Select Committee on Deregulation and Regulatory Reform First Report

Appendix 15

Letter to the Clerk of the Deregulation and Regulatory Reform Committee from the Director of the British Beer and Pub Association (dated 5 October 2001)

Proposal for the Regulatory Reform (Special Occasions Licensing) Order 2001

Thank you for your letter to the Brewers and Licensed Retailers Association of 19th July. We have recently changed our name and address details to those outlined above. We appreciate that the timetable for Parliamentary scrutiny is such that it will not be possible for the Order to come into effect until, at the earliest, early to mid-December. This was also the case in 1999/2000 and you are correct in assuming that uncertainty at such a late stage did lead to licensees applying for special orders of exemption and would almost certainly lead to the same situation this year.

However, whilst this does diminish the practical value of the Order it does not negate it completely. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, special orders of exemption are granted by the Magistrates on a local basis and will therefore not necessarily allow the full hours as contained in the Regulatory Reform proposal. Even if this were achieved in some places, it would not be universal across England and Wales. Secondly, the proposals are intended as a "trial run" for future years. The consultation papers clearly showed that the Millennium experience was a positive one but also that there was a need to repeat the exercise at a more usual time to ensure that this would be the case in the future. The industry has already missed out on the opportunity to demonstrate this over the New Year 2000/2001 and would be extremely disappointed if they were to miss yet another opportunity at the end of this year.

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