Page last updated at 17:20 GMT, Friday, 22 January 2010

Kebab shops face late night alcohol ban under Tories

Women slumped on pavement
Binge drinking is being targeted by politicians on all sides

Fast food shops that sell alcohol into the early hours of the morning could face a clampdown if the Tories win power, David Cameron has suggested.

Mr Cameron has vowed to ban discount alcohol in supermarkets and give police and local authorities new powers to curb late-night drinking.

But he said he did not want to return to the days when pubs closed at 11pm.

Instead, he suggested, "kebab shops" and other food outlets which serve alcohol late should face new curbs.

Speaking at the launch of his party's "Broken Britain" manifesto, Mr Cameron said: "I don't think we should try and turn the clock back and say magistrates should do the licensing instead of local authorities but I do think we need to change the licensing law because I don't think it has been the success that some people hoped it would be."

'Continental drinking culture'

He said the Conservatives were prepared to "bite the bullet" and ban the "deep discounting of alcohol by supermarkets", which although an "un-Conservative" move, had been shown to be an effective way to tackle anti-social behaviour.

He said his party would ban the selling of alcohol by supermarkets at below cost price, which some stores do to attract custom.

He said he also wanted to give local councils more freedom to reject licence applications "they don't want to grant".

Mr Cameron, who is a former director of a late night bar chain, said: "I was in Hull recently, out on beat with the police, and they took me round a number of, not pubs and clubs, but kebab shops and pizza parlours that were selling high strength alcohol and even bottles of whiskey at three o'clock in the morning and this is not what the Licensing Act was meant to be about.

"I don't want us to go back to all the pubs shutting at 11 o'clock, everyone coming out on to the High Street and bashing each other in - that is not a good idea.

"Varieted closing times are right, flexibility is right, of course we want to have a more continental-style drinking culture but the law has gone wrong and needs to be put right and if we do the things I have talked about that will be a major step forward."

The Conservatives have said they would introduce a "late night levy" on shops that sell alcohol after 10.30pm and pubs or clubs that stay open after midnight.

The government plans to ban "all you can drink" promotions in pubs and clubs in England and Wales in an effort to reduce binge drinking but it has held off from banning low cost sales or introduce a minimum price for alcohol.

The new rules will also mean that bar owners and shopkeepers must check young drinkers' ID cards, or face up to six months in jail.

The SNP government wants to bring in minimum pricing in Scotland, but is being blocked by opposition parties.



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