House of Commons Library

Alcohol: mandatory licensing conditions

Published Friday, July 6, 2018

This Library Briefing Paper describes the mandatory licensing conditions that apply to the sale of alcohol in England and Wales.

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The Home Secretary can prescribe up to nine mandatory conditions for the sale and supply of alcohol.

The Licensing Act 2003 (Mandatory Licensing Conditions) (Amendment) Order 2014 came into force on 1 October 2014 and revised the conditions originally introduced from April 2010.

The 2014 Order means that there are now mandatory conditions designed to:

  • ban irresponsible promotions
  • ensure free potable water for customers
  • ensure that small measures of beers, wine and spirits are offered and that customers are made aware of them
  • ensure that all those who sell or supply alcohol have an age verification policy in place requiring them to ask anyone who looks under 18 for proof of age

The Home Office has published guidance (September 2014) on the conditions.

A mandatory condition banning the sale of alcohol below the “permitted price”, defined as alcohol duty plus VAT, came into force in May 2014. The Home Office has published guidance (March 2017) on this condition.

This Paper refers to the law in England and Wales.

Commons Briefing papers SN05351

Author: John Woodhouse

Topic: Licensing

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