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Tuesday, 28 November, 2000, 21:55 GMT
Crackdown on yob culture - Blair
Tony Blair
Blair wants to make tackling yob culture a priority
Combating drink-fuelled violence is likely to be at the centre of next week's Queen's Speech, Prime Minister Tony Blair has indicated.

It is thought the Queen's Speech, which traditionally outlines the government's legislative programme for the following year, will include a major crackdown on the unlawful behaviour that centres on some pubs.


We need to tighten the law significantly in respect of what I call the yob culture

Tony Blair
In an interview with the Evening Star newspaper in Ipswich, Mr Blair said that laws needed to be tightened in a bid to counter what he labelled "yob culture".

"We need to tighten the law significantly in respect of what I call the yob culture," he said.

The aim is to make provision so that "police can come down hard on pubs" with a violence-related problem "to make sure that we get far swifter justice for those people who are involved in violent crime".

The Police Bill is expected to give officers the power to impose a 100 fixed penalty fine on people who are drunk and disorderly.

Mr Blair also indicated the introduction of greater regulation over bouncers, thought to mean checks on whether doormen have criminal records.

In a wide ranging interview, the prime minister also sought to calm fears over a new winter crisis in the NHS.

Pressure on the NHS

"There will always be greater pressures on the health service in the winter," he said.

While acknowledging there was an "ever-growing demand" on the health service, he argued that this year the NHS was "far better prepared".

Citing a BBC survey, Mr Blair said that "only one health authority in the whole country thought they were worse prepared than last year".

The prime minister refused to identify his proudest achievement since sweeping to power in 1997.

Stable economy

But he said: "I wouldn't single out one above all others, but I would say that the things we have done that people do recognise are the stability of the economy and the lower mortgages and the extra jobs and halving of youth unemployment."

People could see a difference in primary schools and they recognised that when it came to the NHS "it is a glass half full rather than a glass half empty".

On the euro, Mr Blair said that because of British jobs and other economic considerations it was important to "keep our options open", adding that it remained an issue that would be resolved in a referendum.

As an issue in the forthcoming election he said it was about "retaining the option of going into the euro".

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See also:

07 Nov 00 | UK Politics
Crisis in Blair's Britain - Hague
23 Jul 00 | UK Politics
Young offenders may lose licences
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