The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has set out its gripe with Government red tape as part of its submission to the Government's Red Tape Challenge, which encourages hospitality and tourism businesses to tell the Government what legislation is working and what can be scrapped.
Key pieces of legislation that the BBPA has stated are unecessary in its submission include:
● "Triennial reviews" of licensing policies, which it branded "pointless and costly".
● Smoke free signs and fines, which the BBPA said were not needed. It also warned that huge fines, of up to £2,500 were "totally disproportionate".
● Advertising licensing applications in local newspapers, which impose a cost burden on a pub but are unlikely to be seen by the public.
● Live Music exemption from special licensing requirements. The BBPA said there was no need for special licensing requirements for small music events, with an audience of less than 200 (Licensing Act 2003).
● Alcohol Disorder Zones (ADZ). "Despite the huge amount of parliamentary time invested in this controversial law, not one ADZ has ever been introduced. The Government should repeal - but also avoid similar, new measures, such as the proposed Late Night Levy in their new Policing Reform & Social Responsibility Bill (Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006)," the BBPA said.
● Underage sales. The BBPA said the current system was unfair, as it doesn't distinguish between "human error" and any premises that are deliberately breaking the law, and should be based on an "intent" to sell (Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006).
● Bureaucracy in licensing applications. The BBPA highlighted the fact that licensees must send multiple paper copies of all their licensing applications to a list of "responsible authorities" and called on the Government to streamline the process.
● Mandatory Code/mandatory conditions. New rules on the size of measures and free tap water, among others, cost pubs about £32m per year, according to the association.
● Licensing application forms. The BBPA called for these to be made simpler.
● Gluten-free labelling. The BBPA also asked for pubs to be taken out of the gluten-free labelling scheme as it was too complicated.
Brigid Simmonds (pictured), BBPA chief excutive, said: "The scale and cost of regulation for pubs is huge, and the Government has given a very short time to respond. The greater the number of responses, the better.
"Some measures, like Alcohol Disorder Zones, should clearly be put out of their misery, and others, like smoke free signs, no longer serve any useful purpose. We also need to bear in mind that new measures, such as the proposed Late Night Levy, are going to add further to the burden of regulation.
"While the Government makes the right noises when it comes to the role of business in helping the economy to recover and create jobs, we need this backed up with action."
Submissions to the Red Tape Challenge are due by 2 June.
By Neil Gerrard
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