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'Licensing reforms must protect well run pubs'

By Ewan Turney , 27-Oct-2010

Related topics: Alcohol Duty , General News

The proposed licensing reforms don't differentiate between problem pubs and well run community pubs — trade groups tell Home Office.

Mulholland: speaking up for community pubs

Mulholland: speaking up for community pubs

The proposed licensing reforms don't differentiate between problem pubs and well run community pubs, which are a crucial part of the solution to binge drinking.

 

That was the message delivered to Home Office minister James Brokenshire by pro pub MP Greg Mulholland and Kate Nicholls from the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR).

 

The ALMR and Save the Pub Group, chaired by Mulholland, held a "productive" meeting with the minister yesterday to raise concerns over the Government's plans to amend the Licensing Act.

 

Proposed changes would give more power to local residents and councils, see a late night levy introduced and could see health added as a licensing objective.

 

"We reiterated the Save the Pub Group's view that community pubs are a crucial part of the solution to problem drinking and expressed the concern that the measures don't differentiate between well run community pubs and problem venues, we believe they should," said Lib Dem Mulholland.

 

"The Save the Pub Group supports the principle of giving communities more say, indeed we want this extended to pubs in planning law too, but voiced concern that positive representations from people must given equal weight to negative ones.

 

"We also made clear that supermarkets must be better regulated otherwise the aims of the licensing changes will simply not work, as much problem drinking is linked to the off trade rather than to the on trade."

 

He added: "I am pleased that the Minister did clearly acknowledge the importance of community pubs and said that he is listening to the consultation, so I hope that our views on behalf of community pubs will be listened to."

 

Constructive

 

Nicholls said: "The meeting was very constructive and we welcome the opportunity to work with the Save the Pub Group to set out the views and concerns of community pub operators to the minister.

 

"These proposals are extremely far reaching and will have unforeseen consequences for responsible operators throughout the country.

 

"We welcome greater local input into the licensing process but it must not be at the expense of local accountability in decision-making.

 

"Equally, additional controls on community pub operators must be matched by restrictions on off-trade practices if they are to deliver public policy success."

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