Mudcat Café message #826081 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #53551   Message #826081
Posted By: The Shambles
14-Nov-02 - 02:23 PM
Thread Name: BS: Queen's speech, and licensing reforms
Subject: RE: BS: Queen's speech, and licensing reforms
I still have not found any reference to music in the debate , but this chap does at least mention the Licensing Reform....And the full pint.

Richard Younger-Ross (Teignbridge)

There is a proposal to abolish fixed pub opening hours, and to introduce a range of measures to reduce the amount of antisocial behaviour. I approve of the wording, but the legislation is much overdue. I hope it has not been included just because the Government have been getting a lot of stick for not introducing it, having promised all the young people they texted before the last election that they would do so. I hope that it will have been enacted a year from now.

I also hope, however, that the licensing laws will remain with the magistrates. The industry fears that if they go to local authorities, they will become more arbitrary and will be subject to numerous pressures other than the basic question, which is "Are these people fit to run a licensed premise, and do they run it in a good way?" I think that the police and magistrates are better able to judge that than are local authorities, with all their politics. I am not disagreeing with what was said by the hon. Member for Rochford and Southend, East (Sir T. Taylor) about the need for local authorities to have a say on the hours during which pubs can stay open. That is a separate debate, and I will not venture a view now. It is important, however, for licenses to be granted fairly, and for that to be seen to be done. Furthermore, if there are problems with antisocial behaviour, it is the police who will know about them.

I hope that other aspects of the present licensing legislation will be included in the new Bill. One of the early-day motions with the most signatures concerns the campaign for a full pint, which I am sure is supported by all parties and all political complexions. I also hope that the Government will review their decision to abolish the beer orders, which I fear would open up all the problems we experienced with breweries in the past. It would get rid of the guest-ale provision for chains of more than 2,000 pubs, and would introduce covenants to prohibit the use of premises as pubs in rural villages.

I hope that the Government will see the broader picture, and consider some of my suggestions.