Labour’s disastrous 24-hour drinking laws look set to be ditched under new coalition Government plans, while figures show over 80 per cent of young adults can be classed as binge drinkers.
The previous Government hoped to create a “café-culture” with its all-day drinking laws, but there is now widespread agreement that this failed to materialise.
In September, when he was Prime Minister, Gordon Brown acknowledged that all-day drinking laws “aren’t working”.
Now the Home Secretary Theresa May has released a consultation document which could help councils tackle the problems caused by 24-hour drinking.
“The whole point of this move is that unregulated 24-hour drinking is brought to an end”, an unnamed Whitehall source told The Daily Telegraph.
Under the plans, councils would be given powers to introduce a ban on drinking after midnight in entire streets or towns.
The plans also reportedly include shutting down pubs which repeatedly sell alcohol to children.
They will also bar supermarkets from selling booze at less than cost price, according to the Daily Mail, which says a Parliamentary bill will be introduced after the MPs’ summer recess.
The Telegraph says full details of the consultation could be released next week.
The consultation comes as the Home Office takes over full responsibility for alcohol licensing and enforcement from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). The DCMS had been criticised for its handling of the laws.
Earlier in the week it was revealed that 83 per cent of people aged 18 to 24 can be classified as regular binge drinkers.
The study, carried out by market research company Mintel, used the NHS definition for binge drinking of six units in one session for women and eight units in one session for men.
It was found that one in five young women were drinking more than 20 units on a typical night out, which is equivalent to more than two bottles or ten glasses of wine.
Johnny Forsyth, from Mintel, said: “Despite understanding the dangers of alcohol, a vast majority of 18 to 24-year-old adults are ignorant of how regularly they indulge in binge drinking behaviour.
“In fact, for the majority of 18 to 24s, drinking twice their binge drinking limit on a regular basis simply represents a ‘normal night out’.”
In January the Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire Police, Julia Hodson, said that binge drinking strips women of their dignity.
The Chief Constable commented: “There is no more sobering sight than a young woman, prone and vomiting, all dressed up for a good night out, but with her dignity left in the bar as she is stretchered into the emergency department.”
She made her comments after spending a Saturday night touring Nottingham’s city centre along with two local council chief executives.