Plea for Blears to dump 'daft' ADZs

Related tags Alcohol disorder zones Home office Conservative party

Eleven trade bodies unite to call for an end to the Home Office's plans for the 'unworkable zones by John Harrington Trade bodies have written a...

Eleven trade bodies unite to call for an end to the Home Office's plans for the 'unworkable zones

by John Harrington

Trade bodies have written a joint letter pleading with the Home Office to drop its plans for alcohol disorder zones (ADZs).

In a letter leaked to the Morning Advertiser, British Beer & Pub Association chief executive Rob Hayward, representing 11 trade associations, urged Home Office minister Hazel Blears to pull the plug on the controversial plan.

The proposal, which is included in the Government's Violent Crime Reduction Bill and will see a compulsory levy for licensed venues in the designated areas, have been roundly condemned as unfair and unworkable by police, councils and the trade.

In the letter, Hayward welcomed a number of the proposals in the bill to tackle alcohol-related problems. But he blasted ADZs as 'unworkable and with 'serious limitations, so he has taken the 'abnormal course of restating trade opposition to the proposal.

A crucial sticking point is how much different types venues will be required to pay in an ADZ.

Hayward said that despite four separate meetings between Blears and the trade, 'we are more confused than ever as to how and to whom exemptions and discounts will apply. For example, there have been conflicting messages from Government about whether off-licences and hotels will be exempted from paying, or will be entitled to a discount.

The BBPA boss pointed to the depth of opposition to ADZs expressed by non-trade associations in the Government's Drinking Responsible consultation document.

He praised the 'very helpful articles in the Morning Advertiser in recent weeks, which have highlighted the depth of opposition to ADZs from police and councils.

Hayward told the MA that it makes no sense for a responsible venue to pay the charge simply because of its location. 'We have yet to be convinced that alcohol disorder zones can be both workable and fair, he said.

But Hayward said the Government remains firmly behind the idea of ADZs, particularly as it shows to the wider world that it is taking alcohol-related problems seriously as the new licensing regime draws near.

'They made it absolutely clear that the legislation will be introduced. But we believe it was appropriate that we expressed our opposition.

Further details of the charging scheme under ADZ are due to be released early this month. The Tackling Violent Crime Bill is due to get its second reading in the autumn.

In its submission to the Drinking Responsibly consultation, the Association of Chief Police Officers expressed fears that the zones would be 'routinely challenged through the courts at considerable cost to the public sector, in terms of time and money.

The Local Government Association said ADZs 'may have a negative impact on an area's reputation.

Related topics Legislation

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