Why Were Licensing Laws Introduced
The highest possible degree of personal freedom, compatible with the security of society, should be allowed, always taking into account the well-being of those who 503 are unable to support themselves. During the war, we were ready to have our freedoms curtailed so that we could defend ourselves and ultimately defeat the much greater threat to our freedom, but today the current of opinion advocates a broad extension of individual freedom. After the outbreak of war, naval and military authorities were first given the power to restrict sales hours in or near ports and other areas. (Note: The laws of war are not licensing laws.) In August, the Intoxicating Liquors (Temporary Restriction) Act 1914 was passed with powers similar to those of naval and military authorities. This was to last for the duration of the war and a month after. The war affected the production and consumption of alcoholic spirits by taking back production materials to compensate for lack of food, interfering with transportation and raising prices. These changes have led to a general, albeit uneven, reduction in production and consumption. In Great Britain, a system of control has been introduced which has placed trade in all its branches on a completely different legal basis, has changed its practice in many important respects and has launched far-reaching experiments. Britain was alone in this process. Restrictions were immediately applied and sales times were shortened at both ends; in the morning, by setting the opening time at 8 or 9 a.m. instead of 6 a.m., and in the evening, by closing an hour or two earlier. The war tax on beer was introduced on November 18, 1914 to increase revenues rather than restrict alcohol consumption.
The beer tax increased as follows: 1914 – 7s.9d., 1915 – 23s., 1916 – 23s., 1917 – 24s., 1918 – 25s., 1919 – 50s., 1920 – 70s., 1921 – 100s., 1922 – 100s. The spirits tax (proof per gallon) was increased by 14s.9d. 1914 to 72s.6d. in 1921. In 1914 there were 183,828 convictions for drunkenness, but by 1918 they had been reduced to 29,075. Scene on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley as a demonstration against the American presence in Vietnam in 1965. Police refused to grant a march permit for a march against the Oakland Army terminal, but leaders of the anti-Vietnam group said they would march anyway. Authorizing laws that restrict First Amendment rights cannot be based on the content of speech and can only govern when, place, and manner of speaking. (AP Photo, used with permission from The Associated Press) I know it is traditional to say that on these social and moral issues, issues such as betting, gambling, divorce, Sunday observance, licensing laws and the like, passions are stronger than on any other type of subject, and that when prejudices are deeply rooted and entrenched for a long time, It is totally impossible to reach a certain degree of agreement. But whatever we think about the pros and cons of licensing laws, I think probably everyone in the House, regardless of which side they sit on, shares the general feeling that currently prevails across the country that individuals should have as much freedom as possible to guide their behaviour based on their own sense of responsibility. His own sense of self-respect, rather than being tightly limited by the laws of the land.
It is significant that so much time has passed since the Royal Commission of 1929-31 without full consideration of licensing legislation. I can`t imagine that an Hon. The honourable Member will be inclined to divide the House at the end of the debate on the terms of the motion for a resolution. We all agree that many important legislative changes are needed with respect to the ordinary premises and clubs allowed, although we may disagree on what the changes should be. The feeling we need to dispel, however, is that if you are in favor of sensible reform of licensing laws, you are necessarily a satyr with clawed hooves and fig leaves in his hair who wants to see debauchery day and night throughout the country. As the noble gentleman said, there is no reason why we should not have a much more reasonable and modern licensing system without necessarily doing something to encourage more alcohol consumption. The licensing authority must take into account the “objectives of the authorization” when considering an application for authorization or an amendment: it is always reasonable to assume that Parliament may have been misguided on this occasion.