The Home Office now has full responsibility for alcohol licensing and enforcement which ministers hope will lead to a more consistent approach on this priority issue. Formerly a shared responsibility with the Department for Culture Media and Sport, it is hoped that the move will also reduce any duplication of effort.
Minister for crime prevention James Brokenshire said, ‘We continue to be concerned about the number of alcohol-related incidents and the drink-fuelled violence and disorder that blights many of our towns and cities. The government believes that the power to make licensing decisions needs to be rebalanced in favour of local communities, so that they can decide on the night time economy they want. 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. This move will not only help reduce duplication of effort but will mean just one department is responsible for enforcement and licensing policy, allowing for a more consistent approach to tackling this issue.’ Concluded Brokenshire.