Pubs, bars and restaurants face late-night levies, orders
9 July, 2012
The government has confirmed it is to press ahead with new late-night levies and restriction orders on pub, bar and club operators after issuing its response to a consultation on anti-social drinking-related behavior. Restaurants will also be included.
The plans will give local authorities the right to charge operators a top-up fee to help pay for policing and other measures in town centres if they wish to sell alcohol in a set time period between midnight and 6am. Authorities will not be obliged to charge the levy, and will be allowed flexibility in their use of the new powers.
The ALMR has put together a briefing and fact sheet about the government’s late-night licensing plans and is planning a working meeting in Chesterfield next Wednesday (18 July) to outline practical implications for operators; contact the ALMR for more information.
The government has also outlined plans for Early Morning Restriction Orders to clamp down on premises where drinking-related disorder has been identified as a severe problem. They will allow authorities to prevent the sale of alcohol during set periods between midnight and 6am, irrespective of existing license arrangements. The Orders are to be used only as a last resort, and our expected to get only a small take-up. The government said it planned to put legislation in place in October, meaning that Orders and a levy could be in place by March and next June respectively.
Pub and bar operators and trade groups have reacted with dismay to aspects of the plans, arguing that they unfairly add to the financial and administrative burdens when the true cause of problem drinking—cheap deals from supermarkets and off-licences—lies elsewhere. The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers and the British Beer and Pub Association are each continuing to lobby for a fairer settlement for members
For the government’s full response to the ‘Dealing with the problems of late night drinking’ consultation, click here.