Licensing Act review comes at 'critical' time

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Licensing Act 2003 post legislative scrutiny: review comes at "critical" time for sector (Credit: Getty/Robert Ingelhart)
Licensing Act 2003 post legislative scrutiny: review comes at "critical" time for sector (Credit: Getty/Robert Ingelhart)

Related tags ukhospitality Bbpa Government Legislation

A new House of Lords select committee follow up report on the Licensing Act 2003, Post-Legislative Scrutiny, has come at a “critical” time and, while things have improved, some areas of inconsistency have remained, according to trade bodies across the sector.

The report was released after an investigation by a House of Lords select committee, whose job was to examine the progress made by the Government in the implementation of the recommendations made by the select committee on the Licensing Act 2003 in its 2017 report, the Licensing Act 2003: post-legislative scrutiny​.

UKHospitality (UKH) CEO Kate Nicholls said: “This is a critical time for the sector, as it strives to rebuild after the pandemic under the most challenging conditions.

“Therefore, this review by the Lords Liaison Committee of their 2017 report, is most timely, and we are grateful for having had the opportunity to give evidence to the committee earlier this year.

Areas of inconsistency 

“The new report recognises while things are improving in licensing and signs of more co-ordination and partnerships are emerging, some areas of inconsistency remain.

“We support the recommendation the Government should consult the industry and affected stakeholders on the efficacy of the Late-Night Levy.

“Unless some meaningful benefits can be identified, we strongly believe the Levy should be abolished as soon as practically possible to aid the sector’s recovery.”

The committee​ also slammed the Government over the lack of progress made in improving access to licensed premises for disabled people as well as stating a formal review of the impact of minimum pricing unit (MUP) across Scotland and Wales should be undertaken.

Nicholls​ added: “We are working with stakeholders to find ways that will be most effective and practical to improve disability access, something which I am driving as part of my role as the Disability and Access Ambassador for Hospitality.”

Encourage investment 

Furthermore, the committee urged the Government to work with key stakeholders to establish a clear mechanism for the licensing and planning systems to work together.

British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) CEO Emma McClarkin said: “Our members are regularly experiencing long delays in planning applications, with the issue only getting worse in recent months.

“We welcome the Committee’s recommendation for a more joined up approach between the licensing and planning systems as it would help to ease blockages and encourage further investment from our sector.

“As a sector we are over-taxed and over-regulated and so we would encourage those considering the recommendations from this report to look at how we can further encourage investment​ by pubs and breweries to boost local economies and communities across the country, rather than adding more red tape.”

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