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In correspondence seen by the Institute, the Home Office confirmed "it would be appropriate to extend the off-sales provision for a further year".
In the letter, the Home Office wrote:
"As you know, Section 11 of the Business and Planning Act 2020 modified provisions in the Licensing Act 2003 to provide automatic extensions to premises licences that only permitted sales of alcohol for consumption on the premises ("on-sales"), to also allow sales of alcohol for consumption off the premises ("off-sales"). This was a temporary measure to boost the economy in response to the Covid 19 pandemic and was extended last year so as to expire on 30 September 2022.
"Covid restrictions on where people could drink lapsed in January 2022. Therefore, we had hoped that it would not be necessary to extend these provisions and we duly notified the licensed sector of that intention. However, notwithstanding the absence of legal restrictions, it is clear that the licensed sector is continuing to suffer effects from the pandemic. We have therefore reassessed the situation and concluded that it would be appropriate to extend the off-sales provision for a further year. We will bring the necessary Alcohol Licensing (Coronavirus) (Regulatory Easements) (Amendment) Regulations when parliamentary time allows, with the intention for the regulations to be in force by 30 September.
"We still need a long-term solution and it remains our intention over the next few months to seek the views of the licensed sector, local authorities and other interested parties to understand whether there would be support for a streamlined process for alcohol licences, which would be a permanent alternative to the current alcohol licensing easements."