New Clause 3 — Alcohol disorder zones

Part of Crime and Security Bill – in the House of Commons at 7:00 pm on 8th March 2010.

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Photo of Alan Campbell Alan Campbell Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Crime Reduction) 7:00 pm, 8th March 2010

The right hon. Gentleman should talk to his Front-Bench team about that, because that is precisely what they are seeking to do-to introduce subjectivity, whereas currently, if one seeks to introduce a measure that has such an effect in an area, the need for it must be demonstrated in the evidence that prevails. Let me tell him why that is. The measure is about controlling the problems in an area, but it is also about taking a balanced approach to the night-time economy, because better regulation is important.

Clause 55 is important not just for businesses trading between the hours of 3 am and 6 am, but for the jobs that depend on those businesses. It is important that a licensing authority that goes down the route advocated by Mr. Gummer discusses with the police and other enforcement agencies what the situation actually is between 3 am and 6 am. The decision ought to be necessary, evidence-based, focused on an identified problem, and therefore targeted. It should not be taken lightly, particularly in an area where there are businesses in which, in many cases, hundreds of thousands of pounds have been invested.

Substituting the word "desirable" lowers the threshold. That offends against the principles of better regulation, to which I thought the party of the hon. Member for Hornchurch was committed, as mine is. I therefore hope that he will withdraw the amendment.