NEWS FROM THE ALMR Expert Insights


Over the past nine months, a House of Lords Select Committee has been scrutinising the Licensing Act 2003, examining if the Act is fit for purpose and paying particular attention to whether the four licensing objectives are being met. Last month the Committee published its report with and made a number of wide ranging recommendations.

A number of the recommendations relate directly to the late-night sector and, if adopted, would have a significant impact on this part of the country’s hospitality market. Some of the recommendations come in the wake of sustained ALMR lobbying and would provide support for clubs, late-night bars and music venues.

Perhaps most significantly, is the announcement by the Committee that the Late Night Levy “has failed to achieve its objectives and should be abolished”. This is a very welcome recommendation for the ALMR as we have been consistently lobbying against the levy on the grounds that it places additional pressures on venues without addressing any of the concerns that the local authority may have. The Committee has also recommended that the Early Morning Restriction Order, which gives local authorities the power to close venues, be repealed.

Removal of the levy and the EMRO from the statute book would be a massive win the ALMR and for bars and nightclubs


The ALMR has responded to the Government’s Green paper on building the UK’s Industrial Strategy calling on decision-makers to provide a range of critical support for businesses and offering the ALMR’s support on promoting growth across the pub, restaurant and late- night hospitality sectors.

Kate Nicholls ALMR Chief Executive

that have been treated like cash cows, rather than community assets, for too long.

The Committee has also supported the adoption of the Agent of Change principal in licensing and planning consideration to protect both residents and business from the impacts of new developments. The principal would make new residential buildings built near established music venues responsible for soundproofing, and has support from London Mayor Sadiq Khan. The ALMR has been pushing for its adoption in order to help support venues and we will continue to do so across the country.

The full list of recommendations made by the committee is varied and, if implemented, would have a serious knock-on effect for the entirety of licensed hospitality in the UK. Those that deal with the late-night sector have the potential to be very positive and help effect a welcome change to the sector. The ALMR will be pushing the Government to consider these positive steps and deliver a boost to nightclubs and bars.


Following the Prime Minister’s announcement that she will seek Parliamentary approval for a General Election on 8 June, ALMR Chief Executive Kate Nicholls, welcomed the opportunity that it will provide to engage candidates across Britain on the key issues for hospitality.

Nicholls said: “Whatever the outcome, we need a Government that takes decisive action to tackle rising costs for eating and drinking

out businesses and provides clarity on Brexit. Employers need confidence and financial room to manoeuvre if they are to invest and grow.

“At the last General Election, the ALMR carried out targeted action to liaise with MPs to make them aware of the contribution being made by licensed hospitality businesses in their constituencies. Over the coming weeks and months the ALMR will be working hard to make sure that all parties know how valuable the sector is and what needs to be done to enable businesses to succeed.”

ALMR Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “The Government’s approach to developing a workable and fruitful industrial strategy for the UK is wide-ranging, encompassing a diverse range of sectors and tactics to promote growth. The ALMR’s dialogue with the Government has highlighted the integral part that licensed hospitality - an accessible, dynamic and socially and economically vibrant sector - can play as part of the wider strategy.

“Since the recession, and despite increasing costs and tightening margins, the sector has evolved and grown, creating 1 in 8 new jobs and continuing to provide a vital social function.

“If the Government wishes to make a real success of its industrial strategy, and support an integral part of the economy, we need to see closer working relationships between authorities, both national and local, and the businesses that do so much good work. That means a shift away from opportunistic taxing towards a more holistic approach that rewards partnership working and voluntary schemes.

“The Government made at good first start at the Spring Budget in addressing the rising costs that pubs are facing, but we need additional measures to help support other hospitality businesses including restaurants that are rejuvenating high streets. The wider industrial strategy needs to understand that businesses crippled by tax cannot succeed and that businesses free of these burdens are in a much better place to grow and contribute even more.

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