Plan to remove red tape for small licence changes

28 November, 2007

Drinks retailers looking to make minor amendments to premises licences could find the process easier and cheaper in the future if the public supports new government proposals.

A consultation, launched today, will seek views on a proposal to simplify the way in which licence holders can make small changes to their licence, such as changing a shop lay-out.

Currently the industry is paying between £2.3 and £4.3 million a year to apply to vary licences, but by changing part of the licensing act, the government estimates it could save businesses up to £2.8 million a year.

Licensing minister Gerry Sutcliffe said: “After two years it has become evident that it is not necessary for a premise to go through the full variation process if they are only making a small change, such as minor refurbishment.

“Local councils who are familiar with local licensed premises should have the discretion to decide when a variation is so insignificant that it’s not necessary to go through the full variation process.”

The government has come up with three options for the public to back: Allow councils to decide if a change is insignificant enough to qualify as minor, detail what is classed as a minor variation in the act itself, or simply do nothing. They have until February 2008 to give their views.

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