Trade calls on government to delay licensing review

Related tags New licence fees Licensing act Local authorities Local government Local government association

Plans for an early review of the Licensing Act have been condemned from both inside and outside the trade.Following pressure from local authorities...

Plans for an early review of the Licensing Act have been condemned from both inside and outside the trade.

Following pressure from local authorities and the media, the government has announced that the guidance to councils will be reviewed before the end of February 2006.

The exercise will be separate from an independent review of the impact of the new licence fees, which is also due to take place next year.

However, Tony Payne, chief executive of the Federation of Licensed Victuallers' Assoc-iations, said February was too soon for a review as magistrates would not be able to hear all the appeals before it takes place.

"How can you review something in three months?" he asked. "You need to give it 12 months to settle down. There are bound to be problems that need resolving but this needs to settle down over a period of time."

The Conservative Party said the review was too little too late. Shadow culture secretary Ther-esa May claimed: "The proposals for a review of guidance will do nothing to help those people whose lives will be plagued by late night drinking and yob behaviour."

Don Foster, the Liberal Dem-ocrat culture spokesman, said the review would "make life hell for councils" for the next three months.

However, Mark Hastings, spokesman for the British Beer & Pub Association, said:

"I don't think it's any real surprise. It only seems common sense that you would review the guidance.

"We will be engaged in those discussions."

The Local Government Association (LGA), which had been pressing for the review, warmly welcomed the decision.

"The guidance needs tightening up," claimed Sir Sandy Bruce-Lockhart, chairman of the LGA.

"In many cases, it has given priority to extended opening hours even if this goes against the wishes of many local people. We must ensure that residents are given the voice that they deserve."

Related topics Legislation

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