Around one in five Scottish pubs have not applied for new licences to trade and run the risk of being closed down when the new licensing regime takes effect next September, an industry body warned today.
Under the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005, all pubs north of the border are required to apply for new licences to sell alcohol from September 1 this year.
The process of licensing transition began last February, but figures obtained by the Scottish Beer and Pub Association under the Freedom of Information Act have revealed that one in five, or nearly 2,500 licensees, have not yet applied.
Patrick Browne, SBPA chief executive, said: "These figures suggest a high proportion of Scotland's licensed premises so far have failed to lodge new Premises Licence applications, either because the cost and complexity of the new Act has discouraged them from doing so, or because they are no longer trading.
"Whilst premises, which have so far not submitted new licence applications, can still do so, they risk joining a backlog of tens of thousands of applications for Personal Licences and registered members clubs which also have to be dealt with over the next seven months."
Browne said: "The lack of response must raise questions about how they are handling the process of licensing transition, given that other boards were able to supply the information requested."
By Daniel Thomas
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