Lords launch inquiry into effectiveness of Licensing Act 2003

04 July 2016 by
Lords launch inquiry into effectiveness of Licensing Act 2003

A House of Lords Committee set up to look at the Licensing Act 2003 and the liberalisation of opening hours has launched an investigation into the effectiveness of the Act.

The Committee, chaired by Baroness McIntosh of Pickering, is now calling for evidence. It will begin its inquiry next week by questioning government officials from the Home Office, Department of Culture Media and Sport, and the Department of Health, as well as officials from Public Health England.

The Licensing Act 2003 enabled premises to serve alcohol for 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It set out to provide greater freedom to the hospitality and leisure industry, as well as giving consumers more choice. It was also intended to grant authorities the appropriate powers to deal with misuse of these freedoms.

The inquiry will investigate areas including:

• The balance between rights and responsibilities of both the industry and the public
• The powers of enforcement authorities, including the police
• The impact that any greater availability of alcohol has had on the health of the population
• Whether the Act has made it easier or harder for communities to enjoy activities that have to be licensed under the Act
• The role of licensing in shaping local areas, for the benefit of the economy and the local community
• Minimum unit pricing and its potential impact
• Fees and costs associated with the Act

Baroness McIntosh said: "While many heralded the Act as the start of a more continental drinking culture, others predicted round-the-clock consumption leading to disorder and a deterioration in public health.

"For good or ill, the Licensing Act has altered the drinking landscape of England and Wales, but an examination of the changes is long overdue. I would therefore encourage as many people as possible to send us written evidence before our deadline of 2 September 2016."

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