House of Lords Licensing inquiry

What pubs need from the Licensing Act inquiry

By Oli Gross

- Last updated on GMT

What pubs need from the Licensing Act inquiry

Related tags House of lords

As the House of Lords Select Committee inquiry on the Licensing Act 2003 continues today, industry bodies called for stability in the system and a focus on reducing the cost and burden of enforcement.

The Committee will hear from the off-trade and licensing bodies today, and industry bodies have submitted consultation responses.

Keys proposals from the BBPA include:

  • A moratorium on further legislative change during the current Parliament - ​The BBPA highlighted the scale and number of changes to the Act since its introduction, and has called for a period of greater stability.
  • Improved enforcement -​ The BBPA wants to see less burdensome provisions that would benefit business, as well as licensing authorities, around areas such as advertising requirements and flexibility on payment dates for licensing fees, along with more targeted enforcement.
  • Greater support for partnership working -​ Partnership working between all parties in the licensing regime, via schemes such as Pubwatch, is the most effective way of dealing with issues and promoting good practice, says the BBPA.

The BBPA’s full submission will be published by the Select Committee.

Brigid Simmonds

Peers will begin taking evidence later this month, with BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds scheduled to appear on October 18.

She said: “Pubs sustain over 800,000 jobs, and the sector is constantly adapting to changing consumer tastes, and playing a vital role in local communities and in the high street. Yet the sector is very heavily regulated, adding greatly to the cost of doing business. 

“The Act has been very far from the free-for-all, 24-hour drinking that we often read about. In reality we have seen a declining number of pubs, and a greater need than ever to tackle the high cost of tax and regulation, to keep pubs thriving.  

“We now need a period of stability in the licensing regime, and a focus on reducing the cost and burden of enforcement.”


The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers said licensing reform has helped stimulate and transform the sector, but progress must not be lost to red tape.

Chief executive Kate Nicholls will give evidence before a House of Lords Select Committee inquiry into the Licensed Act 2003 on 18 October.

She said: “The 2003 Licensing Act has been a powerful catalyst for innovation across the licensed hospitality sector. The Act sought to provide freedom and flexibility for pubs and bars and it has allowed businesses to present a food and drink offer which attracts a broader range of the public at different times during the day, evening and into the night.

“The Act has empowered police and, in the short term at least, helped reduce red tape that has permitted businesses to innovate and flourish.


“However, successive reforms since its implementation have added new controls and powers which are in danger of undermining the original objectives of the Act and ignoring the benefits of the successful partnerships we have built with communities. We look forward to discussing this further when we provide evidence to the House of Lords on 18t​ October."

Related topics Licensing law

Related news

Show more