Government gives pubs the opportunity to express views on local authorities and regulation

By Adam Pescod

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Regulation

The Government is urging anyone involved in running a pub, particularly a community pub, to feed in their experiences, good and bad, of dealing with local authorities and other regulators as part of the Focus on Enforcement campaign

The campaign allows users to post comments anonymously, and is also looking to hear if third parties are implying regulations that require pubs to take action when in fact the regulations do not require this.

Pubs is the fourth review theme to be launched under the campaign and it is now live on the Focus on Enforcement website​.

The scope of the ‘Review of Enforcement in relation to Pubs’ encompasses regulatory activity by national regulators and local authorities that affects the day-to-day running of pubs, particularly community pubs, including:

  • How the range of regulations impacting on pubs is enforced
  • The clarity of regulatory requirements, and the availability of guidance and advice
  • How regulatory breaches and non-compliance are handled
  • Enforcing the rules around sale of food and alcohol on the premises
  • Enforcing catering and food preparation requirements
  • Enforcing health and safety requirements
  • The application of weights and measures
  • Change of use applications, in particular for community pubs.

However, the scope will exclude the following issues:

  • The regulations themselves
  • Minimum pricing
  • Issues relating to tied/freehold status of pubs
  • Business rates
  • Other regulatory activity that is not particular to the pubs industry, such as employment law, company law etc.

Mark Prisk, Business and Enterprise Minister, said: “Pubs are the beating heart of our communities. They are essential for people to relax and enjoy the company of their friends in villages, towns and cities all over the UK.

"But pubs are businesses too and, as enterprises, they can be held back by poor enforcement of regulation.

“Dealing with the way rules for pubs are enforced can sometimes be more of a problem than the red tape itself. That’s why I’m urging anyone involved in running a pub, particularly a community pub, to visit the Focus on Enforcement website and let us know your views so that we can consider and take any necessary action.

“We know there are examples of good practice too, so we also want you to tell us on the website about the people who give really good advice and support. This is your chance to make a real difference to the way regulations are enforced.”

The move has been welcomed by the the British Beer and Pub Association.

Chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “I very much welcome this review. Pubs are subject to a large amount of regulation, and if this is coupled with over-zealous enforcement, business can suffer.

"I hope the review will bring forward sensible ways of reducing the burden, so hospitality businesses can grow and create much needed new jobs.”

Bob Neill MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government, said: “Community pubs make a huge contribution to the local economy and the last thing landlords trying to grow their businesses need, is to be spending valuable time dealing with any unnecessary and expensive red-tape.

“The Government values community pubs, which is why we are helping with business rates and are giving communities the power to step in and preserve their favourite locals."

Kate Nicholls, strategic affairs director for the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR), said: “We very much welcome this review as an important complementary measure to the Red Tape Challenge. It is vital that these two reviews conclude and are implemented as soon as possible.

"Inconsistent and over-zealous enforcement can create as big an administrative burden and day-to-day management headache as the regulations themselves.

"In the pub sector, small businesses and managers are spending as much as 8 hours per week just managing it and this is a burden that is increasingly unsustainable.

"Smarter, more efficient enforcement, particularly expanding the Home Authority principle, gives certainty to responsible businesses and is more efficient – not only for local authorities and regulators but for business too, freeing up staff to deliver the high quality, responsive service for which Britain’s pubs and bars are renowned.”

"This review gives all landlords the chance to give their views and I strongly encourage them to do so.”

Related topics: Legislation

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