Government responds to Alcohol Strategy Consultation

On 17 July 2013 the Government published its response to the ASC, which had canvassed opinion from the trade, health and crime reduction bodies and local authorities on various proposals aimed at reducing the damage caused by alcohol related crime and disorder. Surprisingly, many of the proposed changes to the regime seem focussed on de-regulation. For instance, the number of Temporary Event Notices that any premises can serve in 1 year will rise from 12 to 15, and the requirement for personal licences to be renewed is to be abolished, with a further consultation as to whether they should be removed altogether. A “”Community and Ancillary Sellers Notice” is to be introduced to enable community groups and businesses who supply alcohol as an add-on to their main business (e.g. a hairdresser who offers clients a glass of wine) to do so without going through the full rigours of applying for a premises licence. However, what the Government gives with one hand, it takes with the other – regulation is going to be tightened up in other areas. Although neither a minimum unit price nor a ban on multi-buy offers is to be introduced, the issue of “irresponsible” drinks promotions is to be tackled again, and a requirement is to be introduced whereby premises must list the price of smaller measures, and inform the customer of their availability, whether they have requested one or not. So, a bit of a mixed bag – if you need advice on the implications of the proposed changes for your licensed business, we will be happy to help.