Key licensing changes delayed until 2012 'at the earliest'

By James Wilmore

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Licensing act Policy

Key parts of the government's licensing regime shake-up are now unlikely to become law until 2012 "at the earliest", The Publican has learnt. Local...

Key parts of the government's licensing regime shake-up are now unlikely to become law until 2012 "at the earliest", The Publican​ has learnt.

Local authority co-ordinating body Lacors has had confirmation from the Home Office that any direct changes to the 2003 Licensing Act will not become law until at least 2012.

This means controversial proposals such as making public health a licensing objective and giving health bodies a greater say over licensing decisions would be delayed.

However, the majority of the coalition's plans, such as introducing a late-night levy, are still on track to become law by November 2011.

This is because they are included a separate piece of legislation - the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill.

Paul Smith, executive director of Noctis, said the timetable for changing the Licensing Act was "reasonable" considering the scale of what was being done.

But he added: "There needs to be a lot more meat on the bone in terms of how you make protecting public health a licensing objective."

News of the delays emerged after Lacors raised concerns with the Home Office over councils having to have a revised licensing policy in place by next January.

But as the changes to the Licensing Act will be some time off, Lacors has told councils they "should not attempt to pre-empt any changes to the current legislation, and policies should be based only on the law as it currently stands".

In a note to its members, seen by The Publican​, it said: "The Home Office have confirmed that although the majority of the proposals in the HO consultation will be introduced via the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill... any changes to the Licensing Act 2003 will not be brought into force until 2012 at the earliest."

This should be good news for pubs, as it will stop councils jumping the gun in trying to include the new measures in their licensing policies.

The note added: "We will keep you appraised any further developments but for now authorities are legally required to continue with your policy review, and should base that review on the provisions of the Licensing Act 2003."

A Home Office spokesman said: "We are currently consulting on tough measures to crack down on problem premises and give more powers for local communities with a view to overhauling the Licensing Act.

"The timing of implementation will depend on the consultation responses and the subsequent parliamentary process. "

Related topics Licensing law

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