Call for action on members’ clubs

Demand for tougher regulation in licensing consultation responses

• The responses will inform the Scottish Government’s new Licensing Bill.
• The responses will inform the Scottish Government’s new Licensing Bill.

TOUGHER regulation of private members’ clubs and the return of a ‘fit and proper’ test were two of the key suggestions to emerge from the Scottish Government’s latest consultation on alcohol policy.

The responses to the Further Options for Alcohol Licensing document revealed that a majority favoured “additional restrictions” on members’ clubs.
Suggestions included bringing clubs into the mainstream licensing system and requiring clubs to include their constitution in their operating plans.
Two thirds of the 122 responses to the consultation, which were published by the Scottish Government earlier this month, were said to be in favour of introducing a new version of the ‘fit and proper person’ test, last seen in the 1976 Licensing Act.
However, there were concerns that a new test could lead to licences being refused on the basis of “poor quality” evidence.
On the subject of overprovision, a majority of respondents agreed that a licensing board should be able to assess its entire area as overprovided, rather than specific localities within the area. A sizeable number of respondents believed this would make it easier for boards to assess overprovision.
There was also support for extending the current ban on multi-buy promotions to cover orders that are placed in Scotland, but despatched from south of the border.
And while the majority of respondents did not back additional powers for police around football matches, there was support for giving licensing boards the power to limit opening hours in order to restrict the sale of alcohol around games.
The consultation responses will be considered as part of the Scottish Government’s upcoming Licensing Bill.