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Licensing news, Scotland, May 2016

What's been happening in the Scottish licensing community this month?

Alcohol licensing news

Gambling news

Other licensing news

Charge your glasses and toast the Queen’s 90th birthday

Licensing Boards across the country have been deciding whether to grant a general extension for on-sale premises in respect of their terminal hour to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday. 

Every board has a discretion in the matter. We have compiled a quick guide which can be found at the PDF download below. The information is based on announcements made by boards at the time of writing. Please note that, where a general extension has been granted, only Premises Licences which stipulate 'yes' in the Operating Plan to Seasonal Variations automatically get the extensions. Those who do not say 'yes' to Seasonal Variations require an Extended Hours Application to be lodged.

Licensees should also check the dates of effect and the extent of the extension in their area.

Where an Extended Hours Application is required this should be lodged without delay as it can take several weeks to process.

For more information or assistance please contact us.

MP calls for licence review to halt decline of the nightclub sector

The SNP’s Tommy Sheppard, MP for Edinburgh East and founder of The Stand comedy clubs, has joined calls for action to address "the death of the nightclub". Industry aficionados and experts believe bureaucracy is killing the sector, and nightclub numbers have reportedly fallen UK-wide from 3,144 to 1,733 in the last 10 years. The focus of the calls is to establish a fixed differential between the terminal hour for nightclubs and other licensed venues, restoring a distinction between the pub and the club.

Government criticised for not tackling perceived problems with fixed odds betting machines

The government, particularly the Chancellor, has come under fire from all sides for failing to timeously review the stakes and prizes for gaming machines. 

Reviews are due every three years, but the last review was in 2010. 

Critics claim that the lack of action means the government is failing to address perceived problems with fixed odds betting machines, with tax receipts being put before protecting the vulnerable. bacta, the principal trade association for the amusement and gaming machine industry in the UK, has also criticised the delays, citing the need to review Category D stakes and prizes to help regenerate the seaside arcade sector.

Consumers take centre stage in new Gambling Commission business plan

A new business plan sets out how consumers will be at the heart of the Gambling Commission’s work over the coming year. The plan covers the period from April 2016 to March 2017. Themes providing direction to the Commission’s work include:

  • Building on vital work to protect the most vulnerable, and set standards for responsible and safe gambling.
  • Ensuring markets are fair and open for consumers by tackling problems with online marketing, terms and conditions, and unsolicited texts.
  • Giving consumers confidence that markets are not rigged, or subject to fixing, and otherwise are kept free from crime.

A full copy of the business plan can be found here.

Snack van update

As regular readers of the Scotland licensing newsletter will recall, TLT secured a victory for clients in a court appeal against a controversial condition banning snack vans from being situated near schools in North Lanarkshire. 

In the aftermath of the Sheriff's decision (McCluskey & Others v North Lanarkshire Council) the repercussions have been felt beyond North Lanarkshire Council’s area. 

TLT has recently appeared for another operator in East Dunbartonshire Council's area and successfully argued before the Licensing Committee for deletion of a similar condition. 

Dumfries and Galloway Council and East Ayrshire Council have taken cognisance of the case and moved to delete their version of the condition of their own volition.

TLT out and about

April saw a raft of new instructions for the team in Scotland. It has been great to secure a variety of new clients, with all manner of projects, from festivals to large scale developments.

Stephen McGowan and Niall Hassard have been touring the country representing clients at licensing boards and committees. The duo successfully appeared for clients at Moray, Glasgow, Dumfries, South Ayrshire, Edinburgh, Scottish Borders and East Dunbartonshire this month.

TLT has also agreed a new partnership with the Scottish Grocers’ Federation which sees TLT as preferred legal supplier to the Federation and its 3000+ convenience store members.

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