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Industry slams calls for publicans to pay more to keep the streets clean

07 October 2004
Industry slams calls for publicans to pay more to keep the streets clean

Seaside bars and clubs should fund a levy to clean the streets after binge-drinkers wreck them with vomit, urine and litter, according to the leader of Europe's biggest

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Blackpool has been too successful in attracting late-night revellers, and now it's trying to change its image
beach award, Blue Flag. Alan Woods, chief executive of Blue Flag, told a beach managers' conference at the Imperial hotel, Blackpool, this week that seaside towns had too many pubs and clubs. He added that these areas needed more late opening galleries and shops, as in the rest of Europe, to give the local night-time economy a better balance. Woods believes that because UK resorts market themselves as stag and hen party destinations there has been an invasion of rowdy revellers, which drives families away and wrecks the local area. "Sadly we've reached a point where binge-drinking is the norm rather than the exception," Woods said. "Our streets are suffering the consequences of the night before, and early morning can resemble a war zone rife with rubbish and soaked with sick and urine." But a spokeswoman for the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) dismissed the levy as a knee-jerk reaction. "The industry already contributes £21b in tax, which covers a whole range of activities," she said. "Publicans make significant payments through local business rates, as well as paying extra for refuge collection. We'd argue they already make a significant contribution." The BBPA instead urged pub operators to join their local Crime Disorder Partnership to work alongside councillors and the police to tackle alcohol-related disorder problems. Martin Couchman, deputy chief executive of the British Hospitality Association, also dismissed the idea. "The argument of an additional levy is often brought up, but businesses already pay their rates," Couchman said. "People shouldn't forget that pubs and bars open late in seaside towns bring in business, contributing to the local council's coffers." Couchman added that many seaside resorts, which had become "tacky" - including Blackpool, were making a concerted and successful effort to smarten up their image and strike a balance between late-night revellers and families on holiday. *Source: Caterer & Hotelkeeper magazine, 7 October 2004*
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