Government Announcement: No Extension of Regulatory Easements to the Licensing Act 2003 – What does this mean for your business?

7th August 2023

The Government has today published the results of its consultation on whether to extend those provisions in the Business and Planning Act 2020 (“BPA”) which affected the Licensing Act 2003. Today’s announcement confirmed that the measures will revert to the pre-pandemic position. This article considers what implications those decisions may have on your business.

Business and Planning Act (2020)

The BPA was introduced during the pandemic with the purpose of providing certain changes and relaxations to benefit the hospitality industry and assist with their operations whilst continuing to manage those risks arising from Covid-19.

In particular, it allowed premises licence holders with the permission to sell alcohol for consumption on the premises only or with certain conditions restricting off sales to automatically sell alcohol for consumption off the premises, without the need to amend their premises licence. It also extended the number of Temporary Event Notices (TENs) available in each calendar year from 15 to 20, with the total time covered by those increasing from 21 to 26 days.

In the publication of its results, the Government confirmed that a total of 174 responses were received from licensing authorities, trade organisations, resident’s organisations, and members of the public. In relation to off-sales, 65% were in favour of returning to the pre-pandemic provisions of the Licensing Act, and for TENs, 63% of respondents were opposed to making permanent the increased allocation.

What does this mean for your business?

Temporary Event Notices

If your business relies on the use of TENs your allowances will reduce from 01 January 2024. Your annual TEN allowance will reduce from 20 to 15, and there will be a decrease in the number of days available from 26 to 21 days. The Government publication does not provide any guidance for business who have already applied for TENs in excess of the pre-pandemic allowance and have not confirmed whether those TENs in excess of the pre-pandemic allowance will be honoured or made redundant. Once this information is available, we will publish some further guidance.


The provisions relating to the automatic extension of off-sales will cease on the 30 September 2023 and therefore any business relying on the automatic addition of off-sales, for example to allow al-fresco drinking/dining, or for delivery, will need to make an application to vary its premises licence to allow for off-sales. In its guidance, the Government has confirmed that such an application will be accepted by way of a minor variation, rather than a full variation, which is a cheaper and quicker process. It also removes the need for a newspaper advertisement.

Premises licence holders who do sell alcohol for consumption off the premises would be advised to check whether their premises licence allows for off-sales on its face. If it does not, they would be advised to contact us to discuss the lodgement of the appropriate application as soon as possible, to ensure that the matter is resolved before the end of September.

If your business is affected by the cessation of these measures, please get in touch with our specialist Licensing Team who will best advise you of your next course of action. Our team can be contacted on 0161 832 3434.

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