The government has opted to extend the availability of takeaway pints across England and Wales until March 2025. This decision follows the recent announcement to prolong Covid licensing regulations.
Initial concerns voiced by industry associations critiqued the proposed legislative alteration, scheduled for implementation from 30th September 2023, deeming it an unnecessary bureaucratic imposition.
Reflecting back to 2020, venues lacking an off-premises license were granted the privilege to vend takeaway alcoholic beverages without the prerequisite of soliciting consent from their local council.
This adjustment facilitated the operational continuity of several enterprises during the tumultuous period of pandemic-related restrictions, enabling the sale of beverages in designated pavement zones where permissions for outdoor seating had been previously granted.
Had these provisions not been in place, establishments holding exclusively on-sales alcohol licenses would have been compelled to make applications to their respective local councils to sustain their takeaway trade.
The Prime Minister's recent announcement, extending the scheme by a duration of 18 months, means that the relaxed regulations pertaining to off-site consumption will continue until March 2025.
The Home Office disclosed that the government's overarching ambition entails the establishment of a comprehensive "unified pavement license," encompassing the authorisation for both the vending and enjoyment of alcoholic drinks within alfresco settings.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak commented:
"I'm determined to back British pubs and make sure they have all the support they need after weathering the storm of the pandemic as we grow our economy.
That's why we're cutting unnecessary red tape so that customers can enjoy a takeaway pint or al fresco drink without businesses facing extra burdens."
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, tweeted on X, formerly Twitter:
"Really welcome from 10 Downing Street today halting a ban on hospitality off sales "The PM will always back British pubs.
He's listened to the industry and heard them loud and clear – now is not the time to call last orders on takeaway pints and boost to business that they bring."
Amy Lamé, night czar of London, added:
"Excellent news for our hard-hit hospitality businesses: Pub takeaway drinks rules will be continued, allowing them to trade their way to recovery."
Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, praised the decision as "a testament to practical reasoning" and stated that it will "sustain consistent trading for businesses that have depended on off sales for the past three years."
The extension is set to be incorporated through revisions to the Licensing Act 2003, a process to be undertaken when parliament resumes its sessions next month. Once the legal framework is formally presented, the new provisions will take effect accordingly.