Alcohol licences in Scotland fall 14%

By John Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Licensing act Scotland

Browne: Licensing Act has hit pubs
Browne: Licensing Act has hit pubs
Scottish trade chiefs have blamed the "cost and complexity" of the country's new Licensing Act for a 14% fall in alcohol licences. Figures obtained...

Scottish trade chiefs have blamed the "cost and complexity" of the country's new Licensing Act for a 14% fall in alcohol licences.

Figures obtained by the Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SBPA) show the number of licences have fallen by 2,624 to 16,639 since December 2007.

Licensing Boards with the highest percentage reductions include Moray (24%), Orkney (22%) and Stirling (20%). Smaller reductions occurred in Fife and Highland (11%), West Lothian (13%) and Clackmannanshire (15%).

The figures are from data from Licensing Boards and Scottish Government statistics.

SBPA chief executive Patrick Browne blame the closures on Scotland's 2005 Licensing Act, which came into force on 1 September 2009.

"Politicians have commented that there was an increase of 20% in the number of liquor licences in Scotland over the space of thirty years under the old 1976 Licensing Act.

"Our figures suggest that any increase over three decades in licence numbers has been virtually wiped out in just thirty months as the new Licensing Act has been brought into force in Scotland.

"These figures show a mixed picture with some rural areas losing smaller percentages of their licences than in other areas.

"But every time a pub is lost in a town or village that represents a loss to the community of a valuable social facility that will probably never be reopened.

"These figures make grim reading and indicate that roughly one in seven of the licences that were in force up until last September have not been renewed.

"We believe that the cost and complexity of the new Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 has discouraged many operators from renewing their licences and also because a large number of premises have ceased trading."

He said research from CGA suggests that between July 2007 and the end of last year nearly 400 pubs in Scotland stopped trading.

Browne added: "Its time for Scotland's politicians to realise the massive contribution that pubs and licensed premises make to the country's social fabric and Scotland's tourism offer and give the sector a break instead of heaping even more and more unnecessary cost and bureaucracy onto the industry, as is likely to happen again with the new Alcohol Bill later in the year."

Related topics Licensing law

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