Drink Licensing Shambles
The Federation of Small Businesses has said that the new system for licensing alcohol sales in the UK is a "shambles".
There are only six days to go until the August 6 deadline. However, 58% of the 180,000 licence-holders in England and Wales have not yet submitted renewal applications.
This means that over 100,000 businesses will miss the deadline, including; 30,000 restaurants and fast-food outlets, 26,000 hotels and guest houses and 6,500 shops.
Policy chairman John Walker said:
"The Licensing Minister may well be predicting that the new system will be seen favourably in a couple of years' time, but few businesses will forget that its introduction has been a shambles.
We have some sympathy with local authorities. The failure of businesses to renew their licences is a time-bomb of the Government's making, which we warned was set to explode this summer.
Ministers under-estimated the vast array of firms that come under the new regime, including many that make just a tiny proportion of their profits from alcohol.
They didn't listen when we told them that 26-page forms and a requirement to submit plans of premises were all right for national chains with in-house legal teams but not for independent traders."
This means that some areas may well face a dry Christmas.
You have been warned!