Local government leaders have called for a purge on licensing rules to free up small businesses from red tape.
According to the Local Government Association (LGA) a small restaurant may need to put in up to eight separate licensing applications before opening.
It has called on the Government to streamline licensing regimes into a single legal framework.
The LGA said the licensing system was ‘woefully out-of-date’.
Chair of the LGA's communities board,Cllr Mehboob Khan, said: 'Millions of pounds are wasted each year managing this needless red tape and a licensing system that is woefully out-of-date and preventing councils from targeting the minority of businesses causing real problems.
'It is ridiculous that laws developed more than 100 years ago with no relevance to the 21st Century remain in force, each with their own unfathomable maze of paperwork and fees.
'The time has come for government to commit to a full review of the system to remove some of these outdated regimes and to combine and simplify others.'