ALE Summer 2001 No. 303

Government Watch

Licensing Reform

[Previously: Spring 2000, November 1999]

The Labour Party gave the licensing reform plans high profile during the election campaign as likely to appeal to young voters and even backed this up by text messages to phones. In the usual cynical politicians' way, the plans were dropped from the Queen's Speech and now seem to be shelved for at least two years.

However responsibility for licensing has moved to Kim Howells, a Minister at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, so perhaps there's hope yet. The planned legislation is now called the Alcohol and Entertainments Bill. This shifts the emphasis from crime-fighting to leisure facilities. The Department intends to permit all-night opening for New Year 2001-2.

For a while it seemed there was a very slim chance for simpler reforms sooner (via Deregulation orders) rather than later (via a time-consuming Act of Parliament) - these might simply relax pub hours a little without all the planned reform of licensing.

CAMRA is organising a Week of Action on licensing reform for Sat. 8 - Sat. 15 September.

Criminal Justice & Police Act 2001

Part of this aims to crack down on unruly behaviour associated with pubs, giving the police the power to close troublesome pubs on the spot. There are also tougher penalties for serving under-age or drunken customers. However these pub aspects will not come into force till later this year.

Full Pints

[Previously: Spring 2001]

No sign of any move towards guaranteeing full pints.

Beer Duty

[Previously: Spring 2001, 26th Cambridge Beer Festival]

No sign of any move till next year towards fairer Duty.

Rates Relief for Village Pubs

[Previously: February 1999]

In April the Government at last responded to campaigning by CAMRA and others by offering mandatory rate relief to village pubs. Let's hope this does make a difference: at the moment six rural pubs are closing every week.


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