Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Deregulation Ninth Report

Annex B Letter to the Home Office

Business In Sport and Leisure (BISL) is an umbrella organisation that represents nearly 100 private sector companies in the sport and leisure industry and many consultants who specialise in this field. All the operators of leisure facilities who are members of BISL have a liquor licence. Members of BISL who are listed on the London Stock Exchange have a combined market capitalisation in excess of £43 billion.

In summary, BISL is in favour of all the proposals put forward in this consultation paper. BISL has been a proponent of change to the Sunday Observance Act for the past 10 years. We believe that the Act is outdated both in years (nearly 220) and in its component parts and does not meet the needs of modern consumers. It is also out outmoded in the light of other changes made to trading laws for Sundays over the past 10 years. It is now possible to shop on Sundays and the Sunday Observance Act has already been changed to allow for the payment of tickets to watch sport on Sundays and to allow horse racing and betting on Sundays. A change to allow for the payment for 'dancing in the streets on Sundays' will benefit not only the leisure industry, but also many charities who are prevented from organising public charitable events on Sunday in return for payment for tickets. New Year's Eve will fall on a Sunday in the year 2000. It is inconceivable that the payment for dancing will not be allowed on this important day.

BISL believes that the proposal to permit extensions of hours for premises with a PEL on Sundays to 12.30 a.m. is sound, but would support the proposals by BEDA (The British Entertainment and Discotheque Association) for flexibility in permitting future changes to hours to be made without recourse to Parliament. Perhaps this can be considered during the current Home Office licensing law review.

BISL supports the complementary change to hours of opening for registered clubs and casinos. In the spirit of other changes to the Act, BISL is also in favour of the change which will permit restaurants to apply for an extension of hours for restaurants to 12.30 a.m. on Sundays.

Protection for residents and corporate responsibility by operators is essential to the success of later opening hours for nightclubs, restaurants, casinos or registered clubs on Sundays. BISL supports the proposals for late licenses on Sundays to be restricted locally on the grounds of disturbance caused or the unsuitability of the premises. Magistrates should be urged when making this restriction to give reasons for their refusal to grant a late licence.

BISL is happy for these proposals to be made public and would wish to have our views known to both Committees in the House of Lords and Commons who will consider the proposed Deregulation Order. Please let me know if there are any questions about this response.

28 September 1999

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