§ 2.42 p.m.
§ The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress has been made with the funds from the Licensing Compensation for charitable purposes.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY UNDERSECRETARY of STATE, HOME OFFICE (Lord Belstead)
My Lords, my honourable friend the Minister of State has had discussions with the trade and other interests and good progress is being made in reaching decisions on how the funds might be wound up and the proceeds disposed of.
My Lords, is the noble Lord aware that that is the kind of answer that has been given for the last 20 to 30 years, and that charities are being deprived of the benefit of these funds? What on earth is causing the delay? Is it not really time that the funds were used for charitable purposes, instead of lying idle for all that period?
§ Lord BELSTEAD
My Lords, there is nothing between the noble Lord and the Government in the desire to see that these funds are used instead of lying idle as they are at the moment. We have made an advance, in that the brewers have put forward a scheme which is being studied jointly by the Brewers' Society and the Government in consultation with other representatives of the trade and other Government departments. The scheme has to be studied and in addition to that it has also to be decided how a trust should be administered.
§ Lord WELLS-PESTELL
My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord the Minister this—I do not want to ask an embarrassing question and I shall understand if the noble Lord feels that he cannot answer it: Is the delay in any way due to difficulties existing because of differences between the viewpoints of the various bodies concerned?
My Lords, can the noble Lord tell me when the brewers first put forward the proposal which the Government are now considering—not only this Government but the previous Government, too?
§ Lord BELSTEAD
My Lords, I reported to your Lordships' House last July that the brewers had just put forward their proposals.