Letter from Dr Kim Howells, Minister for Tourism, Film and Broadcasting, department of Culture, Media and Sport to thePublican.com
In the light of recent speculation about the Government's plans for the future of licensing, I want to reassure your readers that we remain wholly committed to the reform of our archaic licensing laws.
That means we stand by the proposals published by the then Home Secretary in April 2000 in the White Paper Time for Reform: Proposals for the Modernisation of our Licensing Laws and confirmed by him in his announcement on May 2 this year. They include the proposal for more flexible licensing hours and the transfer of control of alcohol licensing to local authorities.
The leisure industry is an important sector of the economy and one of the biggest areas of employment growth - it deserves a modern system of regulation that reflects its place in our society.
We shared the licensed trade's disappointment that we could not include the Alcohol and Entertainment Bill in the Queen's Speech this year because of the weight of other priorities. But we remain determined to reform the alcohol and public entertainment licensing laws by introducing a Bill as soon as Parliamentary time permits.
In the meantime, we will continue working closely with the trade in developing the detail of the proposed Bill.