Blog: Chris Brook-Carter24-Hour Drinking? “Inaccurate and Sensationalist”

Chris Brook-Carter | 12 January 2005

The issue of licensing laws in the UK has been stirring emotions for some time now. At the heart of the debate is the fear that 24-hour licenses will lead to 24-hour drinking and drink-related crime and violence.

But yesterday, the British Institute of Innkeeping defended the pending changes in UK Licensing Laws. In a statement, John McNamara, chief executive of the BII said: “Changes in the Licensing regime will not directly result in 24-hour drinking. Most businesses will seek to take the opportunity to serve customers at a suitable time for them and to say otherwise is inaccurate and sensationalist.

“The vast majority of licensees are responsible and take their duty of care very seriously - no good licensee wants to encourage irresponsible drinking or under-age sales, by doing so he could be risking his livelihood.

“People are still under the illusion that pubs are going to be open 24 hours a day. Feedback from our members has shown that the majority will look to extend opening times by only one or two hours and they have based this on consulting with their customers.

“24-hour drinking will not be part of the overall plan,” McNamara concluded.

This is probably a fair reflection of how most local pubs will operate. But what of those that can afford to employ bar staff on shifts, throughout the day and night? And will landlords really look to shut-up shop at midnight, for example, if there is still a large crowd present spending lots of cash?

The truth is we just cannot know how the British drinking culture will adapt to these changes until they are in place for sometime. Just two weeks in, and already it is clear that 2005 is going to be an explosive year


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