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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 June 2006, 13:46 GMT 14:46 UK
London: Drinking time
Zia Trench
Zia Trench
Politics Show London

St George's flag
World cup fever

On my way home I passed a house in Finsbury Park that was such a lively mess of flags and banners that everyone on the bus smiled.

World Cup fever - don't we love it.

But politicians are not looking so much at the England squad, as the new legislation on how long pubs and bars can stay open.

New licensing laws

In November 2005 new licensing laws were introduced.

In the run up to that, there was no end of critics (mainly shadow cabinet politicians) warning that longer drinking hours in a culture like ours, globally famous for some nasty bouts of hooliganism, was a sure road to disaster.

Woman drinking beer
Extended opening hours: Recipe for disaster?

The new laws came in and nothing happened.

Everything suddenly went quiet because all the warnings of 24 hour boozing just did not happen.

Most premises only asked for a few hours extension at the weekend and the most visible result was smaller queues at 11.30 for taxis.

Administrative shambles

The biggest complaint since then, is how the licenses have been handled. Talking to the Manager of The Endurance in Soho, it's clear that pubs in this area of town think the entire thing's been a shambles.

He told me that he (and many publicans in the area) put in for longer hours and were refused.

They were told to re-apply and were refused again. He said it's cost them thousands in lawyers fees.

The Industry is not happy with this.

It claims that the lack of trouble, the fact people are now spreading out their drinking rather than knocking back five pints at closing time, is an indication that it works.

Now it is pushing for legislation to be streamlined and simplified so it is both cheaper and more straight-forward for pubs, clubs, shops and councils alike.

Waiting game

But the Industry is going to have to wait.

Policy-makers will be keeping an eye on what effects hot weather, footie fever and longer opening hours has on society.

And the outcome of this, will influence how these licensing laws are rolled out in the future.

Also on the programme

Londoner, Robert Wray, who was involved in the infamous Poll Tax riots in the eighties, speaks to us about the riots then and whether there is the political climate for the same kind of reaction to council tax.

And Kelvin MacKenzie, former tabloid editor, defends London's Mayor ... joins us

The Politics Show London

Join us on the Politics Show on Sunday 25 June 2006 at 12:00 on BBC One.

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SEE ALSO
Should we drink to the Licensing Act?
24 May 06 |  West Midlands
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