Drinking Restrictions

Drinking becomes the target of killjoy politicians

14th November

Update: Advertising Repression...

Northern Ireland look to restricting young adults from drinking

All alcohol advertisements should be banned in Northern Ireland in an effort to repress the region's drinkers.

The legislative assembly heard that raising the age limit for buying alcoholic drinks in off licences from 18-21 and outlawing two-for-one and happy hour promotions in bars and clubs are also among a series of repressive measures proposed by the SDLP.

The SDLP also called for a social responsibility tariff imposed on all licensed premises to ensure they contribute to the cost of policing the night-time economy.

The initiatives were outlined by Foyle MLA Pat Ramsey during a debate on the problems surrounding alcohol misuse in Northern Ireland.

Ramsey acknowledged that while some of his party's proposals could be legislated for by the Assembly others were devolved matters.


3rd February

Update: Better Hassle than Prohibition...

Scottish Labour suggest hassling 18-20 year old drinks shoppers

The Scottish Labour Party have set out measures aimed at hassling young adults in the name of curbing the supply of alcohol to under-18s which it claims are workable.

Richard Baker, the party's injustice spokesman, called for the Challenge 21 scheme to be made mandatory for all off-sales – as an alternative to daft Scottish Government plans to ban under-21s from buying drink.

The Labour proposals have the backing of retailers, trades unions and campaigners.

The Challenge 21 scheme sees retailers asking for identification if a customer doesn't look 21 – but they will be served if their identification shows they are over 18.

Baker said it would lead to a healthy culture where youngsters expect to be challenged when buying alcohol.

Labour's proposals would make it a legal requirement for alcohol retailers to ask for proof of age for all customers who appear under the age of 21.

Update: Kenny MacKillJoy publishes his proposals

4th March 2009. See article from guardian.co.uk

The Scottish Government have now published their proposals including giving chief constables the right to ask for bans on under-21s using off-licences.

Richard Baker, Labour's shadow Scottish justice secretary, said the crackpot idea of banning all under-21s from buying alcohol ignored Labour's own, more sensible, plans for mandatory age checks to weed out underage drinkers.

He added that the Scottish justice secretary, Kenny MacAskill, has had two years to deliver his alcohol and criminal justice strategy and despite delay after delay, and rethink after rethink, Scotland is left with an unworkable mess.


12th March

Update: Sobering Reality...

Alex Salmond's minimum alcohol pricing receives a setback

Alex Salmond was dealt another major setback last night after it emerged his plans to crack down on cheap alcohol have been blocked by Opposition parties.

The First Minister's controversial proposals to introduce minimum prices for alcohol and ban drinks promotions are likely to be delayed until next year. He had planned to use only amendments to existing laws to bring his plan into force, but Labour, the Tories and the Liberal Democrats have insisted on brand new legislation. They argued that only by being included in a Bill will the measures get the proper scrutiny they deserve.

Speaking after the meeting, Mike Rumbles, Scottish Liberal Democrat chief whip, said: I made it absolutely clear that the Government's alcohol strategy faced certain defeat unless they brought these proposals forward properly. They need to let MSPs scrutinise fully and vote on controversial measures like minimum pricing, which could have a devastating impact on the whisky industry. It is absolutely clear that if they continue trying to sneak through these measures then the entire package would be dead in the water.

David McLetchie, Scottish Tory chief whip, said: These are highly controversial proposals and they should not be dealt with in a piecemeal fashion or bulldozed through the parliament in this way. There needs to be a proper inquiry into the plans before parliament decides on the specific proposals.

Michael McMahon, his Labour counterpart, said: We will not be opposing them because we disagree but because of the way they are bringing it forward. If they are confident in their arguments they will not be afraid to put them to the full Parliament for debate.

Under the SNP's scheme, alcohol cannot be sold below a minimum price per unit. This has yet to be set, although Scottish ministers suggested a level of about 40p.

This would mean a bottle of wine with 13% alcohol by volume could not be sold for less than £3.90 and a bottle of 40% whisky would cost at least £11.20. Promotions, such as three-for-two offers, are to be banned.

Other parts of Salmond's alcohol blueprint are included in the new Criminal Justice and Licensing Bill and he could add the minimum pricing and promotions ban to this legislation. However, this would see their introduction delayed until next year.

Update: Standalone Legislation

27th March 2009. See article from timesonline.co.uk

The SNP government announced yesterday that they would bow to pressure from Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative party managers and allow full parliamentary scrutiny of the measures, which include setting a minimum price per unit for all alcoholic drinks.

Instead of bringing in the changes by amending existing regulations, entailing a much shorter scrutiny process in Parliament, the minority government has now agreed that they should be contained in a standalone health bill that will see full parliamentary scrutiny.

The legislation will also include other controversial initiatives such as allowing local licensing boards to raise to 21 the age limit for buying alcohol in off-sales, a crackdown on cut-price drink promotions and making alcohol retailers pay a “social responsibility fee” to help deal with the social consequences of alcohol abuse.


24th May

Update: Councillors Queue up with Ludicrous Ideas...

Oldham nutters propose bar queues and an end to rounds

Drinkers in Oldham pubs are to be told to stand in a queue and banned from ordering more than two drinks at a time at the bar. Rope barriers similar to those used in shops and post offices will be installed to keep customers in line.

The nutter plan has been proposed following supposed concern over disorder and violence in town centre bars.

The two-drink limit is intended to so called curb binge-drinking and stop customers ordering large amounts of alcohol.

But critics say the 'nanny state' restrictions will end the convivial British tradition of drinkers buying rounds for their friends. Mark Hastings, of the British Beer And Pub Association, said: We have no problem with tackling problem drinking but this is not the way to go about it. These measures are costly, unnecessary and totally disproportionate at a time when around 40 pubs are closing every week. People aren't going to want to drink if they have to queue up as if they're in the post office.'

Under plans drawn up by Not So Liberal Democrat-controlled Oldham Council, all 22 pubs in the town centre will have to comply with the new rules. The 2003 Licensing Act allows police and trading standards officers to apply for variations in a pub licence if there is concern about drink-related violence and disorder.

Licensing committee member Derek Heffernan said: It would be the end of buying a round but we have to do something to calm things down. There have been fights and stabbings and it's not right that people going out for the evening have to worry about being attacked.

Drinkers in Oldham yesterday were similarly unimpressed. Jeff Smith, a regular at the Hare And Hounds, said: It would cause even more trouble than there is already because there will always be someone trying to jump the queue.

An Oldham council spokesprat said: The measures are under discussion and a decision will be made within weeks.


1st July

Offsite: Ban-happy Brighton...

Drinkers the latest target of killjoy campaigners and politicians

Far from promising a wild weekend, the UK seaside town of Brighton is fast degenerating into a centre of booze-confiscating puritanism.

How has this infamous recreational playground become so ban-happy, so distanced from its unashamed pleasure-seeking history? Where has that heady mix of elegance, taste and debauchery that was the Regency period gone?

...Read full article

Booze bans – the new frontier of joyless regulation

 See article from guardian.co.uk by Henry Porter

The Manifesto Club last week produced a report which showed that 712 local authorities have introduced drink free zones, enabling police officers and the ridiculous community support officers – when are these people going to be made to find proper jobs? – to confiscate alcohol on the mere suspicion that someone is going to break the law. The Manifesto Club, which is by the way becoming one of the significant voices of reason and liberty in Britain, estimates that 20,000 bottles or cans will be confiscated in July and August this year. Brighton has enforced bans on people carrying unopened bottles of wine and beer which they plan to drink at home, Lambeth Council plans to make the entire borough the subject of a designated public place order (DPPO), while Camden has a borough wide ban except for Regents Park, Primrose Hill and Hampstead Heath.

...Read full article


18th August

Offsite: Pub Banned?...

How killjoys colonised Britain's public houses

The smoking ban, on top of strict licensing laws and CCTV, has turned pubs from places of choice and tolerance into outlets for official meddling.

Two years into the English smoking ban, pubs are closing at a rate of 40 a week. The New Labour government and much of the media still claim to see no connection between the two, instead blaming economics and competition from supermarkets. But pubs have thrived in previous recessions, and supermarkets have always sold cheaper booze. People used to go to pubs for the social atmosphere. Some of us still would, if that atmosphere wasn't fast disappearing.

...Read full article


2nd October

Update: Nottingham Taliban...

Nottingham set to ban drinking in public across the entire town

Drinking in streets and parks will be soon be banned in miserable Britain. Town halls are drafting new laws to introduce the first blanket bans on public drinking applying to entire towns.

Nottingham is set to bar drinking alcohol in streets, parks and other public places from next year. Nottingham intends to be the first city to implement the ban. It is taking advantage of repressive new legislation which, for the first time, will allow bylaws to be passed without needing approval by a Cabinet minister.

Nottingham said other town halls were also keen to introduce blanket bans - potentially outlawing street drinking across huge swathes of the country.

Council leader Jon Collins said: People understand clear messages. There's no confusion in alcohol-free zones. I do not think it's a civil liberties issue. It's about saying we do not want people drinking in the street.

Richard Antcliff, Nottingham's chief antisocial behaviour officer, said the council wanted to target loutish behaviour and street drinkers who intimidate law-abiding members of the public.

The Tories backed Nottingham and said it was absolutely right they should get tough on binge drinking on the streets.

Town halls will also be given new powers to strip late-opening pubs of their licences, removing the requirement they must have first received a complaint from residents or the police.

Currently, street drinking can be restricted only by Designated Public Place Orders, introduced by the Home Office in 2001. These are confined to very specific areas, where there must be a history of anti-social behaviour.

However, there are concerns that some councils may be too heavy-handed in the way they introduce new byelaws, possibly putting an end to picnics in the park. Dylan Sharpe of Big Brother Watch said: This is yet another piece of legislation with the potential to create criminals out of law-abiding people.


20th January

Updated: ID to be Required for 18-20 Year Olds in UK Pubs...

Government announces ideas to ensure that pubs are even more troublesome

Pubs, bars and off-licences will be forced to ask under 21s for identity in the latest campaign against supposed binge drinking.

They will be legally obliged to make checks if they have a reasonable suspicion that customers look under that age, ministers will announce next week.

At the moment they are only encouraged to do so. Alcohol retailers will face the prospect of hefty fines and losing their licence if they flout the new rules. A security guard checks the identity of a young man and his girlfriend before he allows them into a bar

From next week, identity checks will be compulsory before serving alcohol to drinkers who look under 21. The Government fears that thousands of youngsters under the legal drinking age of 18 are getting away with buying alcohol because they look much older.

A ban on supposedly irresponsible drink promotions such as happy hours and two-for-one deals is also expected to be announced by Home Secretary Alan Johnson. [Perhaps encouraging people to get well tanked up at home before leaving for expensive bars. Surely not a helpful outcome].

A Government source said: We have moved beyond voluntary codes and guidelines. This will be mandatory and non-negotiable. It will be legally enforceable. The Prime Minister has made it clear we cannot tolerate the continued widespread abuse of alcohol through the UK.

Update: Small Measures

20th January 2010. Based on article from timesonline.co.uk

Pub and club promotions that encourage binge drinking will be banned within months. Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, said: Alcohol-related crime costs the UK billions of pounds every year and while the vast majority of retailers are responsible, a minority continue to run irresponsible promotions. Speed-drinking games and dentist's chairs , where alcohol is poured directly into the mouths of customers, will also be banned.

Pubs and clubs will have to provide free tap water to customers and be required to ask for the identity of anyone who looks under 18.

The code will force licensed premises to offer wine in small 125ml glasses as well as the more common 250ml measure. Pub and club owners will also have to offer small beer and spirit measures.

Parliament will debate the code within the next few weeks, but the measures dealing with irresponsible drinking and making tap water available will come into effect in April, before the general election. The measures on age verification and ensuring that smaller measures are available to customers will come into force on October 1.

Ministers have, however, backed down from banning supermarket bulk buys. The mandatory code also avoids an outright end to happy hours where drinks are sold cheaply for a certain period of time. Instead, local authorities will have wider powers from the end of this month to impose a ban on happy hours in individual pubs.

Ian Gilmore, the President of the Royal College of Physicians, welcomed the code but whinged that it failed to deal with the issue of cheap supermarket drinks.


3rd September

Update: Treated Like Kids...

Britain is infantilising young adults buying supermarket alcohol

Constant ID checks in supermarkets and off-licences are infantilising young adults, a report by a civil liberties group claims.

The survey by the Manifesto Club suggests that cashiers' over-zealous questioning of customers in their 20s is penalising thousands of innocent people and forcing them to carry their passports all the time.

The study, 2 8¾: How Constant Age Checks Are Infantilising Adults , is published as the coalition government is considering increasing to £20,000 the maximum penalty for those illegally serving underage drinkers .

The most annoyed constituency is people in their late 20s, who are being frequently ID checked, particularly by supermarkets, the report says.

Campaigns under the slogans of Think 21 and Think 25 have led to confusion about the correct age limit for consuming alcohol, resulting in some checkout staff refusing to sell products to those who are under 25 but over 18, the Manifesto Club maintains: People are being refused alcohol when shopping with younger siblings or children – including one woman who was prevented from buying a bottle of wine, because her 23-year old daughter and 22-year-old friend could not provide ID.

The Manifesto Club describes its aim as campaigning against the hyper-regulation of everyday life . Its director, Josie Appleton, added: 'Producing your passport should not be a routine part of the checkout procedure. There is little point in the government abolishing ID cards while backing policies that mean we have to show ID whenever we go shopping. People in their 20s and 30s should be free to go to the supermarket or off-licence without being constantly challenged.


1st October

Update: Cheers to the Opposition...

Miserable Scottish government move to increase drinking age to 21 thrown out

Miserable Scottish plans to ban people under the age of 21 from buying drink in supermarkets and off-licences have been thrown out.

Holyrood's health and sport committee rejected an Scottish National Party proposal to give licensing boards the discretion to ban sales in areas where excessive drinking has led to antisocial behaviour by five votes to three.

Opposition MSPs ignored a last-minute plea from Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon who said more than 2,000 under-20s were discharged from hospital in Scotland with an alcohol-related diagnosis in 2007-08.

Liberal and Conservative committee members voted in favour of an amendment lodged by Labour public health spokesman Dr Richard Simpson, which argued that the proposal discriminated against young people.

Dr Simpson said he was glad that the majority of committee members had supported his amendment. The fact is Nicola Sturgeon has lost the argument with young people in exactly the same way as she is losing the argument with pensioners who would be penalised by minimum unit pricing, he added.


21st October

Offsite: Miserable Britain...

My ill-fated night on the town in Southampton

Recently I had the misfortune of being invited for a night out in Southampton.

This visit was a real eye-opener to me and taught me how much the Big Brother society is starting to negatively impact on our day to day lives. I also had a lesson in how little power we have to challenge the people who are doing this.

Let's start with the basics: it is not possible to have a night out in Southampton without carrying some form of identification.

The types that the bars and clubs accept are: a Prove it card (which at 30 I am too old to have), a driving licence (I don't drive) or a passport (which in line with Home Office guidelines I use for immigration purposes only!). Without one of these documents, snarling bouncers will refuse you entry to almost every club or bar, even if you the last time you got IDed John Major was still Prime Minister!

So my night out began by one charitable doormen turning a blind eye to the fact I couldn't prove I was over 18. My 30 year old face and girth was apparently not enough evidence on its own. On to another bar and door staff helpfully told me that it was discrimination to only ID people who looked young. Apparently they'd have merrily turned away a pensioner!

...Read the full article


13th November

Update: Miserable Scotland...

Excessive ID checks for drinkers and an end to happy hours

New drinking restrictions have been passed by Scottish Parliament - but without plans to bring in minimum drink pricing.

But the more prohibitionist measures, including raising the purchase age for off licence sales, failed to find enough support.

The bill will ban supposedly irresponsible drink promotions at off licences. This aims to end the sale of alcohol at heavily discounted prices, as well as offers such as two-for-one deals. Specific measures are expected to be in place in the spring.

The bill, which was passed unanimously will also pave the way for the introduction, in future, of a social responsibility fee on retailers who sell alcohol.

And licensed premises will be required to operate more repressive proof of age rules, based on the age of 25, rather than 21.

Ministers claimed a wide range of professionals, including senior police officers and health 'experts', backed plans to set a minimum price per unit of alcohol at 45p. But Labour, the Tories and Lib Dems said the move would penalise responsible drinkers and could be illegal under European competition law. As MSPs debated the bill for the final time, Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon attempted to re-insert minimum pricing into the legislation after it was removed at an earlier stage, but parliament opposed the move.

Government plans to allow local licensing boards to raise the age for buying alcohol from off licences from 18 to 21 were previously dismissed as discriminatory by opposition parties.

The Tories failed to find enough support to insert a sunset clause in the legislation, which would have required a review of its main measures after five years.


28th December

Update: Shite Britain...

Scottish proposal to use barcodes and CCTV to individually track all alcohol purchases

  Customers adopting standard privacy
protection to buy a bottle of beer

Bottles of alcohol should be tagged so adults buying drink for under-18s can be traced by police, a Labour MSP has said. Under the scheme, bottles would bear a printed barcode enabling authorities to track whether legally bought alcohol has been given to youngsters.

The scheme, which is already being piloted in areas of Dundee, involves the police seizing alcohol from under-18s and then using the coded bottle labels to trace where the drink was bought from.

Officers then use CCTV from the shop to identify who bought the drink - whether it was an adult or an under-age customer being illegally sold it. Customers are even easier to trace if they use store cards.

Labour's Orwellian sounding 'community safety' spokesman James Kelly wants to roll out the scheme to other parts of the country and says the Scottish Government should encourage licensing boards to sign up to the initiative.

Although the scheme aims to catch shops selling alcohol to under-age customers, it is also used to target proxy purchases - adults buying drink on behalf of minors.

Those caught supplying alcohol to those under the age of 18 would be reported to the procurator-fiscal and could be hit with a fine of up to £5,000 or a prison sentence.

The scheme is understood to cost less than £100 per shop to run and authoritarians claim it would reduce alcohol-fuelled antisocial behaviour in areas with under-age drinking problems.


19th January

Update: Cheers!...

British government minimum alcohol price not so miserable as feared

The Coalition has finally unveiled its alcohol minimum price regime in a statement to Parliament.

The minimum price for vodka will be fixed at £10.71 a litre, whisky at £8 for a 70cl bottle, cider at 40p a litre and 38p per 440ml can of lager or beer.

The minimum price will be based on the rate of duty plus VAT, not on the cost of producing the drinks. Thankfully shops will only have to raise the price for a small  number of products.

Miserable campaigners were somewhat disappointed. Professor Ian Gilmore, chairman of the UK Health Alliance, said: To bring in a measure that we know in practice will have no effect at all on the health of this nation I think is disappointing. It's a step in the right direction, but I have to say it's an extremely small step. It'll have no impact whatsoever on the vast majority of cheap drinks sold, for example, in supermarkets.

Camra, the Campaign for Real Ale with self interest at heart, said the price levels were too low to help the struggling pub industry. Chief executive Mike Benner said: The decision means pubs will continue to close as they are undercut by supermarkets selling canned beers at pocket-money prices.


31st December

Update: Pandering to Nutters...

David Cameron moves to ban all the simple pleasures of life such as cheap booze

  Cameron's advisory panel
on media and leisure

David Cameron is planning a miserable minimum price policy or alcohol in England. The minimum price would be accompanied by an aggressive moral campaign and a more draconian approach to curtailing the sale of alcohol in shops, pubs and clubs

The Prime Minister has ordered officials to develop a scheme in England to stop the sale of alcohol at below 40p to 50p a unit in shops and supermarkets.

Ministers could copy Scottish proposals, which would ban the sale of alcohol below 45p a unit, or bring in a more expensive and bureaucratic system of taxes based on the number of alcohol units contained in the drink.

Both options would cost drinkers and the economy an estimated extra £ 700 million a year, with any extra tax revenue potentially going to the NHS.

The Daily Telegraph understands that the Prime Minister personally ordered the radical big bang approach, which will be included in the Government's forthcoming alcohol strategy. It was due for release next month, but has now been delayed until February.


22nd January

Update: Late Night Pub Levy...

Yet more suffocating legislation to stop British people enjoying themselves and making money

A public online consultation has been launched asking for views on the implementation of two new powers designed to spoil people's fun and depress the late night economy.

The measures, contained in the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 and due to be introduced in the autumn, will empower local killjoys by:

  • allowing local authorities to charge a levy for late-night licences to contribute to the cost of extra policing
  • extending Early Morning Restriction Orders -- a power that will allow licensing authorities to restrict the sale of alcohol in all or part of their areas -- to any time between midnight and 6am

The consultation asks whether some types of premises should be exempted from the new measures, or eligible for a reduction in the levy, if they are judged not to be major contributors to the type alcohol-related crime and disorder that can blight neighbourhoods. Such premises could be hotels, cinemas or community venues.

Minister for Fun Prevention Lord Henley said:

Alcohol-related crime and disorder is a problem for many of our communities. These new measures give power back to local areas so they can respond to their individual needs.

But we also recognise that some types of premises that open late to serve alcohol do not contribute to late night drinking problems and should not be unduly penalised. That is why we are seeking views on whether they should be exempt or see a reduction in fees.

We are keen to hear from anyone who is affected by these new powers to help inform our plans to ensure the premises we have proposed are the right ones.

The public, licensing authorities, the licensed trade and police are all encouraged to contribute their views.

The consultation runs until 10 April 2012.


20th February

Update: Miserable Cameron...

Suffocating any avenue of life that is fun and pleasurable, in this case drinking

Police chiefs launched a scathing attack on David Cameron's miserable plans to tackle so called binge drinking, branding them dangerous and unhelpful .

The Police Federation also warned that forces did not have enough resources to implement the Prime Minister's crackdown.

Cameron on had pledged to tackle the growing scandal of alcohol-fuelled disorders during a visit to a hospital in Newcastle. He confirmed the Government was considering plans to introduce minimum pricing for alcohol and give police more powers to tackle violence and disorder.

The crackdown includes plans for drunk tanks , cells where those deemed incapable of walking home would be sent by police to sleep it off, and booze buses , which pick up revellers and take them to cells. Other proposals include deploying more police to accident and emergency wards to prevent drunken violence.

Paul McKeever, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: The Prime Minister's suggestion of putting more police on patrol in hospitals to help deal with problems of drunken and anti-social behaviour would be laudable if the police service wasn't struggling to meet the current workload. We simply do not, and will not, have the police officers or the resources.

McKeever said plans to tackle alcohol purely from a health perspective without considering the implications on other public services were unhelpful and likely to fail .



Offsite Article: Dramuary: Celebrating the Demon Drink...

Link Here 4th January 2013
Full story: Drinking Restrictions...Drinking becomes the target of killjoy politicians
Ignore the sirens of sobriety imploring you to have a Dry January, and have a wee drink every day. By Rob Lyons

See article from spiked-online.com



Why has Britain's top cop declared war on pubs?...

I have a real problem with our country's leadership, precisely because of this sort of nitwittery. I shake my head and wonder how someone who spouts this kind of evidence-free claptrap gets to that level.

Link Here 16th March 2015
Full story: Drinking Restrictions...Drinking becomes the target of killjoy politicians



Offsite Article: Full TPP Text After Five Years of Secrecy Confirms Threats to Users' Rights...

Link Here 6th November 2015
Full story: Drinking Restrictions...Drinking becomes the target of killjoy politicians
Revealing the latest restrictive trade agreement that thankfully isn't being adopted by the EU

See article from eff.org



Offsite Article: Robbing the poor to give to the elite...

Link Here 18th November 2017
Full story: Drinking Restrictions...Drinking becomes the target of killjoy politicians
The petty prohibitionism of minimum alcohol pricing in Scotland. By Rob Lyons

See article from spiked-online.com



Offsite Article: Have a drink -- it won't kill you...

Link Here 20th January 2018
Full story: Drinking Restrictions...Drinking becomes the target of killjoy politicians
Researchers want the alcohol guidelines lowered. Ignore them. By Rob Lyons

See article from spiked-online.com


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