Wednesday, 6 October 2010

So another Tory lady that’s not for turning!

So Theresa May and the Coalintionistas have had a good look at the licensed trade and despite representations from trade bodies, local councils, the police and individual licensees, the current administration is to blindly persist and “tear up ” the majority of the 2003 Licensing Act.

(see MA article)

Whilst this ill conceived and dogma driven “review” was well consulted or not the fact is that it is upon us.

Local people, whether the trade like it or not, have always had a say over licensing (be it via police and council complaints under the pre-2003) and the trade must learn to operate within the communities they serve. (Although scrapping the concept of vicinity is bonkers.)

Late night? Depends on the definition thereof and we shall have to wait and see how that is interpreted. Observers are bang on when they surmise that the levy will go nowhere near front-line policing, just another “stealth tax” on this already tax-laden industry.

I welcome the stance on under-age drinking and look forward to some of the supermarkets (and others) that get caught out being shut down.

The ban on below cost sales of alcohol is similarly welcome and will go some way to address the disparity between on and off trade pricing. It is our job as publicans to ensure that we add sufficient value to justify the price premium forced on us (in many cases by the tie).

Perhaps some good will come of this after all, however, on balance I feel that this will be devastatingly injurious to some sectors of the trade most notably SME’s such as stand alone operators.

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