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Government extends off-sales licence after backlash

Published:  18 July, 2022

The government has announced that it will extend the alcohol off-sales easement, introduced during the pandemic, to September 2023, following a campaign led by UKHospitality and other sector bodies.

According to the leading trade body, the move will help hundreds of hospitality businesses struggling to survive after lobbying for the Home Office to continue to allow premises with on-sales only – under the Licensing Act – also to provide off-sales.

The easement was introduced during the pandemic; businesses could sell alcohol as part of takeaway, delivery orders and other outdoor areas where relevant.

UKHospitality CEO Kate Nicholls said: “This decision to extend the off-sales easement is the right one and hugely significant. If this had lapsed, it would have caused further problems for many hundreds of hospitality businesses already struggling to survive.

“But persistent lobbying by UKHospitality and others has convinced the government that deregulation measures such as this can help businesses at a critical time in their efforts to stay afloat.

“This will benefit those hospitality businesses that have successfully evolved operating models to incorporate takeaway and outdoor sales and allow them to continue to do so.”

UKHospitality will now work with the government on a long-term solution beyond September 2023, which will dovetail with the forthcoming permanent pavement licence regime. 

It will also examine broader, ongoing deregulation work to aid the hospitality sector’s recovery.