Licensing news Scotland - Spring 2019

This month in summary:


Licensing news

Top Licensing Tip: Renew your tables and chairs permit…summer is coming!

British Summer Time has just seen the clocks "spring forward", the days are getting longer and it is only a matter of time before at least one tabloid begins to prophesize that a heat wave is coming!

Don't get caught out regarding your outdoor seating especially if you have tables and chairs on the pavement.  For a new "pavement café" you are (in most local authority areas) going to need three permissions, planning, road's consent and licensing.  These applications all need time to be processed and if you are planning a brand new outdoor pavement café get some specialist advice without delay.

For those who have had permission in previous years now is the time to check –

1. do you need occasional licences for the external area or is it covered as part of the premises licence?;and

2. do you need to renew your tables and chairs permit issued by the Road's Department? 

So, before the mercury starts to rise, check your permissions and get your applications lodged ASAP or risk missing out.

Free information sessions for the Trade

The Scottish Licensed Trade Benevolent Society (The BEN) have launched a free confidential mental health helpline for licensed trade staff 0800 915 4610 The helpline is open 7 days per week 8am-8pm

In addition the BEN are running free interactive roadshows #Notalone across Scotland for licensed trade covering spotting and dealing with mental health issues in the work place.  Details on the BEN's website

Drinkaware are offering free courses on ‘Everything you need to know about alcohol’

The free sessions will run in Edinburgh on 30 April and Glasgow on 8 May 2019.

PPL introduce new tariff for 'specially featured entertainment' to be introduced from 1 July 2019

Following consultation, PPL, who collect copyright fees for music performers and recording right's holders, has announced that they are revamping their fees charged to pubs, clubs, bars, hotels and restaurants. The specially featured entertainment ('SFE') tariff will be applied events where recorded music forms a part of the entertainment provided where customers also are permitted to dance.

The new category replaces the current tariff that has been in place for around 30 years. PPL’s stated view is that the fees that have been charged are too low to be an appropriate reflection of the value to businesses of using recorded music at 'SFE' events. As such, the new tariff will be based on the total number of admissions to any SFE event.

It is intended that the fee will increase in direct proportion to the size of the audience (measured in bands of 25 persons), although there will be two smaller tariff bands, for SFE events with attendances of 1-25 and 26-50 persons. PPL estimate that in many cases, this will help to ensure that licensees with small SFE events will initially pay less for such events than they are paying under the current SFE tariff.

PPL have announced a phased introduction of increased fees over a 5 year period from July 2019, based on an initial rate of 4 pence per person per hour (up slightly from the current average of 3.9 pence per person per hour). This will move to fees based on a rate of 9 pence per person per hour by 2023 (subject to annual indexation).

It is expected that the new tariffs will lead to a rise in payments to PPL for those affected of, on average, 130%. UK Hospitality has estimated that music venues could face a bill of £49m as a result of the changes once they fully come into force.

Alcohol Focus Scotland (AFS) publishes their review of licensing board’s Annual Functions Reports

The Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015 amended the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 to require licensing boards to publish an annual report outlining how it had regard to the licensing objectives and its own policy when exercising its own functions during that financial year. The Report requires that the licensing board summarise the decisions made by the licensing board as well as the details of the number of licences in the board’s area.

The requirement for the licensing board to publish such a report was something that AFS had lobbied for owing to concerns about a lack of transparency in the licensing process. Accordingly, AFS carried out a review of all the licensing boards’ Reports published so far to see whether they met the statutory requirements and addressed AFS’s concerns. This Review can be found here. The Review found that “…that not only do the majority of the reports reviewed meet minimum statutory requirements, but that many boards have applied additional good practice to better enable the public to see how they conduct their business.”

Gambling news

Restrictions on FOBTs come into force, with warnings from the Gambling Commission about applying the spirit as well as the letter of the law

As of 1 April, maximum stakes on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBT) in high-street bookmakers have been reduced from £100 to £2.

The Gambling Commission has written to bookmakers to remind them of their responsibilities in ensuring consumers are protected. Statements in the press to the effect that bookmakers should consider carefully whether new games or products have been designed simply to circumvent the stake cut, have served as a stark reminder that the Commission are looking to see operators comply with the spirit of the changes, as well as the letter of the law. 

Richard Watson, Executive Director for Enforcement, said: 'We have been absolutely clear with operators about our expectations to act responsibly following the stake cut implementation this week. We have told operators to take down new products which undermine the changes, and we will investigate any other products that are not within the spirit and intention of the new rules.’

At the time of writing, at least 2 products have been removed from bookmakers following threats of investigation by the Gambling Commission.

Out and about

Spring may have sprung but our solicitors have still had to battle wind, rain and the occasional flurry of hail/ snow to represent our clients   

This month our solicitors have had successes at the following Licensing Boards – Renfrewshire, Inverclyde, Glasgow, Perth, Edinburgh, South Lanarkshire (Ham) and Fife.

 Finally, we were delighted to support the excellence on show at the Hotel Prestige Awards and the Best Bar None National Awards.  Well done to all the nominees and winners!

This publication is intended for general guidance and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at April 2019. Specific advice should be sought for specific cases. For more information see our terms & conditions

Date published

26 April 2019


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