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Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I am grateful for the way in which the amendment has been moved. I am not conscious that there is confusion but if there is, would the noble Baroness, Lady Buscombe, and any other noble Lord like to meet with us to discuss the matter between now and Report stage? I am sure that that could be helpful.

Baroness Buscombe: I thank the Minister for that welcome suggestion. We would certainly like to take the opportunity to discuss this very important point

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which has exercised, particularly, the entertainment industry. There may be other noble Lords—I am looking, for example, at the Cross Benches and at the Liberal Democrats—who may wish to take part in such a meeting. On that basis I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 215 to 217 not moved.]

Clause 32 agreed to.

Clause 33 [Application to vary premises licence]:

[Amendments Nos. 218 and 219 not moved.]

Clause 33 agreed to.

Clause 34 [Determination of application under section 33]:

[Amendments Nos. 220 to 223 not moved.]

Clause 34 agreed to.

Clause 35 [Supplementary provision about determinations under section 34]:

[Amendment No. 224 not moved.]

Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville moved Amendment No. 225:

    Page 20, line 19, leave out subsection (3) and insert—

"( ) A determination under this section does not have effect—
(a) until the end of the period for appealing is given, or
(b) if the decision is appealed against, until the appeal is disposed of."

The noble Lord said: I was tempted not to move Amendment No. 225, which would have improved my record for brevity and mitigated my having taken a little longer on the previous group. The Minister has already spoken on Amendment No. 199, which uses similar words. I am not sure whether this case is sufficiently different to necessitate the Minister responding again. I err in favour of caution in moving the amendment, especially as it stands alone. But I shall understand entirely should the Minister's answer be fairly brief. I beg to move.

Baroness Blackstone: I shall be brief. I do not think that the Government gave the amendment a stand-alone grouping but that it was degrouped from another group.

The amendment would deny the licensing authority the power to determine when the variation of the premises licence should come into effect. The time in this case would be when the change is proposed by the applicant, or, if that time has passed before the application is determined, such time as is specified in the determination. The amendment substitutes a different approach. The provisions would state that the variation could not come into effect until the time for appealing has passed, whether or not the application has been granted in the terms sought by the applicant or, if an appeal is lodged, the time when the appeal is determined.

The noble Lord, Lord Brooke, clearly has in mind a favourable determination only by the licensing authority, despite police or local residents'

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representations. These parties would be entitled to appeal against the licensing authority's decision. The effect of the variation—perhaps a change of trading hours—would then be held in abeyance until either the time for appealing has passed, or until the appeal has been determined, whichever is the longer period of time. The appeal process could, of course, be much longer.

The Bill empowers the licensing authority and not the magistrates' courts to make these decisions. It is not a two-tier application process where the licensing authority has determined the matter and its decision should stand until overturned on appeal. If a decision is made on appeal to deny the variation, the premises licence would have to revert to its original form. But the variation should stand in the interim period.

The amendment would slow the decision-making process, and we do not think it can be justified. Everyone involved in licensing must have certainty, and at the earliest possible time. So I hope the noble Lord will withdraw his amendment, as I believe he will from his remarks at the outset.

Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville: I am extremely grateful for the fullness of the Minister's reply. I would have been entirely content if she had been briefer. The fact that her reply was as full as it was enhances my appreciation of her and adds to my anxiety to be of assistance. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

12.45 p.m.

[Amendments Nos. 226 to 228 not moved.]

Clause 35 agreed to.

Clause 36 [Application to vary licence to specify individual as premises supervisor]:

[Amendments Nos. 229 to 235 not moved.]

Clause 36 agreed to.

Clause 37 agreed to.

Clause 38 [Determination of section 36 application]:

[Amendment No. 236 not moved.]

Clause 38 agreed to.

Clause 39 agreed to.

Clause 40 [Request to be removed as designated premises supervisor]:

Baroness Buscombe moved Amendment No. 237:

    Page 22, line 42, leave out "may give the relevant licensing authority" and insert "must give the relevant licensing authority, chief officer of police for the said area and the owner of the premises licence (if that is a different person)"

The noble Baroness said: I shall not delay the Committee unnecessarily by speaking at length to Amendment No. 237. The Committee will recall that the subject of designated premises supervisors has already been discussed extensively. The amendment seeks to make clear whom a designated premises supervisor must inform if he or she wishes to abdicate his or her position.

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The amendment's emphasis is on the change from "may" to "must". It is surely imperative that the relevant licensing authority should be notified if the designated premises supervisor intends to leave. It might also be sensible, if not vital, for the owner of the premises—if a different person—to be informed, and perhaps also the chief of police.

Before the Committee responds by accusing me of introducing more paperwork, it seems only fair that if the designated premises supervisor intends to leave he or she has a responsibility to inform the necessary bodies. If the Minister is adamant that that role is necessary, then the extra burden on the holder of that position must be accepted as unavoidable. I beg to move.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I love the first part of the amendment because I like the change from "may" to "must". It enables me to say that a wish, if it is to have any effect, must be embodied in action. In other words, simply having the vague idea that at the end of a shift one has had enough and will become a big game warden is not enough: one has to do something about it. Therefore "must" is not necessary.

As to the more substantive issue of whether the chief officer of police and the owner of the premises licence should be notified as well as the licensing authority, I ask only a question: what is the chief officer of police going to do with the information? A chief officer of police is obviously concerned if a person is to become a designated premises supervisor, but if that person is disappearing off the face of the earth, what does it matter to him? I do not see the point.

Finally, as to the point about notifying the holder of the premises licence—

Baroness Buscombe: Perhaps I may quickly intervene. With all due respect to the police and other such authorities, I think that it is often the case that in such organisations no one feels comfortable unless they can tick all the boxes. We have obviously made reference to that here.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: That sounds deplorable to me. I am thoroughly against ticking boxes when that is not necessary. As a survey researcher I am even more against ticking boxes when that is not necessary. As to the requirement to notify the holder of the premises licence, that is clearly sensible. It is not much fun for the holder of the premises licence if someone walks out without telling them. The person stops getting paid, of course.

Lord Avebury: If the person has walked out because of trouble on the premises, would it not be important for the police to be aware of that, because they might want to close the place down?

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: What would they do with that information? Would that be trouble that had not been notified since the person decided to resign as designated premises supervisor? What would the

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police do with that information? The person would not be there—he may have gone off to be a big game warden, as I said.

Lord Avebury: But the premises may still be operating.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Yes, and there will be a premises licence holder who can and should be held accountable.

My answer to the point made by the noble Baroness, Lady Buscombe, about notifying the premises licence holder is that that is covered in Clause 40(4).

Baroness Buscombe: I thank the Minister for his response. Given that I interpret him as agreeing with our view that the Bill's reference to the fact that the designated premises supervisor "may" give the relevant notice is rather a casual approach to walking out, I am sorry that he is not inclined to accept our amendment. Forgive me, but the reference to being a big game warden has caused me to think of more exciting things—having just returned from Africa, I think that it would be wonderful to be a game warden. I shall read the Minister's words in Hansard, but I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 238 to 242 not moved.]

Clause 40 agreed to.

Clause 41 [Application for transfer of premises licence]:

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