Last chance for licence renewals

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Thousands of personal licences could be lost

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THOUSANDS of personal licence holders across Scotland are on course to lose their licences with the May 31 deadline for renewal applications only weeks away.

Figures supplied to SLTN by licensing boards in 27 of the 32 local authority areas show only around a third of PLHs whose licences expire on August 31 this year have lodged renewal applications.

The lowest uptake was in Midlothian, where only 16% of anticipated licence renewal applications had been received.

The average was between 30% and 40%, with the highest uptake of 52% recorded in North Lanarkshire.

According to Scottish licensing law, personal licence holders who do not meet the renewal deadline will lose their licence.

Licensing lawyer Janet Hood said the situation is likely to be “the worst disaster for the licensed trade” and urged licence holders to complete refresher training and lodge a renewal application immediately.

However, she also admitted that with only a fortnight left until the deadline, it was unlikely there would be enough time for boards to process all applications and called on the Scottish Government to scrap the need for personal licence renewals altogether.

“If the Scottish Government doesn’t resolve this by taking real action we are going to find licensed premises across the country unable to trade in alcohol,” said Hood.

Jack Cummins of Hill Brown Licensing agreed that the system needs to be overhauled by the Scottish Government, saying the renewal process “has become far too complicated”.

“We either need to do away with renewals or simplify processes that were never properly thought out,” said Cummins.

Renewal applications are available from licensing board websites.

To renew a licence an applicant must also show evidence of a relevant licensing qualification. For this, they can either sit refresher training and submit that certificate, or use their existing personal licence certificate and sit the refresher training later.

Either way, if a licence expires on August 31, the renewal application must be submitted by May 31.

Minister for community safety, Ash Denham, said licensees “must take personal responsibility”.

“I would urge all licence holders who obtained their licence at the introduction of the existing regime (September 1, 2009) and who wish to continue to hold a licence to apply to renew as soon as possible,” said Denham.

“Should licence holders have any questions on the process and need further guidance, we encourage them to contact their local licensing board.

“We continue to work closely with key interests to support the operation of the renewal process, respond to queries and ensure that there is clear communication about what is necessary from personal licence holders.”

 

Council                                                % of renewal applications received as of May 8

Aberdeen City                                                                         41%

Aberdeenshire                                                                        41%

Angus                                                                                      30%

Argyll & Bute                                                                           29%

Clackmannanshire                                                                  41%

Dumfries & Galloway                                                              Failed to provide

Dundee City                                                                            30%

East Ayrshire                                                                           34%

East Dunbartonshire                                                               Failed to provide

East Lothian                                                                            Failed to provide

East Renfrewshire                                                                   31%

Edinburgh                                                                               Failed to provide

Eilean Siar                                                                               24%

Falkirk                                                                                     41%

Fife                                                                                          31%

Glasgow                                                                                  33%

Highland                                                                                  37%

Inverclyde                                                                               38%

Midlothian                                                                              16%

Moray                                                                                     27%

North Ayrshire                                                                        32%

North Lanarkshire                                                                   53%

Orkney Islands                                                                        44%

Perth & Kinross                                                                       24%

Renfrewshire                                                                          45%

Scottish Borders                                                                     Failed to provide

Shetland                                                                                  28%

South Ayrshire                                                                        48%

South Lanarkshire                                                                   41%

Stirling                                                                                     40%

West Dunbartonshire                                                             24%

West Lothian                                                                          42%