While many sports clubs with their own home operate a bar to supplement income, they often do so only occasionally and sometimes with long closures in the off-season.
The Sport and Recreation Alliance believes that clubs should be protected from any comparison to commercial licensed venues given that their primary purpose is the delivery of sport and not financial profit.
- despite government assurances prior to the introduction of the Licensing Act 2003, most sports clubs do not fall into the lowest fee band (Band A)
- the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill put forward a number of amendments to the 2003 Act to rebalance legislation in favour of local authorities, including a proposal for an extended late-night levy period and the introduction of early morning restriction orders.
- the average sports club makes just over £1000 surplus per year, which is a paltry amount to reinvest in facilities or expand activities. Any change in this delicately balanced equilibrium could be the difference between survival and closure. The Alliance therefore believes that clubs must be recognised as distinct from commercial venues.
- due to their size, Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs) are often disadvantaged by licensing fees, which are based on rateable value, i.e. its physical size – a sports club does not become more profitable because of its size. All clubs registered under the CASC scheme should therefore fall within Band A.
- the Alliance also proposes that clubs should not be made liable for any costs associated with a high level of alcohol consumption in town and city centres in the form of early morning restriction orders or late night levies.
The Alliance will continue to engage with the Home Office to protect clubs from unfair alcohol licensing charges.
The Home Office has agreed with the Alliance's findings in its Red Card to Red Tape report that CASCs should be exempt from the late night levy.
This recommendation has been included in the Home Office's spring 2012 consultation. The Alliance will ask for this to be extended to all sports clubs.
The Home Office has also agreed to consider premises such as community sports clubs when reviewing the banding for sports clubs.
James, the parliamentary under secretary of state responsible for crime and security, said in the House in February:
"The 2011 Act contains measures to enable the Home Secretary to prescribe, in regulations, that licensing fee levels are determined by the licensing authority to which they are payable, so as to recover the full costs of discharging their functions under the 2003 Act.
"We will consult before introducing the regulations governing the fee structure.
"We will consider whether there are types of premises, such as community sports clubs, that should be subject to a separate fee category".
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