The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) is implementing an action plan to ensure that UK licensees are prepared for the new Licensing Act. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has confirmed that, with less than two months to go before the deadline for applications, just 5% of licensees have applied for a new licence.

The WSTA has developed a 12-point guide setting out who needs a licence, what kind of licence they need and how they can apply for it. It is also offering a telephone helpline service for any licensee with questions or problems. In addition, it will shortly be putting a new section on its website ( which gives details of each local authority's licensing policy. There will also be an online feedback form for licensees to use to alert the WSTA to bad practice or inconsistent interpretation of the legislation by licensing authorities. The Association will then take up the complainant's concerns with the relevant bodies.

In a statement released yesterday (13 June), Barry Sutton, deputy chairman of the WSTA, said: "We're doing all we can to galvanise the trade to take the necessary action and ensure a smooth transition into the new licensing regime. We're also pushing the Government and DCMS to do more to encourage licensees to apply.

"However, the buck stops with the trade - it is their responsibility to protect their livelihoods. We can't fill out the forms for people, but we can offer guidance and support, and help make the application process as easy as possible.  We urge licensees to call or email us if they need assistance."

The 12 points are:

  1. The new regime comes into force on Thursday 24 November - from this date if you do not hold a new licence you will not be able to sell alcohol.
  2. If you currently hold a licence, you must apply to convert it by 6 August to retain the rights you currently hold after the new Act comes into force. If you miss this deadline you will have to re-apply for a licence from scratch and may not be granted the same level of rights as you held previously.
  3. There are two types of licence: premises licence and personal licence - a premises licence requires at least one personal licence holder.
  4. Your local authority is now responsible for licensing (previously it was with Magistrates).
  5. Licence application forms are available from your local authority licensing team and also on the Department of Culture, Media and Sport website:
  6. The wholesale exemption to sell to the public will cease to exist - all alcohol sales to members of the public, whatever the quantity, will require a licence.
  7. Any occasional sales of alcohol to members of the public (including to members of your staff) will require a licence.
  8. If you only sell to traders or licence-holders, you will not require a licence.
  9. The fee for a premises licence is based on the Non Domestic Rateable Value of your business premises.  There is an application fee for the first year, and an annual fee thereafter.  The fees are available at:
  10. Where alcohol is distance-sold (over the internet or by phone or mail), the warehouse where the wine is stored/despatched from may be the premises that requires a licence - please contact the WSTA for further clarification.
  11. If you do not currently hold a licence, you will need to attain an accredited qualification in order to obtain your personal licence - details of training providers for accredited qualifications are available from the WSTA.
  12. If you wish to sell alcohol at a one-off event, the Act provides for you to give a Temporary Event Notice to your licensing authority.