Lords To Debate Effectiveness Of Licensing Act 2003

On Wednesday 20 December the House of Lords will debate the legislative scrutiny report on the Licensing Act 2003 which was published in April, together with the Government response published last month.

The report, by the House Lords Licensing Act 2003 Committee, considered the effectiveness of the Act and changes that should be made eleven years after it came into force.

The main recommendation was that the responsibility for licensing should be transferred from local authority licensing committees to planning committees. Other major recommendations were:

  • planning inspectors to hear appeals;
  • more training for councillors before  sitting on a licensing Committee;
  • changes to regulate better the pre-loading which causes anti-social behaviour in towns and cities;
  • applying the Act to airports to limit air rage on  flights;
  • better disabled access to licensed premises;
  • a better balance of interests between the owners of licensed  premises and their immediate neighbours.;
  • evaluation of the Scottish minimum unit pricing scheme before applying it in England.

Ahead of the debate Baroness McIntosh of Pickering, the Chairman of the Committee, said:

“I am delighted that we will debate on Wednesday the report of the Committee and the Government response. The Committee’s conclusion was that the Act was fundamentally flawed. The Government has accepted a number of our recommendations, and has promised to consider and consult on others. But it has rejected some of our more important recommendations. I welcome this opportunity to challenge ministers on this, and to hear what they have to say.”

The debate will start after 4.30 pm on Wednesday 20 December in the House of Lords.