HL Deb 29 March 1982 vol 428 cc1168-90

3.43 p.m.

House again in Committee.

Clause 1 agreed to.

Lord Robertson of Oakridge moved Amendment No. 3:

After Clause 1, insert the following new clause: ("Exemption from employment on Sundays, Christmas Day and Good Friday on grounds of conscience

.—(1) It shall be a term of employment of any person employed in a shop that he shall not be required to undertake work in that employment on any Sunday, or on Christmas Day or Good Friday, if he conscientiously believes on religious grounds that he ought not to do so.

(2) In this section "shop" has the same meaning as in the Shops Act 1950.").

The noble Lord said: The purpose of this amendment is to protect those who work in shops and who feel on religious grounds that it is wrong to work in shops on Sundays, Christmas Day or Good Friday. But I would emphasise that this amendment covers all who work in shops, including, for example, cleaners. Throughout the Bible we see the principle, which was specifically endorsed by Our Lord, that one day a week should be kept holy to the Lord. In the Old Testament this was the seventh day of the week; after the Resurrection it became the first day of the week—ie, Sunday. There is a surprisingly large number of people who, in this day and age, still strongly hold to the principle that Sunday should be set apart to God for worship and recreation with their families. Recently I had occasion to let it be known that I was interested on one local matter which affected Sundays, and I had letters from literally hundreds of people on the subject. I was extremely surprised at the strength of feeling. As the Church in this country recovers its strength, which I am sure it is going to do, that number of people will increase.

It may be said that we already have some Sunday trading without having exemption on the grounds of conscience, so why do we need it now? I believe that the sweeping changes envisaged under this Bill create an entirely new situation which makes the exemption appropriate and necessary. It may also be said that there are other forms of employment which require work on Sunday, and that we do not have this kind of exemption for them. For example, no one would consider being a policeman if they did not feel it possible to work on Sundays. However, people in shops do not necessarily expect to work on Sundays. Some people who work in shops do feel it is wrong that shops should open on Sundays, and I think there is a different situation requiring this exemption.

The amendment does not provide any means for testing whether a belief is conscientiously held. That seemed to me to involve the creation of unnecessary machinery. I believe that in the case of the Vaccination Acts it was necessary for those seeking exemption to make a statutory declaration, but there it was probably required because it was a criminal offence to refuse to vaccinate a child. Here, no criminal offence is involved.

A more serious consideration, I think, is the position of those who on religious grounds are unwilling to work on some other day, such as Friday or Saturday. I felt that this point was outside the scope of this amendment. Your Lordships will be aware that Section 53 of the existing 1950 Act makes special provision for persons observing the Jewish sabbath. This provision will be swept away with the rest of Part IV. I think there may well be a problem here to which attention might be given by either the noble Baroness, Lady Trumpington, or by the Government. I beg to move.

Baroness Trumpington

In purely emotional terms it would be my desire to applaud and support the amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Robertson of Oakridge. On the face of it, his amendment supports my declared desire to make sure that no shopworker suffers any hardship as a result of my Bill. Having said that, I find that in practical terms I cannot commend this amendment to your Lordships on the following grounds. Terms of employment are not regulated by the Home Office, and my Bill is entirely a matter for the Home Office.

Were the noble Lord to seek to make such a requirement law, then I would suggest he would have to frame his own Bill, addressed to the appropriate Ministry or Ministries; but were he to do so, he would find that he would have to include postal workers, transport workers and many other different kinds of workers. Therefore, a shopworker who felt himself to be victimised or unfairly dismissed on such grounds could appeal through already existing channels. So I fear that I must therefore turn down the noble Lord's amendment on the grounds that it is inappropriate in the context of my Bill.

Lord Davies of Leek

I should like to point out that I would have difficulty here. Perhaps I had better declare an interest on the pharmaceutical side. Local radio and newspapers now tell you, weekly, which chemist's shops are open on a Sunday; and it may be of absolutely vital importance that a particular drug is available on a Sunday in shop X, which may be open anywhere in a particular area in Britain. As your Lordships' know, reports are given out regularly as to which chemists' shops are open on a Sunday.

While I agree in exactly the same emotional way with the noble Baroness, I think we have to be very careful here, particularly in this area of pharmaceutical services to the public. It may be a matter of life and death, and, consequently, the religious issue would have to be worked out inside the chemist's shop. I do not know how it would be done. I think the Lord cured on the sabbath day anyway. The right reverend Prelate will perhaps tell me whether I am correct in my recollection of the Scriptures.

Lord Beswick

I quite agree with my noble friend that we have to be careful in these matters. Nevertheless, I should like to support the amendment which the noble Lord, Lord Robertson, has moved. On Saturday I listened to some very cogent words from the right honourable lady the Prime Minister about the permissive society and the social deterioration that has set in since the early permissive legislation of the right honourable Member for Hillhead. I look at these matters with the greatest degree of generosity, but it seems to me that the Bill which the noble Baroness is bringing forward is part of this permissive trend and is part of the social deterioration that has been taking place over the last 10, 20 or 30 years.

Of course the present legislation about shop opening is unsatisfactory. There are two ways of dealing with that unsatisfactory position. One is the way chosen by the noble Baroness—which is to throw up one's hands and say that anything goes, open when you like, let us have a free for all! That is one way. But I think that if we choose that way then social values will continue to deteriorate. I see the noble Baroness shakes her head. I do not want to get into a Second Reading speech, but I compare that sort of situation with that in the town where I was born, where on a Sunday morning when I was a schoolboy all that could be heard were the church bells ringing.

It is very different today and much less satisfactory. The noble Baroness is encouraging this deterioration in social values. To some extent, the amendment which the noble Lord, Lord Robertson of Oakridge, has moved is trying to sustain something which I thought we all valued in this country, especially conservatives. To that extent, I am glad to support what he has moved and I hope that your Lordships will accept this amendment.

Baroness Seear

I should like in general to support this amendment. I think, however, that it is somewhat defective. It refers to Sundays, Christmas Day and Good Friday; but we are a multiracial society with a number of different religions, and if we are to have a clause of this kind in the Bill—and I hope we shall—it should be drafted in such a way that all religious scruple should be taken into account: that of Jews, Moslems, and the other religions which we now have in this country. I believe that the purpose of this Bill is correct, but I believe also that it should include a clause to make it possible for those people who on conscientious grounds feel they do not wish to work on these days, not to do so.

I do not understand the point that the noble Baroness made with regard to this being a Home Office Bill. Once it is a Bill and then an Act, it is the law of the land; it does not belong to the Home Office. If we want to put in religious exemptions for people with religious scruples, then this becomes part of the law of the land whether the Home Office like it or not. I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Robertson, may consider withdrawing his amendment at this stage, in order that it can be reconsidered on broader grounds to cover the points that I have made, and then brought up again at a later stage.

The Lord Bishop of Rochester

In moving this amendment the noble Lord, Lord Robertson, referred to the fact that one of the parts to be omitted from the original Act did away with certain provisions which affected the Jewish faith. I think that that underlines the importance of what the noble Baroness, Lady Seear, has just said: that it would appear that there is ground for revising this in a more general way without the particular emphasis that the noble Lord has put on this amendment. I would support the noble Baroness in asking that he think about it again between now and the next stage of the Bill.

Baroness Phillips

I must declare an interest in that I try to be a Christian and a Catholic—sometimes that is very difficult with some of the people one has to contend with. I am very intrigued by the fact that this is to be put into this Bill. As I have said before, there would be no electricity or transport or telephone service on Sundays if somebody did not work. Already thousands of people have to work. I merely ask whether they have this right to say that they are Christians and do not wish to work. I am not going to say that it is right or wrong; but why do we select one particular trade or profession in inserting a qualification like this?

Lord Robbins

Listening to the speeches which have recently been made, I ask myself whether in those parts the relevant laws of which do not include such an exemption as is proposed by the noble Lord's initiative, there has been a marked contrasting effect as regards permissiveness and the deterioration of public morality. I have not observed it.

Lord Sainsbury

Although I am very sympathetic to this amendment, I am a little concerned about its effect on smaller shops where no alternative labour is easily available. It is doubtful whether it would prevent dismissal or the threat of dismissal from being imposed. Perhaps the Minister would give us some guidance as to whether these workers would be protected under the existing law.

Lord Belstead

I think I can answer that question off the cuff; but what occurs to me on hearing the noble Lord, Lord Sainsbury, is that I think his speech chimes in very well with the speech made by the noble Lord, Lord Davies of Leek, which suggested that in businesses which are depended upon for producing vital articles—and the noble Lord, Lord Davies, gave the example of a chemist's shop—which are probably not going to be particularly large businesses, it is necessary for the matter to be worked out at local level. It is with that point of view that I think the Government strongly agree.

Lord Collison

I agree with what the noble Baroness, Lady Phillips, has said. Obviously any number of people must work on Sundays to provide electricity, gas and water and all the other things which go to make up a decent civilised life. I do not want to get into theology but I cannot see that people who are prepared to do those jobs on Sundays are acting wrongly in terms of the Christian faith or any other faith. I intervene because I think that what has been said so far applies to farming, where we have a responsibility for animals which have to be fed, milked and looked after. One should think very carefully, I believe, before agreeing to something of this kind which other people would claim should be extended to their operations.

Baroness Trumpington

I should like to reply first to the noble Baroness, Lady Seear. I hope she will forgive me; I agree that I made a mistake. I am so very young in this House, but I take her point. I tried to bring out the point made by the noble Baroness, Lady Phillips. Why shopworkers, and why not all the others? I believe that in its application to this pluralistic society in which we live this amendment is too narrow. I hope the noble Lord, Lord Robertson, will agree that he has received a very sympathetic hearing and will withdraw his amendment.

Lord Robertson of Oakridge

I am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Trumpington, for those final remarks, and I am also grateful to other noble Lords who have spoken. To deal with one or two points that have been raised, the original objection raised by the noble Baroness, Lady Trumpington, that this would raise technical complications, is in a way more the problem of the sponsor of the Bill than my problem. It is the noble Baroness who is sweeping away the present law and creating a number of problems—solving some, I agree—and all we can do is put down amendments to the best of our ability and at a subsequent stage resolve any difficulties.

I take the point about differentiating between various kinds of workers. Regarding the remarks by the noble Lord, Lord Collison, there is all the difference between farm workers, who naturally have to work on a shift system seven days a week, and shopworkers who do not.

Regarding other faiths, I did not feel that I was qualified to speak for them. However, I take the point. I accept the misgivings expressed by the Committee. I should like to consider the points which have been raised and, with the Committee's permission, withdraw the amendment, bearing in mind the possibility of raising it again after further consideration at Report stage.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

4.1 p.m.

Lord Jacques moved Amendment No. 4:

After Clause 1, insert the following new clause:

("Sunday trading.

.—(1) Every shop shall, save as otherwise provided by section, be closed for the serving of customers after 1 p.m. on Sunday:

Provided that a shop may be open for the serving of customers on Sunday for the purposes of any transaction mentioned in Schedule (Transactions for the purposes of which a shop may be open in England and Wales for the serving of customers on Sunday after 1 p.m.) to this Act.

(2) Where the area or any part of the area of a local authority is a district which is frequented as a holiday resort during certain seasons of the year, the local authority may by order provide that on such Sundays as may be specified in the order shops or any class of shops, being shops situated in the district or in such part thereof as may be so specified, may, subject to such conditions and during such hours as may be so specified, be open for the serving of customers, provided that the Sundays specified in any such order shall not be more than eighteen in any year.

(3) Goods sold retail to a customer shall not be delivered or dispatched for delivery from a shop at any time when under the provisions of this section a customer could not be served with those goods in that shop:

Provided that this subsection shall not apply

  1. (a) on any Sunday being also Christmas Day; or
  2. (b) on any Sunday when the succeeding Monday is Christmas Day.

(4) Nothing in this section shall prevent the sale, dispatch or delivery of victuals, stores or other necessaries required by any person for a ship or aircraft on her arrival at, or immediately before her departure from, a port or aerodrome.

(5) The foregoing provisions of this section shall extend to any place where any retail trade or business is carried on as if that place were a shop, and as if in relation to any such place the person by whom the retail trade or business is carried on were the occupier of a shop.

(6) In the case of any contravention of any of the foregoing provisions of this section, the occupier of the shop shall be liable to a fine not exceeding—

  1. (a) in the case of a first offence, one hundred pounds;
  2. (b) in the case of a second offence, five hundred pounds;
  3. (c) in the case of a third or subsequent offence, one thousand pounds.

(7) A person who carries on the business of a shop, or carries on retail trade or business at any place not being a shop, on Sunday in accordance with the foregoing provisions of this section, shall not be deemed to commit an offence against any of the following enactments, namely

  1. (a) the Sunday Fairs Act 1448; or
  2. (b) the Act of the third year of His late Majesty King Charles the First, chapter three, for the further reformation of sundry abuses committed on the Lord's Day commonly called Sunday; or
  3. (c) the Sunday Observance Act 1677.

(8) This section shall not extend to Scotland.").

The noble Lord said: I beg to move Amendment No. 4 and, with the leave of the Committee, speak on Amendment No. 8 which is associated with Amendment No. 4. This Bill is concerned with shop hours. It tends to ignore completely the views and interests of both employers and employees. While there is a case for resisting domination by sectional interests, there is not and never has been a case for disregarding the points of view of those people who are most directly affected. In this case, it is the retailer and the shop-worker. These are the people whose views have been completely ignored.

The objections to this Bill from the chambers of commerce in the localities are just as strong as the objections from the trade unions. The employers are objecting just as strongly as the employees. After this House gave this Bill a Second Reading, the Retail Consortium, because it was so disturbed, immediately asked the Secretary of State to receive a deputation.

The retail consortium takes the view that before there is any change there should be an attempt to assess the consequences of the change. Surely that is reasonable. It also suggests that the best way of assessing the consequences of the change is to have an inquiry at which all parties are represented—that is, employers, employees and customers. I believe if that were done a satisfactory solution to this problem would be found, and it would be followed not by a Private Member's Bill but by Government legislation, which is the proper course for business of such public importance.

The consumer co-operative movement nine months ago came to the view that some kind of inquiry would inevitably be necessary within a very short time on the question of shop hours. It set up a study group to consider how best the interests of the consumer, the retailer and the shopworker could be reconciled; what possibilities there were of reconciliation in order that there was give and take to ail concerned, so that it was not one-sided. That study group reported in February. One of its most important recommendations, which has been accepted by the consumer cooperative movement, is this amendment which is now before the Committee.

The clause in this amendment is not new. It is taken from the 1950 Act and has been revised. This has been taken from Part IV of the 1950 Act and has been revised in order to bring it up to date and to give and take in such a way that there can be some kind of agreement. For example, subsection (1) is exactly as it is in Part IV of the 1950 Act except that the restrictions apply all day on a Sunday in that Act but in this amendment the restrictions will apply only after 1 p.m. That change is fundamental because it immediately eliminates a large part of the anomalies which have arisen. It means that on a Sunday morning a trader will be able to sell any goods. There will be no restrictions. If a customer went into a shop to purchase a newspaper and then decided to buy other items, he would not be told he could not buy something else. A customer would be able to buy anything up until 1 p.m. on a Sunday. That is the first change recommended by this amendment.

The second change is that we have looked at the schedule of transactions which are allowed on Sunday afternoons. This is the famous Schedule 7 to the 1950 Act. We have revised that schedule. Amendment No. 8 is the revised schedule of transactions which will be permitted on a Sunday afternoon. So far as we know we have eliminated all the anomalies which arose. For example, the schedule in the 1950 Act forbids the sale of fish and chips. But since 1950 there have been new developments such as Chinese take-away food shops. Consequently, it has been possible to purchase a Chinese take-away meal but not fish and chips. That is a clear anomaly and we have put that right. In that particular case, we have referred to ready-made meals on a take-away basis. That covers the lot.

Also in revising the schedule, we have brought it up to date. For example, we have tried to cater for the garden centre. The garden centre would up until one o'clock he able to sell everything, the same as any other trader. Up until one o'clock it would be able to sell those goods which made them a garden centre, but they would not be able to be a hardware shop as well—and that is what many of them are.

The exemption which is given here for Sunday afternoon sales is for, seeds, trees, plants, fertilisers and other chemicals or minerals used in gardening". This clearly covers the garden centre in the correct usage of the term.

Lord Sainsbury

May I interrupt? Does it logically and completely cover the garden centre when garden tools and accessories are not mentioned? This illustrates that it is almost impossible to produce a schedule which does not draw arbitrary lines.

Lord Jacques

What I said—and what I repeat—is this: if the garden centre also wants to be a hardware shop and a builders' merchants, it can be up until one o'clock on a Sunday. Similarly, the builders' merchants and hardware shop could open until one o'clock. After one o'clock the garden centre could only sell the goods indicated in the schedule.

The third change which has been made is in relation to holiday resorts. Under the present Act, the local authorities are given power to make orders in which they can authorise the sale of photographic materials, commodities needed for swimming and bathing, food and so on. That is a very limited range. This amendment gives local authorities power to make an order for a shop in that resort to sell everything it wants, but, during the holiday season, and the holiday season is taken to be as it is under the present law—18 Sundays a year—

Baroness Phillips

Would the noble Lord forgive me? Is there a definition of what is a holiday resort?

Lord Jacques

On that, we have retained the existing provisions of the present law: we have made no change. The fourth thing we have done, having improved the law to make it much more satisfactory, is to introduce fines for contravention of the law. Those fines are given in the amendment. I should like to say to those people who want seven-day free trading: you have to take into account the views of the retailer and the shop-worker, and by this amendment you are getting 93 per cent. of what you want. If this amendment is adopted we have free trade for 6½ days and on a time basis that is thirteen-fourteenths, or 93 per cent. So this amendment is conceding to those who want complete freedom for 7 days a week 93 per cent. of what they want.

We have also had from the consumer lobby agitation that we should be the same as Scotland. This amendment goes beyond the Scottish position. In Scotland at present you can have 6½ days' trading in the week, but you are subject to restrictions. On one day of the week you have to close at 9 o'clock and on the other days you have to close at 8 o'clock; so it is not completely free for 6½ days. But this amendment is giving complete freedom for Q, days without any restriction, and so it is going beyond the Scottish position. There is one point of difference. Whereas in Scotland at present the half-day for closing may be any day of the week, depending on where you are in Scotland, in this amendment in England and Wales the proposed half-day would be Sunday afternoon. Other than that, this amendment would give greater freedom than the law allows in Scotland.

There will be Members of this Committee who object to Sunday trading on either social or religious grounds, or both. I would say that we are with you in heart, but we believe this is the best way of doing it. If those who take that view act stubbornly and say: "No, we are going to have no change", eventually we shall reach the position where a free-for-all will be inflicted upon us whether we want it or not. We believe the best way is to be flexible and reasonable. Therefore, we suggest that the best way of avoiding the commercialisation of Sunday is to compromise, to have trading until 1 p.m. We believe that if there is trading until 1 p.m. only the small traders will be interested. There is no reason why the small traders should not be open to oblige the housewife until 1 p.m. if they want to. The multiples, the department stores and the hypermarkets would not be interested because of the closing at 1 p.m.

We believe that this amendment would avoid the commercialisation of Sunday. Let nobody tell me that we are unlikely to get the commercialisation of Sunday. After seeing what has happened in certain states in America, I am fairly certain that we would get it. There are towns in America where the sale starts at 2 p.m. on Sundays as a regular thing and the high streets are busier than they are on Saturdays. That commercialisation would be avoided by this amendment and I therefore commend it to your Lordships.

In addition, I would say that if the Bill goes down the corridor to the other place with this amendment embodied in it, it will be regarded for what it is—an honest attempt to compromise, to be flexible and to have a bit of give-and-take and reach an agreement which is giving something to everybody and is not just one-sided. Because it is an honest attempt at compromise, it may get more support than has been given to shop Bills over the past 20 years. But if the Bill goes along the corridor without this amendment or some similar amendment, then it will be regarded for what it is—an attempt by the consumer activist lobby to impose their view on the retail trade and on the community in general, whether they want it or not, and it will suffer the same fate as other Bills have suffered in the past 20 years. That is my case and I present it for the consideration of the Committee.

4.15 p.m.

Baroness Trumpington

Let me say at once that I greatly welcome the significant shift of opinion which is represented in the amendment which the noble Lord, Lord Jacques, has so ably and courteously moved. Until recently certain interests have been implacably opposed to any change in the present law about shop hours, and in particular about Sunday trading. I do not say that the noble Lord is a spokesman for all those interests, and I dare say that at least some of them are still implacably opposed. Nevertheless, I greatly welcome the acceptance, which is implicit in this amendment, of the idea that all shops in England and Wales should be allowed to open at least on Sunday mornings.

However, may I ask the noble Lord, Lord Jacques, with whom he has consulted? With regard to the opposition en bloc of chambers of commerce, he is, if I may say so, wrong because I have had consultations with, and the utmost support from, the Croydon Chamber of Commerce, for instance. My noble friend the Minister, following the original speech by the noble Lord, Lord Bishopston, really said it all with regard to consultation, from my point of view. However, I have carried out certain consultations of my own—of course I have—and I have consulted certain members of the different Churches. I have actually been telephoned by members of the Jewish faith and the retail trade, certainly; but it takes two to tango and I may say that USDAW has not seen fit to tango with me!

If, as I understand it to be the case, it is now the view of the Co-operative movement that shops should be allowed to open on Sunday mornings, that represents a considerable change of heart on their part, or at least it represents a public expression, for the first time so far as I know, of the acceptance of the idea of Sunday trading. It may well be that it deserves the accolade of that somewhat over-used epithet and should be called "a breakthrough". Although the amendment does not go quite so far as having the support of the shop workers' union, USDAW, it has what I might call the next best thing. Coming as it does from the noble Lord, Lord Jacques, it is a matter of the greatest consequence in the long battle for the reform of the shop hours law.

I am tempted to accept the compromise which is offered in the form of this amendment. It would certainly be a great improvement on the present position, and it could very well be that if the Bill goes through in its present form almost all shops who wish to trade on Sundays will open only on Sunday mornings and that their purposes—and, more importantly, those of their customers—would be met by a change in the law such as that represented by this amendment.

I wish therefore that I could accept the amendment, but I regret that I cannot. The reason is this: the whole principle on which this Bill is based is that it is not for Parliament, not for Ministers, not for councils, not for bureaucrats, not for consumer organisations or anybody else to dictate to shops when they are to open and when they are to close for trade. Ours is a free society—or it is meant to be—and unless there are powerful reasons why a person should not do what he wants to, then he should be allowed to do it. I simply do not see why the law should dictate to a shopkeeper, whether he likes it or not, that he must be closed on a Sunday afternoon. It is, in point of principle, just as inappropriate as dictating to him that he must be closed on a Sunday morning. We have no business at all to dictate to him. We wish to give to the shopkeepers of England and Wales the freedom and the opportunities which are already available to the shopkeepers of Scotland. That is the main reason why I am, with regret, unable to accept this amendment.

I now come on to consider some of the other provisions which are proposed by this amendment. The noble Lord puts forward a set of exemptions to the Sunday closing requirements, which are set out in the schedule. These have a sadly familiar look to them. It is true, as the noble Lord said, that some of the more glaring anomalies found in the Fifth Schedule to the 1950 Act have been removed, but many nonsenses remain. Let me point out just one or two. We start, as always, with intoxicating liquors. They always seem to rank first in any list of this kind. They are still there, and I congratulate the noble Lord, on agreeing that they should continue to be sold even on a Sunday afternoon. But I fail to see why they are singled out in preference, for instance, to tinned baby food. It will remain the law, under the noble Lord's proposals, that a mother may buy gin for herself but not tinned milk powder for her baby. This is one of the anomalies in the present law, which are highlighted by those who have campaigned for an end to the present abominable absurdities, and it will remain one, even if the matter is improved in the way that the noble Lord now proposes.

Then I see that the noble Lord proposes that there should be an exemption for, (e) products without which it would not be possible to keep a vehicle (including a caravan) on the road, with corresponding arrangements for aircraft and boats". That proposed exemption replaces one in the Fifth Schedule to the present Act, which states: (h) aircraft, motor, or cycle supplies or accessories". What do we make of that? It seems to me that the noble Lord wishes to introduce boats and caravans to the present list of privileged means of transport which may be serviced on Sundays. Fine, but what about bicycles? The noble Lord seems to have eliminated them altogether. I do not know whether the noble Lord has anything against bicycles, or whether they have been left out of the list by mistake. But at one fell swoop, your Lordships' freedom to buy a puncture repair kit or a cycle pump on a Sunday after 1 p.m. has vanished.

If you happen to be cycling to Evensong to listen to an inspiring sermon, then in such circumstances the noble Lord, Lord Jacques, proposes that it should become a crime for you to buy such a kit or such a pump, or even a new inner tube, after 1 p.m. on a Sunday, even though both you and the cycle shop wish to trade in this innocent way, and even though it is permitted under the present law. What are we to make of that? I rather thought that, with the energy crisis and the recession, bicycles were coming back into use again on a large scale. The noble Lord is doing little to encourage them with his amendment.

The new schedule of exemptions does something to improve the lot of garden centres, as the noble Lord said when he mentioned them. But if I am with my family at a garden centre on a summer afternoon and buy some seeds and fertiliser, why should the garden centre have suddenly changed its nature just because I am there at two minutes past one? I simply cannot understand it. Why also has the noble Lord omitted that much-maligned partly cooked tripe from his list? I could go on. I could easily attract a few cheap laughs by pointing out further anomalies in the noble Lord's list of exemptions, but I do not wish to do that.

The noble Lord has striven manfully, or should I say nobly?, to produce a sensible list of exemptions but it cannot be done. It is inherent in any list of exemptions of this kind that absurdities and anomalies will arise. It is one of the main reasons why I want to see them all swept away. The noble Lord, Lord Jacques, commands the greatest respect of all sides of this House, and outside this House as well. If he is unable to come up with a list of exemptions which make sense, which does not lend itself to the ridiculous, we then may safely conclude that it is beyond the wit of man to devise such a list. Therefore, I think we ought to conclude that the right course is to reject this approach altogether, and that is what the Bill does. I have not dealt with the other provisions in this amendment, but they are substantially to like effect. They tinker with the law where the bold approach is called for. With regret, therefore, I am unable to accept them.

Baroness Seear

When I hear that the employers and the trade unions are in agreement about something, I know that there is a snag in it and that somebody has to say that there is another interest which needs to be defended. The noble Lord, Lord Jacques, said that we need to have an inquiry. We have been pressing for changes in the Shops Acts for at least 20 years. They have had 20 years in which to have this inquiry, and it has not come.

The amendment moved by the noble Lord has a seductive look at first sight. There is an attraction in the idea of continuing only until midday on Sunday, although, having regard to what we were talking about on a previous amendment, if it was attendance at church services that people were concerned about we might say that shops should keep shut until one o'clock and open on Sunday afternoon. That would he quite a powerful argument if we were to divide Sunday. But there can be no doubt that the noble Baroness is right and that this, for all its seductive appearance, is a wrecking amendment. It cuts across the whole purpose of this Bill, which is to leave it to the decision of the shopkeeper and his employees whether they will keep open or not, and they will make a judgment as to what their consumers want. I should like to make the point that it should not be assumed in this discussion that, because some shops keep open, all the others will be forced to do so. That is not what will happen. As for the schedule, the noble Baroness has said enough. The schedule simply enshrines the old schedule touched up, or tarted up, here and there to make it look like 1982. We do not want schedules of this kind. They are a nonsense. I fear that we on these Benches cannot support the amendment.

4 27 pm

Lord Simon of Glaisdale

I venture to intervene on this new clause, because my first ministerial task was concerned with the 1957 Shops Bill—the abortive Bill. I then formed the view, from which I have never departed, that the present law is quite indefensible. It is riddled with anomaly; so riddled with anomaly that it is widely disregarded, and that brings the law generally into disrepute. Unfortunately, I could not attend the Second Reading of the noble Baroness's Bill, but I read the report of the debate with great interest and admiration. I noticed that the noble Lord, Lord Jacques, although apparently losing nothing of his strength of expression, showed a tendency to compromise; and this new clause is undoubtedly an attempt to compromise. I take with a pinch of salt his figure of 93 per cent. which he has conceded, because he is by that taking credit for such freedoms as are vouchsafed by the existing law. What he has done is to concede 50 per cent.

He rightly claims that his new clause gets rid of some of the anomalies. So it does. It gets rid of such of those anomalies as are shown by what happens in England and Wales before one o'clock. But after one o'clock, all the anomalies stand absolutely unimpaired. I was glad that the noble Baroness was not tempted by the noble Lord's blandishments to accept the amendment as a compromise. This Bill stands no chance, I fear, of passing into law this Session. No Government at this stage of a Parliament would risk touching sabbatarian opinion. So nothing is gained by yielding, as both noble Baronesses have pointed out, a whole mass of existing anomalies. That is my first reason for venturing to oppose this clause: that it perpetuates the anomalies which have brought the existing law, and thus the law generally, into disrepute.

My second reason is that it is quite unnecessary. That is shown if one looks at subsection (8) of the new clause. The new clause does not extend to Scotland. And rightly it does not extend to Scotland, because Scotland gets on perfectly well without a clause of this sort. When I was a Member of another place the most effective debater there was Aneurin Bevan. One of his most striking phrases was, "Why read the crystal when you can read the book?" As I read the Second Reading debate, the noble Lord, Lord Jacques, some other noble Lords and the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Norwich had looked into the crystal ball and had been horrified by what they saw there. What they saw were shops open 11 hours a day, seven days a week, shop assistants tied to the counters for all those hours, their trade union quite impotent to help them, and the co-operative having to follow suit and similarly ill-use their employees.

In addition to the employment aspect, what was also seen in the crystal ball was the disruption of family life: a woeful falling-off from the dignity, the cohesion and the stability which at the moment marks family life in England and Wales. Naturally the noble Lord and those others who looked into the crystal ball were repelled by what they saw. But if they had not looked into the crystal ball and instead had read the book of Scotland they would have seen that those phantasmagoria were quite unnecessary and non-existent.

All that the noble Baroness asks us to do by her Bill is to follow Scotland in a sensible law. Although, therefore, I recognise that the noble Lord put forward this new clause in a genuine spirit of compromise, I was glad that the noble Baroness would not accept it.

4.33 p.m.

Lord Underhill

To a number of noble Lords, particularly myself, this debate shows the difficulty which we are in. One recognises that there are anomalies, that the law is in disrepute and that therefore one needs to change it. But the more I hear some of the speeches the more I come to the conclusion that, if we can see anomalies in my noble friend's amendment, the position had better be left as it is.

The noble Baroness, Lady Trumpington, asked what right anybody has to interfere with the rights of shopkeepers and consumers. But do I want to see Ilford Broadway on a Sunday as it is on a Saturday, with all the surrounding streets chock-a-block with cars? Do not those people have an interest? They may not want to go to the shops and they may not be shopkeepers. Surely they have an interest in this. Similarly I made up my mind not to watch my local football team play on a Sunday, first because I have other things to do, and secondly because it affects all the surrounding streets. Residents surely have an interest, but nobody has mentioned their position.

It is argued that if we support the noble Baroness's Bill the changes will be very slight. Who can guarantee that? We are not passing a Bill just for 1982. We are passing it for 1987 or 1992. Gradually the shops will open and the character of Sunday trading will change. It has been mentioned that there may be inadequate protection for shopworkers. If we look at the reports of the number of workers at Foyle's who have been dismissed just for joining a trade union, I think we shall have to consider very carefully the position of any man or woman who says that for social or family reasons he or she does not wish to work on a Sunday. What will be their position? Surely people who do not wish to work on Sunday must be exempted.

One can argue against my noble friend's amendment and make jocular remarks about it, but either we find a way of amending my noble friend's amendment at another stage or noble Lords like me will be tempted to oppose the Bill because we believe that an extension of Sunday trading on the lines proposed by the noble Baroness will lead to a change of life. It will affect areas around the shops. We are not thinking just of the corner shop or of the village shop. We are thinking of a possible change in the large and even in the suburban shopping centres which will affect all the people living around those areas. They must be considered.

Lord Milverton

I should like to support the noble Lord, Lord Jacques. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Underhill, that if the amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Jacques, cannot be agreed to, we should oppose the Bill, for the reasons which the noble Lord, Lord Underhill, gave. Surely there ought to be one day in the week when a man and a woman need not think of money-making. That is one reason why I support the noble Lord, Lord Jacques. As the noble Lord, Lord Underhill, said, unless we are careful, Sunday will become just another money-making day. I know that there have to be gas and electricity, but surely one ought to try to keep to a minimum the supply of such necessary services. This is one day in the week which ought to be kept apart for worship and for healthy recreation.

4.38 p.m.

Lord Harris of High Cross

May I express regret that the noble Baroness, Lady Macleod of Borve, and the noble Baroness, Lady Gardner of Parkes, do not appear to be intending to take part in the debate. I would not claim to he a very good substitute for either, let alone for both of the noble Baronesses. They spoke on Second Reading as housewives and as Christians who are concerned with attending church but as people who saw no necessary conflict between that and the removal of restrictions on shopping. I find myself in an identical position. I always find it more convenient to go to morning service at my church. After the 10.30 service, and lingering over some fellowship and coffee, I would not derive any advantage from the concession offered by the noble Lord, Lord Jacques. It may give somebody else 50 per cent. of freedom, but it would deny me 100 per cent. of my freedom to go shopping with my family on a Sunday afternoon.

There are all kinds of circumstances in which that might be a sensible and harmonious activity.

I applaud the noble Lord, Lord Sainsbury, who intervened to point out that as soon as you begin to draw lines you throw up anomalies. There are a whole variety of ways in which each of us might wish to specify particular exemptions and make a strong case for them, but it is a preposterous thing to keep on making distinctions between days of the week and hours of the day. If one looks at the amendment and the schedule, there are real problems. The noble Baroness, Lady Macleod of Borve, pointed out that bazaars on a Sunday are particularly well attended, and bazaars are usually held in the afternoon. We find that after one o'clock, under the schedule, non-profit making sales are allowed, which might include bazaars—but only sales of second-hand goods. However, there are bring-and-buy stalls and tombolas which are not confined to offering alcoholic refreshment but also such items as a bottle of tomato ketchup. I forget what the fine was in the earlier part of the amendment, but there would be a substantial fine for including tomato ketchup in the tombola at a church bazaar after one o'clock on a Sunday.

I pointed out at Second Reading that a great example had been set by the noble Duke, the Duke of Bedford, and the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, by opening their country homes throughout the week, and throughout the year in some cases, to provide a remarkable opportunity for family outings. Visits to Woburn and Hatfield House are a great delight for people living in north London, as I do. Associated with those visits are a variety of shops and stalls. It would be preposterous to have people going round with lists of what it might he permitted to sell after one o'clock, or what it was forbidden to sell after that time. I argued at Second Reading, as I do now, that it is better to leave it to Dukes and other tradespeople to decide when it will suit them to have customers and to ply their mutually beneficial trade.

The noble Baroness, Lady Gardner of Parkes, pointed out during her speech at Second Reading, from her great experience as a shopper, that one shop—I believe it was Whiteleys, a furniture shop—might have been saved if it had been allowed to open during times forbidden under the old law, but had gone out of business. Another noble Lord, who is not with us today, declared an interest in garden centres and pointed out that the law allowed the sale of plants but prohibited the sale of decorative pots in which to put them; or allowed the sale of trees but forbade the sale of a spade with which to plant the tree. This Bill exactly reproduces many of these dilemmas. I applaud the noble Lord, Lord Jacques, for his readiness to make concessions, which obviously he would have been reluctant to do at an earlier stage. I hope he will take comfort from the experience of the noble Lord, Lord Simon of Glaisdale, who said that, if one looks into the record of Scotland and indeed of France, where I have travelled a certain amount in visiting my family, one does not find that Sunday becomes just another Saturday, which is one of the noble Lord's refrains.

Lord Jacques

If the noble Lord, Lord Harris of High Cross, will kindly give way, I should like to make it clear that Scotland is quite different from England and Wales so far as shopping is concerned Apart from two or three large towns, Scotland is a series of small towns and villages. The multiples are not established in Scotland as they are in England and Wales. The outcome of this Bill would be entirely different in England and Wales from what it would be in Scotland; it would be more like what happened in America.

Lord Harris of High Cross

I have lived some of my life in Scotland, in Edinburgh and Kirkcaldy, and I was not even aware that the Shops Act was different in that country from that of England, with which I am more familiar. Returning to Scotland, I gather that there has recently been a development, particularly in Glasgow and Edinburgh, where some of the large shops have opened on Sundays just before Christmas. Again, this provides an opportunity for many families to go shopping together. Not every shop opened; some shops opened but others stuck to their guns and did not open. The argument that it has to be "all or nothing" and a free-for-all, with the abandonment of any kind of restraint, is not one that is fulfilled in experience. I urge the noble Lord to consider whether the logic and coherence of a simple Bill to repeal these old and discredited statutes, which the noble Baroness, Lady Trumpington, is proposing, should be marred by an effort to bring back bit by bit some of the old anomalies and whether, in the words of the noble Lord, Lord Simon of Glaisdale, we should say that we can rid ourselves of anomalies until one o'clock but restore the full effect of them after that time.

4.46 p.m.

Lord Young of Dartington

The noble Lord, Lord Jacques, did not seem to me to speak in the warmest possible terms about the consumer activist lobby, which is what he thought it right to call it. Speaking on behalf of that lobby—and on this question, I believe that I can speak for the Consumers' Association and for the National Consumer Council—I should like to express my gratitude to the noble Lord, Lord Jacques, for the sign of movement that there has been on his part. I should like to support what the noble Baroness, Lady Trumpington, has already said in expressing her gratitude to the noble Lord, Lord Jacques, and those who are with him on this point. It does represent a considerable advance. In one way, one could say that the Co-operative Movement (and we hope that the noble Lord, Lord Jacques, speaks for the Co-operative Movement) is not now going to regard Sunday trading as wholly wrong, but only wrong in the afternoons. Although that might not seem, on the face of it, such a large advance, it seems to me that, if a change in the law of this kind was made, the people of this country would find shopping a good deal easier, and would feel more sure about where they stood.

Even so, and even after expressing this gratitude to the noble Lord, Lord Jacques, I should like to urge him to go further than he has been prepared to go in the past few weeks (though that is a good way) and urge him to go the whole way, as a means of removing the anomalies about which we have heard so much. The noble Baroness, Lady Trumpington, gave us a list of the anomalies as they will again stand, even under the proposals made by the noble Lord, Lord Jacques. There has been some tidying up in the schedule to this Bill, but I fear—and I believe other noble Lords would agree with me—that in tidying up some of the anomalies, there is introduced a major new anomaly related to the queston of time. This major new anomaly will, I fear, act only to bring the law further into disrepute. It is something that I hope we would all be very much against.

Imagine the situation in a general store in a village, a town or part of any of our cities on a typical Sunday morning. It is getting near the critical and crucial hour of one o'clock. People may have their radios on. Big Ben strikes. The father says to his wife, "Good Heavens! What can we do now? Can we sell tinned food, now that it is after one o'clock? "No, we cannot. But can we sell fresh food? Yes, I think we can. Go and look at the schedule to the Bill. Bring it down and let us have a close look at it, to make sure what we can and cannot do". As the noble Lord, Lord Sainsbury said, if it was a shop that sold seeds, it would not be allowed to sell spades. Before one o'clock, perfectly all right; after one o'clock not.

All these anomalies that are present anyway in the law at the moment, and would be there even under the law as amended, would in some ways be made more grievous just because there is a new time limit on what can be done and what cannot be done. I think the people of this country would find it even more difficult to understand the good sense in a law which allowed anything to be sold before one o'clock and then only what would appear to most people to be an arbitrary list of certain things to be sold after one o'clock. All these exemptions and time limits and so on seem to me to show that in this kind of partial, compromise amendment to the law there can be no reliance upon principle, and if there cannot be reliance upon principle retailers will be confused, the police will be confused and certainly members of the consuming public will be confused.

The only sound principle we can act upon is that of freedom: freedom of shopkeepers and shop assistants to decide when they want to open, whether on Sundays or not, and freedom for consumers to buy where and when shopkeepers are willing to sell to them. Scotland, as we have heard, has already observed this principle, with no great harm but only good to the consuming public. It seems to me right that we should now rely on the principle that should have been there long ago, which now, if Lady Trumpington's Bill is supported and this amendment is rejected, will be the principle upon which the law will be based.

4.53 p.m.

Lord Lucas of Chilworth

May I speak for a moment against this amendment. which I see as being very much a two-edged weapon. The noble Lord, Lord Jacques, attempts to give with the one hand and rapidly takes away with the other in the terms of his schedule. r really cannot believe for one minute that the disaster which he foresees is likely to happen. I cannot see either that there is likely to be any conflict between an employed person and his employer. May I remind the Committee that I ran petrol stations for some years and I had to work on a Sunday because my staff liked to go to church or do other things. Other people came in in the afternoon. That kind of work, indeed the kind of work likely to be offered in the smaller shops, is going to appeal to those who want part-time work. The part-time worker comes from all walks of life—socio-economic groups I think they are now called. Sometimes it is for need of additional money and sometimes the need to get out and do something they think useful.

I find myself quite surprised that the noble Lord, Lord Beswick, in his remarks on the earlier amendment, and also in the same vein the noble Lord, Lord Underhill, both seemed to reject change. I find that totally remarkable: on the one hand, the noble Lord, Lord Beswick, involved so heavily as he has been in industry and commerce, the failure of which is because we will not make change. Then the noble Lord, Lord Underhill, who has been so involved with work and workpeople and opportunities, does not want the change in Sunday trading throughout all the range of goods, be it liquor or tea, be it porno magazines or bibles, be it petrol or bicycles; that that opportunity should not be given to enterprising shopkeepers. If the shopkeeper cannot employ the people he will not open; if the customers do not come he closes his business; he is not going to just stay open unless he sells something.

So far as the area is concerned and the reduction in the standard of life, what a lot of nonsense that is! We live in a real world, where all sorts of things should and do happen. If the streets surrounding these residents become totally congested on a Sunday there are adequate resources open to the local authority to stop that. The anomalies that any schedule will produce will always exist; you have really got to get rid of it. You either want enterprise, the job opportunity that such enterprise brings, or you go back to the totally unsatisfactory state which has existed for the 20 years we have been talking about it, and before that. Let me remind your Lordships that most prosecutions come about as a result of an informer; trading standards officers do not want to work all the days and so there has to be rostering to cover the matter. You would get rid of all that aggravation. I think the noble Lord, Lord Jacques, has sweetly proposed a return to the old days, in contradiction to the ideals that my noble friend Lady Trumpington sets down in offering this Bill.

Lord Beswick

I really fail to see why the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, should think that because I want one quiet day a week I am against change. Of course I am in favour of all sorts of change. I have been involved in one industry most of my life which has possibly seen more change than most others. But I want industrial change so that we can improve the quality of life. I do not think this sort of change is going to improve the quality of life. I think we should consider very carefully before we follow the noble Baroness, Lady Trumpington, and the right honourable gentleman the Member for Hillhead any further down this permissive road.

I am bound to say I was almost tempted to engage in debate with my noble friend Lord Harris, whom I am pleased to see back, about the merits of stimulating eight o'clock communion as against the rather lazy 10.30 eucharist that he apparently favours. I will not pursue that. I do not understand why, if he wants to go to church on Sunday morning, he should still say it has got to be noisy in the afternoon as well.

I have been worried by the way this debate has gone, because I think we are tempted to get too clever about compromises. It is so easy to be funny about selling ketchup at five minutes past one as against 12.55. I was amazed when noble Lords started talking so cleverly and wittily about the implications of a six o'clock or eight o'clock closure. A lot of the best things in life have arisen from the fact that we have said: "So far and no further; we can go to a certain time but we do not want to go any further."

I was going to rise earlier because I wanted to pay tribute to the wonderfully reasoned speech of the noble Baroness, Lady Trumpington. For half of her speech I thought she was going to give way and I was feeling very warmly disposed towards her. Then she advanced some most extraordinary reasons for being against the amendment. I look at the noble Baroness, whom I have always regarded as being a pillar of conservatism, and I wonder how far she is now prepared to go. She herself said she could go even further. I do not know quite in what direction. She said not for her, or not for the Government, not for any law should shopkeepers be restricted; it was not for the Government, it was not for the law makers to say how we should behave. I wonder if she really means that. We might as well say to boxers in the ring that it is not for the referee to say how they should knock each other out. Surely we must have some type of rules if we are to have anything approaching a civilised life?

If the noble Baroness gets the Bill through, is she going to abolish all licensing laws'? Apparently she will have the support of the Social Democratic Party, because they hate to think that anything should be wrong at 10 minutes past 10 when it was legal at 10 minutes to 10. Is the noble Baroness going to embark upon a crusade in that connection? What about safety legislation? When we get going down this slope, why should we have all these rules and regulations even if they do involve safety? I know that there is a difference. But I am telling the noble Lord, Lord Lucas of Chilworth, that once we get going down this slope it will be very difficult to hold up.

Lord Lucas of Chilworth

I think that the noble Lord is perhaps a little unfair in looking at me, because I was smiling at the way in which he had taken out of context what my noble friend had said.

Lord Beswick

If I have done so and if I have misrepresented what the noble Baroness said, then I am sorry. But it seemed to me that the noble Baroness was making a very powerful case in the second half of her speech for a complete free-for-all in our economy and our society. I am venturing to say that, if we pursue that course, then we shall have cause to regret it. My noble friend Lord Jacques has come forward with a compromise. Anybody who brings forward a compromise can he criticised for inconsistency—he can have one matter played off against him by another. I know that there is a difficulty for a "compromiser". However, I think that it is a sincere compromise that he is putting forward and, although I have hitherto voiced the opinion of being against any movement along the lines suggested in these amendments, I would support the amendment and I hope that the Committee will support it. If we do not support it, I hope that will be the final reason for not accepting the Bill at all.

Lord Somers

A great deal has been said about the matter of making compromises. I think that we must all realise that some compromises are absolutely inescapable. If one lives alone or without any domestic staff, for instance, one must take into consideration the fact that that one has to do one's ordinary cooking and cleaning and so on, on Sundays. In the far distant days when I was a professional organist, one's chief work came on a Sunday. None the less, I think that one can accept those compromises and yet keep the feeling of Sunday being different from other days, and preserve the feeling of the sanctity, as it were, of the Sabbath in spite of making these, on the surface, compromises.

Lord Jacques

I am hoping that this might be the time to close this debate. I have a whole sheaf of notes which would allow me to reply to the debate, but quite frankly I think that your Lordships have all made up your minds as to whether you are going to vote for or against. I suggest that we take the vote and I therefore invite the Committee to divide.

5.4 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 4) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 46; Not-Contents, 118.

Division No. 1
Beswick, L. Kearton, L.
Blease, L. Kinloss, Ly.
Blyton, L. Listowel, E.
Boston of Faversham, L. Longford, E.
Briginshaw, L. McCarthy, L.
Brockway, L. Milverton, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L. Molloy, L.
Bruce of Donington, L. Oram, L.
Cledwyn of Penhros, L. Peart, L.
Collison, L. Robertson of Oakridge, L.
Cooper of Stockton Heath, L. Ross of Marnock, L.
Darling of Hillsborough, L. Shinwell, L.
David, B. Stewart of Alvechurch, B.
Davies of Leek, L. Stone, L.
Davies of Penrhys, L. Strauss, L.
Ewart-Biggs, B. Taylor of Mansfield, L.
Fisher of Rednal, B. Underhill, L. [Teller]
Gaitskell, B. Wallace of Coslany, L.
Hanworth, V. Wedderburn of Charlton, L.
Ingleby, V. Wells-Pestell, L.
Irving of Dartford, L. White, B.
Jacques, L. [Teller] Wilson of Radcliffe, L.
John-Mackie, L. Wynne-Jones, L.
Airey of Abingdon, B. Daventry, V.
Alexander of Tunis, E. Davidson, V.
Ampthill, L. Denham, L.
Ardwick, L. Drumalbyn, L.
Avon, E. Ebbisham, L.
Aylestone, L. Ellenborough, L.
Banks, L. Elliot of Harwood, B.
Belhaven and Stenton, L. Evans of Claughton, L.
Bellwin, L. Foot, L.
Beloff, L. Fortescue, E.
Belstead, L. Fraser of Kilmorack, L.
Bessborough, E. Gainsborough, E.
Blake, L. Gibson-Watt, L.
Bridgeman, V. Gladwyn, L.
Cathcart, E. Glasgow, E.
Cockfield, L. Glenkinglas, L.
Colwyn, L. Gormanston, V.
Cottesloe, L. Grey, E.
Cowley, E. Gridley, L.
Cullen of Ashbourne, L. Haig, E.
Hailsham of Saint Perry of Walton, L.
Marylebone, L. Porritt, L.
Halsbury, E. Portland, D.
Harris of Greenwich, L. Rankeillour, L.
Harris of High Cross, L. Rawlinson of Ewell, L.
Hayter, L. Reigate, L.
Henley, L. Renton, L.
Hives, L. Richardson, L.
Home of the Hirsel, L. Robbins, L.
Howie of Troon, L. Romney, E.
Hunt, L. St. Davids, V.
Hylton-Foster, B. Sandford, L.
Ilchester, E. Sandys, L.
Jeger, B. Seear, B.
Killearn, L. Seebohm, L.
Kilmarnock, L. Sempill, Ly.
Kimberley, E. Sharples, B.
Lloyd of Hampstead, L. Shepherd, L.
Lloyd of Kilgerran, L. Simon of Glaisdale, L.
Lothian, M. Spens, L.
Lucas of Chilworth, L. Stanley of Alderley, L.
Lyell, L. Stedman, B.
McAlpine of Moffat, L. Strathcona and Mount
Mackintosh of Halifax, V. Royal, L.
[Teller] Strathspey, L.
Mancroft, L. Swinfen, L.
Margadale, L. Terrington, L.
Marley, L. Tordoff, L.
Massereene and Ferrard, V. Trefgarne, L.
Mersey, V. Trenchard, V.
Monk Bretton, L. Trumpington, B [Teller]
Monson, L. Tweedsmuir, L.
Mountevans, L. Vaux of Harrowden, E.
Mowbray and Stourton, L. Vivian, L.
Newall, L. Wakefield of Kendal, L.
Northchurch, B. Ward of Witley, V.
Northfield, L. Winstanley, L.
Nugent of Guildford, L. Wootton of Abinger, B.
Orkney, E. Young, B.
Orr-Ewing, L. Young of Dartington, L.
Pender, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

5.14 p.m.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Baroness Wootton of Abinger)

I have to point out to the Committee that if Amendment No. 5 is agreed to, I shall not be able to call Amendment No. 6.

Clause 2 [Short title, commencement and extent]:

Baroness Trumpington moved Amendment No. 5:

Page 1, line 12, leave out subsection (2) and insert— ("(2) This Act shall come into force on such day as the Secretary of State may appoint by order made by statutory instrument; and different days may be appointed for different provisions of this Act and for different purposes of the same provision.").

The noble Baroness said: This amendment substitutes different commencement provisions for those provided in the Bill. At present Clause 2(2) provides that the Bill is to come into force one month from the day on which it is passed. This may be too swift. Instead, it will now be provided that the Bill, when it becomes an Act, shall: come into force on such day as the Secretary of State may provide by order made by statutory instrument", and he can make parts of it come into force at different times if he wants to.

This reason is as follows: under the Shops Act 1950 there are various sets of regulations which have effect for various purposes. Some of these were made under parts of the Act which are now to be repealed. Other regulations were made under parts of the Act which are to be retained, and these may well need some adaptation to meet the new situation. Those arising under the parts to be repealed will have to be revoked. All this may take a little time to work out. A certain amount of consultation will be necessary before the new regulations can be prepared. Until they are ready, the existing law ought to continue in force before the day arrives when shops are first able to open as they want, which is the purpose of the Bill. All the necessary tidying up, not only to primary legislation, but to subordinate legislation, will have to be attended to. I very much hope that there will be no undue delay in bringing the Act into force on this account, and I accept the necessity of delegating to the Home Secretary the power to bring the new provisions into force without tying him down to naming a date. I beg to move.

Lord Bishopston

I speak briefly, to say that I think the Committee will welcome this change of view from "one month" at present in the Bill. I hope that it also affords more time for consultation with all those who may be affected by the subsequent changes.

Baroness Seear

We on these Benches also welcome this amendment. One month was undoubtedly too short for consultation. This is a great improvement.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 6 not moved.]

Clause 2, as amended, agreed to.

Baroness Trumpington moved Amendment No. 7:

After Clause 2, insert the following new Schedule—


1950 c. 28 Shops Act 1950. In section 21(8), the words "and Part III of this Act".
In section 22—
(a)in subsection (3), the words from "by virtue of" to "sixty-two";
(b) subsection (5); and
(c) in subsection (6), the second sentence.
In section 44(2), the words "Save as aforesaid" and "Part I or".
In section 45, the words "Part I or".
In section 46, the words "I or".
In section 69(1), paragraphs(b)to (d) and, in paragraph (e), the words "Part I" and "Part III".
In section 71—
(a) in subsection (1), the words from "and of" to "those provisions" and the words "and such orders as afore said"; and
(b) in subsection (7)(b), the words "or Part IV".
In section 74(1), the definition of "butcher's
meat", "closing order", "early closing day". "general closing hours" and "Kosher meat".
Schedule 1.
Schedule 2.
Schedules 4 to 7.
1963 c. 33. London Government Act 1963. Section 51(3).
1969 c. 48. Post Office Act 1969. In Schedule 4, in paragraph 51, the words from "Schedule 2" to "on Sunday)".
1971 c. 23. Courts Act 1971. In Schedule 9, in Part I, the entry relating to the Shops Act 1950.
1972 c. 71. Criminal Justice Act 1972. Section 31.
1977 c. 49. National Health Service Act 1977. In Schedule 14, in paragraph 13(1)(b), the words "and 57";
1980 c. xi. West Midlands County Council Act 1980. Section 88.
1981 c. xvii. Greater London Council (General Powers) Act 1981. Section 20. Schedule 3.")

The noble Baroness said: I have already spoken to this amendment and, therefore, I move it formally.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 8 not moved.]

House resumed: Bill reported with the amendments.