Late-opening bars, pubs and clubs in Scotland could face an anti-social behaviour policing charge under proposals revealed yesterday by the ruling Scottish National Party (SNP).
According to reports in the media today the SNP is considering a "polluter pays" approach ahead of the introduction of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005.
Bars, pubs and clubs which open late would face a charge that would go towards policing.
But Patrick Browne, chief executive at the Scottish Beer and Pub Association (SBPA), told Caterer the SNP proposals had simply revived ideas presented in the debate around the Scottish licensing act, which is set to come into force in September 2009.
He said: "These proposals were rejected at the time. The emphasis should be on stopping anti-social behaviour and any proposals like this could hit the responsible operators. The new licensing act has provisions to make sure irresponsible operators are stopped."
"Late is officially defined as 1am but I have seen reports linking the SNP proposals with late hours of 11.30pm," said Browne.
Kenny MacAskill, Scotland's justice minister, said: "Those who are given the right to sell alcohol must bear the responsibility for the social and economic costs."
By Christopher Walton
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