Legislation

House of Lords launches enquiry into Licensing Act 2003

By Liam Coleman contact

- Last updated on GMT

House of Lords launches enquiry into Licensing Act 2003

Related tags: Licensing act, Drinking culture, Public health england

A House of Lords committee, set up especially to look at the Licensing Act 2003 and the liberalisation of opening hours, has launched its investigation. 

The House of Lords Licensing Act 2003 committee is calling for evidence into the effectiveness of the act.

The first evidence session, including senior civil servants across government dealing with alcohol, will take place today (5 July). Watch it live here.

It will question Government officials from the Home Office; Department of Culture, Media and Sport; and the Department of Health; as well as officials from Public Health England before written contributions​ from the public are considered.

The committee are going to investigate:

  • The balance between rights and responsibilities of both the industry and the public
  • The powers of enforcement authorities, including the police
  • The impact that any greater availability of alcohol has had on the health of the population
  • Whether the act has made it easier or harder for communities to enjoy activities that have to be licensed under the act
  • The role of licensing in shaping local areas, for the benefit of the economy and the local community
  • Minimum unit pricing and its potential impact
  • Fees and costs associated with the act

Baroness McIntosh of Pickering, who will chair the committee, said: “The Licensing Act 2003​ enabled premises to serve alcohol for 24 hours a day, seven days a week. While many heralded the act as the start of a more continental drinking culture, others predicted round-the-clock consumption, leading to disorder and a deterioration in public health.

"But what has the reality actually been like? Has deregulation allowed the drinks industry to thrive? Have drinkers embraced a more relaxed and healthier approach to alcohol? What happened to the anticipated café culture?

"For good or ill, the licensing act has altered the drinking landscape of England and Wales, but an examination of the changes is long overdue.

"I would therefore encourage as many people as possible to send us written evidence​ before our deadline of 2 September.”

Related topics: Licensing law

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