MINUTES OF EVIDENCE
taken before the
Tuesday 10 July 2007
Boyd of Duncansby, L
Brougham and Vaux, L
Harrison, L (Chairman)
Ordered that Counsel and Parties be called in.
699. CHAIRMAN: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I will not reintroduce myself or the Committee because I see all the same faces and personnel as last week. Thank you very much for returning to the Bournemouth and Manchester Borough Bills which we are discussing. We finished with Mr Campbell-Lloyd doing his summing-up speech.
700. I would be grateful if you would listen to me for a while. I am going to make some comments and suggestions, then I am going to have a ten minute recess for people to think about the implications of what I have said.
701. Perhaps I should reiterate the housekeeping points. If we go into the afternoon then there could well be voting, in which case I will need to stop the meeting for ten minutes whilst that is done. Gentlemen, please feel free to take off your jackets if you feel warm.
702. What I would like to remind colleagues is that of course the purpose of private Bill procedure is to give those of you who wish to the opportunity to respond especially and show directly how you may be affected by the Bills that are here before you. The Committee particularly wants to hear not only the practical effects but the practical process. We want to try and understand how you might be affected in this way. So if I could address this to Mr Campbell‑Lloyd but also to Mr McGerr when he comes to speak.
703. It would be very useful to the Committee if you could indeed concentrate on the practical effect of the Bill on your client; and also make clear, as you kindly did at the end of the last session, what amendments you might be seeking. If there are others other than striking out paragraph 5 I would find that very helpful. I would also remind you any undertakings you might like the Committee to put to the Promoters.
704. The Committee's terms of reference are the Bill and the Petitions. It does not have the power to re-examine Bills which have already passed into law. I think you understand that. I would remind colleagues that we are not experts in human rights. We do rely on the expert committee the House of Lords has and the Government's legal advisers, who have both pronounced on these Bills that they are clear there are no human rights implications of such an overriding nature that we should be concerned.
705. It is understandable you will want to remind the Committee of the human rights elements, but if I say to you that it is difficult for us to go much further than what is already presented to us from the experts.
706. Whilst the Committee cannot reach any decisions until the Promoters and Petitioners have finished their cases on the two Bills, it may be that we have some sympathy with the general points made by the Petitioners, and that is regarding amending the general law relating to pedlars, and this way individual local acts lead to uncertainty about the state of the law which can vary from town to town. That the local authorities who have promoted the various Bills and acts dealing with pedlars and street trading are trying to deal with a genuine problem, but amending the antiquated pedlar's legislation may not be the best way to deal with these issues. These factors point to the need, and this may be the view and thoughts of the Committee, for a review of the law on pedlars and street trading with a view to national legislation. You may recall that, right at the beginning of the meeting on July 3, I said that that may be a possibility.
707. I hope I have made myself clear. What I would like to do is now to ask you to retire for ten minutes and think about the import of what I have said, and think about what it is you want to present to the Committee today to help it in coming to a view on the narrow issues of these two Bills.
708. May we retire for ten minutes. Thank you very much.
After a short break
709. CHAIRMAN: Ladies and gentlemen, I am very grateful to you for indulging me and retiring for ten minutes just to think about what I have said. If there are no questions about that, then I would like to invite Mr Campbell-Lloyd to pick up from where he left off last week and complete his final address to the Committee.
710. MR CAMPBELL-LLOYD: Thank you, my Lord Chairman. I have condensed considerably and got it down to bullet points essentially. For the benefit of everybody I do actually have copies of the bullet points and, if it would be of assistance, I could have copies circulated. (Same handed)
711. My Lords, I am most grateful for the direction that you gave me last week and I seek your understanding and forgiveness for the naïve presentation and wish to add that the sole intent was to be absolutely thorough in scrutiny of the Bill and about its origins in former Bills and Acts beginning with Westminster in 1999.
712. The Petitioner seeks the preservation of law and the function of pedlars. He agrees with the Promoters that a problem has been identified in regard to street trading: namely, that the illicit street trading is undesirable and harms both licensed traders and genuine pedlars; but curtailing the effect of the Pedlars Acts does not extend the Purpose of the (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982.
713. From the evidence presented it is clear that the problems are to do with the scale of the illicit operations and the type of equipment, that is the trolleys used. We also heard that genuine pedlars who follow the rules and regulations did not feature in any evidence-gathering and that this is because they cause no real problems and are, in general, endorsed.
714. The Petitioner proposes the striking of clause 5 and in summary these are the reasons:
715. Clause 5 causes misnomer and anomaly: a misnomer because it does not differentiate a genuine pedlar from an illicit street trader; and anomaly because the Pedlars Act carries a liberal construction of the words "to other men's houses"; but this Bill and others carry a narrow and literal construction of the words "only by means of visits from house to house" which does not extend the purpose of the (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 but proscribes the activity of a pedlar going in the street.
716. Allowing clause 5 introduces the seizure and forfeiture of clause 6 with the reverse burden of proof falling on a pedlar going in the street, not in conflict with the liberal purpose of going "to other men's houses" but is against the literal construction of "only by means of visits from house to house".
717. The Bill in its application to genuine pedlars engages nine articles of the Human Rights Act; and the Promoters fail to justify interference with these fundamental and intrinsic rights. The Petitioner's human rights concerns were raised in a letter to Andrew Dismore, Chairman of the Joint Committee on Human Rights in May 2007 and I would like to refer to that letter if I may. It is exhibit 31.0 in the large bundle. My Lord, I would like to read this because it does condense the concerns about the human rights issues.
718. "I am the Petitioner against the Bournemouth Borough Council Bill in Select Committee Hearing 3 July 2007 and am concerned with Statement of Compatibility with Convention Rights under the Private Business Standing Orders.
719. "I have read Eighth Report 2003-4 re Medway Bill and Twenty-First Report 2005-6 re Leicester Liverpool & Maidstone Bills
720. "The Promoters will rely on a full assessment of the compatibility of the Bill with the European Convention on Human Rights and it appears that Articles 5, 6, 7, 8 and Part 2 First Protocol Article 1, have been the only Rights of the Convention to have been assessed so far.
721. "Your Committee is charged with a full assessment, and I understand your remit covers all human rights. I am therefore bound to draw your attention to this neglect in assessment of the Bill to engage Articles 10, 11, 14 and Protocol 4 Article 2.
722. "I note that the Committee ruled that it was for the appropriate committee in the Lords to consider the justification for limiting the rights of pedlars, and for that 'to be in the general interest', and further that it is for the Unopposed Bills Committee to decide whether the Promoters can establish their case of the Bill with regard to proportionality as a legitimate aim and, if justified, interference with a pedlar's rights.
723. "I am concerned and so draw your attention to the fact that the subsequent committee (Unopposed) was not presented with evidence that may be presented in Bournemouth and Manchester. The fundamental difference being that scrutiny of evidence and witnesses to date lacks input from bona fide pedlars, and I contend that this goes as far back as the Westminster City Act 1999. The forthcoming select committee hearing will for the first time since this spate of Private Bills began hear objection to the Bill from bona fide pedlars rather than only unlicensed street traders and licensed street traders - this will be wholly new ground producing new and unheard evidence.
724. "That precedent is the sole reliance to be relied upon in this Bill is of the utmost gravity for me as the Petitioner, therefore I seek the assistance of the Joint Committee on Human Rights to act in an appropriate manner".
725. Attached are his condensed notes and I wish to just go through these very quickly. In his Petition he was aware of the 2000 Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union which was updated to 2003 with a new numbering system. If we go through the Petition itself I can correct some of the numbering sequences in there to the updated format.
726. Under the Human Rights Act 5 this is the right to liberty and security, it is the same title in 2003 - 2000 was the European Charter. "The liberty granted under the 1982 Act is denied [that a pedlar can trade in the street] by alteration of the pedlar's exemption to that of a street trading regulation. The liberty granted under the 1881 Act [that a pedlar can trade throughout the UK] is denied by the idea of a local legislation creating an exemption to the general law. The security and safety granted under the 1871 Act [by way of a pedlar's certificate] is denied by the threat of seizure and forfeiture of possessions.
727. The Human Rights Act Article 6 refers to the right to a fair trial; and in 2000 there are two additional Articles 41 and 48 (41 being good administration and 48 being presumption of innocence and right of defence) which are now contained within the Human Rights Act 6 1998 and the European Charter of Human Rights 2003 Article 6, the same numbering. "Neither fair nor public hearing has been granted to a bona fide pedlar in select committee hearings. A pedlar has been labelled guilty of offences caused by unlicensed street traders but has never received good administration through involvement in a properly structured and independent consultation process. Evidence will require the closest scrutiny in considering justification for the Bill".
728. Under the Human Rights Act 7, which also contains in 2000 Article 20 no punishment without law and equality before the law, "The protections granted under 1871, 1881, 1982 Acts [by way of pedlar's bona fides - his pedlar's certificate] are denied by threat of seizure and forfeiture the moment a pedlar steps onto the street is suspect".
729. Article 8 the right to respect for private and family life, including human dignity from 2000 Article 1. "The way of life of a pedlar incorporates his domestic and public life without differentiation, his lifestyle by choice is one of being a pedlar and entitles him to form associations and exchanges with his culture without frontiers and the Bill seeks to remove his right to cultural identity and its respect granted under a pedlar's certificate".
730. Human Rights Act 10, freedom of expression; and Article 11 2000 included "and information". "A pedlar's right to receive and impart information and ideas with the public regardless of frontiers is denied through interference by public authority - his is an oral tradition".
731. The Human Rights Act 11 - freedom of assembly and association - the same throughout each of the previous Charters. "A pedlar's right to free association with others as a cultural tradition regardless of frontiers is denied through interference by public authority. Such association with the public enable meetings, discussions, enquiries, orders, sales, demonstrations and directions to be exchanged and constitute social, spiritual and economic benefit".
732. Article 14 - prohibition of discrimination, and this includes in Article 22 of the 2000 Charter "cultural, religious and linguistic diversity". "A pedlar has a lawful legislated status ....but.... the Promoters have failed to differentiate between bona fide pedlars and unlicensed street traders resulting in direct discrimination against innocent pedlars whose cultural diversity and trade are distinctly different from that of unlicensed street traders and licensed street traders. This discrimination is sought by local legislation (the Bill) that opposes national Statutes in Force. That the Bill makes a pedlar able to trade in the street only by applying for a street trading licence is unnecessary and unsafe.
733. The Human Rights Act Part 2, first protocol 1, the protection of property, includes in 2003 freedom of movement; in 2000 freedom to choose an occupation and right to engage in work; freedom to conduct a business; access to services of general economic interest; and freedom of movement and of residence. "The rights of a pedlar have economic value, are conferred by law [Pedlars Act 1871, Pedlars Act 1881 and Local Authority (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982], and are therefore regarded as property. The peaceful enjoyment of a bona fide pedlar's rights will be affected by the Bill. The Promoters have identified problems caused by unlicensed street traders but the case against bona fide pedlars has not been proved; neither has the interference sought by the Bill been justified; nor is such interference in the public interest. This is no pressing social need to remove bona fide pedlars from the streets - the need is to remove unlicensed street traders which, to my knowledge, is done and frequently accomplished by existing law - whether the penalties required to achieve further and greater compliance with existing legislation need be better strengthened and within one Act, is surely a clear way forward and a more propitious use of time. This plethora of individual 'private' and confusing Bills do not add to good effect but go to create confusion and potential dangers".
734. That, my Lords, is what I wish to add on the issue of human rights and I will move back, if I may, to the remainder of my presentation.
735. The Bill disregards Government policy which has stated "is against ad hoc changes brought about through local legislation".
736. The evidence against genuine pedlars is weak and anecdotal and is without proof.
737. There is no convincing argument that makes the case for additional regulation - existing legislation simply needs proper enforcement.
738. Clause 5 alters the definition of a pedlar and does not add to the definition. It does not extend the purpose of the 1982 Act with its exemption of pedlars from street trading regulation, but in effect extends the remit of council into the private domain of "house to house", where at present there is no purpose to street trading regulation.
739. The Bill is anomalous to elsewhere in England where the same activity of trading in the street is exempt and is not perceived as a crime.
740. There is, and I quote, "undoubtedly a powerful and organised lobby to repeal the Pedlars Acts" and those genuine pedlars most directly affected by this, until today, have neither been considered nor heard in a formal and consultative process.
741. Those affected by this Bill are greater in number than a few pedlars. The liberty to obtain a Pedlar's Certificate extends to all citizens above 17 years of age, and that represents four-fifths of our nation. The fact that a few may choose to be pedlars is not to go against many who are allowed by law to heed the call.
742. My Lords and Lady, for these reasons your Petitioner considers the striking of clause 5 is the only solution and, as a concession towards an undertaking, there is also an opportunity in the general interest to modify the Bill and deal a single blow against the identified problem of "illicit" street traders.
743. The Petitioner hesitates to promote the modification with an exact and precise draft but can suggest the gist of it: that clause 5 remains, and in place of the particular words which have drawn us here today there be inserted the words "with goods carried on the person as a pedestrian".
744. Clause 5 of the Bill would read under the title "Pedlars": "In their application to the borough, the provisions of Schedule 4 to the 1982 Act shall apply as if in paragraph 1(2)(a) of that schedule there were inserted, after the reference to the Pedlars Act 1871, the words "with goods carried on the person as a pedestrian".
745. My Lords and Lady, this is how the modification is justified: the misnomer and anomaly are removed (the misnomer that a pedlar be re-defined as a door-to-door salesman; the anomaly of either a liberal or a literal interpretation); the reverse burden is no longer insurmountable (a pedestrian carrying goods is an matter of fact); human rights are protected; it is not in conflict with Government policy; it clarifies the original Statute; it is simple to enforce; the Bill preserves freedom in the cultural life of a pedlar; the Bill maintains a policy of equality in the life of politics; the Bill maintains opportunity in the life of economy; and the Bill is in the general interest.
746. I commend this Petition to you, my Lords and my Lady, and beseech you that with it you consider also those Acts of a similar substance to this Bill as being able to bear similar amendment as here proposed.
747. I thank you on behalf of the Petitioner for allowing this Petition. As an addendum to that bundle, my Lords, I have attached the Filled Bill with the three pages where they would be affected. If I could just conclude by referring to the Filled Bill on the first page. I have inserted where I believe it is necessary to make this amendment as a simple exchange of words where it says, "It limits the exception to persons trading by house to house visits", there would be inserted, "It limits the exemption to [pedlars with goods carried on the person acting as a pedestrian]". Over the page where it refers, with prejudice I think, to the difference between a pedlar and a street trader, a matter of fact is that the fees for a pedlar's certificate is £12.25.
748. After the clause within the Bill entitled "Pedlars", as I have read before, instead of "if the trading is carried out only by means of visits from house to house", we insert "with goods carried on the person as a pedestrian".
749. My Lords, that concludes my presentation.
750. CHAIRMAN: Mr Campbell-Lloyd, I am most grateful for your presentation of the case and for concluding it succinctly. I now turn to Mr Clarkson who has a right of reply.
751. MR CLARKSON: My Lord, I think I know the answer, but I just feel I ought to take formal instructions on the proposed draft amendment. What I propose also if it helps the Committee is to address you once at the end of both Bills. I am in your hands as to exactly how you would like me to deal with it.
752. CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much indeed. I suggest we have a recess for five minutes and I will consult my colleagues as to whether they wish to hear your reply now or later.
After a short break
753. CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. Mr Clarkson?
754. MR CLARKSON: My Lords, if it helps, as I say I was going to address you in the main at the end and I can deal with that in due course quite shortly and succinctly. Would it help if I just spoke to the proposed amendment?
755. CHAIRMAN: Yes, it would.
756. MR CLARKSON: My Lords, that is not supported by the Promoters, not surprisingly perhaps, because at all stages it has been the Promoters' case to argue for the amendment to the 1982 Act as is in clause 5.
757. The reasons why it is not accepted are these: first, the general point that Mr Campbell-Lloyd is seeking to reverse amendments to existing legislation - that is just simply not possible, as the Committee I have no doubt is aware. So as a general point it would be sensible to have continuity in the legislation particularly to the nine or ten towns or cities, and the continuity would, it is submitted, require a form of words as is promoted in clause 5.
The second point
is that it does not address the problem which I can summarise as the "hot spot"
point; where, if there is a large crowd resulting, my Lords, if you have a
plethora of pedlars trading that still creates a problem of obstruction and
over-presence, so to speak. Also, it does not remove the problem that
we have identified in Bournemouth, and will identify in
758. My Lords, it is as simple as that and our respectful submission is that this should not be picked up by the Committee.
759. CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much, Mr Clarkson. I am very grateful that you have given us notice that your final summing up to the Petitioners' cases will be heard at the conclusion of the Manchester Bill. Can I thank Messrs Campbell-Lloyd for attending, thank you very much indeed. When you have had the opportunity to draw breath, Mr Clarkson, we will come to the second part, which is the Manchester City Council Bill.
The Petition of Mr David Murphy.
MR NICHOLAS McGERR, appeared as Agent.
760. CHAIRMAN: Mr Clarkson?
761. MR CLARKSON: Thank you, my Lord. I will not seek the Committee's leave to open the Manchester case and I call my witness straightaway and I hope that the Committee will take my opening remarks, certainly on the form of the Bill, for the Bournemouth Bill as translated across into the Manchester Bill.
762. CHAIRMAN: That is very helpful.
763. MR CLARKSON: I have before me Mr Andrew Scragg.
MR ANDREW SCRAGG, sworn
Examined by MR CLARKSON
764. MR CLARKSON: You are Andrew Scragg, correct?
(Mr Scragg) Yes, my name is Andrew Scragg.
765. What is your job?
(Mr Scragg) I am currently employed by Manchester City Council as a senior compliance officer, working within the Licensing Unit.
766. What does that mean day to day?
(Mr Scragg) I am responsible for seven enforcement staff who enforce the provisions of private hire, hackney carriage legislation and street trading.
767. I believe you are an environmental health officer as well?
(Mr Scragg) Yes, I qualified as an environmental health officer in 1988 and have been practising as one since.
768. What is the role of your team, so to speak, in respect of street trading?
(Mr Scragg) It is my team's responsibility on a daily
basis to patrol the streets of
769. Do you work with other agencies?
(Mr Scragg) We do on a regular basis. We work with Greater Manchester Police, we work with housing benefit, we work with trading standards and our colleagues in environmental health.
770. Let us turn to Manchester, and I have no doubt the Committee is more than familiar with Manchester, but give us a cameo please of the city relating to the issues for the Bill.
(Mr Scragg) Manchester City Council is a unitary
authority. It is regarded as the
regional capital of north-west
771. While we are going through this, I will perhaps circulate a bundle of appendices because there is a plan at the back of it, my Lords, which will just introduce it to you in plan form, the last document in the bundle. (Same handed). The city centre which you are referring to which was destroyed and has been rejuvenated is on this plan, is it not?
(Mr Scragg) It is, yes. If I could point the Committee to the square D2, Corporation Street, that was the location of the device in 1996, a large area of the city in that district.
772. Exchange Square, is it?
(Mr Scragg) It is very close to
773. Is there this year a Manchester International Festival?
(Mr Scragg) There is. As we speak, this festival is under way. It is about half-way through now, it started on 28 June and will conclude on 15 July.
774. What is that?
(Mr Scragg) It is a world-renowned festival of original and new work with some high-profile, large-scale new commissions and there are lots of leading artists in music, film, theatre and the visual arts. The idea is to hold this biannually.
775. How is this regeneration of the city presenting to the people who live there?
(Mr Scragg) It is making a real
difference to the quality of life of the residents of
776. Now, street trading - has the City Council adopted by resolution Schedule 4 to the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982?
(Mr Scragg) Yes, the City Council adopted the provisions of this piece of legislation in the late 1980s/early 1990s. They were using a local Act of Parliament previous to that.
777. If we look at the plan, we can see there prohibited streets and the licensed area. Would you describe that on the plan because the colours may just need picking out.
(Mr Scragg) Yes, the plan shows basically
the city centre of
778. So if we look, for example, at Exchange Square in D2, that is, is it, a prohibited street?
(Mr Scragg) It is.
779. Ditto at E3, Piccadilly Gardens?
(Mr Scragg) That is correct.
780. How has the process worked over time? Were they all done at once or was it one by one?
(Mr Scragg) No, it has been a gradual process. When the provisions of the Act were adopted in the late 1980s/early 1990s and the licensed area was created, all of the streets in Manchester were designated as consented and a number of streets were designated as prohibited, but as problems have arisen over the years, more streets have been prohibited for various reasons, so it has been a gradual process.
781. Is there consultation in respect of street trading licences and consents?
(Mr Scragg) There is, yes.
782. With whom?
(Mr Scragg) We consult with a number of partners. We consult with Greater Manchester Police, with the highways authority, with our colleagues in environmental health if a food stall is involved, with local members and councillors.
783. Are there conditions on a street trading authorisation?
(Mr Scragg) Yes, the legislation allows us to impose conditions on street trading licences and we do.
784. What sort of conditions?
(Mr Scragg) The conditions range from the position of the stall, the times it is allowed to open, the goods it is allowed to sell to the appearance of the stall.
(Mr Scragg) It also specifies fees, yes, as we also charge a fee.
786. What is the sort of range of fees?
787. And a street trading consent?
(Mr Scragg) For a consent, it is a fee of £355 per annum.
788. Are they reviewed?
(Mr Scragg) They have not been reviewed for some time. We are actually going through a process of looking at the fees now with a view obviously to increasing them rather than decreasing them.
789. What effect would the Bill have on fees?
(Mr Scragg) The process of looking at the fees is actually on hold at the moment pending the outcome of these matters here today by the Committee. The acquisition of the Bill could affect the level of the fees that are eventually set.
790. How so?
(Mr Scragg) We are looking at a number of options. One of the options that has been talked about is to impose a levy, a so-called 'pedlar's levy' on the city centre licences to pay for the enforcement of pedlars acting in the city centre.
791. A pedlar's certificate - we have heard in the Bournemouth case as to the procedure, that it is granted by the Chief Officer of Police and a fee is charged, subject to the qualification of 17 years of age, of good character and a resident. Correct?
(Mr Scragg) I understand that is correct.
792. You have produced in your bundle, I believe, photographs of the Greater Manchester Police pedlar's certificate which is at tab 1.
(Mr Scragg) I have, yes.
793. I hope you can see from that that there is another type of certificate which is different from those that are shown in the Bournemouth material and this requires a photograph, does it not?
(Mr Scragg) This particular one does, yes.
794. Is there consistency and equality of certificates that you have seen?
(Mr Scragg) No, they all have a slightly different look and different feel. Some of them, like this one from Greater Manchester, have a photograph affixed and others that we see do not, but just have a fairly brief description of the holder of the certificate on them.
795. Do you, as a local authority, have any control over the number of pedlars resorting?
(Mr Scragg) None whatsoever.
796. Is there an issue as to individuals providing services in central Manchester on the street?
(Mr Scragg) Yes, there are a number of individuals who are providing services and we are finding it very difficult to control the activities of these people.
797. Such as, what sorts of services?
(Mr Scragg) People washing windscreens at traffic lights, henna-tattooists, hair-braidists, face-painters, that sort of activity.
798. We will look at some photographs in a minute. Are they regulated?
(Mr Scragg) No.
799. Why has Manchester brought the legislation forward?
(Mr Scragg) Over recent years we have noticed a significant increase in the activities of the pedlars and non-authorised traders in the city centre to such a degree where we are getting numbers of up to 25 a day turning up and, as has been mentioned, we have no control over the number that do turn up. It has got to such levels now that it is sucking in quite a lot of resources from our point of view and it is a daily process to go out and to challenge people who are offering services or trading on the street to find out whether they are (a) pedlars or (b) not authorised in any way at all.
800. What is the consequence physically on the ground?
(Mr Scragg) The consequence is that the
pedlars tend to work in areas where there is the greatest footfall, areas like
801. What is the footfall in Market Street?
(Mr Scragg) I have some figures from the
week commencing 25 June, which was two weeks ago, and for the whole week the
802. So 368,000 in a week?
(Mr Scragg) Yes, 368,000 people during the week with a peak on a Saturday of 82,000, so Saturday was the busiest day, 30 June.
803. That was 30 June?
(Mr Scragg) Yes.
804. Let us look, can we, back at the plan and identify Market Street. It is D3, is it not?
(Mr Scragg) Yes.
805. It is a prohibited street?
(Mr Scragg) It is.
806. So thou shalt not street-trade there and no consents or licences will be granted. Correct?
(Mr Scragg) That is correct.
807. But somebody with a pedlar's certificate currently may peddle there. Is that right?
(Mr Scragg) That is correct.
808. We have just discussed with the Committee the issue of the amendment from the Bournemouth Petitioners. Did you hear that?
(Mr Scragg) I did.
809. Did you hear my response?
(Mr Scragg) I did.
810. What is your advice to the Committee as to the implications, say, on Market Street of unlimited pedlars howsoever operating when you have that sort of footfall?
(Mr Scragg) My view is that the
implications are exactly the same, that if you have that number of traders in
such a busy area, they are going to create problems with pedestrian movement
and they are going to create problems at various locations in Market Street
where we have what are described as 'pinchpoints'. If you look at the square D3 towards the
811. So when you say "bag", is that for carrying?
(Mr Scragg) Yes.
812. Do you have any idea of numbers of traders at these hotspots in Market Street that you can give to the Committee?
(Mr Scragg) In terms of pedlars?
(Mr Scragg) We regularly have up to 25
pedlars or traders working on
814. What sort of goods?
(Mr Scragg) A range of goods, sunglasses, henna tattoos, flashing lights, flashing dummies and similar sorts of toys, children's toys.
815. Do they move, any of them?
(Mr Scragg) My experience is that if we
leave them alone, they tend not to move, they tend to stay still. If my officers challenge them, they will
move, but only move in short spaces up and down
816. Let us look at some photographs please in appendix 2. Tell us please what we are looking at and at what location.
(Mr Scragg) The first photograph shows two of my enforcement officers speaking to two salesmen, two pedlars selling sunglasses.
(Mr Scragg) On
818. What authorisation did they have?
(Mr Scragg) They were in possession of pedlar's certificates.
819. The next one is where I can have my teeth whitened, is it not?
(Mr Scragg) That is correct, yes. Again this is
820. Over the page?
(Mr Scragg) Photograph 3, again this is
821. Over the page?
(Mr Scragg) This is another pedlar on
822. This is the last one and you can see that July last year was a little bit hotter. What is this gentleman selling?
(Mr Scragg) Again this is
823. The man on the right is applying the tattoo or is he receiving the tattoo?
(Mr Scragg) The man on the right is a pedlar and he holds a pedlar's certificate.
824. Is it only Market Street we are concerned about?
(Mr Scragg) It is not only
825. What is the problem?
(Mr Scragg) The problem is the sheer number of traders that turn up and some of them that place their goods on the ground which can cause obstruction problems.
826. If they do not place their goods on the ground, does that remove any obstruction problems of traders?
(Mr Scragg) No, because a lot of the traders turn up with units, as you have seen on previous photographs, units of a similar size and construction.
827. But if they are carrying goods around and have trade attracted to them and there is a heavy footfall from the Arena as it leaves, what effect does that have on the ease of movement of those leaving the Arena?
(Mr Scragg) It causes some difficulties because they tend to congregate in the areas where they know people will be passing through close to the Arena to sell their goods before people dissipate to car parks and coaches, so they tend to congregate very close to the Arena.
828. Taking that evidence through, whether it is right or wrong, for the other central areas of the city when there are events taking place, and you have identified some, when those take place what sort of problems arise? Are they similar to or different from what you have just identified for the Arena?
(Mr Scragg) We have similar sorts of problems in other areas. We have a Christmas lights switch-on in November every year centred outside the Town Hall in Albert Square and we get lots of traders turning up for that and that can cause some difficulties as well.
829. Manchester City Football Club is what, the Sport City Stadium now, is it?
(Mr Scragg) That is correct.
830. Where is that? Is that on the plan?
(Mr Scragg) It is just off to the right of the plan. It is about half a mile to the right of the plan.
831. Is that in a consented street?
(Mr Scragg) Yes, it is a consented area.
832. What is the issue there?
(Mr Scragg) Again we have Manchester City Football Club who play there throughout the football season and outside the football season we have a number of concerts. We just had two concerts at that venue in June, one for George Michael and one for Rod Stewart, and that obviously creates a lot of people going to the venue and attracts a lot of traders.
833. And the consequence of attracting a lot of traders, what is that?
(Mr Scragg) It is similar to the Arena again where there is lots of activity prior to the concert and it is afterwards when it causes the major problem where you have again got a lot of traders who are wanting to operate very close to the stadium which causes problems in people egressing. We also have lots of copyright issues in terms of the goods that are being sold.
834. We will come to that in a minute, but I want now to go to appendix 3 please and we can just take the Committee through the letters from interested parties in support of the Bill. We have one from the City Centre Management Company, and they say in the second paragraph, half-way down, "The retailers pay high property occupancy costs and all relevant taxes to operate their businesses. Often, they find their sales potential undermined by pedlars who have no property costs. Whether they pay taxes on their income is unknown to me. In addition, pedlars are causing an obstruction, particularly in Market Street, which is one of the busiest streets in the UK. This is not just a health and safety issue, it creates an image to the customer of a street which is too busy and cluttered and impacts adversely on footfall levels and therefore sales in legitimate retail businesses." Then they make the point in the last paragraph of that page about the quality of the merchandise. The next one is the Manchester Evening News Arena and in the second paragraph, it says, "The Arena suffers two forms of illegal merchandise. The first takes place normally before the show when pedlars set up on main access routes to sell non-event-specific items such as hats, glow-sticks, whistles and flashing lights, and they generally operate on family and teen events. Some claim that they are official or that items are not on sale within the venue. We have also on many occasions given medical treatment to people who have bought glow-sticks when the substance leaks or flashing lights which have shattered into patrons' skin or eyes due to the poor quality. The pedlars themselves often behave in a threatening and intimidating way to Arena staff, official merchandise staff, authorities and visiting public. The second form is the tour illegal merchandisers who follow shows selling unofficial, and without authorisation, posters, t-shirts, etc, of the band that is playing that evening. They generally arrive at the venue five minutes before the show is due to end, setting up impromptu stalls on the floor near fire exits and at the bottom of the large bank of steps and generally obstruct the egress routes which, as I am sure you are aware, is highly dangerous with capacities of up to 20,000 people leaving the venue in a very short space of time at the end of an event", et cetera. The same sort of thing is said, is it not, from the Events Unit following? Is there anything more you can bring out in that?
(Mr Scragg) No.
835. The same again for the Regulatory and Enforcement Services, 31 July 2006. Any new point there?
(Mr Scragg) No, nothing from that.
836. Building Control next.
(Mr Scragg) This is one that makes particular reference to obstructions at the Arena.
837. Yes, that is the second paragraph. The first says, "I refer to your enquiry regarding the illegal street traders that congregate outside the Arena at virtually every concert or event there now. These are not touts, although they are there as well, these people sell non-authorised merchandise. It is not just one or two selling t-shirts and posters. I have counted as many as 50 to 60 at times. They block the exits from the Arena in the Trinity Link Tunnel and on Trinity Way, Hunts Bank steps and the station concourse. This makes egress off the concourse onto Trinity Way very awkward and often causes logjams of people at the end of the show". Again, let us apply the concept of this amendment to pedlars carrying their wares as pedestrians. Would that make any difference to what goes on at the exit to the Arena?
(Mr Scragg) It is worth noting paragraph 5 in that response about the incident at the Green Day concert.
838. Would you read that out, please.
(Mr Scragg) "You may remember that I reported to the Safety Advisory Group, the serious incident that occurred at the Green Day concert when the crowd were exiting via the floor tunnel and had to turn back because the exit door was completely blocked by illegal merchandisers."
839. Would you read the next paragraph too, please.
(Mr Scragg) "The Greater Manchester Police and British Transport Police, stewards and arena staff all try to maintain the exits clear, but on a high profile concert this is a very difficult task when there are so many illegal traders."
840. The next letter is from the Trading Standards Service. It states: "Trading Standards has a responsibility to ensure that goods sold to the public are safe and legal." It goes on: "We also experience problems with pedlars selling counterfeit merchandise ..." Turning to the second paragraph: "The members of the public who buy from these traders tend to have no recourse when they discover that the goods they have bought are faulty as they are unable to trace the trader they bought it from or the trader just denies them their statutory rights." The next paragraph: "In an attempt to protect the public, Trading Standards have had to mount many operations, approximately 20 over the last year, in order to inspect the goods being sold ..." The letter continues: "It is often difficult for us to prosecute these traders as they will often either give false names and addresses or run away as soon as they are approached. In order for us to get the details we need we require the assistance of GMP which means taking some of their officers away from their normal duties. The presence of pedlars operating on the streets sends out the wrong message and encourages other opportunists to act in a similar way. Any measures introduced to control and reduce such activity has Trading Standards support." Carmine Grimshaw writes the last document in tab 3. She is, as she writes in the second paragraph, secretary and president of the Manchester Street Traders Association. "I was involved in many refurbishment schemes where legal street traders were forced to relocate from prime positions or lose their livelihoods altogether. Two of these were aimed specifically at Market Street, one before the Manchester bomb and one afterwards, under the heading 'City Centre Masterplan Phase III'. As a result of these schemes several traders were forced to move from Market Street on to less lucrative sites and others, who were not so fortunate, lost their livelihoods altogether. Details of this are recorded in the enclosed documents. I am particularly aggrieved that after many years fighting on behalf of legal street traders on Market Street, I counted twenty-five illegal traders, the week running up to Christmas on the same street. I have made enquiries and believe these traders are using 'Pedlars Licences' which I understand are issued by the police." The last paragraph reads: "I hope you can understand why I am particularly annoyed and upset by this after I had to watch legal, licensed traders lose their livelihoods only to see these illegal traders move on to their sites and treat Market Street as a 'free for all' to anyone with a shopping trolley, pram or old wheelbarrow." Perhaps we could turn next to the heading "Quality of goods sold" and summarise the points made there. Is the quality reliable?
(Mr Scragg) In my experience, no, it is not. We have had to refer a number of issues to our colleagues in Trading Standards where we have had concerns that the goods that are being sold are not of the quality that the public should expect.
841. Did you hear the Bournemouth evidence?
(Mr Scragg) I did, yes.
842. Are your experiences any different, in the main, from the evidence there?
(Mr Scragg) I would say the biggest difference is the sheer number of pedlars
that we get in
843. As to the quality of goods?
(Mr Scragg) On the quality of goods, there is a very similar sort of story.
844. We can shorten things to that extent. Let us look at appendix 4, where we see a photograph of people wearing Cadbury's caps. What do we have here?
(Mr Scragg) We have two females who were operating on pedlar's certificates on
845. Let us stay with that theme and turn over to the next appendix. I think the photographs show graphically the scam that is being worked: "Street team pulls in the punters for perfume seller." This is one of the older approaches to street trading, is it not? What is the trader operating under?
(Mr Scragg) My office did not approach these street traders. These photographs were taken by the local newspaper, the Manchester Evening News. As you can see from the caption on photograph 5 on the second page: "...the trader realises he's being watched". Once that happened, he quickly packed up and left the area before my officers could speak to him.
846. The writing at the bottom of the photographs explains how it works.
(Mr Scragg) It explains how the scam works. Basically they have come on to Market Street with various goods to sell - in this case it was perfume - and have used a colleague, who is posing as a member of the public, to induce sales: to show an interest in the goods and to make a purchase or appear to make a purchase and then she goes and stands around the corner. At this point, other people see that goods have been purchased and then make purchases of their own. She is involved with them.
847. Over the page, at appendix 6, is this the same operator or another one?
(Mr Scragg) This was a follow-up story to that article, where the Evening News had obtained information that perfume goods that had been found elsewhere in the country had been sampled and found to contain products that they should not have.
848. Let us leave the documents and go to explaining to the Committee what you are doing about it. What is the current situation? How is it going?
(Mr Scragg) Because of the increase in traders appearing in city centre, we had
to do something about it. Last summer we
decided to speak to our colleagues in the Greater Manchester Police, our
colleagues in CCTV, Trading Standards and street wardens. We put an operation together to deal
specifically with the traders that were coming on to
849. Are there alternatives, in the sense of markets that are available for street traders or people wanting to trade?
(Mr Scragg) Yes, there is a number of markets which the market section
operates. There is a market in the
Arndale Centre which faces
850. What is a temporary street trader licence?
(Mr Scragg) If a trader wishes to trade in the city centre, for instance, for a day or two days, we have the facility to allow for them to do that by issue of a licence for a pro rata fee.
851. Let us look at sanctions. We heard from Bournemouth of the cost and effect of prosecution. Would you give the Committee a cameo of the same sort of issues for Manchester.
(Mr Scragg) When dealing with illegal street activity, the only option available to us is to prosecute. In order to do that in terms of pedlars, we have to prove they are not peddling and they are street trading. This requires quite a lot of resources from our point of view. This requires us to monitor them for considerable periods of time. If we do proceed to a prosecution, there is nothing to stop the traders trading in the meantime, and our experience is that when we get these matters into court very nominal fines are imposed. Most pedlars regard it as a business cost. Fines in the region of £20 and £30 are not uncommon and we would charge £50 for a temporary street trading licence for a day. In those terms, a £20 or £30 fine seems very low.
852. Do the costs awarded meet the costs in legal terms and officer terms?
(Mr Scragg) Generally, no. The fines are usually on the low side and costs awarded are usually in the region of £50 to £100. It does not meet the costs of the prosecution.
853. Rounding this up, I would like you to explain to the Committee how important the Bill is to the city.
(Mr Scragg) My feeling is that it is extremely important to us. We have a situation now where we are inundated with pedlars and unlicensed activity and we are struggling to keep a lid on it, to be honest. As I have already mentioned, my officers are out virtually on a daily basis, patrolling the streets and challenging people that are trading on the streets. In the first instance, they make sure they have a pedlar's certificate which entitles them to be there, but then, further to that, to make sure they work within the terms of that pedlar's certificate. In bringing this Bill forward, it is going to change radically the way we work. It is going to make us much more effective in the way we work. At the moment we are spending large amounts of time for little benefit at the end of the day. This particular Act is going to cut down the amount of time we need to spend enforcing the legislation.
854. CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Mr Clarkson. Mr McGerr, it is your opportunity to cross-examine Mr Scragg.
855. MR McGERR: Thank you very much. Could I just say that I do not have all my background information, so I will be relying somewhat on what has been brought with us today.
856. CHAIRMAN: I am sorry, what is the nature of the problem?
857. MR McGERR: It is me having access to my own information. This particular folder was offered up in relation to Bournemouth and I had made notes on it in terms of questions to cross-examine the witnesses. I am trying to say that I will speed my own cross-examination up in order to hurry the event, rather than ask for your indulgence to enable me to search through my papers. I may not be as comprehensive in my questions as I would like to be. I will rely very much on the witness and what Mr Clarkson has asked.
858. CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much.
Cross-examined by MR McGERR
859. MR McGERR: I think I need to go in reverse from where Mr Clarkson left off, which was the costs of administering the current Act, the (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act as it applies everywhere in the country but, specifically, as we have here, in Manchester. Could I ask you whether in your role as part of the Licensing and Enforcement Authority of Manchester there has been a cost-benefit analysis of not only the costs involved in administering the present law but the potential rebating costs should this particular Bill become the law with regard to Manchester?
(Mr Scragg) Rebating in terms of?
860. In terms of it not being a charge on your existing budget. Obviously you cannot speak for the police, but certainly within your own office, in terms of your officers, in terms of surveillance, in terms of the procedures for interviewing those persons on the street who you suspect may be illicit street traders?
(Mr Scragg) A lot of the costs that are incurred are not only incurred by us
but by other agencies, like Greater Manchester Police, the CCTV unit. I cannot speak for their costs in helping us
to deal with the pedlar problem. I can
only speak for the licensing unit. We
are looking to increase the street trading fee.
It has not been increased for at least 15 years. As part of that process we will be
consulting, but the bringing forward of this Bill has brought a halt to that at
the moment. We were looking, as I mentioned
earlier, to introduce a levy to deal with the pedlar problem because we are
having to patrol the streets of
861. Yes, I think it goes to the question. I do not think it necessarily answers it. The question was whether or not there had been a cost-benefit analysis and whether there had in fact been an assessment on any of these particular areas. Could I ask you a specific question. I note that the photographs referred to were last year in Market Street. Although Mr Clarkson has brought up the Bournemouth Bill, I would also join with him in that respect. We have had this sort of evidence brought before us, which was the Bournemouth Bill. No doubt Mr Clarkson would make the same sort of remarks as you might do now, that the pictures are particularly empty of the crowds which have been referred to which gather around such people. Nevertheless, the point I would ask you about is whether, since that particular date a year ago, more or less, in 2006, that particular situation still exists.
(Mr Scragg) Not to the same degree, no.
The operation which we carried out last July has restricted a lot of
this pedlar activity in
862. Thank you. Given the fact that it is a year ago and the existing legislation, the Miscellaneous Provisions, and also your existing officer load at the time was able to mitigate the problem, would you not say that the existing laws are in fact effective?
(Mr Scragg) No, because last year's operation involved, as I mentioned, our colleagues from other agencies. If this Bill were to become law, we could deal with a lot of these issues in-house, as it were. My officers could deal with the issues on the spot and we would not have to refer to officers of the Greater Manchester Police and we would not have to involve CCTV and we would not have to involve our colleagues in Trading Standards, Environmental Health and the street wardens.
863. MR McGERR: My Lord, may I go to a point of law on this particular issue.
864. CHAIRMAN: There will be an opportunity for you to conclude. The Committee would find it worthwhile if you asked questions of Mr Scragg in order for you to strengthen your case.
865. MR McGERR: Certainly, my Lord. I will ask that question directly of the witness. Mr Scragg, it would appear that you are suggesting that once this Bill becomes an Act then you will be able to act as a multi-agency agency, in respect of the police, the Trading Standards and so on. I would suggest to you - would you agree - that currently Trading Standards are distinct and separate in national legislation; police forces are obviously governed by their own codes of conduct, the police standards and so on; Environmental Health is governed by the Environmental Health Act and so on. In other words, there are national legislations which govern all these. Are you suggesting that in the City of Manchester you will be able to take these on board within the city. How do you feel that will affect your budget?
(Mr Scragg) In answer to your first question, no, we will not be taking on the functions of Trading Standards and Environmental Health. This Bill will enable us to deal with pedlars who are street trading. We will not be taking on issues of poor quality goods, other than to refer them to our colleagues in Trading Standards.
866. I am sorry to be persistent with this, but you did mention this and I am sure the minutes will reflect it. You said that with this Bill your city will be able to enforce the Bill because you will have a comprehensive means of enforcing it which would involve all of the facilities that have previously been brought to bear on the issue, such as the Greater Manchester Police, Trading Standards and so on. Would you not agree that is what you said?
(Mr Scragg) What I said is that we would be able to deal with it in-house as a licensing unit rather than have to have to speak to our colleagues in the Greater Manchester Police and Trading Standards and CCTV to run a multi-agency operation to deal with the problem as we did last summer. If the Bill becomes law, we will be able to deal with the street trading issues as a licensing unit without reference to Greater Manchester Police, unless there are some public order issues that we need to resolve.
867. Again, I am going to be very persistent about this, because you seem to be suggesting that your particular licensing department will be able to take on a multifunctional approach and, again, I think this has implications towards budgets. With regard to the question I asked you, in terms of a cost-benefit analysis and also an impact assessment I would suggest that you would have to inquire of your councillors and other people of Manchester as to the implications towards the budgetary costs involved. The question is: Have you done so?
(Mr Scragg) Not as such. The argument would be that, because we are streamlining the process of dealing with pedlars as street traders, there will be cost savings to be made for us because we do not have to patrol the streets - not necessarily as often but we would not have to spend as much time observing pedlars to find that point where they turn from pedlars into street traders in order for us to take action against them.
868. May I suggest that what you have at the moment is an effective law ,which can be used in order to carry out effectively the purposes of that law, such the Miscellaneous Provisions, such as Trading Standards and other matters - and public order is a matter which you have raised You are suggesting, through this Bill - in fact, the Bill is written in those very words, for instance, with regard to seizure of goods - that a local official, a Manchester official of course, having suspicions that an act has been committed can then act upon that. This of course would then be a priori bringing the pedlar to have to account for themselves as a criminal; in other words, to go to the magistrates in order to explain the situation. Again, I am putting it to you that, should you wish, as you have already stated you will adopt this as a local Act, your community would need to be have been consulted upon it. Would you not agree?
(Mr Scragg) The fact that we are here has been widely publicised in terms of committee meetings and full council meetings. We have received nothing but support for this Bill. I am not aware of the public's view of this action, but, as part of the process, the members who represent the public have voted to allow us to bring this Bill forward.
869. I understand the generality of your remark but the particular question I have put to you is: Has the council addressed this matter in terms of the impact assessment and also cost-benefit analysis?
(Mr Scragg) Not that I am aware of, no.
870. Thank you for that. I would just ask you to turn your attention back to the pictures you have shown us of Market Street, 2006, at tab 2. Just to recapitulate, we are going back in time here. We have a situation in 2006. Can you bring us up to date on this? Can you give us the current situation in Market Street?
(Mr Scragg) The current situation in
871. I think I might be going over old ground with that particular issue but I wanted to revive it so it is before us today. The law does operate effectively and you have been able to action the law effectively. A further question would be: given that there are no street traders illicit upon those streets, that would imply there probably is little need to increase the officer surveillance and burden on the officer load. However, there is the other issue, is there not, that that should this Bill come into law as an Act your officer load would still have to be as it is now, or maybe even greater; in as much as, whilst these persons may choose to have it as it is at the moment, which may suit them in some respects, they may also prefer not to have a pedlar certificate, so the enforcement regime would still be needed. The officer load would still need to carry on, to be persistent. This is a very hypothetical situation. We do not know one way or the other which way it is going to go. As I asked you before, without an impact assessment or a cost-benefit analysis, we are all a bit up in the air with this one. Is that not so?
(Mr Scragg) I am sorry, I do not understand the question.
872. Quite simply, the proposition is based on the supposition that, should the Bill become an Act, the situation in Market Street, which has been referred to several times, will be cleared up completely, all the in-house facilities that you are requiring, these particular measures of enforcement, will enable it to be absolutely clear of any illegal street traders. I would not suggest that this is a fact. You are clear it is evidence. I do not think this can be admitted as an evidential matter, so it is simply a supposition. Would you not agree?
(Mr Scragg) I think the Act will make us more efficient in enforcing street trading provisions. At the moment we are spending hours and hours patrolling the streets and gathering evidence. The Act will make it much more simple to enforce.
873. CHAIRMAN: Mr McGerr, before you continue, I think the Committee would find it extremely useful if, rather than at the end of a long preamble asking a question, you simply asked that question. There are questions which require preamble and setting of the scene but some of the questions you have asked this morning do not fulfil that function. The opportunity is there for you to ask Mr Scragg about the evidence he has already given and to verify it or question it. It would be very helpful for the Committee if you would come to the point quickly.
874. MR McGERR: Yes, my Lord. Thank you for drawing my attention to that. Mr Scragg has brought this as evidence and has rejected the evidence of 2006, a year ago, into the current situation where he says the security has been considerably altered by existing legislation. I have asked him whether the Bill, were it to be an Act, would either create better enforcement in totality or whether officers would still have to be dealing with traders. I ask Mr Scragg a very simple question. Again, this is hypothetical. Where might the traders within that particular photograph - assuming they are no longer there - be at the moment? Might they be dispersed to other parts of the city? I am looking at appendix 2, with the large trolleys and so on.
875. CHAIRMAN: In fairness, that is quite a difficult question for Mr Scragg to answer. I think you are asking, following the action taken in 2006, whether that action had an effective dispersal. I think Mr Scragg, with the best will in the world, has already answered that.
876. MR McGERR: My Lord, if I missed the succinctness of Mr Scragg's answer, I apologise. I asked Mr Scragg whether there has been an impact assessment and cost-benefit analysis on this particular issue, in as much as to deal simply and solely with the city centre is undoubtedly the object of this Bill. That is its purpose.
877. CHAIRMAN: I must apologise for intruding again. If you feel you have the answer from Mr Scragg that you wish, you can use that either in the presentation you make or in the conclusion. The Committee want to hear the evidence that you wish to extract from Mr Scragg and then the argument that follows from that. There will be other opportunities. I think it will hasten the process if we could stick to eliciting information.
878. MR McGERR: Thank you, my Lord. There were a number of responses by letter to a letter that went out. Might I ask you generally, because it obviously covers various departments and I know you were talking about multi-agency work here, what sort of question was being asked of the Manchester Evening News Arena, the Events Unit, the regulatory enforcement services, building control, trading standards service? This letter is addressed to Mr Carmine Grimshaw. We have their replies. I am not certain to what the question was that was being asked and what was required of them to reply.
(Mr Scragg) I was not involved in sending that request out so I cannot answer what the question posed was.
879. MR McGERR: I am tempted to suggest that in the future with your multi-agency approach everyone would be fully informed. You did refer to "the enclosed documents", in fact, that is in the letter to Mr Carmine Grimshaw that was referred to.
880. CHAIRMAN: What are you talking about?
881. MR McGERR: I beg your pardon. It is in tab 3, and it is the last document, which is the letter from - I am still at a loss as to whether it is a lady or a gentleman - Carmine Grimshaw.
(Mr Scragg) It is a man.
882. At the end of the second paragraph, "Details of this are recorded in the enclosed documents". I was wondering if you might let me know, if you do know, what those documents are, whether they are available or not.
(Mr Scragg) The truthful answer is that I have not seen those documents so I cannot comment on them.
883. If I may continue very briefly, again, without dwelling too much on persons with large bulky objects causing obstructions, albeit we do not necessarily see that in the photographs. I do take the point which has been raised about the various arenas in Manchester, and also Mr Scragg's comments about the attractiveness of Manchester as a locale for visitors, indeed that Manchester itself, as Mr Scragg has pointed out, is very proactive in terms of attracting international artists and so on. Mr Scragg, one might assume, with or without persons outside these particular arenas, that a considerable number of staff are required in order to fulfil the considerable amount of health and safety requirements, public order and so on (and again this will probably come up in the police evidence) that members of the Greater Manchester Police are involved in, as indeed are the staff of the arenas. A particular matter was raised in terms of an exit being blocked, and I am going to have to try and find the document, my Lord, in order to draw it to your attention. I think it was the Manchester Evening News arena, or it might be the building control order.
884. LORD BOYD OF DUNCANSBY: It was the building control order.
885. MR McGERR: Yes, thank you very much. I realise there is a cause and effect issue with regard to establishing that illicit traders set up in and around these particular venues and what are the current regulation and codes of conduct with regard to the ownership of both the Manchester City site and also the Manchester Evening News site. One assumes, and again, I apologise that I am making an assumption, that members of staff are fully briefed in terms of how to deal with matters of crowd control, both within and without stadiums.
(Mr Scragg) Whose staff are you referring to? My staff or the Arena staff?
886. I can be specific and say the Arena staff, but obviously there is liaison between yourselves and the arena.
(Mr Scragg) In terms of street trading?
887. I will be even more specific: with regard to large crowds being attracted to Manchester which you raised as a particular benefit to the city. Members of your staff no doubt go through a training programme in terms of how visitors to the city, both the inhabitants themselves and members of the public, are brought under some sort of guidance with regard to footfall, but most particularly with regard to these particular areas of the Manchester City site and also the Manchester Evening News site. Do they have specific instructions as to how to carry out regulation in terms of pedestrian flows and so on?
(Mr Scragg) It is not within the remit. My staff enforce various pieces of legislation but they do not deal with those sorts of issues. That is a crowd control issue which is dealt with possibly by street wardens or private organisations that are employed by the arena, the arena's own staff or, if it is an event, by event staff that are brought in. It is not an issue that my staff get involved in.
888. MR McGERR: Thank you, Mr Scragg. You have given me the opportunity of asking that question in greater detail and I do not expect you to have a manual of the codes of conduct and so on but you have brought to the meeting the fact that within these large agglomerations of people there are persons who are security officials, which I think was the phrase used, employed by the arena and so on, so there is provision currently to be able to establish good crowd control. There is the question, would you agree that that is being conducted in a -----
889. CHAIRMAN: Mr McGerr, the questions you are posing are much longer than any answers that I have heard so far. I think you understand that the witness who has been brought before you, in this case Mr Scragg, has a role. He is the Operational Manager of the Licensing Unit and a lot of your questions and comments stray way beyond his capacity to answer. We would benefit as a Committee if you could narrow your questions and shorten your questions so that you elicit information that Mr Scragg has which then can aid and abet your case as you wish to present it, and reserve those opportunities you will have later to reflect upon his evidence to the Committee and then draw your own witnesses forward. We are in danger here of prolonging the issue without making any progress.
890. MR McGERR: Thank you, my Lord. I needed to ask Mr Scragg that particular question because the arena matter was brought up.
891. CHAIRMAN: Just ask him the question.
892. MR McGERR: In the matter of the arenas, be it the City site or the Manchester Evening News site, would you consider that members of staff are sufficiently briefed to be able to deal with crowd control?
(Mr Scragg) That is a question I cannot possibly answer. They are not under my control.
893. There is something you did mention, and I will be very specific about this; it does border on the Manchester Police letter that we have before us in tab 7, "Fighting Crime and Protecting People". Obviously, I will be bringing this question forward to the Greater Manchester Police representative, but the comment that you made which interested me, was on the pro rata fee, and again I am back to my assessment and cost benefit analysis question, so could you explain to the meeting how you see a pro rata fee being levied? You did make that quite specific with regard to this.
(Mr Scragg) The comment I made about the pro rata fee was in terms of a temporary street trading licence.
894. Would it not be the case in terms of your proposed legislation, the Manchester City Council Bill, that a pedlar would be welcome, albeit the pedlar would apply for one of these temporary street licences?
(Mr Scragg) It is perfectly possible that a pedlar could apply for a temporary street trading licence. We might seek to impose certain conditions as a result of that licence.
895. Yes, I understand that, and so there is a limitation factor on the amount of licences that may be available and it will be at the discretion of the Council to issue them or not. How would the Council make that decision?
(Mr Scragg) The decision to refuse to license someone is laid down in the 1982 Act, so we would be guided by that.
896. I beg your pardon - could you explain the 1982 Act? I am unsure what you speak of.
(Mr Scragg) The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982, which covers street trading.
897. Which is currently in force and you are currently enforcing?
(Mr Scragg) Yes. Any licence would be issued in accordance with that piece of legislation, any street trading licence.
898. Currently the pedlar is exempt from those street trading regulations.
(Mr Scragg) Yes.
899. So we are no further forward, particularly with the introduction of this idea of a temporary licence? Have you formulated how that would be constructed in any way?
(Mr Scragg) It is happening now. It is perfectly possible for anyone to apply to the City Council for a street trading licence on a temporary basis. We have got one issued at the moment in the city centre.
900. How would that affect the movement of a pedlar going from place to place, for instance?
(Mr Scragg) As I say, if they were seeking to be licensed by us as a street trader we might impose conditions. I cannot speculate about what those conditions would be. I would have to see each individual application and decide what conditions were appropriate for that particular application.
901. Are you not in fact an expert with regard to the licensing of street trading matters in Manchester?
(Mr Scragg) What do you mean by "expert"?
902. You have already mentioned other agencies such as the police. Are you drawn into discussions about licensing procedures in Manchester or are you outside of that discussion?
(Mr Scragg) We administer the street trading provisions and we consult if we receive applications for street trading licences with a number of agencies.
903. That is why I am asking you whether you could bring to this meeting some sort of clarification and idea of how these temporary licences are awarded. What is the conditionality of them?
(Mr Scragg) Each application is dealt with on its own merits. It is very difficult to generalise about those things.
904. So it is a yes or no in terms of who comes to see you, who applies? It is a rather quixotic situation. It is a "maybe if" and "maybe not" type of situation. There are no clear guidelines. That is the question I am asking. Are there any clear guidelines?
(Mr Scragg) In terms of a street trading licence we are guided by the 1982 Act. If we choose to refuse a licence there are grounds that we can refuse that licence on and an applicant has a right of appeal if we refuse.
905. Yes, I understand that. Just for my clarification, a street trading licence in Manchester applies to a fixed position within a licensed consent street, obviously not a prohibited street but within those sorts of definition?
(Mr Scragg) It is the usual case if we have received an application for a temporary street trading licence that it is a fixed position, yes.
906. That would be conditioned by times, dates and presumably also methods of what is being sold on the street?
(Mr Scragg) It could well be, yes.
907. Is it or is it not?
(Mr Scragg) Again, we are back to the same situation that each application would be dealt with on its own merits.
908. Does the licence have a limitation imposed upon the street trader with regard to where the street trader may trade, for how long he may trade in that particular position and with what goods?
(Mr Scragg) Yes, we may seek to impose conditions like that through the licence.
909. And those licences are issued - and I apologise; this is me clarifying my own recollection and Mr Clarkson may have raised it - on what basis, a yearly basis, a weekly basis, a daily basis?
(Mr Scragg) The temporary ones?
910. Licences in general but yes, obviously, temporary ones is the question I started asking you.
(Mr Scragg) Temporary ones can be issued for a day or two days, depending on what the application says, what the applicant is asking for. They might not necessarily get what they are asking for but they can make an application to us and again each one is judged on its own merits.
911. I note a figure of £50 being mentioned. Was that a ball park figure for a temporary licence?
(Mr Scragg) No, that is the actual current figure for a temporary street trading licence for a day.
912. I am afraid I am being hypothetical again, but you have mentioned the matter of appeals. Might I suggest that a pedlar who relies upon going from place to place, is used to going from place to play, may not even come to Manchester, so might not be au fait with where there are consents and prohibitions and so on, and might well go before your office and request a temporary licence and might well find a particular location offered to be suitable, but if that particular location is already occupied he would no doubt be refused. Would that be the case?
(Mr Scragg) I would think so, yes. You cannot locate two stalls in one specific location.
913. So a pedlar coming to Manchester under the provisions of the Miscellaneous Provisions Act who might well ask you as a matter of courtesy whether or not a licence is available for that street and being informed that it is not would simply have to go elsewhere?
(Mr Scragg) What I am saying is that that facility is available. We do issue temporary street trading licences.
914. Yes, I understood what you said, but what I am suggesting to you, and I think you might agree, is that the actions of a pedlar are of a person going from place to place, and a pedlar coming to Manchester may find themselves refused to be able to go in the streets of Manchester on the basis that you have no provision for that particular person at that particular time.
(Mr Scragg) The fact that they are pedlar is irrelevant in this particular case. Anyone can apply to us for a temporary street trading licence. They do not have to be a pedlar.
915. CHAIRMAN: Are there other aspects to Mr Scragg's original evidence that you want to pass on to? I feel we have probably gone over the ground already there.
916. MR McGERR: Yes. I think I will leave that particular issue for another question perhaps to another witness. In terms of brevity, my Lord, that concludes my cross-examination.
Re-examined by MR CLARKSON
917. MR CLARKSON: Can we just have in front of us please the street trading in Schedule 4 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act? My Lord, that is in the bundle you have and it is tab 3, the bundle of statutes.
918. I am going to ask the witness to look at Schedule 4, paragraph 3(4) identifying the basis on which the Council may or may not refuse an application for a street trading licence. It is at the bottom of the page. Just take the Committee through as to what sort of bases are applied, please, Mr Scragg.
(Mr Scragg) Subsection (4).
919. Just summarise them to flag them up.
(Mr Scragg) Basically, this paragraph says that the Council may refuse an application on any of the following grounds, and it states a number of grounds - one, that there is not enough space in the street for the applicant to engage in the trade in which he desires to engage without causing undue interference or inconvenience to persons using the street; (b) that there are already enough traders trading in the streets from shops or otherwise in the goods in which the applicant desires to trade; (c) that the applicant desires to trade on fewer days than the minimum number specified in a resolution under paragraph 2(11) above; that the applicant is unsuitable to hold the licence by reason of having been convicted of an offence or for any other reason.
920. To speed this up a bit, (e) that he has not paid the fees, (f) having been given a consent has not paid the fees, and lastly, the applicant has without reasonable excuse failed to avail himself to a reasonable extent of a previous street trading licence, so has been recalcitrant or whatever in taking up a previous licence; is that right?
(Mr Scragg) That is right.
921. The next heading is "Market Street" which you were asked about and the work the teams had done between 2006 and 2007. Are you with me?
(Mr Scragg) Yes.
922. Has that removed all the issue for the City of Manchester?
(Mr Scragg) No, it has not. We have still got problems with pedlars and
other traders in other areas of the city, such as the arena we have already
923. What confidence do you have, Mr Scragg, that the work that has been done in the last 12 months or so is going to be permanently successful in Market Street?
(Mr Scragg) I do not think it was ever seen as a permanent solution to the problem. It was seen as a temporary measure to try and exercise some control, and in that respect it has been successful.
924. The last point I have, which I am not going to ask you; I am going to tell the Committee about this. It is a question of consultation, my Lord, and it is my instructions, and I will ask Mr Scragg to check the numbers and correct them if they are wrong, that under the Local Government Act 1972, section 239, the Council has to vote twice, once before and the other after consultation, and the result was on the first exercise that 72 out of 96 members voted for it, there were three abstentions and none against, and on the second occasion out of the 96 members 82 voted for it, no abstentions, none against. Would you just check that out of committee time and if I am wrong about that I will correct it?
(Mr Scragg) Yes. The meeting in October figures I have were 72 out of 86 members.
925. The full Council is 96.
(Mr Scragg) Yes, 96.
926. So you have got the figures, have you?
(Mr Scragg) Yes, but I have got 86 for the October meeting. That is my mistake. It was 96.
927. MR CLARKSON: My Lord, that is all I have by way of re-examination.
928. CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Mr Clarkson. Now my colleagues have an opportunity for questions.
Examined by THE COMMITTEE
929. BARONESS COUSSINS: Mr Scragg, you said that you regularly get up to 25 pedlars on Market Street. Do you know whether in general they would all have had their pedlar's certificates issued by the Greater Manchester Police or by another force?
(Mr Scragg) It varies. Quite a few from
Greater Manchester but we get pedlars from all over the country. We get ones issued by Derbyshire
Constabulary, the Met down here in
930. But quite a few would be from the local police?
(Mr Scragg) Yes.
931. I am interested in that because you were talking about the problems of limiting the number of pedlars on the street, and you seem to have a very good operational relationship with the GMP and I just wonder why you cannot discuss the issue of limitation with them if they are the ones who are issuing the pedlar's certificates by and large.
(Mr Scragg) My understanding is that the police have no control. If a person meets his obligations under the Pedlars Act, that he is over 17, resides in the area for a month, intends to trade as a pedlar, the police have to issue a certificate.
932. Is there any difference between the test of "good character" that the police apply and the test of "a fit and proper person" that you apply?
(Mr Scragg) The simple answer is that I do not know. I do not know what test the police apply.
933. LORD BOYD OF DUNCANSBY: Can I ask you about this operation that took place in Market Street? Can you tell us when that was?
(Mr Scragg) July of last year, 2006.
934. Were the CCTV photographs that we see in the bundle done as part of that operation?
(Mr Scragg) No. These particular ones were not.
935. Can you tell me how long the operation lasted?
(Mr Scragg) We ran it for about a month.
936. How many agencies were involved?
(Mr Scragg) There was ourselves, the Licensing Unit, there were officers from Greater Manchester Police, our colleagues from trading standards, CCTV, street wardens.
937. Are you in a position to tell the Committee how many individuals were involved in that from the various agencies or is that something that is outwith your knowledge?
(Mr Scragg) I could hazard a guess.
(Mr Scragg) There would have been two officers from GMP, I have seven officers who were all involved at some stage, trading standards would have sent at least one officer, possibly two, street wardens, there were 18 of those and they were all involved at some point, CCTV, it varied but generally one officer in the CCTV control room was placed at our disposal, so that would be one officer in CCTV, but that would tie up one operator with a camera.
939. Am I right in thinking that the operation was directed specifically and exclusively at Market Street or were there other areas in the city centre?
(Mr Scragg) Just at
940. Do you have a figure for the cost of the operation?
(Mr Scragg) I do not, no.
941. The figure that you gave us for the number of pedlars or unlicensed street traders operating in Market Street was anything up to 25. Was that before or after the operation in July of last year?
(Mr Scragg) That was before.
942. Can you give us an estimate of the number who are operating in Market Street now?
(Mr Scragg) The number has reduced. It is difficult to put a figure on it because every day is different. Some days you will get just one or two pedlars; other days you will get half a dozen. What has tended to happen is that they tend to come out at the weekends when there is the greatest footfall. Our shift pattern is tilted towards the night time and currently at weekends, so we have to make special provision to get the officers out on a Saturday and Sunday, and we are picking up quite a few on Saturdays and Sundays at the moment, so we are looking at, I would say, certainly under ten.
943. And do you have particular problems still in enforcing Market Street given that you still have the problem?
(Mr Scragg) It is still a daily occurrence that we go out and challenge people who appear to us to be trading. Some of them are pedlars, some of them are not, some of them are completely unauthorised and taking a chance.
944. When they are challenged do you have problems moving them on?
(Mr Scragg) In terms of the people who are completely unauthorised, generally speaking, no, once they are challenged and it is apparent that they have no authorisation and no pedlar's certificate to fall back on they move away from the area. Pedlars, as you know, have a right to be on the street as it currently stands, so we advise them that they have to peddle and they have to meet the terms of the certificate and we encourage them to keep moving in the city.
945. Looking at the present situation of the numbers in market Street, roughly what proportion of those on Market Street have a pedlar's certificate when they are challenged?
(Mr Scragg) The current situation?
(Mr Scragg) The current situation is about half, I would think, half do, half do not.
947. LORD METHUEN: Can I ask you a purely technical question. In your photographs that you might use as evidence in court why does the yellow writing which says "Manchester CCTV 3" differ from what it says in the black writing at the bottom which says, "Camera 4"?
(Mr Scragg) That is probably why these photographs were not used as evidence.
948. CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much, Mr Scragg.
The witness withdrew
949. CHAIRMAN: Mr Clarkson?
950. MR CLARKSON: I am trying to understand Lord Methuen's point. I think they do coincide, do they not, my Lord?
951. LORD METHUEN: If you look at the first photo in your Appendix 2, at the top it says "MCTV Camera 3" and at the bottom it says "Camera 4", and I thought it was the law that the client might be in a position to challenge that.
952. MR CLARKSON: My Lord, yet another problem for enforcement. May I call Chief Inspector Lee please?
Examined by MR CLARKSON
953. MR CLARKSON: Are you Chief Inspector Mark Lee?
(Chief Inspector Lee) I am.
954. Have you been responsible for North Manchester Division historically?
(Chief Inspector Lee) I have for the city centre, yes.
955. And you have recently moved elsewhere, I believe.
(Chief Inspector Lee) Yes, to Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary.
956. Can we go to tab 7 of the bundle where there are two letters written by you, Chief Inspector? The first was at the end of last year, 23 November 2006, and the second was 22 May 2007. Let us deal with the second because hopefully that is the most up-to-date. I would like you to tell the Committee how you see the issue from your perspective, perhaps focusing on the headings that you have given in your letter and the first is Crime and Disorder. Just use that as an aide memoire for the Committee and flesh that out, would you please?
(Chief Inspector Lee) It is my view that essentially our concerns fall into three key areas, and I have to preface this with the fact that we work very strongly with members of the local authority enforcement teams and also our partner agencies. One of the key elements of the way we set and address priorities with our partners is to consult both business and community groups, and never is that more important than in a very busy metropolitan city centre. With regard to the feedback and concerns in relation to crime and disorder in the city centre, I suppose it essentially falls into a number of areas for us. Question one is that our local groups and communities and business, not just on Market Street and areas that we have talked about but also wider concerns in areas such as Chinatown and also The Village community in the city centre. There is significant concern about the way the reputation that falls on those areas, counterfeit goods becomes a potential issue and concern for us, and also the links to more important issues, such as the control of the individuals concerned and whether they are isolated and operating as individuals or operating as part of a business concern with more sinister criminal links.
957. Heading "Health and Safety"?
(Chief Inspector Lee) In terms of health and safety
I think it has already been talked about in some detail by the previous
evidence. However, I have personal
knowledge of this because of the planning and also the deployment of resources
at particular events such as the Christmas lights in
958. Just pause there. You are being commendably expeditious but I just do not want to leave one point out from your letter and that is the penultimate sentence of your paragraph two: "For example an event at the Manchester Evening News Arena can attract in excess of 40 pedlars at a time who will routinely block fire exits or obstruct the highway around the venue whilst touting for trade. Their presence causes significant congestion on both the roads and pavements around the site." Do you see any distinction between a pedlar with a trolley or a pedlar carrying his goods and acting as a pedestrian in the context that you there identify?
(Chief Inspector Lee) Clearly there is a visible distinction. However, in terms of managing the potential obstruction hazard that creates, I suppose there is little or no distinction in reality. What you have is individuals who are clearly there to sell goods or trade goods, whichever way you look at it, and of course by their very nature they will attract customers and by their very nature they will target where they stand for peak flow. So consequently you are not going to find somebody peddling their goods outside an entrance point when everybody is coming out the exit point. It is commonsense if you actually look at this, you do not have to be Einstein to work out what happens here. You have a massive exit at a key time and individuals congregate around exits in an attempt to sell their wares. Whether they have large stalls or whether they are individuals themselves, the potential in our view from experience and also planning is clear. What they do is attract individuals who stop the natural flow which then creates a back-up, like you see on a motorway or something like that, where you see one person stop and then it creates a backflow for others and a crowd develops, and you have a potential health and safety issue. That is what happens not just in the Arena but also major events such as the Christmas lights switch on.
959. Let us go back to where you were. You were going to go to police resources. Just take us through that third paragraph.
(Chief Inspector Lee)
Yes, I think the key for me about this is where do we see police resources
being most effectively deployed. What we
have at the moment is if you look at the Arena as one example, and then we will
perhaps touch on
960. A combination of Lord Boyd and Mr Scragg, I think, identified of the order of 30 people that were involved one way or another in the exercise of policing street trading in Market Street. Is that consistent with what your experience is?
(Chief Inspector Lee) Yes, that can be the case. We are called in to support the operations invariably and, as you have heard in evidence previously, they can be traders that are illegally trading or with some sort of pedlar's certificate, it depends on the time.
961. The last point I have is picking up on Baroness Coussins's point; does the Greater Manchester Police Authority or any other police authority have any control over the number of pedlar's certificates that they can issue?
(Chief Inspector Lee) My understanding, and I have looked at this before I came here, is no. Frankly, even if you look at the City of Manchester which in Manchester itself covers three divisions, there are in the region of 62 or 63 certificates administered to persons currently trading so that is three different structures and three different approaches and there is only a set limitation on what we can or cannot do. As far as I can see - and I have had that confirmed - there is no power to limit. I guess really the final point is in this day and age I cannot see how it can be right when we are wanting to effectively control one of the major thoroughfares for a number of reasons - health and safety, crime and disorder, potential issues, whatever - that somebody in Manchester could authorise a person to go and trade and just turn up on what is deemed by the local authority in that area as a prohibited street and just go and trade anywhere in the country and vice versa. We do not really have any form of effective power to limit, which again I suppose when you look at it that might well have been suitable in the 19th Century but I question whether it is in the 21st.
962. MR CLARKSON: Just wait there, Chief Inspector.
963. CHAIRMAN: I am grateful, Mr Clarkson. We are at 12.52 and I think this would be an appropriate point to have a recess until ten to two - I am so sorry, Chief Inspector Lee - and then we will call on Mr McGerr to cross-examine.
After a short adjournment
964. CHAIRMAN: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the cross-examination of Chief Inspector Lee. Mr McGerr, can I take the opportunity to remind you that you will be cross-examining Chief Inspector Lee on the evidence that he gave this morning, and I invite you to do so.
Cross-examined by MR McGERR
965. MR McGERR: May I direct your attention to a question Baroness Coussins asked earlier, which was with regard to those persons who apply for a pedlar's certificate within your jurisdiction. Is there a problem in identifying whether or not those persons have a criminal record of any sort?
(Chief Inspector Lee) Criminal records checks are conducted on all applications.
966. I may have misheard your reply, but I believe in asking that question Baroness Coussins was raising the matter of, if there was a refusal, what would be the response of the applicant. Am I correct in that?
(Chief Inspector Lee) That was not my understanding of the question.
967. Thank you. I have obviously misheard Baroness Coussins. The question remains however, although in deep respect of your authority with regard to the centre of Manchester, am I right in saying that the actual jurisdiction for the law as such, being the Pedlar's Act 1871, 1881 and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 1982, ultimately does come before the magistrates; and it is in that respect yourselves as police officers are acting as agents for the council in respect of their street trading provisions and regulation?
(Chief Inspector Lee) Is that a question about a point of law? I am unclear. Obviously the legislation that is currently in force we are obliged to issue certificates for and also enforce.
968. I am sorry, I misheard that as well. Could you just repeat that?
(Chief Inspector Lee) The legislation that is in force I think is the nub of the issues for the police service actually. Under the legislation that is in force we are obliged to issue certificates, subject to certain criteria. Clearly if a challenge is identified or a situation is identified, either by partners or members of the community, then of course with the current situation as it stands, our partners, the local authority, are restricted in their powers and activities, particularly in relation to pedlars. As you have seen before about the operation in July, we therefore have to become involved, which I think from my perspective as Chief Inspector in charge of Manchester City Centre is a question mark in terms of street trading issues. If there are potential public disorder issues, fine, we will fully support our partners in that. However, for purely day-to-day enforcement issues there is a question mark about whether we should be in a situation of issuing certificates and enforcing that procedure.
969. Thank you. That is a very fulsome reply. If I could just make my question slightly clearer. At present it is that a certificate is issued by the police in Manchester, as elsewhere, but that is the police acting as agents with regard to the general overall jurisdiction, which is currently the law of England as I understand it. Is that correct?
970. CHAIRMAN: I think I am as befuddled as the Chief Inspector about the question.
971. MR McGERR: My Lord, I apologise again if I am confusing the issue. Could I put it in this respect: I am hesitant to say this to the Chief Inspector but, is your understanding of the Pedlar's Act such (and this goes to Baroness Coussins' question, I think) that if a pedlar is refused a certificate, either by yourself as the issuing authority in Manchester or elsewhere (but we are dealing with Manchester), am I correct in thinking that the pedlar would apply to the magistracy in order to have a review of the situation? Is that not the ultimate authority for a pedlar's certificate?
(Chief Inspector Lee) That was not the question as I understood it. My understanding was it was in relation to the issue of limitations governing the issue of the certificate. Whereas the legislation is absolutely clear, subject to a few basic criteria, the police service either issue or they do not. Clearly there will be appeal procedures in that, but it does not address (as far as I understood it) the question that was asked which was about limitations.
972. CHAIRMAN: Are you asking about the appeal procedure if the police decline?
973. MR McGERR: Could I answer you in the round, and I am referring to Bournemouth with hesitancy. Throughout these hearings we have heard the police being spoken of as the authority for issuing pedlar's certificates. I have no trouble with that; that is a matter of fact.
974. CHAIRMAN: So what is your question?
975. MR McGERR: As I understand, the police, it appears, would wish to relinquish this responsibility. Nonetheless, the pedlar's certificate is issued under the authority of the magistracy, as I understand it. I may be wrong, but that is the question I am asking the police. Is it governed by the magistracy; or is it solely and only in terms of the police authority?
976. MR CLARKSON: I think that is a matter for me, my Lord. The answer is that the police issue a certificate and under section 15 there is a right of appeal in the usual way to the magistrates' court.
977. MR McGERR: Thank you very much. Again, this question follows on somewhat from that last question, inasmuch as Chief Inspector Lee has raised the matter of the fines that have been imposed on illegal street traders, and this may not be a sufficiency in order to deter those persons from conducting illegal street trading activities in Manchester. Am I correct in hearing that?
(Chief Inspector Lee) I have not seen a transcript of my comments before, but I do not recall raising the issue of fines. I think that was raised in previous evidence which was given.
978. CHAIRMAN: I think you are right. I think that was an argument put in the Promoters' case. I think the appropriate time, Mr McGerr, for that is in your own opening or closing statement. I remind you again, it is helpful to the Committee if you did question the Chief Inspector on the evidence he gave just before lunch.
979. MR McGERR: Thank you. In that case I refer to the bundle which has been brought to us, which is the activities of the persons in Market Street. Were those persons approached initially by yourself or by local officials?
(Chief Inspector Lee) I think this comes to the very nub of the issue here for me. As Chief Inspector in charge of operations for Manchester City Centre a question I would ask the Committee and our partners is simply this: if we have somebody who is potentially illegal trading on Market Street, either peddling illegally or illegal street trading, the right and proper approach to this in my view from the police service is that that should go to the appropriate agents within the local authority to be dealt with. If there is a need for escalation or involving the police service then fine. It simply cannot be right in the 21st century where we get somebody who claims to be a pedlar on Market Street where there is clearly concern from city centre businesses or residencies and therefore we are asked to go and either attend and deal with it in advance of issues to do with potential major priorities within the city centre. On these specific cases I am not aware whether we approached them first or not. However, my understanding of the situation from my 18 months of controlling the city centre, it is rare that we would approach them first. It is more than likely when we are involved in activity it is part of a partnership approach because a challenge has been escalated to us.
980. Thank you for that. Again, that tends to reinforce the situation that this is a collaborative situation with regard to the local authority and the police service, amongst other agencies. You mentioned public safety and the question would be whether or not these persons are in fact committing a public safety infringement in some respect?
(Chief Inspector Lee) Clearly there is a dynamic risk here. If I could refer, my Lord, to previous evidence that was given: if you look at Market Street at the junction of High Street, not only is that location, where some of these photographs have been taken, a busy tram stop, not only are we talking about 300,000 or 400,000 people a week going through that location, but we have got one of the most successful retailers in the city centre right bang at that location as well. Clearly from my perspective, if you then look at a Saturday afternoon or Saturday morning, if you have got three, four, five, six, ten or twenty whatever it is, you have always got the potential for crowds; you have got the potential for obstructions, and the associated obstruction issues and public health and safety issues that come out of that. I come back to what I said before - there have to be resources to address what are real public concerns. I cannot simply close my eyes to that fact. If my partners need support because they do not have the powers to effectively tackle a challenge, I make no bones about it, it is there. Whatever we say, it is definitely an issue, there is no doubt about it.
981. Thank you again for a very fulsome reply. I am without doubt that the police service carries out important tasks, and public safety is one of those. However, would you not say that your ability to deal with public order matters (and I include obstruction as part of that because this has been raised as a Manchester issue) is within existing laws?
(Chief Inspector Lee) Public order I think is a wide-ranging sweep of a challenge. It comes down to basic problem-solving for me and basic challenges that communities and businesses raise as an issue. You do not always have to have a full police response for it. If I could draw the conclusion, if I am deploying resources either at a significant event, a Christmas light switch-on for example, I want to make sure that people coming to the city centre can park effectively without their cars being broken into - and Manchester is a very safe city; that they can walk through the streets without people approaching them maybe to commit a crime; and that they celebrate that and enjoy that experience. In my view the role of the police service is to promote that and ensure that takes place safely. The question I would ask is more: are we in a situation in the 21st century where the police service has to be called in to deal with pedlars that are potentially creating a health and safety issue at certain key times because the current legislation does not effectively allow the local authority to deliver that service? It cannot be right.
982. Thank you again for a very fulsome reply. You have raised many, many issues there. I am not sure that you answered the question in actual fact. Are you not empowered to move an obstruction in any area of Manchester?
(Chief Inspector Lee) I think I did answer the question. If I could be more succinct: yes, we are. The question is: should we be involved in removing every obstruction?
983. I am sorry, you are tempting me to ask an extremely pertinent question. You have asked me a question and I would say, yes, as an answer to it. Can I go on to say that, given that you speak of other matters such as control of traffic and so on, which slightly lies outside of this remit, have you in fact got a published assessment of how much obstruction these illicit traders have caused and (it is not necessarily within your brief, I know) whether or not prosecutions have been made of those persons; and whether those prosecutions have been successful; and in fact whether those persons did in fact hold a pedlar's certificate?
Lee) There are numerous questions there, I have to
say. I am not sure which ones I am
supposed to be required to answer. What
I would say is, no, it is not within my brief as far as I can see for today,
but that is a matter for the Committee.
What I would simply say is, over a 12-month period just on events alone
we have been called on somewhere in the region of 13 separate occasions to
assist in terms of dealing with illegal peddling and street trading etc, particularly around concert sites and
venues. I just refer you back to the
evidence given earlier on -
984. CHAIRMAN: Mr McGerr, I do think Chief Inspector Lee has been very precise in answering a set of questions which nearly always end up as the same question. Is there another set of questions about the evidence that he gave earlier on a different subject which you would like to put to him? I think it would help the Committee to move matters on.
985. MR McGERR: Thank you, my Lord, for directing me in that respect. Chief Inspector, you have raised the issue of policing two particular sites that draw large amounts of people - that being the Manchester Evening News Arena and also the Manchester City sports area. Is that correct?
(Chief Inspector Lee) Yes, amongst a number of different events, sites and locations those are examples but I could provide more.
986. CHAIRMAN: What is it you want to ask the Chief Inspector about that - about a Manchester Evening News Arena event? Is there something you want to ask?
987. MR McGERR: As a matter of evidence with regard to this Bill my question would be: would the police attendance at these events be any less or any more than is put to these events with or without those persons known as pedlars being present?
(Chief Inspector Lee) That is a very difficult question to answer. If I can, broadly speaking, talk about events management: we risk-assess every event dependant on the challenges. You could argue it depends on the particular challenges which would then dictate the staffing and safety arrangements in place and the stewarding, of which this is one.
988. If I may ask you again following on from that, in your risk assessment does the existence of pedlars under the Pedlar's Act 1871 and (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 come top of the list of public order and public safety requirements for those particular events?
(Chief Inspector Lee) Absolutely not, and that is exactly the point I want to drive home if I can in my evidence. It is not at the top of our priority list. At this moment in time we find ourselves drawn into this area because of the lack of effective powers that the partners have in order to address this issue effectively. There is a serious concern both from businesses and communities within the area we cover. Quite rightly, it is not right for me then just to close my eyes to the issue. We have to address local challenges.
989. MR McGERR: If I might put it in another form of words - it would appear -----
990. CHAIRMAN: I do not think we really want another form of words.
991. MR McGERR: If I may rephrase it then, my Lord. Due to the insufficiency of control provided by other partners, the police are obliged to apply extra resources to these two particular environments. Am I correct in that assessment?
(Chief Inspector Lee) No, you are not. The emphasis of where I understand your question is coming from is on the application of law or control, rather than their ability in terms of the actual powers they have at their disposal. My view is that the local authority enforcement and our local authority partners are amongst the best that there are. We have got excellent working relationships. However, they simply do not have the powers required in this area. It is really that simple. If I am deploying for major events, a march, demonstration or Christmas lights, the fact is that the dispatch team, the local authority partners, are there in my view to effectively deal with those challenges; and the police service are there to deal effectively with other crimes or other issues which are, frankly, more of a priority for us, and that is exactly the point.
992. MR McGERR: Again, I would just have to say that I am very sympathetic with that point of view. However, could you give me your assessment, given that you are relieved of the burden of having to do extra resourcing of these particular arenas, of the local authority officers?
993. CHAIRMAN: I think this is really straying outside. I think it would be difficult for the Chief Inspector to answer that.
994. Could I just advise you, if there are other areas of the evidence given earlier under those three headings which you may recall that would be helpful. If there are other parts of that which you wish to test the evidence given by Chief Inspector Lee I think I would be grateful, and the Committee would as well, if we could move on to those. If not, perhaps you could think about drawing your questioning to a close.
995. MR McGERR: I might just ask one question in terms of resourcing, inasmuch as this does affect any closing statement I am able to make. If I may again ask you, my Lord, to allow me to address these matters.
996. CHAIRMAN: Not now, but if you would like to ask a question of the Chief Inspector?
997. MR McGERR: Yes, it is a matter of evidence, and it is the evidence that has been entered and that is what I am asking the question about. Very specifically, in the situation of, say, a Manchester City football match or, indeed, a Manchester Evening News Arena event, are the police financially reimbursed for costs involved in policing those areas over and above their normal policing duties?
998. CHAIRMAN: That really has nothing to do with this, I do not think. Could you tell us why that has any relevance?
999. MR McGERR: Quite specifically, my Lord, when we come to view the Bill as it stands -----
1000. CHAIRMAN: Mr McGerr, you ask questions of the Chief Inspector which you think are appropriate to the Petitioner's case. If you have any further questions then can we conclude sooner rather than later.
1001. MR McGERR: I think the answer to this question is very simple. Does the removal of a pedlar's exemption from street trading regulation in the City of Manchester, as it applies to the City of Manchester as laid out within the prohibition streets, the consent streets, in your opinion remove the problem of illicit street trading?
(Chief Inspector Lee) I think I am with that question. If I could phrase this: for me it is quite clear, it simply cannot be right that somebody can get a licence in any part of the country and then turn up on a prohibited street. In terms of control of that street it becomes a significant issue for all sorts of reasons, not just for issues of security and concern of trading. Also if we talk about resources and the impact of resources, which I think is a bit of a thrust of where we are going and if I am wrong, my Lord, please let me know, the cost for us in administering this and checking every application, issuing them and checking the criminal records checks far outweighs any income for £12-odd. It is quite right and proper for me to have one regulatory authority, one enforcement side and the police service becoming involved in that overall structure for street trading if and when we need to do so as part of the partnership approach. That is my clear view on it.
1002. CHAIRMAN: Mr McGerr, are there any other questions?
1003. MR McGERR: No, thank you very much.
1004. CHAIRMAN: It is open to Mr Clarkson to re-examine.
1005. MR CLARKSON: I have no re-examination, my Lord.
Examined by THE COMMITTEE
1006. BARONESS COUSSINS: Perhaps I had better clarify what I asked in the first place of a previous witness. I asked before whether the test for good character applied by the police consisted of anything in particular, and you have referred to the criminal records check. Is there anything more than that?
(Chief Inspector Lee) What we certainly would do is: we receive an application; an individual would then have to provide details about their person; we would then conduct criminal records checks via our local police intelligence unit, and they would look at a variety of issues, not necessarily just cautions and convictions. I suppose you could say, because of the fact there are no limitations, and because of the fact they can be conducted anywhere in the country, for me that poses additional issues. What I would like to reinforce to the Committee is that the only prerequisite is that an individual has to live in an area for a month. They can come from literally anywhere, reside in an area for a month and then make an application. It is very much on the police service as it stands to say, "There are good grounds for refusing it". In the 21st century it just does not seem right.
1007. BARONESS COUSSINS: So, for example, when you come across people who in your words "abuse" the pedlar's certificate, I am reading the word that you used in your letter of 22 May, do you write their names down on a piece of paper so that the next time they apply a year later they do not get the certificate because they have shown that they are not of good character?
(Chief Inspector Lee) Yes, however what you would find in reality and what will happen is a challenge may well be identified, for example other than events, say if we look at Market Street, maybe a complaint call is made or the CCTV identifies a significant issue or challenge on-going, then that becomes an issue that is logged and then there is an issue of getting resource there within an appropriate time and how does that fit within the priorities at that time. On a lot of occasions the core here is not that the Police Service actually come to an individual and check the pedlar's certificate. In my view, what invariably tends to occur is the individuals will be checked by partner agencies who have limited powers in terms of seizure, checking the actual documentation, and then trying to substantiate those claims. That really for me is one of the key issues here, the nub of it all. Yes, we would do that, yes, we would potentially remove it, but having looked at it and sat with the partners in some detail and looked at all the challenges in the city centre, for me it is very difficult to understand how a local authority can prohibit trading on a street for a variety of identifiable concerns and then a pedlar who has got a £12.50 certificate from wherever can just turn up and start wandering around on Market Street and trading there, and then that becomes an issue for us to try and enforce. We have no power, I cannot limit them, I cannot say, "You can't do this, you can't do that", because there is not the legislation to do so.
1008. So would you say that there is very limited scope for further co-operation between the police, local authorities and other agencies to try and share information about what you are already doing enforcing your different regimes?
(Chief Inspector Lee) Not at all. We have a very,
very positive relationship. However, if
we just link into the 62 - I did some checking before we came to give evidence
- and across the three divisions in
1009. LORD BOYD OF DUNCANSBY: Following on from Baroness Coussins's questions, do I understand that when you get an application you do a criminal records check?
(Chief Inspector Lee) Yes.
1010. Do I also understand that there may be information that is available to you through intelligence that might be a reason in itself, quite apart from any criminal conviction, that you would refuse to give a pedlar's certificate?
(Chief Inspector Lee) Essentially, it is of good character, so the question is you would actually look at the evidence that you have locally about that individual so that is not just on the national systems but it is local. To take that point, you could argue that an individual can make an application elsewhere.
1011. That was what I was going to ask because if somebody had a pedlar's certificate from Manchester and it was coming up for renewal and you in the meantime became aware of information which would tend to suggest that if an application was made to Manchester but you had refused it, could that person go, say, to Liverpool and make an application in Liverpool?
(Chief Inspector Lee) Yes, I see no reason why not.
1012. And is there any way of transferring, as it were, through some kind of central system the intelligence that you have in Manchester to all the other police forces in the UK to say if this person turns up and applies for a pedlar's certificate you ought to refuse it because we have information which would tend to suggest they are not of good character?
(Chief Inspector Lee) It would depend on the nature and the scope. However, it is possible for an individual, I guess, to then go somewhere else and perhaps not declare that they have ever had a certificate.
1013. LORD BROUGHAM & VAUX: But there is no national database on this?
(Chief Inspector Lee) No.
1014. They do not produce a reference?
(Chief Inspector Lee) They have a number of things they are supposed to do. For example, they are supposed to prove they have resided in an area for a month, that they are over a certain age, they are of good character, and that they carry on in good faith.
1015. How do they prove that they live there?
(Chief Inspector Lee) We will
require some proof that they have been resident in a particular area for up to
a month. We will do basic checks in
terms of criminal convictions and perhaps local intelligence. To take the point I made before, it is not
just necessarily an issue internally within the country. We have got a quite wide movement of
1016. So you would like to see a national database?
(Chief Inspector Lee) As an officer what I would like to see is the extensive regulation that takes place at a local authority level takes over the regulation of this issue. If we have currently got a system and process in place where street trading is effectively managed, is accountable to locally elected individuals and businesses, why not use it like that.
CHAIRMAN: I think we are in danger of moving into areas that are interesting but ---
1017. LORD METHUEN: Two questions: obviously, as we saw from our previous hearing on the Bournemouth Bill, a foreigner can apply for a pedlar's licence. How many of the licences which you issue are actually to foreigners and, secondly, how do you know that the person is even who he says he is?
(Chief Inspector Lee) In terms of the approach I am not in possession of the actual figures in relation to the applications from various countries within the Europe Union and I am not sure, my Lord, I would describe them as "foreigners". What I would suggest is certainly when the law, as far as I can understand it, was implemented in the 19th Century there was not the same migration of individuals that moved on such a wide basis and, of course, if you look at the checks that can be made, from my view, street trading issues particularly involve a local accountability for business, trade assessment and they are far more stringent, so if there are opportunities for individuals to contribute to communities, fine, that is great, but from the Police Service's perspective I did some basic calculations and across the three divisions in Manchester we are probably recouping about £800 a year through administering this, at three different sites, three different sets of checks, sending out all sorts of different forms and then having to enforce it. The question you ask is is it right that you only have to be resident in an area for four weeks and you can move to another area for another four weeks. It just does not seem right and it is not conducive to effective management of the process for me.
1018. LORD BROUGHAM & VAUX: Just for the record, in your letter of 22 May you refer to a previous letter of November 2007.
(Chief Inspector Lee) Was it? Well, that was a check for the Committee!
1019. CHAIRMAN: Chief Inspector, thank you very much indeed, that letter clearly shows great foresight!
Re-examined by MR CLARKSON
1020. MR CLARKSON: May I just ask the Chief Inspector one question arising because I think it does take it one step further from the Committee's questions and it is this question: are street trading offences prosecuted by a local authority rather than the CPS recorded on the National Convictions Register?
(Chief Inspector Lee) I have to say I am not fully aware of that. I have to say that it is not something that immediately would involve us. I think our major concern here would be that there are effective processes in place that are administered through the local authority and we have very strong links to the local authority.
1021. MR CLARKSON: My instructions are, my Lord, that they are not because they are not recordable in the same way, but that is all the questions I have.
1022. CHAIRMAN: We are very grateful, Chief Inspector. I think, Mr Clarkson, that exhausts your witnesses?
1023. MR CLARKSON: Once the Chief Inspector has left the witness table, yes.
The witness withdrew
1024. CHAIRMAN: Mr McGerr, I think you are exercising your right to sum up at the end, to give your closing remarks?
1025. MR McGERR: Yes, that is correct.
1026. CHAIRMAN: So you will be calling your first witness and perhaps we can start with that.
1027. MR McGERR: Yes, certainly, my Lord. I would like to call Mr Morris.
MR J MORRIS, sworn
Examined by MR McGERR
1028. MR McGERR: Mr Morris, although not living in Manchester, is a frequent visitor to Manchester and, in his professional capacity, he has indeed been involved within the Manchester area and in Manchester. Mr Morris, are you a resident of Manchester?
(Mr Morris) My name is Johnny Morris and I live in a small
village called Wincle which is just south of Macclesfield in
1029. If I could just ask you some background questions, do you think you are competent to answer the question of whether or not you feel that pedlars should be allowed to peddle in the streets of Manchester?
(Mr Morris) The reason I am here is
because when I have been in
1030. CHAIRMAN: You are described as a special needs consultant.
(Mr Morris) Yes.
1031. Can you just explain what that is.
(Mr Morris) For about 20 years of my life I have worked as a teacher and a deputy headteacher with children with a wide range of learning difficulties, including what is in education these days called 'profound multiple learning difficulties', and for nine years I worked as a school inspector in primary and special schools and travelled all over the country doing that and two years ago I became a self-employed special needs education consultant, so schools consult with me for advice about dealing with special needs children and school inspections.
1032. CHAIRMAN: So the "special needs" refers to education?
(Mr Morris) Yes.
1033. MR McGERR: I would in fact like to pick up on that very important point. In your visits to Manchester, could you let us know what is your purpose in visiting Manchester?
(Mr Morris) When I go to
1034. Thank you, Mr Morris, that has taken my breath away and most of my questions in actual fact, you have covered so much of the ground. Just to reiterate, you yourself, have you been obstructed or insulted or in any way abused by a pedlar on the streets of Manchester?
(Mr Morris) No, I have never experienced it. I would not dispute what the representatives of the Manchester authority have said, that they see issues, but I am quite astonished that they repeatedly refer to this as a problem because I have never in any visit to Manchester experienced a difficulty with getting round the streets, with being obstructed by genuine pedlars or these people who I would call 'illegal' street traders who could potentially present a problem. I personally have never had any difficulty with any of these people either in terms of obstruction or approaching me in a way that I am not happy with.
1035. This is a slightly tricky question, Mr Morris, because it does bear on the previous witness. Have you in fact seen the police exercising their authority in removing obstructive people of any sort, including illegal street traders?
(Mr Morris) No, I have not. I have never witnessed that.
1036. May I just move into another area which again is slightly tricky because it has been referred to with the Manchester Evening News Arena. Is there a distinction between how the environs of the Arena are managed, specifically policed on the outside and conditions on the inside?
1037. CHAIRMAN: I think Mr Morris has already touched on that and he himself said that, with regards to what happens on the inside, it may actually fall outside the purview of the Committee. Was there another point you wanted to make?
1038. MR McGERR: That was a leading question, my Lord, and I apologise if it was that obvious.
1039. CHAIRMAN: It is just that I think Mr Morris has already told us.
1040. MR McGERR: Again, as he has given us his educational qualifications, I am assuming that a certain amount of educated guesswork might be involved in this. With regards to large amounts of people, which it sounds like you are aware of, would you not agree that there is a strong capability of both the police organisations on the outside of the Arena to be able to liaise with the security staff, the private staff, on the inside of the Arena?
1041. CHAIRMAN: I really do not think this is relevant to the question. Is there something you want to say to that, Mr Morris?
(Mr Morris) All I was trying to express about the Manchester Arena was, as I say, although it is not relevant to this case, but from a personal point of view, I experience discomfort inside the Arena and outside the Arena I have felt that there is a potential problem here, but that potential has never been fulfilled. I have never had a problem myself and I have never seen private security or police dealing with these largely T-shirt sellers after the rock concerts I have seen, so although I have seen the potential for a problem, it has not been fulfilled.
1042. CHAIRMAN: Mr McGerr, is there something else you want to tease out there?
1043. MR McGERR: I think Mr Morris has been quite eloquent.
1044. CHAIRMAN: Is there anything else you want to ask?
1045. MR McGERR: In general or specifically on that question?
1046. CHAIRMAN: Well, either on that which gives us a more rounded answer or an answer that expands upon it usefully for the cause of the Petitioners. If not, I suggest we move on.
1047. MR McGERR: I am just at my closing question. Should this Bill become an Act and pedlars are sufficiently prevented from peddling in the streets of Manchester, would you consider that to be a benefit or a disadvantage both to the City of Manchester and to yourself?
(Mr Morris) I think it would be a very, very sad day when people like genuine pedlars, which is what these two days are about, or people like street performers are not allowed on the streets of our country. I think that would be a very sad day.
1048. CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Mr McGerr. Mr Clarkson?
Cross-examined by MR CLARKSON
1049. MR CLARKSON: I just have a couple of questions please, Mr Morris. Outside the Arena on occasions you accept, as I understand it, and you recognise the potential problem?
(Mr Morris) I have seen outside the
Arena and in the City of
1050. That is just not the Arena, but it is in the City of Manchester as well?
(Mr Morris) Yes.
1051. You recognise, I think, in your evidence that there is an issue with illegal street traders?
(Mr Morris) Yes, indeed.
(Mr Morris) I think there are people who are trading on the streets, who are using large constructions, and I think the word which has been used the most is "trolley", which have a great potential for causing obstruction and I have heard evidence here and I have seen evidence in newspapers and on the Internet of them selling shoddy and perhaps dangerous goods. Having said that, the genuine pedlars I know, like Mr Murphy, he walks around with a small box on his chest and it is beyond my wit or wisdom to understand how he is causing anyone more of an obstruction than an ordinary pedestrian like myself. He has not got a big trolley or a construction which he plants on the street and leaves there. He moves around with a small box and sells kites, and he has to move around to get the kites to fly.
1053. Has it been your role to supervise Market Street and the Arena day in, day out to see how pedlars conduct themselves?
(Mr Morris) Of course not.
1054. CHAIRMAN: Mr McGerr, you have the opportunity to come back, if you wish, on Mr Morris.
1055. MR McGERR: I am very tempted, my Lord, but I would like to leave it there.
1056. CHAIRMAN: If not, my colleagues have an opportunity.
Examined by THE COMMITTEE
1057. BARONESS COUSSINS: I am not sure actually that Mr Morris is the right person to answer this question, but in his evidence there have been several references to "street performers", and I would just like to know from somebody whether it is the intention of this Bill or whether it is an unintended consequence of this Bill to catch street performers as well as pedlars and street traders who are abusing their licence or is your reference to street performers completely irrelevant? I just want to be sure that there is not an unintended consequence that we are tripping into here.
1058. MR CLARKSON: It is separate.
(Mr Morris) From my perspective as a witness, in terms of this Bill it is irrelevant, but in terms of the statement I was making about the visual environment, and that is why I introduced it, there are other factors as well. I gave that as another example as well as pedlars of things that make cities interesting to me.
1059. BARONESS COUSSINS: But this Bill will not affect them?
(Mr Morris) Not as far as I am aware, no.
1060. CHAIRMAN: Mr Morris, we are most grateful to you for coming. Thank you very much.
The witness withdrew
1061. CHAIRMAN: Mr McGerr, would you like to invite your second witness.
1062. MR McGERR: Yes, I would like to ask my Petitioner to step forward.
MR DAVID MURPHY, sworn
Examined by MR McGERR
1063. MR McGERR: Could you please tell the Committee who you are and whether you are resident in Manchester.
(Mr Murphy) My name is David Murphy and yes, I am resident
1064. Are you a pedlar with a pedlar's certificate issued under the authority of the Greater Manchester Police?
(Mr Murphy) Yes, I am.
1065. Could you give the Committee a brief description, and no doubt it follows on very much from the items that Mr Clarkson brought to us which was a photocopy, of a pedlar's certificate, so could you briefly describe how that is. Does it include a photograph, for instance?
(Mr Murphy) Yes, my pedlar's certificate does include a photograph which I do laminate, so I do stand out in all weathers. I do laminate that and I do wear it around my neck, so if anybody ever comes up to me, I produce that pedlar's certificate straightaway. When they do come up to me and ask me if I do have a licence, I produce that pedlar's certificate basically straightaway and, in doing that, they can see that I am the person actually on the certificate. On the top of that certificate, it has the registered number and anybody who stops me and wants to see my certificate always takes that number down, so they have a reference of me trading in that street at that particular time that they have actually stopped me.
1066. Thank you very much for that very clear response. Could I just ask you, is an application for a pedlar's certificate a lengthy business or is it an instant giveaway type of situation, albeit that it costs you £12.50?
(Mr Murphy) I have been a pedlar now for
a number of years and I have had a number of pedlar's certificates, seven or
eight certificates now, and each time I have lived at a different address, but
I have always lived in
1067. Again a very clear response to that. So you are quite satisfied in yourself that the main requirement of a pedlar, such as yourself, a person going from place to place, is that you are bona fide, in other words, a person of good faith, and that in fact your process of being screened by the Manchester Police is such that you come out with a clean bill of health and they issue you with a certificate?
(Mr Murphy) Yes, that is correct.
1068. We are not in a situation currently in which this Bill is effective, that is what is being sought by the Promoters, and no doubt you are aware that that is their intention to somewhat limit your activities as a pedlar in the City of Manchester. Is that correct?
(Mr Murphy) Yes, that is right.
1069. So do we not have here a very simple anomaly inasmuch as the City of Manchester Police, having carried out a thorough survey of your bona fides, issue you with a certificate and then you find yourself not being able to, if I can use the phrase, operate in your own home town?
(Mr Murphy) Yes, that would be correct, yes.
1070. Now, this is a rather hypothetical question, please bear with me, but given the fact that you are considered to be a trustworthy and respectable person and that you will find difficulty, should this Bill become an Act, in trading in your own home town or in fact, as it states, going from house to house, you will have to go elsewhere?
(Mr Murphy) Yes, that is correct.
1071. This obviously creates a certain amount of burden upon yourself as there are obviously costs involved, even though, I suppose, on a strict interpretation of the Act, one would have to be on foot and going from town to town by pedestrian means, but could you just answer that question as to whether you would find it a burden?
(Mr Murphy) Yes, I would because I do
travel basically on the tram into
1072. So your first preference as a resident of Manchester is to take your wares on to the streets of Manchester inasmuch as that is your first port of call, if you like?
(Mr Murphy) Yes.
1073. Now, currently that does not seem to be a problem. Have you ever been arrested, for instance, for anything in particular?
(Mr Murphy) No, but, with due respect, I have had the licensing people come up to me when they do check my licence just to make sure that it is in date, so I have never actually been arrested in Manchester, but I have had my pedlar's certificate looked at.
1074. Yes, that sounds all well and good, Mr Murphy, and in fact you can confirm that in your regard the current operation of the Miscellaneous Provisions Act, as it bears on you in the City of Manchester, is appropriate, it allows you to function correctly and within the law within Manchester and that, should you choose, it enables you also to visit other places?
(Mr Murphy) Yes, and, just to verify, I am still actually working in Manchester since they have had the big clear-up operation there where a lot of the new traders have actually gone and they will not return, but myself, I still stand and I still work there in the middle of Manchester.
1075. If I could just pick you up on several points there, and I will have to go through it point by point, but could you just mention this clear-up which you have referred to. What was that?
(Mr Murphy) Basically it just happened on
1076. Further to that, again you have mentioned Market Street and is that an area that you pass through from time to time?
(Mr Murphy) I do not personally work on
that street. I do work on other streets
1077. So just to clarify that again, would it be that if you had a certain product that you felt was appropriate to take through Market Street as a pedlar, you might do so?
(Mr Murphy) Yes, I would pass through
because of the people who are there, but at this moment in time I do not sell
1078. Again just as a point of clarification, do you necessarily see the function of yourself as a pedlar necessarily having to sell and in fact having to sell a certain item, whether it be something you choose or which somebody else tells you to sell? Do you feel compelled in any respect, other than to act within the law as it is, to conform to any particular standards?
(Mr Murphy) I am sorry, could you just repeat that. I must say, I am dyslexic, so if I just ask you to repeat something, it is because of that.
1079. You have mentioned the word "sell", but is there something more than just selling something that you feel you are as a pedlar?
(Mr Murphy) Yes.
1080. You do. Could you give us an idea of what that is, and I will not lead you on this, but I would just like you to give us your summary of how being a pedlar suits you as a person and, as you have mentioned that you are dyslexic, whether or not that does in fact have a bearing on this matter.
(Mr Murphy) My background is that I come from a family of market traders, so basically I have actually worked on the street all my life. I am very, very good at communicating with people, whether they are rich, famous, young, or old. I am very, very good at that and I have found that just by talking to people and by demonstrating products actually on the street, such as the kite, I do not just sell the kite, but actually generate business through bigger companies where we do pro formas and things like that for them. Basically, they come up and say, "Can I have a business card for the product you are actually selling?", so I do not actually just go out and peddle my product, but I actually go out and look for more business. People come up to me and talk to me about the product, so some days I do not actually sell a lot of kites, but yes, I may get an order to go out and produce more kites for a business which could be a very, very big business organisation because people come up to me in the street and enjoy what I do.
1081. Again I will not over-burden you with too complicated a question, so I will break it up into two sections. Mr Morris said that he enjoyed seeing you on the streets of Manchester and I think he saw you in many ways as a very entertaining person and a very informative person, and I think he referred to you as chatting with small children. Are these also matters that you consider to be important aspects of being a pedlar?
(Mr Murphy) Yes, I do enjoy it, it is my life and that is what I have done since I was very, very small. I enjoy being on the street.
1082. Thank you again for being so clear about that. You did mention a particular product and we have heard about that with regard to the other Bill. Obviously there is an economic aspect to this and it is presumably to many people's advantage, so be it, but you also mentioned this other aspect, that presently you choose to sell this particular item, but there may be others. Would it be that, as a pedlar, as you say, sometimes you might not sell anything, but would it be that, as a pedlar, you need the freedom to go about and to enquire of people and to make associations with people, either in general or in particular, in order that you can further your own business as a pedlar?
(Mr Murphy) Yes, that is correct. At the end of the day I would like to brand myself as an entrepreneur, so every day without fail I do look for new products, I do look for new ideas and my ear is to the ground and that is where I am on the street, so yes, I do look for new products all the time and the street is where I look for them.
1083. Thank you very much again for that and, in terms of clarification, you raise a very important point here inasmuch as this Bill seeks to restrict your activities of going from house to house. This raises a number of questions and the first one -----
1084. MR CLARKSON: Could you say that again please.
1085. CHAIRMAN: I think the phrase that Mr Clarkson heard was that it restricts a pedlar going from house to house and, I must say, I think the Committee would be surprised to learn that, but perhaps that is something that you could ask the witness if he feels that to be true.
1086. MR McGERR: Yes, indeed, my Lord. My question then to you, Mr Murphy, is: what is your understanding of the purpose of this Bill that is before you which of course goes to the very issue of why you are against it? Is there some sort of alteration being made in how you see yourself as being a pedlar?
(Mr Murphy) I am here today for myself as
a pedlar in the City of
1087. Thank you for a very personal opinion, Mr Murphy. Again, I know you have difficulty because of your dyslexia but have you been able to be made aware, let us say, of the generality of this Bill and also anything in particular about it that concerns you?
(Mr Murphy) I have but it has taken a little bit of understanding. By speaking to other people like yourself and Mr Campbell-Lloyd, that is where I have picked up on the information. Myself, I must say, I am not so clear on the legality side of what is going on at the moment.
1088. That is quite understandable. Might I ask you a supplementary question to that. Although you mentioned myself and Mr Campbell-Lloyd, were we the people who gave you notice of the intention of Manchester City Council to introduce a bill to change the definition of a pedlar in Manchester?
(Mr Murphy) No, obviously the licensers brought my attention to it. The guys that came round issuing the licences said there is a bill going through. That is when I started doing a little bit of homework; albeit very limited.
1089. Were you able to draw on any friends, associates, family members to help you in your understanding of what was being proposed?
(Mr Murphy) Yes, my wife has been very good and obviously yourselves. Just through working on the street, I get to know different people, and people put me in touch with different people.
1090. I think it might be helpful to the Committee, because they may be puzzled as to why there is any relationship between us at all, how is it that you were aware of my existence if I might ask you that question?
(Mr Murphy) I basically got to know somebody else who then put me in touch with you.
1091. My Lords, I can confirm that. That is my understanding. I will move on from that but I just wanted to clarify that because that might have been a question in everyone's mind. Without going into the direct question of whether or not I have been helpful to you, I would still like to ask you, in terms of what you understand of the Bill, how is it that you assess the impact that this Bill will have on you as a pedlar in Manchester? How will it alter your view of yourself, if you like, as a pedlar?
(Mr Murphy) If the Bill goes through, where there is going to be entertainment, where there are going to be markets which are held in the middle of Manchester, where I do like to stand, they are not going to be held outside the city centre. So, yes, it is going to affect me a lot. I am basically going to have to go to a different city if this goes through.
1092. Thank you again for giving us that information. There is a word there you used "stand" and I am sure you are going to be questioned further on that. Can we have some idea of how you view the Pedlar's Act as it is at the moment, as it is stated in the (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act - which is the Act, I believe you may understand, that covers your certificate. How is it that you view the pedlar in terms of that legislation?
(Mr Murphy) I think I understand the
question. Yes, I do travel to
1093. MR McGERR: It certainly gives us an idea of what your activity is. It is one of moving about. Then we come to this problem of you using the word "stand". How does that come about, as a pedlar? How is it that you find yourself standing? You have given us the example of how you are moving about, going into Manchester ---
1094. CHAIRMAN: It is the contradiction with the idea of standing.
(Mr Murphy) Yes, I do go to demonstrate my goods there, so I do keep moving around. At the moment, I do fly a kite. I have flown a kite for eight years. If anybody in this room today can stand still and fly a kite, well they are pretty good.
1095. MR McGERR: So there is some movement. It is the possibility that at some point you feel, let us say, that resting in any particular position for a length of time is found to be appropriate, and you do not see that in contradiction with existing legislation.
(Mr Murphy) No, because I can demonstrate that product to a couple of people. They want to see exactly how it works. Yes, I may stand there and demonstrate that product to them.
1096. You are not, let us say, driving the sale but you are being conditioned by your customers' requirements on you.
(Mr Murphy) Yes, that is correct.
1097. To recapitulate, Mr Murphy, even though you have mentioned standing and now you have mentioned a couple more people who are interested in your goods, you have not in fact been placed under any charge or regulation or arrested. You have not been brought to book on this one.
(Mr Murphy) No.
1098. Thank you for that. We have heard from the police. Are you aware of a strong police presence in Manchester?
(Mr Murphy) Yes, there is a strong presence.
1099. Do you think this is sufficient for public safety and public order?
(Mr Murphy) I do not really know. I do not know how to answer that question. There are police there. Yes, I do see police. There are police who I know there who do get on to me.
1100. Within Manchester you as a pedlar feel safe and secure and enabled to carry on your activities of searching out customers and maybe informing passers-by of where to go and so on.
(Mr Murphy) Yes, that is correct.
1101. If we could take ourselves away from the centre of Manchester slightly, there is this phrase in the Bill which is that you are a pedlar. This Bill does not prevent you from being a pedlar, but your activities are those by means of visits from house to house.
(Mr Murphy) Yes.
1102. As a pedlar, I think you have mentioned this product which has been mentioned before, a kite. Could I ask you if there might be some other sort of goods you would be taking around by means of visits from house to house.
(Mr Murphy) I cannot at this moment in time.
1103. But there could be.
(Mr Murphy) Yes, there could be.
1104. Here we are again with hypotheticals. At some point in the future, there may be some item which requires you carrying it about. These are pedlars, going by means of visits from house to house. How would it strike you, in terms of what you should do next, if you like, either stepping from your house to go to another house or in fact being at another house and then going to yet another house? How would you be going from those two positions, from house to house?
(Mr Murphy) I would be walking.
1105. Would you be a pedlar in that situation?
(Mr Murphy) Absolutely.
1106. Would you feel quite safe and secure in all areas of Manchester in that?
(Mr Murphy) Not every area, no.
1107. As a pedlar going by means of visits from house to house, would you find that on an everyday basis as the most effective way of displaying your goods?
(Mr Murphy) No, not at all.
1108. This Bill would limit you as a pedlar, even though it states that you may go about your business of being a pedlar by means of visits from house to house.
(Mr Murphy) Yes, I feel I would be putting people under pressure by knocking on people's doors and asking if they want to buy a product, instead of me standing in the city centre and people coming up to me.
1109. CHAIRMAN: Given the current state of play, where most of us would understand the idea of going from house to house is, indeed, probably to knock on a door and encourage people to say "I have these wares". As I understand the proposed Bill, it does not alter that. You feel in some way that you might lose out because of the proposed Bill. I am not quite sure I understand why.
(Mr Murphy) It is very hard to explain. If I was selling balloons and I had the balloons above my head, they were all blown up for the day, and I went to knock at number 23 and then I had to go and knock at number 25 next door, I would have to walk out of that gate, and my understanding, if this is correct, is that if I walked out of that gate I would be on the public highway, and on the pubic highway I could be arrested for street trading because I have not put my goods away. I have still got them above my head. I do not know if that is correct.
1110. I am no legal expert, but I would have thought you are going from house to house.
(Mr Murphy) But then I am on a highway or a pavement - where I could not stand still, if I did stand still, or I did not have a pedlar's certificate with me.
1111. CHAIRMAN: I understand your worry. Maybe Mr Clarkson at a later time would clarify for my understanding whether such an activity would fall under the Bill. I am sorry, Mr McGerr, I interrupted.
1112. MR McGERR: Every clarification is needed. Perhaps I might take that up as a particular point. I referred to the house to house situation outside of the City of Manchester. Could I ask you what those words "house to house" mean to you?
1113. CHAIRMAN: I think Mr Murphy has just been very clear about what his anxiety is.
1114. MR McGERR: I would like to ask Mr Murphy in another sense. Is your understanding of a house as a domicile, where people live, and somewhat separate to another type of place such as a shop or Manchester Arena.
1115. CHAIRMAN: Before you answer that, Mr Murphy, unless I am gravely mistaken about my understanding of the situation so far, I do not see that the activity of a pedlar going from house to house is threatened, therefore, to begin to explore the definition of that part of the law as refers to "a house" is tangential, to say the least, to that which we are looking at today.
1116. MR McGERR: My supplementary question, which bears directly on the Bill - and I am sure Mr Clarkson will bring this forward as a point of clarification - is that the action of being a pedlar by means of visits from house to house will be limited in certain areas which are governed by street trading regulations.
1117. CHAIRMAN: Would you mind awfully if I invited Mr Clarkson to address us I think the Committee is in need of some clarification.
1118. MR CLARKSON: My Lord, this is more confusion. In the City of Manchester (the centre of Manchester which is called the city) Mr Murphy is constrained if the Bill goes into law. He will only be able to trade as a pedlar by means of visits from house to house. That is in the City of Manchester. Outside the City of Manchester in Greater Manchester, he is completely as he is now. There is no change.
1119. CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Mr McGerr, I am sorry to have interrupted you.
1120. MR McGERR: Mr Clarkson has used the word "confusion". Mr Murphy, that is previously why you may be petitioning against this particular Bill. Is that correct, that you are confused about the meaning of the wording of being a pedlar by means of visits from house to house. In that particular phrase, if we ignore the house to house parts, how would you be making those visits?
(Mr Murphy) On foot.
1121. Further to that, is it correct, in saying the City of Manchester, that you will be constrained in making those visits from house to house in the City of Manchester because there are no houses in the centre of Manchester.
(Mr Murphy) Correct. There are apartments.
1122. CHAIRMAN: Mr McGerr, I think Mr Murphy is beginning to repeat answers. Perhaps I can ask you, Mr Murphy: about this particular area, is there any anxiety you have beyond that which you have already told the Committee and which you have told us very well? Is there anything else on this particular area that you want to say?
(Mr Murphy) No, there is not.
1123. CHAIRMAN: In that case, Mr McGerr, it would be useful to pass onto other aspects that you wish to draw out of Mr Murphy's evidence.
1124. MR McGERR: Thank you, my Lord. We have talked about Market Street. That is in the centre of Manchester. It is in a trading area, is it not?
(Mr Murphy) It is.
1125. Would you consider that your activity as a pedlar within the commercial centre of Manchester has a damaging effect on retail properties that are established in the commercial centre of Manchester.
(Mr Murphy) Could you repeat that?
1126. As a pedlar, as has been offered in evidence today, do you consider you damage the retail potential of shopkeepers in the centre of Manchester?
(Mr Murphy) No, I do not.
1127. As a pedlar do you consider that you damage the reputation of the City of Manchester with regard to public order or public safety?
(Mr Murphy) No, I do not. I hope I bring a lot of entertainment to
1128. As a pedlar, do you consider that you do bring to the centre of Manchester, as you have stated, extra benefits, not necessarily to do with matters of selling but public information and public association?
(Mr Murphy) Yes. I would be quite rich if I had a penny for
every time somebody asked me the way to the toilet or the way to the
library. I might be better doing that,
with an information badge on my back, some days. A lot of people do come up, because they see
I am stood there or pedalling through
1129. Do you consider your certificate of good faith also acts in the general interest?
(Mr Murphy) Yes, I do.
1130. Without drawing any further problem from stating it, would you consider that your activities going by means of visits from house to house would be greatly improved in terms of you being able to give a benefit to the people of Manchester with regard to public information and education and entertainment?
(Mr Murphy) No, I do not think so.
1131. You might feel that is a limitation on the aspects of your life as a pedlar.
(Mr Murphy) Yes, a big limitation.
1132. I will not keep you much longer, Mr Murphy. Thank you for your patience. These areas that have been talked about of the arenas. As a citizen of Manchester, are you aware that these arenas draw large crowds?
(Mr Murphy) Yes. They are arenas. People do go there to watch big events. There is a crowd of 20,000, I think. I am not sure. I have never traded outside these events.
1133. That is a very interesting comment. Would you consider yourself to be more of a problem than these large crowds of people gathering outside these arenas?
(Mr Murphy) I am sorry.
1134. Do you consider that you, as a pedlar, require extra legislation in order to control your activities over and above those large crowds that gather outside these arenas?
(Mr Murphy) Not at all.
1135. You proportionately are less of a problem than the large crowds gathering outside these arenas.
(Mr Murphy) No matter who is in
1136. The very words "commercial activity" does imply a certain attraction towards visitors and gathering of crowds. It is not directly a pedlar issue, but Lady Coussins has mentioned it. Do you notice that street performers draw large crowds?
(Mr Murphy) They do draw large crowds.
1137. Do street performers draw larger crowds than yourself?
(Mr Murphy) Yes.
1138. CHAIRMAN: I really think this is irrelevant. We have not talked about street performers. Interesting though it is ---
1139. MR McGERR: I just mentioned it because of Lady Coussins inquiry. Thank you very much, Mr Murphy. I appreciate your comments today.
Cross-examined by MR CLARKSON
1140. Mr Murphy, where do you live?
(Mr Murphy) Just outside
(Mr Murphy) In Altrincham.
1142. In Cheshire?
(Mr Murphy) Yes, that is correct. Well, they have changed the postcode. They have just changed it. It did come under
1143. Is your address Trafford?
(Mr Murphy) It is, yes.
1144. And Trafford is one of the components of the Greater Manchester areas, is it?
(Mr Murphy) Correct.
1145. Which of those do you trade in?
(Mr Murphy) I do trade in Altrincham town
centre, which is the town centre where I live.
I do not trade in any other one except
1146. You trade in Altrincham and Manchester city centre.
(Mr Murphy) Yes.
1147. There is, nevertheless, is there not, a number of other centres in Manchester. There are nine others.
(Mr Murphy) Correct.
1148. Not least, not far from where you are, the Trafford Centre, which is one of the largest in England.
(Mr Murphy) I would definitely be locked up if I traded in the Trafford Centre, believe you me.
(Mr Murphy) Because it is private ground and I would need to get a licence and I do not think I could afford the £700 to £1,000 a week to stand outside.
1150. Is that because there is a concern about obstruction and presentation at the Trafford Centre?
(Mr Murphy) No, not at all. They just do not allow people. I have approached them because they do have events, fireworks and things like that, and I have stood outside the Trafford Centre. Fortunately, I did not have to pay anything because they invited me to the Trafford Centre to sell my product.
1151. That is one example and there are, as we have agreed, centres throughout Greater Manchester to which you could resort. Do you agree?
(Mr Murphy) Yes, that is true.
1152. You understand, do you not, that this Bill does not stop you doing that?
(Mr Murphy) Correct.
1153. Have you always understood that or is it only today that you have understood that?
(Mr Murphy) Yes. There are small towns, but you have to
realise I have been on the street all my life and these smaller towns have been
absolutely taken in. These smaller towns
are not as busy as they used to be, such as Urmston. The Trafford centre has taken a lot of
footfall from Urmston town centre.
Places such as
1154. Was it your understanding that you could only trade as a pedlar door to door in those other areas?
(Mr Murphy) No. I did know I could go and trade on the streets there.
1155. You have always understood that, have you?
(Mr Murphy) Yes.
1156. You told us you went to Edinburgh. What did you do by way of licence when you went to Edinburgh?
(Mr Murphy) I worked under my pedlar's certificate.
1157. Were you moved on?
(Mr Murphy) Yes, I was. The first time I went up there, I was moved on.
(Mr Murphy) Because they did not really understand the pedlar's certificate, the police there.
1159. Was it because you were standing still?
(Mr Murphy) Not at all, no. The policeman actually said to me he did not
1160. I do not think I will pass any comment in present company.
(Mr Murphy) He was a nice policeman. He actually took that back and he let me out of the van in the end.
1161. Do you know Mr Scragg?
(Mr Murphy) I do, yes.
1162. He knows you and I think you may have met on the streets of the City of Manchester.
(Mr Murphy) That is correct. I did not know his first name but I did know him as Mr Scragg.
1163. He tells that you have been seen stationary and have been asked to move on and have moved on. Is that fair?
(Mr Murphy) Correct, yes.
1164. It would not be correct to say, would it, that you always move about as a pedlar?
(Mr Murphy) Yes, I do move about.
1165. But we have just agreed that he has asked you to move on occasionally.
(Mr Murphy) Yes. That is when I am in the
1166. Do you understand also, following on from that, that if ten or 20 pedlars stood still to demonstrate their product there could be an issue. Do you understand that?
(Mr Murphy) I do understand that. I think, though, if ten or 20 people are
stood still, with the footfall on
1167. Do you understand that, if there was a high footfall, others may have a different view?
(Mr Murphy) Absolutely and I can see
where you are coming from, Mr Clarkson.
With the carts and the trolleys, they are causing an obstruction on the
1168. You are cross-examining yourself, because I am going to go to that in my very next point. Thank you. If you add to those the people who are purporting to be pedlars but acting as we see in the photographs, that could also cause problems.
(Mr Murphy) Yes, they do cause a problem.
1169. If you combine those or have them each singly, they are capable of creating a problem. Do you agree?
(Mr Murphy) Yes.
1170. Where else do you trade in the country? Do you go all over the country?
(Mr Murphy) I do actually. I do travel.
Since I left here last week, I have travelled to
1171. You trade all over, save for those six, seven or eight places that have Acts of Parliament.
(Mr Murphy) Correct.
1172. Your product is the same product as that promoted by the Bournemouth petitioners. Is that right?
(Mr Murphy) Correct.
1173. You are travelling the country. How often do you go to Oxford, say?
(Mr Murphy) It depends entirely on the weather and the time of the year.
1174. Keep going. How often?
(Mr Murphy) I may travel there once a month. I may travel there three times a month. It depends exactly on what the weather is going to be like. I basically work out my route, where I am going to go, over the next two to three weeks.
1175. So you have a three-weekly circuit, is that it?
(Mr Murphy) No, not a circuit. Because of weather conditions, I do travel up and down the country.
1176. Tell us how many weeks of the year you are away from Manchester, from where you live.
(Mr Murphy) Where I live?
1177. Yes, how many weeks are you away from Greater Manchester?
(Mr Murphy) It depends. Some weeks I am away a week. If I do the Edinburgh Festival I am away for four weeks.
1178. So it is only those weeks?
(Mr Murphy) Correct.
1179. Do you stay away when you to Oxford?
(Mr Murphy) Yes, I do.
1180. Do you go to the east of the country?
(Mr Murphy) I do.
1181. Do you stay away when you go there?
(Mr Murphy) Yes.
1182. Do you go to the south east and the south west?
(Mr Murphy) I do. Sometimes I travel back. It depends what kind of day I have had.
1183. So how many days a year do you spend in the central City of Manchester?
(Mr Murphy) Off the top of my head I could not tell you but if we added the days up maybe two months.
1184. I am not going to ask you about profit and loss but if you are doing that it is worth your while, is it not?
(Mr Murphy) To stand in
(Mr Murphy) Absolutely.
1186. And if the Bill passes into law you will have to form a judgment as to whether it is worth your while to ask Manchester City Council for some sort of temporary licence that enables you to operate for, say, two months of the year. Do you agree?
(Mr Murphy) I would do but it would give me only trading like Mr Scragg said this morning, where they scrutinise the product, where I could stand, when I could stand, so I look at trading in the middle of Manchester and if it is a sunny day I will go and trade in Manchester because I have got that to go and do. Mr Scragg could give me a pitch and it might rain for three weeks. I basically cannot work on that. I have a wife and family to feed.
1187. If it rains it rains elsewhere, does it not, as well?
(Mr Murphy) Oh, no. I was in
1188. We are getting into a tense area where it rains in Manchester and it does not rain in Glasgow. But you see the point, Mr Murphy?
(Mr Murphy) I do, yes.
1189. The system as we see it is trying to assist the likes of you by giving you the opportunity to apply for a temporary licence and you are saying you would not because of the weather. Is that right?
(Mr Murphy) No, not at all. I would apply for a licence but my only thing is, my children's children. If we did that and I had to apply for a licence in every town to which I go it would cost me an absolute fortune and I would soon be losing a lot of money because those days, unfortunately, when the weather is not good enough for me to trade I would not be able to trade.
1190. Let us just stick with you and not your children's children. We are only concerned with the Manchester City Council Bill; correct?
(Mr Murphy) Yes.
1191. And you say that you are a regular visitor for trade to the city centre.
(Mr Murphy) That is correct, yes.
1192. And what you have to decide is whether in due course it is worth applying for a licence.
(Mr Murphy) Correct.
1193. MR CLARKSON: That is all I have. Thank you, my Lord.
1194. CHAIRMAN: Mr McGerr, you have the opportunity to come back. If not, can I thank you very much indeed, Mr Murphy.
The witness withdrew
1195. Now, Mr McGerr, do you intend to invite any other witnesses?
1196. MR McGERR: No, my Lord.
1197. CHAIRMAN: Are you okay to begin your summing up, your concluding remarks?
1198. MR McGERR: Yes, I could attempt to do that. Could I pass around a bundle? (Same handed)
1199. CHAIRMAN: Again, without in any way wishing to inhibit you, I see a bundle before me. I would be very grateful if you could be succinct and come to the point.
1200. MR McGERR: Absolutely, my Lord.
1201. CHAIRMAN: And, in the same way as I advised Mr Campbell-Lloyd, if there are practical proposals you have in terms of amendments, or indeed in terms of undertakings that you might like to require of the Promoters, it would be most helpful to the Committee if you were to mention those at an early stage. May I also just say generally to everyone here that it is my intention to finish today. I think it only right and proper that we attempt to do so, and I would be very grateful if everyone could help us in that cause. Mr McGerr?
1202. MR McGERR: Thank you, my Lord. If I could draw your attention to my bundle, not in complete detail but there are some loose leaves that have been added to it and it is four pages stapled together which are A, B, C and D. Then there are three other pages, E and F and G. The A, B, C, D pages are a summary of Mr Morris's comments which he emailed me. The other documents are, if you like, the historic background from my point of view of the progress of these Acts, and I am aware of the fact that there has been comment made, in fact again today by Mr Clarkson, that there is no intention here in the Manchester Bill to alter existing law. I would like it to be a matter of record that I consider that to be absolutely the case, that there is an intention to -----
1203. CHAIRMAN: That there is no intention?
1204. MR McGERR: I beg your pardon?
1205. CHAIRMAN: That there is or that there is not?
1206. MR McGERR: Yes.
1207. CHAIRMAN: That there is no intention?
1208. MR McGERR: Yes.
1209. MR CLARKSON: There certainly is, my Lord. That is why we are here.
1210. MR McGERR: Thank you, Mr Clarkson, and that this alteration has drawn in evidence on matters of preceding legislations which stem from the original legislation of the Westminster Bill that became the Act that put in place these words "house to house" in whatever form they are used as a matter of text. Therefore, I do feel obliged to refer to that, but very much in passing. However, I do draw your attention, as Mr Murphy, the Petitioner, has already mentioned in evidence, to the information that he became aware of me as somebody who has followed the progress, if you like, of pedlar legislation over the years. Documents E and F, one of which is dated May 1999 and the other one is slightly more recent, February 2006, albeit they do not bear directly on the Bournemouth Bill, do raise matters that have been discussed here today. Letter E, which is a letter to George Howarth, when he was the Under-Secretary at the Home Department, summarises, not a judgment because it resulted in a conditional discharge, but a case heard before the magistrates' court in Horseferry Road. Throughout a lengthy session (it took the whole day) various points were raised. This was prior to the Westminster Bill. There were barristers in the court making notes preparatory to the Westminster Bill, so several issues were covered. It might be a matter of conjecture as to why there was such clear exposition of the Pedlars Act 1871 and the Miscellaneous Provisions Act, although, as it was at the time of the London (Local Authorities) Act the various elements were not entered into law. You have asked me whether or not I would wish to --- I cannot remember the exact phrase.
1211. CHAIRMAN: Yes. It is whether there are any amendments, possibly of the kind that featured in the Bournemouth consideration which Mr Campbell-Lloyd usefully suggested, or indeed any undertakings that you might ask us to require of the Promoters.
1212. MR McGERR: Thank you very much, my Lord. That is exactly the point. I have joined myself with Mr Campbell-Lloyd with regard to the Bournemouth Bill, as indeed Mr Clarkson has done in various summaries and matters of evidence where Manchester and Bournemouth are virtually spoken of as one and the same thing.
1213. As far as the undertaking is concerned, I would wish to state personally, and may I also offer that suggestion to Mr Campbell-Lloyd, that I would be more than willing to act further on this issue should it be that the Committee considers that further consultation is required and that, on the basis of this Bill as it stands in the matter of clause 5, clause 5 be struck out. However, should that not be the case, that the actual wording of clause 5 be altered to enable a pedlar to act within the current legislations, which are the Pedlars Act and the Miscellaneous Provisions Act. I refer in this case to my letter to George Howarth seeking clarification that a pedlar's actions are in law stated that he exposes his goods for sale and in the summary of the particular magistrates he may only take a few moments or a longer period of time, as I think I brought forward through my cross-examination of Mr Murphy. There are times when a pedlar is in fact under the whim of the customer, if you like, rather than having to progress in a particular direction on his own. The pedlar's actions include various activities such as useful demonstration and the action of going through the street is a matter of going from house to house and it is not a matter of clarification that I have heard about how a pedlar will be treated. If I may venture to say, sir, it is somewhat of an aspiration that a pedlar will not be prosecuted for proceeding from house to house or by means of visits from house to house. Therefore, in a nutshell I consider the Bill to be textually ambiguous and also substantively unworkable.
1214. CHAIRMAN: Just to be helpful, I think what you are saying to the Committee is that you share the viewpoint expressed by the Bournemouth Petitioners.
1215. MR McGERR: Yes, I do, my Lord.
1216. CHAIRMAN: When I said about an undertaking I was not suggesting that you make an undertaking. It was, were the Bill to be allowed to proceed by the Committee, whether there was an undertaking that you might ask us to ask the Promoters, as it were. Do you see?
1217. MR McGERR: I am afraid I have to fall back on the very simple request that clause 5 be struck.
1218. CHAIRMAN: Yes, that is an amendment.
1219. MR McGERR: Other than that I leave it at that point.
1220. CHAIRMAN: That is very helpful.
1221. MR McGERR: As I think I mentioned at the outset, there is a body of evidence that has been offered here today and it has been put forward by the Promoters, Mr Clarkson, and also there have been various other matters of evidence raised by the Petitioners and the witnesses.
1222. It is my submission that without full exploration of the matter of how a pedlar goes this Bill is awkward. The reason why the Petitioner has raised issues of human rights, which have been referred to earlier on today, is that there is serious interference with his human rights. As a matter of locus, when we asked to petition this it was a matter of importance that we looked towards the correct procedures, and item 27 with regard to Standing Orders for the Joint Committee on Human Rights, for instance, does raise several key issues: the importance of whether or not there is serious interference, whether there is strong justification, how many people are affected and the vulnerability involved. The locus, as far as this House is concerned, is that the Petitioner literally has location. Mr Murphy, albeit he is at Altrincham, is close by Manchester and probably considers himself a Mancunian, and within the other necessary locus is the fact that the Petitioner is involved in matters of amenity and recreation with regard to the City of Manchester. We are not here discussing simply a matter of trade.
1223. I would just like to give a general overview of how I see the evidence that has been brought to the House, and again I hesitate to be questioning the relevance and so on; that is not for me to decide, but I do draw attention to the Petitioner's comment in evidence that he finds the Bill as written to be confusing. I think the Petitioner will find that his easy compliance with the Bill as written causes him difficulties and, whilst the Joint Committee may well have found that the human rights issues are not affected in their entirety, there are the important issues of the human rights of the Petitioner being affected in many important ways.
1224. I know, my Lord, that you questioned my relevance of raising the issue of seizure and forfeiture. This indeed is in the Bill and has not really been explored. Again, speaking on behalf of the Petitioner (and it is a matter of concern that he raised with me), say that, given the fact that in evidence he has spoken towards his compliance with law and order, with matters of public safety, with regard to his approach to people on the street and his general approach to life, I suppose, and his bona fides as far as his certificate, he is somewhat confused by the operation of this Bill should it become an Act, and again the relevance of previous legislations, including Westminster, has to a certain extent been marginalised. I would suggest, my Lords, that the presence of pedlars here before you today is a matter of the significance that pedlars find with regard to this particular Bill. That it should be this particular Bill, and again I have to include Bournemouth, is, if you like, a matter of circumstance inasmuch as we are severally joined together, although also independent of each other, and that essentially is the matter of how, if you like, good law is made.
1225. I think Mr Campbell-Lloyd has raised a point in his summation that, whilst various matters of human rights have to be considered in terms of the impact on an amount of people and how serious the interference is with their liberty, if you like, there has not been, even in the evidence that has been brought before you today, both in Bournemouth and in Manchester, a conclusive amount of evidence in terms of inquiries made and differentiations made between who is a genuine pedlar, what makes a genuine pedlar, who has been prosecuted amongst people who can be considered to be genuine pedlars, and I draw to your attention Mr Murphy's comment that whilst he has been moved on he has not been prosecuted, so one can assume this person is a genuine pedlar. There have been other instances again, and I know I am going back to Westminster, where pedlars have attempted to find clarification in the law as to what is the meaning of those words "house to house" in terms of the fact that they are being prosecuted for having failed to go house to house, and that clarification has not emerged through any jurisdiction, through any legal rulings. That is yet to come, and, as we have said, pedlars will find it extremely difficult to move a matter through from a magistrates' court to a higher court, and indeed even to judicial review.
1226. I am also very aware of the fact, as your Lordship has mentioned, that in this House you do make the rules and I am also aware that in all matters of law Parliament is supreme and I certainly do accept that to contest the will of Parliament in a court of law is absolutely not allowable. Nonetheless, it has not been entered in evidence but in the one instance where a pedlar has been before a Committee for scrutiny, if I may say so, my learned friend, Mr Clarkson, successfully managed to bring to the attention of the Committee that the pedlar - and I am speaking here with regard to the London (Local Authorities) Act 2003 - was going throughout a town and seemed to have more concern with the fact that people who were illegal street traders in London and/or where he comes from, which is York, were members of societies other than the European Union. The rest of the Bill was to do with parks matters and dogs.
1227. The other pedlar that did not attend, but his legal representative did, was with regard to Liverpool. Liverpool has a similarity inasmuch as Manchester also has large arenas. Liverpool has a football ground, so does Manchester, and the Manchester Evening News arena. These places draw large crowds, as we have heard, but also, as we have heard, and again not substantiated through evidence by the Greater Manchester Police or the council official, there is not a body of evidence that suggests successful prosecution of pedlars in those particular locations. In the case of Liverpool the person was prepared to approach the council for a street trader's licence to be able to operate outside the Liverpool ground.
1228. The street trader's licence is a different form of regulation to that for a pedlar. A pedlar is controlled by overall legislation, the national legislation, which indeed includes the Pedlars Act. On any of those matters a pedlar can be brought before the justices and prosecuted. The question has been brought up, again not by myself but by Mr Clarkson and various other members, and I made the mistake today of identifying Mr Lee, but certainly both in Bournemouth and today that the insufficiency of fines levied on pedlars has been considered to be justification enough to infringe human rights and also, if this Bill does proceed, to give the pedlar an a priori status for being a criminal. I say that, and again I am going back to seizure and forfeiture, because in the actual details of seizure and forfeiture, even though it be that a pedlar is fully compliant, and in the case of my Petitioner who is, despite dyslexia, fairly well aware of his address, his name and so on, there is the possibility that a pedlar may be confused in a variety of circumstances and is unable to supply the correct information. He is then handed a certificate which becomes an enforceable document. In fact, that is where the word has been changed from "document" to "certificate", and within the terms of seizure and forfeiture he has to prove various things. Should it be that the seizure and forfeiture are inappropriate, as I say, then it is really up to the pedlar to seek restitution of his goods, whether or not there is restitution of his way of life, his peaceful enjoyment of his family and home and friends, all of whom under seizure and forfeiture can be interviewed as they are in fact associated with an action which has been deemed to be illegal.
1229. We still have this matter, which I leave with your Lordships, about how it is that a pedlar will go about being a pedlar by means of visits of only from house to house. We still have not had clarification either in the centre of Bournemouth or in the centre of Manchester as to whether in fact there is such a thing as a house. The only case in law that we can be dependent on is that of Westminster; certainly that is what we rely on inasmuch as we have known evidence of that, and in which case the magistracy ruled it inadmissible and the defendant was ordered to sit down, so we still do not have clarification. It was not able to go forward to a further court, as we heard in Bournemouth, because, as Mr Alexander Campbell-Lloyd said, his appeal was ruled frivolous.
1230. There are complications attached to this Bill. I do thoroughly recommend the amendment put forward by Mr Robert Campbell-Lloyd that a more simple description which more clearly defines who a pedlar is and what a pedlar does and how a pedlar should be is a more useful and effective way of introducing a local Act, which again, in my understanding of local Acts, is there to enable a better extension of existing law, which is the Miscellaneous Provisions Act in this case, as has been written into the Bill. However, the deletion of several aspects of Miscellaneous Provisions does in fact leave us only with this description of "by means of visits from house to house". It then throws the onus of proof, which I believe is referred to as the reverse burden, upon the pedlar to establish that his activity was indeed that of being a pedlar by means of visits from house to house. My suggestion to you, my Lords, based on our experience, again on precedent of case law, is that in going from house to house, albeit that it is in the centre of Manchester, or indeed perhaps even not in the centre of Manchester, in perhaps an outlying area, that activity will be enough for that pedlar to have the goods seized and forfeited perhaps, and certainly, as I said to you, under human rights his way of life severely infringed. I leave you with that, my Lord, and thank you for your attention.
1231. CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much, Mr McGerr. Now the opportunity comes to Mr Clarkson to sum up on both the Bills.
1232. MR CLARKSON: My Lords, anticipating that I would be addressing you at the end of the day, I have reduced the law to two sheets of A4 just so that you have a reference document as to how we put it, and I will have that circulated (same handed).
1233. My Lords, I will just take it through fairly quickly if that suits. The contentious issue is the introduction of a qualification of the exemption. Clause 5 of both Bills changes the definition of a pedlar in the particular circumstances of the Miscellaneous Provisions Act to confine it to a person carrying out trading as a pedlar only by means of visits from house to house.
1234. My Lords, there is no difficulty with that. If the pedlar is trading by visits from house to house then the exemption continues; if the pedlar is trading in the street it does not. My Lord, we had the canard again just now of introducing a concern about interpretation of this in areas other than Manchester city centre. My Lords, I emphasise it yet again, exactly the same regime continues outwith Manchester city centre, the area of the Bill in Greater Manchester, as is current. I put that to Mr Murphy and Mr Murphy understood that.
1235. The circumstances of the 1982 Act need identifying. It deals with street trading in particular locations, not generally. A council may designate any street a prohibited street, a licence street or a consent street after consultation. The controls then will apply to those streets, and only those streets. In the prohibited streets, no street trading may take place at all, subject to the exemptions in the Act. In the other designated streets, no street trading shall take place except under licence or consent, again subject to the exemptions in the Act. The Bills mean a pedlar may trade in those other designed streets by licence or consent, or (in the prohibited streets as well as those other designated streets) a pedlar may trade by means of visit from house to house without the need to obtain a licence or consent. As I have just said, a pedlar will continue to be able to trade as currently in all other areas. A licence is to be granted subject to qualification unless: there is not enough space; there are already enough traders trading in the street from shops or otherwise in the goods in which the applicant desires to trade; similarly there may not be a grant if the licensee will not operate on enough days; or where there has been misconduct et cetera; and a street trading licence shall specify the times and locations as principal terms and may have conditions as to its form, et cetera. It will last for a year and there is an appeal process. My Lords, we went through that in some detail with the witness this morning and I do not rehearse it any further now.
1236. A street trading consent for a "consent" street is less formalised. An applicant must qualify as over 17. There may be conditions addressing obstruction, danger, nuisance or annoyance. There may be conditions as to vehicles, locations and times. The consent lasts for a year.
1237. If the Bills were passed, no street trading would be authorised by a pedlar's certificate in a prohibited street save where the pedlar is visiting from house to house. A pedlar would be able to do the same in licensed and consent streets, or he could apply for a licence or consent in the particular location. Elsewhere he would be unconstrained.
1238. It is against the background of that limited control that the bass of the Petitions is to be examined.
1239. My Lords, can I turn first to Bournemouth. The Committee can be confident that what is being asked of the Committee is not breaking new ground. This has been looked at by Parliament on a number of occasions. The Acts are Westminster, Newcastle, Medway, London Local Authorities, Maidstone, Liverpool and Leicester. Parliament has considered that legislation in this form is appropriate and proportionate, therefore it operates in a number of locations.
1240. The Promoters submit that they are entitled to look at what the Petition is seeking and invite the Committee to do the same. Looking at Mr Campbell-Lloyd's Petition, he does not represent a trade organisation, he is one Petitioner coming from a broader commercial perspective or perhaps finding an opportunity in that pedlars present an unconstrained vehicle for the selling of small kites. Balance against that, if you would, the evidence of Mr Smith for Bournemouth and he identified, and you have it in your yellow folder, I believe, the area that stretches from the centre of the town to the seafront on map one. There are consent streets and there street trading is permitted. They have problems, he told us, with street trading coming in and street trading under pedlar's licence and, as you were told by him, £12.25 is the cost for that certificate. That takes place in the same areas to which visitors gravitate. There are issues, as you were told, as to obstruction and quality. He produced the research material of checking people who were trading in the town centre. They were present there for a long time, some refused to move, some treat fines as a business expense. It was even put in cross-examination that the recorded time showing the gaps meant that they have moved and shows how difficult it is when that sort of point is made to prosecute. The costs were touched on: £1,000-plus officer time met by a magistrate's court award of some £75 cost. It is very difficult to bring home obstruction prosecutions or that a person was not trading as a pedlar. Why? Because of this difficulty of identifying whether or not they are moving, how long they are stationary. You had a letter, my Lords, from the police which told how it was issues as to prioritisation and how the police, indeed, were getting criticism from retailers and businesses for not doing enough.
1241. Bournemouth has alternatives: Boscombe Open Air Market, a very popular and regular market, we were told. You were given evidence in response to Lord Boyd from Mr Smith that in Kent where there is legislation, the legislation is working. To gainsay that, the Petitioner called two witnesses who were directed to the point. Mr Sirena, who disarmingly recognised the problem, told us that for the past three years he had seen massive trolleys coming to the High Street. Besides the appearance and because they do not move at all, he said, "In my opinion they don't respect the law. If they consider themselves pedlars they are supposed to act as one".
1242. When it came to Bournemouth this person in support of the Petition had not been there for two years and when he was there the main reason why he did not trade beyond the central area was security. That was the back-up material, so to speak, which was wholly inadequate.
1243. The Petitioner himself told us that he had been prosecuted for illegal street trading in Covent Garden. He was under the misunderstanding that he will not be able to work as a pedlar in England again. When he was corrected and directed to the Bournemouth issue he declared concern about the domino effect. That is a matter for Parliament.
1244. If we had known that he only trades nine hours a year in Bournemouth we would have perhaps reflected more robustly on the question of locus, but of course it is too late for us to do that now. We are entitled to say to the Committee that really this is not a petition that is founded on a proper basis of evidence.
1245. May I turn to the evidence for Manchester. I do not propose to repeat the detail of the evidence of Mr Scragg and Inspector Lee that you heard from this morning, but you do have evidence in the Petitioner's bundle and I ask you to take it up. It is towards the end of the Petitioner's bundle. We only saw it latterly, regrettably, before we had a chance to cross-examined. You have a loose-leaf page headed in the top right-hand corner "A".
1246. CHAIRMAN: This is the most recent one. Exhibit C.
1247. MR CLARKSON: That is it, my Lord. At the end of it there is a sheet which gives the thoughts of Mr Morris. I think it is headed "A" in the top right-hand corner. If I read from the last paragraph on the first page: "The Bournemouth case rests on the assertion that certain individuals are presenting problems in the city. The essence of the Bill seems to be that these individuals are engaging in unacceptable activities but they justify their presence by carrying a pedlar's licence. It appears to me that there are indeed individuals who are on the streets selling inferior, shoddy and even harmful goods from a fixed pitch. There is a very good case for saying this should be stopped."
1248. Then further down: "The attempt to deal with these problems by introducing these Bills with a changed definition of pedlar/peddling has to be contested with all our might. It is clearly aimed at alleviating the authorities' difficulties of acting on and enforcing the existing available legislation. Be all that as it may. We have to see what the Manchester Police representative comes up with. But my summary of the Bournemouth case is that the nature of their problem is three fold: (1) Economic, this has two elements itself: (a) Monitoring and controlling the non-pedlars/non-authorised street traders/rogue dealers, call them what you will, costs a great deal of (public) money; (b) the presence of these individuals diminishes the city of Bournemouth in financial terms by taking trade from the shops and deterring tourists." The (a) above, we are told is almost certainly indisputable. There is positive evidence from the Petitioners supporting the Promoter's case.
1249. The second is this member of the public giving his view on the evidence that was presented is based on very spurious anecdotal assertions. My Lords, it was based on evidence on oath to the Committee for Bournemouth, and ditto for Manchester. You have had the Manchester evidence this morning and this afternoon that is specific as to the issues in Manchester.
1250. May I just summarise that for you. Mr Scragg dealt with the issues as to whether a pedlar was operating with a wheeled or a portable presentation, so to speak, I forget the exact words, and he found there was a problem with both. The problem is in the hot spots of Central Manchester it is self-evident if you have a wheeled, stationary presentation that it is automatically creating something of an obstruction that you have to go round. If you have people calling themselves pedlars but stationary and you have a large number of them, or on of them, it does not matter, they again are capable of being obstructive and in the world that we are dealing with now where there is a huge footfall that Mr Scragg identified in Manchester, there is a very busy footfall outside the arena and there is a history of problems outside the arena. Then allowing pedlars, howsoever they conduct themselves, is inappropriate; the time has passed. We would say it as simply as that. Chief Inspector Lee not only gave you the police overview but he also corroborated that particular point: he found no difference in carrying the goods or trolleying the goods.
1251. Then Mr Morris, in his evidence, my Lords (he was the member of the public), told you that there was great potential for obstruction from illegal street traders. He identified also the issue of trolleyed goods. He also identified there was a potential problem outside the arena - again corroborating what Mr Scragg and the Chief Inspector told you. What he was not able to do was to place himself in the shoes of the officers of the constabulary and the officers of the city council, who supervise this busy area on a day-to-day basis. That is a problem that has been identified. They have addressed it partially; Market Street is better but, as Mr Scragg said, he can give no certainty that it will continue like that for the future. The work has been done temporarily; it is no more than that - perhaps a vacuum has been created that will be filled.
1252. My Lords, we say quite simply on that, that Mr Murphy, in his approach, is a national trader. He is sufficiently committed to the centre of Manchester to go there for two months. Mr Scragg identified a regime where temporary licences could be granted, and Mr Murphy looks to be, without prejudice of course to due process, the sort of pedlar who should translate or could translate into a temporary licence holder. Clearly, there is economic advantage in him going to the city centre. So we say, quite simply, that he is somebody who should go forward into the next regime. However, if he does not he is very broad in his area of trading; as he told us, he is all over the country and he could continue to trade as a pedlar all over the country. Albeit he understood he could trade in Greater Manchester as a pedlar others did not understand that.
1253. My Lords, that is all I have to say on the evidence. There are just two loose ends that I should pick up because they were raised either by the Committee or by the Petitioner. The first is: what about public general legislation? I opened this and perhaps I will just flesh it out with a few more words. You have in the Bournemouth Petitioner's bundle, at 24, the Home Office report on the City of Westminster Bill. There they say that it should be a matter of national policy to deal with this. My Lords, I have no doubt Members of this Committee are more than familiar with the blandishment that is laid before Private Bills that in due course the Government is going to pick it up, and year-after-year - save for all the smoking Bills - the Government has much more important things to deal with. This has not been picked up by Government.
1254. It was taken before the Committee of this House on the Westminster Bill (which became the Westminster Act) and the Committee decided in favour of Westminster and it became law in due course. It is our understanding that there has not been Home Office opposition to any other Bills on this aspect since. As I said in opening, there is a Private Members Bill current, for what it is worth, and that has been objected to by Government Whips, and it would be our simple submission that there is not the government will to allow this to come forward, and it will not. What we say to the Committee is there is no indication whatsoever that this is going to come forward in the near future via public general legislation. There is not even a consultation upon it as we understand it.
1255. A short point, my final point: reverse burden. My Lords, again, there has been no issue on this on any aspect of the previous Bills, but we say quite simply there is no, in effect, reverse burden. If a prosecution is brought where a pedlar is not trading from house to house but is trading in the street, the burden is upon the prosecutors to prove it. If there is (and I am only gleaning this from what I understand from the way it was put) an issue that the pedlar has to show a licence, that is wholly consistent with Section 101 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 where, if a defendant wants to rely on a licence exemption or excuse, the burden of proving that he has a licence falls upon the defendant. That covers a whole range of licences. The reason for it is self-evident: it avoids the prosecution having to trawl every database in the country to find who has or has not granted a licence.
1256. My Lords, that is all I say on behalf of the Promoters on both Bills, unless there is anything I can assist the Committee with.
1257. LORD METHUEN: I have got a couple of questions I would like to ask. I think one of the problems that the Petitioners have is that they are not genuine pedlars in the sense of going from house to house selling their kites. I quote an example here but there used to be - and I do not know if there still is - a firm called "Kleeneze" which sold brushes and other cleaning equipment, generally from house to house, with a salesman. They were a national company and they had a good reputation. Those, I would suspect, sold under a pedlar's licence and they were what is imagined to occur with the 1871 ----
1258. MR CLARKSON: No, my Lord, with respect, the 1871 Act allows you to peddle anywhere.
1259. LORD METHUEN: Yes, but I mean Kleeneze would have operated ----
1260. MR CLARKSON: I beg your pardon. I do not know what licence they have.
1261. LORD METHUEN: Surely, what the Petitioners actually require is a more fluid definition of the street trader's licence, which gives them more flexibility in when they can actually trade, in the sense that they are perhaps permitted to trade on so many days in a month, or something like that, or when the weather is good.
1262. MR CLARKSON: My Lord, they can trade in Manchester city every day of the week ----
1263. LORD METHUEN: Those days are going to be specified.
1264. MR CLARKSON: No, my Lord, with respect, they can trade in these terms: if they only trade by means of visits from house to house. In Greater Manchester they can trade everywhere 24 hours a day.
1265. LORD METHUEN: In Greater Manchester but not in Manchester City centre.
1266. MR CLARKSON: Not in Manchester City, my Lord, which is an area equivalent to Westminster.
1267. LORD METHUEN: In Manchester City, if they have a suitable licence, a street trader's licence, they can trade as specified by that licence.
1268. MR CLARKSON: Absolutely, yes.
1269. LORD METHUEN: However, what you need is a more fluid licence, a street trader's licence, which gives them more liberty to perambulate the area.
1270. MR CLARKSON: My Lord, if we got that far the Committee would have found there were issues, and once you found there were issue as to obstruction, or whatever, then it would pass the burden down to the licensing authority in the street trading licence to decide where it was sensible and where it was safe to have a licence and how long - a temporary licence. Mr Murphy had had a temporary licence in a particular location but that would be, really, for resolution once the issue was raised by Mr Murphy seeking a temporary licence.
1271. CHAIRMAN: Thank you. In that case, Mr Clarkson, thank you very much indeed. The Committee will now deliberate on what it has heard over the past two days. I will ask you to withdraw and I will call you back when we have come to a view.
Counsel and parties were asked to withdraw
and, after a short time, were again called in
1272. CHAIRMAN: Ladies and Gentlemen, before I read out the conclusions of the Committee can I thank you all, on behalf of the Committee, that is the Petitioners and the Promoters and their staff and all the witnesses that have appeared here over the past two days, and can I thank, on your behalf, all the staff of the House of Lords who have attended and made sure that we have had a smooth running of this set of hearings. Can I also thank my own fellow Committee Members for their help over the past two days.
1273. This is what we have decided: the Committee have concluded that the Bills should proceed without amendment.* However, the Committee has strong reservations about the use of private legislation to remedy perceived problems in national legislation. We consider that the Government should undertake an urgent review of the law on trading in the streets and selling from door to door with a view to producing national legislation which reflects current conditions.
1274. The Committee further require the Promoters to undertake that they will give particular attention to the training of officers who will be charged with the enforcement of this legislation so that genuine pedlars operating within this new legislation are not prevented from carrying on their trade. Thank you very much indeed.
1275. I am sorry, I should just remind Mr Clarkson about the preamble.
1276. MR CLARKSON: Yes, my Lord. Can I call two witnesses?
* The Chairman has asked that the following words be added to the transcript for clarification: "... to clause 5 but with the amendments as in the filled Bills."
MR BRENDAN GOLLOGLY, sworn
MR MATTHEW LOCKETT, sworn
Examined by MR CLARKSON
1277. MR CLARKSON: First, for Bournemouth, are you Brendan Gollogly?
(Mr Gollogly) Yes, I am.
1278. Are you a senior solicitor at Bournemouth Borough Council?
(Mr Gollogly) Yes, I am.
1279. Have you read the preamble to the Bournemouth Borough Council Bill?
(Mr Gollogly) Yes, I have.
1280. Is it true?
(Mr Gollogly) Yes.
1281. Manchester. Are you Matthew Lockett?
(Mr Lockett) Yes, I am.
1282. Are you a solicitor for Manchester City Council?
(Mr Lockett) I am.
1283. Have you read the preamble to the Manchester City Council Bill?
(Mr Lockett) I have.
1284. Is it true?
(Mr Lockett) It is.
1285. MR CLARKSON: Thank you, my Lord.
1286. CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Mr Clarkson. That concludes the proceedings. Thank you very much indeed.