Publicans say later opening hours for pubs during royal wedding to have little impact

PUBS, clubs, bars and other licensed premises could be allowed to stay open and sell alcohol later to celebrate the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Monday, 8th January 2018, 6:40 am
Prince Harry and his fiancee Meghan Markle arriving at the Nottingham Contemporary, on their first official engagement together in December

The announcement by Home Secretary Amber Rudd comes as the government yesterday launched a public consultation on plans to extend licensing hours on the nights of May 18 and May 19 until 1am.

But people involved in the pub industry doubted if the proposals would make any difference as most premises are already open late.

Portsmouth city councillor Steve Pitt, who was a publican for 22 years, said: ‘I don’t think this will affect a lot of pubs and bars as most of them are open until 1am anyway on a Friday and Saturday.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

‘It seems to me this proposals is more to do with common sense as it will avoid the few places that cannot stay open late applying for temporary changes to their licenses.’

Landlord of the Foresters Arms in Gosport, Councillor Rob Hylands, agreed.

He added: ‘It will be good for those who do want to extend their license over this weekend but for a lot of pubs, it won’t make a difference.’

People on The News’ Facebook page raised concerns on the impact it could have on the police and NHS services while others agreed it would not have much impact.

Changes to licensing hours have previously been made for other occasions including the Queen’s 90th birthday, the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011 and the World Cup in 2014.

The proposal has been welcomed by the British Beer and Pub Association.

Chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: ‘This is great news for pubs and pub-goers and shows the government has listened to our calls to put pubs at the heart of the Royal Wedding celebrations.

‘Extended hours would give a £10m boost to the trade and make the most of the expected increase in tourism.’

The four-week public consultation will give the public the opportunity to submit their views.

The government will also seek the views of specific stakeholders, including the police, licensing authorities and alcohol awareness groups.

Ms Rudd said: ‘The royal wedding will be a time of national celebration, and we want everyone to be able to make the most of such an historic occasion.

‘I hope this relaxation of the licensing hours will allow people to extend their festivities and come together to mark what will be a very special moment for the country.’

To take part in the consultation visit gov.uk/government/consultations/relaxation-of-licensing-hours-for-the-royal-wedding.