Pubs in England will be allowed to stay open for longer during the country’s World Cup matches after a consultation ordered by the PM deemed it an “occasion of exceptional national significance” which merited extended licensing hours.
The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) had twice asked the Home Office to extend the allowed opening hours of pubs for England’s opening game against Italy on June 14, which begins at 11pm UK time, and also for the final weekend of the tournament on July 11 and 12.
However the Home Office turned down the application saying it was not a case of “exceptional circumstances”, such as the royal wedding or the Queen’s Jubilee.
It said pubs would instead have to pay to apply for individual temporary licences to stay open later.
The refusal led to the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, stepping in to order a consultation on the request to extend pubs opening times during the World Cup in Brazil, which today found in the industry’s favour.
In a report published today responding to the consultation, the Home Office said: “The Government believes that England playing in the World Cup is an occasion of exceptional national significance. Many people will wish to enjoy watching the matches in pubs and bars and experience the atmosphere of the occasion with fellow football fans, as demonstrated by the enthusiasm of the majority of those who responded to the consultation.
“There are benefits to business from an increase in the sale of alcohol and other refreshments during the World Cup. Each TEN costs £21 and authorises the activities to which it relates to be carried on for up to 168 hours (seven days). Licensed premises wishing to extend their licenses for World Cup matches would benefit from not paying this fee, and we estimate this to be a benefit of £0.85m-£1.35m to businesses.
“The Government has listened to the views received in response to the consultation and in discussion with partners has decided to proceed with the proposal to relax licensing hours nationally for England’s World Cup matches.”
Pubs will be allowed to stay open four hours longer after following England’s World Cup matches with a scheduled kick off time of 8pm or later, up until 1am.
The report said: “This length of time covers any extra time and penalties, and will also mean that customers are likely to leave premises gradually after the match, minimising any nuisance to the public. The Government believes that 1am is an acceptable cut off time and premises wishing to extend their hours beyond this could do so using a TEN.”
Welcoming the decision Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association Chief Executive, said: “It’s really great news, which will put pubs at the heart of a great national event. I am particularly pleased that the Government has really listened, and made sure that common sense prevailed, granting the full four hours after kick off for England games, as we had asked.
“I’d like to thank the hundreds in the pub trade who responded, making our views loud and clear.”