Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Deregulation Ninth Report


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 White Paper.

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.

Ian McKerracher
Chief Executive

9 March 2000


 
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