LONDON, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- The new licensing law has gone into effect allowing more than 1,000 pubs, clubs and supermarkets in England and Wales to sell alcohol for 24 hours a day.
Around 40 percent of premises applied to vary their licenses by either extending their opening by an hour or two or by offering late food and entertainment.
The liberalization has led to fears increased drinking will put more pressure on police and hospitals.
Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell told BBC Thursday the new law was necessary "to make it possible for the vast majority of people who drink but who never get into trouble to have more freedom as to when they drink.
"But also, to give the police the powers that they need to tackle the problem we have as a country of alcohol-related crime and violence," she said.