Posted: Thursday, 17 September 2009 @ 17:25
The Times reports this morning that none other than Lord Mandelson appears to have stepped in to halt crippling red tape which few other than the Home Office thought necessary or sensible.
Mandy appears to have a bigger stick than the Home Office bully boys! Where the Licensing Minister from the DCMS has been largely ineffectual, it has taken someone with clear thinking to spot that the last thing an embattled trade wants just now is another delivery of red tape. Even licensing authorities and the police consider that the propsed mandatory conditions, aimed at stopping so called binge drinking, have too much of a scatter gun approach. The whole trade would suffer for the sake of a reflatively few rogue premises. And the police and licensing authorities already have sufficient powers to deal with licensed premises causing problems. I just wish that the government would scrap their "one size fits all" mentality, which has been present at least since the Licensing Act in 2003. They cant understand that the vast majority of licensing outlets are run responsibly, and do not need over regulation.
It is hoped that the mandatory conditions will never see the light of day. It seems that they may not be introduced until 2011, but nothing has yet been confirmed. It will be easy for the government to introduce them quickly, should they change their minds, but then again 2010 will see an election and a possible change of government. So what is on the Tory agenda?
Shadow health minister Mike Penning has attacked "24 hour drinking". So the Tories have overlooked the fact that only a tiny minority of licensed premises applied for the right to open 24 hours a day, and of those few that did most do not use the full 24 hours. Mike Penning has said that the Conservatives "are commited to repealing the 24-hour legislation". I do not know what they propose, but I fear that for the trade a new government may yet mean being tossed from the frying pan into the fire.
Licensing Law Specialist
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