Licensing minister James Purnell has given his support to a single licensing renewal date for premises licences.
An independent review of the new licensing regime headed by Sir Les Elton recommended last December that a single renewal date would simplify the process.
A spokesman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport confirmed Purnell's support: "We are working towards a single renewal date, probably in the mid-term, but will need to consult stakeholders first. Licensees should still pay their annual fees when due as normal for now."
Laurel Pub Company chief executive Julian Sargeson said he could see advantages to having the single date.
"I suppose for some operators there could be a workload issue. Personally, with everything that has happened in the industry in the past six months this doesn't exactly excite me."
By Chris Druce