Welcome to our February Licensing Update
This is our second update of the year, taken from items posted to our website over the past month.
Worthy of special mention is the Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme which may catch most operators and which goes live in April 2017. See below.
Our briefing paper around issues surrounding Child Sex Exploitation (CSE) should be available within the next two weeks; certainly an area of increasing interest to the Authorities. Please let us know if you want adding to the distribution list for the briefing paper.
On to the news…
We have commented on this AWRS scheme many times before. The scheme has been introduced by the Government to try and tackle alcohol fraud. If you sell alcohol to another business, the probability is that you should already have registered under AWRS. From 1 April 2017, if you buy alcohol to sell from a UK wholesaler, you will need to check that whoever you buy from has registered with HMRC and has an AWRS Unique Reference Number (URN). If you buy alcohol from a non-registered wholesaler when they should be approved and registered with HMRC, you may be liable to a criminal or civil penalty and your alcohol may be seized. Trade buyers will be able to use an online look-up service of approved wholesalers to check that the wholesalers they buy from are registered. This will be available from April 2017. Time to be putting systems in place perhaps.Read more here
Local Alcohol Action Areas (LAAA) phase 2 announced
The Home Office has just released the list of the 33 regions comprising the second phase of the Local Alcohol Action Areas (LAAA) programme. Read more here
We made this the subject of a separate update earlier in the month – but to remind, recently introduced changes to section 72 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 will affect most, if not all, operators and letters of demand for additional licence fees are already in circulation.
This is in addition to any required TV licensing or licences from PPL and/or PRS. MPLC (Motion Picture Licensing Company) are already actively seeking licence fees on behalf of studios they represent from those wishing to show broadcasts in respect of film rights holders to show the film within the broadcast, http://www.themplc.co.uk/
Be aware – and if you require any further clarification, please do contact us.Read more here
Further to our news last month on this proposed levy, a House of Commons library briefing has just been published which provides an overview of the proposed Soft Drinks Industry Levy, and a background on sugar and health.
At a Council meeting on 18 January 2017, Tower Hamlets became the latest Authority to approve a Late Night Levy (LNL) scheme. The LNL, which will affect premises operating between midnight and 6am (subject to certain exemptions) will take effect on 1 June 2017.Read more here
It may be recalled that in 2013 Hartlepool was the first council to look to adopt an Early Morning Restriction Order (EMRO), only for the attempt to fall away at the eventual hearing which we attended. (Blackpool subsequently followed suit but the adoption of an EMRO was rejected by the Licensing Committee following a five day hearing. No other EMROs have been attempted). We are seeing reports that an online petition calling on Hartlepool Council to change alcohol hours has been launched to try to persuade licensing officials to revert to 2am closing for town centre pubs and bars.Read more here
A reminder that on 9 February 2017 the Award for Licensing Practitioners (Alcohol) Course will be delivered at our offices in Sheffield. This is a British Institute of Innkeeping accredited award and is designed to equip those involved in the administration of the licensing process pursuant to the Licensing Act 2003. When delivered by us in the past it was found to be highly beneficial to Police Licensing Officers, Licensing Authority Officers, Environmental Health Officers. It was also considered to be an insightful course for those involved at a senior level in the management of the hospitality industry. Should you wish to reserve a place, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have been alerted to a recent appeal court decision in which the Sheriff determined that a Licensing Board must find a causal link between the application to be determined and a finding that an increase in the availability of alcohol would lead to increased consumption and consequently health harm.Read more here
Business in Licensing (BIL) and Gambling Business Group (GBG) are proposing that the requirement for premises licence holders to notify Licensing Authorities that they wish to use their automatic entitlement of up to two gaming machines be removed. This one-off notification attracts a fee of £50.Read more here
The Gambling Commission just launched their latest consultation. Entitled “Changes to our enforcement strategy: putting the consumer first” the consultation sets out our proposals for what the Commission refers to as “a new vision for our enforcement action which will guide how we use our powers”…. “It emphasises our expectations that gambling businesses put consumers first, and sets out proposals for credible deterrence.”Read more here
On 31 January 2017 the Horse Racing Levy (HRL) was extended to include bookmakers who operate remotely (principally online) and hold the required remote operating licence (within the meaning given by the Gambling Act 2005) allowing them to trade in the UK. From 31 January any online bookmaker who has either equipment based in the UK or provides a service accessible from the UK may be caught.Read more here
Gambling – 10 year club gaming permits, club machine permits and family entertainment centre permits due for renewal
The Commission is now reminding that 10 year club gaming permits, club machine permits and family entertainment centre permits issued under the Gambling Act 2005 will come up for renewal this year and that operators affected will need to apply for new permits from their licensing authority.Read more here
Scotland & JG&P
One week (week commencing 16 January) – three significant new build developments, three hearings before three different Boards – Aberdeen, East Dumbarton and Glasgow – three grants, and three different partners in attendance. All in all representing some £12 million of inward investment.
On top of which (and many other applications made), 26 January saw us before the Westminster Licensing Committee on a contested hearing (local residents associations opposing) for a new build 110 hotel development in Soho and within the Westminster West End Cumulative Impact area. The licence was granted for this circa £29 million scheme.