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Tuesday, 18 February, 2003, 06:28 GMT
Pubs fight new licensing laws
David Heath MP (left) and Billy Bragg in July
Billy Bragg has backed opposition to the bill
Rural pubs in Devon and Cornwall say they are facing a new threat to their future.

The government's reform of licensing laws introduces new regulations which some believe will drive them out of business.

North Devon licensees meet their MP Nick Harvey at the Old Court House Inn in Chulmleigh on Tuesday to discuss fighting the proposals.

Landlords say the licensing bill will mean sizeable increases in the cost of running a pub.

They will be required to draw up detailed operating plans, with procedures for crowd control and evacuation of premises, more health and safety measures and extra staff.

Musicians' protest

Sam Moyes, of the Old Court House Inn, said: "The cost of implementing these changes will be an added burden.

"It will force some smaller pubs to close."

The licensing bill has already come under fire from musicians.

Pubs in England and Wales will have to obtain licences from their local council for any form of entertainment, with a maximum punishment for performing without permission of 20,000 or six months in jail.

A government spokeswoman said the reforms would reduce bureaucracy for landlords, and increase safety for the public.


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See also:

12 Nov 02 | Entertainment
24 Jul 02 | Politics
03 Jul 02 | Entertainment
12 Apr 02 | Entertainment
05 Dec 01 | Entertainment
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