the larger society, or for the society which has a plan which is going to mean the raising a lot of money. None of these will be benefited at all. Therefore, it is not only the Greater London Council but many other councils who have good schemes—and in Committee the noble Lord, Lord Pitt, regaled us with the good schemes to which the Greater London Council would like to devote money raised in this manner; and there are also Olympic athletes, local swimming pools and so on. The number of organisations and charities which could avail themselves of a larger form of lottery is legion. None of these we believe will consider it worth the effort of putting in this form of lottery.

Secondly, and this is almost more pernicious, the Bill as drafted gives a premium so far as attraction is concerned to the promoters of lotteries who do it frequently. Noble Lords who read the Bill as it is printed, or who have made out and understood the Amendments of the noble Lord, Lord Harris, will have perceived that in order to raise the maximum, which is £520,000, the local authorities or societies will be encouraged to have weekly lotteries. Therefore they will throw their resources into a weekly lottery. A medium-term lottery, on the other hand, is disadvantaged and, worst of all, the charity, let us say, or the local authority that makes an effort once a year at Christmas, is going to be penalised by the comparatively derisory sum of £40,000. We regard that as being illogical, inefficient and unjust. It places a premium on frequency and inefficiency.

I had hoped the Government would have given thought to that matter between Committee and Report: that whatever the Government thought of the maxima we are recommending, they might at least have reconsidered this question of frequency because how the public should be approached for the purpose of buying these tickets has not been thought out sufficiently or at all, and the advantages are all with the organisation of whatever character that can mount a weekly lottery. If for no other reason, I would commend my Amendments to the House because they tidy up the situation and make an organisation, for want of a better word, which wants to put all its resources into less frequent lotteries just as advantageously placed as a large local authority that wishes to have a weekly lottery.

The noble Lord, Lord Harris, kept using the word "harsh" in describing the effects he thought these Amendments—those passed in Committee or those before the House today—would have on what he described as the small society and the small local authority. I hesitate to accuse the noble Lord of any lack of logic; but, for myself, I find it difficult to accept that there is any difference in the harshness between the limits he lays down in his Bill and the limits we propose in our version of the Bill. If one considers it a moment, either a local authority which is going to try to raise £500,000 a year or one which is trying to raise £5 million in the course of a year have got to lay down a method of work which, incidentally, will have to go in the form of a scheme to the Gaming Board. They will need to have helpers, employees—volunteers who will mount the operation in the way they wish. I do not see there is very much difference between one and the other so far as the organisation is concerned.

Then I suppose it could be said that because of these larger limits the smaller societies will find it more difficult to sell their tickets. That is taking a view of the British public which I have consistently refused to do: in other words, that it is only by the temptation of larger cash sums for prizes and venal character, as it were, of the larger lotteries which will persuade the public to buy tickets. Any of us who is bombarded by many good causes during the summer I am sure can confirm that in many cases the cause prompts us to buy the tickets rather than the prize, and certainly, I would empasise, in cases where it is either a small or a local lottery. People who go to a sale of work in aid of their church funds and try to win a cake by buying a lottery ticket rarely buy that ticket because they want the cake—it will probably taste rather nasty anyway—but in order to help the church.

That, I suggest, is the more logical and certainly the more humane and less venal way in which people will tend to regard these lotteries. So I would reject the interpretation that the smaller society is going to be somehow placed at a disadvantage. I would say that I have not had any representations on behalf of societies that these proposed Amendments, which have now been in the air and certainly in the hands of the printers for some months, are likely to disadvantage any of the societies. So far as my researches go, the Association of Local Authorities would welcome the maximum proposed by noble Lords on this side of the House. This is a matter of evidence and I do not think I can take it any further.

Turning now to our own limits, the noble Lord, Lord Harris, is perfectly right when he says that he thinks there should be limits. We agree with that: the question between us is what those limits should be. I also take issue with him where he says that the small society will be harshly treated by the limits which have been imposed. I think noble Lords will agree that it is a very bad idea if local societies, with a local scheme in mind—perhaps I should say a limited scheme—for which they want to raise money, are encouraged to set their sights too high. One therefore casts about for a method of stopping them from perhaps over-reaching their resources and capabilities.

I would submit to the House that the limitation in Amendment No. 10—that is to say, that they should be bound by last year's income—is as good a way as any of stopping a society or a charity from over-reaching itself; because this would allow, for instance, Oxfam or the Amateur Boxing Association, who are trying to raise money to send boxers to the next Commonwealth Games, to go to the top limit, because of their huge incomes from the year before. At the other end of the scale, it allows a small local society, running a sale of work for its own purposes, to incur a certain amount of time, trouble and expense on a small lottery but not more than their income for the previous twelve months. I think that is a reasonably sensible way of stopping the smaller people in the lottery world reaching for the moon. It does not seem to me to be harsh. So far as local authorities are concerned, I do not know whether the noble Lord, Lord Harris, felt that the proposal would discriminate harshly: I suggest that they, too, must have some limits placed upon them, and it seemed to us that the rateable value was a sensible and fair measurement of where the limit should be. That is no doubt a matter which noble Lords will wish to consider.

Finally, on the question of tax, during the Bill's passage through another place various Ministers were perhaps less than frank and even a little equivocal about the question of tax. There was a good deal of "they could not say, but …" and so on. I tried to tempt the noble Lord, Lord Harris, by casting a fly on the water during Committee, and he went no further than before. I do not blame him for one moment, but as a result of that I tabled Amendment No. 21, which will do the Government's job for them and will relieve the Inland Revenue of any further worry, because it will exempt these lotteries from the tax man's ravages and at least the position will be resolved unless and until somebody else wants to do something about it. So far as your Lordships are concerned, in relation to this matter the position will be exactly the same if these Amendments are accepted as if those of the noble Lord, Lord Harris, are accepted. That is complete equality, my Lords, which I beg to commend to the House.

3.57 p.m.

The Lord Bishop of LONDON

My Lords, I rise to support the noble Lord, Lord Harris, in the Amendments he is moving and to oppose the Amendments being moved by noble Lords on the other side of the House. I do so because it is generally recognised that this measure seeks to give opportunities for lotteries of moderate size, and therefore the Amendments which noble Lords opposite are proposing virtually change the character of the Bill. I think that the noble Lord, Lord Harris, has made out the case that permission for very large lotteries would harm the smaller ones. I do not think it is a fair comparison to talk about lotteries for cakes at village fetes. We are thinking much more of lotteries of a larger and more important kind, possibly where motor cars are offered as prizes. I think lotteries of the first kind will be very seriously prejudiced if permission is given for lotteries with very large prizes. It is difficult to say exactly what will be their impact, but my expectation is that if we allowed very large lotteries they would in course of time squeeze out the more moderate lotteries carried out for very good causes.

As to these very large lotteries, my mind goes back to the recommendations of the Departmental Committee on Lotteries which your Lordships debated some time ago. Your Lordships will remember that there were recommendations that a certain limited number of very large lotteries should be permitted each year for some worthy cause, such as sporting activities, an opera house and so on. Many of us were attracted by that suggestion because we felt that money which is now largely going into private pockets would be channelled into really worthwhile social activities. But we were attracted by this suggestion because these very large lotteries were to be carefully controlled and were to be related to the football pools, which would themselves have been controlled because of permissions for these other large lotteries. The proposals made by noble Lords opposite for lotteries with very large prizes would introduce those large lotteries without the controls that the Departmental Committee was suggesting. Such a situation might lead to a great deal of trouble, and I hope that the House will not accept Amendments which would allow this to take place.


My Lords, I rather support the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of London in this matter. I well remember when we tried to reform the law on prostitution and also the law on gaming. I served on the Select Committee connected with that Bill and I do not think that we realised we were to turn England into the gaming Mecca of the Old World. I do not think that Parliament, in reforming the law on prostitution, thought that it would turn London into quite the sink it has become. Therefore, I think we ought to be very careful about this subject.

I visualise that we are going to be pestered with innumerable lotteries. I cannot see any charity worthy of the name that will not rush to get itself on this list to start with; and once on the list the organser will think: "The easiest way of raising money will be to have a lottery." Therefore, lotteries will come out thick and fast until the general public will be heartily sick of them. Nevertheless, people will be induced to subscribe to these lotteries. Some people always do as a matter of course. Other people will be "blackmailed" into it. I regard the whole Bill with the gravest of disquiet.

4.1 p.m.


My Lords, I hesitate to inflict my views on your Lordships' House, because I have done it so many times in the past. But perhaps I may be forgiven if I remind the noble Lord who has just spoken that, while it is true that the Street Offences Act and the Betting and Gaming Act 1960 have worked out differently from what was envisaged by everybody who played any part in their passage through this House and another place, we ought to remember that the balance is not completely averse. I do not believe that the Mafia has any formidable hold in our society. That is not true of almost every other country in the West. I do not say that it has no foothold, but it has a very limited foothold in this country. That is because—I repeat it; I have said it so many times before but I must say it again—the noble Lord, Lord Butler of Saffron Walden, had the courage to introduce two measures; and it took a great deal of courage to do it.

It is perfectly clear that after 15 years they have worked out very differently—be it heaven or hell, according to one's point of view. The time has now come when the way they have worked ought to be looked at again. They ought to be looked at again, not in terms of advantage or disadvantage as of the moment, but in relation to the changing social behaviour of our fellow countrymen. In the ultimate, whether big lotteries or small lotteries succeed, whether people go for £1 million or for a Dundee cake, will depend upon the ability of people to sell tickets. That will be the ultimate sanction. I am one of those who never have believed—as indeed the noble Lord, Lord Pitt of Hampstead, and others did, including Mr. Page in another place—that there were tremendous fortunes in lotteries, either for local authorities or for societies.

I venture the opinion—and here I cast not my flies on the water but my bread on the water—that some of the smaller societies with a vigorous membership will be able to carry on small lotteries and perhaps raise moderate sums through the enthusiasm and efficiency of the members of those societies. When, however, we move to visions that we are on the edge of El Dorado, as was expressed in terms of Mr. Page's Bill which came to this House a year ago, I do not believe there are any great fortunes to be won. If one looks around to the experience of other countries, that is borne out. It is particularly true in Great Britain. We have the equivalent of a lottery in Great Britain; namely, the football pools in which people can win large sums for very small stakes.

If I may just job back again into the past and personal experience, in 1963, I think for not very noble reasons. Mr. Maudling, who was then Chancellor of the Exchequer, was persuaded, cajoled, pressured—call it what you will; convinced, if one wants to be wholly charitable—into believing that fixed odds betting on football here was making large inroads into the pools. By a few lines in the Finance Act he put paid to fixed odds betting. Few of us ventured to warn him what the consequences would be. It was obvious to anyone who had the slightest knowledge of the way people behave, not as members of White's or Boodle's but as members of Labour clubs and so on, that the people who bet fixed odds are discerning punters, of whom I like to consider myself one. We took large odds for three draws, because it was a useful kind of bet and there was a chance of winning; whereas the clientele who use a pin or a formula or the numbers of hymns at church and so on, as a guide to their investments in football pools, live in a completely different world; and one will not be transferred to the other.

So what happened? Mr. Maudling persuaded the House—many, perhaps even some on the Benches now, went into the Lobby in his support—to put the same rate of tax on fixed odds as on pools. The fixed odds completely vanished. But even if one's mathematics were no better than knowing the multiplication tables, one could have told him, as indeed some of us tried to tell him, both publicly and privately, that the pattern of football was changing. The introduction of the Continental system of defensive football was increasing the number of draws. If the number of draws was increased, that would lower the amount of the prize; and it was the lowering of the amount of the prize which led to the decline in the revenue which the Government extracted from football pools. But that argument was completely swept on one side. Nobody listened. Fixed odds have now gone and football pools have reached an astronomical level.

I listened last night to one of the odd broadcast programmes of the week. It was a debate on equality of income, between Mr. Jack Jones, a clear-sighted, courageous man, on the one hand, and a rather muddle-headed lawyer speaking for the Tory Party—I believe his name is Sir Geoffrey Howe. What they did not realise is that our society has produced a state of affairs in which the Moore's family own a fortune of £600 million which was made out of football pools. We even get Mr. Healey, the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, coming along and saying: "What I am going to do is increase the amount of tax on pools. Of course, this is a charge upon the football promoters who can well afford it". That is unutterable nonsense! Not a penny of it is extracted from the pockets of the football pool promoters. It is taken from the prize. It is a deduction from the prize-winner, not from the promoters. It is an absolute scandal that any individual or group of individuals in a society in the state ours is in can amass fortunes of that size.

I am never a nationaliser for nationalising's sake, but I would have nationalised pools a long time ago. They could be run perfectly efficiently. Of course, this would create a tremendous howl, but there is no earthly reason why it should not be done. But I am not arguing, and I hope that it will not be said that I have come out to argue, for the nationalisation of the football pools. What I am arguing and have all the way through the proceedings on this Bill—and I did it on my own a year ago when I convinced your Lordships that it was unwise to pass the Page Bill—is, please look before you leap.

If I may draw on another experience with a group of Members of the Labour Party, we forced a Conservative Government, I think in 1952, to have an inquiry into the Army Act. If you like, it was done by Dick Turpin methods of which not all your Lordships may ma approve, but they were effective. We then had a Select Committee. For two and a half years that Select Committee laboured. There never was a Party Division; it was always on the balance of evidence across Party. After two and a half years, we produced an Army Act that was "something like". Precisely the same approach needs to be made to this very complex problem.

May I pay my tribute to the noble Earls, Lord Cowley and Lord Mansfield, for the part they played in the Public Bill Committee. I thought there were times there when we got very near to the same kind of atmosphere. This problem is incredibly complex. Handled properly, it may enable a large amount of additional revenue to be collected. May I remind your Lordships that against all the evidence of the time it was a Labour Government in 1964 who took steps to turn human frailty to human advantage. Revenue was increased from £33 million to £250 million, and if it was handled properly I believe that that revenue could be doubled without harm to anyone. If the noble Lord, Lord Mansfield, will forgive me for saying so, it is wrong to blame it all on to the present Administration. They inherited the inter-departmental committee about which no decision was taken by the Conservative Government. I do not blame them any more than I blame my noble friends for not tackling this problem, which is one of great complexity. Over the years, as a result of the occasional courageous acts of the noble Lord, Lord Butler, a little has been done here and a little has been done there, and every time that a little bit is done you make the problem worse. May I also remind your Lordships that the Pools Competition Bill expires this year. It has to be legislated upon, so we shall do another little bit there.

This nettle needs to be grasped; it cannot be grasped quickly. I understand that discussions are afoot to set up a Royal Commission, but I hope that the Government will think again about it. A Select Committee of both Houses is needed which will meet behind closed doors and will consist of men who realise the nature of this problem—who realise that it is not only a question of revenue but that it goes right to the heart of our social wellbeing. This is what led the noble Lord, Lord Butler, to take those steps. If we attempt by law to suppress something that is, I believe, inherent in human nature or, if that view is rejected, something that is born of the frustration and boredom of current society that makes men mis-spend, if noble Lords wish, their time in having a bet, the plain fact is that, whether or not we like it, people will have a bet and if they cannot have a bet within the law they will have it outside the law.

Therefore I nail my colours to the mast. I have always believed in control, never in suppression. If all Parties will accept the principle of control and will accept also that this problem needs to be handled in the long term, and if we also go as far as I will go—which is a little further than the noble Earl, Lord Mansfield, would go—we shall agree that this is a piddling, silly, trifling little Bill. You cannot improve it. You can alter it, and when you have done so you have not altered it on the basis of the facts. It has been altered because your opinion on this Front Bench is different from the opinion on that Front Bench. It does not alter the Bill one bit. It is essentially a stopgap measure.

I repeat that what is needed is that both sides must agree that the problem needs to be looked at and that measures need to be thought out. If that happens. we may raise a very large sum of money, our society may be healthier and we shall not have to spend our time messing about with the kind of nonsense that we are messing about with this afternoon.

4.14 p.m.


My Lords, I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Wigg, that this subject is extremely complicated, that it has a very long and chequered history and that all Governments are to blame for its failings. However, it is this Government which have introduced this Bill and it is they who have to defend it. Therefore, I prefer today to deal with this piece of legislation.

If we accept the Government's Amendments and they are passed, we shall be back in the unenviable position of having a positive incentive to hold weekly lotteries. This will have other unwelcome side effects, most notably the problem of people coming round every Friday, or on whatever day it is, to sell tickets. As the Government want it to be, the Bill benefits only small local -authorities and small societies. I am glad that the noble Lord, Lord Harris of Greenwich, admitted this point because it goes to the very centre of the Bill. We on this side of the House think that this is a mistake. It is a failing of the Bill, especially in view of the Government's decision, as stated in another place, that they do not intend to produce legislation in the near future for large lotteries.

The whole House is concerned about the present economic plight of the voluntary organisations. It is not necessarily a Party matter. As was made clear in the Wednesday debate initiated by my noble friend Lord Windlesham, that concern spreads throughout the House. But the problem with this Bill is that although I am sure that concern is very deeply felt by the noble Lord, Lord Harris of Greenwich, local authorities and societies are put on a par; they are treated identically. Therefore, one has the situation where local authorities will be competing directly in regional matters with voluntary organisations and societies—for example, in the setting up of a sports ground or other similar objects in which societies or local authorities might be interested.

By Amendments Nos. 10 and 11 we seek to amend this Bill so that the large societies and local authorities will be able to hold lotteries which are worth their while. The limits imposed in the Bill, as the Government intend, would mean that it would not be worth while for the Greater London Council or, possibly, War on Want or Christian Aid to hold lotteries. We seek to put this right. We do not accept the argument that by allowing large local authorities and societies to hold large lotteries they will be competing and threatening the voluntary organisations. If anything is to be threatened by these large lotteries it will be the football pools, the sweepstakes and any national prize competitions.

In attacking Amendments Nos. 10 and 11 the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of London put forward the argument that such people will be tempted by large prizes—that they will be tempted by the possibility of winning a motor car. I should like to point out to the right reverend Prelate that even under the Government's limits they can still win a motor car, because one of the Government Amendments seeks to put back the limit of £2,000 for a prize. Also, the right reverend Prelate criticised our Amendments on the basis that they would be without control. I would refer the right reverend Prelate to Clauses 2 and 3 where the controls are very strict. The Gaming Beard has to examine each of the lottery projects of that amount that is put forward.

My noble friend Lord Hawke criticised the proposed Amendments on the basis that they would encourage the pestering of people by ticket sellers. If one accepts the Government Amendments, that is precisely what will happen.

4.20 p.m.


My Lords, perhaps I may reply briefly to the debate and begin with an agreement with the noble Earl, Lord Mansfield. He said that the Bill did nothing for the larger local authorities. If he meant by that—as I am sure he did—that the larger local authorities were unlikely to avail themselves of this Bill, assuming that it emerges from Parliament in the form intended by the Government. I think he is wholly right, as I indicated in my speech. But, if I may say so, what he fails to point out to the House is what follows from that statement. It is impossible at one and the same time to pass legislation which will be of material benefit to authorities as large as the Greater London Council and, at the same time, to safeguard the position of voluntary organisations. You have to choose one or the other.

The noble Earl has nailed his colours to the mast of the Greater London Council and authorities of that size in the terms of the Amendments he has put before the House today. All I am saying is that there is this clear distinction between us, and your Lordships should have no illusion what you are voting on, and the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of London made this clear in his speech. If the Government Amendments were to be rejected and the Opposition Amendments were to be accepted, this would be of material advantage to large scale local authorities. I concede that straight away. But it would also do considerable damage to a large number of voluntary organisations in this country who are, at the moment, encountering the most substantial difficulties in simply staying alive.

As I find myself once again in agreement with the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of London in his reference to the speech of the noble Earl when he painted this rather attractive picture of rural England trying to gauge the weight of the cake in the local raffle, I fear that that and £5 million, which is what the noble Earl is suggesting in the Amendment, do not ride very easily together. The difficulty is that I am sure the noble Earl and his friends are just as anxious as noble Lords on this side of the House and the noble Lord, Lord Hawke, who spoke earlier, in making sure that voluntary organisations are protected by this legislation. But the fact is that if the Amendments were carried in the form proposed by the noble Earl and his friends the effect would be substantial damage to voluntary organisations.

The noble Lord, Lord Gridley, spoke on an earlier Amendment to the Bill and I should like to cite his words on one point. The noble Earl who referred to the Opposition Amendments sought to justify the very substantial difference which exists between the tests which he applies to voluntary societies and local authorities by saying that there was a need to avoid a situation in which voluntary bodies would overreach themselves. I note his position and I would say only this to him: a few moments ago his noble friend Lord Gridley was saying that he very much objected to language of that kind when it was applied to local authorities. Speaking as one who was closely involved in local government at one stage of my life, and voluntary organisations—and I am sure the noble Earl has similar experience—I think the standard of responsibility which is shown is just as great in the generality of voluntary organisations as in the local authorities. Therefore I see no need to apply the standards which the noble Earl is insisting upon, which—and I must make this clear once again—substantially disadvantage the overwhelming majority of the organisations in this country. At a time of high cost-inflation (which we all hope will soon come to an end), if the Opposition Amendments were to be carried they would, in my view, have a profound and damaging effect upon the finances of these organisations. On the basis of that, I hope the House will agree to pass the Amendments in my name and to reject those in the name of the noble Earl and his noble friend.

On Question, Whether the said Amendment (No. 2) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents 74; Not-Contents, 50.

Airedale, L. Hayter, L. Robson of Kiddington, B.
Arran, E. Henderson, L. Rochester, L.
Aylestone, L. Houghton of Sowerby, L. Rusholme, L.
Banks, L. Hoy, L. Sainsbury, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L. Jacques, L. [Teller.] St. Davids, V.
Bernstein, L. Jessel, L. Samuel, V.
Blyton, L. Kinloss, Ly. Seear, B.
Brockway, L. Leatherland, L. Shepherd, L. (L. Privy Seal.)
Buckinghamshire, E. Lee of Newton, L. Slater, L.
Byers, L. Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, B. Snow, L.
Caccia, L. Lloyd of Hampstead, L. Southwark, Bp.
Champion, L. London, Bp. Stedman, B.
Chorley, L. Loudoun, C. Stewart of Alvechurch, B.
Clwyd, L. Lovell-Davis, L. Stow Hill, L.
Cooper of Stockton Heath, L. Lyons of Brighton, L. Strabolgi, L.
Crook, L. McLeavy, L. Summerskill, B.
Crowther-Hunt, L. Melchett, L. Taylor of Mansfield, L.
Davies of Leek, L. Ogmore, L. Wallace of Coslany, L.
Douglass of Cleveland, L. Paget of Northampton, L. Wells-Pestell, L.
Elwyn-Jones, (L. Chancellor.) Pannell, L. White, B.
Evans of Hungershall, L. Pargiter, L. Wigg, L.
Goronwy-Roberts, L. Phillips, B. Wigoder, L.
Greene of Harrow Weald, L. Popplewell, L. Winterbottom, L. [Teller.]
Hale, L. Ritchie-Calder, L. Wise, L.
Harris of Greenwich, L. Wynne-Jones, L.
Aberdare, L. de Clifford, L. Gridley, L.
Alport, L. Drumalbyn, L. Grimston of Westbury, L.
Balfour of Inchrye, L, Ebbisham, L. Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L.
Balniel, L. Effingham, E.
Barnby, L. Elliot of Harwood, B. Hanworth, V.
Camoys, L. Elton, L. Killearn, L.
Cottesloe, L. Emmet of Amberley, B. Kinnaird, L.
Cowley, E. Erskine of Rerrick, L. Lindsey and Abingdon, E.
Cranbrook, E. Falkland, V. Long, V.
Daventry, V. Eraser of Kilmorack, L. Luke, L.
Macleod of Borve, B. Orr-Ewing, L. Stamp, L.
Mansfield, E. Platt, L. Strathclyde, L
Merrivale, L. Porritt, L. Strathspey, L.
Mowbray and Stourton, L. [Teller.] Rankcillour, L. Tenby, V.
St. Aldwyn, E. Teviot, L.
Newall, L. Sandys, L [Teller.] Vickers, B.
Northchurch, B. Somers, L. Vivian, L.
Nugent of Guildford, L.

Resolved in the affirmative, and Amendment agreed to accordingly.

4.33 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 3, which is consequential.

Amendment moved— Page 6, line 9, leave out from ("lottery") to ("shall") in line 10.—(Lord Harris of Greenwich.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 4.

Amendment moved— Page 6, line 15, leave out ("£3,000") and insert ("£1,500").—(Lord Harris of Greenwich.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 5.

Amendment moved— Page 6, line 16, leave out ("£6.500") and insert ("£2,000").—(Lord Harris of Greenwich.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 6.

Amendment moved—

Page 6, line 17, after ("sold") insert: ("(a) in a society's lottery which satisfies the condition specified in section 2(2)(b) above, or (b)").—(Lord Harris of Greenwich.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 7.

Amendment moved— Page 6, line 18. leave out from ("lottery ") to ("shall") in line 19.—(Lord Harris of Greenwich.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


My Lords. I beg to move Amendment No. 8.

Amendment moved— Page 6, line 24. leave out ("£42,000") and insert ("£20,000")—(Lord Harris of Greenwich.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 9.

Amendment moved— Page 6, line 25. leave out ("£130,000") and insert ("£40,000")—(Lord Harris of Greenwich.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

4.35 p.m.

Lord HARRIS of GREENWICH moved Amendment No. 12: Page 7, line 6, leave out ("30 per cent.") and insert ("25 per cent.")

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move the Amendment in my name and, if I may, speak to No. 13 at the same time, In the Bill as drafted, where the proceeds of a lottery do not exceed £5,000, the maximum allowance expenses percentage is 30 per cent. During the Committee stage, the noble Earl, Lord Mansfield, and a number of his noble friends raised the question as to whether 30 per cent. was a reasonable figure. As I indicated to the Committee that I would, I looked into the matter and as a result of that reconsideration I am proposing this Amendment, which is to reduce the allowable percentage from 30 per cent. to 25 per cent., which I hope will go some way to meet the point of the noble Earl, and which I think is justified in its own right.


My Lords, one must be generous in giving credit for favours received, even in the nature of 5 per cent., and that, of course, I do with great pleasure. I would say only this: that one wonders how anyone has actually sat down and decided that 25 per cent. is better than 30 per cent., or that 25 per cent. is better than the 15 per cent. which was proposed by my noble friends and I in Committee. If one may say so in parenthesis, this seems to be the only occasion where the Government have actually reconsidered any of the provisions of this Bill, and as such this is to be welcomed, so naturally we welcome it.

The Lord Bishop of LONDON

My Lords, I would also add my thanks to the noble Lord, Lord Harris of Greenwich, for this Amendment. It has been mentioned on a number of occasions that there will be a great proliferation of lotteries of one kind or another, at any rate at first, and that therefore the pressure to sell tickets will be very great. So it follows that the temptation to pay people to sell tickets will equally increase. By this Amendment, the amount of money available to reimburse people who sell tickets will be proportionately less, and I think that therefore the amount of badgering of the public will be reduced.

We should be aware of the shape of things to come. My attention has been drawn to a passage in a periodical I do not normally read, the Salcombe Gazette, in which it is recorded that: The Community Swimming Pool Committee decided to allow sellers £2..50 commission for every £10 worth of tickets sold in their big football competition. The offer is open to all who sell tickets, but is intended primarily to appeal to the younger people who would normally take holiday jobs in vacation times. There is a need for sellers to visit the popular beaches, and it is considered it is here that the youngsters will have their best oportunities. There are two important conditions; to qualify for the commission, the sellers must be aged over 16, and they must sell at least £10 worth of tickets. If this is going to be the way in which things are going to work out, when we are trying to take holidays on the beaches of Dorset and Devon we shall be pestered by young people over 16 trying to sell their £10 worth of tickets in order to get the £2.50 return, and life will be very unpleasant while on holiday. Anything that can reduce the temptation to pay large sums of money to people to sell lottery tickets will be for the general peace and prosperity of the citizens of this country. I therefore support the Amendment.


My Lords, briefly, although like my noble friend on the Front Bench I am grateful for the reduction of 5 per cent., it has not gone nearly far enough. I was one who thought that 15 per cent. or 20 per cent. would make people count their pennies when it is a question of expenses. If it is a quarter of the total amount, some organisations will spend large sums of money in expenses when, with a little forethought, they need only spend, perhaps, 15 per cent. I will go along with my noble friend on this Front Bench in welcoming the 25 per cent., but I feel that I must register a protest on behalf of some of the charities with which I have to do.


My Lords, I side with the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of London on this matter. I agree with the noble Baroness that the amended amount is too large. We shall have professional organisers coming into this game, and the larger the percentage the more incentive there is to come in. What is also worrying me is the fact that there will be thousands of lotteries, and somebody has to police them and the limit on the expenses they are allowed to charge, and so on. It is well known that the Charity Commissioners, with whom all charities have to be registered, have a very able but rather small staff. They would be the first to admit that they do not peruse with care the accounts of every charity within their purview each year. The accounts of each one of these lotteries will have to be perused by somebody every year to see that they have not exceeded their percentage. If the job is to be done properly, we shall have to create a vast new bureaucracy for this purpose. I think the whole world that will be created by this Bill is a crazy one.


My Lords, on the point which has just been made, surely the job of policing will rest with the Gaming Board. is that not what the Bill is about?


My Lords, speaking as a Puritan, I suppose some part of this 25 per cent. would be payable in commission, and therefore could be regarded as wages of sin. In justification of the 25 per cent., I think one ought to consider these facts. The price of postage has recently gone up very considerably, and we are threatened with further increases in the future, and postage will be an important item in the expenses of some of these lotteries. Secondly, again, the price of printing has gone up very considerably in recent years and looks like going up a lot more in the next year or two. Thirdly, the price of paper has risen phenomenally during the last few years; it has gone up by 600 or more per cent. I do not think the figure of 25 per cent. for expenses, even admitting that some of this will go in commission to people who sell the tickets, is unduly out of place at the present moment. I would support my noble friend in his Amendment.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 13.

Amendment moved— Page 7, line 9, leave out ("30 per cent.") and insert ("25 per cent.").—(Lord Harris of Greenwich.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 10 [Regulations]:

Earl COWLEY moved Amendment No. 14: Page 7, line 19, at end insert ("including provision for promotion of joint lotteries by local authorities amongst themselves or by societies amongst themselves.").

The noble Earl said: My Lords, this Amendment would allow local authorities and societies to combine together to hold joint lotteries. This would, of course, be of benefit where there was a joint project involved, where neighbouring local authorities were interested in the same idea and the same plans, and where societies followed the same kind of interests. In theory, it is possible for local authorities and societies to hold joint lotteries already, and there is nothing in this Bill to prevent that. However, if they did they would be subjected to the same limits as would apply to a lottery being run by one local authority or one society. It is illogical, I believe, to require local authorities or societies to run separate lotteries where they have the same kind of objectives. The administrative costs would he unnecessarily increased and the potential beneficiaries would receive less money. Furthermore, if joint lotteries are not allowed, there will be an increased risk of lotteries failing.

The Amendment is put down to Clause 10, which gives the Secretary of State tremendous powers to decide on the conditions under which joint lotteries can be held. The information about the beneficiaries of the lottery would be required to be printed on the ticket, and the proceeds to be divided up between the organisations that run the lottery would be settled by the Secretary of State or between the organisations concerned. It may be argued that this Amendment would allow large scale lotteries by the back door, as it were. However, that argument rather ignores the fact that no one society or authority would benefit from the joint lottery. The only beneficiary would be the general public at large, which would benefit from the fact that less money was taken up in administrative costs than would be the case if societies or local authorities ran separate lotteries. My Lords, I beg to move.


My Lords, this Amendment is similar to one which was withdrawn after debate in Committee, except that I think the present Amendment makes no reference, as did the earlier Amendment, to the promotion of lotteries jointly by local authorities and societies. The Government have taken careful note of what has been said in debates in both this House and the other place on the subject of joint lotteries, but their view is still that the wiser course is not to try to make provision for these. So far as local authorities are concerned, this could be a move in the direction of regional lotteries, but this is not a development which ought to come about until Parliament and the Government have reached firm conclusions about large lotteries. These are not within the scope of the present Bill, as has been debated at length on the Amendments under Clause 9.

The difficulties in the way of empowering two or more local authorities to promote a joint lottery arise, inevitably, out of the facts of the matter. A local authority has specific functions and responsibilities in relation to its own area. It does not have power to incur expenditure in respect of other local authorities' areas. Finally, the financial success of lotteries under this Bill will depend in great measure upon the exemption from duty which the Government are prepared to grant within the financial limits of the Bill as introduced, as I explained in the Public Bills Committee and as my noble friend Lord Harris has repeated this afternoon. No assurance can be given that joint lotteries with adequate turnover exceeding those limits would enjoy such exemption.

The noble Earl, Lord Cowley, said in the Public Bill Committee, "Oh, yes! But there would still be quite a lot of percentage left over." I believe that a combination of duty, expenses and prizes could total as much as 90 per cent., and would leave quite insufficient for the purposes of the lottery or combined lotteries. There is surely no point in these circumstances in trying to permit them as a matter of law. As has previously been explained, it would be necessary to make amendments to the body of the Bill to provide for joint lotteries, and this could not be done by regulations under this clause.

With regard to the societies, it has not been represented to the Government on behalf of societies that the Bill should provide for the promotion of joint lotteries by societies. Any such provision is open to criticisms, some similar to those arising on the provision for joint local authority lotteries. A combination of a number of societies could, of course, result in a joint lottery with a gross turnover exceeding the limits set out in the Bill, and the Government do not think that we should at this stage make any move in this direction. The Bill as regards societies' lotteries is constructed on the basis of the responsibility of the promoter, he being a member of the society. The Bill does not provide for a person to be a promoter of a lottery run on behalf of two or more societies. I hope that I have said enough to make clear that this Amendment would not be acceptable.

4.51 p.m.


My Lords, I am bound to say that I find both the attitude and the logic of the noble Lord less than satisfactory—I might even say less than happy. It is not my intention to go over old esoteric ground covered in the Committee, but the difference in drafting is plain if one thinks about it for a moment. At that stage we produced an Amendment which would entitle, for instance, a local authority, the phrase I think I quoted was, … to take on board a local society if it wished, and form a joint lottery. This was almost a consequential Amendment which gave the Secretary of State the power to provide for such joint lotteries and to make the necessary regula- tions. That Amendment was defeated in the Public Bill Committee and, although it was a matter of slight regret to my noble friend and I that it was, we saw that there was at any rate something to be said for the Government's view. We did not wish to raise it again at this stage and therefore the Amendment was rephrased so as to cut out that one bit that dealt with the banding together of local authorities and societies.

What I want to emphasise is that this is a purely discretionary power given to the Secretary of State which he may in the hereafter act upon or not according to the conditions as they are presented to him. It is not difficult to visualise the sort of local lotteries—and I use "local" in its rather more strict sense—which could be immensely helped by the fact that two or more voluntary agencies band together to promote them. It is almost ludicrous to talk about tax and maxima under those circumstances, both of which the noble Lord, Lord Strabolgi, did. We are not dealing with it in a matter of a discretionary power to the Secretary of State to make regulations.

For instance, if two local animal loving societies of a voluntary nature with voluntary helpers wish to pool their joint resources at Christmas time and produce a little money which would do good either to animals or to old folk in their locality, or something like that, it is surely not beyond the wit of the Secretary of State, as advised by his civil servants, to make regulations to allow them to do so. May I say in the same breath that it equally is not good enough to say, "Under the Bill this cannot happen". Surely it can be written into the Bill that it can, and if the demand is there at a later stage then the Secretary of State can make the necessary regulation. Unless there is an Amendment of this nature, of course, he cannot.

The noble Lord, Lord Strabolgi, says that he has not had any demand until now for such a provision to be written into the Bill in one form or another; of course he has not. Nobody has really considered the effects of this Bill, or what is to happen. I have been quite surprised by the lack of representation that I have had. I do not say this offensively, but even the noble Lord, Lord Harris, has been a bit scant with his evidence over this matter.

I shall not suggest to my noble friend that he divides the House on an issue like this, but I should have thought that so far as Parliament is concerned between now and the last stage of this Bill before it goes back to another place for consideration of Amendments, the Government might think again. This is not a Party matter. It will not do the Inland Revenue out of any money, it will simply make life easier for a very limited number of smaller organisations who wish to club together at certain moments.


My Lords, I wish to ask a question. I confess that I am utterly bewildered by the metaphysics of the subject, and utterly convinced by every word that drops from Lord Wigg's lips on this matter. I feel that we are, like Milton's Angels, in wandering mazes lost. That is not my point in rising. Suppose that there were to appear in the Art market an absolutely magnificent Braque which was valued at £750,000, and the Friends of the Tate—I am a member of the Friends of the Tate but not a member of the executive committee—and the Contemporary Arts Society were to decide that it would be a good thing to run a lottery. I am rather convinced by the noble Lord, Lord Wigg, that they would be very amateurish at it and before things have been tidied up there would probably be a loss. But suppose this happened; would it, in the opinion of Her Majesty's Government, be a bad thing, something to be ruled out?

4.57 p.m.


My Lords, I am worried because during the course of our proceedings in Committee I said to the noble Lord, Lord Strabolgi, that his argument about taxation was stretching my credulity to breaking point. I want to repeat to him the same question: is he now saying that there has been a decision by the Government that the tax amelioration provisions of this Bill do not apply to a joint undertaking? He used exactly the same argument today as on a previous occasion. If it looked like getting out of hand, if forthwith London was to join with Glasgow, and Birmingham with Norwich, to defeat the Bill by that method, I would without any hesitation support him. Indeed, my loyalty is such that if the noble Lord, Lord Strabolgi, had not spoken, I would have been with him. But there are limits to what even dumb Lobby fodder are supposed to accept. I just cannot accept this any more than I could on the previous occasion.

I do not believe that the Government are as stupid as all that. They have not taken that decision. I think that the noble Earl, Lord Mansfield, and his colleague the noble Earl, Lord Cowley, have made their case. There may be instances here—and events may show this in the future—when one or more societies, or one or more authorities, in the interests of the objects they pursue, because of the gambling nature of the area, and so on, may want to work together. I entirely agree with Lord Strabolgi's point here, the principle is control, and the Government must keep control, but they have all the control in the world because nothing can be done without the permission of the Secretary of State. The only thing is that the noble Lord, Lord Strabolgi, comes along—the bogeyman—and says, "This is all very well, but if you do that the boys in the Treasury will catch you". If he is really saying that, if the substance of the Government's argument is as put by the noble Lord, Lord Strabolgi, today and on a previous occasion, I am sorry, but if there is a Division I shall vote against the Government.


My Lords, I welcome my noble friend's Amendment as being a possibility towards cutting down on the number of lotteries; that is my chief concern. For instance, if all the parish councils of Sussex were to combine together to have one lottery instead of one for each parish council, it would be of great advantage regarding both the control which the Government must provide and the unfortunate ticket buyers who will be pestered only once instead of several times.


My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Strabolgi, suggested that local authorities could spend money only in their own areas, but I can give an example of where a joint lottery might be useful. I was chairman of a local National Trust committee in Surrey and we received grants from three different local authorities. If they could club together and have a lottery in our favour I should certainly support that.


My Lords, with the permission of the House I should like to address your Lordships again. There are two points here. With regard to the question of the excise duty, I am sorry if this exercises my noble friend and the noble Earl, Lord Mansfield. I merely repeated what I said in the Public Bill Committee and what my noble friend Lord Harris of Greenwich said earlier in this debate; and these are the facts—


My Lords, will the noble Lord accept that what he said then did not make sense, and that it does not make any better sense now? That is what I and the noble Lord, Lord Wigg, were saying.


Perhaps I may repeat it then, my Lords. The Treasury have said that the limits in this Bill will not be subject to duty, but if you try to get round this by larger regional lotteries they might be—


My Lords, I am sorry to interrupt my noble friend—it must be the heat. But I am not arguing for regional lotteries. I should be pleased to be put right on this matter, but as I understand it the Conservative Party has put down an Amendment regarding joint lotteries, and it is quite clear from what the noble Earl, Lord Cowley, said that it is intended that a joint lottery should not exceed the limits as if it were only one lottery. There is no question of regional lotteries. It is a question of two societies and two local authorities; but they cannot do this unless the Secretary of State allows them. So what the hell has it got to do with the Treasury?


My Lords, as I read the Amendment it gives no limit to the amounts. But, anyway, this is something we can go into, and I will come back to it at a later stage in the Bill.

But quite apart from this matter, there is the question of what can be done by regulations. Clause 10 allows the Secretary of State to prescribe provisions by regulations. I am informed that it would be difficult to legislate satisfactorily for joint lotteries in this way, and the Government think it unnecessary to try to make such provisions for a concept of questionable value. But however one may argue, this cannot be done under the present Bill. The Amendment gives no indication as to the principle on which joint lotteries would be authorised, and the concept raises several questions. Who would be the promoters? What is the object or purpose? How are the proceeds to be distributed? How are the requirements as to frequency affected by joint lotteries? These principles would have to be set out in the body of the Bill, and they cannot be determined by delegated legislation.


My Lords, I should like to reply quickly to what the noble Lord, Lord Strabolgi, has said. I am grateful for his offer of consideration, which I accept. I am sure—


I must make it plain, my Lords, that I am to clear up only the question of excise duty. I do not undertake consideration of the whole purpose of the clause—certainly not! That we do not accept.


My Lords, in view of what the noble Lord said, could he possibly consider the issue, look at it, and see whether it can be written into the Bill? But the noble Lord has not answered the points raised. In principle, joint lotteries are already allowed. For example, local authorities are allowed to discharge any of their functions jointly under the Local Government Act 1972. I think that the tremendous discretionary powers given to the Secretary of State to organise regulations and rules to fit the individual circumstances of each joint lottery really meet most of the problems which might arise. But I am willing to withdraw the Amendment in order that the noble Lord might reconsider the comments he has made today and come back to the matter on Third Reading. I therefore beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 13 [Increase in limits for certain small lotteries]:


My Lords, this Amendment is consequential on the earlier Amendments. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 9, line 31, leave out ("30 per cent.") and insert ("25 per cent")—(Lord Harris of Greenwich.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 14 [Increase in maximum prizes for certain lotteries and entertainments]:


My Lords, this Amendment is a paving Amendment for the consolidation Amendments proposed to be included in the new Schedule to the Bill. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 10, line 8, leave out subsection (2).—(Lord Harris of Greenwich.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 18 [Commencement orders]:

5.6 p.m.

Lord STRABOLGI moved Amendment No. 17: Leave out Clause 18.

The noble Lord said: My Lords, as noble Lords will recollect, Clause 18 was inserted in the Bill in Committee against the advice of the Government. It requires that before any provision of the Bill is brought into operation, draft regulations under Clause 10 of the Bill must have been made and affirmatively approved by both Houses of Parliament. Under Clause 10 the Secretary of State is required to consult the Gaming Board and local authority associations before making any regulations under the clause. It is intended to prepare a consultative document, a copy of which will be laid in the Library of your Lordships' House, inviting comment from these and from any other interested bodies. While the Government will proceed in the matter of the regulations without delay, they will inevitably take some time.

If Clause 18 is allowed to stand, it will have the effect of frustrating Clause 13 which contains transitional provisions to give immediate relief to societies by raising the limits of lotteries promoted under Section 45 of the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act 1963. Your Lordships' House has recently debated the matter of voluntary effort when great stress was laid on the present difficulties of voluntary societies. It is most important that many of these should, at the earliest possible date after the Bill had become law, be able to gain financial benefit from the promotion of lotteries on the more liberal scale permitted by Clause 13.

Clause 18, if not removed, will certainly be harmful to voluntary societies. But it is also open to objection on grounds of drafting. It leaves the provisions of the Bill relating to the making, and Parliamentary control of, regulations under the Bill in a state of chaos. For example, one effect of Clause 18, taken with Clause 19(1), as amended in Committee, is that regulations made before the commencement of the Bill, and intended to come into operation with the Bill, cannot be made by Statutory Instrument. Indeed, the interaction of Clauses 18, 19(1), and 20(5) is such that we can see no way of bringing the Bill into force at all without leaving room for argument as to the validity of what is done. For those various reasons, I beg to move this Amendment.


My Lords, do I understand from the noble Lord that if we fail to pass this Amendment the Bill will never come into force at all?


My Lords, Clause 13 could not be brought into operation for the transitional arrangements.


My Lords, I do not mean this offensively, but the noble Lord, Lord Strabolgi, introduced his Amendment with what I might describe, both literally and metaphorically, as a giggle. That is a matter of regret to us. This was an Amendment which was passed by a combination of all the Committee, with the exception of the right reverend Prelate, because a great deal of time had been spent by the Committee in thinking and talking about Clause 10 and all it meant. It was during those discussions on the regulations that the real fears of the Committee as to the future—fears that were voiced on all sides—were expressed. This Amendment, which enjoyed very considerable support politically speaking, was passed in that sense of anxiety.

I want at this stage to say one thing to the noble Lord, Lord Wigg. He took me to task in the Committee for blaming the Government for the pass in which we were. I have certainly never sought to blame the present Government for the pass we are in so far as the laws pertaining to betting, gaming and lotteries are concerned. I do not want him to think that. What I do blame the Government for—and have consistently blamed them for—is the pass in which we now are as far as the likely effects—to the extent that they can be guessed at—of this Bill are concerned. It is also fair to say—and I say this under the beady eye on the noble Baroness, Lady Summerskill—that at various stages Ministers have expressed what at first was a firm belief and later sank to a pious hope that the consultative document would be placed in various libraries. I am sure that that belief was honest. I would not dream of saying anything else. But the fact of the matter is that we have still not seen the consultative document, nor are we likely to do so until after the Bill has taken effect. I did not wish to be mysterious. I am very glad that the noble Lord, Lord Harris, is clarifying my allusion to the noble Baroness.


My Lords, I was explaining the meaning of the noble Earl's remarks to my noble friend.


As long as everyone realises that I was pointing no finger.


My Lords, does the noble Earl mean me or is he flattering me and has he mistaken me for my daughter?


My Lords, if I did, I feel that it would have been a very happy mistake.


I do not know what the noble Earl is talking about.


Perhaps we could meet later, my Lords. I should just like to take a very little time on the Amendment because we regard this as one of the most important parts of the Bill. We feel it essential to look at Clause 10 to see what it is we sought to do and did successfully and what it is on which the Government will apparently not compromise and wish now to reverse. Clause 10 contains the regulations which the Secretary of State may prescribe and which are, if I may so describe them, the "nuts and bolts" of the Bill. For instance, Clause 10 lays down the provisions for a scheme for the promotion of a lottery by a society or by a local authority. It lays down the person to whom tickets may be sold and by whom they may be sold. Here, we come to the right reverend Prelate sitting on his beach in the West. Unfortunately, he is not in his place here. We come to the circumstances in which tickets or chances may be sold and, here, I return to the widows whose doors are battered on on Friday nights and to the books of tickets in supermarkets and so on. Then we come, in Clause 10(3)(c), to the minimum age at which any person may buy a ticket or chance. During the Committee stage, I sought to ask why it was considered fit to overturn Section 45(3)(m) of the 1963 Act, which lays down that persons under 16 cannot take part in these lotteries or sell the tickets. Then we have information which must or must not appear on the ticket, the manner in which lotteries may be advertised, the use of postal services and the matter of expenses and the way in which they may be incurred.

What I said then and what I say now is that the Government are asking the House for a blank cheque. They are asking that we should pass the Bill with all the proliferation of lotteries which it will entail—and this is something which all sides of the House agree will take place—and we are asked to rely upon the Secretary of State to make these regulations in the form of the negative procedure for all these most important—indeed vital—aspects of our new lottery life. I recognise that, in the main, all Governments like this form of procedure; that is, they like the regulation provisions to be by the negative procedure. I fully appreciate and, indeed, agree that it is only in certain circumstances that an Act shall come into force only after both Houses of Parliament have had a chance to approve or disapprove or change the regulations.

It was in that sense that we tabled the Amendment which resulted in the insertion of Clause 18. All it seeks to do is to turn the position round. In other words, it provides that the Bill shall not come into effect until the regulations have been made, put before both Houses and approved. I should have thought that this would be something which your Lordships would commend and about which even the Government might see fit, if they could not approve it, at least to exercise a certain measure of sympathy.

I know very well that, under Clause 18 as it stands, Clause 13 will be stopped from coming into effect. All that does, however, is to hurry the Government up with their consultative document which we have been waiting for for months. It will hurry them up in producing the regulations which will, as it were, form the very important backbone of the Bill. So far as drafting is concerned, I do not, in my humble way, feel from what the noble Lord, Lord Strabolgi, said that there is anything about the drafting which would actually stop the Bill from taking effect as a Bill. Certainly, I should have thought I was right in saying that there is nothing in Clause 18 which is not incapable of amendment if it had that noxious character about it.

I quite understand that Clause 13 cannot come into effect until the Act does while Clause 18 remains in the Bill, but I want to say, with all the uncertain force at my command, that this rather ill-thought out Bill, which almost everybody has agreed is liable to have unsatisfactory consequences, should not come into effect before the Secretary of State tells us and before we have the opportunity to consider such matters as the age of the children who shall buy and sell the tickets and other matters of that kind.


My Lords, perhaps I can help the noble Lord. I am informed by my neighbour, who is an eminent lawyer, that "draft regulations" do not mean exactly what they say. They are not draft and they cannot be amended. In the past, though I cannot remember this happening for many years, I remember Lord Swinton introducing in this House regulations which were really in draft. We discussed them and made suggested amendments and, by the time it came to what, in Parliamentary terms, were the draft regulations, they had been amended to take account of the wishes of the House at the stage when they had to be passed or rejected and could not be amended. The noble Lord might find that method helpful.


My Lords, the noble Earl has fought a magnificent rearguard action on this clause. Indeed, I find myself compelled to say that, if ever I were charged with an offence of which I was guilty, I should be very happy if he would appear for me, because he would make a much better show of it than I could do myself. I feel that it would be far better if the noble Earl accept the Amendment so that we could pass on to the next clause. I would, however, say one thing. He charged me with taking him to task during the Committee stage. I am sorry if I gave that impression. I thought that there was common ground between us about the Bill and that we agreed that it was a stopgap measure

The part I wanted to play in the Committee and again today is to draw your Lordships' attention to the basic fact that it is not a good Bill but it is not the fault of the present Government that they find themselves having to produce a Bill in these circumstances. If they had spent more time on it, it may well be they could have produced a better Bill. If I wanted to castigate the Government I would point out that when the Page Bill came from another place a year ago and I took upon myself the task of endeavouring to enlighten your Lordships as to what the Bill really meant, the Home Office could have been in no doubt that the Page Bill was a piece of unutterable nonsense. But when it went to a Division not one Minister on the Government Benches voted with me.

So, if I wanted to castigate anybody, the charge is that the Government did not take aboard the nature of their inheritance. That being the case they failed to do anything about it until the 11th hour. They have now produced this thoroughly bad Bill and nobody in this House has the least idea how it is to work out. We know that there are other stopgap measures coming along. I honestly want to try to convince the Conservative Party of the wisdom of the course I have advocated. I do not believe that one can get the inquiry in depth into this very important subject unless it is tackled on non-Party lines. In fact, I am making the same approach to this subject as I made when I tried to get the Army Act amended almost a quarter of a century ago. There are no Party points in this Bill.

The noble Earl, Lord Mansfield, says that the Government have produced a bad Bill. But for the grace of God they would be sitting over here and they would probably have produced a worse one! There is nothing in it from a Party point of view, but there is a tremendous amount in it both in money and in terms of the quality of our lives by taking a long view and inquiring what it is all about. It is for that reason that I trouble your Lordships. On this point I want to carry the Front Bench opposite with me.


My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Wigg, may well say that this is a stopgap measure, but I do not seem to remember either in this House or in another place the Government saying that this was a stopgap measure. They put forward this Bill as a piece of legislation to stand on its own merits and to be considered as such. There really is concern about the very wide powers given to the Secretary of State under Clause 10. This came out in Second Reading and during the Committee stage of the Bill. My noble friend has already gone through the powers of the Secretary of State and the only thing which the noble Lord, Lord Strabolgi, can really say is that the consultative document is going to be put in the Library of the House. I may say to your Lordships that I have heard that one before; we heard it in another place. At Second Reading the noble Lord, Lord Harris of Greenwich, said that he could not produce a consultative document and now the noble Lord, Lord Strabolgi, is saying that it will be put into the Library of the House. When?

Under this Bill the Secretary of State has been given tremendous powers—virtually carte blanche—to make any Regulations he likes concerning lotteries. In the absence of any consultative document to indicate how the Government is thinking I feel that it is only right that this House and another place should have the power to examine properly these Regulations. This can be done only by an Affirmative Resolution procedure. Therefore I hope that the House will reject the Amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Harris of Greenwich.


My Lords, I wonder whether we could get from the Government Benches how long the transition period is expected to be. If one admits that this is a necessary stopgap piece of legislation I think the way one votes on this Amendment depends on whether the transition period is to be a matter of weeks, months or even years.


With the leave of the House I should like to reply to the points that have been raised. I was a little surprised when the noble Earl, Lord Mansfield, said that I introduced this Amendment with a giggle. During all the years in your Lordships' House I hope I have never been guilty of giggling during a speech. This is a serious matter; I take it seriously and I hope that I gave the impression of some seriousness. Perhaps I had the sun in my eyes; I do not know. Since the noble Earl has been in the House I have had the highest regard and admiration for the way he has handled things. Outside the Chamber I have always thought of him as a friend, and I am rather surprised that he should have made this personal attack on the way I introduced the clause. Be that as it may, it was not intended, that the clause should be introduced in any way that was not serious.


If the noble Lord by a break in his voice or because he lost his breath or by any other physical manifestation gave the appearance of a giggle which was not intended, of course I withdraw anything that I said. Equally, I should say in my own defence that, having taken an immediate sounding from my noble friends on this side of the House, that was also the effect that he had on them. I shall not say any more.


I readily accept what the noble Earl said and I apologise if I gave any impression of that, which, of course, was in no way intended. Reverting to the Amendment, this will make the operation of Clause 13 absolutely impossible. Although one of the main purposes of the present Bill is to increase the financial limits of Section 45 of the 1963 Act on lotteries promoted by societies to which that Section applies, it will be some time after the Bill becomes law before it will be possible for such societies to benefit from the increased limits set out in the Bill. Many of the detailed requirements for the promotion and conduct of lotteries will have to be set out in Regulations made after the Bill becomes law and yet to be negotiated.

In reply to the noble Lord, Lord Robbins, I should say it would be a matter not of days or of years but of months. Many societies, including football clubs, are finding the present limits on tickets, prizes, turnovers and expenses I very restrictive, and the purpose of Clause 13 is to give some immediate relief by allowing these societies to run lotteries on a larger scale as soon as possible after the Bill becomes law and without waiting for Regulations to be made. This will be invalidated by Clause 18. I listened with great interest to what the noble Earl, Lord Cowley, said about Affirmative and Negative Resolutions, but there are still powers to pray against Negative Resolutions and much legislation is brought in in this way.

Clause 20 [Citation, repeals, etc.]:

5.37 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. There will be plenty of opportunity for Parliament to pray against these when the time comes. I do not think I have anything else to say and I hope I have answered all the points that have been made. I beg to move.

5.30. p.m.

On Question, Whether the said Amendment (No. 17) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 60; Not-Contents, 64.

Headfort, M. Pitt of Hampstead, L.
Henderson, L. Popplewell, L.
Aylestone, L. Houghton of Sowerby, L. Ritchie-Calder, L.
Bernstein, L. Hoy, L. Rusholme, L.
Brockway, L. Jacques, L. [Teller.] Sainsbury, L.
Cawley, L. Janner, L. Samuel, V.
Champion, L. Kinloss, Ly. Shepherd, L, (L. Privy Seal.)
Chorley, L. Leatherland, L. Slater, L.
Cooper of Stockton Heath, L. Lee of Newton, L. Snow, L.
Crook, L. Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, B. Somers, L.
Crowther-Hunt, L. London, Bp. Stedman, B.
Douglas of Barloch, L. Longford, E. Stewart of Alvechurch, B.
Elwyn-Jones, L. (L. Chancellor.) Loudoun, C. Strabolgi, L.
Evans of Hungershall, L. Lovell-Davis, L. Taylor of Mansfield, L.
Feather, L. Lyons of Brighton, L. Wallace of Coslany, L.
Feversham, L. McLeavy, L. Wells-Pestell, L.
Garner, L. Mais, L. Wigg, L.
Goronwy-Roberts, L. Melchett, L. Winterbottom, L. [Teller.]
Granville of Eye, L. Paget of Northampton, L. Wise, L.
Hanworth, V. Pannell, L. Wynne-Jones, L.
Harris of Greenwich, L. Phillips, B.
Aberdare, L. Geoffrey-Lloyd, L. Onslow, E.
Airedale, L. Gridley, L. Platt, L.
Alport, L. Harvington, L. Porritt, L.
Amory, V. Hawke, L. Rankeillour, L.
Barnby, L. Hornsby-Smith, B. Robbins, L.
Berkeley, B. Hylton-Foster, B. Robson of Kiddington, B.
Byers, L. Inglewood, L. Rochester, L.
Campbell of Croy, L. Killearn, L. St. Aldwyn, E.
Cottesloe, L. Kinnaird, L. St. Davids, V.
Cowley, E. [Teller.] Lloyd of Kilgerran, L. Sandys, L.
Craigavon, V. Long, V. Seear, B.
Cranbrook, E. Luke, L. Sempill, Ly.
Crawshaw, L. Macleod of Borve, B. Stamp, L.
Daventry, V. Mancroft, L. Strathcona and Mount Royal, L.
Dramalbyn, L. Mansfield, E.
Elliot of Harwood, B. Merrivale, L. Strathspey, L.
Elton, L. Meston, L. Tenby, V.
Emmet of Amberley, B. Mowbray and Stourton, L. [Teller.] Tweedsmuir, L.
Falkland, V. Vickers, B.
Ferrers, E. Newall, L. Vivian, L.
Fraser of Kilmorack, L. Northchurch, B. Ward of North Tyneside, B.
Gainford, L. Nugent of Guildford, L. Wigoder, L.

Resolved in the negative, and Amendment disagreed to accordingly.

19. This is a consolidation Amendment to which I referred earlier.

Amendment moved—

Page 11, line 29, at end insert— ( ) Schedule [Consolidation amendments] to this Act shall have effect for the purpose of facilitating the consolidation of the enactments relating to lotteries, and in particular for the purpose of removing anomalies and correcting errors in those enactments."—(Lord Harris of Greenwich.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 22. This is consequential on earlier Amendments.

Amendment moved— After Schedule 3, insert the following new Schedule: