Pubs of Ulster Statement on New Legislation

23 February 2011

Following the announcement by the Department for Social Development of new legislation passed by the Assembly which will see measures such as penalty points and power of closure for licensed premises, Colin Neill, Chief Executive of Pubs of Ulster said:

�We welcome the announcement by Social Development Minister Alex Attwood of new legislation that will promote the responsible retailing and consumption of alcohol in Northern Ireland. �Pubs of Ulster has been working hard since the introduction of the Licensing and Registration of Clubs (Amendment) Bill in the summer of 2010 to ensure that the aspects of the proposed Bill which had the potential to negatively impact upon the trade were considered and debated in full. One such measure which would have created unfair competition was the proposed increase in the number of occasions registered clubs could open late. Our lobbying has been successful and has led to the final number of late licences being reduced to 85 from the proposed 120 per year. �However, whilst we are encouraged by these developments and welcome them as a step in the right direction, we recognise that more needs to be done to create an equal and fair system for all those who operate in the licensed trade. With the details of the regulations to restrict or prohibit irresponsible drinks promotions still to be consulted upon, Pubs of Ulster will continue to lobby on the issue. In addition, the below cost sale of alcohol by supermarkets is still a major burden on the industry and we will be awaiting the launch of the joint consultation on minimum pricing by the Department for Social Development and the Department of Health, continuing our call for them to lead the way and introduce effective legislation that will address the issue before the rest of the UK. With Assembly Elections in May, we will continue to work closely with the new administration to make them aware of the issues facing the licensed trade, making sure that any legislation introduced by the current system is fairly implemented by the new Assembly. �