B&B Blog

News and updates from the Bed & Breakfast Association

Thursday 4 December 2014

New, easier alcohol Licensing for B&Bs: have your say by 9th December

The B&B Association has been involved in talks with the Home Office for about a year now about moves (which we have been pushing for) to introduce a new, easier, cheaper, less onerous method of alcohol licensing for small B&Bs (and for other businesses where alcohol is sold “ancillary to” their main business) in England and Wales. The Home Office have an online consultation, closing on 9 December – and we urge all members to respond to it – see below.

Lynne Featherstone, Minister of State for Crime Prevention, says:
“The Government is committed to reducing the unnecessary burdens on responsible businesses. Small businesses have told us that the existing licensing requirements are heavy handed for those who want to sell small amounts of alcohol as part of a wider service. For example, small bed and breakfasts wishing to provide a welcome drink to guests must be at present licensed in the same way as a large hotel with a public bar.”
“We want to free up the police and local enforcement agencies to concentrate on the premises that are causing alcohol harms. The Community and Ancillary seller’s Notice (CAN) will allow such particular low-risk businesses and community groups to sell a small amount of alcohol, while providing appropriate, light-touch controls.”

The 'small print'  of the CAN conditions applicable to B&Bs are:
The CAN will be authorised for 36 months; alcohol may be sold between 7am and 11pm from a single named premises, for consumption on the named premises; notice will be given to the licensing authority; the prescribed fee will be paid; Police, Environmental Health Authority and licensing authority can object if a CAN will undermine the licensing objectives, with the result that the CAN may be revoked. Police and licensing authority officers will have rights of entry to investigate where users are in breach of the CAN conditions.
No right to a hearing or appeal if a CAN is revoked. The sale of alcohol must be “ancillary to” the provision of goods or services by the business.

Key Consultation Questions (and our recommended answers in green):

Question 1: what size of accommodation do you think should be determined a “small accommodation provider” for the purpose of the CAN?
a) An accommodation provider with up to five bed spaces
b) An accommodation provider with up to ten bed spaces
The Association recommends answer (c):
c) An accommodation provider with up to fifteen bed spaces
d) An accommodation provider with up to twenty bed spaces
e) Don’t know

A key principle of the CAN is that the sale of alcohol must be ancillary to the provision of services on the premises. The quantity of alcohol allowed to be sold under a CAN will be set out in the regulations, specifying any particular circumstances which may apply. For example, it may be permitted to offer a couple staying overnight in a B&B a bottle of wine in their room.

Question 2: how much alcohol do you think should be allowed to be sold by ancillary sellers under a CAN, per guest, in a 24 hour period?

a) Up to 2units (eg a small 125ml glass of wine; a pint of 3.5% ABV of beer; a 330ml bottle of 4% ABV lager; one double measure of spirits)
b) Up to 3 units (e.g. a large 250ml glass of wine; two 330ml bottles of 4% ABV lager; a pint of 5% ABV beer)
c) Up to 5 units (e.g. a 750ml bottle of 13% ABV wine between two people or a 250ml bottle of spirits between two people)
The Association recommends answer (d):
d) More than 5 units (e.g. allowing a bottle of wine between two people in a room plus an additional glass of wine with a meal)
e) Don’t know

Information about the consultation is at:

The consultation survey questions can be found at the following link (closes at 23.45 on 9th December):