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GOVERNMENT CONSULTS ON LICENSING HOURS FOR RESTAURANTS

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Restaurants could be allowed more freedom to serve drinks with meals ...
Restaurants could be allowed more freedom to serve drinks with meals

after normal pub closing times under proposals outlined in a

consultation document published today.

Under home office proposals, restaurants would no longer have to go

through a two-stage procedure to sell alcohol with meals for an extra

hour after normal pub closing hours.

It would remove the need for licensees to obtain a separate supper

hour certificate, together with the requirement to provide live music

or entertainment, to secure an extended hours order to serve alcohol.

Specific approval from licensing justices would still be required for

extended hours orders.

The moves are part of the government's on-going commitment to

modernisation of the liquor licensing system and are subject to

Parliamentary approval.

Home office minister Mike O'Brien said:

'These proposals would help to bring restaurant licensing into step

with modern living. They maintain proper controls but remove

unnecessary regulation.

'The proposed changes will provide greater freedom of choice for the

individual and savings for the business community.

'But we are also very conscious of the need to safeguard residents'

rights. Any concerns registered in response to the consultation on

this point will be considered carefully.'

The proposals were also welcomed by tourism minister Janet

Anderson:

'I welcome these proposals to address an issue of considerable

concern to restauranteurs. They are in line with the government's

strategy for the tourism and hospitality industry and to help develop

tourism in the UK to its full potential.

'Simplifying the law will enable the UK's excellent restaurants to

give an even better level and quality of service and meet the demands

and expectations of their customers - particularly those from

overseas.'

Commenting as MAFF minister with responsibility for food and drink,

Joyce Quin also fully endorsed the proposals:

'I welcome the proposal as another positive step in the government's

on-going commitment towards ensuring that liquor licensing laws are

brought into line with modern living conditions.'

NOTES

1. A copy of the consultation document will also be available

on the home office website (home page www.homeoffice.gov.uk/). The

deadline for responses to the consultation document is 28 January

2000.

2. A restaurant that wants to provide a bar must have a full

on-licence. Restaurant hours are constrained in the same way as other

on-licences by the normal permitted opening hours (11.00 am to 11.00

pm on Mondays to Saturdays; noon to 10.30 pm on Sundays).

Restaurants that wish to serve alcohol with meals beyond these hours

may apply under section 68 of the Licensing Act 1964 a supper hours

certificate. This is granted locally by a licensing justice to allow

a restaurant to serve drinks for one additional hour - ie to midnight

on weekdays and 11.30 pm on Sundays.

3. Under section 70 the Licensing Act 1964 a restaurant may apply to

a licensing justice for an extended hours order, which authorises the

supply of alcohol for a further hour on all nights except Sundays.

The Act lays down conditions that the supply of alcohol must be

ancillary to the provision of meals and of live music or other

entertainment.

4. The necessary legislative changes to the Sunday Observance Act

would be made by means of an Order under section 1 of the

Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994. The consultation paper

constitutes formal consultation on the proposals for change, as

required under section 3(1) of the 1994 Act.

5. The home office announced a general, wide-ranging review of liquor

licensing laws on 5 May 1998. This review is separate from the

consultation on restaurant licensing.

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