An explosive report slamming the government for forcing retailers to endure unnecessary stress during the implementation of the Licensing Act 2003 has been issued by the local government committee of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. The report said licensees and councils had to deal with late regulations and guidance, inconsistent advice, unclear information and poor levels of support.
The committee said the two-month timescale for councils to process applications meant they were refused or granted without adequate examination.
Committee chairman Dr Phyllis Starkey said: "We consider the administration by the Deparment for Culture to have been lacking to the extent that applicants were disadvantaged and local authorities put under unnecessary strain." She also said the government had taken too long to produce guidance.
The Wine & Spirit Trade Association has said in a report that administration of the Act had been mired in bureaucracy. It called for simpler guidance.
The WSTA is urging the government to consider the report in its review of the guidance. It said as many of 10% of off-trade and on-trade businesses whose licences had been granted had still not received them.