16th February 1993




Second Scottish Standing Committee


Tuesday 16 February 1993


Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to.

Bill to be reported, without amendment.

Committee rose at twenty-three minutes to Eleven o'clock.


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The Committee consisted of the following Members:

Chairman: Mr. James Hill

Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley, North)

Campbell, Mr. Menzies (Fife, North-East)

Chisholm, Mr. Malcolm (Edinburgh, Leigh)

Clarke, Mr. Eric (Midlothian)

Donohoe, Mr. Brian H. (Cunninghame, South)

Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland)

Fairbairn, Sir Nicholas (Perth and Kinross)

Gallie, Mr. Phil (Ayr)

Kynoch, Mr. George (Kincardine and Deeside)

Lang, Mr. (Secretary of State for Scotland)

McFall, Mr. John (Dumbarton)

McMaster, Mr. Gordon (Paisley, South)

Monro, Sir Hector (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland)

Robertson, Mr. Raymond S. (Aberdeen, South)

Stewart, Mr. Allan (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland)

Walker, Mr. Bill (Tayside, North)

Mr. R. G. James Committee Clerk

3 Second Scottish Standing Committee Tuesday 16 February 1993

[MR. JAMES HILL in the Chair]

Licensing (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill Clause 1

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

10.30 pm

Mr. Phil Gallie (Ayr): As there was no Second Reading debate, I should like to explain the Bill's general purpose to the Committee before addressing the detail of its clauses. The aim of the Bill is to amend the Licensing (Scotland) Act 1976 as a consequence of a change made to the Planning and Compensation Act 1991 that was not taken account of at the time. I emphasise that my Bill enjoys the support of the Government, Law Society of Scotland, and Convention of Scottish Local Authorities—and, I understand, of Opposition Members. It makes an essential amendment that will allow licensing boards to grant licences on a firm legal basis and will avoid any risk of a prospective licensee being frustrated by a legal technicality. I record my appreciation of several people. I thank Michael Clancy at the Law Society of Scotland, who on 3 November 1992 drew attention to this matter. I also thank COSLA for taking a responsive attitude to the measure and for endorsing change. I appreciate the actions of the Scottish Office, and thank especially the officials there for the expeditiousness with which they dealt with the Bill's technicalities. The problem is contained in section 23 of the 1976 Act, which requires licensing boards, when granting new liquor licences, to witness a certificate to ensure that the availability of premises to which it refers is valid with respect to planning, building control and hygiene. Applicants must produce a certificate showing that full or outline planning permission has been obtained under section 51 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1972 and that further planning permission is not required. As from 25 September, 1992, section 51 determinations were replaced by section 90A certificates of lawfulness of proposed use or development, which were introduced by section 42 of the Planning and Compensation Act 1991. 4 Therein lies the problem that we are dealing with today. The 1991 Act repealed section 51 of the 1972 Act but it did not consequently amend section 23(2) of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 1976 to refer to section 90A certificates. Clause 1(1) of the Bill will amend section 23 of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 1976, and clause 1(2) adds to section 23(2) of the 1976 Act a reference to a certificate under section 90A of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1972. It should be noted that the reference to section 51 remains, to ensure that determinations established prior to 25 September 1992 remain valid. Section 90A enables planning authorities to grant certificates of lawful use or development to premises. Subsection (1) of clause 2 contains the short title and subsection (2) provides that the Bill extends to Scotland only. It is in the interests of all concerned that the Bill should have a trouble-free passage, and I commend it to the Committee.

Mr. John McFall (Dumbarton): The Bill will have a trouble-free passage. The hon. Member for Ayr (Mr. Gallie) can probably detect that I am losing my voice. I have not been too well in the past night, but perhaps, the thought of having to commend the hon. Gentleman is making my voice deteriorate even further. He has my full support; and both the Law Society of Scotland and COSLA have pointed out the merits of his Bill. I commend him, so early in his parliamentary career, for pusuing a Bill that has the full support of the House. COSLA pointed out that section 23 of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 1976 would have benefited from a further amendment. It believes that the present wording does not acknowledge that, in normal circumstances, planning permission goes with the ground. It suggested an alternative, but obviously it is too late for that. COSLA is pleased with the Bill, as is the Law Society, and I am happy for the Opposition to endorse it.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Allan Stewart): I find myself in the unusual situation of agreeing with everything that the hon. Member for Dumbarton (Mr. McFall) said. His point about a further amendment has been noted, but it is not essential to this Bill, which has the support of everyone concerned. I congratulate my hon. Friend on his initiative and confirm the Government's support for the Bill.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 1 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 2 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Bill to be reported, without amendment.

Committee rose at twenty-three minutes to Eleven o'clock.


Hill, Mr. James (Chairman)

Clarke, Mr. Eric

Gallie, Mr.

Kynoch, Mr.

McFall, Mr.

McMaster, Mr.

Monro, Sir Hector

Robertson, Mr. Raymond S.

Stewart, Mr.

Walker, Mr. Bill