ALE Autumn 2001 No. 304

Government Watch

[Time gentlemen please]

Licensing Reform

[Previously: Summer 2001]

It went quiet for many months, with dithering over even the uncontroversial relaxing of hours for New Years Eve 2001/2 and then for the 4-day Jubilee in June 2002. Then in early November the House of Commons at last got moving on this and the relaxation for New Years Eve may be passed in early December.

Meanwhile the Magistrates Association has recommended its members to approve all applications for extra New Year's Eve hours except where there are local objections.

North Manchester CAMRA surveyed pub customers about liberalisation and found 91% supported it when it was explained that no-one was suggesting 24-hour opening as the norm.

Rather the proposal is to allow one or two extra hours at weekends but only if there is no disturbance to the surrounding community. A few city centre pubs might be permitted longer hours.

As Scots found when they liberalised, and as the Isle of Man has just discovered by abolishing permitted hours, treating people as adults and not having all pubs closing at the same time actually reduces problems.

If you wish to support the reform, you can register on CAMRA's petition: or phone the CAMRA hotline 0845 60 30 20 8.

[Follow-up: Autumn 2002]

Beer Duty

From the "stranger than fiction" department: the Customs and Excise minister, Paul Boateng, is on record as saying high taxes don't cause smuggling! What is smuggling, then, if not an attempt to avoid tax & duty?

Criminal Justice & Police Act 2001

The provisions relating to pubs are now in force. The aim is to crack down on unruly behaviour associated with pubs, giving the police the power to close troublesome pubs on the spot. There are also tougher penalties for serving under-age or drunken customers.

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Cambridge & District CAMRA