CONSULTATION: Changes to Licensing making it easier for community groups to sell alcohol

The Home Office has published its proposals to create a new licensing category which will enable community groups and low-risk businesses to sell or give away limited quantities of alcohol as part of their general activities without the need to apply for a full Premises License. Views on the creation of the Community and Ancillary Sellers Notice (CAN) are sought in a consultation that closes on Tuesday 9 December 2014.

The CAN is being proposed in response to previous consultation with community organisations and businesses such as bed-and-breakfast accommodation, which would wish to provide alcohol to guests or service users in small quantities but find the current licensing regime too costly or onerous to do so. Those wishing to provide alcohol in greater quantities would still be able to make use of a full Premises License as is currently the case.

At the moment the only option for community groups and small businesses seeking to provide alcoholic drinks to their customers is to apply for a full Premises License, which can cost up to £2,000, or apply for a Temporary Events Notice, which is not suitable for many organisations. The CAN is proposed to be a continuous license, unlike a TEN, but which does not require the full bureacracy of a Premises License. The Government says that this will reduce red tape and costs for community groups and small businesses while allowing Licensing Authorities to concentrate on regulating alcohol sales in larger premises which are at much greater risk of being associated with public health and antisocial behaviour problems.

The consultation seeks views on how such organisations should be defined, what quantity of alcohol sales should be permitted by a CAN, and what level fees for a CAN should be set at.

We urge all rural community buildings and other community groups that might benefit from a simpler regulatory approach to providing alcohol at your building or events to respond to this consultation. You can read the full consultation document and find details of how to respond on the Government website.

UPDATE 27 November 2014

Our parent organisation ACRE has prepared a short briefing note explaining the key issues which you will no doubt find useful when considering your response to the consultation. You can download it using the link below.

Edit 1 December 2014

Edited to clarify that the CAN license category is in addition to the current licensing regime and would not prevent organisations obtaining a full Premises License where appropriate.

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File The Community and Ancillary Sellers Notice ACRE Briefing Nov 2014.pdf240.46 KB