HC Deb 30 October 1990 vol 178 cc450-1W
Mr. Fearn

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consideration his Department is giving to counteracting the problem of ticket touts at sporting or entertainment events; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John Patten

[holding answer 23 October 1990]: Lord Justice Taylor has recommended that there should be a new criminal offence to meet the specific problem of ticket touting at football matches. We have not yet reached any final decision, but we see great force in his argument that touting at football matches can have particularly grave implications for public order and public safety and therefore deserves special treatment.

More generally, although touting may be considered offensive, we doubt that it warrants prohibition. The tout will normally simply exploit unsatisfied demand for tickets, without misrepresenting their face value. The more objectionable aspects of touting are already covered by the criminal law, and promoters of events can take their own steps to deter it. For example, the organisers of the Ryder cup, by attaching conditions to tickets, were able to use the criminal and civil law to impede touting. Similar provisions have now been adopted for the Wimbledon championships by the All England Club, and we wish it every success with the scheme.