BII: don't give health bodies a veto

By Ewan Turney

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Late night levy, License

Robertson: health inclusion is problematic
Robertson: health inclusion is problematic
The introduction of health as a licensing objective could give unelected health bodies a veto over licensing — the BII has warned. The Home...

The introduction of health as a licensing objective could give unelected health bodies a veto over licensing — the BII has warned.

The Home Office's consultation roadshows​ get underway today in London when the trade will start the process of trying to convince Government against a licence fee hike, a late night levy and the inclusion of health as a possible licensing objective as it is in Scotland.

BII chief executive Neil Robertson said while it does not seem "unreasonable" to include a health objective, the Scottish experience has shown it to be "problematic" because alcohol related hospital admissions have complex causes.

"It is not fair to lay it all at the door of the on-trade. Whilst responsible licensees can and do take harm minimisation measures, and support health objectives, they are not and can not be expert health promoters, which requires specialist training," he said.

"Secondly, who will be the judge of this? We can imagine a scenario where misguided and unelected — so unaccountable — health bodies, such as Primary Care Trusts, can influence the process unduly.

"Veto is totally unacceptable — a health voice is fine, a veto is not."

Robertson is also concerned that hard pressed local authorities will see the licensed trade as a profit centre with the introduction of a late night levy.

The proposed late night levy could cost the industry up to £9m per year — while the higher licence fees would add a further £6.5m annually.

"There will be a temptation to make this a profit centre for hard pressed local authorities," said BII chief executive Neil Robertson.

"This would be entirely wrong — our sector is hard pressed too, and punitive charges will damage businesses that other parts of local authorities and the Government are trying to support.

"Also it could push late night drinking underground or, worse, onto the streets which will have a knock on increase in policing costs."

The BII will also stress to Government that schemes such as Best Bar None and Pubwatch are having a real impact on crime and disorder but will leave the debate surrounding below cost sales in supermarkets to others.

Robertson warned: "There is a clear momentum behind these proposals so we should, at least in part, be chipping away at the most damaging proposals or interpretation.

"Widely held public concerns can be addressed by partnership working."

Related topics: Health & safety, Training

Property of the week

Follow us

Pub Trade Guides

View more