Further Letter from The Restaurant Association|
Further to my letter of 24 February, I am writing
to you once more as I understand that your Committee has expressed
concern about the Home Office's decision to move forward with
licensing related deregulatory measures in advance of the Licensing
The Restaurant Association understands the preference
for a holistic approach towards reform of the UK's antiquated
licensing system. However, as I am sure you are aware, achieving
full reform will involve a long and complex process, that may
well last at least three or four years. In the meantime, the deregulatory
proposal on Extended Hours Orders currently with the Home Office
representatives a relatively simple measure that would effectively
lift significant administrative and financial burdens on an industry
that is principally made up of small and micro businesses.
I was therefore disappointed to learn that, aside
from the Home Office, the Committee has chosen to hear evidence
from one interested party only, namely the London Borough of Kensington
and Chelsea. Not a single representative of industry was, however,
accorded the same opportunity.
The proposals would end the anomaly that in order
to open later, restaurants must provide live entertainment, regardless
of whether or not they or their customers wish it. Interestingly,
given the concerns voiced by the London Borough of Kensington
& Chelsea, there would be benefits for local residents through
reduction in noise should live entertainment no longer be a requirement.
Local discretion would also remain as extensions after midnight
would remain at the discretion of local magistrates.
I hope that you will feel able to take these comments
on board in advance of the publication of your Committee's recommendations.
I look forward to hearing from you.
9 March 2000