Licensing flexibility would have boosted World Cup

The British Beer and Pub Association is calling for an amendment to the Licensing Act 2003.

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) is calling for an amendment to the Licensing Act 2003, after many pubs had to delay the serving of alcohol during the FIFA Women's World Cup final.

As the game between Spain and England kicked off at 11am, due to licensing restrictions, a number of pubs and bars had to wait until the second half to be able to start serving alcoholic drinks to their customers.  

Despite the national licensing difficulties, the final, which England lost 1-0, delivered a double-digit revenue increase for pubs across the country. The BBPA believes a blanket licensing change during national moments like the World Cup final could result in much more for the sector.

Millions of pub goers

Millions of people across England went to watch the match and experience the atmosphere of live sport at their local pub, with early indications from pub businesses across the country reporting trading increases of between 14% and 28%. 

The BBPA argues that when parliament is not sitting, the Licensing Act 2003 is far too prescriptive in permitting urgent one-off measures to be taken. It says an amendment to the Act should be quick, easy and uncontroversial to achieve. 

"Despite the Lionesses not being able to claim victory on Sunday, they won the hearts of the nation and inspired the millions of people who cheered them on at the pub and elsewhere through their heroic performance in this tournament," says Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the BBPA. "It’s great that this success was able to give a boost to our pubs after a year where they’ve faced a range of challenges from unsustainably high energy bills to double-digit duty increases. 

"We now need the law to reflect the reality that strict, prescriptive licensing cannot easily flex when key events are taking place while parliament is not sitting. The Licensing Act is an important piece of legislation, but it was never intended be so inflexible as to stand in the way of communities coming together and enjoy a beer and celebrate one-off events of national interest. MPs know the pubs are the focal points of their local communities so let’s work together to get an amendment quickly agreed."

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