31 July 1999
Rt. Hon Jack Straw MP
50 Queen Anne's Gate
LONDON SW1H 9AT
Dear Home Secretary,
For some years now our individual companies and trade
associations have put forward the case for reform of the Sunday
Observance Act 1780 which, as I am sure you are aware, currently
prevents the sale of tickets for dancing on Sundays. This affects
not just the late night entertainment, leisure and tourism industries,
but a host of charitable organisations who wish to hold fund-raising
events on a Sunday.
Reform of the 1780 Act would provide several wide-ranging
benefits including creating up to 3000 new jobs and providing
a £130 million boost to the late night entertainment industry
- the vast majority of which will pass to the hundreds of small
businesses which dominate the industry.
During the General Election campaign, George Howarth
MP, now Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Home Office,
discussed, in a speech to the March Business in Sport and Leisure
policy lunch, the possibility of using a deregulation order to
reform this anachronistic piece of legislation. Now that a deregulation
committee has been established in the House of Lords, we believe
that this process could and should be used at the earliest opportunity.
We believe that we speak on behalf of a significant proportion
of the leisure industry when we call for this long overdue reform.
We hope you will support this view and we would welcome
the chance to discuss it in more detail. Thank you for your time
and consideration, and we look forward to your reply.
Signed: Ian Rock, Chairman, British Entertainment
and Discotheque Association
Peter Hampson, Director, British Resorts Association
John Brackenbury, Chairman, Business in Sport and Leisure
Tim Bartlett, Chief Executive, English Tourist Board
Michael Grade, Chairman, First Leisure
Clive Preston, Managing Director, Northern Leisure
David Vaughan, Managing Director, Rank Entertainment
Stephen Moss, MBE, Vice President, Restaurateurs Association of
Please reply to:
Ian Rock, European Leisure plc, Charnwood Mill, Sileby
Road, Barrow on Soar, LE12 8LR.