We are delighted to announce our link up with Propel Hospitality to provide a monthly legal briefing. Propel is the leading source for industry news with a huge daily readership of industry decision makers and regularly includes exclusive comments from industry leaders.
Tim Shield, partner at John Gaunt & Partners, said:
“Propel is a very prestigious as well as a major presence within the industry and the top source for news widely read by the decision makers in the industry every morning. We have contributed to Propel for many years on an informal basis but this opportunity to partner with them was seen as a great opportunity, too good to miss. We look forward to working closely with Propel and attending this year’s Multi Club events.”
Our first Legal Briefing can be read here: “Three issues to keep an eye on in 2020 by Michelle Hazlewood”
UK pub numbers rise for the first time in a decade
A new report from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) – Economies of ale: changes in the UK pubs and bars sector, 2001 to 2019 – indicates that the number of pubs and bars ‘has bounced back after more than 15 years of decline’. The number of small pubs and bars in the UK has increased for the first time in more than 15 years.
Best Bar None – National Winners Announced
As previously reported, the Best Bar None, national awards were presented at the House of Lords on Tuesday 4th February 2020. Sheffield won best overall scheme, Bolton was named most innovative and Cumbria scooped best new scheme.
Sheffield’s latest success is another in a long line of wins over recent years and reflects the energy and drive of the scheme’s organisers in Sheffield and the bars who participate every year.
Our Tim Shield, who has acted as a Judge for the Sheffield Scheme for several years, said:
“Best Bar None is an important scheme and the drive and passion of the Sheffield BBN team has once again been reflected in this nomination. We at John Gaunt & Partners are proud to continue to support the scheme… Sheffield has a very active and healthy scheme and from the applications the Judges reviewed as part of the blind judging process this year, it is clear that standards are continuing to rise with all participants fully buying in to the ethos of continuing to make Sheffield a safe late night community.”
On New Year’s Eve the government announced increases to the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW) rates to take effect from April 2020. The new rates have been recommended by the Low Pay Commission, and have now satisfied the target set by the Government in 2015 of the NLW equalling 60% of median earnings by 2020. For most rates, the increase is in excess of 6%.
FSA consults on updated guidance following change to allergen labelling law
From 1 October 2021, food which is packaged on-site before a customer selects or orders it, will be required to have an ingredients list with the allergens emphasised on it. This change means that allergen information will be found on more packaged foods, providing allergen information in the way consumers who responded to the UK-wide consultation asked for. The FSA is now consulting on updates to its existing technical guidance to reflect the legislative changes.
Misleadingly describing food – restaurant chain received large fine
A leading Italian style restaurant was fined £40,000 for misleadingly describing food, following the admission of the charge at Swansea Magistrates’ Court last year. The dish in question was the ‘Aragosta e Gamberoni’ (lobster and king prawns), retailing for £14.95. The investigation followed a routine inspection by Swansea Council’s Trading Standards team, which raised concerns about the item. Ultimately, the investigation determined that the dish contained 35% lobster and 34% white fish but with other ingredients formed to look like lobster meat.
Olympics – Tokyo 2020
Sports fans need to be prepared for a busy summer this year as no sooner does Euro 2020 complete, then the very next month it is the turn of the Olympic games! This year (coronavirus permitting) the Olympics heads to the other side of the world once more – this time Tokyo – between 24th July and 9th August.
Premises wishing to show events will need to bear in mind that Tokyo is getting on for half a day ahead of us – so Temporary Event Notices (TENs) may be required to extend trading. You may therefore need to think carefully about your annual TENs allocations carefully, especially bearing in mind if you want to use them for the Euros, Olympics and perhaps also for the festive period
Commission on Alcohol Harm
Alcohol Health Alliance UK (AHA), which is a group of 50 non-governmental organisations who work in cooperation to promote evidence-based policies to reduce the harm caused by alcohol have announced their support for a new Commission on Alcohol Harm, chaired by Baroness Finlay of Llandaff. The Commission has been established to:
“examine the current evidence on alcohol harm, recent trends in alcohol harm and the changes needed to reduce the harm caused by alcohol…..[and] the need for a new comprehensive alcohol strategy for England, which takes account of the strategies in place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and considers UK-wide priorities in areas where policy is not devolved.”
The Commission will hold three oral evidence sessions in early 2020 and has launched a call for written evidence, with submissions welcomed before the deadline of 12.00 noon on 17 February 2020. The AHA is committed to the policy of minimum unit pricing.
Criminal Justice Statistics (England and Wales) – penalty notices
Towards the end of last year, the Ministry of Justice published its Criminal Justice Statistics for England and Wales, part of which show the number of penalty notices issued for certain offences.
The relevant overview tables (which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/criminal-justice-system-statistics-quarterly-june-2019) show a pattern of the last 10 years of significant declines in penalty notices issued for numerous offences. Those of perhaps most interest to the licensed trade are shown in the table linked below.
Two of the most remarkable declines relate to (of those flagged) the two offences with the most penalty notices issued in 2009 i.e. ‘Theft (retail under £100)’ and ‘Sale of alcohol to a person under 18’ as these have seen a decline of around 95% and 90% respectfully.
Penalty for being drunk while in charge of child
The national press recently reported on a decision taken by a manager at a leading National pub chain to put a poster up in the venue which has attracted a lot of attention. The manager in question placed a notice in their premises advising customers with children that they will be limited to only 2 alcoholic drinks. The operator in question has commented that this is company policy and reflects their commitment to promoting the licensing objectives and has reported receiving ‘good feedback’.
You will all probably be aware that Under the Licensing Act 2003 all licensed premises are responsible for upholding and promoting the licensing objectives which includes the Protection of Children from Harm. But did you know that it is a specific offence to be drunk while in charge of a child? The offence is over 100 years old, but still in force.
A new study has just been published which looks at the impact of Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) for alcohol that came into effect in Scotland in 2018. It provides a descriptive analysis of the impact of MUP on the volume of pure alcohol sold in the off-trade in Scotland in the 12 months following implementation of MUP. Analysis of alcohol sales data has shown that, in the 12 months following the implementation of MUP, off-trade alcohol consumption at a population level fell in Scotland while it rose in England & Wales over a similar period. A step change, in the form of an increase, in the average sales price of off-trade alcohol was apparent in Scotland following the implementation of MUP.
Gambling – Commission announce credit card ban
The Gambling Commission have announced this morning a ban on the use of credit cards in all forms of land-based and online gambling. This has been on the horizon for some time and was referenced in the Commission’s review of online gambling and the Government’s own review of gaming machines and social responsibility measures in 2019. The ban will come into effect on 14 April.
The Gambling Commission have announced that all online gambling operators must participate in the free multi-operator self-exclusion scheme GAMSTOP by 31st March 2020. The scheme that has been developed for the online sector will allow consumers to self-exclude from online operators with one request rather than from each operator individually.