The government has climbed down on plans to charge higher licence fees and impose stricter safety regulations on pubs that stay open longer under the new licensing reform due to come into force in January 2004, The Business reports.

The plan had originally been to hold pubs to the same conditions that apply to nightclubs. This would have forced pubs to spend heavily on new fire exits and instate strict customer capacity limits.

The Bar Entertainment & Dance Association will campaign against the decision to let pubs off the hook. The Government’s bill will be included in next month’s Queen’s Speech. It is expected to receive royal assent by next summer.

The Business 13/10/02 page 35