Today I am publishing a consultation on whether to make a national order to relax licensing hours during the FIFA World cup in June and July 2014 or whether to leave this as a local decision using the existing temporary event notice system. Any relaxation of licensing hours nationally during the FIFA World cup would relate to the sale of alcohol for consumption on the premises and the provision of late night refreshment in licensed premises at specified dates and times only.
Section 172 of the Licensing Act 2003 allows the Secretary of State to make an order relaxing opening hours for licensed premises to mark occasions of,
“exceptional international, national or local significance”.
A “licensing hours order” can be used to relax licensing hours in licensed premises—any premises authorised by a premises licence or club premises certificate to carry on licensable activities—during a period of up to four days. An order may apply to all licensed premises in England and Wales, or only to premises in one or more specified areas. It is also possible to set different licensing hours on different days during the relaxation period.
The Government are mindful of the need to strike a balance between the risks that late night drinking can lead to increased crime and disorder and public nuisance and reducing the burden on those wishing to celebrate the FIFA World cup. The consultation is therefore considering a number of issues, including the principle of relaxing licensing hours nationally during the World cup, the dates and geographical extent that any licensing hours order might cover.
A copy of the consultation document will be placed in the Library of the House.