The transition process for the biggest overhaul of licensing laws in Scotland for 30 years begins today with pubs across the country required to re-apply for their alcohol licences ahead of legislative changes in 2009.
The Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005, which comes into full effect on 1 September 2009, will reduce the seven types of licence to one held by the Personal Licence Holder.
It will also require the licensed premises to be run in accordance with the holder's operating plan (including the hours that alcohol will be sold).
Major changes to the mandatory conditions for licensees include a ban on irresponsible alcohol promotions and a ban on the sale of alcohol by a person who has not received the appropriate training.
The cost of a licence will also go up by around double, with the smallest pub paying around £400. The Scottish Beer and Pub Association (SBPA) claims this hike will cost Scottish licensees an additional £20m.
SBPA chief executive Patrick Browne said: "The rise in fees will give people a lot of pause for thought as to whether they go through with the transition process. Two-thirds of premises in Scotland are freeholds and they will have serious concerns about the cost implications of the Act, which larger operators will not have."
Applications for a new licence will be staggered between this March and January 2009.
By Christopher Walton
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