Relaxed licensing regulations that allow pubs, restaurants and bars to sell takeaway pints without red tape holding them back have been extended.
Al fresco drinking, first introduced widely during the pandemic, has allowed the public to support their local pubs and business by having the choice to take away their drinks, providing a boost to local businesses and bringing in extra revenue.
Under the relaxed regulations, which were due to expire in September and have been extended in Parliament this week, any site permitted to sell alcohol on their premises can sell for off-site consumption too, without the hassle of applying for a new licence. Premises will also be able to continue to serve alcohol in the area covered by any pavement licence that they have.
The extension, which will run for a further 18 months, is part of the government’s commitment to supporting the hospitality sector in taking every opportunity to recover fully from the impact of the pandemic as we grow the economy. It follows the Brexit Pubs Guarantee announced in the Chancellor’s Spring Budget that secured the pledge that pubs will always pay less alcohol duty on drinks poured from draught, such as pints of beer and cider, than supermarkets going forwards.
Policing Minister Chris Philp said:
“It is vital that we do everything we can to support British pubs. They are a cornerstone of every community, and a beating heart in our growing economy.”
“The hospitality industry has faced a tough couple of years, and by relaxing this red tape we will give our pubs and bars the support they need to thrive.”
Michael Kill CEO NTIA Says:
“The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) welcomes the extension of relaxed licensing regulations for pubs, restaurants, and bars, allowing them to sell takeaway alcohol without the previous red tape. This 18-month extension, recently approved in Parliament, is a significant boost for the industry and the communities it serves.”
“The move is a proactive step towards our industry’s revival, but we must encourage Government to take further steps in considering a more pragmatic approach to deregulation and easements, allowing businesses to maximise trading opportunities at this difficult time.”
“These regulations, initially introduced during the pandemic, have provided a lifeline to businesses and local economies, enabling innovative services like al fresco drinking. Under the extension, venues with existing alcohol licenses can offer off-site sales seamlessly, eliminating the need for additional licenses and paperwork.”
The governments long term aim is to create a unified pavement license for outdoor alcohol consumption, and during this 18-month period, it will collaborate with stakeholders and local authorities to develop a permanent solution.
Before these provisions were introduced during the pandemic, licensing regulations meant that pubs with an on-site license would have to go through an additional process to amend their licence if they wanted to serve alcohol for off-site consumption, taking time, paperwork and costing them money. Under the relaxed rules, any premises licence allows takeaway pints as standard.
This extension will alleviate uncertainty over the status of off-sales for those premises affected and allow for long-term business planning. The government’s ultimate goal is to create a unified pavement licence that includes licensing consent for the consumption and sale of alcohol in the outside pavement area. During this 18-month period of the temporary extension to the off-sales provision, the government will work to make this a reality.
The government will continue to look at a permanent solution that will best support local pubs and bars by continuing the close work with industry and local authorities.
The extension has been made through amendments to the Licensing Act 2003 and applies to both England and Wales.