Retailers paying over the odds for alcohol licensing

Commenting on SGF research which has found a catalogue of serious problems with the administration of the alcohol licensing regime SGF Chief Executive, John Drummond, said: 

“In 2010 the Regulatory Review Group found a litany of problems with how local authorities and licensing boards were discharging their duties and obligations under the 2005 Licensing Act. 

“Amongst its findings the group stated that the costs of selling alcohol had become prohibitively more expensive and that too many local authorities were profiting from the licensing system.  Our research has confirmed the findings of the review group. 

“Due to a myriad of different and often unaccountable systems of licensing and with too many local authorities charging more in fees than the cost of issuing licences, these figures show that licence holders are paying over the odds for a system which is cumbersome and which is lining the pockets of some local authorities. 

“Retailers continue to struggle with a particularly tough trading environment and every additional pound given to local authorities, or spent untangling the bureaucracy of licensing, is a pound less that retailers can invest making their businesses more viable through lower grocery prices and employing staff. 

“To paraphrase the Scottish Government; it is not the price of alcohol which makes our bananas more expensive, it is the cost of disproportionate bureaucratic burdens like these.” 

A copy of the summary report can be accessed here