BBPA comments on issues from inquiry into 2003 Licensing Act

Brigid Simmonds: BBPA chief executive
Brigid Simmonds: BBPA chief executive
04/04/2017 - 08:59
The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has commented on the key issues that arose from the House of Lords committee inquiry into the 2003 Licensing Act.

The inquiry debated the efficiency of the 2003 Licensing Act, which enabled premises to serve alcohol 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

The BBPA has commented on issues including the abolition of the Late Night Levy, scrapping of local authority licensing committees and helping disabled people to access licensed premises.

BBPA chief executive, Brigid Simmonds, said: “I very much welcome the committee’s statement that pubs, clubs and live music venues are a vital part of our cultural identity.

“Any decline in our cities’ world-famous night life ought to be prevented and the businesses supported.”

Simmonds, who in October 2016 gave evidence to the House of Lords select committee inquiry into the act, said that bad practice could persist if licensing were transferred from local authority licensing committees to planning committees.

Simmonds also said that the abolition of the Late Night Levy, which allows local authorities to raise funds by charging late night alcohol suppliers, would be welcome.

Simmonds, on the subject of disability access, said: “We recognise the need for venues to focus on this issue.

“We believe that a voluntary approach, through raising awareness works best, and we have recently produces an updated version of our accessibility guide to help pubs give the best possible service for those with access needs.”

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of the ALMR, has also commented on the inquiry into the Licensing Act and recommended caution in approaching other potentially positive recommendations.

Nicholls said: "The Lords Committee has gained an accurate insight into the flaws of local committees and the analysis of the problem, but some of the recommendations need further consideration. Licensing is the very cornerstone of licensed operators’ business viability, and should appropriately be accorded a quasi judicial status.

"A better understanding of licensing can be achieved through improved training of licensing officers. At present there is too much variation in how applicants are treated; the sector needs closer standardisation."

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