House of Commons Library

Children in pubs

Published Friday, July 6, 2018

This Library Briefing Paper looks at alcohol licensing and children.

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The Licensing Act 2003 regulates the sale and supply of alcohol in England and Wales. The Act is underpinned by four licensing objectives. One of these is the “protection of children from harm”. Most activity around licensing and protecting children relates to:

  • preventing the illegal sale of alcohol to under 18s
  • regulating the access to licensed premises by children
  • preventing the consumption of alcohol by children on licensed premises

In addition to the Act’s specific offences relating to children, licensing authorities can impose conditions on premises licences. Home Office guidance (April 2018) states that conditions restricting the access of children to licensed premises should be “strongly considered” in circumstances where:

  • adult entertainment is provided;
  • a member of the management has been convicted for serving alcohol to minors or has a reputation for allowing underage drinking;
  • it is known that unaccompanied children have been allowed access;
  • there is a known association with drug taking or dealing; or
  • in some cases, the premises are used exclusively or primarily for the sale of alcohol for consumption on the premises.

Commons Briefing papers SN04908

Author: John Woodhouse

Topic: Licensing

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