Licensing Regime Gets Tougher for Local Shops

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Business leaders are urging retailers to check and upgrade their systems to prevent under age sales, as changes to licensing laws introduced this month, increase the powers of local authorities to review or revoke alcohol licenses. The changes taking effect include:

* A reduced evidence threshold to undertake a review of a licence that may lead to additional licensing conditions or the revocation of a licence;

* The removal of the vicinity test, which will mean that objectors to an existing or new licence will not have to live or work near that premises;

* Licensing authorities and public health agencies becoming responsible authorities, which will mean they can raise objections to a licence;

* An increase in the maximum fines that can be levied to £20,000.

ACS Chief Executive James Lowman said: "From today, it will be harder to get and keep an alcohol licence. Best practice in preventing under age purchases is now essential for businesses who want to safeguard their future.

"These changes also highlight the importance of forging links with local decision-makers.Your local licensing officer, police, Councillors and health agencies need to know that you are a responsible retailer and a force for good in the community, so you need to tell them loud and clear."

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