Clause 2 - Licensing authorities

Part of Gambling Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:15 pm on 9th November 2004.

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Photo of Malcolm Moss Malcolm Moss Shadow Minister, Home Affairs 3:15 pm, 9th November 2004

We have learned a second lesson in record time this afternoon. When the Minister gives a gabbled response that no one can understand, it means we are on to something, and I think that we are on to something here. It would be helpful if the Minister checked with the ODPM, which has landed him in the proverbial, that we had the appropriate list of licensing authorities.

There is a difference between the licensing functions of various councils and the planning functions, which also come into an assessment of where casinos and gambling institutions are to go. I cannot see how unitary councils are covered, but if there is an assurance from the ODPM that they are, and the definition of a county council for a county in which there are no district councils covers it, fair enough. A valid point was made.

In the interests of clarity, why do we not use the term ''unitary council'', which everyone understands? It is understood in the minds of the general public, who would not understand what a county council for a county in which there are no district councils actually means. I am making a plea for simplicity. If we mean ''unitary'', let us include that in the Bill. If there is a gap in relation to the metropolitan boroughs, they should also be included. They are certainly not district councils in my view. Following the Minister's assurance that he will return with the appropriate definitions, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.