Evennett welcomes Government review of licensing law

David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, has welcomed the announcement by the Home Secretary, Theresa May, that the new Government would review Labour’s 24-hour drinking law.

Mrs May said to the Police Federation Conference: “‘I was in Opposition when the new laws were introduced and I argued against them precisely because of the problems we have seen. I argued that those were the sorts of problems that would come about but I was told we would have a “cafe culture”. We think they have produced problems on the streets. There are some other issues to look at around the binge drinking culture that has grown up. We think it is right that we do review these laws”.

The final Coalition Agreement, published today, also makes a number of pledges on licensing and alcohol. It states that the Government will:

• Ban the sale of alcohol below cost price
• Review alcohol taxation and pricing to ensure it tackles binge drinking without unfairly penalising responsible drinkers, pubs and important local industries
• Overhaul the Licensing Act to give local authorities and the police much stronger powers to remove licences from, or refuse to grant licences to, any premises that are causing problems
• Allow councils and the police to shut down permanently any shop or bar found to be persistently selling alcohol to children
• Double the maximum fine for under-age alcohol sales to £20,000
• Permit local councils to charge more for late-night licences to pay for additional policing

Mr Evennett said “In almost half of all violent incidents last year, the offender was under the influence of alcohol. I therefore welcome the new Government’s commitment to reviewing Labour’s 24-hour drinking law”.