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Licensing Act five years on: no need for more powers

Published:  24 November, 2010

Trade bodies say authorities already have enough powers to tackle alcohol problems without resorting to an overhaul of the Licensing Act ? the news comes on the Act's fifth anniversary.

WSTA head of communications Gavin Partington, said: "The Licensing Act has always allowed for local authorities and interested parties to take licence holders to task if they are not fulfilling the terms of their licence.

"Unfortunately in some areas these powers haven't been used with the consistency you would expect. That's why it has seemed necessary to make amendments to the Act. Our view is that councils have plenty of existing powers."

The Home Office is proposing a "rebalancing" of the Act, giving more power to councils and residents, adding health as a licensing objective, increasing "voluntary closure" periods and charging a levy on late night licences.

Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Asssocaition said: "Overall, the Act has worked well. The '24-hour pub' has been shown to be a myth - as we always said it would be. A pub is open, on average, just 27 minutes later than prior to the Act's introduction.

"When it comes to reform of the Act, we share the Government's objective of tackling binge drinking and anti-social behaviour, but there is a huge array of existing laws with which to do this. We need to do more to promote and protect our pubs, which are, after all, at the heart of our hospitality and tourism industry and the home of responsible and supervised drinking."