Amendment made: No. 7, in page 3, line 33, leave out `reason' and insert 'reasonable cause'. — [Mr. Peter Lloyd.]
I beg to move amendment No. 8, in page 3, line 37, after 'kind', insert—
`(aa) any premises in respect of which a licence under section 2 of the 1909 Act is in force are being or are about to be used for an exempted exhibition;'.
With this we may take the following amendments: No. 9, in page 3, line 42, leave out `the 1909 Act' and insert 'that Act'.
No. 11, in page 4, line 42, leave out from beginning to end of page 5, line 8 and insert—
No. 12, in page 5, leave out lines 12 to 21.
No. 14, in page 5, line 30, after 'held', insert—
'(bb) any premises in respect of which a licence under section 2 of the 1909 Act is in force are used for an exempted exhibition and are so used otherwise than in accordance with the conditions or restrictions on or subject to which the licence is held, so far as relating to the matters specified in section 2(1)(a) of the 1952 Act;'.
No. 16, in clause 6, page 5, line 42, after `kind', insert
`or a licence under section 2 of the 1909 Act is in force in respect of the premises and the exhibition is an exempted exhibition.'.
No. 19, in clause 8, page 6, line 41, at end insert—
'"exempted exhibition" means an exhibition which, by virtue only of section 5 of the 1952 Act, does not require a licence under section 2 of the 1909 Act;'.
No. 20, in clause 9, page 7, line 19, at end insert—
`(3) On the coming into force of section 12(11) of the Fire Precautions Act 1971 (regulations relating to fire precautions to be made under that Act), the following provisions of this Act shall cease to have effect, namely—
(a) in section 3— (i) in subsection (1), paragraph (b); (ii) in subsection (1A) the words "the fire authority and"; (iii) in subsection (1B) the words "by the fire authority or"; (b) in section 4, in subsection (2), the words "a fire authority and" and the words "that authority and"; (c) in section 5— (i) in subsections (1) and (5) the words "or the fire authority"; (ii) subsection (1)(aa) and (2); (iii) in subsection (7) the definition of "fire authority" and, in the definition of "relevant provisions", in paragraph (a) the words "or (2)(a)", paragraph (b) and in paragraph (c) the words "or (2)(b)"; (d) in section 6, subsection (1)(bb) and, in subsection (2)(b), the words from "or" to "exempted exhibition"; and (e) in section 8, the definition of "exempted exhibition".'.
The amendments are largely technical. With the exception of the fourth and final amendments in the group, their purpose is to correct an oversight in the Bill concerning exempted exhibitions on licensed premises. They make no change in the position under present legislation, but simply ensure that the provisions in clauses 5 and 6 in respect of powers of entry, inspection and offences, achieve the intended result.Exempted exhibitions or exhibitions to which the public are not admitted, or to which they are admitted free, do not require a cinematograph licence. That will be qualified by the private gain test introduced in clause 2. However, when such an exhibition is given on licensed premises—for example, when a non-commercial body gives a private exhibition in a cinema that it has hired—the safety regulations and conditions must be complied with. Unfortunately, as drafted, the Bill fails to ensure that safety conditions must be complied with in those circumstances. That defect is corrected by amendments Nos. 14 and 16. The Bill also fails to provide for the necessary powers to enter and inspect licensed premises in connection with the giving of an exempted exhibition. That defect is corrected by amendments Nos. 8 and 11. Amendment No. 9 is simply a consequential drafting amendment. Amendment No. 19 provides a definition of "exempted exhibition". The remaining two amendments are really consequential on the others and on earlier amendments concerning procedures to be followed in applying for licences. The various references to exempted exhibitions and to the fire authority would be otiose if, as section 12(11) of the Fire Precautions Act 1971 provides, safety matters in cinemas were controlled under that Act instead of under the Cinematograph Acts. That provision has not yet been brought into force, but the references need to be added to the list in clause 5(8) of provisions which would be repealed in the event of that happening. As the additions go beyond the scope of clause 5, however, the amendments wuld delete clause 5(8) and replace it by a suitably expanded new subsection (3) to clause 9. With that explanation, I commend the amendments to the House.
I wish to ask my hon. Friend the Member for Fareham (Mr. Lloyd) one brief question. I am not sure whether it arises from the amendments, but no doubt he will tell me whether I am right.My question relates to a comparison of the statements in subsections (1) and (2). Subsection (2) requires the authorised officer of the fire authority to give not less than 24 hours notice of entry to cinema premises. In subsection (1), however, no time limit is specified. Presumably, therefore, under subsection (1), a constable or authorised officer of the licensing authority or the fire authority may enter the premises without any notice at all. I hope so, as that would clearly be the right way to proceed. Perhaps my hon. Friend would address himself to that narrow point.
I think that I can answer my hon. Friend, but I shall check afterwards to make sure that my memory is correct.The powers of entry ensure that if an exhibition is being given, or if there is reason to believe that an exhibition is about to be given, the appropriate officers have the right of immediate entry. If there is no immediate prospect of an exhibition, the fire officer, for example, must give 24 hours' notice. That is the kind of courtesy that one likes to give unless there is a very pressing reason, such as the immediate holding of an exhibition which may be in breach of regulations, for not doing so. In this way, the courtesy is normally extended except in an emergency which requires the immediate exercise of the right of entry.
Perhaps I might press my hon. Friend a little further. Is he saying that a constable or authorised officer of the licensing or fire authority may enter the premises if, in his opinion, the circumstances are such that he should have immediate access, but that in subsection (2) a courtesy is written into the Bill for non-emergency situations?
That is my understanding. That is the intention. My only slight qualification is that the officer should have reason.to believe that an exhibition is being held or is about to be held. He cannot simply give that as a reason unless he has reason to believe that it is valid.
I thank my hon. Friend for his explanation of this group of amendments, which, as he said, are largely drafting amendments.Perhaps my hon. Friend would satisfy my curiosity about amendment No. 19, which is quite important and relates to exempted exhibitions. In introducing the amendments he said that an exempted exhibition meant an exhibition which, by virtue of section 5 of the 1952 Act, did not require a licence under section 2 of the 1909 Act. I am very grateful to my hon. Friend for explaining that point briefly to us. To a layman, however, there is again an early twentieth century ring about the amendments, with the perpetual return to the 1909 Act. As I know that my hon. Friend is very alert and up to date, this leads me to suspect that some of the amendments have come direct from the Home Office archives. Section 5 of the 1952 Act is also relevant. I repeat that the situation has changed vastly in a few years. Acts of Parliament that were passed 70 or 80 years ago bear on the matter. Over the past five years the video films industry has mushroomed from zero to a turnover of about £200 million a year. We must not ignore that fact. Will "an exempted exhibition" in the amendment include all events organised by bona fide social societies, all events of a private nature and church and political matters? The trade in sex films has also mushroomed. Will amendment No. 19 affect the improper sale of sex films and videos for screening in private homes? It is now a multi-million pound business. We cannot close our eyes to those ugly features of society. Will my hon. Friend deal with those problems?
My hon. Friend has raised similar points before. We need a consolidation measure to show easily and precisely how the three enactments affect the cinema.The term "cinematograph" in the Bill does not mean what people normally take it to mean. It means what is defined in the Act. In clause 1 it is made clear that the term covers video reproduction of moving pictures as well as old-fashioned film exhibitions. My hon. Friend need have no fear there. My hon. Friend asked whether private organisations, churches and so on would be able to give exhibitions that were exempt or outside the effect of the Bill. It does not matter what the organisation is. The deciding factor is whether the exhibition is given for private gain. Exemption certificates are meant for organisations that do not give exhibitions for private gain but use the funds obtained for the purposes of the society. If money changes hands for the profit of an individual, the exhibition will automatically fall within the scope of the Bill. My hon. Friend said that there was a burgeoning business in making and selling sex videos and films and that fortunes were being made. The Bill will not affect that trade, as the proposed legislation deals only with the exhibition of films for gain and not with making or selling them. It will have the effect, perhaps, by reducing the opportunities for exhibitions, of reducing the profits and the extent of the trade, but it will not deal directly with the particular point my hon. Friend raises because, real problem though it is, that is beyond the scope of the measures.
I confirm what my hon. Friend the Member for Fareham (Mr. Lloyd) has said in reply to the points raised in the debate.With regard to the point raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Basildon (Mr. Proctor), I understand that clause 5(2) provides for general inspection for which it is reasonable to require 24 hours' notice. Clause 5(1) provides for immediate entry when an exhibition is being given or is about to be given. With regard to the point raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Harborough (Mr. Farr), I understand that, provided that the exhibitions are private, or exhibitions to which the public are admitted free, they would constitute "exempted exhibitions" under section 5 of the 1952 Act. The amendment makes no difference to piracy, which is not a matter dealt with in the Bill. That confirms what my hon. Friend the Member for Fareham said in that respect. I started to anticipate in an earlier debate one or two of the points covered by my hon. Friend's amendments, but it might be desirable for me to put on the record a slightly fuller picture concerning the current group of amendments. They basically maintain policies that we have already in the existing legislation. With the exception of amendments Nos. 12 and 20, their purpose is to ensure that the appropriate references are made in the Bill to exempted exhibitions given on licensed premises. As I have said already, an example of that kind of thing would be the hiring of an ordinary cinema out of hours by private bodies which might want to give a "members only" exhibition. As such, an exhibition would be one to which the public were not admitted, and it would not require a licence; it would be exempted by section 5(1) of the 1952 Act. However, section 5(3) of the same Act provides that where such an exhibition—that is, an exempted exhibition—is given on premises in respect of which a licence is in force, safety regulations and conditions have to be complied with. That is obviously sensible. If, in order to obtain a cinematograph licence, the cinema concerned has had to go to the trouble of meeting all the requirements concerning safety, it would clearly be foolish not to require those conditions to be observed just because the premises are being used by other organisations for the giving of cinematograph exhibitions. As my hon. Friend mentioned, the Bill at present fails to ensure that that will continue to be the case. Clause 6(1)(c) ensures that where an exempted exhibition is given on licensed premises, safety regulations have to be complied with, but clause 6(1)(b), which is the equivalent provision in respect of licence conditions, applies only to exhibitions which require a licence—which, of course, exempted exhibitions do not. That is remedied by the new sub-paragraph (bb) in amendment No. 14 and by amendment No. 16, the latter providing for the licence holder's liability where he has not exercised due diligence. Clearly, in addition to providing for the relevant offences in respect of exempted exhibitions on licensed premises, it is important to ensure that the appropriate powers of inspection are provided. That is the purpose of amendments Nos. 8 and 11. The former provides that the constable or an authorised officer of the fire or licensing authorities may enter and inspect licensed premises where an exempted exhibition is being given there or is about to be given there. Amendment No. 11—in particular the new sub-paragraph (b)—provides that the purpose of such an inspection is to ensure that the relevant safety regulations are being complied with. Amendments Nos. 9 and 19, which also concern exempted exhibitions, simply make a drafting change and provide a definition of 'exempted exhibition'. As my hon. Friend explained, the remaining two amendments in the group—amendments Nos. 12 and 20—are consequential on the amendments concerning exempted exhibitions, and also on the group of amendments that we have just discussed concerning the procedures for dealing with licence applications. Their purpose is to ensure that, if fire safety matters in cinemas are controlled under the Fire Precautions Act 1971, instead of under the Cinematograph Acts, unnecessary references in the Bill to fire authorities and "exempted exhibitions" are automatically repealed. Clearly, there would be no further need for the fire authority to be involved if all that were really at issue under the Cinematograph Acts was the question of film censorship. It also follows that since the cinema licensing system impinges on exempted exhibitions only when they are given in licensed premises—and then only in respect of safety matters—there would be no need to refer to them in the Bill if safety were controlled under the Fire Precautions Act 1971. 12.45 pm That is a slightly complicated explanation, but if hon. Members examine the provisions carefully they will see that they are sensible. Just because something is exempted from the general need to license cinema displays that does not mean that it is desirable to exempt it from conditions covering safety, which must apply whatever is being shown in the exhibition.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendments made: No. 9, in page 3, line 42, leave out `the 1909 Act` and insert 'that Act'.
No. 10, in page 4, leave out lines 23 to 28.
No. 11, in page 4, line 42, leave out from beginning to end of page 5, line 8 and insert—
'(a) in a case falling within subsection (1)(a) or (2)(a) above, regulations under the 1909 Act and any conditions notified in writing by the licensing authority to the licence is held;
(b) in a case falling within subsection (1)(aa) above, regulations under the 1909 Act making such provisions as is mentioned in paragraph (a) of section 2(1) of the 1952 Act and the conditions and restrictions on or subject to which the licence is held so far as relating to the matters specified in that paragraph;
(c) in a case falling within subsection (1)(b) or (2)(b) above, regulations under the 1909 Act and any conditions notified in writing by the licensing authority to the occupier of the premises;'.
No. 12, in page 5, leave out lines 12 to 21.— [Mr. Peter Lloyd.]