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Alcoholic Drinks: Licensing

Volume 491: debated on Monday 20 April 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many licensees have had their licence revoked for selling alcohol to an under-age person in each of the last five years. (269254)

Statistical bulletins on licences to sell alcohol include the number of premises licences and club premises certificates revoked, but do not indicate the reason why. Licences and certificates may be revoked on review for one or more reasons relating to the four licensing objectives, including sales of alcohol to children.

The first DCMS Statistical Bulletin on Alcohol, Entertainment and Late Night Refreshment, under the provisions of the Licensing Act 2003 reported that there were 675 completed reviews between April 2006 and March 20071. Following which, 91 licences or certificates were suspended, 92 licences were revoked or club premises certificates withdrawn, and 52 Designated Premises Supervisors were removed (Premises Licences only). It is not known which of these suspensions, revocations, withdrawals or removals related to underage sales.

The second statistical bulletin, covering the period between April 2007 and March 2008, reported that there were 1,008 completed reviews for England and Wales2. 396 of these completed reviews were carried out for reasons relating to the protection of children from harm (based on 91 per cent. of returns), but it is unknown if they relate to a one-off case of selling alcohol to children or the persistent selling of alcohol to children. The number of suspensions, revocations, withdrawals or removals following these completed reviews is unknown. However, following all completed reviews 167 licences or certificates were suspended, 155 licences were revoked or club premises certificates withdrawn and 102 designated premises supervisors were removed3.

Since 6 April 2007, in addition to actions following reviews, 18 premises licences were suspended by a court under Section 147B(1) of the Licensing Act 2003 (as amended by the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006) for the sale or supply of alcohol, following an offence of persistently selling to underage children.

Prior to the implementation of the Licensing Act 2003, data on the number of alcohol licences revoked in England and Wales were collected by petty sessional division (magistrates court areas), on a triennial basis. Between July 2003 to June 2004, there were a total of 354 revocations of on and off-licences. Again, it is not known how many revocations related to underage sales.

1 Based on returns from 85 per cent. of licensing authorities in England and Wales.

2 Based on 97 per cent. of returns.

3 Based on around 94 per cent. of returns.