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New Clause—(Persons Under Eighteen Not To Be Employed In Bars)

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 10 May 1949

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(1) If any person under the age of eighteen years is employed in any bar of licensed premises at a time when the bar is open for the sale or consumption of intoxicating liquor, the holder of the licence shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding five pounds in the case of a first offence, or twenty pounds in the case of a second or any subsequent offence.

(2) For the purposes of this section a person shall not be deemed to be employed in a bar by reason only that in the course of his employment in some other part of the premises he enters the bar for the purpose of giving or receiving any message or of passing to or from some other part of the premises, being a part to or from which there is no other convenient means of access or egress and not being itself a bar.

(3) For the purposes of this section a person shall be deemed to be employed by the person for whom he works, notwithstanding that he receives no wages for his work.

(4) Where in any proceedings under this section it is alleged that a person was at any time under the age of eighteen, and he appears to the court then to have been under that age, for the purposes of the proceedings he shall be deemed then to have been under that age unless the contrary is shown.

(5) In this section the expression "bar includes any place exclusively or mainly used for the sale or consumption of intoxicating liquor.

(6) In the application of this section to Scotland—

the expression "licence" means a certificate as defined in Part VII of the Licensing (Scotland) Act, 1903;
the expression "licensed premises" means premises in respect of which a certificate as defined in the said Part VII has been granted and is in force;
the expression "intoxicating liquor" means exciseable liquor.—[Mr. Ede.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

I beg to move, "That the Clause he read a Second time."

When in Committee my hon. Friend the Member for Barking (Mr. Hastings) moved an Amendment which dealt with the employment of persons under 18 years of age in bars in the State management area, I found myself so completely in agreement with his arguments that I was able to accept the Amendment. Somewhat to my surprise, immediately thereafter, before the Question could be put, I was pressed by hon. Members on both sides of the Committee not to confine this proposal to bars in State management districts, but to extend it to all the bars in the country. I was very grateful for that expression of opinion, which was unanimous, and I undertook to consider between then and today whether it would be possible to meet that point of view.

Since that time the argument of the Committee has been reinforced by paragraph 275 of the final report of the Cowers Committee which says:
"The Intoxicating Liquor (Sale to Persons under Eighteen) Act, 1923, makes it an offence for a licence-holder to supply liquor to a juvenile, or for a juvenile to buy liquor, for consumption in a bar. We regard it as anomalous that a licence-holder may nevertheless employ a juvenile in a bar; and we recommend that such employment should be prohibited by statute."
That was a striking reinforcement of the view unanimously held on the Committee and I therefore submit this Clause to the House with every confidence.

I wish very warmly to thank my right hon. Friend for including this Clause in the Bill. It seemed to me when I proposed the original Clause that it was very anomalous that while persons uncles 18 were not permitted to purchase liquor, or to take liquor in a bar, yet those under that age were permitted to sell it. Accordingly, I tried, with some help, to draft a suitable Amendment, but clearly my Amendment was much too short and was not put in legal form. Now I read an extended and much more complicated Amendment, Section 4 of which begins:

"Where in any proceedings under this section it is alleged that a person was at any time under the age of eighteen …."
That is probably the legal phrase for meaning that an individual concerned is over 18. I should have put it differently, but no doubt that is the proper legal phraseology. Clearly it means what I meant in my Amendment, and therefore I am very grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for accepting it and being willing to make it part of the Bill.

I wish to welcome this new Clause and to say how glad I am that the Home Secretary has been able to include it in this Bill. As he may remember, I had considerable correspondence with him on this subject a year or two ago, and he said he would seek an early opportunity to provide legislation.

Question put, and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.