Some decidedly thoughtful conclusions from the House of Lords Select Committee.
As we all know, the Government's time is going to be somewhat taken up for the next few years with all the technical elements that Brexit entails. In our view, they should not however pass up the opportunity to take on board, and act on, the Select Committee's recommendations. There are long term economic, and qualitative, gains to be had in getting this area into better shape. That could indeed be said to fit precisely within Brexit orthodoxy.
The Government made a substantial error in creating new committees for local authorities to deal with licensing. The evidence received about the poor operation of licensing committees was convincing and concerning. Planning committees are more effective and reliable, and are well-equipped for making licensing decisions. They should take over the licensing function. Licensing appeals should no longer go to magistrates' courts but should go to the planning inspectorate. Unless amendments already made prove effective, the Late Night Levy should be repealed. So should Early Morning Restriction Orders. Fees for licensing should be set locally, not nationally. There is no justification for the Licensing Act not applying to sales airside at airports. If Minimum Unit Pricing is found to be lawful, is introduced in Scotland, and is found to be effective in cutting down excessive drinking, England and Wales should follow.