LETTERS TO THE CHAIRMAN FROM MEMBERS OF THE
PUBLIC WRITTEN SINCE THE PUBLICATION OF THE COMMITTEE'S 9TH REPORT
Mrs J Blake, Huddersfield
I'm most concerned for the British public as much
as for myself about the plans to deregulate Sunday licensing laws.
Sunday is the Lord's day and on Sundays, Christians
(rightly or wrongly) remember the Lord's resurrection. (It might
be wrong according to Scripture). Wrongly or rightly, it's a matter
of fact that the Lord Jesus rose from the dead on a Sunday, and
it was to give new life to all who believe in Him, not so people
could drink themselves silly. (The best spirit is the Holy Spiritif
someone is determined to get drunk, this is the best spirit to
be filled with). (Just believe in Jesus).
If people want to drink, let them do so at home,
in private, where they can drink as much as they like (people
who are determined to act like fish), without making public spectacles
of themselves (unless it be to their spousesthose amongst
them who have a spouse).
Are there drinkers of alcohol in the present government?
5 September 2000
Julia G Cooke, Bedford
I am very concerned about the Bill that is going
through Parliament at the present time as regards the amendment
of the Sunday Observance Act 1780 and the Licensing Act 1964.
I am interested in the protection both of the nature
of Sunday as a special day and of local residents, and I was very
heartened to know of the stand that you and the Select Committee
have made against the determination of the Government to press
ahead with the deregulation of Sunday licensing laws.
I do hope you will continue to make a stand and even
harden your position to protect Sunday.
I enclose a copy of a letter I wrote earlier this
year to the Home Office expressing my concern. [Not Printed]
7 September 2000
Richard Coxon, Horsham
I am very pleased about the stand you are taking
against the Government's proposal to amend the Sunday Observance
Act 1780 and the Licensing Act 1964 to allow dance premises to
charge for admission on Sundays and sell alcohol after 10.30 pm
on Sunday nights. I know that living in a built-area as I do with
a pub and youth club nearby would make the neighbourhood a lot
unsafer, with drunken louts about till late into the night.
I do believe also of course that the wider issue
of Sunday as a day of rest is involved here. I pray therefore
that Almighty God will strengthen your hands and those of the
Lords Select Committee as you continue to do battle in the days
22 September 2000
Mr and Mrs W. T. Docherty, Worthing
We are sure you are as concerned as we are, over
the plan for Delegated Powers and Deregulation of the Sunday Observance
Act of 1780, and the Licensing Act of 1964.
It is our conviction that Sunday is a special day,
and that even if New Year's Eve is on a Sunday this year, we have
more than enough ways of obtaining alcohol as it is.
Our prayers will be with you, and the members of
the Select Committee over this.
1 September 2000
Mark and Debra Dunstan-Sewell, Bristol
We are writing to express our concern about the Government's
desire to amend the Sunday Observance Act 1780 and the Licensing
Act 1964 to allow dance premises to charge for admission on Sundays
and to sell alcohol after 10.30 pm on Sunday nights. Considering
that New Year's Eve falls on a Sunday this year, our concern is
that the Government will make an attempt at deregulation, to allow
the practices outlawed by the above acts. However we would like
to urge you to use your powers to prevent any deregulation and
to protect the nature of Sunday as a special day, thus also protecting
local residents from the nuisance of local pubs and night-clubs
for one day a week.
14 September 2000
Janet and Ed Frost, Woodbridge
As Christians, we have always been keen to keep Sunday
(our Sabbath) special as the Lord God requires. In the light of
the Government's determination to press ahead with "deregulation"
of Sunday licensing laws, we are looking to your Committee to
stand firm to protect Sunday as a special day, and for the sake
of local residents.
Originally these Acts, and others, were made for
the good of society, and any attempt to erode them just means
"Christ or Chaos"
3 September 2000
Norman and Norma Green, Lutterworth
We understand that the Government is promoting changes
to the above legislation which the Select Committee on Delegated
Powers and Deregulation, which your Lordship chairs, is currently
We are concerned at the erosion of the character
of Sunday as a day of rest, quiet recreation and worship and would
want it to be protected, both for the benefit of the nation as
a whole but especially of residents who live near to licensed
premises whose lives will be affected by loosening of the licensing
We would urge you strongly to resist further deregulation
in this area.
24 October 2000
John B. Harker, Bath
Considering the Christian roots of much of our British
civilisation I would ask you as Chairman of the Lords Select Committee
on Delegated Powers and Deregulation that you will very kindly
stand firm and steadfast in protecting Sunday as a special day,
including the keeping of Sunday licensing laws.
5 September 2000
Anthony J. M. Horne, Stonehaven
I wish to express my congratulations to you and your
Committee in its defeat earlier this year of the Government's
attempt to further deregulate Sunday observance. As a Christian,
I welcome your resistance to the onslaught against one of our
country's finest institutions and I urge you to stand fast in
the face of future attempts to foist new legislation upon us.
Ministers, such as Mr Mike O'Brien MP, who has said
that the ban on Sunday dancing is antiquated and should have gone
years ago, should be reminded that One greater than he gave the
commandment: "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy."
7 September 2000
D. Leeming, Nelson
I write to express my concern with regard to the
proposals to deregulate the Sunday Licensing Laws.
Sunday has always been a day of rest in our nation
and has been regarded as a special day. If the matter were to
proceed it would mean further encroachment upon the Christian
Sabbath and lead to a further breakdown in home and family life.
As a former Sunday School teacher I deplore the lack of Christian
ideals in the lives of young people today and if this matter were
to proceed it would increase this.
5 September 2000
the Reverend D.M.B. Mathers M.A., Bury St Edmunds
Please forgive my troubling you, but in your capacity
as Chairman of the Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Deregulation
would you please allow me to express my gravest concern at the
proposals to deregulate Sunday licensing laws. I believe it is
so very important for Sunday to remain a special day in our land,
a day of peace and quiet when those who live near public halls
should be spared the noise and inconvenience associated with dancing
and the sale of alcohol. I very much hope that the Sunday Observance
Act of 1780 and the Licensing Act of 1964 will not be amended
as is currently proposed.
7 September 2000
Mrs Elizabeth J Matthews, Ballymena
It is with grave concern for our nation that I view
the Government's intention to deregulate Sunday licensing laws.
I fear the Sovereign Lord God's wrath when we ignore
His commands regarding the keeping of His Day.
Local residents must be considered. May I ask you
to use your influence in this matter?
8 September 2000
Mr J.H. Morris, Birkenhead
I am writing with regard to the recent proposal to
amend the Sunday Observance Act. I know that you are the chairman
of the select committee on this and I wish to record my interest
in the protection of both the nature of Sunday as a special day
and, in this case of the local residents in regard to the relaxation
of laws in dance premises.
I am sure that the revellers can find enough time
in six days to enjoy themselves in this way and I ask that you
will bear my request in mind.
25 September 2000
James Pepler, Wantage
I would like to express a concern and interest in
the protection both of the nature of Sunday as a special day and
of local residents being able to have a day of rest.
It seems the Government is determined to press ahead
with deregulation of Sunday licensing laws.
We feel it is wrong to further desecrate the Lord's
Day, and hope the Churches will try to make a stand to support
18 September 2000
Miss M. R. Stonelake, Hailsham
I am writing to add my earnest plea that the peace
and sanctity of Sunday should not be any further eroded. I understand
that Her Majesty's Government is determined to deregulate the
Sunday licensing laws completely, so that there will be no restriction
on the opening of places of entertainment and the sale of alcohol.
The fact that next New Year's Day falls on a Sunday has been cited
as a compelling reason for this, the theory being that people
would be deprived from celebrating adequately.
I fear that, as a country and people, diverse as
we may be, we are in grave danger of bringing down on ourselves
the displeasure of a holy God, who has decreed that one day in
seven should be observed as a day of rest and worship. Excuses
for flouting His law - one of the Ten Commandments - are lame,
to say the least, and really pure defiance. Those of us who adhere
to the Christian religion are extremely concerned that our God
requires obedience, or we suffer His just anger. No credible religion,
or sensible way of life, allows total disregard of the rules,
which are formulated for the general welfare of its people, and
for the smooth running of the community. So, to allow unrestrained
indulgence of personal pleasure, with no regard to the interest
of others, seems against all the tenets of a civilised society.
I ask you, therefore, please, to consider all
the anxieties of those whom you represent in Parliament, however
unpopular they may seem to the (supposed) majority, and do what
you can to stem this slippage of what protection we may have left
from the law of the land. I enclose a letter [Not Printed]
which I wrote on the subject to Mr Mike O'Brien, which seems to
have had little effect. Both letters are sent with the prayers
of my church, family, and friends, as well as my own.
1 September 2000
Mrs Jean Unwin, Sheffield
I sincerely trust that you and your committee members
will be able to protect both the nature of Sunday as a special
day and the comfort of local residents.
The government's determination to press ahead with
'deregulation' of the Sunday licensing laws is foolhardy in my
4 September 2000
Winifred M. Woodburn, Halton
My attention has been drawn to the fact that the
Select Committee have recently concluded that Local Authorities
should be able to "opt-in" to have the power to license
premises for Sunday dancing and the sale of liquor.
I did write to Mr Mike O'Brien MP at the Home Office
in March of this year about the reform of liquor and public entertainment
laws, which was apparently passed on to the liquor licensing section
of the Home Office. This was of course after the leaked draft
of the proposed White Paper on liquor licensing.
Now, apparently the ban on dancing is antiquated
and as the New Year's Eve falls on Sunday, liquor and dancing
should be allowed. I write with heartfelt anxiety for the protection
of the nature of Sunday as a special Day and for the peace of
local residents. In the light of the Government's determination
to press ahead with the deregulation of Sunday licensing, I, and
many others in our country who are saddened by the trend, will
be more than grateful for your kind support against these proposals.
4 September 2000
the British Entertainment and Discotheque Association
I am writing further to the Delegated Powers and
Deregulation Committee's Report into the Deregulation (Sunday
Dancing and Licensing) Order 2000, published last month.
While BEDA is pleased that you chose not to reject
the Government's proposals outright, we are concerned that the
Committee's requirement that each local authority should have
to opt-in to these proposals could either delay or even prevent
reform. It remains our view that the proposals contain a number
of safeguards against noise and disturbances that also distinguish
Sundays from other days. Indeed as you noted in your report, some,
such as the Federation of Licensed Victuallers, have suggested
that the safeguards already proposed are too draconian.
We were also somewhat disappointed that the Commmittee
chose not to take oral evidence from any of the supporters of
reform. We believe our experience as operators in the late night
industry would have given a useful perspective on the issue of
necessary protection. BEDA understands that you are aware of our
position from the written evidence that we submitted and we are
grateful that you took time to consider those views. However,
we believe that in the interests of fairness, balance and thoroughness
we should have been given an opportunity to have our case heard.
This is particularly disappointing given that this is the second
time a Deregulation Order has been put forward to reform the laws
restricting Sunday dancing and on neither occasion have any parties
calling for reform been heard.
We have, of course, written to the Home Office and
Cabinet Office outlining these concerns.
Despite these reservations we remain hopeful that
the Home Office will come forward with proposals that Parliament
will accept. As ever, we remain keen to offer any help or advice
to you and your Committee may need if and when you reconsider
the Government's proposals.
6 April 2000
the Clerk to BEDA
Lord Alexander of Weedon has asked me to reply to
your letter of 6 April. As you said in your letter, the Committee
agreed not to reject the Government's proposals outright but,
in order to ensure the maintenance of necessary protection for
residents, agreed to the proposal only if it were amended so that
each local authority had the freedom to opt in to these proposals.
It is difficult to see how this constructive solution could "either
delay or even prevent reform", but if the Government were
to support you in that view they would, of course, be able to
drop this deregulation proposal altogether.
As I have explained in previous correspondence, and
as the Committee sought to make clear in its report, the Committee
did not consider it necessary to hear oral evidence from industry
representatives partly because it was concerned with solely with
the issue of necessary protection and partly because the views
of the industry were very fully represented by the Home Office,
as the transcript of the oral evidence session (part of which
BEDA attended in the audience) shows. There is the further consideration
that BEDA, and 61 individual members of BEDA, submitted very helpful
written evidence. Had any part of that evidence been unclear -
which was not the case - then the Committee might have thought
it necessary to hear oral evidence within the limited timetable
Finally, you refer in your letter to the next stage
of the parliamentary process. Both this Government and its predecessor
have always implemented the Committee's recommendations for the
amendment of draft Deregulation proposals, so what the Committee
itself refers to as "second-stage scrutiny" is always
straightforward. But in the unprecedented event of the Government
choosing not to follow the Committee's recommendation on this
proposal I am sure that the Committee would be happy to hear from
10 April 2000