Shabana has written to several Ministers seeking action on the regulation shisha premises.
For many years, Shabana has led the campaign to regulate shisha premises across the country. After meeting with officers from Birmingham City Council, she has received guidance on supporting regulatory change through the Local Government Act 2003. It is an important step towards ensuring that existing shisha premises, and new shisha bars and lounges, do not operate to the detriment of local residents.
Following receipt of this guidance, Shabana is seeking to meet the relevant Minister to talk about the proposals for regulation.
You can read the correspondence in full below.
I am writing regarding my ongoing campaign to improve the regulation around shisha premises.
For many years shisha premises have been allowed to operate outside of proper regulation. They operate as nightlife venues, attracting the associated antisocial behaviour and causing problems for local residents, yet no single agency or statutory legislation regulates their activity.
In March 2017 I hosted a local roundtable discussion about the issue with local residents and councillors, where there was widespread agreement that a new regulatory approach was required. Subsequently I spoke to colleagues in local government from across the country, and was told that this is a widespread issue which wasn’t being addressed by the government.
In December 2018, I held an in-depth debate on this subject in Westminster Hall on this subject where I laid out my case to the government and called for meaningful action to be taken to address the issues which have been raised with me by constituents and people from across the country.
In January 2019, following discussions with the former Minister for High Streets Jake Berry MP, I convened a further roundtable discussion with relevant government departments and with local government representatives. After the productive meeting the Minister agreed to reflect on what action the government may be able to take to act on my concerns and the concerns of those present. The principal change suggested was an amendment to the Local Government Act (2000) could give local authorities sufficient powers to tackle the problems posed by premises which don’t play by the rules.
Unfortunately, some weeks later, the Minister decided that an amendment to the Local Government Act (2000) was not his preferred route and that he would be deferring responsibility for addressing the issue to the Home Office, through a change to the Licensing Act (2003).
Since my last correspondence with the Minister I have had further in-depth discussions with the Environmental Health Operations Manager at Birmingham City Council. She has restated the possibility for legislative change through an amendment to the Local Government Act 1982. In her briefing, she informs me that the reasoning behind pursuing a chance through the Local Government Act rather than the Licensing Act is that the former is more effective at dealing with the observed issues at shisha premises. She states that it gives flexibility for local authorities to set local controls, and has been used successfully in the past around controls for Sexual Entertainment Venues and tattooing.
I attach for your reference a briefing that compares the two different approaches to the regulation of shisha premises.
I would welcome the opportunity to meet with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Minister for Local Government and Homelessness, alongside a representative from Birmingham City Council, to discuss this briefing and potential next steps to ensure shisha premises are properly regulated in the future.
I will be sending a copy of this letter to the Permanent Secretary to the MHCLG to assist in facilitating this meeting.
Thanks and best wishes,
Shabana Mahmood MP
Member of Parliament for Birmingham Ladywood