The new Conservative government is proposing to crack down on alcohol-related violence in the UK with a slew of measures.
Home Secretary Theresa May is training the guns on the 24-hour licensing introduced five years ago by the previous Labour government. At the time ministers said it was a good strategy to reduce alcohol-related crime and anti-social behaviour.
AdvertisementBut Mrs May said: "The benefits promised by the 24-hour drinking 'cafe culture' have failed to materialise and in its place we have seen an increase in the number of alcohol-related incidents and drink-fuelled crime and disorder."
She said the majority of pubs and bars were "well-run businesses" but it was time to "rebalance" the system in favour of the local communities, "with tougher action taken to crack down on the small number of premises who cause problems".
The Home Office said there were almost one million alcohol-related violent crimes last year - with a fifth of all violent incidents taking place in or around a pub or club, and almost two-thirds of these happening at night. Police say 24-hour drinking has stretched their resources to breaking point as they work until the early hours breaking up fights.
There are more than 7,000 premises licensed to sell alcohol 24 hours a day in England and Wales.
Of these, 845 are pubs, bars and nightclubs - although in practice very few are open between 0300 and 0600.
The Home Office is not announcing a blanket ban on 24-hour drinking. Minister for Crime Prevention, James Brokenshire, had said last week: "We have already committed to overhaul the Licensing Act to give local authorities and the police much stronger powers to remove licences from, or refuse to grant licences to any premises that are causing problems.
"We will toughen the sanctions for those premises found to be persistently selling alcohol to children and will allow local councils to charge more for late-night licences, which in turn will raise money for extra policing.
"We will also ban the below cost sale of alcohol."
However Gordon Brown admitted last year that 24-hour drinking was "not working", and earlier this year Home Secretary Theresa May announced the licensing regime would undergo a "complete review".
Meanwhile, supermarket chain ASDA says it will do its bit to tackle binge drinking in the UK by getting cut-price deals on alcohol off its shelves.
Chief executive Andy Clarke has written to Mrs May, promising no booze will be sold at below the cost of duty on the product plus VAT.
Mr Clarke wrote: "I see this as an important first step in the process towards creating a new way of selling alcohol in the UK."
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