BBPA defends extended pub hours

By Ewan Turney

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Drinking culture Binge drinking Rob hayward Bbpa

BBPA defends extended pub hours
The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has defended extended opening hours after the Archbishop of Canterbury claimed the streets were now less...

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has defended extended opening hours after the Archbishop of Canterbury claimed the streets were now less safe.

The Archbishop slammed the Government for introducing the Licensing Act last week, claiming there was a "culture of alcohol abuse"​ and the "24-hour thing is just the tip of the iceberg"​.

But BBPA chief executive Rob Hayward wrote to the Archbishop to "explode many of the myths and misconceptions"​ surrounding the Licensing Act.

Licensing minister Gerry Sutcliffe revealed last Wednesday that 60% of pubs, bars and restaurants stopped selling alcohol by 11pm and the average extension time was only 20 minutes.

"The term '24 hour drinking' should be consigned to the dustbin,"​ said Hayward.

"It started as an invention and it remains a myth. It's a term that totally misrepresents the reality of the change in our licensing laws.

"The true picture is a modest extension in hours which provides a little more choice to adults on a night out.

"The fact is, 20 minutes extra drinking is the accurate headline, not 24 hour drinking."

Recent research from Middlesex University also found "the much-predicted mayhem resulting from the changes has not resulted"​.

Hayward also pointed to Office of National Statistics statistics which showed;

• Average consumption down 15% from 2000

• Consumption among young men down 37%

• Only 18% of men now binge drink compared to 23% in 2003 and 8% of women

"It is clear that the nation's drinking habits are changing, and the effect has been the opposite to what was predicted when the Licensing Act came into force over two years ago,"​ said Hayward.

"There has been no 'free for all', and instead, the message about sensible drinking is hitting home."

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