Licensing Act Consultation ‘overwhelmingly positive’

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Recovery boost: Licensing Act Consultation step in the right direction for sector (Getty/ kali9)
Recovery boost: Licensing Act Consultation step in the right direction for sector (Getty/ kali9)

Related tags Legislation Finance ukhospitality Night Time Industries Association

Trade bodies have ‘strongly urged’ the Government to make permanent provisions rolled out during the pandemic, stating this would be “overwhelmingly positive” for hospitality.

The first provision in the consultation, which was published yesterday (6 March), relates to the regulatory easement allowing premises entitled to provide on-sales to also provide off-sales.  

Currently the Business and Planning Act provision is due to expire on 30 September 2023. 

The consultation also mentioned the option of, if a premises has a premise licence and a pavement licence, extending the area covered by the pavement licence to be included within the licensed area of the premises licence.  

The second proposition relates to extended limits for Temporary Event Notices (TENs). The Business and Planning Act temporarily increased the annual number of TENs that a premises is permitted from 15 to 20, and the number of aggregate days permitted per year from 21 to 26. This temporary easement is intended to expire on 31 December 2023. 

Overwhelmingly positive

In both cases, the consultation is considering making these regulatory easements permanent. 

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said the proposals from the Home Office to make permanent a number of temporary measures introduced during the pandemic were “overwhelmingly positive” and UKH “strongly urged” the Government to do so.   

She continued: “Extending on-sale licences to automatically include off-sales and expanding the Temporary Events Notices allowance are both measures UKH has been asking the Government to make permanent and will allow venues to continue reaping the benefit from these expanded trading opportunities.  

“Taking advantage of these simple, practical changes shows that the Government understands the pressures the sector is under and, as with the extension to licensing hours for the King’s Coronation, wants to give operators the opportunity to boost revenue wherever possible.” 

Just the beginning

The consultation consists of 14 questions and will run for a period of eight weeks until 11:59pm on the 1 May 2023. 

Reducing the burden of excessive and costly red tape was a priority for UKH and Nicholls hoped the proposals would mark only the start of that process.  

The sector hoped to continue to work with Government on eliminating other unnecessary and prohibitive regulations, such as mandatory newspaper advertising for licence applications and the late-night levy, she added. 

Night Time Industries Association chief executive Michael Kill said: "Without a doubt, the timely extension of opening hours for His Majesty the King's Coronation will help us all mark this important event, and will be welcomed by publicans across the country, giving communities the opportunity to celebrate in pubs and bars across the UK, on this special day." 

However, he added, while this was a welcome chance to boost revenue, sadly many businesses were struggling to survive, and some would not reach this date in May to reap the benefit of the licensing extension. 

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