Overhauling the Licensing Act

The Coalition Government is currently consulting on new proposals to address the problems caused by Labour’s 24-hour drinking laws.

These include plans to crack down on problem premises and give more powers to local communities.

It is estimated that around one million violent crimes were alcohol-related last year and with the cost of crime and disorder associated with alcohol as much as £13billion.

The measures for consultation include:

– making it easier for communities to have their say on local licensing by allowing local authorities to consider the views of the wider community, not just those living close to premises
– taking tough action against underage drinking by doubling the fine to £20,000 for those found persistently selling alcohol to children, extending orders that see premises closed on a voluntary basis to a minimum of seven days and bringing in automatic licence reviews for these problem premises – which can see licences revoked
– charging a fee for late-night licences to pay for the cost of extra policing and scrapping ineffective, bureaucratic and unpopular alcohol disorder zones
– ensuring policing and health concerns are fully considered so that the impact of licensing on crime and disorder or public health can be fully taken into account when assessing licence applications
– increasing licence fees so that local councils can cover costs linked to enforcement leaving premises to pay rather than the local taxpayer
– tightening up rules for temporary licences by limiting the number of Temporary Event Notices that can be applied for in any one year – these are often used to get around the restrictions of applying for a permanent licence
– introducing a ban the sale of below cost alcohol and consulting on how this can be achieved.

You can take part in the consultation here: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/consultations/cons-2010-licensing-act/.