The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) and the Bar, Entertainment and Dance Association (BEDA) are set to merge.
In a announcement this morning, the ALMR said the BEDA committee had agreed in principle to merge into ALMR, with membership, resources and expertise being pooled across the two organisations following their collaboration over the past year on late-night licensing and entertainment.
The decision is expected to be ratified ahead of the ALMR 20th anniversary conference and celebration on 3 May.
Commenting on the announcement, BEDA chairman John Hayes said: "Since 1952, BEDA, in its various forms, has existed to create a better trading environment for late-night operators. Our shared membership and combined expertise mean that BEDA within the ALMR can continue to deliver on that aim. My priority will be to ensure we present a robust, detailed and compelling response to the proposed stratospheric increases in the PPL SFE tariff."
Welcoming BEDA members, ALMR chairman Steve Richards added: "I am thrilled to see BEDA join forces with our organisation. ALMR already operates across all segments of the market and the new combined group will give us greater strength in depth. Crucially, for the first time, Government will have one single, clear retail voice to listen to which represents the whole of our vibrant and diverse industry. One trade body dedicated to representing all operator interests - from casual dining to late-night bars - not only makes sense, it gives us an informed and effective platform better to influence policy."
And Nick Bish, chief executive of ALMR, said: "Separately, BEDA and ALMR have a track record of delivering for operators; together now we will provide an even better service - clear, authoritative representation for all retailers across all segments of the eating and drinking out market. That united position is needed more than ever given the economic, political and regulatory climate."
Hayes will head up the late-night division of the ALMR and represent those operators at the ALMR council. In addition, the BEDA office in Stockport will become the ALMR office in the North.
By Neil Gerrard
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