Tel: 01427 610761

Decision due on World Cup opening hours

Pubs and other licensed premises across the country are awaiting the outcome of a government consultation on a blanket relaxation of licensing hours during the FIFA World Cup.

The consultation, which ran from 13-26 March, sought views on whether there should be a national order to relax licensing hours during the event, which runs from 12 June to 13 July, or to leave it as a local decision, using the existing temporary event notice (TEN) system. Each TEN costs £21 and lasts for seven days.

Home Secretary Theresa May said that any relaxation of licensing hours nationally would “relate to the sale of alcohol for consumption on the premises and the provision of late night refreshment in licensed premises at specified dates and times only.

“The government is mindful of the need to strike a balance between the risks that late night drinking can lead to increased crime and disorder and public nuisance and reducing the burden on those wishing to celebrate the FIFA World Cup.”

Licensing legislation allows the Home Secretary to make an order relaxing opening hours for licensed premises to mark occasions of “exceptional international, national or local significance”.

Issues raised in the consultation included the dates the order might cover and whether licensing hours should be relaxed for three, three-and-a-half or four hours after kick-off.

Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, which represents Britain’s brewers and pub companies, warned: “If we don’t get a positive decision from the government, we will end up with the hassle and cost of tens of thousands of temporary events notices, and no guarantee of extra hours.”