Pubs can extend opening hours if England or Scotland reach Euro 2024 semi-finals | Politics News

Pubs will be able to extend their opening hours to 1am if England or Scotland make it to the Euro-2024 semi finals this summer.

Venues will be allowed to stay open for an extra two hours on match days if either or both teams reach the last four or the final, the government said.

Most pubs shut by 11pm, but under Section 172 of the Licensing Act 2003 ministers can make an order relaxing licensing hours to mark occasions of “exceptional national significance”.

Home Secretary James Cleverly said that the move will “allow friends, families and communities to come together for longer to watch their nation hopefully bring it home”.

The easement covers venues in England and Wales, with Scotland and Northern Ireland in charge of their own licensing rules.

It comes after a consultation at the end of last year and is hoped to provide a boost to the hospitality industry, which has been hit hard by soaring energy prices and the cost of living crisis.

The semi-finals are currently scheduled to take place on Tuesday 9 July and Wednesday 10 July, with the final taking place on Sunday 14 July.

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Euro 2020: Joy for Italians and despair for England

The head of trade body UK Hospitality, Kate Nicholls, said the extended hours were “essential to allow venues and fans to take full advantage”.

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said that by “cutting red tape, doing business will be that much easier”.

She added: “The beer and pub sector is set for a bumper summer of sport, so let’s hope that England and Scotland make it not just through to the semi-finals but meet in the final itself, with pub goers able to cheer the teams on with a beer later into the night thanks to these new measures.”

Soccer Football - Euro 2020 - Final - Italy v England - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - July 11, 2021 England's Harry Kane with Bukayo Saka after the match Pool via REUTERS/Laurence Griffiths
Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka console each other after defeat on penalties against Italy in the final of Euro 2020

England fell short of European glory in the COVID-delayed Euro 2020 after losing to Italy in the final.

If the team manages to go one better this summer, it will be the first major trophy won by the country since the World Cup in 1966.

Scotland is the only other home nation to have qualified for the tournament. Wales narrowly missed out on a place after losing to Poland in a penalty-shootout in Cardiff last month.

The UK government has previously pushed back pub closing times for royal weddings, the Queen’s 90th birthday in 2016, the World Cup in 2014 and the last Euro final in 2022.

Pub opening times were also extended during the King’s coronation weekend last year.

The legislation to enact the change will be laid in parliament on Wednesday to ensure there is enough time for it to be debated and passed before the tournament begins.

A Scottish government spokesperson said it was up to local licensing boards whether or not to allow pubs to extend their opening hours.


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