DCMS: A package of measures to reduce bureaucracy and save money for managers of licensed premises has been published for consultation (closes on 1 September 2008). In future any pub, village hall, off-licence or other licensed premises that wants to make a minor change to the terms of their licence (e.g. a small-scale refurbishment) will be able to use a cheaper, simpler & quicker process to vary the terms of their licence as long as the change will not affect the licensing objectives and does not involve alcohol.
The simplified process could save licensees up to £250, with a much simpler application form and a reduced flat rate fee of £73.00.  It is expected that the changes will save licence holders a total of£1.9 - £2.5m a year.
The Government has also published proposals to reduce bureaucracy & costs for village halls and similar community premises that sell alcohol. Under the new arrangements, a management board or committee would have collective responsibility for the licence & supervision of the premises and the sale of alcohol, rather than one individual.
Press release ~ Consultation document covering both proposals ~ DCMS – Alcohol and Entertainment
TfL: Following Mayor Boris Johnson’s promise to consult on the abolition of half-yearly black cab inspections, the Public Carriage Office (PCO) has launched a consultation on taxi and private hire vehicle licensing inspections in London.

Organisations representing London’s travelling public and businesses, local authorities and the taxi & private hire industries have until Friday 24 October 2008 to submit their views on three alternatives for the future licensing arrangements. 
Press release ~ Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Inspection Consultation
DfT: The consultation period on Learning to Drive - which considers possible changes to the way new drivers are trained & tested - has been extended by an extra 30 days and will now conclude on Monday, October 6.
Launched on May 7, 2008, the consultation has been extended to allow extra time for participation by young people, especially those in education, at universities, colleges and schools.
Press release ~ Events finder ~ DfT – Learning to Drive ~ Online booking service ~ Learning to Drive public consultation ~ Learning to drive: the evidence ~ Cohort 11: a study of learner and new drivers
WAG: Proposals for a new fund to help sub-postmasters and sub-postmistresses diversify & improve their Post Offices have been unveiled by Deputy Minister for Regeneration, Leighton Andrews. The new fund (which will open on 1 January 2009) will provide an opportunity for sub-postmasters and sub-postmistresses to strengthen their businesses and make them sustainable in the long term for the benefit of the communities they serve.

Last week saw the start of a consultation (closes on 30 October 2008) on the proposals which will fulfil a One Wales agreement commitment to reinstate & refocus the Post Office Development Fund. Comments are also being sought on whether the fund should be targeted at deprived and isolated communities.  Consideration will also be given to whether a grant would help provide a distinct social purpose for the community for example support for the last retailer in the village.
Press release ~ WAG – Business and economy ~ Consultation: Refocused Post Office Development Fund ~ Post Office Development Fund ~ Small business rate relief scheme ~ Current PO closure consultations ~ One Wales
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