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Licensing news Scotland - September 2017

This month in summary

Licensing News

Licensing Board Policy news

Following the local elections in May 2017 and the formation of new licensing boards across the country, licensing boards will now begin turning their attention to Licensing Policy reviews and consultations.   Whilst licensing boards have until the end of October 2018 to consult, formulate and publish their new Statements of Licensing Policy we understand many boards will be addressing this in early course. 

By way of recap, these policies will deal with everything from generally acceptable licensing hours to local licensing conditions.  Perhaps most significantly these policies must also include an assessment of overprovision.

It is imperative that all parties with an interest respond.  In years gone by, the trade have been generally remiss in putting forward their viewpoint

Please keep an eye on upcoming TLT bulletins for all the latest Licensing Board Policy news.

Licensing (Scotland) Act guidance to be updated

The Scottish Government has instructed a review of the Statutory Guidance to the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 (the 2005 Act). It is universally accepted that the existing guidance is woefully out of date, as it predates the implementation of the 2005 Act and has remained untouched.  The lack of updates has been compounded by a plethora of amending legislation and regulation including the Alcohol etc (Scotland) Act, the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act  (both 2010) and Air Weapons and Licensing (S) Act plus the 30+ pieces of secondary legislation /SSIs.   The Guidance will be updated in its entirety but we understand that the parts of the Guidance relating to overprovison and licensing board policy statements are being prioritised (see above).  

Annual Fees

It is a mandatory condition on every premises licence in Scotland that on or before 1 October every year the licence holder must pay an annual fee to the Board.  The annual fee is calculated based on the premises' rateable value and thus this year (following the revaluations) licence holders are encouraged to check the amounts due.  Failure to pay the annual fee timeously is a breach of the mandatory conviction and undue delay by the licence holder is likely to result in the relevant licensing board calling for a review of the premises licence.  At a review a board can, amongst other things, suspend the premises licence.

Scottish Government licensing statistics published

The Government's annual liquor licensing statistics were published in September and are available in full here.

Headline findings:

  • 69% of premises licences in force as at March 2017 related to on-sales premises with the remaining 31% related to off-sales
  • 41% of applications received for new premises licences in 2016-17 were for off-sale only
  • 3% of applications for premises licences were refused
  • There were around 24,000 occasional licences granted by boards in 2017 (this figure is has remained fairly static over the last three years).

Gambling news

Gambling Commission targets students considered potentially at risk from gambling

New figure released by the Gambling Commission suggests that as many as 1.2 million students gamble, a figure they put at 2 in 3 of the total student body. With the new academic year starting, they have been publicising the dangers for students who might be particularly vulnerable to debt and other issues associated with regular gambling.

As part of this approach, the Gambling Commission have been encouraging universities to take the issue of gambling as seriously as they do matters such as drugs, alcohol and safe sex.

A document specifically aimed at students has been released setting out 10 ways students can keep themselves safe when gambling. This can be found here

Links are included within the document to Gambleaware and Gamcare in case students feel that they need support.  

Out and about

September was a very busy month for the team with attendances at the following boards and committees – South Lanarkshire (East Kilbride), Fife, Glasgow Committee and Board, Midlothian, Scottish Borders, Edinburgh and East Dunbartonshire,

We also rolled our sleeves up and supported our clients and contacts at the inaugural Scottish Gin Awards,with TLT sponsoring the Gin Bar of the Year Award 2017.  Hot on the heels of the Gin Awards was the Scottish Beer Awards and Stephen, Niall and Michael selflessly attended the awards night and the Beer Matters Conference.

On top of all of that TLT hosted Scotland's first Distillers Conference - The Distillers Law and Information Training Event 2017, which saw over 100 delegates from the industry descend on Summerhall in Edinburgh for a full day of insightful presentations and topical debate!  Feedback from the event has been incredible.  

This publication is intended for general guidance and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at September 2017. Specific advice should be sought for specific cases. For more information see our terms and conditions.

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