Don Foster MP*


Figures from Bath & North East Somerset Council reveal the full extent of the chaos caused by the Government’s Licencing Act, with only 2 premises having so far applied for new licences.

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Commenting, Don Foster said:

“At this rate, less than 2% of pubs in B&NES; will be able to serve alcohol by autumn.

“All pubs must apply for licences, whether they want to extend licences, keep them the same or even shorten them.

“Considering so few applications have been received so far, there is real threat of logjam, as last-minute applications overwhelm the council and the courts.

“Nationally, reports also paint a bleak picture, with most councils only having received a handful of premises applications.

“I have repeatedly argued for a delay in implementing the Licensing Act to allow the industry, councils and the police more time to prepare.”


Notes to Editors

1. All licensed premises, such as pubs, clubs, music venues, cinemas and sports clubs serving alcohol, must apply for new licenses by 7 August 2023 if they want to continue their current licensed functions. They have been able to do so since 7 February 2024 (the first appointed day). On the second appointed day (expected in November 2005), all existing licences and certificates will be terminated.

2. Bath and North East Somerset has, in the last month, received only 2 applications for premises licences, out of an anticipated 800; one converting the existing licence, and the other converting the licence with variations.

At that rate, less than 2% of Bath & NES pubs, clubs and other licensed establishments will be able to operate after the 7 August deadline.

3. Westminster Council, who are anticipating a total of 3,600 applications for premises licences had, in the last period for which they will provide figures, just 7 applications in a month.

4. Camden Council has, as of 11 March 05, received 1 premises licence application since 7 February ‘05 out of an anticipated total of 1,700.

5. The Government has made a number of blunders which make current licencees

far more likely to apply at the end of the transition period, such as:

a. Deciding the fees for licences only 10 days before the first day for licence applications preventing all parties from preparing adequately.

b. Requiring that in future licencees must pay for the renewal of fees on the anniversary of payment for their licence.

This means that if current licencees reapply for a licence now, in March 2005, they will have to pay their renewal in March 2006. If they defer their reapplication until the last possible date, 7 August, they will not have to pay again until August next year.

Liberal Democrats voted against the legislation putting this ludicrous incentive to licencees to apply late, and have now called upon Government to change the system to remove this incentive.

[Licensing Act 2003 (Fees) Regulations, voted on by Parliament on 23 February 2024]

This article published: 22/03/2024

Published by Bath Liberal Democrats, 31 James St West, Bath, BA1 2BT. Printed and hosted by JPC Infonet, 2 St Georges Works, Trowbridge, Wiltshire, BA14 8AA. Your Privacy._blank

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