On Wednesday 28 July the Home Office will be publishing a public consultation on proposals to overhaul the Licensing Act.
In the coalition agreement, the Government set out a clear programme of reform around alcohol licensing to tackle the crime and antisocial behaviour that is too often associated with binge drinking in the night-time economy. In particular, the Government set out the following commitments which are covered in this consultation.
We will overhaul 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.
We will allow councils and the police to shut down permanently any shop or bar found to be persistently selling alcohol to children.
We will double the maximum fine for under-age alcohol sales to £20,000.
We will permit local councils to charge more for late-night licences to pay for additional policing.
We will ban the sale of alcohol below cost price.
While we recognise the important role which pubs can play as part of the fabric of neighbourhoods and communities, the introduction of the Licensing Act in 2005 has not brought with it a vibrant “café culture”. Too often on a Friday and Saturday night, the police and local A&E departments bear the brunt of some of the worst excesses of binge drinking and alcohol-fuelled crime and disorder. We are determined to change this, and will be proposing to introduce more flexibility into the current licensing regime to allow local authorities and the police to clamp down on alcohol-related crime and disorder hot spots within local night-time economies.
The consultation document will be available on the Home Office website and printed copies will also be available in the Vote Office.