Brown to ban '24-hour drinking'

By Ewan Turney

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: 24-hour licences, Prime minister of the united kingdom, Drinking culture, Binge drinking

Brown: more restrictive measures for pub trade
Brown: more restrictive measures for pub trade
The Prime Minister is to give councils new powers to ban all 24-hour licences in their area and make pubs pay for street cleaning and policing....

The Prime Minister is to give councils new powers to ban all 24-hour licences in their area and make pubs pay for street cleaning and policing.

Speaking at the Labour Party Conference in Brighton, Gordon Brown said that extended opening hours in some areas had not worked.

He said: "No one has yet cracked the whole problem of a youth drinking culture. We thought that extended hours would make our city centres easier to police and in many areas it has.

"But it's not working in some places and so we will give local authorities the power to ban 24-hour drinking throughout a community in the interests of local people."

However, very few pubs or nightclubs actually have 24-hour licences. A 2006 survey by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport found just 600 pubs and clubs had 24-hour licences across the whole of England and Wales. Only a tiny proportion actually use them regularly.

In a further blow for the beleaguered pub trade, he said he would also introduce new powers to force pubs and clubs to pay for street cleaning and policing.

"Where there is persistent trouble from binge drinking, we will give local people the right to make pubs and clubs pay for cleaning up their neighbourhood and making it safe."

Brown also said where individuals are found guilty of drink-related crimes they must be given drink banning orders.

Trade reaction

A British Beer & Pub Association spokesman accused Brown of re-announcing measures and "clarifying powers that already exist within the Licensing Act".

He pointed out that powers making pubs pay for street cleaning already exist via Alcohol Disorder Zones and that councils could already curtail opening hours of problem pubs.

Lincolnshire-based multiple operator Kurnia Leisure has 24-hour licences at all of its venues. "Roll on May 2010 when Gordon gets the boot," said boss Michael Kheng.

"What is wrong with 24-hour drinking if the operator runs his venue correctly? All our companies outlets have 24-hour licences and the Library Bar in Lincoln uses it to it's full advantage with no problems what so ever.

"The industry needs to unite and fight back, why do we sit back and allow the politicians to make headline grabbing statements?"

Related topics: Licensing law

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