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Last Updated: Saturday, 29 January, 2005, 04:32 GMT
'No demand' for all-day drinking
A pint of beer being drunk
Twenty pubs were asked for their views on flexible licensing laws
Most pubs do not want to stay open 24 hours a day, but would be happy with an extra hour of opening time, BBC research suggests.

Members of the British Beer and Pub Association were asked whether they wanted to remain open longer when flexible opening hours come into force.

From 7 February a new act will permit pubs, bars, off-licences and nightclubs to remain open around the clock.

Of the 20 respondents, none said they would apply for 24-hour licences.

Weekend opening

The reluctance to stay open round-the-clock was largely due to the costs involved.

The majority of those asked said they planned to open one or two hours later, usually at the weekend.

Girls night out
Responsible drinkers will benefit from the changes, ministers say

The findings also suggest that pubs applying for a late licence will tend to be in city centres, reflecting local demand for later drinking.

This snapshot survey, for BBC Radio 4's Today programme, largely fits the association's own research.

It claims around two-thirds of venues were considering applying for a closing time of 2am, so they have flexibility on special occasions.

However, most expect to close at 1am.

Extra policing

Recent weeks have seen mounting concern about the move towards 24-hour opening.

Sir John Stevens, who stepped down as Metropolitan police chief on Friday, said the plans should be re-examined because of a binge drinking "epidemic".

The Tories and Lib Dems have also called for the change to be put on hold.

The government argues that responsible drinkers will benefit from the changes.

It has outlined plans to give disorderly pubs eight weeks to clean up their act before being billed for extra policing.

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