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Lords Licensing Act committee asks think tanks if legislation is working

A House of Lords Committee set up especially to look at the Licensing Act 2003, and the liberalisation of opening hours, will hear from think tanks on Tuesday 19 July.

The Institute of Alcohol Studies and the Institute of Economic Affairs will be questioned by the Lords Licensing Act 2003 Committee on issues such as minimum unit pricing, public health, the appeal system and the growth of online sales.

The Licensing Act 2003 set out to provide greater freedom to the hospitality and leisure industry, as well giving consumers more choice. At the same time the new legislation was intended to grant authorities the appropriate powers to deal with misuse of these freedoms.

Witnesses giving evidence will be, at 10.50am, Mr Jon Foster, Senior Research and Policy Officer, Institute of Alcohol Studies, and Mr Christopher Snowdon, Head of Lifestyle Economics, Institute of Economic Affairs.

Questions they might face include:

  • Is the Licensing Act still ‘light touch'?
  • Should promotion of public health be an objective?
  • Should the cost of alcohol be regulated, and if so by taxation or minimum unit pricing?
  • What impact has behaviour change, such online shopping, had?
  • Are local authorities able to use their powers properly?
  • Could the appeal system be improved?

At an earlier session, at 10.20am, the Committee will complete its examination of the perspective from from local government, which began this week, by putting questions to Mr Steve Quartermain, Chief Planning Officer, Department for Communities and Local Government.

The evidence sessions will take place from 10.20am next Tuesday 19 July in Committee Room 3A.

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