Minister discloses new name for reform bill

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The licensing reform bill is to be called the "Alcohol and Entertainment Bill", according to the minister in charge Tessa Jowell.Ms Jowell (pictured)...

The licensing reform bill is to be called the "Alcohol and Entertainment Bill", according to the minister in charge Tessa Jowell.

Ms Jowell (pictured)​ made the disclosure during her first speech as head of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), which has taken on responsibility for licensing.

Despite trade disappointment that the licensing reform bill was not included in this year's Queen's Speech, Ms Jowell's announcement shows a positive change of focus by the Government. By associating alcohol with entertainment rather than crime or health, it is hoped that licensing will be viewed in a less Draconian light.

Trade leaders have already met with Dr Kim Howells, newly appointed junior minister responsible for licensing, to urge him to help push reform through Parliament. Dr Howells was previously a Parliamentary under-secretary in the Department of Trade and Industry, where he had responsibility for consumers and corporate affairs, including proposals for a compulsory 100 per cent liquid pint.

The Brewers and Licensed Retailers Association (BLRA) became the first industry group to meet with Dr Howells at the DCMS.

Mark Hastings, spokesman for the BLRA, said: "The Government recognised it has a problem and needs to get it sorted. It has already begun an unofficial consultation with interested parties."

Mr Hastings said the two options currently on the table - taking the licensing bill through as a Private Member's Bill or extending hours ahead of the full reform package using a deregulation order - were unlikely to be taken up by the DCMS.

Mr Hastings said the BLRA would continue to put pressure on the Government to act. He added: "In many ways the time for meetings is over, it is time now for action."

Related stories:

Trade leaders meet minister to push for licensing reform (27 June, 2001)

Tourism minister to be responsible for licensing (26 June, 2001)

Flexible hours still on agenda (21 June, 2001)

New sports minister "to be responsible for licensing" (18 June, 2001)

Licensing reform "to be shelved for at least two years" (17 June, 2001)

Licensing to shift from Home Office to culture ministry (12 June, 2001)

With licensing reform being dealt blow by the government, we take a look at the options open left to the trade.Back to square one for licensing reform (04 July, 2001)

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