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Home Office takes over control of alcohol licensing

Published:  20 July, 2010

The government has confirmed that the Home Office will take over responsibility for the Licensing Act 2003, which regulates the sale of alcohol in England and Wales.

The move shifts responsibility away from the Department for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport.

The decision has been expected since the coalition government was reformed and will bring together the responsibilities for tackling alcohol harm. These have been a long standing responsibility of the Home Office and will now incorporate the separate function for ensuring the effective functioning of the Act, which had been the responsibility of DCOMS.

The Association of Convenience Stores welcomed the move. Chief executive James Lowman said: "For some time now the Home Office has been taking a leading role in alcohol policy, so this merely confirms their primacy in these areas. We have built strong relationships with Home Office ministers and officials and will continue to make the case for a fair licensing system that supports responsible businesses and tackles problem premises."

The government has set out plans to change some of the rules related to alcohol licensing in its Programme for Government document. A consultation is expected on these issues at the end of the month.