HL Deb 13 February 2003 vol 644 c140WA
Baroness Pitkeathley

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What arrangements have been made to debate the guidance issued by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport under the Licensing Bill. [HL1652]

Baroness Blackstone

As part of its consideration of the Licensing Bill, the House of Lords Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform recommended that a mechanism be devised to enable Parliament to debate the guidance which it is intended would be issued to licensing authorities under Clause 177 of the Licensing Bill. The guidance is a crucial mechanism for enabling the Government to promote consistency and best practice and to respond to developments which may arise from time to time in connection with the sale of alcohol or the provision of regulated entertainment and late night refreshment. The Bill is scheduled to begin its Report stage in the House of Lords on 24 February.

At Committee stage in the House of Lords, the Government undertook to provide an opportunity for an early draft of the guidance to be available in time for the Bill's Report stage in the House of Lords. To meet our undertaking, I am today publishing a rough draft of the guidance, which has been placed in the Library of the House. This has involved advancing the timetable for producing the draft guidance considerably and the production of a rough draft in quicker time than we would have preferred.

I wish to make it clear that the draft's current form is subject to change and further development following continuing consultation with stakeholders and other government departments and agencies; to take account of any further undertakings given by Ministers during the Bill's forthcoming parliamentary stages; and of course, to reflect any amendments made to the Bill itself. There will also be a further opportunity for each House to debate the guidance when it is in its completed form later this year.

The text of the guidance document can also be found at http://www.culture.gov.uk/new_responsibilities/guidance_sectionl77_licensing.pdf