Licensing Act 2003

Lords licensing committee to quiz think-tanks on Act

By James Evison

- Last updated on GMT

Lords licensing committee to quiz think-tanks on Act

Related tags Minimum unit pricing Local government Appeal House of lords

The House of Lords committee assessing the Licensing Act 2003 and the liberalisation of opening hours will hear from experts tomorrow (Tuesday 19 July).

Two of the most vocal think tanks - the Institute of Alcohol Studies and the Institute of Economic Affairs - will be quizzed by the committee on issues including minimum unit pricing, public health, the appeal system and the continued growth of online sales of alcohol.

It follows the decision by the Conservative Government to set up an inquiry into the impact of the Licensing Act 2003​, which was put in place by the Labour administration to introduce greater freedom to the hospitality and leisure industry as well as giving consumers more choice. It also aimed to grant authorities the powers to deal with any potential misuse of these new freedoms.

Witnesses to provide evidence include senior research and policy officer at the Institute of Alcohol Studies, Jon Foster, and Christopher Snowdon, head of lifestyle economics at the Institute of Economic Affairs.

Questions to be put to the witnesses include:

  • Is the Licensing Act still ‘light touch’?
  • Should promotion of public health be an objective?
  • Should the cost of alcohol be regulated, and if so by taxation or minimum unit pricing?
  • What impact has behaviour change, such online shopping, had?
  • Are local authorities able to use their powers properly?
  • Could the appeal system be improved?

At an earlier session at 10.20am, the committee will complete its examination of the perspective from from local government, which began this week, by putting questions to chief planning officer, Steve Quartermain, of the Department for Communities and Local Government.

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