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Government to come down hard on off-trade in alcohol licensing review

04 March 2008 by

The Government's review of licensing laws in England and Wales, which will be published later today, will call for a crackdown on problem outlets in the off-trade.

A "two strikes and you're out" rule for off-licences, shops and supermarkets who sell alcohol to children, is expected to be included.

It will mean any shop caught selling booze to under 18's twice in a three-month period will lose its licence.

Currently shopkeepers can be caught selling alcohol to underage punters three times in as many months before facing censure.

Extended drinking hours are expected to be given a clean bill of health in the review although licensing Minister Gerry Sutcliffe told the BBC ahead of today's publication that a problem remained with alcohol-fuelled violence between 3am to 6am.

Nick Bish, chairman of the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) said that it would be unlikely that a government review into a key piece of legislation would result in anything but an upside.

"Those looking retrospectively at the Licensing Act from the Association of Chief Police Officers to temperance groups, and wondering why it has not turned Britain into the late-night café culture of the Costa Brava, are using it to their own mischievous ends," he warned.

The Licensing Act 2003 came into effect in England and Wales on 24 November 2005.

Licensing laws news round-up >>

Brits consume less alcohol since Licensing Act >>

Licensing act start date revealed >>

Brown to review Licensing Act >>

By Christopher Walton

E-mail your comments to Christopher Walton here.

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