House of Lords passes Licensing Act guidance

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The House of Lords has passed the guidance to the Licensing Act, paving the way for the way for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to set...

The House of Lords has passed the guidance to the Licensing Act, paving the way for the way for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to set the "first appointed day".

The decision from the Lords follows the approval in the House of Commons at the end of May.

Although it was passed, debate threw up criticism over the late publication of the guidance and how this had affected progress.

During proceedings Lord Redesdale said: "The Act itself is the skeleton of the legislation, with all the meat having been left off. It seems unfortunate that we were left without draft guidance to look at throughout the process."

But addressing concerns over how police would react to the relaxing of hours Lord McIntosh of Haringey pointed to comments made by Rick Naylor of the Police Superintendents' Association.

Speaking on Radio Four's "PM" programme in April, Mr Naylor said: "The Superintendents' Association has always been in favour of relaxing licensing laws and bringing them into the twenty-first century, and it is slightly disappointing we can't get this piece of legislation enacted sooner, because I think it will have an effect on violence in the streets".

After more than an hour of debate the guidance was passed 71 in favour against 56.

The guidance will now go back to Parliament next week where it will need further approval and once this has happened local authorities will be able to consider policies.

If there are no further political interruptions the trade will now look forward to September or October 2005 as the likely date for implementation of the act.

The timetable calls for the DCMS to set the "first appointed day" six months ahead, during which time local authorities will have to publish their licensing policies.

Observers predict the date will be set at January 1 2005 rather than during the busy Christmas trading period. There then follows six months for the trade to apply for the new personal and premise licences.

Related articles:

MPs approve Licensing Act draft guidance (27 May 2004)

MPs to debate draft guidance (24 May 2004)

Related topics Licensing law

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