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Stricter alcohol licensing laws for airports will jeopardise travel retail

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Stricter alcohol licensing laws for airports will jeopardise travel retail 23rd January 2019

Leading business law firm claims the regulation of alcohol sales will be detrimental to travel retail investment.

RPC Law is reported to have concluded that “…restricting the sale of alcohol during early morning hours would reduce the attraction of airports for retail and leisure spending, and risked adding unnecessary red tape and large increases in costs to one of the UK biggest success stories.”

RPC partner Ciara Cullen said it was “worrying” that the government was considering “hampering” the success of British airports as a retail destination by increasing the red tape and cost burden at a time when the retail sector was already under pressure.

RPC further claimed airport bars would be hit by a rise in business rates that were likely to be valued on the value of the entire airport rather than just the bar space, in addition to a late night levy of up to £4,400 per year and licensing fees, and running costs such as employing door staff or installing CCTV.

In 2018, the Institute reported on the Home Office’s plans to introduce licensing restrictions for alcohol outlets based in airports in order to address the increasing levels of ASB in airports and on planes.

Ms Cullen said that while reducing drunkenness on flights was “undoubtedly” a good thing, there are other ways of dealing with the issue without restricting the huge majority of people who drink responsibly.

“UK airports have done a fantastic job of ensuring tourists begin their foreign holiday spending in the UK and not overseas. Given the pressures the sector is facing, both retailers and airports will be wondering why the Government would want to make that more difficult,” she said.

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