Minister mulls over licensing reform with BII

26 November 2007 by
Minister mulls over licensing reform with BII

Licensing Minister, Gerry Sutcliffe has met with the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) to discuss the two year anniversary of the introduction of the Licensing Act 2003.

Sutcliffe is now considering proposals behind the BII's joint campaign with the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group for Government funding for licensed retail qualifications.

John McNamara, BII chief executive, said: "On the back of the industry meeting with the Prime Minister last week the discussion also centred on the National Alcohol Strategy and it was agreed that the general public and the media need to be made more aware of the work of responsible licensees like the 50,000 BII members across the country."

He added that while it was too early to evaluate the long-term impact of the liberalisation of licensing laws BII members had gained longer and more flexible hours to meet the needs of their businesses.

The Government is pressing ahead with its review of the Licensing Act, with 24-hour licences likely to remain the exception rather than the rule.

"The over reaction of the media has been the sticking point with hysterical coverage of supposed 24 hour opening or drinking," McNamara added. "Reality is that less than 0.5% of pubs have 24 hour licences and are using them for special circumstances and occasions."

Official stats reveal fewer than 3% of premises sell alcohol around the clock >>

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By Christopher Walton

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