Retailers have just one week left to transfer their current alcohol licence to the new format.

Local councils are braced for a last-minute rush of applications, but doubts remain about whether they will be able to cope with the volume. Traders failing to submit their ‘new for old’ applications to their local authorities by the August 6 deadline will be unable to claim a new-style licence under grandfathers’ rights and will have to apply for fresh personal and premises licences.

This will involve submitting applications to diverse organisations including environmental health and child welfare agencies, who have no experience in processing applications.

Even after the August 6 deadline has passed, more aggravation is looming for retailers. Staff without grandfather rights who require a personal licence will have to undergo accredited training and pass a national certificate examination at a cost of up to £200 per day, and some councils are unable to offer any training at all.

However, retailers in the North East of England have been helped by a series of courses run by the Asian Business Association.

Concerned by the lack of communication from the authorities, the group organised seminars in Newcastle, Darlington and Sunderland to help retailers with the transition to the new licensing regime.

It also visited sites such as the local Sikh temple to raise awareness of the issue with local traders.