Liquor licensing statistics Scotland 2016-17

Scotland’s Chief Statistician has today released Liquor licensing statistics Scotland 2016-17. This is being released as a web table showing information on premises and personal licences in force, applications and reviews, as well as numbers of licensing standards officers (LSOs) employed and the number of occasional licences issued.

The Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 came fully into force in September 2009 and this release reflects the seventh full year of operation under the new licensing arrangements.

The overall number of premises licences in force on 31 March 2017, at just under 16,700, has shown a very slight upward trend over the last seven years, increasing by 2 per cent since March 2011.

Some of the other main findings from the data are:

  • Just under 70 per cent of premises licenses in force at March 2017 related to licenses which allowed for on sales transactions, with the remaining 31 per cent related to off-sales only
  • Forty-one per cent of applications received for new premises licenses in 2016-17 were for off-sale only
  • Three per cent of applications for premises licences under section 23 of the 2005 Act in 2016-17 were refused
  • After falling sharply in 2015 due to the revocation of licences where people failed to undertake refresher training, the number of personal licences in force has risen by 12 per cent in the two years since then
  • Scottish local authorities employed a full-time equivalent of 57 licensing standards officers at March 2017, the same as in 2016
  • There were around 24,000 occasional licences granted by local authorities during 2016-17, similar to the levels in both 2014-15 and 2015-16.


The web table can be accessed at here.

Key changes introduced by the Licensing (Scotland) 2005 Act include:

  • Replacing all previous licence categories with a single premises licence and a personal licence and occasional licence
  • Inclusion of premises operating plans and layout plans with licence applications
  • Personal licensees must hold an accredited licensing qualification
  • Mandatory training for staff who sell or serve alcohol.

Under Section 23 of the 2005 Act, a licensing board is required to hold a hearing for the purposes of considering and determining an application for a premises licence.

This is a National Statistics release for Scotland. Official and National Statistics are produced to professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs and are produced free from political interference. More information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed here.


Media enquiries

Back to top