PROPOSED EXTENSION OF LEVY ‘WILL NOT TOUCH THE SIDES’
The latest data, which shows a year-on-year growth in latenight venues, is part of the ongoing government scrutiny of the impact of the Licensing Act 2003 and is revealed in the Home Office’s Alcohol and Late Night Refreshment Licensing report, released in October.
Yet in Canterbury, figures obtained by the Gazette in November revealed a dramatic fall in police call-outs to bars. The city also has a Purple Flag for its vibrant but safe nightlife.
The fall is attributed to stricter admissions procedures and a more joined-up approach by police and licensing officers.
But St Mildred’s Area Community Society chairman Dr Reg Race is sceptical of claims which show a decline in incidents.
“I think it is simply down to fewer being reported because everyone knows how overstretched the police are,” he said. The fundamental public policy stance that needs to be taken is to reduce the scope of alcohol consumption and binge drinking. Even the extension of this levy will not touch the sides. What has to happen is a root and branch reform of the licensing act, much tougher restrictions on the availability of alcohol, and higher prices.”