Memorandum by the National United Temperance
The members of this Council are grateful that the
Home Office consulted them about the proposed changes to the Law
on Sunday Observance relating to music and dancing, and to the
Law on Liquor Licensing on Sundays.
They have given careful consideration to the proposals
and make the following comments for report to the Deregulation
and Delegated Powers Scrutiny Committees.
Paragraph 4: It is envisaged that dances and discotheques
professionally organised with payment for admission would attract
the same kind of large assemblies of older teenagers and young
adults, as at present attend such functions on Friday and Saturday
nights. It is well known that the dispersal of such groups of
people causes rowdiness in City and Town Centres, and that violence,
crime and motor accidents are, not infrequently, the result.
It is bad enough for these conditions to exist in
the early hours of Saturday and Sunday when many citizens are
not facing a working day, but for them to be extended to Monday
mornings when the vast majority of people are wanting to rest
prior to a day at work, at college, or at school is unwarranted
The disadvantages would appear to outweigh any real
need, that such extra facilities for the entertainment industry
should be provided.
Consequently we would oppose the amendment to the
Sunday Observance Act 1780 now proposed.
Paragraph 5: When to these arguments there is added
the supply of alcohol on the premises where the dance or discotheque
is being held the problems are likely to be greatly increased.
Police Records will show that road accidents and street crimes
follow such events and are more prevalent when people involved
are under the influence of strong drink.
That such drink should become available until 12.30
am on Mondays, will do nothing to limit or reduce these occurrences
and put further strain on our already over-stretched emergency
services. Consequently we would oppose the amending of the Licensing
Act of 1964 as proposed in this paragraph.
Paragraphs 6 and 7: The excuse for extending the
Sunday licensing hours to places where dances and discotheques
are held is that they can now operate on Sundays, which was previously
prohibited by the Sunday Observance Act of 1780. In the case of
Registered Clubs and Casinos and Licenses Restaurants, however
there is no proposed change in their businesses, so there seems
to be no valid reason why any alteration should be made to their
current licensing hours.
In consequence we would want any amendment to the
Licensing Act of 1964 as it affects such premises to be resisted.
Paragraph 8: The fact that on previous occasions
special consideration has been given to the possibility of noise
and nuisance when changes have been made to the Sunday Observance
Act and the Licensing Acts is commendable. Nevertheless it has
to be said that there is not much evidence of item (a) having
been very effective.
"The special nature of Sunday", is no longer
discernible in the culture of the United Kingdom. The enticement
of high wages for teenagers to work as part time shop employees
on Sundays has removed many who would otherwise have been in Church
and at Bible-class from these activities. This has contributed
to the lack of Christian teaching and the consequent land-slide
in teenage morals."
It would be better if the Government were to try
and re-establish the "Special nature of Sunday", rather
than appealing to it to influence the now proposed legislation.
It is noted that special reference is made to residents
who may be disturbed by any rowdyism arising from the amendments
to the two Acts of Parliament under consideration. This is, of
course, of major importance, but it should be remembered that
the possible nuisance cannot be judged by such people alone. There
are other people with legitimate reason to be in Town and City
Centres late on Sunday nights or early on Monday mornings, and
for them to be molested or accosted is also an unpleasant experience.
Further, travellers on all-night transport do not find it conducive
to be on the same vehicles as others who are inebriated, but because
they are not resident in the locality of the offending premises
their opinions are never sought. It is for citizens such as these,
that this Council makes opposition.
Reverend Dr Ronald W Frost OBE, BD,
14 September 1999