Pubs Call for Licensing Change as World Cup Fans Made to Wait for Alcohol

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has called for an change to the Licensing Act 2003, after many pubs had to delay the serving of alcohol during the Women’s World Cup final on Sunday.

Pubs enjoyed a surge in custom with early data from the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) suggesting a trading boost of 14% to 28%. However, this increase came despite significant restrictions on when pubs could serve alcohol, with many establishments were unable to start serving beer until the second half of the match, much to the fury of their customers.

The BBPA believes a blanket licensing change during national moments like the World Cup final could result in much more for the sector.

The BBPA argues that when parliament is not sitting, the Licensing Act 2003 is far too prescriptive in permitting urgent one-off measures to be taken. It says an amendment to the Act should be quick, easy and uncontroversial to achieve.

Emma McClarkin, BBPA’s chief executive, praised the Lionesses’ performance despite their loss saying: “Despite the Lionesses not being able to claim victory on Sunday, they won the hearts of the nation and inspired the millions of people who cheered them on at the pub and elsewhere through their heroic performance in this tournament. It’s great that this success was able to give a boost to our pubs after a year where they’ve faced a range of challenges from unsustainably high energy bills to double-digit duty increases.”

Ms McClarkin also emphasised the need for legislative changes to reflect the reality of special events taking place outside of Parliament’s sitting hours. “Despite the Government’s valuable work encouraging local authorities to support pubs on Sunday, we now need the law to reflect the reality that strict, prescriptive licensing cannot easily flex when key events are taking place while Parliament is not sitting.”

“The Licensing Act is an important piece of legislation, but it was never intended to be so inflexible as to stand in the way of communities coming together and enjoy a beer and celebrate one-off events of national interest.

“MPs are well aware that pubs serve as the beating heart of their local communities. It’s high time we join forces to expedite an amendment.”