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Licensing news England and Wales - January 2019

This month in summary:

Licensing news:

Gambling news

Licensing news

Licensing Forms updated: New forms to be used from 28 January 2019

On the 28 January, the following licensing application forms are being updated and the new forms must be used for:

  • Applications for personal licences
  • Applications for premises licences
  • Applications for transfers of a premises licence
  • Interim Authority Notices

The changes update the list of documents to evidence an individual’s entitlement to work in the United Kingdom. The new forms also provide for the option of evidencing an individual’s entitlement to work using the Home Office online right to work checking service.

From a practical perspective, this will allow solicitors to sign applications on behalf of individual applicants, subject to the proper checks being carried out in relation to the applicant's right to work.

The forms are not on the Government website at the time of writing, but can be found attached to the regulation introducing the changes.

Business rate discount not to apply to small music venues

In a letter to the Music trust, a HM Treasury officer has confirmed that the widely touted rates discount announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer will not apply to music venues, only to: '…to occupied properties with a rateable value of less than £51,000 that are wholly or mainly being used as shops, restaurants and drinking establishments.'

The officer goes on to state that: 'The guidance sets out that the government does not consider music venues to be eligible for the retail discount, unless they are considered by local authorities to be similar in nature to those properties listed in the guidance.'

This raises a number of very serious concerns for small grassroots music venues across the country, not only because of the additional expense faced, but also because of the likely different interpretations given to the guidance by different local authorities. In particular, the phrase 'wholly or mainly' if interpreted strictly, will mean that any small premises that offers regular live music for a fee or otherwise pays musicians that play, may be denied the discount.

The Government has issued guidance to local authorities on the implementation of the discount, which includes a list of premises considered to be eligible as a food or drink premises, defining them as:

  • Restaurants
  • Takeaways
  • Sandwich shops
  • Coffee shops Pubs
  • Bars

Given the hybrid nature of most premises traditionally classed as pubs and bars, including providing music, letting rooms or function spaces, and the rise of small grass-roots community activity-based premises, there is a lot of scope for such operators not to benefit from the much-needed relief.

Top Licensing Tip: Key dates for premises in 2019

Here is a list of some of those key dates for the licensing trade in 2019:

  • 1 Feb – 16 March: Rugby 6 Nations tournament
  • 1 Feb – 17 March: Women's 6 Nations tournament
  • 17 March: St Patrick's Day
  • 29 March: UK currently scheduled to leave EU
  • 6 April: Grand National
  • 19-22 April: Easter weekend
  • 23 April: St George's Day
  • 6 May: May Bank Holiday
  • 18 May: FA Cup Final
  • 20 May – 14 July: Cricket World Cup
  • 27 May: Spring Bank Holiday
  • 5&6 June: UEFA Nations League Semi-final
  • 7 June – 7 July: Women's football World Cup
  • 9 June: UEFA Nations League Final/ 3rd Place
  • August – May 2020: Premier League
  • 1 August – 16 September: The Ashes
  • 26 August: Summer Bank Holiday
  • 20 September – 2 November: Rugby World Cup (Japan)

Gambling news

Applications for Personal Functional Licences (PFLs) streamlined

The Gambling Commission has introduced a streamlined PFL application service. The changes, not only to the online forms, but also to the back of house processing of applications is expected to result in a more easy to navigate and streamlined process, which includes text and email alerts to keep applicants informed of progress of their applications.

PFLs are required for anyone taking on one of the following roles at a casino:

  • dealer/croupier
  • cashier
  • inspector
  • pit boss/gaming supervisor
  • security staff/monitoring surveillance related to gambling activities.

Applicants can still expect to wait around 8 weeks for issue of their PFL, from the date of submission, with the cost of application being £185. A criminal check with the Disclosure Barring Service or Disclosure Scotland will be required as part of the application process, so applicants need to factor this into the timeframes.

This is the first step in an ongoing exercise to streamline other personal and management licence processes.   

More information about applying for a PFL

Out and about

We have braved the December and January cold to attend various meetings, hearings and events across the country, including hearings in Manchester, Staines and various London boroughs. Amongst various events and meetings, Piers Warne has been appointed to the Bristol @ Night panel, looking at how best to promote and ensure a thriving nightlife within Bristol. The panel is due to sit for an initial six months and report on a broad range of subjects that impact on maintaining a thriving, diverse and safe night time economy within the city. The timing is particularly apposite given both the Planning strategy and licensing policies are to be consulted upon during the year. It is expected to involve a cross-section of stakeholders within the city to try to ensure that all voices are listened to before reporting back. Any questions in relation to the panel, please feel free to contact Piers directly at piers.warne@tltsolicitors.com.

This publication is intended for general guidance and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at February 2019. Specific advice should be sought for specific cases. For more information see our terms & conditions.

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