Licensing Minister Gerry Sutcliffe has today unveiled a range of proposals designed to cut licensing red tape, which could result in savings of up to £24 million per year.
The Department has launched a 10 week consultation on the measures, which would make it easier for people to put on temporary events if they are rescheduled at short notice. The plans would also lighten the workload for councils and give relatives and business partners of licensees who have died more leeway in applying for an interim licence.
Under the plans, the police would be given a new power to accept a late Temporary Event Notice where there are no crime and disorder issues. This would particularly benefit village halls, schools and voluntary organisations who may have to cancel and rearrange events at short notice due to unforeseen circumstances or bad weather.
Relatives and business partners would be given 28 days to apply for a licence to be reinstated if the licensee dies, is incapable or becomes insolvent. This would be a significant improvement for licensees’ families and associates who often do not have time to arrange the licensee’s affairs within seven days and are then faced with the cost of applying for a new licence.
The Department also intends to remove the requirement for councils to revise and republish their Licensing Policy Statement every three years, replacing it with a requirement to keep the policy up to date. Councils would only have to consult groups and organisations affected by a revision, rather than the full list of required consultees, reducing burdens on organisations like national trade associations who have sometimes found themselves commenting on hundreds of statements at once.
Licensing Minister Gerry Sutcliffe said:
“The Licensing Act has streamlined the process considerably but we are always looking for more ways to get rid of unnecessary burdens. We want to remove as much red tape as possible for those organising temporary events – and for those that carry a low risk, we want to give the police a power to be more flexible when temporary event notices are submitted late.
“Most of these measures have been put forward to us by the industry and the proposals today show that we have listened. They would not only make the process easier for licensees and local authorities, they could also save a great deal of money too – up to £24 million each year. At a time when many are tightening their belts, these changes will be even more welcome.”
Notes to editors
1. The consultation is available on the DCMS website at: http://www.culture.gov.uk/reference_library/consultations/6498.aspx
2. Subject to the outcome of the consultation, DCMS will seek to bring in these measures by Legislative Reform Order (LRO)(amending the Licensing Act 2003). The LRO will be subject to Parliamentary approval, and DCMS will recommend the affirmative resolution process.
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