Government will not relax licensing hours for World Cup, says Home Office minister

By Lewis Brown

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: World cup, Home office

World Cup England Home Office Government
The Minister for Crime and Prevention at the Home Office has said the Government will not be relaxing licensing hours for next year’s World Cup.

Norman Baker MP responded to the British Beer and Pub Association’s letter calling to introduce the relaxation of licensing hours in England, which it said would bring £20m to the pub trade.

In his response letter he said that the “arguments against override those in favour”.

'Not on a par' with Royal Wedding or Diamond Jubilee

He added: “I do not think that the World Cup (that takes place every four years) is on a par with the Royal Wedding or Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and there is some doubt as to whether the opening and closing ceremonies of the World Cup can realistically meet criteria in law relating to occasions of ‘exceptional significance’.”

He said police noted a “substantial policing operation” for the 2010 World Cup and European Championships in 2012 and said any relaxing of licensing hours could lead to an increase in disorder at venues that sell alcohol and screen matches.

Baker also pointed to the Temporary Event Notices (TENs) available to pubs, which can apply to their respective local authorities to extend licensing hours for events, as opposed to a nationwide blanket extension.

'Extremely Disappointed'

Writing back to Baker, chief executive of the BBPA Brigid Simmonds said: “We are, as you can imagine, extremely disappointed that you are unwilling to consider nationally extended hours for the first and last weekend of the World Cup next year.

"Whilst I would consider the World Cup to be very different from the Royal Wedding or Queen's Diamond Jubilee, I still believe this is an occasion for national celebration and therefore would fit within the definition in law, of events of national importance to justify extended hours under the Licensing Act 2003.”    

The first England game to be played in the World Cup will be on Saturday, June 14th​ and will kick off at 11pm.

Simmonds added: “Is this late kick off not an opportunity to extend all licensing hours nationally until 1am for this one day? As I have already made clear there is clear economic benefit to the pub industry for extended hours and unlike outdoor screening the opportunities to sell food will help the atmosphere to be safe, sensible and we hope an evening of optimism.” 

Related topics: Legislation

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