Licensees unimpressed by Tories' binge-drinking plans

Related tags Conservatism

Licensees have given a lukewarm reaction to the Conservative Party's five-point plan to tackle binge-drinking.Tory leader Michael Howard announced...

Licensees have given a lukewarm reaction to the Conservative Party's five-point plan to tackle binge-drinking.

Tory leader Michael Howard announced the tough initiative earlier this week as part of his party's election manifesto. He said that if elected, the Conservatives would recruit 5,000 more police a year, introduce new controls on late-night drinking and clamp down on "all you can drink" promotions. It would also strengthen the role of local authorities in the licensing of premises and give local communities a greater say in licensing decisions.

"They don't want members of the public looking over their shoulders - I want the yobs looking round in fear," said Mr Howard. "Instead of greeting the police with contempt I want them to fear them."

But a number of licensees seem unimpressed by the plans.

Mike Bell, licensee at the Portobello Gold, West London, said: "To me it's just the same old stuff recycled. The Tories won't be able to solve binge-drinking better than any other party with this plan. The problem is the lack of education over drinking. People aren't taught to drink responsibly from an early age."

John Pascoe, licensee at the Swan, Little Totham, Essex, agrees that lack of education about drinking lies at the root of the problem. "Binge-drinking is all about behaviour," he said. "It's how people react after having a drink. The Tories are heading in the wrong direction with this plan. They should be looking at the irresponsible way off-licences and supermarkets sell alcohol.

"But I'm in favour of a ban on drink promotions in pubs."

Meanwhile, Chris Maclean, licensee at the Plough and Harrow, Bridge, Kent, said: "It seems like a load of old rubbish to me. There's nothing new in there - it's typical of the Tories, who seem to have their heads buried in the sand."

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