Government announces plans to extend pub opening hours to help celebrate royal wedding

By Georgina Townshend contact

- Last updated on GMT

Celebrate: the Government has announced plans to extend pub opening hours for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding
Celebrate: the Government has announced plans to extend pub opening hours for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding
A four-week consultation on plans to extend pub opening hours for the upcoming royal wedding, which would give a £10m boost to the trade, has been largely welcomed by industry insiders - although some believe it is "barking up the wrong tree".

The Government has launched a public consultation​ on plans to extend licensing hours on the nights of Friday 18 and Saturday 19 May until 1am the following morning, to give everyone the chance to "celebrate the occasion" of the marriage of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle. 

Home secretary Amber Rudd said: "The royal wedding will be a time of national celebration, and we want everyone to be able to make the most of such an historic occasion.

"I hope that this relaxation of the licensing hours will allow people to extend their festivities and come together to mark what will be a very special moment for the country."

Licensing hours orders have previously been made for occasions of national significance including the Queen’s 90th birthday, the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011, and the World Cup in 2014.

British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) chief executive, Brigid Simmonds, said the consultation was "great news" for pubs and pubgoers.

"It shows the Government has listened to our calls to put pubs at the heart of the royal wedding celebrations," she said.

"Visitors see the Great British pub as a cultural icon, almost as much as the royal family. Extended hours would give a £10m boost to the trade and make the most of the expected increase in tourism."

Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers CEO Kate Nicholls added: “Pubs are at the heart of communities and many people will want to celebrate the special occasion in their local, as they have done for the Queen’s Jubilee or previous royal weddings."

Jeanette Reid, publican at the Queens Arms, Corton Denham, Dorset, agreed and said: "I think that any special occasion like this is a great opportunity for institutions like pubs to open their doors and put up the bunting and have something to help celebrate in the UK. So, I'm all for it, for the extended hours, and for pubs going that extra mile to do something on this special day."

However, Kevin Abbott, from the Anchor, Wingham, Kent, believes it's a "waste of time".

"The type of celebration that it is, it's families and kids," he said. "There will be tea-parties and street-parties. It's not really something that your average person down the pub or club is going to be going out and celebrate is it? I think they're barking up the wrong tree, to a certain degree.

"They're looking at the wrong audience".

One person on Twitter agreed, and said he believed it was a "bizarre" gesture.

The Government proposes to make a licensing hours order under Section 172 of the Licensing Act, which would extend opening hours for the sale of alcohol to benefit those premises in England and Wales which are not normally licensed until 1am.

The four-week public consultation will give the public the opportunity to submit their views on the proposals. The Government will also seek the views of specific stakeholders, including the police, licensing authorities and alcohol awareness groups.

The royal wedding will coincide with the FA Cup Final. There have been no reports of increased disorder as a result of the previous extensions to licensing hours including the extension for the weekend of Her Majesty’s 90th birthday, which coincided with two Euro 2016 matches involving England and Wales, and the extension of licensing hours during the World Cup 2014.

Related topics: Events & Occasions

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