Thousands of personal licences could be lost
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%
Argyll & Bute 29%
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%
North Ayrshire 32%
North Lanarkshire 53%
Orkney Islands 44%
Perth & Kinross 24%
Scottish Borders Failed to provide
South Ayrshire 48%
South Lanarkshire 41%
West Dunbartonshire 24%
West Lothian 42%