ALMR Gives Mixed Reception To Government Licensing Response

The ALMR has welcomed pragmatic steps by the Government to retain existing licensing measures, but cautioned against the introduction of potentially unhelpful new legislative powers.

The Government has published its response to the House of Lords Select Committee’s report on the Licensing Act 2003.

ALMR Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “The Government has shown signs of pragmatism in its recommendations. By retaining the current structure of licensing fees and the current licensing objectives, the Government has recognised the burdens that many venues are under, particularly through business rates, and avoided an increase in legislative or financial pressures.

“A rejection of the Committee’s recommendation to marge licensing and planning is also very welcome as is the commitment to improved training in both planning and licensing. This should help provide better joined up work between licensing and planning while avoided a merger that would have created inconsistency for businesses.

“We are, however, hugely disappointed that the Government rejected the Committee’s recommendation to scrap Late-Night Levies and Early Morning Restriction Orders. The levy has not been widely adopted by councils, with some going so far as to scrap levies they had introduced. It is clearly a flawed measure and the Government should have acted to remove it. There is also concern with the workability of Group Review Intervention Powers and we would urge against the Government rushing towards a measure that could potentially be as unhelpful as – or worse than – the levy.”