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Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville: My Lords, my name appears in this group in that I have tabled Amendments Nos. 164 and 173. From the wording of Amendment No. 174 in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Clarke, it will be apparent that essentially we are barking up the same tree. It was a tree that we visited in Committee.
When I withdrew certain amendments to this same effect in Committee, I expressed concern that we might find ourselves ruing a great tragedy at one such event because we did not have tighter regulation. I gave the Minister the benefit of the doubt on that occasion. He was eloquent in expressing his desire to secure deregulation, but I continue to have the concerns reflected by the noble Lord, Lord Clarke. Therefore, I am happy to support him.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, anyone who sat through Second Readingthe noble Lord, Lord Brooke, is saying that he did notwould be somewhat surprised by the amendments. The whole thrust of criticism was that under the guise of deregulation the Bill in fact imposed new regulations. A number of examples were given of bodies which in the past had not been regulated. There were of course extreme examples, such as bell ringers, carol singers and so on. Specific examples used were those of village fetes and garden parties. The noble Lord, Lord Phillips of Sudbury, was particularly eloquent in that area.
The Government's answer was that instead of the full premises licensing procedure we have temporary events notices. We explained that temporary events notices were available only for a maximum of five occasions in any one premises during the year, or for a maximum of 12 applications from any one person; that the events could not continue for more than three days, so that they could last for a weekend but for no longer; and that there was a maximum number of persons who could attend such a temporary event. We explained that the temporary event notice procedure was as simple and unbureaucratic as possible in order to meet the concerns of the large number of speakers at Second Reading who thought that the Bill was regulatory rather than deregulatory.
Now we have amendments that would bring the temporary notice procedure into a premises licensing procedure. Amendment No. 163A would extend the period of notice required and all the amendments would extend the number of people needing to be consulted and the basis on which objections could be raised. I do not say that this is the full premises licensing procedure, but it is different from the deregulatory procedures we set out in the Bill.
Amendment No. 163A is slightly different from the other amendments. It proposes that the period of notice should be extended to 28 days. I was never sure in which parts of my noble friend Lord Clarke's speech he was quoting me or when he was speaking for himself. He did not change his tone of voice when he was quoting me. So I am not sure which pearls of wisdom were from him and which came from me.
We made it clear that 10 days is the minimum period of notice. We would encourage people to give more notice. A large number of temporary events are known about in advance and there is no reason why notice should not be given in advance. However, there are occasions when a voluntary or charitable group might want to make arrangements at the last minute and 10 days has been agreed with the police as being a reasonable minimum period in order for them to look at an application from the point of view of crime prevention. Therefore, we are unwilling to increase the burden on charitable and voluntary groups and those putting together temporary event notices and extend the period.
I think that I inadvertently gave a wrong figure. I said that an individual could give 12 notices in a year. An individual can give five notices a year if he is not a personal licence holder. A personal licence holder can give 50 notices.
Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville: My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, for giving way. I wondered about his figure of 12 instead of 50. He may recall that in Committee we had a short dialogue as to how a record would be kept in relation to the figure of 50 during which he was not relieved with a note from those in the Box. He very kindly said that if he received an answer at a later stage he would write to me. I am
I turn to the other amendments in the group. Clauses 102, 103 and 104 set out the arrangements for giving temporary event notices to allow a licensable activity to be a permitted temporary activity carried on without a premises licence, or a personal licence holder, where alcohol is sold, following a simple notification to the licensing authority, acknowledgement from the licensing authority and compliance with the requirement to copy the event notice to the police. The premises user must also give a copy to the chief officer of police, who is the only authority with the power to object, if he is satisfied that allowing the premises to be used for the temporary event would undermine the crime prevention objective.
The amendments have several effects that would only make life difficult for the large number of individuals who may be running ad hoc events for charities, hospitals or voluntary organisationsin other words, amateurs, not the licensed trade. They would bring into play all the licensing objectives when deciding whether to issue an event notice, not just the crime prevention objective. They would allow the fire and licensing authorities to issue objection notices. In later amendments, the noble Lord, Lord Brooke, wants us to go further than that. They would allow a licensing authority to issue counter-notices following consideration of all the licensing objectivesnot just the crime prevention objective.
Garden fetes, charitable fund-raisers and dances in local village halls should not be subjected to the additional hoops that many of the amendments would require. There is no need to expand the number of bodies needed to scrutinise them. As long as the police are satisfied with the proposals for the event and it meets the appropriate conditionsthe permitted limit on numbersthere is no reason to impose any additional bureaucracy. If we were to accept the amendments, we should be giving the lie to many of the assurances that we have given on other aspects of the Bill. The system, and the Bill, allows those who do not ordinarily engage in such activitiesamateurs, as I saidto carry on licensable activities on a temporary, strictly limited basis without having to fulfil the more rigorous requirements of a premises licence. I hope that the amendments will not be pressed.
Lord Clarke of Hampstead: My Lords, I thank my noble friend the Minister for his reply, but I express my surprise that he is surprised by the amendments. I should have thought that, given his long experience of local government and the time that he has spent in the House, he would not be surprised at anyone, on issues
Lord Clarke of Hampstead: Well, my Lords, I had the impression that my noble friend was. He referred again in his reply to the point that I citedhe said that people would have to jump through hoops. The Minister said so again this evening. I was referring to that. In Committee, I thought that that was overdoing it a bit.
It is impossible for me to press my amendment, but I hope that even at this stage, the Government will consider that people's safety must be paramount at all times. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
The noble Lord said: My Lords, I heard the rumble from the Minister about my producing even more strenuous amendments than those that the noble Lord, Lord Clarke, and I tabled in Committee, to which he responded. As the noble Lord, Lord Clarke, moved the original amendment, he spoke after the Minister.
The Minister, in caricaturing what we were about, mildly misrepresented our position by emphasising a certain kind of event. In Committee, the noble Lord, Lord Phillips of Sudbury, moved amendments on the subject of garden parties and fetes, which the Minister used to characterise those events.
The Civic Trust's view was that events such as raves and small pop concerts were treated within the same purview. Local residents' concern about such events is necessarily much more vivid and occasioned the anxiety that prompted these amendments. Amendment No. 165 would provide the police with a longer period to object to temporary event notices. I beg to move.
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