Licensing minister James Purnell is refusing to move the August 6 deadline for licence holders to retain their premise licences despite evidence that the scheme is in disarray.
Last week licensing regulators Lacors and the Local Government Association said fewer than 5% of the expected applications had been received (The Grocer, May 21, p12).
Retailers must update their existing premise licences and apply for personal permits to continue to sell alcohol by August 6 under new rules in the Licensing Act 2003.
They must also reapply for licences to sell hot food after 11am and before 5.30am.
In an interview this week with The Grocer’s sister title OLN, Purcell said there was “no chance” of the deadline moving. “Even if we wanted to - which we don’t - we couldn’t, because it would need legislation.”
He added that the government was launching a campaign to remind licensees to submit their forms as soon as possible. “If I were a licensee, I would want to get mine in by the beginning of July at the latest.”
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