BBPA: Licensing shake-up risks denying pubs basic legal rights

By James Wilmore

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Human rights, Law, Brigid simmonds

Trade chief Brigid Simmonds has sent a strongly-worded letter to Home Secretary Theresa May warning pubs face losing basic legal protections, over...

Trade chief Brigid Simmonds has sent a strongly-worded letter to Home Secretary Theresa May warning pubs face losing basic legal protections, over the shake-up in licensing laws.

In the letter, Simmonds warns the government it will be denying pubs a voice and "swinging the pendulum too far the other way" by giving councils and police "absolute power" on licensing decisions.

She says the plans to remove any protection for pubs could have "unintended consequences", giving licensees "no opportunity for re-dress".

"We fully support the principle of ensuring local communities have the powers they need to tackle anti-social behaviour," the letter says.

"However, this should not and must not be at the price of removing fundamental legal protections that all businesses and citizens in this country have a right to enjoy."

Simmonds complains the plans, which were unveiled in a consultation document last week, go "well beyond" the advertised re-balancing of the Licensing Act. "They are a fundamental re-drafting of this country's licensing laws," she says.

The BBPA has also warned the plans will bring a surge in red tape and costs for pubs.

"It is difficult to see how many of these proposals sit comfortably with the government's stated commitment not to penalise responsible drinkers or local pubs, remove regulation and promote business and the provision of private sector jobs," Simmonds added.

She concluded: "We will be responding in detail to the consultation and are keen to play a constructive role in helping Government achieve its objectives, but I thought I should make you immediately aware of these fundamental concerns at the earliest opportunity."

Related topics: Legislation

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