HL Deb 19 June 2003 vol 649 cc922-3

6 Clause 9, page 5, line 41, leave out paragraph (d)

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 6. I must open debate on the amendment by indicating clearly that the Government do not intend to oppose the amendments tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Redesdale, that the House does not agree with the Commons in its Amendments Nos. 6, 15, 16, 20 and 21.

In Committee in another place, we overturned amendments made in this House adding references on registered interests, restoring the Bill to its original position. The amendments altered the balance of control over a premises licence too far away from the licence holder and too far towards the interests in question. Since then, however, we have had extensive consultation with the industry, and I believe that we have reached an accommodation. I undertake that the Government will give effect to that accommodation when the Bill returns to another place.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 6.—(Lord McIntosh of Haringey.)

6A Lord Redesdale rose to move, as an amendment to the Motion that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 6, leave out "agree" and insert "disagree".

The noble Lord said: My Lords, on that very generous assurance given by the Minister, I beg to move.

Moved, That,as an amendment to the Motion that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 6, leave out "agree" and insert "disagree".—(Lord Redesdale.)

Baroness Buscombe

My Lords, I thank the Minister for taking the time to discuss with the industry what we believe to be an entirely sensible position in relation to registered interests. I gave early warning to his officials that I would like to use the opportunity, with the leave of the House—I do so because we are talking about those involved perhaps as owners of premises and licensed premises—to ask him to confirm, with regard to provisional statements, that it will be open to any operator who is able to submit an operating schedule in accordance with the Bill to apply for a premises licence, even where a premises is under construction or yet to be built.

Lord Williamson of Horton

My Lords, the point made by the noble Baroness is important. There should be proper planning and use of resources in a way that is reasonable for the construction of new premises. I would like to have that assurance also.

Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts

My Lords, I rise to support my noble friend. I declare an interest of which the Minister is aware; I am a director of a regional brewery that operates 1,500 public houses. It is to give some certainty. The phraseology used on Report in another place was not clear. I wrote to the Minister about the issue. I hope that he can reassure us on that point. It will also be important for his officials to review paragraphs 6.50 and 6.51 of the draft guidance issued on the 13th February, because it does not fit in with the agreement that he has reached with my noble friend. His officials might also review paragraph 82 of the Explanatory Notes to the Bill.

We would be comforted by that assurance and by the further assurance that the guidance notes and Explanatory Notes will be revised to reflect what I hope he will say.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

My Lords, I am happy to give the assurance asked for. If a building is under construction or has not been started, provided that the plans are clear enough to justify an application for an operating licence, if a licensing authority is satisfied—as it would have been if the building had been completed—an operating licence can be granted. There is therefore no risk of double jeopardy.

Baroness Buscombe

My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for that assurance.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

On Question, Motion, as amended, agreed to.