So it's a kind of success, sort of, we think. Thus spake the Government having reviewed the Licensing Act 2003 which became operational on 24th November 2005.
The key outcomes are that crime and alcohol consumption are down overall, but some areas have seen a rise in disorder and drink-related violence in the early hours. The press driven myth of 24 hour opening is exposed as lies as anyone with any sense already knew. Most 24 hour licenses have gone to hotels (for residents only), with the next biggest group being supermarkets. A very small number has gone to pubs and most of these never use the extended hours anyway. The average length of time a pub stays open later than it used to is a conservative 21 minutes!
I am glad that there will be little meddling in the new act or its operation. The Government is quite right in saying it gives powers to Local Government to curb the worst excesses of licensed premises, if only they would use them. I have no time at all for the disingenuous mouthpiece that represents the Local Government Association (Sir Simon Milton). It is his Local Authorities that allow the late opening, that set the licensing objectives, that allow ghettos of "youth bars", all next door to each other and that fail to use the powers allocated to them under the Act. (They had already allowed these places to open to 2 or 3 in the morning under the previous Act.) If the new Act hasn't curbed binge drinking, how much blame can we attach to Simon and his pals? Those of us who drink in pubs have enjoyed a modest relaxation of licensing hours. For us it has been successful. It isn't the local pub that is causing problems in town and city centres. Most of the problems come from loud bars selling cheap booze to irresponsible young drunks at a time when almost every pub has long since closed for the night.
As Tim Martin, Chairman of Wetherspoons said: "People need to be re-educated about their drinking habits.....you have to persuade people it's a bad idea to get paralytic." Exactly!
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
This blog mentions specifics; pubs and beer, good and bad. The opinions will be forthright, but you can always disagree, just don't be offended. Comments from those mentioned are particularly welcome and a right of reply is hereby offered.
Read my information and links and then decide for yourself. You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes.
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