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LICENSING (AMENDMENT) (SCOTLAND) BILL COMES INTO FORCE

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The Licensing (Amendment) (Scotland) Act 1996, which received Royal Assent on July 18, comes into force today. Its...
The Licensing (Amendment) (Scotland) Act 1996, which received Royal Assent on July 18, comes into force today. Its principal objective is to make events held in licensed premises safer for young people.

James Douglas-Hamilton, minister of state at the Scottish Office said: 'This legislation will provide licensing boards with increased powers to protect our young people when they are enjoying themselves at events held on licensed premises. At the same time it adds to our armoury of measures for tackling drug misuse in Scotland.

'It is indicative of the cross party commitment to rid our society of the evils of drug misuse that this legislation received such wide support at every stage of its development. Throughout its parliamentary passage, including sessions in Scottish Grand Committee and hearings by a special standing committee in various parts of the country, proceedings were marked by the spirit of helpfulness and a genuine desire, on all sides, to produce an Act which will make a real difference. I am delighted that the resultant legislation, supported by comprehensive guidelines, is now in force.'

The Licensing (Amendment) (Scotland) Act 1996, confers powers on licensing boards to attach conditions to licenses in respect of premises where relevant events are held in order to safeguard the health and safety of people attending those events. In particular, the Act allows licensing boards to attach conditions such as: the maximum number of people attending an event; the provision of adequate stewarding; the provision of free drinking water and rest areas.

In addition the act gives the secretary of state discretionary powers to set conditions which boards must attach to licences, and allows boards to vary licences to make events safer without having to wait until licences come up for renewal.

As well as the licensing of certain types of events, the act also contain measures to ensure that, following the reorganisation of local government in April. 1996, representation on licensing boards will be kept at a workable level.

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