The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has today submitted evidence to the House of Lords Licensing Act Committee, urging it to preserve the current Licensing Act objectives.
The ACS has also suggested ways to reduce burdens on retailers brought on by the Act. The proposed improvements include: Removing the requirement for licensees to display a statutory notice in a local newspaper when applying for an alcohol licence or major variation; creating a central online platform to manage licensing applications; ensuring licensing conditions are based on recent, local, relevant evidence; and removing the requirement for forecourt retailers to prove the primary use of their business as retail.
James Lowman, ACS chief executive, said: “The Licensing Act as it stands has been successful in delivering a reduction in alcohol-related harm. We do not believe that the current licensing objectives need to be revised, but believe that there are measures that can be taken to reduce the administrative burdens on licensees.”
As part of the consultation, the Committee has asked whether the ‘protection of health and wellbeing’ be introduced as an additional licensing objective.
“We do not believe that the licensing system is an appropriate mechanism to address alcohol related health harms,” said Lowman. “Since the introduction of the Licensing Act in 2005, alcohol harm and consumption has been falling, showing that the current objectives are effective. We believe that to prevent alcohol related harm, the Government must focus on ensuring the compliance and standards of retailers in the market as opposed to introducing a measure that could lead to responsible retailers being blocked from having a licence.”