Northern Ireland

NI alcohol licensing laws set to change with Stormont bill

A man drinking a pint of beer Image copyright PA
Image caption The hospitality industry wanted late licences to be available every weekend

A bill which will lead to changes in NI's alcohol licensing laws will be debated later on Tuesday.

The bill at Stormont will mean some liberalising of the law but does not go as far as many in the hospitality industry would have liked.

The main change is that pubs and nightclubs will be able to serve alcohol for an extra hour, until 02:00, up to 12 times a year.

The hospitality industry wanted late licences to be available every weekend.

'Drinking-up time'

The other main change is the extension in "drinking-up time" from half an hour to an hour.

Most restrictions around Easter drinking will stay in place.

The only change is that on the Thursday before Easter serving time will be extended from midnight to 01:00.

The law will also be tightened in some areas - supermarkets will face restrictions on where they can place in-store advertising.

The current voluntary code of practice for alcohol retailers will also be replaced with a statutory code.

The bill is expected to become law by the middle of 2017.

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