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Former Gateshead MBC chief executive Les Elton will chair a panel ensuring the Licensing Act fees are set at the ri...
Former Gateshead MBC chief executive Les Elton will chair a panel ensuring the Licensing Act fees are set at the right level for businesses and for local authorities.

Mr Elton will preside over the independent panel, which will include representatives from the trade and leisure industries, community groups and local authorities.

The panel will:

* consider whether the fees cover the full cost to licensing


* identify the scale, extent and nature of any problems

* make recommendations about how the existing fee structure and

levels could be developed

* ensure best practice is being fully realised across all


* identify how the regime could be developed to address any other


Licensing minister James Purnell said:

'Sir Les has worked in local government for much of his career. He's

been at the frontline, he knows we need a fee structure that delivers

for local authorities, the leisure industry and the public.

'We have always said that if the independent panel finds the fees are

too high or too low, we will adjust them accordingly.'

Sir Les said:

'I am very pleased to have been appointed as chair of the independent

fees review panel. This is an important piece of work which is of

keen interest to all stakeholders affected by the new Licensing laws,

including businesses, community facility providers and local


'The independence of this panel is critical to the validity of the

review and I consider my role to be neutral in that process.'

It is anticipated that the panel will issue an interim review around

October this year and the final report will follow in autumn 2006.


1. From 2004 until the present date, Mr Elton was the non

executive director Port of Tyne Authority, visiting professor,

Business School, University of Newcastle upon Tyne; associate with

Sovereign Strategy Ltd and consultant to several firms and public

bodies. From 1984-2004 he was the chief executive of Gateshead

Council & clerk to Northumbria Police Authority.

2. The panel will be supported by a secretariat. This will draw

together information provided by the Local Government Association, individual licensing authorities, industry, LACORS and other stakeholders, and produce a

framework for analysis.

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