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Lord Skelmersdale: My Lords, the Minister mentioned concerts. Would the Jubilee Concert at Buckingham Palace last year have been licensable under the Bill?

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, that is an interesting point. I am slightly chary about the privileges that obtain with regard to royal palaces. I believe that we all recall the time when this place benefited from such a provision. I am sure that the noble Lord will accept that I will not trample over a royal prerogative inadvertently from the Dispatch Box. I cannot answer him directly but I shall of course write to him.

Lord Beaumont of Whitley: My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for explaining the Bill's approach in this regard and the limits to its extension. I am entirely on his side, living as I do on the edge of Clapham Common. If I pursue the amendment I do not imagine that it would be popular with my neighbours. The

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Minister's reply leads to some questions which I may pursue at a later stage. In the mean time, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Baroness Blackstone moved Amendment No. 218:


    Page 74, line 9, at end insert—


"(1A) Where the licensable activity in question is the provision of regulated entertainment, a person does not commit an offence under this section if his only involvement in the provision of the entertainment is that he—
(a) performs in a play,
(b) participates as a sportsman in an indoor sporting event,
(c) boxes or wrestles in a boxing or wrestling entertainment,
(d) performs live music,
(e) plays recorded music,
(f) performs dance, or
(g) does something coming within paragraph 2(1)(h) of Schedule 1 (entertainment similar to music, dance, etc.).
(1B) Subsection (1A) is to be construed in accordance with Part 3 of Schedule 1."

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 137 [Defence of due diligence]:

Baroness Blackstone moved Amendment No. 219:


    Page 75, line 12, leave out "section" and insert "subsection"

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, Amendments Nos. 219 and 284 have been tabled to correct minor drafting points. Clause 137(2) should read, "This subsection applies" rather than, "This section applies". Amendment No. 219 seeks to correct that. Amendment No. 284 clarifies that the reference to the 1964 Act in paragraph 29 of Schedule 8 is to the Licensing Act 1964. I hope that noble Lords will support those minor changes.

As regards Amendment No. 248, noble Lords will recall that in Committee I gave undertakings that appropriate and fair time limits will be set out in regulations. Those will ensure the timely processing of applications and prevent them being frustrated by delay. It is important that there is consistency and a degree of certainty for industry and that at the same time licensing authorities and other relevant authorities have sufficient time to consider applications. As I have explained, the rationale behind setting out such time limits in secondary legislation rather than on the face of the Bill is to ensure enough flexibility to amend those if necessary in the light of experience.

Building on those assurances, Amendment No. 248 seeks to clarify that appropriate time limits can be imposed in relation to all stages of the application process; for example, the amount of time licensing authorities have in which to consider application forms and any relevant representations before a hearing is held, the length of time between notification of a hearing and the hearing, and the length of time a licensing authority has in which to determine the application following a hearing.

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Noble Lords welcomed the assurances on time limits given in Committee, so I hope they will be able to support the amendment, which seeks to give greater clarification to our intentions. I beg to move.

Lord Redesdale: My Lords, I welcome the amendments and do not want to detain the House. Can the Minister give the House an idea of the draft timescales, which obviously may change, which the Government are considering at this stage of the Bill?

Baroness Blackstone: My Lords, I do not think I am able to help the noble Lord, Lord Redesdale, at this stage. However, as soon as I can I shall let him know.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

3.45 p.m.

Baroness Buscombe moved Amendment No. 219A:


    After Clause 138, insert the following new clause—


"DISORDERLY CONDUCT OUTSIDE LICENSED PREMISES
(1) Where customers of licensed premises engage in disorderly conduct after they have left those premises, no person to whom subsection (2) applies shall be liable to any fine or other penalty arising from that conduct by those customers.
(2) This subsection applies—
(a) to any person who works at the premises in a capacity, whether paid or unpaid, which authorises him to prevent disorderly conduct on the premises;
(b) in the case of licensed premises, to—
(i) the holder of a premises license in respect of the premises, and
(ii) the designated premises supervisor (if any) under such a license,
(c) in the case of premises in respect of which a club premises certificate has effect, to any member or officer of the club who, at the time the conduct takes place, is present on the premises in a capacity which would enable him to prevent disorderly conduct occurring within the premises;
(d) in the case of premises which may be used for a permitted temporary activity by virtue of Part 5, to the premises user in relation to the temporary event notice in question."

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, we have had numerous debates on the responsibilities of the industry and how far that extends beyond the premises. Certainly, in our early debates it was clear that the publican, or indeed the club owner or manager, should not be responsible for the behaviour of drinkers or clubgoers beyond the immediate vicinity of the premises. Through our debates, "vicinity" seems now to have extended to the neighbourhood. There is perhaps still the question of how far that neighbourhood extends.

We have also had numerous debates about fees. The Government have been keen to reassure the House that while the whole system will be self-financing, at the same time fees will be set centrally and will be reasonable. The Government have worked at length to encourage us to feel comfortable about leaving the

4 Mar 2003 : Column 718

question of fees and the amount of such fees to regulations. Indeed, the noble Baroness was very clear when she stated:


    "Licensing fees will be set centrally and fairly. They will be set at a level which will allow licensing authorities to recover the full costs of exercising the licensing functions, including administration, inspection and enforcement".

The noble Baroness went on to say:


    "The exact level of fees is yet to be decided. The Secretary of State is still considering representations on the levels and the figures are not therefore etched in stone. We currently estimate that the one-off fee for a premises licence will be set in bands between £100 and £500, with annual charges for the purpose of providing revenue for the licensing authority set in bands between £50 and £150".—[Official Report, 16/1/03; col. 342.]

To some extent we have all felt that it is time to back off and wait for regulations. However, I was rather taken aback when I opened the Daily Telegraph last Saturday and discovered on page 4 an article stating:


    "Pubs and nightclubs would have to pay a levy to fund the cost of extra policing in city centres hit by late-night drunken disorder, according to proposals that have alarmed Downing Street.


    David Blunkett is drawing up plans that would force the licensed trade to make a financial contribution to pay for extra patrols in areas plagued by anti-social behaviour at closing time.


    The scheme, which some say would amount to making the private sector pay 'protection money', has divided Whitehall where some officials say it could open the way for extra burdens on business.


    The Home Secretary is looking for ways to include the idea in the Anti-Social Behaviour Bill being drawn up to tackle 'low-level' loutish behaviour such as graffiti and vandalism.


    Bob Ainsworth and John Denham, the Home Office Ministers responsible, initially tried to have the measure included in the Licensing Bill which is before the Lords, but were resisted by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport".

I enjoyed the last sentence. I take it that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport realises the extent to which we in your Lordships' House are concerned about the real impact of the Bill on the industry and on local authorities, and has therefore persuaded Home Office officials that the process of setting fees, if fees are to be set, should be delayed and included in a later Bill.

The purpose of our amendment tabled yesterday—I apologise to the Government; I do not like tabling amendments at the last minute—is to seek clarification as to where the responsibility for licensed premises begins and ends. It is accepted that there are duties on personal licence holders to ensure that they run orderly premises and that they do not serve drinks or sell to under-age persons. Beyond that we are keen to ensure that disorder away from such premises is properly associated with those who are personally responsible for such behaviour and that they are dealt with by the powers which the police already have.

The Bill ensures that disorderly and drunk persons are evicted from the premises. We want to ensure that the licensee is then not made responsible. We question the Government as to whether their intention is to make the licensee responsible for such persons once they are outside. We believe that that would be iniquitous and unfair. There have been discussions in your Lordships' House and elsewhere as to whether

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licensed premises should be charged separately for the cost of policing in city centres and whether such charge should be laid on the pubs, bars and night-clubs.

We want to know from the Government, and we believe it is only fair that the industry should know from the Government, ahead of any anti-social behaviour Bill what is the true position. Will the industry be asked to pay for anti-social behaviour, however that is defined in a later Bill? Is this a matter which the Government have decided to delay until another date but have full intentions of assessing? It is important that we have a clear answer now from the Government. We are doing all we can to assist them by backing off in terms of demanding at this stage that the question of fees should be on the face of the Bill. I beg to move.


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