Covid19 - What you need to know - Letter from Kit Malthouse MP

08 Apr

Today Kit Malthouse MP, Minster of State for Crime & Policing, has emailed all Licensing Committees in England & Wales.

A copy of the letter can be found here.

The Minister urges  licensing hearing to be progressed wherever possible while promoting a pragmatic approach towards a struggling industry including the late payment of annual fees:

“… my view is that hearings should proceed, wherever possible. As you may be aware, the Coronavirus Act 2020 provides express provision for remote licensing hearings to take place. Regulations commencing those provisions were published last week.”

"…A considered and pragmatic approach should be taken to breaches of licence conditions and procedural defects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly where these breaches or defects do not have a significant adverse impact on the licensing objectives. Licence holders must rectify any breaches as soon as reasonably practicable.”

“…Local authorities have discretion when considering non-payment or late payment of an annual premises licence fee or a late-night levy charge. While section 55A of the Licensing Act 2003 requires that the licence be suspended, it is possible to delay when that suspension takes effect.”

Commenting on the letter Tim Shield, partner at John Gaunt & Partners said:

“We hope that in view of the fact premises are currently closed and these are unprecedented times that Licensing Authority’s will not seek to suspend premises licences for non-payment of annual fees”

Law correct at the date of publication.
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