Government Consultation on EMROs and the Late Night Levy
Licensees have been asked to respond to a Government consultation that could cost them £750 a year in policing costs and restrict last closing times to 3 am.
The consultation focuses on EMROs or early morning restriction orders and the Late Night Levy, also known as the Levy and only gives licensees until 10 April 2012 to respond.
EMROs: A risk to business hours?
An EMRO gives a Local Authority the power to require licensed premises to close at a certain time. The EMRO can apply to areas where they consider that restricting the late night supply of alcohol is appropriate to promote their licensing objectives.
Licensees are being asked to respond to the consultation on the process for making an EMRO and which kinds of premises should be exempt from an EMRO.
The Licensing Authority will be able to decide during which hours the EMRO will apply (for example between 03.00 and 06.00), whether it will apply every day or on particular days, whether it will run for a limited or unlimited period and whether it will apply to the whole or part of the Licensing Authority’s area.
The Government clearly believes there are certain premises that should not be subject to an EMRO, for example, a hotel which may only serve alcohol to its guests who are staying overnight.
Exemptions are also proposed for New Year’s Eve. Other exemptions are being considered for theatres, cinemas and community premises, as well as casino and bingo halls with a membership scheme.
The Late Night Levy: Should licensees carry the cost?
The Levy will allow Licensing Authorities to raise a contribution from late opening alcohol retailers towards the policing costs generated by the late night economy.
The Levy will apply to all premises (on and off-trade) throughout the Licensing Authority’s area which is authorised to sell or supply alcohol in the time period set by the Licensing Authority which can be anytime between midnight and 06.00.
Prior to making a decision to implement The Levy, it is intended that the Licensing Authority will have discussions to decide whether it is appropriate to introduce The Levy in its area. These discussions will take place with the Police and Crime Commissioner (a newly elected official with responsibility for Policing) and the local Police.
If The Levy is to be implemented, the Licensing Authority must formally consult with Licence Holders and others about its decision.
It is important to note that whilst it is proposed that The Late Night Levy will apply to all premises throughout the Licensing Authority’s area, there are some types of premises which Government suggests Local Authorities should consider as being potentially exempt from The Levy and these are:
- Premises with overnight accommodation
- Theatres and Cinemas
- Casino and Bingo Halls
- Community Amateur Sports Clubs
- Community premises
- Defined types of Country Village pubs
The Government is also suggesting that the premises which fall within Business Improvement Districts and premises which participate in nationally accredited schemes such as Pubwatch, Clubwatch, Stopwatch or Best Bar None may also be entitled to a discount on The Late Night Levy.
“EMROs” and “The Levy” are contained within the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 and will be implemented through regulations.
Clearly, Licensees need to be aware of the potential impact of EMROs and The Levy on their business and take action to provide feedback whilst they still have time to influence the consultation.
Full details of this consultation can be found at www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/aboutus/consulations/late-night-drinking.
All responses to the consultation must be submitted to the Drugs and Alcohol Unit at the Home Office, 2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF by the 10 April 2012.
If you require any further information please to do not hesitate to contact our Alcohol & Entertainment Licensing team on 01332 226151.