Cut in licensing red tape could help pubs

By John Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Red tape, License, Dcms, Government

Sutcliffe: Streamlining Licensing Act
Sutcliffe: Streamlining Licensing Act
The Government says businesses could save millions through its new plan to streamline licensing. The overall cost saving to businesses and other...

The Government says businesses could save millions through its new plan to streamline licensing.

The overall cost saving to businesses and other organisations will be between £9.2m and £24.1m per year, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) estimates.

A 10-week consultation, released today, proposes:

• Allowing police to let temporary events notices go ahead without the current mandatory notice period of 10 working days - it could be as low as three days. Police would have two working days to object, up from 48 hours.

• Allowing 28 days for a licence to be re-instated if the licensee dies, is incapable or becomes insolvent — the limit is currently seven days. The estimated cost saving for businesses is between £5.52m and £10.52m, based on factors such as the time taken to apply for a new licence.

• Remove the need for councils to republish their licensing policy statements every three years.

Only groups affected by the revision would need to be consulted, "reducing burdens on organisations like national trade associations who have sometimes found themselves commenting on hundreds of statements at once".

The total saving has been put at £440,000 and £1.8m for authorities and others including trade groups.

However, plans to reduce red tape in licensing for the staging of live music — announced by DCMS in October — have not been included in the consultation.

Licensing Minister Gerry Sutcliffe said: "The Licensing Act has streamlined the process considerably but we are always looking for more ways to get rid of unnecessary burdens.

"We want to remove as much red tape as possible for those organising temporary events — and for those that carry a low risk, we want to give the police a power to be more flexible when temporary event notices are submitted late.

"Most of these measures have been put forward to us by the industry and the proposals today show that we have listened.

"They would not only make the process easier for licensees and local authorities, they could also save a great deal of money too - up to £24 million each year. At a time when many are tightening their belts, these changes will be even more welcome."

A British Beer & Pub Association spokesman said: "We will be responding in full to this consultation, but these simplification measures are welcome, as we have long requested many of these proposals.

"They should help to ease the burden of regulation, albeit against a backdrop of increasing red tape from elsewhere in government.

"An increase in interim authority period to 28 days would be of real help. The current period is too short, and was a real burden on families trying to cope when a licensee sadly dies.

"Also, the triennial review of licensing policies was costly and time consuming to interested parties who had to respond. We will be welcoming the scrapping of this as it is something we have recommended as unnecessary, since licensing authorities can already review their policies at any time if required."

View the consultation here​.

Related topics: Licensing law

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