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Licensing Act 2003 (Platinum Jubilee Licensing Hours) Order 2022

Volume 821: debated on Monday 25 April 2022

Considered in Grand Committee

Moved by

That the Grand Committee do consider the Licensing Act 2003 (Platinum Jubilee Licensing Hours) Order 2022.

My Lords, I beg to move the instrument before the Committee today to extend the licensing hours in recognition of Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. I am asking the Committee to support the instrument to extend licensing hours on Thursday 2 June, Friday 3 June and Saturday 4 June. 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”.

The Government consider the Platinum Jubilee to be such an occasion. This will be a period in which we celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s incredible service and remarkable dedication, and many people will want to gather with their family and friends and raise a glass to mark this historic milestone.

The extension will apply to premises licences and club premises certificates in England and Wales, which license the sale of alcohol for consumption on the premises. These premises will be allowed to remain open until 1 am without having to notify the licensing authority and police via a temporary event notice, as would usually be the case. Premises that are licensed to provide regulated entertainment will be able to do so until 1 am on the nights covered by the order, even where those premises are not licensed to sell alcohol. This includes, for example, venues holding musical events or dances as well as theatres and cinemas.

The order does not extend to premises which sell alcohol for consumption off the premises, such as off-licences and supermarkets. Premises which provide late-night refreshment, which is the supply of hot food or hot drinks to the public, between the hours of 11 pm and 5 am, but do not sell alcohol for consumption on the premises will not be covered by the order; such premises will only be able to provide late-night refreshment until 1 am if their existing licence already permits this.

The Home Office conducted a public consultation, which ran for a month and concluded on 26 January this year. The majority of respondents agreed with the extension for the three-day period and that it should apply to England and Wales. The consultation also received responses from numerous trade organisations, which were supportive of the extension of licensing hours. The National Police Chiefs’ Council, the Local Government Association and the National Association of Licensing and Enforcement Officers were all in agreement with the proposed extension to licensing hours for Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

I am sure the Committee will support this order to help celebrate a special and historic moment in our national history. I beg to move.

My Lords, I congratulate my noble friend on bringing forward the order, which I entirely endorse. It recognises and reflects that there is a willingness, as we come out of the pandemic, to celebrate such an auspicious occasion. It has been a particularly tough time for the hospitality sector over the last two years or so.

I refer briefly to my chairmanship of PASS, the Proof of Age Standards Scheme, where I work closely with the hospitality sector. Not having to pay the TEN fee, as referred to in the Explanatory Memorandum, will be very welcome in saving not just the fee but the time that would have had to be spent.

I have one hesitation. I am sure my noble friend will be aware of the agent of change issues that have been flagged up. She will be aware that we are just concluding a follow-up report to our previous Select Committee inquiry on the Licensing Act 2003. I am not yet at liberty to say what our recommendations will be because we have not yet concluded that, but there is an issue where there may have been a recent application for an outlet in the hospitality sector to open its doors in an area that has previously been primarily residential. Is that something that both the Government and those acquiescing to these licences will be mindful of, given that it will be, as my noble friend said, a four-day bank holiday? That is my only reservation. Otherwise, I entirely endorse the order.

My Lords, I thank the Minister for introducing this instrument. If ever there was an occasion of exceptional national significance, surely it must be Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Therefore, we are generally supportive.

However, my concern is over the fact that the Government listened to the consultation that was run and, according to what they have published:

“Out of the 74 respondents, 58 agreed that the extension should only apply to on sales”,

not to off-sales. As a consequence, this instrument does not apply to off-sales.

Sitting suspended for a Division in the House.

My concern is Section 11 of the Business and Planning Act 2020, which allowed on-licence premises to sell alcohol as an off-licence for a period of time, because of the Covid pandemic. That included sales in open containers and alcohol for delivery to residential or work premises. Effectively, on-licence premises could act as off-licences. The ability of on-licence premises to act as off-licences does not cease until 30 September. That is my understanding of the legislation.

As I said, of the 74 respondents, 58 agreed that the extension should apply only to on-sales, presumably because they were concerned about disorder in the streets if people were allowed to buy alcohol in off-licence premises and take it away, rather than consume alcohol in regulated on-licence premises. Therefore, there is a flaw in the instrument, in that the concern about increased alcohol-related crime and disorder as a result of the extension being applied to off-licence premises has not taken into account that all on-licence premises are, until 30 September this year, able to act as off-licence premises. What does the Minister have to say about that?

Other than that concern, I hope that people will celebrate in a manner fitting with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

My Lords, we in the Labour Party also support this statutory instrument and wish the Queen a happy birthday. I hope that the country enjoys a weekend to celebrate this happy occasion.

This is a usual extension of licensing hours, if I can put it like that, for royal events and major sporting events. For example, we did this for the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, for that of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, and for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

We have heard about the consultation. The noble Lord, Lord Paddick, was kind enough to mention his concern before today’s debate, and I will be interested to hear the Minister’s response to the point he raised. It is a fair question.

Finally, my question to the Minister is this: does she propose raising a glass until 1 am, as a fitting tribute to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee?

I thank all noble Lords for their contributions. On that very tricky question, I might raise a glass beyond 1 o’clock, but in my own home. I am very much looking forward to the weekend, as I am sure all noble Lords are, and I am reassured by the general consensus.

On the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, we gave careful consideration to the responses that raised concerns about the potential for a rise in crime and disorder as a result of the extension, and any impact on public resources, including policing requirements. As I said, the National Police Chiefs’ Council raised no concern about the proposed extension. The police have been given early notice of the Government’s plans and have a range of mitigating actions available to them to prevent and to deal with any isolated problems, should they arise.

The noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby, drew attention to previous extensions: namely, for the royal wedding, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 and Her 90th birthday in 2016. We are not aware of any increased crime or disorder during those occasions. The SI itself specifically excludes sale for consumption off the premises. It is for a short duration, and many people will want to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee together in their local pub. Pubs may also wish to put on special celebrations for the occasion.

I agree with my noble friend Lady McIntosh that the potential boost to trade is very welcome, given the financial pressures that businesses have been under. She also pointed out the cost saving of £21 for a temporary event notice. I am very much looking forward to reading the agent of change report that she referred to, and we will comment on it in due course.

On the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, about off-sales for the coronavirus period interacting with this, this is purely for premises licences which establishments have in ordinary times, but I have asked those in the Box behind me what this will mean for off-sales, so I shall get back to him on that. In the meantime, I beg to move, and God save the Queen.

Motion agreed.