Councils forced to wait over compulsory hygiene scheme

By James Wilmore

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Food hygiene rating Food standards agency London

Plans by London councils to break away from the rest of the country and force the capital's pubs to display a food hygiene rating have been derailed....

Plans by London councils to break away from the rest of the country and force the capital's pubs to display a food hygiene rating have been derailed.

A Lords committee this week said that any compulsory Scores on the Doors scheme in London would have to be consistent with a national system.

The London Local Authorities Bill, currently passing through Parliament, outlines plans for a mandatory five-star scheme, in which all food outlets would be forced to display a window sticker showing a hygiene rating from zero to five stars.

The scheme has already been operating as a pilot project among 28 London councils.

But the Lords committee has asked for the Bill to be re-written so that any London scheme follows the Food Standards Agency's (FSA's) recommendations for a national initiative.

The FSA is currently consulting on the idea of a national Scores on the Doors scheme.

However the British Beer & Pub Association and Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers have been fighting the London Bill. A BBPA petition said a compulsory scheme would "place a significant and unnecessary burden" on pubs.

Commenting on the Lords' decision, Martin Rawlings, the BBPA's director of pub & leisure, said: "We have made progress in fighting to remove this clause.

"Clearly the House of Lords sees the sense of not having a multitude of different schemes across the country.

"We believe we should continue to work with the FSA which is the expert board in this field who will help agree a national voluntary scheme that will be to the benefit of us all."

However, during this week's committee hearing, Natalie Lieven QC, representing the councils, led by Westminster City Council, said it was not about "increasing bureaucracy or having more inspections".

She added: "What it is about is the number of inspections stays the same, the regime stays the same, the only thing introduced by this clause is the requirement to put the result of the inspections in terms of the certificates showing scores on the doors."

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