Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Deregulation Ninth Report


31 July 1999
Rt. Hon Jack Straw MP
Home Secretary
Home Office
50 Queen Anne's Gate

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.

Yours sincerely,

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 Great Britain

Please reply to:

Ian Rock, European Leisure plc, Charnwood Mill, Sileby Road, Barrow on Soar, LE12 8LR.

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