The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) met officials from the Home Office yesterday to express the concerns the licensed trade has about the Government's proposed changes to the Licensing Act.
The meeting follows a letter, sent by the BBPA to ministers across Government at the beginning of September.
Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the BBPA, said: "As a follow-up to the letter we have now had a number of meetings with officials and advisers to discuss the industry's concerns about the Government's proposed changes to the Licensing Act. Yesterday's meeting was a further stage in those discussions.
"There is a broad consensus on the areas of concern about the current proposals. These concerns are shared, not only across the industry, but amongst other key groups such as lawyers, local authorities, the magistrates and the health community. The momentum behind taking our message to Government, MPs and other key stakeholders is building, but there is more that must be done.
"Following on from the discussions we have had so far, we have a number of key meetings lined up for the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham. The next critical phase will be providing companies and licencees with the lobby materials they need to take a co-ordinated and concerted message to all MPs as they return to Westminster following the conference season."
Among the proposed changes to the Act are:
â- Allowing councils and the police to permanently shut down any shop or bar that is repeatedly selling alcohol to children
â- Doubling the maximum fine for those caught selling alcohol to minors to £20,000
â- Allowing local councils to charge more for late-night licences, which will help pay for additional policing
â- Banning the sale of alcohol below cost price
However, there is no confirmed timescale for implementation of the proposed changes to the Licensing Act 2003
A recent consultation on the proposed changes closed on 8 September.
By Neil Gerrard
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