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Deregulation (Long Pull) Order 1996

Volume 571: debated on Wednesday 1 May 1996

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8.56 p.m.

rose to move, That the draft order laid before the House on 18th March be approved [16th Report from the Delegated Powers Scrutiny Committee].

The noble Earl said: My Lords, this order is to be laid under the powers provided in the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994. It repeals Section 165 of the Licensing Act 1964 which makes it an offence to sell in licensed premises or registered clubs alcohol in excess of the amount requested.

Since the introduction of the "long pull" provision in 1921, prosecutions have been rare. The repeal of Section 165 will remove the risk of prosecution from licensees who serve over-measure.

The order has been examined fully since it was first laid before Parliament in draft form in November. No changes to the order have been proposed and it has been reported by the Delegated Powers Scrutiny Committee as in a form satisfactory to be submitted to this House for affirmative resolution. I beg to move.

Moved, That the draft order laid before the House on 18th March be approved [ 16th Report from the Delegated Powers Scrutiny Committee].—( The Earl of Courtown.)

My Lords, I wish to speak to the order but first I must declare an interest. I am the owner of a fine hostelry, the Redesdale Arms, in Northumberland. The order has the full support of this side of the House. However, I cannot believe that there is much optimism that many landlords will make use of it. I asked my local landlord at the Albert in Primrose Hill whether he would give me more after the deregulation, but he was quite firm that I could expect no more than at present.

I wish to ask two questions of the Minister. First, he said that there had been rare prosecutions. Have there been any prosecutions under this regulation? Secondly, after a little research, I found that few people to whom I spoke knew that the regulation existed.

I wish to ask the Minister what plans the Government have on the idea of apprenticeships; that people between the ages of 16 and 18 should be able to serve behind the bar. Can the Minister say whether under the Government's guidelines there could be any form of training for 16 to 18 year-olds under supervision? An apprenticeship gives the impression of being a long-term job, but is this perhaps to be cheap labour?

My Lords, the noble Lord asked whether there had been any prosecutions under the order. I am told that two have arisen, but that could be a statistical error. He also mentioned the situation with apprentices in bars. Consultation on whether the deregulation order would allow apprentices aged 16 and 17 to be employed in bars was completed on 29th March this year. Ministers are now considering the outcome.

The noble Lord put some other questions. I shall go through some of the background, which will probably answer some of his queries.

At present the law contains a general prohibition on the employment of young people under the age of 18 in bars. The licensed trade argues that this restriction prevents them recruiting school-leavers on an equal footing with other employers. A programme for pub apprentices was approved by the then Department of Employment but cannot begin until the restriction on 16 and 17 year-olds working in bars is relaxed.

The approved schemes are specifically designed for school-leavers and will involve comprehensive registration and monitoring. Moreover, it will be a condition of apprenticeship that the apprentice will be supervised at all times. Before agreeing to provide support for an apprenticeship, employers will be assessed by the training and enterprise council on their ability to deliver quality training.

I hope that that satisfies the noble Lord. I commend the order to the House.

On Question, Motion agreed to.