Britain debates alcohol licensing law

March 23, 2004 at 6:10 PM

LONDON, March 23 (UPI) -- Changes in Britain's licensing law is causing controversy because parts seem at odds with the government's view that drinking contributes to crime.

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell said Tuesday she is determined to bring the "minority of badly run premises into line with the best," the BBC reported.

She said her goals for the licensing law were preventing public nuisance, protecting children, cracking down on badly run pubs, more freedom for well-run pubs and consistent enforcement of rules across England and Wales.

"Responsible authorities should make full use of existing and new powers to tackle alcohol-related crime and disorder," Jowell said.

One government proposal causing concern is the staggered closing hours of pubs. Last week the Labor government pointed out that drinking alcohol was increasing crime -- especially after pubs closed.

The government argued that staggering the time over which people leave pubs will reduce incidents of alcohol-related criminality.

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