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Licensing Bill

Volume 407: debated on Wednesday 25 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans there are to ensure that the costs to local authorities arising from the administration, inspection and enforcement of licences, as proposed in the Licensing Bill, are met (a) from the fees payable and (b) by direct central Government funding. [119863]

The fees for licences, certificates and notices under the Licensing Bill will be set at a level which provides for full cost recovery in respect of administration, inspection and enforcement. The Government will monitor the levels of fees and it will be open to bodies such as the Audit Commission, after a reasonable period, to report to the Secretary of State on any indications that the level of fees might not be leading to full cost recovery for licensing authorities. Where an exemption from fees has been granted by Government, the associated costs will be met from central Government funds.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether events covered by a temporary event notice, as set out in the Licensing Bill, will be covered by fire and safety legislation. [119867]

There is nothing in the Licensing Bill which exempts permitted temporary activities taking place under a temporary event notice from the provisions of existing fire and safety legislation.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what measures will be put in place to ensure that licences issued under the terms of the Licensing Bill by one local authority will be recognised as valid by other local authorities. [119868]

Personal licences must be issued by all licensing authorities in accordance with the provision of the Bill. Further, regulations made by the Secretary of State will prescribe a standard form for a personal licence. No discretion is given to a licensing authority to reject the validity of a personal licence properly issued by any licensing authority. The Government are also committed to setting up a central licensing register, which would allow licensing authorities to check the issue of a personal licence with another licensing authority. Work with local authorities and other key partners to set up such a database is in hand and we will drive the work forward in parallel with the Bill to ensure that a database is available at the earliest opportunity.A premises licence is also granted in accordance with the provisions of the Bill by the licensing authority in whose area the premises is situated. The form of a premises licence will also be prescribed by the Secretary of State in regulations. The issue of recognition of the validity of a premises licence by another licensing authority may only arise when premises straddle the area of more than one authority. If the other authority made relevant representations on an application for a premises licence, and is aggrieved by the licensing authorities decision, it may appeal that decision to the magistrate's court.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what measures will be put in place to ensure that the enforcement of the terms of licences issued under proposals in the Licensing Bill will not increase the burden on police officers. [119869]

The police have existing responsibilities for the prevention and detection of crime and the enforcement of current alcohol licensing law. The Licensing Bill will not alter this or impose any additional burdens in relation to enforcement. The Government believe, however, that the removal of permitted hours and the anticipated reduction in crime and disorder problems at the current fixed closing times could help to reduce the burden on the police.