Government to ‘overhaul’ licensing laws

By Becky Paskin

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Drinking culture, Bbpa

A new tax system may help pubs operate within the community
A new tax system may help pubs operate within the community
The government has revealed plans to review alcohol taxation as part of a new coalition policy to overhaul the Licensing Act

Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg today published their coalition programme for government for the next five years.

Within the document, under the Crime and Policing Section, the pair outline plans to review alcohol taxation and pricing to tackle binge drinking without unfairly penalising responsible drinkers and pubs.

Supporting pubs and the economy

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) welcomed the news, claiming a new tax system would help pubs to ‘play a vital role in the social and economic life of communities’.

“For too long, the existing tax regime has unfairly punished British pubs and responsible drinking," said Mark Hastings of the BBPA.

“The review of the Licensing Act is a good opportunity to highlight the many positive things that have happened as a consequence of the Act and focus on some improvements that can and should be made so the Act works better for both communities and business.

“We also welcome the measures to tackle irresponsible promotions, under-age drinking and anti-social behaviour, which can build on the major strides forward made by the industry itself over recent years. 

“As one of the most regulated sectors, the beer and pub industry strongly welcomes the commitment to reduce regulation and red-tape from businesses, and we look forward to working with the Government to enhance the contribution we make to Britain's economic recovery.”

The government also plans to ban the sale of alcohol below cost price to help support pubs and permit local councils to charge more for late night licenses.

The government’s proposals relating to the pub and hospitality industry, include:

  • A ban on the sale of alcohol below cost price
  • A review of alcohol taxation and pricing to ensure it tackles binge drinking without unfairly penalising responsible drinkers, pubs and important local industries
  • An overhaul of the Licensing Act to give local authorities and the police much stronger powers to remove licences from, or refuse to grant licences to, any premises that are causing problems
  • Allowing councils and the police to shut down permanently any shop or bar found to be persistently selling alcohol to children
  • Doubling the maximum fine for under-age alcohol sales to £20,000
  • Permitting local councils to charge more for late-night licences to pay for additional policing
  • Cutting red tape to encourage the performance of more live music

Related topics: Legislation

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