More than 3,100 alcohol licence applications in Scotland were not lodged by the January deadline, according to figures obtained by the Scottish Beer & Pub Association.
Licensed premises, such as pubs, had until 16 January to lodge their applications, allowing them to take advantage of the grandfather rights and simplified application process offered by the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005.
Under the act, all pubs north of the border are required to apply for new licences to sell alcohol from 1 September this year. The process of licensing transition began last February.
"We believe that is because the cost and complexity of the new act has discouraged them from doing so, and because a large number of premises have already ceased trading."
Browne said that while premises that had not submitted their new applications could still do so, they would now be joining a backlog of thousands of other applicants.
By Chris Druce
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