London Local Authorities Bill [HL]
Tuesday 18 February 2003
280. MR LEWIS: That is right. What happened, once
they all moved to the Royal Parks the Government promoted their
own legislation, and there was the Parks Police Act a couple of
years ago which effectively copied the Westminster provision.
281. CHAIRMAN: They would extend this power from
Westminster to all the other boroughs, including Lambeth, across
the other side of Westminster Bridge where you see them to this
282. MR LEWIS: Yes. There is a particular problem
around the London Eye, I believe. I am not sure, but I think there
may be difficulties because I think it is unclear whether the
London Local Authorities Act actually extends to that particular
area. To do so you have to actually be on the highway within six
283. MR BLACKWELL: I think there are two problems
in Lambeth. First, they already have the power to seize in Lambeth
under the London Local Authority Act 1990. One problem (it needs
to be in the street) is with the areas where they are not in the
streets. Secondly, they have problems with regard to enforcement
and do not have enough officers. Westminster have been working
closely to try and assist with this eyesore from across the river.
I do not think the legislation will solve the problem.
284. CHAIRMAN: What about the problem of other street
vendors who sell watches and perfume in Oxford Street?
285. MR LEWIS: The same applies. The City of Westminster
Act 1999 is successful. We enforce throughout the City, particularly
in Oxford Street where it has had some success. These powers are
available under the 1990 Act to other boroughs. What it is doing
is giving further powers to assist those enforcement officers,
but not to the extent that it will disappear overnight. It makes
286. For example, in the 1999 Act we have the power
to seize items which are not displayed. In Oxford Street what
they often do is hide their stock underneath some A-boards, some
advertisement boards, in the entrances to the tube station. We
now have powers to seize those goods as well as those on display.
These provisions which we are seeking to amend the street trading
provisions outside Westminster will give the London boroughs that
power as well.
287. CHAIRMAN: That seems a good clause.
288. MR LEWIS: I should also mention another amendment
of this clause. If you look on page 15 of the Bill in subsection
2, you will see that we are also attempting to amend the City
of Westminster Act 1999 itself. I can confirm that similar amendments
are being carried forward to the other boroughs too. These amendments
are intended to also regulate further ticket touts. Whilst it
is currently an offence to sell items on the street without a
street trading licence, it is not an offence to buy items on the
street; and obviously ticket touts buy as well as sell their goods.
289. We have spotted quite late on, and discussed
with Mr Saunders, a slight error in the Filled Bill. We prepared
a further amendment which we will be asking you to make which
just clarifies a particular nonsense which at the moment exists
in the Filled Bill as it stands. In that we inadvertently struck
out the words "for gain or reward" in subsection (2)
of section 22. If that was the case your normal punter who is
trying to buy a ticket from a ticket tout would actually be in
the bizarre situation of having to require a street trading licence
first before he did so. Councils do not want to find themselves
receiving applications from people who want to see a concert simply
because they do not happen to have a street trading licence to
buy a ticket from a ticket tout. That is obviously not what was
intended. So we will be asking for a minor amendment to be made.
290. LORD ELTON: If I have understood 2(a)(a) right,
does that mean that if anybody from out of town comes into town
and is offered a ticket and buys it he is committing an offence?
291. MR LEWIS: Yes, as it stands, but that is the
problem. We do not want that to be the case. What we want the
offence to be if the person is buying a ticket in the course of
business or for gain or reward. You will often find coming out
of a tube station near a concert that there are ticket touts who
will buy or sell a ticket and obviously that is their business.
They certainly sell but they also buy. It is only those who are
buying a ticket in the course of their business who will be caught;
and not people coming from out of town and buying a ticket.
292. CHAIRMAN: Or selling. The private individual
who sells a ticket to a tout would also not be caught?
293. MR LEWIS: Correct, yes. Clause 23, licensing
powers of entry. This clause amends two of the existing licensing
regimes applicable in London, and provides uniformity across the
board for the powers of entry which are exercisable by the Council's
licensing officers. Subsection (1) deals with licensing and public
entertainment. Once again, the Licensing Bill currently before
your Lordship's House will, if enacted, repeal existing legislation
(which is the London Government Act 1963, Schedule 12) and replace
it with a new national licensing regime. However, once again,
the Promoters would wish to keep these provisions in the Bill
at present until the Licensing Bill has at least reached second
reading in the other place.
Subsection (2) makes an alteration to the powers
of entry in respect of special treatment premises. This includes
tattoo parlours and the like. That is not being dealt with by
the licensing law, one might add. As your Lordships can see, it
simply provides an additional power for Council officers to inspect
premises which are already licensed to ensure that the conditions
of the licence are being complied with. Those are important in
the case of tattoo parlours. Clause 24 ----
294. LORD ELTON: Could I ask a question to which
I ought to know the answer. Where can I find the text which is
altered by subsection (1) of Clause 23?
295. MR LEWIS: I can certainly provide your Lordship
with a copy of ----
296. LORD ELTON: I was slightly relying on seeing
that to understand what the effect of this was. I am not sure
that I fully gathered that from what you said. Subsection (2)
of Clause 23. What are the words that have gone, can you tell
297. MR LEWIS: I think I do have a copy of the 1963
298. MR BLACKWELL: My Lord, this is the amendment
that is aimed at allowing local authority enforcement officers
to inspect premises at times when they are not providing entertainment.
This is something which is thought to be useful to the management,
not just the local authority, so that we do not go in while the
premises are being used overtly, we can do it on a more friendly
basis when the premises are closed. We are not just checking numbers,
we are checking means of escape in case of fire, we are checking
fire extinguishers and things of that sort. It is really just
to allow officers to go in at any time to check that is convenient
to the management as opposed to when there is entertainment.
299. MR LEWIS: My Lords, I have just handed up what
might be slightly confusing because at the top it says "London
Local Authorities Act 2000". What you are looking at is what
is known as a Keeling Schedule at the back of the 2000 Act which
sets out Schedule 12 to the 1963 Act as it was amended by the
last London Local Authorities Act.