Government announces on its Alcohol Strategy

Posted: Thursday, 25 July 2013 @ 10:41

On 23 July the Government published its response to the consultation on delivering on its alcohol strategy policy of March 2012.

One of the main policies the Government was proposing was of course a minimum unit price for alcohol. It has decided not to introduce this, for the time being. It has also dropped its proposals for restricting multi-buy promotions. But it will be introducing by no later than the Spring of 2014 a ban on sale of alcohol below cost, set at the level of alcohol duty plus VAT.

What the Government will be doing will be to target irresponsible promotions. It says it will make existing mandatory licensing conditions “more effective and consistently implemented”. This will involve simplifying and tightening the law on what constitutes an irresponsible promotion.

It will take out the subjective criteria, making all those promotions listed in the mandatory condition unlawful whatever the circumstances, and will make businesses strictly liable. They will no longer be able to claim they have taken “all reasonable steps” to ensure irresponsible promotions do not take place.

The exemption for promotions with table meals will also be removed.

It will also become a requirement to list prices and make customers aware of the availability of smaller measures.

Finally on this topic there will be an improved age verification process, making the Designated Premises Supervisor primarily responsible for the implementation of the age verification policy, with changes to the acceptable documents to make it easier for foreign nationals to prove their age.

In its strategy the Government also promised to reduce red tape. What it has decided to do is:

• Introduce a new type of licence, the Community and Ancillary Sellers Notice (CAN), to make it much easier and cheaper for those promises who want to provide alcohol on a low level where low risks are involved. Examples given are the provision of wine with a hair cut, a bottle of wine in a bed and breakfast, and alcohol at community events. There will be a simple form and low fee.
• Increase the number of Temporary Event Notices per premises from the current 12 per calendar year to 15, but there will be no relaxation of the total number of days covered by those events per calendar year, namely 21.
• Allow local licensing authorities to relax the need to obtain a Premises Licence for late night refreshment in certain types of promises or in certain localities.
• Remove the need for Personal Licences to be renewed every 10 years. It will also consult on whether to abolish Personal Licences altogether.

We now wait for the fine detail and I will blog on this as soon as it is published.

Nigel Musgrove
Licensing Law Specialist
Tel: 0845 003 5639

For free advice on this topic please call us on 0845 003 5639.

This blog is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor is it intended to be a complete and authoritative statement of the law, and what we say might be out of date by the time you read it. You should always seek legal advice to confirm whether or how any information in this article applies to your particular situation. We offer a free telephone consultation to discuss your particular circumstances.


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