As Members of the Scottish Parliament get ready to debate the findings of the Nicholson report on licensing laws in the country, the likelihood of 24 hour licensing looks slim.

It is believed that Cathy Jamieson, the justice minister, will tell MSPs that any changes to the licensing laws will not end up with pubs and bars being routinely allowed to sell alcohol 24 hours a day.

The Nicholson Report, which was commissioned by the Scottish Executive and first met in August 2001, found that there should be an entirely new Licensing Act for Scotland. It also called for the abolition of the present outdated system of licences, which should be replaced by a "premises-by-premises" approach, where a local licensing board would have the final decision on who sold what and when. However, the report also called or firm action against binge drinking.

The recommendations are undergoing public consultation until Christmas and must the pass through the Scottish Parliament before becoming law.