Rise in Scottish liquor licences continues

There has been an increase in licensed premises across Scotland since 2011. Photo: Zenoss
There has been an increase in licensed premises across Scotland since 2011. Photo: Zenoss
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Figures released by the Scottish Government in November for 2014-15 show a 2 per cent rise in the number of licences granted since March 2011, despite a decrease on 2014’s figures

The total number of on and off-sale licenced premises across Scotland stands at 16,663 as of March this year, with 5,096 of these solely off-sales.

The latest figures for 2014-15 show the Highlands in third place. Photo: Scottish Government

The latest figures for 2014-15 show the Highlands in third place. Photo: Scottish Government

With the majority of Scotland’s licenced premises being on-sale, this means that these premises are licenced for the consumption of alcohol at the same location from which it was purchased.

The slight upward trend in premises licences in force over the past four years has been slowed by the 11,284 previously-licensed premises that neglected to undertake the five-year licence refresher training course that is compulsory as a result of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005.

Thanks to the act, successful applicants are licenced for ten years subject to the terms and conditions of the licence. Even if no infringements are recorded, a five-year refresher course is mandatory.

This group is the first batch of licence-holders to have had their licences revoked during the fifth year of operation under the new licensing arrangements, with the act coming entirely into force in September 2009.

A spokesperson from the Scottish Government said: “While there have been very small increases over the years, with year on year changes of less than 1%, these do not necessarily reflect any notable change in circumstances as the number and type of licenced premises will vary from year to year due to a wide range of factors ”

As a result, a mere 15, or 3 per cent of total applications for premises licences were refused within the 2014-15 timeframe.

A total of 22,800 occasional licences for events such as festivals and music concerts were issued by local authorities during 2014-15, with a full-time equivalent of 60 licensing standards officers employed as of March 2015.