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ACS warns against councils setting own licensing fees

Published:  18 February, 2011

ACS, the trade bode body representing shops, has warned against a government move allowing councils to set their own alcohol licensing fees.

ACS, the trade bode body representing shops, has warned against a government move allowing councils to set their own alcohol licensing fees.

Home Office Minister James Brokenshire MP made the comments on Thursday to the Parliamentary Committee considering the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill.
Responding to opposition calls for a change in the law to allow Councils to set their own fees, the Minister told the Committee he intended to introduce an amendment at later stage in the Bill.

Brokenshire also stated that as it stands there was "widespread agreement" that current fees did not cover costs for local authorities. He stated that it was his intention to give councils powers to reclaim full cost recovery on all licensing fees. He later went on to say that there would be a nationally set cap on the maximum amount an authority could charge.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: "Government asks us to believe that they are intent on reducing regulatory burdens, while at the same time heaping new costs on business. Licence fees are already high for small shops.

"In this case the principle of allowing councils to vary fees according to their own costs is wrong-headed. By giving councils a blank cheque there will be no incentive for them to run a cost-effective licensing service.

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