Time allowed for licence transfers "sensible

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Related tags: Dr kim howells, Minister dr kim, Kim howells, License

A week following the sudden death of a licensee is long enough for families to arrange the transfer of a pub's licence, MPs have been told.Licensing...

A week following the sudden death of a licensee is long enough for families to arrange the transfer of a pub's licence, MPs have been told.

Licensing minister Dr Kim Howells has rejected an amendment which proposed a three-day increase in the time set out on the Licensing Bill, in order to give families more time to cope following death or serious illness of pub tenant or lessee.

Malcolm Moss, MP for North-East Cambridgeshire, told MPs debating the bill at committee stage that the government was not allowing families and employees enough time to deal with a traumatic event.

Mr Moss said: "A 10-day period would give an extra three days, with perhaps a weekend in between, to allow people to collect their thoughts and take stock of the situation."

However, licensing minister Dr Kim Howells said the seven day period was "sensible", as well as being "a major improvement" on the current system, where a full magistrates hearing is required to transfer a licence.

But Tony Payne, chief executive of the Federation of Licensed Victuallers' Associations, said the current system works in favour of licensee's families. He said: "At the moment, you can get a temporary order to keep the business running until the next magistrates' licensing session. That gives families time to decide what they want to do.

"In my view, seven days at a time when someone is probably still in shock and has funeral arrangements to make, is simply not long enough."

A week would allow enough time for another member of the family to obtain the NCL, or to recruit a suitably qualified manager, said Mr Payne.

Dr Howells told MPs: "The seven-day limit was chosen to strike a balance between allowing sufficient time for a bereaved relative, for example, to make an application and the interests of those who earn a living at the premises."

He persuaded Mr Moss to withdraw his proposed amendment, as well as another which would have increased the proposed period of an interim licence - granted when a licensee becomes incapacitated - from two months to three.

Related topics: Licensing law

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