A campaign by the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) to extend the opening and licensing times across England and Wales during the World Cup. The plans were recently turned down by MP Norman Baker, who stated that it is only viable to extend these times according to the Licensing Act of 2003 in ‘exceptional circumstances, usually for one-off events such as the golden jubilee rather than for prolonged periods.’
The World Cup was judged to be too long and fail to meet the criteria of ‘exceptional circumstances.’
Boost to economy
This caused widespread initial disappointment across the pub and leisure community, especially as it was predicted that the World Cup could provide a £20m boost to the industry in drink and food sales.
New hope for licensing U-turn
Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted that he had ‘ordered a rethink’ on pub opening times for England’s World Cup games, and would consult with the pub trade, police and councils.
A Home Office spokesperson confirmed that the government will soon launch a consultation to “determine whether pubs should be able to extend their licensing hours during the World Cup 2014 in Brazil.. ..We will examine the responses to the consultation thoroughly and carefully before deciding how to proceed thereafter.”
Commenting on the Prime Minister’s intervention, BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “This would make for the most fantastic news for thousands of publicans and millions of football fans. I am delighted that the Prime Minister has intervened to back Britain’s pubs and make clear that England’s World Cup campaign is a time for celebration.
If it judged that licensing hours can indeed be extended it will prevent extra costs and bureaucracy for pubs and local councils as pubs will no longer have to apply for individual licenses.
Applying for individual licenses will place an avoidable strain on local councils, as well as costs to an sector which comes under much strain from government legislation.
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