The Government launched a public consultation on plans to extend licensing hours on the evenings of Friday 18 and Saturday 19 May 2018 until 1am the following morning, to give everyone the chance to “celebrate the occasion” of the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
The Home Office received a total of 183 responses to the online consultation and three quarters (137 respondents or 75%) agreed the order should apply to the sale of alcohol for consumption on site.
More than two thirds (129 respondents or 70%) of those surveyed were in favour of the order extending licensing hours to 1am on the Saturday and 66% (120 respondents) were in favour of extending hours to 1am on the Sunday.
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 football World Cup in 2014.
Exceptional national significance
The Government response document to the consultation said: “The royal wedding is an occasion of exceptional national significance. Many people will wish to come together to enjoy celebrating this occasion in pubs and bars, as demonstrated by the support for the proposal to extend licensing hours from the majority of those who responded to the consultation.
“There are benefits to business from an increase in the sale of alcohol and late-night refreshment during the weekend of the royal wedding.
“Each temporary event notice (TEN) carries a fee of £21 and licensed premises wishing to extend their licensed hours for the royal wedding would benefit from not having to pay this fee, nor having to spend time completing a TEN.
“The Government has estimated this will save businesses between £300,000 and £500,000.”
UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Pubs are often the focal point for community celebrations and some people may want to celebrate the wedding in their local, as they have done for the Queen’s jubilee or previous royal weddings."
She added: “A relaxation of licensing hours on the day of the wedding is a sensible step, giving customers the option to enjoy the wedding in the communal atmosphere of a pub, should they choose to and providing a welcome boost to the UK’s pubs, restaurants, hotels and bars.”
British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) chief executive Brigid Simmonds lauded the decision and said it would allow drinkers to celebrate and boost the pub trade.
She said: “We are delighted with the Government’s decision to heed the BBPA’s call to extend licensing hours in the on-trade for the royal wedding.
“More than two thirds of respondents to the Home Office consultation were in favour of the order extending hours for the royal wedding weekend, so this will be a popular decision.
“Extending licensing hours in the on-trade will allow the nation to celebrate and raise a glass to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in a responsible manner, while giving a timely boost to the great British beer and pub sector.”