Pub closure increase feared if Government introduces proposed licence fee hike

By Ellie Bothwell

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Licenses Proposal License

An increasing number of pubs could be forced to close if the Home Office’s proposal for locally-set licence fees is implemented, the Manchester Pub & Club Network has warned.

The Home Office launched a public consultation on a move from centrally-set to locally-set fees last month. As part of the proposal, annual premises licenses will be subject to a universal cap, and no longer be ‘banded’ to a pub’s rateable value.

The consultation also proposes caps on a number of premises licence changes. The proposed fee to vary a premises licence to specify a designated premises supervisor (DPS) will be capped at £105 – a 357% rise on the current fee of £23.


After considering the implications of the proposed increases, Phil Burke, a spokesperson for Manchester Pub & Club Network, said this could further damage an already-struggling industry, lead to even more closures of local pubs and bars and leave the playing field within the licensed industry “decidedly uneven”.

He said: “Even more venues will be forced to close when they are unable to find the extra revenue to pay these new fees, and less new businesses will be able to afford set-up costs. I am sure nobody wants to see any further closures within the licensed industry”. 

He added that a gradual rise in licence fees would be more affordable and sensible so close to the perceived end of the recession.

He also suggested that the Government has “come up with a new way of making licensed premises pay”, due to the lack of local councils implementing late-night levies.

'Penalising' premises

Anthony Horne, head of licensing at Manchester-based Kuits solicitors, added: “This seems like another attempt to penalise premises which trade longer hours. When the Licensing Act 2003 was introduced, it was supposed to be an opportunity for a more relaxed licensing regime, allowing longer trading hours. Very few premises benefit from the 24 hours that were promised at the start, and those that have extended their hours appear to be being made to pay for it at every given opportunity.”

Related topics Licensing law

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