PRO­POSED EX­TEN­SION OF LEVY ‘WILL NOT TOUCH THE SIDES’

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - - Boxing Day Hunt -

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.”

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