Licensing minister: no agenda to penalise pubs

By Gemma McKenna

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Minister john penrose, Daylight saving time

Penrose with Prime Minister David Cameron
Penrose with Prime Minister David Cameron
Licensing minister John Penrose has said the coalition Government has "no agenda" for penalising responsible pubs. But he warned the Home Office,...

Licensing minister John Penrose has said the coalition Government has "no agenda" for penalising responsible pubs.

But he warned the Home Office, which shares the licensing brief with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), "will shout long and loud about less well run pubs".

Penrose said: "I don't think you'll find any agenda for penalising responsible pubs. An awful lot of pubs are well-run and are part of the solution rather than the problem."

He indicated that Home Secretary Theresa May "may well look to go further" than the coalition agreement when it comes to overhauling the Licensing Act.

No new details were given, but a spokesman said May would "be seeking the cooperation of colleagues across Government to broaden it (the Licensing Act overhaul) out."

No timetable for the overhaul was set out but Penrose said it would avoid "knee jerk reactions" to the problems of anti-social behaviour and binge drinking.

He emphasised that both DCMS and Home Office would "work in partnership" over licensing.

"Some areas may need to be tightened up, but I see a degree of relaxation.

Penrose said "reducing the bureaucratic burden" of red tape was "potentially tremendously valuable" for small businesses.

He highlighted the performance of live music as one area that could benefit pubs. He said the aim of the Government's policy on cutting red tape was "to make it so you don't have to jump through one million bureaucratic hoops."

Since Penrose's brief also covers tourism, he said he thought it would be a "brilliant idea" to champion the pub in terms of role it plays in British tourism.

He also said a review of Daylight Savings time, set to be conducted under the coalition, could be a "big opportunity" for the sector.

Despite the fact that the new Government has not kept the role of pubs minister, Penrose's office was keen to point out that the minister acted as an "advocate for pubs around Whitehall".

"He does try and make their case — whether it be a licensing issue or employment issue — the minister provides a voice for them around Whitehall," said a spokesman.

Related topics: Licensing law