The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) is calling for an amendment to the Licensing Act 2003 following Sunday’s women’s World Cup final.
It says there is a need for the Act to reflect the need for blanket licensing changes during such popular national moments.
Despite England’s loss, millions of people across England went to watch the match and experience the atmosphere of live sport at their local pub. Early indications from pub businesses across the country are that trading increased by between 14% and 28%.
These increases were achieved despite many pubs facing major restrictions on when they could serve alcohol at the start or even during the game. Many had to wait until the second half to be able to start serving a beer to customers.
The BBPA feels that, when Parliament is not sitting, the Licensing Act 2003 is far too prescriptive in permitting urgent one-off measures to be taken.
The importance of greater legal flexibility that allows communities to come together in the nation’s pubs to celebrate key social and sporting events is vital for their long-term commercial sustainability, it says.
“Despite the Lionesses not being able to claim victory on Sunday, they won the hearts of the nation and inspired the millions of people who cheered them on at the pub and elsewhere through their heroic performance in this tournament,” said BBPA chief executive, Emma McClarkin.
“It’s great that this success was able to give a boost to our pubs after a year where they’ve faced a range of challenges, from unsustainably high energy bills to double-digit duty increases.
“Despite the government’s valuable work encouraging local authorities to support pubs on Sunday, we now need the law to reflect the reality that strict, prescriptive licensing cannot easily flex when key events are taking place while Parliament is not sitting.
“The Licensing Act is an important piece of legislation, but it was never intended be so inflexible as to stand in the way of communities coming together and enjoy a beer and celebrate one-off events of national interest.
“MPs know the pubs are the focal points of their local communities, so let’s work together to get an amendment quickly agreed.”