Late Night Refreshment - Apply for a Premises Licence - Tuesday 10th April 2012
George Osborne created quite a furore when he introduced his “pasty tax” in the Spring 2012 Budget. Assuming there is no U-turn by the Government, from 1st October 2012 all food which is sold “hot” i.e. “above ambient air temperature when provided to the customer” will be subject to 20% VAT.
The definition of “hot” food was incorporated into the Licensing Act 2003, using a similar definition. Under the licensing legislation (applicable in England and Wales), the provision of hot food or drink to members of the public between 23.00 and 05.00 is a licensable activity which requires a Premises Licence. Certain supplies are exempt, but generally it is an offence to provide hot food or drink between these times without a licence. “Hot” food or drink is (a) heated (b) to enable it to be consumed above ambient air temperature and (c) at the time of supply is above that temperature. Food heated on premises after being supplied is also “hot”.
So how can operators ensure compliance with the licensing legislation? There are 3 options (1) close between 23.00 and 05.00; (2) do not sell any hot food or hot drinks between 23.00 and 05.00 – pretty awkward if all the food you sell is hot; or (b) obtain a Premises Licence from the Council to authorise late night refreshment.
If you do decide to go down the licensed route, many towns and cities have introduced “special policy “ areas, where applications are normally rejected unless it can be shown that the operation will not add to existing problems in the area. Some Councils will ask late night operators to employ door supervisors to maintain order and in some cases will reject applications outright.
LR Law provides free initial advice on all licensing and regulatory matters and can submit your Premises Licence application, deal with site and newspaper notices and will represent you at a hearing if necessary.
Please contact Richard Williams or Carrol Ashton at LR Law on 0161 850 1522 for more information.
Richard Williams – LR Law Licensing Solicitors