Licensing review could place tougher penalties on retailers

04 March, 2008

The government is set to publish its review on the Licensing Act later today.

Licensing minister Gerry Sutcliffe is expected to reveal that 24-hour drinking laws will remain, but that new plans will be introduced to curb under-age and binge drinking.

Drinks retailers could face stricter penalties if they sell alcohol to under-18s following the review. In the Daily Mirror yesterday, Gordon Brown said there would be a "two strikes and you're out" policy for any retailer caught twice in three months.

However, in a press briefing yesterday, the Prime Minister said the review should be seen as a "staging post" in how the Licensing Act was working and whatever it revealed was not final.

Asked about the issue of putting higher taxes on alcohol to curb binge drinking, something he has indicated he would not be in favour of, the Prime Minister said it was an issue for the Chancellor in the next Budget.

Brown also said that the government's views on the pricing and promotion of alcohol would be revealed with the results of a report carried out by the Department of Health this summer.

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