HC Deb 14 February 2003 vol 400 cc58-9W
Mr. Greenway

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what impact assessment she has made of the effect of the proposals in the Licensing Bill on not for profit sports clubs; [97405]

(2) what assessment she has made of the likely additional cost on the voluntary sports club sector of being required to (a) obtain licences for club entertainment and (b) comply with the annual inspection fees as proposed in the Licensing Bill; [97403]

(3) what plans she has to assist voluntary sports clubs to meet with the costs imposed by the proposals within the Licensing Bill; [97401]

(4) for what reasons she will require clubs to apply for licences for club entertainment under the proposed Licensing and Entertainment Bill; and how many clubs will be required to obtain such a licence. [97404]

Dr. Howells

Voluntary or not for profit sports clubs do not enjoy any special status under current alcohol or entertainment licensing law. They may, however, operate as registered clubs under the Licensing Act 1964 and therefore enjoy a different status to those operating under justices' licences. Under the Licensing Bill the separate system for authorisations for qualifying clubs will continue through the new club premises certificate. The Regulatory Impact Assessment that accompanies the Bill states that there are currently just over 22,000 registered clubs.

Registered clubs are not currently completely exempt from the need for permission to have live entertainment. They need a certificate of suitability from the local authority and a special hours certificate from the magistrates if they currently wish to provide entertainment for extended hours.

Qualifying clubs will be required to obtain authorisation to provide regulated entertainment under the Bill, this is to ensure that the activity is carried on in accordance with the requirements necessary to promote the licensing objectives: the prevention of crime and disorder; public safety; the prevention of public nuisance; and the protection of children from harm.

The Government estimate that under the provisions of the Licensing Bill an application for a club premises certificate would cost between £100 and £500 with an annual charge of between £50 and £150 to maintain a revenue stream and cover continuing inspection and enforcement. It will cost no more, in terms of time or money, to apply for a certificate permitting the sale of alcohol and the provision of regulated entertainment than it would to apply for one permitting the sale of alcohol only. The Licensing Bill will not, therefore, impose additional costs for clubs. No specific impact assessment was carried out on not for profit sports clubs. The Regulatory Impact Assessment that accompanies the Bill estimates that voluntary associations and other non-profit making bodies would save around £150 million over the first 10 years of operation.