The NUS has submitted its response to the Government's consultation on Rebalancing the Licensing Act. You can find a copy of it here.
This consultation asked for opinions on government plans to overhaul the current licensing regime, in order to give more power to local authorities and police. Proposals included:
- Overhauling the Licensing Act to give local authorities and the police stronger powers to remove licenses from, or refuse to grant licenses to premises.
- Allowing councils and the police to permanently shut down any shop or bar that is repeatedly selling alcohol to children
- Allowing local councils to charge more for late night licenses, with the amount left to their discretion.
- Banning the sale of alcohol below cost price.
The Government has come under strong criticism for the way the consultation has been conducted, with major players in the night time industry stating that the six week consultation period – largely during August- showed scant regard for the principles which are meant to guide Government’s engagement with external bodies.
Whilst NUS has identified many positive points in the proposals, including recognising the importance of prevention of harm as a licensing objective and putting out a much stronger message regarding selling alcohol to children, we also felt that there were a number of proposals which caused concern. The overall ‘rebalancing’ of the Licensing Act that was proposed would result in an unprecedented amount of power being placed with the Licensing Authority – leaving the application process open to bias and abuse of power. We also highlighted the issues surrounding giving community groups and the police more power. Many of the proposals, including those around implementing a late night levy, and banning the sale of alcohol below cost price were extremely vague, and made it difficult to comment.
The consultation period closed on 8 September 2010 – we will keep you updated with any decisions made by the Government.