The ACS (Association of Convenience Stores) has reacted to the Home Office consultation on proposals to reform the Licensing Act and to introduce a ban on the below cost sale of alcohol. The consultation proposes new powers for local authorities and a significant erosion of licence holders’ rights.
James Lowman, ACS chief executive, said: “ACS is keen to play a constructive role in this consultation. We will be strongly advising Ministers that these proposals go far beyond a ‘rebalancing’ of the Act and instead would hand absolute power to local authorities, residents groups and police while businesses would lose even basic rights of appeal. Ministers are ignoring the fact that councils, police and residents can make bad decisions, or that they may act on prejudices rather than evidence. Safeguards for business are vital, and are required to ensure effective partnership based solutions to community problems can be achieved.
“Ministers have not shown how the proposals would lead to better results than those already seen in communities across the country. The proposed six-week window for consultation is not enough time to take a proper look at the evidence. Ministers are heading at breakneck speed to a range of policies that are poorly conceived and massively burdensome on thousands of responsible community businesses.”