I sent the following press release to local newspapers this weekend:
Ben Jones, Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Halton, this week added his voice to calls for action to rein back in Labour’s licensing laws and take tough action against the uncontrolled spread in binge-drinking.
The latest Home Office crime figures have revealed that across Halton there were 2,351 violent attacks last year. Based on Government surveys of crime victims, this suggests that 1,105 of these attacks could have been alcohol-related.
There is growing concern about the overlapping problems of late night drinking, fast food outlets selling alcohol at night, under-age drinking, the easy availability of high-strength alcohol, and retailers like supermarkets selling alcohol below cost-price. Labour’s licensing laws, which came into effect in 2005, have created a presumption in favour of alcohol licences being given out, and imposed tight restrictions on who can object to any licensing application.
The Police Federation has warned that the need to police town centres around the clock is making it harder to answer emergency calls elsewhere.
Conservative leader, David Cameron, has explained how the Conservative Party will tackle the problems of binge-drinking Britain:
· Stronger powers and more discretion for elected local councils, and a greater say for local residents on licensing applications.
· Tougher penalties for premises which sell alcohol to under-age drinkers.
· Reviewing the rules which allow fast food outlets like kebab shops to sell alcohol into the early hours.
· Changing the law to stop the ‘loss-leading’ sale of alcohol by retailers.
· Rebalancing the duty on alcohol: reducing rates on low-alcohol beers and ciders, and increasing it on very high-strength products (the likes of Tennent’s Super) and on alcopops.
Ben Jones said: “Labour’s licensing laws are too lax. We don’t want a return to the old days where every pub shut at 11pm. But local councils like Halton need greater powers to tackle the binge-drinking and violence that plague our town centres. The reckless sale of high-strength, bargain-basement alcohol is damaging health and fuelling violence.
“Conservatives believe that socially responsible adults should be able to have a night out in Widnes and Runcorn without fear of violence. Parents should be reassured that their children are not going to come to harm. Halton’s community pubs should not be tarred with the same brush as irresponsible ‘vertical drinking’ bars or fast food outlets peddling booze into the early hours. We need to make our town centres feel safe at night once again.”
Please read the following related story from earlier in the month by clicking here: http://www.amjcomms.com/2009/08/05/weekly-news-dont-walk-away/