As a man whose idea of a perfect Saturday afternoon is betti

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: License, Government

The intensive negotiations between industry representatives and civil servants on the details of the Bill are almost atan end. Contrary to some...

The intensive negotiations between industry representatives and civil servants on the details of the Bill are almost atan end. Contrary to some reports, the industry's negotiators over the last year have successfully twisted the Government's arm on most of the main points of concern. For example, the decision to permit appeals about decisions made by council licensing committees to magistrates court on matter of fact as well as substance was an early goal credited to the British Beer & Pub Association. More recently as the contest has gone into injury time, the industry has scored another strike with the department in getting its way on the issue of so-called "grandfather rights". In other words, there will be a strong presumption that licensees will be able to continue existing hours and operating methods. If you always read The Guardian and never touch The Sun, you get a very distorted view of how the great British public sees the world. Equally, if you only read the columns of the trade press, you get a very narrow view of what are likely to be the main issues in the debate about the Liquor Licensing Bill. Sure, the question of the respective role of magistrates and councils will be raised, but not nearly so much as the effect of the reforms on public order and alcohol consumption. Besides, the whole thrust of Government policy is to remove administrative roles from the courts so they can concentrate on their core judicial functions. The danger for industry lobbyists is if they spend too much time in discussing magistrates and councils they will take their eye off the ball and leave their own goal as exposed as one defended by David Seaman. At the moment the University of Westminster, funded by the Temperance Alliance, is fiercely lobbying Members of Parliament to try to persuade them that council licensing committees will need far greater powers than are envisaged by the Government to intervene and stop noise, excessive alcohol consumption and an over-concentration of licensed premises. Former Health Secretary Frank Dobson has taken up their cause. Meanwhile, the clubs are on the brink of breaking ranks with the rest of the industry and insisting on capacity limits together, presumably, with door staff for all licensed premises which stay open after 11pm. Arguing against such red tape and attempts to impose further layers of bureaucracy is the real political task facing the pub trade and its leaders.

Related topics: Marketing

Follow us

Pub Trade Guides

View more

Headlines