Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Deregulation Ninth Report

Letter from Business in Sport and Leisure Limited

Business In Sport and Leisure (BISL) is an umbrella organisation that represents nearly 100 private sector companies in the sport and leisure industry. Its members include most of the major operators of commercial leisure in the UK and many consultants who specialise in this field. Many of its members operate nightclubs, casinos, other premises with a Special Hours Certificate and Restaurants with an Extended Hours Order. Members of BISL who are listed on the London Stock Exchange have a combined market capitalisation in excess of £45 billion. A full list of our members is given at Annex A.

Business In Sport and Leisure has throughout its existence been behind a change in the Sunday Observance Act 1780. It was at our Annual Conference in November 1994 that Michael Forsyth, then the Minster in the Home Office promised "Dancing in the Streets".

BISL believes that the current law is an unjustified restraint on business and should be changed. We believe this in the light of all other changes made to the law relating to Sundays, particularly with permission given for shopping, paying to watch football and other sporting events, allowing cinemas to open and permitting horse racing on Sundays and cash betting. This change in the law would not only benefit our members who operate facilities affected by the current law, but also benefit tourists to this country who find it very difficult to understand why they cannot buy a drink on Sundays after 10.30 p.m. The change in the law would also be of great benefit to the organisers of charitable events on Sundays and to organisers of many more local dances and events.

This year New Year's Eve falls on a Sunday. It is particularly important that the law is changed before this date.

Please find attached a copy of the evidence we submitted to the Home Office in response to their consultation document. BISL would be very happy to give further oral evidence to the Committee if this is considered desirable.[printed]

I look forward to hearing from you.

Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive

2 February 2000

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