The legal availability of alcohol is generally accepted to be one of the main controls on levels of alcohol consumption and harm. Licensing systems are therefore a key component of an overall alcohol control policy.

Licensing laws control where, when and to whom alcohol can be sold or supplied.

Restricting the physical availability of retailed alcohol (via reduced hours of sale) are among the World Health Organization's 'Best Buy' interventions for reducing the prevalence of Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs).

The following questions provide information on the licensing regulations in the UK and trends in the number of licensed premises. There is also information about the impact of licensing and availability regulations on public health and the night time economy.

Resources available on this page:

  • Frequently Asked Questions about 'Availability', with infographics presenting the most up-to-date statistics on the subject
  • Factsheets providing an in depth perspective on the subject of 'Availability'
  • Publications, Blogs, and News tagged 'Availability' for further reading

Frequently Asked Questions

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How many licensed premises are there in the UK?
How many personal licences to sell alcohol are there in England and Wales?
How many personal licences to sell alcohol are there in Scotland?
How many 24-hr licences to sell alcohol are there in England and Wales?
Which establishments have 24-hr alcohol licences?

Publications (View all)

IAS response to Call for evidence and views on the licensing and registration of clubs (Amendment) bill

IAS response to Call for evidence and views on the licensing and registration of clubs (Amendment) bill

January 2021
IAS response to Liquor licensing laws in Northern Ireland consultation

IAS response to Liquor licensing laws in Northern Ireland consultation

December 2019

Blogs (View all)