New Clause 3 — Alcohol disorder zones

Part of Crime and Security Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:45 pm on 8th March 2010.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Christopher Huhne Christopher Huhne Shadow Home Secretary 6:45 pm, 8th March 2010

I am pleased to follow Mr. Flello, who speaks a lot of good sense on this issue. Let me first deal with amendment 23. The Government's introduction of the new power for local authorities confirms that the Government have failed to get a grip on the culture of binge drinking. I agree with what he has been saying about the fact that doing so is complex, but it is key if we are to deal with the associated crime and disorder, as any of us who have been out on a Friday or Saturday night with our local police force will be able to testify. The new alcohol provisions in the Bill give local authorities the power to impose blanket bans on the sale of alcohol after 3 am, but to do so on the basis of a justification that such a ban is "necessary". The amendment proposed by the Conservatives would change the wording to "desirable", and the Liberal Democrats would have no problem with that. Although there are no longer statutory limits on this under the licensing laws, in theory local authorities-licensing authorities-can curtail hours of sale to prevent crime and disorder, for public safety reasons, to prevent public nuisance and to protect children from harm. This provision is a reinforcement of the powers available to local authorities. We can see that in certain circumstances it might be useful, and we therefore support it.

New clause 3 would, in effect, abolish alcohol disorder zones. It is clear that they were another example of the Government governing by press release without considering what local authorities really wanted or needed to tackle the problems that they face. The fact that no local authority has applied to create an ADZ tells us everything we need to know about the effectiveness of this particular legislation.