Hotels already offering a mini bar and room service will not be subject to new Government licensing powers affecting pubs and other licensed premises that trade after midnight.
There were concerns that hotel mini bars and room service could be affected by early morning alcohol restriction orders (EMROs), as yet uncommenced powers as part of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, which will allow local authorities to restrict sales of alcohol in all or part of their area.
Only premises that are authorised to provide mini bars and room service between 12am and 6am would avoid being subject to EMROs. Premises that serve alcohol in a hotel bar, lounge, or lobby between midnight and 6am will still be subject to an EMRO for the supply of alcohol in communal areas.
Meanwhile village pubs where that pub is the only pub in the village will gain an exemption from the late night levy, another provision under the Act which allows local authorities to charge licensed premises more for late night licences, in order to pay for additional policing.
But restaurants will not be exempt from the levy. And neither EMROs nor the late night levy will apply on New Year's Eve.
The details of the exemptions emerged in the Home Office's response to a consultation called "Dealing with the Problems of Late Night Drinking".
Draft legislation has been laid in Parliament ahead of the powers being introduced.
Minister for Crime Prevention and Antisocial Behaviour Reduction Lord Henley said: "We have already overhauled the ineffective licensing regime and introduced new measures that will put local people back at the heart of licensing decisions, allowing them to take action against problem premises and alcohol-related offending."
In response to the news, the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) questioned the need for the legislation, but welcomed some of the exemptions that the Government now planned to introduce.
BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: "We are pleased that the Government has listened to many of the BBPA's concerns, but there are real doubts that this legislation is necessary.
"They have listened and backtracked on the wide number of exemptions they were planning, as this would have been grossly unfair on community pubs. We also welcome the inclusion of Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) as a discretionary exemption from the Levy, as well as other good practice schemes which are to be recognised for discounts.
"However, a Government that says it wants to cut red tape still has to match words with deeds. There are already enough powers for police and local authorities to tackle late-night problems. The Levy still has the potential to be complex, unwieldy and problematic for both businesses and local authorities. At the end of the day it is partnership schemes like BIDs, Best Bar None and Pubwatch which work best."
By Neil Gerrard
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