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Lord McCarthy: My Lords, I may not have heard the noble Lord correctly in his answer to the example given by the noble Baroness, Lady Turner. It concerned someone who might be dismissed for the imagined reason that the person was homosexual and he said that it would not matter. Even if it did occur, he said that in any case anyone who was dismissed could find a job within 24 hours. Is that the noble Lord's serious description of the present state of the labour market? Does he suggest that anyone who is dismissed can find a job within 24 hours?

Lord Monson: My Lords, with the leave of the House, yes, if the person is doing that kind of job. There are always more people looking for employees to do jobs like cleaning than are available.

Lord McCarthy: My Lords, all I can say is that that is not the labour market that I know. If there were far more people looking for jobs than there were jobs, it would show how important it is to keep the provision in the Bill. It would mean that the labour market was very dependent and that all the powers were with the employer and none with the worker.

I read in Hansard the Committee stage of the Bill and thought that at one point the noble Lord wondered how the provision got into the Bill. He said that once upon a time it was not the case for sex discrimination. The provision was put in because I am afraid of the EC. We were told that we could not have legislation like that and were made to put it in. The European Commission is quite right, because there is a dependent, subservient labour market in domestic servants and au pair girls.

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People can get away with murder. Those who go into that labour market need as much statutory protection as they can get.

Baroness Turner of Camden: My Lords, again the noble Lord put down a similar amendment to the one that he proposed at Committee and Report stages. Again, I asked that he should not press it because I see no reason for it. It seems to me that it is based on the assumption, which the noble Lord underlined in his contribution this evening, that there is likely to be more depravity leading to unacceptable behaviour in the case of someone who is gay or lesbian than with a heterosexual. Clearly that is rubbish.

He seems to suggest that it is all right to dismiss a cleaner because he or she turns out to be gay or lesbian. That is surely unfair and unacceptable. All it does is to pander to what I describe as tabloid prejudice. Furthermore, I point out, as I did earlier at the Committee stage, that the Bill is based very much on the legislation that we already have in regard to gender equality. The same provisions in regard to genuine occupational qualification exist in the Bill and are spelt out in Clause 3(2) of our Bill. That must be a safeguard. I hope, therefore, that the amendment will be withdrawn.

Lord Monson: My Lords, I do not suggest that homosexuals are more depraved than heterosexuals, but that people have the right to say who shall come into their homes. If the Bill applied only to people who are already in employment I would be more sympathetic. One has a certain natural distaste when people are sacked when they are already in a job, but the Bill is not confined to that. It also applies to people who are seeking a job in the first place.

The noble Baroness said that the provision follows the example set by gender and so on. But surely she will agree that there is a difference between gender and sexual habits. People might not worry about one but feel strongly about the other. I believe that an Englishman's home is his castle and I am prepared to test the opinion of the House.

On Question, amendment negatived.

Baroness Turner of Camden: My Lords, I beg to move, That the Bill do now pass.

Moved, That the Bill do now pass.--(Baroness Turner of Camden.)

On Question, Bill passed, and sent to the Commons.

Deregulation (Long Pull) Order 1996

8.56 p.m.

The Earl of Courtown rose to move, That the draft order laid before the House on 18th March be approved [16th Report from the Delegated Powers Scrutiny Committee].

The noble Earl said: My Lords, this order is to be laid under the powers provided in the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994. It repeals Section 165 of the Licensing Act 1964 which makes it an offence to sell in licensed premises or registered clubs alcohol in excess of the amount requested.

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Since the introduction of the "long pull" provision in 1921, prosecutions have been rare. The repeal of Section 165 will remove the risk of prosecution from licensees who serve over-measure.

The order has been examined fully since it was first laid before Parliament in draft form in November. No changes to the order have been proposed and it has been reported by the Delegated Powers Scrutiny Committee as in a form satisfactory to be submitted to this House for affirmative resolution. I beg to move.

Moved, That the draft order laid before the House on 18th March be approved [16th Report from the Delegated Powers Scrutiny Committee].--(The Earl of Courtown.)

Lord Redesdale: My Lords, I wish to speak to the order but first I must declare an interest. I am the owner of a fine hostelry, the Redesdale Arms, in Northumberland. The order has the full support of this side of the House. However, I cannot believe that there is much optimism that many landlords will make use of it. I asked my local landlord at the Albert in Primrose Hill whether he would give me more after the deregulation, but he was quite firm that I could expect no more than at present.

I wish to ask two questions of the Minister. First, he said that there had been rare prosecutions. Have there been any prosecutions under this regulation? Secondly, after a little research, I found that few people to whom I spoke knew that the regulation existed.

I wish to ask the Minister what plans the Government have on the idea of apprenticeships; that people between the ages of 16 and 18 should be able to serve behind the bar. Can the Minister say whether under the Government's guidelines there could be any form of training for 16 to 18 year-olds under supervision? An apprenticeship gives the impression of being a long-term job, but is this perhaps to be cheap labour?

The Earl of Courtown: My Lords, the noble Lord asked whether there had been any prosecutions under the order. I am told that two have arisen, but that could be a statistical error. He also mentioned the situation with apprentices in bars. Consultation on whether the deregulation order would allow apprentices aged 16 and 17 to be employed in bars was completed on 29th March this year. Ministers are now considering the outcome.

The noble Lord put some other questions. I shall go through some of the background, which will probably answer some of his queries.

At present the law contains a general prohibition on the employment of young people under the age of 18 in bars. The licensed trade argues that this restriction prevents them recruiting school-leavers on an equal footing with other employers. A programme for pub apprentices was approved by the then Department of Employment but cannot begin until the restriction on 16 and 17 year-olds working in bars is relaxed.

The approved schemes are specifically designed for school-leavers and will involve comprehensive registration and monitoring. Moreover, it will be a condition of apprenticeship that the apprentice will be supervised at all times. Before agreeing to provide

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support for an apprenticeship, employers will be assessed by the training and enterprise council on their ability to deliver quality training.

I hope that that satisfies the noble Lord. I commend the order to the House.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund 1992 (Immunities and Privileges) Order 1996

9.1 p.m.

Lord Chesham rose to move, That the draft order laid before the House on 17th April be approved [17th Report from the Joint Committee].

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move that the draft International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund 1992 (Immunities and Privileges) Order 1996 be approved.

A protocol amending the 1971 Fund Convention was agreed in 1992 and this will establish a new International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund. This will be a separate legal entity to be known as the 1992 fund. However, for practical purposes it will have the same director and staff and will work in much the same way as the existing fund. The intention is that the 68 member states to the existing fund will gradually denounce the 1971 Fund Convention and ratify the 1992 protocols, until eventually the existing fund is dissolved. Under the transitional provisions of the protocols, the United Kingdom will be a member of both funds simultaneously for a period of up to two years, before being required to denounce the 1971 Fund Convention.

The existing fund has its headquarters in the International Maritime Organisation's building in London, where it operates under the provisions of the IOPCF (Immunities and Privileges) Order which this House approved in July of that year. The 1992 fund will be based there too when the protocols come into force.

The draft order is necessary to give effect in UK law to the draft headquarters agreement negotiated in respect of the 1992 fund. I should like to indicate to the House that the privileges and immunities accorded are the same as those approved by your Lordships in July 1979 for the existing fund. I should also emphasise that we consider that they are no more than is necessary for the effective operation of the 1992 fund in the United Kingdom. They are granted in accordance with the limitations imposed by the International Organisations Act 1968, as amended, under whose provisions the order is made.

The scale of privileges and immunities is broadly similar to that accorded to most of the other international organisations having their headquarters here, except that the fund's immunity from suit is more limited in certain significant respects. For example, actions may be taken against the fund in the courts of this country in relation to the compensation provisions of the convention.

1 May 1996 : Column 1742

The order needs to be formally made at the meeting of the Privy Council on 15th May 1996, so that the headquarters agreement which will enter into force on signature, and the order, can come into force on 30th May. It is for that reason that the order is before your Lordships today.

The Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments considered the draft instrument and had no comments.

I very much hope, therefore, that your Lordships will approve this draft order.

Moved, That the draft order laid before the House on 17th April be approved [17th Report from the Joint Committee].--(Lord Chesham.)

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