Increase in Late Nights for Clubs Unfair

14 June 2010

Clubs should not try to compete with Pubs as clubs are there to serve their members, not the Public!

Following the recent introduction of the Licensing and Registration of Clubs (Amendment) Act (Northern Ireland) 2010 into the Northern Ireland Assembly by the Minister for Social Development, Pubs of Ulster has expressed concern in relation to the inclusion of a proposal to increase the number of occasions on which registered clubs may apply to the PSNI for later opening to 1.00am from 52 to 120 nights each year. Colin Neill, Chief Executive of Pubs of Ulster, said: �We are extremely concerned at the proposal to more than double the number of late licenses for clubs. We have continually objected on this issue throughout the consultation process and are extremely disappointed to find it has been included in the Minister�s final proposals. Registered clubs and pubs may share a number of common challenges within the current trading environment; however both are very different entities with different operational costs and should not be placed in direct competition. �Pubs of Ulster and our members very much support clubs and their valuable role and important contribution to local communities however, this increase in the number of late licenses will introduce a level of unfair competition and place additional pressure on pubs already struggling for survival due to considerable additional overheads. �Although the bill has now advanced to legislative process, we will continue to actively lobby the Assembly on the issue, voicing our concerns to the Minister and other local representatives and working to revise downward the number of occasions registered clubs may apply for late licenses.� The Licensing and Registration of Clubs (Amendment) Act (Northern Ireland) 2010 also includes proposals in relation to the introduction of powers of closure, penalty points and statutory proof of age which Pubs of Ulster supports.