With the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 and subsequent measures, both in terms of primary (Acts) and secondary legislation (SSIs and regulations) the past few years have seen major reforms to the alcohol licensing regime.
We fully recognise the energy and commitment from trade, Boards, LSOs, the police and others in bringing in this new regime and making it work. However we are also willing to listen to their concerns about where they are experiencing difficulties, or where the legislation is unclear or ineffective.
We have therefore carefully considered what the trade, Boards, the police, Licensing Board clerks, and others, have told us. We have also considered the findings of work like the NHS Health Scotland research to evaluate the regime and the joint report by Alcohol Focus Scotland and Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems on "Rethinking Alcohol Licensing".
We have developed a series of proposals to address these concerns. These proposals have been grouped under two themes, proposals to strengthen the powers of Licensing Boards and the police, and proposals to improve the effectiveness of the licensing regime. In addition we anticipate that these proposals will contribute to our overall aims of addressing the problems of alcohol misuse, while minimising the burdens on the legitimate trade and regulators.
This work exists in a wider context, we are leading the UK with our work to address alcohol misuse through introducing minimum pricing, while we are addressing the impact on trade and regulators through our ongoing work to review fees, update the guidance for licensing boards and bring forward a Better Regulation Bill.
We would welcome your views on these proposals. Our views are not fixed and we are committed to an open and productive discussion on these proposals.
Kenny MacAskill MSP
Cabinet Secretary for Justice