The pub is a great British institution and should be able to welcome us through their doors for events of national and local significance

If there is one thing that unites us all, it is sporting or royal events, and the place we tend to gather is our local pub, the beating heart of all our communities.

But as we all found last summer current licensing legislation meant our local pubs couldn’t open early for us to proudly cheer on and enjoy the pre-match excitement of our Lionesses representing us in the Women’s World Cup final.

Because the main way a premises can extend their licence is under the 2003 Licensing Act (applicable only to England and Wales) whereby each individual licensed venue needs to apply to their local authority for a temporary event notice known as TENs.

Applications cost £21 and can take a minimum of five working days to be approved. A premises is also allowed to apply for only between two and 10 short-notice TENs in any given year.

The other option for licensing extensions, is for the Government to make an order under the same Act applicable to all premises specifying the dates and times of the relaxations.

Best practice is for the Home Secretary to complete a public consultation and for Parliament to hold debates on the proposal in both the Commons and the Lords before deciding whether to approve licensing extensions or not. That full process can take up to six months.

In practice, these orders have never been opposed and have been used only for important events, such as the coronation of His Majesty the King, Her late Majesty the Queen’s 90th birthday and platinum jubilee, the 2011 and 2018 royal weddings, the 2014 FIFA world cup and the Euro 2020 final, which happened eventually in 2021 due to the pandemic.

But last summer we only knew our Lionesses had made the final on the Wednesday before the match that coming Sunday, there was no time for our pubs to apply to their local authorities for an extension, and, because Parliament was in recess, there was no mechanism for the Government to issue an order for a blanket extension.

Whilst my Bill doesn’t propose making any changes to TENs it will change the overly bureaucratic, costly, and time-consuming process for Parliamentary approved extensions. It will give the Home Secretary the power to legislate for licensing extensions without the long parliamentary approval process and regardless of recess or not. Because we should always be able to come together in our local for special events as well as giving our pubs a much-needed boost in revenue.

Our pubs and hospitality industry were hit hard through covid losing in 2020 an estimated £200 million every single day. The industry has more than 220,000 premises licensed to sell alcohol in England and Wales. It employs approximately 500,000 people in pubs and bars across our towns and communities and contributes £26.2 billion to the national economy. Having worked in the industry I am in no doubt about what hard work it is or the value it brings, not just to my constituency, but to our economy and our country overall.

Clearly, what benefits our pubs benefits all of us.

This simple but impactful Bill will now be debated in Committee moving it ever closer to becoming legislation, hopefully in time for the Men’s Euros this year.

The pub is a great British institution, and it is right that pubs are able to welcome us through their doors for events of national and local significance.

Under my Bill, they will be able to do so, something I am sure we can all raise a glass to.

Emma Lewell-Buck MP

Mrs Emma Lewell-Buck is the Labour MP for South Shields, and was elected in 2013.