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How could Brexit affect licensing laws for pubs?

Brexit effects on Licensing laws with less than 9 months to go.

With less than nine months to go until the UK leaves the European Union (EU), Lisa Sharkey, managing partner, discusses what impact Brexit could have on the country’s licensing laws.

Which areas of the Licensing Act 2003 might be affected by Brexit?

There are two possibilities: minimum pricing; and electronic applications.

With minimum pricing having already been introduced in Scotland following a ruling from the European Court, as we leave the European Union (EU), we might decide not to follow that lead. But I doubt we will do that as the UK will still want to work closely with the EU – so that is one of the areas I don’t think we will see change.

Electronics applications for licenses was another EU directive that councils and local authorities had to introduce. There has been significant investment by local authorities to comply with it, so again I doubt they would reverse the implementation of the technology they have already introduced.

Something that is likely to please operators in relation to Brexit is that there has been very little parliamentary time to do anything tinkering with the Licensing Act or introduce further legislation. So I don’t think we will see much new relevant regulation, if any, before we are past Brexit.

Is anything confirmed yet?

Nothing has been confirmed at this stage. It will be interesting to see what comes out of the trade talks, which conclude in October and what certainties we get from that around employment, movement if trade and things of that nature.

We will be leaving the EU on the 29th March 2019, but there will be a transitional period where we continue to work together and that expires on the 31st December 2020.

How soon/when the licensees likely to know the impact?

I think October this year will be significant in terms of when licensees are likely to know more on what the impact of Brexit will be.

The trade agreement should have been discussed by then and hopefully agreed and we will have a better idea regarding the movement of people and the movement of goods and services by then.

For more information on how Brexit could affect licensing laws in the UK, please contact managing partner Lisa Sharkey on 0115 9538 504.

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