House of Lords to debate Licensing Act scrutiny report along with Government's response

By Georgina Townshend contact

- Last updated on GMT

Fundamentally flawed: the House of Lords is set to debate the legislative scrutiny report on the Licensing Act 2003 on December 20
Fundamentally flawed: the House of Lords is set to debate the legislative scrutiny report on the Licensing Act 2003 on December 20

Related tags: House of lords, United kingdom

The House of Lords is set to debate the legislative scrutiny report on the Licensing Act 2003 this week, which was published in April and described the legislation as 'fundamentally flawed', together with the Government's response, which rejected several of its recommendations.

The report, by the House of Lords Licensing Act 2003 Committee, considered the effectiveness of the Act and changes that should be made 11 years after it came into force.

The main recommendation was that the responsibility for licensing should be transferred from local authority licensing committees to planning committees. Other major recommendations included scrapping late-night levies; planning inspectors to hear appeals; more training for councillors before sitting on a licensing committee; changes to better regulate 'pre-loading', which causes anti-social behaviour in towns and cities; and applying the Act to airports to limit air rage on flights.

However, in its response published last month​, the Government said that although it did not intend to be hasty in instigating such an overhaul of the Act it admitted there were a "significant number" of recommendations that it agreed would "help improve" its operation.

Important recommendations

Ahead of the debate Baroness McIntosh of Pickering, the chairman of the committee, said: "I am delighted that we will debate on Wednesday (December 20) the report of the committee and the Government's response.

"The committee’s conclusion was that the Act was fundamentally flawed.

"The Government has accepted a number of our recommendations, and has promised to consider and consult on others. But it has rejected some of our more important recommendations. I welcome this opportunity to challenge ministers on this, and to hear what they have to say.”

Minimum unit pricing

One of the other recommendations was introducing minimum unit pricing, to which the Government said that, subject to the outcome of the legal case between the Scottish government and the Scotch Whisky Association and any subsequent decision of the Scottish government to introduce a minimum-unit price for alcohol, it would consider the evidence of its impact once it is available.

Last month, after the Government's response, the UK Supreme Court ruled that Scotland can set a minimum unit price for alcohol​, ruling that it did not breach European Union Law, despite initial uncertainty.

The debate will start after 4.30pm on Wednesday 20 December in the House of Lords.

Related topics: Legislation

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