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Reduce Oppressive Licensing Act 2003

Comment 7th July 2010

The Licensing Act 2003 requires all events involving music or sale of alcohol to have a licence – the requirements are oppressive for small fundraising events organised by Charities or other non-commercial organisations.  As most do not have a Personal Licence holder or the premises (such as village halls, churches) do not have Premises Licences the organisers are required to complete in triplicate a 10 page form, most of which is irrelevant.  This form must be submitted to the local authority & police for vetting on each occasion at a cost of £21 a time.  

This requirement costs my charity a significant proportion of the funds raised by such events and, as a licence has never been refused to me, is a pointless bureacratic exercise.  Obtaining a Personal Licence requires attendance at a course typically costing £300 covering far more than the requirements for the small events I organise and as the premises we use (WI Hall, church) do not Have Premises Licences would still require the £21 redundant form to be completed and submitted for approval prior to the event.

The requirement could be simplified and made less onerous by allowing an individual organising such non-commercial events to be vetted once and subsequently allowed to hold, say, 5 events per annum simply by sending the local authority a one page form (or even simpler, holding a log record of events).  This would almost be reverting to the practice prior to John Prescott's oppresive law when individual licence holders could apply for a one year licence allowing a number of events per annum. 

Why does this matter?

My charity would have saved £189 plus many trees if the law had been made more sensible.

The benefits would not just be to the charities but to the local authority & police who have to allocate manpower to process the useless 10 page form for each event.

Finally, it would avoid the current situation where many event organisers find the cost & form filling so onerous they just ignore the law – I know this for a fact as each event licence when returned to me shows I am the one & only person to have officially held events at some locations when I know there have been events with alcohol sold.

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