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Nationally Set Licensing Fees Remain Until 2014
The Home Office have announced that plans to scrap nationally set licensing fees have been put back until October 2014. The move has been critisised by the Local Government Association who estimate it could cost taxpayers as much as ?1.5 million every month. The original commitment to introduce locally-set fees which better reflect the actual cost of an application was contained in the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011. It will enable councils to charge fees they consider appropriate to the actual cost of an application without making a profit. The ability to set fees for licensing regulating gambling premises already exists following the introduction of the Gambling Act 2005.
Cllr Mehboob Khan, Chair of the LGA?s Safer and Stronger Communities Board has called on the government to introduce locally set fees as soon as possible; ?Councils want to support good local pubs but cannot be expected to continue picking up the tab for licensing fees which are outdated and not fit for purpose. There is common ground among councils and the industry on the need for reform, along with a growing body of opinion that nationally-set fees are unfair, and some even say illegal, but the Government continues to drag its feet and break its promise to allow locally-set fees.? He said. In response a statement from the Home Office stated that it expects changes to be in place by ?next summer? adding, “The introduction of locally set licensing fees affects a wide range of businesses and community groups and we need to get it right. The government remains committed to introducing locally set licensing fees and will progress this as fast as possible.”