CEA disappointed on alcohol controls

July 5, 2012

The Cinema Exhibitors’ Association has expressed disappointment at the Government’s decision not to exempt cinemas from proposed measures to tackle alcohol-related disorder.

The Home Office has announced that cinemas would not be exempt from proposed Early Morning Restriction Orders (EMROs).  This is despite having indicated that the nature of cinemas’ customers, and the controls on alcohol use already in place, do not suggest a problem is likely to occur.

EMROs are being proposed to tackle localised problems of alcohol-related disorder.  Government consulted on this measure – and the related proposal of a Late Night Levy – in January.  It proposed that cinemas, along with a range of other premises such as theatres, bingo halls and casinos, would be potentially exempt from these controls.

The Government has confirmed that over twice as many respondents supported the proposal to exempt cinemas as opposed it.  Ministers have also confirmed that cinemas will be amongst those potentially exempted from the Late Night Levy.  However, the new announcement only offers exemption from the Late Night Levy and not EMROs.

CEA Chief Executive Phil Clapp said:

“This is a hugely disappointing decision.  We have been in discussion with Home Office officials for over a year on these proposals.  We thought we had convinced them that cinemas are never the source or focus of such activities and should be exempt.

When the exemption proposal was included in the Government’s consultation paper at the start of the year, it appeared that our case had been accepted.  The apparent about-turn now seems to show that our arguments for exemption on The Late Night Levy have been accepted, but the same arguments have been overlooked for the EMROs. 

The ability of licensed cinemas to offer customers the opportunity to consume alcohol in a comfortable and controlled environment is an increasingly important part of many cinemas’ offer to their customers.  At a time when Government should be doing all it can to support those providing jobs and services in local communities, this move seems both illogical and counter-productive.  We are strongly urging Ministers to reconsider.”

The full details of the Home Office announcement can be found here.