Deregulation (Leisure Industry)

Oral Answers to Questions — Duchy of Lancaster – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th February 1997.

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Photo of Paul Flynn Paul Flynn , Newport West 12:00 am, 24th February 1997

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what new proposals he has in respect of the deregulation of the leisure industry. [15526]

Photo of Mr Roger Freeman Mr Roger Freeman , Kettering

Ten deregulation orders affecting the leisure industry are currently going through the parliamentary process. They range from simplifying liquor licence transfers to allowing mid-week football pools.

Photo of Paul Flynn Paul Flynn , Newport West

Was it not deregulation and the revocation of firework safety orders in 1986, 1993 and 1995 that led directly to the three deaths of men when they were using mortar fireworks and aerial fireworks? Is it not true that the Government, in some panic, had to push through new regulations in December 1996 to correct the problems caused by their deregulation laws? Should we not look again at all the deregulation measures, not in the way in which the Government look at them, to appease their paymasters in big business, but on safety grounds? Is it not true that, in those three cases, and possibly others, deregulation kills?

Photo of Mr Roger Freeman Mr Roger Freeman , Kettering

I do not for one moment believe that to be the case. I agree with the hon. Gentleman that it is important to proceed with the deregulation initiative on the assumption that one will not weaken safety standards, harm the environment or weaken the proper protection for the consumer and the employee. All that is sensible. Our initiative on the deregulation programme that is under way is to reduce the burden on businesses, large and small. The 44 deregulation orders that the hon. Member for Burnley (Mr. Pike) is considering should save businesses, including small businesses, more than £100 million per annum.

Photo of Mr Peter Brooke Mr Peter Brooke , City of London and Westminster South

When addressing the question of deregulation on licensing procedures, will my right hon. Friend give an assurance that as much attention will be given to members of the public who are affected by the licence applications as is given to the licence applicants themselves?

Photo of Mr Roger Freeman Mr Roger Freeman , Kettering

I believe that I can give my right hon. Friend that assurance. In terms of nuisance, noise, and the implications for planning law, it is certainly important to our citizens who live close by pubs, casinos, bingo halls and other leisure centres that their interests also be taken into account.