Lords have rejected a plan that could make it easier for local authorities to add further top-up charges to alcohol licence fees. They voted against a proposal to let councils factor in licensing-related costs incurred by social services and trading standards when they get powers to set fee levels. The plan, made via an amendment to the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill during the report stage in the Lords, was proposed by Lord Stevenson of Balmacara. He highlighted concerns from the Local Government Association, which feared the impact on council budgets. But Lord De Mauley, speaking for the Government, said “the practical difficulties outweigh the benefits” because licensing authorities would be forced to calculate the costs of the other bodies - creating “substantial extra bureaucracy”. He also said costs generated for councils would be “marginal”. Stevenson replied: “Although the minister said that it was a marginal cost, every pound is important to local government. “The Government are hiding under the question of bureaucracy. They promised a very important principle - that there would be a full cost recovery basis for licensing. They have gone so far down the line but they are not prepared to go the further stage.” The amendment was voted out by 159 votes to 144. Earlier, Liberal Democrat peer Lord Clement-Jones withdrew three amendments aimed at making the controversial reform of licensing fairer for well-run pubs and clubs, after he was persuaded the issues would be addressed in upcoming guidance and consultation. The first related to the evidence test used to justify licence conditions. Clement-Jones wanted the test to be “necessary” rather than “appropriate”, because the later was more difficult to define and could be based on “political expediency or subjective judgment”. His second amendment aimed to secure exemptions to Early Morning Restriction Orders for well run venues, such as those taking part in schemes such as Best Bar None, pubwatch or a business improvement district. Clement-Jones’ third amendment aimed to make it easier for councils to determine specific areas where the late night levy would apply - he labelled the levy a “very blunt instrument” as it stands because venues outside hotspots could be forced to pay. The Bill is set to receive its third reading in the House of Lords on 20 July.