|Government climbdown on binge drinking measures|
|Written by Shirley Kumar|
|Monday, 19 October 2009 14:47|
The government has quietly dropped proposals to give local councils "discretionary" powers to shut down bars in areas blighted by binge drinking.
Other proposals set to be dropped include giving councils the powers to ban happy hours. Pubs would be unable to serve alcohol in glass containers during peak times and all licensees would have to operate a scheme that will ensure drinkers must be over the age of 21 to drink on their premises or to buy alcohol. Retailers, under the proposal, would be unable to offer bulk discounts during "stipulated times."
But the Home Office said the Mandatory Code would still go ahead. It is set to include a nine-point mandatory element applicable to the on-and-off-trade but the content still remains unclear.
A Home Office spokeswoman said: "We are listening and responding to the strong concerns from the licensed trade who are concerned about responsible premises being caught up with the less responsible ones.
"The locally applied conditions in the Mandatory Code will be replaced by new, tougher powers for local councillors and licensing officers making it quicker and easier for them to tackle problem premises by calling for a review to restrict or remove their licence without having to wait for the police or local residents to complain"
Councillor Chris White, chair of the Local Government
"Councils have been arguing for more powers that they can
"We welcome giving councils and MPs the power to instigate reviews
Drink trade bodies the British Beer and Pub Association and the Wine and Spirit Trade Association have criticised the mandatory code but welcome the removal of the discretionary powers.
A spokesman for the WSTA said: "We've always warned that the
The Bill will be debated in the House of Lords on Tuesday