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Licensing Bill

February 4, 2003

Question written on 04/02/2003

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what research he undertook to seek to ensure that the Licensing Bill and related ministerial guidance (a) have broad public support, (b) are enforceable, (c) are easy to understand, (d)

Answered by Kim Howells

I have been asked to reply.The reform of the licensing laws that the Licensing Bill will introduce were the subject of a White Paper consultation in 2000. The White Paper was published following a review of current licensing laws that involved all key stakeholders including the licensed trade, the police and local authorities. 1,215 individuals and organisations responded to the White Paper, including many members of the public. The majority of responses were in favour of the proposed reforms.In addition to publishing Explanatory Notes with the Licensing Bill, the Government will be issuing guidance to licensing authorities and the police when the Bill receives Royal Assent. A draft version of the guidance will be made available before the Bill reaches Report Stage in the House of Lords. The guidance will explain in clear terms how the new licensing system will work and, like the Bill, is being prepared in consultation with other Government Departments, executive agencies and an Advisory Group comprising representatives of the following organisations:Alcohol ConcernArts CouncilAssociation of Chief Police OfficersAssociation of Licensed Multiple RetailersAssociation of London GovernmentBritish Beer and Pub AssociationBar, Entertainment and Dance AssociationBritish Institute of InnkeepersBritish Marine FederationBritish Retail ConsortiumBusiness in Sport and LeisureCinema Exhibitors AssociationChartered Institute of Environmental HealthCommittee of Registered Clubs AssociationsEditor of Paterson’s Licensing LawsFederation of Licensed Victuallers AssociationGuild of Master VictuallersJustices’ Clerks SocietyLicensed Victuallers WalesLocal Government AssociationMagistrates’ AssociationMusicians UnionNational Parliamentary Committee of the Licensed Victuallers AssociationsRestaurant AssociationTheatrical Management Association/Society of London TheatreIn drafting the Bill, the Explanatory Notes and the guidance the Government has, as far as possible, ensured that they are easy to understand, unambiguous, capable of enforcement and that they balance the risks, costs and practical benefits for all those who will be affected by the licensing reforms. The Regulatory Impact Assessment published along with the Bill considers these effects and quantifies the likely cost implications.