JG&Partners, October licensing update

By | October 6, 2016

Welcome to our October licensing update

Here is our latest monthly update of matters of topical interest posted to our website.

Passing comment also must be made of the widely reported Review of the licence of Fabric Nightclub in London, which led to the revocation of the licence; a decision apparently to be appealed (but with the premises remaining closed pending that appeal).  What is of note is the debate (political and much wider) that this decision has sparked about the night time economy and the perceived threats to late night venues.   We will await the outcome of the appeal with some interest. Onto other news (and scroll to the end for news about ‘JG&P International’!):

National Minimum Wage – increases from 1 October 2016 

A reminder that the National minimum wage rates increased on 1 October 2016.Read more here

British Summer Time ends at 2am Sunday 30 October! 

British Summer Time (or as it may be more properly called Daylight Saving Time) ends at 2am Sunday 30 October 2016.  This means that at 2am on that Sunday, the time becomes 1am and premises entitled to trade to 2am or later can enjoy an extra hour of trade (unless there is something specific on your licence preventing this).Read more here

Cumulative Impact Policy and the Late Night Levy – changes afoot?

The Government has tabled proposed changes to the Policing and Crime Bill which impact on Cumulative Impact Policies and the Late Night Levy, if adopted.  These include putting the possible adoption of Cumulative Impact Policies on a statutory footing; at the moment, it derives only as a concept from the statutory guidance to the Licensing Act 2003 – and where adopted, requiring periodic review and re-assessment of the need for such; and allowing Licensing Authorities to adopt a Late Night Levy on part but not the whole of their area (although it must be said that this will only serve possibly to reduce the commercial attractiveness of such in terms of revenue raised).Read more here

Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme (AWRS) – reminder and update 

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. The original deadline for registration was 31 March 2016.  However if you failed to do so, the Government is reminding that if the scheme affects you, you must still apply – but that ‘depending on your circumstances you may be charged a penalty for your late application. Going forwardfrom 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).Read more here

Consultation on aides memoire for food law enforcement officers’ – ‘game keepers’ guides 

For those of you who are operator ‘poachers’, you may be interested in this Food Standards Agency (FSA) consultation on new guidance to help food law enforcement officers assess approved premises which is under review.  The aides memoire are mainly intended for use by food law enforcement officers carrying out hygiene inspections of approved premises, but are said to also be interest to manufacturers and retailers of approved foods and products, not least as they give an insight of inspecting officers’ priorities on such inspections.

Feedback is requested by Friday 28 October 2016.Read more here

Sale of alcohol to drunks – new poster campaign launched 

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has relaunched a poster campaign to help raise awareness and understanding of the law around serving drunks.Read more here

New Home Office Guidance on Identity Documents   

The obligations upon employers to check the immigration status of their staff have increased in recent times but operators have often struggled to understand and recognise the many different forms of identity.  The Home Office has now released a Guidance which should help operators to check papers produced to them and identify common fraud.Read more here

Breathalysers in pubs and clubs – now Weymouth? 

We have previously expressed our concern at the trend of seeking to introduce breathalyser testing on entry to licensed premises.  We are now seeing reports that Weymouth is the latest location to seek to trial this.Read more here

New £5 note went live 13 September 2016 

As previously reported a new polymer £5 note was started to be issued from 13 September 2016.   A dedicated Bank of England website provides further detail. NB – In May 2017 the existing paper £5 notes will cease to be legal tender and should no longer be accepted by retailers and banks.Read more here

House of Lords – Select Committee on the Licensing Act 2003 – update 

Please note that:

  • The deadline for submission of written evidence has now expired – we have already filed a submission of evidence on the impact of the Licensing Act 2003
  • The sessions for the hearing of oral evidence are now ongoing
  • A ‘legal experts’’ session has been set for 1 November and we are privileged to have already been invited to attend and give evidence – which invitation we have accepted.

LGA calls for new powers to suspend licences 

The LGA is calling for new powers to allow town halls to suspend the licences of businesses which wilfully or persistently fail to pay their business rates. Licences would only be reinstated when the debt has begun to be paid off.  Under current licensing laws, councils cannot refuse or suspend a premises licence for outstanding business rate

Read more here

Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) (as opposed to Late Night Levies) 

As you will know, BIDs are increasingly being adopted in town and city centres – and also in preference at times to the possible implementation of a Late Night Levy.  For those interested, a Parliamentary Briefing Paper has recently been published which sets out the working of BIDs in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.Read more here

Late Night Levy – Gloucester – Consultation now launched 

Gloucester Council had decided to launch a formal consultation on the possible adoption of a Late Night Levy (LNL), which will run to 7 December 2016.Read more here

But Cheltenham to abandon Levy? 

A consultation has opened on the future of the Late Night Levy in Cheltenham.  The consultation is seeking views on the council’s proposal for the Late Night Levy (“levy”) to cease to have effect in Cheltenham from March 2017 in favour of the newly established Business Improvement District (“BID”). The consultation runs until Monday 7 November 2016.Read more here

Scotland – Annual Licence Fee Payments 

Just a timely reminder that all annual fees in Scotland fell due on the 3 October for all Scottish premises licences (this is due to the fact that 1 October was a Saturday).  A demand for payment of the annual fee from the Board should now have been received by all premises as the law requires such a demand to be given no later than 30 days before the date on which the fee is due.Read more here

Licensing – Northern Ireland 

Off our patch – but briefly for those with Northern Ireland interests (actual or potential)…  A new Licensing and Registration of Clubs (Amendment) Bill has been introduced in the NI Assembly.  It marks the first stage in a process to amend the law in limited respects on the sale of alcohol in Northern Ireland.Read more here

Gambling – Commission issue ‘crane’ machine reminder 

Operators are being reminded by the Gambling Commission that crane grab machines must follow gambling rules and regulations. They are not automatically exempt from gambling control. The reminder follows a series of cases in which crane grab non-complex category D gaming machines were discovered to be breaching regulations.  Over the last nine months a total of nine machines have been removed from five locations – they were not correctly marked as gaming machines and were not situated within a gambling premises.Read more here

Gambling – In-play (in-running) betting position paper published 

The Gambling Commission have just updated their position on ‘in-play’ betting to reflect changes in the market, technological advances and their experience in regulating the industry.  In-play betting (or in-running or live betting as it is also known) is betting while the event is actually taking place, for example, placing a bet on a horserace while the race is being run, or on a football match whilst it is being played. Read more here

Gambling – Scottish and Welsh Gambling Survey results issued

The Scottish Government has published the Scottish Health Survey 2015” and this shows that overall gambling participation in Scotland has increased slightly from 65 % in 2014 to 67.8% in 2015. However the statistics also show that problem gambling has dropped slightly form 0.8 % in 2014 to 0.7% in 2015. Headline points highlighted by The Gambling Commission in their article on the…

Gambling – Licensing Authority statistics published

The Gambling Commission has published various Licensing Authority statistics in relation to gambling for the period 2009 – 2016. A link to the article and two documents (one in word and the other an Excel spreadsheet) can be found here:  ‘Licensing authority statistics’. Of note is the following extract from the executive summary which states as follows: The …

And finally…  JG&P International!

Regular readers will know of our involvement in Scotland where we have been actively licensing existing and many new build premises for well over 6 years – comprising pubs, hotels (and a major new health club) across the length and breadth of Scotland.

Lesser known is our involvement in projects elsewhere including in Ireland and Jersey in a supervisory/coordinating licensing role.  To this, we can now add Belgium where we are retained by new client AB InBev, following on from our UK work for them on the licensing of a new distribution warehouse in Wetherby and a ’pop up shop’ at Box Park Shoreditch.  All going to show that we are truly a central point of contact for licensing, wherever it may prove to be required!

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