BHA calls on Government to address licensing concerns

09 November 2012 by
BHA calls on Government to address licensing concerns

The British Hospitality Association (BHA) has accused the Government of ignoring industry concerns relating to the draft regulations of the incoming Early Morning Restriction (EMRO) and the Late Night Levy.

The BHA said it had sent a "strongly worded" letter to the Home Office over the issue.

EMROs can be introduced by local authorities to restrict licensed premises in certain defined areas, including hotels and restaurants, from serving alcohol after midnight. The Late Night Levy gives local authorities the power to levy an additional charge on licensed premises that remain open after midnight, in order to pay for additional policing costs.

During the consultations, the BHA challenged the proposal to prevent hotels in an EMRO area serving alcohol to resident guests after midnight, except in their room.

"During the original discussions it was agreed that resident hotel guests would be allowed to be served alcohol after midnight anywhere on the hotel's premises, including the hotel's bars," says Martin Couchman, BHA's deputy chief executive.

"However, the final draft of the regulations allows hotels to serve alcohol only via a mini-bar or room service."

"Guests who want to socialise will either have to retreat to one of their bedrooms to do so, with the result of noise and disturbance to other guests, or the law will create a farcical situation in which guests will go to their room to receive the alcohol and then head back to the bar to continue socialising."

The letter, which is co-signed by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions, the Beer and Pub Association and Business in Sport and Leisure, has been sent to Jeremy Browne, Minister of State at the Home Office.

"We have had many hours of discussion on the introduction of EMROs and the Late Night Levy with Home Office officials and it is disappointing that issues that were discussed at our meetings have largely been ignored in the final draft regulations," Couchman added.

"We are urging the minister to clarify the regulations so that there is a clear national framework that everybody can understand."

By Neil Gerrard

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