HL Deb 29 March 1994 vol 553 cc1001-52

4.16 p.m.

House again in Committee on Clause 1 and Schedule 1.

Viscount Tonypandy

This is a major occasion in the life of this place. We are not deciding a small matter today, but one of considerable importance. When I listened to the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury speaking on behalf of the Church of this land, I was deeply moved because the question of having one day set apart from all the rest does, as the most reverend Primate indicated, go right back to the Ten Commandments. Throughout history, in each land, people have sought a day upon which to respect their faith. The Moslems, how seriously they take their faith and how they honour it. We respect those who honour their faith. So this applies to other faiths.

This is a Christian land. I listened to the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh of Haringey, and he reduced this major issue to trivia: whether one could buy nappies on a Sunday. We are considering how this country will go in the future. These are days when iconoclasts are busy tearing down values that our fathers have respected. I know that the world is always changing; but at present we are in danger of digging up the very foundations upon which we have established the type of society that we have in this land. Inconsistencies about Sunday! Of course there are inconsistencies; but similar inconsistencies arise out of almost every piece of legislation that comes through this place.

I listened with deep gratitude to the clear way in which the Minister outlined the options before us; but he did not make a recommendation on behalf of the Government. I want to say only that everyone who loves this country must be anxious about falling standards. Everyone who is proud to belong to these islands must feel uneasy about events and developments that are taking place. Sunday is a symbol that we have a faith. It is one of the remaining symbols that we are a people with obligations to God Almighty.

I know that there have been 29 debates in another place and here. I have taken part in every one of them. The noble Lord warned us not to repeat ourselves. I hope that he will not mind me saying in his presence that it was a bit neat of him to tell us not to repeat what we have said previously and then to proceed to do that very thing himself. However, that is by the way. Having listened to him, I realise how hostile he is to the whole idea of us keeping Sunday special as a different day.

Are we in this House to give a signal to the rest of the nation that what we believe does not matter any more? What we believe makes us what we are. Our faith is a measurement of the kind of people we are arid the values, that guide our society. If we support the present proposal, which amounts to total deregulation—.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter

No, no.

Viscount Tonypandy

Yes, it does. The: people who have been breaking the law for ages will be allowed to open for six hours. Now we are to reward them by making their illegal conduct legal. If we give a signal to the nation that Sunday does not count any more, we shall make it all the harder for those who are struggling to train our young to have the right values.

I hear a noble Lord speaking; as a rule I am not put off but perhaps it is my age. I too have received many letters. I grew up in a believing home and that made all the difference to me. I do not hide from the Committee the fact that we were a poor family. We did not have money but we had love and values. That all sprang from the New Testament and from the Christian belief of my mother. Therefore, when I receive letters from people outside begging me to vote today to protect Sunday, of course I am moved.

One of our major London retailers, who has kept his shop closed on Sundays, has written to me. His concluding paragraph reads: It must be remembered that this matter was brought to the fore by the activities of those companies who in the last couple of years have committed criminal offences week after week by opening on Sundays". There is no great public demand. It is no good Members of the Committee saying that there is a public uprising to have shops open on Sundays. It is not true. I am as much in touch with public opinion, at least in the part of the world where I live, and I move around a fair amount. People are not clamouring to change the situation; in fact, they enjoy the weekends. It is an occasion for the family, whether or not they go to worship. People like the chance of a day for fellowship and they like it to be different from every other day.

I resume my seat with these words, which I repeat from a previous debate. It was not the Second Reading because I was in the sunshine on that day. I remember saying previously in this Chamber that on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with a Government who are proposing to deregulate hours, the shops can be open until all hours. Why should we spoil the one big remaining symbol of the faith in which we have put our trust?

I support the Keep Sunday Special Campaign. I did not need the noble Lord's advice; I shall keep Sunday special. I have been nurtured that way arid so have more than 5 million people who every Sunday make their way to the churches of this land. This House has an opportunity to ask another place to think again—that is all—and to send the Bill back. The provision was passed with a narrow majority—just 18 votes—and it will change everything. The Minister said, "We want to come to a decision". We have come to a decision 29 times. Of course, the final decision will be when shops are open every day and after that Ministers will consider the matter closed. I hope and pray that the Committee will make it 30 times and will hold on to what our fathers gave to us.

Lord Hailsham of Saint Marylebone

Perhaps I may make a slightly different point from that which we have heard. I keep Sunday special and I shall continue to keep Sunday special. I am a Christian and I shall remain a Christian whatever the result of the debate. I was a little surprised to hear the most reverend Primate say that it was our English Sunday of which he was so proud.

I receive letters as well as the noble Viscount, Lord Tonypandy. I have received a letter about this matter from someone in Glasgow. It was written by a pious Christian who asked what I thought about the desecration of the Lord's day and whether he could quote me. I said, "I think two things. The first is that it does not apply to Scotland. The second is that if I were asked which was the most sabbatarian country in Europe I should certainly say that it was Scotland". I draw from that the conclusion that the keeping of Sunday special has more to do with conscience and popular culture than with the secular law of this land. We in England, to whom the Bill alone applies, ought to have a little respect for our companions across the Border, who have no effective sabbatarian legislation but who keep Sunday a great deal more special than we do.

Lord Murray of Epping Forest

I understand the arguments of those who seek total deregulation; for instance, my noble friend Lord McIntosh. However, I find it difficult to understand that, in the name of consumer choice, which has been bandied about in this debate, a small group of superstores—which, if one looks at the shopping centre in my small town, have done more than anyone to wreck consumer choice—are seeking to elevate the debate to a level of moral imperative and to persuade us to go down their particular road.

I am less interested in considering consumer choice as in reflecting on the position of minority groups which will be affected by the decision. I refer to those who live near shops and whose life will be made hideous on this seventh day of the week, those who try to run small shops and churchgoers who seek to keep churches open so that those who never go to church can do so when they want their babies baptised, to be married or to be buried. Of course, shopkeepers are still a minority group.

I wish to address my remarks particularly to the question of shopworkers. We are told that it will be all right and that we should not bother because they will be well protected by the legislation. The Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers has announced that the Shopping Hours Reform Council employers are prepared to go even further. The Bill provides certain protections for existing shopworkers and for those who become employed by that industry.

As no doubt most noble Lords have done, I have had a look at the provisions of the Bill and the undertakings. My advice to shopworkers is that they should think very carefully and look that particular horse closely in the mouth. I agree with Dr. Deakin, fellow of Peterhouse, at the University of Cambridge, and Professor Ewing, Professor of Public Law at the University of London, that any employee who relies on the provisions of the Bill is likely to be very disappointed. They point out that there is no obligation whatever on an employer to consult the staff or their union about whether or not to open or close on a Sunday, and that employers can pay opting-out employees on a differentially lower basis, if they wish to do so. They point out that the sanctions available to a victimised employee are inadequate in terms of the complexity of putting a case before an industrial tribunal and the onus being upon an employee to prove that the reason for his dismissal or detrimental treatment was his refusal to work on a Sunday.

It does not stop there. An employer can get rid of his obligations by buying out the employee. That is quite legal under the Bill. There are many ways in which an unscrupulous employer—of which this industry is full —can evade the provisions of the Bill. He can just sack the employee and take the consequences. Even if the employee goes to a tribunal and wins the case, he will receive minimal compensation. His chances of reinstatement are one in a hundred. Who would want to be reinstated in a shop owned by such an employer? Meanwhile, the rest of the staff will have seen what happens, and at minimal cost the employer will have created apprehension among his staff. If anyone doubts that scenario let him consider the case of Mr. Phillips, a supervisor in the Byrite chain. Last year he was given one hour to sign a contract that made Sunday a normal working day. Mr. Phillips was advised that he should reconsider his future in retailing if he refused to sign.

It is worth emphasising that the Bill and its so-called protections apply only to shopworkers and not to all the other groups of workers who will inevitably be affected by shops opening on Sundays. I refer to the police, refuse collectors, traffic wardens and maintenance workers. The list is inexhaustible.

It is not surprising that USDAW has been disappointed by the failure of the House of Commons to adopt amendments to improve the Bill. But they tell us that they have received certain undertakings from a group of employers about the continuation of premium rates of pay to Sunday employees, undertakings about the requirement on employees to give only one month's notice to opt out and undertakings in relation to the treatment of employees who exercise their right to opt out of working on Sundays.

I ask noble Lords to look at the limited nature of those undertakings. First, this is not a signed agreement with the union but a unilateral declaration of intent by a group of employers. Secondly, the undertakings do not embody the guaranteed double time that USDAW has demanded. There is no guarantee of the continued payment of premium rates. The employers say that they will only deviate from this"— i.e., the payment of premium rates— if there is a significant change in the circumstances in which retail work is rewarded". That gives the employers a unilateral right to terminate premium payments. They will do it merely "after appropriate consultation", not by agreement with the union. Thirdly, if an employee exercises his or her right to opt out after giving notice the employer will, use his/her best endeavour to reschedule the employee's lost working hours elsewhere, subject to the needs of the business". The expressions "best endeavour" and "subject to the needs of the business" are hardly copper-bottomed undertakings; they are more like a colander. Fourthly, these undertakings relate only to a minority of employees—those who work in shops—and not at all to employees in related occupations outside retailing. As far as I can gather, they do not even apply to supervisors or managers who work in shops.

I have no doubt whatever that those employers are honourable men. Indeed, they have very honestly put their reservations on the face of the declaration. Equally, I have no doubt that the deputy general secretary of USDAW is an honourable man who has done the best for his members in obtaining those undertakings. In his public statements he has put the best possible gloss on them that he can, and I do not criticise him for that. Many of us have had to do the same, even when the best that we can achieve is not terribly good. I am sure that the undertakings are better than nothing but I do not believe that they go very far. Certainly, they do not go further than the minority of employers who make up the Shopping Hours Reform Council. Less scrupulous employers in the industry will be laughing. Say's law will work here like everywhere else. The bad currency drives out the good. I used to think of that as Sainsbury's law in the days when Sainsbury's, under the leadership of the noble Lord Lord Sainsbury, was in the lead in the defence of wages councils. Where were the other members of the Shopping Hours Reform Council then? What will be the status of these undertakings when the heat is put on them by unscrupulous employers in the industry? One union of all the unions has secured this declaration of intent. However, other unions and their members will most certainly be affected.

I conclude by reminding those of your Lordships who may he considering attaching more importance to these undertakings than they warrant that one of the main purposes of the 1950 Act—and the main concerns of your Lordships when the last Bill was thrown out—was the protection of employees in the industry. That is not the only reason, or perhaps not the main reason, for resisting the proposals that have been put forward by the handful of major shopping chains represented on the Shopping Hours Reform Council. But the interests of shopworkers and other workers can best be protected by rejecting this essay in deregulation and voting to keep Sunday still special.

Baroness Jay of Paddington

Perhaps I may ask a question of my noble friend before he sits down. Does he agree with me that, although USDAW has rightly been unhappy with some of the provisions for the protection of shopworkers made in another place, and they and, I hope, he and I will support amendments in this House to strengthen shopworker protection, nonetheless that union has recommended to Members of your Lordships' House that they vote for the six-hour option as it stands?

Lord Murray of Epping Forest

What my noble friend says is absolutely true. On the other hand, UNISON—the second biggest union in the country, which is concerned about the knock-on effect on its members —firmly recommends that your Lordships support keeping Sunday special.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter

I differ from the noble Viscount, Lord Tonypandy, always with unwillingness and diffidence. As Members of the Committee heard, he is not only a most eloquent speaker but, if he will allow me to say so to his face, he is also a very good man and one who is an example to us all. However, with respect, in the course of his very eloquent speech he really exaggerated the issue a great deal. The noble Viscount seemed to suggest that to allow Sunday opening of shops would be to go back on some of the major elements in the Christian faith. Speaking also as a Christian—and, indeed, in a much humbler way as a churchwarden—I really cannot accept that that is so.

As Members of the Committee know, shops are in an all but unique position. Almost every other activity is permitted on Sunday. It is virtually only in the retail trade where it is a criminal offence to open a shop except: with certain statutory and rather complicated exceptions. For the rest, you can, for example, open an office and there are people who work in continuous process industries. In passing, I should point out that I was one-time chairman of a cement making firm which is a continuous process industry. The only problem I had was with workers who were aggrieved that they were not nominated for Sunday work (which was paid at 50 per cent. above the week-day rate) and who sometimes demanded of the chairman that he should see to it that the foreman did not victimise them by depriving them of Sunday work.

If noble Lords look around them they will see a great many activities taking place on Sundays; for example, as regards transport and government services. Indeed, many millions of people now work regularly on Sundays. If the noble Viscount is right and the opening of some shops on Sunday would really be a departure from the principles of the Christian faith I can only say to him that we have already travelled a long way from that position.

We are concerned with the not unimportant but much more limited issue as to whether or not it should be lawful to open a shop on Sunday. The noble Lord opposite dealt with very important issues on trade union representation and relations. If Sunday shopping is established, it is obviously right that proper agreements should be made in respect of those called upon to work in those shops. But, again, that is only a comparatively small section of a society in which many millions of people already work on Sundays. Moreover, many millions also enjoy the opportunity to shop on Sundays.

As anyone can see in the shopping centres of our towns, it is increasingly the practice—especially in these days when married women work a great deal—that Sunday is the day when married couples like to go out and shop together. Unfortunately, from one point of view, they have been able to do so for quite a time as one of the sad things about the present state of the law is that it is not observed. I am sure that Members of the Committee will feel that for practices which are unlawful to be continued simply because no one thinks it right to enforce the law is very bad in itself but a very good argument for tidying up the legal position.

The choice before us for tidying up the whole matter is a clear one. One can adopt the view taken by the other place and go for a large measure of deregulation and the rather curious six-hour opening rule for large stores, or one can go the whole way and deregulate entirely. The strong argument against the partial deregulation approved by another place is that it imposes a very considerable burden upon local authorities which will then be expected to enforce a highly complicated law. Moreover, according to the Bill, it will involve an expenditure of about £3 million a year for enforcement and a further £600,000 to cover other aspects involved in so doing.

What is the purpose of the restriction? The only purpose that I have heard supported is that it would help the small shops, which would be allowed to open, as against the big shops, which would be restricted to six hours. In a way, that is an attractive argument because most of us have a great regard for the smaller shops which serve an extremely useful public purpose. But is it really acceptable in this day and age that, in order to benefit one economic activity, we make another economic activity a criminal offence and expect local authorities to enforce the law in that respect? I believe that that is only going half way and that the other place has only gone part of the way towards clearing up a wholly unsatisfactory position.

Several Members of the Committee referred to Scotland where the position has been wholly satisfactory for many years. As one noble Lord observed, the Scots are rather more Sabbatarian than the rest of us. Yet they carry on very happily with complete freedom to open shops. I believe that only about 21 per cent. or 22 per cent. of shops actually open. If we do away with the idea that opening a shop on Sunday is a criminal offence that shows that all shops will not automatically open; they will only open if it seems to be in their interests to do so. Rather than use the criminal law to help one section of the shopping industry as against another, I suggest that it would be sensible to clear up the matter once and for all.

The real practical problem involved is the reaction of the other place. If Members of the Committee go—as I hope they will—for total deregulation, it is quite possible that the other place may not accept that decision and may persist in its present attitude of supporting partial deregulation. Indeed, it is within the legal rights of Members of the other place so to do. However, it is surely the function of this Chamber sometimes to give Members of another place the chance to think again. No one can be sure how they would use such an opportunity. But if Members of the Committee were to accept that version of the Bill which provides for total deregulation, then at least the other place would have to face up to that judgment. They would also have to confront the question which is one that those concerned might find difficult to resolve; namely, whether it makes sense in this day and age to secure a certain amount of closing of shops by the use of criminal penalties and the hard work of local authorities in order either to preserve a small trace of Sabbatarianism or, perhaps, the interests of the smaller shops.

We have before us a real opportunity to put the law right; indeed, we have a real opportunity to clear up what has been a scandal. Moreover, we have the splendid example of Scotland. Speaking as one who once served in a Scottish regiment, I believe that it is a very good idea to follow the Scots.

Lord Elton

Before my noble friend sits down, I have one point to make. My noble friend sought to reassure Members of the Committee that only 22 per cent. of the shops in Scotland open under free Sunday trading. However, is he aware that in England and Wales 38 per cent. of shops already open and that if we deregulate it is estimated that the figure will rise to 65 per cent?

Lord Boyd-Carpenter

I am well aware of the fact that it is said that 38 per cent. do open on Sunday. Perhaps my noble friend will therefore realise that if his object is to prevent shops opening on Sundays, maintaining this legislation seems to me the worst possible way of doing it.

Lord Howell

I hope I shall not detain the Committee long but the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, has advanced an extraordinary proposition; namely, that if large numbers of people fail to observe the law, and indeed deliberately break the law, Parliament should then change the law to meet such illegality. That is an astonishing proposition which would take us into deep water if ever it were applied as a general principle to a whole range of social matters. I refer to drugs and other areas where large numbers of people would like us to pursue consideration of changing the law.

I am obliged to the most reverend Primate, to my noble friend Lord Tonypandy and others for drawing our attention to what this debate is really about; namely, the essential character of Sunday irrespective of whether one is Christian. Sunday has an essential characteristic in that on Sunday we must provide for the renewal of people. Those of us who are Christian in part or in whole must have an opportunity to renew our spiritual life; but we must also provide opportunities for renewal for those who are not Christian. I suggest that we should provide opportunities for renewal for the latter in the form of recreation. That is of great importance. I have not always agreed with my noble friend Lord Tonypandy regarding what opportunities we should provide for people to view sport or the arts on Sundays. However, I am glad to say that we are both playing on the same side on this occasion. It is important to retain that special feature of Sunday. As there are no absolutes in this life, we must balance what we wish to achieve with some provision to meet people's essential needs. That is why I think it is reasonable to open small shops on Sundays. There are other reasons for that which I shall discuss in a moment.

I wish to say a few words about shopping—I suspect in advance of the speeches that will be made by some of my noble friends who are sitting behind me who have told me privately how important it is for them to be able to shop on Sunday. Their case has been totally destroyed by the introduction by this Government of Clause 17 in the Deregulation and Contracting Out Bill—the deregulation clause—which will allow shops to be open 24 hours a day, six days a week. I cannot believe there is any housewife in the country who cannot find the opportunity to do her main shopping in that six day period.

Baroness Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde

Is the noble Lord seriously suggesting that women should be expected to go shopping 24 hours a day? Is he suggesting that after having done a full day at work, they should have the opportunity to visit the shops at midnight if they so wish?

Lord Howell

I am saying that the Government—presumably with the support of my honourable friends—will allow shops to be open from midnight on Sunday/Monday until midnight on Saturday/Sunday. Surely, in the whole of that time—the period we used to call the working week—most housewives will find an hour or two to do their shopping.

Lord Howie of Troon

My noble friend will recall that public houses can now be open if not for 24 hours a day, at least for a great part of the day. That is a good thing. Is he going to suggest that they should be shut on Sunday?

Lord Howell

I will not give way again as in the interests of the Committee I must move on. I make the point that we cannot discuss this Bill in isolation from what the Government are proposing to do under Clause 17 of the deregulation Bill, whatever view we may take of this matter. We cannot divorce those two provisions and that fact lessens for many people the attractiveness of the proposition put by another place.

I now turn to the matter of unrestricted shopping on Sundays. We should have no doubt that that will wipe out the small shopkeeper. That is another matter of anxiety to me. For many years when I was a Member of Parliament in another place I was concerned by the effect of large scale multi-purpose shopping. One only has to go to places such as Dudley to see the effect that mammoth shopping centres have on a town. The centre of Dudley has been obliterated. I am glad to say that the Secretary of State for the Environment is now becoming increasingly worried about the effect of multi-purpose super stores. He is concerned about their general effect on the environment and about their effect on small shopkeepers who provide a service for a community.

I ask Members of the Committee to be careful before they vote for the proposal from another place lest they do a great deal of damage to small shopkeepers who in my judgment have an important role to play in our society. If we restrict the times when large shops can open on Sundays, that will have an important economic effect on small shopkeepers. As another speaker has already mentioned, the businessmen who control large stores often support by donations those who stand for election on a law and order ticket; but they then totally ignore the law in their own case.

I had intended to deal with workers' rights, but my noble friend Lord Murray has dealt with that adequately. He has quite rightly pointed out that several unions, including some large ones, have expressed opposition to these proposals. Do we really wish to permit shopping every hour that God sends? I do not believe that is right. Former constituents of mine who lived close to large shopping centres used to complain to me that they were constantly disturbed by the passage of juggernauts full of goods. They were also disturbed by the noise of hundreds of cars and thousands of people six days a week. They asked me whether they were entitled to a bit of peace and quiet on a Sunday and whether they would have to accept disturbance on seven days a week. Therefore I object to the Government's proposal for strong environmental reasons in addition to wishing to preserve the essential nature of the English sabbath. Amendment No. 3 which seeks to keep the sabbath special is, I believe, the essential, civilised and sensible amendment which this Committee ought to adopt. I hope it does so.

The Lord Bishop of Norwich

I, too, wish to express gratitude to the noble Earl, Lord Ferrers, for the clear and concise way in which he introduced this debate. I am sorry that he is not in the Chamber at the moment because I wanted to sympathise with him. Perhaps one of his noble friends will convey that to him. He told us how he intended to vote. He is being admirably loyal to his Prime Minister and Members of the Cabinet. However, he will find himself in a conflict of loyalty following the advice given by his own bishop. Perhaps he could be reminded that we are still in the season of repentance but also of forgiveness.

The town of Beaconsfield, where I was once rector, has links with two great parliamentarians. However, Benjamin Disraeli never lived there. He passed through the town of Beaconsfield and I believe he changed horses there. He fancied the name of the town and took its title when he entered this Chamber. The most famous resident who is commemorated modestly with a little brass plaque underneath a pew is Edmund Burke, who was perhaps Beaconsfield's greatest son. I cannot recall his precise words, but I believe he said that the destruction of ancient or well established institutions is fraught with unpredictable peril. He said that society is a complex mass of relationships which time and usage have lubricated. An attack on these relationships in the name of a social theory which may hold some ephemeral currency, or in the name of financial efficiency which later turns out to have been mostly illusion, may have appalling consequences for other social relationships outside the imaginative grasp of radical reformers.

The principle of sabbath rest is deep in the traditions of the Jewish, Christian and Moslem religions. Much is made in the media these days of divisions between religions—divisions among Christians. On this issue, we speak with one voice, representing millions of our fellow citizens.

This is not an issue about rationalising illogical or inconvenient legislation. It is about changing the society in which we live. I do not believe that the noble Viscount, Lord Tonypandy, exaggerated. The dispute is not between different sets of legislation. Let there be no doubt. It is a dispute between two, not three, sets of legislation. The option for which another place voted is deregulation by another name.

The noble Earl, Lord Ferrers, said that the proposal is not government policy—

The Earl of Onslow

My Lords, if the right reverend Prelate states that it is deregulation by another name, why is there—

Noble Lords


The Earl of Onslow

Why is there—

Noble Lords


Baroness Trumpington

My Lords, I think that it is the will of the House that the Lord Bishop continues.

The Earl of Onslow

It is a question of clarification.

Noble Lords


The Lord Bishop of Norwich

My Lords, perhaps we may have a private conversation on the subject a little later. I shall gladly justify the statement.

The noble Earl, Lord Ferrers, said that the proposal is not Government policy; and that is strictly true. Nevertheless, the voting by members of the Cabinet, in particular after the very early lead given by the Prime Minister, indicates that that option is strongly held opinion in government circles. The Government seem to show little awareness of the extent of the social change involved. With due deference to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hailsham, to quote the example of Scotland is not strictly relevant. Scotland is not England. You are not comparing like with like. When Church leaders express support for the Keep Sunday Special proposals, narrow religious interests are furthest from our minds. For example, we are not in the least anxious about church attendance. We are concerned with precisely the same issues which concern the Government: the wellbeing and health of society. Some politicians, not necessarily in this House, naively assume that the churches' interest in such matters is always to do with their own attendance figures. Opinion polls are not an obsession with Church leaders—though it is an interesting fact that in the two years since Sunday trading has, quite illegally, become common, church attendance has risen.

The point is this. We want to help the Government do their job. Most of us have no interest whatever in party issues. If the Labour Party were in power, it would find us just as critical as the Conservatives have done. Incidentally, I find extraordinary the credulity of trade unions and some Members of the Labour Party in believing that sufficient protection to shopworkers can possibly be given. The proposals for worker protection will almost certainly prove to be unworkable. Can noble Lords imagine that there will not be discrimination when two people are interviewed for the same job and the question is asked, "Are you willing to work on a Sunday?" What of the young man or woman executive who is against Sunday working on principle? Is it realistic to believe that their career prospects will not be affected?

For most of the time most of us on these Benches, in this Chamber and in the world at large, keep silent on political issues. But when there is virtual unanimity, not just among the Bench of Bishops but between all the Church leaders of England, and between all the main religions represented in our country, the Government and those who support them would be wise to listen carefully. The present Government have chosen to adopt a high moral tone. That is all right. But moralising is not a matter of words and slogans; it is a matter of hard thinking based on the experience of making moral decisions. In that area, the Government have at hand a huge body of expertise of which they seem to make scant use. No wonder when we feel that the Government have their moral thinking askew, some of us step in and say so. On the issue of Sunday trading, I believe that the Government, and those who support the proposals, have seriously underestimated the moral and social significance of the issue.

In recent weeks, the wisdom of this House has been powerfully expressed and effective in assisting the Government to bring forward legislation which is realistic and protective of a wide variety of interests. It is to be hoped that the Committee will offer similarly realistic advice on this fundamental matter which concerns the wellbeing of our society.

5 p.m.

Baroness Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde

I rise with a little trepidation as one of the newer Peers, with a contribution which will be in opposition to some of my fellow Peers on this side of the Chamber, a number of whom worked, as I did, as trade unionists.

I shall support the Shopping Hours Reform Council changes which were endorsed in another place. It has been suggested that no one knew about the deregulation Bill when the vote was taken in another place. The facts do not bear that out. The deregulation Bill was published on 19th January. On the Second Reading vote in another place, the majority was 75. The Third Reading vote was taken on 23rd February. The majority increased from 75 to 93. That suggestion is something of red herring.

Perhaps I may say to my noble friend Lord Howell, that it is also a red herring to refer to "housewives". Seventy per cent. of working women in Britain are married. They would resent being called housewives. They are workers equal with other people and have to contribute to the family income.

I live in an inner city. I feel that I live in the middle of a large shopping area. I know when I prefer to shop. I prefer to shop on a bright, sunny Sunday rather than on a dark night in a badly lit area in an inner city—an area in which many women are afraid to walk about, never mind having to carry shopping home at night after working late.

The deregulation proposals were also trailed last July in the White Paper on Sunday trading. There has been reference to the United States. Many of us have visited the United States either on holiday or to see families, and have spent some time there. Sunday is still special in the United States. Indeed, I am sure that the Church will confirm that proportionately more people go to church in the States than in Britain. I am sure that I am wrong in detecting this view which seems to creep into the debate. It is the implication that, if one is a Christian, and believes in Christian values, one will not vote for reform of Sunday trading. I am a Christian. I may not be a very good Christian but I try to follow the values and teachings of Christianity. I shall be voting for the Shopping Hours Reform Council proposals voted for in another place. I hope it will be accepted that doing so makes me no less of a Christian.

I have spent the whole of my life in the trade union movement and I am proud of it. I have great difficulty in being urged to vote for a proposal which, if applied, would overnight put out of employment something like 170,000 people, the majority of whom would be women. That is what the Keep Sunday Special proposal would do. That could be the implication of closing on a Sunday. It is not just because of consumer choice; as my noble friend Lord Tonypandy said, something like 16 million people shop on a Sunday. I confess that I did last Sunday; I had to, I had no time to do my shopping.

It is not just the consumers. The people who work on a Sunday were asked whether they wanted the work and the extra income taken from them and they said, no, they did not want to lose the work and, understandably, they did not want to lose the extra income. However, I am not saying that the employment protection measures for Sunday workers are anywhere near adequate. I look forward to debating that in the House and to the support of colleagues and noble Lords. Of course, workers in Britain are not just afraid of being exploited on a Sunday. The changes in employment legislation and the way in which protections have been eroded mean that many thousands of workers in Britain are exploited seven days a week. The protections also need improving.

Recent surveys have shown that something like 73 per cent. of trade unionists welcome and want a reform of Sunday trading. That is not surprising: they are the very people who have to work difficult shifts. I was proud to represent people who had to work on seven-day cover in continuous operations like paper mills and printing. People would not get their newspapers on Monday morning if other people did not work on Sunday night. So I represented those who had to work seven days a week. To opt for the Keep Sunday Special proposal would put many of those people out of work.

Employment protection is absolutely crucial. In this debate, the name of the trade unions has been used on a number of occasions. I should like to defend USDAW. I wish to because I believe that it needs defence. It has been said that USDAW opposes changes time after time. That is true. It has been said that USDAW does not have the support of its members in signing the agreement. USDAW has signed the agreement covering extra payment for Sundays. As any trade union general secretary knows—and I have only recently given up being general secretary—although there are conference decisions, if the situation changes after conference we have an executive council to deal with it in consultation with the members whom we represent. I was also taught many years ago that a trade union officer's job is to represent the will of the members. In signing the agreement, USDAW has consulted its members who work on Sunday and, after taking their views, has signed the agreements which exist.

Therefore, I hope that Members of the Committee will cease criticising an organisation which tries its best to represent members in a difficult world today. It is a deregulated world where the worker has very little power, a world where many thousands already work in shops on Sunday. Those are the people who will be affected if the proposal of the Shopping Hours Reform Council is not carried. I shall support that reform from my practical experience and involvement, knowing not only that it is the wish of the people who work on Sunday and the consumer but also that the law at the moment is a mess.

5.15 p.m.

Several noble Lords


Noble Lords


Earl Ferrers

I am sure that there will be time for both my noble and learned friend Lord Howe and my noble friend Lady Young. However, it may be appropriate for the noble and learned Lord to speak next, followed by the noble Baroness.

Lord Howe of Aberavon

I was just on the point of yielding to the noble Baroness but of course I bow to the superior authority of my noble friend.

Perhaps I may begin by—remarkably—expressing agreement with the noble Viscount, Lord Tonypandy, on one point. We both agree that those who have suggested that the legislation affects merely England present an incomplete picture. It affects England and Wales. At that point, however, I part company with the noble Viscount and emphasise what follows from that. He said that the proposed legislation threatened to uproot the foundations of our way of life and he used other dramatic and elegant phrases. I simply cannot believe that that kind of rhetoric is applicable to a proposition for which there is no equivalent whatever in Scotland. Arguments can be made about it, but to suggest that Scotland, without any intervention of the law, should not give guidance and be taken as an example seems to me to be misleading oneself.

Secondly, the legislation requiring shops to close on Sunday is not part of the antique foundations of our legislative system. Sunday closing of shops started with a Private Member's Bill enacted in 1936. If our foundations are as slender and non-antique as that, then I am not impressed by them. Of course, I admire and respect the proposition that Sunday should be kept special, but my desire is that it should not be kept special on the basis of an inadequate and increasingly disrespected structure of law.

The noble Viscount also said that he had not noticed people clamouring to change the law. I agree. The law has been falling into disrepute and desuetude as a result of its totally unusable condition. If there were any clamour about it at all, it would be a clamour to move towards making an honest woman of the law.

When the Gowers Committee considered the matter back in 1947, when it was already seen that the law was a nonsense, the committee made one simple proposition: Legislation that affects the daily lives of so many people should be simple and intelligible". Nothing could be further from that aspiration than the law as it now is. As long ago as 1959, the Conservative Party said in response in its manifesto: We shall revise some of our social laws … which are at present full of anomalies and lead to abuse". That is exactly what is happening now, rather belatedly. I hesitate to cross swords with the most reverend Primate on the matter, and I have much respect for his speech. He said that he was not posing as a legalistic sabbatarian, but that is precisely what the legislation would do if we were to adopt the proposals of the Keep Sunday Special proposition.

Like the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, I favour complete deregulation, but I do not believe it to be a realistic proposition. I therefore think we have to go for a sensible, practical halfway step towards it. If one looks at the structure of the law as it would emerge from the Keep Sunday Special schedule, I quote from the opinion circulated by five distinguished Queen's Counsel, not because I want to cite their opinion but because it happens to be true. It says this about the Keep Sunday Special schedule: this proposal potentially extends to every retail trading activity in England and Wales. … there are exemptions and exceptions, which in themselves present almost insuperable difficulties of comprehension and application, including the fundamental question of what is or is not a shop within the meaning of the Bill … past experience of having a ban which is subject to exemptions is that it perpetuates problems for those who enforce the law … the compliance and enforcement problems which would arise [under the Keep Sunday Special schedule] would be far greater than ever was the case under the Shops Act 1950". That is undoubtedly true. If we look at the schedule produced by the SHRC lobby, it sets out 57 different questions that would need to be answered; 57 new anomalies arising if we were to follow that way of dealing with the law. It was said by one judge of the original 1950 Shops Act provisions that, There is almost no nonsensical proposition which may not be seriously put forward as a result of looking at these innumerable exceptions". If that is true under the legislation today, then it will become increasingly true if we adopt the provisions set out in the Keep Sunday Special schedule.

I take one other phrase from the most reverend Primate. He said that we should be proud of Sunday as we know it. Speaking not so much as a lawyer but as a citizen of this country, I am ashamed that our attempt to preserve the specialness of Sunday, which I respect, has reduced the law to its present condition of being so widely disrespected. I suggest that there is almost no aspect of the law that does more to bring it into disrepute than the existing provisions. I do not believe that that situation would be changed by enacting the schedule commended by the Keep Sunday Special lobby. We should be jumping from a frying-pan into a fire of incomprehension and a fire of unenforceability. The relatively simple compromise suggested by the SHRC alternative which is now in the legislation as it has reached this House is the option that we should support.

I confess that, were Ito have my own way, I should march boldly into the Lobby with the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, who wishes us to give the other place the chance to think again.

In 1961 I wrote in a journal called Crossbow, which still flourishes today and which I then edited, an article under the title Set the Shopper Free. In it I quoted from a publication from the Institute of Economic Affairs —represented by the noble Lord, Lord Harris, who is sitting beside me. That is what we ought to be doing if we are to make real sense of this matter. I do not believe that even the rhetoric of the noble Lords, Lord Harris and Lord Boyd-Carpenter, and myself, taken together, would persuade the other place to think again since it rejected that proposition by a majority of 404 votes to 174. I am a modest man. I shall not try to tackle that decision. I urge the Committee to support the sensible conclusion that was arrived at by the other place.

Baroness Young

There is a great danger as this debate proceeds that those who are in favour of either the SHRC option, for which the Commons voted, or total deregulation are arguing a case which grossly over-simplifies the effects of what will happen if this measure comes into effect.

I listened with great care to my noble friend Lord Boyd-Carpenter and to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hailsham, and to a certain extent my noble friend Lord Howe, about the comparison with Scotland. That comparison is easy to make. But it is completely incorrect. There are two reports which have investigated the situation: the Auld Committee report of 1984 and the London economics report of April 1993 (slightly less than a year ago). Both confirmed that Scotland is not a good model for understanding the effect of deregulation in England and Wales. Shopping patterns are different in Scotland because of lower population density and car ownership; higher transport and energy costs for shops; and an insignificant presence of large food multiples. All those factors have acted as a disincentive to Sunday shopping in Scotland. That will of course change once the multiples are there in large numbers. There is already evidence that small shops are starting to close. But to delude ourselves into thinking that what happens in Scotland is a good parallel to what would happen in England and Wales is simply not true.

My second point is that we should not forget that the Commons voted for the SHRC option by 18 votes. So many figures have been bandied about, but that is the fact. The most serious thing that will come about—

Noble Lords


Baroness Jay of Paddington

I hesitate to intervene, but I know that the noble Baroness is very keen that the facts in her contribution should be correct. Is it not the case that the other place voted against the Keep Sunday Special option by 18 votes, and voted for the Shopping Hours Reform Council option by a majority of 75?

Baroness Young

I quite accept that the whole point is that the Keep Sunday Special option was lost by 18 votes. That is the point that I am making.

One point has been forgotten in this important debate. I have talked to many noble Lords over the past weeks, and it is quite clear that everybody is very worried about the effect on small shops. There is no doubt at all that, were either the SHRC option or the option of deregulation to come into effect, the decline of small shops would be accelerated. All the evidence shows that. It would have a significant effect on village communities—on the old, the disabled and anybody who does not have a car. It has also been forgotten that the change will have a devastating effect on city centres. My friends in government are always talking about doing something about city centres. Of course it will put pressure on the small shops. The big shops will get their extra business only by squeezing out the small shops. They have already started to do that, and they will continue. That is a fact. Things will change in a very dramatic way. We shall wring our hands and say, "Isn't it sad that the city centre is derelict?" and we shall have contributed towards that dereliction.

I find it astonishing that so many of my noble friends who sit with me on these Benches, and my noble friends who are in government and who I always thought supported small businesses, should vote for a measure which will extinguish thousands of them overnight. Even in the last Budget my right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer introduced measures to help small businesses. Five minutes later my colleagues here decide to abolish thousands of them. I find that absolutely incredible. Nevertheless, that is what they are doing.

The noble Baroness, Lady Dean, talked about job losses. The research that has been done into job losses, in the London economic survey conducted for the Home Office, indicates that total deregulation would lead to 19,100 job losses and the SHRC option to 5,300 job losses; while our proposal would lead to 12,900 to 21,000 job gains. That is a point in its favour.

People far more eloquent than myself have spoken about Sunday as a special day. I believe that it is special. There is much to be said, as the noble Viscount, Lord Tonypandy, said, for it being a British institution. Many people have said that to me as I have travelled around the world. I do not believe that the argument rests on whether one can go to Church on Sunday. I like to think that I am a Christian and that if I wanted to I could go to church three times on a Sunday (possibly four) and go shopping as well. I hope that I would think of going to church on other days of the week and carrying out my principles.

That is not the issue. It is that for many people Sunday is a very special day. Again, I find it absolutely ironic that in the International Year of the Family we should decide as a Parliament to agree to a measure which is as anti-family as this one is. We have heard about the effect on shopworkers. I thought that the noble Lord, Lord Murray, was very clear on that point. What is written in the Bill is not worth the paper that it is printed on. Other people will come to suffer very much from this measure.

Nor do I believe that the analogy of the cement works that was made by my noble friend Lord Boyd-Carpenter is true. Of course everybody would want to work if they were to be paid double. But who will be paid double under this scheme? It is a very different proposition.

I speak as somebody who has brought up a family and feels very deeply about the role of the family. I feel strongly that in this country we are going clown a very slippery slope in relation to all sorts of issues. I shall not say again what I said when we had a debate on the matter in this House only a few weeks ago. But there are occasions in life when it is possible to stand up for a very great principle which affects us all. Those of us who believe in it should stand up and say so. I hope that all those who really care for the good health of the fabric of society will vote this evening for the KSS/RSAR option.

Lord Harris of High Cross

It is impossible to utter more than half a sentence without the risk of offending someone whom we either greatly respect or have some affection for. I must separate myself from the noble Viscount, Lord Tonypandy, whom I would normally follow through fire and worse. I am very unhappy to find myself in head-on confrontation with the noble Baroness, Lady Young, whom I greatly respect.

There was a time when the Tory Party had a slogan — it was more than a slogan; it was a principle of policy — under the banner: "Change is our ally". The noble and learned Lord, Lord Howe, referred to the earlier days of his Bow Group past. In 1964, under the Government of Sir Alec Douglas-Home, as he then was, it was the then Mr. Heath as President of the Board of Trade who abolished retail price maintenance.

At that time we heard speeches which were precisely the same as the one that we heard from the noble Baroness and have heard from many others, to the effect that this was the end of the world as we had known it. It was said that we were abolishing a time hallowed system of uniform pricing and whether we went to shop in Harrods or the Outer Hebrides we would find the same price for branded products, and so on. The decision was a very close-run thing. I recall that the Government carried one amendment by a single vote. A year or two later no one would conceivably have thought of going back to resale price maintenance.

The abolition of resale price maintenance in 1964 opened the way for a revolution in retailing. Quite a different pattern of provision of shops and shopping habits gradually began to assert itself. The most reverend Primate said that market forces were a good servant but a bad master. Market forces are people doing what they like to do without harming others and dealing and trading with people who wish to trade with them. In fact market forces represent a democratic process of free movement and trade. To raise them up as a tyrant or master is absurd.

I want to fasten on one issue. It is the reason that we are having this debate and have this great opportunity for radical reform. As the noble and learned Lord, Lord Howe, and others said, the Shops Act 1950 has fallen into disrepute and non-effect. De jure we now have a system of deregulation. The moment that we return to regulation—this Bill as it now stands is not a deregulation Bill but a Bill for regulating on a different basis the opening and closing of shops—a line has to be drawn between permitted and forbidden activities. There have to be systems of inspection, enforcement and penalties. We will find that in this Bill lines are already drawn which have within them the seeds of future absurdities and inequities, let alone changes which will take place in the future and which we cannot anticipate.

The noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, asked why the measurement was set at 280 square metres. What is "the relevant floor area"? Those questions could be debated. Who wants paragraphs 3 and 4 of Schedule 2? They require a new tribe of inspectors with power to enter any premises "with or without a constable" to take measurements and photographs, to collect records and ascertain personal responsibility for suspected violations. All that seems to me to be invidious and mischievous.

For my money, however, the worst feature of the Bill is the religious discrimination in Part III of Schedule 2 where there is to be a public register of what are called "persons of the Jewish religion", as certified by someone in turn authorised by the Board of Deputies of British Jews—if it is a company or partnership, it must be a majority of the partners or directors. They would be authorised to have their names listed in some public place as permitted to open on a Sunday. That is a new "Schindler's List". It is a list of people who will be reprieved from prosecution if they open on Sunday, provided that they have gone through the formalities and given their names to the local authority to be listed for public view and display and so long as they close their shops on Saturday. It is a facility which I understand is not open to members of other religions.

Being an economist, I have to consider how economic affairs and future developments may affect these matters. The most reverend Primate said in a very appealing way that he was trying to think long term because he had been around for a long time. The problem is that most of us have been around for a long time; but it is a long time in the past and if we are to think long term, we must think of a long time into the future. My abiding belief over the whole of my working life has been that Britain's long drawn out, relative economic decline has been hastened by a natural conservative tendency—especially marked on the Labour Benches—to put caution before risk-taking, restriction before flexibility and security before progress.

A wonderful world of change opens up in the future. We do not know how it will come to us. The future comes a day at a time. There will be things of which we approve and others of which we tend to disapprove. That is what living in a free society entails. We now have a chance to put the past decently behind us and embrace the future. In this Chamber in 1982 the noble Baroness, Lady Trumpington, gave a radical lead for freedom for shops through outright repeal. I suggest that, since we have been proved right in this matter 12 years later, we should now once again blow her trumpet for deregulation, bearing in mind that if the amendment should fail, we can always fall back on the compromise and sink our principles.

5.30 p.m.

Lord Stoddart of Swindon

What has struck me about the whole business is that there is no great public demand for deregulation or partial deregulation. I have not received one letter from an individual demanding that shops should be open seven days a week. That is unusual. I have not seen marches on Parliament or great Lobbies asking for Sunday opening. I have not seen great marches demanding deregulation or partial deregulation.

Baroness Gould of Potternewton

Perhaps I may interrupt my noble friend and ask him whether he saw the demonstration in favour of Sunday trading. The demonstration was composed mainly of women who wanted to be able to shop on a Sunday.

Lord Stoddart of Swindon

I shall come back to women in a moment. I saw the hyped up affair which descended on Parliament, but it was not the kind of demonstration which we are used to in the trade union movement. It was all got up for commercial purposes.

I repeat, the fact of the matter is that I have seen no great demand for deregulation and certainly have not had any letter or telephone call from any individual demanding it. Indeed, I believe that the whole issue has been hyped up by a number of large stores. It has not been done to suit shoppers but to suit the stores' own convenience and their desire to grab market share at the expense of others, including the small shopkeeper about whom we have already heard from the noble Baroness, Lady Young. Incidentally, many of them will be forced out of business, and are being forced out of business already at the rate of 1,000 a week. That trend will accelerate if we have deregulation or partial deregulation. We have already seen the dereliction of town centres as a result of the activities of out-of-town trading, and deregulation will merely increase that trend.

National opinion polls have shown that people do not have a burning desire to go shopping on seven days a week. Indeed, the last national opinion poll that I saw showed that 80 per cent. of women are satisfied with the KSS/RSAR option. Those figures accord with a newspaper poll carried out last November by the Reading Chronicle—I live in Reading—which covers the very representative area of the Thames Valley. The poll found that the percentage of people in favour of total deregulation was 22 per cent. and 7 per cent. wanted partial deregulation. The KSS/RSAR option was favoured by 66 per cent.—two-thirds. That is a significant vote for the KSS option. And 4 per cent. voted for opening Christmas only. That was the result of a local poll which confirms other polls taken nationally.

The large retail organisations have attained their goal by law breaking. Let us make no mistake about it, when they opened on Sunday they defied the law. Let us not be namby pamby about it, they broke the law. They prosecute little people who shop lift—I support them in that—but so rich, big and powerful are these boys that when they break the law they expect to be rewarded by a change in the law to satisfy their demands. That is what will happen if this Committee votes for partial or total deregulation; they will have attained their objectives by flagrantly breaking the law.

We are told that seven-day shopping will benefit working women. I doubt that. Women are already six-day slaves. What do we want? Do we want to make them seven-day slaves? I am surprised that some of my noble friends appear to want to do just that.

Then there is the environment to consider. We should say a lot more about the environment. What happens to the people who live near shops? They will be extremely disadvantaged by noise, fumes, dirt, disturbance and inconvenience for seven days a week in future instead of six. Are we not concerned for them? Are not they entitled to be considered when we decide on seven-day shopping? Of course they are. We in this Chamber at least should consider them, because if the Bill goes through nobody else will. There may be provision in the Bill for people around a shopping area to be consulted. But there is no provision which will allow them to stop it and therefore, before we vote, we should consider the people who live near shopping centres who will be inconvenienced environmentally.

In relation to the environment we should also consider energy conservation. There is no point laughing about that. In support of easing global warming and energy conservation, the Government are to charge us an extra 17.5 per cent. on our heating bills. Therefore they must be concerned about conservation. Estimates say that seven-day opening of shops will ensure that an extra 500,000 tonnes of CO2 will be discharged into the atmosphere from extra lighting and heating. There will also be other undesirable discharges from motor vehicles. We should consider the environment in those respects. And those without cars —older people and single parents—will be inconvenienced by the loss of high street shopping and small shops.

What about shop workers? We heard my noble friend Lord Murray give a good account of the difficulties that shop workers and others will face as a result of the Bill if deregulation is agreed. As he said, while the Bill makes some provision to safeguard the position of shop workers it does nothing to protect other employees in other industries who may have to work on Sundays as a result of deregulation. Employees such as lorry drivers and those providing services to shops will be affected, as will local authority workers such as inspectors, road cleaners and traffic control staff. There is no statutory protection for them.

I advise UNISON. My noble friend Lady Dean spoke about USDAW. UNISON has three times the number of members as USDAW.

Baroness Jay of Paddington

But are they shop workers?

Lord Stoddart of Swindon

No, but most of them are women. I said that I would come back to the subject of women. Presumably women are among those who my noble friends say want to shop on Sunday, yet UNISON is against partial or total deregulation and in favour of keeping Sunday special. That means a large union which represents a wide variety of people is in favour of keeping Sunday special.

I want to say this to my noble friend. I was told that because I want to support the KSSC—not on religious grounds but simply because I believe we should keep Sunday special—I am unprogressive; that it is progressive to open shops on seven days. What is progressive about rampant commercialism seven days a week instead of six? Supporters of deregulation should ask themselves that question before they criticise me for being unprogressive.

Furthermore, there is likely to be a demand for other services to be open on Sunday. Let us consider those people. Will there be a demand for public: libraries to be open? If shops are to be open, why should not public libraries also open? I am glad noble Lords are nodding. Let us get to the point. Let us find out exactly what it means. Will we want the civic offices to open as well? What about the employees of building societies and banks? Nobody has yet mentioned those. But presumably they will be forced to work on Sunday if Sunday shopping or Sunday activity operates.

You name it and there will be a demand that it opens on Sunday. In turn that will bring about a situation where, in working terms—my noble friends should listen to this—Sunday will be just the same as any other day. Therefore why pay a premium for Sunday working? The logical argument is that if all seven days of the week are the same and if Sunday is not special, why should anybody pay extra for it? There is therefore a danger, particularly to low paid workers, that as a result of deregulation their total take home pay will be much smaller than it has been hitherto. There is a lot more to say on the issue, but I will not say it. I have probably said enough to convince the Committee to vote my way.

I want to finish with a warning. It must not be forgotten that once we pass partial deregulation we shall have full deregulation. The one will lead to the other. And once we have done it, like hanging, there will be no going back. I hope that when Members of the Committee vote tonight they will remember that there is no going back; they will have done it for good; there will be no time for regrets. If they have ruined our week and ruined our Sunday they should have it on their consciences for the rest of their lives.

Baroness Oppenheim-Barnes

In rising to speak in this debate I shall not so much declare an interest as declare my form. As a former Minister for Consumer Affairs, a former chairman of the National Consumer Council and as someone who is on the hoard of one of our largest retail chains, it would be very neglectful of me not to say a few words. I immediately say to the noble Lord, Lord Stoddart, that he is obviously unaware that the National Consumer Council conducted a survey which showed overwhelmingly that consumers wanted to be able to choose whether to shop on Sunday. That is what deregulation is about. It is about choice; choice whether to shop on Sunday; choice whether to open and trade on Sunday; choice whether to work on Sunday; and last but not least, choice whether to keep Sunday special. No one wants to take those choices away. Some of us want to extend those freedoms.

I could not go the whole way with the deregulation amendment although many of my inclinations lead me in that direction. I take the point that smaller shops and convenience shops are very important to consumers. They provide a very important service. They do it not just to provide a service; but nevertheless they do. That is why I go for the six hour option. It is already known that smaller shops do a majority of their business on Sunday before ten o'clock. Therefore that option offers a greater measure of protection than total deregulation. The Keep Sunday Special option, which proposes that anyone can open in the four weeks before Christmas for as long as they want, would be the most terrible blow to small shops. That is when they do their greatest trade, and they would not even have the protection of the larger stores having limited opening times.

When these debates first started I was still at Boots. Boots said at that time that they were not in favour of it but that they would do what their customers wanted and in terms of obeying the law as far as possible. That is where I find the argument of my noble friend Lady Young in previous debates—what is known, I believe, as the Marks & Spencer case—difficult to understand. I would not for one moment accuse, as some people have done, Marks & Spencer of being holier than thou—that would not be fair—but there is an inconsistency. I say that with the greatest respect to my noble friend. First, Marks & Spencer said that they were not in favour of Sunday opening; then they said that they would not break the law, and more power to them for that; and now—

Baroness Young

Unlike others.

Baroness Oppenheim-Barnes

Unlike others; I grant my noble friend that. Marks & Spencer now say that they will open on Sunday, if the law is changed, in some of the 20 edge-of-town sites. If that is the case, what they are doing is looking at their own viability niche in the market, and quite right too. They have a duty both to their customers and to their shareholders. But the fact remains that it upsets all the arguments that they have put before about whether they want to trade on Sunday.

Baroness Young

I am very sorry to interrupt the noble Baroness but what she has said is so untrue that I feel I must correct it. Marks & Spencer, unlike major supermarkets, have never broken the law. That is the first and important point to make. Clearly, if the law changed the whole matter could be looked at again. If Marks & Spencer were to open—they have not yet done so—it would illustrate what will happen with the Shopping Hours Reform Council's proposals for deregulation; that everyone will probably end up by opening and Sunday will be exactly like every other day of the year, except, I believe, that we would be allowed off Christmas Day and Easter.

Baroness Oppenheim-Barnes

I am not as pessimistic about the outcome as my noble friend. I thought I made it quite clear that Marks & Spencer had never broken the law, unlike, as my noble friend said, some others. No one could be happy about that situation, I can assure noble Lords.

The argument put forward that if the small shops close people without cars will not be able to shop at the big centres shows that some people—and not just women—have not shopped at those centres themselves. Most have shuttle bus services to and from them if they are in city centres. The very pattern of Sunday opening which would follow the six hour option would vary right across the country, as it does in the United States. Where there were large shopping centres in the city or town centre it is likely that they would open. In areas where most of them were on the edge of town, it is unlikely that the city shops would open. They would do, quite correctly, what is viable for them, their shareholders and, above all, their customers. That is the important point.

I would say to the right reverend Prelates and to the noble Lord, Lord Jakobovits, whose contribution on Second Reading I read, that I have the greatest respect and sympathy for their view. Sadly, it is totally unrealistic. The people who are standing about on the streets on a Sunday—young people and not so young people gathering in parks—are not doing that because their parents are working. They are doing that because their parents have not told them to keep Sunday special and have not told them why they should keep Sunday special. Until you put that right you can stop blaming shop opening hours for any kind of deferral from the kind of practice which in an ideal society would be a very nice situation for families.

While I am on the point of families, perhaps I may say that Sunday shopping is very often the only opportunity for families to shop together and to make major purchases. Youngsters coming home from school nowadays have a great deal of homework. It is not possible for them to go shopping at night when their fathers and mothers may or may not have finished work. That is a further argument for the family.

Baroness Seear

What is wrong with Saturday?

Baroness Oppenheim-Barnes

I am sure the noble Baroness will be aware that a good many schoolchildren have Saturday morning jobs. In any case, they want free time to entertain themselves or to do whatever it is they want to do after a week of work at school. In my view people shop on Sundays not particularly because they want to shop on Sundays but because there is no alternative. It may be because they are working. I shop on Sunday because my husband is home and he can carry the dog food to the car. Apart from that I do not think I would choose to shop on Sunday but I will defend the right of people to choose to do so provided reasonable precautions are taken in the deregulation.

I share concern about the regulation of the partial deregulation. No piece of legislation has ever been perfect and not capable of improvement. I do not believe that this one will be either. But I believe that as it stands it offers the best opportunity and the best choice for consumers, families and those who want to keep Sunday special.

6 p.m.

Baroness Gould of Potternewton

I believe that it is important to respect the views of those people who want to keep Sunday special and to stop shopping on Sunday. I equally expect them to respect my view, which is to support the Sunday Hours Reform Council. I find it very distressing that there is some assumption that because I support the idea of shopping on a Sunday I do not know how to bring up a family or that I have not brought up a family or that somehow I am being a bad mother. That is an outrageous statement to make.

Noble Lords


Baroness Gould of Potternewton

It has been suggested in the context of the speech of the noble Baroness, Lady Young, that she brought up a family and that family attitudes are declining. One has to respect each other's particular circumstances and understand them.

I support the views of the Shopping Hours Reform Council because I believe that it should be a question of free choice, but not an imposition by law. Under those regulations Sunday can remain special for those people who want it to remain so. It will still be a day when the pressure of work is off most people and they are not waiting for the alarm clock at six o'clock in the morning in order to go to work. They will have the right to choose whether to go to church, to play sports, visit friends, go to the pub or whatever it is that they wish to do on that day. I do not believe that in any way the partial deregulation measures change that. Somehow there is an assumption that going shopping takes all day. That is not the case because there are many other things which people will be able to do on that day.

My main reservation about the restrictive proposals concerns the inconsistencies. I would understand it if people were saying that principally they are opposed to the idea of any shops being open on a Sunday and to any trading at all on a Sunday. But that is not the case. It is selective. I cannot understand why it is right for some to have to work on Sundays and not right for others. I cannot understand why it is acceptable for me to shop in a small shop, but not acceptable for me to shop in a large shop. I do not understand the logic of that. I do not understand why it i s acceptable for men-type shops—

Lord Elton

My Lords, as the noble Baroness has encouraged me, I simply want to supply the answer. It is because her shopping contributes to keeping small shops open whereas her shopping in the large shops on Sundays helps to close the small shops.

Baroness Gould of Potternewton

My Lords, I shall respond to that in due course. As I said, I do not know why it is acceptable for men-type shops, such as the DIY and motor accessory shops, to be open on Sunday but not shops which women and families might wish to visit. I do not know why it is acceptable for the big football matches to be held on Sunday, usually taking the male partner away from the home for the bulk of Sunday afternoon, but not for me to go to a shop. I do not know why I cannot buy basic essentials for the home, but I can buy a bottle of gin.

Possibly what causes more disruption to family life than shopping for two hours in a supermarket as a family is for the father to spend a number of hours in the pub on Sunday afternoon, a place where children are not allowed, although I do not see any move to close down the pubs. A major inconsistency is that of shopping for four weeks before Christmas. Why four weeks and not six weeks or eight weeks? IS it because those four weeks cover the time when the largest amount of money is spent in the shops, which satisfies the big stores which want to stay open and be fully commercial? It is the blatant commercialism of Christmas during those four weeks. It also deprives the small shopkeeper of the best four weeks of Sunday trading. That is to say nothing of the many anomalies, and confusion, which have been spoken about, which the proposal will create for the shopkeeper and the customer. To me, it is even more complex than the 1950 Act.

We have had some discussion about the number of jobs which would be lost if the restrictive proposals go through. Obviously there are disagreements, but I agree with my noble friend Lady Dean about the 170,000 people who could lose their Sunday pay or even their jobs. There are 80,000 workers, mainly women, who work on a Sunday. The money they earn is an important part of their week's salary. For many women being without a job will mean losing their only access to economic independence. That is a very important factor.

Many speakers have referred to the level of employment protection in the Bill. In some: ways I find that strange. I would like those proposals to be considerably stronger than they are. The proposals in the Private Member's Bill which was introduced in the other place, and which were then supported by the KSSC, were nowhere near as good as the proposals currently before the House in this Bill. There is considerably better protection than there is for workers in small shops. I am sure that nobody, at one fell swoop, would want to deprive 170,000 workers of a vital part of their income in the name of employee protection.

Not only will this amendment create unemployment; it will also cause an estimated 39,000 small shops to close. Yet we are told that the whole point is to protect them. If we are closing down small shops, I do not understand how we can then protect them. Many of those shops will be Asian shops which traditionally open on a Sunday. I live in an area surrounded by Asian shops and if they close down it will change the whole culture and nature of the area and the ethnic minority areas of many of our cities.

The closure of small shops, particularly the specialist shops, will also have a disastrous effect on our tourist industry. Those shops rely on Sunday tourists for a great amount of trade. One has only to go into The Lanes in Brighton or visit any of the craft shops which many of our towns have now developed to see families browsing through those shops. The Federation of Small Businesses says that protective Sunday trading will do little to strengthen Britain's small firms sector. All the evidence shows that in the past two years when supermarkets have been opened, there has been a decline in the number of small shops which have closed. The rate has slowed down from 9.4 per cent. in 1988–90 to 6.7 per cent. between 1990–1992. That is at a time of recession. That position will be reversed by this restrictive proposal.

I have spoken to many of the small shopkeepers in the area in which I live. They say it is not Sunday trading which they fear and the possibility that the big shops might open. What they are most concerned about and what has caused them more problems are the increased costs for gas, water, electricity and the uniform business rate. They are also extremely concerned about the growth in the number of garage forecourt shops which these proposals do nothing to stop. Those forecourt shops are in direct competition with convenience stores and have undertaken major advertising campaigns on television in order to encourage people to shop there. I know that my local Spar shop, which has a garage forecourt shop directly opposite, is more concerned about that than the Sainsbury's supermarket which is two tube stations away. That is a further inconsistency in the argument for not allowing big shops to open for part of the day.

The noble Viscount, Lord Tonypandy, said that there was no demand. That is a complete misunderstanding. I am sure that my noble friend Lord Stoddart will disagree with these figures: 44 per cent. of people strongly supported the idea of having the big shops open and only 12 per cent. strongly opposed that.

I had not intended to, but I now wish to make some reference to women. I find it very strange that when I refer to mainly women demonstrating in favour of having the big shops open, that is regarded as not being a very substantive factor. In fact, I have probably organised more large demonstrations than almost any other woman in the country. I felt that that women's demonstration was very effective. It is wrong to criticise such demonstrations simply because women are the participants.

Women have shown overwhelmingly that they want the freedom to shop on Sundays. Equally, women shopworkers have welcomed the opportunity to work —or not to work—on Sundays. Working Women for Sunday Shopping has supported the proposals for partial deregulation because they will allow small shops to open all day on Sunday, but will restrict the opening hours of large shops. Overwhelmingly, that organisation has backed the new legal rights of shopworkers to choose whether to work on Sundays.

Questions have been asked about deregulation and about why, if we are to have 24-hour shopping, women cannot do their shopping in the evening. I do not know how many of your Lordships actually walk the streets at night, but I must tell the Committee that I would not walk the streets at night or go shopping at night and I certainly would not want to take my children shopping at night. I would want to take them to the shops when it is light and when they can feel free to enjoy the pleasure of shopping with me instead of being afraid when out on the streets. There is no doubt that late-night opening solves nothing for mothers with small children. In fact, it increases the danger of attacks on women—and men—when travelling home from the shops.

I hope—I say this in all sincerity—that when the Committee votes later, your Lordships will take into account the wishes of the millions of women who are not able to speak or to be here today, but whose lives will be affected by our decisions.

Lord Jakobovits

I had, and took, the opportunity to express my views on this profoundly important and stirring subject during the Second Reading debate and do not propose to reiterate what I said on that occasion. I rise simply to declare that the arguments to which I have listened with a great deal of interest and attention in favour of partial or complete deregulation have not convinced me and that I stand by the arguments that I presented on Second Reading.

Perhaps I may add just one thought that was not expressed on that occasion. Reference was made both then and today to countries such as Scotland and the United States which are deregulated but which nevertheless have still preserved their religious character and their observation of the sabbath as a special day. Having lived in one of those countries for eight years, I must say that to my mind the arguments lead to the opposite conclusion. If a country is still so profoundly attached to its religious values that only 22 per cent. take advantage of deregulation to keep their shops open—the same applies in Scotland which is a profoundly religious country—regulations are not needed to preserve Sunday as a special day. That is already implanted in the hearts of most of the citizens of that country. There is no need to be reminded, by looking at the streets on a Sunday, that Sunday is a special day and is different. However, in countries like ours where, alas, the degree of secularisation is far higher than in the United States—or in Scotland, for that matter—one needs the help of the state to preserve (for those who care) a certain degree of "specialness" about the day of rest.

Perhaps I may say in passing that, as we have been reminded, while it took God six days to create the world (and then it was finished), it has taken us in this House the past 44 years to discuss how to commemorate that action of creating the world and resting on the seventh day. I can only express the hope that, at long last, after 44 years of debating how to rest, we shall be able to put this subject to rest after our vote and that we shall be able to preserve something which is still unique as a treasure and which goes back to the very creation of the world itself, so that we shall not abandon it and it shall not abandon us.

6.15 p.m.

The Lord Bishop of Oxford

I am grateful—

Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover

Perhaps I—

Noble Lords


The Lord Bishop of Oxford

I am—

Earl Ferrers

Perhaps the right reverend Prelate will take his seat for half a moment while I try to guide your Lordships. If your Lordships will allow the right reverend Prelate to make his contribution now and then the noble Lord, Lord Sainsbury, perhaps we shall be able to keep ourselves on the right track.

The Lord Bishop of Oxford

I am grateful for this opportunity and for the words that have just been said to us by the noble Lord, Lord Jakobovits. On behalf of all right reverend Prelates, I should like to assure the noble Baroness, Lady Dean, that of course we respect the sincerity and religious beliefs of those who take a different view from us. Nevertheless, the issue is what makes for the long-term health and well-being of society as a whole.

It is clear that there are very profound differences in the Committee about what makes a society a society. For that reason I should like to address two arguments that were put forward earlier by the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, which have surfaced in different words throughout the debate. He said that regulation involves telling other people what to do. I suggest rather that the law is never neutral or value-free. It always reflects a particular understanding of humanity and human society. There is no need to be apologetic about that.

Our law has a particular understanding of marriage, for example, which is built into its very fabric. Similarly, it has had a particular understanding of Sunday. That is not because we are a theocracy or because of the interests of church-going people; it is because the rhythm of work and rest as a community is vital for the well-being of the community as a whole. If we take an organic, more Burkean, view of society—as I suspect the law does on some other issues, and as all Members of your Lordships' House do on certain issues—we will hesitate long before destroying what has been so basic to our way of life for so long. It is not a question of telling other people what to do, but of being attentive to the wisdom which has nourished our society for centuries and which, if possible, will still nourish it for the future.

The noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, then argued powerfully, as have others this afternoon, that the distinction entailed by regulation would be irrational, unfair and lead to confusion. But the existence of twilight does not obliterate the distinction between night and day. There is a clear and crucial distinction between the shop which remains open on the corner and whole cities being given over to non-stop shopping. The one is compatible with the family and the community finding recreation together; the other is not. The difficulty of making fine distinctions as we often do in legislation (such as in the annual Finance Bill), should not discourage us from making a fundamental distinction in favour of letting families and communities share their leisure time with one another.

A great deal of emphasis has been laid upon choice, but if there was total, or even partial, deregulation one choice would certainly disappear before long, and that is the choice of communities to do things together. The noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, pointed out, quite rightly, that millions of people now work on a Sunday. Nevertheless, despite that, Sunday retains its special quality and character, and that it would not do if we allowed total, or even partial, deregulation.

Several noble Lords have drawn attention to Scotland, but we need to look closely at the differences in culture between Scotland and England. Scotland has long had a strong sabbatarian tradition which enabled a traditional Sunday to survive deregulation. There is not a similar Calvinistic tradition in England, although the noble Viscount, Lord Tonypandy, will remind us that there is one to some extent in Wales. The special character of Sunday in England does not derive from religious sabbatarianism, but from the combination of law and tradition which allows families and communities to share their leisure opportunity together—opportunities which are still valued, and which I would argue are still vital for the long-term health and well being of society as a whole.

Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover

Of course my first duty is to declare an interest in that for 22 years I was chairman of the company that bears my name, and I remain, although not on the board, president of it. I feel a certain humility, although not perhaps the guilt that some earlier speakers suggested that I should have. I welcome the opportunity not of going over the arguments that have been so well put by other advocates of the compromise option which I favour, but rather to give some facts that are at variance with some of those given by those who have argued that we should keep Sunday special.

I was unable to speak on this subject when this place last considered it as I was abroad, arid I do not want to repeat the many arguments that have already been made. I want to say that there is not the slightest doubt that there is a huge demand for Sunday trading. That is the only reason why a company like mine, and our competitors, seeing small shops open, and seeing the pressure for that trade, whether guilty or not, wrongly or not, but with great difficulty and great pain, decided that we should do what our customers wanted us to do. The fact is that today 25 million of our fellow citizens go shopping regularly on a Sunday; and 11 million go shopping every Sunday. Who are we to ignore that number who choose to do that at the moment, however wrongly, and however wrong I and others have been to be influenced by that great pressure which was so well described by, for example, the noble Baroness, Lady Gould?

Baroness Young

I wonder whether the noble Lord will give us the basis of the figures that he has quoted.

Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover

Yes, I have the figures. They were done by MORI. The exercise was carried out in October. It was a large sample. It was worked out statistically that there are 25 million people

The Earl of Lauderdale

A figure of 25 million means every other person. Is that what the noble Lord means?

Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover

I mean that 25 million people go shopping, not every Sunday, but regularly. That means at least once in four weeks. If one goes into a large DIY store, a large supermarket, or the much abused large stores, one will see the crowds. One will see the large number of families that go shopping together because that is the only time that they can. When one looks at the staffing situation, I have to say that so popular is Sunday working that we, and, I have no doubt, our competitors, have a waiting list of those who wish to work.

Why do we believe that that is right? It is that the duty of a retailer is to try to satisfy the needs of his customer. That may seem foreign and dreadful when it means doing what we have done. It is as simple as that. Our greatest asset is our goodwill. Our greater goodwill comes if we can offer something that our competitors cannot offer. That is my explanation. It is no excuse; it is an explanation for why 25 million people go shopping every four weeks and 11 million people go shopping virtually every Sunday.

It is not for us to say where such people should shop. They choose to shop. They vote with their feet at the shop which they believe will give them the greatest convenience, the greatest value, and the closest to what they are looking for. It is not that the big shopkeepers can dictate. We are successful only if people vote with their feet and walk into our stores. Our goodwill depends upon pleasing the people.

The law at the moment is in disrepute. If we ignore the fact that such a vast number of our fellow citizens choose to shop and want to shop, then a changed law will also fall into disrepute in the sense that people will feel that Parliament is out of touch with their needs. We do not trade on Sunday to add to our profits but because we lose customers if we do not.

The Earl of Lauderdale

Before the noble Lord sits down, what is the scale of the sample that the MORI poll took?

Lord Jacques

Perhaps I—

Baroness Seear

Some people—

A noble Lord


Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover

The MORI poll—

Noble Lords


Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover

I was seeking to answer the question. The MORI poll in October 1993 showed that 63 per cent. of adults go shopping at least once a month.

The Earl of Lauderdale

But what is the number of people polled?

Lord Hailsham of Saint Marylebone

Oh do be quiet!

Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover

Shush! I am sorry, I do not have those figures. It was a MORI poll. MORI is a reputable and independent organisation.

Baroness Seear

Someone said "Liberal", but I would remind the Committee that we are not speaking on a party basis. I believe that all parties are divided on this matter, and we are surely drawing near to the end of the debate.

Noble Lords

Hear, hear!

Baroness Seear

Some speakers have already said that every argument has been aired. I do not intend to go on for very long, but I should like to make one or two points. The first point I want to make—I had to be out of the Chamber for a short time unfortunately, and it may have been made then—is that I think we are all agreed that the present law is an ass; that the present law has to be changed. The other thing which is very agreeable about the debate—there are some things about it which are not very agreeable—is to find such unexpected and unusual bedfellows all over the Chamber. The noble Lord, Lord Stoddart, will not misunderstand me if I say that I think it is the first time that I have ever been in total agreement with him. I am amazed that he did not manage to bring any European reference into his extremely convincing speech.

Unfortunately, I missed what I am sure was an excellent address—it always is—from the noble Lord, Lord Murray. I am deeply sceptical about the safeguards for employees that everyone is saying are so tied up in the legislation. Anyone who has had anything to do with the application of legislation in the industrial relations field knows that it is easy to get around it. Of course people will not be disadvantaged in promotion if they will not work on Sundays! Like hell they won't be! There are many ways in which one can disadvantage a person without breaking the law. That is what is very likely to happen.

We have also to remember that a great many retail workers are not in a trade union. Perhaps they should be, and we have talked about that before. But they are not, and that is the fact of the matter, and there is no evidence that they are likely to be. What protection will they receive? If they refuse to work in a number of cases contract will be terminated by direct or indirect means. Hardly ever do people obtain reinstatement at an industrial tribunal; they receive a pittance in compensation. That will be it, so let us not fool ourselves into believing that we have adequate worker protection. In my view, we have no such thing.

I wish in particular to pick up and to develop the issue of the small shops. I do not want to be offensive to the compromise of partial deregulation. In fact, I would not call it partial deregulation. If the shops can be open between 10.00 a.m. and 6 p.m. for a six-hour period to be chosen by the shopkeeper the main trading places will be open all day. Various shops will be open in different parts of the country and it will not be easy to know which of the six hours the shops are opting for. That is virtual deregulation. Those who want deregulation will support that, which is fair enough. However, we should not imagine that there is anything partial about it because there is not.

Who is behind all this? The noble Lord, Lord Sainsbury, said that it was being done to meet the needs of the customers. In a sense, that is true. However, the people behind this great campaign are the superstores and the multiples. They are behind it for the respectable reason, from their point of view, of wanting to make more money. I believe in good commerce but they are not doing it for any other reason. Why should they? They are not doing it because they are in deep sympathy with the unhappy women who cannot possibly shop on a Saturday. Perhaps it is a little dangerous to shop in the evenings, but for a good deal of the year the evenings are not all that dark and a high percentage of women work only part time. Nevertheless, the shops are not opening for such people; they are opening to make more money.

We must answer the question: how on earth are they going to make more money? No more money will be spent because shops are open seven days a week. The same amount of money will be available to be spent among all the shops. The calculation of the superstores, which have backed the campaign with liberal glossy material, must be that they will increase their market share of the retail trade. That can be only at the expense of the small shops. No one has said where else it will come from; that is where it must come from.

We have had irrefutable figures that many small shops have closed down because of the development of Sunday trading and more and more will close. Like the noble Lord, Lord Stoddart, I have been inundated with letters. I have had letters not from individuals but from, for example, the Asian community, which has built up a valuable service in the retail trade in small shops. I have had letters too from those who run sub-post offices, bakers and other small shops. They are an important element in the commerce and social life of this country. In rural areas the village shop and the sub-post office are more than places where people go to buy a loaf of bread. They are places where they go to have a good gossip, to get advice and to partake in social intercourse.

I use the small shops in Kennington, and valuable indeed they are. I do not like driving in London not because I am a Sabbatarian but because I am a remarkably bad driver. If those small shops close down I shall have to travel a considerable distance by bus and lug my goods home afterwards. I do that occasionally and I do not like it much—I like the small shops. They are a valuable part of our social fabric and an important part of people's livelihoods. If the small shops close down the loss of jobs will be considerable: no one can deny that. For economic reasons and in order to provide a service to customers who do not have cars and who live in inaccessible places where public transport is defective, we must keep the small shops open.

The deregulators have put forward an imaginative argument for believing that the small shops will not suffer. They say that the small shops do well between 7.30 a.m. and 10.00 a.m. on Sunday mornings. I cannot claim that I am often out at 7.00 a.m. on Sunday morning but when I am I do not see queues of people lining up to go into small shops. Of course, they may sell more newspaper at that time but their trade will be decimated and they will be ruined if their traditional weekday customers go to the superstores and pour goods into the boots of their cars. That is what will ruin the small shops. It is poor compensation to have the opportunity to be able to get up at 7.30 on a Sunday morning to sell newspapers.

But there is an even bigger argument for keeping Sunday special. I would not have used the term "Keep Sunday Special". I am an Anglican and a relatively frequently practising Anglican. I believe that the Churches will happily keep going whatever the shopping hours. I would have called the campaign "Keep the Day that is Different". We all need rhythm in our lives and we need a day that is unlike other days. At one time the Soviet Union tried to make the day that was different one day in 10. They found that it did not work and they had to return to one day in seven. Make no mistake, unless we back the policy of keeping a day that is different, the rhythm in our society will be destroyed. The rhythm in our life will go and we shall not be able to bring it back. The loss will be incalculable.

Lord Rippon of Hexham

I shall be brief. The one thing that has emerged from the debate is that everyone accepts that the present law is indefensible. The only people who are content with it are those who break it regularly, thus bringing the law into disrepute. Having listened to the whole debate, I believe that I could vote for any of the options and still keep Sunday special. Whatever view one takes of the position in Scotland or America, I would prefer total deregulation. Certainly, one can keep Sunday special in any event. Of the two options, it is wrong to call one "Keep Sunday Special" and the other "Anti Keep Sunday Special". I do not believe that I keep Sunday more special by shopping in a small shop rather than in a supermarket. There is a valid argument about the effect on small shops as regards the wrongly-named "Keep Sunday Special" option. I prefer the six-hour option because it is more workable; it has fewer anomalies than the "Keep Sunday Special" option.

The noble Viscount calls these issues "trivialities". It is these trivialities which bring the law into disrepute and ought if at all possible to be avoided. No doubt many issues that relate to hours and to the protection of workers can be dealt with at later stages. As I have listened to the debate today I have become more inclined to believe that we shall be wise to follow the option voted for by a substantial majority in the other place. Its Members have to answer to constituents as well as to their consciences and to the Bishops. They have weighed the advantages and disadvantages and have listened to their constituents. We are not discussing a constitutional issue and we cannot argue that there has been insufficient consultation. In my view, we have no grounds for asking the other place to look at. the matter again, even if it would do so. We want to put this matter to rest, to repeat a phrase, arid I would put it to rest as soon as possible by voting for what has been democratically chosen by the other place.

Baroness Jay of Paddington

I should like to make a few practical remarks. A number of rather emotional speeches have been made this afternoon on this issue. I will make one point that your Lordships may regard as being slightly emotional. I have been disturbed by some of the attitudes towards women that have been displayed in this Chamber this afternoon. When I first came to this House some of my prejudices made me suspect that women might be regarded as a rather superficial and foolish minority. On the whole, that has not been my experience, and in your Lordships' House women are treated with equality and seriousness. But, frankly, that has not been true of some of your Lordships' contributions this afternoon. My noble friend Lady Gould has already referred to the attitude displayed when women lobbied Parliament. Several disparaging remarks have been made about the inability of women consumers to shop during the hours that would be available to them if the deregulation Bill went through. My noble friends Lady Dean and Lady Gould have both made the point that women do not wish to shop at midnight on dark, urban streets.

I should like your Lordships to consider the point made by my noble friend Lady Gould at the end of her speech. She referred to the millions of women who were not represented in this House. I should also like your Lordships to treat those women who are Members of this House with your normal respect.

I turn to the practical reasons for supporting the Shopping Hours Reform Council reform. As chairman of the Shopping Hours Reform Council, I declare my interest. Surprisingly, I am not a major retailer but a consumer. I am one of those people who, had I thought it worth while, could easily have picked up my pen and written to my noble friend Lord Stoddart and told him how often I and my friends and colleagues shopped on Sunday. I am sorry that I did not do so, but I do not believe that it would have made any difference to his opinion.

However, in supporting the position of the Shopping Hours Reform Council, I make the following practical points. This is a question of the way of life. For consumers, shopkeepers and enforcement agencies it is a practical matter that requires a practical solution. Like any new law, the regulations must command popular respect. To be enforced effectively they must be seen to be straightforward and fair. I believe that the Bill in its current form meets those practical requirements. The clear-cut nature of the offence of opening your shop and the large fines now available to the courts for infringements will make the task of policing the new regulations much easier. Because the Bill as it stands takes account of the views of the people it is designed to serve, it avoids precisely the built-in obsolescence which has been clearly demonstrated to be the continuing problem of the Shops Act 1950. This new law will stick.

I know that your Lordships are anxious to vote. I should like briefly to apply the same test of popularity, practicality and permanence to both the amendments, which I hope your Lordships will reject. I consider first total deregulation. I accept the intellectual concept, which has been well advanced in your Lordships' House, that total deregulation removes many of the problems of the current law. I know that some of the economic theorists—and some of them are my noble friends on these Benches—shudder at less academically perfect solutions. But there are wider and—dare I say it? —more practical considerations. The position of the smaller shops, so often mentioned this afternoon, and the need to ensure that Sundays do still "feel different", are both covered by the compromise solution. I agree precisely with that expression used by the noble Baroness, Lady Seear, although I do not agree with her conclusions. It is a genuine compromise solution.

In the real world of practical politics in which we all live we have to accept compromise. This is a compromise because it stands between the extremes of no regulation and heavy, complicated restriction. It balances the competing claims of different groups, ensuring that all shops can open and that consumers can have a fair and wide choice but that smaller businesses retain some competitive advantage. All compromises will disappoint somebody, but in this Bill the needs of as many people as possible have been taken into account, balanced and satisfied in a way which most people will regard as reasonable.

6.45 p.m.

The Earl of Halsbury

I believe that everybody should keep Sunday special in his own way. I believe that it is wrong for the state to intermeddle with people's freedom to come to an agreement with one another, either as between employer and employee or as between customer and shopkeeper. There is no room for the state to intermeddle.

We have heard much about shopkeepers, but nobody has yet mentioned the small shopping centre. It may be that the isolated small shopkeeper is not under as great a threat as has been indicated. Every working day of my life I come to your Lordships' House along a small back street. I can easily park my car. On the left are a liquor store, newsvendor and sub-postmaster, grocer, laun-drette and pub; on the right are a butcher, patisserie, hairdresser, dry cleaner and chemist's shop. It takes me 10 minutes to do my daily shopping and I am away to your Lordships' House. Nothing in the world will persuade me to go to a supermarket and wait in queue after queue to do a massive amount of shopping once a week, whether it be Sunday, Saturday, Friday or whatever. For that reason, I shall vote for a free-for-all and total deregulation. I believe that the complications of the middle course—the state of the art as it is now in the Bill—will make just as much mischief as the 1950 Act. I have already dealt with the question of keeping Sunday special. For that reason, I cannot go along with the noble Baroness, Lady Young.

Lord Elton

At this stage one should stand up almost only to be counted. However, I believe that there are one or two loose ends to which I must address myself. The noble Earl, Lord Halsbury, listed his local shops. I believe that research shows that he will be lucky if any of them are open five years after this Bill passes, if it passes in its present form.

The noble Baroness, Lady Jay, made a powerful statement about the interests of women in the opening of shops. Yet a poll carried out in September of last year revealed that, if the right question was asked, the answers were different. The answer to the question whether the respondent would have deregulation if it meant the closure of large numbers of small shops showed that 80 per cent. either would not have it or did not shop on Sundays anyway, and all the respondents were women. One can do almost anything with statistics. The noble Lord, Lord Sainsbury, has done a good deal with statistics. He has almost convinced your Lordships that half the entire population shops on and off on Sundays. I have not bumped into many of them on the rare occasions when I have done so myself.

This is a debate about three things. We are concerned here with commercial interests. The noble Baroness, Lady Seear, put it succinctly and the noble Lord, Lord Sainsbury, illustrated the point. The noble Baroness said it was a question of who got the money that went into small shops. The noble Lord asked how one knew that there was pressure to buy. He said that one could see people flocking into small shops and one wanted to serve them. It is quite right that he should want to do that, but let us recognise that this is a commercial debate, in which vast amounts of support have come from large commercial organisations with a lot of money to persuade people that it is good for them to open on Sundays.

My noble and learned friend Lord Howe is not here now but I should like to correct him in the columns of Hansard. He said that the first regulation of shops by law was in 1936. It was in about 969 AD under King Athelstan. We have had not 44 Bills but a thousand years. This is a constitutional issue which will decide what the country will be like for both Christians and others. I am a determined Christian and I shall worship wherever I am, even if it is a concentration camp. The fact is that we need the rhythm of life which is set out in the Old Testament and which has been endorsed by the experience of the Soviet Union: that is, that there is a need for one day off in seven for all who can have it. If you force people to work under this legislation with its inadequate protection for employees and failure to refer to those who will be swept into the system, from car park attendants to rubbish collectors, you will change the face of this nation.

There was a little straw in the wind a fortnight ago. As soon as Oxford City Council learned that there would be opening on Sunday they decided to start the parking meters, charging all the people who would go to the service in the cathedral. Your Lordships have a decision to make today. Do you want six-day weeks or seven-day weeks? I hope that you vote for six.

Baroness Flather

I shall be brief—

Baroness Trumpington

I believe that it is the turn of the opposite side.

Lord McCarthy

I have a few words to say on behalf of those who did not know how they would vote before the debate began. We have heard a series of mutually contradictory and totally irreconcilable figures which have been thrown backwards and forwards and for which virtually no one has given the sources; although when some Members of the Committee tried to do so their arguments broke down. Moreover, most of the questions which have been asked by public opinion polls would not have passed an elementary examination on how to put questions. Therefore, we are none the wiser.

The noble Lord is right to say that it is all about market shares. Of course, it is not entirely about such shares; it is also about the sabbath and about the workers. Nonetheless, it turns on market shares. The reason my view today on market shares has hardened is very much because of what the noble Lord, Lord Sainsbury, said. The retail side of our economy has been stagnating since 1990. The only way that you can get any real improvement in trade is to take it from someone else. It has been impossible—indeed, insupportable—for many of our large stores to sit and watch the small traders creaming off the market by breaking the law. In the end, with every degree of reluctance, they decided that they had no alternative but to break the law themselves.

However, why are they not satisfied with breaking the law? Of course they are not satisfied to do so because they are good people. But I also suggest that they are not satisfied because they have got just about all that they can get from breaking the law. For example, what they cannot do while they break the law is to launch a promotion. They cannot flood the television screens with images telling us with every voice-over from Arthur Daly to Sir Anthony Hopkins that it is a "Sunday tea at Tescos" or, "Songs of Praise at Safeways" or even "Sundays means Sainsburys". That is what they want to do; and, indeed, that is what they will do the moment that the Bill is passed. That is why so many people are worried about it. We think that the whole thing will then escalate. Estimates (again, the basis of which we do not know) say that 75 per cent of shops will open. I believe that the figure may well be 100 per cent. Moreover, it will not just be shops; it will be all the other types of retail outlets that people have mentioned. That is what we worry about. Compromise and even deregulation would be alright; or at least that would not be so bad and we could put up with it if it stopped there. However, we do not think that it will.

I turn now to shopworkers and the legislation. I shall be tabling an amendment when we get to the relevant part of the Bill. I hope that all Members of the Committee who said today that they accept that the Bill is not perfect so far as concerns the individual worker will support that amendment. The only way that we can do anything for shopworkers—or, indeed, anyone else in that connection—is to do so at the point of entry. If it remains legal for an employer to ask a would-be employee "Will you work on Sundays" but the employee says "No, I don't think so" and the employer therefore does not engage him, it will mean that there is no protection under the Bill and no compensation or redress. Therefore, if the Bill retains its present form, I hope that noble Lords will support such an amendment.

Baroness Strange

I shall—

Noble Lords


Baroness Strange

I have tried before to speak. However, I shall not speak for very long or say very much because much has already been said and I know exactly how Members of the Committee must feel. Nevertheless, I would like to add to what the noble Baroness, Lady Seear, said about rhythm. There is a daily rhythm of day and night. The body is at its lowest ebb between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. in the morning at the death hour, but then blackbirds sing, cocks crow, peacocks shout and you have all the hurly-burly of dawn and life awakening.

There is the rhythm of the seasons, of the ages of man. Those are major rhythms. However, we must not forget the shorter one in between—the rhythm of the week. Seven is the mystic number of God and man. There are seven stars in the sky and seven days in the week. If Sunday were like every other day there would be no punctuation to the week, no break, no pause and we might all go shooting out of time into a black hole from which there is no coming back.

Lord Plant of Highfield

The divergence of views expressed in the Committee shows how difficult it is to make public policy in a society in which there is a high degree of moral and cultural pluralism. I believe there are three possible ways forward. The first is essentially the one proposed by my noble friend Lord McIntosh of Haringey; namely, that since there is no agreement in society, everything must be left to choice and the role of the state is merely to provide the framework to facilitate individual choice. The second is the confessional approach, which I accept that the Bishops' Benches have not actually put forward but it is one which has been mentioned in some speeches: that the character of Sunday should somehow be determined by Christian beliefs as that is our heritage.

The third way is that we should look for some kind of reasonable compromise between the various options. That is the view I believe should be taken. It seems to me that the confessional view will not work because it is not sufficiently sensitive to the facts of moral pluralism. Indeed, as the noble Baroness, Lady Oppenheim, said, it is not realistic. I agree with that view, although I speak as a Christian.

However, I strongly disagree with my noble friend Lord McIntosh of Haringey about seeing the matter in an entirely deregulative way—that because we have no agreement in society everything must be made a matter of choice. Surely we cannot just accept that proposition; we must weigh up the consequences of the choices that we make, and make conjectures about what those consequences might be.

The idea that values can be reduced to matters of choice is a rather debilitating one for a party like the Labour Party where it wants to invoke and draw upon ideas like community and social justice which are essentially collective kinds of ideas. I believe that if we want to stick with such notions we must resist to some degree the idea that collective values can be reduced to matters of individual choice.

Those ideas will not recommend themselves to economic liberals like the noble Lord, Lord Harris of High Cross, because he would regard community as an atavistic kind of concept and social justice as meaningless. However, if we take those ideas to be important, we must weigh up the consequences of deregulation. I do not want to repeat the nature of those consequences because other noble Lords have made such points most clearly. But they are consequences about communities in relation to small shops; they are consequences about social justice in relation to employment protection; and, they are also consequences about communities which will not be consulted and which will have no say about shops opening in their areas. It will be an entirely commercial decision and a community's way of life can be transformed overnight without that community having any voice in the matter whatever through the local council, which will have a largely book-keeping role.

It seems to me that the option of deregulation is something which should not be supported. However, the question then remains: what is the fair compromise if one rejects the confessional and the deregulatory view? My own feeling is that the proposals of the Shopping Hours Reform Council are not a fair compromise; indeed, they go too far down the road of deregulation and they do not solve many of the problems regarding communities and injustice which I outlined. For those reasons, and although I would have preferred something a little less restrictive, I shall be voting for the keep Sunday special option.

Baroness Flather

I shall be very brief in what I have to say. Much has been said about small shops and the danger to their existence. As soon as we start talking about small shops we start thinking in terms of their protection. Indeed, they must be protected at all costs. None of us, whatever option we support, is against small shops but we are for choice which the small shops do not give us at this stage. There is a parade of shops near me. The Asian shop, which is a general grocers, is open until 8 o'clock in the evening but the other shops in the parade do not stay open so late. It may be that the other shops will open at different times in future, but I am not sure about that. At present, if I need to go shopping on a Sunday, I cannot get everything I need from one small shop.

I have mentioned my following point before and I shall mention it again today; namely, the forecourt shops. They, not the large supermarkets, are the biggest threat to small shops. Esso has set aside over £3 million to develop large forecourt shops. I mentioned that on Second Reading and I repeat it again today. I would rather go to the forecourt shop which is situated just across a roundabout from my home than take the car to my nearest small shops. Of course the people who live near the small shops will still shop there if they do not have cars. No matter how many shops open, wherever they open, those people will still patronise their local shops. I repeat that the threat comes from forecourt shops. We must bear that in mind. Further, it amazes me that no one is concerned about the spiritual welfare of the people who work in small shops. I wonder whether the Committee is aware how hard the families of Asian shopkeepers work in their small shops. Has anyone ever said a word about them and about the women who work all hours in those Asian shops? It is all very well for Members of the Committee to receive letters from men but the Committee is unaware how hard women work in those small Asian shops and what unsocial hours they work. Do they not need any family life, any spiritual life or any rest on a Sunday? Are those small Asian shops not run by people in the same way as these large shops that we are discussing? If we want to keep Sunday special, we should shut all the shops. As the Committee is aware, I support the middle solution and I believe that that is the only way forward.

7 p.m.

Baroness Nicol

I have the distinct impression that the Committee wishes to vote before dinner. I simply wish to make a few points. I have discarded all my other points which have been made so well by my noble friends. I address one point, through the Committee, to my noble friend Lady Dean. She cannot rely on strengthening worker protection beyond what is in the Bill. I remind the Committee that today we have a free vote but after today the Whips will be on and there is no way that any measure to strengthen worker protection will get through this Chamber. If my noble friend is counting on that, I hope she will think again. What she sees in the Bill is what she will get and there will be no changes to it.

As far as I am aware, the United Road Transport Union has not been referred to in this debate. That union's members will be much affected by the deregulation which is being proposed. The general secretary of that union ended an appealing letter by stating, with regard to Sunday shopping, For many of my members it constitutes a huge threat to their family life, a further cause of potential alienation between children and their parents, and a sharpening of the focus on economic gains at the expense of social and religious values. Many of us believe that those traditional values are an oasis in the six-day desert of commerce". That letter was sent by the general secretary of a union whose members will suffer greatly if this deregulation goes through. I have many other such letters but I shall not bore the Committee with them at this stage.

Earl Ferrers

Although there may be some Members of the Committee who still wish to contribute to this debate I think it is the general feeling of the Committee that the time has come for it to make a decision. I believe that all the options seem to have been canvassed and explained to the full. Members of the Committee might find it helpful if I were to reiterate, with some brevity and possibly some bluntness, how they should vote to secure the various options which are before them. I would only add that as the Committee contemplates the prospect of going through the Division Lobbies, those of its Members who have ever been Boy Scouts may remember the motto "Be Prepared", and those Members of the Committee who have never been Boy Scouts might well regret the omission but nevertheless abide by the motto.

Those Members of the Committee who wish to choose total deregulation should vote "Content" to Amendments Nos. 1 and 2 and "Not-Content" that Schedule 1 should stand part of the Bill. Those Members of the Committee who wish to choose the option of regulation which is proposed by the Keep Sunday Special Campaign and Retailers for Shops Act Reform should vote "Not-Content" to Amendment No. 1 but "Content" to Amendment No. 3. Those Members of the Committee who wish to agree with another place and choose the option of partial deregulation which is proposed by the Shopping Hours Reform Council should vote "Not-Content" to all the amendments but "Content" that Schedule 1 should stand part of the Bill. I would just add that those who wish for total deregulation should vote "Content" to Amendment No. 1 and those who wish either for partial deregulation which is in the Bill or for the Keep Sunday Special option should vote "Not-Content".

Lord Hailsham of Saint Marylebone

I hope I may interrupt my noble friend. The document. I have, which comes from the Printed Paper Office states, as regards keeping partial deregulation, "Not-Content" for Amendment No. 1, "Not-Content" for Amendment No. 2, but, contrary to what my noble friend says, "Content" for Clause 1 stand part, "Not-Content" for Amendment No. 3 and "Content" for Schedule 1 stand part.

Noble Lords


Lord Hailsham of Saint Marylebone

I am reading from a document. I only want to find out what is right.

Earl Ferrers

I had hoped to make that as clear as possible. I can only repeat what I said so that the Committee should be fairly clear on this. Those Members of the Committee who wish to choose total deregulation should vote "Content" to Amendments Nos. 1 and 2 and "Not-Content" that Schedule 1 should stand part of the Bill. Those Members of the Committee who wish to choose the option of regulation which is proposed by the Keep Sunday Special Campaign and the Retailers for Shops Act Reform should vote "Not-Content" to Amendment No. 1, and Amendment No. 2 which is consequential upon it, but "Content" to Amendment No. 3. Those Members of the Committee who wish to agree with another place and choose the option of partial deregulation which is proposed by the Shopping Hours Reform Council should vote "Not-Content" to all the amendments but "Content" that Schedule 1 should stand part of the Bill, I hope that I have made that clear and in so doing—

Baroness Seear

We have had a long debate and I do not wish to suggest that we are all being rather stupid but I think it would be helpful if, after each vote, the Minister could tell us how we ought to vote on the next Division.

Earl Ferrers

The noble Baroness, Lady Seear, usually comes up with the most helpful suggestions. As a matter of fact I was proposing to do that but I wondered whether I might be considered to be rather patronising. I am delighted to know that I shall not be considered patronising and I shall endeavour to advise the Committee, as each vote comes, how it should vote. I might add that it would be extremely helpful if the Committee could accept what I say with the best of good grace on the understanding that it is supposed to be helpful. If other Members of the Committee keep on interrupting saying, "I thought it was something different", I suggest that we shall all become totally confused. I warned the Committee that those who had been Boy Scouts should "Be Prepared", and I repeat that.

Noble Lords

And Girl Guides!

Earl Ferrers

Yes, and Girl Guides. In the Civil Service you are taught that the male embraces the female—to which I might add that you do not have to join the Civil Service to do that.

In putting forward Amendment No. 1, I suggest to your Lordships that those who wish for total deregulation should vote "Content" to this provision; and those who wish either for partial deregulation (whish is in the Bill) or for the Keep Sunday Special option, should vote "Not-Content".

7.11 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 1) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 46; Not-Contents, 303.

Division No. 1
Airedale, L. Lyell, L. [Teller.]
Birkett, L. Mackie of Benshie, L.
Blyth, L. Marsh, L.
Boyd-Carpenter, L. McIntosh of Haringey, L.
Brabazon of Tara, L. Merrivale, L.
Brain, L. Montgomery of Alamein, V.[Teller.]
Brightman, L.
Butterworth, L. Morris, L.
Carnock, L. O'Cathain, B.
Chapple, L. Onslow, E.
Cochrane of Cults, L. Palmer, L.
Craig of Radley, L. Peston, L.
David, B. Plummer of St. Marylebone, L.
Desai, L. Quinton, L.
Dundonald, E. Redesdale, L.
Glenarthur, L. Rees, L.
Gray of Contin, L. Robson of Kiddington, B.
Halsbury, E. Sanderson of Bowden, L.
Harris of High Cross, L. Slynn of Hadley, L.
Howe of Aberavon, L. Stodart of Leaston, L.
Howie of Troon, L. Tebbit, L.
Kinnoull, E. Thomas of Swynnerton, L.
Lester of Herne Hill, L. Wyatt of Weeford, L.
Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, B.
Aberdare, L. Borthwick, L.
Abinger, L. Braine of Wheatley, L.
Addison, V. Brentford, V.
Ailesbury, M. Broadbridge, L.
Aldenham, L. Brookeborough, V.
Aldington, L. Bruce of Donington, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V. Burnham, L.
Annaly, L. Cadman, L.
Ardwick, L. Cameron of Lochbroom, L.
Ashbourne, L. Campbell of Croy, L.
Astor of Hever, L. Campbell of Eskan, L.
Astor, V. Canterbury, Abp.
Attlee, E. Carnarvon, E.
Balfour, E. Carnegy of Lour, B.
Banbury of Southam, L. Carr of Hadley, L.
Bancroft, L. Carter, L.
Banks, L. Chalker of Wallasey, B.
Barber of Tewkesbury, L. Charteris of Amisfield, L.
Barnett, L. Chelmsford, Bp.
Beaumont of Whitley, L. Chelmsford, V.
Belhaven and Stenton, L. Chesham, L.
Bellwin, L. Chester, Bp.
Beloff, L. Chichester, Bp.
Birdwood, L. Clanwilliam, E.
Blackstone, B. Clark of Kempston, L.
Blake, L. Cledwyn of Penrhos, L.
Bledisloe, V. Clinton-Davis, L.
Boardman, L. Cockfield, L.
Bolton, L. Coleraine, L.
Colnbrook, L. Holderness, L.
Colville of Culross, V. Hollis of Heigham, B.
Colwyn, L. HolmPatrick, L.
Cork and Orrery, E. Hooson, L.
Courtown, E. Hothfield, L.
Craigavon, V. Howe, E.
Craigmyle, L. Howell, L.
Crathorne, L. Hughes, L.
Crawshaw, L. Hylton-Foster, B.
Crickhowell, L. Inchyra, L.
Crook, L. Jacques, L.
Cross, V. Jakobovits, L.
Cullen of Ashbourne, L. Jay of Paddington, B.
Cumberlege, B. Jay, L.
Darcy (de Knayth), B. Jeffreys, L.
Davidson, V. Jenkin of Roding, L.
De Freyne, L. Jenkins of Putney, L.
De L'Isle, V. Kenilworth, L.
Dean of Beswick, L. Kenyon, L.
Dean of Harptree, L. Kilbracken, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B. Killearn, L.
Derwent, L. Kilmarnock, L.
Diamond, L. Kimball, L.
Dixon-Smith, L. Kinloss, Ly.
Donegall, M. Kintore, E.
Dormand of Easington, L. Lane of Horsell, L.
Dormer, L. Lauderdale, E.
Downshire, M. Lawrence, L.
Dudley, E. Lincoln, Bp.
Eccles of Moulton, B. Lindsey and Abingdon, E.
Eccles, V. Liverpool, Bp.
Eden of Winton, L. Liverpool, E.
Ellenborough, L. Lloyd of Berwick, L.
Elles, B. London, Bp.
Elton, L. Long, V.
Ennals, L. Longford, E.
Faithfull, B. Lucas of Chilworth, L.
Falkland, V. Lucas, L.
Ferrers, E. Mackay of Ardbrecknish, L.
Fitt, L. Mackay of Clashfern, L. [Lord Chancellor.]
Flather, B. MacLehose of Beoch, L.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L. Macleod of Borve, B.
Gainford, L. Manchester, D.
Gainsborough, E. Mancroft, L.
Gallacher, L. Manton, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B. Marlesford, L.
Geddes, L. Masham of Ilton, B.
Geraint, L. Massereene and Ferrard, V.
Gilmour of Craigmillar, L. Mayhew, L.
Gladwyn, L. McCarthy, L.
Glenamara, L. McColl of Dulwich, L.
Goold, L. McFarlane of Llandaff, B.
Goschen, V. Merlyn-Rees, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B. Mersey, V.
Graham of Edmonton, L. Miller of Hendon, B.
Greene of Harrow Weald, L. Milner of Leeds, L.
Greenway, L. Milverton, L.
Gridley, L. Molloy, L.
Griffiths of Fforestfach, L. Moore of Wolvercote, L.
Grimston of Westbury, L. Moran, L.
Hacking, L. Morris of Castle Morris, L.
Haig, E. Mottistone, L.
Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L. Mountevans, L.
Hamwee, B. Mountgarret, V.
Hanworth, V. Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Harding of Petherton, L. Mulley, L.
Harlech, L. Harmsworth, L. Munster, E.
Harris of Greenwich, L. Murray of Epping Forest, L.
Harrowby, E. Mutton of Lindisfarne, L.
Harvington, L. Napier and Ettrick, L.
Haskel, L. Nelson, E.
Hayhoe, L. Newcastle, Bp.
Hayter, L. Nicol, B.
Hemphill, L. Norfolk, D.
Henderson of Brompton, L. Northbourne, L.
Henley, L. Norwich, Bp.
Hesketh, L. Ogmore, L.
Hilton of Eggardon, B. Oppenheim-Barnes, B.
Hindlip, L. Oxford, Bp.
Oxfuird, V. St. John of Bletso, L.
Park of Monmouth, B. St. John of Fawsley, L.
Pearson of Rannoch, L. Stallard, L.
Peel, E Stewartby, L.
Perry of Southwark, B. Stoddart of Swindon, L. [Teller.]
Perry of Walton, L. Strabolgi, L.
Peterborough, Bp. Strange, B.
Pitt of Hampstead, L. Strathcarron, L.
Plant of Highfield, L. Strathclyde, L.
Plan of Writtle, B. Strathmore and Kinghorne, E.
Portsmouth, Bp. Suffield, L.
Prentice, L. Swansea, L.
Prys-Davies, L. Swinfen, L.
Pym, L. Swinton, E.
Rankeillour, L. Taylor of Gryfe, L.
Rawlinson of Ewell, L. Teviot, L.
Reay, L Teynham, L.
Rees-Mogg, L. Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Rennell, L. Thurlow, L.
Renton, L. Tollemache, L.
Ripon, Bp. Tonypandy, V.
Rippon of Hexham, L. Torrington, V.
Robertson of Oakridge, L. Trefgame, L.
Rochester, L. Ullswater, V.
Rodger of Earlsferry, L. Varley, L.
Romney, E. Vaux of Harrowden, L.
Ryder of Warsaw, B. Wade of Chorlton, L.
Sainsbury of Preston Candover, L. Wakeham, L. [Lord Privy Seal.]
Saint Oswald, L. Walker of Worcester, L.
Savile, L. Weatherill, L.
Seccombe, B. Wharton, B.
Seear, B. White, B.
Serota, B. Whitelaw, V.
Shannon, E. Wigoder, L.
Sharp of Grimsdyke, L. Wigram, L.
Sharpies, B. Wilberforce, L.
Sheffield, Bp. Williams of Elvel, L.
Simon of Glaisdale, L. Winchester, Bp.
Skelmersdale, L. Wise, L.
Smith, L. Wolfson of Sunningdale, L.
Southwark, Bp. Worcester, Bp.
St. Davids, V. Wynford, L.
St. Edmundsbury and Ipswich, Bp. Young, B. [Teller.]

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

7.27 p.m.

Earl Ferrers had given notice of his intention to move Amendment No. 2:

Page 1, line 9, leave out ("on the appointed day").

The noble Earl said: As Amendment No. 2 is consequential upon Amendment No. 1 and as Members of the Committee have decided that Amendment No. 1 has not been carried, I shall not move Amendment No. 2.

[Amendment No. 2 not moved.]

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

Earl Ferrers

In deference to the noble Baroness, Lady Seear, who wishes guidance, as do other Members of the Committee, the Question whether Clause 1 shall stand part of the Bill is essential, whatever views Members of the Committee have on the various options. I therefore suggest that the matter be taken formally.

Clause 1 agreed to.

Schedule 1 [Restrictions on Sunday opening of large shops]:

Earl Ferrers moved Amendment No. 3: Leave out Schedule 1 and insert the following new schedule:



1.—(1) In this Schedule— ancient monument" means a scheduled monument within the meaning of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979, confectionery" includes ice cream, exempt shop" shall be construed in accordance with paragraphs 3 to 8 below, internal floor area", in relation to a shop, means the internal floor area of so much of the shop as consists of or is comprised in a building, intoxicating liquor" and "licensed premises" have the same meaning as in the Licensing Act 1964, London exempt area" has the meaning given by paragraph 9 below, medicinal product" and "registered pharmacy" have the same meaning as in the Medicines Act 1968, relevant floor area", in relation to a shop, means so much of the internal floor area as is attributable to any area as respects which one or more of the following conditions is satisfied at any time during the week ending with the Sunday in question—

  1. (a) customers have access to the area,
  2. (b) it is used for the display of goods, or
  3. (c) it is used for the serving of customers,
retail trade or business" includes—
  1. (a) the business of a barber or hairdresser,
  2. (b) the sale of refreshments or intoxicating liquor,
  3. (c) the business of hiring goods, and
  4. (d) retail sales by auction, and
shop" includes any premises where any retail trade or business is carried on.
  1. (2) At any time when a shop is open for the purpose of displaying goods to customers with a view to the subsequent sale or hire of those goods, the shop shall be taken for the purposes of this Schedule to be open for the serving of customers, even though customers are unable to buy or hire goods at that time.
  2. (3) At any time when a shop is not open to the public, but customers are admitted to the shop (whether by invitation, as members of a club or otherwise) for the purposes of a retail trade or business carried on there, the shop shall be taken for the purposes of this Schedule to be open for the serving of customers.
  3. (4) No part of a sea-going vessel shall be treated as a shop for the purposes of this Schedule.

Prohibition of Sunday trading in shops

2. —(1) A shop shall not be open on Sunday for the serving of customers unless—

  1. (a) it is an exempt shop,
  2. (b) the Sunday in question falls within the period beginning with 27th November and ending with 24th December in any year,
  3. (c) a notice under paragraph 9(1) of Schedule 2 to this Act (shops occupied by persons observing the Jewish Sabbath) has effect in relation to the shop, or
  4. (d) the shop is situated in a London exempt area.

(2) A shop which is situated in a London exempt area shall not be open for the serving of customers on Sunday after 2 p.m., unless any of paragraphs (a) to (c) of sub-paragraph (1) above apply.

Shops exempt irrespective of size

3.—(1) A shop is an exempt shop by virtue of this paragraph if—

  1. (a) the trade or business carried on in the shop consists wholly or mainly of any one or more of the following—
    1. (i) the sale on licensed premises of intoxicating liquor,
    2. (ii) the sale of meals or refreshments for consumption on the premises on which they are sold, and
    3. (iii) the sale of meals or refreshments prepared to order for immediate consumption off those premises,
  2. (b) the trade or business carried on in the shop consists wholly or mainly of the sale of intoxicating liquor in such circumstances that the sales are not "sales by retail" within the meaning of the Licensing Act 1964,
  3. 1047
  4. (c) the shop is a registered pharmacy and is open only for the sale (or supply otherwise than by way of sale) of medicinal products or surgical appliances,
  5. (d) it is open only for either or both of the following—
    1. (i) the sale of fuel for motor vehicles or for vessels or of lubricants for motor vehicles or for vessels, and
    2. (ii) the hire of motor vehicles, bicycles, trailers or vessels,
  6. (e) it is at a designated airport and is situated in a part of the airport to which sub-paragraph (3) below applies,
  7. (f) it is at a service area within the meaning of the Highways Act 1980,
  8. (g) it is open only for the provision of postal services,
  9. (h) it is open only for the business of a funeral undertaker, or
  10. (j) it is open only for the sale of food, stores or other necessaries required by any person for a vessel or aircraft on its arrival at, or immediately before its departure from, a port or airport.

  1. (2) In determining whether a shop falls within sub-paragraph (1) (a) or (b) above, regard shall be had to the nature of the trade or business carried on there on weekdays as well as to the nature of the trade or business carried on there on Sunday.
  2. (3) This sub-paragraph applies to every part of a designated airport, except any part which is not ordinarily used by persons travelling by air to or from the airport.
  3. (4) In this paragraph "designated airport" means an airport designated for the purposes of this paragraph by an order made by the Secretary of State, as being an airport at which there appears to him to be a substantial amount of international passenger traffic.
  4. (5) The power to make an order under sub-paragraph (4) above shall be exercisable by statutory instrument.
  5. (6) Any order made under section 1(2) of the Shops (Airports) Act 1962 and in force at the commencement of this Schedule shall, so far as it relates to England and Wales, have effect as if made also under sub-paragraph (4) above, and may be amended or revoked as it has effect for the purposes of this paragraph by an order under sub-paragraph (4) above.

Certain small shops exempt irrespective of location

4.—(1) A shop is an exempt shop by virtue of this paragraph if—

  1. (a) the relevant floor area of the shop does not exceed 280 square metres,
  2. (b) the shop is a shop of any of the types specified in the first column of the Table below,
  3. (c) the trade or business carried on in the shop (in this paragraph referred to as "the relevant trade") consists wholly or mainly of the sale or hire of goods of any one or more of the descriptions specified in relation to that type of shop in the second column of that Table, and
  4. (d) any further condition specified in relation to that type of shop in the third column of that Table is satisfied.

  1. (2) In this paragraph, "sale", in relation to a chemist's shop, includes supply otherwise than by way of sale.
  2. (3) This paragraph has effect subject to paragraph 8 below.

Type of shop Goods Further condition
A grocer's shop. Groceries.
A convenience shop. Groceries, confectionery and domestic cleaning materials. The relevant trade includes the sale of goods falling within each of the descriptions specified in the second column.
A newsagent's shop. Newspapers, periodicals and confectionery. The relevant trade includes the sale of goods falling within each of the descriptions specified in the second column.
A video recordings shop. Video recordings.

Certain large shops exempt irrespective of location

5. — (1) A shop is an exempt shop by virtue of this paragraph if—

  1. (a) it would be an exempt shop by virtue of paragraph 4 above as a nursery, garden centre, motor supplies shop, cycle supplies shop, motor and cycle supplies shop or do-it-yourself shop but for the fact that its relevant floor area exceeds 280 square metres, and
  2. (b) it is open only for the sale or hire of permitted goods.
(2) In sub-paragraph (1) above, "permitted goods" means any of the following—

Certain small shops exempt in certain locations

6. — (1) A shop is an exempt shop by virtue of this paragraph if—

  1. (a) the relevant floor area of the shop does not exceed 280 square metres,
  2. (b) the location of the shop is one of those specified in the first column of the Table below, and
  3. (c) where certain descriptions of goods are specified in relation to that location in the second column of that Table, the trade or business carried on in the shop consists wholly or mainly of the sale or hire of goods of any one or more of those descriptions.
(2) This paragraph has effect subject to paragraph 8 below.

Location Goods
At a gallery, museum, garden, park, zoo, aquarium or ancient monument or in any building or area designated as a tourist attraction for the purposes of this Act by the local authority for the area in which it is situated. Souvenirs, goods having some local association and confectionery.
On a farm, smallholding, allotment or similar place. Agricultural produce of that place.
At any place where any sport or game is played or carried on. Goods directly connected with the sport or game played or carried on at that place.
Location Goods
In a railway station. Books, newspapers and periodicals.
In a theatre, cinema or other place of entertainment. Confectionery, programmes and items similar to programmes.
In a hospital.
In a terminal building at a harbour, seaport or hoverport.

Very small shops

7.—(1) A shop is an exempt shop by virtue of this paragraph if its internal floor area does not exceed 10 square metres. (2) This paragraph has effect subject to paragraph 8(2) below.

Supplementary provisions as to exemption

8.—(1) In determining for the purposes of paragraph 4(1) (c) or 6(1) (c) above whether the trade or business carried on in a shop consists wholly or mainly of the sale or hire of goods of particular descriptions or for the purposes of paragraph 4(1) (d) above whether that trade or business includes the sale of such goods—

  1. (a) regard shall be had to the nature of the trade or business carried on in the shop on weekdays as well as to the nature of the trade or business carried on there on Sunday, and
  2. (b) there shall be disregarded any activity mentioned in paragraph 3(1) (a), (g) or (j) above.
(2) Where customers can obtain access to a shop ("the inner shop") only by passing through another shop ("the outer shop"), the inner shop cannot be an exempt shop by virtue of paragraph 4, 6 or 7 above unless the outer shop is also an exempt shop.

London exempt areas

9.—(1) For the purposes of this Schedule "London exempt area" means, subject to sub-paragraph (2) below, any area in relation to which an order under section 54 of the Shops Act 1950 (special provisions for London) had effect immediately before the commencement of this Schedule. (2) The local authority within whose area any London exempt area falls may by order provide that all or a specified part of that area is to cease to be a London exempt area. (3) A local authority shall, before making any order under sub-paragraph (2) above, give public notice of their intention to make the order, and the notice must specify a period (not being less than four weeks) within which objections may be made to the making of the proposed order, and if, after taking into consideration any objections they have received, the local authority are satisfied that it is expedient to make the order, they may make the order.


10.—(1) If paragraph 2(1) above is contravened in relation to a shop, the occupier of the shop shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £50,000. (2) If paragraph 2(2) above is contravened in relation to a shop, the occupier of the shop shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 2 on the standard scale. 11. Where a person is charged with having contravened paragraph 2(2) above by reason of his having served a customer after 2 p.m., it shall be a defence to prove that the customer was in the shop before that time and left not later than half an hour after that time.")

Earl Ferrers

I beg to move Amendment No. 3. Those who wish to vote for the Keep Sunday Special option should vote "Content" for the amendment. Those who wish to vote against keeping Sunday special or in favour of partial deregulation, which is in the Bill, should vote, "Not-Content". I commend the amendment.

7.29 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 3) shall be agreed to?

*Their Lordships divided: Contents, 151; Not-Contents, 206.

Division No. 2
Abinger, L. Lawrence, L.
Ailesbury, M. Lincoln, Bp.
Aldenham, L. Liverpool, Bp.
Ardwick, L. London, Bp.
Ashbourne, L. Long, V.
Banbury of Southam, L. Longford, E.
Banks, L. Lucas, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L. Mackay of Clashfern, L. [Lord
Belhaven and Stenton, L. Chancellor]
Blake, L. Marlesford, L.
Boardman, L. Masham of Ilton, B.
Bolton, L. Massereene and Ferrard, V.
Braine of Wheatley, L. Mayhew, L.
Brentford, V. McCarthy, L.
Brightman, L. McColl of Dulwich, L.
Broadbridge, L. McFarlane of Llandaff, B.
Bruce of Donington, L. Milner of Leeds, L.
Campbell of Eskan, L. Molloy, L.
Canterbury, Abp. Moore of Wolvercote, L.
Carr of Hadley, L. Moran, L.
Carter, L. Morris of Castle Morris, L.
Charteris of Amisfield, L. Mottistone, L.
Chelmsford, Bp. Mountgarret, V.
Chester, Bp. Murray of Epping Forest, L.
Chichester, Bp. Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Clanwilliam, E. Newcastle, Bp.
Cledwyn of Penrhos, L. Nicol, B.
Cockfield, L. Norfolk, D.
Coleraine, L. Northbourne, L.
Craigmyle, L. Norwich, Bp.
Cross, V. Ogmore, L.
Darcy (de Knayth), B. Orr-Ewing, L.
David, B. Oxford, Bp.
De Freyne, L. Park of Monmouth, B.
Dean of Beswick, L. Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Dean of Harptree, L. Peterborough, Bp
Diamond, L. Plant of Highfield, L.
Donegall, M. Platt of Writtle, B.
Dormand of Easington, L. Portsmouth, Bp.
Dormer, L. Prys-Davies, L.
Ellenborough, L. Rawlinson of Ewell, L.
Elles, B. Rees-Mogg, L.
Elton, L. Sennell, L.
Faithfull, B. Renton, L.
Falkland, V. Ripon, Bp.
Fitt, L. Robertson of Oakridge, L.
Gainford, L. Rochester, L.
Gallacher, L. Romney, E.
Geraint, L. Ryder of Warsaw, B.
Gladwyn, L. Savile, L.
Glenamara, L. Seear, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L. Serota, B.
Greene of Harrow Weald, L. Sheffield, Bp.
Greenhill of Harrow, L. Smith, L.
Griffiths of Fforestfach, L. Southwark, Bp.
Hanworth, V. St. Davids, V.
Harris of Greenwich, L. St. Edmundsbury and Ipswich,
Harrowby, E. Bp.
Harvington, L. St. John of Fawsley, L.
Hayhoe, L. Stallard, L.
Hayter, L. Stewartby, L.
Hemphill, L. Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Hilton of Eggardon, B. Strange, B.
Hooson, L. Suffield, L.
Howell, L. [Teller.] Swinfen, L.
Jacques, L. Taylor of Gryfe, L.
Jakobovits, L. Teviot, L.
Judd, L. Teynham, L.
Killearn, L. Tonypandy, V.
Kinloss, Ly. Varley, L.
Lauderdale, E. Vaux of Harrowden, L.
Weatherill, L. Winchester, Bp.
White, B. Wolfson of Sunningdale, L.
Wigram, L. Worcester, Bp.
Wilberforce, L. Wynford, L.
Williams of Elvel, L. Young, B. [Teller.]
Aberdare, L. Geddes, L.
Addison, V. Gilmour of Craigmillar, L.
Aldington, L. Glenarthur, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V. Goold, L.
Annaly, L. Goschen, V.
Archer of Weston-Super-Mare, L. Gould of Potternewton, B.
Arran, E. Gowrie, E.
Astor of Hever, L. Gray of Contin, L.
Astor, V. Greenway, L.
Attlee, E. Gridley, L.
Balfour, E. Grimston of Westbury, L.
Bancroft, L. Hacking, L.
Barber of Tewkesbury, L. Haig, E.
Barnett, L. Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L.
Bellwin, L. Halsbury, E.
Beloff, L. Hamwee, B.
Birdwood, L. Harding of Petherton, L.
Birkett, L. Harlech, L.
Blackstone, B. Harmar-Nicholls, L.
Bledisloe, V. Harmsworth, L.
Borthwick, L. Harris of High Cross, L.
Boyd-Carpenter, L. Haskel, L.
Brabazon of Tara, L. Henderson of Brompton, L.
Brain, L. Henley, L.
Brookeborough, V. Hesketh, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L. Hindlip, L.
Bumham, L. Holderness, L.
Butterworth, L. Hollis of Heigham, B.
Cadman, L. HolmPatrick, L.
Cameron of Lochbroom, L. Hothfield, L.
Campbell of Croy, L. Howe of Aberavon, L.
Carlisle of Bucklow, L. Howe, E.
Carmichael of Kelvingrove, L. Howie of Troon, L.
Carnarvon, E. Hughes, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B. Hylton-Foster, B.
Carnock, L. Inchyra, L.
Chalker of Wallasey, B. Jay, L.
Chapple, L. Jay of Paddington, B. [Teller.]
Chelmsford, V. Jeffreys, L.
Chesham, L. Jenkin of Roding, L.
Clark of Kempston, L. Kenilworth, L.
Clinton-Davis, L. Kenyon, L.
Cochrane of Cults, L. Kilbracken, L.
Colnbrook, L. Kilmarnock, L.
Colville of Culross, V. Kimball, L.
Colwyn, L. Kinnoull, E.
Cork and Orrery, E. Kintore, E.
Courtown, E. Lane of Horsell, L.
Craig of Radley, L. Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Craigavon, V. Lindsey and Abingdon, E.
Crathorne, L. Liverpool, E.
Crickhowell, L. Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, B.
Crook, L. Lloyd of Berwick, L.
Cullen of Ashbourne, L. Lucas of Chilworth, L.
Cumberlege, B. Lyell, L.
Davidson, V. Mackay of Ardbrecknish, L.
De L'Isle, V. Mackie of Benshie, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B. MacLehose of Beoch, L.
Derwent, L. Manchester, D.
Desai, L. Mancroft, L. [Teller.]
Dilhorne, V. Manton, L.
Dixon-Smith, L. Marsh, L.
Downshire, M. McIntosh of Haringey, L.
Dudley, E. McNair, L.
Dundonald, E. Merlyn-Rees, L.
Eccles of Moulton, B. Merrivale, L.
Eccles, V. Mersey, V.
Eden of Winton, L. Miller of Hendon, B.
Ferrers, E. Milverton, L.
Flather, B. Monson, L.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L. Montgomery of Alamein, V.
Gainsborough, E. Morris, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B. Mountevans, L.
Mowbray and Stourton, L. Sharp of Grimsdyke, L.
Moyne, L. Sharpies, B.
Mulley, L. Shaughnessy, L.
Munster, E. Simon of Glaisdale, L.
Napier and Ettrick, L. Skelmersdale, L.
Nelson, E. Slynn of Hadley, L.
O'Cathain, B. St. John of Bletso, L.
Onslow, E. Strabolgi, L.
Oppenheim-Barnes, B. Strathcarron, L.
Oxfuird, V. Strathclyde, L.
Palmer, L. Strathmore and Kinghorne, E.
Peel, E. Swansea, L.
Perry of Southwark, B. Swinton, E.
Peston, L. Tebbit, L.
Pitt of Hampstead, L. Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Plummer of St. Marylebone, L. Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Prentice, L. Tollemache, L.
Pym, L. Tordoff, L.
Quinton, L. Torrington, V.
Rankeillour, L. Trefgame, L.
Reay, L. Trumpington, B.
Redesdale, L. Ullswater, V.
Rees, L. Wade of Chorlton, L.
Rippon of Hexham, L. Wakeham, L. [Lord Privy Seal.]
Robson of Kiddington, B. Wedgwood, L.
Rodger of Earlsferry, L. Wharton, B.
Sainsbury of Preston Candover, L. Whitelaw, V.
Sanderson of Bowden, L. Wigoder, L.
Seccombe, B. Wise, L.
Shannon, E. Wyatt of Weeford, L.

[*The Tellers for the Contents reported 151 names. The Clerks recorded 150 names.]

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

7.43 p.m.

House resumed: Clause 1 and Schedule 1 reported without amendment, and recommitted to a Committee of the Whole House.