In response to the need to tackle crime and disorder arising from the late-night economy, the Home Office has published its much awaited response to consultation on Early Morning Restriction Orders and the Late Night Levy. Both come into force from October 2012, although it is anticipated that the earliest they could actually be imposed would be March 2013. There have been some significant changes to the proposals, which aim to be less bureaucratic than the previous plans for ADZs.
Late Night Levy
The aim is to give licensing authorities the opportunity to raise a contribution from licensed premises towards the cost of additional policing for any alcohol related crime and disorder between midnight and 6am.
The levy will apply to the whole area covered by the authority, rather than individual establishments, as this is seen to be the fairest way to gain contributions from all premises benefitting from the sale of alcohol. It will also be simpler to implement and more likely to raise a meaningful amount towards policing costs. At least 70% of revenue will go to the police, with the balance available to the licensing authority to use for other activities to tackle crime and disorder connected to the night-time economy.
The decision to impose the levy lies with the licensing authorities and local residents/community groups will not be consulted; the Government felt that residents should use their existing rights to make any representations calling for implementation in their area.
- For certain categories of premises there will be a local discretion as to whether they are excluded – including theatres and cinemas, bingo halls, community amateur sports clubs, community premises
- Country village pubs (subject to specific definitions, including the size of the community they serve).
- New Year’s Eve will also be subject to a discretionary exemption.
The categories of premises that will not be exempt from the levy will include restaurants, casinos and those premises operating within a Club Premises Certificate.
Licensing Authorities will also have within their power the discretion to offer a reduction to Best Practice Schemes – for example ‘Best Bar None’ and ‘Pub Watch’, if they meet specified criteria. In terms of the discount given, Licensing Authorities will only be able to offer a maximum of up to 30%. This will not be cumulative – so if your premises are members of more than one scheme your discount will be capped at 30%
Certain types of premises that receive Small Business Rate Relief and with a rateable value below £12,000 will also be eligible for a discretionary reduction.
Early Morning Restriction Orders
An EMRO is designed to enable licensing authorities to restrict sales of alcohol in the whole or part of their areas for any time between midnight and 6am in order to address problems arising from late night drinking. It would apply to premises licences, club premises licences and temporary event notices. Authorities will have to advertise the fact they are planning to introduce an EMRO and have the evidence to justify it.
- There has been an increase in the time period in which make representations against the EMRO from 28 days to 48 days.
- Licensing Authorities will only be required to notify Premises Licence Holders within the proposed EMRO area and not all licence holders within the Licensing Authority’s wider area.
- Any proposal to introduce an EMRO should be publicised on the Licensing Authorities website and in a local newspaper.
- EMRO’s will not apply to New Year’s Eve (this is a national not discretionary exemption).
- Unlike the LNL there will be no exemptions from EMRO’s although there will be provision to supply alcohol to residents at premises with overnight accommodation through mini bars and room service.
The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the present time and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.