If the new proposed changes to personal Licences go through, they are certain to affect you. Find out what the suggested plans entail, and what some industry figures are doing in reaction.
What is being suggested?
The plans proposed by the Government in September would mean:
- Scrapping personal Licences
- Allowing local authorities to impose training conditions on individual Licences.
The idea behind this new system is due to the blanket effect of the current system, in which all establishments, regardless of the individual consequences and perceived risk, must jump through the same hoops to acquire a personal license.
This new system is intended to remove this need, with businesses judged upon their own circumstances by local authorities, theoretically saving up to 10 million a year to the industry overall. The local authorities could then enforce and set training for establishments, empowering local councils more while supposedly forming a fairer, more nuanced system of permissions for establishments (eg. pubs and bars in low risk areas finding it easier to gain a license).
What could this mean?
The consequences of these changes, if approved, is that there may be a much larger grey area when it comes to the ability to sell alcohol, which could lead to wider inconsistency throughout the industry.
The new powers for local authorities to apply relevant conditions to Licences would add a huge element of complexity, especially to companies working across many different local authorities. While the new system is intended to save unneeded admin and fees, the increased reviews of Licences potentially imposed training conditions could lead to extra costs.
There are fears that the addition of more red tape and bureaucracy in a sector already overflowing with government intervention would be a step in the wrong direction. If local councils could impose requirements for training for different businesses, it would up the potential for mass confusion and unfairness in certain scenarios.
For example one of two identical businesses could find it more difficult to gain a license, simply due to being located on a high street rather than in a village. If these plans come into practice, it could also mean that certain establishments are permitted to do things that others can not, simply due to geographical location.
The reactions to these suggested changes has been predominantly negative, with the BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds arguing that personal Licences ‘set a national standard which is supported by local authorities and the police,’ adding that ‘there are many other reductions in red tape which industry have proposed, but not this one. Personal Licences are important for the reputation of the industry and should stay as a nationally recognised qualification.’
There has been a widespread action from Industry groups, as the British Hospitality Association (BHA), the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) and the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII), have collaborated on a letter to Norman Baker MP, asking for personal Licences to be retained.
These leisure, hospitality and tourism groups support the uniformity and qualification-based system behind personal Licences. The current Licences also provide the practical benefit of the criminal check system.
What do you think?
Do you support or reject these potential plans? Share this article and see what your fellow peers think about the potential of these plans, whether they will create unfair and uneven regulation throughout the United Kingdom, or benefits your business with more nuanced rules for specific areas.
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