Posted: Thursday, 15 December 2011 @ 14:20
- Diamond Jubilee and Olympics
- Temporary Event Notices
- Minimum Price for sale of Alcohol
- Licensing Act 2003 general reforms
- Music and Entertainment
Diamond Jubilee and Olympics
As we approach these significant occasions for celebration, there are ample opportunities for the licensed trade to take advantage of the feel good effect.
First up is the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. There will be a special holiday on 5 June following immediately on from the delayed late bank holiday on 4 June. The government are proposing to relax licensing hours by extending them for sale for consumption on the premises only on Friday 1 June through to 1 am on Saturday 2 June, and on Saturday 2 June through to 1 am on Sunday 3 June. There is no proposal to extend the hours on 4 and 5 June, but it may be possible to choose the 2 days over this period when the extensions can be taken. Otherwise applications will have to be made for extensions through the Temporary Event Notice procedure (see below).
The Olympics are taking pace between 27 July and 12 August, and the Paralympics between 29 August and 9 September. But what are the government doing to relax the red tape? Nothing it would seem. So if you want to embrace the Olympic spirit and carry out any licensing activity, or extend the conditions on your Premises Licence, you will either have to apply for a variation of the licence or rely on Temporary Event Notices (see below).
The general message is to plan now and get your applications in early.
Temporary Event Notices
In view of the opportunities in 2012, a reminder of the procedure. It can be used by those who already have a Premises Licence but wish to extend or relax conditions, and those who do not have a licence and wish to hold a one–off event.
Licensable activities include the sale of alcohol; live and recorded music, dancing, and events including karaoke, live bands; plays; indoor sporting events and the sale of hot food and drinks after 11pm.
The form must be completed and delivered to the Licensing Authority, with the fee of £21, and at the same time delivered to the Police. The Licensing Authority will confirm the Police address for service. The form must be in duplicate and delivered a minimum of 10 clear working days between service and the start of the event. If you have missed this deadline your TEN will be invalid. There is an on-line facility for giving TENS, but check that your Licensing Authority is geared up to deal with on-line applications.
The Police can object if they consider that the event is likely to result in crime or disorder. They have 2 working days from receipt of the TEN to lodge their objection. If the Police do make an objection, the Licensing Authority must hold a hearing of the objection within 7 days.
Restrictions on TENS:
• the event must not last more than 96 hours.
• the premises can only be used under a TEN for 15 days each calendar year. And note that if an event starts say at 11pm and goes on until 2am, that counts as 2 days!
• the particular premises can only used under a maximum of 12 TENS in a calendar year.
• the number of people on the premises at any time must not exceed 499, including all staff and performers, so everyone.
• If it is the holder of a Personal Licence who gives a TEN, they can only give a maximum of 50 in a calendar year.
• anyone else who gives a TEN, and that includes clubs with a Club Registration Certificate with no Personal Licence holder, can only give a maximum of 5 TENs in a calendar year.
If you exceed these limits then you will have to either vary your existing Premises Licence to cover your requirements, or apply for a new Premises Licence.
What else is in store for 2012?
Minimum Price for sale of Alcohol
This will come into force on 6 April 2012. The method the government have opted for is the rate of duty plus VAT. It follows that every time the duty changes, so will the minimum price with immediate effect. This ensures that increases are passed on to the customer where minimum prices are being charged.
Most drinks and drinkers will be unaffected. It is only the supermarkets who “deep discount” who are likely to be troubled. .
The minimum sale price at the current rate will be as follows:
Lager: a 440ml can of 4.2% - £0.38
Cider: a litre of 4.5%- £0.40
Wine: a 750ml bottle of 12.5%- £2.03
Whisky: a 700ml bottle of 40%- £8.00
Vodka: a litre bottle of 37.5%- £10.71
On average this works out at 21p a unit for beer, and 28p per unit for spirits, a far cry from the 50p per unit minimum at one time being promoted. But the government will say it is a start in the right direction. Just how it will affect our drinking culture remains to be seen.
The PM David Cameron has just reacted to pressure from leading doctors by promising to look at low cast alcohol “very carefully”, so further restrictions may be coming in the not so distant future.
Licensing Act 2003 general reforms
The government’s major reforms, the so-called “redressing the balance” came onto the statute books on 15 September 2011. However, we still do not know when they will come into force, but it is possible that some of the straight forward provisions such as an increase in fines and changes to Temporary Event Notices could be introduced quickly, but I now believe that the realistic timetable for the main provisions is during the last 3 months of 2012.
The main provisions are:
• more power to licensing authorities and those who may wish to object to applications or take a Premises Licence to a formal Review.
• a significant increase in the maximum fine for sale of alcohol to under age persons.
• a far reaching power for licensing authorities to introduce Early Morning Alcohol Restriction Orders.
• the introduction of the Late Night Levy which will impact those premises selling alcohol after 12 midnight.
• power is to be given to licensing authorities to set their own fees, subject to some restrictions.
• Temporary Event Notices have a new procedure for those (late notices) served no earlier than 9 working days and no later than 5 working days before an event, the current cut off being 10 working days for all Notices. The down side is that not only the police but environmental health may also object, and that for the first time conditions may be imposed on Notices.
Music and Entertainment
The Live Music Bill is nearing the end of its journey through Parliament and is likely to be in force early in the New Year.
Dancing: where a venue has a Premises Licence to sell alcohol for consumption on the premises and for dancing, and has a permitted capacity of no more than 200, any licensing authority imposed conditions relating to the dancing will not have effect unless they were imposed as necessary for the prevention of crime or disorder or public safety, or were imposed on a formal Review.
Only dancing to live music or unamplified music which qualify as set out below will in effect be free of conditions.
Live Music: what is new is that similar provisions for live music which are currently in place have been tweaked. In future, live music satisfying the capacity limit of 200 will not be considered regulated entertainment in the first place, and will not therefore require authorisation under a Premises Licence, if it is limited to live music between the hours of 8 am and 11pm (longer if a special celebration has been declared such as is likely for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012- the late May bank holiday wiill be on 4 June and the special Jubilee Bank Holiday will be on 5 June). But conditions can be imposed on a Review of the Premises Licence as if it was regulated entertainment.
If the music is unamplified and between 8am and 11pm it is not deemed regulated entertainment at all, whatever the capacity of the premises, and so again no conditions can be enforced unless it is on a Review.
Entertainment Facilities: finally, an opportunity has been taken to abolish the often confusing requirement that entertainment facilities themselves have to be licensed as regulated entertainment. So it will no longer be necessary to be licensed just because you have a dance floor and amplification, or perhaps a stage. It is the entertainment itself which may need an authorisation, unless it is small scale live music only or unamplified music, as described above.
On 10 September the Department for Culture Media and Sport issued a consultation paper with proposals which go far beyond anything that the industry could have dreamed of in terms of de-regulating live music. This consultation may have a far reaching impact on music in pubs. The closing date for responses to the consultation was 3 December 2011. So watch out for news on this.
I will be updating throughout 2012 so keep reading my blogs!
I wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Licensing Law Specialist
0845 003 5639
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