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A sobering thought

1 October 2010

From today pubs must have an age verification policy and offer their customers the choice of smaller measures. Failure to comply could result in criminal prosecution.

These relatively modest proposals were introduced by the previous government. All other proposals have been put on hold by the coalition government as it considers a response to its consultation entitled ‘Rebalancing the Licensing Act’.

Under the spotlight are proposals that include giving the authorities greater powers to refuse licensing applications, charging more for late night licences, reversing the ’24 hour’ licensing laws and banning sales of alcohol below cost price by off licences.

Some have seen this as an attempt by government to ‘load the dice’ in favour of the licensing authorities – others see this as a long overdue crack down.

So is this ‘rebalancing’ for the benefit of society or is it tipping the balance towards a more authoritarian restrictive approach to the sale of alcohol in the big society?

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