ALMR savages "lethal cocktail of red tape

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Related tags: Uk pubs, Executive nick bish, Public house, Law

The number of new laws affecting UK pubs since Labour came to power will reach more than 300 following today's Queens Speech, according to the...

The number of new laws affecting UK pubs since Labour came to power will reach more than 300 following today's Queens Speech, according to the Assocation of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR).

Chief executive Nick Bish said the "lethal cocktail of red tape mixed with alcohol duty rises" had led to record rates of pub closures and a slump in the number of openings in recent years.

The ALMR says that before today pubs had had to cope with 299 pieces of new regulation since 1997, including:

• 138 new pieces of employment regulation

• 64 pieces of licensing and weights and measures regulation

• 54 new regulations pertaining to gambling, smoking, food and entertainment

• 43 pieces of legislation covering miscellaneous matters affecting pubs' operations.

Bish added: "All the suggestions are that the end result of this year's Queen's Speech will be that publicans up and down the country will have to spend more time, effort and money introducing whatever the government's latest legislative proposals happens to be.

"For every single one of the laws introduced in the last eleven-and-a-half years, landlords and licensees will have had to completely reassess the way that their establishments operate. At an average rate of two a month that is a lot of elbow grease dedicated to implementing the latest idea dreamt up by some bright spark of a minister seeking headlines."

Bish said it was essential that any laws passed should be both proportionate and evidence based - but added that it was hard to see how that is the case with laws affecting pubs.

"Pubs, like most small businesses, are particularly affected by over zealous and excessive regulation. But when you mix this problem with successive hikes in alcohol duty you have a lethal mix which is slowly poisoning our industry," he said.

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