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Armstrong welcomes impending changes to licensing laws

Alliance Communities spokesperson Kellie Armstrong MLA has welcomed the impending changes to local licensing laws, which will come into effect later this week.

The changes, which will begin on Friday, include pubs and hotels being allowed to open until 2am up to 104 nights a year, drinking-up time being increased to an hour and the removal of additional restrictions over Easter weekend. Further changes will come into effect over the next few years.

“It is welcome to see these changes about to finally take place,” said Ms Armstrong.

“Alliance has led the way for many years for the liberalisation of our drinking laws, particularly around the closures and restrictions over Easter, as a result of repeated calls from the hospitality sector and the public. This modernisation is long overdue and I hope it will bring many benefits to the hospitality industry, particularly in the run-up to Christmas.

“However, other aspects of the Bill, such as the local producers’ licence will be introduced over the coming months. That will allow us a fantastic opportunity to develop more local craft breweries into tourist attractions and grow that market.

“I believe the changes in this Bill will balance support for businesses and the health issues or alcohol-related crime, while helping boost the night-time economy as we move out of the pandemic.”