Ruling keeps kids out of pubs

House of Lords votes down proposal to let unaccompanied children in pubs

Mar 7, 2003 - England's House of Lords has overturned a ruling that would allow children of all ages into pubs unaccompanied. House members voted against the Licensing Bill proposals and agreed that children under the age of 14 should not be allowed to enter pubs without an adult. They said such a move could put children at risk.


The government deregulation, which aimed to make pubs more family friendly, would have allowed children able to enter pubs on their own to buy food and soft drinks.

Kate Radford, licensee of the Station pub in Hove, East Sussex, welcomed the news. "I've got a little boy and I don't think pubs are safe places for unaccompanied kids," she said. "We let kids in with their parents until 5 p.m. and that's fine. But if loads of children were allowed in on their own it would completely change the atmosphere and I think less adults would come here."

Her opinions were echoed by publicans across the country.

Trade leaders feel ruling could backfire on publicans who may face more bureaucracy. Mark Hastings, of the British Beer & Pub Association, said that it is a missed opportunity for the trade. "If a 12 or 13-year-old can go into a licensed restaurant and have a burger or a pizza and a soft drink, why can't they go into a pub and do the same? It seems an unnecessary layer of regulation," he said.

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