UEFA European Championship Scotland Bill
The Bill at different stages
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Here are the different versions of the Bill:
The Bill as introduced
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The Scottish Government sends the Bill and related documents to the Parliament.
Related information from the Scottish Government on the Bill
Why the Bill is being proposed (Policy Memorandum)
Explanation of the Bill (Explanatory Notes)
How much the Bill is likely to cost (Financial Memorandum)
Opinions on whether the Parliament has the power to make the law (Statements on Legislative Competence)
Information on the powers the Bill gives the Scottish Government and others (Delegated Powers Memorandum)
Stage 1 - General principles
Committees examine the Bill. Then MSPs vote on whether it should continue to Stage 2.
Committees involved in this Bill
Lead committee: Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee
Who examined the Bill
Each Bill is examined by a 'lead committee'. This is the committee that has the subject of the Bill in its remit.
It looks at everything to do with the Bill.
Other committees may look at certain parts of the Bill if it covers subjects they deal with.
Who spoke to the lead committee about the Bill
First meeting transcript
The Convener (Joan McAlpine)
Good morning, and welcome to the committee’s 23rd meeting in 2019. I remind members and the public to turn off mobile phones; any electronic devices that are being used to access committee papers should please be turned to silent.
We have received apologies from Kenneth Gibson and I again welcome Emma Harper, who is attending as a substitute member.
Members will be aware that we had been due to take evidence on Brexit this morning from the United Kingdom Government minister James Duddridge MP. Unfortunately, yesterday morning, Mr Duddridge withdrew from appearing before the committee. I regard it as discourteous to the committee and to the Scottish Parliament that we have not heard from a UK Brexit minister at this critical juncture in the Brexit process. We have not heard from a UK Brexit minister this year. It is imperative that the committee hears from a UK Government Brexit minister before the deadline of 31 October.
Agenda item 1 is consideration of the UEFA European Championship (Scotland) Bill at stage 1. I welcome to the committee the Scottish Government’s bill team: Lucy Carmichael, bill team leader, Derek Bearhop, head of events strategy and delivery, and Kirsten Simonnet-Lefevre, principal legal officer.
I invite Lucy Carmichael to make a brief opening statement of one to two minutes.
Derek Bearhop (Scottish Government)
If I may, I will make that statement.
That is fine.
The Scottish Government is proud that Glasgow has been selected as one of the 12 cities to co-host the UEFA European football championships next summer—one of the largest sporting events in the world. Glasgow and Scotland have a strong record of successfully delivering major global sporting events, which bring significant benefits for our economy and international reputation.
Since Glasgow’s bid to be part of Euro 2020 was successful, a local organising committee has been created to aid delivery of the championship as a whole. It includes the Scottish Football Association, the Scottish Government, Glasgow City Council, Hampden Park Ltd, VisitScotland and Police Scotland. The organisers have been making good progress, and the Union of European Football Associations has confirmed that it is satisfied that planning is well on track.
The Scottish Government did not initially expect that additional legislation would be required in order to deliver the event. However, as UEFA’s requirements became clearer, it was evident that primary legislation would be necessary to provide the level of protection that UEFA sought, and to ensure that our arrangements were consistent with those for the other venues around Europe. Formal confirmation that additional legislation would be required was received from UEFA in April 2019. Since then, the Scottish Government has been working swiftly to develop the UEFA European Championship (Scotland) Bill. UEFA indicated that many of the provisions in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Act 2008 are appropriate and, in preparing the new bill, we have sought to learn from the 2008 act, which is the most recent piece of legislation for a major event in Scotland.
The bill was introduced on 24 September. It aims to help ensure the successful delivery of the event by putting in place protections for commercial rights in relation to ticket touting, street trading and advertising. The bill also contains measures on enforcement. Subject to parliamentary approval, the Scottish Government proposes that the bill completes its parliamentary process more quickly than usual, so that the secondary legislation can be laid early in 2020, in order to give affected businesses as much time as possible to prepare.
Because the requirement for the bill was confirmed only recently, there has not been time for a formal public consultation on it, so the Scottish Government has undertaken targeted engagement with businesses and other bodies with an interest, so that they understand what is being proposed and can provide their views.
The Scottish Government, in liaison with Glasgow City Council, in order to raise awareness among businesses and the public, intends to continue to publicise the restrictions on advertising, street trading and ticket touting in the run-up to the event.
The bill provides for three event zones in Glasgow and, earlier this week, the Minister for Europe, Migration and International Development shared draft maps of the proposed Hampden park and George Square zones with this committee, along with proposed dates of operation for the zones. The Scottish Government expects to share the map and dates of the third proposed zone, in Glasgow’s merchant city, soon.
The preparation of illustrative regulations is also under way, so that the Scottish Government can indicate to Parliament how it expects to use the powers that are included in the bill.
In light of the expedited timescale, the Scottish Government is grateful to the committee for undertaking consideration of the bill swiftly, and we are happy to answer any questions that the committee has about the bill.
I think that everyone in the committee understands the importance of the championships in general, and their importance to Glasgow and Scotland in terms of the economic benefits that they will bring. It is important that we get the approach right not only for these championships but for future events. However, I am a little perplexed about why it has taken this length of time to bring the legislation to Parliament. Page 5 of the policy memorandum says that
“Scots law restricts ticket touting through section 55 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982”,
but it also says that that does not specifically criminalise the touting of tickets. Clearly, there is a gap in Scots law when it comes to ticket touting, which is why the bill has been introduced. The Glasgow Commonwealth Games Act 2008 dealt with similar issues, but I note that it was passed within a year of us winning the bid for the games, which was well ahead of the event. I understand that we knew in 2014 that Glasgow would be hosting these championships. Why has it taken us until now to introduce legislation to cover a failing in Scots law that we presumably always knew existed?
Lucy Carmichael (Scottish Government)
Since we found out that the bid was successful, there have been detailed discussions with UEFA and other partners organising the event. Those discussions have covered a range of areas.
You are correct in saying that we have been aware of the issue with ticket touting for some time and that we took action on it for the Commonwealth games. I am not sure that a single-issue bill would be considered to be the best use of parliamentary time, so we were working with UEFA and other partners to see what we could do with our existing powers on ticket touting, along with the measures that you have mentioned already. We have also been doing work on the other commercial rights protection that UEFA was looking to put in place around street trading and advertising, and we have been going through the existing provisions in detail to see what they permit us to do at present.
We viewed the introduction of primary legislation as a last resort, because of our desire to make best use of parliamentary time. As Derek Bearhop said, it did not become clear until 1 April that a bill would definitely be required. Since then, we have been working as swiftly as possible to undertake engagement with people who we think will be affected and to prepare the bill. As Derek Bearhop said, we are sorry that the bill has come forward so late and we are grateful to the committee for agreeing to work with us to a swifter timescale than usual.
Thank you. How many of the countries that are hosting these matches are required to pass primary legislation?
UEFA provided me with an update on that issue yesterday. Scotland, Russia, Italy, Azerbaijan and Ireland have introduced primary legislation, and other countries, including England, will introduce secondary legislation. The remaining six hosts will reach the required levels of protection via other means. There is a range of activity across the 12 host cities.
Donald Cameron (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
On the point about primary legislation, can you ever foresee a major sporting event not requiring primary legislation?
I think that there have been previous events that have not required primary legislation. I suppose that it depends on what you class as a major event. No additional protections were required in relation to the UEFA cup final in 2007, and I do not believe that we had any legislation in relation to the European championships that took place in Glasgow last year.09:15
That is right. There are only a handful of rights holders that tend to insist on the sort of rights protection that UEFA has asked for. As Lucy Carmichael said, we had the European championships in Glasgow last year, which did not require legislation. We have just had the Solheim cup, for which the Ladies Professional Golf Association did not require rights protection. It tends to be the International Olympic Committee, FIFA, the Commonwealth Games Federation and UEFA that require such protection. In my experience, it does not go much beyond that.
So you are slightly at the mercy of the organisations that run the events, and it is unpredictable—you do not really know whether primary or secondary legislation will be needed.
I would not use the term “at the mercy”. We actively bid for the events, and we do so in the knowledge of what might be expected of us. In this instance, it was not totally clear whether primary legislation was necessarily the solution or whether we could have secondary legislation or another adaptive solution. Ultimately, as the convener said at the outset, major events are beneficial, so we are competitive in seeking to host them in Scotland.
I do not dispute that at all—that is clearly the case.
Stuart McMillan (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP)
For clarification, when Hampden hosted the champions league final a few years ago, there was no primary legislation for the event, but was any secondary legislation required for it?
No, not that I am aware of, but I can double-check and come back to you if that is not the case. I am certainly not aware of any such legislation.
Claire Baker (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
The bill is similar to the legislation for the 2014 Commonwealth games in relation to ticket touting offences and fan zones. Have you evaluated the operation of that legislation and, if so, has that influenced the bill in any way?
There was no formal evaluation of how that legislation operated in practice. Since the requirement for the bill has been confirmed, we have been working with partners—in particular, Glasgow City Council and its enforcement officers who were in place at the time—to see whether there was any learning from that event that would require changes to be made to the bill. In engaging with other stakeholders who had experience of the provisions that were in place for the Commonwealth games, we have asked about their experience and learning from that.
Is that process of engaging with traders and the council with experience of the previous legislation happening at the pace that we are having to deal with the bill? Are the timescales quite short?
They are shorter than usual. We are trying to do as much consultation and engagement as possible, but the timescales for that are limited.
Have any issues been identified as problematic with that previous legislation, or does everybody seem content with how it operated?
The people we have spoken to so far have broadly been content with how that legislation operated.
As the convener said, there appears to be a gap in Scottish legislation around ticket touting. That is obviously a concern in relation to not just sporting events but music and other events. I have previously asked the Government why the provisions on ticket touting that were put in place for the Commonwealth games could not be extended and made a permanent feature in Scotland. Why has that not happened, and what are the challenges with that?
The bill will create a specific criminal offence of ticket touting for the UEFA event only. There are differences in how tickets are sold for events. For this particular event, UEFA is the only authorised seller of tickets and it controls the secondary ticketing market. UEFA is the only body that sells the tickets, so there is no effect on other businesses that might be involved in ticketing. The bill therefore does not affect the rights or obligations of people buying or selling tickets or the existing law relating to secondary ticketing, and it therefore does not fall under consumer protection legislation, which is generally reserved to Westminster.
Kirsten Simonnet-Lefevre may want to add something on the legal position.
Kirsten Simonnet-Lefevre (Scottish Government)
No, I think that that has covered all the points. Consumer protection is reserved. The Consumer Rights Act 2015 has specific provisions that apply to the whole of the United Kingdom in relation to secondary ticketing.
Why does what is in the bill not come under consumer protection? Is it because it is linked to a major event?
The bill creates a criminal offence that is linked to rights protection, and UEFA is the only authorised seller of the tickets.
The ban is to stop the offence of touting. The bill makes no provision in relation to the contractual relationship between the purchaser and the seller of the tickets. It will protect the branding and integrity of the championship, because the tickets are sold only by UEFA and not by any other ticketing agents. UEFA also resells tickets that people are not able to use, because the tickets are not transferable; they are only for the person who purchases them.
Mike Rumbles has raised questions about UEFA’s position on ticket touting, so I will hand over to him.
Mike Rumbles (North East Scotland) (LD)
I am very pleased that the bill includes provisions on ticket touting. I understand that there is a reserve of tickets for UEFA to sell and that you want to protect the branding, but I am puzzled why section 2(4) says:
“The touting offence does not apply in relation to acts done by UEFA.”
UEFA can get involved in ticket touting, but it will be banned for everybody else. That is very odd.
That is not the intent of the provision.
That is what it says.
The intent is to be clear that UEFA is not capable of committing a ticket touting offence, because it is the rights holder. I think that the bill has similar provisions in relation to advertising and trading offences.
Hang on. Nobody else can ticket tout, but you are allowing UEFA to sell tickets to people above the original price.
UEFA sets the price at which the tickets are sold.
It sets the original price. Forgive me if I am misunderstanding this, but ticket touting is ticket touting. If the price of a ticket has been published, and if the bill bans ticket touting, why does the bill say that the ban does not apply to UEFA?
UEFA will operate a secondary resale site. I am not aware that there would be any difference—
It could increase the prices.
It could, but that would not be considered touting. I am not aware that UEFA has any intention of increasing the prices, but it is the rights holder and can set the price of a ticket.
The bill allows UEFA to do that. If the provision relating to UEFA was not included, you would be banning ticket touting.
I might be misunderstanding the point, but UEFA is able to set the price of tickets.
You said that UEFA is the rights holder. My understanding from reading the bill is that, if a member of the public has bought tickets for a match but his companion does not turn up, he is able to sell the ticket without committing an offence as long as he does not make a profit. Is that correct?
It is certainly correct that face-value exchanges are not captured by the criminal offence. Such exchanges would not be in line with UEFA’s terms and conditions of the ticket sale, but that is a separate matter. If the person who had bought the ticket was not present, people might be refused entry to the stadium, but we certainly did not want to criminalise someone who might not be able to attend.
Thanks very much.
Section 16 is on enforcement officers. When I read the bill, I was alarmed by the powers that seem to be given to individuals. That was before I read the submission that I received last night from the Scottish Police Federation. I have no problem with Glasgow City Council designating weights and measures officers as enforcement officers; that seems perfectly logical. However, section 16(2)(b) says that someone may also be designated if they meet
“such other criteria as may be specified by the Scottish Ministers in regulations.”
When I read that, I thought that the provision will give carte blanche to ministers to apply any, or no, qualifications to the people who are appointed. As you know, our job is to make sure that we have decent legislation going through Parliament. We can amend the bill, but we cannot amend regulations when they are introduced. Could you therefore please address the point that the Scottish Police Federation made to us? It said:
“The SPF is strongly of the view that in order to safeguard the rights of the public ... Ministers ought to be obligated to set specific criteria for the appointment of Enforcement Officers (including qualifying and limiting provisions)”.
I would say that such a provision needs to be on the face of the bill. Do you have any comments on that?
I will place on record that we welcome feedback on the provisions from the Scottish Police Federation, so we are grateful for its submission and we are happy to consider it in more detail.
The enforcement provisions in the bill very closely replicate what was put in place for the Commonwealth games and I understand that there was a lot of discussion of the issue when the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Bill was passing through Parliament. On the question of what we expect to be included in the regulations, we have been preparing illustrative regulations and we are happy to share them with Parliament as soon as we can.
That would be helpful. If the committee at least knows what the Government is going to put in the regulations, I will be happy with that.
The illustrative regulations could then inform further discussion on the issue.
We should see them before the bill goes through.
Section 17(4) says:
“An enforcement officer may be assisted by any other person as may be reasonably required for the purposes of taking action under this section.”
I have written on my copy of the bill, “Can anybody do this?” The Scottish Police Federation says:
“This creates the possibility of Enforcement Officers (appointed potentially by as simple an act as an ad-hoc designation)”.
In other words, they could be appointed by you. The SPF continues:
“whose activities in seeking assistance in safeguarding”—
I will cut to the chase. The SPF says:
“We have grave reservations about both principle and practice on this issue. If it is envisaged that 17(4) could see persons other than police officers being relied upon to assist, this creates a potential for a free for all with random citizens (subjected to potentially zero validation) able to exercise powers of entry and search, and seizure and destruction.”
I will try to clarify. That is absolutely not the intention of the provisions.
The Scottish Government agrees that enforcement officers should have appropriate skills and experience to carry out the role and, in the first instance, we would expect those officers to be drawn from Glasgow City Council. Our financial memorandum sets out a little bit more detail about the experience of the officers in Glasgow City Council. For instance, most of the officers in the trading standards section worked on the Olympics and the Commonwealth games, for which similar legislation was in place. The council also intends to provide training on the bill.
We are not expecting that enforcement officers would be recruited from private companies. My recollection is that the example that was discussed previously of when an enforcement officer might require assistance was of a locksmith, if the issue was gaining access to a building. The provision is not intended to be so broad that anyone can get involved.
That is great, and I am really pleased that that is the case, but the intention is not stated in the bill. If the Government could think about amending the bill to make that position clear, I am sure that we would be happy to see that—I certainly would.
Section 19(2) contains the following provision:
“An enforcement officer may take to a place entered by virtue of this section any other person, or any equipment”.
When I read the committee papers last night, I saw that the Scottish Police Federation also commented on section 19(2). It said:
“The SPF also finds the provisions of section 19(2) to be extraordinary.”
The SPF is basically saying that the bill would give to individuals powers that the police do not have. The police can enter premises without a warrant only in specific circumstances. The provision in section 19(2) gives a very wide-ranging power to individuals, and we do not know who those individuals will be.
My answer would be the same as my answer to the previous question: we can certainly look at that.
It would be great if the Government could look at it and lodge some amendments—I would be happy with that. If I may say so, I think that the problem has arisen due to there not having been time to properly consult across the board. We can leave it there.09:30
Annabelle Ewing (Cowdenbeath) (SNP)
Staying on the issue of enforcement, I am not sure whether you have had an opportunity to reflect on the Scottish Police Federation’s submission to the committee, dated yesterday, which raises a number of points. When the federation’s representative is before us later today I intend to ask him about the position that it took on the arrangements for the Commonwealth games in 2014. Could you confirm my understanding, which is that, by and large, the enforcement arrangements are effectively the same as they were in 2014, except for the addition of the power of entry that Mike Rumbles talked about? Were the other offences, in relation to ticket touting, street trading and advertising, created at the time of the 2014 games?
Yes. I thought that the powers in relation to enforcement were almost identical to those for the 2014 games, but I can certainly double-check that.
We can check that and come back to the committee.
Okay. It seems to me that obstructing an enforcement officer is the new offence, and that that is the difference from the position in 2014. If that is the key substantive difference, I am wondering what view the SPF took on obstruction in 2014.
I will double-check that, because I thought that there was an offence of obstruction previously.
It is an important point to check. In the fifth paragraph of its submission, the SPF talks about its concerns and says:
“This is particularly evident with proposed powers on the use of force, entry and search, and seizure and destruction.”
That use of the word “particularly” is important. If there are other differences, we would want to have clarity on those.
I have a further general question, which might be seen as coming from the left field. Why should you have an arrangement whereby you use trading standards officers and not the police?
Trading standards officers already have a role in enforcing restrictions on counterfeit goods and exercising similar powers. It makes sense to extend that to cover trading and advertising offences, as that is akin to the role that they are already performing. From a practical perspective, it should also reduce additional resourcing requirements on Police Scotland during the period of the championships. We looked at whether it would make sense to give the powers solely to Police Scotland, which would be different from what happened for the Commonwealth games. However, that would have created an additional burden for Police Scotland, and we thought that it would be possible for trading standards officers to carry out that role in an appropriate way.
It appears that one of the reasons for taking that approach, rather than simply giving the police responsibility for enforcement without reference to trading standards officers, was concern about the potential impact on the police. The information that we have had thus far about Glasgow City Council’s manpower is that it has a trading standards team consisting of 22 members of staff, most of whom were designated enforcement officers for the 2012 Olympics and the 2014 Commonwealth games. However, the council feels that it might require additional manpower, which it might seek from other local authorities. What is the total number of officers that we are talking about here—22 plus what?
We are planning for a range of scenarios. Glasgow City Council’s latest position is that it will aim to operate within its existing trading standards team. However, the draw for the championships will have an impact on that. We are not yet sure which matches will be played at Hampden. That will become slightly clearer later this year, but it will not be fully clear until after the UEFA nations league competition takes place next year. Because we are planning for a range of options, a range of costs is included in the financial memorandum.
If Scotland were to qualify—as we all hope that it will—that would be the biggest draw, so what would be the top end of the scale? I just want to have an idea of that. If the argument is that we have to go down that route in order not to overburden the police at a busy time, among other things, what is the total manpower that we would be talking about?
I would want to double-check with Glasgow City Council what its upper estimate would be in those circumstances. It would certainly be at the upper end of the potential costs that are set out in the financial memorandum.
We will obviously ask the SPF to give us further clarity on its position. Are the police suggesting that they should do enforcement, rather than trading standards?
I would not want to speak for the Scottish Police Federation.
Has the issue been considered in the on-going discussions of the committee that has been set up, or has the concern suddenly come out of nowhere?
Police Scotland is a member of the local organising committee and it has not indicated that it has any concerns about the way in which things are set out in the bill. It is content with what we have got in it.
I have further questions on a slightly different area. Would you like me to hold fire, convener?
Yes, I will try to come back to you later. Ross Greer has questions about enforcement.
Ross Greer (West Scotland) (Green)
My question follows on directly from Annabelle Ewing’s point about the enforcement power to search. I understand the argument that extending the power to enforcement officers would reduce the burden on the police, but I believe that such searches can take place only in the presence of a police officer. If so, how is that a significant reduction in the burden on the police?
Enforcement officers will undertake a range of enforcement activities, including patrolling around the event zones and speaking to people. If someone was breaching one of the restrictions, the officers’ first step would be to explain what the offence is and ask that person to move on if they were not supposed to be in the zone. There are other powers in relation to being able to search and confiscate property.
To be clear, if a search of someone’s property is to take place, it can only take place in the presence of a police officer. Why give that power to enforcement officers at all? Why not leave that power with the police officer, who needs to be present anyway? There is provision for searching without a warrant in certain circumstances, but a police officer would need to be present for that. Would it not be better for the search power to remain with police officers, who, in limited circumstances, already have the power to search without a warrant?
Our starting point was the provisions in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Act 2008—that is what is replicated in the bill. Our understanding was that, after dialogue, the police were comfortable with what eventually ended up in the 2008 act.
I understand that. I was not here in 2008, but I am here scrutinising this piece of legislation, now. I need to know—as does the committee—why it is felt appropriate, in these circumstances, to give search powers to enforcement officers when they can search only in the presence of a police officer and police officers already have the ability to search. Why not just keep that power with the police?
There is an accountability issue here. The accountability for police officers is very clear. It is the subject of substantial scrutiny in the Parliament. There may be issues with it, but people understand the line of accountability if, for example, they wish to make a complaint about a police officer. I am confused as to why it is necessary to give the power to someone else, when a police officer has to be present anyway. If you would like to write to the committee with an answer on that, that would be fine.
I have one more question, if that is okay, convener.
We are supposed to finish by 10 o’clock to be ready for the next panel, so please be succinct.
I will be brief. Sticking with the enforcement powers, are the requirements set out by UEFA, or are they the Scottish Government’s understanding of the best way in which to meet the UEFA requirements? Would UEFA object if enforcement officers did not have the powers to search and destroy?
Our starting point for the enforcement provision was what was in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Act 2008, and ensuring that the bill was closely aligned to that, because we understood that that had worked reasonably well in practice. Having spoken to stakeholders about the 2008 act, we have not had any feedback saying that its provisions had not worked in practice. I have not discussed whether the particular powers that Mr Greer refers to are acceptable to UEFA.
So, UEFA did not ask for them. I want to be clear. Are you saying that UEFA did not come to the Scottish Government and say, “As a requirement of hosting this tournament, we require that enforcement officers are given the ability to X, Y and Z.”?
The discussions that we have had have not been at that level of detail. We want to take time to look carefully at the Scottish Police Federation’s response, and we would like to meet the SPF to discuss the points that it has raised in more detail. It has identified a number of detailed points, which is why I am flicking back and forth to find the appropriate bits of the bill.
Emma Harper (South Scotland) (SNP)
To pick up on Ross Greer’s question, if such searches can take place only in the presence of a police officer, we need to know what that means. Does it mean that the police officer must be in the same room, in the same place or 20 feet away? Does it mean that two people will be able to inspect somebody’s bag while a police officer is observing?
I think that it was section 20 that was being referred to, which is on “Use of reasonable force”. It talks about the officer being “accompanied by a constable”, so I assume that those two people would have to be together.
Were similar concerns raised about enforcement officers when the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Bill was going through the parliamentary process? How were the enforcement officers deployed during the Commonwealth games? Were any issues relating to their conduct raised during the period of the games?
I will address your second point first. We are certainly not aware of any concerns about specific incidents relating to the operation of the enforcement provisions during the Commonwealth games. We would like to discuss with the SPF any specific examples that it is aware of that we in the bill team are unaware of relating to things that happened during the Commonwealth games. We want to find out about any such incidents, but we are not aware of any at the moment.
How were the enforcement officers selected? Were they mainly employees of Glasgow City Council, or were employees of other local authorities brought in for specific purposes?
A broader range of local authorities would have been involved in the Commonwealth games, because it spanned a number of different local authority areas.
According to the policy memorandum, you are content that the bill is compliant with the European convention on human rights, but the Scottish Police Federation has questioned whether section 19(2)—which Mike Rumbles mentioned—is compliant with article 6 of the ECHR. Could you look at that again to make sure that you are content that it is compliant with the convention? In my view, many of the issues around enforcement officers in general and the provisions of section 19(2) specifically raise questions to do with the convention. You might want to reflect on that, or you might want to comment now.
We are confident that the bill is compliant with the ECHR. The bill will allow enforcement officers to gain entry to search a house or other property, but we think that those powers are subject to safeguards. For example, the power to enter a house can be exercised only with the permission of the occupier “at reasonable times” or when a warrant has been granted. The granting of a warrant would provide an oversight process.
But section 19(1) says:
“An enforcement officer may, without warrant, enter any place and may search any place”.
That contradicts what you have just said. The SPF says that that power is “extraordinary”.
I am sorry. I will come back to you in writing on that. There are further restrictions on entering houses later in the bill. Section 21 says:
“An enforcement officer may take action under section 17 or 19 ... only if—
(a) an individual who habitually resides in the house permits the enforcement officer to do so, or
(b) the sheriff grants a warrant for such an action.”
So section 21(1)(b) says that an enforcement officer can enter a house if the sheriff grants a warrant, but section 19 says that they may enter without a warrant. Which is it? The two provisions are completely contradictory.
We can certainly look at whether there is an inconsistency there.09:45
Alexander Stewart (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
I want to go back to the offences in the bill, which include unauthorised advertising, ticket touting and street trading. Those are all broadly similar to what was in the legislation when Scotland hosted the Commonwealth games in 2014. Are you aware of any such offences that were committed in 2014? We could then compare them with what we might anticipate as a result of the bill.
We have spoken to our partners about that, and our understanding is that there were no prosecutions for any of the offences in the 2008 act.
There were no prosecutions.
Enforcement officers engaged with people who had breached the restrictions, but no prosecutions were taken forward as a result of the 2008 act. That is certainly my understanding.
Did that engagement entail contacting a small number or a reasonably large number of individuals? Do we have any statistics on that?
Not that I am aware of, but I can certainly check with partner organisations.
So nothing was registered or kept on record—they were only given a slap on the wrist.
I can provide you with more details in writing around the enforcement action that might have been taken—for example, whether any property was confiscated or anything like that.
Okay. Without having that information, it is quite difficult for us to ascertain what is expected under the bill. We could see something similar, or the numbers might be much larger or more inflated depending on the location. The zones that you are proposing are quite extensive.
The Hampden park zone is the same size as it was in 2014. The George Square zone is slightly larger and includes some additional approach routes. In 2014, there were a range of other zones because there were a number of different locations for games taking place at different times across a range of cities. Overall, the zones are probably less extensive because the focus is on only three locations in the centre of Glasgow rather than a broader range.
As our engagement so far has indicated, we expect that most businesses would want to comply with the restrictions. As I mentioned, our first step would be to ensure that people who are affected are aware of the new offences. There is a provision in the bill that requires Glasgow City Council to publish guidance on the trading and advertising restrictions to try to help with that process.
How extensive has the consultation with all these different individuals been? You will provide some kind of structure, and rules and regulations that they will have to adhere to. How have you consulted the trading organisations, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce and whoever else may be affected by the process?
We held two drop-in sessions for affected businesses. In addition, Glasgow City Council invited along all street traders with licences in the Hampden park zone, as well as all businesses in the proposed zones and some from outwith the zones whom we thought would want to be aware.
The Scottish Government contacted the FSB—it was definitely invited, and its representatives came along to one of the sessions, so a conversation has taken place with the FSB. The Glasgow Chamber of Commerce was also invited along.
How well attended were those sessions?
Only two street traders attended. For comparison, I think that only one street trader attended a similar event in 2007. My team has had a number of telephone calls with street traders and other businesses that could not attend on those two particular days to try to broaden out the consultation. I also went to Hampden park before one of the Scotland matches last month to walk around and speak to traders in the general area to try to raise awareness.
As Derek Bearhop set out in our statement, we are conscious that there has been limited time for engagement and that we have not carried out a formal public consultation. We are trying to do as much as we can to address the issues and speak to people whom we think will be affected, but I am sure that there are always other things that we could do to try to help.
Presumably Glasgow City Council licenses street traders, so it will have the names and addresses of all those traders and can inform them.
It does—it wrote to all the traders whom it thought would be affected.
Stuart McMillan has a supplementary question.
When do you anticipate that the final regulations will be produced and issued to all the traders?
As I said, in the next couple of weeks we hope to share illustrative regulations with the committee. Assuming that the bill completes its parliamentary process early in the new year, we are looking at how soon we can lay regulations. We need to balance getting them into force with allowing time to raise awareness of new criminal offences, which is also important. We are working as swiftly as we can.
You are perhaps looking at the end of January to get that information out there.
I do not want to commit to that date now, but we are looking to do it as quickly as we can.
I have a brief point in relation to our previous conversation on entering and searching, with regard to the power to
“enter any place and ... search any place”.
Lucy Carmichael subsequently referred to restrictions that relate to
“a house or a place that can be entered only through a house”.
Therefore, the applicable restrictions are not erga omnes but apply only to a subset of possibilities. Obviously, you will write to the committee with further information on that.
In relation to advertising and the cohort of people that might be impacted, I was puzzled by the information that we have. Restrictions on advertising in the fan zones would be on things such as billboards or the handing out of free T-shirts, which everybody can understand. However, it also appears that the restrictions would affect businesses that have external advertising, such as restaurants and bars. Can you provide clarification on the extent of that?
Yes. In the merchant city, for example, bars and restaurants have external seating. They have temporary windshields around them, which are often branded with products, for which there might be a competing UEFA sponsor. In preparing the illustrative advertising and trading regulations, we are looking at the exceptions that we can make to the restrictions, so that they are proportionate and fewer businesses are affected. We have looked at the restrictions that were put in place for the Commonwealth games and we will incorporate those where we can.
The championships will be held at a time of year when people in Glasgow could be sitting outside, which is not always the case. If a restaurant has an outside seating area and, in order to separate the outside area of the restaurant from the edge of the pavement, it has a windshield, on which there is branding for a product that is in the same generic group as a sponsor of the UEFA championships but is not the product that is sponsoring UEFA, what will that restaurant do? Presumably, it must have a windshield for licensing purposes.
It has to delineate the external seating area.
What would the restaurant have to do? If it would have to make an alternative arrangement, what thought has been given to the cost of that and the impact on running the business?
It depends on the form of barrier. On some barriers, one can unhook the branded bit of advertising and still have the external part of the barrier. On other barriers, the branded bit is etched in, so that might require to be covered. We are working with UEFA and sponsors to see whether it would be possible to provide alternative branding merchandise, such as something to do with the championships, which the businesses could use instead. We are looking at giving them a replacement.
I presume that you will not force them to have the brand that UEFA is being sponsored by.
No. If we can provide something consistent with championship branding for the event, that will be on offer. Whether they want to do that will be a decision for the businesses.
That is helpful. Thank you for that clarification.
Would the restrictions cover advertising the pizzas on a restaurant menu?
No. Anything internal and things like a list of pizzas—
If there was a hoarding outside saying what people can eat inside, would that be covered by the restrictions?
No, I do not think that it would be.
Another couple of groups will be covered. One is charities, and you say that there might be some exceptions for them. Will that be covered in the illustrative regulations?
Obviously, a charity might have its big day of action and collecting during the period, so I assume that you anticipate that some charities will be given exceptions.
The legislation will be in force until the end of the year, so it would cover poppy day, for example.
The act will not be repealed until 31 December, but it sets out that the championships period, during which time the zones can be in operation, is between—
So, it is only the championships period that is covered—that is fine. However, charities could be affected during that period.
Section 6(2)(d) says that people
“providing public entertainment for gain or reward”
are covered. You might or might not know that Glasgow has a lively busking scene—I note that Emeli Sandé, the pop star, is currently presenting a programme called “Street Symphony” in which she is looking for Scotland’s best buskers. I assume that some of those young people would be covered by the provisions.
Certainly, that would be classed as trading. We are discussing with UEFA the issue of what exceptions it might be possible to make for that.
Have you reached out to some of those young people? You mentioned that you had gone out and pounded the pavements. It is quite a lively scene.
We have not done that specifically, but we plan to do further engagement in the zones. We can look at doing what you suggest—we would be happy to do that.
If there are no further questions, we will wrap things up there. The committee would appreciate it if we could receive the illustrative regulations before we consider our stage 1 report on 31 October. That would be extremely helpful. Will that be possible?
Thank you. I suspend the meeting to allow a changeover of witnesses.09:57 Meeting suspended.
10:02 On resuming—
We move on to our evidence session with the second panel of witnesses on the UEFA European Championship (Scotland) Bill. I welcome David Henderson, who is the public affairs manager of the Advertising Association, and Calum Steele, who is the general secretary of the Scottish Police Federation.
I thank Calum Steele for his letter to the committee, which was extensive. For the benefit of anyone who has not had the opportunity to read the letter, will you summarise the concerns that you have laid out?
Calum Steele (Scottish Police Federation)
I would be astonished if people had not read letters from the Scottish Police Federation, which are usually very informative.
The SPF thinks that it is very important to maintain the distinction between police officers and others who might be afforded a distinct form of police-like powers—not least because of the unique role that police officers hold in society and the standards to which they are held to account.
We recognise that our submission is somewhat blind, in that we do not know specifically what the subsequent regulations will contain. We have some concerns that fairly extensive powers will be afforded to non-warranted individuals—powers that, in effect, demand the support and assistance of police officers. If the bill is passed, enforcement officers could carry out actions to a different set of accountability standards from those to which police officers who perform exactly the same actions are held. Police officers are, of course, answerable to the courts.
It is important to say that we have no objection to safeguarding of commercial imagery, but we wonder whether it is desirable to impose criminal sanctions on what are, in effect, civil disputes, although we recognise that that has happened in the past in relation to the Commonwealth games and the Olympics.
The organising committee for the championship includes representatives from Police Scotland. We asked the Government bill team whether Police Scotland had raised similar concerns to those of the SPF during the organising committee’s discussions, but it said that Police Scotland had not. How do you respond to that?
It is not unusual for the Police Service of Scotland and the Scottish Police Federation to look at the same issue from completely different ends of the spectrum. I suspect that when the service has had time to review our submission, it will have fairly similar concerns. I see no reason why, unless the police service had been specifically pointed to the issues that the SPF raised, it would necessarily have come to the same conclusions off its own bat.
This has not been the case exclusively, but my experience of the police service is that it tends to look at new legislation through the prisms of costs to the service and demands on officer time and often does not go far beyond those. We must be sanguine and accept that the bill has been subjected to only a very short period of consultation. I am sure that organisations, including the SPF, will take longer to deliberate prior to subsequent stages, and will make more detailed submissions. Our concerns might have passed Police Scotland by in its initial scan of the bill in the time that was available. The issues that the SPF has highlighted are not wholly different from those that were highlighted at the time of the Commonwealth games.
The bill’s policy memorandum says that the police cannot do the work, because they will be pretty busy policing football games and ensuring that the public are safe during the tournament.
The SPF’s letter states that
“The SPF has a longstanding opposition to the extending of pseudo police powers to non-police officers, as this risks delegitimising the clear and distinct role society expects its police officers to perform”.
That is fair enough and clear. Should police officers have the enforcement role, in this case?
If I may be so bold, I will say that we should go back one step. Ultimately, it comes down to the fundamental question whether it is appropriate to introduce specific legislation to criminalise what are, in effect, civil disputes. If Parliament desires that, there is a real question about who should enforce the criminal law. In general, it is police officers who enforce criminal law.
That is very clear.
Calum Steele said that the bill is similar to the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Act 2008. I understand that the role of enforcement officers is similar in it and the bill—unless you have identified differences. Did any issues arise from the 2014 Commonwealth games in terms of how the relationship between the police and enforcement officers worked?
They were not insurmountable, but there were issues. Again, I give the heavy caveat that I have not had an awful lot of time to undertake research with officers who were heavily involved in activities in 2014 or in the Olympics, when broadly comparable restrictions were in place. However, even in the short time that I had, we identified instances of conflict, particularly in relation to enforcement officers’ expectations of what police officers should do.
For example, it was highlighted to me that there was some kind of guerrilla or ambush advertising by a gambling company. I would need to check the veracity of the example to see whether it went to this extent, but I was told that the police service was expected, and asked, to pull together specialist assets to remove banners from high buildings. That was one element that caused the police to reprioritise its expectations and demands in order to service the asks from enforcement officers.
There were points of conflict even on practical and mundane matters such as feeding police officers who were working at events. The police service provided officers with food and refreshments from a well-known high street bakery that was not part of the advertising and sponsorship of the Commonwealth games, which led to significant conflict in trying to get police officers fed and refreshed. We can all safely assume that a fairly hefty diplomatic incident was avoided—without being too unkind, it was probably achieved through brute force and powers of persuasion—but that shows that there can be points of conflict at levels that would not necessarily be thought about in considering enforcement of legislation.
The bill team have said that they are only now speaking to partners who were involved in the 2014 Commonwealth games. Perhaps it was not anticipated that we would need such legislation again, but there seems to have been little investigation of how such legislation operated previously.
I have a question for Mr Henderson about the experience from the 2014 Commonwealth games. Can lessons be learned from what happened in 2014 in relation to advertising?
David Henderson (Advertising Association)
I was not involved then, so I am looking at the issue retrospectively. However, the Advertising Association had no objections. We had good engagement with the Scottish Government throughout the process leading up to the 2014 Commonwealth games, and we were happy with the protections that were put in place.
We are still engaging with stakeholders on whether the same framework should be used for what is a slightly different type of championship competition. We are considering whether the framework for an Olympic or Commonwealth games model of event—based in a specific country over a longer period—can be applied to something in which maybe only four matches are happening as part of a Europe-wide championship. However, to answer your question, there were no specific issues at the time of the Commonwealth games.
You suggest that there is a difference between events such as the Commonwealth games and the Olympics and the UEFA championships. The bill team explained to us that, within the zones there will be restrictions so that only the sponsors can be highlighted or promoted, and we have heard that that will present challenges for some businesses. Has UEFA announced who the sponsors are yet?
As far as I know, the sponsors have been appointed. I cannot say with certainty who they are, but they will obviously be massive multinational corporations. A balance needs to be struck between supporting investment by the sponsors and supporting smaller businesses in specific locations. In theory, those businesses should be able to take advantage of the good will and celebratory nature of the competition. Perhaps “take advantage of” is not the right expression but, particularly in Glasgow, I am sure that there are lots of businesses that will want to get into the spirit of the games and achieve the commercial benefit that can come from being a smaller enterprise in that situation. It is about striking the correct balance between protecting the sponsors and letting everyone else get into the feel of things.
I have questions for the Scottish Police Federation on enforcement and on some of the useful points that Calum Steele raised in his letter. My understanding of the bill is that enforcement officers will have the power to carry out a search of a person’s home and a search that requires force to gain entry, but only in the presence of a police officer. That was the substantial point on which we engaged with the bill team in the earlier evidence session. A second set of searches including of vehicles and containers do not require police presence. Will you comment on the distinction between the two sets of criteria for conduct of searches by enforcement officers?
There is also a third set of search criteria relating to premises that are not a home. As I read the bill, the requirement for a police officer presence relates only to the search of a home. The argument is going to return time and again to the point that I made early on about the significant power to effect a search of people’s belongings—whether that is a vehicle, a vessel, a commercial premises, or another form of premises that are owned by an individual but do not amount to a home.
Ultimately, the ludicrousness of the situation—if I may be so bold—is that it appears that although enforcement officers will have the power to secure a warrant, they will be able to act on it only in the presence of a police officer. Unless there is to be a wholesale change, it would be the actions of the police officer that might be subject to complaint and scrutiny, even though the officer might not have been wholly privy to the basis on which the warrant was secured.
It is not impossible to foresee a search being undertaken of domestic premises, with the sheriff having been satisfied with the testimony of the enforcement officer that that was required, but the actions of the police officer becoming the subject of complaint and, potentially, a civil action against the chief constable. That is something that the Scottish Police Federation is not very comfortable with.10:15
The use of police powers and police actions are heavily instilled in the individual. We instinctively recoil against the notion that we should go along to hold someone’s hand and to be their witness, unless they have a reporting authority—attendance with the Scottish SPCA, for example, although Scottish SPCA officers have different powers available to them.
Is the Scottish Police Federation’s position that, in circumstances that currently require the presence of a police officer to execute a search, the power to execute such searches should simply be held by police officers, rather than by enforcement officers? Are you saying that there is no need for enforcement officers to have that particular search power?
As the bill is drafted, when it comes to domestic premises, there is certainly no need—unless someone can persuade me otherwise—for enforcement officers to have those powers. Beyond the issue about domestic premises, there are inherent risks for enforcement officers in undertaking searches of commercial or other premises. When we are talking about outbuildings, sheds, garages, empty shops or whatever, the risk is not least from the potential hostility that enforcement officers could face from the owners of such premises.
I have one brief operational question to finish with. It appears that use of a locksmith to gain entry to premises does not qualify as use of force to gain entry, which means that an enforcement officer would not require the presence of a police officer if they were using a locksmith to gain entry, whereas if they had to use brute force to gain entry that would require the presence of a police officer. How does that match the current mode of operation for the police? What is your position on the idea that use of a locksmith is not comparable to use of brute force and so would not require police presence?
That exposes one of the other areas of concern in the bill: it provides enforcement officers with the unfettered ability to call upon assistance from any other person. In each case, who would determine whether the locksmith is a bona fide locksmith or just someone who happens to have a drill and is good at getting through doors? There are fairly significant weaknesses and vulnerabilities in the bill. To me, having to overcome security to effect entry is the same as forcing entry.
I have a few questions for Calum Steele on the issue that was raised by Ross Greer, then I have a question for David Henderson. Did the SPF make a submission on the legislation for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth games arrangements? I ask not least because my understanding is that, as far as enforcement is concerned, the new bit is the power to enter and search—the other offences are substantially the same as for the 2014 games. I am just trying to understand how we arrived at this point.
The short answer to your question is yes. The submission was made in the name of my predecessor. If my memory—which is not that bad—serves me right, it was made in 2007, so there was a much longer lead-in period for the legislation on the Commonwealth games than for the legislation that we are discussing today. Although my search of the SPF archive in the time that was available was able to identify only one submission that was made, it is clear that there were earlier submissions. The subsequent submission contains many of the substantive points that are contained in the SPF’s written response in my name today, and it is clear that additional concerns were raised in relation to an earlier draft of the bill.
Presumably, we could find the submissions through the parliamentary archives—I would have thought that that would be a possible route. Basically, however, it seems that you are saying that the SPF had concerns about the 2014 arrangements that were similar to the ones that you express in your letter that the committee received yesterday.
We all want the championships to happen in Glasgow, so we must find solutions to the issues. Should we suggest that the provisions around the power to enter and search be redrafted in a way that meets the concerns that have been raised, or are you advocating that we do not have the trading standards officers involved in any aspect of this, assuming that we proceed to establish the criminal offences as a deterrent?
That is a broad question, if I may be so bold—
Well, we have to find a solution. I am being practical.
As I say in the SPF submission, we recognise the strength of large brands such as UEFA, FIFA, the Olympics and the Commonwealth games, but it seems a peculiar approach to consider that our legislation to protect day-to-day image rights is not sufficiently robust to do the job when the big boys come to town. If we have weaknesses, we should address them in a substantive way rather than in a way that involves periodically coming up with sticking plasters—if that is an appropriate descriptor—when large-scale events come around.
Speaking personally, and being mindful of the fact that we are short of time, I do not think that anyone out there—a police officer or a member of the public—objects to the principle of safeguarding the investment that certain brands and entities make in supporting large-scale sporting events. I believe that my members and members of society abhor ticket touting, and we are in general wholly supportive of any civil enforcement that makes it more unlikely than likely that that activity will be pursued.
With regard to what might be an appropriate response, I would like to take more time to consider that. However, freewheeling somewhat, I would say that it should not be beyond the wit of all of us to come up with a simple piece of legislation that states that overt advertising of the specific brands that will be contained in a schedule relative to those that are sponsoring the championships will be permitted to be displayed in certain areas. To some extent, the bill hints at that.
Thereafter, we get to the issue of enforcement. To me, anything that involves something that looks like police powers has to remain with police officers. So far, no one has mentioned section 17 powers in relation to the use of force, but I think that there is a potential vulnerability there.
Let us hypothesise that someone is carrying a branded cup of a type that does not bear the logo of the sponsor that is paying a lot of money to have a presence at the event, and the individual objects to surrendering that item to an enforcement officer. At the point of trying to remove it, force is used. That is entirely contradictory to the further provisions in the bill that say that force shall not be used against a person. We seem to be creating potential for lots of Mexican stand-offs, in effect, along the lines of someone saying, “Give me the cup”, the person saying, “No”, and the police being called and getting involved in trying to seize a cup. I am not sure that that is necessarily the kind of consequence that we are looking to create through the bill.
As you rightly say, the devil is in the detail. It would be helpful to have your further reflections on that, on behalf of the SPF. We have limited time in which to scrutinise the bill.
I have a few questions for David Henderson. I do not know whether you heard it, but we had a discussion with the bill team about the advertising restrictions, which would affect billboard space. I presume that, in advance of the restrictions, there would have to be a different set of arrangements for who could pay to advertise on large hoardings. What will happen in that regard, in practical terms? Do you have concerns that there might be undue restrictions on the freedom to advertise one’s business?
On the first point, we fully appreciate the time constraint for getting the legislation through. That picks up on the point that Calum Steele made about the run-up to the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Bill. We put in a submission on that in 2007 or 2008, and we had years of engagement in which to thrash out the final detail.
At the outset, we have no objections to what is in the bill with regard to ticket touting. That is fundamental to the licensing conditions with UEFA, and it has to be sorted.
The advertising issues—again, I will pick up on some points that Calum Steele made—include whether we need to have additional specific criminal offences for things that are already protected under the civil law, such as on the passing off of copyright or trademarks, and issues related to the Committee of Advertising Practice codes, which are enforced by the Advertising Standards Authority. We are not 100 per cent sure whether the additional layer of protection is necessary and we cannot say with certainty whether the bill needs to go that far.
It is key that we get additional guidance and have sight of the secondary legislation as soon as possible, and that we have on-going consultation with the industry. Advertising, particularly in out-of-home spaces, is run months in advance, so we need certainty now as to what we will be doing next summer, when the games will take place.
On the point about a criminal offence with regard to advertising restrictions, that was in place for the 2014 Commonwealth games, so it is not a new thing. It will be interesting to see the submission that the Advertising Standards Authority made on the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Bill.
We agree that the secondary legislation will be key. Do you have a notion at this stage about what exemptions from the offence your membership wants to see?
The main exemption that we would vigorously press for would be for newspapers and news publications or magazines. It comes down to the definition of the term “ambush marketing” and whether it takes a narrow or a broad approach. In our view, ambush marketing should be defined as marketing that targets people in the vicinity of an event location. There will be situations where there is advertising in a newspaper that someone happens to be reading in an event location, having purchased it elsewhere and brought it with them. We would like the scope of the provisions to be narrowed down so that there is a broad exception for all news media in that regard.
On wider exceptions, there are concerns about out-of-home advertising, including on transport. In particular, there are concerns that buses and taxis that contain advertisements are likely to come into the event zones. I apologise that I have not yet had a chance to look at the location map so I cannot say with certainty what the chances are of that happening, but that is an additional concern.
I am sure that more concerns will be raised as we consult our members but, given the tight time constraints, we have not yet had a chance to get full feedback. We will look for initial thoughts on what the exceptions should be, and then we hope to engage further in consultation with the Government to define the exceptions and ensure that they are fit for purpose from the industry’s perspective.
You mentioned newspapers. In the centre of Glasgow there are a number of free-standing vendors of local newspapers such as the Herald and the Evening Times—I used to work for that newspaper, so I declare an interest. Will those vendors be able to trade as normal?10:30
We hope that they will be able to trade as normal. I suppose that it is a slightly different issue if someone commits ambush marketing by having a front-and-centre advert appear, as opposed to an advert for a non-affiliated brand that is inside a newspaper along with the content. Do you see what I mean? If no exemption is in place for news media, it will broaden the scope of what is prohibited under the provisions in the bill.
There are also potential concerns about advertorials. Content in the newspapers will refer to things that happen in the games. The question is whether advertising that appears alongside that content while not necessarily being associated with the editorial piece will be brought under the scope of the bill. We are looking for clarity on that with regard to exemptions.
The committee will be looking for clarity on that as well.
My question is for Calum Steele in particular. As I said to the previous panel, when I saw the bill, I thought that the real problem would be with enforcement, and the SPF’s letter to the committee reflects that concern.
I want to look at section 17(4). In the letter, you state:
“We have grave reservations about both principle and practice on this issue. If it is envisaged that 17(4) could see persons other than police officers being relied upon to assist, this creates a potential for a free for all with random citizens (subjected to potentially zero validation) able to exercise powers of entry and search, and seizure and destruction. The inherent risks in this approach ought to be self-evident.”
That would be “If it is envisaged” by the bill team, the minister and the Government. It seemed to me on reading section 17(4) that that is exactly their intention. If they wanted only police officers to do those things, the bill would specify that enforcement officers may be assisted by police officers. As far as I can see, the intention in the bill is not to have police officers assisting enforcement officers, but to give legal protection to anybody who does so.
The example of a locksmith has been given. However, the provision in section 17(4) could mean that, if an enforcement officer says, “Hey, Mr Smith—I want you to help me to do this”, Mr Smith will be given legal protection whatever he does. Is my interpretation correct?
I fear that it might be. The issue of accountability and complaint is one of the underpinning concerns that the SPF often asks about. Where would the public validation or approval be of individuals who would be performing what are fairly intrusive tasks? Enforcement, whether it extends to search, seizure, destruction or whatever, involves intrusive acts. At present, the powers are vested in a very limited number of individuals and they are, in their own right, subject to rigorous scrutiny and validation by bodies that, in effect, act on behalf of the general public.
First, there is no indication in the bill that ministers would set any standards for those who are qualified as enforcement officers. Secondly, there is no indication of a minimum period of training or the types of person who may be barred from undertaking those activities. The “any other person” element further dilutes section 17(4). The person in question would potentially have available to them a specific pernicious power under section 19(2) such that a random person could turn up with a random piece of equipment and go into premises to assist the enforcement officer based on the officer’s view that that was necessary. There would be no further test if the premises was not a domestic dwelling.
An obvious area that we would look at is electronic communications. Electronic equipment could be taken in by a random person, who may well have the skills and experience to undertake forensic examinations of computers, hard drives and devices. It is a quagmire.
I raised with our previous witnesses, who were from the bill team, an area where I consider that there is some confusion. Section 19(1)(b), which covers the power to enter and search, says:
“An enforcement officer may, without warrant, enter any place and may search any place (and any vehicle, vessel, container or other thing at that place) ... which the officer reasonably believes has been or is being used in connection with a Championship offence.”
The past tense is used there. Section 21 then covers further restrictions on entering houses. Apart from the exception in relation to houses, which applies when, as section 21(1)(b) says,
“the sheriff grants a warrant for such an action”,
does the bill not give much greater powers to enforcement officers than it gives to police officers?
It does indeed.
Gosh. Thank you.
Stuart McMillan has a supplementary question.
Calum Steele’s earlier example of a cup seems to be covered by the exemption in section 11(3)(d), which relates to
“the display of an advertisement on an individual’s body, clothing or personal property”.
A coffee cup might be either a single-use cup or a plastic, multi-use one.
Yes. However, the issue is that the decision comes down to the judgment of the enforcement officer, which is mentioned throughout the bill. I cannot remember whether it says “in the opinion of”—I think that it is slightly more qualified than that—but the decision, in effect, comes down to the sole judgment of the enforcement officer. They might well take the view that a cup of a certain size is fine but a bigger one is not, which would then raise the issue of removal of the supposedly offending item.
The bill says that force is not to be used against a person, but it is impossible to see how the removal of such an item without the individual’s consent could involve anything else. Police powers are vested in police officers and other individuals cannot be instructed to use them, but a police officer’s judgment and considered course of action might conflict with those of an enforcement officer. It seems that the bill gives the enforcement officer’s view greater significance than the police officer’s.
Convener, I would like to raise a separate issue.
You can raise it if you are brief.
Pop-up shops are a lot more common than they were at the time of the Commonwealth games. I have noticed that they are not covered by the bill, but they might be an issue, especially in the zones that have been identified, such as at the approach to Hampden and in Glasgow city centre. Do you have any recommendations on how to deal with them? Someone who opens such a shop might rent a space for just a week, so five different traders could operate from a single location in the time when the championships will take place.
With the convener’s good grace, I will defer that question to those with more expertise than I have.
Mr Steele, we have touched on your concerns about the enforcement issues, but we have not discussed the potential costs. The financial memorandum that accompanies the bill contains estimates of what Glasgow City Council might have to deal with in relation to enforcement, and it mentions that the cost could vary between £50,000 and £94,000 depending on which countries take part. Once those have been established, if the cost is at the higher end of what Glasgow City Council might be expected to manage, that would surely have implications for Police Scotland. What are your views on that?
It is rare for a piece of legislation that is passed by the Parliament not to have a cost for the police service in some shape or form. It looks as though most of the costs under the bill will fall to the council. However, if we get to a stage where police officers are routinely called upon—or are expected to be called upon—to enforce the powers of search and entry or the use of force on individuals, the consequential cost of that would have to be understood.
In my experience, the forecasts of costs that accompany draft pieces of legislation tend to be grossly underestimated rather than anywhere close to reflective of reality. It will be difficult to get a fair assessment of the costs until such time as we see what the regulations look like. If Parliament determines that it does not want to specify any qualifying criteria, training standards or debarred elements for enforcement officers, that will have a beneficial impact on the costs to the police service in that they are likely to be very little. If the Parliament takes a contrary view, I imagine that the expectation will be that police officers will provide the training and awareness of how to make sure that the enforcement officers stay on the right side of the law.
It depends on how far Parliament wishes to go. For example, this is not explicitly stated in the SPF’s submission, but if Parliament wished to extend oversight of enforcement officers’ activities to the likes of the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner, further costs would be involved in that, should a member of the public wish to complain about the manner in which they had been treated.
You have rightly identified what could happen depending on the situation and circumstances. It is important that we are aware of that, because there could be implications that have not been foreseen, and Police Scotland would have to utilise and implement way to manage the situations. Does Police Scotland have scenarios for how that might work, perhaps based on what has happened in the past when events of this nature have come along?
I am afraid that you would have to ask Police Scotland about that.
I share the concerns that you have expressed both in the letter and today about the quagmire that we could enter by creating the hybrid of an enforcement officer, who is more than a local authority officer but not quite a police officer. However, such officers have been used before. Given that there are resource issues and practical issues in using police officers, what safeguards could you propose that might assist in resolving the problem? You mentioned greater oversight of enforcement officers. Could anything else be done to bolster the safeguards?
I wonder whether we may be swapping pay packets. It sounds as though we are being asked to find the legislative fix. I am not sure that the issue is particularly easy. It may be that the concerns about the principles will not be played out in practice, but we would be foolish to rush in and legislate in ignorance of the potential for risks and hazards.
My sense is that, through lots of early advertising about the restrictions that will be in place, most of the areas of conflict—particularly for personal conflict—will be minimised. However, we have to recognise that, although targeting means that advertising in Scotland, particularly in Glasgow, is likely to be seen by Scottish citizens, it is not guaranteed that there would be as much awareness of those limitations among people from other nations who have come to support their national teams.
With regard to public footprint and local authorities’ expectations as to how events will be policed—if I may use the word loosely—we need to be mindful that, although we have recent experience of the Commonwealth games and, to a lesser extent, the Olympics, it is unclear to me that citizens of other countries would necessarily perceive that random people who call themselves enforcement officers would have powers to ask them to conform to particular directions.
A lot can be done with early advertising, particularly for the Scottish element of the event. Once the draw has been made and we know the make-up of the teams that will come to Scotland, it will be appropriate for the city council to engage with the Governments of the visiting nations to make sure that they are similarly aware. It may well be that some literature could accompany the tickets or flight information.
However, I cannot get away from the fact that anything that introduces the use of force by a non-police officer is inherently problematic and would create potential for conflict. Although the measure is intended to take the need for time and effort away from police officers, it is difficult to see that it will do so.10:45
The tournament will start in June 2020. When does the advertising industry need all the regulations to be in place, to allow it to prepare?
In an ideal world, we would like the exemptions to be in the bill so that we have a heads-up now about what to expect and we can make preparations. From a macro point of view, it is not that difficult, but once we drill down, smaller businesses need to be aware of the restrictions that will be in place, and communication might be more of an issue there.
As a network of trade associations, we have great links with the breadth of the industry, but we need time to get the message out in adequate time for people to have appropriate advertising in place. If the exemptions are not in the bill, we will need to know what they are as soon as possible in the new year.
Have you put in writing the exemptions that you would like to be in place?
Not yet, but we can provide that as supplementary evidence to the committee.
It would be really helpful if you could provide that as soon as possible, given the timescales that are involved.
I want to go back to ticket touting. It is clear from our earlier exchanges with Scottish Government officials and the bill’s policy memorandum that the law on touting in Scotland is not adequate, and that view is backed up by the Association of Tartan Army Clubs, which has submitted written evidence. It says that, although touting is
“not common place at matches involving the Scottish national team”,
it is a big problem. Scotland is, I think, one of four or five of the 12 countries that will be hosting games that have been asked to introduce temporary legislation. That shows that ticket touting is a problem that we might need to tackle through wider legislation in future.
Mr Steele, you said that you have a problem with the bill in relation to the enforcement of touting legislation, because it relates not just to Scotland but to overseas and online touting. Will you expand on that? If we were to introduce legislation at some point to deal with what is clearly understood to be a problem, would the police service be able to deal with that?
The concern is not about the practice, but about enforceability. Whether someone is touting outside a stadium or from a bedroom in the Ukraine, the net effect is that somebody somewhere is paying over the odds for a ticket and someone else is being deprived of the opportunity to get one at face value. The nature of online crime means that tackling it is resource intensive and the return is minimal. Putting provisions on touting in the bill is laudable, but I add a health warning that we should not necessarily expect miracles to be performed, either by enforcement officers or by the Police Service of Scotland, in bringing to heel ticket touts that operate online.
Right. Does the Police Service of Scotland have the capacity to deal with such online crime?
That is my favourite type of question, convener. [Laughter.] I am sure that you had no sooner asked it than you realised that my answer was going to be “No, we don’t.” It is true of the police service in many areas that we could always do more if we had more.
I think that it is highly unlikely that ticket touting, regardless of its pernicious effect on events and on individuals who lose out, would be considered a high-priority crime for the police service to investigate.
Okay. In your letter, you raise concerns about the effect that the section of the bill that deals with trading might have on charities. Earlier this morning, I asked the bill team about the young people in Glasgow who are buskers. It is quite a lively scene, and I mentioned Emeli Sandé’s current television programme that is showcasing their talents. From an enforcement point of view, we certainly do not want to criminalise charities or young people with guitars. How do you see that panning out on the ground? How can we avoid criminalising them?
There is that element, which I will return to shortly. However, we must not lose sight of the fact that the nature of charitable giving has changed significantly over the past number of years. For example, it is not unusual for benefactors to bequeath tickets for events such as cup finals as part of charitable fundraising for a completely unrelated entity. That would appear to be touting, in that it seeks to make a profit for the charity, albeit not for material gain for an individual. That has to be looked at and understood. It would be peculiar if a generous individual was to offer two tickets to, say, a UEFA championship match in Glasgow in order to support a local hospice, and they were bought by an individual in support of the hospice only for a question to be raised about whether the profit that was made amounted to a ticketing offence.
In addition, we need to consider types of charitable giving that take place, particularly around football, that are generally welcomed. For example, there are lots of drives to gather supplies for food banks, and they are very much club led. I appreciate that there is a world of difference between individual football clubs and national sporting teams, but in general, football fans are becoming increasingly generous in their support of charitable activities.
My concern and, I think, the SPF’s concern is that it would look bad for UEFA, Scotland as a nation, the police service and enforcement officers if we were seen to be taking away—and destroying, potentially—items that had been bequeathed for the purpose of charitable giving. That is probably one of those unintended elements that could become a feature of the proposed legislation if it was not subject to the helpful scrutiny that the committee is providing.
On the point about buskers, when the Commonwealth games were held in Glasgow, were you aware of any youths—particularly kids from the age of eight to 14 or 15—who turned up and started to play their instruments to make some pocket money? Do you know how they were dealt with? With such a big event taking place next year, young people in particular will want to take part and have that opportunity, and I would not want them to be criminalised or treated with a heavy hand. I do not imagine that they will be, but I hope that they will be dealt with sensitivity, with no possibility of negative treatment.
If there is to be more detailed evidence before stage 2, which I suggest will be required, I will be able to address the question about the Commonwealth games. I did not ask about it specifically before I came here today. We also cannot ignore the enterprising abilities of young people in providing vehicle security during football matches—that seems to be a fairly common activity in and around Glasgow.
In general, it would be unfortunate if we were to seek to create barriers between instruments of the state and those who are trying to take advantage of an opportunity. Let us be honest: someone raising a couple of hundred pounds by playing the bagpipes badly is not going to break UEFA. [Laughter.]
When there is an international match at Hampden, there are plenty of young kids in the streets doing a bit of piping just because they want to take part, and that will also be the case next year.
Indeed. It would seem peculiar for a country that is as proud of its cultural heritage as Scotland is to seek to put any limitation on that. However, that is my personal view rather than the view of my organisation.
Thank you. Do members have any other questions?
I go back to a question that I asked the previous panel. In section 2, which criminalises ticket touting, subsection (4) says:
“The touting offence does not apply in relation to acts done by UEFA.”
The bill bans ticket touting—the selling of tickets above their face value—but not ticket touting by UEFA. Does that cause any concern?
I might request to take the fifth amendment on that question. I think that that would be the expression. [Laughter.]
Perhaps that is a question for UEFA to answer when it appears before the committee.
I thank both witnesses for coming to give evidence to the committee today.10:55 Meeting continued in private until 11:07.
3 October 2019
What is secondary legislation?
Secondary legislation is sometimes called 'subordinate' or 'delegated' legislation. It can be used to:
- bring a section or sections of a law that’s already been passed, into force
- give details of how a law will be applied
- make changes to the law without a new Act having to be passed
An Act is a Bill that’s been approved by Parliament and given Royal Assent (formally approved).
Delegated Powers and Law Reform committee
This committee looks at the powers of this Bill to allow the Scottish Government or others to create 'secondary legislation' or regulations.
It met to discuss the Bill in public on:
1 October 2019:
Read the Stage 1 report by the Delegated Powers and Law Reform committee published on 3 October 2019.
Debate on the Bill
A debate for MSPs to discuss what the Bill aims to do and how it'll do it.
Stage 1 debate on the Bill transcript
The Presiding Officer (Ken Macintosh)
The next item of business is a stage 1 debate on motion S5M-19701, in the name of Ben Macpherson, on the UEFA European Championship (Scotland) Bill.14:23
The Minister for Europe, Migration and International Development (Ben Macpherson)
I am glad to open this debate on stage 1 of the UEFA European Championship (Scotland) Bill and to seek Parliament’s backing for the general principles of the bill.
The UEFA championship is a remarkable sporting event that attracts global audiences, and in June and July next year—2020—we look forward to seeing the best of football at Hampden park as part of one of the biggest sporting events in the world. The Scottish Government and our partners in the local organising committee for the event are delighted to be involved in the 60th anniversary of the event, which will provide a “Euro for Europe”, with 12 cities across the continent hosting matches, including Glasgow. We look forward to welcoming others from across Europe to our shores and to enjoying the tournament together.
Glasgow and Scotland have a strong track record of successfully delivering major global sporting events, which bring significant benefits not just for our economy but for our international reputation. Importantly, we expect that the excitement and memories that are created by the championship will be on a par with those surrounding other famous football matches that have taken place in Glasgow. The impact will be magnified if, as we hope, Scotland manage to qualify through the nations league play-offs.
Hosting a major event often involves meeting certain requirements of the rights holder. The bill that we are debating today seeks to ensure the successful delivery of Euro 2020 in line with the requirements of the Union of European Football Associations for all 12 host cities. The bill will protect commercial rights in relation to ticket touting, street trading and advertising. It also contains measures in relation to enforcement.
The bill provides for three event zones in Glasgow where fans can enjoy the occasion and where the street trading and advertising restrictions will apply. I recognise that a key area of interest for Parliament and those who are affected by the bill will be where the zones are. For that reason, during stage 1, I shared with the committee draft maps of the proposed Hampden park, George Square and merchant city event zones. I have also shared illustrative regulations to indicate how the Scottish Government expects to use the powers that are included in the bill, and I welcome any feedback on those.
I turn to the scrutiny of the bill. The timescales for consideration are shorter than usual, which I appreciate has made scrutiny more challenging. I therefore commend and thank the Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee for the diligent way in which it has undertaken stage 1 consideration. The committee heard from a range of stakeholders, and I also thank those organisations for contributing to the process. I thank the Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee and the Finance and Constitution Committee for their consideration of the bill.
We now have the stage 1 report. I welcome the lead committee’s unanimous support for the general principles of the bill. I think that we all have the same aim, which is to ensure that the bill plays its part in delivering a fantastic event. In that spirit, I will now say more about the Government’s thinking on some of the matters that are raised in the report. I particularly want to focus on the timescales and plans for evaluation of the bill, the enforcement powers and our proposals for ticket touting. Finally, I will talk briefly about engagement on the bill.
On timescales and evaluation, members may be aware that the Scottish Government and its partners had worked to establish whether it would be possible to meet UEFA’s requirements without the need for additional primary legislation. However, after that was explored in detail with UEFA, it was confirmed in only April 2019 that a bill would be necessary to provide the level of protection that UEFA requires to host the event. Since then, the Scottish Government has been working swiftly to develop the bill. In doing so, we have sought to learn from the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Act 2008, which is the most recent piece of legislation in Scotland for a major event. Subject to parliamentary approval, the Scottish Government proposes that the bill completes its parliamentary process more quickly than usual so that the secondary legislation can be laid early in 2020 in order to give those affected as much time as possible to prepare. Thinking forward, I have committed to evaluate after the event how the legislation for Euro 2020 worked in practice, which could help to inform the consideration of legislative requirements for future events in Scotland.
The enforcement provisions have been a key area of scrutiny during stage 1. The consideration included the range of powers that enforcement officers should have, who should be able to be appointed as an enforcement officer and who should be able to assist an enforcement officer. I welcome the feedback from the committee on those points in the stage 1 report and when I appeared in front of the committee.
The enforcement provisions are almost identical to those in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Act 2008 and are similar to enforcement powers in other pieces of Scottish and United Kingdom legislation. The provisions are also supported by Police Scotland. Nevertheless, following the committee’s scrutiny and my deliberations, I recognise that it is possible to make the provisions clearer and that it may be helpful to strengthen protections in some areas. As a result, the Scottish Government will lodge amendments at stage 2 to respond to a number of the points that have been raised by the Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee. I have set out my evaluation of those points in more detail in my response to the committee’s stage 1 report. The proposed amendments include adding criteria to limit the appointment of enforcement officers to people who are employed by Glasgow City Council or other local authorities in Scotland.
I turn to ticket touting. Sadly, as members will know, many major events are blighted by the presence of ticket touts. The Scottish Government, working in partnership with UEFA, wants to prevent that from happening for the Euro 2020 championship. The bill will help to ensure fair access to tickets by creating a new criminal offence, carrying a maximum fine of £5,000, which will act as a deterrent and allow action to be taken to address ticket touting that is carried out either in person or—crucially—electronically.
Mike Rumbles (North East Scotland) (LD)
The minister’s comments are welcome and I fully support them. However, I want to ask about another matter that was raised in the committee’s discussions. Will he consider coming back to Parliament at a future date to put into the general law on ticket touting the measures that he now proposes for this event?
As I expressed when I appeared before the committee a number of weeks ago, assuming that the bill is approved by Parliament, the Scottish Government intends to learn from its successful delivery and operation and to consider how a framework bill on major events might work in future. Considerations on ticket touting will undoubtedly be part of that process.
Our proposals to ban touting of championship tickets have been broadly supported, including by football fans. The Association of Tartan Army Clubs wrote to the Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee in October to convey its firm support for such measures. Of course, it is not my intention to criminalise charity auctions of tickets, and I have committed to lodge an amendment at stage 2 to make it clear that such auctions will be permitted. However, any form of charity sale, auction or promotional giveaway of a Euro 2020 ticket should be discussed with UEFA to ensure that the ultimate holder of the ticket is not at risk of being refused entry to the stadium as a consequence of breaching UEFA’s terms and conditions of sale. The Scottish Government is working to raise awareness of the new offence so that fans will understand how it works and feel able to report touting activity to Police Scotland and enforcement officers.
Finally, it is important that we undertake further engagement to raise awareness of the other provisions in the bill, as we are doing for those on ticket touting. Prior to the bill’s introduction, the Scottish Government carried out targeted engagement with street traders and other businesses that might be affected, as it is essential that they understand what is being proposed and have an opportunity to provide their views. Since the bill was introduced, further engagement has taken place to help us to understand the views of other groups. Importantly, that has included discussions with the Association of Tartan Army Clubs, Supporters Direct Scotland and the Scottish Football Supporters Association, as we wanted to hear from football fans as widely as we could on relevant matters. Further engagement with residents around Hampden park is planned for later this month on the preparations for the event, not just the possible implications of the bill. The Scottish Government, together with Glasgow City Council and other partners, intends to continue to publicise the restrictions on advertising, street trading and ticket touting in the run-up to the championship, to raise awareness among businesses and the public.
I hope that members will appreciate that, despite the expedited timetable for this bill, a good deal of consideration and due care has gone into its drafting. The proposals on ticket touting have been broadly supported, and those on street trading and advertising have been welcomed in the stage 1 report on the bill. I view parliamentary scrutiny as a vital way to improve the bill and have responded positively to the majority of the committee’s recommendations on areas for possible amendment.
I look forward to engaging with members in a productive exchange of views today and, subject to parliamentary approval, taking forward improvements to the bill at stage 2. It is an exciting opportunity for Glasgow to be one of the 12 host cities for the championship, with huge benefits for the local economy, Scotland’s economy and our reputation as an excellent nation to host world-class sporting events. With regard to that opportunity, the aspiration to deliver the tournament well and the things that we need to undertake to do that, I move the motion.
That the Parliament agrees to the general principles of the UEFA European Championship (Scotland) Bill.
The Presiding Officer
I call Joan McAlpine, convener of the Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee, to open on behalf of the committee.14:35
Joan McAlpine (South Scotland) (SNP)
It is a pleasure to speak in this debate on behalf of the Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee. My committee unanimously agreed our report on the UEFA European Championship (Scotland) Bill last Thursday, and it is symptomatic of the compressed timetable for the bill that this debate is taking place today. In that regard, I am reminded of the words of Leonard Bernstein, who said:
“To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time.”
I thank all the members of the committee and those who provided evidence for their support for our scrutinising the bill within a constrained timetable. As always, I also thank our clerks, who worked so hard to get the report out on time. The compressed timetable has affected me personally because I have a long-standing appointment to support some of my constituents from Langholm, who have travelled to meet the transport minister today. I have alerted you to this, Presiding Officer, but I apologise to members who will speak in the open part of the debate that I will have to step out. My constituents have travelled a long way and I am keen to support them.
The committee recognises the significant culture, tourism and social opportunities that hosting the matches at Hampden park represents for Scotland. Nevertheless, the committee, as one would expect, raises a range of issues with the bill in its stage 1 report. I want to explore those this afternoon, and I am sure that my fellow committee members will want to expand on them.
Euro 2020 will be hosted by 12 member associations of UEFA to mark the 60th anniversary of the European championships, and four matches will take place in Glasgow. To date, five countries are using primary legislation to meet UEFA’s requirements for hosting Euro 2020 matches, while other jurisdictions, such as England, are using secondary legislation. The governance for hosting the Euro 2020 matches is being undertaken by a local organising committee that comprises representatives of the Scottish Football Association, the Scottish Government, Glasgow City Council, Hampden Park Ltd, VisitScotland and Police Scotland.
While considering the bill, the committee became aware that the need for primary legislation became evident only in April this year despite individual members of the local organising committee, such as Glasgow City Council, having been aware that existing legislation would not be sufficient to meet UEFA’s requirements. In contrast, the legislation for the 2014 Commonwealth games was passed in 2008. The committee considers it regrettable that the local organising committee, which includes the Scottish Government, did not anticipate the need for legislation far sooner, given that the Euro 2020 matches were awarded in 2014. However, I welcome the minister’s commitment in his response to the committee’s stage 1 report
“to learn from this experience”.
I am aware that the delay was certainly not connected to the minister, who came into post only recently.
The bill contains a range of measures that seek to protect the commercial rights of UEFA and event sponsors. Specifically, it contains provisions that will put in place restrictions on ticket touting, street trading and advertising, as well as a range of provisions relating to the enforcement of those offences. The provisions replicate equivalent measures in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Act 2008.
The measures in the bill with regard to ticket touting were supported in the evidence that the committee received. However, the committee has sought to understand why the bill provides an exemption for UEFA, particularly as it was clear when it provided evidence to the committee that it has absolutely no intention of engaging in ticket touting. I am sure that we all welcome that.
The committee recognises that the minister considers that the provision is necessary to protect UEFA when reselling tickets on an online platform. Nevertheless, the committee recommends that the Scottish Government reflects on whether the policy intention of the legislation can be made clearer via an amendment at stage 2.
The committee also welcomes commitments that the Scottish Government has made to ensure that 2020 tickets that are sold at above face value for charitable purposes are exempted from the ticket touting provisions.
The street trading and advertising provisions, which seek to prohibit unauthorised street trading in the Euro 2020 event zones in Glasgow, were generally supported. The committee expressed concern that the activities of buskers and charity collectors could be impacted by the street trading measures. Presiding Officer, as you will be aware, Glasgow boasts some of the finest street performers to be found anywhere in Europe and I am therefore delighted that the minister has committed to making busking and charity collections exceptions to the street trading offence. That can only help to add to the atmosphere that travelling fans will experience in the Euro 2020 event zones.
A substantial proportion of the bill deals with the enforcement mechanisms that are designed to underpin the advertising, ticket touting and street trading offences. The bill proposes that enforcement officers are designated to enforce those offences as a practical measure to reduce the resource implications for Police Scotland during the championships. Concerns were expressed by some stakeholders regarding that approach, which replicates the approach that was taken for the 2014 Commonwealth games. For example, the Scottish Police Federation considered that enforcement officers could blur the distinction between police officers and others who are exercising powers that resemble police powers.
Enforcement officers will be local authority officers who deal with trading standards and consumer protection and will be drawn primarily from Glasgow City Council in the first instance. The minister recognised that that is not evident from the bill as currently drafted and he has offered to make the position more explicit in the bill. The committee recommends that the minister lodges such amendments at stage 2.
In addition, the bill proposes that an enforcement officer should be able to seek assistance from another person to assist them in their role, without defining who those other persons may be. The committee considers that to be a potentially wide-ranging power. We therefore recommended that an enforcement officer, when seeking external expert assistance, should notify the police in advance of seeking such assistance.
I recognise that, in his response to the committee’s stage 1 report, the minister has committed to lodge amendments at stage 2 to make the enforcement provisions clearer and
“to strengthen protections in some areas.”
Presiding Officer, I know that public engagement is an issue to which you attach great importance. The Scottish Government recognises that, due to the late recognition of the need for primary legislation, there had not been sufficient time for a full public consultation prior to the introduction of the bill. Similarly, due to the constraints on the time available for scrutiny of the bill, there was limited scope for stakeholders to engage with the parliamentary process. The committee therefore welcomes the on-going efforts of Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government to undertake public engagement. The committee also welcomes the information distribution programme that UEFA intends to implement. However, the committee is unaware of any public engagement that has taken place to date with local community groups, residents or organisations that represent football fans. Accordingly, the committee recommends that the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council consult such groups.
I will briefly consider the approach that is taken to legislating for major events. The committee welcomes the success that Scotland has had in recent years in attracting major events, and it recognises that doing so remains an on-going objective for the Scottish Government. The minister has referred to the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Act 2008 as the “gold standard” for such legislation. However, the committee is aware that no formal evaluation of the operation of the 2008 act has been undertaken. The committee has recommended that there should be
“a formal evaluation of the operation of the legislation”
following next summer’s Euro 2020 tournament.
The use of individual pieces of legislation in order to host major events was questioned in evidence to the committee. For example, the Scottish Police Federation said:
“If we have weaknesses, we should address them in a substantive way rather than in a way that involves periodically coming up with sticking plasters—if that is an appropriate descriptor—when large-scale events come around”.—[Official Report, Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee, 3 October 2019; c 26.]
The committee considers that if there are weaknesses in devolved legislation, those should be addressed in a substantive manner, rather than in a piecemeal fashion. Accordingly, the committee has recommended that the Scottish Government should give serious consideration to developing an events framework bill following formal evaluation of the operation of the UEFA European Championship (Scotland) Bill. I acknowledge that the minister has already addressed that point.
The committee recognises the significant cultural, economic and social opportunities that hosting Euro 2020 matches represents for Scotland. The committee hopes that our scrutiny of the bill will improve the approach taken to legislating for hosting major events in the future.
For some of my fellow committee members, football is—to quote that doyen of Scottish football managers, Tommy Docherty—a “lovely, incurable disease”. I know that Glasgow will make a huge success of hosting Euro 2020—the only thing that will enhance the experience of hosting the tournament in Glasgow will be for Scotland to qualify for the tournament. Unfortunately, Presiding Officer, that is an issue over which the committee has no influence—you may consider that that is probably just as well. However, the committee supports the general principles of the bill.14:46
Rachael Hamilton (Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire) (Con)
The 16th UEFA European championship is an exciting opportunity for Scotland. To celebrate the tournament’s 60th birthday, 12 cities across Europe have been selected as hosts, from Amsterdam to Munich.
As we have heard, Hampden park won the bid to host matches during the 2020 European championships, so I am, as the Scottish Conservatives’ tourism spokesperson, delighted that Glasgow will be able to take advantage of the opportunities that will come from fans visiting Glasgow and the surrounding area, which will bring in much-needed tourism and contribute to the local economy.
Today we address the bill that will allow that to happen. It addresses areas of Scots law that do not meet UEFA’s standards for protecting sponsors’ commercial interests. It also covers restrictions on ticket touting, street trading and advertising in relation to the UEFA European championship 2020. Crucially, the bill must be enacted to ensure successful delivery of the championship by meeting commitments that are required by UEFA on commercial rights for event sponsors during the period of the event.
The Scottish Conservatives support the bill. We are grateful to the members of the Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee for their hard work. However, we have some concerns about the bill’s potential impact. We would like clarification from the Scottish Government on the hours of operation and the precise geographical limits of the event zones, and we would like a response on concerns around the European convention on human rights.
I will address issues that were raised in Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee evidence sessions, and in submissions, on the impacts on local businesses and residents and on enforcement of legislation.
We are already familiar with the process of introducing legislation in relation to hosting major sporting and cultural events. The successful Glasgow Commonwealth games back in 2014, for example, saw the Scottish Parliament pass legislation in the build up to hosting that event. That legislation was prepared much further in advance of the event than the bill that we are debating, and an extensive public consultation was carried out.
That approach would have been beneficial for Glasgow residents by enabling them to prepare and feed their input into the conversation surrounding event zones and trading licences. First and foremost, the people who live in the vicinity of Hampden and near other event zones must be given priority. Conservative councillors on Glasgow City Council have raised the issue and believe that there should have been better public consultation. We must take note of likely disruptions and changes to services for residents in such areas. The challenge is to minimise the impact of road closures and to deliver a safe and secure event.
Members of the Mount Florida community council have been instrumental in providing evidence to the committee and have made their views clear. They raised a number of points, the most important of which was that the economic benefits of Hampden events have previously been gained elsewhere—for example, by hotels in Glasgow city centre—rather than in the local area.
As with any area around a major venue, issues spill out on to the local streets. Major events also increase the impact on everyday life for residents—a point that the Conservative group on Glasgow City Council has also brought up with me. When rugby is on at Murrayfield, residents endure similar traffic chaos and parking restrictions, and due to the trains not running on time—or at all in some cases—they suffer the double impact of bad parking and increased traffic flow on the roads.
In the run-up to matches, there must be better engagement with the local community to ensure that everybody is on board. Residents also raised concerns that the powers that are being granted to enforcement officers to enter and search private property could breach the European convention on human rights, because the powers would affect individuals’ right to respect for private life and family life. Perhaps the minister will address that matter, which will also be dealt with as we progress with the bill.
It is clear that the bill has raised the local issues that I have just discussed, especially those concerning event zones and the impact on local businesses. There has been stakeholder engagement on that front, and there has been the establishment in Glasgow of a local organising committee to deliver the event, so we must see their advice taken on board.
As well as Hampden, two other event zones are being created: George Square and the merchant city. No street trading licences are issued for the merchant city or George Square event zones. However, 113 street trader licences will be impacted on by the proposed Hampden park event zone. I am glad that Glasgow City Council will, as per section 9 of the bill, have to work with traders who will be affected by the championship. That is action that Glasgow Conservative councillors have put pressure on the administration to take. Glasgow City Council has said that it will allow alternative trading arrangements in the Hampden park event zone, and traders will be obligated to comply with the licensing application process, should they want to trade in alternative locations.
I will return to the European convention on human rights. Restrictions on street trading and advertising could inhibit businesses’ peaceful enjoyment of their possessions and their ability to thrive, rather than to suffer, as a result of the increased footfall. The championship is a not-to-be-missed opportunity for them. The committee considered how the bill could avoid preventing established local businesses from advertising products or services in their windows, or immediately outside their premises. In the past, small retailers have gone out of business due to cordons and zones that were applied during the Olympics and other major events, and which led to temporary inaccessibility for deliveries and customers.
We must not allow that to happen in Glasgow. The issue should be taken seriously in the making of regulations and in defining the geographical limits of event zones. It is incumbent on the people who make the regulations to ensure that all those factors are taken into consideration.
Prevention of ticket touting is a very important subject that has been touched on and in respect of which—I am glad to hear—the Government is on board. We do not want ticket touting to spoil the experience of people attending the UEFA matches, so I am thankful that the bill seeks to address the matter. Scots law already includes restrictions around ticket touting, but they relate only to causing a public annoyance to persons who are approached to purchase tickets, or to others who have reasonable grounds to be to be annoyed by the sale of tickets. As discussed, the provisions do not meet UEFA’s requirements, so through discussion with UEFA the Scottish National Party Government determined that primary legislation is necessary in order to meet fully the requirements for hosting games in the 2020 championship.
Demand for tickets is expected to exceed supply, so the bill aims to provide a deterrent to anyone who would seek to make a profit from resale of tickets, and to provide a basis for preventative actions and punitive actions, in the event of breaches. Conservative members support fair access to tickets so that as many people as possible can enjoy the matches, so making touting a criminal offence for the event will ensure that it is successful and that the ticket touts who sell at overinflated prices, either privately or through secondary sites, will be committing a criminal offence. However, there should be a clear distinction between well-meaning individuals and ticket touts. That will perhaps be looked at. The question remains; how can the ticket touts be ousted?
Conservative members support the bill in principle, but want the Scottish Government to look closely at the impact of event zones on local residents and businesses. We have heard the comments of Mount Florida community council, Police Scotland and others about how the bill could be strengthened to ensure that businesses and communities around Hampden are comfortable with the legislation and its implications for them.
We want the championships to bring the best possible opportunities and economic benefits, and to put Glasgow on the map. At the same time, the bill must allow local people’s needs to be taken on board. The bill must not contravene the European convention on human rights, so clarification must be provided on that.
We will vote tonight to ensure that the bill moves on to stage 2. All we need now is for the Scotland team to qualify.14:55
Claire Baker (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
I am sorry; I have a bad cold. I hope that members will be able to hear what I say.
I am pleased to open this afternoon’s debate for the Labour Party and I am happy to confirm that we will support the UEFA European Championship (Scotland) Bill at stage 1.
Next year is the 60th anniversary of the European championship, and to mark that landmark, the championship will take part across 12 countries. It is a testament to Glasgow that it has been chosen as one of the host cities, with four fixtures due to take place at the national team’s park at Hampden. This is one of the largest sporting events in the world, and the announcement that Glasgow had been selected to be part of this special year for the tournament was very positive.
The city’s selection was also well deserved. Scotland showed itself to be a perfect venue for major sporting events during the 2014 Commonwealth games. Our infrastructure was good, our welcome was warm and even the weather co-operated. The previous Scottish Executive and the Scottish Government, along with their partner, Glasgow City Council, demonstrated vision and ambition for Scotland’s role on the world’s sporting stage, and the games’ success helped to secure our position as a competitive location.
The UEFA Euro 2020 championship will provide an economic boost to Glasgow and to Scotland. Accommodation and hospitality sectors will benefit and there will be opportunities to persuade people to stay longer in Scotland and take advantage of all that we have to offer. We can anticipate cultural and social benefits.
The Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee welcomed assurances that busking will be admissible in the event zones. There will be an opportunity to share all the cultural activities and night-time economy that Glasgow offers.
I have had a look at the UEFA website, on which there are promotional videos for each city. I note that it mentions that Edinburgh is only 70km—the distance is given in kilometres, because the site is aimed at a European market—from Glasgow. The benefits will extend across Scotland.
It seems that no debate can avoid Brexit. International events such as the championship, which bring together people through social interaction, are important for fostering co-operation and understanding. They enable us to recognise our place in Europe, whatever the future holds.
Games will take place in Glasgow and London, with the semi-finals and the final taking place at Wembley. We must show ourselves to be a welcoming and inclusive country, here in Scotland and across the United Kingdom, so that we can all enjoy this celebration of world-class football. There have been ugly scenes in European football in recent months and we must make clear—as must UEFA—that racism and antisocial behaviour have no place in the game or the festivities that surround it.
As a member of the committee, I understand and share some of the concerns that the convener expressed. I will focus on a few of the issues that she raised and on the responses that we have received from the Government.
As the minister acknowledged, the timescale for consultation and scrutiny has been challenging. I thank the people who submitted written evidence and who were able to attend committee meetings at short notice. It is disappointing that there is not more time to consider the bill. Every piece of legislation should have adequate time for consideration. Although there are occasions on which it is necessary to fast track a bill—it is argued that this is one such occasion—such an approach should be avoided. The current state of affairs is unfortunate, albeit that the minister has provided an explanation for it, and the committee is not convinced that it was unavoidable.
Although the legislation is similar to the bill that was introduced for similar reasons in relation to the Commonwealth games, it is unfortunate that the Government was unable to provide much analysis of how the legislation operated during the Commonwealth games. That might be because there appear to have been no significant issues. However, only in recent months has there been any attempt to review the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Act 2008 and the letter from the Crown Office that said that there were four reported cases of ticket touting during the games. If there had been an evaluation of the 2008 act, it might have been easier to make the argument to the committee that this bill is a fairly straightforward piece of legislation that provides for an approach that has been tested and was effective. I welcome the Government’s stated intention to learn from this experience.
It could be that the lack of time has caused some of those issues of concern. The Law Society of Scotland highlighted that it would have been helpful to include in the initial bill documentation comparative details of similar measures that are being taken in England or other European countries. Scotland is not unique in having to introduce primary legislation, but it suggests a weakness in our legislation on ticket touting that needs to be addressed. Ticket touting has had a high profile in recent years, particularly with regard to music events and the growth of online sales.
I welcome the Government’s response to the committee’s questions about online ticket touting, which sets out that someone could be refused entry unless their ticket has been purchased through a UEFA resale platform. Awareness of that will need to be raised, so that fans will be aware of the risks if they purchase a ticket in that way. It may be an effective way to deter online ticket touting, which is difficult to police, but I recognise that the enforcement of existing consumer rights has seen an improvement in recent months. That approach should be applied to all ticket touting, which is simply exploitation of fans.
The area that generated the most discussion is the roles and responsibilities of enforcement officers and the enforcement powers, on which the committee suggested a number of amendments. Although the need for enforcement officers during the tournament is recognised, concerns have been expressed about whether the powers are appropriate and the measures proportionate to the potential issues that may arise during the tournament, particularly with regard to entering domestic and non-domestic properties. Policing the event and ensuring the safety of those who attend will be the role of Police Scotland, and the tournament will require intensive policing resource. The role of enforcement officers should complement that of police officers, so the legislation must be clear on the division of responsibilities.
There are several areas on which the committee sought assurances from the minister, and the amendments that he has proposed are welcome. I am keen for the legislation to have the confidence of Parliament, so that we can focus on the positive opportunities that the tournament will bring. There are lots of positive opportunities for the city, for tourism and, I hope, for Scotland’s national team, but we should recognise that, for people who live within the event zones or their close vicinity, assurances will need to be provided and appreciation given for any concerns that they raise. It is welcome that an engagement session with residents around Hampden park will be held next week, and efforts must be made to keep those residents and other interested parties informed of the impacts of everything that will be in place during the tournament.
The Law Society of Scotland’s briefing for today’s debate raised questions about the seemingly piecemeal approach to hosting individual major events. That issue was also raised by the committee, which questioned whether a more strategic approach could be adopted that would cover any future events. It is anticipated and hoped that Scotland will be in a good position to attract more international events—I understand that there have been positive announcements on that subject this afternoon—and the same issues will need to be addressed in a temporary manner unless legislation could be introduced to apply in all circumstances.
The minister said at a committee meeting that he would consider the need for an events framework bill; I would be interested in more detail on that. When I have asked the cabinet secretary previously whether we could have a Scottish solution to ticket touting, it has been clear that there are issues with reserved powers, including consumer protection, and that is reflected in the Government’s response to the stage 1 report. However, if there is a way to avoid introducing legislation for individual events, it would be worth exploring whether the powers that we are using could be made permanent or, at the least, whether there could be a system by which they could be triggered when necessary.
I look forward to this afternoon’s debate, and I welcome the Government’s response so far to the issues that the committee raised.
The Deputy Presiding Officer (Christine Grahame)
Thank you very much. I call Ross Greer to open for the Greens. You have a generous six minutes, Mr Greer.15:03
Ross Greer (West Scotland) (Green)
Thank you, Presiding Officer. We all welcome the opportunity for Scotland to host international sporting events. Our history in international football goes as far back as it is possible to go; the first-ever international fixture was between Scotland and England and it was hosted in Glasgow. More recently, there was much to celebrate about the success of the Commonwealth games, although I do not think that they had the overwhelmingly positive effect on the local community in the east end and on children and families’ participation in sport that some have claimed; the Parliament should come back to that point and explore it further.
I hope that hosting the UEFA matches will benefit the local economy in Glasgow and grass-roots football on the south side, across the city and across Scotland. International tournaments are special because they can play a key role in developing the sport, driving new people to get involved and drawing more attention to the positives that the sport can provide—we need only look at the long-overdue boom in interest in women’s football after Scotland qualified for the world cup in France this year. However, in seeking to host international events, we need to ensure that they are conducted fairly.
Stuart McMillan (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP)
I am sure that Ross Greer will agree that interest in women’s football was very much increased as a consequence of the Scotland women’s team qualifying for the European championships two years ago.
Absolutely; Stuart McMillan is correct. After a long period of women’s football being, frankly, undervalued, particularly by our media, the past few years’ successes in multiple tournaments have had an exponential impact not just on women’s football at the adult level, but on getting young women and girls involved in women’s football at school level.
To return to the bill, the Greens have serious concerns, which are covered in the committee report, about the bill’s provisions. First, I reiterate the point that the committee did not have enough time to scrutinise the bill properly. We held only two evidence sessions and took limited written evidence. It is to our clerks’ credit that we did so much in so little time and that such a useful report was the result. That rushed timescale was avoidable and a disservice to the Parliament. It was known on winning the bid in 2014 to host the championship that legislation might be required. That was five years ago, but it was confirmed with UEFA only in April this year that primary legislation would definitely be required. It then took a further six months for the bill to be drafted and introduced to Parliament.
That is not an acceptable way to go about legislating and it is certainly not good practice. When the Parliament does not have sufficient time to scrutinise, it is far more likely that a mistake will be made and that a piece of legislation will not be up to standard. Mistakes have been made with legislation previously that have led to good policies being scuppered. That undermines not only those policies but the reputation of the Parliament. It is vital that we do not set a precedent whereby rushing legislation through Parliament becomes acceptable; I welcome the minister’s comments on that.
Some aspects of the bill, such as the provision for a ban on ticket touting, are welcome. However, there are also serious concerns about the bill because it is not a simple and uncontroversial piece of legislation. International sporting events inevitably bring with them corporate sponsors in the form of multinational, multibillion-pound companies seeking to make as much money as they can from association with the event. Companies such as Coca-Cola, Heineken, Mastercard and Gazprom want to use events such as UEFA 2020 to advertise their products and brands.
To protect corporate sponsors from non-official advertisers or other brands, the bill sets out a range of specific offences and enforcement powers. New criminal offences on trading and advertising are to be introduced, along with fines of up to £20,000. The enforcement powers for those are potentially excessive and without appropriate oversight mechanisms. The powers are to be granted to council officials, but they go beyond those that are currently afforded to the police. That is a concerning move, given that the police have clear lines of accountability and oversight mechanisms in place. Although those mechanisms do not function perfectly, giving police-like powers to non-police officials who do not have equivalent oversight mechanisms provides scope for abuse.
The enforcement powers include the power to seize and destroy property and to enter and search premises, which can be undertaken on the low threshold of an enforcement officer acting on their own judgment if they think that the action is appropriate. That would allow local authority officials to search premises, a vehicle or a container without a police officer being present and even without a warrant, acting only on suspicion that a corporate brand was being ripped off. Those are broad and invasive powers, which the Scottish Police Federation has explicitly criticised, stating that they are “extraordinary” and “in stark contrast” with the very limited circumstances in which the police can usually enter and search without a warrant.
For those broad powers to be enacted for the protection of commercial rights is excessive and unjustified. It prioritises the protection of multibillion-pound corporations over the rights of citizens. There is a particular contrast between the oversight of police officers acting on the basis of their personal judgment and the lack of oversight for enforcement officers acting on their personal judgment as empowered by the bill. I am still not convinced of the necessity for those powers. After all, UEFA confirmed to me at the committee that it did not ask for them and made it clear that enforcement powers can remain with the police. Given that, it is clear that the judgment on the powers was motivated by issues of resource and proportionality.
The provisions therefore require a nuanced debate, but we did not have time to explore them properly in the few weeks that we had, given that we were not exactly lacking in other pressing issues to occupy our time. At least the Government has recognised those concerns and has said that it will lodge amendments at stage 2 to rectify some of the problems that have been raised. That is welcome, although the Government has simultaneously defended the provisions by stating that similar provisions were used for the Commonwealth games.
None of us wants to vote against the bill and the Greens will vote for the general principles at stage 1, but I urge the Government to engage with members immediately on the intended amendments. We all want to end up in the same place on the UEFA bill, but the Greens will not be able to support the bill at stage 3 unless meaningful changes are made to protect civil liberties and to retain appropriate policing responsibilities with the police. We all look forward to hosting the UEFA event—even those of us who never thought that we would manage a six-minute speech about a football tournament. I hope that we can reach that point in a spirit of consensus, maximising the good that hosting the event will do for Glasgow and Scotland while doing everything appropriate within our powers to ensure that our constituents’ rights are not undermined for the benefit of corporate sponsors.
The Deputy Presiding Officer
I call Mike Rumbles to open for the Liberal Democrats. Mr Rumbles, you will be pleased to hear that I can give you a generous six minutes.15:10
Mike Rumbles (North East Scotland) (LD)
Thank you very much indeed, Presiding Officer.
Everyone on the committee and, I hope, everyone in the chamber supports the Scottish Government’s bill for the successful delivery of Euro 2020. It is important that the bill paves the way for a successful tournament. I want to see a successful tournament, and our job in the Parliament is to ensure that a successful bill is passed through all three stages, so that we do our bit to aid a successful tournament.
I come to the detail of the bill. When I looked at the bill prior to the committee taking evidence on it, I was surprised by a couple of issues, which have already been addressed to some extent. First, I commend the Government for section 2, which deals with a ban on ticket touting for the event. Ticket touts have been making a pretty penny out of people for far too long. The activity routinely fleeces people, and much more needs to be done to promote fair access to events and to protect people. People will wonder why the approach that will be taken to the Euros next year should not be the norm, and we need to update our legislation to reflect that. I am pleased that consideration is being given to doing that, so I say, “Well done, the Scottish Government”—members do not often hear me say that, but I am saying it today.
However, there are some issues with section 2(4), which says:
“The touting offence does not apply in relation to acts done by UEFA.”
As far as we can see, that is an unnecessary subsection. When giving evidence, UEFA insisted that it would not engage in ticket touting, yet there is a glaring exception for ticket touting by UEFA in the bill. In our report, the committee asked that the Government
“reflects on whether amendments at Stage 2 ... are necessary. ”
I am glad that, in the minister’s written response, which was received yesterday, he said that he will look at the issue again, and I urge him to lodge an amendment at stage 2 to remove that unnecessary provision, because the section looks so bad as it stands.
Secondly, concerns have been raised about the wide-ranging powers that the bill gives to enforcement officers. I hear what the Greens have said in that regard. In particular, section 19(2) says:
“An enforcement officer may take to a place entered by virtue of this section any other person, or any equipment, as may be reasonably required for the purposes of assisting the officer.”
There was a view that, if that provision was used, a police officer should be present. However, the committee decided to recommend that
“the police should be notified in advance”
if the provision was to be used. The committee’s view was that that would be sufficient. In its response, the Government has interpreted that recommendation as meaning that Police Scotland should be informed in advance. That is not what committee members intended; there has been a slight misunderstanding. If Police Scotland had to be informed, there could obviously be an unreasonable delay. I do not want to speak for the rest of the committee, but I interpreted our recommendation as meaning that the police on the ground should be informed, so that they could decide whether to attend. I ask the minister to reflect again and to lodge an amendment at stage 2 to reflect the committee’s recommendation, so that this really important point, which the Greens made, too, can be addressed.
My next point is a simple one. It seems to me that, in introducing the bill, the Government has, to some extent, cut and pasted the details from previous legislation. The minister’s response to the committee shows that that is the case as it says:
“the powers in the Bill ... are almost identical to the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Act 2008”.
That is quite so, but that bill went through the Parliament with even less notice than there was for the UEFA European Championship (Scotland) Bill, and I am led to believe that oral evidence was not taken in the process. The fact that no untoward events happened as a result was fortunate, but that is not to say that we will necessarily be so fortunate this time and that some unfortunate event could not happen as a result of the bill. Our job as MSPs is to interrogate the bill and to make suggestions to improve it, in order to ensure that there are no unforeseen consequences as a result of it.
This is a good bill, and I am glad that the minister is taking a reasonable approach to it, realising that the Government does not have a monopoly of wisdom. I look forward to the minister lodging amendments at stage 2 to address the issues that we have highlighted today.
The Deputy Presiding Officer
We move to the open debate, for which we have some time in hand for interventions.15:15
Annabelle Ewing (Cowdenbeath) (SNP)
As a member of the Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee, I am pleased to have been called to speak in this afternoon’s stage 1 debate on the UEFA European Championship (Scotland) Bill.
As we have heard, the bill is intended to meet the requirements of UEFA in relation to the protection of commercial rights for event sponsors, and to prohibit ticket touting during the forthcoming European football championship in 2020. Unusually, the 60th anniversary of the championships will be held across 12 cities in Europe. To show what a tremendous honour it is to have Glasgow included in that illustrious list, it is important to name all the other cities: Amsterdam, Baku, Bilbao, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Dublin, London, Munich, Rome and St Petersburg. The championship will take place from 12 June to 12 July 2020, and Hampden park in Glasgow will host three group matches on 15, 19 and 23 June and, I believe, one round of quarter finals on 30 June.
As has been recognised, that presents a significant opportunity for Glasgow, as the host city—and, indeed, for Scotland—to welcome all those football fans from across Europe to our country and largest city, and, hopefully, to maximise the benefits, economic, social and otherwise, that will accrue. I am sure that we all wish to see that happen.
The bill was introduced to the Parliament on 24 September 2019. Taking into account the October recess, there has indeed been limited time to scrutinise it. I, too, thank the committee clerks who have carried out a power of work to ensure that we are at the stage 1 part of the process today. Given that the committee made its views on that issue known in its report, and that the matter has been raised this afternoon, I will not belabour that particular point. However, I will say that we are where we are now, and that the key objective going forward must be to get the job done, so that we get the bill passed in due course, and enjoy the benefits of the European championship being held in Glasgow.
A number of issues were raised by the committee, and I am pleased to note that there has already been a positive reaction to a number of the points that were raised by committee members, both from the Scottish Government and from Glasgow City Council. Indeed, it should be welcomed that Glasgow City Council has signalled its intention to consult widely in the three event zones of Hampden park, the merchant city and George Square.
When I was looking at my Twitter feed during last week’s committee meeting—for some factual reference for the committee deliberations, of course—I noted that a specific event that involves the local community has been set up in Mount Florida. Of course, Mount Florida community council had been a bit aggrieved that, in its view, there had not been sufficient consultation. Glasgow City Council has taken that on board, which I am pleased to note; local dialogue is always important, and there are no shortcuts in that regard.
There has also been helpful clarification from the Scottish Government about the scope of the provisions that deal with unauthorised street trading and unauthorised advertising in the event zones—when, of course, they are in operation. As we have heard, it is not the intention for there to be any impact on charity collectors or buskers, which, given Glasgow’s great busking tradition, is very welcome news indeed. It is excellent that we will find a space for buskers, so that they can add colour to the events for the enjoyment of all. Another welcome clarification from the Scottish Government is its commitment to make an exception to the ticket touting offence for the charitable auction of tickets.
However, as has been referred to this afternoon, committee members had most concerns about the issue of enforcement powers.
Concerns have been expressed by bodies such as the Scottish Police Federation that the powers to be conferred on council trading standards officers are too wide in their scope and that they fail to appropriately reflect the unique role of police officers and the standards by which they are held to account. At the same time, however, the Scottish Government stressed—as did Police Scotland—that the powers concerned reflected the powers granted to trading standards officers under the essentially similar arrangements for the 2014 Commonwealth games.
Given the very serious considerations at issue, the committee unanimously agreed in its report to highlight those concerns, calling on the Scottish Government to consider whether amendments will be necessary at stage 2 to allay them. I was pleased to hear the minister say in his opening speech that the Scottish Government will indeed lodge amendments at stage 2 on the issue.
I declare an interest, in that I am a member of the Law Society of Scotland, although I am not currently practising. In its submission, the Law Society made the important point that publicity of the forthcoming legislation should be factored in, because it is essential that everybody involved, including people working and making their livelihoods in the city centre and in all the event zones, is well aware of what the law is going to be and how it will impact on them. That was an excellent point from the Law Society, which I hope the minister will duly bear in mind.
We are all keen to see the European championship matches come to Glasgow next year, and we on the Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee will continue to do our job in scrutinising the bill according to the accelerated timescale that has been set. We will also seek to ensure that the reasonable concerns that have been raised are appropriately addressed.
I echo the hopes of the tartan army members in my constituency and in every constituency in Scotland that, in the long tradition of our national team’s dramatic performances at the 11th hour, we will see Scotland succeed in the play-offs in March next year.
The Deputy Presiding Officer
I did not see a section on that in the bill, but perhaps somebody will amend it.15:22
Brian Whittle (South Scotland) (Con)
I am delighted to have the opportunity to speak on the bill. As has been mentioned a few times, Scotland has been fortunate enough to host a number of major sporting events in recent years. Glasgow, in particular, has a strong international reputation for delivering on these international occasions.
The 2014 Commonwealth games brought athletes and sports fans to Scotland from all around the world, and they showed Glasgow and Scotland at their very best. The investment for that event and its infrastructure is still paying dividends today, opening up more opportunities to attract other major events and giving local residents access to world-class facilities—which I utilise myself for the athletes that I coach.
Since the Commonwealth games, Glasgow has played host to several major sporting events, including the 2018 European championships, along with the host city Berlin, and the 2019 European athletics indoor championships. Later this year, the European short course swimming championships will be coming to the Tollcross international swimming centre.
There is no question but that those major events come with real prestige and bring economic benefit for Glasgow and Scotland more widely, and I am delighted that Scotland will play a role in Euro 2020. It is not always acknowledged that hosting events such as the Olympics, the Commonwealth games or Euro 2020 will almost always require action in a country’s Parliament. There will always be some people who question the appropriateness of passing legislation that is primarily intended to secure mainly large commercial interests.
Our consideration of the bill and the wider issues around hosting such an event is a game of two halves. Apologies for that, Presiding Officer—I could not resist it. There is a clear need to ensure that ticket touts do not rip off football fans—and I was interested to hear Mike Rumbles raise with the minister the matter of how the eventual legislation might frame a more permanent solution to ticket touting further down the line.
We need to ensure that UEFA’s brand is protected and undamaged by vendors selling inferior-quality or counterfeit goods and that event sponsors have confidence that paying for advertising space is worth it—thereby reducing the need for the public to subsidise such events. Against that, we have to balance the legitimate rights of street traders and others who are simply going about their normal business, and the potential impact on the local communities surrounding the event zones.
As other members have mentioned, there are concerns about whether the event zone restrictions could have European convention on human rights implications, particularly relating to the right to the enjoyment of property and the significant powers being handed to enforcement officers for the duration of the event. Some effort appears to be being made to address those issues in the bill, such as through the requirement that entering and searching private property needs owner consent, police attendance or a sheriff’s warrant. I hope that there will be greater clarity on those issues as the bill progresses. Similarly, until Parliament and those affected by the event zone legislation know the precise extent of event zones, and their timings of operation, it will be difficult to judge their potential impact.
As an aside, I noticed that Joe FitzPatrick was in the chamber for the earlier speeches. I would say to him that although the Scottish Government has shown a willingness in this case to create zones restricting trading, it has failed to support my proposal to create similar restriction zones for junk food sales around schools. That issue will be discussed another time.
Many members have mentioned the fact that the relatively short timescale for the passage of the bill has raised its own issues, particularly in relation to ensuring public awareness and thorough engagement with traders and local residents who could potentially be affected. That is a particularly crucial issue, as it speaks to one of the most important aspects of holding an event such as the UEFA Euro championships, which is public engagement. As someone who has been fortunate enough to experience a number of major international sports events up close, I recognise the huge amount of work that goes into making them happen. With that work can often come temporary disruption for people living near the event sites. Euro 2020 is a global event, but I believe that it also has to be a local event for Scotland, for Glasgow and for those communities in or near the event zones. We are asking those communities to put up with a reasonable amount of disruption, and it is important that UEFA, the Scottish FA and Glasgow City Council all work to give local residents an experience that they will remember and not one that they will want to forget. I hope that the minister will be able to provide some details of what work is being done to engage with all those affected by the proposed measures and the wider event.
As I said at the beginning of my speech, Scotland has an impressive history and reputation when it comes to hosting international sporting events. The events themselves are often a source of inspiration to the next generation of young sportspeople, many of whom go on to train in the place where they saw their heroes win. Although many of Glasgow’s most impressive sports facilities were created in the run-up to the Commonwealth games, Hampden park is a notable exception. It is the oldest international football stadium in the world, and although, admittedly, there are times when we go there and can tell that it has been around for a while, it has not lost its power to put on a show.
Next year’s Euro 2020 matches in Glasgow are a welcome sign of Scotland’s continuing popularity as a venue for international sport. It is a real honour and a privilege to be selected to host events such as this, and it is something that we should all take great pride in.
As a Parliament, it is now our responsibility to deliver a bill that ensures that the event takes place successfully. However, we also have a responsibility to ensure that we make the most of the event to the benefit of the communities and businesses that will be impacted by it.15:28
Stuart McMillan (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP)
I support the bill and agree that Glasgow is one of the world’s greatest cities for major sporting events. Euro 2020 will build on the outstanding success of the 2014 Commonwealth games and last year’s European championships. We must also remember a few of the events that have taken place not just in Glasgow but across Scotland. The UEFA champions league final took place in 2002 and the Europa league final in 2007. At Murrayfield, we had the Heineken cup for rugby in 2009 and the champions cup in 2017. This year, the PRO14 grand final took place at Celtic park. There was also the Ryder cup in 2014 and the Solheim cup this year.
It is clear that Scotland organises, hosts and delivers successful championships and sporting events. Our reputation is high and that is something that we should be proud of. That success is hard won, but it is even more challenging to maintain it. Next year is a huge opportunity for us to shine once again and show the world that Scotland delivers. Four matches are being played at the national stadium in Glasgow—that is four occasions when Scotland as a nation has an opportunity to prove once again that we are a world-class location, and four occasions when the festival of football comes to Scotland. Those matches will be sell-outs and the atmosphere will be electric; hopefully, Scotland will get through via the nations league play-off next spring so that we can participate on the pitch as well.
Today, it was announced that Glasgow has been named as the European capital of sport for 2023. It is the second time that the city has achieved the title, the first being in 2003. That will build on Glasgow’s place among the world’s sporting elite cities, whereby it was ranked the fifth-best sporting city in the world at the SportBusiness ultimate sports cities awards.
I know what it is like to follow the men’s team at a major championship, because I went to see the Scotland v Norway game at the world cup in France in 1998. Little did I think that that might be the last time that we would participate in a major championship.
The bill will play an important role in maintaining the highest levels of delivery. As we know, it is relatively short and is based on the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Act 2008. As colleagues have mentioned, it covers four main areas: ticket touting, street trading, advertising and enforcement. Each of those areas is important in its own right, and it is vital that they are properly considered; I believe that they have been, thus far.
At any sporting event, one of the main causes of frustration for legitimate sporting fans is the issue of ticket touting. When I was at the world cup in France in 1998, I bumped into quite a few ticket touts. I do not say this lightly: I genuinely believe that ticket touts are among the scum of the earth. They seek to profit at the expense of real sporting fans and their greed has absolutely no limit. The only thing that is important to them is the size of their wallet or their purse. It was important that the committee looked at the issue. In the limited time that was available to us, the committee scrutinised the bill thoroughly, and the recommendations that we made in that area in our stage 1 report were unanimous.
Regardless of which team someone supports in one of the four matches in Glasgow—many people will simply go along as neutrals—if they encounter ticket touts, it will annoy them deeply. In addition, the last thing that we want to see at major championships is empty seats. Unfortunately, ticket touts lead to that happening, because they charge so much money that people cannot afford a ticket and real fans are priced out of going to games. Therefore, I genuinely welcome the measures in the bill to tackle such scum, and I welcome the minister’s reply to the committee on the issue.
The Scottish Government has made it clear from the outset that it wants the bill not simply to protect the integrity of the championships, but to be practical and deliverable. I know that colleagues are sceptical about the involvement of big multinational companies, but their sponsorship of sporting events is just a fact of life. I mentioned some of the sporting events that have taken place in Scotland. They would not have happened without major multinationals putting in the money to bring them to Scotland. That is just a fact of life, whether people want to accept it or not.
I also welcome the Scottish Government’s approach to street trading, including the exemptions for buskers and charity collections. On the face of it, busking might appear to be a low-level issue, but it helps to bring the festival of sport to the wider world. We cannot put a value on that, albeit that an individual busker might try to.
I welcome what the Scottish Government said in its response about advertising and the issue of enforcement officers and the associated powers. Colleagues across the chamber have raised the matter already, but I welcome the fact that the Government is prepared to lodge amendments in this area at stage 2.
When it comes to the delegated powers in the bill, we must consider the impact of Brexit. I highlight the fact that, whatever the outcome of the Brexit chaos is, it is crucial that the Scottish Government acts as quickly as possible to introduce the relevant regulations, so that the whole event can take place in the way that we want it to. Clearly, Brexit will have a negative effect on our economy, so let us do whatever we can to ensure that these championships are successful in continuing Glasgow and Scotland’s great reputation.
I whole-heartedly agree with other members’ comments regarding consideration of a framework bill in the future. Also, there is the issue of engagement with the local community around Mount Florida in particular; it is important to make sure that they feel part of the festival of football rather than feeling that it is something that is happening to them.
Members should make no mistake: next year will be a huge festival of football. The sporting, cultural and economic effects will last for many years to come, and the memories will never die—they will last forever. I fully support the bill and I look forward to its parliamentary progress.15:35
James Kelly (Glasgow) (Lab)
I welcome the opportunity to take part in this debate on the bill in support of next year’s European championship matches at Hampden. First and foremost, the hosting of the games by Glasgow and Scotland next year is a great opportunity. The way that UEFA has organised the tournament is different from previous tournaments in that, as Annabelle Ewing pointed out, it will take place across 12 cities, and that has given Glasgow the chance to host these four games. It is a great opportunity for football fans in Scotland to see some great matches up close.
I recently attended the Belgium v Scotland game at Hampden and, although the outcome was disappointing for Scotland, as we lost 4-0, it was great to see the Belgium team up close, and to see how good and skilful players such as Kevin De Bruyne are. I am quite sure that, come the championships next year, Belgium will be one of the teams competing to win the overall title.
Hosting the games is a great opportunity for football fans in Scotland; it will also be of great advantage to the Glasgow and Scottish economies. People will travel here from outside Scotland and outside the UK, which will boost the tourism trade not just in Glasgow but, as Claire Baker pointed out, in cities around Scotland.
It will also give us the opportunity to showcase Scotland as a country and Glasgow as a city that can hold such events successfully. We have seen that with the Commonwealth games and with the European championships last year.
We need proper legislation that supports all of that, because we need to ensure that the events run smoothly and efficiently so that people can enjoy them to the full and so that we can showcase the benefits of a major city for future events. From that point of view, the legislation is very necessary and, clearly, Scottish Labour supports it.
Some concerns have been expressed about the speed at which the legislation is being put through. Listening to Joan McAlpine talking about how the committee signed off the report just last Thursday, I was struck that it was only last week that we were debating the same committee’s report on the Glasgow School of Art fires. That inquiry took place earlier this year, before the summer recess. That shows the speed at which the committee has had to work on the bill. It is somewhat surprising that the Government was not proactive enough to realise that, along with working with UEFA, legislation was required for the championships.
Having said that, I think that the job of everyone—including the Government and Opposition parliamentarians—is to scrutinise the legislation and to make sure that it is fit for purpose.
Obviously, one of the main areas that the bill covers is tackling ticket touts. That is very welcome. I was interested in Stuart McMillan’s comments about ticket touts. He is right—ticket touts are scurrilous individuals who stop at nothing to profit from the great desire of sports fans, music fans and so on to get to events.
During the summer, I went to London with my wife and daughters, who were attending a pop concert in Hyde park—it was Stevie Wonder and Lionel Richie. I was not at the concert; I was outside.
Richard Lyle (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP)
Did you not buy a ticket?
My wife and daughters did not buy me a ticket. They took me down to escort them to the venue and look after them.
I know the feeling.
Anyway, I spent a bit of time outside the venue just looking at how everything operated, which was interesting. I looked closely at the activities of the ticket touts and saw the way that they hassled people who had turned up at the venue with extra tickets to try to get them to sell those tickets at a reduced value. Quite honestly, there was a lot of bullying and intimidation going on. I also saw the way that the touts tried to sell on the tickets at a much higher price to exploit people and get a profit. I saw that in action, and it really was despicable.
The Government and UEFA are right to take tough action on ticket touts. I welcome the comments of other members that we should take the opportunity to extend current legislation or to introduce new legislation to cover other events that are held throughout Scotland so that we can stop people exploiting fans who go to such events.
Another issue that has been examined is enforcement and the use of enforcement officers. Members are right to highlight some of the concerns of the local community about the powers of enforcement officers. The Government must be clear, in the legislation and the guidelines, on what the roles of the enforcement officers are. There will be a lot of disruption to the local community who live around Hampden and there are understandable concerns about the powers of enforcement officers to search households in the area. That must be done in a proportionate and fair manner.
Do I need to wind up, Presiding Officer?
The Deputy Presiding Officer
You can take up to seven minutes. I have time in hand.
Another important issue is engagement and consultation with local communities. If that is done properly, that will address some of the concerns that have been raised and will ensure that the provisions are implemented in a way that takes local communities with us.
It is important to get the legislation in place to support the event. The contest presents a tremendous opportunity. Like others, I only hope that Scotland can be successful in the play-offs so that we can enjoy seeing Scotland in an international tournament for the first time since Stuart McMillan went to France in 1998.15:43
Richard Lyle (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP)
I welcome the opportunity to contribute to the stage 1 debate on the UEFA European Championship (Scotland) Bill.
I have a confession to make. As many colleagues throughout the chamber know, I am not a football follower. Indeed, when I am asked who I support, I answer, “The players,” because for me it is about the sport and not the teams. I am speaking in the debate because I support the sport and I support Scotland.
I recall vividly, probably because it was my first football match and I was 12 years of age, a time when I attended a football match with my father. It was Rangers v Real Madrid. The memory that strikes me most is that of being separated from my father in a sea of people—in those days, there were very few seats at football stadiums—and the feeling that that left me with.
Stadiums have changed since then, and my experience is a far cry from the experience that many people enjoy today. In fact, football is now an opportunity to bring people together. Although there are well-known and much-discussed issues, there is now much that is good in Scottish football. Families can enjoy matches together and sit in stadiums while they cheer on their favourite team. Indeed, the Scotland women’s team’s recent matches—especially the Hampden park game before the team’s departure for the world cup—were fantastic family-friendly experiences.
Glasgow is set to host UEFA matches: I know that our venues will give visitors a very warm welcome. Glasgow has become one of the world’s top cities for major sporting events, and Euro 2020 will build on its successful hosting of the Commonwealth games in 2014 and the European championships last year. We have seen the benefit of those events. Hosting of the 2014 Commonwealth games was estimated to have added about £740 million gross to the Scottish economy, and the 2007 UEFA cup final at Hampden resulted in estimated gross expenditure by visitors of more than £16.3 million.
As well as bringing thousands of people into the city and increasing trade for shops, restaurants and hotels, such tournaments help to showcase Scotland as the outward-looking and welcoming nation that it is. It is therefore very much to be welcomed that Glasgow is one of the 12 host cities for Euro 2020, with an estimated 200,000 people expected to visit the city during the tournament.
I turn to the substance of the bill, the purpose of which is to help to ensure successful delivery of the championships by meeting commitments that are required by UEFA on protection of commercial rights for event sponsors during the period of the event, and by prohibiting ticket touting. The bill covers four main areas: ticket touting, street trading, advertising and enforcement. Four new offences will be introduced. They are, largely, modelled on similar offences that were introduced for the Commonwealth games in 2014. That action underpins the Scottish Government’s determination to support fair access to tickets so that as many fans as possible can enjoy the games.
I listened with interest to James Kelly’s point about ticket touts, who force people to sell their tickets to them and then sell them on at inflated prices. That is a sad reflection of the kind of behaviour that goes on today, so we should try to solve that problem. It is therefore to be welcomed that there will be a new offence of selling a ticket for above face value or with a view to making a profit, which will be committed whether the transaction takes place in person or electronically and will be punishable by a fine of up to £5,000.
It will also be an offence to trade in one of the three event zones without appropriate authorisation. The aim of that offence is to protect UEFA-approved vendors during the hours of operation of the event zones. Committing that offence will be punishable by a fine of up to £20,000.
Furthermore, it will be an offence to advertise in one of the three event zones without appropriate authorisation. The aim of that provision is to protect UEFA-approved sponsors during the hours of operation of the event zones. That offence will also be punishable by a fine of up to £20,000.
During the committee’s evidence-taking sessions, it was asked whether buskers and charity collectors will be allowed to operate in the designated fan zones. The Scottish Government has committed to creating exemptions to allow such activities to continue during the competition. That is to be welcomed, because it will allow our incredibly talented individuals to continue to share their talents with visitors.
Some people might wonder why we are required to introduce legislation for such an event. However, is not unusual for the organisers of major sporting events to require host cities to introduce specific legislative protections. The last piece of major events legislation in Scotland was prepared for the Commonwealth games in 2014—and we all know how fantastic they were. Therefore the bill is not unusual; it is designed to ensure that the championship events run smoothly, and that we deliver an excellent experience for the people who come to enjoy the beautiful game.
I wish the organisers the best of success in the coming days, and I hope that all our visitors enjoy their time in Scotland.
The Deputy Presiding Officer
Members will have noticed that, so far, I have allowed a little leeway in the time that has elapsed before members have reached the point of talking about the bill, because I appreciate that it is sometimes difficult to say what other members have already said. However, members should not stretch that too far. Nearly three minutes passed before you got round to the bill, Mr Lyle. [Interruption.] Thank you, Mr Lyle.15:49
Miles Briggs (Lothian) (Con)
I cannot be the only member who, on seeing that we were going to debate the UEFA European Championship (Scotland) Bill, tried to think of an amendment to ensure that Scotland would automatically be accepted into the championships. I say to the minister that I do not know whether our lawyers can see whether that is still possible, but I am sure that we all hope to achieve it at stage 2 or 3.
As has been outlined, Glasgow has an outstanding track record of hosting sporting events including, this year, the European athletics indoor championships and the Guinness PRO14 final. As one of the 12 cities across Europe that will host the 2020 UEFA European championship, Glasgow will be on show to the rest of Europe again, and I am confident that the city will do a brilliant job.
As has been stated, the bill has been introduced in order to meet UEFA’s requirements on ticket touting, and will prevent people from profiting at the expense of fans, with a fine of up to £5,000. Demand for tickets to the games at Hampden is expected to exceed supply significantly, so the bill seeks to prevent people from bulk-buying tickets in an attempt to make profits. The four games that are to be played in Glasgow will clearly have economic benefits for businesses in the surrounding areas, but the event is primarily for the fans. As a number of colleagues have said, it would not be right for fans to be unable to get tickets at face value because others have bought them with the sole aim of making money on the event.
However, football matches are not the only events at which ticket touting takes place. For other sporting events, as well as music festivals and gigs, tickets are bought in bulk and resold at more than face value in an attempt to make profit. With our consideration of the bill, we have an opportunity to look into the matter further and to consider how, when we have large-scale events, we can look to trigger legislation, as Claire Baker outlined, to ensure that ticket touting is limited.
In the time that I have available to me, I want to outline a number of concerns about the bill. As Rachael Hamilton said, we have concerns about street trading being restricted to UEFA-approved vendors in the three event zones during the zones’ hours of operation. I understand that that is a requirement of UEFA, but it is important that the legislation be implemented sensibly. Given that 113 street-vending licenses will be impacted on by the proposed Hampden park event zone, it is important that event organisers work closely with street traders so that that does not cause problems. A proper information campaign will be key, so that everyone knows about the impact of the legislation on the rights of traders in the area and across the city.
Restrictions on advertising, including traditional forms of advertising such as billboards and more novel approaches such as handing out free T-shirts, must also be well managed so that businesses in fan zones, such as restaurants and bars, are not caught out by the legislation. The local organising committee must have clear conversations with local businesses about the regulations on advertising in event zones. One of the main benefits of hosting the European championship games in Glasgow will be the boost to local businesses and the local economy. We must strike the right balance between the benefits that the games will bring and the impact that enforcement will have on local businesses.
We need more clarity and adequate consultation on exemptions from the restrictions that will be made through the bill, and they need to be agreed as soon as possible. That includes provisions for news media, which I do not think has been discussed so far today, and out-of-home display advertising on transport including buses and taxis. There is still work to be done on that—in particular, to clarify the exemptions for media outlets in the event zones. I am pleased that the phrase “in the vicinity of”, which was used with regard to the event zones, has been removed in order to remove confusion for advertisers and media outlets and owners. The industry has said that the legislation needs to be clear and logical so that businesses in Glasgow can follow it easily.
On enforcement, as has been outlined the Scottish Police Federation still has some concerns and is calling for clarity. The general secretary of the Scottish Parliament, Calum Steele, has said that
“If the intent of the bill is to limit commercial activities in designated areas to those vendors or sponsors approved by UEFA, it ought to be much simpler to state that and the powers required to enforce it.”
I share that opinion. The legislation should be absolutely straightforward: if it is not clear, there will be confusion about which commercial activities are allowed, and there will be difficulties with enforcement.
As has already been said, the Scottish Conservatives support the bill in principle. We believe that it is crucial that we get the legislation right as it passes through Parliament, so that all four games can be enjoyed by fans in Glasgow and by the people who will travel from further afield in Scotland and abroad.
Clarification around the hours of operation and the precise geographical limits of the event zones is welcome, and officials working with Glasgow City Council in the coming months to draw up additional guidance will have an important role in making sure that we deal with issues that have been highlighted today.
All of us have clearly outlined that we want a really successful hosting of the UEFA European championships in Glasgow. I believe that the bill can help to achieve just that.15:55
James Dornan (Glasgow Cathcart) (SNP)
I am delighted to speak in the debate, particularly as I have the great honour of having Hampden park situated in my Glasgow Cathcart constituency.
I was delighted to hear the minister talk earlier about the fact that local residents have been, and will continue to be, informed and updated, although I take on board some of the complaints that were referred to by Rachael Hamilton and Miles Briggs. There was some talk of there being issues for local traders. As Miles Briggs said, local traders tend to do quite well out of events at Hampden. I speak to them regularly, and when Hampden was under threat, their big concern was that, if they were to lose those half a dozen special days that they get in a year, that would impact hugely on their livelihoods, to the extent that they may not even stay open.
It is a major coup for Glasgow to be one of 12 host cities, and I congratulate Glasgow City Council and all the other parties that were involved in the successful bid. As other members have said, Glasgow will be hosting alongside other top footballing cities such as London, Rome, Munich and Amsterdam. With an estimated 200,000 people being expected to visit the city during the tournament, Scotland can be showcased once more as an outward-looking, welcoming nation, which will boost our local economy at the same time.
With terrific venues such as Celtic park, Ibrox, the Sir Chris Hoy velodrome and, of course, Hampden, Glasgow has rightfully achieved the title of one of the top five sporting cities in the world by consistently punching above our weight in the sporting world. We have done so without having had a decent football team for decades.
In fact, only today, Glasgow was—
I think that the member probably meant to say that there had been no success in the male national team, not the female national team.
My colleague has made a very good point, and I apologise profusely because some of the female players play for Glasgow City and often train in my constituency. I thank Annabelle Ewing for allowing me to put on record the magnificent record of the Scottish women football players.
Only today, Glasgow was named European capital of sport for 2023, which is the first time that any city has won the coveted title twice. I therefore also congratulate all who were involved in that bid.
As members may recall, last year, I led a debate in Parliament on the save the Hampden roar campaign. Despite what I know were difficult negotiations, I am pleased that the SFA has since committed its long-term future to the stadium. Hampden has been an integral part of our day-to-day life in Scotland since its construction in 1903 and, as the sports journalist Bob Brown once said, it stands
“foursquare with Bannockburn in the Scottish psyche.”
To be fair, unlike Bannockburn, Hampden has had its fair share of glorious defeats to go alongside our stirring victories.
During my members’ business debate, I recalled that my first memory of Hampden was of Celtic playing Dunfermline in the 61—I clarify that I mean 1961, in case anyone thinks it was 1861—Scottish cup final first leg, which was attended by more than 113,000 people. I was also there for the Celtic v Leeds match in 1970, and for the Scotland match against Czechoslovakia in 1973, which were attended by around 130,000 and 100,000 people respectively. It is widely accepted that those spectator estimates were a bit on the low side and, over the years, such incredible attendances have dropped considerably, primarily due to the requirement to have all-seated arenas. With Hampden now having a capacity of a little over 50,000, tickets for the big events are now in far greater demand.
I therefore welcome the provisions of the UEFA European Championship (Scotland) Bill to prohibit ticket touting at the competition. Although the bill covers four areas—including street trading, advertising and enforcement—I will focus the rest of my speech on ticket touting.
Football is supposed to be—and once truly was—the working-class game. However, many would argue against giving the sport such a title now as ticket prices are already expensive enough. The most expensive tickets for the Euro 2020 finals matches at Hampden park cost £165, while the other two pricing categories are £111 and £45. I make it clear that the same three prices will also be charged for the group stage and last 16 games at Wembley.
The bill will establish an offence of selling a ticket above face value or with a view to making a profit. The offence will be committed whether the transaction takes place in person or electronically—that is most important. The offence will be punishable with a fine of up to £5,000.
There is an important point to mention in relation to the sales process for Euro 2020 tickets. Prior to buying the tickets, people initially applied for them during an application window. People were therefore able to apply for tickets for all games, or just individual matches, and tickets were then allocated through a lottery system. If a person was successful in the lottery, they had to take all the tickets offered to them. Many people hedged their bets and applied for several tickets for all four matches. Some of those people were successful and got them all, leaving them with ticket bills running to hundreds or even thousands of pounds. As a result of that system, some people sell tickets on, sometimes using secondary ticket sites.
As we have heard, the problem around ticket touts is very well known—the practice of buying and reselling tickets for profit has always existed, but the scale of touting has increased substantially in the digital era, and for a variety of reasons. Touts look to acquire or harvest tickets in several ways, for example by using multiple identities or credit cards. Others may use specialised software or bots to scoop up tickets the second that they are made available. Then there are websites that allow people to sell tickets to others—often at massively inflated prices.
I will give a current example. In November, Elton John will be playing at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow for two nights. The face value of tickets ranges from £51.10 to £170.25. On a well-known secondary ticketing site, individual tickets are currently for sale for between £227 and £1,358, depending on how good the seats are. Thankfully, at the moment, there are no football tickets for sale for matches at Hampden, Celtic park, Ibrox, or Firhill—amazingly—on that particular site. However, it is absolutely staggering that that is allowed.
The Euro 2020 championships are for the football fan to enjoy, not for the ticket tout to make money by ripping them off. As the constituency MSP for the Hampden area, I sincerely hope that the residents and businesses around Kings Park and Mount Florida will benefit from Glasgow’s hosting of some of the tournament—as they have benefited from tournaments in the past.
Euro 2020 will be one of the decade’s defining sporting tournaments—whether economically or culturally—and it will be exciting to be a part of it. The UEFA European Championship (Scotland) Bill will allow us to ensure that as many people as possible can get to the four Euro 2020 matches at Hampden, and without overpaying touts who are attempting to gain from reselling tickets. Of course, although the Scottish Government is making it easier for true fans to get to Euro 2020, the national side is not guaranteed to get there. With automatic qualification now impossible, we are reliant on Steve Clarke’s side being successful in the Euro 2020 play-offs in March next year. I am glad to hear that, just as the whole Parliament will support Scotland’s attempt to reach the tournament, the whole Parliament supports the bill.
The Deputy Presiding Officer (Linda Fabiani)
The last of the open debate speakers is Bill Kidd.16:03
Bill Kidd (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP)
You have saved the best until last, Presiding Officer. To kick off my contribution to the debate—
Thank you. I highlight that 2020 marks 60 years of the European football championships. Consequently, UEFA has spread hosting responsibility across 12 cities and, as we all know, Glasgow has been selected as one of them. I was going to spring something on members, by letting everyone know that Glasgow has just been selected as European city of sport for 2023, but as other members have already mentioned it—
That was wasted.
It was outrageous. However, it just shows that Glasgow has reached the world stage as an important centre for sport. As the MSP for Glasgow Anniesland, I am delighted to hear the news that Glasgow has received that fantastic award from UEFA. I commend UEFA for making such a fine choice.
I thank our Scottish Parliament committee and the clerking team for working to deliver a deserved success with the UEFA European Championship (Scotland) Bill.
Glasgow has a lot to offer. We are equipped with a multitude of venues that can host high-volume and high-quality events—whether those involve music, sports or the wider arts. Glasgow has growing cultural significance and events such as this present an opportunity for our cultural contribution—because sport is culture—to be shared with people from all over the world. Our delivery of the Commonwealth games in 2014 and the European championships in 2018 evidence that.
Not only does Glasgow have a wealth of cultural assets; we also have our people. In September, a survey released by the global travel site Big7 Media listed Glasgow as the fifth-friendliest city in Europe and the 10th-friendliest in the world. Other cities must be going some if they are better than Glasgow. We should certainly be proud of Glasgow, the largest city in Scotland, and of what we have to offer and how willing we are to share it.
The UEFA 2020 football championship presents a fantastic tourism opportunity, and it is evident how beneficial it will be for our economy. Previous large-scale international events have brought in millions to the Scottish economy. The 2007 UEFA cup final, which was also at Hampden, brought over £16.3 million gross expenditure into the local economy and, as Richard Lyle mentioned, the 2014 Commonwealth games were estimated to have added £740 million in gross terms to the Scottish economy.
I am confident that the selection of Glasgow as the co-host for the 2020 football championships will bring money into local businesses, providing an economic boost for the people of Glasgow, as well as the wider Scottish economy. That can happen only if the bill that we are discussing covers all the aspects relating to commercial activities.
The sale of tickets by touts should be stamped on and stamped out. Beyond those benefits to our nation, we also want Scots to be able to go to the games, to be able to afford to do so and to join in the excitement and fun that they will bring.
As we debate this legislation, which is tied to the upcoming championship, we want to work to ensure that the ticketing process is in line with international best practice, and that means protecting customers from the inflated prices of ticket touting through the provisions in the bill. I am sure that that can be achieved.
Research shows that 90 per cent of tickets on resale platforms are listed by traders rather than individuals who have a genuine need to resell. “Traders”, as they are called, are identified as those who sell more than 100 tickets per year, and the FanFair Alliance explains that
“touts look to acquire or ”harvest“ tickets by a variety of means—for instance, by use of multiple identities or multiple credit cards ... Others may use specialised software ... to scoop up tickets the instant they are made available. These are then listed and sold for profit on secondary ticketing websites.”
It is clear that prohibiting ticket touting online and outside events will give our constituents and others, including visitors, a fair opportunity to buy tickets and to be able to participate in this international event. The change to our legislation is appropriate. It will bring a higher standard to the process of ticket buying—something that is integral to events—putting it in line with our country’s level of excellence as a host and vendor of international events.
Following the Commonwealth games and last year’s European championships, which covered many sports, the UEFA European football championships of 2020 will continue to build our profile as a country that is proficient and successful in hosting international events.
The Deputy Presiding Officer
We now move to the closing speeches.16:08
This has been an interesting debate. Although there has been criticism of the timescale that we have faced with the bill, we have had the opportunity to give a good airing to the issues. Members have identified the key issues. In closing, I will consider where we have reached consensus.
We should not lose sight of the excitement, anticipation and drama that Glasgow’s involvement in such a special tournament will bring. The bill is necessary for our successful involvement in it. Once we have the measures in place, we can focus on the preparations and the possibilities that the events will bring.
The Law Society of Scotland has provided a good description of what we are seeking to achieve with the legislation. It says that
“It is important that the measures in the Bill are commensurate, transparent and appropriate.”
As members recognise, UEFA’s requirements mean that there will be an impact on street traders whose regular business—enabled by having a trade licence—will be affected during the tournament because UEFA is strict about the need to protect its sponsors. That will impact on traders’ incomes, so the Government might want to say more about what it anticipates the impact will be. Rachael Hamilton talked about measures that have been announced by Glasgow City Council, so perhaps the minister can also say more about that in his closing remarks.
Members raised a number of issues about boundaries for event zones. Clarity on that matter as soon as possible would be welcome. Annabelle Ewing highlighted the impact on street traders and the Law Society’s comments on the need for awareness raising when we know what the boundaries of the event zones will be.
Enforcement powers are a key issue for the committee. As the minister said, the relationship between the police and enforcement officers is supported by Police Scotland, which assured the committee of police and enforcement officers’ ability to work together. Police Scotland said that it
“is confident that there is nothing outlined in the provisions of the proposed Bill that would negatively impact upon that positive working relationship.”
However, a number of members expressed concern about enforcement officers. Ross Greer, I think, described the powers in the bill as being too “broad and invasive”. There is a need for clarity on who can be an enforcement officer. The minister’s comment about local authority employees was welcome.
There is also a need to clarify the limits on the use of
“any other person as may be reasonably required”.
Mike Rumbles mentioned the committee’s recommendation that the police be notified in such circumstances. Having looked again at our report, I accept that the committee needed to be clearer. It would be helpful if the minister would respond in his closing speech to Mike Rumbles’s comments.
I also ask the minister to reflect on the apparent tension between the role of the enforcement officer and that of the police officer. As I understand it, an enforcement officer’s responsibilities are similar to those of a trading standards officer. However, evidence from Calum Steele, from the Scottish Police Federation, suggests that there is an on-going debate about the appropriate balance of power between police officers and trading standards officers. Will the minister say whether that is to do with the bill or is part of a broader debate?
Ross Greer talked about the legacy and how we sustain the interest that major events and sporting successes generate. As he said, there has been disappointment about the extent to which the benefits of the Commonwealth games cascaded down to communities to provide longer-lasting benefits. We need to consider that.
Brian Whittle focused on public engagement and pointed out that not just the scrutiny time is short, but the implementation period is, too, in the lead-up to the tournament. There is a lot of work for everyone to do.
Stuart McMillan pointed out that the bill is similar to elements of the bill that became the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Act 2008. However, that bill was more extensive. Although the committee had more time to consider it, it took less evidence and concentrated on hearing from ministers and officials—although that might have been to do with attitudes to the Commonwealth games sometimes being warmer than attitudes to UEFA.
The timescale has been challenging for the committee. Issues were raised in the request for responses, which it was important for the committee to have the opportunity to scrutinise.
James Kelly and Stuart McMillan talked about the prevalence of ticket touts at big venues and events, as well as online. Ticket touting across sectors has been difficult to tackle. Resale of football tickets has been banned since 1994, but it is not illegal to resell for profit a ticket for a music event. The minister might want to clarify why the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 does not apply to the UEFA European championship.
The introduction of a voluntary code of conduct changed the behaviour of Ticketmaster and raised standards across the industry. The Competition and Markets Authority’s work to enforce the existing legislation has been important. The CMA agreed to legal undertakings by StubHub and Ticketmaster last year, but was forced to serve Viagogo with a court order.
When I was checking facts for today’s debate, I put “UEFA Euro 2020” into a search engine. Members will imagine my horror when the first link that came up was “Europe 2020 tickets on sale” from the Viagogo site. It was only when I clicked on the link that it became clear that the tickets are for soft rock group Europe, which is touring with Whitesnake and Foreigner. The point of that story is that the first link to come up was not about football or the tournament but about Viagogo’s attempts to sell secondary tickets. The bill and enforcement of the existing legislation must be robust enough to prevent ticket touting during the tournament.
The confirmation that it will be possible to auction tickets for charity is welcome. A number of members talked about the importance of striking a balance.
Members also talked about the concerns of residents in and around the event zones. Miles Briggs highlighted restrictions on businesses. He called for the regulations to be clear and for businesses to be supported to comply.
This is an important stage of the bill. I look forward to the amendments that the minister is expected to lodge. The issues that MSPs have raised in this afternoon’s debate need to be addressed. We all want the tournament in Glasgow to be a positive experience for everyone who is involved.16:15
Alexander Stewart (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
I am pleased to close the Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee’s debate on the UEFA European Championship (Scotland) Bill for the Scottish Conservatives. As a member of the committee, I am delighted by contributions from members from across the chamber, and by the consensus that has developed.
Scotland’s hosting of matches at Hampden park during the 2020 European championship is fantastic news for Glasgow and Scotland. We recognise the importance of Euro 2020 and the economic benefits that the tournament will bring to the communities around the stadium.
The bill addresses areas of Scots law that do not meet UEFA’s standards on protection of sponsors’ commercial interests. The Scottish Conservatives support the bill in principle, but we will seek clarification around event zone requirements and the on-going concerns related to the European convention on human rights, which are to do with restrictions on street trading and advertising, which could inhibit businesses. We want to ensure that business is not inhibited.
The powers that are granted to enforcement officers to enter and search private property also need to be looked at. We have discussed at some length the restrictions and the issues around enforcement officers. The possibility that businesses’ peaceful enjoyment of their properties could be affected will, of course, be limited to the times when the event zones are in place during the tournament.
The bill proposes safeguards in relation to enforcement officers’ exercising their powers to enter and search private property. That will occur only if the enforcement officer is accompanied by a police officer or if a warrant has been issued by a sheriff.
The Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee gave its backing to the UEFA European Championship (Scotland) Bill last week. We looked at, and continue to take, evidence and briefings from a number of organisations. I pay tribute to the organisations and individuals who came and gave of their time to talk about their concerns.
In summary, the range of provisions that the bill seeks to introduce include ticket touting, street trading and designing fan zones. Questions were raised during the committee’s evidence sessions about ensuring that buskers and charity collections would be allowed in the designated fan zones. I am delighted that the Scottish Government has looked at the issue and has created exemptions to ensure that such activities will be allowed during the competition.
I reiterate that the bill consists of five components: prohibition of unauthorised sale of championship tickets for in excess of face value or with a view to making profit; prohibition of unauthorised street trading in event zones while they are in operation; prohibition of unauthorised advertising in event zones; creation of criminal offences for touting, unauthorised street trading and advertising; and designation of enforcement officers and their powers.
We have had a lot of good contributions from across the chamber; I will draw on many of them. Many members spoke about engagement and the opportunity that that engagement has brought, and about ensuring that priority is given to it during the bill’s process.
The minister spoke about Scotland’s track record and the event zones. Committee members were delighted to receive maps that gave us an idea of where the zones will be placed. We were also happy to hear that the Government is listening and will lodge amendments in the next stages.
The committee convener, Joan McAlpine, spoke about the briefing note that we received from the Law Society for Scotland that gave its recommendations. Those recommendations must be listened to and acted on, because they give us real clarity.
Rachael Hamilton spoke about consultation of residents and the business community, which is key to ensuring success. We want a safe, secure and successful event on match days, and in the run-up to them. That is vitally important.
Ross Greer and others highlighted the rushed timescale, about which many of us on the committee had some anxiety. The point was well made: it is important to ensure proper scrutiny in the bill process.
Mike Rumbles talked about the powers that will be given to enforcement officers. There is some dubiety about those officers’ role and responsibilities, so it is important that we look at that. The bill process will give us the opportunity to do so. Brian Whittle talked about Glasgow’s record of hosting international events and said that such events can require appropriate legislation. He also spoke about enforcement and timescales, which are important matters.
The Scottish Conservatives support the bill’s principles, but we will seek clarity from the Government about the hours of operation and precise geographical limits of the proposed event zones. I am sure that the minister will give us some clarity on that in his summing-up speech.
Like the Commonwealth games that Glasgow hosted in 2014, the UEFA championship is an outstanding opportunity for Scotland. Our national stadium will take centre stage, but we must ensure that lessons are learned from the Commonwealth games. We will seek clarity on that as the bill progresses through stage 2 to stage 3.
We welcome the opportunity that the UEFA championship brings to put Scotland on the map, and we welcome the possibilities and opportunities that it will bring for Glasgow and the whole country.16:21
First, I thank all members for their contributions to the debate this afternoon and, like others, thank the organisations that gave evidence, from different perspectives, to the Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee in its scrutiny of the bill. I am glad that there is clearly widespread support across the chamber for the bill’s general principles and for Glasgow taking its place on the world stage alongside the other 11 host cities, which Annabelle Ewing helpfully listed, as part of the UEFA European championship’s 60th anniversary.
I will take away and consider all the points of constructive feedback that have been raised in the debate. As I said in my opening remarks, I will address those issues when I go to the Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee for stage 2 of the bill and will seek to do so in a spirit of collaboration and co-operation.
As we are all aware, official sponsors provide a vital source of funding for the championship, as Stuart McMillan mentioned, without which it would not take place or might require additional public investment. The bill not only helps to protect sponsors’ investment by preventing ambush marketing, but it will ensure a welcoming environment for spectators, protect the character of the event and help to ensure safe access to the event zones. Crucially, as other members have highlighted, the bill will criminalise ticket touting for profit, which will support the official sale of tickets and ensure fair access to football matches for fans, as James Dornan indicated.
We seek to strike the right balance in providing reassurance to UEFA that commercial rights have been protected in key areas, while minimising the impact on local businesses and allowing them to benefit from the economic opportunity that Euro 2020 represents. With 200,000 visitors expected in Glasgow and Scotland more widely during the championship, there will be an increase in trade for local hotels but also, importantly, for shops and restaurants in and around the event zones. We believe that the championship as a whole presents a significant economic opportunity for Scotland and for Glasgow in particular.
In the time remaining to me, I will address some points that members raised earlier. First, I thank all parties for expressing their support for the bill’s principles. Mike Rumbles made the important point that, although we based the bill on the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Act 2008, we should seek to make the bill as good as possible—I share that sentiment.
To do that, we added section 9, on street traders, to the bill before it was introduced. Section 9 states:
“Glasgow City Council must offer alternative trading arrangements to existing street traders during the times when the trading offence applies.”
That section was included after consideration of issues relating to the ECHR, and to ensure that the street traders who will be disrupted have some economic benefit. I am grateful to Conservative members, as well as to James Dornan and Annabelle Ewing, for raising that point.
Members raised points about the zones and engagement. I have spoken about the engagement that the Government and Glasgow City Council have previously undertaken. I note that we will have meetings with Mount Florida community council on 7 November, and a meeting with Hampden residents, the SFA, Glasgow Life and other stakeholders is planned for 14 November. That engagement will continue in order to ensure that businesses are clear on what the bill entails. That work will be done with the community council, and I look forward to clarifying some points with it.
Many of the points that the community council raised, and which members have raised in the debate, relate to the ECHR and enforcement. Quite rightly, there has been a strong focus on civil liberties and on how we get the balance right. When the bill was being drafted, ensuring compliance with articles 5, 6 and 8 in relation to the enforcement of offences was considered. Sections 20 and 21 were included in the bill to protect compliance with the ECHR.
The committee, including Ross Greer and Mike Rumbles, focused on enforcement in relation to section 19, which is on the power to enter and search. The SPF also mentioned enforcement in its written and oral evidence to the committee. I draw members’ attention to the third bullet point in my response to the committee’s report, at which I say that we will clarify
“that the power to enter and search a place without a warrant in section 19 can only apply where permission to enter and search is given by a person who is able to grant that permission in relation to the property, by explicitly stating this on the face of the Bill.”
I will look to do that at stage 2. I hope that, when that is done, some of the concerns that have been raised with start to fall away.
I very much welcome the minister’s commitment to lodge appropriate amendments at stage 2. The concerns that were raised relate not only to the moment at which an enforcement officer might decide that entry and a search are warranted, but to accountability. When a police officer makes such a decision, there is a clear accountability mechanism to which they are held. There is a concern that there is no appropriate and equivalent accountability mechanism for when enforcement officers make decisions on the basis of their personal judgment.
I thank Mr Greer for his point, which I will come to when I speak about wider considerations of enforcement.
Use of force is encapsulated in section 20, which requires a sheriff to grant a warrant or for the officer to be “accompanied by a constable”. Therefore, robust protections have been included.
Conservative members and the community council, in its evidence, raised points about residential property. I underline the fact that section 21 states:
“An enforcement officer may take action under section 17 or 19 in relation to a house or a place that can be entered only through a house only if—
(a) an individual who habitually resides in the house permits the enforcement officer to do so, or
(b) the sheriff grants a warrant for such an action.”
The section goes on to state:
“an enforcement officer may enter a house only—
(a) at reasonable times, and
(b) if accompanied by a constable.
Therefore, section 21 already includes robust safeguards in relation to residential property.
On the committee’s suggestion relating to police powers, it is important to emphasise that Police Scotland has indicated to us that details of any expert assistance for enforcement officers would be relayed to the multi-agency co-ordination centre and that incidents would be noted via existing channels, so there would already be a record of external assistance that was used by enforcement officers.
However, the issue remains that insisting that the police are notified in advance of action being taken could create delay or confusion. Nonetheless, we will continue to consider the point that the committee raised. Obviously, I referred to that in my written response to the committee and made a commitment that the current test of reasonableness for taking a person to a place will be increased to a test of necessity.
We, too, do not want to delay any action that the enforcement officers may take. However, we discussed in committee the important point that, under those powers, a police officer must either oversee or agree that it is not a problem for another person to be involved. Although the minister just said that details go to the communication centre anyway, it does not say that in the bill or, indeed, in the regulations. Will the minister put that in the regulations as they are brought forward? [Interruption.]
The Presiding Officer (Ken Macintosh)
Could members keep the background chat down, please?
We will consider those points as we go into stage 2. There are practical considerations around police officers on the ground and the allocation of resources. Nonetheless, because of the accountability points that have been raised, we will continue to consider the issue. We look forward to engagement on that as we progress, Parliament permitting, towards stage 2.
With regard to ticket touting, I take Mike Rumbles’s point on section 2(4) of the bill, which we will consider ahead of stage 2. We need to be absolutely clear that we do not create a loophole that could be exploited by ticket touts; we will analyse that.
I thank members for the points that they raised about advertising. Miles Briggs raised an important point on exemptions in relation to transport. The draft regulations, which we have already provided, mean that advertisements on, or in, moving vehicles—such as buses, vans or trucks—will be exempt. However, as one would expect, there will not be an exemption for vehicles—such as mobile advertising boards—that are used primarily to display adverts. I hope that that clears up that point for Miles Briggs, but if it does not, he should feel free to get in touch.
There has been wide discussion around a framework bill. As I said, we will undertake to formally review this legislation—should it pass, and should we be successful in delivering the tournament. As a Parliament, we all have an ambition to create an environment in which, if it is possible within devolved powers, we will continue to tackle ticket touting and have a more strategic, rather than a piecemeal, approach. I look forward to engaging on those points and on how we think about the success of the legislation—Parliament permitting—in the future.
In closing, I thank members of the committee, and of the Parliament as a whole, for their contributions. Reasonable concerns have been raised, which will be considered. I underline that I am very happy to meet individual members on a one-to-one basis, if they wish to discuss any matters in further detail. In addition, to demonstrate that I am open to further conversations, I commit, as Ross Greer requested, to engage early.
As we go into stage 2, there will undoubtedly be areas on which we disagree. Nonetheless, I am certain that we can reach consensus on many of the issues that are raised and produce a piece of legislation that will not only be fit for purpose but will allow us, once again, to deliver a gold-standard major event here in Scotland.
5 November 2019
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