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New streamlined rules to help pubs, village halls and other licensed premises

New streamlined rules to help pubs, village halls and other licensed premises

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 29 July 2009

110/09
29 July 2009

New streamlined rules to help pubs, village halls and other licensed premises

Pub and bar owners will find it cheaper and easier to make changes to their licences from today.

The new application process for small changes to licences – ‘Minor Variations’ - will save the industry as much as £2.3 million a year, and make it easier for licensees to change the layout of their premises, serve hot food after 11pm or put on some live music events.

The cost of the new process will be less than £100 – compared to the previous average fee of around £225. Under the new system the applicant will fill in a short form, pay a flat rate of £89 and will wait no more than 15 days for a response, against 28 days at present.

There will also no longer be a requirement to advertise in a newspaper or for the licensee to make responsible authorities aware.

A new measure to help village halls and community halls also came into force today. Instead of having to have a designated person apply for a personal licence, responsibility for the supervision of alcohol sales can, on application, fall to the management committee.

This measure will reduce the burden on individual volunteers, save hundreds of pounds in training costs and volunteer time and should also give halls greater flexibility to sell alcohol during community and fundraising events.

Licensing Minister Gerry Sutcliffe said:

“We realise that licensees are going through difficult times – that is why it is so important that we remove any unnecessary burdens. We know only too well that customer demands have changed, and that for a pub or bar to thrive they have to give the customer more choice – this could be by offering food or putting on live music. I hope this new measure will mean more licensees will be able to branch out and find more ways to bring in punters.

“I am also pleased that we have managed to help out those who help run village and community halls. Most of these halls are kept going by volunteers who individually cannot devote a large amount of their time to putting on events or attending training courses. This new measure will mean that people who run the halls can apply to take collective responsibility, making it easier for them to put on community and fundraising events where alcohol is sold.”

Notes to Editors

1. More information on Minor Variations, including the application form, is available on the DCMS website.

2. More information on the new procedure for community and village halls is available on the DCMS website. For halls with permission to sell alcohol already, the cost to apply for the committee to be collectively responsible will be £23. For halls applying to sell alcohol for the first time, and wishing to apply for the committee to be collectively responsible, there will not be a fee in addition to the normal licence application fee.

Contacts:

DCMS Press Enquiries and Out of hours telephone pager
Phone: 020 7211 6263
Mobile: 07699 751153
NDS.DCMS@coi.gsi.gov.uk

Kirsty McCaskill
Phone: 020 7211 6263
kirsty.mccaskill@culture.gsi.gov.uk

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