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Mr. Redwood: Can the Minister see that it is difficult for hon. Members to make a fair judgment on the proposal if we do not know how big a charge might be imposed on businesses in such zones and what kind of discount might be available in certain circumstances? If she wants us to eat her dish—she says that it is tasty—she should tell us its price.

Hazel Blears: We will introduce regulations, which will be subject to debate, but today we should debate the principle of alcohol disorder zones.

I am happy to confirm to the hon. Member for East Antrim that different charges will be based on a risk assessment of extra enforcement activity in relation to individual premises, and the risk assessment for a 1,000 capacity nightclub may be very different from that for a small local pub. We will also examine discounts, which cannot be introduced until we have introduced the principles and standards code of practice to which the industry will sign up. Once that agreement is in place, people who abide by the provisions in the code of practice will be eligible for discounts, which, at least partially, addresses the point raised by the hon. Member for Hornsey and Wood Green that people who comply with the action plan should be subject to a lower charge. When bar and pub owners do their best to be responsible, it should be acknowledged.

I want to discuss the individual amendments, because we need a little time to discuss some of the other provisions in the Bill. I reject the amendments that seek to establish an audit trail and culpability, which is not the idea behind alcohol disorder zones. I reject the amendment tabled by the hon. Member for Woking on decisions being made in Whitehall, which would be extremely bureaucratic. This is a local power and it should be used locally. When an area is defined, tension may arise, which is why I said in Committee that the police and the local authority must be careful when they draw the boundary and make sure that it is not either too wide or too narrow to catch the mischief that they are seeking to address.

Opposition amendments Nos. 15 and 16 would prescribe the purposes to which funding may be put, but we do not need to include such a provision in the Bill. I made it clear in Committee that the range of additional interventions will be set out in regulations and guidance and I discussed police enforcement and trading standards test purchasing. For example, environmental health officers can deal with excessive noise, which causes a significant problem for many of our constituents, and areas such as street cleaning are important, too.

Liberal Democrat amendments Nos. 33, 40 and 41 seek to widen the exemption. At the moment, the exemption has two limbs—whether the principal use of the premises is the sale and supply of alcohol and whether the principal reason why people visit a premises is to obtain alcohol. In order to obtain an exemption, people must meet both limbs of that test, and as I said in Committee, hotels and restaurants—I also mentioned gyms and theatres in my letter—would meet that exemption test.
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The Liberal Democrat amendments seek to narrow the exemption test in one way and to widen it in another. Under those amendments, an irresponsible hotel or restaurant would be responsible for the charges, despite having met the test. However, that returns us to the first issue, which is that one would have to be able to see that that individual premises was causing the problem. If an individual premises causes a problem, consideration should be given to using the powers in the Licensing Act 2003 to address that narrow point.

Amendment No. 41 seeks to widen the limb, but it is not appropriate. It would allow people who comply with the action plan not to contribute to costs, but that might be difficult. If the action plan included making a financial contribution in order to facilitate the introduction of proper street-cleaning services, the viability of the alcohol disorder zone might be at risk if several premises did not have to contribute.

8.15 pm

Lynne Featherstone: In Committee, I tabled an amendment about moneys going on other services, such as cleaning, but the Minister said that it was not necessary because services in an alcohol disorder zone will be provided by the police and the local authority only, so there will be no need to distribute any other money.

Hazel Blears: I said that the local authority could commission services, so it is necessary to authorise the police and the local authority only to spend the money.

Amendments Nos. 7 and 9 address the regulations. In Committee, I said that regulations will be introduced to cover appeals on payment collection and enforcement of the charge. I cannot give the hon. Member for Woking the precise details of the appeals process, but the procedure to appeal against local authorities' charging facilities is well established and I am sure that we will follow it. If we intend to depart from that course, I will let him have the information.

Amendment No. 9 includes a more general right of appeal to a court and, again, we have been over that ground before. The process of making an alcohol disorder zone includes sufficient checks and balances to make a formal appeal structure—which would simply drag out the process—unnecessary. The joint local authority and police trigger means that both of those bodies must consent, and there is also a formal consultation process, the eight-week period to allow the commencement of an action plan and a formal three-monthly review of designation. Those robust checks and balances should be sufficient for us not to have a formal appeal process.

The final issue concerns the offence of persistently selling alcohol to under-age youngsters, which is clearly important. The hon. Member for Woking wants to increase the fine to a level not exceeding £10,000. However, the Licensing Act 2003 increased the fine from £1,000 to £5,000, which is proportionate, and it also includes the power to suspend a licence for up to three months, which is a vigorous remedy. A premises licence holder could be based in London while their business is located in Manchester, and if their offence is simply a matter of neglect, even if it is criminal neglect, a custodial sentence would be a harsh punishment.
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I have dealt with all the amendments and urge the House to resist them all. The alcohol disorder policy is a policy of last resort, but it will be hugely welcome in some of our town and city centres. I hope that it will result in the good, responsible pubs and clubs getting together, taking collective responsibility and helping to change behaviour.

David Lepper (Brighton, Pavilion) (Lab/Co-op): On alcohol disorder zones being a last resort, does the Minister agree that in an area in which a problem clearly exists, local authorities should consider the power in the Local Government Act 2003 to introduce, with the consent of local businesses, business improvement districts, which would deal with many such problems at a much earlier stage?

Hazel Blears: My hon. Friend has concluded the debate on a very positive note. We want to encourage people to enter into voluntary arrangements, which has happened in many city centres across the country—for example, Manchester Citysafe and the Tranquility project in Stockton, which has brought peace to that area. Businesses are increasingly realising that it is in their best interests to tackle such problems locally. A safe night out is the kind of night out that people will return to week after week after week, because they have a great time without experiencing the problems of alcohol-fuelled disorder that unfortunately beset far too many of our communities.

I urge the House to resist the amendments.

Lynne Featherstone: All Members want to tackle alcohol-related disorder on the streets of our cities, and I give credit to them for that. This debate is about trying to find the best way to do that. The amendments were tabled because the Government are asking us to take so much on their say-so. I hope that more detail will be made available on charging and capping when the Bill goes to another place. With that hope in my heart, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment proposed: No. 18, in page 10, line 28, at end insert—
', provided that no charges shall be payable by any persons or clubs unless the local authority is satisfied on the basis of evidence that it is reasonable to impose charges on those particular persons or clubs.'.—[Mr. Malins.]

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 183, Noes 274.

Division No. 91
[8.20 pm


Afriyie, Adam
Alexander, Danny
Amess, Mr. David
Ancram, rh Mr. Michael
Arbuthnot, rh Mr. James
Atkinson, Mr. Peter
Bacon, Mr. Richard
Baker, Norman
Baldry, Tony
Baron, Mr. John
Beith, rh Mr. Alan
Bellingham, Mr. Henry
Benyon, Mr. Richard
Beresford, Sir Paul
Binley, Mr. Brian
Blunt, Mr. Crispin
Bone, Mr. Peter
Boswell, Mr. Tim
Brazier, Mr. Julian
Brokenshire, James
Brooke, Annette
Browning, Angela
Burns, Mr. Simon
Burt, Lorely
Butterfill, Sir John
Cable, Dr. Vincent
Carswell, Mr. Douglas
Chope, Mr. Christopher
Clappison, Mr. James
Clark, Greg
Clarke, rh Mr. Kenneth
Clifton-Brown, Mr. Geoffrey
Cox, Mr. Geoffrey
Crabb, Mr. Stephen
Davies, David T.C. (Monmouth)
Davies, Philip
Djanogly, Mr. Jonathan
Dorries, Mrs. Nadine
Duddridge, James
Duncan Smith, rh Mr. Iain
Dunne, Mr. Philip
Ellwood, Mr. Tobias
Evennett, Mr. David
Fallon, Mr. Michael
Farron, Tim
Featherstone, Lynne
Francois, Mr. Mark
Fraser, Mr. Christopher
Gale, Mr. Roger
Garnier, Mr. Edward
Gauke, Mr. David
Gibb, Mr. Nick
Gidley, Sandra
Gillan, Mrs. Cheryl
Goldsworthy, Julia
Goodman, Mr. Paul
Gove, Michael
Gray, Mr. James
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian
Greening, Justine
Greenway, Mr. John
Hague, rh Mr. William
Hammond, Mr. Philip
Hammond, Stephen
Hands, Mr. Greg
Harper, Mr. Mark
Harris, Dr. Evan
Harvey, Nick
Hayes, Mr. John
Heald, Mr. Oliver
Heath, Mr. David
Heathcoat-Amory, rh Mr. David
Hemming, John
Hendry, Charles
Herbert, Nick
Hogg, rh Mr. Douglas
Hollobone, Mr. Philip
Holloway, Mr. Adam
Holmes, Paul
Horam, Mr. John
Horwood, Martin
Howarth, David
Hughes, Simon
Huhne, Chris
Hunt, Mr. Jeremy
Hunter, Mark
Hurd, Mr. Nick
Jack, rh Mr. Michael
Jackson, Mr. Stewart
Johnson, Mr. Boris
Jones, Mr. David
Kawczynski, Daniel
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Knight, rh Mr. Greg
Kramer, Susan
Laing, Mrs. Eleanor
Lait, Mrs. Jacqui
Lancaster, Mr. Mark
Laws, Mr. David
Lewis, Dr. Julian
Liddell-Grainger, Mr. Ian
Lidington, Mr. David
Llwyd, Mr. Elfyn
Mackay, rh Mr. Andrew
Maclean, rh David
Main, Anne
Malins, Mr. Humfrey
Maude, rh Mr. Francis
May, rh Mrs. Theresa
McIntosh, Miss Anne
McLoughlin, rh Mr. Patrick
Miller, Mrs. Maria
Milton, Anne
Moore, Mr. Michael
Moss, Mr. Malcolm
Mulholland, Greg
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Newmark, Mr. Brooks
O'Brien, Mr. Stephen
Öpik, Lembit
Ottaway, Richard
Paice, Mr. James
Paterson, Mr. Owen
Pelling, Mr. Andrew
Penning, Mike
Penrose, John
Pickles, Mr. Eric
Price, Adam
Prisk, Mr. Mark
Pritchard, Mark
Pugh, Dr. John
Redwood, rh Mr. John
Reid, Mr. Alan
Robathan, Mr. Andrew
Robertson, Hugh
Robertson, Mr. Laurence
Rogerson, Mr. Dan
Ruffley, Mr. David
Russell, Bob
Salmond, Mr. Alex
Sanders, Mr. Adrian
Scott, Mr. Lee
Selous, Andrew
Shapps, Grant
Shepherd, Mr. Richard
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, Mr. Keith
Smith, Sir Robert
Spelman, Mrs. Caroline
Spink, Bob
Stanley, rh Sir John
Steen, Mr. Anthony
Streeter, Mr. Gary
Stuart, Mr. Graham
Stunell, Andrew
Swayne, Mr. Desmond
Swinson, Jo
Swire, Mr. Hugo
Syms, Mr. Robert
Taylor, Matthew
Taylor, Dr. Richard
Teather, Sarah
Tredinnick, David
Turner, Mr. Andrew
Vaizey, Mr. Edward
Vara, Mr. Shailesh
Villiers, Mrs. Theresa
Wallace, Mr. Ben
Waterson, Mr. Nigel
Watkinson, Angela
Whittingdale, Mr. John
Widdecombe, rh Miss Ann
Wiggin, Bill
Williams, Hywel
Williams, Mr. Roger
Williams, Stephen
Willis, Mr. Phil
Willott, Jenny
Wilshire, Mr. David
Wilson, Mr. Rob
Winterton, Ann
Wright, Jeremy

Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. John Randall and
Michael Fabricant


Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, rh Mr. Bob
Alexander, rh Mr. Douglas
Allen, Mr. Graham
Anderson, Mr. David
Anderson, Janet
Armstrong, rh Hilary
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, Mr. Ian
Austin, John
Bailey, Mr. Adrian
Baird, Vera
Balls, Ed
Banks, Gordon
Barlow, Ms Celia
Barron, rh Mr. Kevin
Begg, Miss Anne
Bell, Sir Stuart
Betts, Mr. Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blackman-Woods, Dr. Roberta
Blears, rh Hazel
Blizzard, Mr. Bob
Borrow, Mr. David S.
Bradshaw, Mr. Ben
Brennan, Kevin
Brown, Lyn
Brown, rh Mr. Nicholas
Brown, Mr. Russell
Browne, rh Mr. Des
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burgon, Colin
Burnham, Andy
Butler, Ms Dawn
Byers, rh Mr. Stephen
Cairns, David
Campbell, Mr. Alan
Campbell, Mr. Ronnie
Caton, Mr. Martin
Cawsey, Mr. Ian
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben
Chaytor, Mr. David
Clark, Ms Katy
Clark, Paul
Clarke, rh Mr. Tom
Clelland, Mr. David
Coffey, Ann
Cohen, Harry
Connarty, Michael
Cooper, Rosie
Cooper, Yvette
Corbyn, Jeremy
Cousins, Jim
Creagh, Mary
Cruddas, Jon
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Mr. Jim
Cunningham, Tony
Darling, rh Mr. Alistair
David, Mr. Wayne
Dean, Mrs. Janet
Devine, Mr. Jim
Dhanda, Mr. Parmjit
Dismore, Mr. Andrew
Dodds, Mr. Nigel
Doran, Mr. Frank
Dowd, Jim
Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth
Eagle, Angela
Eagle, Maria
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs. Louise
Ennis, Jeff
Etherington, Bill
Farrelly, Paul
Field, rh Mr. Frank
Fisher, Mark
Flello, Mr. Robert
Foster, Mr. Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings and Rye)
Gapes, Mike
Gerrard, Mr. Neil
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Gilroy, Linda
Godsiff, Mr. Roger
Goggins, Paul
Goodman, Helen
Griffith, Nia
Griffiths, Nigel
Gwynne, Andrew
Hall, Mr. Mike
Hall, Patrick
Hamilton, Mr. David
Hamilton, Mr. Fabian
Harris, Mr. Tom
Havard, Mr. Dai
Healey, John
Henderson, Mr. Doug
Hendrick, Mr. Mark
Hepburn, Mr. Stephen
Heppell, Mr. John
Hesford, Stephen
Heyes, David
Hill, rh Keith
Hillier, Meg
Hodge, rh Margaret
Hodgson, Mrs. Sharon
Hoon, rh Mr. Geoffrey
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, rh Mr. George
Hoyle, Mr. Lindsay
Hughes, rh Beverley
Humble, Mrs. Joan
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Illsley, Mr. Eric
Ingram, rh Mr. Adam
Irranca-Davies, Huw
Jackson, Glenda
James, Mrs. Siân C.
Jenkins, Mr. Brian
Johnson, rh Alan
Johnson, Ms Diana R.
Jones, Helen
Jones, Lynne
Jones, Mr. Martyn
Joyce, Mr. Eric
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keeley, Barbara
Keen, Alan
Keen, Ann
Kemp, Mr. Fraser
Kennedy, rh Jane
Khan, Mr. Sadiq
Kidney, Mr. David
Kilfoyle, Mr. Peter
Knight, Jim
Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Lammy, Mr. David
Laxton, Mr. Bob
Lazarowicz, Mark
Lepper, David
Lewis, Mr. Ivan
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony
Love, Mr. Andrew
MacDougall, Mr. John
Mackinlay, Andrew
Mactaggart, Fiona
Mallaber, Judy
Mann, John
Marris, Rob
Marsden, Mr. Gordon
Marshall, Mr. David
Marshall-Andrews, Mr. Robert
Martlew, Mr. Eric
McAvoy, rh Mr. Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McCarthy, Kerry
McCarthy-Fry, Sarah
McDonagh, Siobhain
McFadden, Mr. Pat
McFall, rh Mr. John
McGovern, Mr. Jim
McGuire, Mrs. Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKenna, Rosemary
McNulty, Mr. Tony
Meacher, rh Mr. Michael
Meale, Mr. Alan
Michael, rh Alun
Miliband, Edward
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Mr. Austin
Moffat, Anne
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moon, Mrs. Madeleine
Moran, Margaret
Morden, Jessica
Morley, Mr. Elliot
Mountford, Kali
Mudie, Mr. George
Mullin, Mr. Chris
Munn, Meg
Murphy, Mr. Denis
Murphy, Mr. Jim
Murphy, rh Mr. Paul
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
Norris, Dan
O'Brien, Mr. Mike
O'Hara, Mr. Edward
Olner, Mr. Bill
Osborne, Sandra
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Pearson, Ian
Plaskitt, Mr. James
Pope, Mr. Greg
Prentice, Bridget
Prentice, Mr. Gordon
Primarolo, rh Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Mr. Ken
Purnell, James
Raynsford, rh Mr. Nick
Reed, Mr. Andy
Reed, Mr. Jamie
Reid, rh John
Riordan, Mrs. Linda
Robertson, John
Robinson, Mrs. Iris
Robinson, Mr. Peter
Rooney, Mr. Terry
Roy, Mr. Frank
Ruane, Chris
Ryan, Joan
Salter, Martin
Seabeck, Alison
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Mr. Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Short, rh Clare
Simon, Mr. Siôn
Simpson, Alan
Skinner, Mr. Dennis
Slaughter, Mr. Andrew
Smith, rh Mr. Andrew
Smith, Ms Angela C. (Sheffield, Hillsborough)
Smith, Angela E. (Basildon)
Smith, Geraldine
Smith, rh Jacqui
Smith, John
Snelgrove, Anne
Soulsby, Sir Peter
Southworth, Helen
Spellar, rh Mr. John
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Stewart, Ian
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Tami, Mark
Taylor, Ms Dari
Taylor, David
Thornberry, Emily
Timms, Mr. Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mr. Mark
Touhig, Mr. Don
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Mr. Paul
Turner, Dr. Desmond
Turner, Mr. Neil
Twigg, Derek
Ussher, Kitty
Vis, Dr. Rudi
Walley, Joan
Waltho, Lynda
Wareing, Mr. Robert N.
Watson, Mr. Tom
Watts, Mr. Dave
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, rh Mr. Alan
Wilson, Sammy
Winnick, Mr. David
Winterton, Ms Rosie
Wood, Mike
Woolas, Mr. Phil
Wright, Mr. Anthony
Wright, David
Wright, Mr. Iain
Wright, Dr. Tony
Wyatt, Derek

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. Vernon Coaker and
Claire Ward

Question accordingly negatived.

14 Nov 2005 : Column 771

14 Nov 2005 : Column 772

Clause 23

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