Monday, November 9, 1998 Published at 12:24 GMT
Pubs could open all night for 2000
The changes could be extended to future years
Pubs could be open all night on 1 January 2000, under proposals being considered by the government.
Home Office Minister George Howarth said: "New Year's Eve is already a special occasion for many people, and the start of the millennium will be a particularly important event.
The Home Office consultation paper outlines options of allowing pubs to stay open until 11am and 4am.
The government prefers the first option of an all night relaxation of licensing hours, which would let pubs stay open until standard opening time the following day.
The Home Office is now seeking views from pub owners and the public on the proposed changes.
"We expect the vast majority of licensed premises will want to stay open well beyond closing time, typically for local parties and other events to welcome the start of Year 2000," Mr Howarth said.
Although the changes will not come into force in time for this year's Hogmanay celebration, they could apply to future New Year's Eves once they are in place.
The Home Office stresses there would be no obligation for landlords to stay open and nuisance controls would be put in place.
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