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Councils must tackle alcohol-related issues

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The government has called on councils to better use the “considerable powers” granted to them by the Licensing Act (2003) to crack down on alcohol-related irresponsible behaviour.

The long-awaited review of the act published today called for more caution and conditions when issuing licenses and the withdrawal of licences in certain areas.

Secretary of state for culture Andy Burnham said: “Our main conclusion is that people are using the freedoms, but people are not sufficiently using the considerable powers granted by the act to tackle problems, and that there is a need to rebalance action towards enforcement and crack down on irresponsible behaviour.”

'Red card system' proposal

The report also outlined plans for a new “yellow card, red card” system, where pubs and clubs risk losing their licence if they ignore a warming to curb drink related anti social behaviour.

Local Government Association chairman Sir Simon Milton (Con) said that while the LGA support the new scheme, councils will need sufficient funding to implement it.

“Local authorities have been met with a£97m financial black hole from the implementation of the original Act," he said. "Councils strive for an ever better deal for the taxpayer and must not be left to pick up the bill for further changes to a law for which we are still waiting to be fully recompensed.

“Council chiefs are calling for authorities to be given fees that reflect the actual costs of administering and enforcing the laws.”

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