PROPOSAL FOR THE DRAFT DEREGULATION (OCCASIONAL LICENCES)
23. This proposal,
which was laid before Parliament on 13 July 1998, is to allow
the holders of justices' off-licences to obtain occasional licences
for the sale of wine at premises for consumption off those premises.
It is unlikely that many licensees will take advantage of the
benefits the proposed order offers but the proposal has the support
of the owners of British vineyards and it can never be an objection
to a proposal under the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994
that its benefits are severely limited.
24. The primary burden is the control of
the sale of alcohol imposed by the licensing laws. Part of that
control is the restriction on off-sales which makes it impossible
to sell individual bottles of wine at a stall at a county agricultural
show or country fair where the owner of a vineyard wishes to advertise
his produce. There is provision for the grant to the holder of
a justices' on-licence of an occasional licence to provide refreshments
at such events but most vineyards will have only an off-licence.
The proposal will remove a burden not only from vineyards but
also from off-licences generally.
25. The Committee is satisfied that the
proposal would remove a burden on a number of businesses.
26. The licensing laws provide protection
against the abuse of alcohol. The greater the number of outlets
the more difficult it is to ensure compliance with the prohibitions
against, for example, the sale of alcohol to children and to those
who are already drunk.
27. The consultation process revealed anxiety
that off-sales under occasional licences would lead to cans and
bottles of beer getting into the hands of children or that beer
sold to adults would not be carried home but drunk in circumstances
that would endanger public order. To meet these concerns the proposal
has been limited to winewhich, as the explanatory memorandum
notes, "is often sold in bottles with corks". The memorandum
also notes "that least risk would arise with a more expensive
specialised product such as UK wine."
The Committee considers that the limitation of the occasional
licence to off-sales of wine ensures that no necessary protection
28. The Committee is satisfied that necessary
protection would be maintained by the present proposal.
29. The gestation period of this small deregulation
proposal has been long. A consultation paper setting out the Government's
proposals was issued on 19 August 1996. Responses were requested
by 18 October 1996. Those consulted are listed in Annex A to the
Explanatory Memorandum. As well as trade interests the list of
respondents includes a number of bodies which can be relied upon
to consider the arguments against any widening of the arrangements
for the sale of alcohol.
30. The Committee is satisfied that there
was adequate consultation on the proposal.
31. Following publication of the Government's
consultation paper in 1996 the Committee received three submissions.
These are printed with this report.
32. The Committee regards this proposal
as an example of how the deregulation procedure can be used to
ease a burden which restricts the activities of a small number
of small businessesa useful, if minor, improvement to the
33. The Committee is satisfied that
the proposal for the Draft Deregulation (Occasional Licences)
Order 1998 meets the requirements of the Deregulation and Contracting
Out Act 1994 and is appropriate to be made under it, without amendment.
5 The proposal was laid before Parliament in the form
of a draft of the Order and an Explanatory Memorandum from the
Home Office. Back
Explanatory Memorandum, paragraph 18. Back
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