The only major reform Labour or the Tories could bring in is a curfew on pub and club hours.
That's the view of licensing expert Peter Coulson in response to Gordon Brown's speech at the Labour Party Conference yesterday.
The Prime Minister said he would give councils the "power to ban 24-hour drinking" and "give local people the right to make pubs and clubs pay for cleaning up their neighbourhood and making it safe".
Coulson said both of these powers already existed. "The power to object against a 24-hour licence already exists under the Licensing Act," he said.
"Usually when a 24-hour application goes in, alarm bells ring, the police make an objection and there is a hearing.
"The polluter pays is already on the statute book under Alcohol Disorder Zones. This is nothing new."
Last week, the Tories also vowed to take action against 24-hour licensing with shadow health minister Mike Penning saying he was committed to "repealing 24-hour legislation".
Coulson said: "The only major reform they could bring in is likely to be some kind of curfew. It would be both unnecessary and expensive to tear up the whole Act and the new licensing system itself, so it is likely that you would retain your premises licence."
"They could, for example, have a curfew of midnight for pubs and 2am for nightclubs, which would curtail existing hours.
"They could introduce a ban on granting round-the-clock licences, but they would probably have to exempt hotel residents from this, which would mean the vast majority of the existing 24-hour permissions.
"There is a suspicion that this is pre-election positioning."
But he warned: "The licensed trade can expect some attempts to change the drinks laws under a new administration."