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Inn Touch - Issue Five - The Times, They Are A'Changing

Beer drinkers are raising a toast to the Government's intentions to reform liquor licensing law, as announced in a white paper released recently. CAMRA, The Campaign for Real Ale, has welcomed plans for a more flexible approach to pub opening hours to meet the needs of today's consumers.

Mike Benner, Head of Campaigns and Communications said, "The Government plans to reform all aspects of licensing law in order to modernise current laws which are archaic, over-bureaucratic, and have no place in today's society, but the main area of interest to consumers is that of opening hours."

"A more permissive approach to liquor licensing will benefit all consumers, whether they are regular pub goers or not. It is highly unlikely that all pubs will be allowed to open 24 hours a day and that residents and communities will have a say in the permitted hours set for each pub. CAMRA urges the Government to stand its ground on reform, but to ensure that residents have proper protection from problem pubs."

Despite gloomy predictions that longer hours will lead to increased alcohol abuse and related crime, previous liberalisation measures in 1988 and 1995 led to more choice for consumers, a more relaxed approach to enjoying alcohol and did not lead to significant increases in consumption or alcohol related crime.

Mr. Benner added, "There is a real problem with all pubs closing at the same time each evening. It leads to binge drinking as people drink too much too quickly before 'Time' is called. It leads to chaos in many towns and cities which become war zones on Friday and Saturday nights as too many people hit the streets at the same time. This causes tension and places undue strain on public services like transport and the police. A more relaxed approach will ease these problems and benefit us all."

"It is unreasonable that responsible adults should be forced to drink up and go home or on to a night club which does not meet their needs. Hopefully we will all soon have the choice to stay for an extra beer with friends in a pub of our choice."

"Britain's prohibitive licensing laws have increased problems with alcohol related disorder and we look forward to a time when younger pub goers adopt a more relaxed and responsible approach to enjoying alcohol. Treating adults like adults is a step in the right direction which will help us Britons shake off the 'lager louts of Europe' label."

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