Balance is key if trade is to flourish

By Gillian McKenzie

ANOTHER week, another dose of licensing board draft policy statements and the prospect of yet another piece of legislation – the fourth in just four years since the Licensing Act came into force.

It’s a lot to take in.
And while regulation in any business sector is important, it seems the licensed trade is being hit with more than its fair share.
There’s a risk that even more red tape, rules and regulations could stifle the creativity and ambitions of some operators.
And that could spell disaster for the trade.
Travelling the length and breadth of the country – and some of its islands – in recent weeks on SLTN Awards judging visits, it has been a real treat to speak to some truly inspirational operators.
Operators who have overcome funding challenges, or planning obstacles or the trend towards ‘at home’ socialising to build thriving businesses. Operators whose passion and enthusiam for the trade seems undiminished, regardless of the increasing number of hoops they are required to jump through.
The Licensing Bill has yet to be drafted, although much of it is expected to be based on the Further Options for Alcohol Licensing consultation.
Let’s just hope it isn’t a Bill too far for some.