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Licensing Act 2003: National Guidance

Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: There has been no delay. We are carefully considering the views of a wide range of stakeholders on a draft of the proposed guidance as we undertook to do and will shortly be presenting the guidance to both Houses for approval. As there has been no delay there will be no resultant impact on the timetable for implementation of the Licensing Act 2003.

The start of the transitional period, during which existing licence holders may apply to convert their licences into premises licences and club premises certificates, is expected to be approximately six months after the date on which Parliament approves the guidance. During this period of six months, licensing authorities will prepare and publish their statements of licensing policy. The transitional period

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is expected to last for nine months and, as a result, the Licensing Act is expected to be fully implemented by early 2005.

Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to clarify in the national guidance to the Licensing Act 2003 that the new law does not change the liability of the licensee (that is, the designated premises supervisor) for any problems that may arise at their licensed premises in their absence.[HL5421]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The role of the designated premises supervisor under the Licensing Act 2003 is different from that of the licensee under the Licensing Act 1964. The 2003 Act introduced the roles of the designated premises supervisor and personal licence holder, in addition to the holder of the premises licence, for those premises authorised by a premises licence to supply alcohol. The 2003 Act sets out the duties, responsibilities and liabilities of such persons and their roles will be described in the guidance issued to licensing authorities. The guidance will not, however, alter the liabilities of the various roles as set out in the 2003 Act.

The term "designated premises supervisor" as used in the Licensing Act 2003, does not equate or seek to replicate the term "licensee" as commonly understood when discussing the Licensing Act 1964.

Liquor Licences: Brewster Sessions 2004

Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why they are proceeding with the renewal of liquor licences at the Brewster's Sessions, in February 2004, when such licences will have only a short duration and are soon to be replaced with new style licences under the Licensing Act 2003; and[HL5419]

    Further to their estimate that the cost to the licensed trade of the renewals licence at the Brewster's Sessions in February 2004 will be £11 million, why they are imposing this cost on the industry when these licences will be replaced in 2005 by new licences under the Licensing Act 2003.[HL5420]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Under the Licensing Act 1964 the triennial sessions, the Brewster Sessions, are required to be held to renew existing liquor licences. This is not therefore a new burden being imposed by the Government. We will not abolish the Brewster Sessions until the Licensing Act 2003 is fully implemented. This is because liquor licences will remain in effect until the second appointed day, at the end of the transitional period, which is likely to be at least one year after the Brewster Sessions held in February 2004.

If we had agreed to abolish the Brewster Sessions in February 2004 and make provision for liquor licences to be automatically extended until the end of the

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transitional period, this would have resulted in a small number of premises causing serious problems to the community being permitted to continue trading for at least a year longer than necessary.

Brewster Sessions, more generally, also provide an important forum for people to make objections and oppose applications for renewal and are used to make orders cancelling licences which are currently suspended. The Government agreed to provide grandfather rights for holders of liquor licences on the basis that it accepted the industry's argument that all the holders of existing alcohol licences would have been judged to be "fit and proper" by the licensing justices under the existing regime. Such judgments are subject to regular review at the Brewster Sessions. Under the "grandfather rights" established in the 2003 Act interested parties and responsible authorities (with the exception of the police) are not entitled to object to the grant of a premises licence when applications are made to convert existing licences with the result that it is important that the opportunity to object at the review at the Brewster Session in 2004 is retained.

Reports on the Observance of Standards and Codes

Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What discussions have taken place between officials of HM Treasury and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development in relation to a possible report on the Observance of Standards and Codes in the United Kingdom; if such a report is produced, what would be the estimated cost; and who would meet the cost.[HL5462]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Reports on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ROCSs) summarise countries' observance of internationally recognised standards and are prepared and published at the request of the member country. IMF and World Bank staff collaborate on the ROSC programme. ROSCs are currently resourced from the IMF and World Bank administrative budgets. The UK's financial contribution to the IMF is detailed in Annex II of Stability Growth and Poverty Reduction—the UK and the IMF 2002.

NHS Trusts: Private Patients

Baroness Noakes asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How they ensure that the charges made by National Health Service trusts for services offered to private patients cover the full costs of those services; and[HL5066]

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    How they define cross-subsidy for the purpose of ensuring that charges for services offered to private patients are not cross-subsidised by National Health Service resources.[HL5068]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): Paragraph 14 of Schedule 2 to the NHS and Community Care Act 1990 sets out the responsibility for National Health Service trusts to determine their own charges as follows:


    "According to its functions, an NHS trust may make accommodation or services or both available for patients who give undertakings (or for whom undertakings are given) to pay, in respect of the accommodation or services (or both) such charges as the trust may determine."

Baroness Noakes asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether National Health Service trusts are required to keep any records showing the financial result of the services offered to private patients; and, if so, what form those records take.[HL5067]

Lord Warner: National Health Service trusts are required to include their income from private patients in their audited accounts and the amount of bad debt written off for private patients. The Department of Health has not, for some years, required NHS trusts to submit trading accounts for their private patient services.

NHS Foundation Trusts: Reimbursement

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What refinements are planned to the health resource group system of evaluating the costs of surgical and other procedures to ensure that those National Health Service foundation trusts with a high proportion of more complex cases can be reimbursed on a fair basis.[HL5280]

Lord Warner: Health resource groups (HRGs) will be periodically revised to reflect changes in clinical practice and to make them more resource-homogeneous. A proportion of very specialised services will continue to be commissioned outside of payment by results, either by regional or national specialised services commissioning consortia. First-wave National Health Service foundation trusts can choose to have their baseline income guaranteed from 2004–05 to the end of the tariff transition period in 2007–08. In the mean time, in developing the tariff we are considering a policy of outlier payments for complex patients within HRGs.

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they believe that the long-term contracts to be entered into by National Health Service foundation trusts are capable of providing an adequate level of reimbursement to those trusts which have a higher than average proportion of complex treatments and procedures.[HL5281]

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Lord Warner: The contracts for National Health Service foundation trusts will be based on the national tariff, which aims to reflect the higher costs associated with a more complex case mix and should therefore be capable of providing an adequate level of reimbursement to those trusts. However, first-wave NHS foundation trusts can choose to have their baseline income guaranteed from 2004–05 to the end of the tariff transition period in 2007–08. In the mean time, in developing the tariff we are considering a policy of outlier payments for complex patients with health resource groups.


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