An independent review of the new licensing regime has said the process of applying for a licence needs to be made simpler to cut costs.
In its interim report on licensing fees, the review panel concluded the complexity of the application process had pushed costs up beyond the expectations of licence fee payers and councils alike.
On the larger industry issue of whether the existing fees are set too low, panel chairman Sir Les Elton said it was too soon to say if this was so.
The panel's full report is due autumn 2006, and licensing minister James Purnell reiterated his commitment to take action to address any issues it raises.
Panels' recommendations so far
- There should be a central source of information on fees so licence payers know what services they are getting for their mone
- An annual date should be set for the payment of premises licence renewal fees
- Consideration should be given to simplify the application process
- There should be no impediment to licensing authorities carrying out their duties
By Angela Frewin
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