The Government has announced it will not go ahead with controversial plans to scrap personal licences.

The Home Office had proposed changing the system to provide personal licences through locally applied conditions to premises licences. The justification given was that the current procedure was not a “targeted and proportionate way to ensure alcohol is sold responsibly”. It was claimed it could save businesses £10m a year.

But the plans sparked howls of protest from the industry with accusations it would be a “retrograde step”.

This morning Home Office minster Norman Baker announced the Government had decided not to go ahead with the changes.

He said: “It was clear from the responses we received (to the consultation) that there was little backing for the proposal and nearly three-quarters (72%) of respondents did not think it would save time or money.

“Having carefully considered the range of views - including from the police, licensing authorities and the owners and managers of pubs, restaurants and shops - we have decided to keep personal licences.”

Brigid Simmonds, British Beer & Pub Association chief executive, said: “It is very good news the Government has listened to the industry, as the whole trade was united in opposition. 

“Personal licences work well, setting a national standard which is supported by both local authorities and the police.

“They are important for the reputation of the industry, and are needed, as a nationally recognised qualification.

“The Government’s intentions on deregulation are still very welcome; we will always be keen to work with them on the many other areas where action to reduce red tape is needed.”