Pubs face an extra £100m bill in licensing fees if proposals put forward in the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill, debated in the Commons yesterday, are made law.
That's the warning from the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) which warned that the proposed overhaul of the UK's licensing regime contained within the Bill would allow local councils to set annual fees way above current limits.
Commenting ahead of the third reading debate yesterday, ALMR chief executive Nick Bish said: "These new proposals could have a devastating impact on pubs, bars and restaurants across the country.
"At the budget last week, the Chancellor said his priority was to help small businesses in these difficult times, but these new measures fly in the face of such assurances.
"Councils are already facing significant budget cuts so the temptation will be all too great to use licensing fees as a revenue-raising exercise.
"If the Government is serious about encouraging growth then they must set a national cap on these fees or this will cripple our sector and put many operators out of business."
By Neil Gerrard
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