HC Deb 22 January 1942 vol 377 cc445-6W
Colonel A. Evans

asked the Home Secretary whether he has considered the difficulties experienced by licensing justices in dealing with applications for the renewal of licences of premises which have been destroyed or seriously damaged by enemy action, and cannot under wartime conditions be so restored as to enable business to be carried on therein; and whether legislation will be introduced, as was done in the last war, to enable these licences to be left in existence until the replacement of the premises may become practicable?

Mr. H. Morrison

Yes, Sir. I have received representations from the Magistrates' Association and the Brewers' Society on the subject and the whole matter has been receiving careful consideration. It is recognised that it would not be right in the circumstances mentioned by my hon. Friend to allow the licences in these cases to lapse, and as it seems clear that an amendment of the law is required to ensure that they are kept alive, it is the intention of the Government to introduce the necessary legislation. It must be understood that the preservation of these licences under war conditions will not affect the question of replacement of premises when these conditions cease to operate. The question must be considered, when the time arises, in relation to town planning and other post-war reconstruction schemes. I am glad to say that I have received from the council of the Brewers' Society a resolu- tion recognising that in the interests both of the public and the trade replacement of licensed houses in extensively damaged districts should be determined in accordance with considered schemes of reconstruction, with a view to redistribution and reduction of licences in the light of local circumstances and in harmony with approved plans of redevelopment in reconstruction areas. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland is considering the position in Scotland where special provisions may have to be made to meet Scottish conditions.