A loophole in the Violent Crime Reduction Bill may mean nightclubs are exempt from the costs of late-night policing in proposed Alcohol Disorder Zones (ADZs).
The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) fears the "black hole" in the draft will boost the as-yet-unspecified charges paid by individual pubs within the zones.
The nightclub exemption has been highlighted by solicitors for the British Entertainment and Dance Associationn (BEDA).
"Because of the attempt to exempt venues such as cinemas, hotels and restaurants from ADZs, the wording of the draft makes it clear that venues should only pay if alcohol is their main concern, said BEDA chief executive John Collins.
Nightclubs, he said, have already proved under existing licensing law that their main concerns are dancing and food.
Critics slammed Home Office proposals that, come the beginning of the new licensing regime in November, enforcers would be able to check company receipts to determine whether alcohol is a nightclub's main source of income. "It would be a bureaucratic nightmare," said the BBPA.
- The Home Office is not drafting in military police and soldiers to back police in a summer crackdown on alcohol-fuelled disorder, as suggested in the Sunday Telegraph, because there is no national crackdown this year.
But divisions within police forces will use the powers they were granted last year to tackle local issues as and where they need to.